Baby Day

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Today I am grateful for a baby day.  We have been going fast and furious since we left Pennsylvania a week ago.  I think we have gone more places in one week than we did in a year and a half.  We’re not used to it and our social stamina is out of shape.

That’s why I’m so glad we spent time just visiting with our son, his wife and the new baby today.  They have a great couch that reclines, which is just what my elephant-like ankles and feet needed, since they have been swollen since we got here.   The other three adults wanted to play a game, so I was on baby duty.  Good call!

It didn’t take long before both of us were sound asleep.  My Pennsylvania grandchild loves sitting on the “grandma chair” and I guess this one does, too, because for her first nap she slept almost two hours.

This one was a little shorter, but it doesn’t take more than second for her to konk off once she hits the grandma chair.  Why would it?  This chair has a steady purr, it’s soft, fluffy and has a secure arm!  There is nothing like a baby day.

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Mom’s Secretary

Friday, June 18, 2021

Today I am grateful to be my mom’s secretary.  When she lived in Arizona, she wrote a column for her Sunrise Messa newsletter.  She loved it, the residents loved them and she was really a pretty good writer.  

For the last few months, in every phone call to her, she told me she had an articled banging around in her head and she would try to write it down.  She said I should try to get it published in the newspaper, but I told her they probably wouldn’t take it but I can post anything I want on my blog.  So today I am her secretary, taking dictation, while sitting at my computer, after another marathon shopping trip, this time at Walmart!  

She had written her story out, but neither of us could read it, so we had to start from scratch.  It took over an hour, but we slogged through and I read it back to her three times for approval.

 My guest writer. . .

“Talking to People”, by Louisa Mae Allcat, via June Jens, her mom.

Meow!  This is Louisa Mae Allcat and I’m living here with my owner, who I will call my “mom” from now on.  She takes very good care of me.  I have noticed in my kitty naps, which I take all the time, that there is a lot of conversing going on between the very elderly and the not so elderly.

People who take care of my mom do not always listen to what she is saying. A lot of times my mom has something to say and she tries to tell the nurses aids about something, that to her seems like it is very important information.  But it is not to them because all they do is flick their hands and wave their hands and go on their way as if nothing was said.  Why is that?  She feels very dismissed and irrelevant. Things that happen here are important to my mom and even other residents, because they live here.

Many things are extremely important to my mom and others, but they often feel rushed by their caretakers and can’t always tell their side of the story because the staff fly out the door before they can even open her mouths to speak.  This is especially true if someone is hard of hearing and needs a person to be closer to them.  If you add in a lack of vision, it makes it even more difficult to be rushed.

(This is where my mom said, “It’s MY article, Mary.” Geeze, even a 94 year-old-woman balks at being edited.)

Young people should realize that they are living in a different era than their parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  They see things differently and sometimes see them more clear than the younger people do. They are mostly all children of the depression, because that’s when they were born and raised.  They know that you can’t always do everything the way you want to, because you can’t afford it.

But sometimes people who work here do not realize that we are a lot older and see things a lot differently than they do.  It’s hard to explain to them what things were like when they were young, because they just couldn’t do things the way you do them now.  People moved slower and they sat and talked more.  TV’s were easier, phones were easier and computers didn’t even exist.

They have to realize that we have different standards than the young people have now. But some things will always remain permanent and that is, pay your bills, pay your taxes, take care of your family, take care of your kids, see that they get an education and kiss them goodbye when they are ready to go on their own.  We can wish them all well, but we can’t live their lives for them.  And they have to be more careful as to what they get themselves into.

Even though I’m a beautiful, big pussycat, I can tell when my mom is happy because she purrs.  So, the next time my mom starts preaching about how things are, or are not, remember that you will always have to make adjustments.  Please be patient with both young and old people and remember to listen.  They all have a lot to say.

Then go home and pet your kitty.  He/She likes to purr, too.

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Mom’s Hair

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Today I am grateful for mom’s hair.  My mom’s lousy, corn-silk-fine hair is the reason I became a hairdresser.

When she was a child, her father chastised her daily to “do something with that hair!”  Easier said than done when you have hair that wafts around your head like cirrus clouds.

I don’t remember when I first did my mom’s hair, but I’m guessing I was a teenager.  Early teens, because I’ve always had a knack for doing hair, just as I have for painting and sculpting.  Hair is organic sculpture.  She and my dad would be going some place and at the last minute she would shriek, as only mom can, “I can’t do anything with this hair!”  I’d tell her to sit down and then I’d work my magic comb over it.  Voila.

“I’ve had so many babes working on this head, yanking me around until I could scream,” mom said.  “But not you.  You have such a nice touch.  You should be a hairdresser.”  So, I did.  I’ve always thought it was a passive aggressive, brilliantly selfish move on her part, but it worked for me, too, so what’s the harm?

Mom was my model when I took my State Boards, cracking wise and sticking her chin out to purse her lips and blow her already cut, but not set hair up off her forehead.  I thought I would flunk because of her antics, but I passed easily.

When I was already working as a hairdresser, mom needed back surgery.  By then we had found that the best way to contain her gossamer locks was to put it in a French twist, with curls on top.  She wore it that way forever.  “What am I going to do about my hair?” she bellowed on the phone to me the morning of her surgery.  “They said I had to take all of the bobby pins!  I’m going to look like a witch.”  I told her not to worry because as soon as I was off work, I would come over and put it right back up.  So, I did.

For the entire 17 years I worked behind a chair as a hairdresser, mom had a weekly, standing appointment.  “I don’t expect you to do my hair when you’re off of work and I don’t expect you to do it for free,” I heard many times. She even took it so far as to bring a gift to the salon for me for Christmas.  “I would do this for any other hairdresser, so why not for you?” she said.

When she moved to Arizona after my dad died, she was wearing her hair shorter, permed and fluffy on top.  I gave her instructions as to what to tell her hairdresser out there, which I’m sure that stylist loved.  But I had already learned through years of experimentation what worked and what didn’t.

Whenever I went to visit, I would bring my perm rods and scissors and do a kitchen-sink job.  Not to besmirch a fellow stylist, but I wonder if they were on dope when they cut her hair.  She never failed to have long schwonses and chopped out sections.  I’d straighten her out and she’d say, “There is nothing like a Mary hairdo!”

Of all the things I miss with my mom, doing her hair is at the top.  It makes me insane to see her peeking out from under an unruly bush.  I want to cut it, perm it and style it!  Every time!  Every picture!  Every visit!  But she can’t handle the kitchen-sink routine anymore, so I swallow my long-retired professional pride and let someone else do her hair.

We rushed back from our Dollar Tree Store debacle in time for her to get to her weekly hair appointment.  I went with her.  The hairdresser was very nice and I loved the sassy banter between her and my mom.  But I was also sad.  I wanted to yank that woman away from behind my mom and say, “This woman’s hair is for ME to do, not YOU!”  Instead, I just bantered along with them, watching my mom’s tense face transform into relaxation as she lay back in the sink for her shampoo and sat in her wheel chair, getting her hair blown dry.

Then, even though I pretty much hate the “nothing” style of my mom’s hair these days, when she was done, I said, “That looks really nice.  I bet it feels so much better.”  But as I wheeled her out the door she said, “That hairdresser is okay, but she’s no Mary.”  Oh, how I miss doing my mom’s hair.

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Dollar Tree Store

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Today I am grateful for the Dollar Tree Store.  It was a full day yesterday. . .in four hours. . .when we took my mom to the Dollar Tree, got her back in time for her hair appointment and then lunch after that.  The loading and unloading just about did us in, and I’m not talking about the bags of junk she bought.

It’s a two-person job to take her to the dollar store.  She’s like a toddler who sees a shiny object and wants it, no matter that it’s a case for a cell phone she doesn’t have and would refuse to use if she did.  She doesn’t get there often because it’s grueling.  Not for her, for the people who take her.  But it’s something I always did with her so Himself and I sucked it up.

I know how quickly she wears out so I insisted we take the wheel chair.  “Are you sure?” she asked.  “That thing is a pain in the ass to get in a car.”  Yeah, well, we probably shoulda listened to mom, because she wasn’t joking.

We loaded mom fairly easily, with the usual ouches and groans and I’m not just talking hers.  But that damned wheel chair.  “I’m sure it must fold up,” I said to Himself a dozen times, but we sure couldn’t figure out how to do it.  I wrenched my shoulder and elbow trying to pull it by the wheels, while Himself hoisted it.  Good thing a half of a seat came down or we’d still be there.  We got a little better at it later, but wow.  Twenty minutes of huffing and swearing!

At the Dollar Tree, Himself pushed mom in that beast of a wheel chair and I drove the cart, walking in front of them.  Doesn’t that sound benign?  A nice little trip to the store. 

For an hour-and-a-half we marched up and down every single aisle, examined every single kiosk and sniffed every single bar of soap.  Remember mom doesn’t have her hearing aids and has very little vision.  Also remember Himself does better when I look at him so he can combine his hearing aids with lip reading, which we could do because masks weren’t required.  I wouldn’t have lived if I was under a mask.  I would have died right there in the balloon aisle, from the “WHAT’s?” alone!

“Be sure to start way over there on the left!” mom shouted as we entered the store. “I don’t want to miss anything!”  And she didn’t.  I went in front of mom in the wheel chair, with Himself pushing her, shouting out whatever was in the aisle.  Here’s a sample:

Mom:  WHAT’S THAT, MARY?  WHAT’S THAT?

Me:  PARTY SUPPLIES.

Mom: WHAT KIND OF PARTY SUPPLIES? 

Me:  ARE YOU HAVING A PARTY?

Mom:  NO, I’M NOT HAVING A PARTY, SMART ASS, BUT WHAT IS IT?

Me:  PLATES, NAPKINS, SPARKLY THINGS FOR THE TABLE, FORKS, GRADUATION BANNERS, STICKERS, SHINY HATS, BEADS, LEIS, HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHIT, ANNIVERSARY SHIT AND OTHER JIM CRACKIE FOR PARTIES.

Mom:  OH, OKAY.  I WANNA SEE THE POTS AND PANS.

Me:  WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH POTS AND PANS?

Mom:  COOK WITH THEM.

Me:  MOM, REMEMBER YOUR STOVE WAS DISCONNECTED AFTER THE LAST TIME THE FIRE DEPARTMENT HAD TO COME.  YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED TO COOK ANYMORE.

Mom:  OH, THAT’S RIGHT.  THOSE FIREMENT WERE CUTE.

Repeat this process down every single aisle, including automotive, household and toys, where she glommed onto a fuzzy bear and refused to put it back.

Look, she’s 94.  If she wants a dollar bear, then I’m not going to stop her.  The same with the two decks of cards I know will only frustrate her because she won’t be able to see them and the notebooks and permanent marker’s she thinks she’ll be able to use, but won’t.  It would be sad to see her buy stuff I know she won’t even know where to put or be able to find when she does, but I know it’s more about the process of shopping than it is having all of the crap.

It was really cold in the store and both Himself and mom were bitching about it the entire time.  At one point I sent Himself outside to warm up, made mom push the cart in front of her and I shoved her in the wheel chair.  We were a slow-moving train of shouts and useless items and my caboose was getting exhausted.

When it was time to check out, ninety minutes later, I sent both of them outside because I couldn’t take any more bitching about the cold, even though I was freezing, too.  Oh, and FYI, I am not the shopping daughter!  I HATE shopping.  Talk about taking one for the team.

There was only one check out line and I apologized to those behind me as I pulled out cat toys, Styrofoam cups, bobby pins, paper clips, rubber bands, zipper cases, door hangers and forty-eight bucks of important stuff.

“I’m sorry that there is so much, but it’s been three years since my mom went to the dollar store and she went a little crazy,” I said to the kind woman mindlessly adding up the booty.  “She’s 94 and can’t see and can’t hear, so I’m sure you and your staff will not have to do an inventory because you heard me shouting out every single item in the store for the last hour-and-a-half.”

On the way back to her place I insisted on opening the car windows, except mom doesn’t like wind so I could only open hers at a stop light.  She told us how happy she was to have gone to the dollar store and thanked us over and over, reminding us how vital every piece of crap was to her. 

We had this conversation at the stop light:

Mom:  I LOVE THAT SOAP.

Me:  I’M SURE YOU DO, CUZ IT STINKS.

Mom: I LIKE SOAP THAT MAKES ME SMELL LIKE A WOMAN.

Me:  MORE LIKE A FRENCH WHORE.

Mom:  WELL, THAT’S OKAY, TOO!

I didn’t see him, but Himself said the guy in the car next to us was dying laughing.  Sure, he was.  He didn’t just turn into a popsicle and see his life pass before his eyes at the Dollar Tree Store.

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Still Have My Mom

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Today I am grateful for my mom.  She can be a cantankerous old broad, but I guess if I live to 94, I might be that way, too, although my kids remind me, she started out that way.  And we all know how docile and compliant I am already.  Ha-ha!  Good one, right?

We had a great, three-hour visit with her yesterday.  My sister, Himself and I picked her up and took her for a little ride, then lunch at Culvers where she kept asking what happened to my hair and got my sister and me goofed up.

“Nothing happened to my hair, I said.  It’s just white.”  She looked at me shook her head.  Why she can’t see anything but my hair is beyond me.  Maybe I glow.  “I don’t know where you got that white hair from,” she said, with more head shaking.  “No one in my family had white hair.” That’s a riot if you look at her.  Geeze.

Looking out the window, up at the sky, she said, “Just look at those clouds.   I never saw clouds like that before.”  It’s not true, of course, but it was cool to see her appreciate them again.  We made a quick stop at the grocery store.  She and I waited in the car while Judy and Himself got her necessaries and a few for us.

After telling me every story that has pissed her off for the last five years, she started in about how no one listens to her.  It’s her biggest complaint, but I know it has nothing to do with now and everything to do with how she was raised, by a tyrannical, bigoted, racist father and a step-mother who hid booze all over the house and always made sure to remind her to be grateful the bitchy-boozer had taken her in when her own mother didn’t want her.  No one listened to her then and now she’s sure we don’t now.

I wanted her to have therapy many years ago to deal with her childhood trauma but she didn’t want to dredge things up, so she never did.  Now here she is, still re-living those horrible feelings at 94.  It’s sad.  If you have issues you haven’t dealt with, please get help now.   There is no shame in it.  None at all.  You won’t be sorry and it will make your old age so much more bearable.

That said, mom and I waited in the car while they were in the store.  When she finally took a breath and I could get a word in, here’s how it went.

Me:  Mom, I want to take a selfie with you.

Mom:  WHAT?  (I should insert here that both hearing aids have been lost.)

Me:  I WANT TO TAKE A SELFIE WITH YOU.

Mom:  A WHAT?

Me:  A SELFIE!

Mom:  A WHATEE?

Me:  A SELFIE!

Mom:  I’M NOT A LEFTY.  I’VE NEVER BEEN A LEFTY.

Me:  I KNOW.  I WANT TO TAKE A SELFIE WITH YOU.  IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BEING A RIGHTY OR A LEFTY.

Mom:  YOUR FATHER WAS A LEFTY.

Me:  I KNOW.

Mom:  BUT I’M NOT A LEFTY. 

Me:  A SELFIE!  NOT A LEFTY!  I WANT TO TAKE A SELFIE.

Mom:  WHAT’S A SELFIE?

Me:  A PICTURE THAT I TAKE WITH MY PHONE.

Mom:  OH, FOR HEAVENS SAKE.  I NEVER HEARD OF SUCH A THING.  WELL WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SO!?

Me:  SMILE, MOM.

It was a hoot.  Anyone walking past would have called the cops to report that two old broads were screaming at each other, in the shade, in a parked car, with all the windows down.  I don’t care.  I’m still grateful I have my mom to drive me crazy as all mothers are meant to do!

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Parallel Trips

Monday, June 14, 2021 – Grab a beverage.  You’re gonna be here a while!

Today I am grateful for parallel trips.  President Joe and Dr. Jill Biden are taking a monumental trip as ambassadors of the United States of America.  Himself and Herself are taking a trip more akin to Ma & Pa Joad, in the Steinbeck novel, “The Grapes of Wrath”.

Joe & Jill (as I will respectfully refer to them from here on in) have planners, drivers and a security detail.  We “Joads” not so much.  Packing and loading the car just about did us in. I’m the primary driver and our security is the power locks on Queenie, the new/used Subaru Forester.  I bet they don’t have foam pool noodles taped over their fishing rods.  Rookies.

We left at five minutes to five, by some miracle.  Driving through the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania was spectacular.  Low ceilings of fog shrouded the valleys like security blankets.  Fingers of heavy mist trailed down the mountains, bringing them alive like in the movie, “Moana”.  The clouds parted just long enough for the sun to paint everything in orange, pink and purple.  It was beautiful.

Then the overcast skies I wished for lasted until Ohio, almost six hours into the trip west.  No disrespect to Ohio, because that state helps to feed America, but boy, it sure is boring to drive through compared to Pennsylvania. 

I’m sure even Joe & Jill had to make a few pit stops and so did Ma & Pa Joad.  I’m always careful to pack the car so that Himself can reach things more easily as we are moving.  That lasts about through the first reach.  After that, things get snatched and flung like he’s trying out for Shotput in the Olympics.  Except for when he doesn’t put it back at all.

He had grabbed the bag with the books on tape and dropped it at his feet.  When we got to the rest stop, he opened his door to fly out, his foot got caught in the strap of the bag and he did a burlesque-type prat fall, catching himself just before landing.  Tapes flew everywhere. 

“Be careful,” I said, which is about the most useless thing you can say to someone who just dragged a bag out of the car by his ankle.  I sent him grumbling off to the potty while I picked up the debris.  When he got back, I suggested (great word) that he put the bag back where he got it.  It flew over the seat, barely missing my head and landing on the pillow-sized bag of popcorn.  “Don’t crush the popcorn,” I yelled, not caring if I got beaned in the head as long as the popcorn was safe.

About nine hours into the trip, I just couldn’t drive anymore so I turned over Queenie to Himself/Pa Joad after he made another pit stop.  Since I had to wait anyway, I climbed into the passenger seat reclining it to rest the nerves in my back and brain.  Crunch, crunkle, chomp.   My seat was crushing the popcorn.  Swell.  I reached back to pull it out and heard the tear.  Sonofabitch! 

I’m sure Joe & Jill would have someone else repair their torn popcorn bag, or put it in a nice container, but I had to dig the duct tape out of the fishing tackle box to do my repairs before Himself saw it.  Geeze.

I shut my eyes and took over driving again about an hour and a half later, bringing us on the home stretch to Elkhart, Indiana.  Since we had stayed there before, we decided to forgo lunch and have dinner at the Texas Road House, before we even checked into the hotel.

It was literally 94 degrees with 56 percent humidity.  Whoopee, my favorite weather.  Not!  I was exhausted from being in the car for twelve hours, achy, hot and cranky.  The place was packed.  Outside and in.  At 5 p.m. on a Saturday night.  Seriously?  No fears of Covid here for any of them.  Yikes.

We crawled our aching bodies inside, waited in a somewhat distanced line and were told you had to sign up for a spot at the window outside.  Grrrr.  Out we went, gave the twelve-year-old our names, my cell and she told me she’d text us when the table was ready, maybe 45 minutes.  “Where can we wait inside in the air conditioning?” I asked. 

“You can’t,” she said.  “You have to wait in your car.”  I wanted to pull her by her polo shirt, through that window and shove her into that steaming, cram-packed, popcorn-spilled car that we had just spent the last 12 hours in!  Instead, I growled and groaned like the MGM lion, which I’m sure she picked up on, even through my cow-print mask and stormed off to crank on the AC in Queenie.  Where’s my security detail when I need it?  They coulda handled her for me.

Okay, after I had a roll or two and chugged a glass of water, I felt bad and took the time to explain to her how exhausted and hungry we were and apologized for going movie-lion on her.  I shouldn’t have growled.

Himself checked us into the hotel while I tried to figure out what had to go to the room and what could stay in the car.  We usually plan this pretty good, but we had totally trashed the car and even though I was now fed, I was still so hot and sweating like I stole something.

I opened the door to our room and had a flashback to when we were in 105- degree heat, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, having just moved my mom out of Arizona.  Our van was packed with her boxes and reeked of cigarette smoke.  So did our hotel room.  We had to change it and it was the final straw in an already long day.  Except it wasn’t.

I was very, very hot and probably dehydrated and started to feel awful.  Himself was making the trip up and down to the car to bring in stuff we had forgotten and needed.  I chug-a-lugged a Gatorade that I was grateful I had the foresight to bring along, while sitting practically naked in front of the blowing air conditioner, panting like a beagle with his head stuck out of a Buick on the highway, except my ears didn’t flap in the wind.  Born to be wild, baby!

The next morning, I spent 45 minutes in the pool, we showered and packed up and were off again for the last six hours of the getting-there trip.  I envied Joe & Jill even more because we have become old and high maintenance and carry more crap with us than the real Joads.

Indiana pisses me off.  No disrespect for the good Hoosiers who live there, but what is going on with your state?  There is always an issue.  Last time we came out on this road ALL of the rest areas were closed.  ALL of them.  Both ways, coming and going.  If you had to pee in Indiana, you couldn’t find so much as an isolated porta potty.  Who plans like that?  Indiana that’s who.

I told myself that to be prejudiced about a state and how they run things was just wrong.  Everyone/state deserves a second chance.  We got gas and flew on the highway with ease, heading for the toll entrance.  I moved left to the EZ Pass lanes as instructed, chose one lit up for service and pulled in. 

There are gates that drop down between every car, which seems very stupid to me since it defeats the purpose of EZ Pass, but hey, I’m trying to be a better person so I accept when Himself/Pa, reminds me there is a gate so I don’t go crashing through it. 

The car in front of me wasn’t moving.  Why?  Neither were the cars in the lane next to us.  The gates weren’t coming up.  There we sat, like lemmings ready to go off the cliff, but the gate wouldn’t open so we could.  Cars pulled in behind us.  I hit my emergency flashers to warn them off.  People started beeping their horns like New York City Cab drivers.  No one came to rectify the problem, so we all motioned out our windows and backed up.  On the highway, at the toll gate.  It looked like an unplanned demo-derby.

I managed to back up far enough to be let into another lane.  Except that gate wasn’t going up either so now cars are lined up practically to Ohio.  People were walking around asking each other where the Indiana turnpike folks were and who was going to fix this mess.  I was pissed.  So was the man at the front of the line, because he got out of his car, ripped that gate off its hinges and threw it on the ground.  He’s my new hero.

We were finally underway again, with cars zipping around me, changing lanes without signaling, making me wish more than ever that we were Joe & Jill and could just rest in the back of the limo and not have to deal with the idiot drivers. 

We were ready to exit Indiana, heading for the toll booths once again, when we started chatting and laughing about what had happened when we entered the state.  “I’m sorry to say, but I’m glad to be leaving Indiana,” I said as I pulled up to the “open” EZ Pass Lane.  BAM!  Same thing!  Gates wouldn’t open, cars beeping, people backing up shouting curses at all of the Hoosier officials.  It was like Déjà vu and Groundhog Day all at the same time!

Only this time we were prepared.  This wasn’t our first rodeo.  My lane of cars backed up in a steady stream, like a ribbon of discontent and moved over two lanes to the one that was working.  It was a brilliant show of solidarity and no one had to beep a horn or rip a gate off. 

Chicago was an hour of washboard roads and traffic crawling at school zone speeds, but we’re finally in Wisconsin, frustrated and exhausted. I wonder if Joe & Jill are starting to get cranky about being on the move.  Ma & Pa Joad sure are.  And the only injury was to a huge popcorn bag!

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Interval Packing

Friday, June 11, 2021

Today I am grateful for interval packing.  I’m sure you’ve heard the term interval workout.  Yeah, this is sort of the same thing, only it has to do with laundry, more clothes than God makes, hard work, then rest and exhaustion.

We used to be able to plan a trip on Wednesday and walk out the door on Thursday.  Hah!  That is certainly a distant memory!  These days it takes us weeks to be sure our prescriptions are all filled.

I think I was meant to be royalty and have minions doing my packing. . .in big trunks, with every shoe put in its own velvet bag, like Anna did on “Downton Abbey”.  Instead, I yank shoes off my rack, just like Himself does and we throw them in a “shoe” bag.  Velvet is not involved.

I wish I had Anna here to gently fold my dress T-shirts and place them neatly in a case, with tissue in between.  Hah!  Yesterday I did laundry and said to Himself, “Look, I’m not putting this shit away.  We’re going to cram it in the suitcase directly from the wash basket so stand ready.”  He did.  He lived.

We used to put a rod up in the back of the car for hanging clothes, but that proved to be its own pain in the ass.  It wasn’t like everything got there unwrinkled and fresh.  Ever. Half the time something fell out in the mud when we opened the way back or got jammed between suitcases for 900 miles.

Now I’m smarter.  We leave things on hangers and shove them folded over into a large suitcase.  When we get there, we just pull them out and hang them up.  If anyone has the nerve to mention my wrinkled state, first they don’t know me and second, I’m on vacation so shut the ef up!  I’m not even sure that one pair of pants goes over my ass so get ready for me to do a poppin’ fresh, wardrobe malfunction at any moment.

We have chairs, fishing rods, dishes I’m giving to my niece, a cooler for some water, clothes and shoes.   There is an entire suitcase to hold our lotions/potions, nebulizer, CPAP and meds.  It could qualify as its own traveling medical clinic.

Himself is channeling an Amish man with his fishing hat.  Good thing we’re not traveling by buggy or the poor horse would be dead in two hours from dragging all of our shit.  Giddy-up!

Yes, we have car snacks.  No, they are not healthy.  Yes, they should be.  No, I don’t give a shit.  Popcorn is fiber.  So there.  Cashews shut Himself up.  And chocolate covered almonds, well . . .see above “ef off” message about how I’m on vacation.

It’s taken me all week to pack.  Travel light?  Ha-ha.  We interval pack for twenty minutes cardio, then rest for ten and so on.  Amos the Amish Man Himself and I will get there, but it’s quite the workout!  We ain’t movin’ fast!  Where’s Anna when I need her?  Bitch!

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Having a Schedule

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Today I am grateful for a schedule.  I haven’t had a schedule in what seems like a billion years.  Usually, I save the calendar from the year before for a little while to check on what and when we had appointments.  No point in saving a blank book.  I tossed it.

This past weekend we had an absolutely fantastic time at the graduation party of our granddaughter.  Her parents, understand that it was a difficult year to be a senior in high school, with Covid/remote learning/no job/no theater/no concerts/no prom, etc.. 

They compensated by giving her a blow out event, complete with food trucks, games in four different parts of their yard, a tent with tables and chairs for shade and enough booze and water to please even the heartiest party goer.  I told them they set the bar pretty high for any other graduation parties.

During the cornhole game, when I was the bystander/heckler and the cops rode past the house, I mentioned to my son, the host, that when I was younger and had all-night cast parties, we knew they were over when the cops came.  This cop was just doing a drive by and my son expected him.  Cool.  Party on.

It rained for days and days before the event, but was spectacular, if not a bit too hot for me, on the party day.  I drank no alcohol, knowing that I would embarrass myself by melting into a puddle if I did.  Gallons of water were a better call.

The next day we had a scheduled, long Zoom call with the new baby and her parents; I cut the hair of Himself. . .always a daunting task because of his natural resistance to it; and I had Book Club late in the afternoon.

On Monday I was up by 6:30 a.m. to collect the granddaughter and spend the day with her.  I’ve already posted videos of some of that on Facebook.  I LOVE being with five-year-old-miss-nibs, but boy it’s exhausting.  We didn’t run miles, but the constant chatter and activity (“What are we going to play, now, Grammy?”) wears me out.  At one point I had to say, “Grammy’s playing her chair for ten minutes and I don’t care what you play with while I’m resting!”

Having all of these things scheduled was different and exciting and seemed a little foreign.  I bet I could get used to it again, given the opportunity.  But I’m also going to be sure I schedule enough “me” time in the future. Because in the last 18 months I’ve learned I’m pretty good company, too!

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New Water Feature

Friday, June 4, 2021

Today I am grateful for a new water feature.  It’s like we’re living in the rain forest these days.  Yes, we needed rain, but geeze, enough already!

During last week’s violent storm, the leftover maple tree debris blew everywhere and filled our rain gutters with branches and those little helicopter thingies.  It’s a mess.  It looks like we are going au-natural, with crap sticking out of them like sod roofs, but we’re not intending to.

Then it rained.  And rained.  And rained.  The junk got packed down, causing Niagara-like waterfalls to plunge over the edge.  Right into my plants, which simply couldn’t take anymore abuse.

During a break in the clouds, I ran out and unhooked everything before it got beaten to death.  Days later, I deadheaded the poor things and hung them back up.  Then took them down again before this next batch of rain. What fun.

Himself, always quick on the uptake, said, “Aren’t we having the gutters cleaned out this year?” 

“Yeah, we are,” I wanted to shout.  “But it was only during that last storm that the crap was done dropping from the trees.  Now he can’t come until the weekend.”

One of our pots, the one I grew the useless potato in last year, is cracked and still has dirt in it because I think that’s all that’s holding it together, so I just scooped out a hole and set the geranium plant on top of it.

During the first rain, when I took the plant off to save it, the force of the rain-gutter-waterfall, caused the mud to dance like dirty popcorn and made a total mess all over the screen, window and patio.

Before the last rain, when Himself was removing the plants. . .yet again. . .I asked him to get the biggest frying pan lid.

Himself:  What are you talking about?

Me:  We need it for the pot with the mud in it.

Himself:  I have no clue what you’re talking about.

Me:  I know.  Just get the lid and I’ll show you.

Shaking his head, like always, he complied grudgingly, laughing about how I’ve lost my mind, again!  But even though the rain was another gully-washer, there was no mud splatter!  No doubt about it, we are a do-it-yourself-trashy-class act!  But I don’t have to clean up mud.  Plus, we now have a new patio water feature.  Who’s laughing now?

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New Water Feature

Friday, June 4, 2021

Today I am grateful for a new water feature.  It’s like we’re living in the rain forest these days.  Yes, we needed rain, but geeze, enough already!

During last week’s violent storm, the leftover maple tree debris blew everywhere and filled our rain gutters with branches and those little helicopter thingies.  It’s a mess.  It looks like we are going au-natural, with crap sticking out of them like sod roofs, but we’re not intending to.

Then it rained.  And rained.  And rained.  The junk got packed down, causing Niagara-like waterfalls to plunge over the edge.  Right into my plants, which simply couldn’t take anymore abuse.

During a break in the clouds, I ran out and unhooked everything before it got beaten to death.  Days later, I deadheaded the poor things and hung them back up.  Then took them down again before this next batch of rain. What fun.

Himself, always quick on the uptake, said, “Aren’t we having the gutters cleaned out this year?” 

“Yeah, we are,” I wanted to shout.  “But it was only during that last storm that the crap was done dropping from the trees.  Now he can’t come until the weekend.”

One of our pots, the one I grew the useless potato in last year, is cracked and still has dirt in it because I think that’s all that’s holding it together, so I just scooped out a hole and set the geranium plant on top of it.

During the first rain, when I took the plant off to save it, the force of the rain-gutter-waterfall, caused the mud to dance like dirty popcorn and made a total mess all over the screen, window and patio.

Before the last rain, when Himself was removing the plants. . .yet again. . .I asked him to get the biggest frying pan lid.

Himself:  What are you talking about?

Me:  We need it for the pot with the mud in it.

Himself:  I have no clue what you’re talking about.

Me:  I know.  Just get the lid and I’ll show you.

Shaking his head, like always, he complied grudgingly, laughing about how I’ve lost my mind, again!  But even though the rain was another gully-washer, there was no mud splatter!  No doubt about it, we are a do-it-yourself-trashy-class act!  But I don’t have to clean up mud.  Plus, we now have a new patio water feature.  Who’s laughing now?

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