Customer Service


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Today I am grateful for customer service.  How rare is that statement?  But there is one organization that we have dealt with that continues to come through even though our contact with them was over fourteen years ago.  Yes, fourteen!


Several times a year there is a little gift dropped off on our porch.  We’ve gotten an herb seed kit, a wind chime, a garden creature, flags for July 4th, and I can’t even remember all of the little thoughtful, tagged gifts we’ve received.  Sometimes I keep them, sometimes I pay them forward to a friend.  But every time I come home and see one I’m am secretly delighted and I know exactly who they are from.  Every time.


We listed our last house with Loretta McKeogh and Paul Bresadola at Long & Foster Realty in Fort Washington, because she had sold my friend, Sony’s, house when it was necessary for her to move into a nursing home.  They did a fantastic job, getting very close to our asking price.  Plus they helped us find where we are currently living.  All at the same time, sacrificing portions of their commission to make it all happen.  I have never forgotten and recommend them to everyone.


I don’t think anyone can top their continuing, years later, ongoing customer service.  No one.  Today I was sitting at the kitchen table coloring when the doorbell rang.  There she was, Loretta herself, delivering the Spring gee-gaw.  She wouldn’t come in because, like Santa, I’m sure she had a billion stops to make, but it was sure good to see her.


Have these little gifts added up to tons of money for them?  I doubt it.  But they are priceless to me.  And that’s good customer service.

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Shoe & girl coloring

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Today I am grateful for distractions.  I need a lot of distractions these days.  Not big distractions like going on an amazing trip or anything, although if someone wants to provide me with one I would not turn it down.


I can’t seem to stay focused on anything for very long.  My activities flit around just like my brain does.  I have crossword puzzles started, crochet waiting for me, a filthy bathroom, a kitchen that needs major attention, enough dust on my end tables on which to write the great American novel and a constant open coloring book on the kitchen table.


I still go to the pool every morning, teach the kids and sometimes even take an extra exercise class, so it’s not like I’m turning into a recluse.  On the way home I swear I will not turn on the news, I won’t get sucked in again, I will strap on my metaphorical Kevlar big girl bra and an aluminum foil Tom Terrific hat to protect me from the insanity around me and get something worthwhile done.


My basement is a mess.  The garage needs some serious attention. I should either make Margarita’s or take the car over to the car wash and vacuum out the street salt.  And I should turn the damned TV off and get off of the computer so I am not consumed with disturbing news.  Yup.  I have tons to do.  But I don’t want to.  Apparently I need some more distractions. . .so I color.  See the pretty picture?  Namaste.

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Old Elvis Presley Song

My sneakers

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Today I am grateful for an old Elvis Presley song.  I decided to run out to the local Wawa this morning for a breakfast sandwich for me and some glazed donuts for Himself.  Because he wasn’t with me I had the car radio on.  Sunday is Elvis day on my preferred radio station.


It was pretty early so I hadn’t watched any news or been on line.  Still, I was sad, oh so sad and upset about the state of my country and the government officials supposedly running it.  My head was consumed with the faces of the Native Americans, selling their homemade jewelry on blankets when I’d visit my mom in Arizona.  I saw the worried looks on the Mexicans who shovel my walk as they poured coffee from the pot I left on the porch.  The beautiful, scarf-headed faces of the Muslim children at the school I once worked at came into my mind.


I thought of the people that Himself worked with from different nations, who are still friends and will now struggle to deal with American companies because of idiotic, irresponsible decisions about who can travel when and where.


And I thought about myself and how odd it was to be the “outsider” when we lived in Jakarta, Indonesia.  White and large, with light brown hair, there was no way I could blend.  Asian people would cluster around me to get a picture because I was the novelty. . .the fat white lady.  Just like I had wanted my picture taken with an Aboriginal man in Australia and was surprised that he was offended.  After it happened to me, I understood his offence.  He is not a novelty and neither am I.  He is human.  Real. So am I.


I thought about all of the times I have been made fun of, pointed at, laughed at and shamed because of my size.  Yes, many, many times, with people shouting out of car windows at me, “Wide load bitch”.  Awful? Yup.  But also true.  It felt worse than it sounds and I was an adult.  It got me to thinking about an article I read about children. . .yes children. . .who won a Robotics competition and grown-ups in the crowd shouted at them to “get the hell out of this country” because their heritage was Mexican.  Really.  Grown-ups.  And they continued their barrage as the winners left, along with their racist children shouting racial slurs right beside them.  Deplorable.


When I criticize decisions by the current administration publicly, I get blasted and labeled a “hater”.  Me?  A hater?  Yet the people screaming at children. . .yes children. . .to “get the hell out” of the place where they were born just because their skin is brown is NOT hating?  How do you even comment on that kind of stupidity?  How do you fight it?  How do you change it?  Am I the out-of-touch-with-reality one, or are they?  I think they are but there are so many of them that I wonder if I’m in an old Twilight Zone episode.


Yes, all of this on my way to get a breakfast sandwich two miles away.  You do not want to be in my brain.  It’s exhausting!  And then Elvis sang.  And I thought that some kind person in the White House (and I’m sure there is at least one who struggles like some of the rest of us do) should get the following recording and pipe it into the West Wing every single day.  As I sat at in the Wawa parking lot and cried, I thought that it probably would not affect them.  But it would sure tickle me.


Walk a Mile in My Shoes

Elvis Presley

Songwriters: Joe South

Walk a Mile in My Shoes lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC


If I could be you, if you could be me
For just one hour, if we could find a way
To get inside each other’s mind
If you could see you through my eyes
Instead your own ego I believe you’d be
I believe you’d be surprised to see
That you’ve been blind.


Walk a mile in my shoes
just walk a mile in my shoes
Before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Then walk a mile in my shoes

Now if we spend the day
Throwin’ stones at one another
‘Cause I don’t think, ’cause I don’t think
To wear my hair the same way you do
Well, I may be common people
But I’m your brother
And when you strike out
Your tryin’ to hurt me
It’s hurtin’ you, Lord how mercy
Walk a mile in my shoes
just walk a mile in my shoes
Before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Then walk a mile in my shoes
Now there are people on reservations
And out in the ghetto
And brother there for the grace of God
Go you and I,
If I only had the wings of a little angel
Don’t you know, I’d fly
To the top of a mountain
And then I’d cry, cry, cry

Walk a mile in my shoes
just walk a mile in my shoes
Before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Then walk a mile in my shoes

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Today I am grateful for pop-in-visits.  Our youngest son called us yesterday.  That’s a pretty huge thing to be grateful for in itself.  Those of you with daughters will not understand that statement, but it’s okay.  Those with sons will get it immediately.


He and his two kids were on the way back from skiing in the Poconos and he said, “if the traffic isn’t too bad we might. . .MIGHT. . .stop in.  And if we do we won’t be able to stay too long.”  Always knew how to sell an occasion, that kid.  Disclaimers all around.  Translated, the first part of the statement means. . .(if I feel like stopping I will and it doesn’t have one damned thing to do with the traffic so don’t get your hopes up or your undies in a bundle if we don’t stop because I just didn’t feel like it or the kids are driving me nuts or I just didn’t feel like it.)


The second part translates into. . .(We are only staying a half an hour because we have to get home because we want to be home because my wife is out of town and I want to get these kids home and we are tired from skiing so don’t start planning dinner or some big furniture moving expedition or ask me to paint a wall or replace a smoke detector battery or do anything other than eat up all of your snacks and be gone in a half an hour.)  See, I’m good at this.  This isn’t my first drive-by!


They stayed two hours.  And it was the best two hours of my week.  Earthshaking?  Nah.  The boys watched the NCAA’s and some soccer and acted goofy.  My granddaughter, who turns 14 in a week or so, and I sat in the kitchen and talked.  Yup.  Talked.  I colored but she was tired and didn’t want to color, so while she grazed through every cabinet and snack and I colored, we talked.  I think it was the longest non-stop conversation we’ve had in years.  There is always so much going on with so many people that it’s hard to zero in on a real conversation.


When we went in to hang with the guys, the grandson had these dollar store, soft balls out, so we pelted them at each other until we all got sick of it.  Grandpa played with the new little drone he bought himself and even let the kid and grandkid have a turn.  But mostly we all just acted stupid and laughed and hung out.


When they left a couple of hours later, bellies full of Grandma’s and Grandpa’s snacks and soda, I never considered saying, “Can you stay longer?”  They already had.  And for that and the pop-in-visit, I am pathetically grateful!

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St. Paddy’s Day

St. Paddys

Friday, March 17, 2017  (A repeat from 2014, but it still holds for today.)

Today I am grateful for St. Paddy’s Day.  Sure ‘n what else would I be grateful for on this day of all days?  I’ve always loved St. Paddy’s day, even before I married an Irishman.  Since then, we’ve gone nuclear with celebrations from time to time.  But we don’t “do” green beer, because according to himself, “No self-respecting Irishman would taint the gold with the green.”


Because he’s German, too, I wondered exactly how much Irish was in hisself’s genetic makeup.  Then we went to Ireland for St. Paddy’s Day one and celebrated the holiest of days in Killarney.  The parade was very local, with cows and goats and farm equipment mixed in with the local bagpipers.  A hoot!  We got separated.  When I was searching the crowd for him, I realized he looked like every other Irish guy. . .long face, ruddy complexion, big nose, twinkle in his eye.  He had a thousand brothers at the parade.  Irish as Paddy’s Pig!


Our kids grew up force-fed Irish music like I was force-fed polkas.  I suspect that sometimes they find themselves playing it just to remember their childhoods, just like I turn on Molly B’s Polka sometimes.  They also probably know all the words to all of the Irish tunes, but they’ll never admit it.


We’ve had some pretty big bashes for St. Paddy’s Day.  I’m sure our kids and friends remember at least some of them.  Others of our friends probably don’t remember much, but what happens at the Mooney’s on St. Paddy’s Day, stays at the Mooney’s.  I remember when our friend Catherine showed up wearing a floor length, satin, hooded, Kelly-green cape.  John has called her the Queen of Ireland ever since.  Another highlight was when our friend Joe would bring his guitar and serenade “himself” with “Danny Boy”.  Not a dry eye in the house.  My friend Amy makes us Irish soda bread every year, but we already ate it!  My friend, Chris, always sends a card.  Always.  Even when we lived in Indonesia.


We haven’t had a big party for years.  I don’t decorate for St. Paddy’s anymore.  Most of the jim-cracky for the day is packed in boxes in the basement.  John wouldn’t eat corned beef & cabbage if it was the last food on earth.  But today I wore a green, plastic derby to water aerobics. . .and I wasn’t the only one.  So tip yer darby now as I leave ye with this toast from me own pa. . .

Here’s to the best years of me life. .  .

Spent in the arms another man’s wife. . .

. . .me mother!



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Being a Stunner

Me in Candy Hat

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Today I am grateful for being a stunner.  Oh man, I really stepped up in the good looking broads department today.  It was freezing!  And I got a haircut so I’m nearly bald underneath all of that fur.  I know I’m all that an a box of crackers.  Admit it.


My mom got me the herringbone hat one year for Christmas, declaring that she saw it and immediately thought of me.  She likes my sister best.  Apparently.  I might have been insulted at first, but then I realized that my mom still sees me as her goof-ball kid, ready to act the fool at any given moment.  She’s not far off on that.


I first wore the yak a few years ago, to an outdoor hockey game my son was coaching.  It was very, very cold and while Himself laughed at me for my “look” at first, he was very jealous by the time the game was over.  My son took one look at me and said, “Don’t tell me!  John Candy in “Planes, Trains & Automobiles”.  Charming.


Ever since that day it’s been my John Candy hat.  I might only wear it a few times a year but I’m always grateful I have it on those sub-freezing-wind-chill days!  I think the lipstick helps, don’t you?  What a stunner!  Like a Taser to the eyeballs!


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Shovel Snow


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Today I am grateful I don’t have to shovel snow.  Sometimes if it’s a little bit of snow, I still go out and do it, but I don’t have to because we now live in a Geezer Land townhouse and pay a fee to have others do it for us.  So I let them.  Gladly.


Some of the folks in my development micro-manage every flake that’s shoveled, every blade of grass that’s grown and every piece of mulch that’s dumped.  Not me.  I didn’t move in here to worry about the outside.  I’m done with that.  Why move to a place like this if you are still going to fret over the height of your lawn or the dime-sized piece of ice on your driveway?  Get a life!


I have pulled enough thistle and other weeds that seemed like they were attached to a temple in China to last me a lifetime.  I’ve picked enough vegetables to appreciate the Farmers Market.  I’ve canned enough stuff to cherish the stocked shelves at the grocery store.  I’ve worry-watered enough trees to run a nursery.  And I’ve shoveled more snow than God even makes anymore.  Trust me, it’s true.


When I was a kid we didn’t have a snow blower.  We had us.  My sister and me and my dad.  Mom never shoveled.  Ever.  I think it was part of their marriage vows.  And we lived in Wisconsin, right on “Lake-Effect-Snow-Michigan”.  We didn’t have the global warming winters we now have.  We had WINTER.  Brutal, bone chilling, back breaking WINTER!  Shoveling snow isn’t so bad when the temps are in the 30’s or even 20’s.


Try it at twenty below zero sometime, when the drifts pack the crap as tight as a brick and you have to cut squares the size of your shovel and carry them to the pile on the edge because it’s too big and heavy to throw.  It’s like you’re building a blasted igloo.


Your eyeballs seize up and your nose drops off if it’s exposed for even ten seconds.  Even at those temps you sweat inside the bundling so when you come in you can’t rip stuff off fast enough because you are hot, but your sweaty, wet clothes make you chilled in seconds if you don’t change into something dry.  Good luck hurrying because every zipper. . .on your snow pants, jacket and those godawful rubber boots with the fur at the top. . .is frozen like Elsa’s brain.  “The cold never bothered me anyway!”  I call bullshit on that one.  Someone who lives in California must have written that line!


Your mittens get soggy with the packed on snow chunks that stick to the yarn and crack like icebergs in Antarctica.  Brush your hair out of your eyes with one of those mittens and you’d get a self-induced lobotomy.


Complaining doesn’t help.  All it does is make you breath harder so the wool scarf tied around your face gets soggy with your own breath and snot and then freezes to your face.  Very attractive.  Picking frozen tufts of red yarn from my cheeks  is not a look I cherish fondly.


I understand that many of you are still required to shovel, plow, or blow the snow away with big, noisy machines and I’m sorry for you.  Really I am.  And I’m glad I don’t have to do it anymore!  If I never shovel snow again it will be okay with me.


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