Sunday, I gathered with cousins for an impromptu dinner at Marty’s house. My sister and I drove together following a route given by mapquest. All went exceedingly well for that ride, even though she wasn’t happy with the bridge or cattle chutes along the way.
We followed the directions with no problem and made it to a neighborhood that, well, would not have been out of place on any dramatic series involving a wealthy family. We were a bit nervous, not seeing cars in the driveway. Apparently we were the first to arrive and the family’s cars were in their garage. I offered to knock at the door to see if we had the right place, and was confronted with an intercom. Holy shit. This had to be wrong!
My cousin’s wife answered the door and I’m sure my mouth dropped open. This was a huge house with a grand piano in the music room which was across the hall from the formal dining room. The french doors opened into a large comfortable family room and a granite and steel kitchen area which was surrounded by stools for casual munching. Beside that was a breakfast area with floor to ceiling glass windows. Jesus! All I could think was that my house could fit into this area and it wasn’t even half of the house already!! From the windows I could see an upper deck where they could use their gas grill. The lower deck surrounded the pool area and beyond that was the batting cage. YES, a batting cage!
When my cousin entered the room, the comfort level returned…for a bit. He showed my sister and I around the rest of the house and we were stunned by what a party palace this was. The basement was the entire length of the house, carpeted wall-to-wall and complete with a pool table, foosball table, shuffleboard, darts and air hockey table all within viewing distance from the full bar. (It turns out lots of the furnishings and entertaining pieces were left by the previous owners who were divorcing and downsizing)
My cousin chatted with us, offering us drinks and it felt like we’d never been apart. He’s my age and we’d been fairly close as kids. My sister needed to use the powder room and I took the opportunity to ask him where the hell the money came from. Turns out, when his parents passed, he made good investments. His business is doing well, but still, he is in debt to his eyeballs. They don’t entertain. His daughter is away at college and his son will be there soon as well. Seven bedrooms and only him and his wife. It’s overkill. Such a waste of resources!
The rest of the family arrived and we enjoyed the visit. I was impressed that he has become quite the host. This was his party, not hers. He did the food, the drink, the planning. He did the cleaning up and serving. It was awesome. Until….my mom starting shooting me disapproving glances when I used the word “freakin'” in place of “fuckin'”. I was urged to use a glass in place of a can or bottle of beer. Another cousin scolded me for making a crude joke-not aimed at anyone, just overheard. Now I was uncomfortable. So was my sister. We have become the klassy kousins. The others are not wealthy, they just pretend they are. I remember when some of them ate dirt in the backyard! I remember when we shared hand-me-downs. I’ve seen them falling down, throwing up drunk. The people in front of me had a stick up their ass and looked around to see if their spouses were watching them.
Later, alone with Marty, I noticed a sadness in his eyes. I asked what was up and he told me. The debt is an issue between him and his wife. This house was her choice and he was pressured by his in-laws to make her happy. He worries all the time. Business is good but it stresses him. Surrounded by all the “opulence” he longs for hotdogs and mac and cheese, not organic foods with fancy names.
On the outside, it looks like he has it all.
I’ll keep drinking my beer in my skeeter filled backyard. I’ll cook in my 5′ x 10′ kitchen.
I had a migraine last night. Rather than fight it, I took a tylenolPM, put on my jammies and crawled into bed at 8pm. Tuesday ended while I slept and I awoke to a beautiful Wednesday twelve hours later. Hot coffee and quiet time. Laundry running and Style network full of my guilty pleasures-How Do I Look?, Jerseylicious, and Supernanny. Just before I wanted to get in the shower, Babygirl wanted to go for a walk, so we leashed up the doggies and took a nice walk to Dunkin’ Donuts. I came home a bit sweaty and started dinner.
I had wanted to make beef stew in the crock pot, but since it was already afternoon, I figured I’d make it on the stovetop. I simply wanted to cook the carrots a little before adding everything else. And so, they merrily simmered….and simmered. Hubs came home early and we had a brief conversation. Babygirl was leaving for a baseball game and work and I said goodbye. I prepared to get into the shower…..again. Then I remembered the carrots.
The water had boiled away and the carrots were now fried. Hubs was still in the office and didn’t notice. I got rid of the burnt ones and cut up new ones. It was no big deal. I stalled until they boiled and then shut them off. Now I had nothing to worry about.
I got into the shower and just enjoyed it. I stayed under the spray longer than usual, shaving my legs and feeling the heat on my back. It was glorious!
Cleaned and refreshed, I went into the kitchen to finally finish the stew. Onions, beef, potatoes all went into the pot. It smelled great already. Hubs and I sat in the living room to relax for a bit.
Before I knew it, my boys came in the door. Son2 was running right out to the MLS All-Star Game. But Son1 was here too. Apparently he was looking for jumper cables because the work truck seemed to be slowing down. Hubs went looking down the basement for the cables only to find…..
The basement had flooded.
Due to the roots in the line from trees and bushes, we have the plumber come out every now and then to clear the line. It’s that time again. Any laundry that had been sorted and waiting washing, was now soaking in two inches of water. The laundry I ran this morning? Yeah, that water. The long shower I took? That water too. The shower that Son1 was currently taking? Yup, that water too. Oh yeah, I think one or two of us may have used the toilet today too.
Hubs plunged out the line as best he could. It began draining again. The sump pump kicked on and sucked the water down. The dehumidifier came on to do its job. All I had to do was sweep some of the water toward the floor drain. I rolled up my pants and began.
Slowly, but surely, the water went away. I stepped backwards to push a pile of whites away from the flow of water and my foot began to slide….
I tried to brace myself with the broom…and continued to slide…
OMG! I’m falling into a split!!!!!
I started to laugh at the absurdity. I couldn’t stop. Instead of taking the hurt, I fell backward on my ass and kept right on laughing.
Now, with my ass soaked to the skin, I got up, went upstairs and changed. Before heading back to the basement, I noticed how yummy it smelled. My stomach growled and I realized that I hadn’t eaten today. Mmm….stew….
The basement finally clean, clothes running once more in the washer, Son2 gone to the game and Son1 on his way home, I went to check my stew.
I had been distracted for too long. The stew had dried and begun to burn.
The wonderful smell of stew lingered tantalizingly. The potatoes? Overboiled and mushy. The beef? Somewhat seared. Carrots? Brown.
I sighed deeply. Hubs scooped some stew up and began to eat it. “If I don’t like it, I’ll just throw it out.” he said. Just like that. And eat it, he did. Was he simply too tired and hungry to care? I think so.
I reached into the cabinet for my own dish, and noticed a pain. I turned and almost stepped on my dog. I noticed another pain. After a once over of all my body parts, I discovered a swollen and jammed thumb, slightly tweaked back, shoulder pain and a possibly bruised butt.
I still need to go food shopping tonight. I hope I manage to get it done before the worst of the aches start! In spite of it all, without sarcasm, I can still say,
After two long weeks, the doctor’s office finally called about the CAT scan results. The verdict is…..ALL CLEAR. This is awesome, of course, but it still doesn’t answer the question of why my memory is like shit. A friend suggested an EEG…(is that the one that measures brain waves? Well the brain wave thingy is the one that was mentioned.) I guess we play hurry up and wait some more. In the meantime, there is this:
Logan was just Christened this past weekend. I found myself staring at my kids. One is now the father of this wonderful child. The other two are the Godparents. When did they all grow up into such handsome men and beautiful young woman? They clean up nicely, I must say! Logan arrived at the Church with a basketball jersey and shorts on. His parents and I went into the ‘baby room’ to dress him. I got him into the shirt/vest/ tie combo and when I turned him around to face me, I got teary eyed. (Shut up. Yes I did!) He no longer looked like an eight month old. He looked like a little man. I looked at my son, who was watching us and as his eyes filled, he warned me “If YOU cry, I will too, so stop!!”)
The ceremony was kind of different from the other Christenings I have been to. There was no mass involved, for one thing. The other was that this particular priest was “paparazzi-friendly”. At important parts of the ceremony, he would say, “If anyone would like pictures or to see better, come on up!” You bet your bippy I wanted to! I can’t go anywhere without my camera!
During the sermon on the meaning of Baptism, Logan got tired. He hadn’t napped and had already been passed around more than a cold. He got grumpy and fidgety and his two upper teeth were trying very hard to cut through his gums. He managed to hang with us until his favorite part….water on his head! He loves the water and was excited once the water hit his head. Then he wondered why it stopped. He began to sing and dance a little with his cousin JoJo who was standing near him.
After singing for about ten minutes, he fell asleep…sound asleep. He never even woke up when he was laid upon the altar at the end of the ceremony! I managed to get one of the best photos of my life:
After his much needed nap, he was ready to party, and that is exactly what he did. He greeted all of his guests with a huge smile, he laughed and danced and played. And so did I.
No, not Logan’s fault. It’s all mine. Just as everything else around this house is my fault, this is too. Now I will attempt a partial explanation.
Many times on this blog, I have complained about my memory lapses, and my migraines. Many times I have found myself comforted by the comments that assured me that I was not the only one. Many times, I have been ‘talked off the edge’ by just being able to vent about my frustrations at being blamed for bills being unpaid, paperwork undone, and little tiny ‘favors’ being cast by the wayside.
Years ago, I mentioned these lapses to my doctor. He kinda laughed and said it was normal, that I was going through menopause and hormones may be the cause of the migraines and being 50 was the cause of losing my mind.
My new doctor has given me meds to handle the migraines. I love it. I can head off a migraine before I find myself crippled by the pain. The problem is that the migraines have gone from one or two managable headaches to three or four managed migraines with one big motherfucker that kills me. This doctor isn’t laughing it off. The frequency of the headaches coupled with the memory lapses has given him cause for concern.
This evening I will have my brain scanned.
He didn’t sound panicked. He just wants to rule out anything bad and see if there has possibly been an undetected mini-stroke. Okay, I was cool with that and just planned for my test.
Last Thursday, while talking to mom, she asked what was going on. She heard through the grapevine that I was having this done. So I told her and tried to downplay it so she wouldn’t freak out about it. But mom said, “Oh it’s a good thing you’re getting checked out. Stroke runs strongly in our family.”
“Oh sure. Three of my sisters had strokes and your uncle had a stroke on the operating table while having a brain tumor removed.”
She never mentioned that or I would have called the doctor immediately to add that to my file. (I tend to do that instead of waiting until I go into the office for routine check-ups) “But mom! You said that the aunts had heart attacks!”
“Heart attacks/ strokes, same thing.”
So now I sit here waiting for appointment time and quietly freak out.
Ummm…..oh right, the blog….
I have ideas and I do write them down. I have been annoyed at people, politics, celebrities, and news. It’s just that when it comes time to write a post, I can’t remember where I wanted to go with it. By the time I do remember, it is a non-issue again.
And….I just did it again. Rather than delete that, I have left it there to show you what I can’t seem to explain.
This coming Sunday, Logan will be Christened. The entire family is excited to gather for a happy reason. All of the family is bringing something. Hubs is paying for a hall and I managed the guest/food list. (I have lists fucking EVERYWHERE!!!) I was so scared that I was forgetting something but Shenanigans and I went through the list and I did quite well! Even Holly helped with the list and not much is left to do. I have finally relaxed knowing that I haven’t fucked things up by forgetting to invite someone, or not having enough food. *sigh of relief*
So there you have an update on my life. This is the part where you sit back and say, “Wait….What did she just say?” Then go back and read it again and tell me if it made sense. I’ll try to let you know what happens.
Again I have lapsed, my friends. My life is very busy. I have lots to do and have rediscovered the joy of reading in a quiet house. I haven’t actually watched a movie in quite some time and even most of my nighttime shows are caught in a random hour here and there.
My days are spent with Logan, mostly at his house. This isn’t an excuse. Why? Because I am offering no excuses. This is more of an explanation of my happiness. The child truly is sunshine. He rarely cries-even while teething! So far, we have two bottom teeth, accompanied by lots of chewing and drool. He has now started baby food and so far, it seems that squash is a favorite.
Carrots are definitely not a favorite.
We play, we laugh, and oh, my do I smile! I recently realized just how much I smile when I was getting ready to go out. I was putting on eyeliner and as I looked into the soul-sucking magnifying mirror, I noticed fine lines at crease of my eyes. I always had a few, but these are deeper. Know what? I am not freaked out by them. On the contrary, I am embracing them. They are my badge of grandmotherhood.
Logan has also learned to crawl. This happened two weeks ago. This week, he is pulling himself up….on the steps, on the coffee table, the couch, the dogs…you name it, he is the Edmund Hillary of the house.
And as long as I am telling you all of this, I may as well jump in and tell you what happened today.
Babygirl is home for the summer and her new roommate drove an hour today to hang out and have dinner with her. Just in case they were eating here, I made meatballs and sausage for sandwiches. Logan settled in for his nap and Babygirl went upstairs to get her shower. I sat right beside Logan on the couch. Normally we snuggle up together on the couch or on the floor. Sometimes I can get him to sleep in his car seat. Today, though, I was sitting beside him. He slept for an hour before I remembered that the meatballs were still in the oven. I could smell that they were done or needed to be turned. Either way, they needed attention. Since Logan still had about half an hour in his usual nap time, I jumped from the couch and ran to the kitchen. I opened the oven, stirred the meat around and was ready to close it up and return when I heard the thud.
He rolled off the couch.
I never leave that child alone! I toss him into the pack-n-play, the car seat, the floor….but never on the couch. The one time I did….for only 30 seconds….
He cried then. Oh, yes, he did. He looked at me bewildered by this new sensation of pain. I cradled him in my arms and kissed him, tasting his tears on my lips. My heart was pounding. I couldn’t take it away for him. I cried as he cried. And after all the boogers were wiped from his nose, he smiled. He hugged me and snuggled up. We looked out the front door at the cars passing by. When there was lull in the cars he looked at me and I saw it….
…..an egg on his forehead.
I cried a little more as I tried to hold an ice pack to his head. He cried a little more as he tried to avoid it.
Then his dad came home early. (Of course!) I could tell he wanted to yell at me. He knew it was an accident. But he also knew that he was the one who would have to tell Shenanigans. I felt even worse, knowing that she would freak out about it. He packed up Logan’s stuff and ran out to pick up Shenanigans at work. I cried a little more in the bathroom, rinsed off my face and finished dinner. I found it very hard to feed myself.
I talked to Son1 tonight. Shenanigans was a little upset, but as he said, she will get over it. Logan comes back tomorrow, and I will admit that I feel a little nervous. After all these years of caring for kids, Logan isn’t the first one to roll off the couch. He isn’t the first to get a goose egg. I’m sure he won’t be the last. But the fact that this is his first lump, his first real bruise…..and it happened at my house…it rattled me.
Tomorrow I’ll get back on that horse again, and laugh and sing and play……
It’s quiet here. My dinner is in the crockpot, laundry is done, as well as paperwork. I’m just chilling and trying to decide what book I want to start.
There are a couple of things going on around here that I’m not at liberty to discuss that involve my kids. I just want to respect their privacy. Both are preparing to become Logan’s godparents and that is a good thing. Logan has learned to roll and he has quite a sense of humor. Babygirl is home for the week for Spring Break.
Sooooo……what else? Hmmm…..nothing else. I’ve always felt that no news is good news. If there was something wrong going on, I’d be bitching or crying about it, so there’s that, right?
I want to clean my basement. It is piled high in a 7×7′ area with Christmas decorations and 5×5′ with Halloween decorations. There are bins of seasonal clothes, sheets and drapes, and books. Hubs has one half of the basement, where he keeps surplus work supplies like wire, tools, our AC units, etc. All of these things will stay, perhaps thinned out, but still here.
As I looked around, I saw other things. Kitchen items that I saved for Son1. He didn’t need them, but when I tried to get rid of them, Son2 protested with the argument that he or Babygirl would need them. Other kitchen items are mine, too big for storage in my tiny kitchen.
But there are still more than a few boxes and bins. These are mine and I want everything in them.
Over the 31 years of being married, I have received some awesome gifts. I have quite a few items of Native American pottery and kachina dolls. They used to be displayed on our entertainment center, but when we got our flatscreen attached to the wall, they were packed away. Right now, my brother is displaying his own collection of pottery and I am jealous. I am also very fond of snow globes. I have several, some for certain holidays and some for every day. Still…..nowhere to display them.
And pictures! Don’t get me started on the thousands of pictures of family and friends that I have. I have lots of wall space, but since this is a rental home, I hesitate to put up shelves or hang frames. I had finally gotten two printer’s box shelves filled with a teeny glass menagerie but it was removed to make room for the tv.
Every day I watch the home makeover shows that tell me to display the things that I love. But where? How? I told Hub’s that I would like a curio cabinet for Christmas. I don’t know where it would fit, but I’d sure as hell try.
What do you do with gifts that you absolutely love? Is your home cluttered with things all over like a mishmash? Or are you artistic, clever, and have an eye for decor? I need help! I’m like a dancer with no rhythm. I have the tools, just no clue as to pull them together.
You may not know that I spend every Friday with him. I get so excited about Friday’s arrival that sometimes I can’t sleep on Thursday night or else I wake up far too early. Each week I take my coupons along to clip, a crossword or two from the Sunday papers, or my kindle. Quite often I bring them home again, untouched. He is almost rolling over, almost teething. He definitely laughs and talks to me. He anticipates “3” as in “1-2- THREE!” He is a bright sun in my week.
You may know that I just celebrated a birthday.
You may not know that it was my fiftieth. I spent time with friends which is always a great time. I was taken out to dinner with my kids, husband and best friend and her husband. It was better than any of us had anticipated. It has been far too long since we have included the bestie and her hubs in an intimate celebration. I’m glad they were invited!
You may know that I have missed Babygirl since she returned to school.
You may not know just how much I missed her. I didn’t even realize it until I saw her when she came home on Friday. For once, I didn’t break the hug first. I breathed in the smell of her hair and her scalp…something I haven’t done in years. I found myself just watching her when she wasn’t looking. I stopped whatever I was doing if I could hear her voice talking to her dad or brother….not listening to the conversation, just to the sound of her voice, her laughter.
You may know that I haven’t been here.
You may not know that I have thought about writing a post, but I am actually quite happy. I tend to post when I am experience a high or a low. I have been quite content with my life. I have enjoyed spending time with my kids. I enjoyed a few days here and there with my husband. I even enjoyed going to the dentist…after far too long since the last visit!
I haven’t stopped in for a while and there are very good reasons for this.
First off, when Mom-Mom died, it hit me very hard. Upon the phone call, I promptly got a migraine that didn’t let up until I saw her body. I wasn’t sleeping very well at all and even my sleep aids weren’t working. I was depressed, tired and very, very testy. To top it off, the funeral coincided with a dental appointment that Hubs had been waiting for since New Years. He had all but two teeth pulled and this was the day that he was going to be molded for his new plates. Now, I understand that he hasn’t eaten well and he must be starved constantly. I understand that even after this molding, there was more to be done. But this wasn’t about him. I was hurt and felt betrayed. I stood by him through the loss of both his parents and his grandparents, as well as cousins and friends. I have been blessed to have lost very few of my own dear ones. I needed him now. Finally, all the emotional and physical pain came to a climax and I let him have it. I also cried like I haven’t in a long, long time. He got the point quickly and stepped up. He was like a body guard, not letting issues or people touch me unless I invited them in. I still walked in a daze. I missed my daughter terribly. I cried while folding laundry. I couldn’t even call my best friend to tell her what I was dealing with. I began to scare myself. I don’t think I’ve ever been so shattered.
At the funeral, as I saw Mom-Mom in her casket, I realized that it wasn’t her. She was tiny, frail. The woman of my memories was robust, a force of nature. Even in her old age, she was the same. It was just in the last few months that she began to waste away. I said goodbye and tucked a letter under her blanket. I turned away and never looked back. The pain in my head disappeared and I suddenly felt so tired. My entire body relaxed and I knew it was the stress and grief that had piled on me. I believe she took it away and told me not to look back.
And from the depths of my soul, the grief was lifted. It was to be replaced with joys uncounted.
My son had brought Logan with him to the funeral at my father’s request. The child came into the church and every tear was replaced with such joy! He smiled at everyone. He was held by one great aunt after another. My own cousins gathered around laughing that I had joined the ranks of ‘grandparent’ (only one other out of 27 is a grandparent) Dad had had the best idea by asking for the baby to attend. It was brilliance. The child fussed a tiny bit after an hour and was ready to be fed. My son did that and he was out for a nap. This was an opportunity to watch my son fully in the Dad-mode. Shenanigans had to work and he was on his own. I was so proud.
I got home from a long, exhausting day and went to bed at 7:30. I woke up at noon the next day.
In this past week, I have been flooded with only good, long lost memories of my grandmother. It makes me smile. I watched Logan Friday and Saturday. They came for dinner on Sunday. I watched Logan again yesterday. Lemme tell ya, a good baby is the best medicine for an aching psyche. I have laughed, and danced my days away. I got together with my best friend and we went shoe shopping. I put on a fun pair of plaid flats….not something that I would normally wear. I ran up and down the aisle of the store laughing. I decided not to spend the money, but she insisted on buying them for me, stating “Chrissy, if they can make you that happy, it would be a sin to deny it”.
She was ri– , ri—……..correct.
So…..after the upheaval and neglect, I expect to spend the day with my doggy boys, bathing and brushing them. I plan on catching up with laundry and finally COOKING!
She kept boxes of books in her upstairs guest room, the room I used when I stayed with her for weeks each summer. It was where I read the Dark Shadows series. I made friends with Agatha Christie, Alexandre Dumas and Mark Twain. I travelled to Narnia, colonial England, and the Valley of the Dolls. I found the Hounds of the Baskervilles and solved the Mystery of the Old Clock.
She never drove. Instead she told me which streets ran north and south and which buses ran on even numbered streets. She taught me so well that I can be placed in the middle of Philadelphia and I would still find my way back to her house. She taught me about trolleys, subways and buses, a lesson I needed frequently during my high school years and beyond.
She could make a hell of a roast, with potatoes that were nearly crispy outside and soft on the inside. And her Jewish apple cake was to die for.
She was active in her church, taking time from her evenings to clean the altar, prepare the prayerbooks and vestments. It was her faith that she passed on her daughters and grandkids. They now serve communion and attend rosary nights.
She had friends who never went out without makeup and drank tea, and others who smoked, drank beer and swore like their dockworker husbands. She loved bingo, pinochle, and crocheting. She was always busy with crafts of some kind until she was betrayed by her eyes, fingers and finally her mind.
She told me about my grandfather’s family. They are stories that much later, I shared with my cousins only to learn that I was the only one ever told! But then, she had shared with them stories that I had never known.
This week, my Mom-Mom passed away. All last week, I was angry and wanted so badly to lash at someone, anyone. I wanted to hit-no, HURT- someone so that they would hurt as badly as I did. I couldn’t put my finger on what was behind such aggression. When I got the phone call from my mom that Mom-Mom had died, it was like a magic wand had been waved. The anger disappeared to be replaced by relief and sadness. I finally realized that the anger had come just when I heard that Mom-Mom wasn’t doing well and had been placed on morphine for her comfort. I knew that morphine meant that the end was near. I was angry that she was being taken from me.
This week with Logan, I held him and sang to him a song my Mom-Mom used to sing to me. I held him on my lap and read to him. I imagine my own grandmother did the same with me. Now I am a grandmother. I wonder if I will live long enough to see Logan’s grandson.
Less than five years short of a century is quite a lifetime.
Mom-Mom, I’m sorry for all the things left unsaid, all the time wasted. I loved you always, and I’ll miss you terribly.