Wednesday, January 28, 2015

An ugly little secret about Angie's List

Cookie would like to take the fun loving hat off of his head and put on a serious one for a second.

Waaaay back when - twenty plus years ago - in fact, Cookie signed up for a referral list called Angie's list that had just opened up in Columbus, Ohio - the center of midwest consumerism.  My reasons were varied, but as a new homeowner, I didn't know who to call the stuff that was beyond skills.

I can sweat copper pipe and wield an acetylene torch, with the best of them.  But I don't do sewer replacements.  Installing a new toilet is a sinch, climbing on the roof, is not my forte.

So I joined Angie's List.  For annual subscription fee, we could join, call and get referrals to businesses that passed muster.

In turn, we were told, that our information was kept confidential.   The system was kept honest because subscribers paid to be in the system, which was supposed to dissuade false reviews.  Good enough for me - I was in.

Over the years, Angie's List changed.  The organization that vowed not to take ads from service providers started taking ads from A+ businesses.   Then we started getting peppered with email ads.  Deals of the Day that involved Angie's List as the pass-through payment system. The monthly magazine grew less chatty and useful and converted to general, mundane information that wasn't telling us anything about service providers.   In other words, the things that made Angie's List special erroded away.

Well, two weeks ago I, after pestering emails from Angie's List that I had not left a review for Herb's General Amalgamated Contracting, I knuckled under just to stop the pestering emails. I left a glowing review for a contractor, with four out of five stars on the quality of their work on our old house.  But I also said that an estimate for the new place came in way too high and that consumers considering using their expertise should be prepared $$$$$.  We found a local contractor who did the same work for a fraction of their bid, and were happy. Case closed.

Or so I thought.

Last week I started getting calls from the vendor - their manager for social media, "reaching out, after my comments..." and the kicker was "because of the impact on social media..."


So, on a lark, I called Angie's List yesterday and asked: "How did the contractor get my name and phone number?"

And the answer was:  "We provided all vendors with the names of people reviewing them."

And that was when my blood went cold.

Here's the thing, I have never written anything untrue about any vendor.  But at the same time, I have a problem with a vendor calling me up and trying get my to change my review - especially a four out of five star one - so that it makes them look better.

I also have a problem with a company founded on keeping clients identifiable contact information confidential, all of sudden providing that information freely.  Especially when they are goading me to write reviews, that they charge an annual fee to other people to access.

So, keep in mind that IF you write a review for Angie's List, they won't share your name with other members, but they certainly will share that information with the business.  Knife+Your Back = Stabbing.

Cookie has cancelled the service, and instructed them not to send me anymore "electronic" promotions, sales, magazines or elsewise.  All communication from Angie's List to me has to be sent in letter format.

Consider yourselves warned.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Snow storm Janis is here...

...and the people of this town are pussies when it comes to snow.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I am going to bed

Got my leopard jammies on...

my lips are moist...

The husband thinks marabou is a bit overdone...

 I hope I don't have those bad dreams, again.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Years Day Silliness... here is Helen Steiner Rice emerging, ney, *popping* out of her mink cocoon.  Evidently she is done pupating...

There, post number one for a New Year.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Just remember what is most important about this "Eve"

And don't you bitches forget it.

By the way, Cookie is sending out positive energy, good vibrations and checks to our creditors in the morning.

Here's hoping your 2015 is EVErything you hope it will be.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

"Krab" with a "K"

Being that it is only December 28th, Cookie is stuck in Retail Hell, and that means having to spend a great deal of time in the cultural wasteland that is Reisterstown Road in NE Greater Baltimore, dealing with people who will try to screw you anyway possible.

At the Strip Club and Beef Barn, people are returning things that have evidently been used, poorly reboxed, and then returned without a receipt.  Since I do not own the beef barn, and since we have been told that it is all about the "experience" of "beef" and "strippers" (new readers may be confused by this.  It is a cloaking device so my corporate bosses don't try and shut down my blog) what do I care why they are returning?

I don't.  As unreceipted merchandise, that we normally stock, they get the lowest price in our database.  I dance the dance I need to dance to make others happy.

But I refuse to give these "patrons" the unreasonable, full price.  Why?  Because its morally wrong and practically theft.

"What do you mean this this used sex toy is only worth $4.98," asks a heavily accented grandmother.  "My granddaughter would never buy me a gift that only costs $4.98," she asserts.

I patiently explain that her granddaughter could have paid full retail, $20.95 for the small purse sized vibrating object before it went on clearance in February 2013, but the system is only allowing for $4.98.

"My granddaughter would have not paid just $20.95 for a gift for I, her beloved grandmother.  I am sure you charged her fifty, even a HUNDRED dollars for this cheap item that you now say is worth only the price a gallon of gasoline!"

And this is how it goes.  People bring stuff in the door, and they expect you hand them whatever dollar amount they feel its worth.

Then there are the errant couponers.  Corporate sends out coupons like Typhoid Mary sent out germs.  And they expire.  But the eastern european euro-trash foreign nationals who live in the area don't understand the concept of "expiration dates."

"You," said one angry woman with flaming orange hair (that most certainly wouldn't match anyone's carpet) pointed at me accusingly, as if to imply that I sent her an expired coupon. "You, sent this to me when I was sick in bed and now I demand to use this coupon!"

I explain to her that the coupon she is trying to use expired in October.  "It is not my fault that I have been busy since then!"

All the while, I hear my manager "it's about the experience."  Yet when I ask for the over ride, I get "Well October is a bit far back...."

It's times like this that I want to page the store for "Jack Hughes".

Yesterday, I had one man come into our shop, rudely insert himself into a conversation I was having with another customer about how to use a thumb index (no joke), and insisted that I help him at that moment with his hand-held device.

I excused myself from the befuddled customer I was helping and asked a coworker to help this man, giving her the eye signal that the guy was a handful, and he says, "I don't want no nigger like Obama telling me...blah, blah, blah..."  My befuddled customer, gave the man a sharp look, and went back to the index at hand.  My coworker and I both used our headsets to alert the manager that it was customer "tag" time, and she was it.

Now, just so you not think that I surround myself with crazies, 99% of the people I encounter are normal people.  Its just the 50% with unreal expectations that I kvetch about.

And its not just my store.  You find these people everywhere in the NW corner of Baltimore.  They just don't save it for me.

The other day on my lunch hour, I had to run to the local Giant to pick up something to eat.  While standing at the deli, there were two women standing just behind me.  Their conversation was thus:

Young Woman One: "Look at dat, what is that?"

Young Woman two: "Dat?" pointing with a finger that my peripheral vision picked up along my side.

YW1: "Yeah, that 'krab salad' shit.  They misspelled 'Krab' with a 'K' when it should be a 'C'."

YW2: "My mama says that it's kosher krab so the Jews can eat it."

YW1: "What make it kosher?"

YW2:  "All krab with a 'K' is kosher because it starts with the same letter as 'kosher'...."

There comes a time in everyone's life when you can address someone's stupidity, but that urge is overcome by the feeling "what good will it accomplish.  This was one such moment.  

After a day of "Many unhappy returns", Cookie just didn't care.

Instead I ordered my turkey breast, paid for it, headed to the Cookiemobile and, once seated and belted in, doors closed and locked, I screamed at the top of my voice.

Regaining composure I headed back to the Beef House and Strip Club for round two of my double shift.

Think of me the next time you see an offer for "krab" with a "k".

Friday, December 26, 2014

Well now...

Now the holiday returns are done, and you have shipped the children back to their boarding schools, aren't we relieved its over for another year?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas and welcome to our home!

Aunt Midge is standing by the door, and has dragged our bar over so she can get you started on her mission to spread Christmas cheer.  So do come in and have a glass of mellowed eggnog, minus the nog.

Our brother and our sisters are still decorating with tasteful nudes and bowling balls - so you can join in if you choose - or - ...

... head to the Rumpus Room to hear some Bob Ward toons on the Wurlitzer...

A "boofay" meal will commence shortly...

And my sister Disco Noel has finally arrived...

Just remember, tomorrow is Boxing Day!

From my home to yours, Merry Christmas one and all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Party Hell

So, why has Cookie not been posting to the blog so much, you may well be asking yourself.

Well, if you have been following said blog, you would know that Cookie is in sales at the Beef House Strip Club, and Christmas is an busy, bust time of year.  My days are spent consulting with clients, and answering their questions:

Customer: Have you used this dildo?

Cookie: Madam, we carry over 100,000 different dildos, and it would be impossible for me to try them all.  But purple sparkly is a flattering color on you!


Customer: Well it looks like your co-workers aren't very keen on helping you out...

Cookie: Madam, that could be because they are helping other patrons with their ball gags.  Now, what kind of brisket would you like to find today?

Customer: Well someone needs to tell your zone manager that they aren't very good at scheduling enough employees.

Cookie:  Would you like me to ring them for you?

Customer: I don't want to get into the middle of this, you call and tell them.

Cookie: Hello, Manager, This is Mr. Cookie in the Beef House.  We have a Mrs. Rosenbloom would like to complain about your staffing of the Pavilion.  "Mrs. Rosenbloom, Manager will be here shortly..."

Enough about my drab existence. You want more? OK.  Last Friday I went to the most unfriendly Christmas Party ever.  Husband is a member of LGBT network at International Amalgamated.  He joined because he thought it would be a boffo way to meet people, and we have met people.  Strange, odd people.

Anyhow, Christmas was at the home of two men who live the "Loft Condo" lifestyle.  You know, RAW brick, RAW steel trusses and beams and ENORMOUS windows for all to see into the Condo while they do outrageous things, with great sophistication.

We were greeted at the door and TOLD to put our coats in the closet, then TOLD to get a drink.  Once we had said drink, made with well spirits, we were TOLD to go up stairs to the living level.  Up in the living level, we were TOLD that they would give us a tour of their "space".  We walked around this enormous room and were told that the air ducts "delineate our purpose spaces."

"Purpose spaces?" asks the husband.

"Well we can't very well call them rooms, can we.  Will you excuse me while I go greet Monica?  You can find your own way back to the Conversation Area.  MONICA!...."

Monica, a woman of color and her bald girlfriend walked in.  Bald girlfriend, Clothilde, shaves her head to shatter the male dominated paradigm for women's fashion.  Monica told us this.  Baldy, who we have tried to chat with before is rather rude.  She looks, and she doesn't engage, but does engage with other "womyn'.  In her path to shattering sex, race and gender paradigm, EVIDENTLY Baldy doesn't include men in that mission.  Fine by me.

Anyhow, I had worked a ten hour shift on my feet earlier in the day, my legs were killing me and I was exhausted, but I put on that support husband smile and chit chatted for about two hours, when my body - which was still 50 days out from surgery - started to get wonky.  I needed to sit and sit fast before my legs went out from underneath me.  Even the husband noted that after drinking three plain old ginger ales (from cans we brought) and dining at the buffet while standing up, that the color had drained from my face.  He looked into the "casual dining purpose space" and saw that a chair had freed up and sent me to it.

No sooner than I had sat down then ol' Baldy said her first words to me: "You aren't going to sit down there.  There is a pregnant woman standing over there," and she nodded at a youngish twenty something with a trim figure. I must have had the "Huh?" look on my face and ol' Baldy reasserted herself by calling to the pregnant woman "Renee, git yourself over her, this man needs to get up and out so you can git off your feet and sit in this chair."

I looked up at the husband who looked at Baldy, who looked at him and said "Find him some other place to sit."  Both offended, we walked towards the kitchen area where there was a food bar and stools when the host came over and TOLD us to move towards the "Social Purpose Space" (reader I am not making this up) because "I spent all this money on this loft and people need to learn to use the spaces."

So the husband and I got up, and moved towards the coat closet, got our coats and left.   The man who runs the group saw this ten minute Kabuki Theatre presentation and looked as horrified as we felt. "Fred's just nervous about hosting, and Clothilde is a lovely person when you get to know her. Please stay.  We thanked him, but I pointed that I really did feel wonkie, and had to work the next day.  "Maybe another time," and we left.

Now, all this said, and ol' Baldy, and the creepy host aside, this group is important to the husband at International Amalgamated because it gets him social access to decision makers.  And the man who runs the group is very nice, and 90% of the people are exceptionally nice as well.   But even the husband was really put out by these people.

On the way home, husband said "Did all that really happen?"  Yes, it did.

Between the host who treated us like circus dogs by ordering us about, and ol' Baldy, I am just fine as long as we can get away from these people.

Just fine indeed.

Monday, December 15, 2014

You have until sundown tomorrow... get that Chanukah tree up and ready for your your eight nights grief  from your parents, cheap presents from your bubbie, and candle lighting.  Good luck, and remember, if the Rabbi comes to call have a sheet handy so you can drape it and just say that the "parrot is sleeping".

Sunday, December 14, 2014

It's a Mitzvah!

I just heard that one of our family members is now Sadie, Sadie, Married Lady!  I'll let the "bride" make the announcement, but don't expect it until they get the bride's legs closed and out of his therapeutic sling.

I have pictures from the Bachelor(ette)  Party and Taffy Pull that I'll share!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

This holiday...

...Norma and MJ, try and make an effort, if for no other reason, for the sake of the children.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Household hints from Cookie

Who could live in such a bleak house? 

The one thing I can do following the surgery is light cleaning around the house.  Cookie's mother was a whizz at household cleaning, as am I.  Still, I do like that lived in look.  But when pushed, I can make a house shine and sparkle.

So read through this and find the items that would help you most:

1) According to the late Joan Crawford, the fastest and easiest way to clean your home if it is to never let it get dirty.  Tis true.  Everything should have a place and everything should be in that place, except when you are using it.  Simple. Vacuum every two days, then damp dust.  Use your dishes, wash your dishes, then put them away.  Stay away from fabrics and coverings that aren't washable.  Vinyl is your friend.  And remember: no wire hangers ever!

2) If you aren't JC, good for you, and actually live in your house, can't afford a maid and aren't wound as tight as a laCrawford, you are going to get some messy patches.  The following method works well if you house is under 2,500 square feet:
  • Walk through all the rooms and make a mental note of their condition, and start in the messiest room to get it out of the way. 
  • Declutter all of the non plumbed rooms, one right after the other.  Do not dust or sweep - that comes later.  Simply put everything away.  If you pick something up that belongs in another room, take that item to its correct room and place it where it belongs and then return to the room you are working on.  I know that people say you can save a lot of effect making piles to take to other rooms so you only have to make one trip, but it simply results in a pile of junk that you have to move to another room enmasse.  Remember, if you pick it up, put it back.  Its good to move about. 
  • Vacuum each room, one after another - you get it all done at once. 
  • Damp dust each room, one after another.  No matter what they say about swiffers, a good deal of fine dust simply goes airborn with those buggers.  The only way to trap dust is a slightly damp rag in one hand, and a dry rag in the other. 
  • If your mini blinds need cleaning, find a day when you can do all of them at once.  Again, its easier to do them when you are in the "groove" instead of being distracted by other chores. 
  • Do the windows inside with Windex or another glass cleaner, one after another.  Yes, your windows get dirty.  Just clean them. 
3) Never buy those gel pellets at Bed Bath and Beyond (or any other store for that matter) to clean your garbage disposal.  Instead, throw five or six ice cubes into the disposal and run it until its silent.  The ice cleans the blades and the sides as its being ground down.  The ice also keeps the blades nice and sharp.  If you're feeling sassy, throw some thin sliced citrus peel (not the white flesh, just the colored skin of an orange, lime, grapefruit or lemon) in with the ice. 

4) Buy a box of generic denture tablets.  You heard me right. Denture tablets are cheap and they do so many things.  
  • If you use a coffee pot, fill it up with HOT water and drop a couple tablets in and let it soak while you are work, then wash.  The tablets break down the coffee oils and lifts them from the glass. Also they work on ceramic coffee mugs.
  • Toss a couple in your toilet bowl before going to work.  When you get home, use the toilet brush or Johnny Mop.  The tablets will bubble out the fine particulate matter that usual brushing misses.  And its a whole lot cheaper than Vanish.  Leaves your toilet minty fresh. 
5) WD40 your stainless steel for a fingerprintless shine.  Spray some WD40 on soft cloth and then wipe down your stainless steel appliances.  Wait five minutes, and then wipe down with a clean, soft cloth.  They shine, and fingerprints simply wipe away. 

6) Stay away from convenience wipes. Commercially made convenience wipes just don't the job done.  They leave streaks and paper fibers behind.  And, if you don't follow the wiping with these buggers, the cleaning solution that gets up the dirt simply evaporates leaving the dirt behind that didn't get collected by the cloth. 

7) Damp dust and dry. The name of the game is cleaning once without leaving behind additional dust, or creating extra work.  Damp dust (with a barely wet cloth) in one hand and a dry cloth in the other. 

8) Get a good vacuum, use it and maintain it.  That means every now and then, clean the outside and the innereds.  Plastic will conduct a static charge from the motor housing, this collects dust and when you fire that baby back up, the dust simply goes airborne.  CLEAN the filters - they work it they are all clogged up.  Check the brushes.  If the brushes are wore, get them replaced.  If the brush are worn, then you missing the second step of a three step process. The beater bar on a sweeper roll loosens the dirt, the sweeper brushes comb the dirt out of the pile and the suction transfers the dirt to the collection point. 

9) For most household cleaning, you only need a mild detergent.  Harsh detergents, over time, can remove the factory gloss from an item.  The only time you need the heavy duty stuff is when you really have a dried, ground in mess.  And even then, use it according to the directions. 

and my favorite tip of all...

10) Learn how to properly use a dish scrubby made of net, and learn the proper way to use a brush, for Christ sakes.  Brushes are great labor savers - there's a reason why a Fuller Brush man could support his family selling brushes -  when you use the right brush for the right job. For 99% of the time, you'll use a nylon brush.  Brushes clean the best when you don't exert pressure down and crush the bristles - the TIPS of the bristles do the work, and when you press so hard that you crush the bristles you are creating more physical work for you.  This goes for toothbrush on your teeth to a floor scrubbing brush.  Let the brush do the work, and then wipe down or rinse what you are cleaning. 

As for nylon scrubbies, you can use them in the dish pan.  You can use them in the bathroom - they are excellent at getting soap scum up and off of ceramic and fiberglas surfaces like tubs, sinks, etc.  And because they are nylon, they don't scratch, and a quick rinse and air dry and no sour smell. 


A clean sweep in the bathroom. If you hate cleaning the bathtub and the shower stall, buy an old fashioned straw broom like your mother used to use on the floors, wet down the tub/shower, spray on some cleaner, wait a couple seconds and then use the broom to scrub the surfaces.  No stooping, no bending - save's your knees for other things that require specific attention. When you're done, rinse the broom down and let it air dry. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Since I can't dance yet...

Club Cheetah, Manhattan, 1967 one said I couldn't dream about it...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Semi Colon Life, Day 22: Still not there, yet.

We are now three weeks out from my surgery, and while I feel great, the doctor's office called today to see how I am doing, and to remind me that I am still to take it easy.

"Minimal bending, no twisting, no dancing, no lifting, no pushing, no pulling, and no whole grains, oatmeal or spicy food," said Dr. Alfredo.

"No dancing?"

"No.  AND stay on the bland, low waste food diet."

OH, DEAR GOD!  that means two more weeks of bananas, white rice, apple sauce, lean chicken, low fats, no fresh fruit and no fresh vegetables.  No nuts or seeds, no popcorn, yet.

As a result of all the things I can't eat, I am obsessed with them and crave them.  As of late, my dreams are filled with bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, slathered in rich, creamy mayonnaise.   Last night in a dream, I had sex with a ceasar salad, which I then ate.

I can eat eggs, I cannot have a thick tender fillet mignon, served on a small round of crispy toast and caramelized onions.

I cannot have a pork chop, but I can eat an all beef hot dog.  But unable to slather it in mustard, what's the point?

I can have milkshakes.  I cannot have liquor or beer, which is no problem, until you start dreaming of Rob Roys, Manhattans and vodka martinis.

In these dreams, sometimes the food chases me, while other times I chase it.  And then there is the eating of the dream food, which is always wonderful, until you wake up hungry.

The most vicious of the dreams involves Taco Bell.  In one, there was a table loaded with shells, meat, beans, sour cream, lettuce and tomatoes and I just licked the table top clean after eating all of it.  I left the restaurant looking like Mr. Topogrosso.

As a result of this, my stomach has shrunk and I have lost twenty five pounds.   I should be losing more, but the high caloric count of my dreams interferes with this.

On the rare occasion that we do go out, I find myself wondering if they will let me order from the senior menu, where the food is all soft and easily digested.

In some restaurants, where the portions are beyond anything a reasonable person could eat, I can get through a quarter of the meal before the server, or worse still - the manager, comes over and asks if there was something wrong with the meal.

"No, it was great, I just can't eat what I used to," is often met with a tale about someone in their family having gastric bypass, too, and how wonderful they are doing.   Then you have to weigh your options, as in do I clarify that it wasn't gastric bypass, but a partial colonectomy, or is it just better to leave well enough alone.  I usually leave it alone, but if the server is an ass, then I don't mind going into the details until the color drains from their faces.

"Well, thats the last we'll see of that server.  Did you need to tell her about the condition of your delicate starfish?" says my husband.

And because of the condition of my delicate starfish, a low waste diet is for the best.

What I didn't know about the surgery was that in order to reattach the two ends of the new and improve colon together, they send a good sized instrument up your pooper to finish the surgery.  And since my tight starfish is outtie, not an innie, it - how do I say this - came out of this surgery looking very used and sloppy.

I asked my husband, who normally enjoys my delicate starfish, to take a look and his first words were "Whoa!" followed by "it's a little inflamed."

What it felt like was the mouth of giant octopus mouth from 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea had taken up residence down there following the surgery and for the first week afterward.

And it is just now, regaining is tone.  So pooping isn't the joyful experience that it once was, but I am told that it soon will be.

So I am watching the clock and calendar- November 22nd is our friends moving away party, so we are hoping that real food, or at least one glass of wine is within my reach in the real world instead of the dream world where it is served with a nice thick burger, coleslaw and side of fries...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The perfect haunted house

Isn't it simply divine?   The perfect place to pass out candy on Halloween!  It just screams Bach Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

This dear reader is not a parody, or a piece of photoshop art, but was the Taylor Residence, built in Washington, DC., at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue NE, and 3rd Street NE. (We are looking north northwest in this picture.)

I first learned about the house some 30+ years ago when I lived in DC and it graced the cover of the first paperback edition of Capital Losses by James Goode.  Capital Losses was a book that really made a huge impact on me.  A social history of the destroyed architecture of Washington, DC, the book tells you something about the structure, and then tells you about the people who built it, or are most closely associated with it.

Goode called the Taylor House, built in the 1870s, an exuberant cottage.  Evidently it was well known that stereoviews of the house were sold in gift shops.  The Taylors also owned the lot next door on the Massachusetts Avenue side, leading me to believe that this fanciful mish-mosh of everything American Victorian was the start of something a bit larger, but it never made it beyond this stage.

Alas, what made it charming in 1876 didn't age so well - much like our opinion today of 1960s "Brutalist" architecture - and the Taylor House was razed for the Congressional House Apartment building in the early 1920s.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Well, Christ on a Cracker: Cousin Genie with the light brown hair, and cousin to "THAT Woman!"

Folks, I am here to tell you that in 35 years of genealogy I have never encountered a truly infamous and famous person, in one.  Cookie is so over the moon at the moment.  I have had a true "well shut the front door" moment. 

As I have said before, Cookie knows where all the bodies are buried, and which closets contain which skeletons. But today I made two rather astounding discoveries and I am here to share them. 

First off, all, save one or two, of my dearly departed Mother's genealogy lines pretty much are concentrated in Pennsylvania or Maryland prior to 1800.  This is a documented fact.   

So two weeks ago, BS (before surgery) I sat down with the next door neighbor for a glass of wine and a get to know you chat.  Both of them are very long in Maryland's better known names, so when I said I was a descendent of the Dorsey family, she said that there was a very good reason to assume that we're distant cousins.  And in fact we are! Ninth cousins once removed to be exact.

Now think about it.  We know no one in Baltimore, we move here from Ohio, buy a house in hurry and end up living next do to someone that I share, not a shirttail relationship (like a second consin to the man that her great great aunt married once because a shotgun was pointed at both of them by her pa) a blood relation with.  Next door!

But wait, there is more.

Cousin Bessie, on the right. 

As I discovered for myself, both she and I are also distant cousins of one of the most notorious women of the 20th Century - A woman so notorious that that she was better know as THAT Woman, for years: Balmore's own Bessie Warfield!

Seriously, Genie, Wallis and I, we all go back to the same couple.

I would ask how did this happen, and the answer is easy. Get seven generations of people descended from the same man and woman to start having coitus with reckless abandon, add in some third cousins getting married, a few wars,  sooner or later you are bound to be a cousin of someone who did something so socially scandalous that are buried at Frogmore.

If my mother were still alive (it will be four years this November) she would have an absolute kniption fit.  "Did you simply ask an Eight Ball and go with that answer?  It's real?  You can't tell anyone - we'll be outcasts at WalMart.  Now if you'll excuse me, I am going to end it all and jump out of the basement window in shame..."

Cousin Bessie, excuse me, I mean Wallis,  married this guy named
David, who had just gone on unemployment the day before.  Figures. 
Now, I have to say that I am related to Bessie Wallis a bit closer than the next door neighbor, as I am related to both of her father's mother and father.  Well HELLO cousin Bessie and Howdy Cousin David!

So if you need me, I will be right here, bursting with all sorts of wonder, and gas, because after that surgery, I am very gassy.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Yes, the pieces parts are all falling into place.

As I said yesterday in my brief filing, I am home and I am healing.  Moreover, I am looking forward to being able to sleep on my side tonight.

Surgery was on Monday at half past crack, and before hand my doctor asked "What is your greatest fear?"

The temporary colostomy, my reply.

"But that is not in my plan," says he.  With my feelings of fear assuaged, they wheeled me into the room, which was a lot nicer than the surgical suite in Columbus, and I saw the stirrups, and a man said, you may feel sleepy and *POOF* the next thing I know a nurse is telling me to wake up.

The scariest thing that I saw was a Foley catheter.  And the mother fucker hurt.   But other than that, no colostomy.

So essentially, I had the catheter because they illuminate your ureters so they don't injure them during the process of rerouting the body's poop pipe by snipping them.  Mine hurt plenty because the stents used got to delicate tissues. In any event, they pulled the catheter on Tuesday and pee fest began - 24 hours of almost constant peeing.

But that was not the worst.  Nor was my first shit with the new poop pipe.

The worst was bland diet dinner Tuesday - manicotti alfredo.  I won't go into the details, but it was beyond vile.  It was almost on par with Cream of Dyke soup.  So bad that I asked for an injection of dilaudid to forget.

And oh my God did I love the dilaudid.  Now I understand how easily it could be to get addicted to something like this.  Eugene O'Neil made immediate sense to me.  Within seconds of it coursing through my body I felt like a cross between a slut and a boll weevil. I nestled into my bed and slept for hours.  Delicious.

Anyhow, Wednesday morning, my Doctor's practice partner made rounds and I was told I could go home.  And here I am.  I do not like the Ultraset.  So I am managing with Aleve.  Feels good to be off that junk.

So over the next month, I'll learn to monitor my body's new rhythms.  Bland diet until then.  Lots of soup.  Next Tuesday, Doctor will pull out my staples and then the next phase of recovery starts anew!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The quickest of updates.

Surgery went well, everything fell into place.

Now I am home.

More to come as my strength returns.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Name of The Game is Operation.

Good morning blog-o-sphere!

It is now 8:00AM and as you read this, I am on an operating table in a good hospital, and have been under anesthesia for approximately an hour if we are running as scheduled.  My surgeon, however is Italian, and will be the first to admit that he runs "15 minutes to a half hour late - "Continental style" - in his words.

So an hour into this, the bottom two feet of my colon has been removed, and hopefully, they are beginning to reattach it to the end of the poop pipe.

You are asking, no, really saying, how vile! (if you are easily offended) and other wise, if you are MJ, you are saying "Cookie is having his Hershey Highway widened.  Well, not quite.

Let's just say that in a grammatical fashion, my colon is being turned into a semi-colon. ~rimshot~

Tough crowd.

As you all know, I have been living with, and managing diverticulitis for a very long time.  And over the years the attacks have become more frequent, and over the past two years my ability to bounce back from them has become much harder.

So what is diverticulitis you are wondering.  It is God's punishment for not eating the vegetables that my mother insisted that I needed to eat.  Essentially, the sigmoid colon weakens, and the walls are prone to small bulging sacks, called (diverticula) .  As foods that humans can't digest easily (sesame seeds are enemy number one) make their way through the colon, they can drop into these sacks (diverticula) with crap, fester, cause an infection, and amazing pain.  The more frequently this happens, the sacks weaken and microscopic bits on the infect matter can get out through teeny tiny holes, and they make you really sick.

After talking to my doctor, and the Italian GI doctor, we have all come to the conclusion that now is the time to fix this before it potentially kills me.

The doctor explained it thus, in his heavily accented English:

He: Through laparoscopic incisions, I will remove the bottom two feet of colon...


He: Not to worry, the colon is over six feet long.  So you will retain and use the four feet that remains.  So it is like a dryer vent, and can be extended easily.  In essence, the colon is what you would call the clown car of the human body.

Me: Clown car?  Wouldn't that be magician handkerchief? You keep pulling it and it keeps coming out...

He: Oh, no.  The small intestine is over 18 feet long.  So it is more like a magician's handkerchief - unending, but without the bouquet of flowers.

Me: Yeah, right...

He: Just a little gastroenterologist humor.

So, if everything goes according to plan, then the plumbing will start right up and I should be eating solid food by tonight, and home by Wednesday or Thursday.

HOWEVER, if things do not go well, then he'll go with plan "B", which is a temporary colostomy, and surgery in April or March to reconnect everything then.

And plan "C"?  Not even thinking about that.  But we will get through it because I am too young and beautiful to do otherwise.

By 10 or 11 or I should be awake, scratchy throat and ready for an afternoon nap because of the pain meds.

So say a little prayer and if all goes well, you should hear from me in about a week or so.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The detritus of life

Why? To accumulate stuff

This has been a heavy week for Cookie.  My mother and father's birthdays were this week, a day apart.  Mom would have been 90 and my father would have been 92.  The old man has been gone for 18 years, while mom has been gone four years this coming November.

This week also marked a month since  "Dad" the husband's father has been gone.  Friday we flew to Boston and today, Sunday, we are home. 

Mom has been moved to assisted living and, given her ills, is doing fine.  She is much more perkier than she has been in that big old house. 

We spent most of time at the house, cleaning it out so it can be sold. 

Brother in law got a dumpster delivered and they were able to clean out most of the garage before the dumpster was full.  We were able to get their closets cleaned out and the clothing went to Goodwill.  This included the boxes of "Haband" brand clothing for old people. No buttons - instead velcro for that easy to fasten and unfasten convenience.  They once sent us Haband clothing for Christmas.  We put it on, took a picture and stripped it off.  Its the sentiment that counts. 

All the real antiques are out dispersed to the four winds of familydom.  And this weekend, all of the personal "stuff" - the photographs, the good cookware, the silver, the jewelry, computers and real art left amongst the four children. 

What is left is the detritus of life.  

This includes "little things" that were cute, dust catchers, furniture that was good in the seventies but is unremarkable. Dead plants, fake Royal Doulton and of course those blasted Hummel figurines that no one wants.  Notes - piles and piles of notes, the meaning of which are now unknown to the ages. Odd pens, dry with age, boxes and boxes of staples, paper clips and rubber bands so old that they crumbled.  And greeting cards bought in advance of some birthday, anniversary, death and new baby, all unused and brown with age.

And we found every bill that Dad ever received.  All marked paid.  But he kept them neatly filed in drawers of filing cabinets.  For a man who lost hearing aids without any problem, this was a shocker. 

In the kitchen, we found food twenty years out of date food stuffs, still sealed in its original boxes. When was the last time you saw a bar of Sweetheart Soap?  For me its been 25 years, and in that time this stuff turned to powder in its paper wrapper.  In the basement fridge that has been turned off for the last ten years and kept closed.  The smell was horrid. 

I worked on Dad's household desk - almost five hours of going through every page he filed away, just to see if he socked away any dividend checks - he did - about fifty, totalling about $20 in dividends in long merged or defunct companies.  

I did score the most fabulous Corning double boiler.  But at the same time, who is going to want the rest of all this stuff?

And their house wasn't cluttered, and it wasn't as if they had lived there the whole 67 years they were married, either.  This was just the stuff that accumulated as they grew older and older.

What is sad about this is you are not only disposing of the "stuff" of someone's life, but you are reminded of the quickly passing minutes of your own life.

And you have to keep reminding yourself that these things left behind are not your loved ones.  They are in your heart.  So it is OK to throw out that Building 19 5/8th's picture on the wall, because it was just there to take up the space.  Still, its not OK to throw out that tiny loving cup because its sterling.

And now that we are back home, I am looking around, making a list and checking it twice of all the things we need to get rid of ourselves. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Quickie Quiz....

Where could this be leading:

a) A father and son bonding moment, not unlike Andy Hardy and his wise father Judge Hardy.

b) To a spirited discussion on the merits of Munsingwear undergarments, and the choosing the correct fit for your age and life style.

c) Something that makes me tingle the longer I wonder about it, but I don't know why.

d) A deep, dark place that I have locked away deep, deep down and have suppressed by focusing on defense of marriage work and only having sex with my wife for the purpose of procreation.

e) That's not the type of pipe smoking in a locker room that I am familiar with.

f) I would rather talk about the "granny panties" that Arianna Grande wears during performances and why they look silly.

Extra credit, compare and contrast the underwear ads of today with this ad from the 1930s.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

There ought to be clowns, redux

"The Mime in Me" by that genius, "Tabitha"  Part of Cookie's
collection of bad art. 

So I was going through some old papers today at the house, and I came across this pile from my former life as a consultant for a statewide trade association in Ohio.  I left in 2005 because the leader was turning into a bunker mentality, and it was hurting a lot of good people as they were shown the door and summarily fired.  I got out on my own terms.

ANYWAY, in that pile I found all this "stuff" on his big plan to corral the Human Resources market in our field in Ohio.  His idea was to use this program to stuff F.O.P. (Friends of "Pete") into leadership roles in the BIG powerful member organization.

To do this, they hired a consultant who would sell a program that was basically an Executive Search and Policy manuals.   The person who they hired had no experience in our field, but she seemed very nice.  For the purposes of posting, we'll call her Amy, which really isn't her name.  Seriously.

So Amy moves into her (real) office over the weekend and on the following Monday she invites us into the office for a little house warming and my coworkers and I walk in to find two bookcases, not holding books, but dolls.  Not just any dolls, either.

They were clown dolls.

Thats right, the HR expert filled her office with her collection of very expensive, very valuable, yet still kitschy clown dolls.

To say that we were shocked is an understatement, as we all got a good case of the creeps.

Successories, I would have expected.  Not clown dolls.

The conversation kinda went like this:

Me: "That is quite a collection of..."

Co-worker 1: "CLOWN DOLLS."

Amy chortles and says: "I have always loved clowns and I thought they would cheer up the office."

Co-worker 2: "Well thanks for letting me have a look, but I gotta get back to my desk...."

Me: "Been collecting them for long?"

Amy: "My grandpa made me that one on the top shelf when I was little, and the collection has grown."

Me: "It's good to be surrounded by the things you love.  It's nice."

Co-Worker 1: "I have worked with clowns before, but this is a first."

Amy: "Yeah, thats why I love them."

And love them she did. Eventually the collection grew to include a couple of those white clown masks, that some people would hang on their walls in the 1980s.

Funny thing is that about a year into her job she asks me to go to lunch, and after we are seated, tells me that she doesn't feel like part of the "team".

Amy: "I just feel isolated back there.  I love being out on the floor with the rest of you, but I feel like there is something keeping others from finding me accessible."

Me: "Amy, did it ever cross your mind that there could be something that is keeping people from feeling at ease in your office?"

Amy: "Well I know that some people are uneasy around human resources people."

Me: "I don't think its you."

Amy: "Well thats good to know."

Me: "It's your clown collection."

Amy looked stunned.  "But clowns are such happy people," she countered.

So we talked and the following Monday, the clowns were gone.  A month later, so was Amy.  She wasn't happy in her job, and I think she dismayed and disillusioned with co-workers that couldn't love clowns as she did.  Truth be told, she went back to work for her former employer, International Amalgamated.

The boss decided not to replace her.  Instead they went a different direction and hired a firm to do the work for us.

Finding that paper folder today made me wonder what ever became of Amy, and then I threw it out.  I already have enough clowns, like "Pete" in my past.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Don't even think about taking my Jawa.

Kevin the Wonder Mutt was bedding down last night.  Got up, went in the hall, got his stuffed Jawa, trotted back to his bed, decided all was well in his world and plopped himself down for the night.  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

That delicate balance

Tonight Cookie has to walk that delicate balance between forced enthusiasm and a charitable event.  A workplace group that the Husband belongs to is hosting an event at a one of the better, actually that should be trendy-toney-artful, restaurants in Baltimore.

The group is all men, all gay, and thats good, but they are the husband's workmates at International Amalgamated Inc., and they will all be talking shop.  Delightful.  But I am not in much of a good mood for it.

Still, this is the life of a spouse - supporting your husband as you would want him to support you.

As a personal rule, I never drink at work events.  Not even a pre dinner cocktail.  Nope. I have seen too many people at work events do stupid things or say stupid things.  I will ask for a club soda and lime and force a smile and fake my interest.

So there I will be, pets, hidden behind my invisible Kabuki mask, going through the motions while a dish filled with food will be presented for my meal not so much for my enjoyment as it is formality sake.  Yeah.