Saturday, April 19, 2014

Family Matters

Today I found myself alone in my car, driving 40 minutes southwest towards Washington, DC.  I was wearing dress pants, white shirt and tie and my best shoes.  I should have been in heaven, but instead my trip took me far short of DC, and I instead ended up in the suburbs of Olney, Maryland.

This was a day of obligation and respect.  I was on the way to family memorial gathering, but for someone wasn't family, but was.

ALL of my brothers are half brothers on my fathers side of the family.  The funeral today was for their Uncle Marty.

Because one brother was in California, and the other in Ohio, I felt it was important that someone from my fathers family be there.

One of the things that I did after Dad died (and left us all a legal mess epic proportions) was to get in touch with the brothers Aunt.  The Aunt, a lovely woman, had been cut out of the boys lives by my father.  Once their mother was gone, that was that.

So I called her to tell her the beast was gone.  So Aunt reclaimed her rightful position in my brothers lives.

Once we moved here, we thought about going to see her, but with Marty is rough shape, we never knew when was a good time.

And that brings us to today.

I know that I didn't inflict pain into her life and rob my brothers of a lifetime of love from their mother's only living sister.  But I do feel that I should repair as much of the damage he caused.

Niecy and her brood showed up - and I accidently turned myself into the ogre of the day when I asked her three year old son to stop touching all of the cookies.  OY!

And Aunt went around introducing me "I had a sister who passed, and she left behind her husband and two sons.  Cookie is from my former brother in laws second marriage....and I can't tell you how shocked and glad that he is here!"

This impressed all of her friends when called me a "mensch".

I met the Aunt's best friend who asked where my wife was.  "Well," he's at home..."  She says "Old habits die hard.  Is he a doctor?  Because if he is, never complain about the hours he keeps."

I left after two hours and then drove home.

Along the way I thought what shame it was that my brothers spent most of their lives without their Aunt.

One of the great sadnesses of life is that funerals these days come to often.  There used to be a time when they were rare events.  But now they come to often and they take the people who have always been there, the people that we think, "oh, I'll call them next week," only they aren't there and its too late.

If there is someone in your life that you you keep putting off, stop and call them or better yet see them.  Life is precious and it is fleeting.  Embrace them now, instead of eulogizing them after they've passed.

Friday, April 18, 2014

What the best dressed locks are wearing this season

TRUE STORY:  We have a dear friend in Ohio who took care of his aging mother for many years.  Ethel was a real pistol.  Frail, but she didn't suffer fools very well and at times could exhibit a very salty tongue.

So Davey would see that Ethel was up every morning and then he or his partner would get her on the bus to adult daycare, and then one of them would retrieve her at night for the ride back home.

Davey picks her up one night, gets her into the car's passenger seat, gets himself into the drivers seat and starts the car. He tells her to buckle herself in, and Ethel grumbles, but starts the process.  And Davey waits, and watches as she fusses and struggles with the seat belt.

Does she need help?  No.

Are you sure you don't need help? No.

Finally he says "Well you know we're not moving this car until you get snapped in."

"How the Hell," replies an exasperated Ethel, "do you expect me to find the hole if there's no hair around it?"

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What do you get when you take these two images and mash them together?

Hippie Barbie +

Public Service Announcement from the 1960s =

So remember kids, get your Barbie checked so you don't keep giving the gift that keeps on giving.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cookie, the Old Jewish Lady and The Wrapping Paper

So Cookie is at work work last week and was assigned to the front of the house to work with people because staffing was thin.  Because I can do many things, I get assigned to do many things, and working with the great unwashed was where I was told to station.

The majority of the people who patronize the "Showbar and Beef House" where I work are nice people.  But like like any job, every now and then you end up with a couple of clowns, or someone's bubbie who is a bit of a pill.

Because Cookie can wrap presents like nobodies business, one of the floor managers asked if I could head over to the wrapping department because "Carole" was having an issue with a customer and it being BOTH Easter and Passover Season, everyone was buying gifts.

I called next and got a miserable old Jewish woman.  How do I know she was miserable?

Cookie: Good afternoon, how may I assist you today?

MOJW: Don't give that 'I'm happy to see you' chazzeri.  I need to you to wrap these.  What kind of paper do you have?

Cookie: We have the samples on the wall.

MOJW: Those are ugly.  I want the paper you give the special people.

Cookie: What we have is displayed on the wall.  Or we have these papers and bags for sale in the "Stationary and Lap Dance" area.

MOJW: I don't pay for wrapping paper.  Do you know who I am?"

Cookie: No...

MOJW: You don't seem interested in helping me, so just wrap them in that crappy green paper.

So I wrap her gifts and ask "Would you like bows, as well?"

MOJW: There's that happy crap, again.

Cookie: Excuse me?

MOJW: Nevermind.  Give me three more feet of that wrapping paper, I have other presents for the grandchildren and I don't need you to wrap them.

So I tore off a length and gave it to her.

Carole, my co-worker, walked over and said "Why did you give her that paper?  We only wrap what we sell."

True, we are only supposed to wrap what we sell, but the old broad was more trouble than she was worth.   So I told Carole that she was nasty, drawing attention like flies to honey, and now she has left the business to spread her special type of sunshine to other parts of the world.

As I worked through the rest of the shift, I had to wonder what had shit all over this miserable old broad in her life to be nasty to other people.  Then I reminded myself that she was old and Jewish, and who knows what she had lived through in her lifetime, or had to put up with.  Maybe she was stressed about the upcoming Passover holiday.  Or maybe she was just a mean old bitch.  Either way, in our store she was causing a scene - out the door she was out of mind.

When I was clocking the General Manager came up to me and said "I understand that you gave away some free wrapping paper today..."

So again, I described what happened, and the woman and question.  Yes, says I, we lost all of two cents on generic wrapping paper, but it got that old bat out of the area on with her uplifting message of joy.  "She had all clearance priced stuff, she wanted the free wrapping paper and was simply miserable."

"Well," says the manager who is always ready with a back-handed comment, "She's still a valued client."

"And what better to show she was valued than to give her .10 of bulk paper and make it seem like it cost us a thousand times as much?  And besides, she bought up that stuff that has been on the clearance cart for the past month.  That makes her worth her weight in gold, right?"

And this gets me thinking - what is it about about consumers that makes them feel that that simply because people work in retail that they are ready, willing and able to take abuse from people who are too cheap to pay for something as minimal as wrapping paper?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hotter than Dutch Love

So while the mattress thing was heating up, Cookie had other irons on the fire.

You see, Cookie and the husband don't own a Dutch Oven.

I had one, but my mother needed it, so way back, I gave it to her to use.  Then, it got sold at her estate auction.  So I have been looking for one for a long time.

Things reached the boiling point when I was overcome for a big helping of beef and noodles - which you serve with mashed potatoes, but that is implied.  Down home cooking that I am longing for because when comes down to it, Baltimore is a food city, but not big on the midwest style, if you know what I mean.

So we considered Le Crueset, but to get a pot that big is serious money.  Like car payment serious. I pined for a piece in FLAME color.  But when you look around, a lot of people have it.

And frankly, the more I looked at Le Crueset, and the people who sell it - who are terrible snobs - well, it was barely hotter than Dutch Love.

THEN, I got turned on to vintage Dansk ironware from the 1950s and the 1960s in TURQUOISE.

It has form.  It has function.  It has COLOR. And best of all - its still affordable!

I found this one online and I love it.

Of course it was pricey, but for the cost of one Le Creuset  dutch oven of equal size, you can buy four of these, and they come in designer colors.

And I love that the pot lid handle acts either as a trivet, OR, you can stack your Dansk when you aren't using it.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Cookie and the Pea: Mattress Shopping

At 8:45 AM this Sunday, Cookie awoke in shear agony.  Seriously, folks, my lower back was in such pain from spasms that I awoke the husband, much to his dismay.

For months - since our move, truth be told - I have been thinking we needed to replace our mattress, which is 14 years old.  It was a good mattress 14 years ago.  But when you wake up in real, genuine pain yelling that you can't go on like this, your husband takes notice, the Serta has to go.

Growing up, Cookie knew the family that owned Sealy, but that was forty years ago.

The mattress experience has all changed.

When you look at what we used to sleep on - springs, cotton batting and sail cloth cover, and compare it to today, you are in for a rude awakening.

NOW everything is about the "foam" and the "gel".

If there is one thing that Cookie hates more than shopping for a chair, its shopping for a mattress.  It has all of the charm of shopping for a car, but the options are fewer and less.  And mattress salesmen as of the same genetic ilk as as car salesmen.  So we were prepared.

The last time that the husband and I bought a mattress, was in 2001.  And like any mattress purchase involving a couple both parties need to be there.  Both people have to get on the bed, and both people need to just lie on the bed and talk it out.

"Does it work for you?" and "This is really hard," are what the mattress salesmen used to listen to all day, but coming from two guys, getting a smirk from them was par for the course.  And you just don't try one mattress - you have to try many beds, so the conversation and the smirks would get repeated around the store while two men play Goldilocks trying out the bears beds.

Once we settled on this bed that we have now with an agreed upon "Yeah, I could live with this," the salesman - a pudgy middle aged man named "Mort" darted to the front of the store and back again and tried to up sell us on getting "stain protection" added to the mattress.

"Now this is a white mattress and I am telling you both that you need stain protection on this bed."

In car buying terms, this is the same as the old "Port services" paint and fabric upsell.  "Now this car is white on the outside, and I would hate to see this paint get stained by some of the chemicals that they use on the roads today..."  It's pure bullshit.  They are simply trying to get you to pay for something because they want the money, not because it does anything for you.

The same is true with mattresses and the "stain protection" scam.

Still, I love a good game of cat and mouse.  "So what kind of stains does this protection cover?" I'll ask and then wait while the salesman sweats out the answer.

"Well, you know, those unforeseen stains," says the salesman.

"I'm not picking up what you are putting down," I prod, fully knowing where this is going.

"Well, sometimes things happen and people may have a problem with bodily fluids, you know..."

"Bodily fluids?"

"One of you could get sick and have," he starts sweating because he doesn't want to say it, "soiling."

Now that the gate is opened.  "You mean like 'explosive diarrhea'?" I asked hopefully in the chance it would add to his discomfort.

"Or wetting the bed," he added knowingly, and hopefully.  "After all, I'd hate for you to have a problem, blah, blah, blah."

Both the husband and I explained that neither of of us had such issues, and we if thought the future of the bed promised us that, we'd cross that shit storm when it happened.   "Just the mattress, the box spring the delivery and the pick up, and I'm only paying for the mattress, saavy?"

We went through the whole song and dance yesterday, again. Hopping from mattress to mattress.  The negotiating between the husband and I, until we settled on a bed.

 Then it was the salesman's turn.  "Blah blah blah fabric protectant....Blah, blah blah bodily fluids...blah blah blah..."

We deflected the fabric protectant (Neither of us leaks), but the salesmen yesterday, in this age of same sex marriage, one upped the game.

"Look fellas," he said while darting to the back of the store, returning with a nine by twelve package, "I hate it when people are unhappy.  And we had a couple like you in here last week and they were unhappy because the mattress got stained.  If you are going to get the protectorate, at least let me add in the mattress protector. For half off."

The husband looked at the package.  "A plastic mattress protector?"

To hell with the plastic sheet, what were those two doing in bed was what we wanted to know.  More importantly, why would he think that two 50something men would be doing anything like that sort of nasty in the bed.

"Well," says the salesman, "semen stains are very difficult to get out of the damask."  And when he said "semen stains," he went all sotto voce on us.  Like he wanted us to know that he was hip to the all the flying semen that two, or more, guys could produce.

"And semen gets everywhere, right?" says I, with a wink.  The poor guy was appalled.  "It just comes out and ten seconds later is all runny and shit."

So now the mattress had morphed into a sex surface, a place of all things left unsaid.  A place where all implied things were plied.

"Well, you do have a point," said I.

"But we have sex on the sling, and we wash out bedding with regularity, so I'll take the mattress, the box spring, the pick up and the delivery, but I'm only paying for the mattress, got it?"

I think he was so ashamed of his behavior that we got a much better deal.  Much better.

On the way out,with the bill of sale and delivery date set, the husband, asked why I told him we had a sling, when we don't.

"Well, why not.  Besides, by my calculation, our next mattress will hit when are are 65, and by that time we may leak."  After all, in 2028 it could be the last time I could use the sling as a zinger, or pass up on the imaginary fabric protector.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

This Happiness Day, Compare and Contrast

Together for so long they don't know each other anymore - and

Even though neither of them is getting any, a gay time on a bed.

NOW: Discuss!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Cookie didn't want to have to do it.

Because I have been forced by the economy into the wild world of being a sole proprietor (writer and genealogy), my income varies from next to nothing to nothing.

But I have had to take a part-time position in retail. Ugh.

If it were an Adult Cabaret, at least the stories would be good.  But it isn't.  And because it's a national chain, and I had to sign a piece of paper that says I can be discharged for blogging about said Employer.

And because Employer is one of the top 100 retail companies to work for, and they have been exceptionally nice and happy to have me on board, and I get benefits, I have to abide by that.

So for the sake of all things considered, I will refer to said chain either as "Employer" or as the "Adult Cabaret", even though I thankfully keep my clothes on and do not need to pole dance.

I can tell you that I did this exact same thing in this type of environment that I worked in almost 30 years ago for six of the most depressing years of my work life time, and despite the lapse, the people are exactly the same.

No, I take that back, they are worse.

They are still making requests for things - we'll call the "drinks" though they are not - but don't know what they are requesting.  So there are a lot of conversations that go like this:

Customer: "Yeah, I want a drink that I saw on Steve Harvey and it was pink.  I don't know what was in it.  And I can't remember when I saw it on his show.  But it was pink."

Me: "Was it rum based, vodka based or gin based."
Customer: "I don't know! You're the expert!"

And the conversations also go like this:

Customer: "When you go home what do you snack on?"

Me: "I'm not a good snacker.  But lets take a look at the staff picks for snacks."

Customer: "I don't care what they snack on, I want to know what you snack on."

What the fuck.

Seriously.  What the fuck, indeed.

And don't get me started on the children.

Evidently, parents today think that if the weather outside is bad, then its OK to bring their offspring into retail stores and let them scream at the top of their lungs and run around.

And Evidently yesterday I shot a look at a parent a look because they were standing next to my position at the Cabaret Customer Service Station and they were doing nothing to stop their children from screaming, shrieking and crying.

"I'm sorry," says the mother in a thick Russian accent.  "Is this bothering you?"

I smiled and said, it is making it hard for me to listen to this customer. In my mind I was blowing an air horn in her face and asking "does this bother you when I blow this air horn in your face?"

But instead of getting her kids under control, she simply had them stand three feet further away while they screamed at the top of their lungs.

Thanks for being clueless, I thought.

Yesterday was simply hellacious because I spent the day dealing with a lot of African American Church ladies - and while I love me my church ladies - they came in asking about all sorts of off the wall drinks.

Do you have the menu from the last supper?  Do you have recipe cards for what they served.  And "What would Oprah have served if she were choosing the wine?"

All fucking day.  All day. Unending. All. Fucking. Day.

The cherry on the top was the man who came in and asked where our Unicorn Section was.



"For your daughter?"

"No," said the mouth breather.  "My girlfriend loves Unicorns."

They simply aren't paying me enough for this job.

And when things calmed down a bit, a coworker who has been somewhat brusque came up to me and said thanked me for being a big help.  Me?

Evidently, customers like me because I am nice.  And in Baltimore, that is a rare thing.

The good thing is, I am able to leave work and not bring it home with me.  And when I do get home, I have the husband and the dogs waiting on me.

Still, I need to find a steady job suited for an introvert.  Because what I am doing now could lead me to actually seek an adult cabaret, wave a $20 bill and demand that the dancer dance like she dances when she dances at home.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Somewhere West of Laramie

If you have never heard of Ned Jordan, then you have never taken a course in marketing, creative writer or advertising.

Jordan was an advertising man in the very early 20th century.  He had an idea in the 1910s - long before GM hired Harley Earl to give its cars some style - that well to do stylish people were driving - or being driven - around in dumpy, blocky cars.  And most of those cars were black because "Japan Black" laquer dried the faster than any other color.

So he gathered some friends, bought some land in Cleveland, Ohio, and decided to assemble a car that wealthy people would enjoy driving.  Note that I said assemble.  Jordan's brilliance, and long before anyone else dreamt up the idea, was to use outside suppliers to build everything from the engine (Continental units) to his ignition switches (DELCO) and his folks at the factor would build the bodies and put it all together.

While not a rousing success, he made a lot of money.

One night while dining and dancing at the Mayfield County Club, while his wife sat on the sidelines, the fortysomething Jordan danced with one Eleanor Borton, who said, according to Jordan, "Why don't you build a swanky roadster for the girl who loves to swim and paddle and shoot, and for the boy who loves the roar of the cutout?"

Jordan thought about it for about five seconds and thanked her.  The next day he designed the Jordan Playboy - a lightweight sportscar with superior a suspension and lightweight body.  While not a stunning car, what brought the Playboy into the national psyche were the ads that Jordan used, not so much to sell features and benefits of the car, but of the magic and the charmed aura of the vehicle.

Ads to that point in U.S. ad industry as weren't creative as they were practical. From the Model T to the most expensive Pierce Arrow, ads either told you about the car in dry factual language ("The Ford Model T is the sensible car for the American family...") or they said nothing at all, preferring to show a photograph and the makers name.

But Jordan was an ad man.  He knew little about engineering a car, but he knew everything about how one could spin words together to entice the soul and ignite yearning for escape and adventure.

Take the ad above.  No facts.  Not even a picture of the car.  But from the text, which I invite you to read if you have not done so by now, can you see in your mind's eye a car that streaks through the great open west, a young woman at the wheel with a zest for life and that she is driving for the sake of driving - not going anywhere, but driving where the road takes her.

While the Jordan Playboy never became a bestseller, Jordan's seductive prose made the car and its "aura" an instant classic.  And people responded.  They started clamoring for cars that weren't simply black.  Cars of any color were available at the time, but they required custom paints jobs as red, blue, green, gray and white all took longer to dry and cure than the standard Japan Black laquer bodies that could be painted and cured in hours, instead of the days and weeks the other lacquers required.

When DuPont developed a bright royal blue lacquer that dried as fast as Japan Black, it quickly became the most requested color for people ordering production regular vehicles. People now saw the car not only as something to keep up with the Joneses, but it became the vehicle transport the soul and its desires.

And for a while, girl babies enjoyed a break from being named Mildred and Mabel and quite a few were named Jordan in honor of the girl in the ad.  F. Scott Fitzgerald named Daisy Buchanan's best friend, the athletic, lean and aloof Jordan Baker as a nod to the spirit of Ned Jordan's girl in the advertisement.

Emboldened by the accolades, Ned Jordan penned other advertising prose. But he soon tired of making automobiles.  Like the girl in the ads, he was beginning to yearn for something beyond what he had amassed.  And that marked the beginning of the end of Jordan Motors.

While America flirted with the story of Preston Tucker and his automobile of the future in popular culture, Ned Jordan has simply faded from the American psyche.  All that is really left of Jordan Motors in Cleveland is Ned Jordan's private residence near Rockefeller Park in East Cleveland.  No movie maker has ever flirted with the task of trying to capture that girl behind the wheel of the car - cloche hat over her head, the setting sun on her face against the darkening sky in the background. No one.

Jordan Motors, which Ned Jordan had relinquished day to day responsibility in the late 1920s, went bankrupt in the early 1931.  The cars it produced, save for its small "Country Club" line, are recognized by the ACA as classics, not for their engineering or their power, but in tribute to Ned Jordan and how he taught American's that a car was more than the utility vehicle from going from point A to point B.  Ned Jordan, who went onto a bright career in advertising, showed that an automobile could also be the conveyance for those who dared to dream and desire, to see what was waiting somewhere west of Laramie for them.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The stuff you find...

Sad to say that the Men's Dress Shop at Loch Raven and Taylor has closed.

You would figure that this being Baltimore, a store devoted to dresses in men's sizes would have gone over big.

Guess nothing's been the same since Divine died, you know.

Do you remember this crap?  I actually saw some for sale at junk store in Joppatowne.

Didn't even have a chapter on heavy breathing.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Still indoors.

Yeah, STILL inside.

Even the dogs had to do to daycare for exercise.

Making a brisket for tomorrow night.

Domestically yours,


PS, Happy Valentines Day

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Yeah, I am at that point.

Cookie is normally a happy go lucky person in February, because February means that winter is almost done.

Then this Nor'easter hit, and we had - in a 24 hour period:

1) Cold.
2) Snow.
3) Lots of snow.
4) So much snow that it buried the window ledges.
5) So much snow that the we had to shovel paths for the dogs through the back yard.
6) So much snow that our 30 year old snow blower up and died.
7) Seventeen inches of snow by 10AM.

In the coming hours we are expecting,

8) Thunder snow - that snow that is accompanied by thunder and lightning - 2-3 more inches
9) MORE snow on Friday and Saturday.

Now intellectually, I understand that next week, we are going to be in the 40s.  I also understand that the longest this stuff will stay on the ground is a week.

Still, I have great sympathy for the character actors of the past who played characters in far away places, beset by snow and cold, and who go through rye like its water saying things like "the snow the snow, oh my gosh, the SNOW!"

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Somedays, you just go through the motions...

So it's Saturday in Charm City, February , 2014.  Not much going on.

So today the husband and I had lunch at a McDonalds because it was fast and cheap, and because Cookie heard that the McDonalds plays Billie Holiday music to keep the kids from hanging out at it.

Yep.  Billie Holliday.

Evidently the kids that would fill up a McDonalds on a weekend can't take much Billie Holliday.  Now I find her fabulous.  But evidently its the rare teenager who finds her voice soothing.  So they play it inside and out.


Then we Cha Cha Cha'd up the road and went to BJ's Wholesale Club.

I'm always a hopeful everytime I think of BJ's.  Habit I guess.  Then I remember that its a WHOLESALE CLUB, and hope is replaced in my mind by resignation.

I love buying paper products at deeply discounted prices, but its the people who are there that depress me.  Like the Russian emigres that shop there.  None of them understand that the EXPRESS LANES are for EIGHT items or less.  They push their way up there and then the cashiers are try to tell them NYET, but they refuse to budge.  "Why should I go over there in crowded line.  I wait my turn here."

Then they feel like they get to haggle.

"I no pay that much for that item, box has dent.  No, no, no, I no want another one that does not have the dent.  I keep the dent and you charge me less."

WTF.  Seriously.

And I have yet to see a man at BJ's that I would give a BJ to.

After BJ's, we went looking for some second hand furniture to see if I can create a tableaux of livability at Xanadu, the project house of Mr. Peenee and Secret Agent Fred.

I found nothing, but a lovely nightstand with a built in ashtray for people who like to sleep in bed.  But since neither of us smokes, it stayed behind.

Kevin, the Wonder Mutt

We returned home to find Kevin and Rocky jumping up and down like they hadn't seen us in MILLION YEARS.  I told Kevin if he pooped on his afternoon walk, I would put his picture on the blog.   So you can guess why his picture is on the blog.

The dogs have taken this past week to synchronized pooping in honor of Putin's Olympics.  But we aren't watching.  Not even the curling.  Putin has put a dent in the Olympic spirit.  So this is my silent protest.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Dear One

As with Norma periodically, a death notice trips Cookie's notice.

She seems like a terrifically lovely woman.  Farewell Kitty.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Are you Hep to the Prep?

Well, I have been brooding for the past week or so, trying to get my mood up and all.


My colonoscopy, of course.

It stood there, on my horizon as a giant impenetrable wall.   Cookie is not one of those people who sees the bigger picture all of the time, especially when there is a huge demand upon me.

So as the date came at me like hunter upon its prey, all I could do was schedule things for the future, but obsess about how many days until IT happened.

I say "it" because despite being a raving homosexual, and make no mistake - Cookie does not mince about about, but I love MEN - Cookie's ass is a total outie.  I do not enjoy people up my ass, figuratively, or literally.

Having been through this before, I know full well and good that the prep is the worst part.  But I wasn't ready for this prep.

Instead of the old "Go Lightly", a product that they should seed rain clouds with over desert areas, the new prep is 4 pills of Dulcolax, followed by 64oz. of clear liquid mixed with MiraLax.  The patient, and I advise you NOT to even think about this unless you are doctors orders, takes the four pills, waits two hours, and then mixes the MiraLax with the clear liquid, very well.

From that point on, one is directed to drink ONE eight ounce glass every 15 minutes.  In a perfect world, you are done with the drinking in two hours. Right?

With the Shit Storm started after the fourth glass and like Dumbledore drinking from the font in the cave in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince I was practically incoherent by the beginning of glass eight.

And I was feeling queasy.

But what was between me and the final eight ounces, right?

Let me stop and tell you that when your body has been pounding laxatives for four hours and you feel queasy, you need to cease drinking that stuff.


Because what happened next was TWO FULL HOURS of projectile vomiting, while jets of water laced laxative shot through my anus like the high pressure fountains at Bellagio, at the same fucking time.  And this fluid was everywhere.

As fast as we could mop it up, in came another tsunami.  Even the dogs looked like they were going to hurl from the hallway.   I couldn't even keep a sip of water down.  I was eventually able to make it to bed, and slept through the night.

TODAY, just before the test, I told my doctor about about this reaction and he said, in English, heavily accented with his native Italian "Not to worry.  Besides, your reaction could have been caused by the terrible Super Bowl performance by the Denver team, no?"

Well, here's the good news, I am, save for the hemorrhoids and the diverticulitis, no cancer, no polyps.

I'll take that.

Betty would have been proud of me!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Now we know who to blame: Armstrong Floors.

Dear Reader, you know that I love antiquing and junking.  Every now and then you find a lovely piece of antique furniture that someone ruined at some time in the past by painting it.  "Who would do that?" one often asks themselves.  Or my favorite - like an 1840s dresser that someone in the 1960s decided to "antique" with paint.  Isn't 120 years old in 1968 terms already an antique?

I found this on the inside cover of an old issue of American Home Magazine, and Reader, Cookie was speechless.  And given I was in loo was just coincidence.

Well, lets start right here in the narrative:

So here we have the narrative.  A housewife with a gaggle of furniture styles asks an old man who sells LINOLEUM for design advice.   So what does he do?

He sells he LINOLEUM for her LIVING ROOM FLOOR.  Oh, bitch please!

Today, his alone would spark a comment like "Tom, you aren't going to be happy honey, but the floor people just ripped up the 1960s carpet and instead of hardwood, they found linoleum with an asbestos backing glued to the hardwood.  We're going to have to call in a environmental clean up company.  What?  How would I know who the hell would lay down linoleum floor on hardwood?"

Well we know know, it was Mr. Hart who ruined the floor.

Back in the narrative Mr. Hart then picks the wall color and the accent wallpaper, and tells her to PAINT THE VICTORIAN CHAIRS WHITE.  Seriously, what the hey?

On Antiques Roadshow, they would draw a collective gasp and clutching of pearls.  "The paint has ruined the value."

Then, and this is my favorite part, he has her hand a floor to ceiling curtain in mid room so she can back up a dilapidated spinnet piano from 1910, which get a coat of paint.  So the piano is on one side of the drape, and the sofa on the other side. Isn't that clever?

Then he sells her some flea market tables and lamps.  And he mounts coach lights way up top of the fireplace. Evidently no one has that coach lights belong on coaches, not walls.  But he's not done, oh no he's not!

His cherry on top for the room is, drum roll, please: a huge ass black ceramic eagle to perch right over the fireplace.  Quelle horreur!

What is it with people and Eagles?  In nature, they are majestic.  But perched above a fireplace, it becomes a conversation piece.  In an flea market today it would bring "What do you do with it?  Put it on the mantle? Oh. Bitch. Please.  You are too funny. Now seriously, what does one do with it? Make it into a bird bath with a metal garbage can lid?"

And the Eagle thing is all over freaking Baltimore.  If Baltimore was the setting for an ironic show like Portlandia where you "put a bird on it", the catch phrase would be "slap a spread eagle on it."  They are every where.

So if you have ever wondered why someone would do something stupid to a perfectly knick knack, or buy a huge black eagle, you got your answer.  Armstrong - the tile people put them up to it.

So what's your favorite part of the room above?

Monday, January 20, 2014

What happens when you cancel in fewer than seven days

So you all know my health issue, and we know it can be cured.  No one ever died of a hemorrhoid, or three.

Well actually, I have a great, great aunt who did.  Really.  Her son in law, a surgeon in Columbus in 1906 did the surgery.  He found necrotic tissue.  It was grisly.  I have the death certificate.

But I digress.

Well I was supposed to have a colonoscopy tomorrow, but something came up when my beloved Mother in law fell down and broke her hip.

Mom is 90+ and very frail, so this was really, really serious.

Well, the minute we found out it was Mom who moved to the top of our lists and despite the husband protesting that I would miss my appointment, I put my foot down.  A colonoscopy can be rescheduled. Your mother, or your husband's mother, in a time of need, cannot be postponed.

So one of the things I needed to do was cancel the "procedure".  Immediately after the tickets were purchased, I called the doctor, asked for the scheduler, and told her why I was calling.

Scheduler then tells me that they will bill me for $300.  Say what?

"If you cancel without seven days notice, then you agree to be billed $300," says she.

I look through the paperwork and and see that, but I also see "emergency cancellations will be handled on a case by case action."

So I inquire as to this emergency dispensation, and we go around and around.  I mean, my mother in law had no idea she was going to fall, so how could she plan it for this office's convenience?  Silly me for thinking that a broken hip on a 90 year old woman with breast cancer wasn't important.  Right?

"Can't your wife visit her mother on her own?"


"Well why not?"

"Well for one thing, my husband is a man, not a woman and..."

I thought about this, and it could have been a teaching moment.  Or I could have gone all Julia Sugarbaker on this dim witted twit.

But I swallowed my disbelief and simply said " place is at my husband's side. And if the doctor can't understand that, then maybe its time to find another practice."

"Well, if it can't be worked out, fine, I will find something to tell the doctor."

Tell him the truth you stupid bitch, I thought.  But it didn't leave my mouth.  You can't open the mind of someone who doesn't have a mind to open.  And, After her boss is explore the resources my rectum like Lewis and Clark explored the great Northwest.  So if she's stupid and vindictive, I could get a 5PM colonoscopy scheduled, and who wants that, right?

We rescheduled my procedure, which will happen in two weeks if all things remain constant.

Do I want to be sitting in a 90 degree nursing home watching a woman who I love nearing the end of her life?  Or do I want to see the pain in my father in laws eyes as the woman who has been with him every day for 66 years slips a bit further away with each tick of the clock.  No.

But I want to be there because it makes their hearts feel stronger knowing that they are our priority, and they are.  As it should be.  Because I love them.  And I am annoyed by the nurse.

Maybe the scheduler doesn't have anyone to love, or has never been able to let someone love them.  Maybe this was her way of putting up with one more person canceling at the last moment.  Maybe.

So here we are.  Sitting.  Holding a hand.  Smiling.  Hoping.  And praying.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Our decision not to have an open kitchen

This just makes Cookie queasy.

When we bought Ville d"Cookie in Baltimore, it wasn't perfect.  In fact, it has proven difficult - damn difficult - to live in.

A house designed in the 1920's is designed for how they lived in the 1920s - a room for everything and everything in its room.  As quaint as they charmers are, most people who own houses don't "live" in the room, seldom eat in the dining room, and almost never have breakfast in the breakfast room - if in any room at all.  

However it is the kitchen that houses came with that are the most difficult to live with, because they are so damn small - but there was a reason why they were made small.  

After WWI, the idea that a middle income or high income household needed a large kitchen flew out the door when the household staffs began to shrink.  As wood stoves were replaced with electric and natural gas ranges, electric refrigeration, electric toasters and irons, and - GASP! - electric sinks (what we now call dishwashers) became available and common place, a housewife or limited staff, like a housekeeper, could run the house on their own.

And small kitchens were believed to save steps, and thus be easier on housewives, and thus efficient.  And this worked until the late 1940s.

In the 1950s, following WWII, open concept living was pushed for a variety of reasons, but chief among them was if you eliminate walls, you eliminate building costs.  So you had ranch houses with slightly larger kitchens with things like "snack bars", because serving the family like a diner was sold as being more efficient.

Kitchens got big again in the late 1960s and continued to grow until they were larger than living rooms - which we all know that people wouldn't live in because anyone coming to the house would see the mess.  So while kitchens go bigger, Living rooms reverted back to their role as the front parlor.  Eventually, the family was moved from the living room to the "family room" - a place where the family could gather around the TV.

All the while, kitchens kept getting bigger, fancier and expensive.

And frankly, I think BIG kitchens are making us BIGGER at the same time.  When you are living in a room with a TV and a kitchen, you have no excuse not to eat.  The food is too easy to get your big grubby paws on.

Now lets circle this back to the Cookie's and our kitchen, which is small, poorly laid out and has no work space.  At 144 square feet it has three indoor doors, one outdoor door, a stove, a sink and a side by side fridge.  And no garbage disposal or dishwasher because of the "big black bastard" of a radiator (5 foot long, and eighteen inches high and deep) that lives in the cupboard under the sink.

We had been considering knocking down walls and opening it up, but because the wall separating the kitchen from the rest of the house is a load bearing masonry wall, that would have added $20,000 to what would have been an affordable redo.

And then I saw online that small efficient kitchens that can be closed off from the rest of the house are the next hot thing.

Sweet smoking Jesus!  It's now chic to be small!

Also going by the wayside in these chic, small kitchens, are granite counters, which leach radon into air.  So that is saving us ten grand, right there.

BUT we have decided to take that useless breakfast room that connects the kitchen to the dining and install a serving counter with a bar sink, and bar fridge. You'll be able to see that from the kitchen, but not the mess. And our guests don't need to be in the kitchen.

So the husband and I have decided that our goal is to go back to that 1920s ideal of modern appliances, labor saving steps and simplification.  And reader, I am ready.

Now all we need is money!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A little surgery

Not one to feel sorry for myself, I did get a bit of bad news today during a follow up for my blood pressure monitoring.  I need to be on drugs to lower said pressure.

But thats not the bad news.

While I was there I asked the Dr. GP to look at a hemorrhoid, and he did, and the next thing I know I was sent directly to the Dr. Butt and Gutt.  I learned that Dr. Butt and Gutt was a native of Rome, Italy and came to the states for his training, and decided to stay because he loves rollercoasters.

Well, Butt and Gutt was very nice, had me drop my pants.  If you have never been to see a Butt and Gutt, they have these fabulous tables that are like kneelers, but they elevate your arse into the air so they can have a look see.

So like Norma, I had my ass in the air for a strange man.

And before this goes any further, Cookie's whole is exclusively an outtie, period.  Cookie hasn't bottomed since 1983.  Why, because it just isn't my thing.

Anyway, in goes his finger (YIPE!), and then goes the proctoscope, and then the table comes down and he says get dressed and come into my office in his thick Italian high pitched voice.

He sits me down and says "you don't have a hemorrhoid.  No.  You got three hemorrhoid.  And they are some big hemorrhoid.  You must be in a lot of pain."

I explain that I have a high tolerance for pain.

"You and your partner, you have the anal intercourse?"

I explain its an outtie.

"Because I know many men who come to see me have the anal intercourse, and the rectum is not always thrilled with the anal intercourse."

I explain its an outtie.  Again.

"Hmmm," say he.  "Ahh!  How long you have the diverticulitis?"

I explain by saying years.  We talk.

"That explain the the three BIG hemorrhoid."

He continues on to explain that he can't remove the hemorrhoids via ligation (the shoot a rubber band it the site and it cuts off the circulation, and the object dies and falls from the rectum wall) and that "we have to do little surgery."

I feel better, a little surgery, thats not bad.

"But these are just too engorged for the ligation."

And then my stomach dropped.

"Don't worry, its out patient."

He explained that since it has been ten years since my last colonoscopy, after which my doctor in Columbus, who I adored said "If the the rules were different I'd slap you on the ass and tell you that your were pig whistle clean.  But I can't, so I will just say that you have a healthy colon without any abnormalities."

That doctor was cute.  He could have slapped on on the ass.  Instead I am giving my ass over to a 50 year old Italian who is a great surgeon, but gets zero points on the hunk-o-meter.

So this is where we are.  First procedure is schedule for the 20th.  Then we decide how to proceed on the other matter.

I mean nothing is so terrible that it can't be fixed.  Still, I hate clear liquid diets.  And it looks like I will be getting a number of them in the days ahead.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Follow the dotted lines

Can you imagine being able to cut this whole coupon out, including
the woman, who looks like my friend Jody Homan and handing it to a cashier?
Maybe they would DOUBLE IT to a whole .14 cents!

So Cookie has been thinking a lot.

About the coming year.

Do you remember when we were younger and we thought the coming year was going to be a big thing?

Cookie was like that.  I would think that "this new year is going to be so much better than that tired, tired old year we were leaving behind.

And it only took me 51 years to follow the dotted lines to realize that if we really believe that the coming year was going to be one of promise, then it couldn't be that tired ratty old year we left behind, because then every year would be a set up to fail with our hopes up so far that they could meet expectations.

If every old year is bad and every new year has to be better than the old one, then you have wasted a year of your life.  And with fewer years in front of me, I want each year to count as a good one.

And come to think about, 2013 was pretty darn Tits, with a capital "T", because we each got something that we had longed for.

For example, we didn't get Mitt Romney for President.  And I think we all can agree that was a win for the U.S.  It was not a win for my best friend from high school, a gay man who isn't a happy gay man, because he's a Republican with a man crush on Mitt Romney.

Go ahead and reread that statement.  It's true.

That's right, my best friend from high school had a man crush on Mitt Romney.  Poor dear.  Had Mitt Romney offered my friend the chance to campaign with him, but only if my friend rode in the dog kennel strapped to the roof of the campaign bus, my friend would have been up that bus and in that kennel faster than you could say "Mitsy".

And we did get President Obama reelected.  But it's been a bruising year for the President, and I feel for him.  But if the President were here with me, I would say Mr. President, you need to let go of the micromanaging and you have to trust people, the right people, to get it done.  And I would also say, Mr. President, appoint Mitch McConnell Ambassador to the South Pole, because it will be a cold day in hell before that lipless chick mouthed bastard gets with the game plan.

But the biggest, bestest day of the year can in June with decision on United States v. Windsor.  For the first time in history, in the eyes of the Federal Government, we are equal on marriage rights.

But lets also thank God above that Edie Windsor had such a beautiful last name.  And who doesn't love a euphonious sounding last name that makes us think of hang gliding: Wind Soar!  Because, you know, she could just as easily been Edie Lipschitz.  And you know what kind of sound bite that would have made on FOXNews.

But my personal win with 2013 is that for the first time since I was a very young child, I did not dissolve into a total mess from October 15th through December 15th with an attack of Seasonal Affective Depression Disorder.

Cookie is a long way from cured, but a change up in my meds combined with an amazing new Dr. Shrink, had me feeling as close to the normal that other people around me were feeling for the first time in a very long time. I mean I actually leave the Dr. Shrink's office with a smile on my face.  Of course it isn't all smiles while I am in the office, afterall I am undergoing an exorcism of sorts from that Demon father of mine.  But its good to leave and feel lighter because I have faced a facet of how he loved me, the wrong way, and getting that emotional puke out of you is freeing.

Well, I don't want you to think that everything in 2013 was a cakewalk.  We still have Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin to deal with, as well as their adoring fans.  Like a bad case of the clap before Penicillin, they are going to be around for a while.

And not everything in 2013 went my way, but you know, that really is OK.  We can't win at everything, and we can't always get our way.  And letting go of that expectation can take you much further in happiness than holding onto unrealistic goals.

So I am looking forward to 2014 in quite a different way.  I hope it lives up to the triumphs, and consistencies found in 2013.  New beginnings are a wonderful thing, but continuing the good mojo year to year is even better.  And who knows, if I keep following this dotted line of contentment, maybe I can lose a few pounds along the way.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Horrified: The no pan cake

Rather than chance it, the husband I are going to spend a quiet night at home.

Oh, the picture?  Oh, yes, little lambs.  Its an ad for a "cake" that you make (more like assemble) inside a half-gallon milk carton.  This was the RAGE in the 1967.  "Dee!  How imaginative!" and "Kathy!  You always come up with the most wonderful ideas".

Meanwhile, Stan, Kathy's husband holds back, holds his hat, and hopes that their hosts won't kick them out for bringing this over.

But I am sure it was a big hit!

So like I said, rather than chance this at our front door this evening, its a quite night for us.

Have a HAPPY and more importantly SAFE New Years Eve.  And even though I know, NONE OF YOU will drink too much, remember, there are those out there who will.  Watch out for those bastards, OK?

See you in 2014!