Monday, July 17, 2017
You know how family visits can go when you are dreading them.
They can go good. They can go bad. They can go completely off the rails.
We had the husband's family in for Thanksgiving in May, and it went like Thanksgiving in November. They are good people, and I am happy to be in the family. But they are different.
When something bothers them, they push it down. Deep, deep, down. They put it in a vault, they lock it away and it disappears. Well, not really, it's always there. But it isn't brought up. They are very WASP in that regard.
My own family is somewhat divided.
I have my mothers people - Methodist Episcopalian's who I only hear from when they want something.
I have my father's people, who I hear from even less, save the brother and the nieces and two second cousins.
My problem is that my mother's family would just as assume that they have no kin. In that respect, there has to be a real reason why they are contacting you. You'll never get a call saying "Cookie, how are you." Nope, that doesn't happen. What does happen is you get a message. "Aunt Cleo wants to know if you have her grandfather's date of death. So I guess I should ask how you are."
Then there is my father's family is a different dynamic. We have family. We just don't see them, but they are there. Plus, because they are Jewish, it comes with it's own emotional levers that are different from my mother's family. With them its:
"Just so you know, Debbie and Deborah aren't speaking because Deborah took Debbie's seat at the Rosenblatt wedding."
How is that a problem? Can't the Debbie's figure it out on their own?
"Debbie wanted to sit with the Plotnick's, and Deborah switched the placecards. So she and Morton ended up at a table with the Goldfarb's. She was trying to avoid Danny Goldfarb because they had that thing at camp in 1971, and now Danny always brings it up."
Couldn't she just sit someplace else?
"Like where? The kiddie table?"
Deborah has always been a bit...
"And at seventy you expect her to change? I mean she is always going to pain in the ass she's always been...anyway we need to keep them at separate tables."
Suffice it to say that the husband was along, thank God. I mean we've been together for 20 years, and they were going to have to meet him sooner or later.
So, what happened at the reunion?
Well, I am not going into details, suffice it to say that we had our own versions of what happened. Our sturm and drang is on a individual basis.
What I will say is that I had a perfectly wonderful time.
No, seriously. It was totally fun.
Trust me, no one is as surprised as I am, but having the husband there really made the trip pleasant.
That our relationship has exceeded any of my father's million marriages, well, lets say that the best revenge in life is to be able to love and accept love.
As for the family, they have their issues and charms. None of them are my fault. At all.
For years I denied my father's family access into my life. I was not them, and they were not me. Look what it got me. Not much but thirty years of psych bills.
But, what I have learned in my own way is that you can't chose one side over another; you have to embrace who your people are.
Now had someone other than my father pulled me aside years ago and told something like "Look, I know that life seems like it sucks. And I know that you just want to belong to some normal family. But you have to navigate the world with what you have. And while you don't feel like now, trust me, in thirty or so years you are going better rounded, happier and more successful because you are different from the rest. Hang in there - it'll turn out fine." Well, then, wisdom comes with age.
That might take years of therapy, and some ranting and raving, but somehow - when you know who you are - you can be happy when the people the who are regretting the decisions they have made in their lives are miserable with the outcomes when their mortality rears its head, because they haven't figured out who they are.
Would I go to another? Oh, hell yes. And this time I am bringing the genealogy.
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Well, Cookie has made it through the family reunion and I am still processing the feelings of confusion, bemusement and annoyance following the get together. Once I process everything, I shall enlighten you.
IN THE MEANTIME...
Going back a post or so I wrote about the man complaining about his nipples (tits, if you are a woman, in his eyes), and so I have been doing my fair share of observing people and listening in.
One of the former bloggers posted on their Facebook account about about the battle that still rages in the region - are you a Duke's Mayo person, or are you a Hellmann's person.
Last week, the hotel was full of Southerners back up north for family reunion time.
Overheard at the Giant Eagle in Beachwood, Ohio was a southern woman in the condiment aisles. (Honey and I were there picking up cookies to nosh on.)
"Where is the Duke's? All I see is Satan's* mayonnaise."
AT THE WAITING ROOM...
Husband had to have a bad molar removed. We got to the oral surgeons on time, but waited close to an hour before they called him back, so after five days in the car ALONE and the hour in the waiting room, things were getting kinda quiet.
In walks a woman who looks like "Dougie" (on Life in Pieces) and her Mama. Dougie sits down, Mama checks in, and then they start picking on each other:
Mama: "Good Lord. Look at those feet of yours - toe jam and what have you done to your toenails?"
Mama: "You need to cut those toenails. Why are they sharp and pointed?"
Dougie: "That's the way they grow, naturally..."
AT Barnes and Noble...
"Where do the books that have titles beginning with "The" start?"
"I am looking for a book. The cover is pink and it was on Dr. Phil a couple of months ago. Where is it?"
Do you have a title?
"No, it was written by a woman...No, I don't remember what it was about, just that the cover was pink and title begins with "The".
IN FRONT OF OUR HOUSE...
This morning I was watering the flowers when a fellow Shakerite who lives in this God forsaken hotter than Hades place called Baltimore walked by and stopped and we chatted. We chatted about this and that, and we chatted about Van Aken Shopping Center in Shaker, which is no more. We parted, vowing to get together, and I went to get the hose reeled in.
An older woman, also walking her dog "You-Hoo'd" me and I walked over.
"Your flower garden is very colorful," says she. I thanked her.
"The colors are very vivid," says she. I agreed.
"Are they perennials?" she asked. "No, annuals. Annuals give you color season long."
"It's so unusual to see a house with so much bright vivid color. I only plant perennials. Why pay for the flower more than once? We're not used to such bright, vivid, floral displays. How do you ever sleep with all this loud color going on?"
"You know when Walter and Trudy lived her, their yard blended better with the rest of the houses. What is going on in that garden?"
She crept closer to the beds and I crept along with her. The flower bed was, as it is every morning, buzzing with dozens of types of bees. Which is great. She seemed gobsmacked.
"Well! This is where all the bees are in the neighborhood! These flowers are distracting them from other parts of the neighborhood!"
DING, the crazy bell went off.
"Doubtful," came out of my mouth. I dared not tell her about the copious numbers of lightning bugs, the dragonfly's and the worms in the back garden. Or that we have hummingbirds, gold finches and downy woodpeckers. That would have sent her over the top.
To get away from the daft old woman, I said "well, if you excuse me, I need to get this hose wound up."
"They are lovely but very loud," and off she went.
ON THE PHONE...
"Hi! This is Judy! Someone in you household called us mobility devices, and we're calling you back." Click.
ME, IN A BAR TONIGHT...
"A Manger's Pear, please."
Tuesday, July 4, 2017
We have a yard sale upcoming and frankly, I cannot get into it.
For some reason, instead of a reasonable May date, the neighborhood chooses what is historically the most miserable day of the year to deal with the most miserable people - yard sale shoppers.
Last year the heat was brutal. Not even my biggest Big Edie hat with the floppy brim helped. The sun refused to yield, turning plastic to jelly.
I am good for about two hours, then it falls to the husband to carry on.
Still, we have these tubs of stuff unsold from last years yard sale and some other stuff that needs to go.
There are some items that frankly, we no longer need. Wide screen LCD monitors, computers without the drives, towels for bathrooms in colors that don't work in this house, and won't work in the house once we redo the bathrooms.
I have been buying up good quality pots and pans at resale stores for pennies on the dollar, restoring them and selling them to people at a considerable markup.
Books are increasingly a problem because 1) People want you to give them to you for free, or 2) They look at the bins and say "I read everything on my iPhone." My standard response to that last one is "But you can read books without worrying about running your phone battery down after the hurricanes knock the power out for days on end."
We have no Lego to sell, so right off the bat the "Do you have any Lego to sell" guy will be disappointed. As will the Mid-Century modern guy, because we have none that we want to get rid of.
Last year we had a woman who tried to slip a couple trinkets into her purse and try and walk off with them. We're all on the look out for her as well.
Part of our problem is that now that all of parents are deceased, no one is reading the Harriet Carter catalog and ordering stuff for us like pencils trimmed in maribou, phone address books, cord hiders, or book lights.
Last year we sold the plastic flower pot lamps that an uncle sent to us as a house warming gift. Essentially, they were giant white plastic flower pots that he drill holes into in a design, then glued these colored clear plastic light bright pegs into the holes. He would drill a hole in the top and attach a chain and socket.
"It'll look great on your mobile home patio."
When we move to a "mobile home" in twenty years, well then, maybe. But right now we live in the heart of Mercedes Benz country and have no need for them. We made twenty a piece off of them.
The husband and I are going to have to sort this out or sit it. I am for the later, not the former.
Sunday, July 2, 2017
There comes a time when all things out grow their usefulness. When a peony first blooms and smells sweet, and you cut it, plunge it into cold water and then take it inside, where for a day of so it smells wonderful. Then it loses that beautiful scent, and the petals begin to go, and finally it wilts.
Into the trash it goes. Fare thee well, sweet one.
Or a car, once shiney and news is driven until it becomes unreliable, or driven until one grows tired of it and its time to say "How much can I get for it?"
To the auto auction, old friend! Hope they don't make a taxi out of you!
Or Cookie. Once so slim, head full of hair and a sex drive that could not be put asunder. Now, on the downside of the bell-curve of life, he has become invisible to the next generation, and it could be in as little as twenty years before his husband says "You leak, you smell bad and I am tired of looking for your teeth. To the nursing home for you!"
Enjoy the soft food, and the coming of the grim reaper in the warehouse of the old.
Well, I am not near there, yet.
But alas, today we went to the grocery and ended up with a brand new Dyson Ball vacuum.
We have owned Dyson's since 2000, and loved every one of them. Our first was the "low reach" model, geranium in color, with a special floor attachment. Loved it!
Then in 2011, it was replaced by a Dyson Animal Ball. Loved it as well. It was perfect of the house in Columbus, but it was too small for the houses in Baltimore. The canister needed constant emptying, and the cord was too short to do multiple rooms. And the extended hose was way too short for the stairs.
So today we wanted to pick up some K-Cups for the coffee maker and the husband wandered past the Dyson display at Bed Bondage and Beyond and there was one hell of deal. The new larger model, Animal level, essentially, $120 off, PLUS and extra 20% off of that.
We talked about, hmmm, hoooo'd and hawed about it, and agreed, lets do it.
It was more vacuum for less than what we paid for the current one.
Still, this being the third Dyson, we have noticed that there are some things have changed over the years, and one of them is that not all of the changes are for the better. The plastic seems cheaper, and the way things connect isn't quite as elegant.
And we can sell the current Dyson for a good price. While walking the dog we stopped and chatted with a few neighbors we knew and new one we hadn't met. I did mention to one of the neighbors that we were selling the older model Dyson and that it would be priced very fairly and her response was that she would ask the women that she worked with. Another neighbor said that "Consuelo uses our Electrolux and our Kirby...maybe she needs a vacuum for her hacienda. I'll ask."
Walking away I said to the husband "Could that have been anymore..."
"...all that was missing are the siesta's and the taco truck," quipped my man.
We're having a yard sale this month, so it might end up being in that if it doesn't sell on NextDoor.
Still, its going to be one of those partings where you say good bye to something that has cared for you and you have taken care of it.
I wonder if Consuelo is looking to ditch the neighbor for someone who who values her above a stereotype....
Saturday, July 1, 2017
So, yesterday, and FAIR WARNING - this post contains a serious medical condition and suggestion, we are headed over to E****'s, our local market, when I swing the new car over to the furthest part of the parking lot, which is also the least likely place for it to get dinged up, we spot a couple, in the 70's by their car. The man whips open his belt, pulls out his shirt tail, and sticks his hand up there and starts feeling himself.
Now, these are well to do people who look like they have been out on the golf course, or are dressed for something fairly nice and summery.
We park, and as wel open the door we hear the following because he is almost yelling it:
"Jesus my nipples really hurt, they're so sensitive!"
Alright, then. This is not an everyday thing that you see or hear at this market. It's somewhat a well healed place. Depravity or this type of activity is not something that they stock and it certainly isn't anything common. In fact, it made Cookie very uncomfortable.
Head down, past them we go because if we want to go into the market, we have to pass them. As we pass and get a couple feet beyond them, the man, again begins to bellow "How do you girls live with tits that are this sensitive!?"
We continue walking, faster pace, and go into the market. As we tool up and down the ailes, we see this guy, walking about with his belt undone.
We exist, we go home. Still shocked.
This morning I get up, and there is a message from an elementary school friend. He is being treated for recurrent male breast cancer, which is something that men can get, and do get. And it can be as lethal in men as it is for women. And my friend is not doing well on this second go round.
And then it dawned on me that unless the guy in the parking lot had one hell of sunburn, one of the early warning signs of breast cancer in men are painful nipples, and a discharge of what looks like breast milk from the nipple.
Now my friend found a lump while taking a shower. He was a runner, lean build. He's been married to his wife forever and they have two daughters. It was a fluke that he found it.
So here is the thing. Men can get this, and it is just as devastating a disease. Men are also more prone to developing breast cancer if they have a condition called Gynecomastia that arose during puberty, or have the BRCA2 gene. This is the gene that also makes men candidates for prostate cancer.
So this is just not a girl thing, OK?
And here is part of the problem in getting is disease treated - men are less likely to check than woman for lumps because most men don't know that they can develop breast cancer. We get freaked out by the "breast" word when applying it to guys.
You need to get over that, now.
It's word, period, and words cannot kill you.
But cancer is a disease that can kill you.
Had I been thinking, I should have walked up to the guy and said, "excuse me, I heard you in the parking lot and I have to encourage you to talk to your doctor about this." It wasn't like I was listening in to a whispered conversation. This guy was BELLOWING about his nipples. But yeah, he should see his doctor and he probably won't.
You, my readers, on the hand, can do something about this. When you shower men, after you check your nads for anything off, check the tissue in your chests. Call it a breast or a pec, but check it.
You shouldn't have to go through what my friend in Cleveland is going through. But if you find something, TELL THE FREAKING DOCTOR, NOW.
I love you all to death, but this is something that is unlikely but possible. Do the right thing. Take care of yourselves.
As for the guy in the parking lot, I really am hoping that he'll see a doctor.