Thursday, December 31, 2015

The deed is done. Literally.

The ink has dried.

The keys have been exchanged.

The deed is done.

The gas, electric, alarm and insurance cancellations are done.

And now it is in the new owners hands.

Tudor cottage finally has new owners.  We closed this afternoon.

Nice young couple.  Both the husband I can not be happier.

Owning a second home is not all it's cracked up to be.  I know it wasn't that type of second home.

But what a bother.

Worry about break ins.  Worry about thefts.  And then that was that second yard to cut, trim and weed.

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week I went to the old house and scrubbed every last inch of floor, cabinetry and woodwork.  Their realtor even said that this was the first time he had walked in for a preclosing inspection where the house was immaculate.  It's all about good karma.  

So for continued good Karma we are throwing the new owners a cocktail party next month.

Thank the goddess that they are nice and not assholes.  And thank the goddess they bought the house as is, and without contingencies.

Yippee, indeed!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Now to return the gifts that weren't a big hit...

I thought this leopard print cat suit would make Norma look and feel like Ann Margaret...

...but in reality, Norma felt it wasn't working for him.

I thought that Jason would find this useful, but he said that it was a bit too French for job.

I found these bookends for MJ, but alas, they were too tall for her shelves.

I found this delightful thing for Muscato, but he pointed out that he didn't have the slightest inclination to learn how to kiss any girl.

Oh well, better luck next year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Ghosts of Christmas Gifts Past

Cutting edge TV and VCR Center

Workout Equipment

Cassette Player with Remote

Music and LP's

A visit from Norma, MJ and Jason

Monday, December 21, 2015

Worlds worst souvenir: The radioactive dime

Janet thought it would be interesting. But Harry just put in his and kept it as a charm.  Years later, they never figure out how Harry became sterile.  Or why his testicles dropped out of his pants...

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Karma is going to come down hard on me...

At the December 19, 2015 meeting of Schadenfreudian's Anonymous, I take to the stage.

My name is Cookie (Hello, Cookie) and I have had impure thoughts.

(Crowd buzzes, nodding their heads, trying not to look at their phones...)

You see, last Tuesday, the news reports came out that someone who my childlike self feels is evil, landed himself in a whole lot of trouble.

(The room quiets.  A couple people try and repress their smiles.  They know my secret shame...)

And I, well, I found myself struggling to think kind thoughts of this person.  I didn't want to stoop to an unkind level.  I am trying to be a better person.  I am trying - like Oprah tells people - to attract good energy around me, so that people will come to me and include me in positive, life affirming activities.

(You can hear a pin a drop, and then Norma Desmond stands up and says...)

"For crying out loud - that putz Martin Shkreli had it coming Cookie!"
(The room erupts, and sheds it's pious facade.)

This is how it plays out in my head.  I am trying to be good.  But it is such a struggle.

I am sure that there is something, even a molecule of his brain that can be redeemed in Martin Shkreli.  OK, half a molecule.  Maybe an atom.

But at the same time I am so enjoying watching this humanperson, being, prick get what's coming to him.

And the worst part about it is that I want him to suffer.  Really.  I mean suffer.  I mean suffer like he caused others to suffer.  I don't want any harm to come to him besides being locked up for life.

Nothing a good dry assfucking couldn't cure.  But not with my dick; no effing way.  Because anyone who ass fucks Martin Shkreli has a ruined dick.  Think about it.  Who wants to be dicked sister with Martin Shkreli?

And those aren't nice thoughts towards others - especially at Christmastime!

But look at what he did - and it has nothing to do with that drug price increase.

This son of a Albanian bitch not only ripped off investors in his two investment schemes, but then he took a fairly sound company and began stealing from it to pad his wallet and pay people off, in that order.

In other words, he was running a Ponzi scheme.  Not on the scale of Bernie Madoff, mind you.

But what makes this so vile is that he's behaving as if he's Leona Helmsley incarnate.

I just want to smack his face.  You know?

But at least Leona made sure that your linens were clean and the hotel food was "good".

So yes, I am a Schadenfreudian's Anonymous member who has failed.

So now I am trying to think good thoughts.  Nothing but good thoughts, about everyone and everything.  But I am really struggling...

Thursday, December 17, 2015

This is what 46 looked like, in 1962.

In 1962, the makers of geritol ran this ad featuring 46 year old women.

All of these women were born in 1916.  Thats right.  1916.  The year before the U.S. entered WWI.

Can you find the three women in this ad that take Geritol and are young and vibrant?  Can you find the three women who don't?  And can you chose the "career gal"?  (And I think one of these women loves her grandchildren almost as she loves her Johnny Walker black.  Almost.)

Read between the lines of the copy and there is a clear message - some of these women look their age, some look young for their age, but some women look sixty.

The average age expectancy of women in the United States in 1962 was 73.5 years.  Today, that average age is up to 81, however the U.S. has dropped in overall rankings, behind countries such as France, Germany, Japan and England, but also behind Slovinia, Nahru (A nation that currancy backed by the worth of bird droppings, its biggest export), Lebanon and Estonia.  

We have even dropped behind Andorra.  That's right ANDORRA.  A country where they let non violent offenders out of jail each Friday, if they promise to come back on Monday.  Do you even know where Andorra is?

I'll tell you where it is*.

It's IN FRONT OF the U.S. in life expectancy, that's where it is!

I post this, because the woman in the gold turtleneck and vest reminds me of my mother at 46.  She never took Geritol.

Mom's secret?

A pack of Vantage cigarettes a day and diet of BLT's and black coffee.

What's your secret?

*Andorra is the smallest nation state in Europe, in the mountains between France and Spain.  It's so tiny that Napoleon wouldn't invade it because he thought it was cute.  Don't believe me?  Look it up.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

MIL Update!

So, if you have been following the efforts to find and connect with my Mother In Law's birth family, you know that we've had great successes and a disappointing setback.

Well last week we flew to New England to see her and share with her what we have found.

The best way to explain her current state is that she used to be bright, sharp and sunny - a 100 watt light bulb with lots of energy.  We are now down to 15 watts, and it flickers - the wires are fragile.

Her mind is thinking, but the connections between it and her ability to speak isn't great and mostly we get one word answers.

MIL cannot walk, and uses a wheelchair to get a around.  She is sharpest in the morning, but confused at night.  She sleeps a great deal.  But her care givers get her up each day, dressed in her own clothes, and she goes to excercise (raising her arms up and wiggling her feet) and sing a longs, and watches movies with the other residents in the assisted living unit.  Still, she is in palliative care - easing discomforts, not trying to cure them.

So we sat down with her last Wednesday and showed her what we found.  She remembers she was adopted.  She remembers how wonderful her adoptive parents were.  She remembered wanting to find her birth parents.  And her face lit up when we told her what we had found for her.

And she took the charts in her hands and studied them.  Her mind was working; she was taking it in.  We explained the charts - which we simplified for her.  She studied them.  We said the names and she repeated them.

So I asked her if this made her sad, or happy.

She thought about it it looking at the pages, and cocked her head and said, with great force and "vigga"...


So evidently we accomplished what we set out to do.

It doesn't seem like we hear of too many successes in the world where children are given up for adoption, and then are raised by parents who adore them, and never think about them in terms less than a biological child.

But we know that chosen children are more often than naught, loved by their parents who raise them, and are more often than naught missed by their birth parents.

MIL was one of the lucky few though, that got to lead a most remarkable life - more remarkable than most children - adopted or otherwise.  And she appreciated that life.

And that makes me HAPPY for her, and very glad to be a part of it.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Be Very Afraid, Better Homes and Gardens 1958 Christmas SpectacularSpectacular

Cookie is now 53 years old, and through my life I have lived through shocking moments, and I have seen shocking things.   I know, I know - hard to believe, but true.  Yes, I have seen things that one should not need to see - so few things "shock" me today.

Actually, I take that back.  I am still shocked and repulsed by people who support Donald Trump.  There you have it.

So imagine my surprise when this arrived in the mail after I won an eBay auction.  I had not bid on it, but the seller got confused and I ended up with it.

It is shear Christmas Porn.  Page after page of lurid color images.  Each page more SHOCKING than the next.  And people think that things were better in the good old days?  Think again...

Lets look at that cover, shall we?

The evil humpty dumpty - with long legs that would easily get him off that wall, if he just tried.  The fruit cake sitting on sharp metal points.  Bags filled with God knows what on the tree.

Inside, the editors invite you think "outside of the box" and try an "Oriental" style Christmas theme.

And how do we know it was inspired by the east?  Because nothing says Tokyo than Pink Tulle glued to driftwood, right?

And we also know that this is ORIENTAL because of the cunning ORIENTAL man hiding presents for his neighbor's caucasian wife.  (Hint: I don't believe that Asian Americans like being called "oriental".)

And what this?

Nothing says ORIENTAL Christmas like a tree made out of Golden Rod, eh?

Meanwhile, on the east coast....

Inside we find the Mame Dennis Burnside home on Beekman Place.  Evidently things are lean as Nora and Ito have resulted to making a Star Burst Pinata, and cheap ribbony gee gaws on the wall.  It's all very sad...Tasteful, but sad...This is an example of basic decoration for people who don't like the fuss and bother that BHG intends on unleashing in the pages to come.

What the flock!

This looks like a festive tree.  I actually love the colors and the decorations.  Something quite different than the usual theme trees of today.  And where does one get those fabulous 50s decorations?  You make them.  The magazine gives you step by step instructions.  Well, actually, not you, this is job for your...

Looks like it's time to get your kiddies sweat shop up and running!  And what adorable moppets don't love crafts?  And crafts for eight to ten hours?  Too much fun!!!  Plenty of sugary Christmas cookie will help keep them hopped up and cranking out those ornaments till the whole flocking tree is covered.

Now according to the text, you are going to need wooden clothespins, wooden picnic spoons and forks (wooden?), tin can lids, embroidery hoops - wait a minute.  Tin can lids?


Razor sharp tin can lids!   And other sharp pointy things painted with lead based paint, and plenty of small beads - the perfect size for choking on!  Did I mention the sharp pointy skewers that can take out an eye faster than you can call 911?  And that glue?  Made from Mr. Ed's hooves.

So while the kids are pinching one and other with those clothespins, Mom will be sitting down with a scotch and her scrap bag to create toys that the kids really can throw at each other.  See, it's easy - see?  Not quite sure what up with that stoner dog puppet - damn hippies.

And what about Dad?  Where is he with all this mirth making being made?

Well I'll tell you where he is - He's in the Rumpus Room basement, damnit, with his man friends, war buddies, the type of friends that you kill for, and have when the North Korean's are on the march. 

Being manly and making a manly meal, it's not a snack.  No, BHG calls this a STAG FEED.  


And while Dad is carving his meat in a manly fashion, his buddy Maury is getting some pocket pool time in, and their friend Dick - well, he's leaning in.  Why?  BECAUSE, men need to be manly, that's why!

Let's take a look at that holiday man food will ya:

Just look at that god damned delicious chow for this manly STAG FEED!  Manly cheese - a whole wedge of it - slices are for pussies.  And mustards - because only sissies and kids like ketchup.  Big Manly crackers.  Flat Bread is a pussy term.  Men eat crackers - and they love big six inch crackers - and larger too!  And we've BEEF because men crave red meat. {Snarl} And for bread - there is the most manly bread known to MANKIND - dry rye bread, with plenty of seeds and lots of it.  On the stove?  A big pot of beans.  Why beans?  Because it's a manly dish.  And the Indian Club style grinders?  Because real men GRIND their salt and pepper.  Shaking from shakers is for Commies, and women.  

And speaking of plastered, Baby Jesus certainly looks plastered.  And HEY!  Just in case you are one of those idiots who has forgotten what this season is REALLY about - it's about a plaster likeness of the baby Jesus, swaddled in a golden doily and placed upon a pink glittery piece of scrap fabric.  And oh, Come let us adorn him with glittery silvery ornaments and lights, because THAT there, bub is the REASON FOR THE SEASON.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Bad Hanukkah Presents

As a public service announcement, Cookie would like to remind people that Hanukkah - The Jewish Festival of Light - is not NOT the Jew's version of Christmas.  That it falls in December is part an parcel of history.   But we are not celebrating the birth of a savior.  We are celebrating the miracle of light - that a tiny amount of oil that should have lasted half a night lasted for a week, plus.

THAT SAID, Cookie would ALSO like to remind the Jews that Hanukkah is NOT Christmas.  It is not a week of unbridled greed.  Yes, if you are lucky - you get a small trinket.  I know that there are a lot of you who think of a Lexus as a trinket, but it is not.  It's a luxury car.  A diamond ring is not a trinket.  It's a bauble.

So what is a trinket?  Think Cracker Jack prize without having to eat the damned Cracker Jack.

And if you are of certain age, like Cookie, you remember when you were lucky at all to get anything for Hanukkah.  Maybe a dollar from Bubbe.

Being from a mixed marriage, this is why I coveted Christmas with my mother's family - there is was all about PRESENTS and yummy food.

But in Shaker Heights, you got a grilled cheese, you lit a candle in honor of the oil, and then you maybe got a trinket.  Or a dollar from my grandmother.  Maybe a matchbox car from my father. Magic markers from my mother.

The extended family would use the holiday as an excuse to commit a drive by giftings.  If non Jewish kids get Santa, Jewish kids get elderly relatives that dart in and out with something small.

Included in this, my extended uncle and aunt Sid and Florence Amder - two of the nicest, kindest people ever.  Uncle Sid's brother was married to my father's sister.  They had no children of there own, but they always had something for the small kids.  Sid and Florence never forgot a holiday, or a hug or a compliment, but they gave the worst trinkets ever.  Included in the gifts given:

1965 - A roll of Cryst-O-Mint Life Savers
1966 - Toe Nail Clippers
1967 - Flashlight, without the batteries
1968 - Pot holders
1969 - Room thermometer

1970, however was a turning point in the gift giving.  The night that Sid and Florence arrived, my Cousin Joyce and her two children Chip and Petey were over, dining on grilled cheese with me.

Evidently, at eight years old, Sid and Florence decided that I had aged out the Hanukkah gift giving tradition.  I was in second grade, and no one told me this.  So imagine my sadness - everybody else got something, but I was left with nothing except a Revlon lipstick print on my cheek - at seeing the trinkets that they had brought to our house for my cousins children (who were closer in age to me than their parents), but none for me.

I admit it, I cried.  I didn't have a tantrum, it was a silent tear thing.  I was eight, and over the hill.  And Florence's "But you're a big boy now," did nothing to make my situation any less painful.  It was like being forgotten.

So Sid, God love him, ran out to the car opened the glove box and grabbed something.   He comes back into the house and stuffs the owner's manual to the old beat up Oldsmobile that they were driving.

Evidently Sid, sensing my confusion, fumbled for some words.

"Like your Aunt Florence said, you're a big boy, and you'll be a driver in about eight or nine years, and you like cars, so this is something really important for your future as a motorist...." and he kept rambling.

Honestly, my tears dried up.  The book was cool, with pictures, and I loved cars.  FINALLY, a present I could embrace.  So I gave them both a big hug.

And I was the envy of the younger children - my Cousin Chip, a year younger than me, made a grab for the manual, and I kicked in the nuts.  That manual was mine and he was not got cover it in snot and sticky fingers.  MINE!

After that Sid and Florence gave me auto brochures every year until I went to Junior High School.  And when they bought a new Oldsmobile, they came and took me for a ride.

Sid and Florence died years ago - everyone in my generation has retired to Florida or are going to Florida, and I have no idea what ever happened to the manual.

But the lesson learned from that is sometimes, the best present isn't practical.  It's just something grabbed and given.  A trinket.  You know?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Style Court: The women of Parma, Ohio V. Mrs. Martha Smith Standish of Shaker Heights, Ohio

Parma women love brassy style.  You cannot live on the west side of Cleveland, Ohio, and have enough imitation leopard print.  "Impossible. It cannot be done,  I want to take all of these home, right off the rack," says Mona Grabinski.  Notice how Mona's car coat is a good four inches shorter than her Sears best polyester skirt. "When you walk into the union hall with your man, you want to turn some heads.  It's good to know that every man his his eyes on you.  And it reminds my husband Dom that I could have the pick of any of these men, ca-peesh?"

Now compare that to the measured fashion approach my Martha Smith Standish:

Notice how the silk jacket, part of a suit from Peck and Peck, is properly fitted.  The cut is fashionable, but not flashy.  The blouse from Halle's is crisp - smartly pressed.  Likewise, the single strand of pearls from Cowell and Hubbard demonstrate restrained good taste.  Her hair, by Joey and Tano, befits a woman of her maturity and stature in the community.

According to Mrs. Smith Standish, each day she performs an important ritual before venturing out.  "Before leaving the house I stop at the mirror beside the door, and remove one article of jewelry. One never wants to be showy and exhibit poor taste.  I say your wardrobe should be appropriate for the Christmas season; never aspire to remind people of just the tinsel on the tree."

Words to live by, Mrs. Smith Standish.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Saturday, December 5, 2015

My name is Cookie and I am a genealogy junkie...

Yes, it's true.

It is 9:15 on a quiet Saturday night at Cookie Manor and here I sit.

I am beating my head against the web site while my husband has his weekly affair with Doctor Who.

The problem is, we have reached the end of the internets as it applies to Mom's birth family.   I have exhausted all of the online databases for her birth family.  Seriously.

New York, as I have said before, is HUGE state, with a massive population, and according to itself, the center of the universe.  HOWEVER, one place where it fails in a Mississippian fashion is its online records and newspapers.

New York is as bad as Albania when it comes to accessing online records.

You see, New York isn't one state - its two.  It is the five boroughs that make up greater New York City, and then everything else.  And very little of it is online, searchable, with content.

For example, if you are looking for an Ohio death certificate, 1908 to 1953, they are ALL online, for free through family search.  And that is ALL 88 counties.

New York? Pish.  Send away for $25 for a death certificate from 1914 and PROVE to US that you are a relative.

Looking for a California Newspaper?  They are online through a variety of resources, subscription and free services.  

New York?  You can access the Times. And a couple here and a couple over here.  But not the Statewide press archives like Ohio.

Even Indiana - notoriously terrible in its records access, has more daily newspapers online that freaking New York.  EVEN OK-freakin-LA-HO-MA has more pages online that are searchable than New York.

But New York? Feh.  It's a backwater when it comes to online records, newspapers and directories.

A close friend of Cookie's who is a "certified" genealogist thinks all of this is going to change in the next five years.

"People expect records to be searchable online, and their public records aren't.  And someone is going to sue the state for not having open records and New York is going to have to comply,"  Says my friend Nancyman.

Anyhow, I have to step away from the computer.  Its becoming madness.

Speaking of Madness, because we had such a horrible reaction from MIL birth nephew, niece and their kin, we have asked our adoption search Guru, Angela, to intercede with the other sisters family - sorta like a Yenta - on our behalf.

We are hoping that someone who's resume includes professional status can get a foot in the door instead of the way it was slammed in our faces before.

So I am going to get some chocolate chip mint ice cream from Baskin & Robbins - the only chocolate chip mint ice cream there is that I will eat and go break up my husband and Doctor Who.


Because, Mr. Smarty pants, that's why.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Taking a break, and then to work...

Well, it's the weekend.


I had to get away from this family project because between the monster head cold that nature gave me for my 53rd birthday has lasted for twelve days, and as a result, the house had gotten away from me and my house keeping machinations.

And frankly my head is spinning from Strouse's.

So I put away the bed linens from our guests at Thanksgiving and worked at cleaning up the guest bedding on the third floor.

Taking a quick break, I signed onto Amazon Vine and scored a brand new foam and gel mattress for the guest room for FREE.  Read it and weep.  FREE.

Then I did 12 days worth of laundry (Six loads), stripped the beds, flipped our bed and cleaned the bathroom floors.

I folded the laundry and hauled it up to the second and third floors and put it away.

I went to the store, bought fresh bed and a wood chisel, because tomorrow we need to chise some  wood to repair a door.

I also washed out the humidifier pans that live under the lid of our radiator covers.  These are galvanized shallow pans that your pour water into and radiators heats the water, which releases the water vapor so everything in your home becomes less shocking.

And can you believe after all of that, while I was getting my hair cut, the woman cutting my hair had the nerve to say "Good, now that you are done you can come to my house and clean."

I am sitting there thinking "Bitch, after all of that, and its 12:30, why in the name of Sweet Lord Jesus, would I want to do that?"  But because she had very sharp pointy scissors, I thought it was better just to smile.

Then I came home and patched the concrete walk to the front door. ALL of this because when the husband comes home, I want him to have a nice place to land.

And yes, I have turned into my mother.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Theater of the Absurd Thrives in New York State Government

We all know what a cluster governmental bureaucracy can be, and we are living that nightmare as I type.

You see, we are now searching for the date of death for my mother in law's (henceforth, Roz) mother.  If you will recall from the other day, we did find her birth parents names, but were quickly cast aside by the surviving member of her elder birth sister's family.

Now, as if this entire thing could get more tedious, we are dealing with the Byzantine world of New York State Government.  More specifically, its state run mental hospitals.  Apparently, Birth Mother, Bella Strouse was institutionalized for a mental illness, most likely postpartum depression, and most likely misdiagnosed as something far worse.  In 1925 many lower income women who could not function following the birth of a babe were shipped off to state run hospitals where they were soothed with salts of thorazine.  Most lived out their lives abandoned by their families by what what we now call, affectionately, "baby blues".

We know she was there in 1925.  And we know she was at Utica State Hospital in 1930 because it shows on the U.S. Census.  And we know that she was Marcy State Hospital because that shows on the 1940 census.  (Utica State was the state hospital in New York for the *insane* for decades.  Marcy, just down the road from Utica was built later.  Both hospitals have been replaced with the Mohawk Valley facility.)

So it is most likely that Bella died in a state run hospital.  They should know.  But they do not.  In fact:

  • The State of New York Department of Health does not know.
  • The State of New York Department of Mental Health does not know.
  • The State of New York Office of Mental Hygiene does not know.  In fact, the State employee I spoke with had never heard of Utica State Hospital, or Marcy State Hospital.  Interesting.
  • The Onieda County Health Department does not keep death certificates for the county, for that you have to go to the town clerk.  
  • The town clerk over here is charging us $82 to look in a 30 year window.
  • The town clerk in another municipality bent over backwards to help us over the phone.  I owe her a metaphoric gift basket. 
  • The Governor's office wants everything in writing before it will figure this mess out, but an employee said have you looked at this woman named Bella in a Kings County cemetery?  "Oh, you are right, this Bella was Jewish and you said your family member was Catholic."
THEN there was my discussion with state archives, and this where Charles Ludlam would have scripted the conversation which went like this:

Me: We are trying to determine if there is anyway for to access Bella's records to see when she was discharged or died.

Them: I'm sorry, but I can't discuss anyone in a state run institution because their rights are protected by HIPPA.

Me: Actually, HIPPA protects the privacy of living people, and this woman is dead.

Them: Where did they die?

Me: That is why I am calling you.  I understand that I need to submit a letter, but before I do that, do you have the records and can you access them?

Them: I'm sorry, but I can't discuss confidential patient information without her written consent.

Me: If she were alive she would be 131 years old, and that is unlikely, or we have a real Christmas miracle on our hands.  And if she is dead, then she can't complete the forms.

Them: Let me send you the paperwork for the patient to fill out.  And you can't fill it for them.  They must fill it out themselves...

Me: Aardvark 

Them: Come again?

Me: Nevermind {click}

I have long been suspect that New York is simply too large a state to function on its own.  

After today, I know that for fact.

Monday, November 30, 2015

We lost the battle, but we won the war.

How could anyone not love her?

Well, where does one begin?

At the beginning, I suppose.

My mother in law, whom I love very much, for a variety of reasons, is nearing the end of her life.   The family is working with hospice, as her mind and body begins its wind down.  We lost my father in law about 14 months ago, now it's her time for her farewell performance.

Nothing is imminent, it's just the doctor has said that given her age, that if she has another internal bleeding episode that it would be easier on her if we just to let nature take its course.  At 92, she is simply tired.

Faced with this, the husband and I started working doubly hard on trying to find her birth parents.  It's been a decades process that never really yielded anything.  All her adoption agency would give her when she was well was "non-identifying" information, which was all accurate, but impossible to prove.

Last spring, after watch Dr. Henry Gates use a genetic genealogist by the name of Cece Moore, I thought, now there's something that we've never done before.  So I contacted Ms. Moore, and she was delighted to help us.  Since her plate was full, she handed us over to another able professional named Angela, and together we marched forward, until all of us got distracted with the things in our lives.

Then this past fall, we really pushed forward.  Finally, with MIL's DNA providing us nothing but ancient overseas matches, we tried another route.

Go back to the source of our frustrations.

We decided to contact the adoption agency.

MIL was adopted in New York, and New York laws on adoptions were, for years, byzantine at best and pure gothic at its worst.

In 1989, MIL started playing this "ask me a question and I'll tell you no lies" routine that led nowhere but the "non-identification" information which contained things like "Your father was a protestant; your mother a Catholic."  And "Your mother was raised in a convent for six years of her life."

What are you supposed to do when an agency is bound by rules and laws that can only tell you "On the day that you were born, the sun came up in the east, and set in the west"?  You give up after exhausting what you think are the logical steps that take you nowhere.

This time, given her advanced age, the agency got a legal opinion that enough time had passed, and they kindly provided us with information.

We then came upon a letter written by MIL to the agency in 1991 in which she expressed her displeasure with the whole "snatch this pebble from my hand" routine and in it, it said that she would like to meet her siblings, if they could be found. The letter was a whole lot nicer than I would have been, still, you could sense her annoyance between the lines causing the words and meanings to vibrate with sarcasm.

Apparently, MIL's birth parents were married, and following the birth of third child, the birth mother went into a deep cycle postpartum depression.  This lifted with her fourth pregnancy, which was MIL, but she crashed again and was institutionalized, possibly for the rest of her life.  She could no longer function or care for the other three children, what good was she, thought her husband who was making .87 hour as a tool and die maker.  So we knew they were out there.  What we didn't know where they ended up.

Well, apparently, two of them ended up with the birth father.  Son and second daughter ended up with the father and were living with them by 1940.  But we couldn't much on them, so we focused on the eldest daughter, "Agatha".  She had married a man with a unique last name, so running those lines came easily.  We found that woman's son on Ancestry, and his descendents through Facebook.  They were all in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs.

We contacted them and we waited.

And one of them bit at it and answered back.  We said that we did want anything, we weren't there to sell anything, and we wanted no personal information, but we did want to share the MIL adoption with them.   We laid all the cards out of the table, but we did not provide anything in writing in documents.   Those we would share if we got to meet them.  We would even pay for the DNA test to prove it.

They said they would mull it over the holiday.  And we waited.

Finally on Saturday afternoon we received a tersely worded statement that that went something like this: "Since this was something never discussed in the family, we chose not to believe it or get involved." and "We would appreciate never hearing from you again."


That hurt.

Now granted, this family line has a lot of "stuff" going on in it that is outside the norm.  And yes, 90 years had gone past since the adoption.  But that was really a kick in pants.

So I responded, and said that I felt we were owed something from them.  And that something was we got to tell them that our door was always open to them should they change their minds.  But I also slipped in there that whether or not they chose to embrace this wonderful woman, it still didn't change the fact that she was "Agatha's" sister.  And there was nothing that they could do or say to the contrary.  They could either come around, or not, but that was their decision, not ours. I wished them well.

Away from it - we have no idea what  "Agatha" knew or didn't know.  She would have been nine when the MIL was removed from the family home.  Maybe her father told her he had put her up for adoption.  Maybe the hurt was so bad that she was never mentioned again, like a death.  Maybe  "Agatha" was so put off by her father's actions that she blamed him.  There is even the possibility that   "Agatha" was a totally unpleasant person.

We'll never know until  "Agatha's" people decide to man up, and reach out.  

They may think they won the battle by telling us to go away, but we won the war.

And how did we win the war?  Well, for starters, we have had my Mother-in-Law, a woman of such great compassion that had these people come knocking at the door, she would have taken them in, no questions asked.  And we have each other, though there is always room at the family table for more.   But we have the truth, and can give it to my mother in law.  She gets to know that her biological father did indeed do the best thing for her, which was putting her up for adoption, through which she was chosen and loved every moment of her adoptive parents lives, totally, and without question - she was their daughter.

So last week was a week of great celebration, and crushing defeat.  Now we push on to find the heirs of the other two siblings, and the final resting places of MIL's birth parents.

So yeah, we are a very lucky family.  And now I get to love her all the more.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah...

Dinah is cooking someone we knew...

As for the Cookie and the Husband, we're having a nice, quiet meal of real turkey here at the house.  Then we are going to nap.  Because that's what the Pilgrims did.

Hows about you?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Well if Blobby can do it...

Blobby has committed typeface to blog-o-space and delved deep into the world of the Meme of "Your First Time."  You know the drill, standard questions. baring your soul, seeing reads it.

So here goes nothing:

My earliest memory 
My mother getting me ready for bed and delivering me a dose of Petrogalar, which was kept the in linen closet on a top shelf.  What is Petrogalar?  Better yet, what was it?  Well, Petrogalar (or Cascara Petrogalar as it sometime was sold) was a children's laxative and stomach soother in the vein of mineral oil and malox.  It came in a relatively elegant deco bottle, clear glass, tall with a wide mouth and a light blue label.  I remember the label because I recall the lowercase "g" was one of those that used a circle for the tail.  Anyway, I was a horribly collicy baby and had horrible stomach problems as an infant, toddler, child, teen, adult. And I never minded taking a spoonful, until my mother started buying in a brown bottle, and I refused it.  I think it was a different brand.  But I hated the taste of it when it came from that different bottle.  
First airline flight 
We flew on American Airlines from California to Ohio after driving a Lincoln Continental out to my uncle who lived in Bel Air.  Why?  Because cars were cheaper in Ohio in 1968. 
First time ‘doing it” 
This is a tricky one.  I used to do what most boys do - which is look and compare, with a bit of mutual play when I was very young.  But none of knew what were doing, or that something great could "come" from it.  It was just hey, you have what I have.  

And then there was my father, who loved me in the most inappropriate way possible. It was sex for me, it was sacrificing yourself in hopes of being loved. 

The first time doing it as "sex" is a much more, shall we say, dangerous thing.  It involved me, learning from Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex - which was not a glowing way for an 11 year old to learn about sex between men, but it gave me a very exciting image - that those holes in partitions, in the bathrooms that my parents told me to never go into alone, were for sex with another guy.  So my first foray in the ecstatic feelings of arousal and another male's parts happened in the mens toilet at the long gone May's on the Heights in the west basement when I was in fifth grade, so 1973ish.  The other party could have been my father's age.  

This is not how anyone should learn about sex.  And thankfully, we live in a time now when kids - whenever they identify those feelings - have books that they can read and a hopefully find a more accepting support system then I had in 1973.  Hopefully, this helps to keep children out of the hands of adults who took advantage of us.  Do I hold any hard feelings towards that man?  No.  But it shouldn't have happened.  And I wish I had common sense enough understand how dangerous it was for me. 
First surgery
My gall bladder removal.  

First car
A 1973 Ford LTD Brougham four door sedan.  Green.  I hated that car. 
First death of someone close
This is a hard one - because we lived with death in our house.  My father's first wife - the mother of my brothers died when the brothers were children, but after my mother married my father.  So she, and her death, were always with us.  We also lived with the death, nine years before I was born of my mother's beloved youngest sister.  There were reminders of her everywhere but her name was never spoken out loud in front of my grandparents, who never recovered from the shock and loss of losing a child to a brain tumor at 21.  I had an uncle, Bob, who would stop by my grandparents home on the holidays.  Harriet Ann and Bob were highschool sweethearts, newly wed, when she died suddenly.  But my mother always would snap that Bob wasn't my uncle because Harriet had died before I was born, ergo, she was not my Aunt.  From this I learned that everyone grieves in a different way.  I also learned not to say "I'm sorry" when someone dies.  It's only applicable if you kill someone, which I haven't done.  Instead, you let the survivor speak, or remain silent, you hold their hand if they need that. You do for them that which needs doing.  And you call on them after all the mourner have left because that is the loneliest moment in their loss. 

So even as a small child, I learned that death happens, and it takes people from you, and that you will never see them again.  So when my father's father died when I was seven, I took it in stride, and understood all that it implied. 
First drink
Probably a sip of apricot brandy when I was child.  It was my grandmother's cure all for a sore throat.  
First regret
First?  Probably being caught in a lie when I was child and being punished for the dishonesty.   As an adult, I have many.  Maybe I'll learn from them one day.
First time rolling down grass hills
During my childhood in Shaker Heights, most likely.  Our house on Sherrington Road had a hill in the front yard.  
First pet 
A dog - a boston terrier - named Gypsy.  Much beloved.  My mother gave him away early one morning when I was five and asleep and we were moving.  She claimed he ran away and only toward the end of her life admitted that she had taken away from me the one being I loved more than anything.  I never let take care of any of the dogs I have owned.  Sorry, but you don't take away a child's dog. 
First time you knew you were different
Oh lordy!  What kind of different?

I was a child raised in a lax Jewish house.  I was never like my cousins who were all older.  I wasn't like my mothers family, who were all Methodists and people of simple means.  I had learning disabilities, so I was different from all my school mates.  And I liked to play with dolls, so I was different than other boys.

So I have known I was different, and have never been the same, until I came out of the closet.  A first step towards being normal on January 21, 1983. 
First presidential election
"1984.  I voted for Mondale.  Well, not true. I voted against Reagan." ~ Blobby.  And blobby said it best.  

First time you felt you were an adult
The night of January 21, 1983, when I came out.  When you take responsibility for yourself, then you are an adult.

First opera
La bohème.  My second Opera?  That is still waiting to happen. 
First time out of the country
Canada, although someone said that it really doesn't count because it's attached. 
First job
I carried the Cleveland Press.  In Fifth grade.  Gawd, I hated doing that in winter.
First time you ate rats at Tewkesbury
You got me.  First time eating a cock in Cleveland, see above.  

First kiss
I kissed a girl named "Clare" at summer camp and remembered that there was nothing.  The first I kissed a guy - actually a man who used his tongue when I was a teenager, now THAT was something. 

First realization of the axiom “life is not fair”
I was so burdened by a child's wishes that the Hell I was trapped in our life would go away and it never did - that was when I learned that life was not fair . 

First disgraceful behavior
I would say taking myself to places where men lurked, and like what they did to me as a child is pretty disgraceful.  That said, yeah, that would be it. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Doing Things You Hope Never to Do & Then Good Fortune: We are in contract!

A friend found this piece of "Made in Occupied Japan" and didn't
buy it.  I would have loved owning it.   

I will tell you - sometimes you have to do things that you hope no human will ever have to do to get a home sold.

But it looks like it took TWO St. Joseph statues to get the old place sold.

Around the first of November, Cookie and the Husband were beginning to get a bit scared.  No offers, no traffic, nada.  We had dropped the price of the Tudor Cottage to our lowest point.  And nothing.

There is a bit of superstition that in you bury a statue of St. Joseph upside down on the property lot (or in a potted plant if you life in an a hi-rise) and tell said religious statue as the patron saint of families that you need to sell the house so your family can be reunited as one, St. Joe will get the job done.

Well, we had buried the St. Joe that we used in Columbus and buried him upside down (per tradition) in the yard and waited.  NOTHING.  I moved him to a better spot and the house across of the street sold instead.  My realtor, fearing that I would dig up St. Joe a third time, and on the verge of hysterics, begging me not to disturb the mojo suggested a second St. Joseph.

Couldn't hurt.

Then we found three families that wanted to rent the house, through May of 2017.  Well that would take care of our mortgage payment and property taxes, and while not ideal, sometimes you take what you gotta take.

Still, I buried that second St. Joseph in the back yard.

I hunted down the first St. Joseph only to find him laying down under the inkberry holly where I put him on his head.

So I dug him up and replanted him, upside down - as tradition dictates - threatening him (also, as tradition dictates) to leave him there until he found a buyer.  Furthermore, I told him that he would spend eternity in the ground IF the St. Joseph in the back sold the house first.

Now, before anyone calls the boys from Happy Valley to put cookie in the padded room - remember, sometimes you have to do things that you hope you would never resort to to change the energy around you.

And you know what?  As the lease was being prepped, we had twenty showings, six second showings and *TING!* we found ourselves in contract!

Better yet - the contract is for "As-IS" on the house.

Thank Christ and Saints Joseph and Joseph!

Our targeted close is December 31st.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Christmas for MJ is taken care of...

Found at a Goodwill in Nebraska:

How can I get to Mebraska to buy it, and will it pass customs?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

So how was your Halloween?

Ours was exhausting.

The couple we bought our home from had old couple that had a tradition.   They passed out small Dixie cups of boxed wine to parents in the neighborhood.  We continued the tradition, but it being the first year, we were very careful which adults got wine:

1) You had to be from our neighborhood.
2) You had to be a parent.
3) You child needed to be in costume.
4) You needed to be 21 years of age or older.

For everyone else, they got a box of raisins and encouragement to go home and make their own.

But dear God!  The children.

On the old street we were lucky to get one or two trick or treaters.  Here we had HUNDREDS.  Literally, they swarmed.  And they have a parade first.  Unlike anything I have seen in Baltimore before.

We must have had 100 little girls dressed as someone from Frozen.  And one Little Boy dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  His bespectacled Mommy stated "Aiden is breaking gender barriers."  No.  Aiden is Belle.  You are projecting the gender barrier thing.

Anyhow, its time we scream into Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Monday, October 12, 2015

Now is the time of those disconnected pipes...

So, what has Cookie been up to....

Well, the old house is still for sale, much to our dismay.  Despite being in top condition, so clean that you can eat off of the floor, and a lawn so well manicured that it puts the neighbors to shame, we aren't getting showings.

Our real estate hunk, Chuck is advertising the bejebus out of it, and the open houses are packed, but no private showings.  Well, I take that back - we've had six in two months.  And the house was in a shaky contract, but that fell through - and not because of the house or its condition.

The feedback is as follows:

1) Charming house, but street is too busy.
2) Lovely house but the electrical pole is wrong place. 
3) Gorgeous back yard, but no deck.
4) Love the staging, not the house.  Is the dining room table for sale?
5) Really very nice, buyer might be interested if selling will fund the addition of two more bathrooms. 

I K.I.D. you not.

We have dropped the price three times.  The house appraised for $60,000 over the contract price when we were in contact with contingencies in August - that deal fell through.  And that contract made me uneasy because one of the buyers was running an unlicensed day care out of her home.  I liked our old neighbors and would never want that on their shoulders.

And now there are FIVE houses for sale on the street, all asking more than $175,000 over our asking price.

The only consolation is that they aren't getting showings either.

So we wait.

Meanwhile I have to sleep in the old house periodically to keep it occupied. No fun.

In other news, we have found a problem with the new house that the previous owners had failed to disclose by closing.  And they don't want to fix it.  Since we are in arbitration with them, I can't say anything, suffice it to say that we are "dismayed". When a decision gets passed down, then I can pass it on.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The offending bathroom

God Bless Norma Desmond, because he forced me to face that dratted bathroom and photograph it, and that led to a frank discussion with the husband, which led to some plans and some action.

Here we have the offending wallpaper.  I am sure it was lovely when Jimmy Carter was in office, but it really bugged us.  We thought it was because it was to feminine, too whispy, too old lady.  Or it could have been because it was a sloppy installation that was now peeling.  But upon looking at the photograph we realized something else.

It was on the wall upside down.

That led to a rash decision:

I told you that 10" inch offset toilet was sitting was sitting on a 14" offset.
See how its creeping into the middle of the room towards the bathtub?

It went.

It may not seem like much of an epiphany, but it was certainly cathartic taking it down.   But now the bathroom, well, it seems workable in the short term.

Now the bathroom floor (1950s) actually matches the shower curtain, in the blue/teal/blue color pallet.  The towels were just thrown up because they matched the blues in the wall paper, so yes, they are a hot mess.  And ignore the clutter.  I know it's a mess.

The lower walls are crappy old white subway tiles - but wait - that are actually gross and started to brown because in the Maryland humidity and heat, the little hairline cracks that formed in them over the last 80 years allowed moisture into the base ceramic turning them a mottled tan.  So someone painted them white, which is actually a good thing.

And the clutter is just because junk gets piled in a room that no one wants to "own".  So look beyond that.

Anyhow, Husband and I have thought about it and here is the game plan, both short term and long range:

Short term:

1) Do an immediate replacement of the toilet.

2) Do a replacement of the vanity to a euro-styled basic one after Christmas.  

3) Strip the dried wallpaper paste and paint the walls a light shade of the darkest shade of blue in the floor.

4) Repaint the tiles WHITE.

Long range:

In two years look at the finances.  If they are rosey and the kitchen isn't going to break the bank, then go whole hog and extend the wall out six foot and redo the bathroom.

If the kitchen breaks the bank, scale the bathroom back.

BUT if we do bump out the wall six feet so its over the breakfast room, then we'll also bump out the wall on our walk in closet six feet, and relocate the master bath to the larger space created by the extra 30 square feet in the closet - which is already enormous, and then convert the current cramped master bath into the new walk in closet.  And because the relocated bath would share the same stack and plumbing, the cost of moving the master bath is minimized.


Frankly the idea of getting the master bath to the back of the house makes me really happy because right now there is a big old window in the current bath smack over the front door.  Turn on the light and with the blinds closed everyone knows someone is in the bathroom because its in the middle of the freaking house.

So tomorrow I will spend the day measuring, and pricing toilets, vanities, lights and sketching.

But a new toilet is coming to live with us sooner rather than later.   Because regardless of what we do, when we do it, we all need to crap in the present.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The new House: An update

Slowly but surely the new house is moving from being the home of two 85 year old Quakers into a house fit for Cookie and The Husband.

The husband and I were sitting in the second floor bathroom - which is literally the smallest room in the house wondering how these people ever raised FOUR children with a second floor bathroom the size of a handicap stall.

It's a small room to begin with, but making it even smaller is the GI-NORMOUS bath tub with is very narrow but also very long.  Think Abraham Lincoln sized bathtub.  To modernize this, elderly couple paid Bath Fitting gawd knows how much to come in and update their bath tub.  Big mistake.  The key to bath fitter in that mold a sort of plastic condom that get dropped over the tub.  When they did this, they created a one foot lip that one has to hurdle to get into said tub.  And because the tub walls are so high and narrow, getting out is chore.  

Adding to this oversized tub is the 10" toilet (measured from the mid point of the discharge pipe to the point where the wall should be) sitting on a 14" offset waste pipe.  This places the toilet in the middle of the bathroom with four inches of space behind the tank.  When you sit on our pot your knees jam into the tub.

Then there is the sink and the sink base.  The sink base is 30", which is too large for the room.  The vanity top is (and you have to say this the way Gloria Grahame spoke to Jack Palance in Sudden Fear)  "cul-chured mahble"  Again, this doesn't fit snug to the wall.

Add in bad lighting (pull chain light over the sink and a ceiling fan light), and two windows, and 1950s blue tile floor and you have my nightmare.  Oh, wait; I forgot; yellowing wall paper that is peeling.

Now I have three ideas for spending my husbands money to fix this:

The more expensive alternative is extend the bathroom out six feet (which would take it out over the breakfast room) and redo the place with new tile, tub, toilet and sink.  This would eliminate one window while making the other window larger.  Approximate cost $38,000. Our realtor is pulling for this because when we do decide to sell, this will be one of the "sexy" things that they can feature.

The less expensive alternative is keep the same foot print, remove the tub and replace it was something modern, new tile, toilet and smaller vanity and better lighting.  Approximate $10,000.

And the el-cheapo route is keep the tub as is, replace the vanity with a euro-styled one and the toilet.  Approximate cost $1,000.

Doing nothing is not an option, because the room is beyond foul.

Thankfully it's not the only bathroom, just the worst.

your thoughts?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

When Ants and an Aunt experience death, slowly, for their "own" sake.

There is no way to beat around the bush, so I'll just get this out: we have ants.

Gawd I hate the bastards.

And these are a different type of ant than the old fashion ants.  The are "crazy" ants.  You know how regular ants form a line from the nest to the food source?  Well with crazy ants - and I am being totally serious - they just scurry wherever their bodies will take them.  No rhyme or reason.

According to the pest company, the other problem with crazy ants is that they will swarm.

Now I keep a clean house, so these crazy ants are driving me insane. And not even Terro - my standard fall back for ant issues - will work here.

Enter the pest company.

In Ohio we had to call on a pest company twice in 30 years.

In the hot and sweaty mid-Atlantic, its an annual thing.  If it too wet out, the ants want to be dry.  If it too wet out, the ants want inside to find moisture.  Like your Jewish mother, they are never happy.

So out comes the Pest Company and the guy who owns it is a talker.  Jesus.  Yap, yap, yap.  And because you have to stay with them during the instruction, this guy is yap, yap, yap.  "Great house, going finish this basement, they don't build them like they used to, my mother would have loved a big kitchen like this, yap, yap, yap."

So I ask him if what he is putting down is going to kill these sons of bitches and he says:  "Well, they are going to track through this, and they are going to carry it back to the nest, and after a couple days their nest mates are going to feel so great, and the next day, a little worse, and the next..."

"Dead?" I ask hopefully.

"Well you want a long term kill, and with new ants hatching you want the colony to get sick, then collapse..."

And I am like "Whoa,"

And he's like "Huh?"

And I'm like "Flashback..."

And then he says "Acid will do that to you..."

I've never done acid, but the flash back was very real.

About 20 years ago, my Uncle Lou died.  Uncle Lou was our favorite Uncle because everything he did was magical.  He had married one of my father's sisters, made a fortune, then made a bigger one, but they had never had any children, so he doted on us.

Back in the 1960s, his house a top Bel Air had push button everything when no one else's house had push button anything.

My mother saw a keypad next to my aunt and uncles bed in the 1950s and asked what it was for.

"This," my aunt Betty said pointing to the red button controls "operates every light in the house.  The blue buttons are the intercom to every room in the house.  I can even open and close the garage door from here."  This, was James Bond super agent coolness.

But as he got older, this grew tough for him and Betty.  Betty died, and then he married Betty's sister (and my father's sister) Evelyn who had been widowed for decades.  And the two of them lived in the Bel Air House overlooking Los Angeles.  But Lou's health kept getting worse, and one day I got the call.

"Lou's dead," said my father.

So I asked when the funeral was and my yappy stepmonster gets on the extension and says that Aunt "Evelyn wants him buried in California."

"But Aunt Betty is buried here, in Ohio."

"Yes, but we told Evelyn we thought it was a good idea for him to be buried out there."

They thought it was a good idea for him not to be buried with my Aunt Betty?  He met her when they were five, and they were inseparable for the next 70 years, and Stepmonster thinks it would be a better idea for him to be buried 3,000 miles away?

"Why is this such a good idea?"

"Well," my father starts, "your Aunt Nan doesn't know he's dead, and were not going to tell her right away."

Nan was my father's other surviving sister.  A little bit screwy, but, that was Nan.  And Nan and Betty and Evelyn had all been close to one and other.  But my stepmother, not wanting to deal with high drama, decided that not telling her was the bets tact to take.

I pointed out that Nan was going to find out.  And she was going be hurt, and pissed.

"We think the best way to tell her is to tell her that Lou caught a cold, and week later we'll tell her that he's still feeling not so great.  And then we'll let he know that he's get checked out at the hospital, maybe a fever will set in.  Then we'll let he know that he's in the hospital.  Little by little and then he'll pass away."

Hold it.  "You're going to make him suffer, in theory, and make her worry about him and..."

"It'll be easier on her."

Lying to her?

"Don't accuse me of being a liar, Cookie."

I didn't need to accuse her of that.  We know she was liar.  She was also a whore.  But this was beyond was cruel.

And Nan didn't take it well.  In fact she worried that Lou was on the way out and wanted to fly to California to visit him.  That lead to me lies, and then Lou didn't "die".  He got better to so they could head Nan's off from a trip.  Meanwhile, Evelyn had been told that Nan was too busy to speak with her.  So I have one Aunt mourning the loss of her husband, and another Aunt who had no idea that he beloved brother in law - Mr. Wonderful as she used to call him - had been dead six weeks.

When the charade of the slow painful death came apart, so did Nan's will to live.  A month later, she was dead, too.

And now, my ants were going to endure a slow painful death instead of a merciful colony execution.

All I want is for the ants to go, and quickly.

But now I live with the guilty knowledge that today they feel a little off, and tomorrow, they'll feel a little bit worse and so forth and so on.

Would they, like my Aunt Nan, be told of an expected rally to stave off the inevitable.  Or would they, in their little ant way, call out for Doctor Kevorkian like Aunt Nan did as she sped towards her ending, hoping not to linger as Uncle Lou had, and Unlce Lou had not.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I am having another one of my sick headaches... with the family in Massachusetts.

These trips are killing me.  They are starting to take a toll, I tell you.

Mostly we get here, eat a ton of junk (food is our medication of choice here in Wellesley) and we sit around and wait.

Serious, Godot will be here soon, I am sure.

MIL continues that long, slow voyage into the twilight of reality.   And now that she is in a home, our visits are essentially the same:

Mom: "When did you get here?"
Us: "We got into today."
Mom: "I know you both."
Us: "Yes, you do."
Mom: "When did you get here?

Tomorrow is her birthday, so we'll have lunch together, then we'll come back home.

But it's the sitting around driving me crazy.   There are only so many times you can go to the mall.  Or the grocery store.  Or the hardware store, with suspicions being raised along with some eyebrows.

Lots of people have invited us to see their homes when we are here, but the thing is - when you are staying with family, you "STAY" with the family.   You stay, and clock slows down to a c-r-a-w-l.

But I love the husband and I am his moral support.  So my place is by his side, simmering.  And good lucking wrestling TV remote away from the "Flipper-In-Law".

I do, however, get to use the many favors that I am accruing by sitting here.  Like getting to pick where we eat.

So here I sit, getting my sick headaches.  Counting the hours until we return to home, and the next dinner meal.

Here's hoping the clock starts running faster and clear traffic tomorrow.