Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Miscellaneous Tidbits

I wrote a blog about losing stuff, and I forgot to mention the one positive. I have NOT lost my sense of humor. Thank God.

Last week I was driving Dad and I home from Lockport. That’s about a 45 minute drive home and I’ve made the drive a million times. We stopped at Millersport Market so I could pick up a fabulous dinner for Colin’s 33rd birthday. It wasn’t exactly cooking, but it sort of was. I had just enough time to get home, get it in the oven and eat before we had Frankie’s first hockey game after being laid up on crutches.

After a few minutes, I looked at Dad and told him I was feeling confused. I couldn’t get my bearings. Where was I? I knew I was on the expressway but suddenly nothing looked familiar. I studied the signs and realized that somehow I went east on 90 instead of west. How the heck did I do that? Well let me just tell you, it is 17 miles before the next exit. I had to drive all the way to Pembroke before I could turn around. That’s 34 miles out of the way. At first, I was teary-eyed, telling myself what a sucky parent I was. How hard is it to make a dinner for your kid’s birthday? Impossible for me. But then Colin called and said he wasn’t home anyway so we decided to have the dinner the next day. Dad and I joked all the way home about the scenic drive and the chance to spend some quality time together.

Yesterday, Dad got a phone call. He put it on speaker. The woman said she was from the company he used to work for and was following up on the hearing aids he got. His insurance had this amazing deal where he got hearing aids for free. They usually are 3-4 thousand dollars so it was quite a thing. Dad just looked at me in utter confusion. I explained what the call was. They wanted to do a survey with him. I then said into the phone, “He can’t understand what you are saying because he ISN’T WEARING HIS HEARING AIDS!” We laughed our butts off. He doesn’t wear them most of the time which is quite convenient when he wants to block us out :).

Then we had to go to the eye doctor for Dad. Most of the patients in there are older. It’s only a five-minute appointment with the actual doctor. But you see two other people first for various tests. This one older guy gets picked up and I hear the nurse say, “Oh, ha ha. I was waiting for the joke. I knew you would have one.” Never fear, I got to hear the jokes before the morning was over.

What did the cookie say to the doctor? I feel crummy.

Why does a hummingbird hum? Because it doesn’t know the words.

Cute. Very cute. Until the third and fourth time I heard the jokes. He told them to everyone. I wanted to tell him he needed some new material.

Then Dad and I went back to Lockport to see my sister in the hospital. (No, smart alec, I didn’t drive all the way to Pembroke this time. But you can be sure I was not on automatic pilot. I paid attention to every turn I made!) She has a blockage in her pancreas. She is being transported to Buffalo General today. They will do a procedure where they explore the blockage. If it is gallstones as hoped, they will be removed. If it is a mass, they will do a biopsy. After the procedure, they will determine the next step. She hasn’t eaten anything, or even had ice chips since Sunday and it’s now Friday. At least she is not in excruciating pain anymore.

In her room, her surgeon drew her a lovely picture of her inside organs to explain things.
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We got talking about what NPO means. I knew it meant nothing by mouth, but we looked up what the actual meaning is. Turns out it’s Latin for “nils per os.” So that became the game, asking nurses who walked in if they knew what it meant. Not one person knew. I know a nursing student who is taking his last finals before graduating. He didn’t know either. I’m so proud. If the question is ever on Jeopardy, I’ve got it covered.

But the most mature joke of all, was that picture. Now honestly, doesn’t that look like a penis at the bottom? I mean, not a good picture of one, but at first glance? The nurses agreed. My sister’s roommate is about a million years old. I don’t think she thought the joke was funny. Dad didn’t mind. But then, he didn’t have his hearing aids in so he probably didn’t even know what we were saying.

By the way, that is supposed to be her pancreas.


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Life Lessons

Have you ever made a big mistake? Like one with deep regret? I had that happen this week. My dog Taffy has been getting a bit more of a pain the older she gets. Let’s just say that a few months ago she was diagnosed as “neurotic” and given a prescription for Prozac when she needs it. No, I’m not kidding. She was perfectly normal when she started living with us seven years ago. Just saying. This is a picture of her in my car.

Taffy

Taffy

Last week she ran out of the car and crossed the street to chase a squirrel, right in front of a car. Now I have to leash her from the car to the woods, then when we leave the woods to the car. It’s less and less I can let her off the leash. This week, I took her to the creek at the end of the walk and let her go in for a drink. That stinker took off to the other side of the creek and went down past the bridge. I followed her as far as I could but then lost sight of her. There is nothing to do at that point but go home and wait for someone to call me.

Eventually the call came. It showed up as “police” so I answered and said, “Do you have my doggie?” The officer laughed. He said he had Taffy and she was under arrest. He couldn’t capture the other one. I was confused so he asked how many dogs I had. He said Taffy had found a friend which was probably why she ran away. He was waiting at the parking lot where I had walked her. She always comes back. She isn’t really running AWAY from ME, she is just running.

Well I pulled in and that is when I made the big mistake. I could have won the best Facebook post of the year. If I was Catherine, I would have never made this mistake. I didn’t even think to ask to take a picture. There was Taffy, sitting in the back of the police car, looking out the window. Her face was priceless but predictable. It said, “What? What? I didn’t do ANYthing!” I could’ve died. The officer and I had a big chuckle over it. When I drove off with my naughty girl who now has a police record, that’s when I regretted not getting a photo of her.

LESSON: Always take a picture, even if there are cops involved.

My sister was over yesterday and she said how last week’s blog was her favorite. I told her that I totally forgot about Frankie’s Louis Armstrong impersonation, which is quite impressive. I asked him to do it for her and of course he utterly refused. In fact, he refused for hours. I told him about the blog and he got really offended. He said, “Mom!! You can’t write about me unless I give you permission. You can’t!” I told him I used his writing name Frankie, but he knows that is bull because most of the readers know who he really is. I decided it best at age 14 to not inform him that legally, I own him and his rights until he is 18. I found that out when I wrote the first book. (Incidentally, you also own your dead spouse’s rights in case you ever need to know.) On a serious note, I really do try to think about how he might feel when he is older and I am hoping he will appreciate what I have done when he is at an age where he doesn’t think everything I do is ludicrous.

LESSON: It’s okay to leave out information if it saves you from a teenager’s yelling and screaming for a few hours.

SERIOUS LIFE LESSON: No matter what heartache life brings you, no matter what loss – don’t ever let the loss be your sense of humor.


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Dating in 2015

You know, I’m an interesting specimen. I struggle with depression. I mean really, really struggle with it. And yet, most of the time I still have a sense of humor. I can make people laugh about things that you wouldn’t think could be laughed about. Thank God, that’s all I can say.

I thought I’d share a bunch of “dating” experiences, but I’m not sure how they will translate in this format. When I tell the stories, we all giggle. So I hope it translates on paper or you may just stop reading!

Whether you are on Match, meet someone out, or get set up by someone, dating these days requires a very healthy sense of humor.

Well, that or a straight jacket.

I have plenty of male friends who share whopper stories so let me just this isn’t really a male-bashing type thing. It’s just a “how the hell did we all get so lost when it comes to relationships?” type of thing.

SCENARIO ONE:
Match email from a 27-year-old to me (I’m almost 48). “Hey, are you a swinger?”
My response, “You’re a cutie, but uh, NO.”

SCENARIO TWO:
Match email from a 28-year-old: “But age is just a number!”
My response, “Uh, most of my kids are older than you are. You really don’t see a problem with that?”

SCENARIO THREE:
Match email from a thirty-something year old. Ok, we are getting warmer.
“What’s shaking, sexy?”
My response, “Uh, well that’s quite an introduction. Not much, and you?”
His response, “Just living the dream!”
Ok, now first of all, just think about that statement. How the heck do you even respond to something like that? There is no question, no let-me-get-to-know-you, just a declarative statement.
My response, “Then what the hell are you doing on Match?”
No, that’s mean. Delete.
My response, “Well, I don’t think we would be a good match ‘cuz there ain’t nobody living the dream here in my house!”
On second thought, I just hit the “block this person” button instead. I’ve just discovered that button on the computer and I really, really like it.

SCENARIO FOUR:
Match email from SOMEONE MY AGE! Well, now that already has potential. “We seem to have a lot in common but I should let you know that I’ve recently moved to London, England. Have you ever been there?”
Ok, really? England. Pretty damn hard to meet for that first cup of coffee.

SCENARIO FOUR:
Text message from someone who found me on LinkedIn. That’s a new one.
My question, “Where are you from?”
His response, “Pakistan.”
No comment needed.
I know how to “block this person” on my phone, too.

SCENARIO FIVE:
Match email from SOMEONE MY AGE AND SOMEONE IN MY COUNTRY. Much better. But they are still in Rochester, like an hour and a half away.
My email, “But my experience is, that this kind of distance is hard when you are first getting to know someone. I’m not trying to be close-minded, but I do like to learn from the experiences I’ve had.” (When it takes three to four weeks to even set up a date because it requires a three-hour round-trip drive, that just doesn’t work when you are a single mom with five jobs.)
His response, “Well honey, blah blah blah” with a bunch of crap about how if I would let a little thing like location get in the way of a relationship, I’m obviously not mature enough to realize that grown-up relationships take work.
My response, “Who you calling honey?” Blocked!

SCENARIO SIX:
Match email from SOMEONE MY AGE AND SOMEONE IN MY COUNTRY AND SOMEONE IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD! Oh my gosh, he’s even pretty handsome! Can this really be happening? We email. We text. We talk on the phone for a week. Then we make the plan to actually meet in person. Now, I’m actually a little nervous because I haven’t been on an actual “date” with any potential in months.
He stands me up two nights in a row.
My text to him, “There won’t be a third time.”
He wisely doesn’t call or text again.

That’s six for six.

I’m sure glad we got kittens for Christmas. They make me giggle, too (but not with the underlying profound sadness of how difficult of a task it is to not be alone if you don’t want to be). I bought them new toys today that look like slinkys, so that will be a better way for me to get my jollies tonight. 🙂