sixtiestosixties

I was something in the 60s but now I'm just sixty something.

Swimwear Shopping

 

Summer!

Summer!

Summer is upon us which means it’s time for bathing suit shopping. I did mine early so I thought I’d share some of my acquired wisdom. Many of these tips are applicable to men as well as women except for those involving boobs.  My tip to any man who has “moobs” is to keep his shirt on. Or maybe buy a really binding rash guard. Then you might get away with looking like a really cool, old surfer dude.

To make your experience more pleasurable grab your funniest friend and go to lunch first. Have a couple of drinks but not too many because pulling bathing suits on and off can be a real bitch. It requires a certain amount of strength, balance and coordination. (This alone is reason enough to go to the gym every spring.)

Be prepared not to take yourselves too seriously. Summers fly by way too fast to waste them fretting over a bathing suit

Keep in mind the new, energy-efficient lighting used in stores these days will mask the true color of the merchandise and makes everyone’s pallor look like they are about to puke. Swimwear is going to expose a lot of jaundiced looking skin. And that black (slimming but too fucking hot) suit you are going for may actually be a really gaudy shade of purple.

Men generally just put on something that looks like baggy boxer shorts and wonder what the big deal is. But men’s suits are getting much shorter and snugger and your legs and butt don’t look that great anymore either. And if you are unhappy about shorter and tighter (and I can attest to hearing male grumblings in the stores ) just go try on a speedo and check out your yellow tinted gut and sagging parts in the mirror and you will humbly have a better understanding of what women suffer.

Women’s bathing suits are now styled to hide a figure flaw. But just one. Any woman who has only one figure flaw still probably wears a bikini. The rest of us have to choose what we want to most hide. This may be a good time for another drink.

Once you have branded yourself with your worst flaw and taken your choices to a window to see what color they really are you are ready for the dressing room. Don’t let your friend get too far away. Women will not want to come out of the dressing room. They don’t want to be seen.  Men on the other hand, will not want to go in. They don’t want to try anything on. But  I am fucking tired of you don’t want to have to make returns.

Merchants don’t put three-way mirrors in their stores anymore. This is where you need an honest friend to tell you how your ass looks because you won’t be able to see it. This really pisses me off. Just watch people walking around these days and you can tell no one knows what they look like from behind. If they did they would pass on a lot of the shit they buy. Stores have figured this out.

If you have a camel toe (women) or we can tell which side you “dress”on (men) go get a bigger size.  I don’t care what size you think you are or want to be or were last year. Get a bigger size! Size really doesn’t matter here.

And please girlfriends…there is a good chance your high beams are going to go on if you get in the water so make sure when you stuff them into your suit they are pointing north. This will instantly make you look younger.

Lastly, to save yourself from potential humiliation make sure you get your suit wet and take a look at yourself in good light before you go swimming in it. (Thank God I was out of town and didn’t know anyone. I don’t even want to think what I looked like walking away. I did remind myself though that my stomach only exhibited a ripple effect because I was blessed with three children and my boobs were, if nothing else, still mine and still healthy. Or perhaps I just shopped for the wrong figure flaw?)

So good luck and happy shopping! I hope you enjoy some great summer days by the water proudly wearing your new, well-selected suit hiding underneath your favorite cover-up.

 

Ready for the beach!

Ready for the beach!

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Mother of the Year

A break in the action.

A break in the action.

 

I’m reflecting this Mother’s Day.

I never won the mother of  the year award. I came close once. Of course the kids had all left home by then for distant corners of the earth and I don’t think I actually saw any of them that year so maybe it wouldn’t have counted anyway.

Not that I didn’t try to be a perfect mother. It was just so hard. The kids Things always got in the way of my best efforts. I’d dress them in a crisp clean outfit for the first day of school and they would splash in the mud on the way to the bus stop. I’d get them a nice haircut and then have to cut big hunks out where they got their gum stuck. I’d take off their training wheels in the morning and then take them for stitches by lunch.

Trouble's brewing.

Double double. My toil and trouble.

I never seemed to make the right decisions. If they said they were sick and I let them stay home from school they would be running around the house 30 minutes after the bell sounded. If I said they were fine and made them go to school they would be puking 30 minutes after they got there. I’d let them cry it out in the crib like they told us to. Only I went in after nap time once to find a baby with his foot stuck in the rails of the crib. What if it had been his head? I thought they were lying when they were telling the truth and telling the truth when they were lying. It seems like I was saying “I’m sorry” more than they were.

I’d try to be super organized but often got mixed up and somehow always seemed to forget it was picture day. And I really hate to think about what might have happened the day nobody picked up baby girl from soccer practice.

And I didn’t have a glue gun to “help” with school projects. Remember those  mothers? God I hated them.

My disciplinary approach was all over the place. Some got spanked. Some didn’t. Two of them love to remind me of how I chased them up the stairs waving a wooden spoon in the air.  Some got their temper tantrums ignored. Some got put in time out but one in particular refused to stay there and damned if I was going to stay in there with him. They all got grounded. And I yelled. A lot. I figured it was all right to yell “I’M NOT TELLING YOU AGAIN TO CLEAN YOUR ROOM.” I was just proud of myself for not yelling what was really running through my head which was more like, “YOU LITTLE PIECE OF SHIT! GO CLEAN YOUR FUCKING ROOM! IF YOU CAN’T EVEN PICK YOUR FUCKING CRAP UP HOW DO YOU EXPECT TO EVER HOLD A JOB? DO YOU THINK I AM GOING TO SUPPORT YOUR LAZY ASS YOUR WHOLE LIFE?”  So I still hold to only yelling “clean your room” was really good.

In my defense mine weren’t the easiest of kids. They cut down a tree in the woods which hit a power line and knocked the power out in half of Chesterfield County. They built a haunted house in the playroom and passed out flyers to the whole middle school but neglected to tell me about the invites. The oldest two smashed up and broke everything we cherished so by the third one there was  nothing left in the house to break. She made up for it with cars

Beautiful bad ass baby girl.

Beautiful bad ass baby girl.

 

My kids didn’t grow up getting a blue ribbon for everything. And they certainly didn’t grow up with a blue ribbon mother. Maybe this “everybody gets a blue ribbon” thing is really to make the mothers feel better. It’s a tough job. Always has been, always will be. Each generation of mothers faces unique challenges.

Yet somehow, despite my children lacking a perfect mother they managed to grow up to be three outstanding adults. (Maybe it’s because I wasn’t perfect.) I love them so. Mothers Day means something very different to me today. My own mother has been dead for 20 years and my children are long gone from my household. So it’s no longer a Hallmark Day. It is about celebrating that I had the privilege to be a mother. So even if I never won a mother of the year award I am so grateful I got a green participation ribbon. Best contest I ever entered.

 

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Thanksgiving 2013

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Celebrate your world!

I love Thanksgiving! I love the whole notion. At least the old one before it became a shopping day for Christmas. But I choose to hold to tradition and keep it a day to gather, feast, share stories, and bask in love and community. I have celebrated Thanksgiving in all sorts of places with all sorts of foods and I have found I can be both thankful and have family squabbles anywhere. I can be with a crowd of 40 or a crowd of one or two. Gratitude and warm memories are always with me on this day no matter where I am or who I am with. If you think I am being overly warm and fuzzy you should know that Thanksgiving has  also carried with it some of my life’s toughest stuff. To name a couple there was the year my son’s seat was empty because he was at war in Iraq and we didn’t hear from him for weeks at a time. We set him a place anyway. There was the year we gathered at my dad’s house and had a take out holiday dinner from Publix grocery while Dad waited at the funeral home for us to bury him. When you consider the true meaning of Thanksgiving it isn’t such a bad time for a funeral. This year I have much to be thankful for. I have many excuses reasons to raise a glass and much to laugh about.  I hope you do too. 

10 Things I am thankful for this year:

1. My local Costco in Florida is nowhere near as crowded as my Costco in California. The folks here are rookies.

2. I  have not had any weird illnesses, broken bones or new meds prescribed this whole year. Of course I did miss my annual physical so who knows.

3. Mick Jagger is going to be a great-grandfather. This means two things. We WILL forever be young and rock and roll really is here to stay.

4. I resisted the temptation for another year not to get a new dog. My new mantra is “go around the world first”. Then I’ll get a dog and go around the block. I recite this when my dog loving Facebook friends post all those sad pictures from the dog shelters.

5. I am grateful there are no more obits or eulogies that I will be responsible for. That torch has been passed. But I reserve the right to have my funeral and write my own BEFORE I die. Why should I miss the one thing that’s all about me?

6. Since I finally got my husband out of the office and working from home I can eat dinner as early as I want. Now I know why old people eat so early. (Not that I’m old mind you .) It’s  just because they CAN. And the earlier you eat the earlier you can have cocktails.

7. I have people who actually read my blog . And some great friends who keep me encouraged and motivated to write more when I find myself writing less.

8. I am apparently so well connected that people I have never heard of send me “friend” requests on Facebook. OK, so we all get these but I’m going to allow myself a couple of days to think I’m special.

9. None of my children will be here for Thanksgiving. I love and miss them but it is an opportunity to value my life without them. I will be cooking with friends this year. Hmmm….a table of friends or a table of siblings?

10. And the number one reason I am thankful this year is that after surviving a heart attack and prostate cancer this past year my husband is still here by my side. After enduring multiple appointments, procedures and surgery at the Mayo clinic, he is once again healthy. He can also now get out of the house by himself and leave me the f*** alone  enjoy himself. Love you honey! Take your time.

For all of this and more I say “Thanks be to God.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Moving

IMG_0412Moving sucks. I’ve done it so many times it should be a breeze by now but it just gets harder. Things always go wrong. And the people you are paying thousands of dollars to do the job will treat you like crap. The one exception is the sales rep who will be totally charming while making promises no one will keep. The only real guarantee is you will be pissed.

The person I most wanted to hurt was the pushy SOB who hauled our cars. He missed his calling. He should have been an arrogant little dictator somewhere in the world instead of driving a truck. There was no way to win with him.

The “conversation” escalated something like this:

“Excuse me sir, but these cars were to have been delivered to our driveway next Friday. This is only Monday. I’m not even in town.

No, (jack ass) I am not going to meet you tonight. It’s already 9 o’clock and as I told you I’m not even in town and I don’t own the house yet. I can’t park the cars at someone else’s house. It’s called liability(asshole).

Look, it’s more than 40 miles from our hotel to that Home Depot and it’s too late. And since you won’t deliver them in the manner of our contract (as we were assured by the salesman) we have to drive a rental to meet your demands. That makes three cars to get out of Home Depot and two drivers. Do you understand simple math? 3 >2. Sure you can talk to my husband (you misogynist prick). But you’ll be sorry you asked. He’s breathing fire by now.

OK (you mother f*****). Just to get you off our ass we will get up at 4:30 in the morning to meet your demands and be there by 6 to finish your job for you. Then you can be on your way to abuse your next customer and eventually rot in hell.”

The following day I had a nice little conversation with the driver.  This guy was at least smart enough to know he was better off trying to bullshit me than to deal with my fire-breathing dragon.

“But when you pulled out you told us the  van would arrive this Wednesday. Not next Monday or Tuesday. Where the hell have you been? I know you wanted to run by your house in Texas but hey, that’s not what I’m paying you for. You told us WEDNESDAY ! My husband has to fly back to California for a business meeting on Sunday morning and you have all his suits on your f***ing truck! Not even in California is anyone going to take a man seriously in a business meeting wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Yes, it is very clear to me you don’t give a shit what the sales rep told us.”

As for the loading/unloading crews, my advice would be don’t even look. Not coming or going. Much too nerve wracking. All we could do was repair the walls and scrub the spots off the carpet when they left.

In the end, the move is only as good as the packers. Unfortunately, these workers are on the bottom of the pecking order and get paid the least. So why should they care about your stuff? Probably the nicer your stuff the more they hate you. They have the power to make or break your move. And your heart. They can bring you to tears. I can deal with a smashed toaster oven, bent 40 plus year old wedding pewter, and wadded up clothes that will need to be relaundered or dry cleaned. But they broke the head off my doll. The one my parents bought me for  Christmas when I was six. My dad told me some years back that they had 26 dollars left in the bank on Christmas Eve and he went and bought the doll. It cost 25. My mother sewed her dress.  I gently lifted her out of the box she had been jammed into and watched her head roll across the strange floor I was standing on.  And that’s when I finally lost it. There is no way to avoid it. In every move forward in life something you love is left behind.

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The Pope App

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The world has a new pope! Now we should all download the new Pope App so we can keep up with whatever archaic business Pope Francis is up to. I wonder how much the app will cost? A tenth of your income perhaps? There has been a lot of hoopla about this as if it really means we will see any significant changes in the Roman Catholic Church. This use of technology is supposed to help draw young people back into the faith. Somehow I can’t see the younger generation jumping on the doctrinal band wagon just because the Vatican is using social media. On the positive side, Pope Francis is a Jesuit and Jesuits are known for their smarts. Young people like smart. He’s also from South America and is a product of the Liberation Theology movement which swept through the southern hemisphere in the 1950s and 60s advocating social, economic, and political justice. Young people also like this ideology since when they were growing up everybody got a blue ribbon. But he has already spoken out against women priests and gay marriage. Oops! I guess it’s just social equality for some. Women and gays are to remain behind in limbo. I doubt this line of thinking works for the younger generation. Frankly, it doesn’t work for me either. I expect we are all going to hear the same old stuff, albeit preached a new way.

Still, this new connection from the Vatican could have far-reaching implications throughout Catholicism. This could be the biggest thing since the Church went out on a limb, got rid of Latin, and began proclaiming the faith using languages people actually understand. It took great courage for the Church to risk understanding among its followers. The people began to realize that molesting the altar boy was not actually part of the mass.

Now we could be entering a whole new format for worship. Maybe there will even be a Vatican 3.0. The future generations of Catholics, instead of staying home and watching mass on TV in their pajamas and getting into the wine early on Sunday, can go to church by simply logging in. Finally, all those well-chosen confirmation names will have a purpose. They can become holy passwords.

Think of the choice of parishes!

At St. Twitter’s…. when the priest tweets, “Peace be with you.”,  we can all tweet back, “And also with you.”

At Our Lady of Pinterest…. we can “pin” the virtual holy communion where we can visit it all week to remind us that no matter how many sins we are out committing we can repent repin next Sunday.

And for those special services how about Holy Facebook Basilica ?

Pope Francis shared Easter mass.

Sunday at sunrise.

“Christ is risen!”

1.1 billion likes.

This is not as farfetched as it may seem. The new mystery of faith is how a person can type a few words on a keyboard and the whole world can read them. Gives a whole new meaning to the term “religious icon”.

How about it? Do you think it can work?

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“The Plan” Diet

Flax seed granola anyone?

Flax seed granola anyone?

I’m working on The Plan by Lyn-Genet Recitas. The theory behind it is that inflammatory responses to foods can cause you to gain weight and feel like crap. Current thinking purports that all disease is derived from inflammation. Since these reactions are very individual and can occur from healthy foods, finding our personal triggers will (supposedly) make us healthier and slimmer. Maybe. I’ve been getting more aches and pains lately and can’t seem to shed the extra five pounds that have attached to my waistline so I figured I’d give it a try. What the hell.

This diet is basically an elimination diet which begins by eliminating just about everything edible so your body can heal. Then gradually you test new foods. (Kind of like weaning a baby onto solids.) It starts with a three-day cleanse in which you survive on flax seeds, kale, carrots and gallons of water which are all apparently non-inflammatory. (I’m not sure this will help you heal internally but I guarantee it will make you hungry.) After three days you introduce a small portion of a new food and see if you react negatively. If the food triggers inflammation you might feel crummy the next day. Or you might gain half a pound to two pounds overnight from your carrots, kale, and new food… say…pizza goat cheese. (Dream on. It could take a couple of months to eat pizza because you would have to do a separate test for each ingredient.)

In preparation, I pigged out over the weekend and went shopping for the essential carrots and a lot of what I would classify as weeds and seeds. Then I went home and started cooking…and cooking. I have never spent so much time in the kitchen producing such tasteless food. For a big burst of flavor there’s a recipe for “Spicy Coco Sauce” concocted from onions, garlic, ginger and coconut milk. If you like Thai food you might think it’s OK. I hate Thai food. In my world coconut should only be paired with chocolate. And ginger belongs in little men you assign names to and then bite off their heads.

Day one I started by guzzling water and drinking Dandelion Tea which is hailed as a liver detox. I figured I could use a little detoxing since I had been down at the Del drinking G&T’s all Sunday afternoon. The tea tastes just like the dirt from my childhood front yard. (I did lots of face plants over the years in that yard so I know.) Then I tucked into a big bowl of flaxseed for breakfast. On to thin, tasteless, seed garnished, pureed carrot soup for lunch, accompanied by weeds mixed greens (with more seeds) and steamed broccoli. Dinner was kale with the nasty coconut sauce and a shredded carrot and beet salad. They put shredded “beet root” in everything in Australia and my grandkids will eat it so I figured it might be pretty good. Ever see an Australian cookbook? Guess why.

Day two I was hungry, exhausted and cranky but also down a pound and a half. The weight drop was just the proverbial carrot I needed. Too bad I had to eat more carrot soup too. I also had to return to the store. Who knew eating such a skimpy amount of tasteless food could get so expensive?

Day three I awoke having dropped another pound and knowing I was thankfully done with carrot soup. Then I cheerfully spent the morning chopping vegetables to make another crappy soup that uses the horrid coconut sauce to enhance the bad flavoring. But I did get to eat 2 ounces of chicken breast. Hallelulia!

Day four “the cleanse” was over and I had dropped another pound. Just three days and I was down three and a half pounds! But as slowly as new foods are tested meals won’t be changing much for a good while. Forging on, day four I was allowed a whole serving of  chicken with mango salsa. And guess what? As soon as the pepper in the salsa hit my tongue, my nose started flooding. I was up half a pound the next morning and my arthritis was raging. Just like the book said it would. So who knows. Maybe there is something to this. The trouble is, I’m just not sure how long I can keep this program going before I cave in and order a pizza. But at least I’ll know to hold the peppers.

What my husband gets to eat.

What my husband gets to eat.

My dinner.

What I get to eat.

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Giving Thanks

Let’s Talk Turkey

Thanksgiving is upon us once again. I look around, and like many of us, I get enraged at things such as politics, General Betray us  Petraeus, my diminishing retirement account, and the San Diego Chargers. I hear myself grumbling,”What the hell is there to be thankful for?” Then from somewhere a Sunday school voice pops into my head and whispers to me to count my blessings. I know there are many things I have to be thankful for. But the Litany of Thanksgiving is rather obvious and overdone and can make you feel guilty and like an ingrate. I think this year we should all look beyond the usual. Sometimes it really is the little things in life that bring us the most joy and gratitude.

Here are some of the things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving:

1. Chocovine. I mean red wine and chocolate all in one? Can it get any better than this?

2. My son lives in town and has two dogs. Now I don’t have to get one.

3. Despite my gym being closed for repairs for the last 6 weeks my pants still (barely) fit.

4. I am in no way related to the Kardashians.

5. I am still able to lift the turkey in and out of the oven by myself.

6. Skype. My grandchildren live over 7,000 miles away. Yes, that’s 7 thousand miles. Now if the technology gods could just come up with a way to beam them up from ” down under”.

7. Despite our dismal economy and the phenomenon of a generation of workers being forced to hit the reset button over and over my three kids are finally all happily employed at the same time.

8. Blogging. I can actually write and be read without having to have an editor. There are no rejection letters. OK, so there’s no money either but I get to hit “publish” all by myself. That’s POWER!!!

9. I don’t eat Twinkies.

10. The gift of laughter. It is the  simplest and most useful of life skills and I could not survive without it.

Think outside the turkey this year. What are some of the little things you are thankful for?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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Leaving on a Prop Plane

Just three planes and I”m home!

I just had the joy of flying across the country and back in one of America’s luxurious airliners. I needed to travel to a small airport which has limited service but an abundance of fog. This meant multiple legs on the trip and an extra hour of circling the runway at midnight in a really loud prop jet hoping the fog would lift so as not to have to land 90 miles away and board a bus. This kind of stuff can’t really be helped so although it’s added misery I made up my mind to just grin and bare it.

But we all know air travel could be improved.

I’m not going to run on with the usual gripes about the airlines: the way we are crammed in, the lack of food and drink, and the surliness of so many flight attendants. You know what the problems are. I am used to bringing my own food and plenty of water because I can count on the airlines not to offer me any. Three ounces of water is not sufficient to ward off dehydration on a five and a half hour flight.  I don’t mind bringing my own but I figure they could at least come by with the trash bag. Most of the time I see the attendants sitting in their little service area eating their own lunch. I hate to interrupt them by handing them my trash but there really is no room to keep it in the seat pocket. That space is already taken by my knees.

Neither am I going to say much about the TSA although I can’t understand how you can get through security quicker at LAX than at an airport that has four outbound flights a day. In such a small airport the TSA doesn’t really have much to do so they go through everyone’s luggage right as it’s checked. Helps with the boredom. I really don’t like people perusing my dirty laundry (literally or metaphorically). And I absolutely hate it when I have to stand there and watch. I prefer to be humiliated anonymously. Do I need someone to judge my underwear?

The real problem though, as I see it, is the other travelers. Rudeness rules the day. So does poor hygiene. People are just nasty these days in all possible ways. And animals? I love animals and have sat near dogs many times. They are usually better behaved than their owners. But I draw the line at having to smell cat pee for five hours. The smell of cat pee is exactly why I don’t have a cat. This was the first time I ever saw a cat on a plane and I hope I never have to smell see one again.

And what don’t people get about “a small personal item”? This does not mean a backpack that would be a challenge for a marine to carry. Or one that bounces off the heads of everyone already seated on its’ way down the aisle. And yes, shopping bags count. Not really a carry on?  Yeah, right. It’s packed with more stuff than checked baggage. What useless stuff are all these people buying on vacation? Planes are SMALL folks. Really small. And no one is that special.

Did anyone learn anything on “Watch Mr. Wizard”? If not, here’s a science lesson for you: gas expands at high altitudes. If you have a sealed bag of something like chips or crackers you will notice the bag will blow up full and tight. You can pop it like a balloon. The gas in your stomach expands too. But unlike the sealed bag there is a way out for intestinal gas subjecting all aboard to recycled farts for hours on end. That little air blower over your head doesn’t get any new air once those doors are closed in preparation for take off. So everybody keep on bringing those fast food fries and onions on board so we can all breathe them in both before and after they are consumed. The smells blend in nicely with the germs from all the coughing and sneezing. Best to pack something to hold over your nose and get a flu shot.

Who do the airlines think they are kidding when they say “sit back, relax, and enjoy the trip”? It actually pisses me off to hear that. Just hurry up and come by with the beverage cart. Then I can buy some alcohol to get through the whole ordeal.

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Funeral

Laughing all the way.

” Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.”

~ George Bernard Shaw

Now that I have made it to the other side of a cluster of funerals, I can draw a deep breath, dry my eyes, and see that people plan funerals with the same personal flair they plan any other event in their life. For example, my mother-in-law’s idea of a dinner party was to serve cocktails made of lemonade and cheap whiskey and boil up some meat. I never could understand this bland streak in her as she was a very talented artist and knew how to put verve in a painting. Never the less, she buried her dearly departed husband in a nice shade of beige. His face so matched his jacket I had to do a double take to see if he had been dressed at all. Her plan was to give him the same type of Catholic service she took comfort in her whole life. A mass with the right prayers, the right eulogy, the right decorum… the right rites. Something in perfect control. What she did not plan on was the homeless man who wandered in out of the rain, sat right next to the family, and began to join in the responses and sing off-key. The church funeral committee was flustered. The priest looked nervous. My Alzheimer stricken mother-in-law was terrified. And I was choking back laughter at the whole bizarre scene. Nobody knew what to do with him. I just figured we should let him be. It was a church after all and as they say “WWJD”?

A few months later when my dad died, he had picked out everything and pre-payed his bill. I don’t want to say my dad had no taste but he did have a tendency to gravitate to the tacky side. So when the funeral parlor brought in his casket, in my highly emotional state, I blurted out ,”Look, he blinged out his coffin just like his Cadillacs.” Really, it had way too much detailing. Fortunately, not many people had arrived. This was, after all, retirement Florida and I could have offended a number of people who had gone for the same upgrades on their cars and caskets. And speaking of funerals in Florida, the people come dressed in their golf clothes so they won’t miss their round for the day. You never know, it could be the last one. Some of the gentlemen were wearing the same outlandishly styled plaid pants they wore to my mother’s funeral some 17 years earlier. I wonder what their caskets will look like?

My mother-in-law had been planning her own funeral for years. She had written down all the things she wanted to be buried with as if she were an ancient Egyptian. Her’s was to be a Catholic mass…the higher the better. Her eyes sparkled in spiritual ecstasy when she talked about it. (We did not call her St. Dorothy for nothing). I know she envisioned a church full of mourners. But she outlived everybody. Including the people she knew from church. So what she got was a deacon darting into the funeral parlor to say a few words. Apparently, if you outlive your tithe you don’t warrant a mass. I kept expecting her to jump up and tell us we were all going to hell for treating our beloved mother so badly by not having communion. We were maybe a dozen strong for the actual “mc service”.  We did have a woman show up like she was going to a Victorian funeral. Saint Dot would have approved of her attire. The woman was dressed in black from head to toe including a veiled hat and gloves. Really creepy. She went on and on about how she used to go to my mother-in-law’s art shows. I was thinking, “That’s nice but who the hell are you?”

There have been other humorous moments in the midst of extreme sadness. We snickered at Uncle Pete, who at 96, was buried without his teeth which was appropriate because he wouldn’t wear them when he was alive either. My daughter-in-law’s father, who was a great kidder in his 50 years, found a way to play one last joke. When a snake crawled out of a floral arrangement in the middle of his funeral everybody figured it had to be his doing. And even at my precious nephew’s funeral, who died way too young at 27, we laughed at his antics as they were recounted by his many friends.

So how about you? Have you ever laughed at a funeral? Were people appalled? Or did they laugh with you?

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Customer Service

Do you see a package here?

I’m so glad big companies did away with their outsourced call centers. You know, the ones where we couldn’t understand what anyone was saying. Things are so much better now that nobody at all is working in customer service. At least the automated voice doesn’t hold it against me when I tell her to bite me.

I ordered a replacement water filter for my refrigerator and after being assured it was in stock I chose to pay extra for a quick delivery. When it hadn’t arrived in two and a half weeks I decided I should call the appliance company back and check on my order. I began this ordeal with an attitude of patience because if I spent time doing this I could put off something I wanted to do even less. There was the usual “push 1”, “push 2”, “your call is important to us” bullshit. If they really thought it was that important they would actually pick up my call. Their real strategy is to make you give up and hang up. When I finally got through to someone she assured me that according to the tracking number my water filter had been delivered. Wrong! I know it never landed on my doorstep. I paid for three-day delivery and was watching for it. I know what time the truck comes down our street. I was home that day at the exact time of said delivery. The appliance company told me that since they had received confirmation of the delivery it was up to me to deal with the delivery service.

Next I called the delivery company’s 800 number whose mechanical voice gives you three options, none of which is to report you didn’t get your package. Neither is there an option for speaking to a real person. They did offer a list of local stores with addresses and store hours. This might have helped if I wanted to send something instead of receive something. Then I discovered if I waited around and pushed “1 for more information” I could get a phone number to a local store. I doubted the locals could help me but I figured they would know who could.

So I called one of the local stores and a real woman actually answered the phone! I asked her, in pressurized speech, before she could hang up or put me on hold, how I was supposed to report that I had never received a package that was recorded as delivered when the number you are supposed to call doesn’t allow for that. I concluded she must get this question frequently because she answered in an equally manic voice that if I were to press “0” four or five times at three-second intervals I would get an operator. Then she immediately hung up before I could thank her. Or ask her anything else. No one calling the 800 number could had uncovered this information simply by listening to the menu. Do they actually want customers?

So again, I call the 800 number for the delivery company but this time I am running out of patience because by now an hour has passed and I am beginning to think of all those things I hate to do that I could have gotten done in that time.

Then I found myself in conversation with a machine.

“Press 1 if you…,” the mechanical voice chirped.

“Bite me. I’m pressing 0,” I replied.

“Press 1 if you… ”

“F*** you. I’m pressing 0.

“Press ‘1’ if you…”

“Ha! You think I’m stupid? I’m pressing 0.

And so the conversation went until at last I got a real person. I explained my problem to the man and was then put on hold until I could to talk to “someone who could help me”. While holding I’m wondering what the first man was paid to do if he couldn’t help. At last the lone customer service worker in this multi-billion dollar shipping company cheerfully explained to me that the appliance company I ordered from was the account holder and they would have to initiate the tracer investigation for claim purposes. I bit my tongue until it bled because she was real and obviously overworked  and my mother taught me not to swear at people. Then I dialed back right where I started from.

In the meantime, there is a bright, blinking, annoying warning indicator on my refrigerator lighting up the kitchen at night. And although I have paid for a replacement part I have no idea when or if I’ll ever get it. Anyone want to place any bets?

Could it be here somewhere?

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