Thursday, March 28, 2013


Mallie Bee is home for spring break and there has been a lot of car trips back and forth to dance.  The other day the subject of the Duggar family came up.

Sheesh, hear we go again.  Must be a new season starting. 

The Beester said that they are thinking about adopting.  I guess if Jim Bob can't get Michelle preggers with #20 right quick their show might be in danger of getting cancelled.  Well, shoot, if that happens we'll never find out if Mom's uterus ends up in her underpants every time she has a coughing fit.

I told her about a family in our school that had 13 kids.  The mom at one point lost her vision and then died a couple of years later.  This rocked The Queen Mum's world and I remember her telling me, "You can't have that many kids and not have all kinds of things start going wrong."

I didn't know nothin' about birthin' no babies and Mom wasn't one to talk much about that, but I took note of her warning that if you didn't stop while the stopping was good you'd end up making an early departure.

I was friends with Rita and went to the wake with my parents.  There was an agreement amongst the family that there would be no crying because their mom wouldn't want that, so there in the funeral parlor they were eagle eying each other and if somebody started to break down the siblings would swoop in like the Secret Service and put an end to that business.

I felt like crying and she wasn't even my mom so I pitied the kids in this family that were sad and motherless and needed to cry and cry but weren't allowed to.

Can you believe that, Mal?  That they couldn't cry?

Mal let that story percolate a few minutes but she had other things on her mind.  She waved her hand below her waist and said, "It seems to me that if you have that many kids that this area here would get cavernous."

And then there's that.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

..............Another One Opens

At the end of January I was cruising one of my favorite job search sites and found a posting for a finance associate for the modern art museum here in Kansas City.  I read through the qualifications and said to myself, " could do this."

I did some updates on my resume and sent it off.  Then I completely forgot about it. 

Three weeks later, I got a call on my cell phone from the HR department asking me to come in for an interview.

What?  Me? 

The interview got cancelled twice due to weather and whatever mojo I thought had took a nosedive.  Lo and behold, oh me of little faith when it comes to interviews, when the day came things went really well since they didn't start with my personal favorite interview question, "Tell us about yourself."

What does that even mean in respect to a job interview?  Do you want a rehash of my job qualifications or do you want to know that I never miss The Good Wife on Sunday nights?  That question confuses me, but it quite possibly is because I overthink it.   And everything else. 
Anyhow, we talked about the job, what I've done and how it relates to what they need, and I liked them.  Very much.

Another three weeks went by and then I got a call to come in for a 2nd interview.

On Friday I was in the basement at work on my lunch break when the HR officer called to offer me the job which I accepted.  I called The Big Daddy and we high-fived and giggled over the phone.  I texted everyone I knew and then went back upstairs to work. 

I'm going to be working in an art museum of all things.

An art museum.

In this roller coaster job hunt of the last several years it seems that I may have finally stuck the landing.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

When One Door Closes.....................

The store officially closed on Sunday and things have ramped up around there lately.  After the post-Christmas lull, a good closing sale kept the customers coming in, the registers humming and the employees hustling.

Especially in the last week I think we've cleaned out dressing rooms and hung up the same clothes a few thousand times.

The perks of being a shopgirl.

For those of us leaving it has been a bittersweet week, although, the same could probably be said for those who are staying.  Because of yet another Kansas City snowstorm I could have taken Sunday off, but I wanted to be with my work peeps one more time in that beautiful old building.

Lest you think that being a shopgirl is for the simple minded you should know that besides being incredibly stylish my coworkers love music, food, coffee, books, tango, yoga and gardening.  They are educated, kind, hard-working, opinionated and fun.  Outside of this work they are a retired principal, a current principal, a librarian, an artist, a mentor to education majors for the local college, in training to be a docent for the art museum, a former long-time resident of New York City, a shopgirl in an independent bookstore, a real estate agent, a dancer and a writer.  They are older than me and younger than me, but age never seemed to be a barrier to bonding with all of them.

Even when I was worn out and had little in my reserve tank for another day on my feet, I always looked forward to seeing these woman.  Like the antique dealer upstairs and the people who work the carryout counter of the barbeque restaurant next door, they welcomed me into their family every day and.............

........I will miss them.  Dearly.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Unfinished Business

When I started this blog, I thought I might make it a decorating thing.  Paint choices, pillows that I've sewn, crafts for every holiday.

My neighbor is always telling me I could hit the jackpot if I pursued that, and I've kicked the idea around over and over, but......................

I'm not that good at those sorts of things lately.

I have gotten busy and the things that are undone around here keep growing and growing.

I've got ten feet of quarter-round that's been missing for at least twenty years.  The railing upstairs was done ten years ago and I still can't decide if I should paint it or stain it.  There is not one single drawer in the kitchen that closes right.  The slipcovers have been washed so many times that I wore a hole in them so I bought a blanket to throw over the arm of the sofa.

And the basement?  Oh geez, the basement.

These are The Turd Brothers looking through the blinds at the birds..............

They want them some birdies real bad.  So bad that they attack the blinds..............

Oh dear, look, they've broken the blinds, but they are tired and need to nap............

...................and so they slumber knowing that the view they expanded for bird-watching will be around for a very long time.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Popes Among Us

Wouldn't it just figure that the last two weeks the store is open the best customers start coming through the door?

I was working last Sunday and because everything is marked down and then 40% off things were busy.  Crazy busy.  Two women were making their way through the sale racks and I talked to them, offered a dressing room, kept checking on them.  One of them was in a long phone discussion with her mother about a sweater and two hours later she threw her hands up in the air and abandoned this shopping thing.

While she was talking to her mom, her mom was checking out our website and placing her personal requests via her daughter.  Much of what she wanted wasn't at our store and so what started as a daughter wanting to get her mom something special turned into a fruitless discussion over things that weren't readily available.  "I give up," the daughter said.  "Thank you for helping me but she's driving me crazy.  I can't do this any more."

The next day the same two women come back to the store and that's when I found out they worked for United Way in Alberta, Canada.  They were in Kansas City for a conference on servicing the poor and we had a long discussion about attitudes towards the poor in both this country and theirs.  They were excited to attend this conference and bring back some new ideas to their city to solve the problems of the least among us.

They had walked for miles to our downtown area on a cold and windy day only to find out that the cute, little shops they'd heard about weren't downtown.  An hour later, we sent them to our other store and to a shopping district worthy of their time, and they were just lovely.  Passionate, beautiful, lovely women.

On Tuesday, I was working at the new store and a women came in and happened to mention that she was a retired school teacher from Lake Forest, Illinois.  Well then, I asked, how did you end up in Kansas City?  Her daughter and her partner adopted Native American siblings and she wanted to be close by to see these beautiful new grandchildren of hers.  She herself was raised by her Native American grandmother on a reservation and so this was a full circle sort of thing................this gay daughter of hers and her partner raising these kids.

For the next hour she educated us about what life in this country is like when you live on a reservation and it is shocking.  Completely, utterly shocking and on her teacher's pension she sends $200.00 a month to the family that raised her, and said that even if it was $2000.00 a month it couldn't begin to fix the problems.

It's been an eventful few weeks for the Catholics and you'd be hard-pressed not to have heard about this pope or the last one with the relentless media coverage, but for my new acquaintances from Canada and the reservation, it's one weary foot in front of the other, day after day with little fanfare.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Caddyshack Part Two: Workmen's Comp

I was down the street playing on a summer day when Friar Terry, hauling his clubs, came looking for me to shag some balls.  I didn't want to.  I was having fun with my friends and, besides, I wasn't wearing any shoes.  Terry convinced me that hanging out with him while golf balls were coming in my direction would be way more fun than kick the can.

"Ya can't make a quarter doing this now can you, " he asked.

Well okay, but first I have to run home and get some shoes.

"Nah, you don't need shoes."

No.  No.  I need shoes.

"You'll be fine.  Shoes are for babies."

Despite thinking differently and noticing that he had his shoes on off we and my big bro to the field for golf practice.

I took my position out yonder among the dandelions and I wasn't liking what I was seeing.  There were bees everywhere and I was scared, but Terry said they wouldn't bother me if I didn't bother them.

They didn't for about ten minutes and then I stepped on one and got stung on the bottom of my foot.  I started hopping around and wailing while dodging the golf balls that he kept driving towards my head.


"Okay.  Let me just hit a few more."


I started walking in from the field.  Hurt, mad and not about to shag any more of his damn golf balls.  He scooped up the rest while I sat on the bench by the baseball diamond crying, and then we made our way home - me hobbling all the way.

Mom took a look at it and said I'd be fine but before long my foot blew up to twice its size.  This was problematic.  Mom, who could fix any kind of injury and was the best butterfly bandager on the block for the really deep cuts that should have had stitches, was stumped.  "We just may have to take you to the doctor."

No.  No.  Not the doctor.  Please, Mom, not the doctor.

For back in the 60s if you were a kid and had to go to the doctor it surely meant you were getting a shot.  Everything that could be wrong with you required a shot.  I don't ever remember getting medicine when I was sick, but presenting my stark white butt to a nurse to get another shot seemed to be a regular occurrence.

By the next day my bee sting had not gotten better so Mom and I sat in a doctor's office that smelled like formaldehyde and found out I was allergic to bees.  "She'll be okay," the doctor said.  "But we'll give her a shot just to be on the safe side."

Mom said well sure that sounds like a good idea and my butt got a needle jammed into it to cure the bee sting on my foot.

It was a big deal amongst the clan when we got home and I did some show and tell and soaked up the attention.  "She's allergic to bees," Mom told Terry.  "You'd better not take her out shagging again without shoes or you'll kill her for God's sake."

Before long my foot got better and my brother came around looking for his best shagger.  I had some time to think things over when it came to this job of mine and I made a few decisions about my future.

I'll keep on shagging I told my brother, but there's been a price increase while I was recuperating from my near-death experience.  A dollar a bag.  Take it or leave it.

He grabbed his clubs.  I grabbed my shoes.  We had a deal.


Monday, March 11, 2013


My brother, Terry, is a great golfer.  So good in fact that he still competes and often wins tournaments.  His interest started when he made the high school golf team which required a great deal of practice.

He liked to take his clubs up to the field near our house, pull out his driver and let those golf balls fly - one after the other.   Mom sewed two dishtowels together and made a casing for a draw string and that held all the balls.  I was his shagger.  My job was to run down each ball he hit, find it amongst the dandelions and put it back into the bag without getting bonked in the head.  Once the weather got nice we'd do this every day and he paid me handsomely for the job......a quarter a bag.

One day he decided that we should go to the field by the elementary school instead of the high school to hit balls.  We had never done this before.  He pulled out his driver and was whacking them pretty good when suddenly a ball sailed over my head, hit the asphalt and kept bouncing until it crashed through a classroom window.  He came running up to me screaming, "Why didn't you get that one??!!!  Look what you did!!!"

What I did?  

It didn't take long for the janitor to show up on a golf cart to investigate and Terry took off running like a perp on an episode of Cops.  Through backyards, gardens, between houses, out into the street and then back again.  Terry was no match for a golf cart and eventually the old guy caught him, bringing him back to where I was standing.  "You finally done running, son," he asked. 

He told me to get in the cart with my brother.  He was taking us home.  "No sir," my brother said getting out.  "I'm responsible for my sister and I can't let her get in here with a stranger or my Mom will be really mad at me.  No sir, me and my sister will walk."   I was a little confused by this protectiveness since I'd never actually seen it before.

We did The Walk of Shame down Rose Drive - the street that was behind our house with the janitor in his golf cart tailing us.  "Listen to me,"  Terry whispered.  "You're going to do everything I tell you to do."

Oh no, Terry.  We have to tell Mom and Dad the truth about what happened.  That we did it and that we're sorry and that you're going to pay for it.  We can't lie about it because that would be real bad and get us in more trouble.  The nuns say lying makes it worse.

"What are you talking about?   You're going to have to pay for half of it since you didn't stop it from bouncing.  Now shut up about the nuns and do what I tell you to do."

"Hey, you two, what are you whispering about up there," the janitor wanted to know.

"Nothing, sir.  My sister's a little scared right now, but that's okay cuz this here is our house."  But we weren't even on the right street.  

"C'mon Kath," he said and we walked up the steps and he jimmied the knob on the front door of the home of somebody who lived behind us and that I didn't even knowBut Terry knew.  Terry knew the husband and wife worked all day and that nobody was home until dinner.

"Sorry, sir, Mom's probably in the shower.  We'll just go around back and get her."

We strolled up the driveway like we'd lived there forever, admiring the lovely potted geraniums along the side of the house, and then Terry told me to run as soon as we were out of sight.  We ran like the wind, threw the clubs and balls over the fence and then ourselves, made a beeline for the boys' bedroom in the back of the house and closed the door.

We had evaded the law.

We sat on the bunkbeds laughing at what happened and Terry said, "That janitor was one crazy guy Did you see how he chased me in that golf cart?  That son-of-a-bitch could have killed me."

"Yeah," I said"If he killed you I would have kicked his ass."  I had become a lawbreaker and cusser in the span of thirty minutes and I liked it.

After awhile Mom yelled for us to come into the living room.   There was somebody she wanted us to meet.  Standing inside the front door, proud as could be was the janitor with his golf cart parked in the driveway.

The son-of-a-bitch figured out where we lived.     



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

House of Prayer

When I was little and my mom would come and check on my sister and I before she'd go off to bed herself, I would often poke my little, curly head up and say, "I can't sleep, Mom."

Say your prayers, Kath, she'd say.

It was my mom's answer to E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

At dinner we'd say regular grace and then another prayer which was my dad's favorite.  Sheesh, people, can we just eat already?

My whole life it was the standard answer to everything that was wrong.

Say your prayers.

My mom has been sick lately.  No appetite, lethargic, coughing a lot.  After two rounds of antibiotics she wasn't any better and so the doctor ordered an abdominal and lung scan because she believed it was cancer.

Her six kids and their spouses were knocked to their knees.  Yes, my mom is older but she doesn't act old.  She walks twice a day.  She's funny.  She's energetic.  She needs to stay with us.

That was on a Friday and yesterday we found out she is okay.............maybe a nasty virus that needs to run its course, but no cancer and no pneumonia.

Today is my birthday.

Mom isn't going anywhere for the time being.

Hail Mary full of grace.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


The store is closing in less than three weeks and I have been cruising the job market.

I went on a very promising interview last week, but no call back as of yet even though I totally rocked it.

It's a real job and I was really nervous as the interview was cancelled twice.  This gave me time to think freak out.   The Big Daddy said, "Just be yourself.  They'll love you."  That's not really true.  I can think of a few people who don't even like me.  Because it's mutual.  Besides...............when I'm myself I talk WAY too much which isn't exactly a good thing to have going on in an interview.  I thought about faking going to the interview (who would know?), but instead hiked up my Mom Pants and crossed being scared shitless off my bucket list.  Again.

So now I wait.

Since the store is closing there is a big sale going on.  As employees we get a generous discount and now even more so with this clearing out of goods.  The tired winter merchandise that we couldn't stand two weeks ago is looking much more inviting and there is continuous trolling through the racks.  My fellow shopgirls never stop selling.  They're good.  Scary good.

That looks so good on you.  You should totally get that.  Did you see the price????   It's crazy how much it's marked down.  You. Need. That. 

It explains the poncho I dated on my shift today and am considering even though I've never been a poncho girl in my entire life. 

It could be quite the fashion statement when I'm sitting in a coffee shop dodging interviews.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Putting Out The Fire

After church on Saturday, Mark and I went to our favorite pizza place.  It was a little hard to get to as many streets were blocked off with fire trucks.  It was a show of force of emergency responders and when we got out of the car I smelled gas, which seems to be a little too common in Kansas City these days.

We went into the restaurant and ordered our pizza.  I was near a t.v. and could hear the report of a gas leak in the very neighborhood we were sitting in.  Before long somebody from the gas company came in with a meter to read the gas levels in the kitchen.

This was a little unsettling.

One of the waitresses that works there went to school with Will, and so I stopped her to find out what she knew.  The leak was at a nearby apartment complex and they were being extra cautious in light of what recently happened here.

With that, four fireman filed past our table to inspect the kitchen themselves to make sure everything was safe.

The waitress and the patron stopped conversing.  A minute later all was well and they walked by us again and out the door.

"Just once," she said, "I'd like to be carried out of a building by a fireman."

You and me both, honey.