Thursday, February 28, 2013

Losing Vicki

Mary called me up.  Mary the PTA president.  Mary the Organizer.  Mary.......the friend you want when the shit hits the fan.

"Vicki called.  She's been going to the doctor a lot and was wondering if you'd be able to take her to some of her appointments at St. Luke's."

Oh yes.  Yes, I would love to do that for Vicki.  Just tell me when and I'm there.

"Tuesdays.  You're the Tuesday Girl.  I'll call her and get the info and let you know."

Tuesday arrived and I picked up my much thinner, very sick friend and helped her into my van.  We chatted all the way there catching up on everything as she'd been housebound for awhile with treatments for ovarian cancer.  When we got to the professional offices of St. Luke's, I dropped her off in front.

"I'll wait here for you while you park the car.  They don't want me going up alone."

Okay.  I'll make it quick.

That is when I lost my friend.  I dropped her off on the ground level, parked on the 2nd level, took a walkway over the dropoff area (huh, I don't remember seeing that) and got completely lost.  Where I was I had no idea and since I have no sense of direction and lay no m & m's along the way to remember my path, I was screwed.  And a cell phone?  Well, Vicki and I had already talked about how neither of us had one of those new things and weren't in any hurry to get one.

I wandered around.  Oncology, I'd ask.  Well, is she having chemo or radiation?  What kind of cancer?  Outpatient?  Is she having blood drawn?  Oh, try that building across the street.   

Vicki?  Tall, dark hair, talks to everybody?  You'd like her as soon as you met her.  Everybody does.

At one point I got so confused in a maze of hallways I ended up on the hospital side and thought I was going to cry. 

Mary is going to kick my ass.

I left the building, walked next to a construction site where they had to halt the crane while I wandered through sans hardhat and eventually ended up right where I dropped her off.

There she was.

Oh geez, Vicki, I am so sorry.  Have you been waiting long?  I got lost.  Do you know how many oncology departments there are in this place?  Who does this kind of thing to their friend?  I'm really sorry.  You can yell at me.  You could even fire me. 

Vicki did none of those things.  Instead she introduced me to one of her nurses and they both decided to wait there while I got the car and brought it around which that time I managed not to screw up.

Vicki kept me on as her chauffeur.  We didn't tell Mary or anybody else how I lost her on my first day of duty, our secret joke every Tuesday until she moved on. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Blizzard of Oz

Last week's snowfall of 12" just wasn't enough and so round two came through overnight.  Work was cancelled for both of us, schools were closed and everybody stayed home which would have been all cozy and lovely had the power not gone out at four a.m.  By nightfall, KCPL (those beautiful lineman literally trudging in snow up to their butts) brought the lights and heat back.

It was a winter wonderland right outside the door.................


And The Big Daddy working the shovel with our neighbor like he was Michael Bloomberg..


And my snow garden............


We warmed up for a few hours at Maggie and Nate's and when we came home I finished reading this book by way of a battery-operated tea light. 

Snow days..........I'd love one more but all good things must end. 




Sunday, February 24, 2013

February

I'm not a fan of the whole month of February.  At least in January you get the Christmas stuff put away, organize the house, make a fresh start.  This is useful stuff.

Then comes February.  Gray and shorter than any other month, like even it doesn't see the point in hanging around longer than necessary.

A couple of weeks ago, I was supposed to go out to dinner with my fellow shopgirls to see a friend of all of ours who was in town.  I didn't go and I couldn't even make up a decent excuse.  Instead, Mark and I went to an evening church service which we never AND I MEAN NEVER have done before.  I thought that if I was going to bail on this planned dinner nobody could lay a guilt trip on me for going to church.

An hour of being still helped in matters of mental and spiritual health.

When I went back to work I offered my apologies.  I am off-kilter, I said.  I cannot explain it.  I cannot understand it.  I am just off-kilter.

My very wise friend and boss said, "Yes, it's like that these days.  First Fat Tuesday, then Ash Wednesday, then Valentine's Day.  It is as if the air is charged this week."

I love her.

The air in Kansas City has stay charged with a gas explosion, a 12" snowstorm on Thursday to be followed in the next 24 hours with another storm of up to 15".

It is more than time to start daydreaming about all things garden............the only remedy for a month that seems as if it will never end.



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Serving

When I go to work I often come in contact with waiters and waitresses that are also going to their jobs and park in the same employee lot as me as there are many restaurants that are our neighbors.

Often we don't speak, but I try to wish them a good day.  Though we are in the same type of service industry, my hourly pay doesn't depend on how many people walk in the door and what kind of mood they are in.  I have never waitressed, but based on my own experience with customer service I know their job is much harder than mine.

The other day I took a phone order from a woman who seemed to delight in being condescending to salespeople.

Ma'm, do you spell your first name E-V-E-L-Y-N?

No, Kathy, it's E-V-E-L-Y-N.  Didn't you hear me?

Evelyn, just bear with me a moment.  I have to get the sales tax off your order and the computer is running a little slow this morning.

Kathy, what did you do wrong now?  Oh and Kathy, when you fold that skirt make sure there's no creases in it so that when I take it out of the box and put it on it's perfect.

That is just a small portion of the penance I did.  It went on and on.........always with the "Kathy".  Constantly referring to someone by their first name doesn't make you less of a bitch.  Evelyn. 

On Wednesday, at just past six and half a mile from where I work was a gas explosion right outside a popular restaurant in the Plaza area of Kansas City.

There have been many serious injuries and several people are still in the hospital.  Everybody made it out of there with the exception of one waitress.

Her body was found the next day and one of her coworkers said, "Everybody loves her.  Nobody can say anything bad about her." 

She was described as politically active, funny, had a law degree and loved working in the restaurant.

One of the hundreds of service workers that travel to that area every single day and try to eek out a living......

I hope she never encountered an Evelyn on her shift. 

I hope somebody wished her well on what would be her last day on this earth.


Source: panoramio.com via Ann on Pinterest

Monday, February 18, 2013

Alleluia & Amore

Will sent me this video because he said it reminded him of how I sing, and I laughed until I couldn't breathe when I watched it.  On a dreary Thursday night when the store was open late and Marian and I were trying to amuse ourselves, I told her about it.  When I got home I sent the link to her.

We've become rather obsessed with Jon Daker and his performance for the First United Methodist Church.  She sent the video to her friend who found this one with subtitles. 

It has been my go-to entertainment for longer than is reasonable, but I admire a guy who looks like a deer in headlights and still performs.

Kinda.



Sunday, February 17, 2013

Taxing

A few years ago we turned this filing of our taxes hot mess over to an accountant.  We lacked the skill set and marriage counseling needed to do this and he charges us ridiculously little to make our life easier.

However, we still need to organize everything to give to him and this year that has become a raging cluster.

I knew I'd been kind of sloppy about things, but with one daughter getting married and another going to college I had bigger things on my mind.  Nice.............blame it on the kids.

Everything that could be essential to get big $$$ back from big government is thrown in a file and then sorted, organized, and put on an Excel spreadsheet for Mr. Tax Man.

There is no file this year.

Did I not even make a file?  Did I make one and lose it?  Oh dear God.

Think.  Think .  Think.

I do panic better than thinking. 

Plan B.  Go through bank account and find deductions.  Go through charge card and find deductions.

Currently, the bank's website is going through some remodel.  SORRY 'BOUT YA!!!

And the charge card statements online?

After a couple of tries at logging in I successfully got to the 2nd page and the security question.

Who is your favorite character in a novel?

YOU.  HAVE.  GOT.  TO.  BE.  KIDDING.  ME.

First dog.  Street I grew up on.  Mother's maiden name.  Month I was born (spelled out please).  Check, check, check, check, but favorite character in a novel????

I have read thousands of books in my lifetime.  Did I go old school for this one?  Laura Ingalls.  Denied.  Nancy Drew?  Denied.  Madeline?  (That might have been desperate.)  Denied and kicked out.  Need to change your security question?  Ya think?  Sorry, customer service is closed today.

Answers to security questions isn't the only thing I'm going old school on.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mr. Patrick

Mallie Bee started dancing in the 4th grade when her friend Rachel's mom called and asked me if I'd be interested in these girls taking a class together and us sharing the driving.

Yes and yes, and so the fledgling tiny dancers were launched into a new after-school sport.

Rachel's parents were divorced and her dad saw her on Tuesday nights - the very same Tuesdays that they danced.  Before long, he told me he'd drive both ways and kill time between their lesson, thus saving me from driving.

Drive both ways???  Seriously?  Where did you come from??!!!

After awhile, Mal came in the door and told me that Rachel's dad said that she could call him by his first name, Patrick.

Uh, no you can't.

"Why not?"

Because he is an adult not your friend and you cannot call an adult by their first name when you're nine years old.

"But he said I could call him Patrick."

You may call him Mr. Patrick.

And that is how Rachel's dad has been referred to even to this day.

Mr. Patrick would take the hungry, sweaty dancers to McDonald's after their lesson for something to eat on the way home.  He drove them four hours to see their dance teachers marry and then drove them home the next day.  He sat with the moms in many cold, dark auditoriums watching the team in competition.  He took the girls to the So You Think You Can Dance tour and many times to see the Royals play.  He took them to the Ozarks for water skiing.  He was the bartender for the adults at the year-end party.  He has been a fixture in this dance life of ours, and now that the girls are in college pursuing different goals we don't get to see him.  I always ask about him, though, for he was the only dance dad that showed up for everything.

This past weekend, Mal was in the senior recital at school.  The seniors each do a solo and then choreograph and teach a dance to the underclass students to perform.  Mallie Bee was in three dances.

Sigh.................she's such a lovely dancer.

For as many of these recitals that I've been to with both of our girls, it never occurs to me to buy flowers until I'm there and see all the other parents with their heaping bouquets.  Major. Parental. Fail.

Will came home from school to see his sister along with Maggie and Nate.  It was a great show with amazing talent and when it was over we all went out to get something to eat.

Burgers with fries................just like back in the day when Mr. Patrick was behind the wheel, and it could have only been more perfect if he and Rachel had joined us.






Sunday, February 10, 2013

Michelle & Me

I am not one to usually remember my dreams vividly, but this one...........oh geez, this one.


Michelle Obama and I were becoming budding new besties.  She liked me.  Really, really liked me.  She thought I was hilarious.  Mallory and Sasha were school friends, and Mal was always very polite to the Obamas whenever she was invited to the White House for after-school hanging out.  I'd chat with her when I would pick Mal up, and during one of those conversations Michelle invited me to accompany her and Barack to the upcoming school play.  The night of the event, we met at the school and Michelle and I both needed to use the bathroom before things got underway.  The bathroom had a long line and as we stood in it chatting I felt the beginnings of The Nervous Poop.  This was due to the realization that I was with the POTUS and the FLOTUS.

I did not want the FLOTUS to hear me doing that, and so I made the excuse that we'd miss the start of the play if we both waited and that I would find another bathroom.  I went on the hunt.  Down a maze of hallways, peering into doorways, looking through windows.  Finally I found a tiny door under the stairs and there was a bathroom, gnome-sized but functional.  I bent down and crawled through the opening, hurried up and did my business and then went back to the auditorium.

By then the play had already started.  I quickly and quietly walked down to the first row and there were no more empty seats.  No seat saved for Polite Mallory's Funny Mother and New Best Friend Of Michelle's.  In fact, her and Barack never even made eye contact with me and as the Secret Service was politely escorting me out of there I woke from my dream.

Whenever The Queen Mum references somebody she thinks is a primo bullshitter, she says, "That guy could fall in a pile of crap and come out smelling like a rose."

I have no such luck.  I end up just smelling like crap.

Source: Uploaded by user via Char'cia on

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Baltimore

When we lived on the east coast, I told The Big Daddy that I wanted to go to Baltimore for my birthday, so we loaded up wee Maggie and drove there for the day.

The Inner Harbor is the main draw with all kinds of boats surrounded by an aquarium, shops and restaurants.  We had some lunch and did some walking, and then I suggested we check out the farmer's market which was several blocks away.

There were two problems with this idea................

#1.  We had no idea where we were going.

#2.  It was early March which isn't exactly farmer's market season.

We've never been the kind of people to let facts get in the way of a really dumb idea.

We left the Inner Harbor and forged onward in search of the farmer's market.  After a few blocks I started getting nervous.  The neighborhood was looking a little sketch.

I don't know about this, Mark.  I think we should turn back.

"Nah.  It's fine."

A block later, a drunk leaning in a doorway saw us and yelled, "SO..............YOU THINK YOU'RE COMMON SONS-OF BITCHES???"

The Big Daddy nodded and smiled.

Oh geez, this isn't good.  No it isn't.

The Big Daddy kept pushing that baby of ours with confidence.  "I was in these kinds of neighborhoods all the time when I was a roofer.  We're fine."

Always the roofing references.  You'd have thought he roofed half of Chicago with a gun to his head.  Well, maybe once or twice but it was a coworker with the gun which doesn't count as a real crime.

After a long trek we made it to a closed farmer's market which is when it dawned on us that this selling of fruits and vegetables is a seasonal thing.

We turned around and were making our way back to the Inner Harbor.............the shiny beacon of materialism and the tourist safety zone was within our sight.

Out of the corner of our eye at precisely the same time we saw three very large woman crossing the street.  Unusually large.  Very endowed.  Hot pants.  Purses.  Make-up.  Big hair.  Long fingernails.  Tight, tight, tight with the clothes.  I did a double take and one of them said............

"Ewwwww wheeeeee.....................look at that white boy pushing that baby carriage!

Oh my God, Mark, are they talking about you?

And The Big Scared Daddy said...................

Do you see any other white boy pushing a baby carriage?????

These common sons-of-bitches did the skedaddle before The Baltimore Trannies took Baby Daddy for a walk on the wild side.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Aging Gracefully

I started working retail when the kids were little.  The hours were flexible so I could work nights and weekends while Mark was home.  I enjoyed getting out of the house, making some money and getting clothes at a great discount.  It is easy for me to talk to strangers.  I can merchandise the crap out of any store.  I'm accurate on the register and know the inventory.  The big thing........the selling of the goods?  Not so much.

Because I've done this off and on for awhile, I have observed many customers over the years.  It has been my habit to pay attention to women who are about ten years older than me.  What do they wear?  What do they do with their hair?  Jewelry, make-up, shoes?  I made a mental note of things I liked so that in the future I would have a guideline........not for what was age appropriate (is that saying even mentioned when talking about men?), but rather what I might consider wearing as I got older.

This is what works every single time...........................

Confidence.

Older women who know what they like can wear anything.  They can wear a linen sack with a belt and make you believe it's the most fashionable thing you've seen.  They can be overweight and in head-to-toe black, but with red patent-leather ballet flats they make a statement.  They can be wrinkled and a little stooped over, but with a stack of bracelets on their wrist they could be in a Sundance catalog.  They have no intention of trying to look like the daughter they have raised.  They know what works and they don't waver much from the formula as it has served them well - much like the body they inhabit.  

Money can't buy that and likely explains why I often have a hard time with the hand-holding, propping up and counseling part of retail.  I assume that if you're in your forties and beyond you already have a life story of great sorrow and immeasurable joy.  You are the acquirer, for better or worse, of wisdom.

This clothes thing is no more than the candle on your cake.