Monthly Archives: February 2014

Mr. Gram T Pities the Foo …

After the parking ramp trauma of the previous post, while The Daughter was waiting at the Capitol building to be called for jury duty, we had the following text conversation. She started:  

<There’s a bunch of pictures of purple in here. One looks like Fisher Stevens and another looks like Dave Thomas…there’s one more that looks like a masculine form of gram t, lol>

Gram T refers to my mother, a very feminine woman in her 80s.

<You mean people or purple people eaters? Lol>

<Lol stupid autocorrect. Puerile. ….. People. Definitely people.>

<lol! So does Gram T carry off the man look okay or does she need a shave?>

<Actually clean shaven. Looks just like her except for the face angles. Pretty dang close. Even the glasses are the same>

<LOL! You should feel right at home. Mr. Gram T is watching over you.>

<That just made me smile for the first time in like 2 hours lol If phone will cooperate I’ll try to take a picture>

In my infinite wisdom as her mother, I spent the next 10 minutes pasting a picture of my mother’s face onto Mr. T. I sent her this:

Mr. Gram T

<I pity the foo…>

To which she repied: < Lmao!>

Mr. Gram T says, “I pity the fool who messes with my granddaughter!”

By the way, she was released from jury duty for another four years. Phew! The airlift off the parking garage roof wasn’t needed. And she even came home with a smile on her face. I credit the smile on Mr. Gram T’s face. 

Dante’s Inferno Has a Parking Garage

Waking up to a phone call from your wailing adult daughter is a sure way to have a coronary early in the morning. Trust me. I know. Because today, I woke up to a phone call from my wailing adult daughter. And my heart still hasn’t completely recovered.

It hasn’t been a particularly good few days for The Daughter in the first place. It started last Thursday when I reminded her that she had jury duty this week.  That brought on a whole cacophony of sighs and “why me’s?” And really, I can understand that. No one is in love with jury duty. By Sunday, she seemed resigned to it.

She had to call in on Thursday night to see if her number was in the jury pool. It was … which meant calling in again on Sunday night to see if anything had changed. It hadn’t. So Sunday night meant that she was working late at her job, got home late, and then had to figure out where she was going early the next morning, which was today, of course.

It also meant having to drive into the capitol city on her own, something she was not familiar or comfortable with. It’s about 15 – 18 miles to city center from where we live. It’s not a hard drive, pretty straight forward actually except for the heavy traffic. You just follow one road and it takes you straight to the capitol building. As a matter of fact, you can see the capitol from 10 miles away. Yeah, it’s flat here. So if you follow this one street, it takes you right there, but that’s where the simple ends.

Once you hit downtown and the square surrounding the capitol, the roads become one way. It can be complicated if you’re not used to rush hour traffic and don’t know where you’re going. So last night, we used Google Maps to scout the area. Her jury duty paperwork recommended that she park in the county garage. I printed out the simplest directions for her while giving a pep talk, and it seemed like she was set to go. Nervous, but set.

She’s like me in a lot of ways. She’s a worrier and not really sure of herself in unfamiliar situations. She can do anything she sets her mind to, but first, she has to get past fear, a trait we both have to deal with. But after talking her down from the dizzying heights of Mount Idontwannadothis,  I thought she was set to go. I was still in bed this morning when she left, since I’m still recovering from a recent illness. As the garage door went up in a distant part of the house, I snuggled back into the covers, with smug satisfaction that everything was going to be okay.

It takes about half an hour to get there, depending on traffic lights. She had given herself an extra 15 minutes, so all seemed well with the world. An hour later, the phone rang, jarring me awake. I answered, becoming instantly awake the moment I realized that the blubbering sound of a pod of narwhals on the other end of the receiver was actually my daughter. My first thought was had she been in a car accident. Had she killed someone accidentally in a crosswalk? Was she hurt? Injured? Was the car okay? Had she called the police? Was she going to jail? What should I wear for a court date? I’ve never been in a courtroom before. Prayer chain. Prayer chain. I had to call the church to get the prayer chain going. All of these flashed through my mind as my daughter sobbed hysterically in my ear.

I asked her again what had happened, and again the gibberish didn’t tell me any more than I already knew. Which was nothing. Finally, I told her she needed to calm down. Easier said than done. My best guess is that she was already worked up and when she heard my voice, the flood gates opened, so being the patient mom that I am, not the least bit prone to over-reacting, I waited for her to compose herself while resisting the urge to reach through the phone and either ring her neck for worrying me or grab her into a big hug for the same thing.

She finally reached the point where she could talk between sobs. As you can imagine, I seized the moment.

“Honey, what’s wrong. What happened? Are you okay? Do I need bail money?” Okay, I didn’t say that last one, but it did cross my mind.

With one last great dramatic pause that would have made Barrymore (John, not Drew) proud, The Daughter tragically announced, “I can’t find a parking place!”

I collapsed on the spot.

As it turns out, the parking garage that the city had recommended for jurors was an evil car-munching monster from hell that once you entered, you never left. Parking garage hell consisted of driving around in endless circles, never ascending, never descending, with any escape cut off by other drivers and reserved parking spots. Around and around until finally the only thing a person can possibly do is park in one of the myriad unused handicap spots and call your mother, thus inducing a heart attack in said mother, which results in a possible ambulance call and trip to the hospital for her, which you will then never hear the end of for the rest of your life. The one bright spot is that she won’t be able to say it to your face because you’re stuck in the parking garage from the ninth level of Dante’s Inferno.

So the possibility existed that I would never see The Daughter again, either because she couldn’t get out of the parking ramp or because I had just had a heart attack from which I would never recover.

As it turned out, the outdoor roof level was free of nasty reserved parking spots, so she was able to park there, and the saga ended. Already 45 minutes late, she didn’t waste much time getting off the phone with me and scurrying in towards the capitol building a couple of blocks away.

For me, going back to bed was impossible at that point. I was waiting to hear from her. She texted me a while ago and said she missed orientation and would have to wing it or come back another day, then promptly texted that she wasn’t going to put herself through that again, so she stayed.

Life is an adventure. For some people, it’s easier to grab a backpack and head out into the world than it is for others. Jury duty for The Daughter is one of the harder adventures. I hope she can find her strength and her sense of humor about this experience. It was nerve wracking for her and then for me, but it worked out. She’s there. On the Square. And to be fair, she’s had enough of a trial today that I hope she doesn’t get picked for a jury. But if she does, she’ll handle it in her own way. She’s stronger than she thinks she is.

My only worry now is how much it will cost to have her car airlifted off the top of the parking garage.

My thanks for the perfect photo goes to

<<This post was mother-written; daughter approved. 🙂 >>

Dear Head Cold

Dear Head Cold,

I was reading a blog recently that talked about being able to take constructive criticism and the difference between constructive and destructive criticism. Head cold, I immediately thought of you.

Since you have taken up residence in my head, I have noticed a bit of slacking off on your part. Now I’m not saying that you’re doing a bad job as far as head colds go, but frankly, the Head Cold of 2009 was head and shoulders (get it?) above you. It had all the elements of the Perfect Illness. Fever, chills, cough, clogged passageways. Even the phlegm was of a consistency that wowed the doctors.

Current head cold (Note the lack of capitalization. You have to earn it, and you simply haven’t.), to put it bluntly, I can still breathe through one nostril. Now, I’m not calling you a failure; I hope you understand that. I know you’re trying, but in the interest of constructive criticism, your actions fail. Granted, the stuffiness in the nostril switches from left to right at different times, but the Head Cold of 2009 did not play around like that. My nostrils were blocked solid in a mucous coup d’état that lasted for ten days and nights. Remember the Alamo? The French Revolution? Yeah, it was like that. No escape.

Nights were torture. I was propped up by so many pillows that I can’t even say I was lying in bed. The aches and pains that kept me awake at night made sure that I was thinking about the exquisiteness of This Head Cold of 2009. Phlegm, sneezes, coughs, aches, pains, stomach cramps all came together in a perfect alignment like the stars in the night sky, which I stared at a lot out the bedroom window since I couldn’t sleep anyway. This Head Cold did not play around. Add to the fact that I was going to be traveling by airplane soon, and a simple head cold became the Perfect Storm of Head Colds. If there were prizes for head colds, the Head Cold of 2009 would have swept the awards in a gauzy pink swan dress that would have made Bjork jealous.

You, on the other hand, head cold of 2014, are a lazy, no-account pretender (Oops! A little bit of destructive criticism slipped in there.) that has chosen to play games in my head. It’s time for you to either step it up or step off. Either lay me out flat in an epic manner that would make the parting of the Red Sea look like a scene from a travelogue or release me from your grip and let me move on with my life without your hindrance. Your choice, head cold.

It’s for your own good that I say this to you. If you’re convinced that I need to be sick, then stand by your convictions and show me what you’ve got. Otherwise, it’s time for you to blow, if you know what I mean. You will never be able to match the Head Cold of 2009, and I have better things to do with my time than honk my hooter and humidify my house just because you can’t figure out what you want to do.

I won in 2009 against the worst cold I’ve ever had in my life, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. I will win in 2014, so let me constructively say to you, to save us both some time and tissues, give up now. As long as I have hand sanitizer and chicken noodle soup, you can’t win. Speaking of chicken noodle soup, I’m off to have lunch. See? You haven’t even killed my appetite. I’m so getting over you.


The Head Honcho

A month after his beloved wife passed away, Fred wrote her a song. What happened next was simply wonderful.

Such a beautiful story of love.


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The Socks Lie!

Sugar Daddy, the caramel lollipop in the colorful wrapper

Sugar Daddy, the caramel lollipop in the colorful wrapperDSC00584

WHERE’S MY SUGAR DADDY? No. Scratch that! WHERE’S MY SHOVEL DADDY? I just finished shoveling an inch or two of snow off our steep driveway for the second time in two days. Should I be complaining? Probably not. I live in the upper Midwest. You’d think I’d be used to this stuff. While I feel great sympathy for those in the southeast and the east coast, this is what we deal with all winter long. I’m tired of it. I want a Shovel Daddy, someone who will come to my rescue after it snows with a two stage snow blower, every time I need to go out and my hubs is at work. Where are all the teenagers eager to earn a buck or two for an hour’s work? I can pay more than McDonald’s and I promise I won’t ask for fries with that. I don’t mind the actual shoveling. It’s the seemingly mandatory backache that comes with it that makes me want to get into a snowball fight with a Yeti. I’d vent my anger and pain and put that sucker down faster than Frosty would melt in a microwave. Yeah, I’m over it. Winter can go on its merry way now. I’d at least like to be able to find a few of my outdoor Christmas ornaments that got buried under the white stuff at the start of the new year. Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. I’m not feeling it. “Sweet Like Candy?” My socks lie! (I’ll feel better in the morning.)



Betty Boop is winking and throwing hugs and kisses from my socks. When I wore my Betty Boop Christmas socks, I wrote about how Betty Boop and Christmas just don’t seem to go together. However, it’s Valentine’s Day, and Betty is such a flirt. Who can imagine Heart Day without the iconic Miss Betty? She and Heart Day just go together. Like peanut butter and jelly. Soup and sandwich. Cookies and Girl Scouts. Hugs and kisses. X’s and O’s. Some things are meant for each other. Unlike Betty and Christmas, Betty and Valentine’s Day are a perfect match. This holiday brings up a lot of emotions in people. To some, it’s fulfilling, a chance to express to the one they love just how special they are. To others, it’s a reminder of what they don’t have. Cards, roses, stuffed animals, and chocolates in the stores and on TV are all constant visual assaults. And there’s another group of people, too, who are affected by this particular holiday. These are the people with their hearts on their sleeves, those brave souls who choose to declare themselves up to a new love and risk rejection or gain elation. Whether you have a love, are looking for love or have given up on love, I say adopt Betty Boop’s attitude. Flirt a little. Throw a kiss or two. Take a chance. Go a little big. Even if love doesn’t find you this year, hug someone else. You never know who might need a hug more than you do. Wine and cheese. Love and passion. Candy hearts and “Be Mine.” Betty Boop-Oop-a-Doop and pink lips on my left sock. Pink lips and Betty Boop-Oop-a-Doop on my right sock. Some things just go together. XOXOX

Mama Needs Chocolate


I’m feeling down this morning. There’s no reason for it. I’m just having a blue day. I can blame it on Shirley Temple’s death, I suppose. I loooved Shirley Temple almost as much as I loooooved Annette Funicello. It’s sad to know that they’re both gone.

Or I can blame it on the economy or the long winter and the deep snow that never seems to end.

I can blame it on medical issues and having to wait for results, even though I am certain that nothing was found. It’s the stress, you know. What if between now and when the test was done last week, they discovered a new something or other that due to its rarity, they will name after me. That’s worth being blue about because now millions of women will get this odd disease as they age, and that is what I will be remembered for. “She has Benjan Disease, also known as Hip Widening Disease. There’s no known cure, but when she sits around the house, she really sits. Around. The house.” Even an old joke can’t cheer me up right now.

I can’t “Blame It on the Bossa Nova” which I think we played in junior high band.  I can’t “Blame It on the Bellboy” which is a Dudley Moore movie from 1992 that I’m probably glad I didn’t see. I can’t even “Blame It on the Boogie” because a smooth Michael Jackson and his brothers told me not to. It’s amazing what you can find on Google with a few key words.

I’m just blue this morning. It happens. Sometimes, I just have to limit my exposure to sadness or it drags me down and wears me out. But today, since I can’t find a cause, I’m allowing myself to wallow until noon.

My “soul doctor” prescribed recharging my battery with dark chocolate. So, when noon arrives, that’s it! I’m popping the dark chocolate, and the blues are done. They’re over with. I will put on the cheeriest Valentine socks that I own and go out into the world with a bright face and a heart full of ups and not downs to buy more dark chocolate.

To me, Valentine’s Day socks are as magical as Christmas socks. How can I not feel better, knowing that my snow boots are overflowing with hearts and cupids? Come on, noon. Mama needs dark chocolate.

And maybe another pair of socks.