Category Archives: In All Seriousness
Anybody get the number of that truck what ran over my head Tuesday morning and gave me a TWO DAY migraine?
No, it had to be a truck. My neck/back/shoulders feel like I’ve gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson….*feels for ears*…umm..pre-crazy Mike Tyson.
I hate when I get a migraine, but day-ummm…two days?? Really? They usually only last a few hours to a day at most.
And I still have a headache….just more of a dull throb now.
It’s complicated, the ‘why’ of it all, but in a nutshell one of my ruptured discs is in the first cervical spine joint, so when that one presses on some nerve in there BAM! I get a migraine.
I’ll be back, eventually…I was awarded a “Liebster Award” last week and I still haven’t written the post about it. But I will.
But, if you had any idea what kind of week last week was for me, you wouldn’t be making such a big deal about my missing Valentine’s Day right now.
For that matter, if you knew how I really feel about Valentine’s Day we wouldn’t even be discussing it. We’d be talking about the dynamic synergies of post-modern banjos instead, because that would be far less controversial.
Yes, I said ‘controversial’.
I hate Valentine’s Day.
Let me ‘splain.
When I was a kid I remember having Valentine’s Day parties at school. We’d all bring decorated shoeboxes with little cutouts in the tops and set them on our desks.
At the appointed hour, we’d go around the room dropping our handwritten Valentines in the boxes of our classmates – always reserving the fanciest ones, with all the glitter on them, for our super-not-so-secret crush.
Then the teacher would pass out the heart-shaped candies, cookies, and cupcakes with red icing on it that wound up on your face, hands, and clothes. Every. Time.
It was fun. Lots of fun.
I carried on this tradition with my children, until it wasn’t a ‘thing’ anymore and just like that one more party in school went ‘pfffffffft’.
C’est le vie.
We still had Valentines and cupcakes at home.
Then one day about ten years ago, and my kids had long since grown out of Mom’s Valentine’s Day celebration and onto their own, I happened to be at the store on Valentine’s Day.
I was getting ready to check out in the Express Lane (no more than 15 items, and God help you if you accidentally overlooked that lone lemon in the bottom of your cart which put you firmly at 16 items as the jackass behind you will LOUDLY proclaim), when I noticed a long, long, long line in front of me.
Everyone in the line was male. Each was holding flowers, candy, and cards…in some combination – many with all three.
Every one of them looked sad, depressed and anxious….as if they were in line for vasectomies, not simply to pay for the undying expressions of love they held.
That was when it hit me.
Valentine’s Day is one of those Hallmark holidays, made up to make men feel guilty and women entitled.
From that day on, I told my husband that if he wanted to give me a card or flowers or candy he better NOT do it on February 14th. Do it on the 13th, the 15th, or even not at all…just take out the garbage without my asking. That tells me more about how you feel than any pre-packaged, wrapped in hearts and flowers, sentiment just waiting for you to pay more than it’s worth at the local store does.
It’s been freeing, if sometimes awkward when someone asks me what I ‘got’ for Valentine’s Day and I launch into my tirade about how I hate that day – incidentally, they don’t ask how I feel about too many things after that, so it’s a win!win! for me.
And you know what? My hubby empties the garbage without my asking a lot more nowadays, too. Now that, my friends, is romantic.
It’s 3:00 a.m., and the doorbell rings.
It rings again, and as hubby sleepily asks “Who’s at the door at this time of night?”, you realize it’s your phone’s ringtone you’re hearing and you tell hubby – “No one, silly, but baby girl is calling.”
By this time, you’ve missed the call so you drag your still half-sleeping arse out of bed and hit redial.
“Mom, are fireplaces supposed to be 24 hours?”
And as your brain goes from sleepy haze to adrenalin rushed you realize….
…you, my friend, have entered…the Panic Zone…duh..dun…DUNNNNNNNNN!
“I’m here and the place is dark and no cars are in the parking lot.”
Oh, fire station…fire station…she meant fire station….sigh, okay heart slow down their house is not on fire….
“Umm…yeah, pretty sure it’s a 24/7 operation at a fire station, honey.”
“Yeah, well NO ONE is here!”
“Wait…why are you there?”
“The baby…she’s sick and having trouble breathing and I want them to check her vitals and her pulse ox and make sure she’s okay and I don’t need to go to the ER with her.”
“Oh…well…..wait, in Smallville isn’t the fire department volunteer?”
“I don’t know, maybe. But I left Smallville and am now in the parking lot of Muchlargerville’s main fireplace and there’s still no one around.”
“Well, they are on 24 hr shifts so maybe they’re asleep. Did you check through the bay doors for lights on?”
“Yeah, there’s nothing.”
“Okay, well call the non-emergency dispatch number for Muchlargerville and tell them…”
“Non-emergency dispatch number for police and fire. Every town has one.”
“I’m not gonna do that.”
“Because it’s stupid. You know what? I’m just gonna go back home.”
I could tell baby girl was exhausted and frustrated by this time.
“Okay, but is the baby breathing alright?”
“Well, she’s not blue or anything. She’s just laboring.”
“Maybe you should – “
“Mom, that’s hubby on the other line. I’ll call you back.”
That was five hours ago.
No more sleep for Mom, no more sleep for Dad. No word on the baby, yet.
Oh look, there’s gray hair #2,365.
From “Letters of Note”, an oft-qouted favorite website of mine; I bring you a magical, whimsical, sweet reminder of what a genius Sam Clemens really was.
And, now I wish he’d been my daddy too.
I watched the most fascinating hour on The History Channel (one of my favorite stops on the dial) very early last Saturday morning.
And I ended up in awe.
Really, really, really pissed.
And sad, too.
It was the story of the “Blackbird”, the United States’ revolutionary, amazing, mind-boggling feat of engineering – the SR-71 reconnaissance (spy) plane that debuted in the early 1960’s.
It flew at speeds greater than mach 3, and at altitudes reaching 80,000 feet.
And it was the brainchild of the amazing Kelly Johnson, just a kid from Ishpeming (don’t you just love that name?) Michigan, who took many challenges on, and is probably best known for his Blackbird.
With slide rules, protractors, lots of pencils and many erasers, Mr. Johnson and his team set about meeting the challenge of creating an aircraft that left virtually no radar ‘footprint’ and could fly so fast that by the time a SAM (surface-to-air-missile) was loaded and launched the airplane was already way past the target area. The Blackbird could gather recon images so amazingly clear that individual license plates on vehicle were easily read….from 80,000 feet at over 1,000 miles per hour.
Let that soak in for a minute.
I could go into the details of the SR-71, but that’s not what this rant is about.
I wanna know, dammit, where the hell are all the geniuses? The people who could go out into the wilderness with a pocket knife and build a shopping mall, or sit at a conference table with other geniuses and design an over-the-top spy plane.
That’s what I kept thinking as I watched the special.
Where are all the smart people?
Granted, there are some and innovations are still being made.
But, it seems nowadays they’re geared towards the individual and less for the greater good.
The iPhone 5 was just announced, and so what? Will it make us safer? Will it take pictures at 80,000 feet, traveling at over 1,000 miles per hour?
No, it’ll just make Angry Birds work faster on a larger screen.
Tesla, Edison, Einstein, Shelby, Wright, Carrier, Ford, Goddard, Sikorsky, and Cousteau – to name a few – were all brilliant minds of the 20th century and they gave us everything from practical applications of electricity to the first scuba gear.
In the 21st century? We have a birth control patch, the glorified scooter called a ‘Segway’ – remember that hype? – and a log for your fireplace made from coffee grounds.
You see how we’ve gone from greater good to individual gratification?
What has happened to us?
And by ‘us’ I mean collectively, as a race, what has happened to humans?
Are we lazy? Complacent? Self-centered?
I submit we are all of the above.
We can’t turn back the clock, but if we could I’d outlaw the personal computer.
It’s a pet peeve of mine, and even as I use one every day I’ll take a good book or a History Channel documentary on an amazing airplane, over the automated machine that is useful as a tool and Lord, please save me from the day it ever becomes my master.
And, yes, the irony that I’m a self-centered blogger bent on sharing my every thought with the world via a personal computer is not lost on me for a moment.
I said I use the tools, I didn’t say I liked using them.
I’d also like to believe there are smart people out there, who never read a blog and instead are wondering around the wilderness, pocketknife in hand, scouting a good place to build a shopping mall.
According to the poll, I’ll sell at least ten copies if I can get this thing written and find a publisher interested in it.
No, I will NOT self-publish.
Yes, I’m a snobbish bitchy-writer who refuses to even consider vanity publishing.
I’ll keep you semi-posted, because I’m finding the task not so much daunting as painful.
I write a line, grab a tissue, wipe the tears and proceed.
I do this over and over.
I’m running out of tissues.
Thank you, really..no, really, thank you for believing I can do this.
I’ll mention all of you on my dedication page. You’ll know I mean you, because it’ll say “To all of You”.
So, here goes nothing and if my posts here are sporadic, remember you only have yourselves to blame….or thank.
In June I lost my Daddy.
It was not totally unexpected…well, yes it was.
What I mean is he was 77, and that’s good, but up until two weeks before he died he was like the Energizer bunny…with Alzheimer’s.
Then, he got pneumonia and he was gone.
The last two years had been a time of complete change for Daddy as he went from living with a girlfriend, to not even remembering who she, he, or most of his family and friends were anymore.
He bounced from mental hospital to nursing home for all but about six months of the time as he was alternately lucid and then combative, docile one minute and aggressive the next.
Anyone who has had to deal with Alzheimer’s knows what I’m talking about.
I was the constant in his life, and right up to the end he held onto that connection. The dull blue of his eyes lighted with a spark of….recognition? Affection? Who knew. All I did know was that he seemed happy to see me when I visited him every week.
I don’t remember when I started taking him a Pepsi and a Snickers bar during these visits, but I don’t remember not taking them so I must have been doing it a while.
He loved chocolate, and he loved Pepsi..not Coke, not Sprite…just Pepsi.
He’d sit and slowly eat the candy bar and sip the soda as I prattled on about people and places he no longer knew during my visit.
We’d wash his face and hands with the wipes I carry when he was done, and then he’d sometimes take hold of my hand and we’d stroll the corridors of the nursing home.
Sometimes he’d speak, but his language skills were gone and the words were either a nonsensical stream or chopped into one or two-word phrases.
Except on the last visit to him when as I was leaving he asked, “Where are you going?”
“Back to work, Daddy.”
“Are you coming back?”
“Of course I am.”
“Soon. I’ll be back soon, Daddy.”
And as I walked away, I turned to wave and he called out, “I’ll wait right here for you then.”
I smiled at the sweetness of the moment. A fleeting glimpse, a reminder of who he still was even if he was lost most of the time.
I cried all the way back to work.
On the night of visitation, I relived this memory as I stood over Daddy’s body and marveled at how good they’d been able to make him look given how brutal his death had been.
I slipped the Snickers bar in his shirt pocket as my husband walked up and put his arm around me.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“A Snickers bar. I always brought one when I visited him, so it seemed appropriate.”
My husband stood there for a moment as I softly sobbed.
“You do know what their slogan is, don’t you?” he finally asked.
“Not going anywhere for a while?”