Category Archives: Too Much Information

Is Johnny Depp Going to Be There?

I’m what you might consider a robust woman.

I’m not ginormous, but I’m not optimum size.

I’m somewhere in between.

Like all women (and men!) who avoid mirrors and cringe at the doctor’s office weight scales (did you know they add like 10 lbs, consistently?) I’ve struggled with my weight pretty much all my life.

Except for that brief time in high school when I was on the swim team and could eat a whole pizza AND a carton of ice cream and Twinkies and anything else I wanted, and still struggled to keep the weight on.

The trade-off was I spent 2 ½ hours a day in a pool, swimming back and forth, forth and back. 

Apparently, that dedication to maintaining a slim body went away with the birth of the first child.

So did my svelte figure.

Over the years, I’d laughingly refer to my lard-ass as “baby fat”.

Yeah, when your ‘baby’ is 20 years old that excuse no longer works.

I briefly bought into the whole idea that eating fat made me fat.

Wrong.

Or that my metabolism was soooooooo slow I couldn’t lose weight.

Wrong, again.

Then my ‘baby’ girl got serious about losing weight and started on a strict calorie-counting and exercise regime after the birth of her first child.   In eight months she lost nearly 70 lbs.

I was in awe, and a bit jealous, but I maintained she was way younger than me and I couldn’t achieve results like hers because I was eating too much fat and my metabolism was a mighty warrior battling against me.

Bullshit.

I finally had to admit I lacked motivation and dedication the day that baby girl told me something:

“Mom, if you were dropped on a deserted island and given 1500 calories’ worth of food to eat every day you would lose weight.”

To which I retorted:

“Depends.  Would  said island also house Johnny Depp?  Because, I could be persuaded…”

Standing there in her skin-tight jeans she just stared at me and shook her head.

It was then I truly understood that eating less and moving more was the only way to achieve success.

Forget the Atkins Diet, the Hollywood Diet, the Cabbage Diet (no-shit, there is a cabbage diet..one word – ewwwww), the Dr. Whomever’s Surefire Weight Loss plan.

Forget all of them.

If you are struggling with your weight, I can tell you that each of the fad diets you read about and every one of the supplements you hear being hawked on the airways is all about one simple concept.

Eat fewer calories than you burn.

It’s that simple, and that incredibly hard.

It works, though.

I’m living proof.

After baby girl said that I shut up and put up, so to speak.

And six months later I had lost nearly 40 lbs.

The thing is I stopped doing the right things, for the wrong reasons.  Life intervened, my Dad’s health was declining and stresses at work, and so on.  The same things that all of us deal with.

The difference is, I may have stopped the diet, but I didn’t gain back the weight.

Why?

Because even though I stopped measuring every morsel that went into my mouth, I had permanently learned to eat less.

So, now that my life seems to have settled into a routine of manageable chaos once more I am going to begin the diet/exercise regimen once more.

The point of this whole post is this, if you are struggling with weight loss – and this is something you are wanting to focus on – don’t waste your money on over-the-counter magic beans or self-help guru books, just go with the simplicity of physics.

Burn more calories than you consume, and even better, if you can burn or cut 500 calories per day from your life you will lose an average of one pound per week.

I should write a weight-loss book, right?  Trouble is it would only be two pages long.

And, of course, if you’re happy the way you are ignore all of the above.  I salute you.

Waxing Eloquent

In the rabbit hole that is the Internet, I found myself reading about the life and times of H.G. Wells’ one-time paramour, and mother to his son, Rebecca West.  She was a fascinating woman, and left her mark on this world.

In reading the article, something dawned on me that hadn’t before.

At least I don’t think it had.

Why do the collective ‘we’ look to people, mostly famous or notorious, for wisdom?

Why don’t most people trust themselves and listen to their own counsel?

That’s not a rhetorical question, by the way.  I’m truly curious.

I ask because I rarely seek counsel.

Rarely.

And, sometimes that’s a bad thing.  Especially when I am too close to a situation to see it clearly. Then, I go stumbling blindly along making all sorts of mistakes.

It’s times like that when I wish I had a seeing-eye dog for decision-making.

Do they have those?

And, I rarely offer counsel.  Mostly because I haven’t a clue what’s best for you and you and you.

But, also because I will offer counsel based on what’s best for me in that situation.

And that may be in direct opposition to what’s best for you.

I have no idea where I was going with this, as is often the case when I attempt to wax eloquent.

So…umm…here, look at some cute kitties for a while and we can just forget about this conversation.

 

Ever notice how kittens always seem to be smiling?  I think there’s some big cat secret to happiness that we’ve yet to unlock.

And, I think it involves napping.

A whole lot of napping.

This Is A PSA

Not about the amazing Veet.

No, this is PSA is a warning to avoid the following while reading the reviews on the amazing Veet:

1. Do NOT drink and read…not even water.

2. Do NOT eat and read…you’ll thank me later.

3. Do NOT expect to still have your makeup intact afterwards – this applies to all genders who wear makeup.

4. DO have a paper bag handy for managing the hyperventilation caused by hysterical laughter.

That said, I present…testimonials on the amazing Veet.

A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To Work

Well…that was interesting.

I have this heart condition called PSVT.  Go ask Uncle Google what that means, I’ll wait right here

*looks at purple nail polish, wonders if it screams ‘look at me’ too much, decides she doesn’t care*

You back?

So, it’s not  a walk in the park, but it’s not the worst thing you can have either. 

Up until last week it was, for me, more of an annoyance than anything.  I’d have these, these…episodes? spells?events?….not sure what they are called…once every couple of months.

Then, last Monday happened and the ‘ON’ switch was flipped and no amount of cold water, coughing, holding my breath, or any of the other tricks that didn’t involve live toads and a Mariachi band, was working to get my heart to simmer down.

By Thursday morning, when I went to see my cardiologist, I was going nuts.  The plan was to see him, get something to slow my heart, and go on to work.

Heh..heh..yeah, right.

I was also getting a kick-ass cardio workout every 20-30 minutes as my heart would zoom to 160+ beats per minute and stay there for extended periods.

Did I mention this is painful?

I should have, my bad.

In the doctor’s office I had two episodes – one they caught on the EKG – and when he examined me we had this conversation:

ME:  So, what is going on?

Dr. Cardio:  You appear to be having a significant *event*.

ME: Wha..?

Dr. Cardio: And, I want to admit you to the hospital right now.

ME: WHA…?

Dr. Cardio: We need to get *telemetry on you for 24 hours and do some other tests.

ME: WHA…?!  (yes, I am soooo glib)

Dr. Cardio:  And the hospital is right next door to this building, but I think I should take you.

ME: *finally regaining my composure* No, no…that won’t be necessary.

Dr. Cardio:  It is. I don’t want you leaving.

ME: I’m not leaving, but I’ve been dealing with this for four days and I think I can get myself next door.

Dr. Cardio: Okay, wait here and I will get the orders written for a direct admit.

*I use this time to call hubby and tell him what’s going on, and can he come right away and bring me some stuff.  He’s the only one in the room not surprised by the news*

I’ve found out something interesting about hospitals.

If you are admitted as a “chest pain” patient, you get really fast service.

Really.Fast.

Within an hour I was dressed in a lovely hospital gown – and really, is hideous, huge and not user-friendly the only way  these come? – hooked up to the telemetry, and being poked and prodded by lab technicians.

I was also given a *miracle* drug called Cardizem. 

Go ask Uncle Google.

*stares some more at her purple fingernails…decides they’re awesomesauce*

Within an hour of getting it my heart calmed.  In fact, it calmed so much that I’m pretty sure the nurses were beginning to think I was nuts as my rhythm was normal and perfect.

All day, all night my heart acted like I was a crazed hypochondriac screaming for attention.  It totally behaved and produced a beautiful picture for the technicians assigned to watch me.

At midnight all food, water and meds were withheld.  I was to have a couple of tests run in the morning. One involved a radioactive isotope injection and picture session for my heart, and the other was a chemical stress test.  Both are designed to check for blockages and functionality.

At 10:00 a.m. Friday morning I went to the lab for the first picture-taking session.  No sooner had I laid on the table, and been admonished NOT to move and NOT to talk for the 15-minute session, than my heart took off like a hunter being chased by a polar bear with a grudge.

Of course I had to lay still and say nothing, but when the tech was finished I told her what was happening.  She sent me back to my room and my nurse came in to show me the tape of what they’d captured when I was in the lab.

ME: See! That is why I’m here.

Nurse:  Yep, this is the first time we’ve captured it.  EXCELLENT rhythm, but at 165 beats per minute your heart is working WAY too hard and not pumping efficiently.

ME: Ya think?

Nurse: Lie down and I’ll see if we can give you some Cardizem before the second half of the test.

ME: Okay.

*I lay down and now my heart decides to imitate a hummingbird on crack..the nurse rushes back in a few minutes later*

Nurse: WOW! That was 180 beats a minute and lasted for 18 minutes!

ME: *exhausted* I know.

Nurse: I can’t give you anything until after the chemical stress test.

ME: If I had the energy, I’d curse…loudly.

Nurse: *giggles*

The second trip to the lab was filled with wooziness, a racing heart, and to add to the fun – nausea.

Yay.

The good thing is all the tests revealed a perfectly *clean* heart, and Dr. Cardio said I could go home.  He also said he’d never seen a case of PSVT as bad as mine.

Of course.  That’s me, setting new standards in all the wrong areas.

I went back to my room and finally got to eat.

More importantly, I got the Cardizem and a pain pill.

The resident came to see me a couple of hours later and said they were very glad I hadn’t had a heart attack, but I have to take the Cardizem….possibly for the rest of my life.

I can eat/drink anything I want (yippee!).  I was not looking forward to a life without caffeine – a known aggravator of this condition.

I was also ordered to take it easy for a couple of weeks and come back to the ER if my heart starts racing again.

So, that’s what I’m doing…taking it easy, taking my meds, and considering re-designing the hospital gown.

Somebody get me some chocolate and Calvin Klein’s phone number!

STAT!

*telemetry – electronic heart monitoring

 

Let Me Put It This Way

I had an amazingly screwed up childhood.

And, I’m glad I did.

Yep, I’m glad because the insanity that was made the person that is.

I was born, against all odds and to the amazement of every doctor around, in rural farmland to a couple who’d never thought children were going to happen for them.

My mother desperately wanted a child, but my father didn’t. In fact, he often told me how much he didn’t want children as the years went by.

He wasn’t particularly mean about it, just matter-of-fact.  But, to a young girl the words cut like a knife.

A hot knife with serrated edges.

My parents divorced when I was six.  I still remember it like it was yesterday.  Few things are as traumatic for a child as divorce.  I thought the world had ended.

I was wrong, of course.

My mother dated some after the divorce.  Her incredibly beautiful and exotic features attracted men like moths to a flame. 

When I was eight she remarried.  My new stepfather came with an added bonus feature – a six year old stepsister whom I loathed nearly as much as him.

Blended families are not like you see on The Brady Bunch.  They are forged from the fire of anger and the grit of determination.  In the end, some are beautiful works of art and others are left on a pile of discards, charred and misshapen.

Ours was somewhere in between.  My sister and I fought – I once broke a finger of hers and she graced me with a gigantic bald patch on my head.  Our fighting didn’t seem to affect the parental units much.  Of course, liberal applications of gin and vermouth might have had a lot to do with that.

Because of their need for alone time with Tanqueray and Martini & Rossi we were left to our own devices a lot.

Neither of us was particularly rebellious, but both of us were desperate for the attention that our parents now showered upon one another.

There were moments, when one of us was sick or hurt, that brought them both running and being the kind of parents we wanted all the time.

These glimpses made us both wish for a fever or broken bone.

As I entered pre-adolescence I discovered the magic of the written word. One of my first loves had always been horses, and Walter Farley introduced me to a magnificent horse named, simply, “The Black”.  I read every “Black Stallion” novel ever written and re-read them when I finished the series.

Truth be known, right now in my desk drawer is a paperback copy of “The Black Stallion”.  It is worn and rough around the edges, kind of like me these days, and I cherish it.

At thirteen someone loaned me a copy of “Christine” by Stephen King.  From then on, and to this day, I read his work whenever I can.

In high school I was completely in love with horror and science fiction writing, and spent time with H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, and the aforementioned King.

It was also during this time that I began to write.  To date, though unpublished, I’ve written one young adult fantasy manuscript and several children’s stories – including an entire series on a pair of unlikely buddies, a dog named Angelo and a cat named Malcolm, that I will continue to write about so long as it makes me happy.  

I’m not sure where writing and reading blurred, but one thing I am sure of.  If I hadn’t discovered the escape of a good book I don’t think I’d of developed such a love for writing.

In high school I was awarded every accolade possible for my creative writings – short stories and poetry – and urged to pursue a degree that would help further a career as a writer.

Well, life intervened and it never happened.

And, I can’t help but think I’m glad it did.  For while life was happening, I was tucking the details away so later I could use them in a world of my own creation. 

A world where I could control the outcome.

A world where Daddies didn’t leave, and never told their daughters they didn’t really want children after all.

It’s Friday!!

Only my Friday was actually yesterday this week.

When you read this, I will be on vacation!!!!!!!!  Only it’s a working vacation, going to clear out my mother-in-law’s house up in Yankee-land.  She’s living in an assisted-living facility and we have to clean out and sell her house to pay for it.

Medicare won’t pay for assisted-living and neither will Medicaid, so the funds from the sale of the house have to go to pay for it.  When those funds run out then she has to move to a regular nursing home and Medicare/Medicaid will cover it.

It’s complicated.

Anyway, I’m outta here for a while.

But, I’ll leave you with a few little tidbits sprinkled throughout my “time off” (ha!) and I’ll be back before you know it.

You See I Have This Condition…

…and it’s called “fibromyalgia”….

No one knows what it is, where it comes from, or what causes it.

All we know is that this condition causes widespread pain.   No, that’s not correct…I mean PAIN!!!!!!!!!!!! 

It’s pervasive, it’s everywhere.

I liken the pain to what you feel like as you are catching the flu..only without the fever, most of the time – though fever is an uncommon symptom, and one I often experience.

Breathing is painful, eating hurts, everything hurts.

Oh! And the exhaustion…like…like slogging through wet sand.

Wet sand, coated in molasses.

Up to your ears.

It’s awful, but the worst of it all is what’s known as “fibro-fog”.  You literally think you are losing your mind.  You can’t remember things..like did I eat?  Where are my keys?  Where’d I put the cat?  Why is the cat in the refrigerator and the keys in the cat food?  You know, stuff like that.

Which brings me to this post.

And the fact that I meant to post yesterday, but didn’t.

Dontchawannaknowwhy?

Yeah, because I couldn’t remember the name of my own web page.

That’s right.

I sat staring at my computer, unable to remember the name, and after attempting many times and getting the “Page Not Found” error, I figured my account had been deleted.

And then, yesterday morning, the “fog” began to clear from the latest (and worst to date) fibro-flare and I remembered.

Which is why I’m just now posting again.

You’d think I’d write it down, add it to Favorites, or something right?

Well, I will.  Now.

There Are Days…

….when my Alzheimer-riddled father makes no sense when he speaks.

Truth be told, that’s most days.

And then, the light flickers on for a moment and as I ready to  leave the nursing home where he spends his days, lost in a fog,  he speaks the only lucid sentences I’ve heard in months..

“When will you be back?”

“Soon, Daddy, very soon.  I love you.”

“I love you too, baby.”

He will sometimes try to follow me out the secured doorway or hold onto my hand until both our arms are stretched to their limits.

And the light flickers out again, the connection broken, he turns to shuffle down the hall – alone in his world, lost to mine.

 

UPDATED – A Funny Thing Happened…

…on my way to work Tuesday morning.

Only it wasn’t funny then.

Come to think of it, it’s not terribly funny now but you people are soooo demanding I’ll try to make it funny.

Let me preface the following by giving you a little backstory.

When I was one my mother was rear-ended with me in the car.  This was pre-car seat days so I hit my head on the dash, causing my first whiplash injury.

Yes, I realize a blow to the head as an infant explains a lot of things about me, but I digress.

At 8, my mom, stepsister and I were rear-ended at a stoplight.  The other driver was traveling at an estimated 50 mph at impact.  I sustained a pinched nerve in my arm, a fractured lumbar, and my second whiplash injury.

As a teenager, I took it upon myself to care for an ailing stallion quarter horse.  As his health improved he rewarded my efforts with a rousing rendition of “Trigger: The Bucking Bronco” one morning.  I broke my nose, orbit bone, deeply bruised my lumbar (yes, same side), had road rash on my face and a severe concussion.  Oh, yes..and whiplash number three.

All was quiet until I turned 30.  One morning, on my way to take two of my kids to school, a driver ran a stop sign just as we were passing the intersection and t-boned the car.  The kids were a little bumped and bruised and I had whiplash number four.  I also sustained a lower back injury, and the next day was literally crawling around on hands and knees because the pain was so intense I couldn’t walk.

 – This was also the first time I experienced intense anger at the incredible stupidity of some most drivers, and as I raged at the at-fault driver he dropped his keys in the middle of the street and backed away to his car, hands raised in the air. Hell hath no fury like a woman whose children may be injured due to your stupidity, let me tell you –

A year and a half later, on the same street but at a different intersection, I was t-boned again.  This time I was alone, and this time the at-fault driver tried to run. 

Oh.Hell.No.

I blocked his retreat with my car and waited for the police to come.  When they got there he was less than cooperative and only gave them enough information to get out of there.  As a result, there was a huge delay in getting my car fixed and in getting my fifth whiplash and second lower back strain treated.

*helluva backstory so far, right? and..it’s not over…*

Nearly twenty years pass and then one day, on the freeway, a lovely little Saturn Vue developed an irresistible attraction to the rear bumper of my car.

At 60 mph in the pouring rain.

Four complete rotations and one quarter mile later, my car came to a stop on the shoulder of the freeway.  I have no idea how, but I didn’t hit anything/one else and no one hit me.

Second trip in an ambulance, strapped to a backboard, and whiplash number six on the books.

By this time my neck was holding together with prayer.  An MRI revealed – facet syndrome, arthritis, three ruptured discs (inside, “jelly” gone), and moderate stenosis.

Go look up those terms if you don’t know what they mean, I’ll wait.

:stoops to pet cat and nearly shrieks from pain:

Back?  Good, you are, I trust, quite versed in my numerous neck ailments now.

Yes, I had lost some mobility in both arms, but the surgeon said not to do anything about the damage – aside from controlling with pain medication – until I lost too much mobility to function. It’s a delicate operation and since my spinal stenosis means my chord is right *there* it will involve a neurosurgeon, too.

Oh.Hell.No.

And, so, for the last two years I’d been maintaining status quo.

Until Tuesday morning.

I was completely stopped at a light on the south end of my little town, minding my own business.

BAM!!  No, wait..it was more like BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, I’d been hit from behind.

It wasn’t a particular hard hit, he was probably not going over 20 mph, but it was enough to tighten the seat belt (and leave a small bruise), take my breath away and snap my neck in the familiar forward/back motion of classic whiplash.

Holymotherofgawdwhatthehell?! Was my first thought.

I looked up in my rearview mirror and pointed to a parking lot next to us.  No need to tie up other commuters, so we pulled in. 

This is our conversation:

Me: What happened?

Asshat: I looked down to do my breathalyzer, and when I looked up I hit you.

Me: Breathalyzer? Like inhaler or like drunk?

Asshat: Drunk.  But, I’m not drunk.

:waits while the first part of this exchange soaks in:

With me still? Good.

Me:  I’m calling the police, don’t you dare try to leave.

Asshat: I’m not. Why do we have to involve the police?  Can’t we just exchange information?

Me: (crying from pain as it began to settle over my neck and lower back)NO!

Asshat: Why?

Me: Because I am hurt, that’s why.

Asshat: How is that possible.  I barely hit you.

(at this point the dispatcher is on the line and I’m giving her details. Asshat is continuing to argue with me)

Asshat: (backing away from car) I’m going to get my *stuff*?

Me: Stuff?  Oh hell no, bring me your keys.  Right. Effin’.Now.

(apparently I looked pretty damned intimidating, because he came back with keys in hand)

Asshat: (now standing outside my window, talking to his wife on the phone) Yeah, go on without me…she says her neck is broken.  I dunno, I barely tapped her.

Me: Bullshit (and the dispatcher told me not to argue with him)

Me: (to dispatcher) Oh I’m not going to, I’ve got the mother-lover’s keys. (then rolled up my window and locked my door)

Asshat: (louder now, so I could hear him through my closed window)  Look, I stopped a safe distance behind you and just took my foot off the brake.  I hardly touched you.

Me: (nothing, I ignored him as I saw the cops and ambulance pull up)

Over the next few minutes the paramedics checked me out and not wanting to go to the ER I signed a release and they admonished me to get checked out. I told the gorgeous young man – and really, is it a pre-requisite that all paramedics be just dropdead gorgeous or what? – sadly, this is not my first rodeo and I will get checked out…I was going anyway as I was pretty sure I had bronchitis…and then I coughed and a fresh spasm of pain shot through my neck and back.

Feck.

Then the police officer came over to me and here is our conversation.

Police: Do you have his keys?

Me: Yes.

Police:  He says you “snatched” them from him.

Me: (chuckling) Right. I’ve not even gotten out of the car yet.  He gave me his keys when I demanded them.

Police: Why did you think you should take them?

Me: In-car breathalyzer, protestations of calling y’all and telling me he was getting his *stuff*…two and two in my book.

Police: (grinning) Well, you shouldn’t have done that.

Me: Maybe not, but if he’d of run I’d of chased his ass.

Police: Bad idea.

Me: I didn’t say it was a *good* idea, but I know me.

Police: (chuckling) Yes, and apparently you can be quite intimidating.

Me: Damn straight.

I finally got out of my car and headed to the back to see the damage.

I gasped.

There was none.

Nothing.Nada.

I couldn’t see a thing.

The front of Asshat’s car was slightly wrinkled and his license plate looked pretty smashed.

I looked at Asshat and he at me.

Me: Wow.  To look at it, you’d never know you hit me.

Asshat: See.  That’s what I was saying before.

I finished getting all of the information from the policeman, thanked him and apologized again for scaring the little man, and went home.

I went to see my doctor later in the morning and she confirmed two things – I have bronchitis and whiplash number seven.  Lower back is torqued again, too. Orders to stay home a couple of days, load up on the pain meds and a new ‘script for muscle relaxers, later I was finally home…and hurting.

Feck.

Back home I inspected my car and found a small dent in the bumper, some scratches and a bent tailpipe.  It’s almost like Asshat’s car went under mine slightly.  Makes sense as his front end was low to the ground and my back end is higher than most cars’ front ends.

I spent two hours on the phone with my insurance company and his, and am going later today to get the car inspected for damage.

I’m in soooo much pain, it’s like a haze in front of me and I’m slogging through one foot at a time.

Double feck.

See, told you it wasn’t a funny story.

And, now I feel like I owe you something…

A horse walks into a bar and the bartender says, “Why the long face?”

Bah-dah-bumpski!

I’ll be here all week, or at least until the surplus tank I ordered to use as my personal car gets here. 

Really, it’s the only practical solution.

UPDATE: So, on Wednesday I took my car to the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier’s *recommended* shop for an eval.   When I got into the car that morning I had fully two inches of water in the floorboard of the passenger’s side.  We’d had a monsoon blow through the night before.  Further inspection revealed that my passenger door is bowed outward, and the right side of my car where the trunk lid meets the side panel is pushed down.

If you know anything about cars and bodies, then you know that *may* mean frame damage…and that’s a death knell for a car this old.

Feck, feck and feck.

Anyway, my suspicions about just how/where the asshat hit me were confirmed by the estimator.  He went under the car on the right side, bent the tailpipe, muffler and bumper on that side.  And, as I also suspected the impact was well over 20 mph, more like 30 mph.

 Hopefully a thorough frame inspection will reveal no damage and the door and trunk lid can be repaired by re-hanging.

I seriously doubt, given my luck, that it’ll be that simple but I’m hoping I’m wrong here.

Feck, feck, feck.

About Beek…

…my grandpa who died last week…

When I was little, Grandpa Beek was the only solid male figure in my life.  He was an Army medic and served in Korea and Vietnam, earning a Bronze Star along the way.  He was big, blustery, profane and I adored him.

He had one arm much shorter than the other, a curly mop of hair that sat right on top of his head and tattoos up one arm and down the other.  His ears were large and Dumbo-ish, and I adored him.

That is until the day I overheard him loudly tell my mother he didn’t want me calling him “Grandpa” anymore, because he wasn’t my grandpa.

I think I was about 8 or so and my world swam in and out of focus as those words rang in my ears.

What on Earth was he talking about?

I walked into the room and all eyes turned to me.  I pretended like nothing had happened and I continued to call him Grandpa Beek.

Over the years I finally got the courage to ask my mom what that had been all about, and she said it was because he was my step-grandpa and felt way too young to have a grandchild at the time.

He’d also just gotten back from a tour in Vietnam.

So, there’s that.

Time passed and my Grandma died at a very young age from surgical complications.  At first, Grandpa Beek kept in touch with my mom and me. 

Then, he re-married and the communication slowed to a trickle.  Finally, it stopped altogether.

By that time, I was married and raising kids of my own.  Kids I wished could get to know gruff ol’ Grandpa Beek, but every attempt to reach out to him was rebuffed.

Hurt and confused I gave up.

Then, two years ago I joined Facebook at the urging of cousins to keep in touch with family and was friended by my aunt – Beek’s daughter – who is only five years older than me.  We’d grown up thick as thieves,  but like everything else time and distance came between us.

Still, when we did re-connect it was as if no time had passed.  We quickly caught up on one another’s lives – our kids, husbands and grandkids.  We exchanged pictures and I finally asked about Grandpa and why he had turned his back on me.

She said she didn’t have a clue.

I asked her to take a picture of me and the kids to show him at the nursing home where he now lived.  

She did, and he said we had a lovely family, but he wasn’t interested in talking to or seeing me.

The wounds were refreshed, so I quickly covered them and didn’t mention it again.

When he passed last week I asked my Mom, again, if she knew why he’d shut me out.

Her response?

….and I swear I am not making this up…

1.  He remarried and because his new wife looked, and acted,  like my Grandma, my mother kept comparing the two.  It grated on new wife’s nerves.

2. When he and new wife moved from Indiana to Arizona they were involved in a near-fatal car wreck.  My mother never did a thing to help or contact them when it happened.  (I had no clue that it had happened).

3. My mother constantly rode Grandpa about a $100 debt he owed her.  Mom says she doesn’t remember this, but my Dad does.  (Really? $100? Really?)

So, I guess it all makes sense now, and Grandpa if you’re listening I’m giving Mom $100 on your behalf.  

You can pay me back by buying me a beer when I get to Heaven, and in the meantime keep a barstool warm for me.

RIP Grandpa Beek