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Archive for the ‘anxiety’ Category

BEING BRAVE & BOLD: Dumping Self-Doubt

 

/Bobbe White/6.13.18/

woman girl fitness

Photo by Scott Webb on Pexels.com

Recently, Sam Horn, Intrigue Agency, wrote about being Bolder in Boulder. She was entered into a 10K walk and almost let self-doubt demolish her plans. She asked us readers if we were being bold on our own behalf. I replied and she suggested sharing my reply, as others might relate. The last twenty-four hours have been a cacophony of “Should I or shouldn’t I? Be bold or bashful?” Aha! I was practicing the exact self-doubt demolition to my idea. Would readers think I was a nutcase or normal? Asking for affirmations and compliments? My people will always think I am a bit of a nutcase, only because of my trudging through a number of human struggles. Oh, right, like everyone else. In that spirit, here is my attempt to be bold today. Read it, reap it or recycle it. It’s simply my offering.

 

My body image brain has two heads.  On one hand, I am the wellness program coordinator for our company. It pushes me to participate to the fullest as an example, if I’m leading the program.  I would probably workout with or without the program; always have.  I am proud of the fact that as one of the oldest employees at 62 and 11/12 , I’m in decent shape, energy-wise, fitness-wise. Last Thursday, I wore a pair of slacks to work, or rather, they wore me. I felt fat around the waist all day. I started doing that thing I do in my head.

 

“You don’t work out hard enough.”

 

“You don’t work out often enough.”

 

“You finally let yourself go. Great.”

 

“You’re getting the middle-aged spread.” I have felt that I delayed the onset (like it’s a disease) until 63.”

 

“Grrrrrrrrrr.”

 

And so it went for a few days. I was so angry and disappointed in myself, that no matter how much effort I would throw at my waist, it would never be enough. You see, I’m a recovering enoughaholic. Yes, I suffer from Enoughaholism.  I’m considering writing this idea for a book title, but would enough people want to read it? There I go again.

 

Saturday morning, I signed up for Pound Class with my daughter. I was forced to stand in front of the mirrored wall of truth. However, during the forty-five minute class, some switch flipped. I was actually able to look at myself objectively. This is not an easy thing for PLU (People like us) to do. Somehow the wellness demon decided to ease up. Perhaps she had seen me berate myself enough the last two days. I assessed myself from head to toe. I didn’t hate what I was seeing, as much as expected.  First, were my shoulders. One time a physical therapist described them to his co-worker as, “Well developed.” I liked hearing that. My upper body workouts were actually having a positive effect.  Who knew? Next, were arms. There was a little jiggle underneath them, but overall, the biceps actually had definition. Moving south, the waist and tummy were next. Ehhhhhhh, they’re not HORRIBLE. Passable, I suppose. “However,” I reminded myself, “Remember, Young Lady, you’re wearing LOTS of Lycra.” Oh, for heavens sake, who let in Bobbe, the Body Bubble Burster? The self-sabotager. Finally, I looked at my legs; they aren’t twigs by any means, but they’re strong and they still work. Good grief, listen to me!

 

After class, I glanced once more in the mirror as we walked out. I’m used to being the oldest in most classes. It’s obvious, I’m not as lithe and flowing as younger specimens, but, by golly, I’m there. I’m okay for turning 63 in six days. Yes, I could work out harder. And more often. Push, push, push. Does it ever end?  Or are we working ourselves out to death, literally and figuratively?

 

Choices I make are just that: choices. Live with them or make different choices. Ease up and give a little gratitude to the physical abilities I have and start bursting those bubbles that say, along with my rationale,

 

“Not strong enough,”

There will always be someone stronger.

 

“Not coordinated enough”,

There will always be someone more coordinated.

 

“Not thin enough”,

There will always be genetics that dictate body type.

 

“Not flexible enough”,

There are always ways to improve flexibility.

 

“Not smart enough”,

There will always be someone smarter. Hello genetics.

 

“Not pretty enough,”

There will always be someone prettier. By whose standards?

 

“Not rich enough,”

How much is enough?

“Not popular enough.”

There will always be the high school mentally.

 

”Not successful enough.”

There will always be someone with more drive, better timing, more bravery.

 

 

Sound familiar? Any of it? If yes, then let the mantra be,

 

“Enough OF enough.”

 

“Enough IS enough!“

 

I’d love you to PM me if you struggle with Enoughaholism too. Or am I the only one? Be bold. Be brave. I just was and it wasn’t that bad. The first step is recognizing what we’re doing to ourselves. bw

 

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Monica Rivera

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My Tee-Tee Tsunami

/6.6.18/Bobbe White/

When learning the speaking and writing business, we were taught, “Avoid speaking about bodily functions, seeing as everyone’s “ick” tolerance and privacy levels differ.” I’ve adhered to this advice for seventeen years in the business. No breastfeeding, colonoscopy or incontinence discussions found here. The only thing I might discuss would be: January 13th is my annual mammogram appointment, because it’s the same day as my annual vacuum maintenance

white toilet paper

Photo by hermaion on Pexels.com

at Sears. And, yep, they both suck. That’s about as far as I go.

 

Anyway, as I finished eight loads at the Wash Tub Laundromat Saturday, I reflected on the prior weekend. The wash consisted of 14 bath towels, 7 beach towels, 11 hand towels, 2 dishrags and 6 pairs of socks. I’m breaking my rule today to write about how humor in the home place is sometimes, well, hard.

 

It started at work, Memorial Day Saturday, at 8:37 a.m. BAM! I got the Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) from hell. Just. Like. That. It’s always perplexed me how the elderly can contract UTI’s, but have no clue until they land in E.R. for observation, antibiotics and fluids. Dad’s symptoms would mirror a stroke or brain tumor. The prognosis was typically “UTI”. In contrast, before drop #1 ever hits the toilet water, some of us KNOW we’ve got a UTI. Or is it “an” UTI? Whichever, I’m not kidding. Vengeful symptoms escalate hourly. These delightful symptoms include, burning from your wa-hoo to your tonsils, urgency and frequency, oh my! I helped customers between bathroom visits, alternating between the east end and west end of the building’s restrooms, so the staff wouldn’t think my frequency odd. Why I even cared is beyond me. I couldn’t leave work for staffing reasons.

 

My co-worker recommended an over-the-counter remedy. I flew to Wal-Mart out the back door. $50 later I owned every AZO product on the market. After work, I sped to Ambulatory Care for labs and antibiotics. The nurse said, “Doctor is in the procedure room, so you’ll need to wait.” Translated: a woman was getting stitches in her hand. I nearly laughed out loud. WHAT? WAIT? Seriously? So I sat near the restroom.

 

The frequency lasted all day and night, leaving me exhausted.

 

Sunday, my “tee-tee tsunami” calmed. I resumed normal activities through Memorial Day. Jeff returned from a fishing trip. By 8:45 p.m. we were ready for bed. I ran down to the laundry room to grab sheets out of the dryer when I stepped into half-inch deep water.

 

I hated to break the news, but had no choice, “JEFF…WATER IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM!!!” Jeff’s frustration resembled fire and fury, putting it mildly. Since I’d been the only one home, he started quizzing me on what I’d done in excess to tax our sewer system. Let me clarify, the standing water was crystal clear, thankfully.

 

“Why’s it always my fault?”

 

“I’M NOT GUILTING YOU, I’M SIMPLY DOING THE MATH!”

 

No wonder I hate math. (He speaks very loudly when he’s trying to learn me something!)

 

As he vacuumed water, I fetched towels and more towels. Not exactly our idea of fun at 8:45pm on a “school night.” His questioning continued. It was logical and necessary, I must admit.

 

“DID YOU TAKE LONG SHOWERS?”

“Nope.” Mine are fast. You know that.

 

“DID YOU DO LOTS OF LAUNDRY?”

 

“Two, maybe three loads tops.”

 

“DID YOU FLUSH THE TOILET A LOT?”

 

CRAP. Well, NOT crap, exactly… “I had a bladder infection, O.K.?”

 

“DID YOU USE TOILET PAPER EACH TIME?

 

“Uhhhhh, yeah.” (There’s another option?)

 

“ABOUT HOW MANY ROLLS DID YOU GO THROUGH?”

 

Seriously?

 

“I don’t know… 3? 17? 2? Yes, maybe 2.” Typically, I don’t keep a running toilet paper inventory, except when it’s the last roll, right?

 

“WELL, TWO ROLLS OF NON-BIODEGRADABLE TOILET PAPER WADDED UP IN THE PIPE WILL DO THIS.”

 

“Could it be the tree roots (again)?

 

“IT COULD, BUT STILL, HOW IS A WAD OF CHARMIN THAT BIG (holding his hands the size of a giant watermelon) GOING TO PASS BY THE ROOTS? IT’S NOT. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS.”

 

Any and all humor had gone done the drain with the toilet paper.

 

As hot, tired and sweaty as we were following clean up, showers and flushing were forbidden for now. In the morning, the basement was dry, so I took a 10-second shower before work. I didn’t even wait for it to warm up. I couldn’t have used more than one gallon of water. No way.

 

When entering work on Tuesday, my co-workers asked, “How was your weekend?” So, I told them…about my infection…about the water and how it came down to T.P inventory. And how tonight, Jeff and Donnie would rent the sewer snake to break through El Waddo, (and roots). It got funnier. I called for my lab results and the nurse said, “You DEMAND to see every tissue square of those two rolls that you used to clog the system, do you hear me?”

 

I demanded. The guys laughed at me, because the wad was heading downstream somewhere. Seeing the two of them sitting on the basement floor rolling the snake out and then in, was like watching two little boys play in a puddle. They were in heaven.

 

Epilogue.

And they lived happily ever after, Bobbe learning her lesson, of course. And Jeff might get a sewer snake for Father’s Day. And the next time when a UTI attacks my system, I’m heading to the Holiday Inn Express. I belong to their rewards program. Huh? You see, I’ll get “points (for toilet) paper! And I’m pretty sure each room has at least two rolls and industrial sized pipes…

 

bw

Pedaling My Tush Off

/bobbe white/5.22.18/

 

 

sport bike bicycle cyclist

Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

While in St. Louis, my daughter-in-law, Jenna, treated me to Cycle Bar for spin class. I spin occasionally and do other cardio workouts, so I was certain I could hold up for 45 minutes. Walking Lily used to be cardio, but, seriously, how many 77 year olds do you know who can clip off a four-minute mile? But, I digress.

 

We received emails and texts, welcoming and preparing us for class. I was fitted with shoes and given a welcome water bottle. It was even personalized. I loved this place!

 

Our bikes #25-26, were located on the second tier. It felt like we were sitting in the piccolo section of an orchestra room. Our instructor, Michelle, adjusted my bike. I think LeBron James had ridden this bike in the previous class. The seat reached my armpits. Michelle lowered the seat and locked my shoes into the pedals. However would I escape in the event of fire? I’d be the last man out dragging the damn bike with me, because I wouldn’t be able to unhook my shoes. In previous classes, I’d worn my own shoes. I must admit, I felt smugly professional in the clamp-ons.

 

Two towels hung on each bike. One was for sweat; the other to cover the dashboard. Michelle explained that in classic spin classes, the dashboard was utilized to motivate us to reach “push” levels. The stats revealed velocity, degree of difficulty, caloric burn and minutes remaining until my legs might fall off. Or my tush, whichever came first. I’d forgotten how unforgiving the hard saddle was. Fortunately, the class was taught mostly from a standing stride.

 

Rather than being dashboard directed, Michelle helped us attain limits from desire and inspirational encouragement. She motivated us by getting into our heads. I do adore psychobabble! Did I mention I loved this place? Michelle’s mantra unfurled in a smooth, but convincing voice, fit for a DJ. Her monologue was punctuated by dancing lights and playlist that could rev up Rumpelstiltskin. It went like this. (My internal reply is in parentheses.)

 

“What do you want for yourself today?” (“I don’t know, but let’s get it, Gurl!”)

 

“Come to the edge, farther than before!” (YES! Show me the razor’s edge!”)

 

“Leave behind all that which does not enhance your existence.” (Bobs is leavin’ it in the smoke, Baby. Raaahhrrrrr!)

 

It occurred to me that pacing myself, regardless of my stoked inner power, might be wise. I backed off a teensy bit. Jenna dialed up her resistance and velocity. She meant business. I merely hoped to leave Cycle Bar on something besides a gurney and oxygen. Like my legs.

 

At the end, everyone applauded Michelle. She was an amazing instructor. I felt like I’d attended Tony Robbins’ seminar. Shortly, our compiled stats were emailed to us. This was new. I’d no idea I was being assessed. How cool is that? Jenna read hers first. She’d nearly ruled the class, being ranked for effort and workload, ranking her #2 out of 23 participants. Impressive, but not surprising. She is a fitness machine, that one!

 

“Check yours!” Jenna encouraged. “It’s in your email.”

 

“Oh, I hope I didn’t perform really badly…” I envisioned being #10-11…middle of the pack.I was pumped. I’d pedaled hard. I felt gooooooood! I LOVED THIS STUFF!

 

My recap showed that I’d burned 263 calories, my average speeds and workloads. Then in all its glory, we read my ranking…. #23. That’s out of 23.

WHAT? I WAS THE WORST? I HATE THAT PLACE!

 

Devastation flooded my head, for, like, one 23rd of a nanosecond. Then we started laughing. It got funnier. Take two bikes, side by side. Jenna was nearly the best in class; I must’ve had a flat tire.

 

Yet, here was the method in the madness: numbers don’t always justify results. I felt great and had a great experience. Nobody could take that away from me, #23. The laughter was pretty great too. Pedal on, my friends. bw

STRESS NO EVIL- 2018 experiment

Bobbe White-4/26/18/

fourth monkey

RECAP: the three wise monkeys. Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil and See No Evil. Yes, I know you read about this months ago, but stress is one of those concepts everyone understands differently. We know stress is the devil incarnate to our bodies, our relationships, our work and our brains. So why can’t we get a grip on it? Great question. We all need applicable tools.

What I know is this:

Stress feels different to each of us. If you hadn’t read this previously, I arrived at a cockamamie (I’ve never used that word, but I kind of like it.) acronym, to pull together about ten (okay, twelve) ideas that I have employed this year. To give you a visual, there is now the fourth monkey. “Stress No Evil” is the name. Busting stress is the game. Imagine the three monkeys, doing what they do and then Stress No evil is doing yoga. Make sense?

 

Here’s a rundown, if you’re still battling stress now and then.

 

S ilence. Yesterday I drove to work, lunch errands and home in quiet. Nice.

T oxic people. Surrounding myself with others who bring me up.

R est. Stayed up late last weekend. Next day was awful. Can’t do it anymore.

E xercise. Do what I can. It could always be more. It’s good for what ails me.

S ocial. Hung at a bar with Friday AND Saturday. (I know!) Great friends/music.

S olo. I’ve attended 3 Broadway shows this year. Alone. I’m over feeling weird.

N o. This week I had an opportunity to lie, but I went with honest and said, “No.”

O utdoors. How is it out there? BIG! And springy. And calming. Get some sky!

 

E xplore. Okay, I took this one to the limit, read below*.

V ulnerable. Toughest one: put yourself out there and being open to wounds**.

I nhale. As in, b-r-e-a-t-h-e. Meditate-ommmmmm-whatever, just stand still.

L evity. Well, you know how I feel about fun and funny…

 

**Being vulnerable can be physical or emotional wounding. Physically, it can be an attack. This read leans more to the emotional, (i.e. Being open to criticism and hurt feelings.) Even bad-ass personas have vulnerability. Example: I used to think Jeff didn’t have feelings, so when I’d get frustrated with him, (which was more than once!) I’d spout things that wouldn’t phase him. I found out 41 YEARS later, my words hurt. Even him. Everyone’s vulnerable. Don’t think otherwise. Bad on me. And I’m sorry, kind of late.

 

EXPLORE:

On a brighter note, here’s my 2018 exploration experiment:

 

January: sensory session. Gong, drums and scents, oh my!

 

February: drum circle at a nursing home. Where everyone felt like Ringo!

 

 

March: Chicago cooking class with Jeff. Call me the “Crepe Queen”. Oh yeah.

 

April: Soul drawing session: five hours of meditation and paint. What appeared abstract was amazingly, correctly interpreted about my picture, by ten others. Incredible.

 

May: TBD!

 

Shout out if you’ve tried any of the above tools lately!

Happy weekending! Bw.

 

“Gotcher raincoat?” my mom

/Bobbe White 4/5/18/

IMG_5289 (1)

Most of my writing referenced Dad, be it customer service, strength or humor. It was safe to say that Mom lived in his shadow, but was no shrinking violet. I looked up shrinking violet: it means shy or timid. This was not my mother. Call her, “Quiet Steel.” Man, she was/is a strong woman! Most acquaintances did not experience this quality about her. Here are examples.

 

CRYING: I’ve seen Mom cry, oh, maybe three times in my life. If she’s 93, this averages once every 31 years. Not often. It doesn’t mean she was unfeeling and certainly, it wasn’t that she didn’t feel sad at times. She just expressed it without tears. She was a soldier when all else crumbled around her.

 

WARM & FUZZY: Not. My sister, Cathy, and I regret we didn’t get many hugs, kisses or “I love yous,” from her. This was just Mom. It is one thing, however, Cathy and I have vowed to do differently with our own children and grands.

 

DRILL SERGEANT: If swim practice was scheduled, my fanny was in the pool, on time, every time. She slid on ice into a ditch once, on the way to practice; we eventually made it. Piano lessons? We were there. Dance class: in our tutus, on time.

 

DISCIPLINARIAN: Whenever we went out to dinner, if we even hinted at misbehaving, Mom pinched my thigh. YOWSER! I’ll be good. I’ll be good. She didn’t tolerate back talk or eye rolling. Cathy tested this more than me; I remained very afraid. At age four, I shoplifted (one and only time) at Illinois School Supply. I was so excited about my colored pencils I showed everyone in the car. She made my sister march me right back in the store and confess. Geez.

 

HEBREW SCHOOL: Every Thursday. Get over it girls and learn something.

 

ORGANIZATION: Mom planned and executed. She made a list for everything. Even into which dish the broccoli should go. We never – I mean NEVER – went anywhere, when she didn’t say, “Do you have your raincoat?” Even during a ten-year drought, we’d have our vinyl raincoats or ponchos rolled up tight and stashed. Just in case. (See photo of Bobbe in her raincoat, age 2. Yes, even then.)

 

THE SOFTER SIDE OF SHIRLEE: In 1970, some unusual events inspired Mom to write the booklet: “Love Is…” It is profound. She never promoted it, obviously, when I unearthed a shoebox full of them in their house. I also found a treasure she wrote and here it is. It’s rather deep and I had no idea Mom’s brain was so prophetic. It almost makes sense it was written in the 70’s, except I know mom didn’t smoke pot! (I’m sorry, Mom, I realize I could get my thigh pinched for that one!) Interpret it to your own needs…

 

WALK WITH ME

Shirlee Schecter

April 4, 1971

 

Walk with me in the sun or in the dark – the sun melts your tension and the dark holds you close to let you think. To walk alone is to free yourself from the bite and snap of the scene about you- to feel the wind, whether it’s warm or cold, is like a shower in the morning that wakes you and makes you tingle and get alive again to face what will still be there or what is yet to come-

 

The walk alone is needed; but to walk with another is better. To talk is to walk with the mind as well as the body. It can be brisk and pointed, sharp and stimulating; or it can be quiet and meaningful and an easing of doubts and soothing to a tired soul. One can be alone and walk, but then you walk with your God; and in thinking, you talk with your God and you are not alone.

 

To walk with another is to be aware of sharing, but even then, two alone cannot live on an island and survive for long; neither can just two walk together. Each one must reach out to many whose lives touch and whose paths meet, some in love and some not.

 

A family shares and family loves; and where there is strain within that unit, you find an ingredient so vital that it pursues your whole direction. One cannot turn off the emotional self- you are surrounded by it and cannot walk away from it – it can surround you like barbed wire and there is no escape, then you walk in a circle; but in walking, you are doing, and to live and survive you must do something. Then you are making the motions of being alive and find there is always a way out of the circle that seems to close in like a whirlpool in the water, first pulling you down, then releasing you once more to tread the water up and thereby walk again to life –

 

Walk with me and share life with all those who touch my life –together. –Shirlee Schecter, 4/7/71

Can’t You Just Sit There and Be Quiet?

 

 

GROCERY

Nurse White shops for Korey’s recovery. (Note: side pocket wine is for the nurse.)

 

Last week, Korey, needed a nurse for post- dental surgery in Washington D.C. Mom to the rescue! Does having four wisdom teeth pulled in eighteen minutes count as surgery? I don’t know, because:

  1. I never got wisdom teeth. (Hold the jokes.)
  2. If the dentist looks 12½ years old is it called, “Surgery or science class?”

In either case, me helping her was laughable. Neither of us likes blood. In seventh grade, Korey missed school the day after getting her ears pierced, because a blood droplet was on her earlobe. Me? I could never look at Nick’s, appendectomy incision. Not even once.

Preparation

During the morning, I made multiple trips to the grocery and CVS. Here’s the shopping list:

  • Hefty bags: gallon and quart
  • Dish soap
  • Charmin
  • Bounty paper towels
  • Glade
  • Hot pad

These were supplies for teeth extraction? Anyone who visits a child, sibling or parent shops like this for the host. I met friends along the way: Deli Shop Sammy and Young in the grocery. I purchased obligatory ice cream, pudding, Jell-O and Sprite too.

 

Appointment

I’m unsure which of us was more nervous. Friday @ 1:30p.m. Korey arrived from work. I walked from her apartment. I’d have been on time, except D.C., like many cities, has 2311 M Street, Northwest, Southwest and East-by-Northwest. Of our founding fathers’ brilliant ideas, street naming wasn’t one of them. My walk was supposedly .6 mile. Google said 6.7 miles! Guess who was going to be late and lost? Korey answered my S.O.S. and I recalculated.

 

Recovery

Korey was a good patient (ice, rest, fluids, “This Is Us”) and Saturday night we went out for pasta!

 

Normalcy

As scheduled, Korey conducted a 2-hour webinar Sunday, for associates. We silenced the T.V., phones and apparently everything but Bobbe. As the webinar commenced my throat tickled, forcing me to stifle coughing with a pillow. It wouldn’t stop. I considered available remedies, such as honey, Jack Daniels or peanut butter. Desperation. I landed on almond butter. It tasted weird, but worked.

 

I read for a while, then decided to nap on the couch, falling asleep fast. Before long, Korey was wiggling my big toe, “Shhhhhhh. They can hear you snoring!” I couldn’t do ANYTHING quiet. I got up and read again. Jeff texted us, “What’s for dinner?” I replied and Korey informed me that our family-wide text was crawling across the webinar screen. Jeesh.

 

Korey was beyond frustrated. We tried. We really tried, but Murphy’s Law of Silence ruled: the quieter you try to be, the noisier you will become. What can I say? This nurse was a helpful, but noisy one. And, yes Virginia, there IS a tooth fairy. Even at age 29.

Leave it to Irvie: Goes Out With a Giggle

irv profileIt’s been quite a week around here, since Dad died February 22nd. In honor of the fact that he died on George Washington’s birthday, a profile picture which I thought looked a bit presidential is  featured. Also, before we go any further, I apologize that this post at least twice as long (or more) than I prefer and probably you prefer. If it’s TLTR (too long to read), just do what you can. No rules here.

Let’s just say, “Alzheimer’s Disease – or any form of dementia- is one ugly beast”. I hate it and what it did to Dad and so many others. I hate that many of you are currently in its grip with your own loved ones. But hate is an ugly word, so let’s focus on some good stuff, shall we?

What I learned: that even in the darkest hours, humor can bubble up through the tears.

And yes, there were some bubbles of humor during his last week. First, Dad’s very mean roommate, bless his gnarly heart, caught me at a bad moment. Really bad:

Him (growling): “Is it time for me to go into dinner yet?”

Me: “I don’t know.” (Queue major snotty attitude, like a bitchy 13-year-old in puberty.)

Him: “Why don’t you know?” (Dripping with sarcasm.)

Me: “BECAUSE I DON’T WORK HERE!!!!!!!” (Note: all bold caps and multiple punctuation marks.)

Him: “That’s the problem. Nobody works around here.”

All staff in earshot: (laughter).

Boy, did that feel good. Don’t cross me, Buddy. I bite back. Hard. Fortunately, there was a private room open and Dad was moved into it for privacy.

Funeral arrangements: I had many questions:

“Do we put britches on him?”

Funeral director: “It’s a good idea, in case the body would have to be exhumed for an investigation, DNA match, and etc. (Uh-oh…they’ve Googled Dad’s cousin, Mickey Cohen!)

“Underpants?”

Funeral director: “Yes.”

“Socks? Shoes?”

Funeral director: “Socks, yes, shoes are optional, usually not.”

“But Dad was a shoe man. He MUST wear shoes.”

Funeral director: “That’s fine.”

We started coordinating the outfit. I’d ordered (Thank goodness for Amazon) an Ohio State golf shirt, representing two of Dad’s favorite things: Buckeyes and golf. Jeff contributed an undershirt (Dad ALWAYS wore one under his golf shirt), slacks, socks, belt and Topsiders.

I delivered the outfit to the funeral home. Then it hit me out loud, “WAIT! How is Jeff’s 10½ shoe going on Dad’s size 12 foot?

Funeral director: “It won’t.”

“Will you just cut out the heel?”

Funeral director: “Probably. “It’ll be like he’s wearing CROCS.”

Me: “I don’t think so. I’ll be back.”

There was one obvious solution and the universe delivered. Dick’s Sporting Goods golf shoes were on clearance: Walter Hagen’s, $29.99. YES! Anybody who knows me knows I love a good theme: golf it was. It was my secret, because few shared my humor, except for Dad. I’d explain at dinner, after the burial. It was out with the Topsiders, in with the cleats.

We held a private graveside service with military rites. Dad probably would’ve wanted a parade and fireworks, but it was going to cause much anguish among some family members and wasn’t worth it. Let me just say, “Every veteran deserves military honors.” The meticulous flag folding, presentation, twenty-one gun salute and Taps were so touching and deserved. (In my opinion, he deserved a 42-gun salute for his P.O.W. deal, but Dad hated rifles anyway, so never mind.)

Traditions: If you’re unfamiliar with Jewish burials, you need to know the casket is lowered during the service. Unlike other religions, the mourners leave and the crew finishes later. After lowering, the funeral director, Jeff, pulled a strap out from one end. A vault company employee, we’ll call, “Harvey,” tugged and tugged, but Harvey couldn’t release his strap. It was stuck under the casket corner. As a last ditch effort, HE JUMPS IN THE HOLE! Yes, he did. I looked at my Jeff wide-eyed, then at our son, Nick. You could hear Harvey’s boots land on top of Dad’s new roof. The grave was deep enough, that Harvey disappeared from sight. He climbed out with the strap, as if from a swim pool. I mean, how else would get out, right? Each corner of the metal frame, which held the casket, had a plastic cap on the four corner domes, to protect from scratching the casket, if contact was made. One of the four caps fell into the hole. We heard Harvey groan, as if to say, “Noooooo, not again!” Yep, HE JUMPS BACK INTO THE HOLE!  I look at Jeff again wide-eyed; this time smiling, then at Nick who is wide-eyed and nearly smiling.  My girls are snickering/crying/stifling soooooo hard, they can’t contain themselves. They were audible. The officiant looked at them, smiling nervously, as if they were out of order, which they both were and weren’t. It WAS comical, you have to admit. I wasn’t much better, holding my program underneath my eyes to cover my full smile. I was crying (not from grief); the substitute rabbi and funeral director wouldn’t know which kind of tears were falling. All I could think about was Dr. Seuss’s “Hop On Pop!”

The bottom line was (sorry, bad pun…) Dad would’ve absolutely LOVED this series of events so very much. He would’ve been crying from laughing (i.e. “Craughing”) if he’d been on the outside looking on. In fact, he’d probably said out loud ,”OH MY GARSH!”

Sidebar: In support of the vault company and the funeral director, Jeff Spear, for whom I cannot say enough good things, they were probably sweating bullets. We decided this might happen a lot more than we know, as most of the time, the mourners are not present. Leave it to the Schecter’s to have Murphy’s Law of Laughter*. It truly was the best and most fitting end to a sad situation.  

A serendipitous moment occurred when I attended POUND class on Monday morning, after the funeral. Two of the songs were: “Raise Your Glass,” by Pink, and “Thanks for the Memories,” by Fallout Boy. Coincidence? I think not. Those two songs are now part of my play list, because we did, (raise our glasses) and we are (thankful for the memories.)

One last thought: I thought for sure I’d be finished with my book on aging parents, before any of our parents died, but whenever we put an assumption out there, the universe proves us wrong, right?  This is such unusual, therapeutic material, for possibly the final chapter, and for which I’m most thankful. I think it was meant to be Dad’s final gift to us: laughter. I’ll take it. RIP Irvie. 1924-2018.

The end. Yes, that it was. Quite the ending.  bw

*Murphy’s Law of Laughter: “At times when you shouldn’t be giggling, the oddest thing will set you off in uncontrollable laughter.