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Be a Houseguest Rockstar With These 10 Tips

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It wasn’t a new year’s resolution, but 2019 has turned out to be the “Year of the Friend” visits around the country. The only reason it happened is this: I invited myself. Ugh. I can hardly write about these impositions. Mom is, no doubt, rolling her eyes out loud at me, because people with manners just don’t do this. I’m a little sorry, but not a lot sorry, because I got to mix some biz with pleasure and spend time with really great friends.

My destinations included humans – and a few hounds – ages 4 weeks old to 94. The overall theme of these travels was, “If not now, when?” I’ve learned that with major miles and busy lifestyles among us, most people won’t outright invite others. I really don’t either, really. We all just assume, “They should know they’re welcome.”  They haven’t met my mother, “Not until you’re invited, Young Lady!”

When imposing on others, I tried hard to abide by these ten tips. (My hosts may be rolling their own eyes after reading my intentions below…!)

  1. Offer a few dates you could visit. Fortunately, I have honest friends who tell me when it’s inconvenient to visit.
  2. Limit your stay to two days. I thought it was Mom’s rule, but just learned it’s not.   “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.”   Benjamin Franklin
  3. Be a good guest. This includes bed made and room(s) tidied daily, particularly the bathroom. ESPECIALLY the bathroom.
  4. Be gracious. Come bearing gift(s) or follow up promptly. If there’s a young child in the home, take a book or tiny toy. (Side bar: just found out that I mailed my thank you note to Christine and Family to Debbie’s house.  Oh, Bobbe…)
  5. Be cooperative. If there is a 6:45 p.m. dinner reservation, do whatever it takes to be ready…FIRST.  Thou shall not wait on you!
  6. Be agreeable. They want to go bowling and eat pizza. You’d hoped for TopGolf and Tacos. Toughen up Taco Head. Go with it.
  7. House rules rule! I noted in 75% of the homes where I stayed. (Okay, 3 of 4) shoes were left by the door. Once inside, it’s best to ask before you tromp through their house.
  8. Assess your pajamas. For some of you that may even mean, “GET SOME PAJAMAS!” Perhaps you sleep in bikini briefs, boxers or bare bottom. This doesn’t mean everyone does. Cover up buttercup. Oh, and while dressing, SHUT. THE. DOOR. You never know who might pop in. Awkward!
  9. Spring for a meal. They’ll say, “No!” You say, “Yes!” Personally, I hate food funding fights, so I’ve gotten quite sly about handing off my credit card to the waiter unnoticed. I figure it’s the least I can do in exchange for lodging. #needtips?
  10. Be self-sufficient, on both arrival and departure.  This may include Lyft, Uber or car rental. Your hosts and hostesses appreciate not having to fetch you, although some will insist. On the other end, I’ve found that my friends are more than happy to return me to the airport. Hmmmm, what’s that fishy smell? Oh, ha-ha, It’s me! Bye, bye!
  11. BONUS TIP: Board Bob the Beagle. Don’t even think of showing up with extra people or pets, unless encouraged. That is just rude. Ruff ruff!

My friend, Christine, said something which made me feel much better about inviting myself, “How can you invite yourself if the door is always open?” I like that philosophy. A lot. Hear that one, Mom? Is this new age hospitality?

Thank you, thank you, from Denver to Dallas to Charlotte. There was a common denomination among you all: loads of laughter. My emotional tank is now full to the brim. Thanks for the fill-ups, Friends! You all were grand hosts, I can only hope I was as grand of a guest. Bw

 

My friend, Michele, is Just the Best!

After 67 years, my parents had been split up, not by divorce, but by different aging conditions. 

While there was no question about the strength of our friendship, it was confirmed many times by Michele’s willingness to accompany me on my visits. 

There are two kinds of humans in this world: those who can deal with the elderly and those who cannot. Now a successful banker, Michele had CNA experience a couple of decades before this. 

CNAs must deal with the messiest of patients and there was nothing that could violate Michele! 

At this time of the year, I’ll never forget when my ninety year old mom was in the hospital one winter, three times in six weeks, for recurring pneumonia. Her diagnosis was, “pneumonia and failure to thrive.” Her prognosis read, “Poor”. She wouldn’t eat or drink and it felt like the beginning of the end. 

One Sunday morning, Michele offered to go with me to the hospital. Very few people assume the invitation is always open. I would never ask anyone if they wanted to go, except a family member. 

Mom had just had a bath and was ready for a breakfast that she wouldn’t eat. Her hair, thin from aging and wet from her bath, was plastered against her small head. It was unsettling. 

There were two basic things to do: get food and liquid in her and set that hair! Michele coaxed her kindly and fed her easily from the front, while I put her hair up in Velcro curlers, from the back. It was a two-pronged approach and quite a vision, I’m sure. 

Perhaps it was because of Michele’s kind, gentle easy nature with Mom, orr maybe it was the ever-present sparkle in her eyes, but it was the loveliest gesture a friend could offer Mom and me.

We see this aging parent scenario unfold hundreds and thousands of times. Let this be a positive lesson to us all that we, too, can dish up kindness and assistance with a spoon or a fork. And a little Dippity-Do! 

Thanks, Michele. LYLAS!

 

January: from grief to great

For most of my life, January was the draggy, first month of the year. That was all. Then in early1988, January became the month that forever made me a better Bobbe. I found out I was pregnant. (Forgive me, in the olden days, we didn’t say, “We got pregnant.” It still confuses my brain.)

 

Shock was the word. A baby! A baby? I mean after eleven years of marriage, it seemed unlikely to everyone. Our families, while elated, but shocked. My boss did the jaw drop. Nobody else was privy to our early news. We’re funny like that.

 

Jeff, the forward thinker, and I talked endlessly about how a pregnancy would change plans. The most immediate battle was, “You probably should save your two weeks of vacation in February for your maternity leave.” WHAT? We’re going to mess with my vacation now? This did not set well, as I had not yet learned the lesson of sacrifice for what’s truly important. I felt selfish and defiant, but I lived for a winter vacation! I can hear what you’re thinking. “Pathetic.” I reluctantly agreed,

 

Our quietness proved wise, when three weeks, later on a cold, grey January day, the ultrasound tech said: “I shouldn’t be the one to tell you, but there just isn’t any activity. I’m so sorry” I’ll always remember her kindness, because my OB/GYN lacked it. I can still recall his approach. “Twenty-five percent of all women miscarry, but 90% of them go on to have as many children as the want.” Good information, but not for somebody like me, who for the first time, needed someone more therapeutic than statistical.

 

I realized doctors are more suitable for some patients than others. It never mattered before, but now it did. I changed docs.

 

I went to Mom and Dad’s to miscarry, seeing as Jeff was out of town. Mom slept in the other twin bed. As we lay awake, she told me she was having empathetic labor, right along with me. She was no stranger to the process. My in-laws sent a touching card that read: “After the rain showers, the rainbows appear.” I have held onto that thought and that card for thirty years.

 

Various “deals” were made with God and myself, namely, “If I have the chance again, I won’t blabber about ruined vacation time. How immature! I won’t complain about any of it!”

 

Fast forward, our daughter, Korey, was born January 31, 1989. Her arrival redefined the month for me forever. January now holds great promise and large lessons. As a result, I believe I never took my children for granted. Ever. At least, I don’t think I did. I occasionally stomached gobs of guilt, when I missed certain milestones, but guilt is the gift that keeps on giving and regardless of whether it’s about children, or a partner or a pet, guilt helps us to instantly redefine misdirected priorities.

Our hardest lessons give us the most needed gifts. What life-changing event reshaped your attitude? Care to share? Bw.

Puppygate: gauging aging.

 Bobbe White/1.13.18. 

 

puppygate

 

We have an unconventional method for gauging aging at the White house. It involves baby gates to keep Lily White, the black Lab, from roaming room to room. After reading, you’ll understand how gates experience aging cycles, not unlike humans.

 

For Puppy Lily, we used 24” gates. She never attempted to breach security. As she grew from tip to hip, our hips were growing too. Growing older. I occasionally caught the gate, with either the front or the back foot, causing the whole damn contraption to fall down. I wasn’t alone. Jeff cussed puppygate more than once, too. At this point, we should have tried harder to maintain range of hip motion by bicycling, if only to practice mounting and dismounting. (i.e. swing that lead leg a bit higher.)

 

We downsized to a 17” gate. Thankfully, Teen Lily never attempted to escape. It was a major victory, physically and aesthetically. In time, however, we started tripping over 17”. I purchased replacement gates and pitched the broken ones.

 

Clearly, it was downsizing time again. We now have a 7” gate. It’s a breeze to hop! Old Lady Lily still minds, mostly because her 77 year-old hips couldn’t do it, unless there was a piece of salmon, ham or pumpernickel on the other side. Obviously, we don’t store our food on the floor, so she’s out of luck and leap, as well. Every time I scale that 7” gate, I fist pump the air and yell, “YES!” Sadly, it’s only a matter of time before the 7” gate trips us too.

Aging stinks worse than a dirty dog, but I’ve determined our next four gate levels, in descending order.

  • Level Four (3½”): Playing cards propped vertically across the thresh-holds.
  • Level Three (2¼”): Playing cards will be turned horizontally, end to end. That should be a piece of cake…
  • Level Two (1”): Dominos, and
  • Ground Zero: dental floss. I figure that, by then, we won’t be able to pick up our feet and can just shuffle across the border. Not only that, we probably won’t have any teeth anyway, but we can still floss everyday. It’s just that we’ll be flossing the floor. Sit. Stay. Floss. bw

(Photo guide: Lily White is pictured above. The 7″ and 2 1/4″ gates are featured. If you look very closely, you’ll notice a Royal Flush…)

Hair Day Goes to the Dogs

wtad.com/white pages/7.19.17

Bobbe White

 

 

 

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Once a month is hair cut day, at 7:00 with Kris. That way, I always try to take the 7:00 A.M. slot – you know, FIFO: first in/first out. Plus, it’s quiet, as none of the other stylists or aestheticians schedule patients – I mean clients – that early. Let me tell you, my hair looked really sick yesterday. I don’t mean sick, as in cool, but rather, not well. This is because of the shower before bed. There’s only one style messier than bed-head and that’s wet-bed-head. The top resembled a ski jump –flat approach on the left side to a peak on the right side. Only Kris could tame this mane.

Tuesday also called for Lily White’s appointment for rabies shots and the series of horrible diseases from which she is protected: distemper, bordetella, whooping cough, malaria, yellow plum and Silly Yak disease. She rode along for the 7:00 seeing as I didn’t have time to run home and fetch her. I expected she would bark as soon as I entered the salon. And she did for a while. Then there was quiet. Dangerous quiet, like you have when a toddler gets quiet. I went to the car and Kris invited her in to the salon. She had a leash on, so how hard could this be? I knew Kris loves dogs so it would be fine and he has other clients with dogs too. He gave Lily White a warm reception with pets and scratches.

“Her nose is bleeding.”

I said it was just a tender patch of pink on the end of her snout from scraping it on our fence. She was digging under it, the little beast. “No, it’s really bleeding!” And it was. Kris grabbed an old towel and I dabbed the dog’s nose, but it kept bubbling up. Kris put a bandage on it and I got hysterical. Of course, within seconds, Lily pawed it off of there. She was dripping blood droplets on his floor. This was so embarrassing. Eventually, the coagulation began and I sat back in the chair.  As Lily settled to sit down, she started whimpering and held her right front paw up. OMG! Now what? Kris, God love him, inspected her paw and announced, “Her nail is broken and it’s bleeding.” I’m shaking my head. Good grief. Whose salon appointment was this? “Do you still want your hair cut? Kris asked? “YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!”

To think we’d gone through all of this and no cut or style for me. Unthinkable.

Fortunately, my cuts take about twelve minutes. I paid and tipped Kris $20 for the home health care nursing. He scoffed at that. “Donate it to the Humane Society then. I don’t care.” Off to the vet we went to get the shots and her nails clipped. The vet stopped the bleeding of her broken nail. We finished and headed home so I could get ready for work, even though I’d already felt like I’d put in a full day. On the way home, we stopped at Starbucks for a latte for me; a Puppacino* for Lily.  And they lived happily ever after.

 

*Puppacino is a junior cup of whipped cream, sometimes garnished with a milk bone for dogs. And it’s free!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once a month is hair cut day, at 7:00 with Kris. That way, I always try to take the 7:00 A.M. slot – you know, FIFO: first in/first out. Plus, it’s quiet, as none of the other stylists or  schedule patients – I mean clients that early. Let me tell you that my hair looked really sick yesterday. I don’t mean sick, as in cool, but rather, not well. This is because of the shower before bed. There’s only one style messier than bed-head and that’s wet-bed-head. The top resembled a ski jump –flat approach on the left side to a peak on the right side. Only Kris could tame this mane.

Tuesday also called for Lily White’s appointment for rabies shots and the series of horrible diseases from which she is protected: distemper, bordetella, whooping cough, malaria, yellow plum and Silly Yak disease. She rode along for the 7:00 seeing as I didn’t have time to run home and fetch her. I expected she would bark as soon as I entered the salon. And she did for a while. Then there was quiet. Dangerous quiet, like you have when a toddler gets quiet. I went to the car and Kris invited her in to the salon. She had a leash on, so how hard could this be? I knew Kris loves dogs so it would be fine and he has other clients with dogs too. He gave Lily White a warm reception with pets and scratches.

“Her nose is bleeding.”

I said it was just a tender patch of pink on the end of her snout from scraping it on our fence. She was digging under it, the little beast. “No, it’s really bleeding!” And it was. Kris grabbed an old towel and I dabbed the dog’s nose, but it kept bubbling up. Kris put a bandage on it and I got hysterical. Of course, within seconds, Lily pawed it off of there. She was dripping blood droplets on his floor. This was so embarrassing. Eventually, the coagulation began and I sat back in the chair.  As Lily settled to sit down, she started whimpering and held her right front paw up. OMG! Now what? Kris, God love him, inspected her paw and announced, “Her nail is broken and it’s bleeding.” I’m shaking my head. Good grief. Whose salon appointment was this? “Do you still want your hair cut? Kris asked? “YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!”

To think we’d gone through all of this and no cut or style for me. Unthinkable.

Fortunately, my cuts take about twelve minutes. I paid and tipped Kris $20 for the home health care nursing. He scoffed at that. “Donate it to the Humane Society then. I don’t care.” Off to the vet we went to get the shots and her nails clipped. The vet stopped the bleeding of her broken nail. We finished and headed home so I could get ready for work, even though I’d already felt like I’d put in a full day. On the way home, we stopped at Starbucks for a latte for me; a Puppacino* for Lily.  And they lived happily ever after.

 

*Puppacino is a junior cup of whipped cream, sometimes garnished with a milk bone for dogs. And it’s free!

Where the Rabbit Goes, So Does Your Time

Bobbe White for wtad.com/The White Pages   7.07.17

FullSizeRender (2)Avoid rabbit holes. We all feel so tapped out for time. I started looking at where my own goes. Rabbit holes might be the places you find yourself when on the internet. Staying focused on a project can be difficult for those of us who are easily distracted. When online, links can take you to places you never intended to spend your precious time. You get lost in a third space. Two tips:  if you have a PC or a MAC that announces the time, it can help bring you back to the present. My MAC announces the time every quarter hour. The other is to say out loud, “RABBIT HOLE!” when you find yourself going elsewhere. It’s my wake-up call, “Get back on track, Girl!” Your rabbit hole might be your home – you know how it goes. Cooking, doing bills and laundry and the next thing you know, you’re straightening the space under the sink. And liking it! It’s just procrastination. Some see it as the devil. It is, but to a point. Isn’t it interesting how appealing a job like under the sink or cleaning out your closet tops something else?

 

Enjoy outdoors. I have a habit of reading my phone while dog walking. It’s a rabbit hole of a different breed. Unlike my dog, which walks with her head up, or sniffing the scents of the grass, I could be anywhere, but there. I have written entire blog posts in my phone notes while walking. There are completed grocery lists or hotel reservations nailed down. I guess being outdoors relaxes my brain and the words or thoughts flow better. Sure, it’s multi-tasking, but it prohibits one from experiencing the benefits of being outside. This is something we need, particularly after working inside all day. Walk more like a dog: be aware and enjoy the surroundings. On the down side, I’ve had some bad experiences while not paying attention too. Two years ago, Lily White, the black Lab, did an about face and I fell on the one square inch of ice. I broke my hand. Lovely. Another time, there was a one foot by four foot sink hole by the curb on our route. Into the abyss I stepped. It was at least three feet deep. I wasn’t hurt, but I felt like a real sinkhole. I’ve stepped in you-know-what and nearly walked into parked cars. That’s embarrassing.

 

 

This happens while driving as well. I remember scolding myself while traveling through parts of the Rocky Mountains and reading a book or being on my phone. (Yes, I was a passenger.) Shame on me! Mountains fill my spirit. Why miss them? The same goes for the beach or a pool, although reading at either place is debatable. The goal here is moderation, in order to enjoy both focuses. Imagine being on the beach to enjoy the sunset. You’re with your favorite people, glass of wine in one hand; phone in the other. You choose. Surf the wrong thing and you’ll miss the glorious sunset. Why did you even bother coming to the beach in the first place, just to miss the show?

 

What are your rabbit holes? I’d love to hear!