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Posts tagged ‘books’

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.

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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.

Why I Gave Him the Finger

give the fingerTo those I’ve interrupted, “Guilty as charged”.

 

It’s recommended that we find our “third place” to write, do taxes, work, read, pay bills, think, study, sketch, paint, workout or meditate. I tried a Third Place on Sunday.

 

What and where is your third place?

 

It’s not home, or work.

 

It is a neutral, mostly distraction-free zone. Think: coffee shops, parks, libraries, gyms and beaches.

 

Third place-why? First and second places tempt us with many diversions, such as:

 

-Laundry

An instant burning desire to wash, dry, and fold every last article, which includes ironing Jeff’s Jockey’s or sockies.

 

-People

Without hesitation, you’re outside the house or down the office hall chatting with neighbors and co-workers, whom you’ve ignored for years.

 

-Eating: Before starting, you need a little snack, which turns into a full out pantry and floor sweep for crumbs, expired spices and old food in the fridge. Sure, the kitchen sparkles after this effort, but you haven’t done one intended thing yet.

 

-Revamping space

Home closets, credenza drawers or under your work desk are favorite diversionist destinations. A simple pen search evolves into sorting envelopes, medications and paperclips. There’s something safe about diving deep into closets, drawers and other dark spaces.

 

Why are these activities appealing distractions? Google it. I’ve decided to term it: “Ostriching”.

 

Ostrich defined:

A flightless swift running and the largest living African bird with long neck, long legs and two toes per foot.

 

Myth: ostriches bury their heads in sand to avoid predators.

 

Fact: they would die from asphyxiation.

 

Fact: When nesting, they dig shallow holes to bury their eggs. From afar, ostriches appear to be burying their small heads, when they’re simply tending their eggs.

 

 

Human ostriches (i.e. procrastinators):

People who refuse to face reality or accept facts, such as finite time. While ostriches are actually engaging in functional activity in their nests, humans, on the other hand, creatively try to avoid the intended task by burying their heads into places like closets, washers and refrigerators.

 

Our third place isolates us from distractions and enables us to stay on task.

Starbucks was my third place Sunday morning. I sat in the corner with my ear buds inserted and thought, “I don’t know anyone here!” Which was shocking. Then, a man, whom I scarcely knew, approached me while chatting, but I couldn’t hear him, of course.

 

I decided I had to give him the finger or he’d stay all morning. Mom always gave me the finger too. The “Wait-one-second-I’m-in-the-middle-of-something-on-which-the-survival-of-the-human-species-depends” finger. To further indicate my intention to stay on task, my eyes remained on my paper; ear buds stayed inserted. I felt (a little) bad being rude, but these types of people are easily encouraged and hard to disband.

 

What I learned

  1. If you want your time uninterrupted, you must be willing to protect it.
  2. When I happen upon someone who’s obviously busy, I will resist the urge to engage him or her in mindless chatter. Unless my pants are on fire. bw

Adultiquette: Sniglets for Couth After Youth

WTAD.COM WHITE PAGES 1/26/17

Bobbe White

ADULTIQUETTE- Sniglets for Couth, after Youth

(snig’-lit): n. A word, as defined by Rich Hall, American comedian, that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, but should. During his TV comedy series, Not Necessarily the News (1986-88), Sniglets became so popular, he wrote Sniglets, which has sold over 2 million copies. It’s my favorite.

sniglets

Example: Cinemuck. (cinna’-muk) n. def: Combination of popcorn, candy and soda on movie theater floors, that makes them sticky.  Here’s another: Blogorrhea (bloggo-ree’-uh) n- Compulsive, excessive, and/or meaningless ranting/raving by an individual on a blog. (Help! They won’t stop lately!)

If you’re from around Quincy, Illinois, you’ve heard of Tracy Schlepphorst’s popular children’s book, “Henry and His Manners.” Parents read this book to their children, including Tracy, who visits many classrooms to read. As you know, kids’ brains have a sponge-like quality. Just when you do something you hope goes unnoticed, they’ll call you on it. Everyone’s concerned that adult manners are disappearing from society. If our manners-read kids can’t keep us in line, I’ve created a few Sniglets, for this.  Here’s one, for gym rats, given our new year’s resolutions:

Athletiquette (ath-let-uh-ket) n. Manners for the gym. i.e. wiping sweat droplets off equipment and self, replacing equipment as found, not hogging equipment or butting in, between someone’s sets, picking up your locker room stuff and occasionally washing your gym clothes. I swear, some people are Noseblind. (The inability to smell something everyone else can).

Others from the “A, B, C and D” sections:

Achootiquette (ah-chu’-tuh-ket) Sneezing away from food and other humans, with a Kleenex, or arm, if possible.

Achootitootiquette (ah-chu’-ti-toot’-uh-ket) The act of sneezing out your front side, which simultaneously forces a particularly resonant toot, at Mach 3 speed and force, out your back side.  It happens; just say, “Oops…excuse me!” and move on. Or giggle. Whichever…

Batcheloretiquette (bach-el-or’-et-tuh-ket) Suppressing the urge to ask single women if they (a) have a boyfriend, (b)are engaged yet or (c) if they’re getting married or (d)whose wife are you? Just don’t. (Does Merlot match your outfit?)

Burpetiquette (birp-et-uh-ket) Owning and apologizing for a disruptive and voluminous belch, either expected, or unexpected.

Crackettiquette (krak’-ett-uh-ket)(See also: Plumbetiquette)The courtesy of buying your britches and a belt, in the correct sizes, so we don’t get the urge to throw a piece of ice down your backside when exposed to the light of day (or night.)

Discotetiquette (dis-co-tet’-uh-ket) Repressing the craving to croon every oldies song heard in public places. Sorry, but no one wants to hear your rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody or American Pie.

I won’t bore you with manners Sniglets, for the entire alphabet, (Yep, I did the whhhhhhole thing!), but I don’t want to catch blogorrhea.

Rich Hall, please, please, please create current Sniglets for America. There surely are things happening here that must be Sniglet worthy. In the meantime, if you’re still accepting Snigtributions (Contributions of Sniglets), here are mine, Rich, and I have more!

Readers: create and send your own Sniglets to me; I’ll include them next week!

Why I Avoided Classic High School Lit Class

Where were the guidance counselors when I signed up for classes? Where were my parents? Who let me avoid some of the most important subjects of my foundation? In short, I was afraid of being bored, a classic teenage fear! Now, it makes me angry, that as a fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen year-old, I was entrusted with choosing the right schedule. Instead of enrolling in Brit Lit, American Lit, or World Lit, I opted for Creative Writing and Mythology. Good grief.  I feel like such a slacker.  Jacquelyn Mitchard (Deep End of the Ocean) once had a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Every Wednesday evening, I devoured her wit and wisdom, especially her column titled, “Read These Classics Before You Die!”  Eleven all-time-must-reads were on the list and, at that moment, I wondered if I had a chance to make a dent.  A Tree Grows In Brooklyn was my first book. Check.  To Kill A Mockingbird. Check. Catcher in the Rye. Check, check.  Sadly, I do not read very fast and am easily distracted by current best sellers. My bedside stack of books continues to grow. My family passes good reads my way, with the enticing words, “You’re going to LOVE this one!” If only I could finish books by sliding them under my pillow at night. There is one bright spot in my delayed reading curriculum…as an adult, I am enjoying the classics more than I ever would have, as a teenager. Last week, I read Hemingway’s, Farewell to Arms. My husband said, “What? You’ve never read THAT?”  I read much too slowly to read things twice…although, there are some books which I would love to read once a year. This week I am reading Three Cups of Tea and (yes, and) Hemingway’s Garden of Eden. I am becoming a huge Hemingway fan. The simple dialogue is very creative, if that makes sense. Old Man and the Sea was my first Ernest book, so I had no idea that Farewell and Garden would be so sultry. Perfect summer reading. Did you catch the part that I am reading two-at-a-time? This is only possible because of books-on-C.D. from our public library. I do not feel like I am cheating by listening, as opposed to reading the written word. On the contrary, it is absolutely delicious to hear the story read as it was intended to unfold. I’ll never totally conquer the classics, but with two-at-a-time, I can certainly make some progress.  Now, if only the community college offers a speed reading course, for audit only-not a grade, please, maybe I can knock out three-at-a-time! Parents, guide your children. Counselors, guide your students. Administrators, require the classics.