Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The One in Which She Says "(tap, tap, tap) Is This Thing On?"

I know, I know - it's been , like, for-EVER since I've posted.  Hell, it's been like forever since I've even logged into Blogger.  Barely remembered my password.  So where've I been , you ask?  HALLOO!  Testing, testing - is this thing on?  Okay, so all 1 of you want  to know where I've been.

Well, "I been to paradise but I've never been to me."....no seriously.

Like so many of us old-timers who used this here interwebs for purposes other than trying to make a living (I know, I know - there's thousands  nay, jillions of blogs out there and only like .00002 % of them make money at it)...I started this thing in 2008 when my wonderful Dad died and I went through my own medical nightmare.  Like many of us - this blog became my catharsis.  I started writing about emotion, feelings, angst.
**yawn**.  Then I started reading other blogs, commenting on favorite blogs, entering contests, winning contests ((read:  free stuff!)), attending a few conferences...you get it.  That was the first year. 

Then I tried to put myself into a cool category.  Yeah, it's cool to blog.  But gushing about your perfectly wonderful children, and your perfectly wonderful Hubby, and how you made perfectly wonderful this or that is ...quite frankly - perfectly dull.  So I tried to spice it up a bit.  I liked to think of myself as a humor blogger.  Humor as in if blogging were a bus, I'd be sitting in the back with the cool kids sneaking a smoke and a shot of Jaegermeister cool.     I thought I had found a way to show my imperfectly wonderful children, and my imperfectly wonderful Hubby and my imperfectly wonderful sense of humor to a community of like minded folk.  Sounds perfectly wonderful, no?  That was the second year.

But, then it became a job.  And equally as non-paying as the non-paying one I already have.  I would spend hours wracking my brain, combing through notes and the backs of receipts for ideas.  2 hours begat 4 hours begat 6 hours  ...became all frickin' day.  I felt guilty if I didn't leave a comment on someone's post.  I found myself becoming envious of those whose stick-to-it-iveness paid off for them  (yes, that .0000002%). 

It became laborious rather than a labor of love. 

So I up and quit it.

And now that it's summertime - and what I like to call "the Summer of No Responsibility" - I am back poking around .  So don't be surprised if I stop in here once in a while to re-introduce myself to you all.  They say once you've ridden a horse, it's easy to get back on.  Hopefully, I am still in some your blog-rolls (which for the uneducated is a list of links to other cool internetty stuff) and you might leave me a comment, or enter me in a contest, feed me ideas, vent, rant, laugh...whatever.  Please do so or else I might actually free fall off the Western Rim of the Grand Canyon like this:

I might be a Humor Blogger - but I have a very fragile ego.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The One in Which She Did Not Go Gently into that Good Night

Swirl Girl, Sisterbestfriend, and Mom
December 2010
My Mom was a very simple woman.  A practical, no muss, no fuss kind of gal.  She was passionate to a fault about a few things:

She simply loved her games.  Of all kinds.  Bingo, casino games, Mah-jong, Canasta, puzzles of all kinds.  You name it - she played it.

She simply loved her friends.  She was fiercely loyal!  She was the "do-er"; always willing to lend a hand, give a ride, balance someone's checkbook, take you to a doctor's appointment, be good company - in good times or bad.
Mom = both A & B

My mom had the proverbial Venn-Diagram of friendship - not a simple circle as many of us have. She had her old friends, her new friends, her neighborhood friends - couples and singles .  Sadly, in the past few years since my wonderful Dad died, as is what happens when you live in South Florida  - you have lots more single lady friends than you started with..who all share a sad but common bond.  We should all be so blessed to have so many in our lives.

She simply loved planning her travel adventures:  cruises, Vegas, Biloxi, visits to the left coast to visit her kids and grandkids.  Even attending her local granddaughter's school events.  Always just back from or on the way to another adventure. 

My mom was most simply passionate about her love for her family and her grandchildren!  She always had photos of them or poorly printed copies  from her way-to-old-printer ready to show them off to anyone who was willing to look at them.  And the house - if I had to guess there had to be over 300 frames and collages adorning the hallways and countertops.  She simply loved them.  Forever and forever no matter what.

Who would have thought this would be the outcome of what was a mere blip on the radar screen of her life?

It was treatable.  It was beatable. I think for Mom, the hardest part was inactivity of it all--simply not her style.  It wasn't the illness, so much as the stillness that broke her.

With my Daddy, we had years of mental preparation that his death was eventual outcome of an over 20 year battle with two types of cancer.  And as hard and harrowing as that was for all of us, he was at peace with it.

With my Mommy, she went out literally kicking and screaming.  She was scared and for me, personally - that is the hardest part of all of this.  None of us - especially her - thought this was going to happen. 

When she couldn't fight it anymore, she waited for my brother and I to arrive from the West Coast as sisterbestfriend had been on vigil in those last hours around the clock.  And I know in some other-wordly way, she knew her children were together..and passed away. Finally at peace and pain free.

My Mom was what you'd call a black thumb.  She was known to kill even artificial plants.  In the backyard by the pool are a few orchids.  One of them I gave her years ago, that despite being completely ignored and neglected - would always bloom when I came to visit.  Mom would say "It knows you're here"  The other orchid was given to her when my Daddy passed away three years ago.  It hadn't bloomed since then.  Well, when I arrived in Florida on Valentine's Day (which would have been my Dad's 75th birthday) there was a flower spike coming out of that orchid.  And it had a few buds ready to go.  I took a picture of the flower spike and took it to the hospital to show Mom.  She said "It knows your here."  Two weeks later , the buds bloomed into delicate pinkish flowers. 

It knows your there, Mommy.

Could it have been a message from my Dad that everything was going to be okay?  That Mom wouldn't be in pain anymore?  That she could join him only days after what would have been their 54th wedding anniversary on what for sure is the biggest cruise of their lives? 

I don't know, I like to think so.

So days after the funeral and shivas, sisterbestfriends and I worked fast and furiously to clean out the house.  Now I walk around the place...staged for selling rather than furnished for living.  We turned her home into a house.  Ready for some other Grammy and Poppy to fill with their memories, their laughter and their tears.  No longer a home.  Just a house.

I love you Mom.  You finally hit the jack-pot.

Dedicated to Suzanne Keller 8/14/37 - 2/26/11

Monday, July 12, 2010

The One Where She Asks " Does My Ass Look Fat in this Shower?"

So for about a year, I've been without.  Without a shower in the master bathroom.  I know, you're all  like "Hey Swirl Girl, quitcher bitchin - there are people in Africa who bathe in the same dung infested water that the hippos and wildebeasts crawl through!"  All that being said - I don't live in the wilds of Africa - I live in the  planned urban development in the wild suburbs of Los Angeles.  And while we may have our own tribal infestations of coyotes and rabbits, we live with the promise of not having to use {ugh, perish the thought!} the downstairs bath to shower. 

So after much consternation (read: nagging to Hubby) we finally bit the bullet (read: hired someone to do the job as while Hubby can put together Ikea furniture like his name should be Sven Jorgensen he is 'ethnically challenged' when faced with plumbing and flooring because everyone knows that schtick about jewish guys and how they hire someone to screw in a lightbulb) and began the work. 

Now I am reminded of a commercial from years ago (yes, I am that old..back in the day before DVR, we watched commercials) for , Alka Seltzer Plus cold medicine , I think...when a couple is doing a kitchen renovation and interviewing contractors which is never fun and even worse when you have a cold...anyway - the contractor says "...so first we'll come and tear up the place and then inexplicably disappear for two, maybe three weeks at a time - and when I come back you'll be so happy to see me you'll kiss me full on the mouth..."  So when faced with the prospect of having to actually find someone to do this work - this commercial keeps running through my head.  I expect to be blown off about 2 hours into the first day. 

But we find a guy through a guy and he's got good references - he calls to see if he can come earlier than expected {whu?  first expectation avoided} and arrives bright and early to begin demolishon of old shower pan and tile work.   For the next 10 days, on schedule - he arrives at 8:00 am.  Does his thing - cleans up after himself, works with me on design.  Done on schedule.  Even comes back on Saturday to do the finish work.  Fan-tastic. 

I just can't wait til eveything dries and sets and I can get in there and clean the gunk and dust  - take a nice hot  shower and shave my legs.  No more one legged flamingo stance! 

So Sunday morning - I prepare.  I turn on the water and let it get nice and hot.  Hubby joins me in the bathroom for a ceremonial "Ahhhh".  I kick his ass out of there and he heads downstairs.  I soap up and lather the mohawk that has become my right calf when I hear  "Swirl Girl, turn off the frickin' water!!!" 

The pictorial*  that follows exlpains it all.
  *{artist rendering- all likenesses to actual persons are opinions only}

"Hubby, does my ass look fat in this shower?"

"Cleaning my kitchen was such a chore until I installed the Suck-tastic Shower 2010!"

I know there's a water shortage in California, but do I really want to take a shower and clean my kitchen at the same time? 

I frickin' hate Murphy and his damned law. 

** edited afterthoughts :  Looking on the bright side, I guess it's better to hear "Uh -oh " and "Ah, shit" from your contractor than your doctor!
   ***totally edited afterthough:  This week I am joining Angie at Seven Clown Circus for Wordful Wednesdays!   Pop on over to see her!