Monday, December 12, 2011

Sure Bet

  This week's blog is a post on Boomers and Books

I know you will enjoy it so "hit" away!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Packing Pains

Sometimes a blog is written by just recording conversation. In this case, this blog, comes almost directly from my facebook stream. I deleted all the pictures and the real names. As with my satirical book, it is up to the people who think the funny vignette is about them to “out” themselves.

My post was motivated because I have recently been told that few wives or significant others pack for their husbands, leaving me to feel as if I’m a control freak. However, coordinating clothes is not Hubby’s strong suit. The last time he went shopping by himself was for suits, and that was almost 50-years ago. He came home with 3 identical brown suits, and brown is not his color, blues or grays are. Since they weren’t altered, the shopkeeper took them back and advised me to never let him shop or pack for himself. Stupidly, I followed her advice, which is why when I pack, he cleans up the kitchen or does other of my usual chores.

Here is my stream that I think will bring a smile to your face.

Eda Suzanne: In my next lifetime, my husband will do his own packing. I will give him a crash course on matching clothes and folding.

Three likes from literally around the globe and people half my age. OMG, this is not just a problem of my generation.

Sally: Hear Hear!!!! What a wonderful idea!!

Mindy: Good luck with that! I used to let Ed do his own packing and then he ended up with things that did not match or were totally useless. He is good at folding, so now I choose and he folds....

Eda Suzanne: Tomorrow we shall try that. Folding is back breaking.

Lara: Great idea! I would do the to do that in THIS life...LOL. But John is color blind.

Sally: So's my husband...and he takes every advantage of it, too!

Annie: Lenny does all his own packing. If he doesn't pack, he doesn't go. I don't care what he looks like.

Jan: LOL...does he pack or does he go away naked? :My husband tries to coordinate his clothes when we travel, but as I said, he's color blind & he tries to fold clothes but after I look at them folded, I can't take it. I want him to look nice so he's not having everyone staring at him...LOL. But we do compromise. I match everything, fold & pack to go away & when we get home, he unpacks, puts the dirty laundry in the wash, puts away the sundries & the suitcases in attic. So I feel fair trade.♥


Eda Suzanne: I was told by a pro 40-odd years ago, that if what he wore would bother me, I had to pack or supervise. Up until he retired, he was never home when I packed. Old rules are going to be revised. Annie, Lenny knows how to match clothes! Jan, now that my husband is home, he also helps with the unpacking. Mindy, I tired letting him fold. It will have to wait for our next lifetime. I don’t want to take a travel iron.

Bobbi: My hubby always does his own packing...because he says I never pick the right clothes (coincidence? I think not) ;-)

Sally: Magillan has these clothing folders. Look into them. They take up no space, and he can do it himself.

Eda Suzanne: Bobbi, your husband knows what the right clothes are—he sells them. Sally, the folding is not as hard as eliminating what I don't think either of us will really need. Packing when we remain in one climate zone is easy. It's knowing we need cold and hot weather clothes for this trip that has me nuts. I hate over packing because everything still needs to be washed or ironed or cleaned when we get back, even if I don’t wear it.

Lilly: Sounds to me as if most women have pretty much the same problem, in different ways. I don't see any men complaining about packing for a trip...Me, I get hysterical when I have to sit for an hour while everything gets tried on and shown for approval or disapproval...and the inevitable question - do I take THIS sweater or THAT sweater. I keep telling him that I'm not his a man...make up your own mind! But after 59 years I know that nothing will change. And yes, he's color blind.

Sandi: I will vote for throwaway clothes lol
Eda Suzanne: Can't afford to throw away. Packing for 2-week bus tour is easier than a 2-week cruise that changes climates. Lilly, I'm the fuss pot so I've learned not to gripe. He couldn't care less as long as his clothes are clean and odor free and he’s not cold. I’m like Jan. I have to look at him across the table.

Eda Suzanne: I'd love to cut and paste this as a blog.

Lilly: Eda...As I was reading all the posts, my thought was "I can feel a blog coming up" but you beat me to it. I've plenty more to say on the I'm sure most women (married women that is) do.

Hubby just read this blog and told me to add that he picks out better fresh fruit than I do. That is true. All is not lost. That is his job, but no matter how he tries to justify it, picking our fruits, putting the dishes in the dishwasher while I fold and pack, and taking everything that needs to go, to and fro the cleaner after we return, just doesn’t seem the same as folding and matching two-weeks worth of his clothes. What do you think?

P.S. – I am a control freak—but only when it comes to what he wears. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

If you are looking for something to give the over 50 set for the holidays, check out my book on Amazon or Barnes & or read a sample chapter at:  

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oh, My Aching Computer

Contrary to popular belief, old people do not spend all day complaining about aches and pains. We kvetch more about frustrations with problems that didn’t exist ten—fifteen years ago. They all have to do with keeping up with the constant changes in technology and keeping our newest hi-tech acquisitions in the “best of health.”

I entered the computer age when I took my Masters in the 80”s. I remember being advised to buy an Apple 2C, and I would not have to pay to have someone type my thesis. I was misinformed that the purchase, which was double what a good computer would cost today, was all my husband and I would ever need to be part of the future. I’m thrilled the same person was not our financial adviser. We never imagined when we planned our first retirement needs budget when we were still very middle-aged, that we left out the high cost of staying connected. This is not a five-dollar bill that can easily be squeezed into a budget.

If you’re reading this, you know the monthly fees to enable my blog bounce around the world on various sights. But how many of you have two monthly exterminating services making house calls. One sprays stuff on my garden and in my house to prevent multilegged bugs from crawling around my home. The other kills the invisible bugs and viruses that somehow get inside my computer despite all the “vaccinations” that are supposed to prevent such mishaps. Instead of old people bragging that they have the “best doctor,” they now boast that their computer specialist is the best diagnostician in town. I’ve yet to hear people brag about their cable or internet carrier. Instead, the complaints about internet and cable services remind me of my mother and her sister complaining about whose aches and pains were worse.

Last month my husband went to the pool to exercise. He forgot to take his cell phone out of his pocket. Unlike his watch, the cell phone wasn’t waterproof. My husband doesn’t have a back up, old-fashioned phone book as I do. He enters numbers solely in his phone. I am sure his cousin, who only has a cell phone and as of yet there are no yellow pages for cell phones, is bummed out that he hasn’t returned her call. Ten years ago, neither my husband nor his cousin carried cell phones. Hopefully, since she is a Facebook friend, she will read this and call me.

Recently, one friend asked if I had received an answer from another friend to an email. “No,” I replied. “Which is weird because she has instant internet service on her cell.”
“She doesn’t know how to get to her email on her new phone, but she won’t admit it.”

Unlike my friend, I won’t bend to social pressure to “have the latest” and invest in a Smartphone that I know I’ll never learn to use. It took years for me to learn to retrieve messages on my present, very basic cell phone, and I’m still not able to enter phone numbers. For this South Floridian, investing in a Smartphone is like buying a snow sled for my grandkids to use when they visit. Life was easier for status seekers when all the needed were jewels, cars, or manufacturer’s labels. I’ve never known a Gucci bag that was attacked with a virus rendering it DOA.

Recently my husband announced that not only our cell phones, but our computers are near the end of their lifespan. “It just doesn’t pay to fix them again.”

He literally has spent more time in the last few weeks investigating what kinds of computers and phones meet our current needs and budget—lap top, desk top, or tablet—than what he should be investigating—which Medigap policy and which Medicare Drug Plan is best for us in 2012. (If you aren’t aware, these plans’ benefits change every year)

I questioned his priorities since, if we have to switch plans, it needs to be done soon. His answer explained why seniors now kvetch more about cell phone and computer problems than aches and pains. “How long will you last if both of our computers and our cell phones drop dead?”

Physically I’ll make it, and I’m in better (communication) shape than he is. I still have my little black phone book, which has landline and cell numbers—and unlike more and more people we know, we still have landlines.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Weighty Problems

Obesity runs in both my maternal and paternal families. Anyone who has my kind of genes knows the battle to always be able to zip stylish, tight-legged jeans is unending—unless you also are blessed with a gene for will power. Unfortunately, I don’t even have a smidge of a chromosome with this blessing.

When I find myself only wearing my husband’s sweatpants—and in South Florida that only works in the dead of our 6-7 weeks of winter—I head back to an “in” diet class. Well, winter is long over, and Hubby’s one lightweight workout pants are wearing thin, so I’m back attending what my husband calls “fat class.” The older I’ve gotten, regardless of how much I exercise—and we walk two miles almost every morning as the sun comes up—the slower the fat melts away. Loosing weight for me now is like cooking a turkey at 100 degrees.

The healthy diet I’m on follows the new food pyramid—lots of whole-wheat grains, fresh fruits, and veggies. The scale has gone down ten pounds, but, alas, my tummy isn’t happy since I started this diet. I’ve gone from looking slightly pregnant after each meal to looking as if I’m ready to give birth. In the beginning, since I was determined to shed the extra bulk, I was willing to put up with the post-meal and snack cramps because the scale was indicating progress. However, a few weeks ago, I woke in the middle of the night with labor pains. Since this is a physical impossibility, the next day I scheduled a doctor’s appointment.

I’ll leave out all the details of all the tests that were ordered because they are kind of gross as well as boring. I did have to be put to sleep for one test, and when the anesthesiologist approached my bed to get my medical history, I freaked out. “Is that tattoo on your arm real?” I asked. To me, there are certain professionals that somehow don’t lend themselves to sporting sexy tattoos and doctors are one of them.

The doctor stepped back a bit—body language signaling he didn’t care for my opinion of the artwork on his arm. “Remember, I’m the one putting you to sleep so you shouldn’t feel pain.” he said in a very icy "who does this old lady think she is" voice.

At that point, I kept jabbering away with inane flattering remarks, hoping to neutralize my insult. When he injected the sleeping potion into the IV, I hoped he no longer disliked me. I hadn’t canceled my Bridge game for that evening because having had the test previously, I knew I should be fine once I awoke. But now I was concerned I'd be asleep for hours.

Less than an hour later, according to the wall clock, I realized I must have appeased him. My doctor uttered the words all post cancer patients want to hear as soon as any test is done, “I don’t think it’s cancer…took culture…divaticulosus …IBS.”

The bottom line is I can stay on the diet, but the yummy store bought prepared foods that have sugar and/or sugar alcohol—the candy and cake that have made this diet so easy to follow—need to vanish from my pantry. I can have cake if I bake it myself and control the ingredients, and I’m determined to look svelte again, so I will. Breakfast will be the big challenge because dairy products and eggs, staples for breakfast on this diet, irritate my innards. I’m not one to make Canadian bacon, also allowed for breakfast protein, because Hubby hates the smell.

For a brief moment the next morning, I thought the problem of selecting a breakfast protein would be avoided. I stepped onto the scale as I usually do. As bad as the prep for the colonoscopy was, it did wonders. Somehow, in the 48-hour time period since I last weighed in, I had shed all excess bulk. The scale indicated there was no longer a need to diet. In lieu of numbers, it said, “low.”

Now even if I ignored the fact being suppressed in my subconscious that the scale needed a battery, minutes later when I attempted to squeeze into my goal-weight jeans, the truth would have been exposed— just like my tummy was bulging out of the two-inch gap between the button and buttonhole.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Life in 2011

I'd like to take credit for this one, but it would not be ethical. I rarely send jokes on, but this was one I wanted to share with all of my readers. 

1. You accidentally enter your PIN on the microwave.

2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.

4. You e-mail and text the person who works at the desk next to you.

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail or text addresses.

6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries...

7. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen

8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't even have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

10. You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your coffee.

11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. : )

12 You're reading this and nodding and laughing.

13. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.

14. You are too busy reading to notice there was no #9 on this list.

15. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Grandma and Grandpa Cellophane

Warning: unlike my light blogs, this one weighs a ton

“My husband and I sat at the holiday table, surrounded by all of our loved ones—our kids, our grandkids—you’d think we’d be in seventh heaven,” my friend confided to me. “But it was awful.”

I could understand my friend’s family’s behavior if she and her husband’s personalities were toxic. Miserable and bitter seniors are understandably rarely visited by their family and/or have been deleted from speed dial by most of their once friends. But this couple has a slew of lifetime friends, and rarely have a trace of toxicity in their conversation.

My friend continued. “We felt as if we were watching TV. The cousins talked to each other, and my kids talked to each other, but we felt like that song, Mr. Cellophane.”

“I don’t believe you just sat at the table silently,” I said.

“We didn’t. After tickling each other under the table, we sang nursery rhymes softly to each other to prove that it wasn’t our imagination that we were being ignored.”


“Not one head turned our way,” she said in a barely audible voice.

“Look at the upside,” I said. “Your kids were talking not texting.”

My friend’s story came on the heels of a request from a reader for me to write a blog about how the older people get in this country, unlike other cultures where seniors are revered, we to often become part of the wallpaper when the room is filled with people younger than we are. My reader added, “I had a lovely aunt who always cautioned us, as we got older, that it was important for the elderly to be ‘neat, at all times’—not to really worry about what clothes were being worn because we're invisible to the rest of the world—relegated to the back of the bus. Just be neat and don't speak too much because no one wants to hear what you have to say, because…what do we know?”

When it comes to formal seating arrangements or having dinner parties, my rule has always been that each person has to have something in common with one other person or the table will be a disaster. Be it a 10-year old or an 80-year old, they need someone who WANTS to talk to them. If the 10-year old has no playmate, he or she will probably have some sort of electronic gadget to keep him or her occupied. But what is the only 80-year old relative in the room do when their middle-aged hosts are clueless that they are ignoring him or her?

I have spent one month trying to write this blog since I received the request, trying to put a humorous spin, find a punch line, but every time I think I’m done, I hit “delete.” First I tried the theme, “be happy and sit back and enjoy your offspring, Be happy they’re happy,” but whose kidding who? Few people of any age enjoy being a spectator for hours unless they are watching a movie or show.

For a few blogs I focused on how unless you are on Facebook with family, you are out of the loop. I wrote about an editor of a magazine who wrote how guilty she felt when a favorite aunt died. The writer said it had been over five years since she made time in her life to contact the person. Hubby didn’t like this blog because it was too preachy and bitter.

With that bitter blog gone, I then focused on all the details of how a glamorous, middle-aged stranger sat with her back to me when we were seated next to each other at a recent party. All through dinner, I had to resist the urge to tap her on her shoulder, introduce myself, and lie. I fantasized telling her either that I was her boss’s Mom or someone old and famous. I imagined her being mortified when I would sarcastically tell her it was a pleasure to talk with her. I chickened out for fear I might unintentionally burn a bridge—she may be a nurse or doctor in our local hospital’s emergency room.

So, I will pose the question to my readers. What should very “with it” Gram and/or Gramps do if they find themselves “wallpaper” at family gatherings? We know the main character in Water for Elephants ran away from his nursing home to join the circus, but that option is not out there for most Mr. /Mrs. Cellophane family elders.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Marriage Super Glue

Hubby and I recently celebrated our 49th anniversary and are hoping all will remain well and we can celebrate our Golden Anniversary next June. In my grandparents’ time, a 50th anniversary was rare because of shorter life spans than today. Now, divorce, not death, is the reason many couples don’t make it to their fiftieth. Until recently, I never really could pinpoint why ours lasted and others I thought were made forever cracked. di

I’d be the biggest liar if I’ve said there have never been times that neither of us wanted to head for the hills. When our kids were little, when we kissed and made up, we teased and said we didn’t make enough money to support two households. By the time we were empty nesters, our justifications for living with each other’s imperfections were Hubby couldn’t do laundry or cook, and I couldn’t put gas in my car and hate taking down the trash.

We’ve both mellowed through the years as to things that will ignite a spat. One hot issue that’s still high on the list is the thermostat setting when we use the air-conditioner. Those of you who’ve gone to my website and read Thermostat Genie, a sample chapter from my book, know what I’m referring to. Hubby and I are totally incompatible when it comes to how cool we like the A/C. He is as thin as a rail and me—let us say I have a lot more insulation around my bones than he does, thus we have a 3-4 degree difference in our comfort zone.

My husband also insists the electric bill will go down if we move the thermostat up several degrees every time we leave home, even if we’re only going to be gone 10 minutes. I say the opposite. The other day, I had “had it” when I came home to a “sauna” —he ups the setting as soon as I leave—and called our power company. A lovely lady, who I told I owed a dinner when we finished our conversation, informed my spouse over our speaker phone, that unless you are gone at least 4 hours, it isn’t cost efficient. She explained that to do what he was doing—constantly changing the setting—could also ruin the calibration of the thermostat. The best thing she told Hubby was to leave the thermostat at 77— not his desired 79—and up it to 82 when we’ll be gone for long periods.

I then inquired about possible reasons our bill is usually higher than friends who have a bigger house than ours and keep their thermostat in the low seventies. Her answers were informative. We have his and hers computers and DVRs. The computers are in almost constant use as are the recorders. Our friends have one computer that is used perhaps one hour a day and, since they like the same television programs, only need one DVR. As much as we’re always looking for ways to save money, especially in today’s economy, we know this wouldn’t work for us.

The lovely lady on the phone did zero in on the biggest difference in our friends’ life style and ours that runs up an electric bill: the oven and stove. I don’t think they would notice if someone unplugged theirs. I cook. Not as much as I used to before moving to Seniorville or Hubby would like, but I still do cook. It isn’t unusual for people my age to fear outliving our money, and my spouse feels if we keep eating in restaurants as much as we do, we may run out of our money.

Dining out is a big part of our social life and the restaurants in my area have great deals to attract retirees. I maintain that the cost of eating out sometimes is less than if I bought all the ingredients and cooked the same meals. Last week we ate lunch out three times and dinner five, which is unusual for us. When the stock market started to roller coaster, I promised my spouse we would eat in this week. But that was before the phone call to Florida Power and Lighting and the phone call from friends who invited us to “run out” for a bite.
“The restaurant has a coupon which is too good to pass up.” I told my husband.

“Wasn’t this going to be our austerity week?” Hubby kind of growled while we were pulling out of our driveway.

I looked at him straight in the eye and said. “It is. I’m doing my part to cut the electric bill by not using the stove.”

He laughed. Humor is a great super glue for a marriage that has minor cracks.

If you like my blog, you'll love my book. It is a great gift for anyone who likes or needs a laugh.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fair Game

 This week a Boomers and Books has asked me to write a blog for them.

For your pleasure please read my blog this week at

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment. 



Saturday, July 16, 2011

Voice ID Skills

A friend called to tell me how proud she was that she finally figured a way to know which of her grade-school grandsons she was speaking to on the phone. This friend is part of what I call the Skype generation of long-distance grandparents. Their grandchild voice-identification skills aren’t as sharp as those of us who became grandparents in pre-Skype days. We had no picture-clues to help know the owner of the barely audible voice on the phone.

My friend proudly shared that she pretends she forgets the name of their hockey team. So far neither of her grandsons have figured out what Grammy is up to, but she said her daughter’s laughter in the background signaled she knew what her mom was up to.

My children installed Skype in my home and theirs a few years ago supposedly so Hubby and I could join the Skyping Nanas and Papas. However, it was only used by my barely teen grandkids to communicate with their friends, (but monitored very carefully by the parents.) In my home, the Skype collected dust. It didn’t matter. I didn’t need a picture to tell me which grandson was on the phone. By this time, the crackly voice, a bit baritone yet still soprano, definitely belonged to the teenaged grandson. His younger sister’s voice was usually very cheery while younger brother tends be a bit serious sounding.

Besides the slight differences in my three grandchildren’s voices, as they grew older, their phone answering habits gave me better clues as to who answered the phone in their home. Only the youngest seems to enjoy answering the phone. His siblings check the caller ID if they are within five feet of the ringing object. Then only if they have the time to speak to the caller will they answer. Since neither of their parents, unlike me, is a phone-o-holic, this is not considered rude or unusual behavior in their home. As far as my adult kids—and my husband—are concerned, I waste too many hours each day on the phone “exchanging information” as I prefer to call it. I NEVER gossip! To them a phone is there for their convenience, not the callers. If it is urgent, they hear the message as it is being left by the caller and respond accordingly. To me, if a phone rings, it shall be answered.

Anyway, back to my point. In the last two years, things have changed dramatically. Ma Nature kicked in. Eldest grandson and his father now sound virtually identical, but their response to my query of “what’s doing” is a dead giveaway as to the voice’s owner. “Not a heck of a lot,” is what the father has been responding to that question as long I can remember. Eldest grandson can be counted on to say something like, “Ehh, nothing I guess.”

His seemingly lack of enthusiasm for idle chatter on the phone—typical of his age for boys, (although Hubby still distains it)— makes it hard to believe that when he is standing center stage, he has the voice and personality that this grandma feels will eventually enable him to knock Justin B. out of first place as a teen sensation.

As nature would have it, his younger sister’s voice changed when she hit her teens. The other day I spent two minutes talking to a lively female voice. I was positive it was my granddaughter. It wasn’t until I asked her a question about her classes and a laughing voice responded that she hadn’t been to class since graduating from law school 20 years ago that I knew it was my daughter-in-law.

From now on when I call their home, regardless of who answers, all I’m saying is, “Hi. What’s new?” and while hoping a word or two will tell me with whom I’m chatting, I’m praying someone quickly invents a very inexpensive voice ID contraption for my phone—especially since youngest grandson is set to have Mother Nature make his voice sound exactly like his big brother’s and father’s very soon.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Picture This

“Cool” said youngest grandchild, when I told him his Papa and I were going to a party at our clubhouse pool. His voice had the tinge of surprise and maybe I read into, but a bit of “huh” in it also. Was he having a visual image of me diving to the bottom picking up coins or perhaps I would be on his Papa’s shoulders doing a game I can’t quite remember the name of and have no clue if it is still played by today’s youth.

Try as hard as he could, he would never have imagined what his Papa and “Bub”—short for Bubbie—did that afternoon. In fact, neither did we.

Usually music by the pool in my active senior community means ACTIVE seniors either singing along with music while other folks prefer to dance—in the pool or poolside. Some choose to sit far from the “action” and chat and leave the active participation to those who’ve already had their successful knee and/or hip replacement surgeries. The pool area resembles the deck of a cruise ship while at sea. Something for everyone.

Recently, ‘twas a bit different. The rule saying that only water in plastic containers could be in the pool area was put on hold for the festivities. Non-alcoholic smoothies were offered, and, if they so desired, folks could bring ingredients to spice up the smoothie. For many of us whose meds still allow us to indulge, rum or other liquor was added to our fruit drinks.

So picture white-haired Hubby and me, poolside, a cool breeze coming across the manmade lake, great music, sipping rum drinks with many neighbors. One svelte, well-tanned woman, bedecked in a size small bathing suit, with an accompanying sarong that actually covered all of her thighs—when it stayed tied—quickly became the center of attention. Men smiled at her antics, women put towels over their legs.

The unexpected entertainer wanted to dance with everyone or anyone who came within arm’s reach. I’ll not say she was inebriated because one drink is all I need to be relaxed and silly. I prefer to say she was very, very happy and her happiness was infectious. Her goal to have everyone join her on the dance floor was made easy because the dancing area was right next to where the smoothies were being served.

One by one, as unsuspecting folks approached the smoothie station, they found themselves whirled around the floor for a few moments—unless of course they enjoyed the adventure. Some people did while others fled as soon as they saw an escape. Not sure what either of these reactions indicate, but I wondered if any of these antics was in my grandson’s visual image of what “old people” do at a pool party. While folks danced, Hubby snapped picture after picture. When he stepped into the dancer’s personal space, she reached for his butt.

He told her he was married. She said she didn’t care. When he dared to say that if she didn’t, he didn’t, the little bit of rum in my system prompted me call out, “I do.”

Hubby said she did grab his tush before he pulled away. I have my doubts his rear felt a thing. He has no butt. Never did. Maybe she grabbed his cell phone, which was in his rear pocket, but it sure wasn’t his butt. It doesn’t matter. The experience gave him bragging rights when he retold the story—accompanied by pictures—to friends. Now I’m wondering, should I show the pictures to the grandkids?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cost VS Worth

Other than when Hubby needs suits or shoes or I’m totally disabled, he avoids shopping like a plague with two exceptions—bulk food and Home Depot-like stores. Unlike me, he hasn’t changed size since we were married almost fifty years ago, so I’ve learned if I want him to look presentable, I need to do the shopping. To him as long as his clothes are clean, fashion is irrelevant.

Even though I’m not a lover of oversized garage-like box stores as he is, since I’m the cook and he’s the “lugger,” this is the only kind of store you’ll find us both in at the same time. The other day my cell phone rang. “Can you talk?” the voice at the other end asked.

“I’ll be tied up for at least two hours,” I answered. “Can it wait?”

“Where are you?”

“COSTCO—with Hubby.”

My friend laughed. She’s heard my rants about shopping not being a couples activity for my husband and me, and how instead of taking at most a half hour, when I’m with my spouse, shopping can be two hours. He likes to read labels and examine every item on display even if we have no need for it. I’m convinced the super garage-like ambiance is intentionally designed to attract anti-shoppers like Hubby. They know if clothes are displayed like tires, a man will look and even do impulse shopping.

My husband, who will shop in the local supermarket when I can’t, remembers what each item we buy on a regular basis costs. Thus, he likes to point out how much money we save when we buy in bulk, such as a year’s supply of paper towels. Through the years, we’ve learned that bulk is not always the best deal. After having some items ferment in the closet or turn green in the refrigerator, Hubby now checks the expiration dates before he puts a package of cheese that will last six months in the wagon.

For the past few years I’ve been complaining that the weight of the laundry and dishwasher containers is more than I can physically handle. My words went unheeded until a few months ago when my husband was recovering from back problems. The look on his face in the store when I told him we needed bleach, laundry and dishwasher soap told me he feared they were too heavy for his now fragile back. The bargain was too much for him to pass up as I advised him to do, so he asked a nice young man who was nearby to put the oversized boxes of into our wagon. Another person offered to help us load our car—an advantage to looking old is if there are lots of nice young folks nearby, one will offer a hand. However, none lives with us. When we got home, I refused to help lift them out of the car trunk. “I told you in the store I can’t pick it up. You’re on your own.”

Hubby winced with pain when he lifted the two humungous bottles of bleach. “You’re right,” he said after straightening out with great effort. Then he dragged the carton across the garage. “Never again. The savings isn’t worth it.”

Out of pity—after all he admitted I was right and what more can any wife want—but more importantly no desire to visit the emergency room, together we lugged the other dead-weighted items inside the house. To make sure he wouldn’t forget his proclamation, for the next several weeks I had him pour the soap into the dishwasher until that backbreaking container was reduced to a weight I could handle without needing to lie on heat for an hour afterwards.

Recently we went shopping for goodies we needed for the non-barbeque barbeque we were hosting. (I cook the food before hand because too many barbeques have been rained out, and in Florida May heat neither of us enjoys standing over hot flames to cook.) As we strolled up and down the aisles with the crackers and other items we needed, Hubby put box after box into the wagon. The wagon looked as if we were entertaining 40 and not 14. I pointed this out to him, but he retorted that the food “would last forever” and more importantly, we were saving money. Finally, I asked him where we were going to put all of his oversized non-perishable purchases.

“Don’t worry,” he assured me while placing a years worth of individual applesauce cups on top of the crackers, pretzels, nuts, and chips, “I’ll rearrange your pantry to hold it all.”

He kept his promise. He packed my pantry tighter than a can of sardines with more than half of the items hidden from view. When done, he asked what was for lunch.

“Tuna,” I said. “As long as you take out the can and find the mayo.”

My gut feeling is my husband’s love affair with excessively large quantities of food that don’t get used up quickly is over. Cost is not always worth, and that’s his saying, not mine!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Say Cheese

Active Adult Committees have the ability to make or break a doctor’s reputation. If a doctor falls out of favor with a patient, word spreads quickly from the tennis courts to the card rooms. Conversely, if miracles happen and a doctor restores health to someone near death, that word spreads like lightening also.

Recently, during lunch in the clubhouse cafe, I was telling my friends that Hubby was going to have cataract surgery on both eyes. Someone at the next table overheard. Since I’m still considered new in this area, she felt it was her assigned duty to inform me who the “biggest” doctor in town is.

To me, a big doctor is one who needs to shed over 100 pounds, but I didn’t think she’d smile if I asked her how heavy her doctor was. Instead, I politely thanked her for her unsolicited advice—something common in Seniorviles and believe it or not, more helpful than not. I told her I preferred the specialist who did mine several years ago. Others within earshot responded with horror and disbelief that I was going to travel 25 minutes—an overnight trip to some folks in my environ—when there were so many “big” doctors within ten minutes.

For reasons unknown to me, maven number one seemed upset I was not willing to switch to someone “two minutes from here who always has perfect results.” She confided what she thought was an important tidbit of information, meant to prevent Hubby from a botched job. “You know he (my doctor) never does the surgery. The doctors who work for him do the procedure.”

I knew her concern was real and wanted to reassure her we were in good hands. I told her he successfully operated on both my eyes several years ago and recently restored vision to a friend who had her surgery done incorrectly elsewhere. Her red face and stiffened body posture was a sign she didn’t agree with my decision.

The morning of Hubby’s surgery, I went to the area in the outpatient clinic where several closed circuit televisions were set up so those interested could see the doctor at work. Hubby did this during my procedure years ago. (Permission to film the procedure was signed in advance.) I began to watch the operation, gagged, and went to the other end of the room to watch live news.

The surgery was the morning after bin Laden was killed. Even if the story on TV was of less importance, sucking a lens out of any eye and inserting another is not my “thing,” even if it is Hubby’s baby-blues on the screen. Occasionally I glanced at the closed circuit TV screen to check Hubby’s status. I knew when the doctor was done because Hubby had forewarned a camera flash would go off. For some weird reason, this doc takes a picture with his patient when the surgery is over, and then he waves to his unseen audience. The next day, during the post op visit, the patient receives a copy of the picture.

When Hubby went for his post op visit right, he was given the gruesome photo along with a DVD of the surgery. Since I knew I would dump the photo as I did mine and never view the DVD, I asked the nurse not to waste time snapping the picture when his second eye was operated on.

“Never,” she said. “By seeing the picture, patients can be reassured that the doctor did the surgery.”

I thought back to the false accusation that I had heard about my eye surgeon and decided to show the photo to the doctor maven in my development. His reason for the photo-op suddenly made a great deal of sense. Then a thought hit me like a ton of bricks. I am so glad the doctor who does my colonoscopy doesn’t have the same problem proving to patients he really does the procedure.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Glass Houses

“I have a fantasy,” my husband said recently, “that we can leave the house without you having to spend half an hour looking for your glasses, your keys, or your handbag.”

The missing keys and purse have been causing me grief for years. While I search for the eluding article, I keep repeating to myself something Atlanta son says, “Matter doesn’t disappear,” and Hubby keeps reminding me I have to focus on what I am doing. Experience has taught me that if I keep retracing my steps, eventually the missing item magically appears.

My problems with misplaced specs started after my cataract surgery about four years ago. Since this procedure, I only need glasses for reading. Before my surgery, I wore glasses 24/7 therefore, I only took them off to sleep or shower. Post surgery, I tried the string on the earpieces and let them dangle from my neck when not in use, but the string irritated my skin. Now I have the bad habit of just leaving them the last place I needed to wear them. If glasses were available with the same gadget that I press to let me know where I parked my car, I would buy the gizmo ASAP, regardless of cost. (If any of you know of such a device, let me know:).

Now to the gut of this blog. Hubby had cataract surgery this past Monday on one eye. He gets the other one done next week. In the meantime, his old glasses are useless and he has a definite depth perception problem. Last night, at dinner, he accidentally knocked over his water, drenching himself. I mopped, and he changed.

Since the surgery, he can see clearly out of his operated eye, but, like me, only needs glasses to read. Yesterday, I gave him one of the several store bought glasses I keep in various rooms to use to read when I can’t find my good ones—the ones that correct my distance stigmatism (for driving), and have progressive lens, which I prefer for computer work.

This morning, as the sun was rising in the east and we were getting ready for our early morning walk, Hubby came into the kitchen and said, “My wallet isn’t in the jeans I wore yesterday.” He was visibly upset.

Could Mr. I Never Misplace Anything handle evidence that he was a mere mortal like me, and when he is tired, he forgets simple things like changing out of wet clothes into dry ones? I was enjoying the moment. I didn’t point out that he had to concentrate more on what he was doing or any of the other bits of wisdom he gives me while I frantically search for glasses atop of my head. I had a better plan. Instead, I simply went into the bedroom, picked up the shorts he had changed into last night, brought them into the kitchen, put my hand in the pocket, and . . . voila! Mr. Organized, Mr. I Always Know Where My Things Are, fell off his pedestal and turned red. He plopped into his chair, picked up the morning newspaper, and stared at it. Then he coughed, looked at me, and said, laughing all the while, “I can’t find my reading glasses either.”

I guess everyone lives in a glass house, but sometimes the dwellers don’t know it until the curtains are opened. Welcome to the “Did you see my reading glasses?” world, Hubby dearest. Now our biggest problem will be whose wearing whose glasses, and I hope that that remains our biggest problem. Then life will be good, as long as one of us knows where the car keys are.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Paper Boy AKA Flat Stanley

I don’t know if you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Flat Stanley. He’s a children’s book character that resembles a cut out gingerbread cookie. I call him Paper Boy. Teachers have their primary grade students send multiple Paper Boys in envelopes to recipients who student’s parents know love the pupil. For a said period of time, these selected “guardians” will go to any extreme to make the children happy, have a camera, and will be willing to take Paper Boy with them no matter where they go and snap away. After the “vacation” is over, Paper Boy and pictures are returned to the teacher.

I spent enough years in front of a classroom to know Paper Boy’s travels are probably a great way to teach creative writing and/or geography. If my grandchild had sent me Paper Boy, I would follow the rules to a “T.” “T” stands for time. I learned when my sons were little, only their grandparents had unlimited time and patience for projects like Paper Boy. Nothing has changed. After one or two anecdotes, most other adults want to switch back to “business on hand.”

The first time I met Paper Boy, a friend had brought him to a women’s luncheon. After ten minutes of enduring Paper Boy’s caretaker posing him with each of us, and then making us snap pictures while she “fed” her charge, the women seated with me began to gently kick or poke each other under the table. Our attention had definitely waned. In the polite world, if Grandma doesn’t get the hint while she’s monopolizing the conversation about her brilliant offspring, the rest of us sit with Botox like smiles on our face while suppressing a yawn.

Fast forward five years. Paper Boy is once again making his rounds of South Florida. Thankfully, unlike the other Grammy, this new Gram obeys the unofficial “talking about your grandkid’s” time limit rule. After spending a few, and I mean few, minutes building Mah Jongg tiles like blocks, Paper Boy was tucked neatly into the side of Gram’s bag where he “napped” for the entire afternoon. Because he was so well behaved and didn’t annoy her peers the first time she brought him along, Gram let him come to a special birthday celebration held at a very, very well known Palm Beach Country Club last week. The doormen smiled as Paper Boy was posed at the entrance next to the name on the door. The hot son must have tired Paper Boy because he immediately wanted to nap in Gram’s oversized purse. After lunch, we toured the estate. The men’s room door was open (for cleaning), and the john, complete with gold plated plumbing, was quite visibly empty. This was a good thing because that’s when Paper Boy awoke and needed to “go.” The kind maintenance man let him use the facilities. A picture was snapped of Paper Boy standing at the urinal.

Now will said Grandma have the courage to send an “indecent” picture back with all the other ones she took showing how eclectic her life in Seniorville is? As of this writing, the retired teacher inside of her says it might cause her to be put in Grammy time-out for kind of making fun of a worthwhile project. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Fear Facto

According to Hubby, I’m lucky my head and arms are attached to my body because my multi-tasking ability “‘taint what it used to be.” As I dash from one “play date” to the next—with doctor’s appointments and marketing my book squeezed in-between—I’m constantly misplacing my glasses, my keys, my cell phone, or whatever I am suppose to bring or take with me.

Supposedly, I’ve been told, forgetting where you placed things, like car keys, doesn’t mean you’re becoming demented. Begin to fear the illnesses if you don’t remember what the keys are for. To that I say, “Bull.” My mother’s illness started with her not being able to find things, but she knew what they were for—right up until the end. Recently I had a 24-hour period of losing track of almost everything that wasn’t attached to me.

My living nightmare began after I played Mah Jongg at a friend’s house. Once home, I realized my Mah Jongg card was missing. For those who do not know the game, playing without this is akin to playing Bridge without cards. A phone call to my hostess let me know it was on her counter. I picked it up the next morning before heading 45-minutes south for lunch and more Mah Jongg. When the afternoon of joviality and games was over, I rushed out because I had a business appointment—I do have a life besides Mah Jongg!

One block before the entrance to the expressway, my cell phone rang. “You left your glasses here,” my friend said.

As I made my u-turn, my head pounded with the fear the dreaded dementia was nibbling my brain. Twenty minutes later, glasses safely tucked in my bag, I was on the highway heading home. I reached into my pocket for my cell so I could call my husband to let him know I was late. The phone wasn’t there. Panic set in, and at 65 mph, this is dangerous. Did I drop it when I had gotten out of the car to get the glasses? With one hand on the steering wheel, I dumped my bag’s contents onto the passenger’s seat. No phone. Tears filled my eyes.

How could I not have heard it crash to the ground when I got out of the car? I felt my ear to double check my hearing aides weren’t MIA also. I’m always in such a hurry I don’t concentrate. I’M NOT DEMENTED, JUST RUSHING TOO MUCH. I guess I didn’t believe my own repeated reassuring thoughts because tears streamed down my cheeks. I also stopped focusing on the road and didn’t notice the sign warning me that my lane was becoming an exit lane that lead me off the highway.

Two long traffic lights and one u-turn later, I was once again on the expressway. The constant pounding inside my head from my fear of the imminent death of my brain halted suddenly at the sound of the melodic music box tune that emanates from my cell phone. Relief was brief. The sound was nearby, but the phone was nowhere in sight. It took two calls—thankfully the caller was persistent—to discover the hiding place.

Okay dear readers. What’s worse? Dementia or having a butt so thick I couldn’t feel the hard phone underneath it? I know the answer. The only upside of my mother’s illness is she no longer cared about her weight.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Announcing...Sort Of

While I was on the phone with a dear friend a few days ago, she received another call and put me on hold. Moments later she got back on, shouting, “It’s a girl.”

I wished her, “Mazel Tov!” and together we sang a short happy Hebrew song of celebration. While singing nagging thoughts whirled through my head. I was sure the baby wasn’t due until late spring. Also, it was weird she wasn’t hanging up the phone, so she could “call the world.” The most puzzling thought was, since she is the kind of grandma who is right near her children for such a joyous occasion, why wasn’t she at the hospital.

Later that day, I shared the good news with a mutual friend. Her reaction dittoed mine. This morning, the two of us again discussed the news that seemed to be being kept a secret. My friend asked me if I was sure she said her DIL gave birth because it is so unlike her (our mutual friend) not to send out a mass email with the great news and catch the next plane to her kids.

Mentally, I reenacted the conversation, and said, “I’m positive she said, ‘It’s a girl.’”

The voice at the other end of my phone said, “Oh. She didn’t say she “had it.” All she said was its sex. I told you she’s not due until the summer.”

If I was an enterprising person, I would start to sell sonogram announcements. Why wait since by the time the baby arrives since nothing is a surprise anymore—unless of course, an unborn hand was over a private part and the tech didn’t realize it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Oy Vey!

*Kvetch: A relatively healthy adult surrounded by unnoticed blessings whose parents only paid attention to him or her when he or she was little and whined or had a tummy ache. The words, “I’m fine,” aren’t in his or her vocabulary unless laced with terse guilt. If the listener catches the guilt, he or she should learn the art of ducking.

The other day I had to call a known kvetch. She answered with her usual “death is imminent” tone in her voice. I quipped, “Make sure your kids call to tell me when the funeral will be.” The words may sound nasty to you, but they transmitted magic medication through the airwaves because her voice suddenly sounded bright and healthy. I used to feel sorry for this gal’s kids until I realized they are her enablers. They dote on her every whine, just as her parents probably did. She’s learned if she does it with me, I get off the phone ASAP.

Advice to young mothers: If you want to ruin your unborn grandchildren’s adult lives, let your children whine. If you love those unborn kids, only answer your children if they speak in a normal voice and dote on them when they are nice!!!
*Yiddish for constant complaining

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tails of the Mischievious Ciberspace Ghost

In my previous life, I must have offended someone real badly. This person’s ghost seeks vengeance by continuously making unnoticeible spelling or grammar errors in my Word Documents in the few seconds it takes for me to cut and paste them into my blog. I’m not aware of the dirty tricks until after my blog is posted, and a reader will sheepishly say or write, “Loved the blog, but you spelled something incorrectly.”

The ghost has haunted me since grade school giving many the incorrect impression I’m bearly spelling literate. White Out was my savior for years when I spotted the evil mistakes made becauze the ghost pushed my fingers on the wrong keys of my tipewriter. Before White Out, four those old enough to remember, I used paper—I think it was called onionskin—that was easy to erase and retipe without having to start the page again.

With the advent of the computer and tools such as spell and grammar check, I thought my spelling woes were over except for proper nouns like Neimen’s. Knowing how the evil ghost finds ways to harm my finished product, several proofreading pros combed the manuscript of Retired NOT Expired before I sent it through cyberspace to the publisher.

The book sales are going beyond my wildest dreams, but woe is me, the vengeful ghost found a way to do it’s damage! Thanks to electronic publishing, the damage in my book has been undone and all future copies should be error free. I also decided to stately in my loudest voice, “Please forgive me and don’t harm my work anymore.”

I’ve proof read this blog four times and it is error free! Hopefully, the ghost will find piece now an lay two rest.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My Friend, My Blog

Each week I leave my senior paradise and head 45 minutes south to my previous neighborhood for an afternoon of lunch and then Mah Jongg with old friends. Those of you who have read my book, Retired NOT Expired, know that this lunch bunch and their spouses are the inspiration of much of the humor in the book—indeed one of the husband’s wants to know who will play him in the potential movie since Cary Grant is dead.(I can dream, can’t I?).

Anyway, back to the point. If you remember the chapter, “Weight, Weight Don’t Tell Me,” one of my friend’s propensity for buying diet books inspired one of the funny fictional characters. Yesterday, while we were all sitting around one player’s kitchen table, a strange beeping could be heard. Immediately, each of us checked our cell phones to see which one had “laryngitis.” “It’s not your cell phones. It’s this.” With that said, my friend picked up her loose sleeve.

At first, as she explained her newest weight reduction plan, we all listened with straight faces.The gizmo, which resembled a mini blood pressure machine, was “telling her” she wasn’t burning up the calories she was consuming. I’m not sure of the details, but it seems this gadget monitors how many calories she burns a day and lets her know if she isn’t moving enough to burn off her allotment.

She never finished her explanation. Uncontrollable fits of laughter interrupted her mini lecture. When the rest of us regained our composure, I said, “People want me to begin my next book. I didn’t have a topic until now, but today I do—in fact it might be half way written. I’ll call it, My Friend, My Blog.”

More laughter erupted. The dieter was the only one who didn’t understand. You see, she doesn’t read my blogs and all the others do. They know I’ve written several blogs about her—most recently one about cell phones. When she realized what we were laughing at, she admitted she better begin to read them. Then she walked around the room until her "toy" silenced.

Oh – if this thing really works, I know what I want for Mother’s Day!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Whoops Again

It has been another “whoops why did I say that week”—and again I wasn’t the only one to have a slip of the tongue. In my old age, I have become a standup comic, AKA lecturer in Intellectually Active Old People Land. Many worthwhile organizations are constantly seeking brilliant lecturers, so if you are good, you work a lot. The not-so-hidden purpose of my new career is to spread the word about my book. The first time I gave my schpiel about how I reinvented my life after leaving teaching it was to an audience of folks I knew well. If I put my foot in my mouth, they knew me and loved me, so the world would not fall apart if I goofed.

Yesterday’s talk was a different story. The audience was a room full of strangers, all who had paid dearly to hear brilliant lecturers stimulate their gray matter. I had heard the speaker who preceded me on many occasions. He doesn’t miss a beat from start to end and keeps his audience’s follow-up discussions focused. As soon as someone strays from the topic, he has the skill to say quickly, “Good point, we’ll get back to that later.”

The comment hurts no one and prevents what I call “Show and Tell” discussions from ruining his talk—in other words, he knows how to keep control of the discussion and not give it to those who think their comment is relevant, but in actuality has zero to do with the topic.

There was a big difference between this speaker and me. He had his date booked months ago and was being paid. He had months to prepare. All he had to do yesterday was show up, talk, collect his money, and leave. I was a substitute—a last minute booking and agreed to talk free for the right to sell my book before and after my talk. My goal was to “get my book out there.” My purpose was not to educate but to sell. The real aim of my speech was to motivate the audience to buy the book by whetting their appetite with tidbits from the book. The talk went well—I heard lots of laughter—but when I asked for questions or comments, I goofed. One of the tidbits I divulged as an “appetizer” was the book contained the solution to the leading cause of acid reflux—splitting restaurant checks with others when you’re not the one who ran up the bar bill. One question that came up was, “How did you solve the problem?”

As a teacher, it was important to anticipate any question. As a lecturer, I’m learning that the questions being thrown at me are good, but I’m not anticipating them.  Thus my answers to the questions aren’t the words I would have uttered if I had time to think about them. I responded, “You’ll have to buy the book to find out.”

This nice lady’s head went down along with my heart. I immediately apologized to her, especially since the audience laughed at my retort. True, the purpose of the lecture was to make people want to buy the book; however selling a book by innocently hurting someone is not my style. Since she immediately started to write down notes, my nightmare was she was doing a review of me and my future as a speaker was doomed.

I shared my goof with two friends. One, who runs many of these types of lectures, said I should have used the word “read” in lieu of “buy.” She told me famous authors do it all the time. I prayed all night that she was right and not just wanting to calm me. The morning headlines of the local paper didn’t doom me, but these inserts were written last week. I’ll let you know next week if I’m in trouble.

I also called my other friend—the one I wrote about last week who lives on a block where the germ causing oral diarrhea is worse than on mine. Once again, her story outdid mine. It seems she and her significant other of many years were walking in a nearby park. He was engrossed in conversation, didn’t notice something blocking his path, and went flying through the air. My friend panicked and screamed out a name, but it wasn’t his. It was her ex’s whom she divorce decades ago.

Her error was worse than mine—unless mine brings me negative press reviews.

Monday, February 7, 2011

No, No, That's Not What I Meant

True Confession: I am afflicted with a condition politely known as “Edaisms,” and impolitely known as “oral diarrhea.” The best definition for this “disease” is “Edaisms” are when words totally unrelated to what I want to say or what should say come cascading out of my mouth. These moments occur when my brain is multitaskin, and I’m not solely focused on what the unsuspecting speaker is saying. Sudden silence either in the room or at the other end of the phone usually awakens my consciousness to the fact it is my turn to talk. With that, I try to think of what was last discussed before my brain drifted elsewhere, and unless I admit that I didn’t quite hear the speaker, it is not uncommon for me to make a fool of myself by my answer. To combat this “illness” I try to repeat to myself, “stay focused” over and over. It usually helps, but not always.

“Edaisms” cause two things: unintentionally offending someone or having someone think I’m missing a link. Last week, when a friend called to firm up previously made plans, I was mortified and petrified. I had no clue to what she was referring to because I inadvertently didn’t write the date—made over a month prior— on my overcommitted social calendar. Hubby and I had made unchangeable plans weeks prior with several other couples for the same date, and that date was on all three of my calendars and set in stone.

As I said in previous blogs, forgetting scares me to my core because of my very real fear of dementia. My error of not writing the first date or referring to my calendar when I made the plans that I had to back out of, offended someone whom I adore. In an effort to defuse the situation, I wanted to say, “I wish I could be more flexible with my schedule.” Wanted—but didn’t. Instead I said, “I wish you could be more flexible.” The words came out, and to be gross, sometimes things come out that really stink. Common knowledge: stinks can’t be put back. You just have to hope there is plenty of fresh wind to blow them away before they do real damage.
A few days later, someone who is very well traveled and knows the ropes—someone whose opinion I would seek if I needed travel advice—told me she was going on a particular cruise ship. What popped into my head was, “She will be the one to let me know if the ship is really great or too oversized—both views that I have heard.” Instead of keeping my thoughts internal, I blurted out, “Some of my friends hate the ship and others loved it.” I HATE when people do this to me—tell me I might regret plans already made—so why on earth did this stupid comment flow from my lips? I was so upset when I got home, I sat and ate half a gallon of Moose Tracks ice cream. I rationalized it was sugar free but ignored the fat content.

The next morning I shared my latest bout of socially unacceptable “Edasims” with a friend who is a therapist. My friend immediately hit the cause of the resurgence of my socially unacceptable “disease.” She told me that something must be in the water of our community. “Not only was one of the men we were out with last night guilty of “oral diarrhea,” she said, “but I responded the same way and my answer had me up the entire night.”

Her story dwarfed mine. Her tablemate assumed she had a “nose job” and told her so. Despite her insistence to the contrary, he kept harping on the fact it had to be “plastic” since it was so perfect. She knew the only way she could stop the conversation was if she changed the topic. “How many years ago did you get you’re penal implant?” she asked.

Silence filled the air. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what others in the room must have been thinking. Me? I’m glad I don’t live on her block. The drinking water there is more toxic than mine. My “Edaisms” might become so rude, I’d have to move!

Sunday, January 30, 2011


When I was a little girl, snow was beautiful white stuff that fell from the sky. It was something to play with, create with—enjoy. If there was a lot of it, school was canceled. My love affair with snow lasted until I started to drive. Then the sighting of the white flakes became terrifying. Deadly black ice, remnants from the previous week’s snow, lay hidden under the freshly fallen snow waiting to send my car into a pirouette.

The occupants of the row houses where my family lived set to work at the first drop of snow. We knew that the snowplows would build an impenetrable usually three or four-foot wall of snow making it a herculean job to dig out each car. Thus, we literally parked our cars bumper to bumper at the first sign of snow. The lead car was the one that left for work first and the last was a stay home Mom. And, as predicted, when the Department of Sanitation buried our cars, we were prepared. All we needed to do was clear our hoods and windows and then together, we dug out the first car. At night, after all of us were home from work, we parked in the order in which we left for work. It took a while to maneuver to the right morning departure time after each of us returned from work, but it was much easier than digging out five cars. To make sure no stranger dared to park in our spots before we returned, garbage pails somehow seemed to block their entrance.

Snow took on a new meaning when my children were born. I relived the joy of my childhood through their excitement, but grew to hate dealing with the melted snow in my front foyer. At this stage of my life I was a fancy suburban Mom with an automatic garage door. Instead of a thin strip of a sidewalk to shovel as we had when we lived in our row house, Hubby and I now had a 60-foot driveway that resembled a ski slope. Snow blowers were not yet the “in” thing.

Then we moved to Florida in ’73. Snow was replaced by monsoon rains and flooded streets. Instead of fearing skidding on black ice, I feared pulling into my driveway and having a water moccasin wrapped around my wheel axle. (Folks deny this, but it is true. It can and does happen if the manmade lakes overflow—and that only happens when some engineer forgets to lower the water levels of neighborhood canals and lakes before big rains. The purpose of all the man made lakes in these areas that were built on land formerly called the Everglades is to catch the monsoon rainwater and “ship” it out to the Everglades preventing flooding.)

Today, as I read all the complaints from my Northern brethren on Facebook about the latest blast of snow, I really would like them to consider moving to Florida. We have it all, but without the snow. I cannot mislead you. It does get cold here. Today, when it dipped to 55 degrees this morning, our outdoor water aerobics class was canceled.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ghost Buster Needed in Boynton

My house is haunted. The ghost, or ghosts, first appeared last Sunday after I gave my very first author talk about how my new book. During the discussion I referred to the fact that the sibling rivalry I grew up with—the teasing and taunting on the part of my older siblings towards me, (I was always innocent)—today would reclassify what was once thought of as a normal family as a dysfunctional one.
When Hubby and I arrived home hours after the event, I discovered the curling iron for my hair was on. (It doesn’t have an auto shut off.) I distinctly remembered pressing the on button to off and told that to my husband when he accused me of not turning it off. “You were talking on the phone while doing your hair and not concentrating on what you were doing.”

Fortunately, the hot part was in a position that there was no damage.

The next day, when I started my car I heard a voice from my glove compartment telling me to turn left at the corner. I stopped the car, reached into the glove compartment and turned off the GPS. I hadn’t used it for two weeks, so why, if it was on— I later told Hubby before he could say I didn’t turn it off— didn’t it “talk” before?

Later that day, when Hubby and I came home, we heard a motor running inside our house. Somehow, my hair dryer went on by itself. Surly either my husband or I would have heard the loud noise if the dryer was on before we left the house. Logic said so, thus I wasn’t blamed for nearly burning our house down because I was busy doing three things at once. The next night I turned off the lamp in the family room. Two minutes later, it went back on by itself.

I shared the stories with my Mah Jongg group. One of the players informed me my house was haunted. “My mother does it to me all the time if she is pissed at me. I yell at her to stop, I’m a grown woman, and then she leaves me alone for awhile.”

I believe visits from beyond possible, so I was excited at the prospect of finally having my first “visit.” After our game was over, I came home and stood in my bedroom. I told my parents in a loud and clear voice that I loved them, and knew that they loved all of us equally and did their best, but the statement about my family being a dysfunctional family by 2011 standards was true. I begged them to understand and stop playing tricks before my house was set on fire.

Hubby heard me and wanted to know who I was talking to. I told him, he reiterated that I wasn’t concentrating on what I was doing. The next morning my husband called the electrician—just in case he was wrong and either we had a short in the walls or a ghost. The electrician patiently— via speakerphone—walked us from each misbehaving appliance to the next. It seems each appliance could stop operating before the button was put completely in the off position. So, if someone is in a hurry, and doesn’t make sure the switch says off, or listens for the click, the appliance can go back on.

I would never be so careless to not turn things off properly. My house is haunted. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Remedial Phone

Remedial Phone

I must confess I do not know the difference between a Smart Phone, I-Phone, or I-Pad. I know what a Blackberry is but have no clue how to operate one. Regardless, it would serve no purpose for my lifestyle. I don’t tweet or twitter and have no need to have instant access to my email. I agree with the school of thought that too much personal information via chitchatting on various social networks may come back and haunt some of the posters—especially if they want to run for public office. I prefer when my children and grandchildren call me, although I must confess I feel very special when I instant message my grandchildren on Facebook and they respond.

Last week when Hubby and I were waiting in the cell phone lot at the airport, it was obvious the Delta website we checked before we left our home posted the wrong arrival time. “If we had the fancy phone some of my friends have,” I told my husband, “I could check the arrival status.”

If we had it, the plane will land and depart before we would figure out how to access the information we need. “Call Gary,” my husband said. “See if he’s by his computer.”

I called our son and he wasn’t. Then I called a friend who was and in less than a minute had my answer.

“What if no one was available to look it up for us,” I said, beginning to feel we possibly needed to update our cell phone.

“We could always call the airline directly like we did before computers.”

All I could think of was when we started to use the computer to check flight status how I would “double-check” with a human who worked for the airline. When they replaced the human with a robot, I stopped double-checking. How many years ago was that? I honestly can’t remember!

The next day while lunching with a group of “girl” friends, one of the women had a question that none of us could answer. Another took out her high I-Q phone, slid her finger on the screen, “typed,” and voila, the answer to the question appeared on her screen.

Another reached into her handbag and removed the same instrument, held it up for all of us to see, and said, “Her’s is a Smart Phone. Mine is a dumb one.”

We laughed. I knew just what she meant. If Hubby and I bought a phone with a zillion features, ours would not be at the head of the class either!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Believable Realistic Fiction

I did not write the below. It showed up in my email this morning. Few jokes give me a laugh out loud when I read them, and this one did. Maybe it is because I know so many men, young and old, within my circle of friends and relatives who would do some of the things listed. Even my book, Retired NOT Expired, has a chapter devoted to why, in my home, shopping together is not a couples activity. --Eda

After I retired, my wife insisted that I accompany her on her trips Target. Unfortunately, like most men, I found shopping boring and preferred to get in and get out. Equally unfortunate, my wife is like most women - she loves to browse. Yesterday my dear wife received thefollowing letter from the local Target.

Dear Mrs. Samuel,

Over the past six months, your husband has caused quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behavior and have been forced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against your husband, Mr. Samuel are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.

1. June 15: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in other people's carts when they weren't looking.

2. July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.

3. July 7: He made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to thewomen's restroom.

4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, 'Code 3 in Housewares. Get on it right away'. This caused the employee to leave her assigned station and receive a reprimand from her supervisor that in turn resulted with a union grievance, causing Management to lose time and costing the company money.

5. August 4: Went to the Service Desk and tried to put a bag of M&Ms on layaway.

6. August 14: Moved a 'CAUTION - WET FLOOR' sign to a carpeted area.

7. August 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told the children shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows andblankets from the bedding department to which twenty children obliged.

8. August 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and screamed, 'Why can't you people just leave me alone?' EMTs were called.

9. September 4: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.

10. September 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.

11. October 3: Darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the 'Mission Impossible' theme.

12. October 6: In the auto department, he practiced his 'Madonna? look by using different sizes of funnels.

13. October 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through, yelled 'PICK ME! PICK ME!'

14. October 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed 'OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICESAGAIN!'

And last, but not least:

15. October 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, and then yelled very loudly, 'Hey! There's no toilet paper in here.' One of the clerks passed out.