Sunday, March 20, 2016

Wrestling the Bear

It was a contentious battle.  My opponent was worthy.  And full of hostility.

It was like wrestling a Grizzly.

I stepped back to regroup and then attacked from an angle it was not expecting.  I was gaining momentum!

Maybe not.  It was giving me the fight of its life.

I grunted.  Like Sharapova serving for the win.

I sensed an audience beginning to form.  

OK, it was just Dave and the Publix guy.

And they weren’t applauding.  Or helping.  They seemed to be enjoying the entertainment.

I grunted louder and said, “Maybe I should sell tickets.”  

I refused to give in.  With one last surge of energy, I threw every ounce of my being into the fight.

And finally one grocery cart came loose.

I put my hands up in the air in celebration then limped away, holding my bruised arm.  

“Remind me to wear my roller derby uniform on my next shopping trip.”
As I pushed the liberated cart into the store, the Publix guy spoke up.  (Let’s call him “Craig”.)

“Can I teach you the trick?”

“The trick?” I said.

“Yeah.  Watch this.” 
Craig approached the line of carts that had fought so hard to protect its own.  He slipped his foot down to the bottom of the front cart and lifted the bottom rack.

“Just lift this and it lets go, he said.

OMG.  I have been fighting with grocery carts for DECADES.  How did I not know this?  Are you kidding me? 

Craig smiled smugly and said, “I’ve been trying to spread the word.”
I looked back at the line of carts that had put up such a valiant fight.   They looked deflated.  

Not unlike a declawed cat.

I actually felt sorry for them.

For the rest of my life, grabbing a grocery cart will be like shooting a fish in a barrel.  No challenge.  

As I wheeled my cart through into the store I noticed that the front wheel was pulling the cart  slightly to the left.  Then the wheel began to squeak. 

“Stupid cart,” I said.

 It may have been my imagination, but I think I heard another tiny squeak  that sounded, remarkably, like, “Touche”.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Dead Ancestor Makeover

I was like a little kid again.  Putting on make up.  Dead ancestor makeup.  

Because I have been cast as Dead Puritan Ancestor in Addams' Family.

I studied the YouTube video, setting it on the bathroom counter so I could follow the instructions to a tee.  

It was much harder than it looked, but the results were amazing. 

I look great, don't you think?

Say what?   You seriously don’t believe it’s me?  
Shut up.

Of course it’s me. 

OK.  So it’s not me. 

You know how dead people don’t look as good as live people?  Well, when I got done with my dead ancestor makeover, I scared myself.  Kevin looked at me, growled and went under the bed. 

I asked Linda to take a picture of me.  “OMG, Mom.  Go away,” she said.

“If you wish to remain in my will, you will take my picture,” I said, handing her my phone. 

She reluctantly took a few pictures.

"How do I look?"

"Back up," she said.  I backed up several feet.  

She took some more pictures and reviewed them.  “Further, Mom,” she said. 

I stepped backed again.   She took some more pictures.

She looked at the pictures and shook her head.  “Go down the street,” she said. “I’ll take the picture from my bedroom window.”

It was like that scene in Tootsie, when the director told the cameraman to back away from the shot and he said, “How far?” and the director said, “Cleveland”.
Linda probably would like me to back up all the way to Cleveland.  (Or at least to Dayton, where I will attending my first ever Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop in a few weeks.)

I had an idea.

“How about I put on one of my super-cute polar fleece head bands. That will help, right?”

"Or a bag over your head,” she said.  She’s a comedian.

I put on the headband.  It didn’t help.

"Try your gloves,” she said, in a moment of pure genius, that she certainly inherited from me, despite the fact that she is adopted.  I’ve never been prouder. 

I put on my neon flashing gloves that I’d ordered on Groupon.

And it did help pull the attention away from my hideous make up job.


Then I had a flashback to 9-month old Kimmy who discovered the jar of Desitin next her crib after waking up from a nap.  I went in search of the picture.  It was among several bazillion photos in the hope chest.

When I found it I was overwhelmed with a mixture of pride and jealousy.


Her makeup was way better than mine.

Next time I'm going to use Desitin.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Manhattan Transfer

I thought my friend was being a bit hard on her poor nonagenarian grandfather-in-law.   Sure, the road trip to Florida may not have been idyllic, but to place blame on him for giving her a cold?

For crying out loud.  She works in a hospital.  She should know how to avoid germs! 

I actually felt bad for the guy.  “You should have used antiseptic hand wash,” I said.

“I did!”
my friend (let’s call her “Becca”) said, her response interrupted by intense coughing.  

“Darn him!” she added, once again pushing the poor guy under the bus.

“He can’t help being sick,”
I said.

Becca gave me a dirty look and blew her nose, “You don't understand," she said, "Grampa drinks Manhattans.”

"What?  Did he get drunk and kiss you” 
Becca cleared her throat, in an unsuccessful attempt to find her voice. 

“OMG Becca!!!,” I said.  “Did he slip you the tongue?”

she choked out.  “Worse.”

I tried to think of what could possibly be worse than French kissing a 95 year old man with bronchitis.  And between coughs and wheezing, Becca managed to tell me the story of Grampa.  And his Manhattans. 

Whereas some families have deep rooted traditions of stringing cranberries into garland.   Or planting Mums in the fall.  Or crocheting doilies..

This family’s traditions involved the children eating maraschino cherries left in the bottom of Grampa’s Manhattans. 

When Grampa’s children left the nest, the tradition was passed along to the next generation.  During family gatherings, grandchildren excitedly huddle around Grampa.

Waiting for him to finish his Manhattans.  

Not surprisingly, sharing maraschino cherries with his ancestors brings Grampa great joy.

I can only imagine what was going through Becca’s head that day as she watched Grampa finish up his Manhattan.   His nagging cough delaying the inevitable. 

When he finally finishes, he momentarily sets down the glass so he can blow his nose, after which he hands the glass to Becca and says, “Lucky you!  There’s two!”

And Becca, who would rather do anything than hurt someone’s feelings, including eating not one, but two germ-covered maraschino cherries, somehow managed to eat them both.

When Becca finished telling me the story she looked at me with her pathetic puffed up eyes and said, “See?  I couldn’t help it.”  

I was nearly speechless.   

“You really need to teach Grampa how to crochet.”