Well, it’s been quite interesting around these parts over the past few months. The original story is one that no one wants to hear while scrolling through their reader. And lord knows I don’t want to relive it.
The short version is my mother was in the hospital for 10 days with a flare of ulcerative colitis, Covid went through the roof in Pennsylvania, we refused rehab and converted my family room into a replica of mom’s apartment in 2 days so she could move in with us. Honestly, it’s still a blur.
That was back on November 18th, which seems like both 5 years and 5 minutes ago. For the record, let me be clear that I am not a nurse, nor do I exhibit the skills to provide medical services due to my large hands and not knowing my own strength. Trust me.
Mom was over the moon about moving into our abode for many reasons, but mainly to be around family, her family, which was the most essential part of her long life. As a Great Depression orphan, her family was important.
Let’s say mom crossed the threshold into her new digs with a bang or a Code Brown. Use your imaginations, folks. This led to a complete strip down, shower, and both of us feeling like maybe this was one of those ideas that looked great on paper, but the reality sucked—sort of like that 30 foot Homer Simpson Christmas decoration.
Once she was settled and my assistant, Nurse Peanut, greeted her with open paws, we had time to discuss, laugh, and cry about that grand entrance. We were both imagining more of a Scarlet O’Hara strolling down the staircase kind of moment. If nothing else, it was memorable.
Ok, that was Wednesday evening; by the time a REAL nurse arrived on Sunday, I looked like the 94-year-old patient! The bags under my eyes highlighted the dark circles nicely.
Meanwhile, my mom looked like a movie star! She was showered and dressed with her hair, nails, brows looking fab, and any unruly chin hairs removed. Just my two cents, if you’re in the position of caring for an elderly parent, the better they look, the less help you’ll get. Disheveled is the way to go.
If I heard it once, I heard it a million times, “your mom looks great; she’s not sick enough for more help.” Were you ever so tired that you wanted to knock someone out, tie them to a chair, and force them to step into your shoes for a night? Asking for a friend.
We entered week two, a/k/a hell on earth, with a whole new bag of crazy. I gained another patient in the house. Officially declaring myself an RN working 24/7 shifts with no pay.
While mom was downstairs having everything that went in her mouth come out the other end and insisting on eating because she was hungry, my husband was locked in our bedroom coughing up a lung with, you guessed it, COVID! Oh, you can say it, I’ll even join you. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Just when you think things could not possibly get worse, at mom’s request, I made a homemade apple cake because she was craving something sweet. The aroma of this cake makes the house smell delicious, and lord knows with all of the other odors going on, it would be more than welcome. Just one of the many, OH SHIT, no pun intended, moments that followed.
I’m not gonna lie; losing my sense of smell was welcomed for what transpired over the following few days. Can you say a blessing in disguise?
The husband started feeling better, my symptoms stopped at no taste or smell, but mom’s condition was getting worse. FINALLY, she was “sick enough” to get hospice services. They arrived on Tuesday dressed like they were stepping onto the moon due to the COVID colony known as my home.
Wednesday was the last day that I was able to talk to mom. Her last sentiment was, “be kind to everyone, no matter what, this world needs kindness.” Truth!
Mom passed on Friday, December 4, 2020, with me and my husband by her side. Hopefully, at some point, after COVID, we will be able to celebrate the Queen of our family and her life well lived.
I’ve always been an avid walker, trust me, I have the hooves to prove it! I proudly inherited this from my mother; she set this example early on, pushing my sister and me in a stroller all over town. Walking was the alternative when your husband took the car to work. Yes, there was a time when not every member of the house had a car.
So, with gyms closed during the pandemic, I was grateful to have my feet to keep me on the move. Sadly they weren’t moving quite as fast as my jaw!
Now, here I am, four months later, and much fuller than I was in March. Between the stress, anxiety, and bulk shopping, I’m just glad I’m not ready to audition for My 600 Pound Life. Look for those bright spots people.
My gym did open a week ago, but I’m not so sure I want to be in a closed box filled with sweat, or frying out on the blacktop parking lot for a workout just yet. So, what’s a girl to do? She got her creative juices flowing and found herself a used treadmill. Facebook Marketplace has some gems.
Ok, we’ve all been in the position where our intentions far outweigh our ambitions, I know I have. We buy ourselves home exercise equipment, and before long, they’re doubling as a coat hanger. Well, remember this, there is always someone ready to purchase that used like BRAND SPANKING NEW coat hanger for 149 dollars! One person’s exercise/coat hanger is another’s treasure.
At first, I thought 149 dollars, why not round it up? Weird, but ok. I dug a little deeper, zoomed in on the photos, and couldn’t get past the low price for this beauty. Hmm, does it work? What’s the catch? My inner Nancy Drew always surfaces, and she can’t help herself.
Well, after Nancy conducted a brief investigation, it turned out that the owner is downsizing from her MANSION, purchased the treadmill to keep active, and will not need it at her new home. Her headband probably cost more than what I paid for this treadmill.
SOLD! I Google the address and found out my purchase currently resides in a home that just sold for 1 MILLION DOLLARS. It was living in a room designated for treadmills for god sakes! I started to feel bad for an inanimate object.
I had to share this information with my sister. First, because she’ll see the humor of the situation, and secondly, I know she’ll have a comeback that will bring it home, so I shot her a text. “My treadmill is living on the Kardashian’s set, and is heading straight to Roseanne’s set!” Well, she didn’t disappoint with her response of “I bet your house will be a lot more fun!” Truth!
That statement got my wheels turning. Suddenly I’m thinking about PURPOSE. How the hell did I go from a dust collecting treadmill to living my purpose? All I know is I was walking my dogs, and it popped in my head. The universe has its way of making shit happen.
Ok here goes. My initial judgment about the treadmill was that it was somehow living better because it had a room in a million-dollar home, but it collected dust in reality. Talk about an Aha moment.
Is that what I’m doing? Am I collecting dust with my time here on earth? In the end the choice is ultimatley mine. So, what’s it gonna be? Am I going to be the french fry or the badass mf’ing seagull? Deep stuff.
No matter what you choose, always make sure you … Enjoy the Ride!
Through all of the recent darkness, I’ve been trying my best to look for the silver linings and believe it or not, they’re around. Currently, the most prominent one seems to be around my hairline.
Here are just a few things keeping my sanity intact these days.
Neighborhoods all around are finding ways to lift spirits, a clear sign that humanity is alive and well on the ground. It would be nice if she took a trip to DC, but that’s for another day.
My sister lives in a small town in NJ, and she is surrounded by creative minds. While on her daily “I need to get some damn air” walk, she came across a bundle of love all along the way. Is this what it’s like to live next door to Mr. Rogers? I think it’s close.
My neighborhood has been participating in a social media challenge to find rainbows displayed in windows or on doors. It’s a local scavenger hunt of sorts. I’m not sure if there is an age limit to participate, but I’m killing it over here with 32 rainbows! The other competitors aren’t old enough to cross the street, but that’s not my problem.
Since my family is sheltering in different places, PA, NJ & CA, my daughter started a Family Quarantine Facebook page to keep us connected. So far, this has been a great way to share encouraging quotes, photos of my great-niece Hope (yes, that is her name), and of course, memes. Laughter and baby photos make everything tolerable.
The silver lining for Peanut and Landon has been having their human roommates home 24/7. Peanut follows me EVERYWHERE. He is under my feet, on my lap, or up my ass ALL DAY LONG. At this point, he’ll need therapy when I go back to work. Landon refuses to follow the social distancing requirements, Peanut just wants him to stop being “that guy.”
Throughout this experience, I’ve been noticing two things every day. The number 444 and a cardinal. Coincidence? I think not. So, what’s a girl to do when she’s hit in the face with signs from the universe? Um, Google it.
Well, just as I suspected and Google confirmed, these two things are messages. I was already aware of the many meanings behind a cardinal sighting, so I welcomed my visitor with a cheery, “Good morning, Jer!” I’m assuming it’s my brother-in-law Jerry who passed away in October. If not, his name is now Jerry.
As for the 444, this is what I found.
If you see the number 444 repeatedly, it is often your angel giving you a sign that they are with you. The sign is reminding you to feel confident and supported in this knowledge.
While we’re all on pause, take time to notice the good, feed your soul, and as always … Enjoy the ride!
Today I’m sitting in my sunless sunroom on day number who the hell knows of Stay In Your Damn House life here in Philadelphia.What’s a girl to do?
I’ve been pondering about ALL of this extra time I have on my hands, the time I must say I have longed for over the years. On more than one occasion, I’ve said, “If I were locked in this house, I would scrub it from top to bottom.” Oh, the lies I tell.
The problem seems to be the lack of clarity in my intention. I should have said, “If I were locked in this house, BY MY OWN FREE WILL, WITHOUT WORRYING ABOUT THE HEALTH AND WELLBEING OF MY LOVED ONES AND THE WORLD, THE FEAR OF FINANCIAL DEMISE AND LACK OF TOILET PAPER, I would scrub this house from top to bottom. It’s all about the presentation, folks.
So, what has been going on over here at my abode you ask, not scrubbing, that’s for sure. There has been some puzzle building, which started with enthusiastic joy and ended with the equivalent to a quarantined cage fight. I’m still not sure when it turned into a competition.
I started puzzle #3 on my own. It contains 1,000 mind-boggling pieces that, in the end, will resemble all sorts of dog breeds, including a bio. Dachsund: Loves to Play and Act Comically, Also Makes an Alert Watchdog. I think this guy is ready for Match.com.
Last night I spent a good hour looking for the legs of an Irish Setter. This is now my new gauge on time. Do you have time? Yes, but not enough to waste looking for Irish Setter legs.
Let’s see, there have been limited, but necessary trips to the supermarket. I knew when the parking lot looked like a trauma center with used gloves and masks on the ground; I was about to appreciate this social distancing thing even more. I’m starting to believe the first symptom of this virus is the loss of all common sense.
Oh, how could I forget my introduction to the use of Zoom? For those of you who aren’t familiar, it’s a way to communicate through video chat. It’s been a real silver lining through all of this distancing. It’s also been a REALLY BIG eyeopener to my gray roots and Groucho Marx eyebrows!
Honestly, my favorite part of using Zoom is watching my placement in the conversation. During my last conference, I held the spot of Mrs. Brady for a good 15 minutes! This is where I’m at people, this is where I’m at.
Do not mistake my sarcastic storytelling for lack of empathy during these uncertain times. Sarcasm is my protective shield, and lord knows it has seen better days.
Enjoy the Ride! 6 feet apart until further notice. PLEASE!
How many times have you thought “Ok, I can leave this earth now I’ve heard or seen everything”? Yeah, that party isn’t ending any time soon.
Babies are born every damn day packing a whole new series of shock and awe for the world. This is why they smile in their sleep. It’s called plotting.
The other day a woman was leaving our office, as she has been doing for YEARS. Irene is kind, a little hippyish, and ALWAYS comes bearing a freshly baked challah loaf for the doctor. Some people might think that’s shocking, no, it’s not.
Out of nowhere, or the clear blue sky, she stated, “6 rats were castrated at the zoo today.” There was no warning. No one was discussing rats or their genitals before this statement, she was simply dropping a fact, and it was clear she was outraged. Before this moment I never thought about rodent genitals… EVAH!
I watched her mouth move, but I was fixated on the word “castration” as if these rodents were sexual deviants convicted by the other animals at the zoo. Maybe my kids are right, I do watch too much Law and Order SVU.
In a perfect world, I would have the power to shut that office down for a one on one interview about rodent castrations. Sadly, I’m not in charge.
So, I did the next best thing and Googled rat castration at the Philadelphia zoo. Nada. Then I broadened my search to a general rat castration window, which I admit was not one of my better life choices. I still have no idea why Irene was outraged, but now I know of several vets in my area who provide rat castration services. Knowledge is power.
The more I thought about this, which has been way too much over that past few days, the clearer the picture became. Irene is on to something with her matter of fact approach to getting the word out about injustices that leave no room for public backlash. #ratballsmatter
Now, let’s just say we took it up a notch. Next time you’re at an appointment, in the grocery line or anywhere human ears are present, drop a fact and go. Sort of like a smash & grab, but you’re leaving something behind for the greater good.
Now, since topics are endless, and facts come in all shapes and sizes, my advice would be if you’re the “go big or go home” type, please be an experienced runner or have a getaway car waiting. Remember, this is a drop and go mission, not a force your beliefs on anyone who can hear one. We already have plenty of that going down.
If you’re interested here are a few examples to get you started. Less is more.
- China has not wasted a single penny on war.
- Bats always turn left when leaving a cave.
- Peace takes courage.
- Sea levels are rising.
- Laughing reduces stress.
- One in 5 adults cannot afford their medication.
- Slugs have 4 noses.
If nothing else, it will provoke research on a subject, plant a seed, open a mind or make you look batshit crazy. There’s always that risk when you lay down the truth.
I’m going to drop that slug fact on my next visit to Whole Foods. #Enjoytheride!
When did filling in for the Tooth Fairy become part of my job description? Last time I checked my title was Surgical Coordinator/Everything else the office needs. I hung up my tutu years ago when my son lost his final fang.
Well, that changed about 3 weeks ago when someone left a couple of teeth in our waiting room. I’ll take a break while you read that over.
Now, perhaps this would be acceptable in let’s say A DENTISTS OFFICE, but I work for a Podiatrist/Foot & Ankle Surgeon, so an occasional cane, umbrella or jacket are the only things that should land in the lost and found. The jury is still out on how you can leave without your cane, he’s a doctor, not Jesus.
So, I bet you’re wondering what one does in this situation. After the laughter of course.
First, you start reminiscing with your co-worker about the other insanity that as left you speechless at work. Like that time a HUMAN turd was chilling in the hallway, and your office “manger” (trust me, those quotes are necessary) instructed you to call hospital security. Umm, maybe maintenance would be better to handle this matter. That’s only one example for the quotes.
Just the thought of calling Security makes me laugh!
Ok, back to these missing fangs. If you, or anyone you know, have any form of artificial teeth, you know that they have either paid for their dentist’s summer home while putting his or her children through college, so it was imperative that we channel our inner Tooth Fairy to locate the owner. I was already thinking about how much I could get on eBay.
We had to break it down to who was sitting in that area of the waiting room. Next, it was concluded that I would not be the best candidate to make the inquiries since I have no control over my inner 12-year-old boy who finds this entire situation hilarious. Sad, but true. Then the executive decision was made that our office “manager” call all of our morning patients to see if anyone might be missing a thing or two.
Let me just say that listening to someone struggle through these awkward calls provided me with a great deal of entertainment. When I heard a woman had to check her purse, only to come back and say “no, I still have mine,” I knew the decision for me not to be involved was indeed the best decision. It really is the little things.
This story ends with no one claiming the missing fangs that sit on a shelf in our office as a trophy, and me continuing moving forward with the idea of putting them on eBay,
Enjoy the Ride!
As if working with the public isn’t challenging enough on a daily basis, mix in the hostile climate of the world, a stretch of gloomy weather and an overbooked schedule. Such a joy.
I’m not sure what goes through the minds of some people before calling for a doctor’s appointment, but it’s evident to me after 20 plus years in this field, that plotting is involved. It should be a crime.
What happened to just picking up the phone and making the damn appointment? 1, 2 3
I’m not sure if our office number is written on a bathroom wall promising a good time, but that would at least explain why it rings off the hook.
On one particular day every time I answered whoever it was calling hung-up.
Ok, at first this was a welcomed break from listening to whining voices, but that quickly changed.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I heard a voice on the other end that left me speechless. Not an easy thing to do.
Me: Good afternoon, Dr. Blank’s office how can I help you?
The Voice: I’ve been calling and hanging up to get your attention. I need an appointment because my doctor, who I love dearly, is retiring. How long has this doctor been in practice? Does he know what he’s doing? My doctor was the chief of her department. I can’t believe she’ leaving me. He never came up for air, and I was paralyzed by the first sentence.
Me: Gave him a salute with my middle finger and stopped listening. Thank goodness facetime is not available on landlines.
The Voice: I’m having pain on the ball of my foot. I’m walking on rocks. It’s been going on for a year or so now, and I can’t take it anymore. Do you have anything tomorrow around 11:15? No, no you did not.
Me: No. Friday is the doctor’s surgery day. Our first available appointment is the week of July 23rd. Would you like to make an appointment? Please hang up; please hang up.
The Voice: JULY 23rd???!!!! I’m a cripple now. I need an appointment now. I can’t wait until July 23rd. No sir, you’ do not have a disability, you’re just an ass.
Me: Well, sir, you’ve had this problem for over a year, but if it’s suddenly urgent, there may be other physicians in the area with more availability. Pleading in my head for him to take the bait.
The Voice: I want to see this doctor. Why do I have to wait? Had to bite my tongue on this loaded question.
Me: The doctor is going on vacation which limits our schedule, and that is the first available for a new patient. Not that you deserve an explanation.
The Voice: He’s taking a month of vacation? You, sir, are the equivalent to period cramps.
Me: No, it’s a week. Do you want July 23rd or not? Feel free to add whatever expletives you feel appropriate.
The Voice: I guess. Is there a cancellation list? Finally, I can lower my finger and smile.
Me: Oh, yes and patients do cancel so there is always a chance you’ll get a call. Bawhahahahahahahahahaha! NEVER EVER WILL YOU GET A CALL BECAUSE I HAVE THE POWER you complete and utter ASS.
The Voice: Oh great, let’s make the appointment. Hahahahahaha!
Me: Name …
Avoid the POTHOLES and Enjoy the Ride!
The other night, a weeknight I might add, your friend here made plans with her bestie to see a local comedian that makes us both laugh at the level of tears. I wish he would have brought better eyesight instead!
My bestie got the tickets without reading that the show STARTS at 10:45 p.m. I’m usually way into REM sleep at this time since I’ve been AWAKE since 4:45 a.m.
Then this Mrs. Magoo failed to notice the address of the venue. We assumed it was in Center City. NOPE! It was at an “upscale dive bar” under the El. (short for elevated train). Hookers, junkies and two middle-aged women out past their bedtimes. Suddenly I’m singing “two of these things is not like the others.”
After endless text messages back and forth trying to decide if going was worth our lives, we finalized the deal with “if we can’t get safe parking we’ll just come home.” Bam!
I head out of my house at 9:15 p.m. on a weeknight, put some 80’s Janet Jackson on the playlist, and channel my inner 23-year-old self to pick up my bestie. The difference between actually being 23 and the reality of being middle aged is I was doing wash before leaving the house.
As soon as my bestie gets in the car, she is happy to hear Janet Jackson doing her thang, and we start to reminisce about our “club days.” We concluded that our 23-year-old selves were either fearless, extraordinarily dumb or a healthy mix of both.
At 23 we were getting into cars with strangers, at 54 we were worried about safe parking.
At 23 the only thing I had to do before leaving was getting dressed, at 54 I was making lunches and folding laundry.
At 23 I was deciding on which cute panties to wear, at 54 I was deciding between the regular or super-sized Poise pad.
At 23 leaving the house at 9:15 on a weeknight was acceptable, at 54 my son was asking me if I was “going through something.”
At 23 rolling in at 4 a.m., getting a shower and heading straight to the office smelling like vodka actually happened, at 54 it took me 3 days to recover from coming in at 2 a.m., and NO ALCOHOL was involved.
Thankfully, this section of “under the el” was an up an coming millennial hub of coolness. The venue was, in fact, an “upscale dive bar” as described. Low lighting, sparse seating, but our feet didn’t stick to the floor, so all was good in the hood. The crowd was an excellent mix of ages with the same sense of humor. The comedian, Aunt Mary Pat did not disappoint as we laughed from beginning to end leaving us with sore cheeks and permanent smiles.
YOLO! Keep Laughing and Enjoy the Ride!
Wouldn’t it be great to go back to the days when we were that fresh warm and fuzzy little piece of cashmere that was cooed and coddled at just the right moments? The answer is yes, yes it would be great.
Sadly, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
Instead, we must endure life. That’s right folks, our parents and the parents before them and so forth and so on had to make the brave decision to send their cotton balls out into the world to create their own fabric of life. One thread at a time.
I remember my days as a fresh little piece of lambswool, untethered by this thing we call life. Did you know that lambswool is the highest quality of sheep’s wool to be found? Yep, it’s the perfect combination of strong, smooth, flexible fibers just like the innocence of childhood, where everything is magical. Until puberty came along like a hot iron.
Have you ever put a hot iron on a piece of lambswool? Well, the result was the teenage years, and it came in the form of acne, temptation, “love” and an attitude that included, but was not limited to, thinking I was smarter than, well, everyone older than me.
This is when my life turned into that love it or hate fabric polyester. Not the evolved polyester of today, I’m talking about the one that fell from grace once it went double-knit. Better known as the lesson learning fabric.
I spent over a decade living in this durable, lightweight, retaining my shape, easy to wash, flexible, but uncomfortable, unbreathable, cheap, ugly and highly flammable fabric. The keyword here is durable.
However, towards the end of my polyester days, I did recognize that when I blended with other fabrics such as rayon, I began to shine. The rayon in my life were work mentors and friends.
Then ladies and gentleman, just as I reached my peak shimmer, marriage and motherhood wove its way right into this semi-retired jumpsuit to create the perfect blend of comfort and durability. Once again, let’s focus on the durability portion.
No one fully prepared me for all that this blend was bringing to the loom of life. All I can say is hallelujah Levi Straus for adding denim into the world of textiles. And a double hallelujah to the genius who decided to include lycra for flexibility. Can I get an AMEN?
This blend of sturdy cotton warp-faced textile, with a dash of spandex, is precisely what is needed to keep a marriage alive, raise children, work full-time outside of the home while still maintaining a CEO status in the home. Welcome to the 21st century.
Now that my children are young adults, still living at home, and my marriage has reached a chapter that is one part wooing and another part tired as hell, I feel like I’m sporting the tattered, torn, stained yet sturdy burlap sack fabric look. Only Marilyn can pull of this look … seriously.
Thankfully I feel like I still have some thread left on my spool ready for new experiences that can be woven right into my unique design.
Enjoy the Ride!
Verb: demand something forcefully, not accepting refusal.
This right here is the story of my life Monday through Thursday as I’m slaving away at my job in the healthcare industry.
I’m not sure what occurs before a potential patient contacts our office for an appointment, but it’s not a moment of zen.
I imagine more of a good look in the mirror for a one on one pep talk. “You got this!” “Pick up that phone and DEMAND to be seen TODAY because everything is ALL about YOU!”
The other explanation would be that they just live their every day lives like the entitled e’ffers they are, and this is their norm. This right here is the winner.
Me: Good morning Doctor’s office.
PITA: I need to be seen today around 1. Have you been eating your make-up again?
Me: Are you already a patient?
PITA: No! Bitch in the house.
Me: Did you have a trauma?
PITA: No! Ok, I see where this is heading.
Me: Are you a diabetic with a wound?
PITA: No! God help us all.
Me: Why do you need to be seen today?
PITA: I have a painful corn on my toe, and I’m leaving for Florida tomorrow. Tragic, absolutely tragic.
Me: Well, that’s not something we would consider an emergency.
PITA: But I’m in pain, and I have things to do before I leave. Sounds like a first world problem to me.
Me: You would be a new patient, which takes extra time and you do not have an emergency.
PITA: You mean to tell me you don’t save time for emergencies? Can you please Google emergency?
Me: Yes, we do, but your situation is not an emergency.
PITA: Being in pain isn’t an emergency? You are being inconvenienced, there’s a difference.
Me: Not the type of pain you’re experiencing.
PITA: Well, what am I going to do? I hoping for death.
Me: Call around to see if you can get in with another physician.
PITA: I don’t have time for that today. I told you I needed to come today at 1:00. Because you are who again?
Me: I’m sorry, but I already told you that would not be possible.
PITA: Huffing and puffing. The agony of defeat is music to my ears.
PITA: I guess I’ll have to try someone else since you don’t want to help me. Bye Bitch!
Me: Silence. CLICK! BAM! BOOM!
Enjoy the ride!