Friday, July 31, 2009

"Uh oh, it's Mom again"

I'm a call screener. Sorry for any of you who call me, but it's true. Don't be sad, 99% of the time I pick up because who am I kidding , I'm desperate for real time conversation. No, I don't text....I TALK! Fyi text messages get left unread. My nerves are ususally too jangled to push the tiny letters to text back. I tried it on my son's Iphone and started crying when he stopped me from throwing it out the car window. "Mom, you'll get it, just be patient", he said as he grabbed my arm. PATIENT! PATIENT!? My fingers missed every letter I aimed texting career came to an end.

I try as hard as I psychologically can to pick up the phone when my Mom calls. She calls a lot. She's 91 so there's always the guilty tug of war with myself when I see her on caller ID. Not again!? I'm tempted to screen but... what if she fell down, fell over, was gasping for breath, drove into a building (true)....but she just called 15 minutes ago about needing a manicure.... so it's nothing.....but what if it's something.....nah, it's nothing..... but what if? My head is spinning ....I'm a Jew, I pick up.

"Gail, Gail"! Crap, she was really gasping for breath this time. I go into emergency voice mode, "Mom, what? WHAT"?! "There's bad news". Oy. "What do you mean"? "I'm at the beauty shop". She's having a heart attack at the beauty shop? "It's Liz, she's leaving....Friday is her last day". "Huh"? "If you need color, make an appointment immediately"! "Huh"? "Are your roots grey because she's moving to Tampa". I stared at the phone in my shaking hand and vowed to screen more carefully. "Bye Mom". Nerves shattered I burst into tears. Call me if you know a good colorist, I promise to pick up.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I Also Hate Packing Boxes!

Let's face it moving sucks. First of all, it forces me to take a good hard look at all the crap I've acquired and schlepped from place to place because I refuse to admit it's crap. Why , why, why do I still have madras bermudas in my closet and a mink coat with one arm? If anyone wants either item please let me know asap. I'm a little afraid to move the coat however, for fear of it becoming a vest. I have shoes that are too small which make me wonder if they ever fit, and if they didn't why I bought them. I have a small red purse. Huh? I have two white blouses that haven't been white since 1998 and whoops, my friend Ellen's University of Wisconsin sweatshirt that I forgot to return in 1973.

I've become an expert at packing up a kitchen. Yep, I'm fast, I'm good and have a low breakage record. My biggest weakness is the tape gun . Not a pretty sight. I've yet to master weilding tape and holding the bottom of the carton closed. Ok, I scream a lot and have on occasion thrown the box down and stomped on it. Fyi, crying doesn't help either. And "just say no" to taping and drinking. Stacking up boxes filled with pots and pans I don't use and the really really expensive china that has never seen a meal makes me ponder why I even need a kitchen. I don't have the time or enough medication to explore that .

Once I start I'm a packing machine. Onward, tape gun in hand, I invade my office. Recklessly I throw away a Village Voice from 1972. I have no idea why I saved it which scares me but I toss it anyway. Pictures, books,
#2 pencils, my old Filofax all go in boxes. A lone coaster doesn't make the cut, or pictures of me with short hair. I vow to never move again. At least not until I use the china.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I've been Facebooked!

I'm sick of Facebook. There I said it. I admitted I hate the New Yorker and now I confess I'm sick of Facebook. "Enemy combatant" status I assume. Is there a site for "internet public enemies" and do they post pictures? I'd prefer if they use one from 10 or more years ago. Crap, what if they put my age? I'm so busted. Regardless, I have to say if I get another message from one of my "friends" on Facebook, I'm throwing my computer out the window. Sorry little buddies, but I just don't know what I'm supposed to do with you. To say nothing of the fact that I don't know who half of you are. And where were you when I really needed high school!

Life has sure changed since the answering machine. It brings tears to my eyes to think of how excited I used to be to hear who called. "Erase/play" were such fun buttons. Next came the 10lb cell phone, which I couldn't afford or lift to my ear. I was shocked the day a friend called and said he was "on the corner of Michigan Ave. and Erie". Whoa! We're talkin' NASA! And then one of the bigger days of my life; I got a car phone. Ok, I have a small pathetic life. I HAD A CAR PHONE, could it get any better?

No, just more complicated. Now I'm a freaking slave to a cell phone, Twitter and Facebook. Leaving the cell phone behind by mistake gives me anxiety and a rash. I've destroyed purses ripping them apart seam by seam seaching desperately for the tiny object. "I know it's in here" I scream, throwing lipstick, my wallet,7 pens, and house keys on the floor of my car. Then I burst into tears. I need meds. Twitter, makes me nervous. Who's following me, who am I following, where are we going, aren't we there yet and did anyone bring a map? I have a "wall" thanks to Facebook. I write stupid things on it. I dread looking at it empty. Did I need a wall? No... I need a couch.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Walter Cronkite vs. Michael Jackson

Does anyone know if there's a lottery for tickets to Walter Cronkite's funeral? I'd really really like to go and don't know if there's the crazed frenzy for seats like there was for Michael Jackson. Not one news channel has interrupted regularly scheduled programming regarding his life or funeral....I'd call that irony. Will there be a moment of silence in Congress? Hello Nancy Pelosi, if you gave Michael a minute,(?????) how about Walter as a token for the rest of us? Lord knows the CBS evening news hasn't been the same since he retired. Is it presumptuous to say that although he couldn't "moonwalk" or write music, he did help change the face of the Viet Nam War? Again ironically .... how many generations remember that war vs. Michael Jackson?

I had different kinds of heroes, Walter being one of them. My mother and I once stood next to him on the corner of 57th street and Park Avenue in New York City and giggled like two silly school girls. I think I left a scar where I poked her in the ribs when I spotted him. "Oh my God, oh my God, Mother, it's Walter don't talk to him"! I had to yank her back on the curb to get her under control. I was also in the elevator at Rockefeller Plaza with Chet Huntley many many many years ago... DOES ANYONE BUT ME REMEMBER HIM? I almost fainted when I saw the man. I loved him too. I don't remember a lottery system for his funeral either or 24/7 coverage.

I've had the tv on for 2 hours of morning programming and not one segment about Walter Cronkite's life or death. There was however, a rather lengthy piece on the custody of Michael Jackson's children. Who are we?

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I have a secret. It's too shameful to admit. I can hardly spit it out but maybe it will be purging. I'll try...bear with me....I dread getting "The New Yorker". Oh Lord, I've said it, be merciful. It was a huge mistake, like my second divorce attorney. When I see yet another one in my mailbox my stomach sinks, my blood pressure rises and I get a rash. "Crap, not 'The New Yorker' again, I cry out!" The mailman thinks I'm nuts. "Didn't they just send one?! Why isn't this freaking subscription up already"? I'm tempted to throw it away, but stop myself and instead make a solemn vow I'll read it. Yes, more than just the cartoons. The subscription seemed like a good idea at the time. My Mother was taking a course on the magazine and my son was an avid reader. I felt stupid when they talked about articles and I had no knowledge of the subjects. I had to have in.

The articles are too long. And can anyone really see the print? A lethal combination for someone in a hurry with the attention span of a near sighted gnat. I always take a cursory look, a "yes", "no" as to what I want to read. Admitedly, and this is a tough admission I ixnay most of the magazine. It just doesn't seem that interesting. There I confess "IT DOESN'T SEEM THAT INTERESTING". Oh God, I'm an idiot. I had so much promise too. Wait a minute, hold on just one sec, for the record I did read a very long article on John Currin. I also entered the cartoon caption contest twice. I thought I'd win. I lost. Right now I have one "New Yorker" by my bed, one in my car and one on the floor of the bathroom. They're like roaches.

I've done this before. I subscribed to "The New York Review of Books" years ago. Each week I excitedly looked through the newest arrival and then put it in a drawer next to my bed for leisure reading. Fifty two weeks later I had a fire hazard. It was a day of intellectual reckoning when I threw them all away. I did it without therapy. I'm looking forward to the week my subscription to "The New Yorker" ends. I may have a little party. Cash bar, no food...maybe I do have promise.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Peeing in a cup; a tragic female dilemma

It's really hard to pee in a cup. If there's a trick to it, I'm clueless. This creates enormous anxiety when I go to the doctor and the first place they point me is the bathroom. Oh God, not the cup! Anything but the cup! And why, why, why are they so small? Come on now Doc, it's not a precise activity for us females, how about a bowl? Men have it much easier, even with shaky hands I can't imagine it has a high degree of difficulty. All they have to do is stay awake and keep their eyes open.

I found myself taking the dreaded walk to the bathroom at my Internist's office yesterday. You'd think after years of experience at the Ob-Gyn, I'd have some level of skill and accuracy. Nope. So there I was reading the directions on the wall. This was the first time I've ever seen such specific instructions. My Gynecologist's nurse says "there's the cup, pee, and leave it on the shelf". Now I was staring at a step by step list of what to do. I'm not good at following rules and felt panicked. There was a lovely basket of tiny cups with little blue lids; a nice Martha Stewart touch. "Martha I need help babe! Is your aim better than mine?" And is there a class I can take? There was also a bowl of packaged towelettes for pre-peeing purposes. I couldn't get one of the tightly sealed packets opened. I grew anxious and looked around for the Xanax basket. When I finally tore it open with my teeth, the towel dropped on the floor. My first instinct was to just pick it up and continue....I opened another one. In my rush to get done, I dropped the cup I was holding. My first instinct was to just pick it up...

Profusely sweating and slightly dizzy, but with new cup in hand, I was ready. I always think I'm in the correct general area but it's really hit or miss. "Miss" really sucks. And yes, I've missed. Obviously I know instantly. It is a sad, pitiful and embarrassing moment. Thank God I'm alone. I pray I'm not the only one who has this problem. Yesterday I was lucky, first time on target. I did have to write my name on the label twice as my nerves were still jangled and I couldn't remember how to spell "Gail". Finally and triumphantly I placed the cup on the shelf. I was proud. Now I can relax until Sept. when I'm due for my Ob-Gyn check-up. And "no" I don't practice between appointments.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dad, poor dad, I've caught him watching porn and I'm feeling so sad.

Do you watch porn? I don't. Does your dad? Mine does. And, is there psychological well being after catching your dad in the act? I read it's the largest industry on the internet, which surprised me for some reason. Was I thinking it was really Oprah? Sorry babe, the people like porn better. It appears millions of men/women are turning in at all hours of the day and night. Is there an appropriate snack food? I dated a man who sat bleary eyed in fron of his computer screen checking out the free sites. He was too cheap to pay, so who needed him anyway, right? Would you call this a hobby? Would you list it on a resume under "outside activities"? My dad's retired, so he doesn't have the resume dilemma. Whew!

I never knock when I visit my parents, everyone in the family has a key, so per usual I walked in unannounced, dog in tow, at approx 3:00 p.m.
There's dad in his giant lounge chair watching tv, and straight ahead on the screen was a porno movie. My dad is 89. What happened to Little Joe
on "Bonanza"? Where's "The Sound of Music"? There's not a Von Trapp Family Singer in sight, just a blow job. Holy crap. I was torn between bursting into laughter and running out of the room screaming as I throw back Valium and rip out my pocket Freud. Well he saw me and jumped up as fast as he could (not fast enough), and fumbled with the clicker to get it off the screen. This took a lifetime. I looked down, and mumbled something about taking the dog out on the deck for air. It was me who needed the oxygen.

What does a daughter do next? Stay? Go? Ask him who his favorite porn star is? Call a care giver for myself? "Oh my God, oh my God" was all I could choke out as I paced the deck. Why me? Why not my sister? Why did she get special dispensation? I'm older I have less time to live joyfully! I had to call her and ruin her life too. Denial was my only move, and coincidentally it was my dad's. He appeared on the deck with the same resolve...what movie? We made our usual "weather" small talk and then I fled.

I couldn't dial my sister fast enough. "Answer already"!!! I'm screaming and pounding the phone on the dashboard like that will make her pick up. I got her machine. Damn. I couldn't be alone with this information, I had to tell someone, or everyone. I thought seriously about confiding in the guy behind the counter at the 7-11 when I stopped for a soda. Could he double as a counselor or exorcist? And why the hell wasn't my sister returning my call?? I ixnayed the clerk and called my friend Dan. I made his day. He laughed non-stop for ten minutes. I finally joined in and tears were streaming down my face I was laughing or crying so hard. Then he abruptly stopped and proclaimed, "I'll pay for the first three hours of analysis."

In the aftermath of my trauma I discovered that my tale of Freudian horror made a great story. Everyone loved it. Dad was cheered on by my friends. I'm shocked and they're awed. Hey, what if it was your dad? Mine was a geriatric hero; near icon status in his demographic. I just can't get the "go dad" out yet.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Jackson vs. Farrah Faucet

No, I am not in Los Angeles trying desperately to win the Michael Jackson funeral seat lottery. And can someone please tell me why, why, why this event has 24 hour non stop news coverage? I want Martha Stewart and her tips for cutting doily roses back on my screen. I've never bought a lottery ticket in my life and really don't feel the urge to start now, especially when the prize isn't $300 million but a seat at a funeral. I didn't hear one peep about him in the last 15 years which didn't involve a creepy child sleep-over and now the world is in mourning.... Huh?

Admitedly he was a musical innovator. My son watched "Thriller" every single solitary day for months on end regardless of my screaming that the beginning scared the crap out of me. I grew up bopping around the living room to the Jackson Five, wishing me and my sister also had an act. As for "moonwalking" , I tried, tripped, and gave up, but was totally envious of anyone who could. Truthfully I always wore two white gloves, and never ever wanted a jacket with epaulets but I'm a conservative dresser.

Poor Farrah Faucet had to die on the same day as Michael. Now that's just bad luck. No one's even mentioned the poor dear and I think her Charlie's Angel hair was bigger than "moonwalking". Every girl in America wanted her blond "do"....and fab body. She deserves a little more posthumous attention in my book. Personally I can't wait for this media circus to be over. Is it funeral burn-out or am I just getting old?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What's so Happy about "Happy Hour"?

I confess it was heartbreaking. Call me shallow, superficial, vain, and obviously delusional, but I never thought a bartender could ruin my life. I was happily sitting at the bar of my Seattle hotel, sipping a mediocre yet expensive Sauvignon Blanc, looking out at the incredible view across the water and gleefully anticipating my longed for salmon dinner. I had a new shiney cell phone, and hallelujah the 2,200 mile schlep across country was behind me. I was in a cute little black dress, strappy high heels, had put on make-up, blown dry my hair,and shaved my legs, yes, both of them...sometimes I lose interest by the second one. I'm thinkin' I looked pretty cute.

Then it struck me. Exactly like the moment I realized no one called me "miss" day out of the freaking clear blue I was "ma'am". Wham! Pow, right in the kisser, I'm dubbed "ma'am". "You talkin' to me"? I'm not a "ma'am", I' CAN'T BE "MA'AM"! Aren't I too young? Quick a mirror, I needed a mirror, the witness protection program, a plastic surgeon! My mother is a "ma'am". That older woman over there, but not me! Crap. The loss of "miss" was a milestone. Do men suffer this way?

After ordering my second glass of wine, three twenty something blond girls walked up to the bar to pay their tab. Ok, ok, I admit, they were "hotties". I would kill for their wrinkle free complexions and perky skin tone. The bartender proceeded to tell them about "happy hour and free champagne on Saturday", practically pleading with them to come back and bring their friends. "Excuse me, I'll still be at the hotel on Saturday", I wanted to blurt out. What was I "chopped liver"? What about me? Was I invisible or remind him of mom? This couldn't be happening.... I was too old for happy hour!? Quick more wine. Suddenly I had lost my desire for salmon. Oy! Then the bartender turned to me and smiled....ah ha, he obviously forgot to tell me.... I felt relieved and much much better... all that anxiety for nothing. "Ma'am would you like to close out your tab"?