Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pee to Be You and Me

The holidays are over and we are trying to get back to normal. After my Daughter in Law Number #1 noted that our place looks like an episode on Hoarders, we have continued our efforts to empty the extra crap we have from trying to meld two houses into one. It is a painstaking job. Especially in getting George to throw stuff out or sell it.
"Well, what is this big black thing under the bed?" I ask.
"Oh that is my guitar."
I stare at him unblinkingly. "Guitar? You have a guitar? I have known you for 15 years and I never knew you had a guitar? Do you think maybe we could find a new home for it?"
No answer, but the guitar is tucked more firmly under the bed where I cannot see it without getting into  one of those pretzel formations with my body.
Fortunately, Jeff, my son, and I believe in improving our minds when we are together. Our catalyst this year was that his wife ordered asparagus for dinner when we went out.  Of course this started the "Why does asparagus make your pee smell funny?" We found out a lot of interesting facts that you will want to know.

1. Post-asparagus odor has been observed for centuries. French novelist Marcel Proust noted that asparagus transformed his chamber-pot into a perfume flask.

2. A British Men's Club also posted a sign that asked members to restrain themselves during the asparagus season and not relieve themselves in the hat stand. Or hats.

3. In 1891 a scientist convinced 4 men to eat 3.5 pounds of asparagus each and measured the smell, determining that there was a chemical that caused the distinct odor.

4. According to WebMD, the issue is not whether your body generates the smell but if you have the special gene that allows you to smell it.

5. Approximately 22% of people have the ability to smell their own asparagus fumes. As stated in, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in a great work of modern literature, "Love in the Time of Cholera", wrote..."Even when it was not the season for asparagus, it had to be found regardless of cost so that he could take pleasure in the vapors of his own fragrant urine."

Hmm. I wish to thank my daughter-in-law, Shannon, for inspiring me on this journey of pee discovery. I did not ask her if she was a member of the 22% club when she came back from the restroom. But I suspect she may be.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Family Togetherness at Christmas

I love being with my family at Christmas. We truly have time to talk. The last 2 days I have been having my long-missed philosophical discussions with my oldest son, Jeff, who is now 35 years old. He has definite opinions on everything, most of them contrary to mine.

A half hour discussion emerged because I had confessed to him that I have indeed lost our family rubber chicken, which we pass to each other stealthily, each trying not to be the one to end up with R.C. at the end of the visit. Jeff did not believe me that I had misplaced R.C. and thinks it is a red herring to make him feel confident that he will not need to worry about returning to Orlando with a rubber chicken hidden in his underwear.

Substitute Less Desirable Rubber Chicken

Even when I went out and bought a substitute rubber chicken, a less desirable version, at Party City, yesterday he staunchly refused to believe that the other rubber chicken will somehow find its way aboard his vehicle after Christmas.

But that is not all we talked about. When I mentioned that the rubber chicken's feet looked backward, he told me that is what chicken feet look like. We surfed the net for a good 30 minutes looking at real chicken feet and rubber chicken feet. What do you think?

Missing Rubber Chicken (last photo)

Real Chicken Foot

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Last Garage Sale

Today George and I reached a milestone in our marriage. It was the day of our last garage sale...ever. As we trudged around in the afternoon sun, sweating and toiling we became aware that our wages for said garage sale netted us about 5.00 per hour. Plus I had to miss a tutoring session because of utter exhaustion, which would have netted me much more than the garage sale time I put in. 

And the really sad thing is that we appear to have more crap than when we started. We no longer have any pathway in our garage to walk through. So we are starting our process of recycling, giving away, advertising and leaving it on the curb in case someone will come by and take it from our bulk pick-up. 
But here is the good part. The best part of today was the people we met. Neighbors in our community that I now consider as friends. People from the FreeCycle Network online that were just names to me before. And some surprising behavior. 
When George and I have a garage sale, we truly want to get rid of the stuff. We don't want to haggle, we want it out of there, causing us to put some pretty low prices on stuff, even a free section for our fellow FreeCyclers. That was difficult for people. I would say about 5-7 people refused our low prices and insisted on giving us more. We were giving away a little old table that was scarred and of no use to us. Shopper: How much is this table? George: It is one of our free items. Feel free to take it. Shopper: No, really. How much? George: Please take it. You are doing us a favor. Shopper: I am not doing that. Here's 5.00 for the table. And this happened several more times. It was way cool that people wanted to be fair.
But we still don't want any more garage sales!

Monday, November 5, 2012


     Now that we have my mother-in-law (MIL) safe and sound we find that we are having to resort to deception more than is comfortable. It is almost as though the crafty lady is finding ways to test our loyalty. Examples of our conversations will show you what I am talking about.
     MIL: "You know those white slippers I have with the leather soles? Bring them next time."
     I assume a look of desperation that I share with George. We just threw these slippers out. They were in disgusting shape and we wanted to get rid of them before they walked out on their own. My response:
     Me: "Oh, I am so sorry. I had to throw them out. The cat peed on them and they were no good. Your cat."

     Then there was... "I will be coming home for Christmas. I have been working hard to eat well and gain weight. I will be fine to come home. I can stay at the house and we will have Christmas dinner together."
     Of course we were planning to come and pick her up for Christmas dinner but we are also planning to bring her back to her new home that evening. After all, we have had to totally redo her bedroom, replacing the carpet with tile and we boxed up her things as best we could.  I am sure she thinks it still has the hospital bed and the potty in the corner.
     When we go visit we are treated to a litany of negative comments, most of which are untrue. 
     Her roommate has a man come in and sleep with her in her bed.
     One of the residents sleeps with a different man each night.
     The nurses are too busy.
     We don't visit enough. Some families come every hour.
     The nurses should do everything for free. It would be right.
     All of the patients speak Latvian (her native language.)
       Last time I was there, I told her that if we were going to come and visit, that she needed to find some positive things to say. This is what she came up with:
     Someone did her hair and nails for her (for free!) Lol.
     She is eating well. She gets to the bathroom herself without needing help.
     Everything is clean there.

     Things are looking up!

Friday, October 26, 2012

A New Me!

    For the 5-6 of you who were avidly following my blog, you may have had to hypothesize what happened to me since my last entry? As you may/may not recall, I had a nasty fall on May 15th, resulting in a very bruised face, sore body and badly broken femur. 4 months in an immobilizer and I was ready to climb the walls. At the same time, my mother-in-law (hereafter referred to as MIL) developed a painful case of shingles. 
     George, my husband, heroically tended to both of us, aided by a caregiver who came almost every day for a while. I moved into her house to make things easier for him. 
     It did not help. He developed a bad case of pneumonia which required 2 hospitalizations and surgery. Once he was hospitalized, my 90 year old MIL started acting up for attention. (Picture the mom on Everyone Loves Raymond). 

At one point I had her in one hospital and George in another. The difference was that there was nothing wrong with her. Unfortunately, I was still walking with a cane, walker, whatever. On one of my trips to visit George I fell again in the hospital driveway, because of the tropical storm we had attracted to South Florida. 
     By this time the MIL had moved in with us and was creating all kinds of difficulties for me. She could not be left alone so that limited my time away to when the care giver was there. Several times she ran out of the house, yelling for help and that she was being kept in a dungeon. She even called the police.
 We put alarms on the doors. We lasted for about 3-4 months and then selected an assisted living facility for her.

      We are now back to the normal everyday worries of paying for everything. We think she will engineer an escape eventually from the nursing home, but they will handle it. Of course, we are caring for her cat, a black cat who is not adjusting well. We have 2 cats of our own and of course, our wiener dog. Her cat has developed some hair thinning probably due to stress. He also is very offended that my cats find his litter box to be the  Toilette Extraordinaire!
  Everyone wants to use it, so he poops right in front of it on the tile floor. There is a bit of hissing and growling going on, reminiscent of MIL herself. 

      In the meantime, my third children's book, Get Ready for Jetty! came out in September. It is a journal style book about a young girl with ADD and her struggles to be accepted and feel good about herself. I think I need to write a book about my struggles over this last year. Both George and I are doing much better now. I am very careful walking and take no chances, hoping no more falls.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Life Since March

Well it has been an awfully long time since I wrote. Life has intervened in many unfortunate ways for my progress as a blogger. On May 14th, I managed to take a header at work and fall face down onto a sidewalk for no apparent reason. I landed pretty much looking like  a road kill. 

 The left half of my face was pretty bad, my glasses broke. The good news was no concussion, no broken bones or teeth. A miracle actually considering the major "Thunk" my head made as it hit the pavement. That part has cleared up pretty well for the most part. The worse part was my right leg. I managed to fracture my femur quite badly.

Take Care When Peeing
I was not quite sure that it was a problem break until all my doctors looked at the x-ray shaking their heads. Evidently it is a bad thing. So now I am in an immobilizer (the opposite of a mobilizer) and cannot put weight on my right leg for 3-4 months.
Workmen's Comp sent me back to work after 2 weeks. I still had a black eye and colorful face and was in a lot of pain. When I asked for an extension to stay home longer, the doctor told me I should "Suck it up!"
Suck it up!
So I have been sucking it up at home. It is pretty hard. To add to the general mix, my husband has two invalids he is caring for. Me, and his mother, at two different houses. He stays over there because she cannot be alone. Then he comes over here when he gets relief from our care giver. He helps me with what I need to be independent until the next time he comes over.
He is amazing. But enough is enough. I think we will probably move his mom here and sell her house. Visions of the the mother in law on "Everybody Loves Raymond" pepper my thinking.

 I don't think it will be an easy transition but at least all of the wounded will be under one roof. Just as long as George stays healthy....

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Post Wedding Events

     You may not know this but some post wedding events are almost as good as the pre-wedding events. OK, not too many but there are some worth noting. The night after the wedding, George and I were invited to dinner with the bride's entire family who was still in St. Augustine. We met at a lovely restaurant on the top floor. Definitely classy. I sat near my two boys (men) and looked at them with their lovely wives. It was quite a moment as I contemplated how they had matured into wonderful men right before my eyes. 

Of course, there is one person that has not matured as fast as they have, and that, naturally, would be me. I had pre-arranged with the server to bring Jeff a special dish of his very own. Our Kraus traditional dish of rubber chicken. Here is Jeff contemplating that Mom has once again passed off the rubber chicken to him without him suspecting it in advance. Notice Ashlee wants to get away from the rubber chicken in the picture. But wait...this is a different rubber chicken.

R.C. hanging on a straw
 It is smaller, it squeaks and it lays an egg out of its bottom. This causes great merriment for about 15 minutes at the table as the rubber chicken is posed in many pretty disgusting ways and the papparazzi snap every picture for posterity (no pun intended).

Very unattractive pose
 Guess they are not as grown up as I feared. Well at the end of the dinner and the rubber chicken was hoping his time was up, Jeff kept trying to sneak him in my purse without me knowing. (He gets extra points if I go home with the chicken).  Time to involve the Srednick's in the rubber chicken tradition. 
Here are the Chicken Relocators now. Rich and Deb.
Debbie was thrilled to be the Carrier of the Chicken and a clandestine e-mail that night certified that the "Chicken has been placed under Jeff's pillow, where he will locate it's rather slimy essence when he puts his hand under his pillow. Wow! Great partners in crime!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Wedding


The Happy Couple!

     Well, the wedding is over. The memories will last a lifetime. The groom was handsome, the bride was beautiful and all was right with the world. But if you think it was all about them, well, think again.

    As the mother of the groom, I played a most important role in the festivities. I think that I surprised both my “boys” with the cleaned up version of Mom, complete with professionally applied make-up and a coordinated outfit. And panty hose.

       Here is how I looked in case you are wondering. I'm the one on the right. The other one is my handsome hubby, George, who also cleans up pretty nice.

   Jeff and Cory were wondering. “When did Mom get cleavage?” This is what I get for shopping for a push-up bra and putting on that excess weight so that it would migrate to my boobs. No respect.

Pantyhose From Hell
    And let me tell you about the panty hose. I have not worn them for probably about 10 years at least. I bought control top ones for…well, you know why. They looked like the width of a yardstick when I took them out of the package. George and I had to team up to hitch them up to my waist, they were so tight. He reminded me to take care to pull them all the way up after going to the bathroom. I didn’t.

   So during the mother and son dance to Rascal Flatt’s song, My Wish, my panty hose started to roll down off my rear. As Jeff is telling me how nice I look, I am afraid that the darn things will roll all the way down and fall in  a pool around my ankles by the end of the song. But we made it. They rolled themselves down to the tops of my legs and clung precariously there till I could get to the bathroom.
  But pantyhose and cleavage issues paled in comparison to the looks on the newlywed faces. Priceless.

Oh Rhett, you take mah breath away!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Random Thoughts

    In 5 days I will be a mother-in-law again. Happy times for our family again. 

 Of course, true to form, I am struggling with laryngitis and what appears to be bad allergies or a cold. In addition, my cracked tooth and possibly broken baby toe are giving me some pain but what would be a wedding without some pain? 

After all, Cory's wedding was right after my kidney stone attack and a fall I had the morning of the wedding, causing me to limp in pain most of the night. The groom's father, too, was ill, as a matter of fact, in the hospital where he missed the wedding. So this is nothing new but really. 

No drama please
Can't we just have a wedding without all the drama?

 Is this because my kids decided to wait and get married in their 30s and their parents just got worn away in the meantime? It's a lesson to young people everywhere. 

In the meantime, luck has been shining in other arenas of my life. 1. My new book, written for ADHD girls, is coming along beautifully. It is so cute, the sample pages I have seen, and I cannot wait for it to come out. 

2. More good luck. I called the IRS office today and was only on hold for 13 minutes. I think that is some kind of a record. 

3. The horrible tornadoes that have devastated the United States came very close to my loved ones, Cory and Ashlee, but left them okay and unscathed in Louisville. So I think I have had more than my share of luck as of late. Except for my toe, my tooth, and my cold thingy. The bigger picture looks wonderful!   

Friday, February 17, 2012

Out On The Town (Take 1, 2, and 3...)

     Well with three weeks left to go before the wedding, George and I made plans to have dinner with my almost-daughter-in-law's parents. We had a great time, but part of my evening was devoted to creating a photographic memory of our time together. 

     My idea was to put a picture on Facebook with a message to our kids from us old fogies. It turned out to be more of a project than I expected, but twice as fun.

     After dinner we thought we might take a picture with a backdrop of a fountain behind us. Here is the fountain. Pretty huh? Well, we decided to do a test shot with my model, George.

Take 1
 George did not look so good. As he had
already predicted, we could not stand in front
of the fountain with my point and shoot camera. So we moved.

Take 2
We turned George around to face the other way. Still a bit dark. But at least he was smiling.

 Take 3
George lost his smile right about here. We had
moved down the street a bit to the front of the restaurant.

Take 4 Who is that bearded man?

A little farther on.   
Take 5  This will never do.

Take 6

Rich and Deb have lost interest in the project. They are wondering what
kind of family they are getting into. George, well, you can see how George feels. 
We are actually inside a mattress store, where we have asked permission to take a picture. We all promise faithfully to buy a mattress there some day in the future.

Take 7 Score!

Not only have we taken over a mattress shop, we have asked the sales man to take our picture. It's a wrap!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Wedding

     In 5 weeks from today I will be a mother-in-law for the second time. We are inheriting not only a wonderful daughter, but also her extended family, which we love so much already. Wow! Add to that the fact that my sister, Diana, has recovered successfully from the cancer in her leg and will be at the wedding and is pretty good. I even have my MOG dress (mother of the groom). As you may recall I made the fatal error of ordering one online. It was lovely. I looked like a stuffed sausage in it. But that is all over. I have a new dress and I am ready. Well almost.
      Since I rarely learn from my mistakes I ordered shoes online and returned them, then we headed out to DSW and got some comfortable shoes that will allow for standing, walking, and dancing. 
I'm a Brand New Chick!
     Speaking of dancing, my son and I have planned our mother/son dance, which just blows me away, the thought of it. He asked me for my input. I had two ideas, neither of which were chosen.  One was "I'm a Brand New Chick!" and the other was "Detachable Penis!" 
Not even Rosie the Riveter could get that bra on.
     We settled for a more motherly love song, which I will not reveal at this time. But today was the piece de resistance! I had to go shopping for a strapless bra. Big deal you say. Yeah! I have never got one before and I hope to never have to get one again. It was torture. 
     Since my midsection has expanded much larger in later years, I was about 4 inches off in my estimate of what size I would need. It took a while to get to where I could pull the darn thing up without choking. Strapless bras, it turns out, have that rubbery stuff on them to stick to your torso better and it makes them really hard to put on. I was wishing my first daughter in law, Ashlee was there to help. 
Results of Bra Shopping
I knew my waist was too big!
In the olden days, making your waist smaller.
     I also picked up a thing that makes your waist smaller and makes you look like Scarlett O'Hara. Did not try it on, I was too exhausted from the bras. I met my husband at the entrance of the store, sweaty, glassy-eyed with wild hair, and he thought I had gotten into some kind of a bra brawl. I expect to have to start dressing the day before in order to get it on. Stay tuned for more wedding stories.