“WOO HOO!!!!”

140.06 pounds…two days in a row!!!

I wanted to tell everyone this fantastic news yesterday…but then I thought…some really deep thoughts…

“What if this is just some quirk in the universe?  A miss-alignment of the planets?  A black hole…whatever…?”

I personally blame the ‘black hole phenomenon’ for everything…good and bad…because…well…why not?”

So yesterday I decided to just stop eating…just to make sure the weight would stay off…

HAH!!  Just kidding.  I actually ate normally…and may I suggest the “thin” little chocolate cookies with the white stuff in the middle”?  Okay I will.  Just one.  Dipped into coffee…so it doesn’t break a crown?  So yummy!

However…back to the beginning…two nights ago I was SO DAMN TIRED!  

Even though I have gotten just a “slightly bit older” (I have such a way with words, don’t I?) I don’t always know when to stop doing things and just take a little nap…

So…two nights ago I got into bed and because I was so EXHAUSTED, I skipped the small bowl of potato chips I now have (instead of the wheat crackers I used to have).

Will you quit yelling at me and let me finish? 

Chips can be very good for you…mentally…and…and emotionally! I’m pretty sure about that…

And…WAIT!!!!  I almost forgot!!  This little bedtime snack actually stopped my acid reflux!!!

SO…ANYWAY…I read one page and my eyes started to close.  My head started to droop.

And before I could even put one chip into my mouth, I shut off the light and went to sleep.

Weight in the morning was 140.6!

I danced around  for about 10 seconds… make that 3… (you read the ‘slightly bit older’ part didn’t you?) and then wondered why my weight has gone down. 

Being the unrecognized genius that I am…I then remembered that…

I had skipped the chips!  

So…last night I did the same thing and this morning I ran…I am so funny…I dragged myself slowly to the kitchen, eyes still almost shut and weighed myself…

140.06 pounds!!!!!!

Don’t you just love science?

Have a nice day…

 

 

“139”…no change…

but still hopeful…

My new media entry on the opening page of my blog  is not meant to be pessimistic…

But rather…optimistic in that it shows spaces for possibilities…like if I thought really hard….I could fill them in and even add more!! 

Not that there was a choice mind you…but still…

It’s Friday, October 30, 2020 and in a few short days we will have a new president/leader in this country…OR if notI will begin having two candy bars after dinner and resume smoking…because…well…why the fuck not…life will be over…relatively speaking.

However…closing here on a positive note…I tried (BECAUSE I COULDN’T JUST LEAVE IT ALONE, COULD I???…) a trial run on our freeway system anticipating a return trip to the doctor’s office later in the week and MISSED the exit sign… “11C…11C…11C!!!!!!!”

I took 11B…

And…ended up incorrectly following the “light rail” construction site detour.  JFC…

It was bad.  I won’t lie to you…but it could have been worse.  I could have ended up in Wisconsin…

 This would have broken most people…but not me…

I obviously survived.  Somehow I knew that my life was not going to end…either literally or metaphorically…on some fucked up freeway system in the heartland of America.

See?  I filled in line one already…

Have a nice day…

 

“I can’t believe I didn’t just kill him…

OMG!!!!!”

So.  My Husband needed to see a dermatologist for some odd growth removal on his jaw…don’t worry…it was nothing.

However, a consultation was needed in addition to the procedure so we were looking at two long journeys.   The office was in an unfamiliar suburb several miles away.

Now…I personally like to take the non-freeway road option on my map app whenever I can.

Even though I know I am a very competent driver I also know that others are often times not…and they generally pass me even when I’m going 70-80 MPH…in a 65MPH zone.

Yes!!!!  I do know that I am currently speeding at this point…but only a little…and these idiots are passing me anyway!!!!

Now this particular non-freeway road option was unusually complex and winding… with a couple of signage errors (not my fault)…so that I unfortunately made a couple of wrong turns.   A couple of minutes were lost…whatever. 

Things like this do not bother me at all…  Husband, however…is another story. 

Husband apparently had something important to do when we returned home that day.

Note:  He had nothing important to do when we returned home that day. 

However…in the interest of keeping Husband happy…see how nice I am?…I mentioned to  Him that I happened to notice a sign to an entrance ramp for a major freeway that could get us home a tad sooner.

I did this before looking at my map app… THAT WAS MY SECOND MISTAKE.  (My first mistake…involved wedding vows…but I digress.)

“Oh.  YES!!!  We MUST take this route home!!” He said gleefully.   

While He is getting ‘consulted’ about his slice and dice procedure…I looked at our return trip on my map app…via freeway road option.  Oh my…

I want you to now imagine 6 strands of cooked spaghetti, cut up into two or three pieces and then whimsically thrown on a dinner plate. 

Detailed directions accompanying this “map photo” went something like this…

Go right, go left, go right, go right again, take the third left, go left, go back, go around, go left again, go to Hell.

(I should mention here that I have just a teeny, tiny vision problem…when it comes to reading signs…at a distance…going 70 MPH.

And also…sometimes I occasionally confuse…just momentarily mind you…right and left…but never red or green…okay there was that one time but that was all.)

Suffice it to say…as I was desperately trying to figure out where the hell the EAST entrance ramp was  and which lane (there were 4) I needed to be in right nowin order to access it…(going 55 MPH) LIKE EVERYONE ELSE…yeswe ARE ALL EXCEEDING THE SPEED LIMIT!!!)

Husband says to me…in a tone that suggested that he had absolutely nothing else going on in his little mind) as I am frantically trying to read and recognize signs…and pay attention to…I don’t know…EVERYTHING…and NOW going 60 MPH LIKE EVERYONE ELSE…

“Can you spray the windows?  I can’t see very good…there’s a little smudge here…right in front of me…”  He points…

“YOU CAN’T SEE VERY GOOD???…

I  AM SO CLOSE TO CAUSING A MULTI-CAR CRASH… KILLING US…OR AT THE VERY LEAST CAUSING SERIOUS BODILY HARM TO EVERYONE…SO I CAN GET YOU HOME 5 MINUTES SOONER…AND THERE’S A LITTLE SMUDGE IN FRONT OF YOU????”

There wasn’t a competent judge in this world who would have thrown me in jail had I just brained him on the spot…but then…the definition of competent these days is a little sketchy… right?

I didn’t want to take a chance.

Have a nice day…

“How crazy is this???”

‘BTW…I’ve done worse…but that’s a tale for another time…’

Last night…about midnight…I was just about to turn off the harsh and mostly unforgiving bathroom light and head off to dreamland…when…

…I sleepily glanced in the ‘HUGE‘ bathroom mirror and noticed that my hair looked really awful…kinda straight and stringy…no snap…

Now…to be fair…the morning had been ‘hectic’…and I didn’t really get a chance to…you know…”style” my ‘bob length” hair.

However…I had run a comb thru it in the morning and…during the day  I had probably ‘fluffed’ it every time I looked in any mirror (which was often)…but I had not officially put a curling iron or flat iron to an actual hair strand.

So…about 12:11 a.m….I got out my curing iron…and plugged it in.

Then I did a slow stroll out to the living room to look out the patio door window into the dark courtyard to see if there was anyone lurking out there…(there never is…but I continue to look nonetheless)…and then I returned to the bathroom…

…where I proceeded to completely curl and carelessly style my hair.

…SO… that I would look good (or hopefully less horrible) when I got up in the morning.

And…full disclosure…at 6:03 a.m. this morning…I looked pretty damn good!!

Have a nice day…

I keep hearing these little voices…*

It was 7:29 a.m. and I was just innocently sitting at my kitchen table…minding my own business…just looking out the window  and watching the rain fall.

So very, very peaceful…and sane.

But then…I heard this little voice in my head…you know the kind I mean…they usually appear in a bubble over someone’s head in a cartoon…

The voice said, “It would be really, really swell to have a sugar cookie right now.”  And the voice was exceptionally enticing.

And…because I always pay attention when I am talking to myself…I answered… “You know…it really would.”

However…I didn’t have any sugar cookies.  My cookie jar was empty.

So in order to have a cookie…I would have to bake a cookie…or bake many cookies.

And so then I said…out loud…”Well, I guess I have to bake some cookies.”

So…if you happen to overhear someone talking to themselves…and it’s pretty obvious they are not on a cell phone.

Don’t necessarily assume that they are…you know…wacko.

It’s very possible that they just need a cookie.

*And that is why I still weigh 137.0 

Have a nice day…

INTRODUCING…

“The Johnsons”

“Where the Simpsons meet the Sopranos…sort of…”

Chapter One

It was a bitter, cold December night in Minnesota…and even though I was not yet born…I remember very clearly every detail of that exciting winter evening because…

…my mother was an authentic genius with a tested IQ of 171 and could correctly remember absolutely everything that had ever happened to her and…

…because my father was a devilishly clever storyteller who could weave a tale that kept you listening…with your mouth hanging open…for hours.

Sometimes…in the middle of one of his stories that took place during my “non-remembered early life”…I would be holding my breath until my mom would gently tug one of my pigtails and say, “Lottie…don’t worry…you don’t die!”

So…as this particular story goes…it was on that cold December night when my “35 1/2 weeks” pregnant mother pulled a gun on a very nice policeman…who “as they so often do”…was just trying to help.

But…let’s begin at the beginning…shall we?

The 23-pound, golden brown Thanksgiving Day turkey had not yet even been carved…when Clive Johnson and his brainy and beautiful wife Gee (as in “Gee Whiz)…announced to all family and friends who had gathered together in Clive and Gee’s tiny  apartment…to celebrate this most beloved holiday event…that they would be moving the following week from their cozy but crowded one bedroom apartment with their adorable, chubby seven-year-old son Durwood and faithful hunting dog named Duke.

Worth noting:  My father did not hunt, had never hunted and would never hunt in the future…but had met some guy in a bar (of course he did) and the guy had been trying to sell his 6-month old purebred hunting dog…for a ridiculously cheap price.

Now my father really loved a good deal…but as he later told Gee, “His eyes just got to me, honey.”  And I’m pretty sure he meant the dog’s eyes…”

When I was able to talk…I called Duke “Thido Thia” for some strange, unknown reason.

 

 

Chapter Two

Our new home was an older two-story, with a screened-in front porch, a screened-in back porch, a couple of bedrooms upstairs…a nice back yard…a scattering of trees and a single car garage.

I drive by it occasionally…the screened-in front porch is still there…the now magnificent Bur Oak tree in the front yard is still there…and I’m sure the bullet…by now deeply embedded in its formidable trunk…is still there as well…

Because my father worked nights delivering oil for Midwestern Oil and Gas Company, he decided it would be a really great idea for Gee to have a gun…so she could protect herself when he wasn’t there.

Clive wasn’t exactly sure what Gee needed protection from…but still…a gun sounded like a great idea.  My father…as I was to later learn…quite often had a lot of really “great” ideas…and this particular idea was prompted by the unexpected opportunity to purchase above mentioned weapon…very, very cheap.

One afternoon while Clive was perched on his favorite stool at “Jimmy’s Dew Drop Inn” some rummy wino lurched in the front door waving a silver, six-shooter gun…visualize a ‘cowboy’ gun…yelling “Ten Bucks!! Ten Bucks!!”

Of course, everyone in “Jimmy’s” ducked because they thought the guy was there to rob the place…even though as they collectively reflected later…they all thought it was odd that he was demanding such a weirdly low amount.

Clive, however, did not duck but instead turned on his stool and said, “I’ll give you $5.00 for it, Scotty.  Does it have bullets?”

My father…as I was to also later learn…seemed to know an awful lot of people…

 

 

Chapter Three

The deal was done…one gun…fully loaded…brought home to Gee who…

…picked it up rather haphazardly from the kitchen table where Clive had so proudly placed it…

…and…in her defense…being completely unaware at how surprisingly heavy a loaded gun could be…

…and…while asking Clive in a somewhat dismissive voice…”How the hell does this stupid thing work?” and not actually looking at the gun as she was talking…

…accidentally pointed it at my father and pulled the trigger.

Well…you will be relieved to know that she missed.

But…it was a tense night in the Johnson household.

The gun was summarily placed on the top shelf of the kitchen cupboard next to the sink…with “vague plans” to “someday” visit a gun range for lessons from “someone” who actually knew what they were doing…and that “someone” would definitely not be “Scotty”.

A couple of weeks later…it was about 11:22 p.m. and Clive was at work.  Gee was in the kitchen having a cup of coffee, laced with the addition of milk and sugar…a Scandinavian requirement.    Then she lit a cigarette.

Hey…give her a break!!!  This was 1943 for Pete’s sake.  Pregnant women smoke and drank…and…there was a world war raging out of control!!!  These were stressful times…

Back to the story…let’s re-focus…

Gee…in kitchen…Durwood…cozily asleep in his little bed upstairs…puppy named Duke asleep right next to him.

Outside…snow, mixed with sleet, was falling heavily and gusts of wind blew snowflakes against the single pane windows.

Suddenly, there was a sound on the back-porch steps.  Then…a furtive scraping on the back-porch door.  “What the fuck?” said Gee who never swore…except when she occasionally did.

She did not move right away…instead she put one protective hand on her stomach…or…you know…me.  Then she heard glass breaking.

Well.  What exactly does one do at this point?  Do you scream?  Do you faint?  Do you call the police?  Maybe…or…

…do you slowly get up and take three steps to get a loaded gun down from the kitchen cupboard?

You get the gun, right?  Right.

More glass breaking and then as Gee is getting down the gun…she turned slightly and saw thru the back-door window someone whom she definitely knew should not be there.

Without one single hesitating thought…Gee completely turned toward the door and…because of “previous experience”…used both hands, raised the heavy gun, pointed it and…pulled the trigger…just once.  The intruder screamed angrily and swore loudly.

Gee…whose fearless grip on the gun had not loosened one bit…shot two more times thru the now completely shattered glass window…whereupon she heard another scream and within mere seconds…heard a loud thud.

She then carefully walked over scattered shards of glass, into the hall between the kitchen and the living room where there was a convenient little “telephone nook”…a recessed area only big enough for a chair and a tiny table that held the household telephone.

Gee sat down, placed the still warm gun next to the phone…all the while keeping an eye on the back door…picked up the receiver and dialed the operator and said…in a remarkably calm voice, “I need the police.”

 

 

Chapter Four

Mission accomplished…Gee returned to the kitchen where she sat back down at the kitchen table.  She momentarily put the gun down to light a cigarette.  (I know.  I know.  But let’s give her credit for not cracking open the bottle of Jim Beam that sat next to the toaster…okay?)

That done…she propped the gun on a turned over jar of grape jelly and just stared intently at the back door…wondering…were there more?

Gee…my gutsy, pregnant mother sat there…at the ready.  The gun was in one hand and a Lucky Strike cigarette in the other.

Minutes later, there were a couple of loud knocks on the front porch screen door.

Gee calmly took one steadying drag from her cigarette, put it carefully out in the ash tray, picked up the gun and walked slowly into the living room.

She paused by the stairs that led to the second floor and listened to hear if either Durwood or Duke had woken up from all the commotion…they had not.

She unlocked the solid and very heavy wooden door that led to the screened-in front porch.

After opening it only a few inches, Gee flipped the switch that would turn the porch light on and clearly illuminate anyone standing on the front porch.

HOWEVER, the light didn’t go on because Clive...that lazy son-of-a-bitch…had forgotten to replace the burned-out bulb…a simple chore that Gee had reminded him to do several God damn fucking times…so she hollered…rather absurdly when you think about it…”Who’s there?”

A silent pause for about 3 seconds…then…

“It’s the police, ma’am.  I’m Officer Daniel Nelson.  Are you Mrs. Johnson?  Did you call for assistance…ma’am?”

Now Gee was no fool.  “How do I know you are the police?” she asked skeptically.

Officer Nelson…who was a VERY, VERY new police officer hesitated for a moment…and by doing so…completely destroyed any confidence Gee may have been building with him.

“Well, ma’am…” Officer Nelson said slowly, “If you open the door, I could show you my ID…and my badge?”  And because he was only 23 years old, he unfortunately sounded like an extremely nervous 12-year old boy.

Gee hesitated and pondered her next move.  But then…as I was later told…I kicked her…rather sharply.

“Fine…fine.” She said…somewhat distractedly.  “Hold on a second.”

She tugged open the heavy mahogany door that led to the actual porch with her left hand…

…and because it was so heavy and because she was so pregnant…she used her right hand to help open it…

…and simply forgot (who could blame her…really) that she had a loaded gun in her right hand…and quite accidentally fired off a shot (obviously unintentionally) in the direction of Officer Nelson who was standing a mere eight feet away…separated only by a flimsy screen door.

“Son of a bitch!…ma’am…”  shouted the always polite Officer Nelson..in a weirdly high voice…as he was sure a bullet had just sailed right by his ear.

He was absolutely correct.  The bullet…it was later mentioned in the official police report…had lodged in one of the Bur Oak trees that the previous owner of the house had planted just last June…and which crime scene investigators subsequently determined could remain there…forever.

“I’m so, so sorry…I didn’t mean to do that.” Gee said very apologetically…because she really was sorry.

“Are you okay?” She asked as she walked thru the front porch area toward the outer screen door.  But still on alert…she also asked…

“Do you now have your badge and ID out, Officer Nelson?”

And then…Gee sighed.  She was suddenly feeling very, very pregnant…because she was.

She unhooked and pushed open the outer screen door with her left hand…and then she raised her right hand…again forgetting there was a loaded gun in that hand…at this point the gun almost seemed to be a part of her…

…and she started to use the barrel of the gun to push an errant lock of her long blonde hair from her face…which was now highlighted by the piercing beam of a flashlight held by Office Nelson…which  he had produced to help her see his ID and badge.

It was unfortunate…and later, much, much later…some would say even amusing…that two other police officers, who had come to assist the rookie Office Daniel Nelson, saw the silver gun flashing in the light.  They immediately took cover by falling to the ground…unintentionally sinking completely out of sight in a huge drift of newly fallen snow.

 

 

 

Holding at 133.8…

and…damn happy to be doing so…considering…

Can you believe this mess we’re all in?  Sometimes I stop and think…this cannot be real!!

But..it is.

I called my daughter the other day and asked her, “Do you mind not shopping?”…and she said…”NOT AT ALL…I could happily become agoraphobic in a heart beat…”…

AND I…being the completely self-centered person that I am :)…thought…HOLY MACKEREL where did I go wrong?  Did I raise her incorrectly?  Who doesn’t miss shopping?  Is that even normal?  Is that even healthy?  

And then I answered myself..and said, “Of course, it is.  My daughter is absolutely brilliant (I DID raise her right) and is doing exactly what she should be doing…

…considering the situation…which is pretty frightening and horrible…and unknown.

DO YOU want to be that dumb girl who always goes down the basement when she hears a strange noise…even though she knows the power could go out at any moment because it’s storming and it’s  thundering and it’s lightning…AND…the light from her flashlight is really dim because the batteries are old (she tested it)…AND…she just heard on the television that there is a homicidal maniac who has just escaped from a nearby prison…and is on the loose…in HER … neighborhood..?

WELL…DO YOU???????

I didn’t think so.  Me neither.

Have a nice day…

“I’m still here…”

You know…I saw this damn virus thing coming around the second week of January…

There was this ever so tiny, two inch article…buried deep on page 5 or 6…in my local newspaper that caught my eye…something along the lines of … and I’m PARAPHRASING here…

MYSTERIOUS VIRUS IN CHINA WILL JUST ABOUT KILL ALL OF US!!!!!

And then I remembered noted University of Minnesota doctor of diseases…Michael Osterholm saying on PBS about a dozen years ago that “SOME HUGE PANDEMIC IS COMING AND DON’T THINK FOR ONE MINUTE THAT I AM WRONG BECAUSE I AM NOT!!!!”

I also remember looking over at my husband and saying…”Wow…who is this dope?”

So I was wrong…shoot me.

Anyway…back to ‘I saw this damn virus thing coming’...

There was something in those few words that led me to Google…Wuhan, China.   (God I love Google…so beats the “Guide to Periodical Literature” for fact finding)…

And there I saw an interesting map with red, not so red, and pink circles, showing how many cases of ‘this new virus’ there were today…and…MORE IMPORTANTLY…how many there were.. yesterday…OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THEN…I Googled…:)…Japan…(Don’t know why..) and saw empty shelves on which toilet paper used to be sitting…and that scared the crap (no pun intended) out of me.

So…long story short…I started buying some “extra” toilet paper and enough food to last…for enough time.

BUT…I have not been able to “BE WHO I AM” and so…I have not lost any more  weight…AND IN FACT…have gained A POUND!!!!!!!!!!

But…here’s the deal.  You know how when you go to prison for doing some really horrible stuff?

And then they’re going to “gas you or electrocute you or inject you (not with disinfectant…I might add…lol) with poison? …you know…to kill you?

Well, they ALSO  let you have your favorite meal the night before…right?

RIGHT???  You bet they do…

Have a nice day…

The Paperback Edition…

I had graduated from the University of Minnesota this past Spring with a degree in English.

Considering that I had no desire to teach, it wasn’t very practical or useful but I enjoyed every minute of those five years.

For some inexplicable reason…people were so impressed when they found out I was shooting for a degree in English.

“Wow!  You’re an English major…Wow!”  And many times the conversation died right there.  Go figure.

I had lost contact with all school friends.   We had gone our separate ways, mostly to different states and even though we had ever so sincerely promised  to keep in touch…we had not.

I had no boyfriend and no prospects.   sigh.

Both parents were dead.  I had one sibling, sister Karlie, who was two years older than me.

She was delightfully married to George and very busy with a 1-year old toddler, Annie and a little mutt named Cantor.

I lived in a luxury (read that safe) apartment complex…in a luxury (also read safe) suburb…because even though it was very tragic and sad that my parents had both died ridiculously young…they had left a really sick amount of money to be shared equally between me and sister Karlie…but not until we BOTH turned 30.

However…in the meantime…we were given a “very nice” amount of money that very nice  lawyers doled out to each of us every month…to see us through to the “big payoff”.

Don’t hate me.

The Paperback Edition…

“The Parents”‘  first attempt at ‘parenting’ was to volunteer at my 7th grade “Welcome Back to School”  dance.  This was, incidentally, was my first foray into “socializing” on a grander scale than play dates with neighborhood kids.

Two weeks before the dance, “The Parents” descended unannounced upon a clueless Principal Nelson…he was such a nice, normal man.  I believe he took early retirement…

He had previously been informed when Karlie began 7th grade that the parents of Karlie and Tobey Carlson had been tragically killed on their third attempt to climb Mt. Everest.

“The Parents” had bravely tried to rescue their loyal Sherpa who had unfortunately fallen into a deep crevasse.  As the story went…all three bodies were never recovered…so Karlie and younger sister Tobey were now being lovingly raised by a grandma named Sylvia…so you can just call her if anything came up.

This compellingly sad tale had been created by our highly imaginative grandma Sylvia after a couple of glasses…perhaps more…of Cabernet Sauvignon.  Both Karlie and I thought it was a very sound plan and we all heartily agreed that there was no reason whatsoever to mention this to “The Parents”…ever.

But now…“The Parents” told the puzzled Mr. Nelson, that “Yes!  Of course we’re Tobey’s  parents!  Who else would we be?”

And then they added for good measure, “We’re Karlie’s parents too!”  They figured this  further claim would seal the deal.

A hesitant and slightly confused Principal Nelson said he “would check and see if they would be needed.”  He then rose to politely show them the door…vaguely remembering a sad tale involving a sherpa and Mt. Everest…and he pondered this as he walked toward the door with them.

However...”The Parents” were on a mission and ‘parenting magnificently’ had become their Holy Grail.   They were not going to be turned away…

So they made sure of being ‘needed’ by donating $200,000 toward renovating the teachers’ lounge and also gifting the school library with another $200,000.

This generous gesture of goodwill insured that no more questions would be asked on whether or not they would be needed.

They were more than ‘needed’…they were now revered.

Imagine riding a roller coaster with no safety bar to hold you in place…that was my life for the next 6 years…

 

 

The Paperback Edition…

Those six years were almost epic.   And I say ‘almost‘ because no deaths or serious injuries could be directly connected to any participation by “The Parents” in any planned school activities.

It was, of course, no surprise that all of Karlie’s friends and all of my friends loved Iris and Rain.

Many evenings there were classmates (or non-classmates) eating pizza (or something else) at our huge kitchen table.

Many times neither Karlie nor I knew them..but somehow they knew Iris and Rain and had been invited over for “Pizza Night”.

It should be noted…we didn’t actually have a “Pizza Night”.

Shall I mention that in eighth grade Iris enthusiastically volunteered to be a confirmation teacher at our very progressive Lutheran church?  Sure, why not.

After the second week…kids who didn’t even go to our church…were clamoring to join her confirmation class…and I’m talking about kids from ALL religions.  Iris was a huge hit.  I was not surprised.

God had never been so much fun.

 

 

The Paperback Edition…

There is no easy way to say this…you know they die.

Three days after I had graduated from high school, “The Parents” crashed their brand-new, chili-pepper red Porsche into a large oak tree on Blake Road…four short blocks from home…

They had been at the ‘club’…perhaps celebrating or maybe even lamenting the end of this parenting phase of their life.  It was said  to have been “a spectacular crash”…the Porsche going well over 100 mph.  No surprise there…I guess…spectacular did describe everything they did..

Karlie and I were completely heart-broken.  Losing grandma Sylvia had been a  devastating blow…to be sure… but she had been ‘older’.  “The Parent”s were both only 50.

They had left strict instructions regarding any ‘death rituals or celebrations’.  There would be no funeral, no memorial service…nothing.

Karlie and I picked up a large urn from Woodrow Funeral Home with both of their ashes inside.  They wanted to be cremated together.  Of course.

And then we all went home.

In less than two days, “The Parents” perched on the mantle over the fireplace in the living room.  Together…forever.

Karlie and I spent over three weeks in that room, mostly crying but laughing sometimes too. ..because even though they had not wanted to actually participate in the ‘early parenting portion’ of our lives, they did want it documented…and they did so with their characteristic enthusiasm.

We ate there and we slept there and we watched every single home movie “The Parents” had ever taken…over and over and over again.

We had only had them as ‘Real Parents’ for six short years…we were not quite ready to let them go…not just yet.

The Paperback Edition…

Four years have passed since that tragic day and I am now tucked into my very own apartment that walks out to a courtyard with tall evergreen trees now beautifully covered with snow…watching the next to the last episode of “The Housewives of New York City”.

“The Parents” are sitting on a book shelf right next to my TV.  They are surrounded by all my favorite books and favorite pictures of them as well as photos of Karlie, George, Annie and Cantor…and, of course, my best friend Emma.

I have a “Family on the Shelf” as opposed to an “Elf on the Shelf”.

I keep “The Parents” for a couple of months and then they journey over to Karlie and George’s house where they sit in an equally revered place.  It seemed like a better idea than…you know…separating them…like eggs.

But now it was very late…scenes from next week’s episode were running.  I clicked the remote off

I stood up, stretched and turned off the lamp beside my chair.  I dropped the blinds but not before appreciating again how peaceful the falling snow looked.

I put the chain lock on my door even though I know in my heart of hearts that a chain is  not going to stop a crazed man from entering my cozy little abode and stealing my super swell TV…or worse.

But nevertheless…I would hear him and be able to stealthily pull my always fully loaded Glock out from my bedside table and blow him to smithereens…HAH!!  I have no gun.

But at least I would hear him…

I flipped the hall light on and walked down the hall.  The full length mirror at the end  was there for a purpose.  I gave myself a B+…which considering the events of the day was pretty damn good…in my world anyway.

I fluffed my hair like I always do when finding myself in front of any mirror and then walked into my bedroom and paused…

I clapped my hands twice and my bedside light went on.  Yes.  I have “The Clapper”.

Don’t laugh at  me…

 

 

 

 

 

The Paperback Edition…

My bedroom walls are covered with black & white blow-up posters of all the places I would like to visit but will probably not…Paris, London, Gloucestershire, anywhere in Scotland and  Stockholm.

Did I mention that I am just a teeny bit claustrophobic?   Oh.  Well, now you know.  Otherwise normal…very normal.

I also have huge posters of every animal I have ever owned…except for the 4 goldfish I once bought at Sam’s Club.  They actually died before I could come up with exotic names for them…

“Hello, Emma,” I whispered to my sleeping cat…most beloved cat…

She looked up at me from her favorite resting spot…the top of my bed pillow…and smiled.

“Are you going to have your customary glass of red wine tonight, Tobey?” she asked.

Do you think it’s odd to talk for your  pet?  I mean…to give a voice for your pet?Or…perhaps even to have a conversation with your pet? 

Well here’s the deal. If you ever move into an apartment building that has a lot of senior citizens who have pets, you will find that it is not odd at all.  It’s normal…very, very normal.

And besides…if someone asks you a question, it would be rude not to answer…right?

I turned on my bathroom night-light and politely answered Emma’s question.

“Not tonight dearest, I am exhausted.”

I was only able to read for about ten minutes which really ticked me off since the book I was reading was so exciting.

But my eyes were starting to close so I put the book on my night stand, turned off the floor lamp by my bed and cursed because I had forgotten to turn off the hall light.

I dragged myself out of bed and padded down the hall, hit the switch off and cursed again since I was now in almost total darkness…having also forgotten to turn on my living room night-light.  Using the light from the courtyard I went over and turned it on.

I literally staggered back down the hall to my bedroom.

As I sat on the edge of my bed, I apologized to God for being so tired as I said my nightly prayers.

“Dear God.  I’m sorry.  Thank you.  Please help everyone.  Amen.”

I put my head down on the pillow and rolled over on my right side…then I rolled over to my left side…almost unconscious at this point… but then…I rolled back over to my right side…AND THEN…

..here we go…

 

 

 

 

 

The Paperback Edition…

I slowly pushed myself up to a sitting position, keeping my eyes glued to the black form in the corner of my bedroom.

Emma was sound asleep at the foot of my bed…nestled in ‘her’ Bradley Cooper tee shirt… (it’s too long a story to share right now)…so I nudged her just a little so she would wake up.  Nothing.  She didn’t move.

“Emma!” I whispered and tapped her lightly on her head.  “Wake Up!”

But she didn’t wake up.  She didn’t even move.  She was, as they say, ‘dead to the world’.

And then it quietly occurred to me that I wasn’t scared…not at all…not even a little bit…what the hell was going on?

I was, in fact, feeling a deep sense of calm.  Remember that ‘Zen’ feeling I mentioned earlier?  Like that.  Then.  It hit me.

“Holy Shit! I cried out loud.  “I’m fucking dead!”

I hadn’t even felt sick!  No one had even hinted that I was dying…

Of course sometimes…not often…not very often…I don’t always pay attention to every, single solitary word  that people are saying to me…but still…

“I cant believe this!!” I screamed.

“Dead at 24!  I had so many things left to do…. I’m pretty sure of that!”

“Bucket List!  My bucket list!  Crap.  I haven’t even made a bucket  list…”

I tapped Emma a wee bit harder on her head.

“Emma!  We’re dead!  We’re both dead!  Can you believe that?”

“I’m not dead.” said Emma…using…NOT MY  VOICE...

Things were starting to ratchet up a bit now…as my heart started to pound furiously…

Do dead hearts pound?  I don’t know…I DON’T KNOW!!!!!

The Paperback Edition…

I slowly drew my hand away from the little head of my ‘apparently not dead’ cat.

“So,” I whimpered, “It’s just me…I’m dead alone.”  My eyes started to burn.

But then, out of the corner of my now watery eye,  I noticed the black ‘whatever it was’…starting to sway a little and change its shape.

It looked like it was extending a hand out to me.

“OH NO!!  OMG!!  IT’S THE HAND OF DEATH.” I shrieked.

As the hand appeared to move closer, I shrank back against my pillow.  I felt like I should do something…like run somewhere to avoid this…death thing.  Could I…?  Should I…?

But, hey…I was not going to be the ‘classic dumb girl’ in those stupid horror movies.

You know the one I mean…the terrified girl who stupidly runs down the basement to hide…and then…to no one’s surprise…gets chopped into little pieces..

Does this building even have a basement?

“Noooo,” I whined loudly as the ‘hand’  moved even closer.

And then suddenly, Emma stood up, turned toward me and walked up my legs.

She put her two front paws on my shoulders.  We were totally eyeball to eyeball.

“Relax, Tobey.  It’s not death.  It’s one of your guardian angels.  It’s actually your main guardian angel.”

“And…by the way, the correct phrase is ‘the Hand of God’ not…’the hand of death.'”…said Jennifer Lawrence.

…since that is exactly who my cat Emma now sounded like…and…I noted…she had a slight Southern accent.

Emma then licked my nose, dropped her paws, turned around and walked back down my legs and again curled up at the foot of my bed…in ‘her’ Bradley Cooper tee-shirt.

“Not dead then…?” I asked in a trembly, squeaky voice.

“No,” said Emma…very firmly.

I exhaled loudly.  “Okay good!  Really good and great.”

“His name is Fred.  Like in Rogers.” said Emma.

“Oh, Jesus.” I mumbled under my breath.

“No…Fred.”

 

 

 

The Paperback Edition…

Fred?  What kind of weird-ass angel name is that, I thought to myself…when suddenly ‘Fred’ spoke.

“I know, right?  I would have preferred Mikko or Sebastian…but I’m not the…you know…’person’ in charge.”

Fred’s voice was thin, high and reedy…kind of like the author  Truman Capote…or…Phillip Seymour Hoffman…playing Truman Capote.

“And may I just point out,  so that we are perfectly clear…that… it is absolutely, unequivocally not my fault that you saw me tonight,” he said.

“I have been watching over you ever since you were born…for every one of your 24 years, day and night, night and day, through thick and thin, through wind and rain and sleet and snow…through sickness and other people’s deaths…even that date with Carl…what a complete dumbbell he was …what were you thinking there?…” continued Fred in a prickly, slightly complaining voice.

He paused as if to take a breath but no…of course…that could not possibly be…and then he went on…

“And you have NEVER, rolled back on your right side after you have rolled over to your left side…EVER!”  His voice was becoming a little edgy now.

Poor Fred.  He seemed really anxious and upset.  I was feeling kind of bad for him.

I, on the other hand, was actually becoming more and more relaxed.

Of course, realizing you are NOT dead after thinking you ARE dead can be extremely soothing…and apparently…it also made you hungry.

Hmmmm…I wonder if it’s not too late to order pizza from Pizza Pantry?…

 

 

 

The Paperback Edition…

“Pizza Pantry stopped delivering 22 minutes ago…it’s 1:22 a.n.” said Fred.

I looked over at the black shape…okay…”Fred”…and it hit me…well, maybe I’m not dead.  That was very good and very great…but maybe…I’m nuts?  Just maybe I’ve slipped a cog or two…

“You are perfectly sane, Tobey.  Don’t concern yourself with such nonsense.  If YOU had just not rolled over again…none of this would be happening.”

“So…what you are saying is…that this is ALL MY FAULT?” I said indignantly and I sat up straighter and…because it is such a habit with me…I fluffed my hair in the mirror hanging on the wall at the end of my bed…still a solid B+.

(I feel it’s important to see just what you look like first thing in the morning.  I know.  I know…let’s not go there right now.)

“Yes.  Of course it’s your fault.” Fred said, “It certainly isn’t MY fault.  I’ve been at this job for thousands of years…I don’t make mistakes.”

“I am, as the young folks say…a GOAT.”  Fred said proudly.  (Yes.  he actually said “young folks.”)

“Fine.  Whatever.  I am  just a mere mortal.  You are the great angel from on high.” I said sarcastically and rolled my eyes.

“Did you actually think that I could not see that?” said Fred.  “And, I don’t appreciate your sarcasm.”

Suddenly, Emma sat straight up and held up her right paw.  First she pointed it at Fred and then at me.

“Hold it…”  she said, again using that super unnerving Jennifer Lawrence voice.

“Stop bickering.  It is what it is.  Deal with it.  I need my sleep.”

As she was speaking, I unobtrusively brushed my hand against my lips…they were not moving.  Emma was talking again…all by herself.

 

The Paperback Edition…

I looked from my dear ‘talking cat’ Emma to Fred my ‘no longer invisible guardian angel’ and then let out a huge sigh.

This was crazy…maybe not really crazy, crazy, according to Fred but…you know…crazy nonetheless.  I mean…really…what was going on?

It appeared I had a talking cat…who was talking to my guardian angel named Fred…who also talked…and… and…my mind was spinning.

I glanced over at the clock on my night table.  Crap!  It was almost 2:00 a.m. and I had to be up at 7:00 to get ready for work.  I had the early shift at  The Book Shop tomorrow.

“No you don’t,” said the all-knowing Fred.

“Margo closed the shop because of the snow storm…remember?  She called earlier…just before ‘Housewives’ ended.”

“Oh, right, right,” I answered quickly, remembering and then thought to myself, does he know everything?

“Yes.  Yes, I do.” said Fred…and his voice sounded like he was smiling…if guardian angels can smile…that is.

“Well look,” I said in a very matter of fact manner, trying to remain calm, trying to wrap my mind around this completely nutso night.

“I don’t want to dismiss the importance of you,” I said as I nodded to Fred.

“Or you, Emma,” I said as I scratched my little cat under her chin.

“But…I do need to get some real sleep after this strange dream…so…good night, sleep tight all, sweet dreams…it’s been fun.”

And I quickly laid back down on my pillow…still not completely sure of my sanity…but giving it a try anyway.

“Not a dream,” Fred whispered very softly.  “Not a dream.”

I took a deep breath and then another and then closed my eyes.  After a few minutes, I ever so slowly opened them and peeked over my covers to the corner of my bedroom where Fred had been hanging out.

He was gone!!!!  Fred was gone!!!!  It was a dream!  I knew it!  Thank God!!!

“Shall I pass that on to Him in person?” asked Fred as he floated in from the hallway.

Fuck.

 

 

 

 

The Paperback Edition…

“WHY AREN’T YOU GONE?” I screamed as I sat bolt upright in bed and leaned towards him, hands waving in the air as if to make him go away.

“I never leave,” Fred said very calmly.   “You are my job until you die.  That’s the rule.  I don’t make the rules.  I just do what I am told.  I am an excellent obeyer of rules.”

I sighed, completely and utterly exasperated.

“But…but…I can’t have you just watching me,” I persisted.  “All…the…time.  It’s already bothering me…”

I decided to try the sympathy approach.  I’m sure a little wheedling will go a long way…  I’ve been told I can wheedle with the best of them.

“Stop wheedling.  It won’t work.  I have to watch you.  Watch OVER you is the correct term..to be precise.”

“You are going to drive me to drink!!”  I shouted at him and then thought…hey…what a great idea!

I slipped out of bed, being careful not to disturb the now very sound asleep Emma, flipped the hall overhead light switch on and trudged slowly toward my kitchen.

I knew there was an almost full bottle of Jim Beam in the cupboard that I occasionally used if I was having trouble getting to sleep.

It didn’t happen very often…but still…I had the bourbon just in case…and now seemed like a very appropriate time…very.

I reached up and took the bottle down from the shelf over the sink and then turned to open another cabinet to get a glass.

“JESUS CHRIST!!!!” I yelled and almost dropped the bottle of whiskey.

Fred was hovering right behind the breakfast bar…not two feet away from me!

“I’m sure He heard that…by the way.” Fred said with a hint of reproach in his voice.

 

The Paperback Edition…

“WHAT are you doing out HERE?” I cried.

“And what part of guardian ‘watch over you’ angel…do you not get exactly?” asked Fred with just a hint of snippiness in his voice.

“I ‘watch over you’ ALL the time.”

I pulled out the breakfast bar stool and started to sit down and paused a bit to give Fred a not so friendly but rather meaningful look.  He wisely drifted slightly away toward the patio door.  He seemed to sense I needed some space…and why wouldn’t he?

I opened the bottle of Jim Beam and pored a couple of inches into my glass.  I took a sip…it was AWFUL!

I got up and walked over and opened the freezer.  I scrounged around and found some ice cubes in a bowl and tossed them into my glass.  I returned to perch on the stool.

“Here’s to livin’ the dream…” I said and I raised my glass in a toast to Fred.  He swayed a little.  I nodded back.

“If I go to sleep tonight and wake up tomorrow…will I remember any of this?  Will you still be here?” I asked.

Fred didn’t say anything for a minute or two.  I sensed that he might be thinking…or  perhaps not…

But then he said, “I don’t know…and…definitely yes.”

I took a bigger sip. It wasn’t that bad now…with the ice.  I swirled it around a little.

“I’m not sure I can handle this,” I said hesitantly…and stared at the bourbon in my glass.

“Oh…you’ll be fine, Tobey.  You’re pretty tough.  You have to remember…I’ve seen you in action…during the good times and some very bad times…I’ve been with you your whole life.”

“…I hugged you when you cried…helped you create new swear word combinations when you were furiously angry…I tried to steer you away from people who were not good to you or good for you…and I even let little words of encouragement and love from your mom and dad seep into your subconscious when you were sleeping.”

“I even helped you get this job and this apartment.  I could go on but I don’t want to brag…too much.”  Fred swayed from side to side…obviously very proud of his accomplishments.

“Wow!  That’s awesome!!  And you didn’t need…like…permission to do all of that…right?”

“Oh, no,” Fred said confidently. “That fell totally under my job description.  I can do a LOT of stuff.”

My glass paused on its way to my mouth…brain now seriously engaged in full speculation mode…

The Paperback Edition…

“You can ‘do’ things?” I asked quickly.  Suddenly, I was no longer so sleepy.

“What kind of things?  Can you perform miracles?  Can you cure sick people?  Can you grant wishes from…from really deserving people?  Can you change things?”  I rattled off  my questions like machine gun fire .

Fred swayed back a little…

“Hey, hey!  Don’t get too excited, Tobey.   GA’s…if I may abbreviate…work in the background.  Think of us like agents…like the CIA or MI6…we have many powers but we also have limits.”

“Oh…” I said with considerable less enthusiasm.    “No miracles.  No magic.  No changing the world…right? ”

“Right.” answered Fred.

I thought for a few moments and then very hesitantly asked…

“Could you make it possible for a person as in…me…to visit Heaven to see Iris and Rain?  Just a short visit…or could you arrange it so they could  come down here?  Just for a few minutes?”   But even as I was asking…I already knew the answer.

Unwanted tears were forming in my eyes.  I missed them so much.

“No, Tobey, I can’t do that.”  Fred said softly and then I sensed a comforting warmth on my arms and back that made me feel less sad.  It was like a very loving hug.

“Is that what you do?  I asked Fred.

“That is what we do a lot.    And…sometimes…we add an extraordinary amount of a powerful  laxative to a very despicable and obnoxious boy’s cup of punch when he is being very unkind to one of our “people”.

“OMG!!!…do you mean Albert Simmons, my super creep date to the 11th grade Snow Dance? ”

“Precisely.” said Fred.

“He never lived down the embarrassment of that night.  He had to have his parents come to the dance to take him home…he couldn’t even drive.”

I chuckled…thinking of that night so long ago…Albert thought he was so cute and so charming and God’s gift to all girls…

“He had to go to a different school for his senior year…someplace where he wasn’t called  ‘Poopy.'”  I smiled broadly and then yawned.

I finished off the Jim Beam, looked at my kitchen clock and saw that it was almost 3:30 a.m.

“I have to go to bed, Fred.  I need to sleep.”

Imagine this, I thought…talking to my guardian angel at 3:30 in the morning…just like I would talk to my cat Emma…or even a real, live person.

“Sure, I understand.” said Fred as he floated across the living room and down the hall.

I followed behind, turning off the lights as we went…so abnormally normal.

The Paperback Edition…

Here’s a Snapchat cartoon of my brain at work…let’s make it animated…perhaps 3D…if that is possible…telling me what to do.  I, of course, am the main character.

I am to follow my guardian angel down my apartment hallway to my bedroom where I will get into my bed with my now ‘not so normal’ cat, Emma,.

I am to fall asleep and said guardian angel…now named Fred…will watch over me until I wake up tomorrow morning…

AND…he will continue to watch over me for the rest of my entire life.

AND…I will see him in action…or inaction…and no one else will.

AND…if I tell anyone, they will either lock me up…or send me somewhere with…you know…padded walls and there will be lots of very friendly people there smiling at me .

AND…FRED WILL BE THERE WITH ME!!!  WATCHING.  OVER.  ME…….FOR FUCKING EVER!!!!

OMG!!!!  I will never ever sleep again…

And yet…and yet…I suddenly feel strangely peaceful and calm as I climb into bed and  begin my normal “go to sleep” ritual.

First lying on my right side and then turning over to my left side where I fall asleep instantly…as I have done for 24 years.

“Tobey!!!  Wake up!!!  The fire alarm is going to go off in a couple of minutes.  You have to leave now.”

The Paperback Edition…

My eyes flew open and I could hear Fred talking to me.  What did he mean?  The room wasn’t even smoky and there was no alarm…

      BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP 

Oh…there it was…my sleep-fogged brain was slow to function.  Gosh that’s loud, I thought.

I’m always shocked how loud the fire alarm is…we must have at least 2 false alarms a month…some people never learn how to cook…

But…now there was a smokey smell in my room!  No false alarm this time.

I shrugged on my slippers as I walked after Fred who was floating down my hallway and I followed him out the door into the apartment hall.  It was super smoky.  I’d never seen anything like this before…it was scary…

No one else was out there…just Fred wafting down the hall…almost blending into the smoke.

“This way,” said Fred.  He was leading me toward a foggy light at the end of the hallway.  WTF!…had I really died?  Was this the “light” that everyone keeps talking about when they die?  Was everything that had happened tonight just a ruse?

No, no of course not, I told myself.  It’s just the apartment emergency light.  WAKE UP TOBEY!!! I shouted to myself and shook my head and blinked my eyes.  There was a lot more smoke now.

Then I stopped short…

“Wait!  Where is Emma?  Do you have her?”  I hollered ahead to Fred.  Now I couldn’t see him very well.  He was hard to see with all the smoke.  But then I sensed he was right  beside me…seemingly touching my elbow.

The alarm was so much louder in the hallway…I could hardly hear my own voice…but Fred’s voice was unmistakable in my ear…

“She’ll be fine, Tobey.  You have to leave now!”  His presence was more insistent but he wasn’t actually grabbing me.

“No! Wait!  I can’t leave Emma.  I’m going back Fred!”

I turned away and felt his touch on my arm disappear.

I quickly made my way back down the now smoke-filled hallway until the dim glow  from the EXIT sign showed I was at my door.  It hadn’t locked when I had closed it.

“Thanks God!!” I said out loud.

I pushed the door open and then quickly closed it, making sure that Emma did not run out into the apartment hall.

I knew exactly where that little squirt would be…under my bed…where she always went when that damn alarm went off.

The smoke was creeping into my apartment and getting thicker.  I ran into my room coughing loudly.  I shut the door in case Emma tried to slip out.

I clapped for my light to go on.  It did.  But then all the lights went out!

 

The Paperback Edition…

I ran over to my bed and dropped to my knees.  I started pulling out all the under-the-bed bins I used for storage…calling Emma’s name…but only hearing the deafening and increasingly irritating blare of the fire alarm.

Tears were streaming down my cheeks…my heart felt like it was literally breaking.

I sobbed, “Dammit Emma, where are you?  I’m not leaving you!   You’re my best friend, Emma!!   You’re my…my only friend.”

Oh God, I thought…where in the holy hell is she???

I laid full out on my stomach so I could reach farther under my bed and then suddenly I felt that soft fur, so familiar to my touch, and I grabbed a bunch of it and held on tight.  I scooted backwards and dragged Emma out from under the bed.

Her little blue eyes popped open and she looked at me and coughed.

“Did you burn dinner again, Tobey?”

“C’mon you little rascal, we’re blowing this pop stand.”

I sat up and put Emma under my tee-shirt and tucked it into my sleep pants and then pulled the drawstring tight underneath her.

I was only taking little breaths but they all felt like pure  smoke.  The only light in the room was from my laptop on my desk…thank God for battery mode….

With my left hand firmly under Emma, I pulled up the window blinds, climbed up on my desk chair and then onto my desk.  Crouching low, I slid open the window and cold, fresh air rushed in.

I took a couple of deep breaths, backed up to the edge of my desk and then I ran…head and right shoulder down… full force through the screen!

There was so little resistance…I flew through the air!   My butt landed with a smack on a snow-covered bush.

I looked up and there was Fred…shimmering on a snowbank…about three feet away.

“Well…I see you two made it.”

The Paperback Edition…

“What the hell were you doing?”  I shouted at Fred as I struggled to stand up.

“Were you going to let us almost die and then perform some kind of ‘guardian angel’ magic crap and save us?  Was this some kind of cockamamie plan of yours?”

“Well…actually miss,” said a deep voice from behind me.  I turned around and found myself looking up at a very tall fireman holding a blanket.

“As I came down your hall, I heard someone…I guess that was you…screaming from your apartment.  I thought  someone was looking for a child or…” he paused and looked down and saw Emma’s head pop out of my tee-shirt.

“Then I saw you go flying out the window.”

“So, no…that wasn’t my cockamamie plan.  Are you and your… cat okay?”  He tried to put the blanket around the two of us.

I was starting to get really cold and shaky .

I managed to free one hand and brushed the tears from my eyes and looked up again at this tall man.

He was smiling at me and he was pretty cute.  (Hey…it’s going to take more than a fire and a near death experience to stop me from appreciating a good-looking man…)

Married, I bet.  Two kids.  A dog, of course.  And his loving mother probably lives with them.  All one big happy family.  Rats.

“I’m fine…now.” I said…a little too briskly, perhaps.  “Thank you very much.  Is the fire out?” I asked, trying to sound a little more normal…and less filled with rage.

“Yes.  It started in the dryer right above your unit.  The resident had left the building to go to work, so it went unnoticed for quite a while.”

“The other tenants are meeting in the lobby right now.  I think management will have some kind of plan or announcement.  They usually do in cases like this.” he said helpfully.

“Well…thanks again,” I said and I started to turn and walk toward the pine tree where I had last seen Fred wavering earlier.

“Oh here…” said the fireman.  “I grabbed these for you.  I hope they’re yours.  They were sitting right by your front door.”  He held out my UGG boots to me.

“I figured you might need them after I saw you jump out the window into the snow.”

I walked back to him and without even thinking twice, I just leaned against him and kicked off my wet slippers and put on my boots.

“Well, I better……” I started to talk but the horror of the night suddenly sunk  in and no more words would come.

Fresh tears started to stream down my cheeks and I turned quickly away and headed off to find Fred…hugging Emma’s little warm body as I walked.

“Why can’t they shut that damn horn off!” I yelled to nobody in particular.

And then somebody did.   Suddenly it was so quiet I could hear my heart beat.

“FRED!!  Where the hell are you?”  I yelled loudly.

And then from behind, I felt a slight touch on my shoulder.  Finally!!!!

I whirled around, ready to give Fred a taste of my full fury…many brilliant swear word combinations forming in my brain…

“Actually, miss,” said my helpful fireman in a quiet and soothing voice, “I’m right here.”

And he pointed to his name badge.

It was hard to read since my eyes were so blurry from crying.  I squinted but I couldn’t make it out.  I looked up at him with a puzzled expression on my face.

“What?”  I asked.

“That’s me…my name is Fred.”

“I don’t have a dog but I do have two cats.  I’m single…my mother lives in Paris…and I have absolutely no idea why I’m telling you all this…”

Epilogue:

And here’s the ‘partly true’ part that I referred to in the beginning:

One night about 15 years ago I did wake up unexpectedly and as I was rolling over I saw a “black ribbon, shimmering in the corner.”

I looked at it for a few minutes…and felt no fear at all.  But I did know I wasn’t dreaming or ‘half-asleep’.  I remember smiling and then I went back to sleep.

When I woke up the next morning I realized I had seen one of my guardian angels by mistake…it doesn’t happen often…but it does happen.  You can Google it.

This has happened about 3 more times since then…

THE END

 

 

 

 

 

 

The world may be falling apart…

BUT…

The VERY FIRST news story I chose to read this morning was…”Tom Brady is not going to quarterback the New England Patriots any longer…”

WHERE ARE MY PRIORITIES???????

THIS is what happens when you get so giddy after losing some weight…after not losing some weight for so long…as in…NOW I WEIGH…drum roll please…………

130.1

Have a nice day…

Happy Valentine’s Day…

…to ME!!!

And before you start thinking…”Oh that’s pretty pathetic…selfish…nutso…let me explain.

Even though I am still at 132.2…RATS…and have not (yet) returned to the glory day of January 25, 2020 when I weighed in at 130.6…I AM ALSO NOT AT 141.4 which was my weight LAST February 14…

SO…now what do you think…pretty swell, huh?

I thought you might agree…and I hope you also agree that I deserve a treat…one full-size Hershey bar that has been living in my top drawer for months…waiting just for me.

Have a nice day…

IT’S OVER…

I can’t believe it…my heart is breaking…it’s done.  I knew it was coming, but still…

It seems like only yesterday that everything was in front of me…a plan…a ritual…even dreams…

But now…IT’S OVER.

It started out so brilliantly…I was so full of hope and joy!

First came the crisp autumnal breezes blowing orange and red tinted leaves past  my window…and then…white flakes of snow fluttering down.

There was Domino’s Pizza every week!  And…dessert…with no regrets.

There wasn’t a day I didn’t think about you.  Some mornings I would wake early…so excited to be with you that day.

It was all part of the experience…and I loved it.  I’ve been down this road before.

I laughed.  I screamed.  Sometimes I was so still…I hardly breathed.  And yes…I even cried…once or twice…just a tear or two.

But even so…week after week…the joy was there… the promise…ALWAYS THERE!!!  ALWAYS!!

But now…GONE…GONE FOREVER…………………..well maybe not quite forever…

But at least until the 23rd of April……….NFL DRAFT DAY!!!!!!! 

(OF COURSE THERE IS THE NFL COMBINE ON FEBRUARY 23…BUT WHO REALLY CARES ABOUT THAT CRAP…)*

Have a nice day…

*Okay…I’ll probably listen to all the recaps on the radio…but that’s it.

“Put me in Coach, I’m ready to play!

I am sound asleep…dreaming ‘God knows what’ and at 8:00 a.m. my radio comes on to wake me.  Perfectly normal…so far.

My radio is tuned to a “Sports Talk Station”…because I love sports and I hate loud, jarring beeps.

However, I don’t always wake up right away…

Sometimes I am mysteriously drawn into whatever sports discussion they’re having…like last night…when my unconscious brain made some alterations to the conversation…

“Its a really close game…there are only 13 seconds left…the coach is looking down the bench…looking…looking…”

“ME!  ME!” I shout.  “PUT ME IN! I’M READY!  PUT ME IN, COACH!”

I RUN UP TO HIM.  I WAVE MY ARMS AT HIM AND EVEN TUG ON HIS SLEEVE but…

He doesn’t hear or see me in my green & white basketball uniform…frantically jumping up and down!!

Because, of course, I WAS DREAMING!!!

So I slowly struggled to wake up…but I was also trying to get back into that great dream…but I failed.

So then I wondered…what I would have done if he had turned to me and said, “Okay, Nelson.  Get your butt out there!”

Died…probably…

Have a nice day…

…132.2…

This number is for those of you who think that I have been just flitting around without a care in the world…discovering new recipes for chocolate chip cookies…and then…in the interest of science…testing those recipes.

And by testing…I mean…EATING THE RESULTS OF THOSE TESTS…

You would be 100% correct.  A+.  Go to the head of the class!  Have an extra cookie.

SCIENCE SUCKS…

Have a nice day…

WELL…

I obviously had time on my hands tonight…

…because today I re-arranged my whole day so I could spend a ZILLION hours on the phone with MY FAVORITE DRUG STORE…  WHY?  You ask politely.  Well…let me continue.

IF you need insulin to LIVE……………….AND……

You get a text saying “We are out of stock…don’t worry…we’ll get back to you…”

THIS IS NOT WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR…

So…I thought that tonight I would do something really relaxing…like make my blog/post/site/whatever… prettier and smarter.

I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING…  (I wonder if there are any cookies left?)

Have a nice day…

I HAVE ALREADY EATEN 2 COOKIES…

…and I have only been up for an hour!!!!!!!!!!!…

Okay.  The first cookie was just to see if they were still soft and as wonderful as they were yesterday…and the day before…kind of like a ‘scientific experiment’.  Right?

THEY WERE!!!!  Okay, let me log that in my scientific journal…not.

The second cookie was…was…I have NO DAMN reason for eating the second cookie.

I have less than 10 months to lose 5 pounds and I am sliding down a slippery slope so fast I am dizzy.

I am completely out of control…using ‘old age’ as an excuse for ‘seizing the day’ (and by that I mean eating more cookies).  OMG  What’s next?????

Well, let me tell you…

NFL FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SIX PLUS HOURS OF SITTING…PERHAPS SWEARING…PERHAPS GROANING…PERHAPS CHECKING TO SEE…

IF MY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES ARE STILL SOFT???…

I AM SO SCREWED…

Have a nice day…

 

I will be so mad if I die before I lose 5 MORE pounds…

St. Peter will not be pleased to see me…

Well, perhaps that is a little strong but SERIOUSLY…I realize that last November 2019 when I had failed to reach 125 lbs….which was my original goal from November 2018… losing 5 more pounds before November 2020 seemed like a  genuine, doable goal.

AND…don’t get me wrong…it is!!!!  I mean…losing 5 pounds in 12 months…pretty easy  stuff.

However, if you happen to reside in the +70 age range, the doability of that goal is a bit sketchy…in that I could “kick the bucket” (so to speak) at any moment.  I feel fine…thanks for asking.

(COMPUTER…DO NOT SPELL CHECK ME …DOABILITY IS A WORD…I DOUBLE  CHECKED…even though not used in most dictionaries…but still).

Every morning I get up and the numbers on the scale vary only an ounce or two up or down…but there doesn’t seem to be a downward trend.

Just a simple request…one tiny, little favor…

…and please understand that I am still very, very grateful that I know what time it is...ALL THE TIME…like now it is 10:09  p.m. CST.

Have a nice day…

Okay…here’s the deal…

Apparently I now have skinny wrists…YAY!!! 

Well, hold off on the applause and cheering because my brand new Swatch watch  keeps slipping to the outside of my wrist…and it is a real bitch to see what time it is without reaching over with my other hand and straightening it.

I wear my watch on my left wrist and DO NOT EVEN ASK BECAUSE I CANNOT WEAR A WATCH ON MY RIGHT WRIST.  Okay.  I feel better now.  And for all I know it would slip to the outside of my right wrist as well!

So.  I went on line and I FOUND A SOLUTION after only 45 minutes.  TIME WELL SPENT…pardon the pun.

So if you send me $5.00 in unmarked bills I will sha

Hey…I wouldn’t do that.  Here is the trick.  Reverse the band from one side of the watch to the other…if you can.  I have a Swatch so I can do that very easily.  IT’S AMAZING!!!

FYI…I am also telling you…I think I am getting sick of knowing what time it is every single second…like…right now it’s 10:46 p.m. CST.

P.S.  I couldn’t find a cute photo of a wrist watch so…this one had to do…

BYW…It’s now 11:01 p.m. CST

Have a nice day…

130.6…

AND…I may add…for a solid week…

GOOD BEGINNING TO THE NEW YEAR…RIGHT?

IF…that is what I want to achieve for the upcoming year…

I DON’T…                                                   

I’ll get back to you…

Have a nice day…

I have no clue…

Well…I’m still at 130.4…even though I had a stomach bug and didn’t eat for a day and a half…there was NO loss.

IKR!!!!!!

And…like any normal person…when I could eat I ate a lot.  Sorry.  Sad Truth.

NOT crap.  Good food…mostly…

Also… just in casual passing…I have a teensy, weensy secret to share.

Yes…there are 2.  And yes…it does appear that they are kind of hidden in my bureau drawer…because…they are.

I don’t know what came over me!!!!

It was like I was possessed!!  It’s really the fault of the woman who was ahead of me in line at the grocery store.  She was moving forward and then she stopped to reach back and grab a Hershey bar.

Well.  What could I do?

Have a nice day…

P.S.  Don’t tell.

NEW WEIGHT:  130.4…don’t holler at me!!!!!

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately…visualize the statue of “The Thinker”.

I think…when I notified my brain that I had another year to lose the 5 pounds I was not able to lose this past year and thereby reach my goal…my body slowed down.

My brain was probably thinking something like…”Hey, cool! What’s the hurry?…no worries, I have ALL YEAR.”

I also pondered this:  “If I continue eating and doing everything the same as I am doing right now…will I eventually weigh 100 pounds!!! …before I die, that is…?”

Pondering is always a bad idea…I think my body went into ‘survival’ mode…thinking…”Yeah, whatever floats your boat, honey.  Now I’m hanging on to whatever you’ve got…”

Have a nice day…

…BULLETIN…

…Because I KNOW that my weight is the the MOST IMPORTANT thing in your life…right?

Right?????

Okay, maybe not.  I can see that.  I’ll be brief.  After one solid week of not weighing myself in honor of HALLOWEEN*, today I ran…well not really ran…at my age running is not  something I will ever do again.  So I more or less sauntered sleepily out to the scale area (kitchen) and…weighed myself.

TA DA!!!!!129.4…No CHANGE!!!!!

  • which in my world meant I could eat one tiny candy bar every other day for 7 days…which I did!!!  I also made sure I walked those days and had one less popsicle half after dinner…but hey…CHOCOLATE!!!!

Have a nice day…

“I see you…”

“I’m not blind, you know.”

“Don’t think for one moment that I don’t see you…sitting there…all propped up and cute-like in your little silver and brown wrapper…tempting me…enticing me…

“You may not be aware…but there is a little dust on you…just a little…but it’s there.

“And I know what you’re thinking…’Just reach over and rip off my wrapper…break off one little piece of me at a time, let it melt ever so slowly on your tongue…'”

“NO!!!!!!!!” SAY I…

“I am not weak!!!!!  I am strong!!!!!    I am kind of strong…I am kind of a little strong…”

And I get up, turn out the desk light…turn the desk light back on… because the room was completely dark and I couldn’t see shit…walk over to another lamp and turn that one on and  then return to turn off the desk light again even though it was highlighting all your goodness and glory and wonderfulness…OH FOR FUCK’S  SAKE!!!

Have a nice day…

cropped-cropped-img_20191026_2247555703108068617307527417

MY DAD WAS NEVER WITHOUT A LIGHTED CIGARETTE DANGLING FROM HIS MOUTH…

BUT HE WASN’T COMPLETELY STUPID…

I’m not standing there because I wanted to observe the fine art of re-fueling an empty gas tank…on some deserted road…God knows where…circa 1950.

His lit cigarette is in my left hand.  Safety first!  Oh.  My.

Have a nice day…

OKAY, OKAY, OKAY...

NOVEMBER 1 IS ALMOST HERE…

AND…I have not yet reached my goal weight of 125 pounds….which I set last October.  I HAVE lost 18 pounds, 4 ounces…which is great!!!!!…but still…

Let’s just round numbers off and say I currently weigh 129  and thus (:)) need to lose 4 more pounds to be successful…

Well.  I do not anticipate that happening…although miracles do happen.  HAH!!

So.  Here is my new plan.  Today is October 20, 2019 and my new goal (in life) is to lose 4 pounds by November 2020.

Good plan, huh?  I thought so too.

I don’t know what it is…sometimes these fantastic  ideas just come to me like a lightning bolt shot out of the sky.  Oh.  My.

Have a nice day…

24 DAYS…

but who’s counting.

Me.  I have less than a month to go and my goal of 125 by Nov. 1 looms.  I like that word.  LOOMS.  Current weight:  129.4 and apparently holding forever…

Let’s go back 56 years…yes…I am 20 years old…sigh.  That was a splendid year…if only I could tell more people.   You know….there are things and events you can just never share…sweet memories and such…

But I digress.  Summer 1963.  I was 20 and I weighed 99 pounds.

And because of my extraordinary skills (okay, no one else would do it), I was the catcher for a fast pitch softball team.  Read 70 mph…yup.

It was a hot July night in old Bloomington, Minnesota and we were playing a really tough, championship team from the mean streets of Minneapolis.

I was taking a few warm-ups from my pitcher who…incidentally…had a smoking  fast ball that would drop a little just before the plate.  Have I set the picture?

Let continue…I flipped up my catcher’s mask (I thought I was so cool) to quickly take a drag off my ‘lit’ Marlboro cigarette…which was conveniently nestled in the sand right next to me…hey…this was 55 years ago.  Don’t judge me.

I looked down to pick up the Marlboro and just as I looked up to take a drag…my obviously non-aware pitcher threw a sizzling, fast ball, hitting my unprotected face, sending me backwards about a foot…no really…a whole 12 inches.

Not only did the lit cigarette cause a burn on my cheek, I couldn’t chew real food for about 3 weeks.  I wasn’t wired shut…it was just too painful to do anything but drink fluids or very mushy foods.

There is no moral to this telling…just background to the fact that…I lost 5 pounds in less than a month.

Anyone looking for a 75 year old catcher?

Have a nice day…

Still a boring 129.4...

As the weekend stretches out before me and I contemplate which day I should visit Dairy Queen (and I am visiting Dairy Queen because…well…it’s there…) to enjoy a small, chocolate sundae…this random thought raced through my brain…

How many of us…who are trying to lose a few unwanted pounds (BTW…are there any ‘wanted‘ pounds?)…have sat in a doctor’s office for our annual exam, filling out those stupid forms…and have come to this question…

“Have you had any unexplained weight loss in the past 6 months?”

And you thought…with perhaps a small smirk on your face…or maybe even said out loud…very quietly to no one in particular…”I wish.”

Have a nice day…

Still rocking 129.4…!!!

and I had a thought today…

Let’s just say I was walking down the street and someone (a man) would come up to me and say, “Hey, good looking…what’s your favorite season of the year?”

Okay…the whole “hey, good looking” thing probably wouldn’t happen…but the question of favorite season just might…so…I’ll continue…

“Hey, good looking…: (You didn’t think I was going to let that go, did you?)…tell me your favorite season.”

AND…I would say…

“Well, thank you for asking, kind sir.  As you are aware…I live in Minnesota.  It is September 15 and I was just told the weather forecast for tomorrow has a “heat alert watch” wrapped around it…I almost threw up.”

“I just watched my Vikings football team  lose to Green Bay today.   I don’t want to think about having heat stroke in the middle of September!”

“I want to think of crisp mornings, chilly nights and brisk walks…wearing the new clothes I have recently purchased because I have lost so much weight!!! AND…I don’t want to sweat anymore. ”

Answer to the question:  It isn’t summer.

Have a nice day…

NO “bleeping” CHANGE

STILL 130.4

I could have said NO fucking CHANGE…but I thought I would refrain from bold, blue  obscenities.

Here’s the deal:  IF I HAVE TO START JOGGING AT AGE 75…THE WORLD IS GOING TO HEAR ABOUT IT!!  And I am not even kidding.

OK?  Just saying.  I am warning you world.  I don’t like the concept of jogging.  I have NEVER liked the concept of jogging.   I probably don’t even know HOW to jog…is it like running?  Only slower?  See…don’t know, care less.

Today is September 9, 2019 and my goal is to weigh 125 pounds by … what did I say????… end of October???  Okay.  It was November 1.  Grrrrrr…….

Tomorrow I walk A LITTLE MORE…That’s the best I can do…right now.

Have a nice day…

P.S.  I am basically a calm, happy person…

****129.8**** !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IKR…..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So…here’s the deal.  I cut my hair.

I figured “how hard could it be?”

I figured “just a little snip here…and…there…”

It’s the only explanation I can offer…since yesterday I took a hour and a half nap, did not walk because the dew point was…like 150…and I had an extra half popsicle because it was Monday.

Truth in Telling:  My avatar is slightly exaggerated…

Have a nice day…

…sigh…

No Change.

HOWEVER…every time I jump on the scale…I see the 130.8 & and then it settles on 131.0.  I cut 3″ off my hair yesterday so I was REALLYHOPEFULLY…expecting good news!!!!  Oh well…there’s always tomorrow…of course, until there isn’t!  HAH!!!

Have a nice day…