Charlywalker's Blog












The day the Earth stood still was two weeks ago when my son’s Smart phone decided on it’s own to dummy down and quit.

I learned this had happened through his sister who Stumbled upon his Facebook message to a friend commenting that: “His Phone Died”.

I am grateful that my sons lines of communication are open to his thousands of Facebook friends and refuses to add his mother as a bosom buddy.  He does not want  (me) to be privy to his status while away at college.  He thinks his mother will spend her days stalking, (or creeping as they say), on his infamous site, where the Full Monty of Freshman life is displayed and revered.  Like I have time for that. OK, I sneak a peak every so  often when Facebook isn’t looking.  I have eyes in the back of my FACEbook.

It’s amazing how this generation ( xyz?) seem to run amok when an electronic is on the fritz. It’s as if one of their brain waves collide  with an HD air-wave and severed the wireless connection that adheres the Smart phone to their palm, resulting in their  opposable  texting thumbs to short circuit.  Ive seen those thumbs work that virtual keyboard like greased lightening,  while sucking down Kentucky fried wings. Those thumbs slip- slidin’ on the screen not missing a beat of LOL or TTYL or POS. ( Parent Over Shoulder).

My son programmed his smartie phone  messages to modulate the night- watchman in a  Navy ship yard.  It sounds off with two bells every time a text is received.  In the olden days of sailing , watches were timed by a thirty minute hour glass and bells would be struck every time the glass was turned.  My son watches the glass of his phone every second, all day and all  night, no matter which way its facing.

I hear his phone clanging in a Bell  pattern of pairs :

Morning Watch: ding-ding

Forenoon Watch: ding-ding-ding

Afternoon Watch: ding-ding-ding-ding

Night Watch: ding-ding-ding-ding-ding

WEE -Hours- While- Family Members- Sleep-Watch:  DING – DAMNITY- DING. 

I  lie and wonder  for whom the Bells Toll every second as my sons phone shouts out a “new message received”.  What news is so urgent to be shared every minute of the day and night amongst his mates.  And now, here he sits with his dead phone, and I wonder ; what could possibly be going on in his head now that his entire fleet of friends are unable to reach him and text their one syllable messages. 

I have witnessed he and his crew hanging out and barely speaking in full sentences to each other. I  have watched as this collegiate Armada sit around in silence dancing their opposable thumbs across their phones as a multitude of ships bells chimed in unison…sounding alarms….signaling functional and ceremonial uses of considerable significance as to whether one  of them scored a date for the night.

I think about when I was his age and the readiness of communication while out and about, was finding a working payphone.  In my day, there wasn’t a lot of emphasis on  repetitive contact with one another.  If you had something to say, or relative info to convey, you dialed a number,got to the point, and made your arrangements.

There was no need to go back and forth with responses, you knew what to do and when and where to do it. There was no need to hold twenty people on the line to confirm what dress you were wearing to the dance. There was no need to speak every minute to someone via the phone as we were all speaking in PERSON when we got together.  If everyone related all their conversations ahead of time we would have nothing to talk about when we congregated.  Well, well, well..maybe that explains why my son and his friends are silent when they assemble. They are TEXTED-OUT, OVER-MESSAGED, PINGED TO THEIR LAST WORD.

I  will say my son’s faulty phone may have prevented future last minute changes in his life, but all in all he handled being cell-less quite well.  I half expected him to come off his Buzz with certain side affects, maybe a possible cellular detox causing a network disruption and  a communication breakdown of his opposable thumbs, therefore rendering him speechless.

There was a day or two of minor moping and staring at his thumbs trying to figure out their future should texting become obsolete while his phone is incommunicado.  It didn’t take long for him to wander over and pick up the controls to his ill forgotten Xbox collecting dust and play a childhood game or two.  I’m sure its to keep his opossable thumbs conditioned until his phones replacement battery arrives……

…….in 5 to 7 business days…..

spread the humor.




The training process lasted a total of six weeks and most of the time was spent in a classroom of some sort, whether it contained a mock-up of the new L1011 jumbo jet or or a mirrored room full of Elizabeth Arden’s new Fall colors.  Rule #6 was designed to align our faces to model Cybill Shepherd, the pin-up girl of the 70’s.   I guess every era has it’s poster child.

.

Our airline’s beloved American Idol was posted adjacent to the life size mirrors covering the walls of our classroom .  The new stews arrived in a timely manner and rushed to their assigned station where a glossy Mauve box the size of a mini cocktail tray lay before them.  We were all into our third week of instruction and everyone was well acquainted with each other and their State of being.  I was seated next to Miss Georgia who dove into her box thinking it contained a creamy nougat or two, and  after lifting the lid, immediately slumped into disappointment as she faced her assortment of Georgia Peach hues….

Each of the make-up boxes that were presented to us were pre-picked based on our skin tone, eye, and hair color,  by a company that originated in 1911.  I guess I was thankful that by  the time 1970 rolled around Elizabeth Arden was sold to a pharmaceutical company and women no  longer applied freshly picked berries onto their lips and cheeks.  I’m sure Ms. Arden was rolling over behind her Red Door when her palette’s  now featured  the added Lab-Rat Lavender and Carcinogenic Cocoa as the headliner colors.

My pretty in pink box held colors suited for the Brown-eyed Brunette, who couldn’t fall farther from the Cybill Shepard tree.  I watched as a prescribed make-up artist ran around the room blaring cosmetic counsel to make sure  we all stuck to the Airline code  and represent the Stepford “Stews ” Standard, and not think outside our laminated pink box.

The colors illuminating from my Box screamed an assortment of Moody Blues highlighting a crystal blue persuasion of eyeliners,  while undertones of deep purple gave me a whiter shade of pale.  All this Beauty in a  Box repertoire  was accompanied by Marvin Gaye crooning over the scruffy sound system:

What’s Going On…tell me what’s going onnn…

The next step was to tackle our hair.  I watched as each member of the class of  ’72 received bangs.  It was a time somewhere between late chic  Hippie shag and early Farrah Fawcett feathering. The last thing I remember is the stylist grabbing my ponytail wielding a giant pair of scissors and me sobbing into a pre -moistened towelette causing my freshly applied make-up to run. My new doo was now light and feathery carrying less weight.  I guess minimal hair presented a larger allowance for  extra carry -on luggage for the passengers.

When noontime finally rolled around I skipped lunch and ran back to my room.  I raced through the lobby looking like Baby Jane Hudson after she finished her audition to Edward Flagg.  Too late… too late……too late to call for help… I thought to myself ,as I was writing a letter to daddy to send money for a wig….

I never broke Rule 6……..unless washing  my face after class constituted a crime of fashion.

It was lucky rule number seven that nearly did us in:

  There were seven deadly weigh-ins; one per week topped off with a final one just before graduation.  The first six were random  checks in order to keep track of  who would fit through the emergency exit and who would get their fat ass stuck in the window, causing passengers to reroute……

  By the sixth week our class was as thick as thieves which began a tribe of neighborhood watch at The Villa’s. The one girl, Miss Georgia, presented a problem with weight gain and squirreled packets of Hostess Twinkies in her suitcase.  On her sixth weigh-in she was three pounds over weight and could face banishment if she did  not lose that cream filling by graduation.

There was a lot of buzz roaming around the Stew Zoo with regards to Miss Georgia’s weighty situation and none of us wanted a member of our class to fail, especially because of her love for yellow spongy cake hosting a shelf life of 25 years.  We were a band of ingenue’s sticking together like the lavender varnish on our polished hands.  There was a secret meeting to be held around the pool after dinner hour to discuss Miss Georgia’s  cuisine habits.  They thought posting a  24/7 shift of weight- watchers by her side to monitor her Twinkie intake might  secure the issue, but that could heighten the Airline Gestapo’s suspicion and a few of us still felt the sting from breaking rule number One. So……after little consideration of the outcome, and by unanimous vote, the decision to break into the  class weigh-in room and rig the scale won by a landslide.

Come morning weigh-in, the entire class registered three pounds lighter………

After completing the six week training for this eastern airline, a few of us went into Miami to celebrate and tip the scale of success for the graduating class of ’72.  As we approached the restaurant I noticed a large picture of Cybill Shepherd smiling from a drug store window  as she  touted her Cover Girl make-up.  I walked over  to study the poster and  laughed hysterically as I noticed her eyes were fixated on the props piled up next to her:

Tastefully sinful……

spread the humor….

(There will be no more “parts” to this as I have decided to continue my saga into a “diary of a mad flight attendant..featuring many not for prime time adventures”…..CW).




Rule number two was written in bold type with massive underlining and Italics. 

CURFEW. 

I thought I left this behind after graduating high school. It made me wonder if all the “New Stews” parents held a meeting with the airline presenting their list of wrongs.  I left my family back west purposely to break the confines of parental controls.

CURFEW… try telling that to my empty stomach at 10:00 p.m.  My tummy had jet lag and was still adjusting to the three hour time difference as East met West in my digestive organ.

Miss Midwest and I missed our dinner bell and the Airline Gestapo  sent us  straight to our room without dinner. Just like in Junior High ,when your mother got mad just because you were sent home from St. Luke’s Catholic school for setting the goldfish free in the holy water during set-up time for the Church Bazaar.  Anyway, as Midwest and I sat in our double occupancy suite rifling through drawers for signs of pre-packaged sustenance, I noticed a pair of eyes peeking through the gape of our drapes covering our partially opened window.

I whispered to Midwest that someone was outside our room.  She walked over and flapped the curtain open and standing like a deer in headlights was the Bell hop from the Villa’s.  We stood there glaring at him as he squeezed his face partially through the window and spoke in broken English:

“Are chjew gurlz  mucho hungree?”.

It was Jorge ( pronounced: HORE-HAY).  The Cuban bellboy that befriended a few Stews at the villa’s.  He was our only connection to the outside when forced into solitary confinement.  Jorge knew everyone and everything about the Villa’s.  Jorge was able to get you Anyone and Anything at Anytime from the Villa’s.

We pleaded our gastronomic case and asked if he could fetch us some food. He stated he could but we would have to accompany him.  Miss Midwest gave me the same look she gave as when I pulled her into the Bentley earlier that day.  We had made the time constraint of the late night bed check, but we still needed to cover ourselves should the airline gestapo happen to sleep walk.  We stuffed our beds with pillows and blankets to form an “S” shape resembling two laid out Stews. After shutting the light, we proceeded to crawl out the window with the assistance of Jorge who had a golf cart waiting behind a palm tree.

Jorge ushered us into the cart and drove us to the Villa’s Restaurant, which is excluded to New Stews and open to visiting vacationers.  The one thing about an Airline School in the 70’s,  is most of the students are pegged the moment they arrive, and are easily identified by staff and visitor’s.  I was still in my Miami white attire and Jorge was dressed in his Villa’s employee uniform.  I asked Jorge to loan me his tie and red jacket and walked through the Staff entrance to the restaurant kitchen.  It was there I picked up a serving tray and started to slam salami and crudites onto a pile, followed by a stash of French  baguette.  The kitchen staff rambled something in Cuban pointing and laughing as I paraded my silver tray through the aisles of leftovers.  I turned and popped them a smile and a Gracia’s and raced back to the golf cart where my cohorts in crime anxiously awaited.

Miss Midwest et all laughed up a storm as they saw me exit with a tray of delights wearing the Bellboy’s jacket and a black bow-tie.  Jorge let me drive back to our room  and as I parlayed the Cart in reverse  and darted with full  throttle in the dark, I neglected to look behind me and rammed another cart that approached from the rear.

Two well dressed “Suits” stepped out of their golf cart and stood hovering above us ready to land their disgust with this minor accident incident.  Both gentlemen cross examined Miss Midwest and I regarding our status at “this hour of the night”, and “are we employed by the Airline?”.  I  conceded  and offered up our feeble excuse while slowly removing my rented costume and returning it to Jorge.

The one Suit who was missing his tie stepped closer into the light and leaned into our golf cart and spat out:

“Do you know who I am?  I am the V.P. of the Airline that just hired you”.

I was hoping at that time I was not going to crap my Miami white polyester pants.

Mr. Veep scolded us and threatened to have us returned to our homes.  It was then I realized I should have listened to my dad and applied to law school. He always said I could argue my way out of  going the wrong way on a one way street.

 I pleaded with the “Pinstripes” and begged forgiveness from the courting of the idea of; maybe, just maybe, a sentencing of no breakfast in the morning?  I ended with my closing statement describing the heartbreak and disappointment our parents will endure as a result of us being thrown out of “Stew School”.  I sniffled a sentence or two referencing my “stature as a temporary college misfit and winning the Flight Attendant lottery with your Esteemed Airline, and how this is a child’s dream come true to one day turn in my Miami White polyester for the Noble Blue Uniform of the Wings of Man”.  Then I eeked out the airlines rusty slogan in the key of “E” flat with hopes of my cohort butting in as a back up singer:

“You gotta Belieeeve in Eastern……”

The V.P. nearly peed his pants to suppress his laughter. He took our names and numbers and ordered us back to our rooms. He instructed Jorge to drive us back safely.  Miss Midwest and I crawled back through our window and fell onto our beds hardly sleeping, and thinking about our demise facing us in the morning.

It was 8:00 a.m. and the morning Gestapo shift entered our room to announce that “Miss Midwest and I were Grounded for a week”,  thus being responsible for the breaking of  rule’s #3 and #4………

Never miss class and Never miss your Familiarization flight……

It was then I started to study the tactic’s of Gandhi and missing a meal once in a while to prevent any uprisings.    Plus, how was I to know that having Hotel Staff loitering outside your window after 11:00p.m. was breaking rule #5……..

(to be continued……)




I have made  passing references about my past as an airline flight attendant, but did I ever fill you in on how I became one?

First I should inject that this was a career I had over thirty years ago and the Airline is no longer in service.  No….it is not in the Smithsonian………but parts of it are in the Museum of flight exhibit.  I happened upon this when I took my kids on a trip to Washington DC to view some history.  Little did I know I would stumble across a notable prop plane with my daughter at my side pointing out to her friends that it has the same Logo that is on her mom’s  Stewardess wings now collecting dust in a Jewelry box…

When most high school graduates were sending in their SAT scores to prospective colleges, my mind was set on traveling the wonders of the world, and I did not see my self scoring a place and having to SAT my seat in front of a desk thumbing through textbooks.  I knew what I didn’t want to do but not quite sure what I wanted to do.  I was the last of four children and I’m sure my parents were tapping their happy feet for me to venture out.  OUT of the house.

I came home one day and told my mother I decided I want to be a flight attendant.  My mother’s reply to that staement went a little like this: ” Why?….Any idiot can do that.”.  Well, being that my grades were in the toilet at the time, and Harvard and Yale were not Knock-knock-knockin’ on my door…..in fact no college was knocking….not even a light tap-tap was audible;  I decided to succumbed to my  mothers statement and went to all available ticket counters at our local airport to  fill out an  application that might send this Idiot abroad.

My first interview and rejection was from a large airline that UNITED their fleet all over the globe.  I returned home feeling distraught and feeling the FOOL and now realizing that I’m one less idiot that can’t make the cut.  My mother sat in the living room reading her morning paper and sipping a cup of java as I entered the house with my head lowered fighting back the tears and laughing on the wrong side of the mouth.  I crept in down the hallway and headed straight to my room to wallow in my defeat.  Without looking up from her Dear Abby column she slung the words toward me:

“So..how did it go?”

I gave her my results through a broken voice :

“They said  Thank you for coming……………NEXT!

My mother folded the Times and placed it on her lap and looked at me. She could see the disappointment I endured and then uttered a few sentences that went like this:

“You know why they didn’t hire you?  You’re too pretty for that airline.  Your father and I fly that airline all the time and those girls are not easy on the eyes.”

Then she offered to call my father who knew the CEO of that airline to help me along with the process.  I rolled my teary eyes at her and her backhanded compliment and declined her offer.  This idiot doesn’t need a helping hand……

Out of the Ten or so applications I sent out to become a flight attendant three responded back with proposed interview dates.  The first was the afore mentioned above, the second was from an EASTERN company that I had never heard of because I was a local from the Pacific Northwest.  I had it set in my mind to handle this interview differently. I decided to let fate and nature take its course.

I borrowed a suit from a girlfriend that was one size too big, and clipped my long brown hair into a studious undocked tail of a pony.  My make up was subdued and my pantyhose the color of the Ivory coast with my feet locked into someone’s leftover Nun’s shoes.  I was the ugly Idiot determined to go abroad…..

I walked into the entrance of the building shuffling my shoes along the linoleum when something hit me in the pit of my stomach……….

It was yesterday’s enchilada.

I raced to the concierge for directions to the nearest restroom and made it to the porcelain thrown as chili peppers held an emergency evacuation of last nights dinner.  I sat there in all my glory emptying contents and thoughts of missing my interview based on some bad beans.   I fled from the scene of the chyme and raced upstairs to make my appointment.  I hurried to the designated office and flew through the doors only to be greeted by a room full of life like Barbie’s.  There they were aligned in a U- shaped formation around the room……….forty girls, beautiful, tall, perfectly postured, trimmed, sleek, impeccably dressed with Ultra- Brite smiles.

I crossed the room to take the final seat and sat there as my pony tail flogged the person next to me and my stomach growled Beethoven’s 9th……

An Airline rep entered the room and called out half the names to follow her and the second half remain in the room.  I was left in the room.  It was then I was ready to accept the fated realization that who in their right mind would hire this plain Idiot in an over sized hounds tooth printed attire shifting in their chair stressing to suppress  a symphony of Gas.  I should just relieve myself of this ill-fated agony ……Well that would be one way to clear the room of competition….

In those hours I managed a few trips to the ladies room, hoping I wouldn’t be marked “absent” for my upcoming interview.  I was the last person called, and as the interviewer approached me I detected a wince emanating from her face as she ushered in her last candidate into her office who looked more like a Cabbage Patch Kid left out in the back yard too long  than a prospective Airline Stewardess.

The Interview lasted over an hour and most the time it was filled with visual scrutiny and few ” ah yes….” and “Hmmm” as she scribbled addendum’s into her notebook.  She ended with the usual  “Thank you” and shook my hand.  I walked out of her office knowing there was no future in this company for me and said “Thank you” in return.  As I took three steps down the hall the interviewer called out to me and said:

” Say…would you mind changing your hair style?”

I spun around and looked her in the eyes and smiled my reply:

“If you can do something with this hair I would be grateful,  I have been trying for years and can’t do a thing with it”.

It was a week later I got a call for a second interview and this is how that went down:

I wore a nice suite that fit, I wore wedge heels, I  applied make up, and I didn’t eat any Mexican food the night before.  I made the interview on time and noticed only one other girl in the waiting room.

I was called into a small dimly lit room with a leggy blonde sitting at a desk that held a smoldering cigarette in a glass ashtray.  She stood up to greet me and we shook hands. She asked me to have a seat. I sat as she discussed the Airline’s back round and what is required of a  Flight Attendant who  works for this airline.  I listened intently and answered when asked.  She then told me there is certain protocol with this airline and there fore I needed to be put through some tasks:

One task was to see how you walked, carried yourself, stature, balance, and posture.  She asked me to rise and walk about five feet and turn around to face her.  I rose out of my chair and in doing so my nylon clad foot slipped out of my backless wedgies and I toppled to the floor.  I got up from the cold tile and I turned to look at her and said:

“Well, that went well”.

The Marlena Dietrich Interviewer didn’t even flinch, she lit another cigarette and  blew a puff of smoke in my direction and muttered:

“Continue”.

I walked  the allotted five feet steady as she goes, and spun around to return when she shot a command of :

“STOP. Stand right there.”

And I did. Frozen in step.   Then she ordered another request:

“Raise your skirt up so I can see your thighs”.

Okaaayyyyy……yeah…….uuuuhhh…..yikessheesh….now wait a minute sister……can I have a nurse in the room?

I stood across the room and questioned the thoughts going through my head.  I looked back at her  through another puff of smoke as her head glanced down at a sheet of paper filled with check marks.  I stood there with  my eyes closed as I grasped the bottom of my skirt and fanned the hem high above my waist resembling a card board cut out of a Can-Can girl………minus the kicks.  While poised center stage flashing my Moulin Rouge,I heard the interviewer cough a chuckle and state:

” You can put that skirt down.  This year our Flight Attendants are wearing Hot Pants and we need to see the size of the legs to see if it is a right fit for the uniform”.

Strike two….I’m batting a thousand..I’m sure I’ve nailed this job…..what…..starting with a fall , followed by flashing my panties with Thursday written all over them…..as if she needed reminding of what day is was…..

She walked me to the door and said: “Thank You”.

I reiterated the same and tried to leave with what dignity I had left, and as I took another step she called out to me:

“I forgot to mention where you will be based, you have a choice  of New York or San Juan”.

I told her San Juan is fine, being that I was from the Pacific Northwest and we use to boat around the San Juan Islands all the time and I would be close to my hometown of Seattle.

 She blew her final puff of smoke and went back into her office.

A week later I received a packet from this EASTERN company announcing my acceptance to the airline and  a welcome aboard the “Wings of Man”.  I was so excited I rallied around the family and told them my base is really close to home.

“It’s San Juan”, I scream with delight.

My sister read the fine print of my contract and stated it was a base in PUERTO RICO……

Idiot Abroad…..

spread the humor.




Now that my kids are soon to be vacating the house on a semi permanent basis I need to fill a void that has been lying dormant for years. Something that I have been aVOIDing to do based on my life as a wife, mother, dog walker, housekeeper, nurse, chief cook and bottle washer, chauffeur, laundress, accountant, gardener, psychiatrist, travel agent, consultant, sports authority, and sibling rivalry referee………

I am ready to Tap-out now and try my attempt at re-entering the workforce.  It has been years since I’ve held full time work and I am not afraid to go out into this world and show them exactly what I’ve got:

 

I’ve got a wardrobe from the 1990’s.

 

I’ve got the ability to apply my half -used free samples of Lancome products that I acquired over the years during  a Macy*s back to school sale.  Yes, I got a little side tracked at the Mall while hunting for back-packs and lunch boxes. 

In fact, I’ve got pulled aside by many mall make up artist’s who try to perform their magic on me.  I can’t imagine why they keep picking me out of the crowd of soccer moms.  I arrive dressed in appropriate attire when the doors open in the morning.  I see nothing wrong with waking up and sliding down my fire pole to slip into my uniform sweats that have been standing at attention all night, accompanied by dirty Vans and a Hoodie.  I carry an odiferous  aroma about my being ranging between Downey fabric softener and last night’s Pizza.

  I’ve got my hair in an erect ponytail and  I shield my puffy bags with over sized Raybans.  I can’t imagine why the make-up crews single me out……..

 

I’ve got the ability to clean up while driving and apply make-up at stop intervals. The drivers behind me hate it though, they keep honking at me just because I’m waiting for the Stop sign to turn green.  I thought it would buy me more time with the Mascara…. I find it takes two applications now.  One; to find the lashes, and two; to glue together the few that I have left…..forming a uni-lash.


The downfall about putting make-up on in a car are the bumps in the roads. They are always working on our streets and neglecting to refill the potholes, so when I finally reach my final destination ( usually the school drop off line) and park my car and get out, I notice people staring and kids pointing in my direction.

After transmitting my morning without coffee sneer to ward off evil onlookers, I take a quick pause into the ladies room to wash the morning gas of my hands from filling the empty tank left by my husband.  I looked up at the mirror as I rinsed the suds off  my paws and saw what the villagers were scoffing at:  My freshly applied make-up face resembled a combination of  Picaso’s Weeping Woman and Baby Jane Hudson’s as she delivered a Parakeet to her sister…….

 

I’ve got a pair of pumps that my feet haven’t felt in ages.  One cannot describe the agonizing pinch of  the toes that have been granted freedom in flip flops with arches that collapsed from the great depression of Ked’s insoles.  I took the time one late afternoon to strap on some heels and practice walking in them around the house  with no one around to witness the teetering and the giant fight against balance, except Charly-dog, who steered clear of my runway  in fear of a crash landing.

I spent the better half of the day shuffling about in my designer heels  that peeped out from my Yoga pants.  I practiced my walk until I felt I had it down to a science and stopped echoing a staggering drunk on some forgotten street.  I felt confident and assured that I had tackled the High Heel dilemma and ventured to take my stiletto’s to another dimension:  The Stair case.

Climbing up the steps was met with ease….. it was the descent that had me  clinging to the banister like Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, avoiding a result mimicking Scarlett O’Hara’s demise  after her lunge toward a drunken Butler…….

 

I’ve got a resume.    Somewhere.   It hasn’t been updated since the Clinton administration.   Just a minor indescretion oversight.

 

I’ve got credentials.  I’m accredited with incredibility. References available upon request.  Go ahead…..request.  Request until the cows come home.  Habeas corpus; I can produce the body……..it’s just a little rusty and needs a make over….which the Lancome staff has a signed commitment to uphold……

If you don’t like my credibility try my crudites. They are incredible, and edible, but not available upon request.

 

I’ve got the corporate beige panty hose that are tied up in knots from the last load in the wash cycle.

 

I’ve got a brief case from 1987 that needs airing.

I’ve got a boat load of humor stuck in me that is trying to float to the surface………………..

spread the humor.




I just spent the last week out West visiting friends and combing the old neighborhood.  Or should I say “Hoods”, as we owned a few places there during our eight year stint in La-La land.  There is an old cliche that I have heard in my youth from one octogenarian that carries a familiar ring to it, and it goes like this:

“You can never go home again”.

Meaning, once one makes a big change in ones life, things will not be the same.

Or will they?

What if you have lived and left so many places that you have forgotten which is the one place you call home?  Is home where the heart is?  What if I left my heart in San Fransisco……. well, maybe I’m an organ donor……….

  What if I sold a home in Los Angeles and took the  cold cash and left smiling with my heart pounding with profit……only to return to witness my ex abode had nearly doubled  in value since I left.  Which elevated the blood pressure that could produce a heart to linger in the old hood for a permanent stay.

Maybe some claim their home to be where their families originate from.  After I finish a trip out to visit my original clan, the cliche circling my head when I leave changes to :

” I don’t wanna go home again”.

When I enter my 87 year old mothers home I am blown away by the volume of her  55 inch HDTV  that stands four feet away from her  leather Lazy-Boy screaming re-runs of Archie Bunker  into her ears that are covered with wireless headphones that she neglects to turn on.

As I repeatedly tell her to turn the volume down on the flat screen, she motions with her hands that she can’t hear me  and complains ” how the new headphones my brother bought her are faulty”, while fumbling for the remote in the seat cushion, which she ultimately left on the kitchen table….

It usually takes a good 45 minutes to muddle through our initial HELLo’s as this is her morning ritual.  My mother’s hearing has been checked and has been determined normal by her Doctors.  Normal for who……all 87 year old ladies?  I can just imagine her annual physical with the MD who just graduated  cum LOUD from Medical school:

 Dr:   ” Well Mrs. C, we find your hearing is normal for a woman of your age, now here’s an Rx for some Q-tips and the nurse will equip you with a new volume controlled Remote at the front desk .  It has three settings: LOUD…..LOUDER……and LOUDEST.  We do offer our deluxe model that is assured to strike a family  members nerve and chase them from your home, but I believe it has yet to be covered by Medicare..”.

Every time I leave from a visit  with my mother  and her turbulent TV, I am left with voices ringing in my head for days.  The frequency and pitch that emanate from her GSN network  combined with a decibel level that could enforce an earthquake, cause my brain to short circuit, which leads me to a frantic rage to unearth the lost remote.   WHICH concluded my suspicion that it was  actually Rod Roddy’s voice belting in the back round  inviting me to  “C’MON DOWN”  to visit when I phoned her last………no wonder she was surprised to see me…..

It’s not just her blatant TV that drives me back into therapy, it’s watching her use her cell phone to lower the volume of the TV, and  then complain that the remote is as faulty as the wireless head phones….

Or watching her race around to locate where the ringing is coming from. She keeps her cell and house phone nearby, but sometimes they find themselves  traveling separately and end up in different locations.  My brother likes to tease, and  will dial her home phone and cell phone simultaneously.  He says it gets her out of the recliner……..a form of exercise……..Dr.’s Orders….

Sometimes when I have been out running errands for her I return to the Loud TV sitting alone.  My mother is nowhere in sight.  My heart started an anxious pounding of what I might find around the corner, but it was subdued by my slipping on a trail of green olives I found leading to the front door.  She had stepped out to the porch to enjoy a mid afternoon cocktail.  A  dry martini with green olives.  NOT Doctor’s orders.

I went outside and sat out front with her as she stared out  into the yard. I watched as she sipped her forbidden drink and was thoroughly amazed at how she could manage to locate and mix a  perfect martini for herself yet unable to turn off the TV or lower the volume.  I watched as she calmly enjoyed her surroundings even with the boisterous back round of Desi Arnaz babaloooing through the halls…

I went in the kitchen and helped my self to one of her Martini’s and found the remote to turn down the TV to a level below “Batty” and joined her out side.  As we sat and studied the gardens she turned to me and noticed I was lacking olives in my martini.  I told her she was out of olives.  As I lifted my foot to cross my legs she saw my shoes coated with olive and pimento residue smashed on the sole and stated:

“Most people use them IN the drink”.

That made made us laugh……and my heart flutter as the Home Shopping Network bartered in the back round noise……

 When I returned home I sat in front of my TV watching a travel show and contemplated  all the areas of this great planet  that I have had the privilege to call home.  The places I have lived and left, as far as I can see, actually remained the same, maybe over the years some have sprouted some urban growth, but the changes I witnessed came from the heart. I sat on the couch sleepily captivated by my thoughts only to be awakened by my daughter telling me to:

“Turn the volume down on the TV”……..

spread the humor.




My high school son announced the other day that he was getting a tattoo.

I told him: “That’s nice, and when you leave for your  INK appointment make sure you take extra clothes with you”.

He stated back: ” Why? Do they make you change your clothes?”.

“No”.  I smiled back at him….” You’ll be needing something  to wear when you find yourself  no longer living in this house for doing something stupid”.

“My friend Jordan got one”….He mocks back.  “It’s scripture, written under his arm”.

“Well”, I breath out between gritted teeth, “I’m sure  God will be pleased to know that his word is being spread through Jordan’s armpit”.

 He carries on:  “You know I turn 18 soon, and I don’t need your permission. That’s what Jordan did”.

I hate that sense of entitlement and the continual referencing of the legal age of consent being thrown at me.  Just four years prior I had to defend against the dark art of over usage of that illegal statement by my daughter.  (That’s right..I call it an Illegal statement because teens tend to use it before they are deemed legal).

I smiled that smile you may have seen painted across the Mona Lisa’s face;  the one that smirks: I’m not that innocent…..

I shot back: ” Son, you are right, you don’t need my permission, nor my money, nor a roof over your head, nor the car you drive, nor the snowboard and all the equipment that goes with it, nor the food in the fridge, nor the education I provided, nor the pants that hang below the boxer line, nor the straight teeth, nor the numerous Doctor visits to cure your acne, nor…”

“Mom”…he tries to chime in, interrupting my total recall as I tally his bill and prepare an invoice for Mom Services Rendered.

“Moooom, stop already..I get it”.

“Oh sorry son, sometimes my Stepford brain wiring runs amok with  phrases pertaining to child rearing chores…”

I continue; ” It triggers a signal when a teen gives me eye rolling attitude and it can fly out of control when such teen harbors intense entitlement followed by  contemptible demands that are rooted and enhanced by Jordan’s freshly  stamped armpit”.

How is it that I give birth to two different children of two different genders four years apart, yet I am  met with similar situations at roughly the same time intervals? How…

My daughter once came to me at the same age and roughly the same time with the same demand: I’m getting a tattoo.  Why do they pick a tattoo. Why not a new spiral notebook or a matching pair of High GPA’s.  If they are looking to instill the shock value, getting high scores might do it for me…..

As far as I can tell, I quashed the tattoo dilemma with my daughter the same way I managed to hold off any piercings in areas where they don’t belong.  When my daughter was five she wanted her ears pierced.  Her reasoning at the time was:

 “Because her friend Emily is getting her ears pierced”.

  I wasn’t going to get into the family accolade of my mother’s comeback to anything I wanted to do in benefit of someone else, that being: “Well would you jump off a bridge if so-n-so jumped off a bridge?”.

In which I always responded with: “Possibly… it depends on the weather”.  Or some ending that would throw her a curve ball and cause her Stepford Brain to re-route…

I brought my daughter to a local mall to get her ears pierced as she petitioned.  As we stood next in line, the first piercing victim was a four year old girl stepping up to a high stool  minus any arm support. We watched as the ear-piercing attendant approached her with a giant gun that shoots studs into her delicate lobes.  My daughter witnessed an unbearable Ear Piercing scream from the cute little waif and grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the exit doors.

The next piercing conversation that came up was in her teens when the rave was attaching  a gold hoop through your navel, nose, tongue, and any other not for prime time area of the body. I merely discussed with her that should she attempt to pierce anything but the lobe of her ears, I will personally shop her down and remove the piercing my self….no anesthesia required…..

My first born’s inclinations for obtaining an underage tattoo came about later ,nearing her high school graduation. She, too, offered up the proverbial ” Household Teen Amendment” of: “When I’m eighteen………..”.

It was then I took the medical approach to describe in pain staking detail to my daughter the artistry of Tattooing, knowing full well  of the intense fear she has of needles.  I know this first hand from the early years of her receiving inoculations by the Pediatrician.  My daughter required a Swat team to steady her limbs…..

I continued my diatribe of the long term effect of hosting a tattoo.  I calmly explained that depending upon the physical location of this desired Ink Splotch, she will wake up one morning with that cute little butterfly she posted on the lower 40 anatomy and discover its collagen wings  collapsed  and fell into a fatty fold. And in another thirty years or so  she will experience the butterfly defect of The Girl with the Dragging tattoo….

For all you fresh parents out there who shelter tiny tots and elementary  dumplings who can’t imagine ever being confronted with issues outside of Gerber, Lego, and little league;  hold onto your diaper bags when you hit that bump in the stroller.  There will come a time when one has to confront the battle of the almost legal teen who  proudly injects their unprincipled Bill of Rights onto your List of Wrongs.

Just make sure you don your under armor and prepare for the battle of parental injustice as they cry  foul play when you take their hand in yours and guide them down that road of   teenage wasteland to take  a sneak  peek  under their armpit nation…….

spread the humor. This one’s for you Karen…




I have been doing time as a quasi- stay- at -home parent for..let’s say…..22.5 years.   I believe I  have met the necessary requirements and demands  that became the imprisoned criteria throughout those years in order to  obtain freedom from:  boring PTA meetings,  exhaustible Fund Raisers, Mad Max Sports Chauffeur,  24 hour on call chef , Personal Shopper, Emotional Referee, and in-house psychiatrist…..All this parental jurisprudence  under one leaky roof to allow freedom while enforcing order among family chaos….

I have enjoyed my time in this institution of parenting through each and every stage of child development.   All the way from directing developing girls into their  first wonder bra, to underdeveloped boys figuring out how to un-hook them.

It seems like only yesterday that my daughter was putting her toddler feet into my size 8 Charles Jourdan’s teetering and shuffling through the house while leaving a trail of scratch marks on the hardwoods.  Now she is grown and shuffles her  Knock-off collection between college and home via the trunk of a car, and still teeters and stumbles  in her stiletto’s on the hardwoods.

And my son, soon to  approach high school graduation and walk towards that collegiate path where he will pick up the fork in the road  and use it as a reminder of all the lovely over cooked meals mom made for him.  I think he will enjoy his “leaving the nest” gift I constructed out of the  equipment and attire that lays suffocating inside his sports bag gasping for a breath of fresh Febreze huddled in the garage for months on end….…..oh it just brings tears to my eyes……..

 Yes, time flies when you’re raising kids. Sometimes too fast and in certain predicaments, sometimes not fast enough. Looking back for example: Potty training.  My children had stubborn bottoms. There was no way in Hell that they were going to plant their tuschies on a porcelain stool containing water with a hole in it and “let loose”.  They might fall in and who knows where that  would lead to.

I invested in a lot of time and energy and “potty” reading material in order to get my kids trained in toiletry. I researched all the child experts and read  their advice on bathroom training and the commode controversy. All that information just filtered an assortment of crap that drained me and I was left pooped for the day. Who has that kind of time to sit and read  lengthy descriptive potty books to toddlers in hopes to encourage a movement.

When my kids did finally concede to try the pot located in a chamber adjacent to their rooms, they found themselves  actually liking it and would sit for what seemed like hours.  Once my son  hopped off the pot to go grab a toy and return to the bathroom theater to reenact the “mummy” with Elmo wrapped in Ultra Soft.

My daughter took a more regal approach and dragged her Crayola markers  to the throne as she mastered an  imitation of a Calder painting onto the toilet tank.

Yes, those were the days that I didn’t mind if the hours raced on ahead…

 Lately,I find myself caught in a web that spins in only two directions as my parenting comes down a home stretch creating a possibility for early parole….if you’ll Pardon the expression. There is a minor offensive feeling of freedom when you are about to face an empty nest. It’s sort of an unleashed guilty pleasure of retreating back to what was once designated  as ” Me Time”;  yet, at the same time, harboring a push-me-pull-you defense against “letting Go”.

Just as I came to grips with the realization that my household was soon to be down to basically Charly-dog and me, and I started to feel the content and joy of releasing  most of the everyday tedium  involved with indwelling kids.  Just as my heart  started to jump for joy as I unfastened the shackles of daily duties revolving around kid schedules and looking forward to…oh….I dunno………. perennial Spa time?……..

I received a phone call.

My son’s school called to ask if we could be an “emergency host family for a foreign exchange student from Holland who needed a place until graduation in June”.

This all came about before the holidays. I could not  lie and tell my sons school that there was “no room at the inn”, so I took the little Dutch boy in.

Apparently Amsterdam Boy and my son are two tulips in a vase. They became best friends at the beginning of the  school year.  When Holland boy’s window of opportunity landed  from Netherland into our home, I swear I had met my sons Doppleganger.  They are the same size and shape. They laugh alike, they walk alike, and  times they even talk alike.……….in different languages.

They are both carved out of the same Dutch Elm. Both their bedrooms  resemble an aftermath of the Fourth Anglo-Dutch war.  The shrapnel of clothing splinter out from the opened dresser drawers and wounded trousers lay lifeless on the floor from their nights frivolity.  I gather up dirty laundry from two countries  now.  I find myself lost in the glory of scooping up the minor coins that strategically drop from  loosened pockets throughout the house.  I’ll hang onto the Euro’s from Dutch boy until the exchange rate drops to our level, then give him a buy back option…

I will conclude that hosting a foreign exchange student has actually turned out to be a pleasure.  There are no major complications and the language barrier is minimal.  He respects my professionalism I’ve acquired in the experience of teen behavior:  Eye Rolling is International.

Yes, confronting the empty nest syndrome has had some effect on me. It caused me to confront the hollow spaces left behind where dirty laundry and missing History assignments use to congregate.  I always thought when this time came,  I would succumb to the sadness of a half empty house  and wallow and wine as I second guess my parenting skills. Skills that did not include instructions from the onset.  Skills that you obtained through trial and error and all the Dr. Spock books in the world could not prepare you for. Skills that have been handed down from generations  nursing  verbal acuity with four simple words:

“Because I said so….”

Yes, the bars will be lifted soon and I will be set free to roam about the cabin without tripping over size 13 shoes left in the middle of the kitchen floor; accompanied now  with size 12 Faux Wooden clog slippers.  Something tells me my nest won’t be empty for long and my parental ship will not be sailing into the sunset where freedom rings and Chianti flows rampant, and responsibility can take a back seat. Something  out there is still lurking around and sniffing about my feet to fill the void that is soon to come…..

Oh..yea… I forgot………Charly-dog.

spread the humor



{January 7, 2012}   In one Blog and Out the Other

I love the holidays. I am sorry to see them go.  I believe I could become one of those recluses who keeps their lights and tree up all year long just to keep the spirit alive, and have the home owners association fine me at the same time.

I love Christmas and all the festivities that accompany it.  In the past I use to get annoyed at the fact that the retail businesses would set  up Santa’s workshop in stores shortly after Labor Day, but now I love that the Holiday arrives earlier and earlier every year; It just means I get to revel in that carnival atmosphere a little longer.

Although they start the Christmas phantasm following the  August back to school sales, I still love that I can retreat to the basement and sort through my recently added purchases from last years after Christmas sales.  I don’t know what it is that triggers me to run to the nearest Target or K-mart and thumb through their empty shelves of the previous years leftovers. It is such a gratification to grab a box of netted multi lights for 75% off.   Ohhh…. and hold me back from the singing Elvis ornaments…..I am so glad I didn’t weaken one day and fork out the full price for that…. yes, I am an ornament junkie.

I have  been seen rifling through end caps located in a  targeted area that offer ginormous bins loaded with discarded Christmas paraphernalia in hopes of finding that Lost Ark to add to my temple of doom & gloom that surrounds my house pre- Holiday.

I have had a a house full of people these last few weeks, and enjoyed every minute of it. I love the hustle -n-flow of the teens traipsing through my house leaving trails of candy cane pieces that had set up residence in the couch.  And let’s not forget to mention the patches of dark residue embedded in the carpet fibers, which I mistook for “doggie surprises”, but later turned out to be traces of a Tootsie Roll…………Thank God it wasn’t the other way around.

I am going to miss wading knee deep in the aftermath of torn wrapping paper, and the sticky bows that adhere themselves onto my clothing and go unnoticed until the cashier at the return line in Macy*s peels it off my back like a piece of stinky lint.

My favorite Holiday episode is fighting with colorful tissue remnants stuck to my shoe.  I hated the looks I received when I exited a Sear’s Ladies Room  one day, when I was met with countless stares and titters as my Jimmy Choo waved a white flag from it’s three inch heel.  As I hoofed it past the customer service line, I found myself conjuring up a soliloquy to numerous strangers giggling behind their basket of returns :

“No, really….it’s Christmas tissue……really.…it is...honest…I..I have proof, check the gummy outline on the sole from last years Scotch tape fiasco…”.

The part of Christmas I tend to wrestle the most with is the Tree.  For most of my life we would always indulge in a Real Christmas tree. A Tree that you would stuff family members into a mini van and venture out to a far-a-way farm to spend hours in the cold choosing the right tree  to fit the family room.  I love the smell of Pine in the house and spending days trying to remove the pitch from my hands.  I especially loved the endless upkeep involving never ending vacuuming of piled- up pine needles.  Pine needles that continued to show up throughout the summer.  In fact I think I found a needle from Y2K.

I know this because it was then that I switched to  the fake trees.  They are very life like and are all inclusive.  No need to” just add water…..”.  You take them out of a big box and they pop up and plug in. They have Pine Spray should you miss the scent of a wooded area. The problem is when it’s all over and stuffing that little faker back into its original box.  I find myself in a half nelson with the branches as I roll the tree into the box and ask three people to sit on it until it settles down.  And…I still find myself grabbing the vacuum to suck up Fake pine needles.

I have a friend who has a fake tree in its own Bag.  Her Holiday regime is met with:

First:    Open a bottle of wine and pour a glass …

Second: Open bag and raise slowly from the bottom up and lo and behold an instant tree with lights and ornaments.

Third:    Bottoms Up! And  sit and enjoy the sparkling Spruce while listening to your neighbors cursing at their Evergreens to “stand up straight”.

Yes I love the holidays. The beginning, middle, and end.  I love the aftermath of  de- Ornamenting the tree and placing them back into their  bulbous home and dragging the Tubs to the basement to stow them in an area that is only reachable by a ladder. I love climbing back up the stairs to the bare space in the corner where a naked tree stands pointing it’s fabricated projections at me dangling two forgotten red balls…..

I love arguing with the wintered rose bushes that are holding the outdoor net lights hostage in their thorns.  Every year I keep thinking I’ll return into the house unscathed, but, inevitably I always lose that war of the roses and end up looking like something the cat dragged in……carrying Christmas lights.

LED….less energy……right.

The one thing that was different this year was my daughter having to leave to return to school.  The time seemed to fly by this holiday break and before I knew it she was packing her bags and loading them into the car for the trip back to Happy Valley.   It seems like only yesterday she arrived with baskets of  laundry and suitcases filled a mile high with clothing spewing down a mountainside of of unwashed unmentionables.

Oh..it is such a bittersweet moment when the Holidays end at my house.  One is saddled with the leftovers of  Christmas residuals and the minor deflation of the Spirit gone by the wayside until next year.  I watched through the window of my daughters empty room as the car pulled down the driveway heading down the road back to her future , and I felt a pang of emptiness as I retreated from the window to start the year with some post Christmas cleaning.  I turned around to head towards her closet and there was an unopened gift my daughter  had left behind for me……………

The basket of dirty laundry…….ohhh…. Happy New Year…

Spread the Humor




The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,300 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.



et cetera
%d bloggers like this: