Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Where Were You When The World Stopped Turnin' That September Day?

Everyone over the age of 25 can tell you where they were on 9/11. I was at Wrinkle City in our usual morning sales meeting when my desk phone started ringing without stopping. That morning, we had some corporate VP's visiting, and the meeting tone was somber.  My Sales Director was nervous that they were there to fire him because sales for the community were flat at best.

One VP was annoyed enough at the disruption that he said to take the call.  It was Wingman-literally screaming into the phone.  He had just gone through the Holland Tunnel on his way to a meeting when he and his associate saw the first plane hit the Tower. "Turn on a TV and call me back and tell me what happened!"

Memories after that were 10 second sound bytes. Crying seniors holding each other watching the news. The guy in the adjoining cubby trying desperately to get in touch with his parents who were en route to Vegas out of Newark. (They were fine). The VP's leaving solemnly to go back to DC after learning what happened at the nearby Pentagon. (My director in fact, did not lose his job).

Because of the limited cell service, I couldn’t reach Wingman. Hours later, I got a call that they were safe but unable to get out of the City.  The boys weren't even aware that he went to NYC that day, so I called the BFF who worked at their high school and asked her to let them know.  Son #1 was OK with the news, but son #2 lost it. As a new freshman, he had two friends whose parents were unaccounted for. Both perished.

One event in the following days moved me more than anything. On that first Friday night, he high school football coach had the JV and Varsity teams stand as honor guards outside the church next to the school. To see Son #1 and the rest of those young men standing silently as people sobbed their way into the church left me speechless. The following week, Son #2 and the freshman team stood as honor guards at one of their teammate’s dad’s wake.

Since then, I’ve met some of the most resilient people who either survived the attack or lost someone that day. I took knitting lessons from a woman who lost her husband just a few months after having her third child, then survived breast cancer which led to writing a book.  The freshman football player who started the junior board of a 9/11 charity after his dad died the first week of school. Then there are happy stories with further tragic twists: the dad of a college teammate of Son #2 who lost his youngest brother in 9/11, was a great supporter of his two athletic sons, then lost the youngest to a brain tumor. A woman who lost her husband, then found a new love only to suddenly lose him the morning that they were to leave on a vacation.

Today is a day to remember. It’s also a day to do something good. It’s a day to honor the memory of those we love no matter how or when they died. It can be as simple as a smile. Today, I choose to be what united us the day after 9/11 rather than what has divided us since. I already have a Dunkin card ready to buy some coffees.

And if you have time, watch this uplifting video of the biggest water rescue in history-that of 9/11. It’s what brought boat owners large and small together on that fateful day.

Friday, July 26, 2019

What Good Is Sitting Alone In Your Room, Come Hear The Music Play

Even before there was a Wingman, I loved music, even though it didn't manifest itself in any talent on my part. I sang in a children's choir where the director said that I had a "special voice" so I sat apart from the rest of the girls. I was in a folk group as a teen, but don’t ask about my tambourine playing.  And because it required no talent, I was the ultimate groupie for a couple of bands that played in local bars at the shore.

I met Wingman at a party after his friend joined one of those bands.  We didn't talk about music the first night-we talked about watching Casablanca and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.  When he asked if I would like to play tennis with him, I eagerly accepted...even though athletics are another one of my Achilles heels. It was just the first of many differences between us.  The quote "opposites attract", was us to a tee. Different upbringings, political stances, and don't even talk about styles of cooking.  The Easter Duck Debacle still resonates loudly.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Fathers Be Good to Your Daughters. Daughters Will Love Like You Do

Of all the Hallmark holidays, Father’s Day doesn’t cost me a dime. No grandfathers, godfather or father-in-law. For the past seven years, not even the father-of-my-children which saves me money not having to buy ugly tank tops and Yankees shirts for the boys to excitedly give him. Father’s Day use to be a testosterone filled, toilet seat in the vertical position, who-is-playing-on-what-field day. It’s anything but that now.

Four years ago, my dad died.  It wasn't totally unexpected.  He had been sick on and off for about a year, with the doctors misdiagnosing his pulmonary fibrosis.  He died three days after Wingman's birthday, and I literally WILLED him to stay alive at least a day past that so I wouldn't be forced to say "Yep, today is Wingman's birthday and the day Dad died.” It may not have been as much my will as his final wish to see his great granddaughter one more time before he died. I guess I know where I get my stubbornness from.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Time Grabs You By The Wrist, Directs You Where To Go...

When I worked at Wrinkle City, I gave lectures at our sales luncheons about the wonderful quality of life one would have living there.  I would admonish everyone however, that because they would be downsizing, they couldn't move in with everything they had in their big houses. In my 12 years working there, I don't think one person ever listened to me.

Moving into my smaller townhouse, I didn't listen to me either.

Monday, March 18, 2019

We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, If It's The Last Thing We Ever Do

When I babysit my grandkids, they love to be read to before nap time, and they usually bring out the biggest books in the pile.  One of the most beautifully illustrated is a book of fairy tales which I always enjoy reading plus oohing and aahing over the pictures.

All except Hansel and Gretel.  I hate that story. Because while I'm waiting on my condo to close, I'm living the "fattening up the kids" part with my mother. In just six short weeks I've put on five pounds.  That's all I'm admitting to and the scale will never tell it's version of the truth.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Good Luck Movin' On 'Cause I'm Movin' Out

According to Science Daily, the average time from ovulation to giving birth is 268 days. According to MLS, the time between the day I listed my home, sold it and moved out was 6 days short of that at 262 days. Unlike any of my pregnancies, there was nothing “magical” or exciting about trying to keep the house clean and look like I didn't live there with an adult son with allergies to vacuum cleaners and a big old hairy dog. Having the home inspection was similar to the unfounded fears in amniocentesis and praying the buyers didn't find anything majorly wrong. And just like a woman whose water breaks unexpectedly in the grocery store and goes into quick labor, I got a call that the buyers wanted to close in just two short weeks after waiting 5 months for them to get a contract. Delivering my 10 pound, 12 ounce second son without an epidural was less painful.

Monday, December 31, 2018

And So This Is Christmas, And What Have You Done?

This year, I overcame my compulsion to create the “perfect” Christmas. For too many years, I over-bought, over-wrapped, over-decorated and over-everything-ed, attempting to over-compensate for Wingman’s dislike of my Uber-Christmases and his drinking. Every year we were like two speeding Polar Express freight trains heading towards each other with the same disastrous results.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

You Just Keep Me Hanging On

One evening last week, I was working the phone like my job was in a call center: stressful and with frustrating results.  The buyer of my house was begging for ANOTHER extension since he hadn’t sold his townhouse. My realtor was insisting that we squash the deal and let him find me a “real” buyer-something that he hadn’t produced in the previous five months. I was trying to juggle meeting up with a friend who simultaneously was trying to juggle a mandatory visit to an in-law in the hospital. A lot of talk with no action.

That night, I had a dream about Wingman which shocked me because I don’t recall having even one dream about him since he died. In it, we were on a cruise ship which was apropos, since he said, after our only cruise together, that the next one would be “over his dead body”.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Like Painted Kites, Those Days and Nights, They Went Flyin' By

Just call me Rip Van Widow. I went to bed on the last night of spring, and woke up on the first day of fall.  WHAT HAPPENED TO SUMMER??? More importantly, why does summer seem to get shorter every year?

Many years and a lifetime ago with three ridiculously active sons, I spent all of my days off between June and August either at a baseball field or on the beach.  It was infinitely satisfying sitting doing absolutely nothing except the NY Times Sunday Crossword (in pen) while enjoying a pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich along with a cup of coffee. The only way I knew where I was headed, was by what I wore. A tank top was important in keeping my tan lines in check, but wearing a bathing suit to a baseball game would have embarrassed the hell out of my sons.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Cause You Had A Bad Day, You're Taking One Down, You Sing a Sad Song Just To Turn It Around

Thanks to social media, I'm able to remember all of the happy moments I've shared to prove to mostly total strangers how wonderful my life is.  Today, I had what started out to be one of those days, a day that I was happy to share worldwide...followed with another of those events that I blog about.  And for some reason, Social Media reminded me that today, July 29th, has historically not been a date that I want to remember.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

For The First Time In History, It's Gonna Start Raining Men

There is an old saying about how things happen in threes.  With Wingman dying, my house flooding and losing my job-all in three months, you'd think that I would have been happy with just the 2012 version "Been There, Done That" tee shirt and given myself a pass.  But no, this year-with losing my job and putting the house on the market, I wanted another three-peat.

Because I was going to dump a man.

Where Were You When The World Stopped Turnin' That September Day?

Everyone over the age of 25 can tell you where they were on 9/11. I was at Wrinkle City in our usual morning sales meeting when my desk ...