Saturday, November 15, 2014

It's My Party And I'll Cry If I Want To

When my BFF reached her milestone year, she planned her own party. She picked the place, the food and the guests. It worked out so well that I planned to do the same thing this year. And as my birthday was also the same weekend as the NYC breast cancer walk a friend and I planned to participate in, I figured I'd have it the week before. So back in the early spring, I mentioned my party plans to my son. His response was for me to walk in another city another month this year.

Could it be? Was I imagining that the men-children responsible for every stretch mark and quite a few gray hairs and frown lines might be planning a party for me? Could they have inherited that from Wingman?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

If You Like Pina Coladas...

A young work associate and I were discussing dating.  "It's so hard", she moaned.  "All the guys act like The Situation or Paulie from The Jersey Shore.  They never stop checking out their phones or texting. You just can't meet a nice guy who wants to have a CONVERSATION."  I thought about that for a moment and offered this:

Imagine the lush African plains.  There are rivers and lakes, where all species of animals, birds and reptiles have plenty of water and live together peacefully. Now, think about that same African Plain during the dry season.  The lakes have dried up to muddy puddles and only the most aggressive animals get to lap up whatever swill is left.

That's the difference between the dating pool in your twenties and at my age.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Record Shows I took The Blows

By now, half the civilized world has seen the Gatorade ad celebrating the career of Derek Jeter.  And I must admit, it brought a tear or two to my eyes as well.  A classy guy who was born two years after I graduated high school, who makes 12 million a year playing baseball ans another $18-20 million a year in endorsements is retiring. But what brought a tear to my eye wasn't that ad, or his retirement.

It's that he dates women half his age.  Which makes the men MY age who think they are as classy as he is, want to date women half THEIR age.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Answer My Friend, Is Blowin' In The Wind. The Answer Is Blowin" In The Wind



When I finally decided how to commemorate the second anniversary of Wingman's death, I was reminded multiple times that what I planned to do was illegal.

Since he was a lifelong fan, I planned to leave some of his ashes at Yankee Stadium.

It happened that the anniversary was a day when the Yankees were in town during Derek Jeter's last season and it also happened to be Paul O'Neill bobble head day. Paul O'Neill was my favorite Yankee so to me it was a no-brainer.  A baseball game...a bobble head doll...maybe a beer...and a bag of ashes. What more could he ask for from me?

Well, for a $10.00 donation to the Yankee's charity foundation, I could put his name on the Jumbo-tron. For some reason, I found it insanely funny envisioning "The New York Yankees Welcome Wingman" knowing that part of him was resting in Monument Park.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Love When You Can, Cry When You Have To, Be Who You Must-That's A Part Of The Plan

A year ago, I thought that my head would explode if I didn't write down or talk about what I was thinking and how I felt.  Lately though, I've felt almost the opposite-that other people's heads will explode if I say what's on my mind.  And since yesterday was the second anniversary of the day I first thought to myself, "Wow, I'm a widow now..." I tried to think of where I was then, where I am now, and what I've taken from this experience.  Here's what I've come up with so far:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

And I'm Never Going Back To My Old School

Wingman and I bought our first home in his hometown about a year before his first high school reunion.  On that evening, we planned to have a few friends over for a nice, sophisticated apr├Ęs-reunion soiree.  Some carrot and celery sticks, wine in the wedding crystal...

Well, the friends we invited told a few of their friends.  Who mentioned it to others.  By the end of the night, the announcement was made from the stage that the after party was at our house.

I have never seen that many people in one place legally.  Crammed in every corner, in every room. The screened in porch was packed, even on that cold (I believe November) evening.  Not to mention that there was sex happening EVERYWHERE in the house-even in the bushes outside.  Younger high school kids, who had nothing to do with the reunion, showed up with a keg, thinking they could PAR-TAY.  The house was filled with Newport cigarette smoke (that school's butt of choice) and Wingman's brother who was living with us at the time, came home to find cocaine lines being drawn on his dresser.

Ah, the eighties.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Last Night I Didn't Get To Sleep At All

There were a lot of things that Wingman bought over the years from TV ads that were crazy.  Stupid even.  Expensive as well.  He bought Saturday Night Live videos and Time Life music CD's, pillows that help you sleep, shoe lifts for fallen arches, even a program from a real estate guru to make millions flipping foreclosed homes.  But it took a snoring dog next to me in bed to put me into the category of "What Was I Thinking?" when I succumbed to the middle-of-the-night infomercial. 

Besides inside vacuuming and dusting, I am now forced to take on Wingman's outside house responsibilities or pay someone to do them, like putting up a fence and installing a sprinkler system. Rather than pay someone to stain the deck that had to be replaced when the tree fell on it during that "she-who-must-not-be-named" storm in 2012, I decided to do it myself.  All 175 spindles and 68 deck boards and steps.  I envisioned a summer spent, not at the beach but on my knees with a stain brush in one hand, sort of like Lady Liberty getting sucker punched. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

I'll Always Love My Momma (She's My Favorite Girl)


I remember being in 8th grade when my Mom had my youngest brother.  When I went into her room to visit for the first time,  she was crying in pain, and I went screaming down the hall for a nurse.  She later had "one of those talks" with me, saying that childbirth pain is hard but beautiful and you forget it quickly.  I wasn't big on the pain threshold back then and thought "I'm never having kids if it hurts."

Then there was the night in high school when I was forced to endure going to my other two brothers' Pop Warner football games.  When one brother got speared, the doctors thought he might have a cracked rib, so they put him in an ambulance to be x-rayed.  Mom went with him while Dad stayed behind as a coach. In the next game, that younger brother got clipped and hurt his knee.  As he was put into the second ambulance, the first one pulled in. Mom got out of one ambulance and into the next to go to the hospital again.  I thought to myself "I'm never having boys. They get hurt too much.  Just girls."

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Boys Are Back In Town



This is a story about a super baseball team and a super storm.

Admittedly, up to his senior year, son #2's high school baseball career was as painful as Michael Jordan's was in basketball.  (Jordan was cut and fought his way back on the team...son #2 had a JV coach who begged to keep him because he saw potential where the varsity coach saw none).  At a showcase his junior year, an assistant coach for a southern college saw him pitch and liked him, but alas, he was only there scouting position players and catchers.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Desperado, Why Don't You Come To Your Senses? Come Down From Your Fences, Open The Gate

No this is not my yard.  This is the yard I WISH was mine.  Right now, after this week's torrential rain, the gullies (where the dead arborvitae were removed from) are two 60' long breeding pools for mosquitoes.

There grass seed hasn't begun to take root yet, and since we've had first, extra dry and windy, then ridiculously wet and freezing weather, the seed doesn't look like it's going to germinate and will be there until the birds conveniently roosting there eat it. I guess Scott's colored the seed blue so I can tell what a failure my lawn is going to be through every granule just laying there doing nothing. Wingman would have been out there with his hoses, sprinklers, weepers and secret weapons all the while cursing the seeds into growing. Me, I watch from the window while checking out what's happening on Facebook.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Every Step You Take I'll Be Watching You

Back in high school, a friend of mine had a H-U-G-E crush on a classmate.  Besides knowing his schedule, she knew about his hobbies, his address and his family...even though she never spoke a word to him. She was the first stalker I ever knew.

She wanted to take the bus to his neighborhood and walk past his house.  That's as serious is it gets when you're 16. Since her curiosity made me curious as well, I went with her.  Unfortunately, we got off the bus MILES from his house, and walked until almost dark.  We could barely see the house before we had to turn around and walk back to find another bus to take us back to town.  I was grounded for weeks for not telling my mother how late I was going to be.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Let My Love Open The Door

Over the course of our thirty year marriage, Wingman had some eccentricities that we would continually argue over.   For example, when the boys were babies, I couldn't hang pictures over their cribs, or later beds, because he was convinced that if/when we had an earthquake, the pictures would fall off the wall and kill them. 3000 miles from southern California, and every time they had a quake, he's say "You see?  I told you so.  It could happen here too."  Really, there's no arguing with logic like that.

Friday, April 11, 2014

I'm Just Sitting Here Watching The Wheels Go Round And Round

It's April 11th.  I don't have my taxes done.  My yard looks like a war zone with dead grass, holes and ruts where the dead bushes were removed.  The house is a dusty mess.  I just threw away a container of mold with a few strawberries poking through. My granddaughter's birthday is tomorrow and I don't have her gift, much less have it wrapped, and I'm working until 10:00 tonight.  Then again, I also haven't shopped for or mailed an Easter present to my granddaughter in Korea, and that takes five days to get there once it's mailed. My taxes aren't done, the gas fireplace doesn't light, both garage doors squeal and I missed putting out both the recycling and garbage cans this week. The fence permit that took me two weeks to get to boro hall was just denied so I have to start over again.  I'm washing my hair with body wash since I'm out of shampoo and using my battery-powered toothbrush manually since the batteries died. I haven't written a word in my blog in over three weeks, AND DID I MENTION THAT MY TAXES AREN'T DONE???

Monday, March 17, 2014

Somebody Shake Me, Wake Me

Saint Patrick's Day.  Once, a one day, get-out-of-Catholic-School-free day, and now a holiday that starts right after Valentine's Day and ends with one giant hangover a month later. Ouch.

My earliest memories of the day are rushing home from public school to watch Captain Jack McCarthy (Cap'n Jack) on WPIX hosting the parade down Fifth Avenue while my Irish Mom boiled a big pot of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes on the stove. My Italian Dad would relish that once a year treat while my brothers and I would gag.  I think I might be the only person still to have never eaten a corned beef sandwich at Kelly's-the most famous Irish bar in the area.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Don't Leave Me Hanging On The Telephone

If I were starving and my only two options to live were to either chew off my own arm and eat it, or work as a telemarketer calling people just like me, I'd have to say:

"Pass the ketchup."

In the past couple of years, I have gone completely ballistic on telemarketers and people from call centers.  Granted, there are times when I can't distinguish them from the men calling about the transgender club that my phone number use to be associated with.  Other times when I've pretended to be the maid, the babysitter, even stooped so low as to say I'm the nurse taking care of a dying patient just to mess with them.

Friday, February 28, 2014

We Use To Be Friends

At last count, I have 775 Facebook friends. Somewhat less than a friend with 4,992 but certainly more than another with only 21. So why am I so bothered by the few who have unfriended me in real life?

Like, a couple of weeks ago. I decided to go out on a Friday night and see a band.  I got to the front door at the same time as the guitar player's wife and son, and we exchanged pleasantries.  She told the bouncer that they were on the guest list, they entered, and left me to pay the $22 cover charge to get in.

Did I mention that she and her husband were in our wedding and Wingman was in theirs?  Boom.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

And When I Die, And When I'm Gone


When Wingman died, my sons and I went through the big bin of things that held his most treasured mementos, looking for anything that might represent him at his wake.  There were envelopes of ticket stubs from concerts he attended (Chicago and Bruce Springsteen at Madison Square Garden in 1973 for $6.50!), a bag of rings from bubble gum machines, the name off the back of his high school football jersey, and a HUGE stack of letters from his first girlfriend.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

All The Single Ladies

It didn't come as much of a surprise when I picked up this week's work schedule.  As usual, I'll be on (not just on-call) tomorrow night, which just happens to coincide with that most hallowed holiday for lovers.  Ah yes, Valentine's Day.  Depending on who you talk to, it's either the most romantic...or the most stressful day/night you can have.  The good old days of giving that special someone a nice card, a bag of conversation heart candies stamped with "So Fine" or "Cutie Pie" and calling it a day are as passe' as Lindsay Lohan's acting career.   
My first Valentine's Day with Wingman only happened because the band he was in succumbed to their girlfriends' pressure not to practice that night. Valentine's Day that year also happened to coincide with a Nor'easter.  After getting through flooded roads, my car got stuck in the mud in front of my beachfront apartment.  In the time it took him to help me push it out to higher ground, the chicken I was cooking for our romantic dinner burned to a crisp. I mean really burned.  Non-edible burned.  Wine-couldn't-help-it burned.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Life Is What Happens To You While You're Busy Making Other Plans

Fifty years ago,  two cousins were sprawled in front of a black and white TV, waiting for the Ed Sullivan show to start. The sophisticated older cousin, one week shy of 11 years old was explaining to the 9 year old  just who this Beatles band was.  When "I Saw Her Standing There" started, the older cousin sang out "One, Two, Three, Four". The stubborn younger cousin, probably already suffering from her first case of SAD, argued saying it was "One, Two, Three BOP." A general cat fight ensued, with the older cousin calling the younger one stupid.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Horse With No Name

I guess the BBC wasn't the only one confused about what the current Chinese New Year was supposed represent.  I was under the mistaken impression that this-the year of the horse-was to be my year.

Instead, I just learned from feng shui experts that this year is going to suck.  The masters say that we, my fellow horses, will have chaos, disputes and money problems. Throw a little wood and fire into the mix (our yin and yang earth signs) and we've got the makings of a real apocalypse. Somehow, I can't shake the image of a Trojan Horse going up in flames in my ugly, flooded-out yard with all the dead trees and bushes adding flames to the fire..

Monday, February 3, 2014

They've Given You A Number And Taken Away Your Name

A couple of years ago, a family friend who has a private investigation company hired one of my sons to do some surveillance work for him. My son went to a soccer field and photographed a woman thought to be cheating. She was there alone watching her son, then went to lunch with a woman friend. All very innocuous. He got paid for his time, gas and even the hotdogs he ate.

After my adventure this week, I've considered asking this guy for a job.  And I'd work cheaper than my son because I don't eat hotdogs.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tell Me Why

The other day, someone asked what's wrong with me-that I use to be charming to be around but lately, well, all I seem to do is yell and act like a bitch.

Moi? Well, I act like a bitch because YOU are an @$$.  Really.

I tried to think back to when I lost my perpetual smiley face, and started adding a profanity to every sentence like a dime school rapper. It seems to have happened right after Labor Day.  When my tan starts to fade and I put the shorts and tee shirts away in favor of denim and leather, I become the female version of Kanye West.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Where Are You Now?

  Back when I worked at "Wrinkle City" (A/K/A the retirement community), our security manager had a skewed opinion about the health of the residents: if they didn't die around the New Year, they would be good until summer.  And statistics say his opinion is correct-January IS the month when most people die-followed by December.  Which is probably why my social calendar has been filled recently with more wakes than parties. These wakes are stressing me out, and it has nothing to do with who is in the casket.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar

In the past few weeks, I have:

Spoken with authority to a tax attorney and realtor to help someone out
Cooked a gourmet dinner for 25 people
Pushed a woman's car out of a busy intersection
Bought a snow blower after negotiating the price
Celebrated New Year's Eve in Manhattan by myself
Chastised a drunk on a train 
Changed my own windshield wiper blades

Yeah, I know...

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Reliving In Our Eloquence Another "Auld Lang Syne"

New Years Eve 2013...it's my second New Years Eve since Wingman died and I did something crazy. I went to New York City to see the ball drop in Times Square.

Probably not one of my more sane ideas. Still, I also have this other insane idea that when I die, instead if a dash between my birth and death year on my tombstone, I want there to be dotted lines and a few question marks to indicate the "WHAT WAS SHE THINKING???" moments. Like this one. It was the coldest New Year's Eve in years. And I did it solo.  I haven't done anything solo on New Years Eve since I babysat in high school.