January 31, 2022

not OPEN: a venting and an admission: WE SUCK, plus prom dresses

I took Reg to open his own bank account several months ago. To be honest, if you asked me, I might have recalled that the bank visit was just a few weeks ago. Who knows when things happen? Well, apparently not me. 

The other day, Reg pointed out that he still had caddy money from the SUMMER in his drawer. In a sandwich bag. To the tune of $2,995. *Gulp* Why was that not put in the bank already? He made over $7,000 over the summer and the first amount was deposited mid summer. 

When the girls and I went to look at prom dresses last weekend, I told them we had to first stop at the bank and make this deposit. *Rather than post a photo of stacks of money, I thought you'd enjoy prom dress photos, I fear this post might be  boring, but I'm currently fired up, so if it bores you, I apologize, enjoy the dresses*  I can deposit Reg's money in my account and then transfer it to his. In the times before he had his own account at our bank, I would deposit his money and then alert Coach so he could transfer it to Reg's college 529 account. 

Green with
bedazzled slit

  I might have just made up the '529'. Is that what it's called? I do lots of things here at Chez Shenanigan, as I believe you, my faithful reader will recognize. I do not, however, move money in and out of the college accounts, or fill out a FAFSA, or send money to the colleges for tuition. I'm more of the read-your-college-essay, take-you-on-college-visit, shop-for-your-college-gear type. 

Anyway, our original system was confusing. I disliked mingling his funds with ours, same feeling I had when we handled the older kids' money that way until they got their own accounts. It was a lot to hope that we remembered to transfer kids' funds to their respective 529 thingies, which are not AT our bank and so it is a whole other process. 

wine color
with slit
When I went to the branch near our house - the bank that BUILT A DRIVEUP AND THEN DECIDED NOT TO HAVE IT FUNCTION grumble, grumble, I ran inside to use the computerized teller (no live tellers either). I reached into my wallet and realized that I had no cash card, which is what I needed to make a deposit. This was upsetting, but I assumed I'd find it at home in a pile of receipts that I'd pulled out of my wallet when I was going to Joe's funeral. 

I then drove to the branch that is further away and has both a drive up and human tellers to deposit Reg's money with a paper deposit slip - no cash card required. The next day, I went online to transfer his caddy money to his account. I could not find his account among the linked accounts. They are labeled COLLEGE ACCT, HIGH SCHOOL ACCT depending on which kid it's for.

Navy with slit
and spaghetti straps
I called the bank. Guess what? We'd never put any funds in his account, apparently. So, his account closed. Look at me, great at getting things done and checking the box, DONE, but not necessarily great on all the follow-up details. His other caddy money is still mingled with our funds because I never transferred it. 

Today, after Curly's travel games, I told Reg that we were going to run to the bank and open an account for him AGAIN. Ed called from Budapest, so we all stood around and chatted with him on speaker phone for 10 minutes and Reg and I left a little later than we planned. By the time we got to the bank, it was 1:45. They close at 2. The banker, who knows me, wasn't there. 

Green with tank
 lacy covered top
The only other banker, who had no people sitting at her desk, hopped up and said she'd be right back. She was apparently checking to see who was free to open an account. She came right back and let us know that no one could help us. She was working on something. Other bankers were busy. Would we like to make an appointment? 

Making an appointment is for people who know when they will have an opportunity to come to the bank with a busy kid who doesn't have a license yet. 

Between his school, basketball, and my babysitting, I have no idea when that will happen. I don't like to send Coach, because I delegated this to him once. He set up Mini and Tank's accounts, but didn't link them to our accounts, so I couldn't see balances or transfer money to them while they are at college, etc. The bank had to close out their accounts and redo them in order to link them. That seemed archaic, but whatever.

back of green lace
colored top one 
All this to say:   we suck. 

I also felt like if this woman didn't have a live person at her desk, maybe she could've set up an account. Maybe she didn't realize that we have a bunch of accounts already, because I think adding an account to our other accounts doesn't take that long. If memory serves, which - well, we're learning here that my memory is lacking at the moment, but I don't think it would take that long. I really wanted this off of my list. Like REALLY. 

In addition to the bank account not staying open and the bank with live people being open, but not being able to help - I have another few stories of not opening/not working. I'd ask you to guess what they are, but they are pretty far fetched. The upcoming stories are more humorous, I think. So thanks for allowing me to vent. Tune in next time (Wednesday) for the next installment of when things won't open, or won't work. 

Please share in the comments WHICH DRESS YOU LIKE THE BEST (your opinion will not sway Mini, pretty sure she's selected 'the one' - will reveal that soon), OR WHAT DO YOU WANT OFF OF YOUR TO DO LIST, OR WHAT ISN'T WORKING, OR A TIME WHEN CUSTOMER SERVICE SEEMED TOO FARFETCHED TO THE PEOPLE AT THE PLACE

January 26, 2022

Mini: issues, part deux (my last post this week, promise)

 (If you are wondering what happened to 1-4, please see yesterday's post) 

This came up when I did a search in my photos
 for food. It has Mini's name written all over it.

5. Too many cooks in the kitchen? 
Mini's good friend's grandma told Coach and I at a 50th b-day party for the aunt that she intends to give her granddaughter and Mini a cooking lesson. Or baking, maybe? Regardless, I felt it was only fair to warn her: 

Not a horrible outcome.
She is creative.


There are literally too many incidents to list here. She tried to make perogies the day she and Tank had their wisdom teeth out. I'd already made some. She wanted more. She put the frozen perogies into the water before boiling it. She scrambled and took them out, resting them on a paper towel, maybe? Whatever she did, the paper towel caught on fire and she dropped it and ruined my beautiful, newish, stainless steel stovetop with a burn mark. *sigh*

She and Reg made pancakes one Saturday a few weeks before Christmas, when I was still fine-tuning my Christmas poem, which if you've seen it - you know. They wanted me to make them, but I was busy editing. I was in the study. 

These are MY pancakes
from a different day.
Then Tank came home from work and was excited to see pancakes. He learned Mini was making them and he politely declined. I urged him to eat them. He came in the study to eat. A moment later . . .


It was true. The cakes were not cooked through. 

Also over Christmas break, I was making meatballs as a late Tank b-day celebration. His b-day happened while he was at school. I needed to run up to the junior high. Curly is managing the boys' 8th grade basketball team and a mom drives her home from practices because I babysit. I baked cookies and was supposed to show up to the boys' game to hand deliver them. 


Mini 'had it' but she and Tank started joking around about something and she claims Tank didn't want her to touch his b-day dinner and he claims that he never agreed to watch the meatballs.

Me (walking in after being at the end of the boys' game - I hadn't timed it great and I got there when there was more time on the clock than I'd hoped):  




Boil baking soda, scrub, repeat.
They acted like everything was fine. Um. The pan was coated in black burned sauce. I eventually got it cleaned, but again - the amount of time I soaked and scrubbed. They blamed each other and acted like I was exaggerating. The meatballs were a little dry, but edible, praise God. 

6. WAKE UP:  When I went to Minnesota for Joe's funeral, Mini needed to wake up and put the garage door up by 7:15 am. I called to remind her (which evolved into a hilarious conversation when she told me that we'd one day go clubbing, so you can see how it is hard to stay mad at her). I wanted Ed to be her backup. 

Me:  Can Ed wake up and be sure you are awake? 

I thought he'd be awake because he'd be going to work anyway. Turns out, he wasn't going to work that day because of the car shortage, thanks Ann. He had stuff to do to get ready to study abroad anyway. He needed to be home to drive Reg to school for his final exam.
This also popped up
and it made me laugh.
Mini made me dessert.
Heavy on the cool whip,
not wrong -
 just funny. 
Mini begged me not to involve him:  I'LL WAKE UP. PLEASE TELL HIM HE DOESN'T NEED TO HELP ME. HE'S ALREADY BEING ARROGANT AND GETTING IN MY FACE ABOUT IT, LIKE I CAN'T HANDLE IT. HE'S ACTING LIKE UNCLE PAT. (no. I must put my foot down here. I cannot have a child simulate Mr. Pompous). 


In the hotel, I was up for awhile during the night, and then went back to sleep. I slept until 7:36 am. I looked at my phone and noticed that I had TWO MISSED CALLS from one of the moms I sit for, who happens to be Mini's AP Calc teacher. NOOOOO!!!!!

Yep, Mini overslept. I meant to remind the woman of the code to the garage. I forgot. She was ringing the doorbell. Lad's room is above the door. He heard babies talking about birds signing and he ran down and let them in and woke up Mini. 

Mini answered the phone when I called from my pullout bed in Minnesota. 

Mini:  I'm up, I'm up, it's fine. They're inside now. Sorry. 

She begged me not to tell Coach and Ed. I agreed. But WTF? She was like, I woke up to my alarm. Then I don't know what happened. 


7. Whose cream is this? I took Mini back to the dermatologist a few weeks ago. I was irritated because whatever we were trying wasn't working. Um. Turns out, Mini was only using 2 of the 3 medications. My chin actually hung open since I've been known to ask WHOSE TUBE OF LOTION IS THIS? 


8. "Oh, did you call?" She either can't find her phone, or doesn't bother to look at it. A few years ago, she was looking all over for her phone and had us searching high and low. OH, HA. HERE IT IS. IT WAS IN THE POCKET OF MY HOODIE. (that she was WEARING). I won't bother to bore you with car keys and how a certain someone struggles to keep track of them. I think this will not surprise anyone. 

9. "I'm right." This might be a strength, but not if you happen to oppose Mini. Then it's hell. She should be a lawyer. She CANNOT be wrong. It's not possible. Curly told me yesterday when we were talking about keeping the room clean (I think) that she can't fight with Mini, because there is no winning. Curly:  IF I DISAGREE WITH HER, SHE WILL FIGHT WITH ME AND THERE WON'T BE ANYTHING LEFT FOR ME TO SAY, SO I JUST DON'T BOTHER. OTHERWISE SHE'LL END UP ROASTING ME. 

I'm sure I could come up with a 10th here, but I think you get the picture. Perhaps you've observed a 10th from a far, if so please remind me. I think I said it best in my comment to Suz yesterday. Mini will need a personal assistant, a chef, and a maid.  

January 25, 2022

Cue the Sound of Music song, perfect backdrop to: MINI'S ISSUES, part 1

Cue the song from the Sound of Music  . . . 

Oh, how do you solve a problem like Mini?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?

When I'm with her I'm confused
Out of focus and bemused
And I never know exactly where I am
Unpredictable as weather
She's as flighty as a feather
She's a darling! She's a demon! She's a lamb!

So many layers to Mini, what's not to love? She's smart and funny and kind, but there are times  . . . 

In case you can't tell, that is a
mountain of crap on Mini's bed.
1. The room. You've seen, so you know. We've taken the door off the hinges, refused to let her socialize until she handles it, and begged her to TAKE THE TIME to right the wrong here. Let's not forget - she has a roommate, who prefers a tidy living space. AND, those of us who live here (and her friends) have all lost clothing items and shoes to her great abyss. We fear for her future college roomie. I've gone so far to suggest that she might need to choose a college based on whether or not they offer singles. 

It was beautiful long, but long isn't
 what is 'DONE' for homecoming.
 This is when we ran to get it altered.
We had to meet during the school day and
 Becky had to come over to stay with my tots.
Mini went to the wrong place first. She was
 barely speaking to me. It was NOT fun.
*editing to add:  I spent 3 hours in there Sunday night with both girls organizing and eliminating. THREE. HOURS. Mini tried to get me to agree in advance that I wouldn't get grumpy and that we'd only work till 9 pm. I would not allow that envelope to be pushed, and I would agree to no such thing. Last week, I stuffed EVERYTHING on her bed so that I could vacuum. I cannot say for sure when the last time a vacuum made an appearance in there. I was like THAT'S IT. ENOUGH. 

2. Pay attention.
In the fall, Mini went shopping for a homecoming dress. She
 doesn't get dressed up often. Prefers the messy bun and clothes that she may have slept in the night before. Well, thanks to covid there was a low inventory problem for dresses. Big time. We didn't realize, and if you remember, our fall was a tad nutty. So, getting a dress fell off our radar. 
It was so tight that when she first tried
 it on, we couldn't get it off. No joke,
 there were tears. She didn't want
 them to add fabric along the sides even
 though the seamstress thought it
 would be perfect because we'd taken
 stuff from the bottom. I honestly don't
 recall what they did. Maybe they let it
 out a tiny bit. Her friends
 had to help her get it
off after the dance. 
It's a long story, but Mini went shopping with a friend. With my credit card. She bought two dresses. One was way too revealing, not something she'd be allowed to leave the house wearing. I get it. Very few choices available. She didn't really WANT to wear this dress, but felt like she needed to grab

Eventually I bought a dress on FB marketplace from a friend of a friend. It was too tight across the back, but I told Mini we could have it altered. I had no idea that the alteration place was going to rob me blind, but it was the 11th hour and we were out of options. Mini was barely talking to me. I don't even remember why. 

*If memory serves:  I think she misinterpreted something I said, thinking I was implying that she was needing to follow the crowd - she's well known for NOT following the crowd. That wasn't what I meant. I was just saying WHO CARES IF IT ISN'T A TYPICAL HOCO DRESS, BE OPEN TO OTHER OPTIONS.*

It wasn't like I controlled the lack of inventory. I was TRYING my darndest to help her find a dress. She didn't want to wear the leaves-nothing-to-the-imagination dress. The other dress that she bought was approved to wear, but she felt it was too simple. No pizzazz. She finally agreed to the FB dress. 

It looked great, but
I don't have a photo
 of the back of the
 dress, or a photo
 of her alone.
At the end of this debacle, she forgot to return the TWO OTHER DRESSES. Thanks to the store's return policy and Mini's OOPS, I FORGOT nonsense, we now own those dresses - plus the 'cheap' FB deal that ended up costing me an arm and a leg. It was a frustrating situation, but since life was steeped in frustration at that time, I chose not to dwell on it. I felt bad for Mini. She hadn't been to a dance in forever and this was her senior homecoming. She was excited to dress shop and then it was a bust. The HOURS I spent trolling the internet and calling stores to see if they had ANYTHING . . . well, let's just not go there. 

The 'pay attention' issue:  return the dang dresses on time. 

3. Not the same. I let Mini borrow my piece of luggage with wheels when she flew to look at a college with a friend. The pop up handle now prefers not to pop up. The wheels also essentially refuse to rotate. Coming soon to an airport near you:  an idiot wrestling with a bag. Blowing my cover here, but it'll be me. 

4. "I DON'T KNOW WHERE IT WENT." I read a book over the summer called Catch and Kill. I really didn't like it. I wish I hadn't bothered to finish it, but once I did it was overdue. The high school is across the street from the library. I asked Mini to return the book for me on her way to or from school since I was babysitting and had no plans to leave the house that day. The book NEVER made it to the library and she has no idea where it went. The library wants $17 for the book. Mini is like, can't they just waive it? Um, no. They can't. What on earth? Who even is she? 

There was another 'pay the fee' incident when I wanted her to take something of mine that she borrowed to the dry cleaner on her dime. She fought me on it. I finally asked her if she knew how much it was to dry clean a pair of pants.

Mini:  $50? 

Me:  Think about it, if that was the case, then why wouldn't people just buy new pants?

I blame myself here a bit. I don't really wear dry clean type clothes - hello, baby spit up flows fairly freely in my line o' work. So, I guess that's partly why she didn't know this. That's also why I wanted her to go to the dry cleaners. It's time to figure these things out. 

Riddle me this . . . how is she going to go to college? Maybe you shouldn't answer that until after you read tomorrow's post (or one day soon, depending on how busy tomorrow is). Believe it or not, a few of the most shocking issues are yet to be described. 

Did you or your offspring or a teen you know have trouble being responsible, yet still manage to lead a productive life? I'm looking for a ray of hope here. 

January 24, 2022

sees-TAS part 3: the one when Mini's promise makes me chortle

EDITING TO ADD:  I am cry-laughing. I shared with Mini that I spelled Alanis' name wrong in my last post. Then I explained why she was even mentioned. Mini didn't know at first who Alanis was. I began destroying singing:  IT'S LIKE RAINNNN ON MY WEDDING DAY. 


This is what it's like to have raised children who are bright. I promptly pointed at her and sang (again with the singing - not my strong suit) the name of one of the colleges that she was accepted to. Her college application process and such will follow the post about her issues, because I want you to get the full story. 


I told my sees-TAS that I'd take the pullout in the extra room of the hotel. They could each have a bed in the bedroom. They left the room for a minute in search of a bar. I was already in my jammies. They offered to bring me a drink, but I took a pass. When I crawled into the pullout, I called Mini. She was babysitting in my place in the morning. Fortunately it was exam week,  and she has high enough grades that exams were optional - HOORARY, automatic babysitting sub. I filled her in on how things were going, reminded her that she had to WAKE up in the morning *if you aren't sensing foreshadowing here, think twice.* When I told her how her aunts are worried that Nana is getting forgetful, she vowed to never fuss over whether or not I'm acting or getting old.


Needless to say, I almost died by chortle. 

Emily and Mamie Baldwin (elderly sisters from the TV show the Waltons who concocted bootleg and called it 'the Recipe') came back to the room, bummed because the bar was closed. Marie was upset, she'd meant to pack a bottle of wine. They're a barrel of laughs sober, I can only imagine the fun we'd have had if we'd all gotten tipsy. 

Once they shuffled past into the bedroom, I continued my chat with Mini. I told her about how I'd said something funny and both my travel buddies died laughing because they are so easily entertained. 



Remember when I said I went shopping a
few days after I got back and spent $600.
 Well, this is what $600 of groceries looks
 like. I had already taken the produce
from the top of the heap and put it on
 the conveyor belt - it was threatening
 to slide off the cart. 

Me:  YES.

She was blown away. She said she'd gotten up during the night and couldn't figure out why she heard water running. I told her Coach and I keep one plugged in every night. More astonishment. 

Well, it helps me drown out my kids pounding around late or waking up early to get to the golf course. My sleep habits were so curious to her. AND you bring it with you places?  Will the amusement never end? 

Hey, do you know how many college visits or dancing competitions or PT courses  I've attended and suffered from loud hotel neighbors? Don't knock it till you try it. 


Before the funeral, my elderly-wanna-be buddies were wondering about the fact that the church where the funeral was being held was a Lutheran Church instead of a Catholic Church. We know Joe was raised Catholic, since we grew up with him. As one would imagine, there was some twittering back and forth about this. I wonder why? I wonder when? 

Me (internally):  I WONDER WHY I DON'T CARE?


Just before we left the luncheon, Ann told Mike to tell the other brother, who stayed back in Colorado to care for Johnny (my best bud who suffered a TBI when we were kids), that we said hello. Mike said he would, but Pete doesn't talk to him. 

I told Cagney and Lacey that Joe had told me that at Warren's (their dad who died just shy of his 91st bday) funeral last year, not all of the brothers were talking. My how-are-we-related siblings were very upset by this. 

I realized later that I could've compared it to when Reg was born and Ann didn't speak to me for a solid year. She had a 9 year old named Reg who had a different last name. She was BEYOND mad that I used the same name. Nevermind that she also used our maiden name for her firstborn and then told me I couldn't use it as a name for one of my kids. Nevermind further that Reg had been one of my favorite names for decades and THIS WAS MY FOURTH SON. Someday over a glass of wine, I will share bore any of you who are interested the challenges I faced getting on the same page as Coach on baby names. But it just so happened that Reg was one of his favorite TOO. 

Yo, control freak of the universe - you can't claim all the names.  

She found it unfathomable that a few of the brothers weren't speaking. It is sad, especially now that Joe is dead. But hey there, Ann, can I get you a pot and a kettle? 


Marie was concerned that during our conversation at the luncheon Mike referred to his father as Warren. She 'reported' this back to our mother (insert image of me in the passenger seat listening to the Bluetooth call and EYE-ROLLING galore here . . . who care-za?). I let her know that Joe used to call their dad Warren when he was telling me a story about him too. Maybe that was just something they did when Warren got older. Who knows? Why are we reading into everything? There's a song Drizella and Anastasia need to listen to from the 80's, it's called RELAX. 


Ann was perplexed at how Mike could have married his wife, who he met in Japan. "BUT THEY DIDN'T EVEN SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE."



After the funeral, Ann said to us:  I DIDN'T KNOW JOE WAS SO GOOD. 

The 3 eulogies were filled with impressive stories of all that he did.

I didn't know all that he was involved in either, but I wasn't surprised. I knew he was an amazing human. To know him was to know that he was great and to sense that he was going the extra mile in everything that he did. He was brutally honest. Told people stuff even if it ticked them off. Was a chief in the Air Force. He'd retired recently after 37 years. A fellow Air Force man explained that some people thought Joe was crazy, but he considered him one step shy of crazy:  he was passionate. The pastor of the Lutheran (oh, ahh - Luth-er-an) church talked about how Joe and his wife had been so helpful whenever a need had arisen for a small group of refugees in the area. Eventually, Joe and his wife set up a $10,000 fund so that the pastor wouldn't feel like she had to keep asking for help. It was available to her as needed. 


On the long-ass, snowy drive home, where I observed Marie sit closer to the steering wheel than I thought was humanly possible, I read my book. How great that there was no music to distract me? It got dark fast and I turned on the light on my phone. I was careful to keep my light tucked into my book so that it wouldn't shine in Marie's face or distract her in any way. 

This is me, under my coat, backwards.
Demonstrating the way I sat in the car in
 order to read. I apologize for not posing
 for this photo in my car. I invite
 you to use your imagination. 
Eventually Marie snapped at me to turn my light off without warning. " ENOUGH." If they are going on 80, then apparently I'm going on 9. 

I really wanted to read my book because: 

A. I rarely have time to just sit and read.

B. This book is SO long that I wanted to read whenever possible. 

I lived up to my 9 year old station in life (in their eyes) and I flipped my coat around and put my hood over my face and turned on my light. CAN YOU SEE THE LIGHT NOW? IS THIS OK?

My coat-tent was approved and I almost suffocated during that close to 2 hour stretch, but I got a ton of reading done. 


In the age of genetic testing for this and that, I should probably test to see if we are indeed related. It occurs to me that we all started out so similar. We wore footie pajamas, watched the same Donny and Marie Osmond Variety Shows, ate the same non-adventurous diet, enjoyed coloring books, Irish danced, stayed out of trouble at school. Do you have siblings or kids? Do you find that you are SO different from your sibs? If so, what do you attribute it to? Do you think personality traits like outgoing or shy are learned or genetic? I'm curious. Don't leave me wondering. 

Next time:  back to my promised list of Mini's issues. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll wonder why. 

January 20, 2022

SEES-ters PART 2: the repetitive question edition, old age, & squid games visual

Joe's oldest brother is somewhat socially awkward. He lives in Corpus Christi, Texas with his dog and teaches taekwondo. Joe once told me that this brother is a minimalist and prefers to be on his own. He had a difficult young adult life and if this is his happy place, power to him. 

Having a conversation with him was like pulling teeth. I admit, we all got a chuckle at how awkward it was. It didn't help when Ann asked him if he remembered that our mother and his mother set them up on a date when Ann was like 12. The two of them went on a bike ride on a trail together and then he bought her fries. 

The horrors, both that our mother would do this and that Ann grilled a man about it despite the fact that he had few words and no memory of it. Afterwards when Ann was prattling on in the car about how odd he was (broken record mode -she COULDN'T LET IT GO), I finally piped up with I THINK CHATTING WITH PEOPLE IS JUST OUTSIDE HIS COMFORT ZONE. 


Marie chose a playlist that included Alana Morrissette. I like a lot of music and I am terrible at knowing the names of songs and artists, but I will tell you that I CANNOT stand Alana. At all. I texted Coach that if another of her songs came on, there would be bloodshed. Happy to report, no bloodshed, even though most of the playlist was equally grating - but because I have something akin to instant amnesia when it comes to music, I can't remember what else played. I'm taking another bow here at my attempt to be a good passenger.  


Marie drove the whole way to MN from Milwaukee. 5 hours. I offered to drive, but it was Marie's car, and she said she was going to drive. 

Ann offered to drive. Again, Marie said she was fine driving. Then Ann slipped into BRM. Ann asking if Marie wanted her to drive popped up at regular intervals on the way there, and then it became A NON-STOP QUESION FEST on the way home, probably because there was a lot of snow in Minnesota. Marie is NOT a relaxed driver on clear roads, so the snow added an element of stress. 

She didn't have the radio on for HOURS because of the snow, even when there was no more snow. Let's all pause and consider this please. 

Not sure which was worse, her playlist or silence. 

Even when the roads were clear, she spent a much longer time than necessary in the far right lane going around 39 MPH. At one point, she was upset because she hated driving behind a semi. She was right behind his rear left wheel, but a lane over. I wanted to scream:  THEN ACCELERATE AND PASS HIM. But, alas, I didn't.

I really don't want to complain because I cannot drive long distances without falling asleep. I had no where to be, so I was like WHATEV - glad she is fine driving (even thought I would've totally agreed to take a shift), but the roads were improving as we put MN behind us. At any rate, it is my experience that when someone insists that they want to drive and it is her car - the constant questioning should probably end. 

I swear that every 25 minutes Ann called from the backseat ARE YOU SURE YOU DON'T WANT ME TO DRIVE? (25 min later) ARE YOU OK DRVING? (25 min later) MARIE, WHY DON'T YOU PULL OVER AND LET ME DRIVE?  (insert image of me running my hand across the dashboard in search of the 'eject-rear-passenger' button).

Each time, Marie called back to her:  NO, I'M FINE. 

I'm sorry I didn't note exactly how many times Ann asked. That would've passed the time, and been an interesting bit of evidence. Trust me, EXCESSIVE. 

When we pulled into Marie's garage, I thanked her for driving. 

Ann:  WELLL, I TOLD YOU I'D DRIVE. (in a whiney tone)



Allow me to offer praise for the seating arrangement though, because Ann did offer to let me sit in the front seat and since I am a good head taller than her and extra leg room is key to my comfort, that was appreciated. 


Totally unrelated, but I have no photos
 to share here. So, speaking of TV . . .
Ed cannot wear this great jacket I
bought him a few years ago, because when
 he wears it everyone thinks it is
because he is a Squid Games fan. 

The instant we were in our room at Embassy Suites, Ann put on the TV. I guess a meal with pleasant conversation wasn't on the agenda. I guess we'd just been in the car together for HOURS. We were eating Chipotle for dinner at the little table inches from the TV. Ann chose Law and Order, Special Victims Unit. It was a disturbing episode about child molestation and Marie was like OH, THIS IS UPSETTING TO WATCH. 


Squid games image
compliments of
Now, that seemed odd. Ann went on to say that she loves ALL Dick Wolf shows and she and her nurse friends discuss the shows every day at work. 

Ann releases a grunt every 40 seconds or so. It's ALMOST  a throat clearing thing, but it's different. Her grunt was in prevalent during the TV watching. It took EVERYTHING in my power not to shout ask her kindly to STOP DOING THAT. 


My sisters decided to call our folks to fill them in on the wake. After the call, they both fussed over Mom. 


Ann:  I KNOW. 


Here they both tried to convince me that Mom is losing her marbles. She can't remember some of the grandkids' names. (well, there are a lot of them, and I can't remember my own kids' names at times). She didn't remember that a chunk of Pat's family went to the no-wake-lake house to quarantine because they had covid. (she was probably distracted and not fully attending to all that Pat had to say, I mean - there's a first for everything). 

Thing One and Thing Two did NOT like that I wasn't concerned about Mom's memory. I was like, hey, when she gets lost on the 2 minute drive home from the grocery store, we've got problems. 

On the drive home, they called her again. When we hung up, one said MOM AND DAD ARE JUST ACTING SO OLD LATELY. The other concurred. 


One more part to this series, I will post it on Monday. It includes a hilarious Mini remark. Get excited. Anyone experience an awkward conversation at a wake? Any Alana fans here? What music would make you want to jump from a moving car? Would you have hijacked the car and forced Marie out of the driver's seat? Do tell. 

January 19, 2022

results of my challenge: choosing to find sisters entertaining vs irritating (part 1)

There are laughs to be had here, my friends - as you knew there would be. I chose to find my sisters entertaining rather than irritating. I succeeded, mostly. (insert image of me taking a bow). 

The car ride was fairly uneventful. It's really hard to explain my sisters. I'll try. For starters, they act older than their biological age. They are 55 and 53, but yet almost 80. They both speak in 'whine' mode, which makes me want to chug a glass of wine. 

Most sentences start with 'I MEAN . . . ' (followed by something exasperating) or 'WELL, I TOLD HIM/HER TO JUST . . . ' (followed by something exasperating).

Marie speaks in a fake voice, what I call a 'phone voice' - like when she answers the phone. I can't do that. Maybe it's just too much for me to remember:

 Who am I right now? Overly polite and sweet even though I was hollering at my kids 10 seconds ago? Or, hmm, trying to think if I have another persona that I'd be forced to switch from IF I bothered. Nope. Just the one.  


Thursday at 11:00 am, Ann and I drove to Milwaukee in my kids' car to meet up with Marie. Our minivan was in the shop. Translation:  the fam left with the Great White only. Ann wanted to leave her car home for her college age daughter, even though she wasn't sure she'd use it. 

Meanwhile the plan with our ONE car was to get people to the following:  Ed worked. Someone drove Reg to his final exam on Friday and Mini got to her exam on Thursday. And Coach was at work with a car. It's a riddle that only a true Shenanigan can work out. Don't try this at home. May cause mind explosion.   

Fortunately the minivan was done Thursday  - sooner than expected, so the car shuffling was manageable. Coach did text me that he had to ask the kids to pick him up from work on Thursday. He was like WHY DIDN'T YOU GUYS GO PICK UP THE MINIVAN BEFORE YOU CAME TO GET ME? and they were confused in general and then wondered where the gray car had gone. I AM INVISIBLE AND NO ONE LISTENS TO ME. LIKE, HELLO? I TOLD YOU I WAS DRIVING IT TO MILWAUKEE. 


On our drive to Milwaukee, I told Ann that I'd recently talked to her son, Prince. 


I explained the need to return the shoes he bought Curly. Well, I guess sharing this was not something I thought through enough. 

Ann:  (after I explained that Curly JUST got a new pair of basketball shoes and we weren't sure what size she'd be when this pair wore out) WELL, SHE SHOULD JUST KEEP THEM. HE WAS REALLY EXCITED ABOUT HIS IDEA. GOSH. JUST HAVE HER KEEP THEM. 

*as if the conversation between Prince and I didn't already happen. Trust me -  I told him what a great idea it was, etc. BTW Curly feels so bad she told me to tell him not to get her anything else. 


I hadn't felt great the few days before we left. Would my at-home test be positive? Maybe I was symptom-free but ill. Sometimes I get headaches that are more related to muscle aches, especially when I strain my neck during a workout.

I brought my laptop to the workout room at the
 hotel and managed to set up a sweet space
 to workout in and no one interrupted me.
I only did a 45 min class. No headache.

My shutdown daycare meant I'd been doing more hour long classes taped early in the pandemic. True butt-kickers.

Wednesday night I took the ornaments and lights off the tree. Coach had been quarantining in there, so the tree was left up longer than planned. I felt a tad dizzy. Maybe I hadn't eaten enough that day? (but, I like food). Maybe I was just tired? I was freaked out about testing in the morning.


WTF? Why would we do that? I texted back:  morning only. 

I felt like my eyes were sucked into my head and the bridge of my nose felt bruised. I wondered if I had a sinus infection. I'd been somewhat congested since Christmas. 

It has been a WHILE since
 I sat in a bathroom
 and waited to see how
many lines showed up
. I was rarely wrong, and I was
usually thrilled with
 a positive test.
Sign of the times.

I was ELATED when the test was negative.

From the car, I called my doctor to get an appointment on Saturday in case I had a sinus infection. They offered to do a phone consult while we drove. 

The doc thought I might have covid. She wanted me to take a PCR test when I got to Minnesota. I felt strongly that I didn't have covid. The antigen test was negative. I get that it isn't as sensitive as a PCR, but I'd had a head ache for a few days so if that was covid related, then I would've tested positive.

At any rate, I was in the car with my seesters, see that - I've chosen a fun nickname for my aging-before-their-time sibs. I had the phone pressed to my ear so hard hoping they wouldn't hear what the doc thought. AWKWARD. I assumed they had no idea that she wanted me to get a PCR, because they didn't bring it up or attempt to eject me from the car. 

Sunday 1/16th health update:  No sinus infection. I feel totally fine. I'm guessing it was a combo deal:  tired, stress, muscle aches. 

When we got to the wake, I put on my mask that Coach supplies me from his PT clinic with a cloth mask over it, which is not necessary. Marie had on an N95. She saw me and gasped:  OH, DO YOU THINK I NEED TWO MASKS? 

What? You have an N95. Settle, sis. Settle. Are you getting that settling down in not Marie's normal mode?


If there was a label we could assign dear Ann, it would be BROKEN RECORD MODE, or BRM. *I'd also label her as incredibly insensitive, but more on that in another post.* Her other issue that stands out is that if she wouldn't do XYZ, then anyone who would do XYZ is weird. Make sense? 

At one point, Ann asked why I was typing on my phone so much. I explained that I was responding to comments on my blog. She asked if I make money blogging. I told her:

I don't make money, just friends. 

Can I get that on a t-shirt? Maybe it's already been done. I'm not always on the cusp of things.

I will give Ann credit here, because in the past she's said THAT'S WEIRD, in regards to the fact that I even HAVE a blog. Perfect example:  she doesn't do it, therefore WEIRD.


This was part 1 of 3, but possibly more. I just got off the phone with Delilah and she jogged my memory a bit and I've thought of additional moments I might share. My favorite broken record moment is upcoming. 

*Please give a shout out to Delilah in the comments. She reads my posts even though she knows all the details - or most of them, after chatting with me for hours . . .  and while we're on the phone she puts up with me shuffling cars on the driveway, delivering laundry to bedrooms, waking up a sleeping Mini - LIKE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? ARE YOU READY FOR SCHOOL TOMORROW? -(she had no school today and slept over at a friends), and all the rest. Please let me know in the comments if you'd like to follow me around via phone one night. Maybe it can be arranged? Check with Delilah before you sign up, it might cause dizziness and she might not recommend it. Poor Delilah is getting over covid. 

January 17, 2022

grief, germs, heavy, & re-entry - not necessarily in that order

Is it time to wash the sheets, AGAIN?

That's where I am. Sort of. Dragging. Stuff to do makes me want to scream. Didn't I just do that? Everything feels heavy. This is not my normal mode. 

I imagine part of it is grief. I'm so grateful that I was able to attend Joe's wake and funeral on Thursday and Friday. It did my heart good to spend time with his family. We hugged and laughed and cried and told stories and got caught up. 

His wife, Gina, didn't know that my sisters and I were coming. After we talked to the family members that we ran into as we entered the wake, my sisters walked to the front of the room to pray near Joe's ashes. I was trailing them. Gina was sitting on a couch. She saw me, hopped up, and came over. We hugged it out for a long time. Sobbing. 

I told her how upset I am that I wasn't able to see him in the fall when he tried to stop in Chicago. How I always felt he was in my corner. How much I already miss him. She kept saying, "Oh, I know, I know. Oh my gosh, I can NOT believe you guys came all this way. I can't believe you're here." 

Then I whispered to her that I felt Joe would probably also appreciate the dynamics of me driving with my two sisters. Shaking with laughter, Gina said, "Yes he would. He certainly would." 


I came home on Friday later than expected because we ended up staying for the luncheon. I'm so glad we did. I embraced that extra time. 

I cried myself to sleep Saturday night. I woke up Sunday morning and lay there for a few minutes thinking. A few more tears. 

There's so much that is weighing ne down:  

 What am I DOING? When Joe died, I started thinking. Why babysit, when I really just want to write my book(s) and get them published? Well, we all know why. Money. There is no guarantee that my writing efforts will lead to a paycheck. You know:  DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB, etc.

Lad. When I listened to the eulogies (3 people spoke, each was amazing - a beautiful tribute to an amazing man), I thought about Lad. I wish Lad could've spent time with Joe, learning to take responsibility, to lead, to make the most of every situation. Not that he doesn't have parents that try to get through to him.

I know that this wouldn't necessarily have been a fix. We've been begging him to go see a therapist. He says he will. He is so much better than he was, but he needs help. I see all that Joe was and I want to bottle that up somehow and gift it to my kid. Joe was one of 5 brothers, and they didn't all lead the way he did - so I get it. Everyone has their strengths. 

Germs. I got home Friday night. Mini played 2 basketball games an hour from home Saturday. Followed by a team lunch. She told me after the first game that she'd thrown up before the game, but she knew she wasn't sick. Ate too early, or something. I believed her. She believed she wasn't sick.  She threw up on the bus after the team lunch and then came home and puked for hours.  

Not sure I ever mentioned here:  Reg, Coach, and Curly all had covid the week before the funeral. Mix in a stomach bug that Lad and the tots/babies had and that might paint a better picture.



This is Joe and his brothers
and me and my siblings
 (plus 3 parents, my mom snapping photo)
on our deck in Davenport.
 circa 1975ish. I'm the very
front with an orange shirt.
 Johnny, my best bud
 who was in the accident is next to me in
 yellow. Joe has brown hair. Wearing a
yellow t-shirt, he's standing
 in front of his dad who is holding
up my youngest brother. 
I tried to explain to Coach how heavy everything feels, but I'm not sure he gets it.   

I don't want to clean house, beg people to help clean house, do all the laundry, plan and prepare all the meals, grocery shop, babysit, pay bills, communicate with teachers, schedule ortho appointments, repeat. Not sure if this is because I'm sad, or just adding to how sad I am. 

Maybe it's all so hard right now in part because I was SO focused on getting to Minnesota. That was a good thing to be able to do, but I'm finding it hard to hop back into all the demands of life. Re-entry, if that's what we call it, is not all that easy. 

I guess after sitting in a car for hours, which sucked but it was also quiet and still and not busy, followed by lots of crying  and thinking of things I want to talk to Joe about and not being able to, and then getting home and trying to dive back into everything here, well it's rough. 

I decided when I woke up Sunday morning to make a list of the things I can control and the things I can't control. I'm hoping that helps. *Have I made that list yet? Well no, but I did do two loads of laundry and a grocery run that involved $600 worth of food.* 

The list is in my mind. I still have to sit down and write it out, but I'm hoping that it'll be therapeutic. 


My youngest brother, Mike,
and my mom at said pool.
A funny from Joe's brother, Mike's eulogy:  Mike said that he'd only once heard Joe say the wrong thing. Joe ALWAYS said the right thing. The brothers were at the neighborhood pool next to their house and two doors down from our house in Davenport. There was a mom with 5 little kids there, some were Mike's age and some were younger. Joe asked this mom if she was pregnant. She wasn't. When they got home, their mom hollered at Joe:  YOU DON'T EVER ASK A WOMAN IS SHE'S PREGNANT. 

*The 'Are you pregnant' was directed at my mom.