Welcome to my world!

My life's been crazy since my Daddy moved in with me immediately after my mother's death in October 2010. My one and only kiddo headed to college at Carolina at the end of August. So...I lived on my own, for the first time in my life, for a total of a blissful six weeks. Then, I started the parenting gig with my dad. He's a combination of a grouchy old man, a surly teenager and a temperamental toddler. Needless to say, I get very close to the brink of insanity sometimes. I get through life by finding the humor in difficult circumstances. And for some reason, I wind up in the weirdest situations. I couldn't make this stuff up. So I wind up having lots and lots crazy adventures which make great stories to share with my friends. Writing about my life is so therapeutic. My ramblings range from funny to sad to angry (full of cuss words) to sweet. While my focus is dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a parent to my Daddy, I have lots of random, totally unrelated posts. Whatever's on my mind. I love to make people laugh, and I'm happy to think my readers will get my strange sense of humor. And maybe, people who are in my situation will be encouraged. That's all I can hope for...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sadie Hawkins Day

Sure 'nuf, that's what today is.  It seems to me, though, that every day is Sadie Hawkins Day.  For me, at least.  I won't even think about the implications of that.  But I thought the cartoon was cute.  It makes me wonder, though, why dude is running from such a hot chick.  And it makes me feel better about the effect I have on men.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Death and Taxes

I'm painfully aware of the inevitable.  I was so sad to hear that a friend died, unexpectedly, Thursday.  He was the off-again/on-again main squeeze of a close friend.  She was devastated.  Even though they'd been off for a few months, they remained good friends.  He was a stand-up guy.  She'd texted him the night before, just to check in and say hello.

I know it's not all about me, but he was just seven years older than I am.  So that pesky mortality thing has been on my mind.  Truth be told, though, it doesn't seem real.  When my GF called to tell me the terrible news, I headed over to her house.  I picked up wine on the way.  We drank a toast to him.  Several, in fact.  We sat on the sofa and she cried.  We talked about silly things we'd done.  I called two of my friends who'd known him through me.  We watched the very funny video she'd made one night when we made dinner at her house.  She was chasing me around like a paparazzo.  I was trying to avoid being captured on her iPad because I was wearing my workout clothes and my hair was in pigtails and I didn't have on any lipstick.  And I didn't trust her not to post it on YouTube.  Believe me, I'd hate for my butt in yoga pants to be broadcast on the World Wide Web.  Around that time, her guy walked in and joined the fun.  What a sweet memory.

She cried and cried until her eyes were almost swollen shut and finally went to bed.  I fell asleep on her sofa.  I have a high empathy quotient, so I've been pretty broken hearted for her.

Ok, that covers death.  Now for taxes.  Ugh.  I have got to finish my return, come hell or high water, by March 1st, because I have to prepare the dreaded FAFSA thang so Kiddo can get more scholarship/grant money.  It's worse than the tax return.  Being self-employed makes my stuff really complicated.  It wouldn't be so bad if I were remotely organized, but unfortunately, that hasn't happened, in spite of the time I've spent on FlyLady.  And here I sit, blogging about not wanting to do my tax return.  Actually, I've worked on it a good bit this weekend, and I'm just taking a little break.  I've refrained from Words With Friends and haven't read the paper yet (but I did do the crossword puzzle.)

Soooo, I think I'll get back to it.  I'll feel much better when I'm done.  And it's never as bad as it seems.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ups and Downs

Life is full of them.  Mine especially, lately.  Yesterday was gloomy and overcast.  My yard was muddy.  My mood matched.  The Daddler was grumpy.  Today it's bright, sunny and unseasonably warm.  Crazy warm.  As in all the windows are open and I'm sitting here in the gauzy cotton top I wear all summer.  And I'm still sweating.  Not complaining, though.

And my mood is bright and sunny, like this day.  My sister-in-law and niece and her two kiddos came over for lunch.  I ordered takeout from Gus's.  Yum.  Everyone loved it.  I've never had Gus's before, but I'm a believer.  The D loved it.  The kiddos loved it.

This was the first time for them to meet Lucy, the Dog.  I was a little nervous about it since I haven't seen Lucy around children.  She's sweet to people, but she has this bad habit of suddenly lunging at dogs, with no warning growl.  So I held her head while the kids petted her and she did fine.  We took a walk to the playground, which was swarming with school children on recess.  Who swarmed around Lucy.  I held her head while a million grubby hands patted and rubbed her.  She wasn't phased.  I however, was verging on a panic attack.  A teacher appeared and called off the dogs, I mean, kids.

We finished our little walk.  Then we flew a kite.  Sans Lucy.  It's a blustery day, but we weren't that successful with the kite.  I need to watch a how-to video on YouTube.  Is there anything which can't be demonstrated on YouTube?  They should offer online degrees.  If someone can pass a comprehensive test on a particular discipline, who the heck cares how he/she learned it?

Last night, when I was feeling blue, I called my friend, Melanie, to talk about her upcoming visit.  She's planning to come see me mid-March.  She's in Baltimore, and I went to see her last September.  We had a blast.  I need something to look forward to.  After lots of searching, we couldn't find reasonable fares for flights that fit her schedule for a long weekend.  Also, it's nearly impossible to get non-stop flights to/from MEM since Delta bought Northwest.  So that means lots of travel time for just a weekend.  Since my schedule is lots more flexible, we talked about a repeat trip for me.  I have so much trouble making decisions lately.  So we'll probably convene on the phone one more time and we can plan something that fits her schedule.  Last time, I hung out at her house a couple days while she worked.  I had my own little Millionaire Matchmaker Marathon.  There's some perverse pleasure in watching those arrogant egomaniacs being pursued by vapid gold-diggers.  I wonder if Patti does any due diligence to see if her clients are as wealthy as they represent themselves to be.  I have a feeling the definition of a millionaire is open to interpretation.

That reminds me of something funny I heard one time.  "If you marry for money, you'll earn every penny."

Well, I'm rambling.  There's no point to this post.  So I'll wrap it up and do something productive.  And try to spend a little time soaking up the sun.  I wish I could bottle it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I Love Lucy

What a sweet dog!  She's already house-broken.  I followed a friend's advice to get a crate.  Very good advice.  She's definitely still in the puppy stage.  Because I'm teaching this dog new tricks.  Unfortunately, my friend and advisor is an old dog.  He can't learn new tricks.  But I like him anyway.

The Daddler loves Lucy because she has brown eyes.  The same shade as Mother's.  Mine are brown, too, but a little darker.  My three sibs got the recessive eye color gene, and I got the dominant brown.  Which is totally opposite of what I learned in my high school biology class.  But we're not fruit flies.  Well, one of us has the empathy quotient of a fruit fly.  But the memory, and I'm sure, the life span, of an elephant.

I wonder if The D has listened to too much late night talk radio and is starting to believe in reincarnation.  Because he seems to think the dog has Mother's eyes.  Maybe she does.  I can think of worse creatures to become in another life.  A fruit fly.  Slug.  Leech.  Yuckkkk...  I think, if I believed in that and I could choose, I'd be an owl.  Or an eagle.  Preferably, an endangered species.  For practical reasons.  Wouldn't it be great to fly?  I don't like the idea of eviscerating uncooked rodents for my din-din, but I do love my steak really, really rare.  I hate organ meat, though. 

But that's crazy talk.  Back to Lucy.  As you can tell in this picture, the sun is shining.  Flowers are blooming.  Our dog is happy.  All's right with the world.  For a change...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Winds have Changed...

...finally.  I had a rough week.  Things finally settled down yesterday.  I have been a lazy slug this morning.  Other than getting up at 7:30 to take care of Lucy, the dog, plus a couple trips with her to the yard, I've done nothing but sit on the sofa and play Words With Friends, do the crossword and Sudoku, and peruse the Reader's Digest.  I subscribe to it for The Daddler, but every time I read it, I'm amazed by how chock full o' info it is.  I learned a great new word:  swivet.  It means a state of nervous excitement, haste, or anxiety.  I have a feeling I'll have plenty of opportunity to use it.  Since I'm constantly in one.

Lucy is making huge progress in the house training department.  I bought a crate and I've put her in it the last two nights.  At first, she hated it.  Howled and whined, for what seemed like hours, but was actually minutes.  It reminded me of the hardest part of parenting a child - putting them to bed.  Hardest in the early days, anyway.  I'm glad The D's bedroom is at the opposite end of the house.  Unfortunately, I heard her loud and clear.  Last night, she settled down much more quickly.  There are lots of advantages to crate training, so I hear.  She was already great about waiting to go outside in the morning before she, um, relieved herself.  I marvel at how dogs can pretty much go on command.  And what's with the way they eat and then poop immediately?  Surely it doesn't go through them that fast.  Does the new food just force the old one out?  Go figure.  I'm just glad it works.

Funny thing.  I bought her a cute little fleece coat.  Maybe I should call it a jacket, because with her long body, her booty doesn't come close to being covered.  This morning, she'd been fed and had pooped and peed, like a good girl.  We hung out in the living room together and she took a little nap.  Then she woke up, got kind of restless, and started chewing on her jacket.  I wondered if she was trying to tell me something, so I took her outside, and sure enough, she did a second number two.  I was really happy about that.  Unfortunately, though, I was barefoot and I stepped in a pile of the accumulated shadoobie.  Yuck. 

She got to visit with her buddy, Charlie, last night.  They get along famously.  They're so cute together.  She figured out how to use his doggie-door.  Turns out, Charlie has a german shepherd neighbor named Sally.  All we need now is a Linus.

Better run.  Lots to do, and I've wasted the entire morning.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Coming Up for Air

Whoa.  It's been a coupla crazy days.  I was feeling fearless, and I decided to give The Dog's sister a try.  She didn't last long.  She was a regular Hound of the Baskervilles.  Loved that book.  Read it when Kiddo was assigned it for summer reading.  I think it's public domain, which means I could download it on my Kindle, for free.  I have the book, but the cool thing about e-readers is that you can just click on a word and the definition pops up.  Amazing.  Useful for Words With Friends.

Oh, back to the crazy dog.  I've heard that when you bring a second-born baby home from the hospital, the first-born child regresses.  Specifically in the potty-training department.  And I can tell you, I spent way too much time dealing with shit.  Literally.

Thank goodness I borrowed a crate from the vet.  I'm not sure I should admit this, but I will.  I gave the Hell-Hound a Xanax.  A tiny little sliver of one.  The first time.  It helped.  I happen to know that it's perfectly safe for dogs.  I have a friend whose vet writes scripts for Xanax for her dog to take in thunderstorms.  I shouldn't admit this, either, but my friend usually uses it up before the first thunderbolt hits.  If I had her job, I would, too.  And actually, the only reason I was so free with my benzos was because I signed up with Medco for mail-order prescriptions.  I had a long expired script for X on my Walgreens profile.  Medco contacted my doc and she wrote a refill, and I got a bazillion unexpected pills in the mail.  Crazy.  I hope she doesn't think I'm a drug-seeker.  I guess if she did, she wouldn't have granted the refill.  When I see her, I'll explain.  She'll tell me to flush them.  Right.

Seriously, though, I am extremely careful with that stuff.  The ironic thing is that when I get into panic mode, I don't even think about taking one.  When I do remember, though, there's immediate relief.  I wonder how much of that is the placebo effect.  I do know that I wouldn't have made it through Mother's death without it. 

Ok, enough about that.  It's time to think about The Daddler's Din-Din.  I went shopping today so I have lots of good stuff for him.  I bought a pint of Pannera Bread's lobster bisque (Target carries it), but I dropped it on the kitchen floor, so there's only a cup left.  I think I'll put some diced tomatoes in my Magic Bullet to stretch it a little.  I happen to have some cream, too.  I love experimenting in the kitchen.  Oh, Target also has a line of Giada food.  I bought some pasta sauce and black olive tapenade.  Yum.  I have french bread, onions, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan...  The possibilities are endless.

On that note, I'd better get busy.  Over and out...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Worst Case Scenario

I'm glad I had a backup plan.  I'm spending this morning cleaning up the mess, quite literally, from my impetuous decision.  No time to tell about it now - I'm in the throes of damage control.

More later...

Oh, happy valentine's day.  Good thing I'm too busy to give it much thought.  Oh, well...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Do I Dare...

...Disturb the universe?

Is that a reference to the Butterfly Effect?

I'm not sure, but I think I'm ready for a change.

It's funny how I have so much trouble with little decisions (like what to order for lunch or how to organize my files or what to wear) than with big ones.  For example, The Dog.  Lucy.  That was totally impetuous.  But I'm really happy about it.  I try to hedge my bets, though.  I made sure it was a foster arrangement so if it didn't work, I could undo my mistake.  I always try to think of the worst-case scenario before I plunge in head-first.  And believe me, I have lots of experiences with worst-case scenarios.  And somehow, I manage to survive them.

Gotta run.  I'm on the verge of something big...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Coup d'etat

I think there's gonna be one.  The D and The Dog are ganging up on me.  Another D, Deb, is allied with them.  But I won't go down without a fight.

It all started out with naming The Dog.  They called her "Baby" at the vet.  I had a friend, though, who had a dog named "Baby."  One day I went to visit and she showed me a headstone right by the magnolia tree.  It was inscribed, "Baby, 1993 - 1994."  I was confused.  Turns out, it was her dog.  Who wasn't buried there.  Lillian Vernon had a special on personalized stone-like-resin pet memorials.  Don't get me wrong.  I like to give animals people names.  Think Lisa Marie (may she rest in peace) and Mia Hamm(a/k/a Beulah, the Bulimic Cat).  But I like specific human names.  Who would name their hamster "Grandma"?  Too confusing.

So back to The Dog.  I called her Bailey instead of Baby.  The Daddler just called her "He."  Until I took Bailey to meet Charlie Brown the Weimeraner Friday night.  When I decided to name her Lucy Van Pelt.  Love it.  She has black hair, like Lucy.  And if I decide to take on her sister, I could call her Ethel.  Or Sally.

Saturday morning, Deb came to take The D to lunch and to the barber, and I announced the name change.  The Daddler immediately took umbrage to that.  And suddenly, The Dog became "Bailey."  The aphasia evaporated like the morning dew in June.  Worse than that, I had trouble remembering the change.  But I'm working on it.  So now, every time I call The D(og) "Lucy,"  The D(addler) says "Bailey."  Which means, her name is going to sound very lofty.  I've settled on this:  Lucy Van Pelt Bailey Baby Badger Hunter the Hun.  That last thing is an homage to her German heritage.  Oh, that reminds me.  Adele has a dachshund.  Cool, huh? 


What a cool word.  One of these days, I'll get to play it on Words With Friends.  And even though Q-U-I-X-O-T-I-C has eight letters, if I can get a strategically placed, unfettered letter, I might get to do it.  With my luck, though, WWF won't consider it a real word.  Because it probably starts with a capital Q.  Can adjectives be proper?  Or just nouns? 

The other day, I had SXPOT, plus some other letters.  It turns out that S-E-X-P-O-T is a word in the Words With Friends lexicon.  If I could've found that elusive E, I'd have scored a bazillion points.  Wouldn't it be fun to have different variations of WWF?  Like Dirty Words With Friends.  Or Bible Names With Friends.  Probably a different audience for those two.  Still, a good idea, IMHO. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I'm So In Love...

...with her. Do you hear Al Green singing this? It's a long story and I don't have time to tell it now, but suffice it to say that we're trying a dog on for size. It's perfect all around. But we're only an hour in.

The Daddler is so in love with her, too.  And that makes me very, very happy.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Deep Stuff

I just got back from my run.  First time in a long time.  My lungs hurt and feel congested.  They seem to collect sediment.  I'm sure most of my breathing is pretty shallow - that's a stress thing.  I can't imagine what it would feel like if I smoked.  Thank goodness that's one bad habit I never picked up.  I've been working on my cussing.  Cutting back on it, I mean.  I didn't cuss that much before Mother died.  I'd go in spells.  Usually depending on who I was around.  That reminds me of a funny story.  Here goes...

It was the middle of busy season (a/k/a tax time) and I was working on a big audit.  There were about 12 of us sitting at folding tables in an unfinished office space.  Think gray.  Gray walls, gray floors, gray weather - it was February.  We had an unbreakable deadline.  As in, drop dead.  If we didn't finish by the end of the month, we'd lose the client and heads would roll.  At that time of year, we had a standard 55 hour work week, but we were pulling 65 or 70 on this audit.

Since we were sequestered from the clients' offices, we didn't exactly follow professional protocol. With our work habits, at least.  Especially on weekends.  We'd come to work in t-shirts and jeans, listen to the radio, munch on junk food, etc.  Trying to agree on a radio station could be contentious,  so my best buddy, M, decided to use his headphones.  Remember Walkmans?  You know how, when you're wearing headphones, you tend to speak really loudly since you can't hear yourself?  Well, we were all sitting there, concentrating on icky stuff like GAAP and GAAS (don't ask), silently grinding out workpapers and clearing review notes.  Out of the blue, M shouted, "Fuck!"  We all jumped about three feet out of our chairs.  There was stunned silence.  Then M looked around and saw us staring at him, bug-eyed.  Needless to say, we all had a good laugh after that.  Hmmm, I wonder if this is that funny to anyone else.  I guess you had to be there.  Humor is inversely proportional to the circumstances.  Why else would such lame jokes get such big guffaws at income tax updates?

But I digress.  Back to my run.  I took my usual route. It's a crisp, sunny day.  Perfect for running.   It was carpool time at the elementary school nearby.  It's always sweet to see all the little kids with their backpacks and lunchboxes, laughing and playing on the playground while they wait for their parents to pick them up.  That used to be the best part of my day.  Picking Kiddo up from school.  Seeing his face light up when he saw me.  Hearing about the things he learned and what he had for lunch and what he played at recess.  Wow, that makes me get all misty-eyed.

I live in a great neighborhood.  Besides all the kids (not counting the hoodlums in hoodies who banged on my door the other night), there are moms pushing babies in strollers, dogs being walked by their masters, crazy middle-aged women flying kites in the field, carpool drivers honking horns at the crack o' dawn.  Oh, don't forget the old people doddering around, getting lost, and being rescued by The Daddler.  It's a regular slice of life.

I was rounding the corner on my last stretch before the end of my run when I saw three men in dark suits carrying casserole dishes and plants to a house.  Someone had died, obviously, and the funeral had just ended.  Then it hit me - the contrast between that and the baby I'd just seen being strolled.  I thought about being 50.  I'm probably more than halfway finished with my stint on this big blue planet.  Mostly, I'm content with my life, but sometimes I feel like I'm in a holding pattern.  Living with my 80 year old father.  Just the two of us, since Kiddo's seldom home.  Weekends are especially hard.

I try to focus on the good things.  It could be much worse.  Alzhiemers, incontinence, wheelchairs, oxygen, falling - those are things I don't have to deal with.  Even though I complain about all the medicine and doctors' visits, The D is in pretty good shape.  I think he's better now than he was before Mother died.  He's gained 30 pounds since then.  I'm extremely proud of that.  Some of that is from too much fast food, but I've also done plenty of cooking.  Especially lately, since my client load has gotten much lighter. 

I think about everything we've made it through, including the awfulness surrounding mother's death and funeral, The D's horrible case of shingles and the upheaval of moving him in with me and then six months later, moving everything to a new house.  It seems like a bad dream.  I still have flashbacks.  I can see my sister choking me at the hospital, my relatives saying hateful things to and about me, D crying out in pain when his case of the shingles was so bad.  There's lots more.  If I looked back to the beginning of this blog, I'd probably be surprised by how terrible it was.  I was so very angry and hurt and sad.  I'm grateful to have gotten through it. 

I worry about D's health.  I'm not ready to lose him.  Unless he outlives me (which is entirely likely given that I'm so accident-prone), I'll have to experience that.  I'm sure I'll never be ready, but of course, that's probably not possible.  Come to think of it, though, I was ready to let Mother go.  Seeing her in so much pain and so afraid was unbearable.  After we upped her pain medicine and sedatives at the hospital, it took a couple of days for me to realize that she would never wake up.  She lived another five days.  The doctors kept saying it would be any time, but it seemed like it would never happen.  I felt like I was suspended in some sort of miasmatic abyss.  (Sorry.  I've read too much Ann Rivers Siddons - she abuses those two words.)  When Mother finally died a few days later, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief.  I'd gotten a head start on my grieving.  Maybe that's because I had to make the decisions.  No.  It's just the way I am.

Well, one thing's for sure.  However Daddy leaves me, I won't have any say about it.  I just hope it's quick and painless.  That he doesn't need professional nursing care.  That he still takes his morning constitutional and walks to church every Sunday.  That he gets in my way and bosses me around whenever I try to do something involving yardwork.  Checks the mail and rolls the garbage can up from the curb and keeps a watchful eye on the neighborhood.  And that he still has his dignity.

In the meantime, I'm going to do my very best to live in the moment.  Enjoy my time with him.  Take care of my responsibilities.  And take better care of myself. 

Man of the House

Lately, I've been spending more time with The Daddler in the living room in the evenings.   He spends lots of time there, happily ensconced in his burgundy leather recliner.  I stretch out on the sofa, surrounded by books and magazines, pencil and paper, my Kindle Fire (for playing Words with Friends), and on Sundays, the newspaper.  I've finally become immune to the blaring volume of the TV.  Which probably means I'm going deaf, too.  So, it's quite companionable.

Every night, around 9:00, The D stands up, announces that he's going to bed, and heads down the hall to his Master Suite.  Appropriate.  Because he thinks he's the alpha dog 'round heeyah.  And I guess, on some level, he is. 

Well, Friday night, an hour or so after he hit the rack, on the front door there arose such a clatter, I jumped from the sofa and said "What's the matter?"  Sorry.  Couldn't resist.  Really, though, there was a loud banging on the door.  When I opened the inside door (thank goodness for storm doors), no one was there.  I pressed my face against the glass and saw a ghostly figure across the street looking back at me.  Complete with hoodie.  Think the Grim Reaper.  And there were five or six more GR's a few houses down.

For some reason, it didn't upset me.  Kids.  I thought about running out there and ripping them new ones.  Instead, I did what a rational person of my socioeconomic status would do.  I called the police - non-emergency number (545-COPS), and reported the incident.

I didn't think much more about it.  I did, however, mention to The Daddler.  So tonight, after the Super Bowl (great game - he picked the Giants to win), when he stood up to head to bed, he said he thought maybe he should stay up.  In case the hoodlums in hoodies came to call again.  I told him not to worry, because I had his .38.  He said he needed to get rid of it.  He'd seen my Angie Dickenson Police Woman impersonation.  He wasn't impressed.

Really, though, I just told him they couldn't get through the iron door.  And that seemed to appease him.  It was so sweet, though, to think he wanted to stand sentry for me.  I guess it was natural considering that he'd retired from the military police.  And then there's the job he'll never retire from. That, of course, is being my dad.