Race to Eight O’Clock

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Yesterday we went to the co-op.

 

Around here, Saturday is the usual day for co-op shopping.

Because Saturday is TASKING DAY.

 

In the morning, I whip out my post-it note list. I am a person with lists. Your mileage may vary.

So we sit down on the green couch and go over the list for the day: Return phone calls, go for a run, teach, do laundry, mow the lawn and go to the co-op.

 

The co-op has become our new found reality show Saturday entertainment.

 

True.

 

I am telling you, this is what happens when you get older and are married. These are the games you make up for a HOT DATE Saturday night. We also have the ROLLING ON THE KITCHEN FLOOR GAME, which I will save for another blog, maybe with video!

 

Anyway, it is getting towards the end of the day. We have gotten almost everything done.

 

So satisfying.

 

Philly still has to cut the lawn and we still need to go to the co-op. He heads outside for the lawnmower.

 

“Hey!” I say. “If you start to cut the lawn now we won’t make it to the co-op before it closes at eight o’clock!”

 

Ok. Wait. Does anyone really WRITE eight o’clock out anymore? And didn’t that used to be a kind of coffee? I mean people SAY eight o’clock. But they WRITE 8PM. Right? Right?

 

Back to THE LAWN. Philly says, “I can do it!”

It is now 7PM. (See above for the written use of PM)

 

“All right, but it is going to be tight.” I say.

 

We look at each other and smile. We smile because we know we are now going to get to play RACE TO EIGHT O’ CLOCK!

 

Woo!

 

Philly turns and runs to the shed to get the lawnmower. I rush upstairs to finish folding the laundry. Very soon it is 7:30PM!

 

I bolt down the stairs. I run to the front door, which is a very nice new front door with a roll down screen, BTW.

 

I open the door. I yell to Philly, “We have to go!”

“I am done!” he yells back.

 

We leave all the lawn items where they are and hop in the KIA.

“Let the games begin!” I say.

 

And off we go.

 

Eight minutes and we are at the co-op. Since they are practically closing, there is a lot of parking. We screech right up to the curb and hop out of the KIA.

 

Now because of COVID the co-op only allows eight people at a time inside. Which means if it is a crowded day they will only allow one person per family.

 

There are little markers on the sidewalk so we can all stand six feet apart. I stand right behind Philly. Nice Lady opens the door and lets Philly come in. Since there is almost no one in the store, Nice Lady lets me in as well.

 

We grab a big basket. Philly puts it on the counter. “I’ll go this way.” And he points toward the vegetables.

 

“Ok.” I say. “I will go that way.” And I point to the bread and cookie area.

 

The race is on. It is now 7:40PM.

 

I pick out some nice bread and a few chocolate chip cookies. I look for bagels but since it is the end of the day there are no bagels to be had.

 

I move on.

 

I drop the items into the big basket. I see Philly. “Did you get broccoli?” I ask.

“No” he says. “No broccoli.”

“We need broccoli.” I say.

 

I go over to the broccoli area which is right next to the brussel sprouts. Yes. I know some people say brussels sprouts. And some people capitalize. And yes, I know Brussels is a PLACE. I TRIED to find one right way. I gave up and this is what we are doing here: brussel sprouts.

 

When son was a young son he would call them little cabbage balls. “I do not like little cabbage balls.” he would say. Of course NOW he loves them.

 

I go to get the NEW biodegradable vegetable bags. Ok. Good idea on the biodegradable. However, IMPOSSIBLE to open. ESPECIALLY in the middle of a pandemic where you cannot lick your fingers for bag opening assistance.

 

I fight with the bag. Since I cannot lick my fingers to open the bag at this time in history, it takes me a whole minute JUST to get the bag OPEN. I put the broccoli in. Next I go over to the brussel sprouts, which are loose in a big bin with a scooper. Bag or no bag, this scooper situation has never really worked for me. The brussel sprouts just roll away. Unless you push them into the scooper with your HAND, which for obvious reason is not allowed. Not just now, but never ever.

 

I learned this lesson at the Brooklyn co-op years ago when I tried to give my vegetables a little hand assist. I did not know I had one of the militant co-op people standing right behind me.

 

“No touching the vegetables without a glove!” she yells from behind me.

“But I am only touching the vegetables I intend to buy.” I say.

“It doesn’t matter.” Co-op Police Lady says.

“Yes it does.” I say. “If I only touch the vegetables I am buying then it doesn’t matter if I am touching the vegetables because they are MINE.”

 

She gives me the Co-op Police Lady stink eye and walks away.

 

Also-just in case you should ever go into the Brooklyn Co-op, DO NOT nibble on anything you are buying in bulk. Because that is STEALING.

 

Anyway, I get the little cabbage balls into the bag. I dash over to put the bag into basket along with the broccoli.

 

On the way I pass Philly. “I am going to get the milks.” I say.

“All right!” he says. “I will run upstairs to get the coffee!”

“Meet you there!” I say.

 

Meanwhile I walk over to the corn area. This is a good time for corn. I get three ears.

I put them in the basket and head upstairs to the coffee area.

 

Philly is standing in front of the coffee bean dispensers. Usually we get one Midnight Sun and one French Roast. We like our coffee beans dark and greasy.

 

I walk down the aisle a little and I see a display of huge dog food size bags of coffee beans!

 

!!!

 

I yell over to Philly, “Oh my GOD! Look at this!”

 

Philly looks over. “This is coffee!” I say. Then I say, “We should definitely get a bag! AND they are 20% off!”

 

“Ok!” Philly says. “Go ahead and grab one!”

I guess we are committing to this coffee drinking lifestyle for a while.

 

Announcement Lady comes over the speaker: Attention: The co-op will be closing in five minutes.

 

I look at Philly. “We still have to get the fruit!” I say.

Here we go down the stairs with the dog food coffee bag. We cut the corner around the cashier grab the fruit and our basket to push it down the line.

 

Luckily, Cashier Number One, who is the cashier we always get, is right there waiting for us. As she begins ringing up our bounty, Philly searches the box pile for suitable boxes to pack the groceries. This is not so easy to do since the boxes are all thrown randomly on top of the refrigerator cabinets. You have to use one of those claw type things to reach a box.

 

He gets the boxes. “Nice work!” I say. We load the boxes together. I know Philly loves to do the spatial relations thing with the food items. And he thinks he is better than me at it. But he is not. He forgets I have years of experience single mothering the box packing to a manageable carry.

 

Eh. I just let him have this little box fantasy.

 

And…the boxes are packed! We slide the debit card to pay for way more food than we thought we were going to buy.

 

Isn’t that always the way?

 

We are all on our way out as they announce last call for checkout.

 

“Phew.” I say.

“Yeah.” Philly says.

 

Time: 7:59PM

 

We are getting good at this.

Yes we are.

Breaker 1-9

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The other day I used a walkie talkie.

Ok, it feels weird to write those words: walkie talkie.

 

I used a walkie talkie because I am tired of yelling down to the MAN CAVE to get the attention of Philly.

 

So it is the day before the other day and I am trying to get some computer assistance from Philly who is down in the Man Cave working away.

 

I stand in the front room on the first floor. I call Philly. “Hey” I say. “Can you come up here and help me? I need you!”

 

Nothing.

 

I move closer to THE CAVE door. “Hello?!” I say.

 

Still nothing.

 

I scream. Yes. Scream. “Hello! Can you come up here? I need your help for something!”

 

UGH! Where ARE those walkie talkies we used to have?

 

I stamp my foot hard on the wood floor. This is a maneuver I learned whilst living on 14th Street in Manhattan with downstairs neighbors who enjoyed blasting THE RAMONES at 11:00 at night.

 

“Are you calling me?” Philly says.

 

“YES!” I scream.

 

“What?” he says. All even keeled and serene.

 

Now I feel like having a tantrum.

Ok, I will not have a tantrum.

I ask myself: Am I already having a tantrum?

 

I peer down the stairs, “I need you to look at the computer.” I say, “It is behaving very strangely.”

 

If you have been a reader of this blog for awhile now you might remember that electronic devices and items requiring wiring are not my friends.

 

I am standing at the top of the stairs.

I am waiting.

I wait.

Still I wait.

 

Philly does not come up the stairs right away.

Actually, Philly almost never comes up the stairs right away.

 

FINALLY I hear footsteps on the stairs.

Philly emerges!

 

“What do you need?” he asks.

 

Now I feel bad for tantrum-ing.

Philly is such a good person.

I show him my computer problem.

 

Which he solves right away of course.

 

“Thank you.” I say.

“Anything else?” he asks.

“Actually, YES.” I say. “Where are those walkie talkies we used to have?”

 

Philly thinks for a minute.

 

“I don’t know!” he says.

“I think we need them.” I say.

“Yeah that’s a great idea!” he joins.

 

And I go to bed.

 

Next day I wake up and walk down the stairs. On the table are a pair of brand new walkie talkies!

 

This is a thing that sometimes happens around these parts. I go to bed and things ordered late at night magically appear at our doorstep the next morning.

 

I look at Philly. I look at the walkie talkies. “Ok!” I say. “Let’s use them!”

Since I do not know how to operate machinery, Philly shows me how all the channels work.

 

He takes his walkie and goes downstairs. “Ok,” I say. “Walkie me!”

I stay up here on the main floor and wait.

 

I cannot hear anything. I accidentally turn the walkie off. And even though he tells me NOT to change the channel I do it anyway.

 

Oops.

 

Now I am frantically searching through channels saying, “Hello? Hello?”

 

Later he tells me, “Channel One. Always Channel One.”

Anyway, finally I find the right channel. Channel One.

 

I hear Philly say, “Breaker 1-9. Breaker 1-9.

 

I laugh. But I do not know what that means, really.

 

Then he says, “What’s your 20?”

Oh! Oh! I know that one! It means what is my location!

 

“Sitting at the table, over.” I say.

“Roger that.” he says.

 

OMG! I start losing it because I remember the movie Airplane when Captain Oveur meets his Navigator Mr. Unger and first officer Mr. Dunn. Do you remember this reader?

 

If not, I HIGHLY suggest viewing this scene on YouTube.

 

For other fun CB LINGO please see: CONVOY. As in “Looks like we got us a CONVOY.”

 

Did you know if you Google Breaker 1-9, this is what you will get:

“Breaker 1/9” is originally a Citizens’ Band radio slang term telling other CB users that you’d like to start a transmission on channel 19 and is also the phrase that starts C. W. McCall’s 1975 novelty hit “Convoy.”

 

Now I Google the Lingo of CB users. I push the button and one by one I say them to Philly.

 

  • 10-4 Roger – Yes.
  • Back door – behind your truck, somebody who’s behind you, like the police.
  • Bad ass – very cool.
  • Bear – cop.
  • Catch you on the flip flop – see you on your return trip.
  • Chicken coop – weigh station.
  • Chicken lights – extra lights on a rig or trailer.

 

Whew. I am laughing so hard no sound is coming out.

This is great!

SO much better than tantrum-ing at the top of the stairs.

So much better.

 

Over and Out.

 

Photo by Philly

 

 

Philly Bananas!!

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Last night Philly and I were funning.

 

I am pretty sure I have mentioned this late night funning. Do you remember what funning is reader? Funning is when mostly I get the nighttime sleepy kookies.

 

Usually I try to involve Philly. I used to be able to suck him right into my kooky world. But now it is harder. Now he resists.

 

I do not know why.

I think maybe I scare him a little bit.

 

Anyway it is last night and I start the funning. We have eaten a late dinner so I am all off schedule. It is past my bedtime and I am sliding into the nighttime sleepy kookies. I jump into the kitchen and start making screechy noises.

 

Philly does not move.

 

Secretly, besides jumping around I have my special agenda. This agenda is to get Philly to start funning with me. And maybe even to get him to laugh himself. When Philly starts to laugh really really hard his body shakes, but no sound comes out.

 

It is quite amusing to watch.

 

Also, if you get him to crack a little bit he will make very funny jokes.

When this happens I rename him: PHILLY BANANAS!

 

I am jumping up and down. I am making googly eyes at Philly. “How about this?” I say. And I put my face right in front of his.

 

We have to entertain each other you know. Especially now that daughter is moving back to Brooklyn.

 

He is trying to wash dishes so I have to be creative. I stand behind him and bounce up and down while I hold onto his belt loops.

 

Nothing.

 

I get him to turn around and I see him smiling. “Come on!” I say. “Do it! Do it!”

 

Still nothing.

 

“COME ON!” I say.

“Mmmm” he says, “I enjoy watching you try to get me to fun.”

 

Now I start to make this crazy laugh. Deep from my belly and kind of spooky. Even though it feels like time to stop making this laugh I keep going.

 

And…I got him! PHILLY BANANAS has arrived!!

 

He is in the living room now. He turns to me and makes a face that looks a little like the JOKER from Batman. He says, “Your laugh is like the sound of a disembodied LOONEY TUNES head bobbing in the dark.”

 

I am bent over laughing. I keep trying to stop laughing but I just keep repeating: Disembodied Looney Tunes Head! HAHAHAHAHA!

 

OMG.

 

I think it is me but it might be him who says, “Looney Tunes House of Horrors!”

 

And I say, “Like when you are at Disney World at the kiddie House of Horrors and you sit in those little carts that roll on a track in the dark. And when you come around the corner the Disembodied Looney Tunes Head is bobbing in the dark laughing at you.”

 

Philly is standing facing me. He takes one hand and puts it high in the air. “First it is over here.” And then the other hand, “Now it is over there.”

 

HAHAHA!

 

I am laughing so hard no sound is coming out of me either. He keeps moving his hands around saying, “Over here!” and “Over there!”

 

“Stop! Stop!” I say.

I have to bring it down. It is way, way beyond my bedtime once again.

I have to go to bed.

 

I look at Philly and say, “Thanks for the funning!”

 

And he smiles this little knowing smile.

A smile that means I might get the funning from Philly Bananas next time.

Or I might not.

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The Walk

Today Philly and I took Zelda the dog for an evening walk.

 

I am slumped on the couch in the half-sitting-half-lying-down feet on the floor position.

Perhaps you know this position. It frequently occurs after eating dinner.

 

Which we just did.

 

“Ugh,” I say. “I don’t know what to do with my life.”

Then I think: I should be more grateful for my life.

 

Then I say, “I feel heavy. Everyone is talking about this Quarantine 15 (pounds that is). I think I am gaining weight.”

 

I start poking at my stomach.

 

“What do you want to do then?” Philly asks. He is kind of used to me having these existential moments.

 

“I don’t know.” I say. “What is it all about anyway?”

I figure he should know since he is a Buddhist and all.

 

“Let’s go for a walk.” he says.

“I hate walks.” I say.

 

Ok. This is not true. However, it IS true I do not enjoy dusk walks around here because: BUGS.

 

Yes friends. Around these parts it is leafy and muddy and humid. With mosquitos.

You know how mosquitos seem to enjoy some people more than others? I am one of those enjoyable people.

 

Anyway, I might as well get up and go for a BUG walk. Sitting here is not helping me.

I get up.

 

Zelda is already jumping up and down to go for a walk. She can do that, you know. Jump straight up and down on her hind legs just like a pogo stick. This is frequently seen through the front screen door while approaching the house. Probably I should video it one day.

 

And so we go, Zelda, Philly and I. We walk down the street towards the park.

Philly asks, “Do you want to go in here?” and he points to a teeny tiny little dirt path.

 

“Um. No.” I say. “Too many small leafy plants. Too many bugs and maybe ticks. I want to go in over there, on the pavement.”

 

“Besides”, I say, “I am wearing flip flops.”

 

Yeah, yeah, I know. Flip flops are probably not the optimal choice for a walk in the woods. But really I am not from the leafy, lakey, bug filled MAINLAND WOODSY planet. I am from New York City. I am from an ISLAND near the salty ocean with no bugs. I am from the BEACHY planet.

 

On my planet we wear flip-flops. We do not go camping. We do not go swimming in a freshwater lake.

 

Philly shakes his head. He says, “You are a funny one.”

 

We keep walking. Zelda is sniffing everything she possibly can. She is a sniffer. All dogs are sniffers. Zelda is a SUPER SNIFFER.

 

Philly points down the path. Seems the path just comes to the end in the middle of the grass.

 

“What now?” he asks.

 

“Turn around.” I say.

 

“C’mon!” he says. “How about you venture out there?”

 

Oh for GOD’S sake!

 

“All right. All right!” I say.

 

I just KNOW there will be bugs.

 

And…There are bugs. Maybe five steps and I am bitten by a mosquito on the ankle.

 

I point at my ankle. “See?” I say. “See?”

 

I start walking back towards the dirt path where it is safe. On the way I get too more mosquito bites as I am swatting them away right in front of my FACE!

 

Jesus!

 

When I first moved to Philadelphia, I would try to go for runs in the woods. DO NOT do this reader. You will get a mouthful of bugs, should you DARE to open your mouth while running.

 

Now Zelda is jumping all around, sniffing and having the time of her doggie life.

 

Finally we reach the path. I am very grateful to return. I think Zelda can tell I am not happy. She comes right over and snuggles next to my legs.

 

Did you know Zelda is my emotional support dog? This is true. She curls up next to me at night. If she hears me crying, she comes right over to see if I am ok.

 

We head towards home in the dusky dark. Luckily the rest of the walk is all dirt road or pavement.

 

As we walk up onto our blue porch, I tell Philly, “That was kind of fun.”

He smiles and says, “Maybe we can do it again sometime.”

 

“Maybe.” I say.

Just maybe.

 

The Visit

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Last week daughter came to visit.

This week she is still here.

At least for a few more days.

I am thankful because daughter has lifted my spirits.

 

I am finding it difficult to write. I STILL cannot write about Philly’s Mom, or about my Blogger friend, “T”, who died of cancer on May 12. Or the brutality I have witnessed.

 

I will try to find a little respite, here now. I think if I sit down here to write, the words will come out, as they usually do.

 

It is after dinner, the dinner that DAUGHTER COOKED, because she is now a cooker. A cooker just like son.

Not sure how this happened.

 

Anyway, we are cleaning up the living room picnic. I am not sure why we do not eat at the regular table. In Brooklyn I used to think it was because we did not have enough eating room. However, we seem to be continuing this tradition, even with a perfectly good DINING ROOM TABLE. And an actual DINING ROOM where the dining room table lives.

 

Daughter turns on the music and starts dancing around the living room. Mostly I do not know the songs. But after a while I join in anyway because I love to dance.

 

Daughter says, “Mom! You know this one!” and puts on a song. I think I recognize this song.

“Do I?” I say.

“Yes!” she says.

 

Ok I do recognize it. But I have not the slightest clue as to the artist or name of this particular song.

I dance anyway.

 

Philly comes in and stands there watching us and smiling. I know he enjoys these little mother and daughter moments.

 

We dance and dance and then I say, “I have to wind it down now, it is almost bedtime!”

This is true BUT due to COVID my bedtime seems to be slipping towards later and later. As does my sleeping time. I now wake up at times I find astounding. Like TWO hours later than I used to wake up.

 

So, I go to bed.

 

A few more days and daughter makes the lunch. Is this great or what?! I love it when food just appears for me! Later we do FACE MASKS. This is a popular thing among the younger set, face masking. Sometimes we use the kind that makes us look like ghost faces. But this time we use the red gel.

 

I tell daughter, “I feel like I just smeared blood all over my face!”

Daughter says, “Let’s go downstairs and tell Philly we are doing BLOOD MASKS!”

 

OMG.

 

I am really laughing. “Yes!” I say. “Let’s tell him it is sheep’s blood!”

We giggle as we walk downstairs to the basement mancave.

 

We stand in front of Philly.

“Look at our facemasks!” we say.

 

He looks. I can tell he has no idea what he is looking at or what to say.

“Oh, nice.” he says.

 

“They are Blood Masks.” daughter says.

Philly puts on his best Blood Mask Poker Face.

“Ok.” he says.

 

I decide to up the ante. “It’s SHEEP’S blood.” I say.

Still nothing from Philly.

 

Daughter and I look at each other.

 

HAHAHA!

 

“We are pranking you!” she says.

“Oh!” Philly says. He smiles but I can tell he has not REALLY been paying attention. Probably because he is down in the MANCAVE. All the equipment in that Mancave can be very distracting.

 

Next day comes and daughter takes the car to do some errands. On her way back she runs over the recycle bin in the driveway.

 

“I have something to tell you.” she says.

My mama mind goes right to CAR ACCIDENT.

 

I remain calm.

 

Daughter says, “I ran over the recycle bin.” and then she says, “I didn’t see it there!”

Didn’t you hear the crunching?” I ask.

“By then it was too late.” she says.

 

I guess she just kept going because, eh, it is already halfway run over.

Daughter takes the now crumpled recycling bin and brings it back around to the side of the house, where it usually lives.

 

Later, we tell Philly. “Guess what happened?” we say.

“What?” says Philly.”

“Daughter ran over the recycle bin!” I say.

 

“Oh!” he says. “I was wondering how it got that big dent in it.”

 

!!!!

 

I do not know what else I can say about this.

 

Now we are sitting on the couch and daughter is TIC-TOK-ing. She shows me a picture of some young man and I say, “Who is that?”

 

Daughter says, “Oh my GOD mom, you sound like such a MOM right now. It’s a TICTOK! How that hell am I supposed to know who this guy is who has been seen by millions of people?”

 

Then she says, “Who is this nice young man, do you know him from college?” as she laughs at my extremely clear generation gap mishap.

 

Not too long and we go to bed.

 

Next day comes and we do errands and lie around. We have a BBQ and eat outside. We play the “Guess What?” game. Have you ever played this game, reader? It is a game where each person asks the room a question about one of the participants. These kind of questions:

 

How old is Philly?

Daughter figures this out but will not say the number out loud.

 

When did mom graduate undergraduate school?

Daughter tries but misses. Of course, she was not alive at that time. Philly gets it.

 

What was Daughter’s favorite cereal when she was 15?

Ok. I this was a gross cereal with little chocolate pocket pillows. Yeah, yeah, I know. Listen, I was worn out by that time raising those two kids. I had hit my quota of healthy-mealing. Anyway, I cannot remember the name of the cereal.

 

“It’s KRAVE mom!” she says.

 

Ugh. Now I remember.

 

We see a bird on the telephone line that runs across our yard. I say, “Look how close that bird is. I bet I could hit it with a rock.”

 

I am just making a little joke. But both Daughter and Philly look at me like I am crazy.

 

Daughter says, “Mom, there are other ways you could have expressed this sentiment, you know like: That bird is just a stone’s throw away.”

 

HA! That daughter. She is witty.

 

 

Later, Daughter asks Philly if he wants to watch Avatar.

 

Philly says, “I don’t know what Avatar is.”

 

“It is a cartoon.” I say.

 

This is not the correct answer.

 

I am slammed with all the reasons Avatar is not JUST A CARTOON.

 

I walk away. Anyway, since I raised both son and daughter, I have pretty much have enough AVATAR in my life already.

 

And now it is Sunday and we are lying around waiting for me to start teaching YOGA to the house, this time outside! I have been doing this every day. I am happy to spread the YOGA GOODNESS.

 

But only a few more days and Daughter will go home.

It sure is wonderful having her around. For so many reasons really.

 

Most especially at this time when we need to hear from a person who is 22 years old and has very articulate, current facts and opinions on what is, and has been happening for a long time in this country.

 

She shares them with us every day.

Every day I am a little wiser, a little more current because of this.

 

And I thank you daughter. For your thoughtful and well-rounded and informed discourse.

We are better people because of you.

 

Yes.

The Unwritten

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Today I am sitting here in front of the computer, again, hoping words come out.

 

Inside my head and my heart puzzles of letters float in circles and still no sentences come out. So I sit here now, without a plan.

 

I am tired reader. I feel like I don’t know what world I am living in right now.

The virus.

The politics.

The deep longing for humanity.

 

And then this other part.

The part that has relaxed.

That likes seeing her husband every day.

Who likes being in this house.

 

This part that is reevaluating her whole life. All her priorities.

 

Do I have a choice?

I do not know if I am going back.

 

The computer is set up for ZOOM. It sits on two yoga blocks, making the screen high enough to teach and receive yoga as well as participate in all the 12 Step ZOOM meetings I now have plenty of time to attend.

 

Because of COVID I get I enter the ZOOM rooms of Brooklyn, where I got clean and sober in many aspects of my life. It is heaven for me to see these familiar faces.

 

I am inspired to start a permanent ZOOM meeting myself because I am slightly terrified of losing my connection to people from a specific 12-Step room. I cannot talk much about this, reader. I can just say getting on NYC ZOOM meetings in this particular fellowship has been like oxygen. I have not been able to replicate it here.

 

And I feel guilty saying any of this as thousands and thousands of people are still dying.

 

I don’t know what “later” looks like. Right now it looks like someone who walks around the house with clothes on turned inside out, hair not washed, furniture pushed against the walls for yoga practice and a lot of unfolded laundry hanging out in the dryer for days.

 

But it also looks like someone who has slowed down, who stops along the way of a morning run and notices all the many flowers, big and small. One day, I find a half of a shell of a Robin’s egg! I scoop it up and bring it home.

 

I pick a few more flowers, here and there. I put them on my table in the front room. I don’t know exactly why I think to start gluing them to Masonite. But I do.

 

I am working on my second flower project now. It will be dedicated to Philly’s Mom, who died a week and two days ago. I will write that story.

But not today.

Not right now.

For now, it is the unwritten.

 

I take a big breath.

I am going to post the picture of my flower art.

Maybe all those little flowers will make you smile reader.

I hope so.

Today I Write

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Today I am writing this blog.

I have been mostly unable to sit down here at the desk and open the laptop to write.

Unable because we are in this pandemic, and words seem almost an insult to the immense grief the world is weeping for, every day, every hour.

 

In between the grief and the crying and prayer, I have been looking for some positives in the days here in the house.

 

And what I have found is: ZOOM.

 

Thank you Higher Power for this amazing technology, for the privilege of an internet connection, for a phone where I was texted the ID number for the first ZOOM meeting I attended.

 

Most of you know, but maybe not all of you, I am in recovery. In multiple programs.

 

I began this recovery in Brooklyn. I got a lot of meetings at that time. In Brooklyn there are many, many meetings in all directions you can walk to. In Manhattan, just a subway ride away, there are even more meetings.

 

The days pass in by in Brooklyn and my recovery community grows and grows. Recovery is not a linear process, and I am supported in the gentle hammock of the love of the rooms.

 

Yes, I do believe this saved my life.

 

Here in Philadelphia is not always so easy to make meetings. It is a driving culture where I live, just outside of Center City proper. It has taken me a while to get used to driving 20 minutes here and 30 minutes there.

 

I do not mean any disrespect to the people here in recovery. But I miss my NYC people. I know I sound like a New York snob, but I miss the WAY they share. Maybe it is always this way. One longs for the community where they go to their first meeting.

 

And so, I do the best I can here. I know I have to keep making meetings.

 

And then the Pandemic hits. No more meetings. In the desperation of arrested addiction, people in recovery scramble to ZOOM, to set up meetings. To be safe. To allow people to see people. To help keep people clean and sober.

 

In every fellowship.

 

There are ZOOM meetings originating all over the world. People from Australia attend my homegroup meeting in Brooklyn. Really, you can ZOOM in from anywhere TO any place.

 

And this reader, is my bright spot. Suddenly I am getting a meeting every day. Sometimes two. Yes, it makes a difference. I don’t have to drive anywhere. I don’t even have to get dressed. AND I can reconnect with my Brooklyn peeps in my old meetings.

 

And I do. I see some new faces and many familiar faces. I share sometimes and I am the speaker at one meeting. Along the way I pick up two sponsees.

 

This to me is like oxygen. I breathe in the shares. I write down the things said that resonate with me. Today I write down: Action Creates Identity.

 

I spend a little time thinking about this little nugget: Action Creates Identity.

 

I don’t know reader. I guess meetings in all different places are all different. I am a little bit afraid for the time when these ZOOM meetings end. I know I will miss them very much. Today someone speaks of keeping some of the ZOOM meetings going after we are released back out into the world.

 

On the ZOOM I give the person a big THUMBS UP.

 

But I know I cannot wallow. Wallowing is very dangerous for me. I just have to keep going one day at a time. I must not get into the wreckage of the future.

 

This is my bright spot.

This worldwide pandemic has connected many people.

People who otherwise would not be united.

 

For today, I will hold on to this connection.

The Things We Do

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The other day we pierced daughter’s nose.

We kind of have a lot of time on our hands.

 

Some people cook.

Some people clean.

Around these parts, we pierce.

 

Daughter arrives at the house. We have all the items here already, freshly shipped from some place on the internet. Did you know nowadays one can just go on the internet and order up a whole body piercing kit to be delivered right to the doorstep?

 

The piercing items arrive in one neat little package. The package contains many needles of many gauges. Also various jewelry. And a pair of black, (yes black) surgical gloves.

 

I think the black gloves are supposed to make the whole experience feel more dangerous. But really they just make me feel like a burglar.

 

Daughter is laying out all the items for the work ahead. We will be piercing a second hole in her nose. When I did this to myself in 1983 there were not kits for piercing. No items. No body piercing places. You just boiled a large safety pin and bent it back. Used ice to numb the desired area and choose a vegetable you could stab the pin into. For example, you could use a potato if you were doing anywhere on the ear. Just put the potato against the back of the earlobe and you push the pin right through the earlobe to the potato. For a nose piercing, you use a carrot.

 

You get the idea.

 

But now things are much fancier. There are piercing clamps, and different gauge hollow needles. Daughter is checking out all the sizes of the hollow needles to see which one best fits the teeny tiny nose stud she has purchased.

 

“Did you find it?” I ask.

“No.” she says, “They are all too big!”

 

I think: Uh oh.

 

But then she looks deeper into the PIERCING POUCH and finds smaller gauges.

I attempt to fit the teeny tiny earing into the end of the needle.

 

“This one is too small.” I say.

Daughter hands me the next size up. I am struggling to maneuver with these burglar gloves on.

 

“The gloves have to go.” I say, “Or I will not be able to do this.”

Daughter looks at me.

“It will be FINE.” I say. “I will wash my hands thoroughly.”

 

I take the gloves off. I wash my hands thoroughly. I thread the teeny tiny earring stud into the hollow needle.

 

It fits!

 

“Ok!” I say. “Let’s boil it and we’re ready to go!”

Daughter says, “Ok. Ok. I am nervous now.” She walks over to the mirror and back again. “Then she says, “Ok. I am ready.” she says. We pull the chair we will be using in from the front room.

 

Now she has to mark the spot on her nose that I will push the needle through. This takes a few tries:

Too far forward

Too far back

Then, just right.

 

Daughter sits down in the chair.

 

Philly, sensing there will be blood, scurries out of the room.

Philly does not like blood situations. Actually, we cannot even TALK about them in his presence. He REALLY does not like it.

 

No he does not.

 

I get ready. I am a little nervous since I have never pierced in this new-fangled way.

I take a deep breath.

 

I pick up the needle. I pick up the piercing clamps.

I ask daughter, “Are you a bleeder?” because I seem to remember daughter being a bleeder.

“How would I know?” she asks.

“Well, you do have like seven or eight other piercings plus all those tattoos.”

“Oh yeah.” she says.

“I guess we will see.” I say.

 

And so, we are really ready.

Daughter sits back down in the chair.

I clamp her nose to get it in piercing position. When I get it where I want it, I place the needle on the spot.

“Ok!” I say. And I push the needle through. I get it about halfway through and I tell daughter, “I think it will be easiest if you pull it through from here.”

 

An so she does. She gets up and goes to the mirror and pulls the needle right through.

Just like that.

 

“Woo!” I say. “It looks great!”

“You think?” she asks.

“Yes!” I say.

 

There is in fact, blood. Kind of more than I was anticipating. I scoot over to the other room to get some tissues.

 

I am so excited by this piercing that I want to pierce something else on MY body. Daughter and I discuss this. As I am about to re-pierce my own nose, I realize I will not be able to use my Neti Pot in the same way I have been using it recently, which is difficult to explain, but it involves some force.

 

While I am gnashing the idea of piercing or not piercing, daughter continues to clean the piercing and the blood. I bring her some alcohol wipes from MOM’S PHARMACY in the upstairs bathroom.

 

Just in case she needs them.

 

Later daughter boils some more water and puts it in a very small dipping bowl. She is dipping her nose into it to clean it.

 

I look over. I start laughing.

“What?” she says, laughing.

“Nothing.” I say. Still laughing.

 

Soon we are both laughing so hard tears are coming out.

Daughter is funny.

 

It may not be what most mothers and daughters are doing during quarantine.

Piercing.

But it is what we are doing.

 

What are you doing Reader? To pass the time.

Are you working? What are you doing?

Tell me.

I want to know.

 

 

I think not.

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The other day my mom went to the hospital.

She had three or four episodes (which for privacy reasons I cannot go into here)

And the paramedics came in the ambulance and took her to the hospital.

 

It happens but I do not know about it right away. I am sitting around doing mostly nothing, even though I feel like I should be doing SOMETHING.

 

I look at my phone and I see Aunt has called. I listen to the message which says she is concerned about my mother. She says she spoke to my mother and she did not sound right.

 

I call my mother. She tells me some of the things that have happened. She does not sound right but she does not want to go to the hospital. After a while we hang up.

 

Next day I call to check on her and my dad answers her phone. I think: Why is my dad answering my mom’s phone? He hates technology. He hates phones. Even though my brother bought him a phone, he never uses it. In fact he usually does not even know where it is.

 

“Hi dad.” I say.

“Your mother is in the hospital.” he says.

 

Just like that.

 

“What?!” I say.

He goes on to explain the events of the last three days leading up to the 911 call.

“Oh my GOD!” I say.

“Is she in the ICU?” I ask?’

“I am not sure.” he says.

 

I know this may be unbelievable, but this is my dad. This is how he is. In between texting with my brother I ask my dad for the name of the hospital. This he does know.

 

Here I have a flash of my mother dying and I am not there.

 

I get ready to call the hospital. Things have not been so great lately for the family down in Florida — which is pretty much the whole family except me. My brother and his wife have taken on A LOT down there. My parents have moved in with them in his new house. And then months later moved back out.

 

Right before they move out I talk to my mother. I talk to my brother.

Clearly this is an untenable situation.

I feel terrible because there is nothing I can really do from here except listen.

 

And so I call the hospital. I get transferred around and finally get OBSERVATION. I ask Nice Nurse if my mom can speak now and if I can talk to my her.

 

Nice Nurse says she has a few things to do and then she will check on her and call me back. She tells me she has been trying to get in touch with my dad, but she cannot. This is not surprising because even with hearing aids my dad can barely hear. I give her my mom’s cellphone number and I give her mine.

 

I wait but the call back from Nice Nurse but it does not come.

 

I try again but no one answers.

 

I call my dad back. I tell him, “You have mom’s phone.”

He says, “I don’t know what I have. The lady at the hospital handed me this.” OMG.

But he is 83 so I let it go.

 

“Is it plugged into the wall?” I ask. “Dad you have to plug it into the wall to charge.”

I say.

 

He tells me, “Yes, it is plugged into the wall.”

I say, “Keep it there.”

 

Meanwhile I am texting back and forth with my brother. We talk on the phone but he is working. We still don’t know what has happened to my mom.

 

I call back and I get my mom. She tells me, “They are doing some tests and also testing for Corona virus.”

 

I just try to stay calm. She sounds disoriented. We get off the phone.

 

I THINK I call or text my brother here, but everything is so mixed up I am not sure.

 

Next day and some of the results come back. She has not had a stroke. Thank GOD.

Now we wait on the virus.

 

The test comes back: Negative.

 

I ask my mom, “So what is it then?”

“I don’t know.” She says, “They think it is some kind of virus.”

 

WHAT?! WHAT?

 

“Some kind of virus?! What kind of explanation is that?” I ask.

“I don’t know.” she says.

She STILL doesn’t sound right.

I tell her, “You still don’t sound right.”

“Still?” she says.

“YES.” I say.

“Maybe I need to sit up.” she says.

 

I do not think this has anything to do with the way she sounds, which is sluggish and slurry. But she tries it anyway. I wish I could go there and find a doctor or nurse to talk to. But here we are, in the middle of Covid-19

 

She starts talking about how she can’t stand it there and how she wants to go home the next day.

 

I do not think this is a good idea.

 

I talk with my brother more. He and his wife are very good people. They have offered so much. I wish I could be there with them.

 

And so it is today. And I am waiting to hear what is next. If I do not here very soon, I will track down the Nice Nurse or whoever is on shift.

 

Reader, I have not had the easiest relationship with my mother. And I have not been an easy daughter to raise. I pretty much wildly did whatever I wanted to. I do not know how my parents slept at night. Through the miracle of therapy and Recovery, I have been able to make amends for my part. It felt very good to tell them, “I am sorry.”

 

I have had a distant relationship with my brother. We are nine years apart. I feel I should have held us together somehow. I miss my brother. I want to talk to him more often. I want to see his family more than once a year. I want to be able to see his kids grow. I want to see their accomplishments and soothe their hurts. I want my kids to know his kids. Really know them.

 

But this is not our situation. It stinks to be so far away.

 

And now we are here.

At this place.

I don’t know what is next.

I do know these relationships have shaped, in part, the me that is me.

 

I know people who have lost their mothers far too soon. Way sooner than this.

 

I am afraid.

Is one ever ready to lose someone in their life?

I think not.

 

I think not.

 

 

At the time of the writing of this blog I get a text: Jerry Mundis has died of Covid-19.

 

There are many, many others. This is not the first time many people have lost their lives at the same time. It won’t be the last.

 

We are here for a brief time reader. I start to cry because in some way, all these souls leaving the planet at once is almost too much to bear. I think about all creatures, everywhere, living and dying. Today I will practice kindness and compassion And remember, REMEMBER, love is the most important thing. Yes, it is.

ZOOM!

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Today I am writing this blog.

I have been hanging, inert, unable to come to my keyboard and write anything.

 

What can I say in the middle of a Global Pandemic?

How can I say anything without seeming oblivious and indifferent?

 

Before I begin this blog I just want to have a moment to acknowledge what is happening on planet EARTH right now. And the grief of so many.

 

– – P A U S E – –

 

An offering of a little window of positivity

 

This morning I attend a ZOOM meeting. I attend one of my favorite meetings from Brooklyn. I am excited to get to see some of my old friends on the computer screen. This is not the first ZOOM meeting I am attending this week. I have been attending meetings in all my fellowships.

 

This has been GREAT for my emotional sobriety.

 

Especially right now.

 

The NYC COVID-19 ZOOM meeting list is very complete. Anyone can join. You can google it and hop right on.

 

I get a meeting a day or even two sometimes. I see people I know. I hang out after the meeting. I even get a sponsee!

 

Really, I never want ZOOM to end. I hope even after quarantine ZOOM meetings stick around.

 

This is carrying me through the unreality reality we are all living through right now.

 

I don’t know what is carrying you reader. I hope something is. I hope there is a ZOOM meeting that fits into the context of YOUR life.

 

My life is in recovery.

If you want what I have found, send me a message.

And I will send you the links.

 

We really are all in this together.