DelBloggolo

Thursday, May 31, 2007

LOCK OUT

No not the union of some unionized company, but #2 Son and his aversion for peace and serenity. As a retired man I now can dream about what I’ll have for lunch, and while I was doing so the phone rang. All my dreaming was shattered by the

Phone: “RIIIINNNGGG.”
Me: “Eh Low”
#2 Son on phone: Eh, Dad?”
Me: “No Michael, you have the wrong number.”
Him: “ I need help”
Me: “What?”
Him: “I locked my keys in my car, what should I do?”
Me: Call a locksmith?”
Him: “OK, call one for me.”
Me: “Where are you?”
Him: “DON’T COME DOWN “JUST CALL A LOCKSMITH!”
Me: “I HAVE TO KNOW WHERE TO SEND HIM, NO?”
Him: “Oh, OK”

I think that before they give out driver’s licenses, they should send out the potential traffic jammer and let him/her pass a litmus test first. Leave them in the middle of nowhere, throw their keys in the car, lock it, and flatten at least one tire. All they should have is a cell phone, and a phone book of useful numbers. If they return with the car and the tire is fixed, they get a road test. The inspector can then notify the parent that the test was or was not successful. There should be classes that teach how to change a tire, change the oil, put antifreeze in the car, and call a locksmith or AAA, and if any phone conversation begins with: “Eh, Dad?” automatic failure.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

ONE, TWO, SIDE STEP SIDE STEP

Off to dancing class we went! Me and TLW (The Little Woman) filled with anticipation and great hopes. Move over Fred Astair and Ginger Rodgers, here comes the fox trotting team of Joe and Ellen!

We arrive at the dance hall that is a middle school cafeteria, and await the instructor. I figured he would be Senior Eduardo, and his lovely dancing assistant and partner Natasha. Senior Eduardo with his ascot, silk fluffy blouse and long thin legs, slick black hair and pencil moustache. The lovely Natasha with her hair pulled back, big loopy earrings and long red dress with a heavy Russian accent. What we got was Edward and Sophie.

Edward, or Eddie as he likes to be called was an elderly gentleman, with grey hair and a paunch, while the lovely Sophie was a refugee from Hunger Anonymous. Behind her thick lenses she swayed and glided across the dance floor along with Eddie.

Along with about 15 other couples we stood facing each other men on one side women on the other, TLW was in her glory as we embarked on an evening on repetitious steps and orders from Eddie. Once Eddie established himself as dance tutor, we applied some of his instructions into our newly formed routine. TLW would dance with her feet too close and I would step on them to ensure we were getting our money’s worth. “Ow” or the more colloquial “Ouch” was heard more than once as we glided and pranced like robots with elbows up at the same level, no slouching, and stepping on our heels first.

Mama, you raised your son to be a dance faggot.

Only seven more classes to go!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

BACHLORHOOD REARS ITS HAPPY HEAD

This morning as I gathered myself together for another day of cleaning up the yard, picking weeds from various spots on the lawn and walkway and pulling leafs off of the cover on the pool, I went inside for a cup of coffee, and could hear TLW (The Little Woman) giving #2 Son Hell for not being up yet, and for not having cleaned his messy room, a room that was supposed to have been cleaned up yesterday.

Dragging his lazy body out of bed after a severe badgering, he came down to gather himself, (yes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the apple basket) and I suggested that he keep the morning’s lesson in mind when he decides to propose to some unsuspecting young lady, and she in turn gets mad at his parents for not warning her. I also suggested that when they tie the knot a woman’s sweetness is like chewing gum’s, it might last only a short while.

After saying such things, I realized what a mistake I had made in warning him. Now he will never get married, and I will have to feed him until the day I die. Of course I will never warn the young unsuspecting gal because then we would never unload him, and I would be feeding him until the day I die. This is called a; lose, lose situation.

This is not to say that marriage is bad, just that it is bad for #2 Son. Once his LW (Little Woman) finds out what a slob he is, I’m sure he will be badgered, with yelling like a 7th Avenue train screeching into the subway station, not to mention the nasty things she will say about TLW, as she is cleaning up after him.

One thing about Fatherhood is we don’t get blamed for that. My Mother would make me make my own bed, clean my room and even iron my own cloths. My Mother was heavily armed with a wooden spoon in various sizes to fit the various crimes I committed. To this day she will threaten me, after I had four kids, and 36 years of marriage (For the record, they are happy years), her being 89 and about 4 feet 3 inches.

P.S. In yesterday’s blog, Steve Philip asked: “What are the yellow tubes around everyone's ears in the picture?”

Well Steve, Being how I was on my way out (If you catch my drift) I don’t really know what they are, but I felt I needed one on each ear to be “Well-balanced.”

Monday, May 28, 2007

LIVING IN THE HOOD…


or dying like I am, right now.

Yesterday was my last day on earth, which lasted about to the tenth Tequila shot, then I got up and the next thing I remember is being in my bed wondering how I got there!

Yes I figure about ten shots, three beers and a cute little concoction of some fruit in a blender with rum. But hey, who’s counting, and I had plenty of help and might be one of the lighter drinkers. Death came easy, and as I sit here dying again, with shame on me written all over my wife’s face, I beg for mercy. Please, somebody, shoot me.

I have never in my life gotten in that condition except once while in college. Last year I drank more and was fine, walking away on my own and feeling great the next morning. Today’s blog comes to you late because as they say; “I’m nursing a hangover.”

Nice, I’m very proud of myself.

Well at least my neighbors were all ok as far as I can tell, and it is always good to sit and talk to them.

Carole, this is all your fault, you should know better than to invite me!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

PEOPLE I LOVE

There are people in this world, no matter how hard they try to avoid me; I still love them.

During my luncheon with my fellow co-workers of yesteryear, one of those people was a writer that exuded class and the principles of Christianity, as I never could. Her name is Susan, or Sue, or as I nicknamed her “The Horn” a shortened version of her last name. She is a tiny thin little Jewish lady that has a body too small for all the class she brings to the table. This is a woman who is slow as molasses, but fast on winning people over. She took my abuse with grace and dignity, and was always there for you if you needed anyone at all. Her humor was probably her next greatest asset after her wonderful heart, and I am glad that I know her, because she taught me that life is bigger than myself.

Then there is Elliot another writer who when I saw him, fell down on his knees and started bowing, telling everyone within earshot how as a pup writer he came to me one day, uncertain about what he could do, I sat down with him, and his natural talents took over. For some reason he gave me credit for his starting out successfully. We would always chat and he would go on about his children as he came back to PCH in his second time around. Always a good guy, always cheerful, and he gave my ego a huge boost yesterday.

Then there are the three troublemakers, Jan, Kathy and Carole, old stalwarts of PCH, probably the most fun you could have with three people. They are like sisters, and they always picked on their younger brother: me. Jan was the instigator, they idea gal, Kathy the mouthpiece, kept me from getting a word in edge-wise and Carole the executioner of the idea. Both generally aimed it at me, and when they were done, we all laughed ourselves silly.

Then last but not least is Sue, my client and former secretary to the president of the company. We would walk together every lunch hour during the spring, summer and fall for exercise, and was in constant litigation with my lawyers: Wheel, Cheatem and Howe.

Great memories and great people are all I have now.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

THE PARTY IS THE MESSAGE

Last Saturday night we had the 89th birthday party for Mom, and she loved every bit of it. The food was a hit as was the gift and the guest of honor seemed genuinely touched.

It’s nice to see my sisters all in one room for a change, laughing and chatting and relaying their lives and appetizers to the rest of us. We all made an appetizer and had the dinner catered, while I bought my contribution by going to Albert’s Pizzeria on Portion Road in Ronkonkoma, NY where they were kind enough to cut it into many small pieces to be used as an appetizer. The pizza is called a “Grandma” pie, with fresh crushed plum tomatoes and fresh garlic and basil as the topping. It is the best, and was indeed a big hit to everyone who ate!

Accompanying Mom was her boyfriend, who gave her a present and a kiss on the lips that seemed strange to me to see it happen. Don’t get me wrong, Mom is entitled to be happy and I hope she is, but I never saw her kiss anyone but her Uncle, and my father when he was alive.

Life is getting predictable as all the men retreated in front of the TV to watch the Mets play the Yankees or fall asleep sitting in a low slung position on the couch and chairs with wine glasses all around, half filled. The women sat at the dining room table competing for word domination as they chatted and chatted over the course of the evening.

I did my part, testing every variation of appetizer presented and seriously testing the red wine for purity, consistency in glass after glass, and to see generally if I could sustain my sobriety and not embarrass TLW (The Little Woman/Winner.)

Friday, May 25, 2007

ANTHONY’S FATHER SPEAKS OUT!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of lunching with some of my old buddies at Publishers Clearing House. While everyone was getting together to meet in the building, I decided to take a walk and visit some of the people I knew there, to see how things were going.

Me: “Hi, how’s it going?”
Them: “Hey, how’s Anthony?”
Me: “Remember me?”
Them: “Oh yeah, you’re Anthony’s father, right?”
Me: “ Yes.”
Them: “So how’s he doing?”

The next time I visit that place, I’m printing up 100 copies of “How Anthony Is Doing” to be distributed as I pass along in the halls. I will call him to bring me up to date in his professional and private life, run by the news release for his approval and then pass it along to his friends.

I worked at PCH for over 17 years, the first ten I was known by my first and last name, then the kid started working there and everybody forgot who I was! In fact Anthony’s boss Harris put out a memo one day to refer to a job that Anthony and I collaborated on, and he was Anthony, I was “Anthony’s father.”

Hey, at least I was credited in the memo.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

BLESS ME FATHER FOR I HAVE SINNED…

“And your penance my son is: 14 photo albums with newly designed outer and inside covers for TLW (The Little Woman), 14 Hail Mary’s and 14 Our Fathers, take two aspirins and call me in the morning.”

Every year at this time, TLW gives me the assignment to create photo albums for her religious instruction class of 2nd graders. I do a cover for the front and back, and inside covers front and back.

This year I was nearly finished when TLW visited me in my studio to check on my progress. She picked up one of the albums and complained that I didn’t do a back cover. I really didn’t want to, but with the face of a well-paying client, she would not accept that!

Doggedly I set about rectifying the situation and begged for forgiveness. I had to, she was cooking dinner tonight and I wasn’t sure what she might put in it. Being how she is a perfectionist when I do something, I feel it is easier to just make it the way she likes it and get it over with. This is something one learns in Human Husband 101. There are other lessons one learns such as: “Did you lose weight?” I use this for when a fight is about to break out and I want to eat in peace. “My, you look younger than that kid across the street!” This is used in extreme desperation when there is something you want from her.

Marriage is a 50/50 proposition, 50% of the time she’s right, and the other 50% you are wrong. This is the 50% Equation, learned in the early stages of matrimonial bliss, to avoid matrimonial blisters.

What am I saying? Well, when she reads this, I guess; “Goodbye”.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

AMAZING GRAPES, HOW SWEET THEY TASTE

TLW (The Little Woman) came home from church as she does every Sunday, (Our Lady of the Holy Mackerel) and as she did I was upstairs in my studio, heard the noise and figured it was time to go down for breakfast.

As I entered the kitchen I heard this religious music, and didn’t know if I should genuflect, bless myself or just get down on my knees and pray. TLW is always buying these tapes and CDs with religious music as she is trying to get me to go to church.

The name of the guy that recorded all this music is Al Barbarino, and a relative to Vinny Barbarino, I guess.

I asked TLW what this Al Barbarino did in real life, and she responded that he worked for the prison system. I asked her; “Doing what?’ She stated she really didn’t know. I thought to myself, probably sings to the prisoners while they eat their lunch, whether the want him to or not.

The music really wasn’t too bad, as there were some old favorites such as: Amazing Grace, Oy Vey Murray (A Jewish Ave Maria) and some non-religious ditties that I happened to like.

Well with all the candles she is constantly bringing home and scattering around the house, I think I’ll light a few and pray for the Mets and myself.

Amen.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

AH, THE COST OF LOVE

We were discussing our plans for the unexpected vacation TLW (The Little Woman) and Myself, when TLW said: “Oh Joe, you owe me big time for this, after all, I am bringing you with me. After all, I never won anything before in my life!”

?

I had to remind her that she won something big time 36 years ago, mainly me. (Hey, I heard that!)

We figured that we would invite #’s 1 and 2 sons to join us on this adventure, and make it a family week of pure expense for Daddy. TLW will be in her glory being the mother hen she is, the center of attention, being the “winner” so to speak and I can carry the luggage and drive, while paying for incidentals such as beer that #2 Son sneaks into the accommodations while I’m in the bathroom.

I am starting to feel like Margaret Thatcher’s husband or Bill Clinton in that I will be taking the back seat to TLW as usual in the eyes of my sons. They of course will occupy the rest of the front seats with TLW. Mom the winner and Dad (we won’t say loser out loud) loser.

No, I am not jealous of TLW, in fact I always knew something good would come of marrying her, and it has for 36 years, its just that now I have to grovel or she might leave without me on her vacation. From now until the trip is over TLW will be known as “The Little Winner.”

Monday, May 21, 2007

AND THE WINNER IS…

Sitting there watching the boob tube, the phone rang and looking at the caller ID, it was for TLW (The Little Woman). Without picking it up, I hand the whole phone, receiver and all to TLW.

Answering the phone, and a big “Hello!” from TLW. “Oh, that’s wonderful! It was worth the money, wow, I can’t believe it!”

It seems TLW while on her little trip to Chicago visited her nephew Sean, a gentleman in his own right, who informed her that the school chance she bought was a winner! In fact it was the Grand Prize winning ticket! A week for two to a resort in California, Arizona or Florida, with plane fare!

Outside of the DelBloggolo Sweepstakes 36 years ago, TLW has never won anything. This is a defining moment for her, as she tried to call her Sister Maureen to tell her the news. Guess what, no one home. So I decided to call my sister Theresa, guess what, not home, so I decided to call her daughter figuring she was there. Guess what, you guessed it, no one home.

If you see any of our relatives, would you please tell them TLW won the Grand Prize?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

NOT KNOWING I HAD NOTHING

Watching a bunch of kids today as they were returned home from school, I couldn’t help but wonder what they would do with their afternoon.

I recall my son coming home from school a few times, and off he went with a baseball glove and ball or played Atari on the TV with a game set that was attached, and I imagine that today he would have turned on his computer to play a computer game with enhanced graphics and realism that would be hard to describe.

Growing up in Brooklyn during the 1950s, I never realized how so little was so much! Everybody seemed to own a coonskin cap but me, although I did own a Davy Crockett toy rifle, with a brown plastic stock that shot caps. So with a six-shooter and a rifle I terrorized a few places with my friends. Aside from a few toy plastic soldiers and cowboys and Indians, we really didn’t have much else except roller skates. No one owned a bicycle, as much as most people didn’t own cars, and if they did they hardly drove them.

One of the things we did to make our life interesting was to buy chalk, and get bottle caps and play a game called “Skelzie” where with your index finger you pushed the cap around this layout of numbered boxes until you completed the course, that was drawn on the sidewalk. While my sister was jumping rope with her girlfriends, I was racing up and down the block, or playing stoopball, punch ball or stickball. (Two sewers on a fly were a homerun.) Sometimes we would play handball at the schoolyard because it had these high walls that we could pound the ball into.

Money was no object; we had none. Everything we had lasted a long time except for Spaldeen rubber balls and wheels on our skates that wore out quickly on the concrete sidewalks. A pair of skates kept us busy from about 3:00 PM until supper time, and if we were having a real good time, we would totally miss supper and Mom would not hold it for us. Our job was to be home on time for supper, at the table waiting for Dad to appear.

Then there was tag, or sometimes iron tag where safe was any metal object and even hide and seek where boys and girls played together, these games along with “Red light green light” and a miniaturized version of baseball with a rubber ball and chalk bases where a fly ball over the infield was an automatic out.

Also included in the repertoire of games was; tops and yo-yos, where everyone had to master these toys or you were a loser. Finally came the hula-hoop, where all the little sisters would become proficient at something. Of course “A my name is Amy and I come from Alabama” was popular as little sis would bounce her Spaldeen and cross her leg over the ball as it bounced, showing her physical prowess as a little sister.

Life was fun and playing with your friends always gave you something to do, day or night, week nights or weekends.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

SPRUCING AN OAK

Today #2 Son returned home from a triumphant tour of duty with a paintbrush. Having painted himself, his clothing including shoes, he walked in tall and proud! Witnessing such a scene throws me back to my early days as a housepainter. No, I wasn’t living in Vienna at the time, but I was working for a dictator in Dear Old Dad. Using a paintbrush and the then new fangled roller there was no object Dad would not paint, and if it stood still for too long, it too got painted. I always made it a point to whistle while I stood still so he knew I was not inanimate.

One of the lessons I learned from Dad was prepping for a paintjob. Learning this lesson required actual hands on experience with a broom, mop, rags and other cleaning devices and verbal instructions on how to carry on. Pop was a task-master, dictating every move, it’s sequence and strokes, minding movement of the grain, number of times and pressure to apply to each prep job.

To this very day I hate to paint. I would rather wall paper, or scrape my knuckles against concrete than paint a wall, especially with oil based paints that get into my system and causes me to have a respiratory ailment for a few days.

Whenever I see something being painted I think of Dad, whenever I paint I think: “Would Dad like the job I’m doing?”

Once many years ago in the mid to late sixty’s my sister Fran was expecting her boyfriend to visit the house for the first time, and Dad decided to spruce the place up. Taking out his can of white paint he started to touchup here and there, and found himself in the backyard. Fran was at the sink washing the dinner dishes and looking out the window to the back yard, when all of a sudden she started screaming: “MA, MAKE HIM STOP, MAKE HIM STOP!” Dear old Dad was painting or should I say sprucing up an old oak tree trunk in the color white. He must have seen it on the road where sometimes the town will paint a trunk of a tree to alert motorists of a bend in a road or some other visual reason. Poor Dad, I couldn’t figure out how high he was willing to go, and how many trees he was going to paint in the yard if we hadn’t stopped him..

All my married life I’ve done the painting with the help of TLW (The Little Woman), hiring a painter only once that I can remember, when I had the outside of my old house painted.

Well, I think I’ll go over to my Mom’s house, that tree is due for another coat.

Friday, May 18, 2007

THE HOOD CALLS

I got an invitation from the Hood today, and you don’t dis the Hood. Will I go, of course I’ll go, it’s the Hood.

Mamma Carol, the Godmother, my next door neighbor instigated this event, an event that she has previously instigated, in which I try to excel at. The occasion is the beginnings of summer, party time or anything you want, just don’t forget to call me.

The last party a sweet little old lady from Brooklyn sat next to me and we started to drink, she kept up pretty well until we switched brands and types for the third or fourth time, then she landed in the hospital and I felt like a cad. This time only young ladies will drink to keep up with me.

TLW (The Little Woman) looks down upon these forays in social well being, and tries not to watch, but I am a very careful drinker, and never spill any of it.

And so the Godmother calls! And I must go, the Hood needs me.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

RIGHT IN HER TRACKS

It was early, about 7:30 A.M., and TLW (The Little Woman) was scurrying about, like a squirrel on the roof of my shed. She had just issued her orders for the day and was about to embark on a new adventure in the world of banking and in particular membership relations.

The TV was on and as she ran by it, she stopped cold in her tracks! There was the residue of the QVC channel, the shopping channel with something of interest. Suddenly she became mesmerized by what she was viewing.

This trance like state is very scary for a loved one to witness. Her eyes stopped blinking, breathing faint, as she became very still and her head had a certain tilt to it, as she studied and analyzed the content of the programming.

I became suddenly very concerned, as the heartbeat of TLW, her pulse stopping and grayness came over my wallet. Of course I did what any sane husband would do and tried to desperately revive the colors in my wallet, as they were fading fast. I tried to snap TLW out of her trance, but there was no snapping, I tried a body check, but I just bounced off the wall. It called for drastic measures. How could I get her out of this state?

“Toots” I shouted, “there is a young lady with a little baby in her arms, looking for #2 Son!”

As I lay there, gone was TLW off to work and I was slowly being revived by a good face licking courtesy of Happy my Cocker Spaniel, the room spinning and my chin throbbing, I realized that maybe I should switch from cable to the old fashion aerial setup.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

MOVE OVER FRED AND GINGER...

Way over into another room, as Mr. & Mrs. Del Bloggolo dance the Fox Trot and Waltz with abandon, and frankly Freddie, you wouldn’t want to witness it.

“Poppa loves mambo”

TLW (The Little Woman) has a way of announcing when we are on the dance floor. She says: “Ouch!” or OW!” and sometimes you can even hear her say “AHHH!”

“Mamma loves mambo”

I on the other hand tend to just say: “Oops!” or just plain old “I’m sorry!”

“He goes fast”

Most of the guys are there because of their wives.

“She goes slow”

If it’s his idea, he’s looking to pick up a guy!

“He goes left”

None of it is pretty, yet we are one of the better dance couples on the floor!

“She goes right”

Of course TLW thinks we are at home and likes to lead, while I like to sleep walk or dance through the whole process.

“Poppa’s looking for Mamma”

“The gentleman leads with his left foot” so says Eduardo our dance instructor.

but Mamma is nowhere in sight!”

I have this tendency to lead with my right foot. Eduardo points it out to me, we stop, and I try again, leading with my right foot once again. This is called dancing with the Moron, and will never be seen on TV, maybe YOUTUBE, but not TV.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

SANTA CAN HEAR ME!

The kitchen in Brooklyn where I grew up was an odd shape, with a black oil burning stove made of cast iron, that heated the whole top floor, with a long thick pipe that ran from the stove to the roof. The pipe loomed as a big black unsightly looking monster that held me in control.

Whenever Christmas came along, I was at my best, because like God, Santa could see and hear everything a five year old would do. Unlike God who lived in a dark and dreary place, where I had to be quiet and behave, and get nothing out of it but reprimands, Santa offered toys, toys for me. Of course if I didn’t behave in front of God, in God’s house, Mom would smack me silly, Santa would not bring me toys and God would send me to hell, all in one fell swoop!

Of course, the Easter Bunny had some sway also, all I needed was to be bad, and all of a sudden no candy, a smack on my silly look and God sending me down to hell!

Whenever we sat around the table at night to eat dinner, and I was being contrary to Mom and Dad’s plans, a strong knocking sound would come from the big black pipe, and that meant that Santa or the Easter Bunny was listening to what I had to say, so I better behave, according to Mom and Dad.

Mom had covered all the bases, reminding me that when no one was around, and I was being bad, God heard and saw all, and I had better pack for some really hot weather.

Monday, May 14, 2007

THE EAGLETT? HAS LANDED!

Yes, TLW (The Little Woman) has landed, home after 4 to 5 days away from the nest!

Getting up this morning, and preparing for TLW by checking the itinerary and noting the flight number and time of arrival, off I scooted to the airport in anticipation of her and her sister’s arrival.

Entering the terminal, I noticed that there were too few screens to tell me if the plane was on time, searching up and down the long corridors of Long Island Mac Arthur Airport. Turning left I entered the baggage claim area and finally found a tote board that said the plane was 5 minutes late. No problem, I’ll go get a cup of coffee and sit and wait for ten minutes. It was then that it occurred to me that there were two possible entrances in which to wait for arrivals. Finding a police officer sitting behind a desk I inquired as to which arrival point TLW would be arriving from. Being a government flunky, he flunked by telling me that it was a crapshoot as to which area to choose. I made my choice and preceded to wait while being in distant sight of the other arrival area, just in case.

Being I am an experienced husband to TLW, I suspected that my wait would be long, even though the plane had landed and people were coming through the arrival gate. Sure enough I waited about 15 minutes before I saw the love of my life and her sister strolling while chatting, and chatting while strolling. All 4 to 5 days, strolling and chatting, eating and chatting, riding buses and trains and chatting, and yes, even sleeping and chatting!

What took them so long? Let me tell you, TLW’s whole family is very polite, and knowing these two ladies, they stood at the exit of the plane and allowed everyone including the crew and cleaning crew to first enter or exit, before they made their move.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

MY MOTHER’S HANDS

Have you ever walked down a busy street, and as you do so many unfamiliar faces pass you by that all you do is look for one that might be familiar?

As a child the only one we can recognize at birth is our Mother. As a newborn, we can only sense her presence at first, and know by her gentle touch the feel of her hands, hands that are gentle and reassuring.

Growing older we learn that the very hands of our Mother are a familiar sight. We watch them as they cook and as they clean, guiding us in the right direction and stopping us from going too far astray. Those hands that carried us opened the first book ever read to us, and perhaps the first book we learned to read from. Aside from her face, a face that stays with us all the days of our lives, we can remember her hands. They were there stretched out as we learned to walk, and the first hands we cried for when she left us off at school for the first time and she waved goodbye as we entered the school building, the hands of comfort, the ones that believe in you.

One day we realize we are older, as old as a time we can remember in our lives that our mother was, and we marvel that we were even allowed to be that similar. And as we look at her hands, we realize that they too are older, but that they can tell a story beyond what you will ever know, catching each wrinkle and fold tells of a year gone by, a child raised, a tear cried, and most of all lips that smiled and praised and said; “I love you.”

So next time you walk a crowded street, look carefully, you may see your Mother, or someone who looks just like her, and you will remember all that she did for you, you will remember her hands.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, MOM AND ALL THE MOMS THAT WERE AND ARE, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, WILL BE.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

HOWEWARD BOUND

Well after 4 days of bachelorhood, TLW (The Little Woman) is on her way home. Needless to say I am happy she is, I was enjoying myself too much, and feel no married man should feel that happy about anything. I mean, after all marriage trains you to be prudent, compromising, and practice self-denial as ways of showing true love.

Being a well trained husband, I am prudent, never ever mentioning another woman unless it is a sister or my Mother, I always compromise, sometimes she is right and sometimes I am wrong, and I always allow her to hold the remote.

One of the fun things this week was holding the remote both in the den and in bed, raising the bed to a height I like, and eating everything I shouldn’t. Funny thing is I had absolutely not one Jack Daniel’s Manhattan all week! On top of it all, I went to the doctor for a check up and lost more weight, I am now down to 92.5% of my original weight! I think tonight I’ll celebrate with a drink or two.

Funny thing is I went to the doctor and one of his middle to older nurses escorted me to the scale to weight me, and I felt like I was on the Ponderosa, herding a cow to the pasture, and I had to endure her scrutiny.

The doctor was all chipper, took my blood pressure (130/80) then remarked the sun was finally coming out. (No doctor, that is just my disposition from my weight loss.)

Speaking of “happy” my dog Happy did her usual routine this morning of looking for TLW before deciding to come with me downstairs. I’ll be happy tomorrow morning when TLW can again escort the dog downstairs. (It’s really a woman thing.)

Friday, May 11, 2007

KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH THE WORLD

May 10th is my Mother’s 89th birthday, and we her kids have decided to celebrate a little extra by giving her a dinner. The family has decided to try to cater the affair either at home or at a restaurant. Some of us will do a little shopping around to get prices, and I am one of the shoppers.

In discussing the plans I offered to go to a few places I know of and get menus and prices. Being how I am on the cutting edge, a pillar of my community and a now happening kind of guy I suggested two places. Neither of them exists anymore! How’s that?

This party has its complications. Five children have five different lives, living in five different areas, all five trying to be accommodating, all having conflicts. Who’s moving one weekend, who is going away the next, who is working that day, and the list goes on.

Will we be able to nail this down and make everyone happy?

Probably we will be able to somehow all agree on a date, we always have and always will. And who comes along with a rescue party to help out five old adults but my beautiful niece Laurie Ann, offering up her house, which is perfect for this kind of party.
And the date is nailed down too! Are we wonderful children or what?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLYMPIA

Thursday, May 10, 2007

PLAY IT AGAIN, HAPPY

Today, like yesterday finds me with a dog looking for TLW (The Little Woman) and #2 Son looking to get shot for giving me four (4), Quattro term papers to print up for him at the last minute.

If I shoot him, TLW will suspect something is wrong when she discovers his room is clean, and she still has the same amount of food and money that she started the day with.

As for the dog Happy, she did her usual routine of looking for TLW, and I made sure to tell TLW about it, and what happens? Why TLW feels bad. Hint to TLW; TAKE THE DOG WITH YOU NEXT TIME.)

Scheduling a grooming for the dog, but not for #2 Son like I really should have, I drove over to Pretty Puppy, the name of the groomers, and Happy dropped out of the back of my SUV and proceeded to walk and poop as she did, dropping one tubular bomb after another, making it seem like an old documentary of the bombing of Berlin during WWII, but instead of explosions, we got stinky. Come to think of it, they all lined up!

HAPPY 89TH BIRTHDAY MOM!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

DON’T CRY BABY!

Now that I spent the first night alone almost sleepless, not from missing TLW (The Little Woman) so much as to worrying about the dog who usually awakens TLW to let the dog out to do her business at 4:45 AM every morning. I am afraid I will not hear her and she will do her duty on a rug or floor where I have to clean it up.

Jumping out of bed from a small nap, I looked at the foot of the bed where Happy sleeps, only to find the spot vacated. I became worried and figured she did her thing already and I was too late. Looking around some more, there she was, sitting on her hind legs, tongue sticking out looking at the spot where TLW sleeps, on her side of the bed. I called her, she looked at me but would not budge. Calling again, she just expected TLW to get up and accompany her downstairs. Finally she decided TLW wasn’t getting up and came downstairs with me where I let her out. Boy did I feel bad for the dog!

I guess I now know why they call a dog man’s best friend. What devotion to TLW, Happy will sit with her on the chair at night both reclined and one staring ahead on her stomach, and one with a remote in her hand, fast asleep on her back.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

THAT POOR, TODDLIN TOWN

I woke up this morning at 5:15 anticipating the big day. TLW (The Little Woman) and her sister Maureen were scheduled to fly off to Chicago to do a little sightseeing and visiting. It’s a trip they planned a while ago, and I wasn’t invited. Having been to Chicago a couple of times, I didn’t feel deprived, neglected or unappreciated, just ready for another bout with bachelorhood.

Loading the bags (Luggage) into the back of my SUV I dropped the ladies off tat the curb and unloaded the bags (luggage) on the curb, just like the limo service would, and waited by the bags with my hand out palms up, which Maureen shook.

I can see the takeout menus now, the relief in not having to cook for a few days and just watching the ballgames, falling asleep on my own shows and just having the remote to hold, God, life is good!

Of course there are nagging things I have to do, trimming bushes, cleaning etc., but I am a free man for these few days. My dog and #2 Son will complete my picture of contentment of bumming and doing what I want.

I gave TLW instructions on what she should see, eat and ride, trying to guide her while not being there, in other words; not minding my own business.

But knowing TLW and her sister Maureen, they will find what they want and enjoy doing it anyway.

So for the next three and a half days I am a man without instructions, left to my own devices. Maybe I should just stay in bed until I have to go to the airport to pick them up. Maybe this time I’ll get a tip.

Monday, May 07, 2007

A WORLD GONE MAD

Every now and then something happens that makes me wonder if the world has gone mad.

Recently I received a letter from the Association for the Help of Retarded Children that the Board of Directors had selected me for Honorary Lifetime Membership! Usually when I get a letter from the organization, I kind of expect it to be a letter of resignation that needs my signature on it. Something like:

“Dear Mr. Bigmouth;
We the Board and all the staff, not to mention those we serve, including your Daughter wish you to resign. Frankly we can’t take it anymore, and are in desperate need of your resignation. Please, please sign and return it to us in the postage paid envelope immediately if not sooner.
The Board of Directors”

I’ve been on the Board for 18 years, and I must say that I am involved, however I never realized how involved I really am. This Blog is not to “Blow my own horn”, but to express astonishment in the news. I can think of many, many Board members that are more deserving of this honor, and should have gotten it. What I’m suggesting is that the wrong person got the resignation letter, and I got his/her letter by mistake! I’m sure of it.

I was President for 3 years, a full term, and chaired many committees as well as participated on many. I have given freely for the advocacy of the Association, including art and design and as a current member of the Board of Governors of NYSARC. They MUST be sick of me by now? No? I’ve been told I’m “Outspoken”.

I will go to the ceremony and will just sit there, when they announce the correct person, I will go up and accept the honor and say that that person was unable to attend and I am accepting it for him or her. Pretty good plan, No?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY

TLW (The Little Woman) is not a violent person. This simple statement does not preclude her from watching violent shows. Not the car chase kinds, just simple run-of-the mill murders. I also like murder mysteries with or without mayhem.

The problem with all the above is TLW has perfected the art of interrogation, and somewhere in the house, and I don’t know where, developed a one-way mirrored room for inquisitions. She will fall asleep on the murder shows while I ‘m watching them, yet she has developed the techniques for a successful investigation, while I can’t figure out how to beat the rap.

A simple question from her such as: “where’s my change?” can cause me to sweat profusely. Sometimes I even confess to anything, figuring if I confess I cover all the bases, and maybe death will be a welcomed relief. Remember the movie with Woody Allen where he meets a bully and takes his glasses off and steps on them before the bully does? Same thing.

“How was your day?” Simple question, but what does she really mean? Did I do any work while she was away? “Did you fold those clothes from out of the dryer for me?)” She is really asking if I goofed off today but at least did that.

Identifying with the hero of the show is how she sees it, and I identify with the culprit. This is a natural course of events in any marriage. You always give the Little Woman the benefit of the doubt, the better seat, first pickings, etc. Naturally one of us has to be the bad guy, and frankly I prefer it that way, the black hats are always far more interesting.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

SHALL WE DANCE?

The other day TLW (The Little Woman) opened up the local newspaper to announce that there was a dance course being offered at one of the local schools. The dance is the Fox Trot, and TLW was inquiring if I would be interested in taking the dance course with her.

Let me tell you, the last time I had to trot I ate something that didn’t agree with me. In fact, the trot became a rumba quickly into the routine as someone was occupying the restroom. By the time I got in it was the twist!

Being a good sport that I am, and any chance to dance with TLW, I said “yes” and now pray that I don’t get any abuse from TLW if she dances with stars, mainly from my stepping on her feet.

I love to dance as it runs in my family. My dad once danced up in the living room one day while he was trying to fill his cigarette lighter, and somehow the lighter fluid slipped out of his hand, and caught fire on the rug, Dad doing a flamingo style dance step with heavy foot pounding.

Every Sunday, TLW, after returning from church and shopping will dance into the house and quickly jump into the kitchen and a cup of coffee with the grace of Ginger Rodgers.

My dancing is more than just dance, but an expression of our American heritage, as I do an Indian style Sitting Bull with his moccasin hotfooted. You have to see it to believe it.

But my favorite dancer is my daughter Ellen, who has perfected her famous shuffle whenever she sees us, pushing us forward and shuffling us along. This can be a two or three-person dance, no music needed as are all the dances mentioned above, just have a car handy for a quick get-a-way to some fun or eats.

Friday, May 04, 2007

DO THIS-NOW

TLW (The Little Woman) is under 5 feet, or at 5 feet at the most. She is the shortest person in the household, but packs the biggest punch. No she doesn’t hit anybody, not physically, but verbally she is very much a boss. Being the only woman in the household, she can pretty much command respect from me, and even #2 son when he’s on his game.

Now I don’t wish to create an impression that she runs the house, bosses us around all day and give orders. After all she does go out to work all week, and if I don’t answer the phone when I read the caller ID, she can’t push us around.

People have suggested that she is the boss by the way I write my blogs. Not true, she just tells us what to do.

Which comes to an interesting thought; why do I let her get away with it? Am I a coward? No, I never backed away from a fight in my life with anyone, both verbal and physical. So what is it? Is she bigger than me? No, I often have to sit down so we can see eye-to-eye. I know, she does all the banking, and through TLW comes my allowance, which she forks over on a day of her choosing. I pray she never gets amnesia, because she knows the bank accounts and I don’t. When I worked, I worried about working budgets, and let her deal with the household budget. I didn’t want to be bothered, and still don’t. We confer on major purchases, but I trust her implicitly.

The other day she was reading an article in the newspaper and gave it to me to read saying; “here, I want you to read this.” I dropped the sports pages and delved in immediately if not sooner.

Requests are often the norm before she leaves for work. Trying to avoid eye contact with TLW doesn’t work for me; she gets my attention early in the morning when I don’t like to take requests. Usually what she’ll do is drink up all the coffee, so I have to ask her what happened to the coffee. It’s her ploy to corral me and start her “requests.”

Let’s face it, I’m a sucker for a pretty face.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

GETTING DOWN AND DIRTY

There is something special in life when you can live and work with people who have no real aspirations in life, but own the title to resignation of circumstances, yet teach in their own way.

All through high school and college, I worked for a company that manufactured children’s play clothes for Sears, Roebuck and Co. I worked for minimum wage, as did most everyone else in that factory around me. I was a part timer, a person who would work after school hours, Saturdays and in the summer from June to September for 8 or more hours a day. The people that worked full-time were not educated, came from poverty, and yet had all the answers to all the worlds’ ills. Generally speaking they had families they raised on a small amount of money, and never aspired beyond their current circumstances.

They feared the owner of the company, respected him in a idolic way in his presence, and when he wasn’t around would tell me what he would really say if that old son-of-a-bitch ever said anything to him.

But they were simple, hard working people, my kind of people, who loved their families, and spent it all on their wives and children. Life was simple, a newspaper, a TV, a cup of coffee, a pack of cigarettes, their bagged lunch from home, and their favorite teams was all the joy they had in life, and all the joy they needed. No fancy cars, no new clothing, and no extravagant vacations, just work and home to the TV. At break time you could see them all with their lighted cigarettes, cups of coffee, turning the pages of the sports section, making comments about this and that.

When conversation led to politics, a young idealistic college student had no chance to explain his logic, it was all gut feeling and opinion that was buried deep in a man’s soul from years of experience and personal history. No college kid could tell him what these expert’s thought, what did a college kid know anyway?

Often I wondered why the leaders of the business world never called these fine captains of global thought to sit in on the decision-making. How could the government ignore the clear insight that was brought to a conversation about how America was going to fall to communism if we didn’t listen to Jimmy the truck driver, or Bob in shipping? Why didn’t the owners of the Mets or Yankees hire one of these guys to manage the team, why then it would surely be in first place and undefeated with a world championship to boot!

I could not help but love them all, full with opinion and yet simple in life’s ways. These were not stupid people, just people who weren’t born to luck, or for that matter taught that there is more in life than what their everyday experience was. Somehow their children never picked up on it for the most part. In the sixty’s the college population started to grow, kids became more sophisticated and rebelled against inherited poverty, ignorance and self-denial, giving birth to hope and a better future.

It was a real honor to work next to these hard workers, to share in the toil, the talk and the pain and joy that life brought them. I know that later on in life I appreciated my education, and my job, knowing I wasn’t breaking my back, working for very little, denying myself anything because I listened to them. They would always say; “Joey, stay in school, make something of yourself, don’t be like me.” I wish I could be like them; they made my generation stronger than it would otherwise be.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

HEY, WHAT IS THIS?

Today I was talking to TLW (The Little Woman) and complaining that I ran out of cereal, and that I was making an egg sandwich the last few mornings instead.

I mentioned that I was using her eggbeaters substitute for real eggs and that I found her low fat cheddar cheese that I was putting in the omelet. I reminded her that it was the cheese she bought for a Weight Watchers recipe so I was sure it was ok. Mentioning that the eggs tasted very good, that the Smart Balance was a great butter substitute for my low fat bread, TLW looked at me kind of askance.

IT IS THE LOOK THAT I DREAD THE MOST.

She mentioned to me that the cheese was NOT low fat, but your regular everyday cheese! It was a crippling blow, a shot to the head, and a punch in the solar plexus. I had done badly.

My whole outlook on breakfast meant that now I have to go out and BUY myself some cereal! Yes, spend the money, shocking! What really makes me nuts is she looks and sounds so authoritative when she informs me of these kinds of things.

She could let me down gently, maybe say something like; Wow, you sure saved a lot of calories and points! Just kill the cheese.”

Bless me TLW for I have sinned, I ate the cheese.

I decided to go to a Spanish-speaking priest to confess. He said that if I ate the cheese, and sinned, I ate it without the cheese. The word “sin” in Spanish means “without”, so technically, I can claim no cheese or no sin, or something, because I’m confused too.

Hey, its been a slow day.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

MAKING APPOINTMENTS FOR DISAPPOINTMENTS

Today must be a day for me to stay in bed. First I received a letter from the agency I volunteer for, asking that since I work or am exposed to the medically fragile, I should go for a tuberculosis test. What they do is stick a needle under your skin and wait two days to see if it discolors, if it does, you can’t volunteer. This test must be done one year from the last one, and according to the needle Nazi I spoke with, NOT A MOMENT SOONER!

Can I make it a few weeks ahead of schedule? Yes, but she doesn’t do it a few weeks ahead of schedule, but she knows a nurse who will, “Let me put you through” says Frauline Needlemeyer. As the new nurse’s phone rings and no answer, I leave a message to call me back. Will I get a call back, you think?

Then I call my cardiologist for an appointment. He is very old and skinny. In his late 70’s, and still practicing (I wish he would get it right already) I went to visit him in December, and was told to make an appointment in 6 months. (If I’m alive in 6 months, he’ll make another appointment, if he’s alive in 6 months I’ll get another appointment, if we are both alive in 6 months, someone is certainly getting older but richer.

I go to the appointment maker and she tells me she can’t make an appointment that far in advance, to call in April. Well, Happy New Year-April rolls around and I call. “Sorry says Ms. Heartline but she doesn’t make appointments that far in advance, I should call in May! I know the guy is old, but they are really hedging their bets here! I’m sure when I call in May I will be told that I can’t be fitted in until August, because the good Doctor is all booked up, so call in July. I feel a pattern coming on here.