DelBloggolo

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

WHEN SHE SAYS; “NO!”

The other day TLW (The Little Woman) and I went to a major home improvement store to look at doors, and while we were at it, we visited a mirror section to find something to hang over our piano.

TLW: “That’s nice!”
Me: “Yup, it is nice. What about this?”
TLW: “NO!” (I happen to know it wasn’t pornographic.)
Me: “Uh…”
TLW: “I like this too.”
Me: “ Yes, what about this??”
TLW: “NO!” (Again, non pornographic)
Me: ” Why not?”
TLW: “Too ornate.”
Me: “Hmmm, you said that about a show I wanted to watch the other night.”

TLW has her opinions. Whether I like it or not, she is of her own mind. She doesn’t have to explain why she doesn’t like something, just give me: “It’s too ornate.” And I’m satisfied. She likes to talk to me in esthetics, she feels she is then not wasting her time, and I can recall my art history lessons, and the word; “ornate.”

She barely reached five feet tall, but packs a lot of punch. Never having to use it on me, she still is impressive by her adamant stance in a few words: “NO”, and the equally decisive; “Too ornate.”

Have we decided yet on something? Yes, too disagree.

Who wears the pants in the house? She does, mine are too ornate.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

ALMOST THERE!

After back breaking work, cutting up carpet, removing the padding, the staples and nails, we see light at the end of the tunnel. No, it is not an onrushing locomotive, but a new day. Finishing up the painting with the 12 foot ceiling, I am done!

My arthritis is crippling and my arms and hands are tired. I don’t want to ever do that kind of work again. Years ago that is all I ever did. I completely renovated my old house, the living room, bathroom and kitchen, new walls and doors, plumbing and electricity, new rugs and floors. All myself, and had strength to do a little baseball with #1 Son afterward. Now I need strength to just watch the game.

Carlos comes today, to start finishing the floors, then in a few weeks Michael will put up the railing. Then I come along and put in the new molding and all is finished. We are almost there.

Yet, I look around, and the hallway needs a painting, the bedroom needs a painting and redecorating, as does the bathroom. When that is done, we look at the kitchen and dining room. Hey, before you know it, the hallway and living room will need new floors!

Monday, April 28, 2008

IT IS SO EASY TO REMEMBER


All you have to do is go into your photo albums, box of pictures and old VCR tapes to do so. What we took for granted becomes history. History becomes a memory, and memories seem to fade.

But without the benefit of pictures or cameras of any kind, I can remember my first day of school. My older sister took me by the hand, and that first September morning, before going into the Kindergarten Classroom. Under the Broadway Junction El, that overshadowed Our Lady Of Lourdes schoolyard, purchased for me a small container of chocolate milk and a small package of Oreo cookies.

That first day in the class room, I recall the large Mr. Sun on the wall, smiling down at me, the cow jumping over the moon, and the introduction of musical instruments I had never seen before.

I recall the first day of using puzzles, large pieces that fit easily into one another, and coloring with the big, thick crayons that Sister gave out.

I recall the afternoon naps, and waiting in my seat for my Mom and Aunt to come get me from my first day, and just about every day there after. I particularly recall them waiting in the classroom, with strollers and my being very excited to see them. The Sister with life and death authority over both children and parents, as both waited for the: “OK”.

It was all a new world to me, going out beyond my third floor walkup apartment and seeing new people, places and things.

But then came that second year. First Grade, and old Miss Langon, the scourge of first graders. And she had it out for me. Suddenly there were no puzzles, or crayons or musical instruments! She must have been in her nineties, unmarried, and hated anything male. She yelled, threatened and smacked us on the hand with a 12” ruler, because we were: “bold, brazen chatterboxes!”

She died the next year when I was in Second Grade, and live with the guilt that maybe I wished she would have.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

OUT OF THE NIGHT…

When the full moon is bright, comes a craftsman known as Michael. That is Michael Simone, rail master, banister maven and screw free-er upper.

TLW (The Little Woman) was right again! God, what would I do without her? Michael came around 8 P.M., after a long day of other jobs, and in half an hour, all the screws were picked out cleanly, and the railings ready to be moved for the floor sander, Carlos.

What looked like a disaster looming became nothing more than a nightmare, followed by a sunny morning with a good breakfast. It’s good to listen to TLW. What Michael did was bring a screwdriver that you hammer into the screw, as it hits the head of the screw, it turns in one motion. What this does then is to loosen the screw, and you then can ply it out.

Well, I hope now to get on with lifting up the rug and waiting for Carlos and Michael to do their magic.

When all this work is completed, this blog can then go back to the more important issues in life, like my comforts and very fair opinions of life as I see it.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

IF I MAY BE SERIOUS FOR A CHANGE


Recently I received an email from Jack Stern, mentor in the business of direct mail, and the guy that gave me my first chance. To say I owe him a lot is to say too little about him. Those years that I spent working with him were magical, wonderful and filled with happiness. He is just a great guy.

The subject of the email was an appeal to contribute to the SUSAN G. KOMEN FOR THE CURE. It seems that Jack’s lovely wife Helen fought the battle against breast cancer, and unfortunately, she lost. But she did win support and more love than one would imagine in times like those.

A number of years ago, I lost my aunt, my Mother’s sister to the disease, and it is a cold, numbness that overtakes people when they lose someone to that horror. I know you all must know of someone who suffers or suffered from breast cancer, so I am not alone, just like you.

The fear I have is I have a Daughter, Mom, four beautiful sisters, and three beautiful sisters-in-law that might God forbid get that terrible affliction. It goes beyond saying the fear for TLW (The Little Woman), and all the wonderful women I know in my life. I hope I never hear of such a thing again, but who knows.

I don’t know what groups are out there, that are waging a war against breast cancer, but we shouldn’t hesitate to help them in their battle. NO ONE IS IMMUNE FROM THE HURT OF LOSING SOMEONE TO THIS DISEASE!

Please, for your sake alone, contribute. If you have ever lost anyone, contribute. Look on line and find one that fights the good fight and contribute. Be part of the solution. I don’t think it matters what you give, every bit helps. Thanks. I know one in eight women will thank you too.

Friday, April 25, 2008

BRILLIANT IDEA!

After buying special tools, a visit by MMB (My Man Bill) and looking it up on the Internet, TLW (The Little Woman) came up with the best approach to my problem of the screws in the staircase. Call the guy that will put in the railing. He must run into this problem! Now ladies, when this guy comes over to work, I know he is very handsome, so please stay away and let him work.

Well the wall with the new coat of prime is finished. A prime coat and three subsequent coats after it is done! Now I have to pick up the rug in a few days, when the walls are fully dried from the fresh paint.

Maybe now I can get back to my book again for a while, anyway.

Yesterday I went to the Timber Point C.C., for Staff Appreciation day. Sitting on the huge patio overlooking both the Great South Bay and the golf course, I took in the beautiful blue-sky, coral waters and happy faces on green grass as I waited for the festivities to start. The appetizers were leftover from Saturday night’s fundraiser where I won all the football stuff.

To see these wonderful people, some with the agency for 5 years and one lovely woman who is with the agency for 35 years, all doing something very special. Helping make people’s lives better and filled with dignity. A truly great staff, and appreciated by the Board of Directors.

http://www.weddingsitesandservices.com/New_York/ReceptionSites/SuffolkCounty_LongIsland/New_York/GreatRiver/TimberPointCountryClub.html

Thursday, April 24, 2008

IT IS LIKE CHRISTMAS MORNING!


As you well know by now, I am painting my living room. It is a big job, ceilings that go way up and walls, which follow the ceiling way up.

I painted the ceiling and three of the four walls, including the window and baseboards, all one color. I must say, a great job. I decided to paint the far wall a cranberry red to match the fabric in the couch and chairs. TLW (The Little Woman) got me some paint, and in my feeling eager to finish and full of pep, I started the wall. A disaster! The paint was not applying right, leaving odd color shapes. As I said yesterday, I needed to prime the wall but didn’t. So I went to bed exhausted, thinking I have to prime that darn wall and paint it again.

I awoke this morning and headed toward the living room, and what greets me but a primed wall! Overnight the paint fairy came and primed my wall. I never believed in fairies before, but now I do. I went down to the kitchen, and TLW is washing the paint pan and bushes that the paint fairy used!

I hear the paint fairy is beautiful, with a kind heart and married to a dumb ass. I couldn’t thank the paint fairy because she is not around, but I did thank TLW, so maybe she will pass it on when she sees the paint fairy.

From what I could tell, the paint fairy painted around 4:30 am and was done by 6:30 am. What do you get your paint fairy to show your appreciation? Dinner? Jewelry? I have to think long and hard on this one.

Let’s face it, TLW is the best. Thanks sweety, I love you.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

GEE, THANKS!

I got a bunch of responses on the comments, emails and calls with suggestions in dealing with the screw problem. Before I try any of them, I will try the tool TLW (The Little Woman) got me first. Thanks especially to MMB (My Man Bill) who called to offer his help. A finer neighbor there isn’t.

Today was a long day. I painted my living room, with a 12-foot high ceiling that slopped down to 8 feet. The painting was time consuming and always reminds me of my Dad, and the projects he used to get to make a few extra bucks.

Apparently you really need to prime a wall if you use a dark color, otherwise it looks like a mess. I know, because it happened to me. After two coats and no prime, I now have learned to prime. Something my Dad taught me, and I can hear him now, yelling at me for not doing it. I assume that yelling is from heaven. I hope.

It seemed in my high school years, Dad always had a side job to do, and I was his assistant, whether I wanted to be or not. Many a night and weekend was spent painting signs, or rooms for someone, and I earned a little extra money, while bonding with Dad.

I missed those days, the bonding, learning how to do something, enjoying his stories about when he was a kid, or just talking baseball. Dad always made it interesting for me. Although I was expected to work, he made sure it wasn’t a total drag. Of course I got all the grunt work, while he got all the glamour parts or cushiony work.

The short video is sent by my brother-in-law Tom from Connecticut. Thanks Tom. video

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

OH NO! I’M SCREWED!

I have started to remove the railing on the steps, when I discover that the darn thing has flat head screws that won’t come out. If you try, you strip the grove for the flat head screwdriver and you really make it hard. I don’t know what I am going to do to get the darn screws out! You might say I’m screwed.

I already started the spackling and cleaning, and was hoping to clean before I start to paint. I have all the paint, and tools to begin. I must move the piano down the 5 steps to get the floor cleared so I can paint, the sander can do his magic, and then the wooden rail installer can finish up. I got a couple of estimates about moving the piano. They range from $350 on up! I finally found one for $65! $65! They came and did the job perfectly!

But those screws! What do I do? I only have a day tops to figure it out and get the railing down. I bought these screw extractors from Sears, but they don’t seem to do the trick. If anyone has any ideas on how I can do it, PLEASE, PLEASE let me know. Thanks.

Desperate in Holbrook.

Monday, April 21, 2008

WOW!!!

Last evening I got ready to go to a fundraiser that I had no interest in except that John Schmitt, center for the 1968-69 Super Bowl Champions, the New York Jets would be there. Being how I have an aversion for nuns, and there would be many, I went anyway to see a “Hero” of mine from that magical season. It compares to the 1955 Brooklyn Dodger and 1969 New York Mets World Series victories.

Going that evening were TLW (The Little Woman), Lois her look alike and stand-in at the wanna-be bank where they work, Tlw’s siblings and spouses. There were Maureen and Steve, her sister and brother-in-law, and Dennis and Angela, her brother and sister-in law.

The place was the Timber Point C.C., where the appetizers and cocktails were the best, but the dinner was terrible. In spite of the food, we had a rollicking good old time with my Pisana Angela in her quest to reform me. She currently has trouble with scanner covers, but that is another blog someday.

They came around selling tickets for a “silent auction” which I did not want to buy into, but TLW made me do it. I never win these things.

John Schmitt gave a beautiful talk about his career and his debt to the nuns that taught him. He is a wonderful speaker, and spoke from his heart and soul. After his speech, I went over to the table where the auction was being held and along with Lois, we placed our tickets with what we wanted. I choose a baseball package and a football package.

Back to the table I go to find out that Lois knows John Schmitt personally, and spoke with him. They start to read out the numbers, and lo and behold (what does that mean?) I win the football package. What do I win? An autographed football of Hall-of-Famer Joe Namath of the Jets, and an autographed book by Terry Bradshore of the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburg Steelers, two autographed photos of Emerson Boozer of the Super Bowl III Jets, and a beautiful NY Jets Jersey.

Wow! I’m on cloud nine, as I can’t get up to the podium fast enough to claim my prize. I collect it, and as we are leaving the event, I mention to Lois how I would love to get John Schmitt to autograph the football. She says: “Good idea, lets go get him to.” The man is very gracious, not only signing it, but put my name on it too!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

WHEN JESUS COMES AKNOCKIN…

I just keep on rockin.

Yes, be it God or the Son of God, he calls and I listen. Most of his calling has come through either my Mom or TLW (The Little Woman). I often think that God or Jesus has a special place for me. Hell. So, I try to worm my way out of it.

Mom was very adamant about religion; you went to church, confession and parochial school, and if you complained, you became an altar boy. I did all that and more. Not only did she have the backing of the Vatican, the school principle, my teacher and the priest, she also had a wooden spoon. Although I learned my cussing from my Dad, I couldn’t put it in practice until I was out on the street. Dad’s eloquence in Italian cursing inspired me and to this day, whenever I swear off, I think of dear old Dad. But Dad was never one for religion. He would give me money to put in the collections, then turn over and go back to sleep.

As I got older, my younger sisters join the “holy orders” that Mom issued. With four sisters, it looked like a training ground for the nunnery. They all went to parochial school, either in Brooklyn or later on Long Island.

My first Mass as an altar boy was served on a Sunday morning. After months of training and learning to pray in Latin, the Priest said; “I’m probably going to regret this, but you are ready.” He was a very holy man, named Father Walsh, kind, gentle and unsuspecting. He teamed me up with three veterans to cover any mistakes I might make. The church, St. Joseph the Worker in East Patchogue, NY, was an old mission church used in the summer, which turned into a full-blown parish. The church was filled with all my relatives. My Grandmother from Brooklyn, (who was auditioning for sainthood herself, along with Mom), and all my aunts and uncles, cousins and any neighbors I did favors for were all in attendance, along with the home grown convent of four sisters. My job that Sunday was to stand there, kneel there, genuflect there, and answer in Latin there, but DO NOT IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCE WAVE AND SAY “HI THERE!” To anyone I might recognize.

Things were perfect for Mom. The weather was bright, sunny and warm. All were in attendance that needed to be, and Mom’s halo was perched perfectly over her head, crowning her well-combed do. Dad by the time Mass had started, had his tie unknotted, was squirming around in his seat, looking more scared than I was, after all, his Mother was in attendance, and the four nuns sat quietly as good nuns would.

The priest was Father Jeremiah J. Dineen, pastor, and enforcer of his and God’s will. Make a mistake, and you will be serving at your own funeral Mass. He was not expected, but there he was, ready with contempt on his lips for any novice that morning. “WHAT IS THAT NOISE?’ “Sorry Father, that is my knees knocking together,”

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A DAY WITH BIG SISTER

Yesterday was a beautiful day in terms of the weather and activity. My much older sister and me spent the day taking care of business for Mom’s 90th birthday.

It started by my calling her and her answering: “I was expecting this call.” I guess you could say it was a lot like her saying: I have to pay my bills, or taxes. I have to plan my will, or I have to go to the dentist for root canal work.

I met her at TLW’s (The Little Woman) place of business, the wanna-be bank, a credit union. I drove over and found TLW with all her cronies, sitting around doing nothing! Yes, that’s right, nothing. They all gathered around and listened to my conversation with TLW. It just so happened to be quiet when I got there, there were no customers, or “members” except me.

Said my “hello” to one and all, when my much older sister came in and I introduced her to everyone but TLW. I think TLW may be miffed at my much older sister because she never warned TLW about me before we married. That is perfectly understandable.

Off we went to Port Jefferson to pay the restaurant for the party on May 10. On the way, we caught up with the latest family news and events, while laughing at all silliness as I see it. My Tourette’s of the brain kicked in, and it didn’t seem to stop.

We get to the restaurant and the very stern looking woman is sitting at the reception desk, fully in charge. She looks up asks what we want. “Do you have an appointment?” I answer in the negative and tell her I want to pay off a bill. “Oh, what kind of an affair is it?” I tell her, and all of a sudden, an appointment isn’t necessary.

A very nice gentleman comes by, and escorts us into the restaurant and seats us in the empty restaurant, a part of the huge country club complex. We eye the Italian desserts, the ones calling out my name, (all of them, they say: “ Giuseppe), but I stick to business. TLW had given me a large sum of cash and four cents to pay in full. The man reads the receipt and says: “Ah, 90. That’s nice! God is so good!” I give him the large bills, he counts it and I then try to give him the 4 cents, which he scoffs at and goes off to the cash register. I think: “Yeah, God id so good; IF you own this place. In my neighborhood he ain’t winning friends that easily!”

Leaving the place, we decide to do a little sightseeing in the local area where we had spotted a few homes we admired as we passed. The places were of palatial proportions and well constructed. Newly minted mansions and old collector’s dreams that were both worth multi-millions. Yup, God is good.

But God is good, he gave me the opportunity to spend some time with my much older sister, and we had a very nice lunch to cap the day.

Wish God was real good and took this blog and cast it into hell? Then go complain to the Pope, who is in town this week.

Friday, April 18, 2008

IT LOOKS LIKE HELL…


Ravaged by the never-ending quest for improvement, the battlefield looks like hell. Dust and destruction lie everywhere. Rooms guttered and striped bare. The gaunt look of despair and sacrifice of comforts, a cold testament of the carnage yet to come.

Iraq? Maybe, but I’m talking about home. My home. The living room is slowly becoming a ghost room of echoes past. The hallway striped of its flooring and comfort of the rug. All gone. Only the whispers of happy voices when there were no floor sanders to hire, or rail installers to negotiate with. When rugs had a permanency, and the stupid dog didn’t piss on the rugs.

And as I look about outside, I see the ominous signs of spring. The brickwork haunts and taunts me with its little green weeds. Weeds defiantly wave at me, daring me to extricate them with my sore back. MMB (My Man Bill) toils away in his front yard, spreading topsoil and planting seeds for a lawn. My own lawn people, orders barked in Spanish, as they move across the property, blowing and sweeping and gathering the visages of winter past, as they sweep through my wallet one more time, and many more times to come.

There are weddings, weddings and more weddings to come. Gathering into the future like a storm on the horizon, threatening to blow me away with gale force winds, sweeping through my wallet, leaving devastation and weeping on my part.

The pool, covered with the tarp, leaves gathered, sitting in puddles, a mute testimony that the pool man cometh. He too, will take a chunk of my wallet, and will happily plan his winter vacation. And do I get a postcard? No, I get a bill and an estimate for next years aqua fest.

And, so I must move on. Shouldering my burdens, I will travel the trail of sorrow and money spent. I will look at all the neighbors, who won’t be spending money this spring, and say: “You lucky bastards.”

P.S. That's me in college.

Need solace and comfort from this blog? Write to: joedelbroccolo@yahoo.com. Tell him; “God, I need a break from you, go away!”

Thursday, April 17, 2008

HUMORING YOUR STRESS


One of the joys of life is keeping quiet. Not telling anyone what you are thinking, not to offend anyone. I often say I have Tourette’s syndrome of the brain, in that as things develop, I think things I wouldn’t repeat. It is funny stuff, but I wouldn’t repeat it.

Going through life, I find myself in funny situations, difficult ones and the kind I wish to just forget. I have gotten into the same section of a revolving door with a little old lady because I wasn’t paying attention. I’ve dropped things, and then kicked them more than once in trying to retrieve them, sometimes clear across a room. I’ve gotten my sleeve caught on a door handle on the way out of a meeting, and tried to look like it wasn’t a big deal. Meanwhile I felt like a jerk, and once, to the amusement of my older sister, at a funeral procession out of the funeral parlor, I walked into a glass window, because (you guessed it) I wasn’t paying attention.

Nuns for taking photos have yelled at me because she didn’t want me to take them. (Great photos by the way!) Once I tried to get a remote I dropped while in bed. This was after a double by-pass and a heart monitor on me that sent the whole Cardiac staff into my room, thinking I was having a heart attack!

TLW (The Little Woman) ordered a great DVD called: “Humor Your Stress” that is presented by a very funny lady named Loretta LaRoche. It is very funny, speaking to the daily stress that we encounter in our lives, and how to deal with it in a positive way. It is an hour of hilarity, and everyone should view it. It takes you to a new way to thinking in face-to-face confrontation with stress.

TLW is not a laugher, I cannot get her to laugh at anything unless I fall down and break my neck! That she finds funny, but she recommended this to me, and she laughed with me for a second time!

Wish I’d fall down and break my neck so I can’t write these blogs? Then write to: joedelbroccolo@yahoo.com. Give me some suggestions how.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

DOING TIME


Yesterday we had a visit from Carlos. Carlos is my floor finisher. Carlos has a wealth of experience and a good price. We like Carlos. With the money we over-estimated for the floors, TLW (The Little Woman) will scratch her palms and think of another project to do with it.

TLW loves change. She will re-paint or clean anything that doesn’t move, and will start at 4:00 A.M.! I shudder to think what she would be like if she drank caffeinated coffee.

I on the other hand, like sedation. I thrive on it, and wish sometimes to be sedated. When I get up in the morning, I carefully look about. If I hear banging, moving of furniture or any kind of scrubbing, I try to climb out of the upstairs window. Trouble is I can’t go far without my pants.

After Carlos left last night, TLW was thrilled by his estimate, and said how “excited” she was. She sounded like Eva Longoria lusting over her Carlos. Well remember that Carlos is now blind on the show.

TLW loves change. I was once in a very dangerous situation where she was conferring with my oldest sister who adores change. My older sister has changed her house so often, my brother-in-law had too put all the interior walls on wheels. When the two of them get together, TLW and Older Sis, it can make for a combustible situation. What happens is I am so broke that I burn my wallet because I don’t need it anymore!

Well, the floor man Carlos comes, then Mike the rail man, then I need a carpenter for some new doors that will be hung, and TLW will walk around with a smile on her face, a lilt in her voice, and a bounce in her step. I, on the other hand will walk around with a pained expression, guteral gurgitation and a limp from a sore back. I have to remove the rugs and paint, not to mention moving all the furniture and molding.

Wish I’d shut up? Write to: joedelbroccolo@yahoo.com. Tell me: “Hey, bone head, just do it.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

IT JUST WON’T GO AWAY


For the past week, I’ve had a stomach virus that will not go away! It started last week on Tuesday and there is still a residual bit left. TLW (The Little Woman) caught it Saturday, and although feeling better, has it too.

It puts a damper on a good time, unfortunately. Yesterday, in spite of my GPS, TLW, and her look a-like Lois, (Toots II) and I drove to Jo Ellen and Seth’s home for a lovely dinner. The food was great but we couldn’t eat much because of the left over virus. We are not sick, just recovering from what is left. On the way from Lois’s home, I used my GPS to get me to Jo Ellen and Seth’s home. The darn thing takes me to a road and tells me to make a right. There is NO right hand turn there. “Redirecting” it, tells me to make a left. Again, there is NO left turn there! “Redirecting-drive 4.2 miles” and as we do, we run smack into a Little League parade! It stops a four lane major artery and we sit there for what seems an eternity. Dead in the water! Little children in colorful uniforms, parade by with banners, balloons, bands and fire trucks, while the police hold up the traffic. The urge was to yell: “Get the ^#%$**^$%# out of the)&(%* way, you little ()*&$^I^*&%)*(‘s!

Next weekend is the Fund-raiser for the Sisters of Halifax. I’ve had their cod, but never in Halifax. TLW and her clan with spouses will be camped at my domicile and along with Lois will venture to Timberlake C.C. for the dinner.

I’m still finishing up the minor details for the big 90th birthday bash at Lombardi’s on the Sound on May 10th.

Wish that I’d go away? Then write to: joedelbroccolo@yahoo.com, tell him: “Hey, go away.”

Monday, April 14, 2008

I AM HIGH MAINTENANCE


Every morning when I get dressed, I go through a whole array of goodies that I NEED.

I carry with me a photo holder, as I can best describe it. It is a leather covered grommet encased multi-photo holder. The size is about as large as a wallet photo. What do I need that for? I keep all my acquired business cards that I get. Important ones for the local Chinese takeout, doctor cards, appointment cards, and medication listings for when I have to tell someone like a new doctor what I take and how much, or when. This holder has a pocket on each side to allow me to carry hearing aid batteries and toothpicks.

Everyone needs a wallet. So do I. I carry my cash and phone numbers without names to them. This is a hobby of mine. I used to be able to call these numbers with impunity, and if someone answered that I liked, I would speak. If not, I could hang up and scratch off the number. Now, with caller ID, I can’t do that. I also carry an array of credit cards TLW (The Little Woman) insists I carry. I never use them, and they pile up, so that when I do need one, the one I choose is expired. I wind up looking like some deadbeat to a merchant. Hey, I don’t check dates of expiration; I just take what TLW gives me and follow orders.

Writing a blog requires my needing a notebook with a pen. I don’t carry pencils; I like to make permanent notes. Not only notes are taken down. If I’m too lazy to put a phone number in my wallet, the notebook is handy. It also helps when I want to remember a web site.

Then there is my date book, and an electronic date book that I carry sometimes. I need yesterday’s change, and any valuable slips of paper I have for later reference, not to mention a cell phone that I never leave on. This keeps up, and I get a pocket book like TLW.
So, if you see me walking with a limp, fear not, it is only me fully dressed. Here is the kicker for me. What the hell do I need any of that stuff if I’m retired, and don’t go far anyway?

Wish I’d go far? Further away from this computer and writing this insipid blog? Then write to: joedelbroccolo@yahoo.com. Tell him: “Why don’t you find the KonTiki and take a trip across the Pacific with it?”

Sunday, April 13, 2008

OK, I KNOW I’M GETTING OLD, BUT…


The photo is a cell phone shot of some of the Fab5 out in LA. They are MFF (My Favorite Fan, Laura), #1 Son (The Kid) Pete DaTeacher, and MinnesotaPete. Nice looking crew, No? There are no miss spellings in DelBloggololand.

I had my first senior moments for real yesterday! I actually had to call my older sister to tell me the names of some of the members of my own family.

It started when I was putting together a card for my Mother’s birthday bash, and I wanted to include all her children, grandchildren and great grand children. Included in this group are a few fiancés, boy and girl friends and of course, all the spouses that married into the family.

Well for some reason I started to draw blanks. (Actually blanks are not hard to draw, they look just like regular bullets), but I couldn’t put it in gear.

How often have I gone to complete meltdown when introducing people to others, and I forget names! “George, this is uh… ah… er MOM, yes, Mom.” Well maybe not that bad but you get my drift. Speaking of which I have drifted away from what I had intended to do, and didn’t remember until three in the morning laying awake in bed.

I would tie a string around my finger, but two things prevent that. One, #2 Son takes all the string, so I can never find any, and Two, I would forget why I have a string around my finger in the first place.

Wish I could tie the string around my neck and pull tight? Then write to: joedelbroccolo@yahoo.com. Tell him: “I’d gladly send you some rope, if you promise to follow my instructions.”

Saturday, April 12, 2008

WAITING LONG ENOUGH TAKES TIME.

I was putting off writing today’s blog for a want to write about something, and it finally hit me: Mom and her card! I am trying to say all there is to say in a card that has sentiment and fun.

I am currently working on the card for my Mom’s 90th birthday on May 10th. The trouble with that is I have to walk a fine line between being appropriate and having fun.

My Mother is like potluck, wrapped in a lasagna, encased in a string of her braggiola.

All our lives her five children believed in the Immaculate Conception, and if you witnessed how she acted, you would think so too. I have old family photos of her standing in front of religious statues. One photo shows her just sitting and thinking. I want to add to the photo a caption: “Five! Five Immaculate Conceptions! What do I do for an encore?”


All of the lessons I learned from her stem from Catholic School or attending Mass. How to behave in other words. Trouble with that for me was I learned my other lessons from my Dad; usually swear words in Italian that would fit various situations. Mom would just undo what Dad did. Somehow, I don’t know for sure if Mom succeeded. You should really ask TLW (The Little Woman).

Of course, my sisters never had those problems. I suspect they were all adopted. It would explain a lot.

Looking back at all the photos, Immaculate Conception or no Immaculate Conception, I was always playing with fire, on the verge of getting smacked down into the jaws of hell for my behavior. When I reached the age of reason, about 35, I realized that if I were good, I’d get chocolate cake. Now when I’m good, all I get are the same old 100 calories snacks from TLW. It comes with 1% milk.

And so, back to the memories, of wooden spoons, warnings, a few “Wait till your father comes home’ and my favorite: “I hope you have kids just like you.”

Amen

PS That’s me crying on the swing. Mom told me I was on the down swing. Also, I apologize for the dirty cartoon and the Chris Rock thing, ladies.

Friday, April 11, 2008

WOW, IT GOT BUSY!


It seems to me that life has gotten very busy all of a sudden! Good thing I retired because I am too busy to do anything. (?)

The month of May starts with Mom (Hello, Joe? This is your Mother) turning 90. We are throwing her a big family party at a fancy Italian Restaurant on Long Island Sound from 1 to 4 pm. We will be dragging out all we can gather for such a momentous occasion, and I need to finish her birthday card. That will be followed by a Guardianship Committee meeting I chair, then a Board of Directors meeting.

There is a wedding in Pennsylvania, for my beautiful niece Meagan, marrying a fellow named Harry. Harry was a victim of one of my practical jokes, before we ever met. I will relate that story in a blog on a later date, but it was one of my better ones. Following the wedding, the next day is another 90th birthday party for a lovely woman I’ve known for most of my married life. Her name is Mrs. Garrity, she is sweet, a wonderful Mother and a great inspiration as a parent. She raised a large family, and I can tell you, all her children are tops, wonderfully good people who contribute to this country.

There is a fund-raiser for the Sisters of Halifax, a place I’ve never been to, that will have all the Seton Hall graduates they can muster, along with spouses. Not being a graduate of Seton Hall High School in Patchogue, NY, and my fear of nuns, I find myself there with TLW (The Little Woman). My posture will be erect, I will not chew gum, and of course: “Yes Sister” or “No Sister.” I will behave.

Then it is off to Connecticut where my Nephew Marc will be tying the knot with a lovely and beautiful gal named Nichole. Marc is a wonderful guy, and like his parents, a schoolteacher. They all teach in the same area, and when they get together during the week, the local schools close down because they consider it a teacher’s conference.

Come October, I fly down to Florida, and off to the beach I go to a wedding for my handsome nephew, David, and his bride to be, Kim. See the photo? Well they ARE on the rocks, and their relationship is NOT in trouble!

Wish I would do one more thing before all this, like take a slow boat to China? Then write your suggestions to: joedelbroccolo@yahoo.com. Tell me, “If you are so darn busy, why do you keep writing this insipid blog? Stop it.”
video

Thursday, April 10, 2008

OY, VAS I SICK!


I’m not Jewish, but Oy, vas I sick! It started Tuesday afternoon, while I was ripping out carpeting on the stairs and stayed with me until Wednesday evening until the 6th inning of the Mets game.

Headache, stomach disorder and a lot of joint aches and pains, coupled with a restless night of sleep made for a very unhappy DelBloggolo. Not to mention not eating. I SAID NOT TO MENTION IT!

Speaking of sleeping, there was this report on the news about some fellow who died in 2005. His wife had his cell phone recharged and added to his coffin, with a message. “Hi, this is (Whomever) I can’t come to the phone right now, but if you leave your name and number, someone will get back to you.”

Here’s my question: How the hell do you recharge the cell phone???

Talked to #1 Son last night: said he went to Disneyland, and he enjoyed it. I love to go to Disney World, and am not ashamed to admit I enjoy it too. The different pavilions and rides, the restaurants and care-free attitude make for a wonderful time.

I’m now starting my twelfth chapter of my novel, and can’t wait to see how I resolve some problems for the protagonist. My brother-in-law, the prince of Connecticut, a wannabe Poland is helping with the historical accuracy as he is a history teacher. #1 Son is helping with the enthusiasm, and some critique that I find valuable, being how he IS a writer, and not a hack like me.

Wish the sickness I had would linger? Write to: joedelbroccolo@yahoo.com, tell him: “Hey, why don’t you start an Asian flu colony”

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A MAN NAMED HENRY

Years ago, when I was growing up in Brooklyn, there lived on the bottom floor of my apartment building a man named Henry. Henry was a gentle soul, was good with the kids on the block and never bothered anyone. Being children, we were unaware that Henry was retarded, something I was unaware of and used to wonder why he never spoke much.

His Mom was the person that did the janitorial services for the absent landlord, who lived in another apartment. Her name was Lena, a jovial kind of Italian lady, with an accent. She had a beautiful daughter named Marianna, who I hear later became a nun, and another son who became an engineer. He was called Manfredo, or Duke. Duke taught me how to catch a baseball, how to throw it, and held a fascination to me in what he did with his life. In my mostly Italian neighborhood, if you got through high school: you were well educated; Duke went to college. He was an engineer. He was looked at with pride and respect in the neighborhood. He, along with my Uncle Frank were two men I looked up to, they went to higher education. I wanted to be like Duke, educated.

Duke would come home from work at night, see his brother and before passing him, kiss him! It was not unusual to kiss each other in an Italian family. His affection went beyond his brother, as his sister would be playing with my younger sister, he would stop, asked something in Italian. She would smile and give him a hug around his neck and up the steps he went.

The education I received from Henry and from this wonderful family taught me the most. Henry's lesson stayed with me forever.

Henry was uneducable; he spent his day leaning against the framework of the front entrance of the apartment. He had one hand in a pocket and one foot crossed over the other, perpendicular to the ground. He spoke gently and with a lot of kindness in his voice. His eyes were far away, and he always watched us little kids playing on the sidewalk. Being a ham, I would perform for him and try to make him laugh, sometimes succeeding. Once we even tried to get him to play with us, without success.

Then one day in my fantasy world, I was running down the street on the sidewalk. As I ran, I came to a cellar door that was level with the walk. It had an automatic door opener, and I ran to step on it, it started to open up. The metal doors started like butterfly wings to open as I my foot stepped down. Falling in, I hurt my head and I was in pain and couldn’t move. My leg was caught in the mechanism and I couldn’t get it out. Then suddenly the doors started to close! My pants started to rip as the door whined to close. Just then, a huge hand reached down and tore me away from the mechanism, and as I looked up to see whose hand it was, I heard the doors slam shut.

The sense of relief was not as great as the sense of surprise in seeing Henry, carry me over to the stoop where we lived, setting me down and getting my Mother.

When I went upstairs that afternoon, my Mom told me about Henry. She explained why he never went to work, and that he had problems learning. It confused me, since I couldn’t speak Italian yet he could speak Italian and English!

The next day, and many days thereafter, I would ask him how to say a word from English to Italian, and he would tell me! Retarded, maybe. His kindness went beyond his capacity. I wish some who can learn, who can show compassion, could be a lot more like Henry.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

THE FOUR WOMEN BOSSES


I find it hard to believe that I get bossed around so much by 4 distinctly different women!

There’s TLW (The Little Woman), boss of bosses, gentle leader of my life, Mother of my children. There is Nana, my Mom, loving but strict, who owns a wooden spoon. There is Ellen my daughter, always tries to be happy, but won’t tolerate anyone’s nonsense, and finally, Happy, my Cocker Spaniel who is guardian of the Realm and moocher.

They all hold sway over me. Sometimes it is hard to satisfy one mistress, let alone four!

TLW I never look at first thing in the morning for fear she will find something for me to do. She has a way of knowing what it is all about, but won’t say anything until its time. Her strategy for getting things done is to start it, and make me feel guilty (silently) if I don’t finish it off. What takes me a while to figure out, she will do in no time. This is particularly true of household chores. She’s smart, beautiful, kind and I love every bit of it.

Mom calls when she needs a ride, a form or something fixed. It usually starts with a phone call and an announcement that it is she. “Hello, Joe? This is your Mother.” Oh, she is not pompous; in fact, she is anything but. Mom has a great sense of humor, and loves to laugh out loud. She was a great cook at one time, but now that she is 90, she has passed that talent on to her wonderful daughters, and my beautiful sisters.

My Daughter Ellen will expect me to get up from my easy chair so she can sit there. She will push me out of her house to take her to my house for dinner, escaping her group home for a few hours. She is not very patient, so you better be on your toes and above all, follow her orders. Coaxing a kiss out of her can be tough at times. She does not give them away freely, and it better last.

Then there is Happy. Happy has a fascinating hobby, sitting and watching me eat. Patrolling the ground around me, when I eat or cook, hoping to find a spilled morsel or something pitched from me. At 4:30 pm every day, she barks at me to remind me to get her some lettuce! TLW admonishes me for feeding her, which I do. It is difficult not to feed her, since she is happiest when she is with me, in the same room, no matter where in the house. Asleep, she snores, farts and sometimes moans. If I sneak a bite of food by her while she is asleep, her head jerks up and she starts to sniff the air.

I guess I’m lucky in a lot of ways, after all, they do pay attention to me. Not that they would do as I ask, just listen then do what they want.

Monday, April 07, 2008

WHEN IT COMES TO SALESPEOPLE

I can’t win! Being how I hate to go to stores with salespeople who ask: “Can I help you?” I am constantly on the lookout when I enter a store. I go with my head down and I try to avoid eye contact. I guess this must make me look suspicious, like maybe I will steal something.

There was that time at Raymore and Flannigan where TLW (The Little Woman) and I went looking for candle sticks and walk out owning new recliners. Then there was the time we went to Sleepy’s to purchase a bed board and walk out buying a new bed, mattress and all.

Once we went to a car dealership on a lark, and bought a new car. In Florida one year, we went to this open house on time-shares, because our neighbor Bud bought one and said they were great. Before we left as we always do, we promised each other: “we are only looking.” We bought a time-share.

In Arizona recently, (Sedona) we went into a local museum, and wind up purchasing a different time-share plan than we already had changed the previous day. Each time we were: “Only looking”.

I think that on my forehead is tattooed; “VIC” and TLW has: “TIM” on hers.

Feel victimized every time you read this blog? Want relief from the constant pain of loss time, and unhappy moments? Write to; joedelbroccolo@yahoo.com, tell him: “Wish you really were a victim, stop writing.”

Sunday, April 06, 2008

29 YEARS AGO.

It is one of the coldest days of days in my life. April 6th is topped only by January 28, 1981, the day he died. It is the day my Son Joseph was born and remains a painful memory in the hearts of his older Bother and Mother as well.

I don’t mean to be maudlin, but this blog is about what’s on my mind at this moment. Joseph is on my mind. I took a lot of time off from work, when I commuted to the city, to be with him at the hospital on Community Drive when he became ill, the place we took him to when he finally stopped suffering, and passed on. When I see the hospital, it all comes back to me vividly. When I had my heart operation, it was at the same hospital, and thought that maybe the same fate awaited me.

He was a good baby, playful and filled with life, and now there is no life. It was said that Joseph looked just like me when I was a child. One aunt said when he was alive that it looked like someone had cut my head off, that’s how much he looked like me when I was his age.

As babies go, he was adventurous, playful and very loving. We had a great relationship, and I will never forget that. Today he would have been 29 years of age. He caused a lot of false labor for TLW (The Little Woman), and when he did finally come, he wouldn’t eat for TLW. I came to her room, and he was in her arms. She said to me: “Here Joe, you try, he won’t eat.” I picked him up for the first time and tried. He started to suck on the bottle, and my day was more than made. I got him to eat!

Then the day after Thanksgiving, a day I used to celebrate as the day I proposed to TLW, we had to take him to North Shore University Hospital for tests. They gave us the dreadful news we kind of knew was coming. Then he stopped keeping food down, with projectile vomiting and diarrhea, which caused us great concern. Back and forth, we went to the hospital, TLW like it was a job as she commuted to see him every day. I traveled, back and forth to the hospital sometimes the first thing in the morning to visit him, then off to work. When I visited him, I used to sing to him a little tune in Italian when we were alone, holding him:
Dormi, dormi, sogna, piccolo amor mio.
Dormi, sogna, posa il capo sol mio cor.

One morning I got the news that he would not last the week. TLW called me from the hospital. It was a Sunday, and by that Wednesday, he was gone. We were at home when I got the call, and we drove out that cold night, my Brother-in-law Dennis driving, we got there and went to his room. As we climbed the stairs, a priest was racing us up the stairwell in his brown robes. When we reached his floor, we saw Joseph, his little arms over the covers, a nurse sobbing over him. He was free of all the IU’s and bandages that were part of his daily routine. The priest said his prayers and left. It was a comfort, but when he went away, so did a lot of hopes and dreams for two people.

Sometimes I cry for Him, sometimes for TLW, and sometimes, for me.

Friday, April 04, 2008

IT DROVE ME CRAZY!


I got in the car the other day to pick up my cocker spaniel Happy from the dog groomer. I turned onto the service road of the Long Island Expressway and headed toward my turn.

Looking into my rear-view mirror, I noticed a police car behind me. I knew I was not over the speed limit, my light s were all working and I had no reason to worry, but hey, you never know.

Suddenly, smack dead in the middle of the bottom of my right foot, there was an itch! Right behind the ball of the foot, and as I write this I can almost feel it again!

The itch was becoming unbearable, and now I was conscious of the police car behind me. I couldn’t pull over because I was not in a good position to do so. The traffic was moving at a very good clip, and I needed to SCRATCH THAT SOB, real bad.

As I drove, I wiggled my toes and tried to close my foot like a hand! When we can to a light, I pressed down as hard as I could, rubbing the foot in my shoe, but still it would not go away.

The police car passes me, (must have been frustration, that I was doing the speed limit) as I have a sigh of relief. I watch him pass, follow with my eyes as he turns off, and what? NO ITCH!

Could it all have been caused because a police car was behind me?

Do you have an itch to scratch this blog away?
Then write to: joedelbroccolo@yahoo.com. Tell him, “Hey, go scratch yourself with a broken bottle.”


PS I WILL BE IN ALBANY THIS WEEKEND WILL RETURN WITH A NEW BLOG ON MONDAY.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

SAY THE RIGHT THING


You recall the Spike Lee movie; “DO THE RIGHT THING”? I am living proof that you should also say the right thing. That is if you are talking to TLW (The Little Woman), or any woman.

The other night there was a female singer on TV’s Dancing With the Stars. She was very attractive, had a great voice, and a pretty fair shape.

As I watched her prance around the stage, I was on the verge of mentioning how attractive she was. TLW was within book throwing distance, and my instincts took over.

Me: “She’s fat!” (A terrible lie)
TLW: “Yeah, she is!” (Another terrible lie)
Me: Silence (A smart move following my smart statement)
TLW- nothing but silent satisfaction.

Lesson learned from years of marriage. Either lie or keep your mouth shut.

Wish I never lied? Then write to: joedelbroccolo@yahoo.com. Tell him, who you kidding, she was fat!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

THE BRAIN IS DEAD…

But the mouth is still going.
Or how I get to paint the living room.

If you are a reader of this insipid blog, you know by now about the wooden railing we will install in place of the wrought iron one on the staircase and hall upstairs.

Along with such grandiose plans comes the news that we are lifting up the carpeting and refinishing the wood floors.

TLW (The Little Woman) and I sat in the living room to discuss what we would do, and to rearrange the furniture.

ATTENTION: Married Men! This will happen on occasion. Be prepared to move it, and to be surprised when she moves it while you are either: asleep, or away at work. Do not, I repeat: DO NOT attempt to walk in the dark in your own home. She may rearrange the furniture; you get up to go to the toilet at 3:00 AM, and pee into the armoire.

Wait… Another bulletin has just come in!

ATTENTION: Married Men! Be careful what you say when caught up in her redecorating schemes, the mouth goes off and the brain is dead!

What happened you ask?

I, while chatting with TLW, said: “Maybe we should paint both the walls and ceiling now that we are doing all this work. As the words came out, a little voice in my head was screaming: “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

I saw the words leave my big mouth, I tried to get them back and stuff them into my jaws, but I couldn’t locate them, because my eyes were filled with tears!

To make things complete, we went out to “Look at drapes” and paint chips. When we are finished decorating the living room, you can then come over to see it, tell TLW how nice it looks. If you wish to tell me, I will be either at the Poor House, or the Home for Mentally Disturbed and Financially Depleted Husbands.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

ITS ALL COMING BACK TO HAUNT ME!


None other than TLW (The Little Woman) informed me that I had to go to another school reunion! Yes, that nasty thing they do with old nuns and their former students is about to take place once again. Whose presence does marital law require? Mine. This time TLW will take along a whole entourage of graduates and their spouses. (See Tuesday, May 23, 2006 Blog “IF THERE’S A NUN AROUND, SHE’LL FIND ME”)

Sometime in April, TLW, her sister Maureen, and Maureen’s husband Steve, her brother Dennis and her buddy Lois from the wanna-be-bank where TLW and Lois work will attend this former school’s charity event as former students. Along with the above mention will be my lovely sister-in-law Angela, a fellow Paisana (Dennis’ wife), and me.

I am hoping to stay clear of nuns this time. My troubles stem not from these events so much, but from my long ago ugly history when I went to Catholic School as a poor innocent child.

Brooklyn was infested in those days with nuns. Nuns were everywhere one went. They owned Brooklyn. Your life depended on how fast you could move or speak in a respectful tone to a nun. Yes, they usually walked in two’s or three’s. Silently they stalked, and in a schoolyard or classroom, a street or church, one flick of the wrist and you were gone! Sister Hairy Mary, a rather large Amazon of a woman, shrouded in black and Rosary Beads made from the teeth of children who were not quick enough, ruled the schoolyard.

I on the other hand was a good, pure and innocent child, only out to learn about God and my ABC’s. Sister maintained her great muscle tone by smacking around and bouncing good children off the school building walls. Oh, she was a dear! I think I left an impression of my head on one of the schoolyard walls at Our lady of Lourdes.

Mom was a sympathizer of nuns. In fact, Mom took up where the (good) sisters left off. If I may quote Mom: “If I find out (I would never tell) that the teacher had to discipline you, when you get home you will get the rest. Mom liked to be pious too, just like Sister Hairy Mary.

Some of the nuns had strange names. There was besides Sister Hairy Mary, Sister Mary Paul, Sister Mary Joseph, and Sister Mary Bruno. None of the Nuns (?) had last names. If you were overheard by a nun not using the proper sobriquet “Sister”, a rather large fist, moving at the speed of sound would pound you into painful sorrow, as your buddies would peel you off the wall. It was important to remember; “speed of sound = pound.”

Recently, my good buddy from PCH, Jan Spaulding sent me the above photo. I think it is poetic justice.

Need “poetic justice” and can’t find a judge that can rhyme his/her words? Write to joedelbroccolo@yahoo.com. Tell him; “If God doesn’t get you, I quit going to church!”