Archive for family stress.

Post #69 The brooding Nana vs. the world of it’s all fine…

Posted in Family, memoir, nonfiction, relationships, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 19, 2012 by tenaciousbitch

For those who wish to read about my crackhead brother who stole Nana’s life savings, go to:

https://tenaciousbitch.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/as-my-mother-lay-dying/

Otherwise, for my regulars..I have an update on Nana and her hoarding and spending spree mentioned in the previous post:

http://tenaciousbitch.com/2012/07/11/the-attempted-con-of-ms-cranky-pants/

The day after returning from vacation, I brought Nana’s morning meds to her, and she said, “Would you mail this to Cathy, please?” Handing me an envelope addressed to the infamous Cousin Cathy*, she continued, “It has a check in it for $25.” And her tone was so casual – as if the subject of giving money to the chronically unemployed Cathy hasn’t been a constant point of contention between us.

“Nana, you KNOW you CANNOT afford to give anyone any money.”

“I discussed it with Reverend Jim.”

“Reverend Jim is a good man, but he’s not managing your money. I am, at YOUR request. If you give Cathy money, you’ll run short on your bills and prescriptions, and I’ll have to pay for them and your groceries. And you won’t be able to get your hair done or -”

“Then, I won’t get my hair done.”

“I am not washing your hair for you. I don’t have time.”

Her scowl deepened, and she said, “And cancel my appointment with Dr. Raines tomorrow.”

“You can’t cancel again. They’ll charge you $25 because I’ve already rescheduled that appointment twice, and you need to go. You need to get your teeth fixed.”

So, we can STOP hearing about her broken teeth and how hard it is to chew everything, and so she can eat a larger repertoire of meat other than chicken that has been bludgeoned into a brie-ish pancake with a meat hammer or frozen Salisbury steaks.

Nana sighed. “But it’ll cost me money to see Dr. Raines, won’t it?”

“Yes, $15, but I budgeted for that. What I didn’t budget for was you spending almost $200 while I was gone.”

“Well, it wasn’t on me.”

“It doesn’t matter WHAT you spent it on. I gave you $80 out of your account, because you didn’t want to use your debit card. Instead, you spent $40 on two gift cards for Cathy -”

Nana scowled,

“Yes, Sarah** told me about the Walmart cards.”

Nana brightened momentarily asking, “What about Ben***? Did he send me anything?”

“Yes, and you spent every dime of that $150, that was earmarked for your BILLS and your prescriptions, not to buy Cathy clothes at the Thrift Store.”

“Just $12 for pants and a blouse.”

“Yes, I know,” I said acidly, “Cathy needs to buy her own damned clothes, and the rest of the charges were to Burger King and Golden Corral, and I don’t remember where else. But the point is, I’ve already put over $6,000 on my credit card in the last year from two trips to Georgia to clean out your house and to buy your prescriptions and your health insurance and everything else when you run short, and I can’t afford to-”

“I know all that.”

“Then, why in God’s name are you asking me to send Cathy money?”

She just looked at me, eyes blaring wide. “She has nothing to eat.”

“Bullshit. She’s going to spend it on cigarettes and beer and-”

“She doesn’t drink, and she wouldn’t do that!”

“How do you know? Are you going to be there when she goes shopping?!”

And remember…Cathy lives in West Virginia about 200 miles from me and Nana in Ohio.

Nana’s pale face blanches, and her chin starts to quiver, but not in sorrow over the truth finally seeping into her brain…no, in anger at me. “She’ll buy food with it. I trust her!”

“Well, you shouldn’t. You trusted Danny, and look how THAT turned out.”

“She’s not Danny. She’s a good Christian.”

I nodded my head. “Uh, uh, and Danny said he found God right before he emptied your bank account.”

A stalemate of stares ensues between us, and I end it with, “This,” I said, shaking the envelope at her, “is the last time you give Cathy any money as long as I’m managing your finances.” I stood up and moved toward the door of Nana’s room. “If Cathy needs money, she can get a damned job!” I yelled. “And if you give her any money, you can just pack your shit and move in with her because I am so DONE,” I shouted, slamming the door behind me.

I sat staring at the envelope to Cathy for the longest time. I REALLY had to fight the urge to rip it open, tear up that check and use those gift cards to buy Depends for Nana (and those frickin’ things are expensive!) and her medication, and that fucking PREGO spaghetti sauce she likes instead of my homemade sauce (yes, from scratch…go figure) and her fucking “sweets” she requires daily like Krispie Kreme donuts, and I could enumerate quite a few items for the $65 she wanted me to throw away on the leech known as Cousin Cathy.

But I didn’t. I typed a note to Cathy explaining that Nana is flat-busted broke, and this is the LAST time she’ll receive money from Nana Maude, and to PLEASE stop blathering about her financial problems since it only upsets my Grandmother knowing she CAN’T help her. And I made no mention that I think she’s a worthless, lazy liar. I then put Nana’s envelope in a bigger, brown envelope and slipped my note inside and mailed it to Cathy.

I was rather flat-toned, bordering on surly for the next day or so with Nana, but every time I walked into Nana’s room, she was all sunshine and smiles. I couldn’t tell if it was an act, or in her schizophrenic/alzheimer-ish way, she didn’t remember our verbal altercation.

However, whenever my husband talked to her, she was quiet and her voice took on this moaning quality as if she were suffering from the flu or something. He didn’t go for her ruse though and ask her what was wrong. He just feigned not noticing.

Then, when Charlie told her that dinner was ready a mere 6 hours after our confrontation, she said, “Do you want me to stay in here and eat?” And she’d been in her room ALL day…

Yeah, as if she weren’t welcome at the dinner table… 🙂 …she joined us, and was very chatty as usual as if she hadn’t a care in the world.

Funny thing…two days later, Cathy called saying she’d gotten the gift cards and everything, but she had to go to the Post Office to get the package because they were holding it for POSTAGE DUE! She had to pay $1.06 for her ill-gotten gain. When Nana told me, I CACKLED with laughter.

“What’s so funny?” Nana asked, rather confused.

“Nothing. I’ve gotta finish a project that’s due in a couple of hours.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I took Cathy’s package to the Post Office and weighed it, and the postal meter said it would cost $.74 cents. I stuck two stamps on it and tossed it in the outgoing mailbox!

After that, things were calm until…I found out what she said to Sarah when they went grocery shopping…

STAY tuned, boys and girls, if you wanna hear about the INSULTS she levied against me and Charlie (you know, the husband)…

Over and out from the fires of GERIATRIC HELL…

TenaciousBITCH and company…

* Cathy’s backstory and her conniving aplenty are mentioned in http://tenaciousbitch.com/2012/07/11/the-attempted-con-of-ms-cranky-pants/

**Sarah is my mother-in-law who takes care of Nana when I’m out of town.

*** Ben is my older brother who lives in California, who has helped out a lot since Nana moved in with us.

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Post #68 – The attempted CON of Ms. Cranky Pants…

Posted in Family, memoir, nonfiction, relationships, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2012 by tenaciousbitch

As most of you know, my 95-year-old Grandmother/ aka Ms. Cranky Pants (aka Nana Maude), moved in with me, my husband, Charlie, and my son, Max, 18 very LONG months ago. For the 411 on Nana, go to Post #1 – https://tenaciousbitch.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/as-my-mother-lay-dying/ regarding her migration from Georgia to living with us (in Ohio) after my brother, Danny, fleeced her for approximately $50K.

Otherwise…read on. This week Charlie and I are on vacation…i.e. the photo below of my feet and I soaking up some sunny respite yesterday…

The joy of lounging at our timeshare in Vegas…or are we at the resort in Aruba? Sorry, Merlot-muddled brain isn’t functioning at top capacity… :)..have to ask the husband later…

A couple of weeks prior to our joyous departure, Nana asked me to withdraw some money from her bank account EVERY single time I left the house. First, to buy a few lottery tickets, so I retrieved $20, but she only bought $10 worth.

And the 2nd time, she said, “I want some money to go shopping at the cheap store. Forty dollars, I guess.”

The “cheap store” refers to our favorite thrift store, about a mile from my house. “But they take debit cards,” I reminded her, hoping to save myself another trip to the ATM. I already had a pretty full slate that day, i.e.:  mailing a manuscript back to a client, returning a book to the library, getting a prescription for Nana, and buying a long list of groceries.

“I know, but…” she said, followed by a pregnant pause, as if she were struggling for words. “Cash is just easier.”

I sighed in annoyance. Even though she does have arthritis, Nana has NO TROUBLE whipping out her bank card at Kmart or Walmart.  Why the hell is it suddenly so difficult to pay via debit card at the Thrift Store?

I did as she asked, so she’d quit bugging me, and, big surprise! She bought NOTHING at the “cheap store” during our next visit.

As I was leaving for a doctor’s appointment a few days later…she asked:

“Would you get $20 out for me-?”

“Nana, you’ve got $50. Why do you need more than that?” I asked, once again feeling my blood pressure rising to crimson levels in my face.  I really didn’t want to make another stop since going to the doctor was going to consume half my day as it was, nor did I get this sudden need for greenbacks!

“I wanna take Sarah to lunch at Bob Evans.,” Nana answered.

Sarah is my saint of a mother-in-law who always takes care of Nana in my absence.

“You could buy lunch there for you, Sarah and half the neighborhood for $50. Use your debit card.”

She just looked at me, her eyebrows furrowed. “But I wanna go to the Cheap Store too, while Sarah’s here.”

I groaned. Too fatigued to squabble anymore, I groaned and said, “Okay.”

Her guilt must’ve sprung a leak because she said, “Well, if you have time. I know it’s a long drive to the doctor’s office.”

YES, you demanding old bat, it’s a 50-minute drive round-trip that I have to make because of YOU. I had a huge patch of psoriasis festering on my shin from Nana-induced stress, hence the trip to the dermatologist…

However, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe she wanted to do some Christmas shopping while I was gone. Last year, she complained about having trouble buying anything for me because I always took her shopping, so she gave me a check for $50, which is FINE by me. I’d prefer she save her money for emergencies like long-term medical care, but I wasn’t going to bring that up NOW.

You’d THINK after obtaining $30 more, that’d be the end of Nana’s cash obsession, but you’d be SO wrong. The next day, I didn’t wanna deal with the nightmare of cooking her midday cuisine*, so I decided to go get KFC for her. After I hollered good-bye, Nana called out, “Don’t forget to get some cash out for me. I wanna take Sara to Bob Evans.”

For fuck’s sake? SERIOUSLY? “Nana, you’ve got $80 already.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Yes, you do,” I snapped. My temper was definitely ready to detonate. Aside from packing, I had a lot of cleaning and such before vacation. Arguing with Ms. Cranky Pants was NOT on my list of action items (and if you don’t know what “action items” are, for Chrissakes, go watch FIGHT CLUB already :)).

I marched into Nana’s room, snatched her purse and handed it to her. “See for yourself.”

She opened up her wallet, which contained ONLY $20. YES TWENTY DOLLARS!

“Nana, where’s rest of that money?” I inquired, somewhat panicked.

“What money?” She asked, flat-eyed, and seemingly unconcerned.

“You had EIGHTY dollars yesterday. Remember? I went to the ATM after I saw Dr. Spender. What’d you do with it?”

“Oh, that’s right. I forgot. I don’t know . It’s in a drawer in there somewhere,” she replied with a shrug.

I trotted back into her room, rifled through every drawer and the closet, to no avail. Nothing under the bed and in her hamper either.

“Well, don’t worry about it. I’ll find it later,” she replied, smiling, as if losing $60 was no big deal.

WTF? Last Christmas, she misplaced a $50 gift from her friend, Margaret. She kept saying she’d given me the check to cash for her, but I knew she hadn’t because I couldn’t have cashed it since my name wasn’t on it, which I explained NUMEROUS times.

She fretted about that check for weeks. She finally found it buried in her dresser somewhere in March. But THIS TIME she’d misplaced $60, and she wasn’t upset, AT ALL.

Her attitude completely invalidated my Christmas shopping theory. I assumed that Nana had finally succumbed to the treacherous wasteland of Alzheimer’s, or there was a rat squirming around that ancient brain of hers…

Turns out, it’s the latter. She told Sarah yesterday that she didn’t lose that $60. No, no, no Nana’s been HOARDING money to give to Cousin Cathy, who lives in West Virginia.

Cathy is my 2nd or 3rd cousin, whom I’ve only met once. She doesn’t work, and she milks some mysterious and seemingly nonexistent medical issues as a means to convince everyone, including her shrink, that she can’t work.

However, when I’ve asked about Cathy’s health, her answer is always the same, “Oh, I’ve got all kinds of things wrong with me.”

She’s NEVER more specific than that. The only medical maladies she’s actually talked about is being constipated or having insomnia. And last I checked, neither of those prevent full-time or part-time employment.

Additionally, during a brief period of sobriety, when my brother Danny, lived with Nana, he mentioned Nana giving Cathy a lot of money, including $600 for dental bills, then another $400 while I just happened to be visiting in March of 2010 also supposedly for dental work.

When Cathy called the day before I left Nana’s, I asked, “Are you feeling okay? Nana said you’d been to the dentist?”

“Yeah, I, uh, had a filling replaced.”

EXCUSE ME? “Why would that cost $400?”

“Oh, and I fell on the ice a few weeks ago too and broke a tooth.”

“Good Lord, Cathy, I’d change dentists.That’s way too much for that-”

“Well, um, that’s what he charged.” And it was quite obvious by her tone that she was LYING.

“If your co-pay was over $1000, why bother with dental insurance, which Nana said you have, right?”

“Um, well, can I talk to Maude? I don’t have much time before church.”

But she told Nana she doesn’t go to church, that she hasn’t found a minister that she really likes…

Aside from that, Cathy and her husband, Bobby, are always on the verge of starvation though Bobby has a decent job repairing bulldozers and such for a construction company.

However, one day last fall Cathy told Nana about having only $200 for groceries for an entire month. A week later, a round of violent thunderstorms took out electric service for 50,000 homes, including theirs. Too dumb to put their food in coolers or merely move a lot of it into the freezer, covered in ice, they allegedly lost everything after 36 hours. We lost power for two days once and only lost a couple frozen pizzas…After a lengthy call to Cathy after these storms last October, Nana said, “Oh, my God, I’m so worried about Cathy, I don’t know what to do.”

“Why is that, Nana?”

“She hasn’t eaten in two weeks. I have to send her some money.”

I almost laughed. “No, you don’t. She told you last week she’d spent $200 at Kroger, so she just voluntarily stopped eating PRIOR to the power outage? And if she hadn’t eaten in two weeks, she’d be dead or in the hospital.”

“Well, I don’t know about the dates, but they lost everything.”

“Nana, she just wants you to send her some money.”

“She’s never asked me for any money.”

“Yet, you sent her more than $2,000 last year.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“I went through all your bank statements, remember? So, I could figure out how much Danny had stolen from you. I added up the checks to Cathy. I’ll be glad to show you-”

“Well, that may be, but they’re always hard up. Bobby doesn’t make that much money, and they don’t have a thing to eat until he gets paid next week.”

“And that’s their problem that would be solved if Cathy would get a job.”

“Oh, she can’t work.” And Nana says this with SUCH conviction!

“If she can spend for two hours making you peanut butter fudge like that batch she sent last month, and vacuum and mop and all that, cleaning her house top-to bottom like she’s always telling you. Then, she can work as a nurse again, or SOMETHING.”

“Well, I don’t know about that. I don’t know what her doctors have told her.”

“It’s all bullshit, Nana. She just doesn’t wanna work. And you cannot afford to give ANYONE any money. Your Social Security check is only $875 a month, which barely covers your expenses, not to mention all those bills Danny never paid when he was managing your finances, like that $300 phone bill.”

Nana stopped asking to send Cathy money until my mother-in-law assumed the helm. Nana thought she could covertly send Cathy some cash for more food allegedly spoiled during a power outage from the thunderstorms 2-3 weeks ago in Ohio and West Virginia.

But Sarah is privy to the scourge of Cathy’s half truths and imaginary hardships. And Nana actually told Sarah that poor Cousin Cathy hadn’t eaten in MONTHS!  GOOD GOD almighty! I can’t believe that my Grandmother who was the Credit Manager for a HOSPITAL in the 80s – is actually believing this load of CA CA.

Thankfully, Nana doesn’t have any stamps, and there’s no way Sarah will mail anything to Cathy.  Nana will likely assume Cathy’s windfall was lost in the mail…

Does it make me EVIL to smile about the END of the cons, both Nana’s and Cathy’s? 🙂 At least for now.

Charlie said it best. “Your Grandmother didn’t learn a thing from her experience with Danny.”

SO, THERE YOU HAVE IT! Not only did Ms. Cranky pants lie about the allegedly lost $60, but she also lied about the need for cash.

I might bad mouth the old curmudgeon, but I ALWAYS pay her bills. I don’t con her into giving me money, and she eats like a Queen, no matter how much she HATES our healthy food with our brown rice and broiled fish and the occasional meal of STEAK and POTATOES… 🙂

TA for now!

Tenacious BITCH and…………………….                                                         her band of soothsaying bullshit QUASHERS!

* To read all about how delightful it is to cook for Nana, see post #66, BALONEY PORN or is it Bologna Porn, or Post #18 – The Oatmeal Incident… 🙂

Post No. 60 My Confession…

Posted in memoir, nonfiction, relationships, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 11, 2012 by tenaciousbitch

I’m ashamed to write about this after all my blustering about infidelity, but now that my husband knows, I’ve decided to come clean. I’m a philanderer. I’ve been carousing with a long-haired lover. It wasn’t planned. It just happened. Yeah, I know, so cliche, practically stolen from an episode of Desperate Housewives.

Go ahead. Say it. I’m worse than a hypocrite, maybe, worse than STERLING* though I never lied to anyone about my situation.

It all started so innocently because she was homeless and rather gaunt from not eating properly. The thought of her going hungry just gnashed at my conscience. So, I started giving her leftovers and such, for which she was very grateful-even buying certain things at the store specifically for her, which my husband didn’t notice, of course.

And, well, one thing led to another. Then, she’d disappear for a few days, and I’d think she was gone from my life forever or dead in a ditch when she’d suddenly emerge from the shadows once again.

Yes, I apologize to all the women for getting their men all in a dither since I’ve been carrying on with another girl. But I just couldn’t help myself. She’s so beautiful. And when you’ve been married for nigh on 15 years, things just occur that you don’t expect.

Plus, the heart wants what the heart wants. We really have NO control over that life-giving and life-crushing organ and mysterious harbor of our emotions, do we?

I think not.

I was trying to save a life, basically. I made several phone calls in the hope of finding alternative accommodations for her since she doesn’t have a cell phone with no luck…so, believe it or not, she’s now living with us. I know. It’s ludicrous, but so far…things are actually going better than expected.  Anyway, without further adieu, below is a photo of my new love…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Almost…

Here she is…

Yes, I’ve been speaking about a cat, whose name is Sasha, and there is, indeed, a story behind my bait and switch. How is it, you ask, could I characterize time spent fawning over and feeding a stray kitten possibly be considered cheating?

Because my husband HATES cats, and he only speaks of them as if he were going to fricassee them in time for dinner. Okay, NOT really, but he does make ugly jokes, on occasion. For example, one night after dinner when Sasha decided to drink from a pot full of tomato-soaked water that had contained a red meat sauce from my husband’s awesome baked ravioli – thereby dousing her lovely white fur in the orange remnants of the sauce (i.e. the photo below)…my husband suggested that I toss Sasha

The marinara soaked face...into the toilet, shut the lid and flush in order to wash her little face…which, of course, I didn’t find the least bit amusing.

I, however, used to have SIX cats when I owned a farmhouse in WV back in the day before becoming MRS. CHARLIE. And sadly, tying the knot meant chucking the cats into the cold, cold world of someone else’s house… :) And funny thing, back in ’96…all I did was call the local Animal Shelter in WV, and a hot-looking guy who looked more like a fashion model than a civil servant (sorry…I digress, but memory is an unforgiving hottie-clutcher)…who came out to my house and gingerly carried my six furry babies off to the shelter, no problem.

However, when Sasha and her pitiful cries landed on my doorstep, I couldn’t find ONE shelter who was accepting cats except one who couldn’t promise she wouldn’t be euthanized if she wasn’t adopted within a couple of weeks.

Charlie, however, scolded me when he caught me sitting cross-legged on the porch while Sasha was devouring bits of fried chicken

“You’re not FEEDING that cat, are you?” he snapped.

So, of course, I said, “Well, if you won’t let me keep her, at least let me feed her. I can’t stand to see an animal starve to death.”

And what could he say to that?

Additionally, Charlie opposed my keeping said Sasha because our finances are a mess. After my Grandmother moved in with us 15 months ago, our electric has been $200/more a month from the space heaters she runs 24-7, not to mention the inflated water bill. Plus, the extra groceries, and I can only work 5-10 hours/week with all the demands of taking care of Nana***.

Therefore, the cost of feeding our two dogs AND another animal and the thought of more cash for veterinary bills were cause for concern. But I found a rescue Vet who charges 1/3 of our regular vet, so now ALL the animals are going to see him.

Aside from all that, he was worried about Sasha getting along with our dogs, but as you can see by the photo below, Raven, our black lab, pays Sasha no heed, and Bart, our Shepherd/Chow mix pretty much ignores her.

Strange bedfellows, and they lay like that almost every day for HOURS…

All worries of inter-species CONFLICTS aside, after my husband, Charlie, saw Sasha sleeping on my lap during our yard sale…he realized how much this little furball meant to me, and he caved…:)

Additionally, NANA adores her as well, and I think Sasha makes her feel less lonely since the cat often naps on Nana’s lap…and, I thought Nana would worry herself into the hospital when I opened the door to sign for a package, and Sasha dashed past me  –  chasing my competition, a gray-haired cat whose lost his tail, poor thing. He’d been circling the porch railing and yowling demurely until she went sprinting past me.

But, Thank God, at 3:30 the next afternoon, I went out to check the mail, and here comes Sasha loping toward me with those big innocent eyes as if she were just stopping by for tea and hadn’t been missing and presumed dead for almost a day, little BRAT. We live three blocks from a very busy 4-lane, the main drag of our suburb, in fact, which is bumper-to-bumper traffic from 3:00 pm on…and I feared she’d become roadkill…

But she was fine save for a tail full of what looked like foam from a couch cushion.  I scooped her up and gave her tuna. I know. I’m such a schmuck…should’ve given her un-brand cat food or week-old bacon for running off…(DON’T TELL PETA…that was a JOKE…). Either way, she’s now sleeping peacefully on my feet, yawning intermittently without a care in the world…

Ta for now…have a great weekend ALL…cat lovers and all you other people too… :)…and enjoy the other photos of Sasha in my photo gallery…ENJOY!

Over and out from misfit central…

TenaciousBITCH/KS

Post #52 – The RED ROOF incident…

Posted in Family, family battles, memoir, nonfiction, relationships, true crime, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2012 by tenaciousbitch

In the fall of 2005, way before Danny pilfered* ALL Nana’s cash, he left his wife, Belinda, and moved back home to West Virginia with Mom, Dad and Nana. But Nana wouldn’t allow him to stay with them at her house in Georgia, thank God.

Then, a year after Mom died, in the spring of 2008, Nana called me all upset because none of their mail was being forwarded to WV. And her friend, Margaret, told her that her mailbox in Georgia was always empty. Initially, Nana and Dad thought their bills had been getting lost from going back and forth between WV and Georgia. And the Post Office was no help.

It really stressed Nana out worrying about her utilities being shut off since neither of them knew how to pay their bills online on Mom’s computer. Dad had always HATED computers.

Then, about two months later, Nana told me, “Danny literally RUNS out to the mailbox every day, and he says there’s nothing but junk mail and mail for him,”. Hearing that, I knew the Post Office had nothing to do with the missing mail.

“Why would he take the electric bill, Kennedy? That doesn’t make any sense,” Dad said on the phone a couple days later.

“Maybe, he’s taking ALL the mail to make you think your mail isn’t being forwarded, but what he’s really after are the credit card bills.”

“I paid off all my credit cards except for Penney’s, and I just pay them at the store when I take your Grandmother to the mall. And if he’s run up a bunch of charges, no one’s called about any delinquent payments.”

“That you know of. What if he opened new accounts in your name and gave his cell phone number?”

“I hadn’t thought of that.”

“And you know Danny, as long as you don’t know about it, he’ll keep on until all your cards are maxed out. You need to cancel all your credit cards.”

“Yeah, I guess, I should.” But it was too late – as evidenced by the mysterious BOX…

“When your Dad and I got back from Georgia, I noticed a HUGE cardboard box from a widescreen TV on the back porch. Danny said JACK  had bought a new TV, and the garbage men wouldn’t take the box because it wouldn’t fit in his trashcan, so he brought it over to your Dad’s house to throw away. But I think he bought a TV on your dad’s Visa and sold it to buy dope,” Nana surmised on the phone one night, and I assumed the same thing.

Interestingly, Jack**, a longtime friend of Danny’s, lives about a mile from Dad’s on Route 1. Therefore, the same garbage truck that picks up Dad’s trash also services Route 1. Said factoid places Danny’s explanation in the very lame category.

However, it was worse than Nana and I suspected. Long about the beginning of October, Danny started working during the day as Christmas help at Radio Shack at the mall. A couple weeks later, Dad called me –  absolutely livid.

“Finally got my credit card bills. And Danny bought, not ONE, but THREE TVs on my credit card! They were over $1500 each, and now the total bill is over $6,000. My limit is only $3000. God knows what else he bought. And I’ve got all kinds of over-the-limit fees and late fees because the bill hasn’t been paid in months. The minimum payment is $380!”

“Dad, I’ll be glad to lend you some money-”

“No, I can make the payment. I was hoping you could get a credit report for me, so I can figure out exactly how much I owe to whom. I can’t have one mailed because Danny quit that job at the mall, so he’s home during the day now.”

“Why?”

“Who knows. He got into it with the manager over something. Point is, he’s snatching the mail again, and he’ll just take my report if it’s mailed to me. But I’ve seen that ad on TV about how you can check your credit online? Can you do that?”

“Sure, Dad, I’ll get a report for you, and I’ll bring it with me when I come home Thanksgiving weekend.”

Assuming Danny was, most likely, living on beer and crack and knowing he’d be FURIOUS when he found out I’d gotten the goods on him, I decided to stay at the Red Roof Inn.  I hated telling Dad I didn’t feel comfortable staying in the very house where I grew up.

“I understand, Kennedy. It’s okay,” Dad said when I called him from the road. “It’ll be good to see you anyway, and you’re still driving my car down to Georgia, right?”

“Of course, I will. I don’t want you and Nana to make that long trip, but Dad, you need to press charges against Danny-”

“I can’t do that to my own son.”

“Yes, you can,” I said angrily, wishing I could drop kick Danny straight into county myself. “Just because he’s your son doesn’t mean he’s immune to the law, and, maybe, some time in jail would straighten him out,” I replied.

But no matter what I said, Dad wouldn’t file charges against Danny.

I arrived around noon the day after Thanksgiving, and Dad and Nana were both very happy to see me. We had a nice visit while Danny was passed out in the basement. But in my haste to leave Ohio, I’d forgotten to bring Dad’s credit report.

“That’s okay,” Dad said, but I felt REALLY shitty about it.

I promised to read it to him over the phone when I got home. And that evening, I went out with some friends and my cousin, Shauna***, who were also in town for the holiday.  We were having a great time until we walked out of Davis’s Tavern around midnight, and Shauna glanced across the street and said, “Hey, isn’t that Danny’s car over there?”

I looked over, and sure enough, there was Danny, parked at the closed dry cleaners, watching me. “Quit following me, asshole, or I’ll call the cops!” I hollered.

Five seconds later, he whipped out of the parking lot in his beat-up Chevy Malibu, gave me a contemptuous SCOWL and flipped me off.

“Fuck you, dickhead!”  I screamed after him, watching him disappear around the next corner in a squeal of brakes.

“You want me to follow you?” Shauna asked.

“No, Danny is ALL talk.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’ll be fine.” And off I went. While sitting at the stoplight at Baskin Robbins on 16th Street waiting to turn onto I-64, I looked in my rearview mirror, and I saw Danny AGAIN right behind me.

I tried to tell myself that he was just driving home and just happened to end up directly behind my car- especially when I turned onto I-64 and he drove straight onto Washington Blvd., past Meadows Elementary.

However, when I arrived at the Red Roof Inn, someone called out behind me, “Hey, bitch!”

I was two steps away from the office at the motel when I turned around and spotted Danny in the Malibu, his eyes smoldering like a black panther, lying in wait.

“What the fuck’re you doing here?”

“You don’t know what the hell you’re doing,” he said in a voice that was bubbling with anger.

“What’re you talking about?”

“You know what I mean. All that bullshit you told Dad about me using his credit cards. That’s a load of horseshit, and you KNOW it.  I’ve been paying on Dad’s credit cards, you stupid bitch! He’s been really hard up since Mom died. Why do you think I’m working TWO jobs?”

“Really? I heard you were down to one.”

“You need to stop running your fucking mouth, or you’ll be sorry, cuz you don’t know what’s REALLY going on!”

“Is that right? Well, we’ll see about that after Dad reads the credit report I ran for him,” I said bitterly.

Danny’s face tightened in fear, an obvious sign he knew he’d finally screwed himself, and this time – there was no way out…I couldn’t help but enjoy watching Danny turn so pale, he could easily have given Casper a run for his money in the SPOOKY department.

“And good luck finding out WHERE I sent it, you know, to which one of Dad’s FRIENDS since he knows he can’t send it to the house.”

“I have NOT been stealing his mail!”

“Funny, I didn’t say ANYTHING about stealing the mail. What gave you that idea, Danny?”

“You fucking bitch! You better watch your goddamned step if you wanna live to see your next birthday!”

“Whatever,” I said, flatly, knowing I had Danny by the short hairs.

“I’m gonna kill you, you fucking cunt!”

I fielded that nasty moniker with a flat-eyed glare and turned away. He kept screaming insults, but I didn’t bother to listen at that point. Even still, the altercation with Danny made me go a little noodle-kneed, and I hung onto the door handle of the Red Roof Inn’s office door a little too tightly for a second.

“Hi, I’m Kennedy Smith, and I have a little problem,” I said, half dragging myself into the office.

My red suitcase trailing behind me, I shuffled into the lobby of the Red Roof Inn and slumped over to the counter where the manager, an overweight but pleasant-looking woman in her 50s, stood smiling. “Can I help you?”

“Yes, you can,” I said, “That man in the Chevy who just drove off?” I asked gesturing to the direction where Danny’s car had been.

The manager nodded.

“That’s my brother, and he threatened to kill me just now,” I said, noticing her name tag, which read: Glady’s Akins.

“Oh, dear,” Gladys said, picking up the phone, “Should I call the police?”

“There’s really not enough to charge him with anything, but, maybe, I’ll call them after I get settled.” I briefly explained that Danny is/was a crazy drug addict, and…

Gladys nodded. A few minutes later, Gladys, and her son, Jeff, who worked maintenance, both walked me to my room on the second floor.  Jeff set my bag inside the door and refused to take my $5-dollar bill.

“No tip is required for damsels in distress,” Jeff said, smiling. “Now, you let us know if you need anything or if your brother shows up again.”

“Thanks,” I replied. “I really appreciate it.”  After they left, I moved the dresser in front of the door, slipped into my pajamas and collapsed onto the bed.

At 4:12 a.m, I was awakened by what sounded like gunfire. I bolted upright, reaching for the phone when I realized the loud THUMPS were from someone banging on the door.

“Open this goddamned door, Kennedy, I know you’re in there!” Danny yelled in a slurry voice while hammering on my door with his fists.

And THUS, it began anew…

….to be continued…

STAY TUNED, ladies and gentleman…the conclusion will arrive here, same time, same channel…NEXT WEEK… 🙂

TenaciousB/KS

*For more info about my brother, Danny, taking all of Nana’s money, check out the first post, As My Mother Lay Dying through post #25 or so.

** For more info on Jack, check out Post #29 – The PRICK, the Proctologist and PIGIN English…..and Post #41 Run, Jack, Run…

*** For the 411 on Shauna, check out the infamous post:  #30 An Ode To Barboursville.

Blog 32 – The moment of truth…

Posted in Family, family battles, siblings, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2011 by tenaciousbitch

After mine and Danny’s brief sojourn at the Barboursville Police Department, Officer Jones drove us home in his cruiser. And Shauna drove the Monte Carlo back to my house, and THEN…

Mom stood in the doorway talking to Jones for at least TEN minutes, chatting him up like she was interviewing him for a job.

“And how long have been a policemen, Officer Jones?”

WTF?

Finally, I cleared my throat. Mom glanced my way, and I tapped my watch and nodded toward Shauna and Prissy in Jones’s backseat. And THAT, prompted Mom to look at the clock in the dining room, which read 11:42 PM. “Oh, well, I won’t keep you. Nice meeting you, Officer Jones. Thanks for bringing them home.”

Nice meeting you? It wasn’t a Saturday night cotillion, MOTHER!

With a quizzical curl of his eyebrows, Officer Jones disappeared into the night.

Mom then turned to me with the flattened eyes of a very angry woman and said, “Your father is waiting for you…in our bedroom.”

That was NEVER a very good sign. Dad always lectured and/or punished us in their bedroom, not sure why exactly. I guess he didn’t wanna sit in his easy chair in the den and dole out a raging Catholic liturgy about our latest transgressions because he might become too distracted by the TV…or something….I don’t know.

The bedroom door was open. Dad stood by his dresser in his boxers and undershirt. He gestured for me to come in. I sat down on the bed trying to suppress the awkwardness of listening to THE TALK with Dad in his skivvies. He took another drag off his Pall Mall and flicked a few ashes into a plastic ashtray on the dresser. I took a deep breath hoping I was NOT going to LIVE in a convent…and waited…and waited.

He stared at the wall, his arms folded across his chest for at least TWO MINUTES. Another inhalation of Pall Mall joy…more ash flicking, and I wanted to scream, “OKAY, DAD, JUST get out the DAMNED belt already!

FINALLY, after another 90 seconds of AGONIZING silence, I said, “I’m sorry I got arrested, Dad. I really am.”

He nodded. “I know you are,” he replied, with that sharp-eyed gaze of one who truly MIGHT wail on my behind with his favorite leather strap, rendering me unable to sit down for a week (a constant threat from my mother that she never ONCE practiced). And then, he stared at the ceiling for an hour, or maybe, only another minute. Meanwhile, my pulse beat the hell out of my wrist, and my breath clamored against my chest like a hurricane on steroids.

“Dad?”

He put his cigarette out very methodically, and I seriously think he was so DEEP in the cavernous well of his own thoughts, he didn’t even hear me because he didn’t answer. And Dad doesn’t do the SILENT treatment, per se. His silence was marked by heavy ponderings. He lit ANOTHER cigarette. YEA, now he’s chain-smoking, and it’s ALL MY FAULT.

Suddenly, my brain began to drum away: Was I losing my driving privileges until I’m 25? Would I have to make the dreaded trek to Father Tierney’s confessional and listen to him blather on about the villainy of breaking the law, hence, breaking God’s laws? Will I be confined to my room until I’m 21? What, Dad, WHAT’RE YOU GOING TO DO TO ME?

FINALLY, HE SPOKE, “There’s just one thing I don’t understand.”

“Okay…” I stuttered, “What’s that?”

“Why the hell did you buy that rock n roll beer, was it?”

“Rolling Rock.”

“When I’ve got almost a case of Stroh’s in the fridge?” And he pointed toward the kitchen for emphasis. “I know you’ve taken as many as four beers on a given Saturday night, or has it been, Danny?”

OMG!  He knew? I thought he just wasn’t paying attention to how much beer he had because he’d never said anything before now.

“So, ­why Kennedy? I don’t understand.”

I wasn’t sure how to answer. “Well, Dad, I…I don’t . I kinda…I don’t really like Stroh’s. I think it tastes like stale peanuts.”

Dad laughed so hard, he started coughing, and cigarette ashes fluttered out of his ashtray and landed all over his dresser. “Is that right?”

I nodded as Dad took out his handkerchief and began sweeping the ashes back into the ashtray with his very clean white hanky.

“So, it was Danny, then?”

I shrugged, knowing it was Danny, but I wasn’t going to rat on him. And at this juncture, Danny wouldn’t have ratted on me either.  “I’m not gonna lie, Dad, I have stolen a beer from the fridge after you’ve gone to bed, occasionally, but for the last year, I’ve been buying it myself.”

“I see. Well, from now on until you turn 18, don’t buy it, okay? I don’t want you getting arrested again, and if it’s the Huntington cops, you might actually have to spend the night in jail because of your prior arrest.”

I nodded, and he continued. “If you don’t have a friend with you who’s 18, I’ll buy you a six pack on Fridays at Henry’s when I buy my beer, but that’s all you get, understand?”

Henry’s Market is a little Mom n Pop convenience store about a mile from our house where Dad had been buying beer since I was in diapers.

“Yes, sir. Thank you.”

“And you have to drink it here unless someone else is driving who WON’T be drinking, okay?”

I nodded. “Thanks, Dad.”

“Goodnight, sweetie,” he said. I gave him a hug and went on to bed.

I couldn’t believe my luck. I thought my arrest would garner a much WORSE reprimand from my Dad, but he was a practical man. He knew that I was still going to drink beer like he did when he was 17. And this was HIS way of protecting his child from the consequences of what he considered more a rite of passage that just happened to be illegal.

That said, SO ENDS the ODE TO BARBOURSVILLE, BUT STAYED tuned for the aftermath.

PEACE OUT FROM FUCKED UP CENTRAL… 🙂

~Tenacious Bitch and Company

BLOG #29 – The PRICK, the proctologist and PIGIN English…

Posted in Family, family battles, grandmothers, heroin, siblings, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2011 by tenaciousbitch

HELLO ALL….so here’s the latest on life in CRACKLAND….

My cell woke me up at around 9:30 a couple of nights ago. No LAUGHING….yes, I was asleep at 9:30 p.m. on a Wednesday. SHUT UP…remember, Nana Maude is NOT an old fart for the weak of heart, i.e., being her HAMSTER on a neverending wheel is very taxing. When Danny was Nana’s caretaker, he usually didn’t make it much past 7:30, which I CAN VERIFY having visited them while he was the chief cook and bottle washer for Nana….Anyway, it was Jack, who woke me from my slumber. And he had an interesting report. shall we say, about Danny.

Apparently, Danny called HIM (Jack) three times that morning. He woke HIM up at 5:22 a.m., 5:28 a.m. and finally at 5:33 a.m. before Jack finally answered the phone. Can you say…TWEAKER….been up all night slurping COCAINE?  And, according to Jack, the conversation went something like this:

Jack began the conversation with, “Hey, dude, how’s it goin’?

DANNY: Pretty shitty, man. I’m piss fucking broke.

JACK: Sorry to hear that. No luck finding a job-?

DANNY: Look, Jack, I…uh, need to…could I borrow $100?

JACK: I don’t have $100. With this damned heat, my electric bill was $280, which I just paid as well as the payment to the mortgage slumlord, and Laura asked for her fucking child support early AGAIN.

DANNY: Fucking bitch. Why don’t you just say no and give it to her next-?

JACK: Look, um, Danny, I’ve gotta get ready for work, so –

DANNY: You still have that Visa, the one through Bank of America?

JACK: Yeah, why?

DANNY: You know your pin?

JACK: No. Why?

DANNY: You know, you can call them to get your pin or apply to get one.

JACK: No, I’m NOT calling them.

DANNY: Why, is it maxed out?

JACK: No, but I’m not-

DANNY: Look, asshole, you owe me! If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t even HAVE that Visa!

JACK: What the fuck’re you talking about?

DANNY: I got you that Visa, remember? When you were in the hospital?

JACK: Danny, all you did was fill out the online app for me because I couldn’t use a computer for a month after breaking my arm. Plus, my neck hurt so fucking much I couldn’t concentrate – especially with the pain pills. And my bills-

DANNY: And you couldn’t work for a month, and Laura was threatening to put your ass in jail the minute you got out of the hospital cuz you were behind on your child support already when you totaled your Jeep, and –

JACK: So? It’s still my fucking card, Danny, not yours. I pay the goddamned bill. When was the last time YOU paid your own fucking bills, Danny, like 87? And why don’t you just get a job instead of calling-?

DANNY: I don’t have any transportation, remember? My sister stole my fucking car!

(At this point, Jack said he had to cover his mouth to keep from laughing since he KNOWS the whole story about selling the BMW – see posts #10-15).

JACK:  What? They don’t have buses in Wilmington?

DANNY: No, I’m in Myrtle Beach. Nate moved outta Wilmington a couple years ago. We’re like three blocks from the beach.

JACK:  There were a shit ton of restaurants right on the beach, Danny, when I visited you and Belinda 4/5 years ago. With your work history, why can’t you get a job at Denny’s or somewhere?

DANNY: I’m nowhere near Denny’s. And like I said, I DON’T HAVE A CAR!

JACK:  (laughs) So? You’re telling me there’s no McDonald’s nearby or a –

DANNY: (SCREAMING) I’m not working at a fucking McDonald’s, Jack!

JACK: Oh, I see. You’re too good to work at McDonald’s, but you’re not too good to beg your friends for money.

DANNY: I’m not asking for that much, Jack! Not considering what YOU make a year!

JACK: Yeah, what I MAKE, what I EARN getting up every day and going to WORK, something you seem to be allergic to –

DANNY: LOOK, you fucking prick-

JACK: So, tell me, Danny, you got any pots and pans?

DANNY: What the hell -? Yeah? Why?

JACK:  I’ve heard panhandlers can make $200 to $300/day, sometimes more. And I’ve heard the best place is at the corner DESPERATE and DUMBASS LANE –

DANNY: Fuck you, you piece of shit!  Where do you get off talking to me like that after all I’ve done for you!

JACK: Really? And what exactly have you done besides spending 10 minutes on a credit card application? What noble deeds have you done, Danny?? Have you lent me money?

DANNY: ….(pause)….No, but I –

JACK: And you haven’t exactly paid me back for that $1400 I gave you to pay the lawyer when you and Belinda split up-

DANNY: But I will! And you know it!

JACK: Uh, huh, yeah, whatever. Did you sell me a stolen TV ?

DANNY: What? That TV wasn’t stolen (see Blog 23)! I bought it with Dad’s Sears card -!

JACK: Really? What happened to that GUY you bought it from who was going through a divorce and needed to sell it dirt cheap? You pay HIM with a Sears card?

(See told ya, there’s always A GUY…. see blog 27)…

DANNY: Fuck you, you fucking prick! I, uh… My dad died remember, dumb ass?

JACK: Making that Sears payment, are ya?

DANNY: What the fuck, JACK. He’s DEAD, and I don’t have enough fucking money to buy a cup of coffee much less pay Sears! And why would I-

JACK: So, if the TV hasn’t been paid for, how EXACTLY is that NOT stealing?

DANNY: That’s BULLSHIT, and that doesn’t change the fact that you’re refusing to help ME, your best friend, you no-good mother-fucker!

JACK: Yeah, you’re right. I’M the fucking asshole, the worst fucking person on the planet, the tight-fisted son of a bitch who won’t give you a fucking dime. Feel free to remember that the next time you think about calling ME asking for money.

DANNY: What?

CLICK

YES, Jack hung up on his BEST friend, Danny….and he was giggling like a school girl when the connection was SEVERED.

“Oh, my God,” I said laughing after Jack ENLIGHTENED me as to the substance/minute- by-minute description of his conversation with Danny. “That’s great. I can’t believe you said that!”

“Why?”

“I get so mad at him, I can’t think of anything that clever.”

“What? You mean to tell me that MOI, that yours truly thinks faster on his size 13 feet than the EDITOR/former professor? I’m honored, Dr. Smith.”

A large exhalation of laughter from me. “Please don’t call me Dr. Smith. That was the name of my dad’s proctologist.”

A LOUD belt of LAUGHTER from Jack, and then, he said, “Are you serious? Your dad, Mr. Jonathan Smith, went to a proctologist named Dr. Smith?”

“Yeah, I know right? And, no, the guy wasn’t a relative.”

“Still, too fucking weird,” Jack said. Then, his tone darkened, “Oh, shit.”

“What?”

“Yet ANOTHER text from Danny.”

“Are you serious?” I asked.

“Yeah, listen to this (reading Danny’s text): You a dead man, Jack, dont step near myrtle – (and he spelled it mrtle) beach cuz yo won cross you come hom in body bad….

“Jesus, H,” I chuckled, “he’s starting to sound like he’s writing Pidgin English, like your average Asian or something. And he’s not even making up original threats. He’s recycling them.”

Jack coughed up a half-smothered laugh on that one. “Oh, yeah, forgot about YOUR death threats. You sound pretty good for a corpse.”

“Thanks, though I don’t doubt that IF Danny could get to Ohio, he would, and he’d gladly beat the shit out of me, but since the government isn’t giving out free cars or anything, I’m not really worried about him showing up on my doorstep, brass knuckles in-hand. I just have to pray he doesn’t win the lottery.”

“Don’t give me new nightmares, there, Kennedy.”

“I think Danny’s the one trying to pull a Freddie Kruger.”

“True. And get this, after getting like TWELVE texts from him that morning, I finally called him back, and Nate answered. And he actually told me to fuck off. What’s up with that? Nate and I were never best friends, but -”

“Ya gotta remember how Danny is. Who knows what the FUCK he said about you to Nate. For all you know, Danny told Nate that Bank of America credit card is in HIS name, as in – in Danny’s name, and you’ve maxed it out, and that’s WHY he can’t use that card or God knows what.”

“Yeah, it’s not like Nate would ask to actually SEE the card.”

Jack and I shared a few more laughs at Danny’s expense and said our goodbyes. Although, I have to admit that I’m worried WHAT Danny will do when his balls are REALLY against the wall. I pray EVERY night he won’t buy a gun and start robbing little old ladies or liquor stores or start dealing drugs. But at least since Jack isn’t ENABLING him with cash….maybe his refusal to fund Danny’s lifestyle of sloth and sin, maybe, that will stave off the purchase of a 38 special. On the other hand, I fear nothing will prevent him from dealing drugs if the opportunity presents itself.

So, those of you who DO believe, say a prayer that idle threats are as close as Danny gets to any REAL crimes…TA for now…

Oh, and btw, about the ISSUES with Max…after spending THREE nights sleeping in his FORD PROBE (yeah, SO comfy for Max’s 6’4″ frame), Max texted me asking if he and Sienna could come over and take a shower b/c he had a job interview. An hour after he showered/donned fresh clothes, etc., he and I had a long conversation about drugs and his future. With tears milling about his tired green eyes, he said, “I swear on a stack of bibles, I quit. No more weed, I promise…if I can just come home, please?”

And come home he did. However, the shenanigans which have transpired in the last 22 days since that long discourse – will be food for future posts since he’ll probably be snoring in his car again pretty soon….

For now, on a laugh and a prayer….eternally yours, KENNEDY, the kill joy/DIRECTOR of CHEECH and CHONG’S worst nightmare…

~Tenacious bitch/KS and her bag of tricks… 🙂

Post #27 In the wake of DANNY…

Posted in Family, family battles, siblings, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2011 by tenaciousbitch

That Sunday after the eviction was granted, I got a text from Jack that said:

Danny put the keys to G’ma’s house in the mailbox.

I replied to Jack’s text:

KS: So, did he REALLY go to NC?

JACK: He’s on the bus now.

I couldn’t stand it. I had to know the DETAILS…so, I called Jack. He answered on the third ring.

“What exactly prompted him to move out of state?”

“He said that he hadn’t really been able to find a good job down in Georgia, said the job market was better close to Myrtle Beach or Wilmington.”

“Uh, huh,” I replied.

“He said he was going to stay with Nate Taylor, remember him?”

“Yeah,” I said, nodding, “I do. But I thought he was in the Marines?”

“He was. He decided not to re-enlist after his last tour in Iraq, got out like six, eight months ago.”

“He’s such a nice guy. He has NO idea what he’s getting into with Danny.”

“I know. I feel like I should call him and tell him to lock up anything worth more than $20.”

“Yeah, so WHEN exactly, did Danny have this change of heart that motivated him to move out of state?”

“Um, it would’ve been Wednesday or Thursday of last week when he called me.”

“Ah, ha, according to the Post Office tracking, on Wednesday, he received his copy of my novelette of official mud slinging that I had forwarded to the court.”

“Yeah, that’s what I figured. He realized the jig was up after that,” Jack said with a chuckle.

I couldn’t help but smile. After that, he talked about his family for a minute. HIS Grandmother, Nina, who is in her late 80s, fell last week, and he’s really worried about her. He thinks she has Alzheimers. She wandered out into the yard around midnight recently and fell into a rose bush before anyone realized she was out of the house. She’s okay, but she scared the Bjesus out of everyone. He lives next door to Nina, and he helps his Mom take care of his Grandmother, so he and I have a lot in common.

However, of course, my ELATION about Danny leaving Georgia was brief. Two or three days later, I walked out of mine and Charlie’s bathroom, and I heard Nana shouting over the monitor in my office. “Kennedy! Kennedy, where are you?” And then a breathless, “I need…to…I need…” she said before lapsing into a coughing fit, which was followed by SILENCE.

I ran downstairs to the family room expecting to find a bloody, severed limb or a pack of angry rats encircling Nana’s chair. But, no, just a red-faced Nana, sitting in her recliner, the Food Channel accosting my ears.

Her eyes were hardened marbles – deepened to a shade akin to navy blue. And her tiny fists were balled up so tight that her fingernails were turning a dark purplish blue.

“That piece of shit brother of yours! I wish I could string him up by his feet and beat him senseless with a crow bar!”

I sighed, relieved that Nana wasn’t in DIRE circumstances as I sat down across from her on the couch. “Nana, take a deep breath. What happened?”

“Well, Margaret and Sally, my cleaning lady, went to my house to clean, and, apparently, Danny had a dog. And it pooped on the carpet, and that ASSHOLE just left it there! Can you imagine how horrible that smelled since the house has been closed up for several days? AND the air conditioning isn’t working. So, Sally called Keith, the guy who takes care of the furnace and the air conditioning, and he’s coming over tomorrow to look at it. So, more money I’m going to have to shell out. And if THAT wasn’t bad enough, Lucinda, you remember her, the mail lady?”

“Yeah,” I answered. “I remember, tall, thin, blonde woman.”

“Yeah, she told Margaret that she saw Danny on his bike on Monday – on MY street. I thought he left on Sunday?”

“That’s what Jack said, but maybe, he got the dates confused.”

“Or maybe, he didn’t really leave, and he’s still in Georgia, maybe, living with Matt, down the street. And maybe, he’ll break into my house again! This is awful! Just awful!” Nana said, her already flushed face turning a dangerous shade of crimson.

“Calm down, Nana. I’ll find out where he really is. I’ll call Jack. He’ll know. And…” I said “Maybe…” I replied, thinking about how I might verify WHERE exactly Danny was living. “And I’ll email Bridget.”

“Who?” Nana asked.

“Bridget, Danny’s stepdaughter, you know the one who’s been going to school in Chapel Hill?” Nana nodded, and I disappeared into Nana’s room to get her blood pressure monitor.

“What’re you doing?” Nana called from the next room.

“Nana, you need to relax. Okay?” I said returning with the blood pressure monitor. “I’ll get to the bottom of this.” I took her blood pressure, which was was up to 179/85.

“You need to rest. Your blood pressure-”

“I can’t rest. I’m too upset.”

“I know. I know. I’ll get you some tea. That’ll help.”

Nana nodded. “And maybe one of those chocolate cookies, too?”

“You mean the Little Debbie’s? The Swiss rolls?”

“Yeah, that’s what I said, one of them cupcakes.” I disappeared into the kitchen and put a small shot of bourbon into Nana’s tea and a little more sugar than usual to hide the liquor. Yeah, I know, I shouldn’t do that, but her doctor said it was okay…yeah, I pretended that I’d dropped my car keys at her last visit to her primary physician’s office in Georgia. And I snuck back and talked to Dr. McCan about it.

“Oh, sure, since she won’t take sleeping pills or any anti-anxiety medication, she can have a shot of bourbon or a glass of wine, but no more than that, and red wine is better than white if she can’t sleep or gets really upset.”

I just didn’t mention that I might not ASK my Pentecostal Grandmother if she WANTED a shot of bourbon in her tea. Sometimes, you just have to treat her like a kid who won’t take some much-needed “medicine” unless you hide it in her favorite drink/her tea! 🙂

I sat with Nana for a few minutes listening to Nana RAGE on about how she hates Danny and the horrible state of her house post Danny while she drank her tea and ate her cupcake. A few minutes later, her eyelids began to droop, and then in a slurry voice, she said – “I don’t understand how…” and off she went to la la land. Yes, she fell asleep in mid-sentence and started snoring before I could make it to the doorway.

As soon as I got to my office, my cell phone rang. It was Margaret.

“I didn’t want to tell your Grandmother this because I didn’t want to upset her, but one of the refrigerators is missing, and so is your Grandmother’s bed,” Margaret said in an agonized tone.

“What? Oh, my God, what an asshole!”

“I know. It’s terrible.”

“Which fridge?” I asked.

“The spare one that was in the laundry room. And I think his roommate took it.”

“What roommate?”

“You know the black guy, Reggie, who lived next door?”

“Yeah, I met him once or twice when I took out the trash or when I was walking out to my car.”

“Well, Reggie has been at the house several times when I stopped by to check on the mail, and Danny WASN’T there at the time.”

“Really? Instant roommate. How awesome.”

“I was at Publix yesterday, and I ran into Jerry, the guy who originally rented that house, and he said that Reggie moved in with Danny in late March when Jerry moved out. I guess he’s renting a house with his girlfriend in Clearview. Jerry, I mean.”

“I see. Well, why don’t we ask Nana if she wants you to have that bed moved over to your house since we’re not certain that Danny is really gone? Maybe, tell her that Lucinda and her husband could help you move it.”

“That’s a good idea. I didn’t want to tell Maude any of this. I figured I’d leave that up to you. She’s already so upset about all this, and there’s nothing she can do. Oh, and her favorite mirror in the hallway is missing, and the living room curtains are gone.”

“The curtains? Good Lord. Why do you think it was the guy next door who took the fridge and everything?”

“I went next door to ask them if they knew anything about the missing furniture, and another guy I’ve never met, Todd somebody, said that Reggie wasn’t home. And when I asked if I could come in and look around, in case maybe, Reggie had taken the bed or whatever by mistake-”

“By mistake?” I asked laughing.

“You know, I said that maybe Danny didn’t realize that your Grandmother had promised me that bed in her Will, and maybe, Danny had sold it to Reggie.”

“Oh, okay. That makes sense even though Danny KNEW you were getting Nana’s bed.”

“But they wouldn’t let me in.”

“Of course, they didn’t because all of it is probably next door.”

“Probably.”

“And then, Reggie came home, and he said that maybe Danny had taken the fridge and the bed with him.”

“On a bus?” I said laughing.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought.”

“Oh, and the keys weren’t in the mailbox.”

“They weren’t? How’d you get in?”

“The back door, the one with the gaping hole.”

“Oh, yeah, forgot about that. You’re a brave woman, Margaret. I don’t think I would’ve had the nerve to go over there and interrogate the neighbors.”

“It wasn’t exactly an interrogation,” Margaret said with a hefty belt of laughter.

“Well, knowing that Reggie had been living with Danny and probably does drugs too, I wouldn’t have felt all that comfortable asking those guys about any missing furniture.”

“I’m not afraid of those clowns,” Margaret replied.

After a few minutes of small talk, we said our goodbyes. And then, I left a message for Jack, but by 9:00 that night, he hadn’t gotten back to me. So, I went on Facebook, and I emailed Bridget, who apparently, had moved back to Wilmington permanently, according to her FB info.

If Danny’s in Wilmington, I’m sure he’s called Bridget or her sister, Carrie, who is 19. Bridget is 23, close to my son Tim’s age, and she and Danny NEVER got along when Danny was married to her mother, Belinda.  I didn’t want to email Carrie because she and Danny have always been close…didn’t want to tip Danny’s hand since Carrie’s TRUE loyalties lie in enemy territory.

I poured a glass of Merlot, laid down on my bed and listened to Recovery, an Eminem CD, on my I-Phone just trying to relax before Charlie got home. Dreading the hours, days, possibly weeks before Bridget might reply to my email. After all, she’s a college kid, and even though they LIVE on Facebook, she’s working two jobs this summer, and from the photos on her FB page, it looks like she’s as busy partying as much as she is working.

I heard the rumble of thunder, so I decided to take my Merlot outside…to my SECOND favorite place next to lying on the beach…our hot tub where I drank another glass of Merlot while watching a brilliant thunderstorm from our screened in porch out back…

So, STAY TUNED, GUYS AND GALS, b/c the fat lady STILL hasn’t sung yet…though she’s ITCHING to hit that high note…

PEACE OUT FROM SNOOPY DANCE CENTRAL/the Geriatric SWAMP…

~Tenacious bitch/KS