Archive for memoir

Post #158 -The Oddest, Coolest Mother’s Day Gift Ever

Posted in art, blogging, comedy, Family, Freelancing, humor, life, marriage, memoir, people, relationships, true crime, true stories, Uncategorized, work, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2016 by tenaciousbitch

Those of you who know me IRL (in real life), you’re aware that I’m weird. And that such is an adjective I wear proudly. So, it won’t surprise you to know that my husband gave me a very strange gift for Mother’s Day, one that I absolutely love. However, I can’t think of one woman on earth besides me who would’ve shrieked with joy as I did when I opened it.

Obviously, it wasn’t flowers or jewelry or an expensive pair of shoes or a gift card from my favorite retailer and the like. Though, honestly, I would’ve been perfectly happy with any of the above.

So? What is it, you ask? A 6-foot alligator? No. I prefer my gifts aren’t of the man/woman – eating kind.

Was it some sort of unconventional kitchen gadget like a knife sharpener?

No…it was…

Wait for it…..

Wait for it…

Here’s a photo of the box.

BOX - STUN GUN

Does that give you any ideas? 🙂 For all the ladies and gents out there who might’ve been to a gun store, the box might be a dead give away.

Otherwise, for  the many folks who’ve never been to a retail outlet that sells weaponry…you may not even know what it is by viewing the item itself below….

BOX AND STUN GUN

Yes, it is, in fact a STUN GUN!!! 🙂 And don’t you LOVE the fact that it’s pink? 🙂

Though I live in a very low-crime area, I wanted a stun gun because I’ve been selling my artwork (i.e. fine art photography, decoupaged coasters, hand painted vases, etc.) at various flea markets and art shows since last summer. When I had a booth over the winter at a flea market in a somewhat shabby area, I saw a man arguing with a woman in the parking lot, and he struck her so hard in the face, she almost fell down. I called the police who FINALLY showed up about 20 minutes later. And what kills me about that is – that flea market is a mile from Easton Mall/a very EXPENSIVE area to live/work, etc.

Obviously, violent crime can happen anywhere, so you never know when I might actually have an occasion to use this handy gadget in my own home.

Additionally, the outdoor flea market I’ve been going to since March is frequented by more men than women. And sometimes as I’m packing up my artwork and boxes of household items I’ve also been trying to sell (inherited from my mother/other relatives), there might only be a couple other vendors left. There are no security guards or anything, and occasionally, I meet a vendor who just evokes that vibe that he’s probably seen his share of time “inside” a local prison.

Once in awhile a male vendor or a customer will hit on me, and I’m always polite when replying that I’m happily married and not interested in cheating on my spouse. But you never know when one of those guys might take offense and turn an innocent situation into something ugly.

That said, I LOVE MY STUN GUN. And it’s all charged and ready to go, so be warned all lecherous, less-than-honorable men who might consider getting aggressive with me cuz this chick is PACKIN’, and I won’t hesitate to STUN the hair right off your  balz! 🙂

Peace out –

~Tenacious Bitch and her band of truth spouting hippies

P.S. If you’d like to do a girl a solid (and want to help me garner some more cash to GO SEE NANA – and btw, Nana is now 99 years old), feel free to check out my online store with most of my artwork and such at:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TenaciousImages

 

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Post #154 – Conversation With A Mega Douche Bag!

Posted in blogging, comedy, corporations, humor, life, nonfiction, relationships, true stories, work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2015 by tenaciousbitch

For years, I’ve heard certain men being referred to as Mega Douche Bags, my husband chief among them. But let me clarify. Mega Douche Bags work for Mega Bank where I was employed until a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t really understand why the Mega Douche Bag differed from an ordinary, run-of-the-mill Douche Bag until recently.

During my last week at Mega, I was walking out of the ladies restroom one night before heading out, when I noticed this guy smiling at me – from his desk about 10 feet away. As I pondered the nature of his grin, he winked at me.

He was 26 at best. I thought maybe, his flirtation was meant for someone else walking behind me. But the hallway was empty. He smiled again, so I decided to see WTF was going on with this impudent child.

He had dark, curly hair spackled together with more mousse and gel than I could ever amass within my long quaff. His shirt was a pale lavender, and he was wearing a purple tie with tiny, dark blue polka dots with a navy blue suit. So suave…so bold…guess I should’ve just taken him right there just for his grooming props alone if I were that sort of woman. Instead, I found his get-up, his hair and demeanor rather contemptuous.

“Were you winking at me?” I asked approaching Mr. Hair-Do.

He smiled even brighter, his insanely straight teeth seemed to be glaring at me.

“Um, yeah,” he said awkwardly. “We’ve all been wondering who the new hottie is. I’m Todd.”

“Mrs. Smith,” I said flatly, and those who know me well…know just HOW significant that moniker is. I NEVER call myself Mrs. – ever – nor did I do so when married previously. I couldn’t tell if this moronic Ken Doll was actually hitting on me, or if he was feigning his attentions as some kinda sick joke. And using the word “hottie” was highly inappropriate. Had he NOT taken the required sexual harassment training, or was his face buried in his Blackberry the whole time?

“Seriously?” he asked with an arched eyebrow.

“Yes,” I said adamantly, holding up my badge for emphasis.

He glanced at it and nodded. “Sorry, you know, people, use that name when -”

“Yeah, I get it. Now, if you’ll excuse me-” I began.

“Just one more question if you don’t mind,” he said, sweetly.

“Yes?” I asked, rather agitated.

“Is that a men’s shirt you’re wearing?”

WTF? YOU PEA-BRAINED ASSHOLE. “No, it’s not,” I said in a very surly manner. “Great line there, Casanova, I’ll bet you say that to all the girls.” I snarled.  I turned away mumbling, “Fucking dickhead,” …which I guess his buddies heard, evidenced by the howls of laughter behind me.

RALPH LAUREN SHIRT

The Ralph Lauren shirt in question, which I wore with a white skirt.

However, I caught a sidelong glimpse of his lovely cornflower blue eyes clouding over, and I looked away thinking MAYBE…he was the “fat” kid in school with really large glasses and crooked teeth. He wore whatever his mother told him to – yellow Izod shirt that was too small creating ugly bulges around his middle…with black pants that were too short and last but not least, white socks and black dress shoes.

He joined a gym, started drinking GREEN vegie shakes/ eating anything gluten free or made with TOFU, etc., reinvented himself – a la GQ.

Oh, but I was so WRONG. While in the elevator facing them, waiting for the doors to shut, my guilt vanished.  Instead of a mortified, late-blooming butterfly cowering in the corner, I saw him snickering with a couple of his co-worker clones. After a sneaky glance at me, his expression morphed into the unmistakable….

OOPS…she caught me, followed by giggling behind his well-manicured hand. No, no, no…this guy was the Homecoming King and very proud to be so. He played football, but wasn’t a star, or he wouldn’t be working here, right?

He had a couple girlfriends and was always trolling for another. He drives a BMW, but doesn’t own a sofa, opting for watching TV sprawled out on his bean bag chair because his image is much more important than the “comfy” couch he plans to buy with his next BIG commission check. There was no doubt about it. I had just met the infamous…MEGA DOUCHE BAG.

I hope to hell his question about my blouse was just an idle comment meant in jest, and, God forbid, not part of some stupid bet. His intentions remained a mystery until talking to Jackson, another salesman two days later. Jackson was a tall, handsome black man in his mid 30s. We met at Minelli’s, a local fast food restaurant near the office, when I inadvertently cut ahead of him in line at lunch one day. I noticed his bank badge, and we struck up a conversation. Turned out, we’re both sci-fi geeks.

I ran into Jackson in the breakroom. He was heating up his lunch in the microwave, and I walked in to buy a pop.

“Hey, Jackson, how’s it goin’?” I asked.

“Good.  Jackson smiled. “By the way, my apologies for the Neanderthals.”

Confused, I asked with a chuckle, “I’m sorry. Which Neanderthals?”

“Griffin and Gordon,” he replied.

I shrugged. These names meant nothing to me.

“Um, the guy with the dark hair, superglued with Redken’s finest gel, made some snide comment about your shirt the other day?”

“Oh….THAT GUY,” I said pursing my lips in annoyance. “He said his name was Todd.”

“Makes it much easier to cheat on his fiance.”

“That figures.”

I had shoved that retarded conversation into my mental trashcan reserved for images of outfits I should never have bought, songs I despise (like Cold as Ice by Foreigner…don’t ever play it / hum it around me if you’d like to continue BREATHING)…as well as – you guessed it…conversations with douche bags!

“First off, I’m gay.”

“Okay,” I said, hesitantly, wondering where Jackson was going with this.

“So what I’m about to tell you ain’t another lame-assed pick-up line, or nothin’,” he said with a big grin.

“Noted,” I said smiling.

“Mr. Hair who winked at you, that’s Griffin, Griffin Goetz, and the blond guy next to him, that’s Gordon.”

“I see,” I said, nodding.

“Griffin’s the worst kind of player, constantly talking about women, especially um..if they’re busty, ya know what I mean?”

“All too well,” I replied.

“Since the first time Griffin saw you walkin’ down the hallway, they all been speculating whether they’s real or not,” he said with a half nod toward my breasts. “And Griffin decided he was gonna chat you up to get a better look. But you didn’t hear any of this from me?”

“What? That your co-workers are asshole douche bags?”

Jackson busted out laughing. “Got that right.”

I just smiled. “Do they know you’re gay?”

“Hell no. I don’t want them knowing nothin’ about me, and they kinda hate me cuz my sales are usually higher than theirs.”

I smiled. “Awesome.”

“Why?”

“Meet me back here around 5:15,” I said.

“Why?” Jackson asked. At which point, I revealed my plan.

STAY TUNED BOYS AND GIRLS…

For the unveiling of MY REVENGE upon the Mega Douche Bags in a few days…

Over and out…

~TB

And her band of truth-spouting hippies

Post #136 – It’s Not Even American!

Posted in Family, family drama, Food and beverages, humor, memoir, nonfiction, relationships, true stories, true stories, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2014 by tenaciousbitch

A couple of days ago, I called my 97-year-old Grandmother, a.k.a. Nana Maude. I talked to her for a few minutes about the new shoes I sent her, which she loved, thank God, and then I handed the phone to my husband, Charlie. Whereupon, she began whining about the food at her nursing home.

“It’s not even American,” she lamented.

For those who are new to my casa de crazy, Nana lived with us here in Ohio for 27 very long months. Then, one year ago today, she moved into Mt. Olive Care Center (the nursing home) in Georgia about 3 miles from where she lived for 49 years until her house got foreclosed on because of my drug addict brother, which you can read about beginning with this post –  http://tenaciousbitch.com/2011/03/16/danny-the-stolen-cash-and-the-stripper/

I stayed with her for a week until she got settled in her new digs. During that time, she was served:

1)  Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans. She hated the beans because they weren’t “seasoned right”. Meaning, they weren’t simmered for 19 hours in a vat laden with salt, onions and bacon – until they resembled a really fine green paste. Besides fried chicken, they also offered chicken Marsala. Therefore, they did sneak a bit of Italian cuisine in there alongside the not-so-American fried chicken…:)

2) Meatloaf with boiled potatoes and a salad. The alternate choice was sweet and sour chicken, so they did borrow from other cultures…BAD CHEFS…BAD! 🙂

3) And one day at lunch, they brought Nana a steak sandwich and French fries. She said the steak was tough, so she wouldn’t touch it, and they brought her a PB&J. I ate the steak sandwich, which was thinly sliced and relatively tender, I thought, but my choppers aren’t 90+ years old.

4) One morning, they brought her scrambled eggs, bacon and white toast with butter and strawberry jam. Funny, I made that exact same meal on many occasions while she lived with us. Hmmm…

5) The last day I was there, she was given a ham and cheese sandwich, a bowl of Jell-O and a banana for lunch with a cup of vanilla ice cream for dessert.

And I remember all of this because I helped her fill out her menu requests – relieved that they always served something I thought she’d eat…but she didn’t because it wasn’t American. Oh, wait…that’s her excuse now. At the time, her meals were too spicy, too sweet, too salty, too peppery, and the list goes on – though I found none of the entrees espousing these traits except the fried chicken was a little peppery. Other than that, I thought the food was pretty frickin’ good for a rest home as Nana calls it with disdain.

Just out of curiosity to see if the menu had changed drastically, I looked on the nursing home’s website today where they post menus for the residents’ families in case they’d like to drop by and share a meal with their loved one.  For dinner today, they listed:

Beef stew and biscuits or fried pork chops with mashed potatoes and peas, and tomorrow night they advertised chili (oh, god, you’re right, Nana, that’s TEX-MEX) and barbecued wings or honey glazed ham with fried potatoes or baked potatoes and cole slaw. Additionally, you can get cole slaw with your wings and/or chili as well.

That said, I’m not sure why she insists the dining room is providing non-American cuisine. Perhaps, she’s just run out of negative adjectives and decided to utilize more heinous-sounding verbiage instead of the truth:

She doesn’t want anything except entrees from one of her favorite restaurants – or food that she, herself, has prepared, which she, obviously can’t do anymore…though she loves my potato soup, and she loved my husband’s liver and onions.

She also loved what she called – “my spaghetti”, but the slop she referred to was merely hamburger slathered in Prego, which is about 30% high fructose corn syrup, and I think it’s nasty. But I let her think it was “my sauce”, so she’d eat it.

In reality, I make my meaty Italian sauce almost from scratch, but the few times she consumed that which my boys and my husband gobble up in the blink of an eye was too tomato-y according to Nana. But it looks just a RED and tomato-infested as mine, so go figure. So, I allegedly tried a “new recipe”, the heretofore mentioned – Prego and ground beef for her and my homemade spaghetti for everyone else – i.e. making a separate meal for her, which we we had to do about half the time.

But, holy hell, Nana, spaghetti is ITALIAN, why in heaven’s name were you eating that? 🙂

ANYWHO…toward the end of her rant, I saw Charlie cup his hand over his mouth, and I knew she’d just delivered a zinger of verbal insanity, and I was right.

“But you know me, Charlie, I’m not picky…”

To-wit, Charlie and I let go of some serious belly laughs. And this from the woman who grumbled about her breakfast the morning of our departure for Georgia as such:

“Why are my eggs so big?”

“What do you mean?” I asked, rather puzzled after I set her scrambled eggs, sausage gravy and a biscuit down in front of her.

“Do you put milk in them?”

“Yes, Nana,” I said, rolling my eyes because she’d posed that query at least 492 times.

She frowned and said, “When I made them, they were much smaller.”

Oh, for the love of chicken embryos…forgive me, Nana, I wanted to say. I let the eggs cook a little too long before I “scrambled” them up and plopped them on your plate, but even at her age…she can still cut up her own damned eggs, which she began doing the moment I headed for the door.

For other depictions of why Nana “isn’t” picky – check out:

http://tenaciousbitch.com/2012/07/31/post-70-more-baloney-from-ms-cranky-pants/

or

http://tenaciousbitch.com/2012/06/28/post-66-baloney-porn-or-is-it-bologna-porn/

It’s difficult to imagine ever being that unaware of one’s own personality, but it’s not her age, Nana has always been that way…even when I was a kid, but that’s another yarn to unravel another day…:)

Over and out from Crazytown…

~TenaciousBitch and her band of truth-spouting hippies

TB/ks

© Tenacious Bitch 2014

 

Post #131 Life’s Too Short ~ and then you die with gum in your hair…:)

Posted in Family, Food and beverages, humor, memoir, nonfiction, relationships, true stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2014 by tenaciousbitch

This story was previously published previously on http://www.lunaticlounge.com, but in honor of my beloved mother, I decided to post this again…since, you know, it was Mother’s Day a couple days ago and all…:)

Sadly, my mother died in 2007 of cancer, followed by my dad in 2009, also from cancer.

I spent 5 long months commuting between my home in Ohio to Mom and Dad’s house in West Virginia cleaning out closets, etc., which is a 3-hour drive one way, so it was rather exhausting. And I had not one, but two Estate Sales because Mom had a lot of junk, some valuable, some not. But she definitely practiced a large volume of retail therapy, shall we say..:) ?

Anywho, shortly after we lost Dad, my husband, Charlie, my two boys and I went down in the spring of 2010 for the final gutting/cleaning of the ol’ homestead that had been wall-to-wall knick knacks/furniture/dishes galore and 4 closets full of clothes and 3 or 4 dozen shoe boxes full of pictures.

Not 10 minutes after we got to the house, I heard Charlie howling with laughter from the kitchen.

“Oh, my God, you’ve gotta see this,” Charlie bellowed as I strolled out of my parents’ bedroom into the hallway.

I sail into the kitchen to find these little spongy things spilling out of a rather tiny drawer:

MEAT TRAY

Yes…they are, in fact, Styrofoam meat trays. Yes, the packaging for beef/chicken, etc., used by your local grocer. Spongy trays that most people just toss into the rubbish.

After he discovered these used meat containers, it was like watching a clown pull scarves out of his sleeve because they just kept pouring out of the drawer.  Later, Max counted them for shits and giggles. There were 29 meat trays in various sizes… but they were all white.

Why in heaven’s name did Mom keep them? To what end? Did she use them to make hats? Did they make good insulation for the drawers? Heaven forbid, please tell me, she DIDN’T REUSE THEM!? No, I’m sure that wasn’t the case. Mom’s house was always relatively clean.

Wait, no, knowing Mom, she collected them like UPC codes!! She was supposed to ship them to Logan Packing Company along with some rebate form for cash or mega coupons for ground round…and she forgot…

Because the goats told her to? No, goats are herbivores…and Mom never associated with goats much, that I recall.

Or was she just a plain ‘ol hoarder?

Sorry. I’m just the wolf’s assistant (or something like that), hired to haul away unwanted, often useless crap. And I don’t think the ghosts did it. They’ve got too much to do in the creepy cellar with the dirt floor in the basement (yes, my parents’ house totally had a creepy cellar with one dusty window)…

Alas, we may never know the scandalous mystery of the meat packaging stash as it were…so.

I don’t know what else to say…except…

LIFE’S TOO SHORT, and then you die with gum in your hair and raw meat/ pseudo china in your drawers. Okay, so Mom didn’t have any gum in her hair the day she passed, but you get the idea…:)

Luv you, Mom…especially since right about then, I really needed a good laugh knowing that particular day would be the last time I’d ever walk through the hallowed halls of what had been my childhood home.  And laughing about the freaky items we found in the kitchen and elsewhere made that day a little bit more bearable! 🙂

HIPPIE Love and peace out…

~KS/TB

© Kennedy Smith/Tenacious Bitch 2014

Post #129 – Sorry, Uncle Sam, You Were, In Fact, Upstaged By A Near Death Experience!

Posted in cats, Family, humor, memoir, nonfiction, relationships, true stories, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2014 by tenaciousbitch

Like many Americans, I was up to my eyeballs in spreadsheets last week finishing the reams of paperwork involved in organizing/compiling my tax info for Bernie, our accountant, who prepares our return every year.  I try not to leave all the fiscal drudgery until the last minute.

But inevitably, too many unexpected issues with my Grandmother or calamities like our dryer catching fire last fall decimate my schedule, and I end up finishing our accounting mess around April 1st.

However, this year, due to the demands of my second job, I didn’t print the last scrap of fiscal fodder until midnight of April 9th. And just as I was heading out the door the next day, my path to Bernie’s office was halted by the sixth-month old, curtain-scaling fella below…initiated by son, Max, exclaiming –

CLIMBING THE CURTAINS2

“Why’re George’s feet all bloody?”

I looked down at the cat sitting on my dresser. Both of his front paws were lathered in fresh blood. Samantha, our other cat, was mewing loudly and pacing erratically beside him.

“Oh, my God, George, what’d you do?” I gasped. I didn’t see any cuts or abrasions on his little white mits, and then I noticed something spherical in his mouth. But I couldn’t tell what it was. I tugged on this round, yellow disc wedged between his upper and lower teeth, but it wouldn’t budge.

I feared whatever he’d swallowed might have a string attached to it. I’d read an article at the vet’s office warning cat owners not to pull on a piece of yarn or a string dangling out of cat’s mouth because you could perforate their esophagus, which could cause them to choke on their own blood or cause serious damage to their colon if they’d swallowed part of it.

When Max realized that our baby cat might choke to death, he broke down sobbing. “No, not George. Oh, my God, no, not another cat…”

He was referring to Sasha, my beautiful stray who died last fall. Her demise is the subject of this post:

http://tenaciousbitch.com/2013/09/18/my-beloved-sasha-is-gone/

“He’s still breathing. He’ll be fine,” I said, my voice shaking as I scooped George up into my arms. “It’ll be okay,” I added, trying to keep my wits about me and assuage Max’s distress as well.

“No, he won’t,” Max wailed. “That’s his collar in his mouth. He’s going to suffocate.”

I studied George who was uttering a low, somewhat squeaky cry and struggling to push the foreign object out of his mouth with his tongue. Upon closer inspection, I realized Max was right. It was rabies tag between his teeth, which you can see in this pic:

GEORGE ON END TABLE 2

“The vet will remove it. He’ll be okay,” I replied snatching the cat carrier from the exercise room and heading for the stairs.

But Max was beyond consolation and was convinced we’d bury another family pet by sundown. “Why does this keep happening? Why do all of our cats keep choking on shit?” Max lamented, slamming his hefty fist into his bathroom door.

Max’s outburst startled George who leapt from my arms, and scurried downstairs into the living room. A minute later, Max found the cat behind the couch. I set the carrier by the door and crawled around the furniture and gently captured George once again, only to lose him seconds later. I was so rattled, I didn’t fasten the hinge properly on the carrier. George fled his cage and disappeared into the shadows of the family room.

I spotted him behind Charlie’s recliner. Seconds later, I nudged him back into his plastic pen again. I called our vet who referred me to Diley Hill, an emergency veterinary hospital in Canal Winchester, 20 minutes away.

As I sped down 270, I kept envisioning George undergoing surgery, a gasp away from death, so I kept cooing, “You’ll be okay, baby George,” trying to reassure us both.

I passed the road to Diley Hill, but my GPS re-routed, and within 5 minutes, I was rushing my infant feline inside the ER where a lovely young vet tech with long, blonde hair met me at the front door and practically sprinted George into triage.

Before I could finish writing my address on the intake form, the veterinarian, Dr. Henson, a petite woman in her late 30s, appeared in the waiting room with George’s collar…she’d gotten it out in less than 5 minutes! I was amazed.

 

The murderous collar in question.

The murderous collar in question.

Can you believe this circular belt, meant to be worn by a Chihuahua, actually fit in his mouth without choking him? Because George is so tiny, the smallest kitty collar was too big for him. Even still, I couldn’t figure out how he’d finagled it off his neck without unhooking it or biting it in two. Perhaps, a name change is in order. Houdini anyone? 🙂

“He probably pulled on the rabies tag, flipped it over his head and his ears, and the rabies tag got stuck between his teeth, and he ended up swallowing the whole thing trying to work the rabies tag out from between his teeth,” Dr. Henson surmised.

“And all the blood is from raking his little claws inside his mouth trying to dislodge the collar, I guess?” I suggested.

Dr. Henson nodded. “Yes. There weren’t any cuts on his feet. But 2 or 3 in his mouth,” she continued, prying open his mug, so I could see the gashes on his gums. The doctor prescribed an antibiotic to administer with an eye dropper twice/day and softened food for a couple days until his mouth healed.

I thanked the doctor profusely and jetted back home, absolutely exhausted.

Unfortunately, because of George’s near-death adventure, I wasn’t able to deposit my stack of tax docs at Bernie’s office before work Wednesday night. Thus, Uncle Sam didn’t receive mine and Charlie’s 1040 form and its many tables and tabulations on 4/15/14, and that, my friends, is how an 8-pound fuzzball upstaged Uncle Sam.

But we shall add a properly executed ES-86-derelicttaxee.loser form to our return for an extension… . And all will be well in the eyes of our God-forsaken tax obligation.

If not, I’ll beguile the tax man with the lore of every cat I’ve ever known, complete with photos, diagrams and urns until my ad nauseam banter prompts him to forgive our tardiness in order to free himself of a cat lover’s verbose serenade.

Over and out from George and TB’s casa de crazy…

~Ciao!

Tenacious B and her band of truth-spouting hippies...

Tenacious Bitch © 2014

 

Post #77 – My Funeral Fiasco, of sorts…

Posted in Family, nonfiction, relationships, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2012 by tenaciousbitch

As mentioned previously, my husband’s grandmother died last month. The funeral was at 11 AM near Cleveland, which is a 2-hour drive (with no traffic). I tried to find someone to stay with Nana to spare her such a long trip in one day.

After calling several neighbors and agencies who provide companions to assist older people, I resigned myself to the fact that Nana would be tagging along because no one was available on such short notice.

My husband and his family were naturally distraught over losing Grandma (Katie) Cala, so I also preferred leaving Ms. Cranky Pants and God knows what comments she might make, at home…

For an example of Nana’s sparkling opinions, check out: http://tenaciousbitch.com/2012/08/07/post-71-can-we-rewind-and-erase-please/ 

Additionally, it “rushes her [Nana] to death” to arrive at the beauty shop by noon at a neighborhood salon. At 95, just changing clothes exhausts her.

The night before the funeral, I heard Nana on the phone, telling her friend, Nancy, that she was getting up at 5:00 in the morning. I almost laughed at this classic sign of tailspin behavior caused by her intense phobia of being late EVER.

However, despite this neurotic fear of tardiness, we almost missed my mother’s funeral in 2007 because Nana drug me all over town shopping for knee-highs to match her off-white suit. Never mind, no one could really see her hosiery under her PANTS, but I digress.

“There’s no reason to get up at 5:00. I’ll bring your breakfast at 6:30. That’ll give you 30 minutes to eat and an hour and a HALF to get dressed, so don’t get up until I call you, okay?” I asked.

Nana nodded, but I could see the decaying marbles careening around her brain as she attempted to follow my timetable.

“What time do we have to leave, again?” she asked.

I explained it all three more times that night. But when I got up at 6:15, her television was booming off the walls, and I sighed. I strolled into her room a few minutes later with her grub. Her hair was still a short, floppy mess, and she was sans makeup, but she was completely dressed, shoes and all.

I scolded her, and she said, “Why? What time was I supposed to get up?”

Insert mental sigh…but, NO, she doesn’t have Alzheimers or Dementia…

“Six thirty.”

She responded with a puzzled look.

“You’re going to be worn out before we get near Cleveland.”

“I’ll be fine.”

My eyes almost crossed from the restraint required to avoid an eye roll.

At 8:40, I was all set to leave. A little late, but not catastrophically behind. I headed for the door to the garage with the baked spaghetti I’d made to take to Grandma Cala’s after the service when Sasha, my cat, zipped toward me. I lunged for the door, trying to slip into the garage before Sasha did.  We live very close to a 4-lane highway, and I’d rather my beloved feline not become roadkill if she managed to escape. I lost my balance and dropped the spaghetti – in its GLASS casserole dish!

The dish landed on a rather sturdy throw rug, and, thank God, the glass didn’t break. But some of the contents bounced onto the rug and the hardwood floor. The sauce splashed everywhere.

I looked down at my skirt in total anguish. “Oh, my God!” I yelled, just as Max walked in.

The sauce-blighted skirt in question.

“Shit!” I sputtered, dashing toward the kitchen.

“What happened?” Nana called out from the living room where she was waiting for me to help her down the front steps.

“I dropped the spaghetti, and the sauce splattered all  over my brand new skirt I bought in Vegas. I’ve never even worn it,” I sputtered while grabbing a clean towel and running it under the faucet.Though the skirt is dark blue, the red blobs of sauce were quite obvious.

“Can’t you get it out with a wet cloth?” Nana asked.

I tried to blot out the sauce with the towel, but I knew instantly, it was a futile endeavor.

“Goddammit,” I bellowed, stomping back into the dining room. “I just wanted to take SOMETHING. I rarely ever do.”

I couldn’t see Nana, but I’m certain she reacted to my swearing with a crinkly mouth buttoned into an ugly frown and a flat-eyed glare in my direction. I don’t give a rat’s ass about her idea of propriety. I am who I am. When I’m upset, four letter words fly out of my trap faster than lies tripping from the yaps of politicians! 🙂 And I’m thinking, neither man nor beast can alter either one…

“I have to change,” I hollered to Nana while looking helplessly at Max, who was scooping up handfuls of the meat and cheese from the rug and plopping them into a dirty towel.

Sasha*, and her daughter, Samantha, were happily wolfing down bits of Italian fare on the hardwood floor.

“Leave that alone,” I hissed to the cats. But they didn’t budge.

Sasha, the innocent-looking pasta thief…:)

Samantha, Sasha’s daughter and thief in training… 🙂

I started to help Max, but he said, “You go up and change. I got this.”

“Thanks, Max,” I said, greatly relieved but still angry with myself for my clumsiness.

Of course, I was wearing a flowered blouse that clashed with everything in my closet except a wrinkled pair of navy blue pants or white dress pants, which were AWOL. In a total panic, I grabbed another skirt and blouse, and made the wardrobe substitution ASAP.

The substitute skirt…

We finally departed around 8:53. Max texted Charlie that we might be late, but he didn’t seem overly concerned – though I was. Charlie

and Grandma Cala were extremely close.

I hated not being there for him BEFORE the service, but there was nothing I could do but hustle northward at breakneck speed. However, traffic was sluggish through downtown, but luckily, not the rush hour parking lot it can be.

Nana chattered away the whole time. About midway, she began prattling on about the Miller family cemetery in West Virginia. “It was way up yonder on a hill, didn’t even have a road for decades.”

“Yeah, I remember walking up that mountain after Geraldine’s funeral, and I got poisoned ivy.”

Geraldine is Nana’s oldest sister who died in 1970.

“You remember that? You were only, what? Four?”

I shrugged.

# # #

We arrived at the funeral home, miraculously, at 10:55. BUT – I drove RIGHT past it. I’d only been there once in ’09, after all. After turning around, we arrived two minutes after the minister began his odd eulogy. He told some story about four horses at a county fair in the 40s that hauled 1200-pounds together – though individually they could only tow 200-pounds.

I got the strength in numbers idea, but the connection to Grandma Cala was a little weak – in equating this to her feelings about the importance of family unity.  I kept waiting for a personal story about Grandma Cala, but none was offered in his slightly sterile tribute to a sweet and wonderful woman.

Afterward, we joined the funeral possession. Ten minutes later, Nana was squawking about the drive. “How much farther is it?”

I tried to explaint it wasn’t far, but we were only going 19 MPH, so we weren’t exactly running off the rails, but she continued complaining.

“Why are we going to the cemetery anyway?” Nana moaned.

“Nana, we just talked about walking up the hill to the Millers’ cemetery after Geraldine’s funeral.”

I sighed, noticing Max giving me an eye roll in the rearview mirror. He put his headphones back on and shook his head. Wish I could tune her out with my I-Pod, I thought wistfully, but it’s illegal while driving in Ohio. Go figure.

Obviously perplexed, Nana said, “But we don’t do that any more.”

“Yes, we do. When Mom died, we stood over her grave while the Priest read bible verses.”

“I don’t remember that.”

I tabled this bizarre conversation by exiting my Escalade. I grabbed Nana’s walker from the back of my car and opened the passenger door, but she didn’t move.

“Aren’t you going to pay your respects?” I asked because Nana and Katie Cala had been good friends.

“I’m too weak,” Nana answered. “I can’t,” she whispered, her eyes cast straight ahead, knowing what was coming.

“See, I told you not to get up so early, but did you listen? No. You’re as bad as a five-year old.”

Her only reaction was a rather defiant snort. I shook my head, shut the door and sashayed over to Max and my husband, standing by the casket.

Finally, we arrived at Grandma Cala’s. When I set down the baked spaghetti (most of which had survived the crash), I noticed the strange assortment of food: Tater Tots, corn dogs, fried mozzarella and meatballs surrounded by a large array of cookies, cake and and a plate of donut holes. No potato salad. No tuna casserole like most people bring for the bereaved. There wasn’t even any bread!

“Good thing I decided to bake that spaghetti at the last minute – even if I lost some of it to the cats,” I muttered to Charlie.

“Well, we hadn’t planned on making anything,” he replied. Equally STRANGE. Why would HE, an immediate member of the decedent’s family, cook anything?”

I learned later that since Grandma Cala died on a Wednesday, her neighbors had brought a meatloaf/other food on Thursday/Friday, but the funeral was Monday…so, they didn’t bring anything. Then, Grandpa Cala’s sisters (all four of them) told my mother-in-law, Sarah, they were bringing desserts, which would be “just fine”…HELLO, the funeral was at 11:00 AM, so cookies were okay for lunch these days? Yeesh…can you say CHEAP, or just lazy? Idk…

That said, Sarah and Charlie bought what would feed the most people, I guess. Regardless, he and Sarah should NOT have been taxed with shopping/cooking, and if I’d known, I would’ve brought chili and potato salad and anything else I could think of.

Sadly, I wasn’t privy to the shopping conundrum.

Otherwise, the funeral chaos was limited to the acrobatic spaghetti, and we were all very grateful for that… :)…

Over and out from the MIDDLE EARTH of insanity, and then some –

~TENACIOUS BITCH and her truth-spouting posse… 🙂

* Sasha’s comical history about how she came to be a member of the family/household is detailed in Post #60 at: http://tenaciousbitch.com/2012/05/11/post-no-60-my-confession/

About the lack of CRAZY…

Posted in Family, true stories, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , on September 19, 2012 by tenaciousbitch

Just wanted to apologize that I haven’t posted anything in awhile. My husband’s grandmother died last week, sadly, at the age of 86. She’d been ill for awhile, so her passing wasn’t unexpected, necessarily, but nonetheless difficult.

My husband drove up to Cleveland this past Sunday to be with his mom and his Aunts and everyone, which meant I was on 24-hour Nana-duty, which didn’t leave much time for working on my blog.

Then, the funeral was Monday, which, like everything else in my life, was marked by mishap, which I shall discuss in my next post!

Aside from all that, I took on a third job doing legal transcriptions and such for a company here in Ohio since we are drowning in debt because of Nana living with us, and that too has occupied a great deal of my time. It’s interesting work though since most of our clients live in Australia or the U.K.

Suffice to say that I shall be back in FULL TILT in a couple of days with yet another chapter detailing the wicked weirdness going on in my STOP and SMELL the CRAZY existence…

~Over and out

TENACIOUS BITCH and her merry band of truth-touting, Merlot guzzling scribes…