How Embarrassing

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

The Watermelon In The Compost Pile

Yippee! There’s a volunteer watermelon growing in the compost pile! The fruit is round, it’s big and green and gorgeous.

There’s a family party at my house today on Labor Day and Bill and I can’t wait to show the melon to our large family. We’ve been talking to each other about this lucky melon for days. Won’t people be surprised and envious?!

The family includes my Great Aunt Ruby and three of my 3rd cousins who I don’t know well. We’ll show them how great country living can be! Melons growing like gold in the garbage dump out back!

In fact, everyone will be impressed when we drag all 30 people out to see our prize. And then…and then, we will pick it... and bring it around to the front of the house. Then, with Ceremony we will cut it up and all of us will eat watermelon for Labor Day!

Here’s what really happens:


Grandma’s Bad Bath Behavior

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

My Mother’s Old Chinese Doctor..I Don’t Think Dr. Ron Would Like His Picture Here!

“Oh, you girls, bathing Grandma can’t be all that difficult.”

This is my brother in law, Dr. Ron speaking. My mother and my 3 sisters and I are sitting at my mother’s kitchen table, discussing how it’s time to Bathe Grandma, Again.

This is a long time ago. My mother’s mother is in her late 80’s and has had dementia for as long as I have known her. She and my grandfather live in a cottage on my parent’s property.

My grandmother is the funniest woman I know. People tell me she had a terrific sense of humor before her strokes, but stroking hasn’t seemed to have taken away her zany and outspoken world view.

Hot weather or cold, Grandma always wears her heavy, hairy red coat that hangs below her knees with a lop-sided drag. She has long white hair that sweeps to her waist, hair that she brushes, puts into 2 two fat braids and loops over her head and pins.

She’s got the black grandma shoes and the nylons rolled right above her ankles. She wears gold wire-rimmed glasses over her nose, glasses that accent her heavily wrinkled face.

She’s healthy and strong and sinewy and likes to take a boxing stance. When she walks she lists to the right like a ship ready to roll over and go down in the roiling sea.

She doesn’t like to bathe and we don’t like to bathe her, but it becomes an absolute  necessity when we can smell her as she rocks her way towards us or sits at our conference table for dinner with all 10 of us every night. The 10 of us are my father, mother, 6 kids, Lancaster (our grandfather) and Grandma.

Then, of course, in this room we need to count the big, smelly dogs, the cats, a few chickens that like to come in the house and visit and sometimes my brother’s mean, wild raccoon that rummages through all the pots and pans in the drawers and cupboards in the kitchen, while we eat.

But, that’s another story for another day.

We’re talking about my grandmother and once again it’s Bath Day. We girls all hate this day because it takes all 5 of us to get her in the tub and hold her in the tub and get her washed. She screams at us, yells and slaps us soundly with wet wash rags. By the time the wash is over, the small bathroom in her cottage is wet, floor, walls and ceiling, soaked with water and we are all drenched with our clothes stuck to us and our hair in runny clumps with knots of soap and water.

Dr. Ron is sitting in Grandma’s small living room which is actually part of the kitchen, as we girls and Mom at the kitchen table discuss The Bath, which we are gathered to here to accomplish. We’re having green tea, getting fortified. Grandma is sitting with us, nodding and smiling sweetly, not having a care or trouble in what is left of her former mind.

Ron repeats himself, “You girls are all making too big a deal of this. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do these things. You’re obviously not approaching Grandma in the right manner.”

We all turn our heads to look at him and somebody says mildly, “Well gee…why don’t you show us how to do it,then?”

Maybe it was me?

Dr. Ron says, “Ok. I will.” (more…)

The Day I Ate Rat Shit

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Venus And Summer In Our Winter Coats, Dec 2012

There Is No Photo Of Me Eating Rat Shit. Sorry. Just a photo of me and my daughter.

It’s a long plane ride to Malaysia.

The plane is a heavy *DC7 and it lumbers and sputters, mostly through the air, for 27 hours.

This is awhile back in time.

Summer is 16 and has insisted on coming with me while I build a business in Malaysia.

“I can’t let you go to Malaysia alone, Mom!”

We’re seated side by side in the front of the plane, cozied up near the stewardesses. The ladies, with their trim suits and little caps, bunch up together and whisper and complain. They keep saying the plane is old and used up and that it’s going to crash. They talk about the plane’s noises, malfunctions and the imminent plane crash, the entire trip.

I don’t know why this discussion doesn’t bother Summer and me. What bothers us more is that we are served 3 meals, all dinners, and they are always red eel with spikes. The meal is especially bad when we are woken up at 3:00 AM in our morning to eat another round of ‘cactus’ eel. The eels’s sharp points stick and lodge in our tongues and gums.

Thankfully, we have brought a few snacks with us.

Around hour #20, I pull a 4″ long, thin, commercially sealed bag of nuts and seeds from my large purse. Yum.

Summer refuses my offer to share, as she is working on a few dry cookies.

I chomp down the nuts and seeds and think of America and pancakes and eggs with crispy bacon.

I’ve finished the bag down to about an inch or less, where the nuts and seeds are all powdery. I see the remains are thick with nice salt and dark spices. I tip my head back, thwack the end of the bag with the palm of my hand and tap the last of the food into my mouth. Chew. Swallow.

Arrrgh!! It tastes like rat shit! It tastes like rat shit!!

I bend over my lap, gasping and choking. I can’t get the stuff up. It’s too late! I peer in the bag. Oh my God! It’s not spices, it’s….it’s rat shit! 

“Arrrgggh!” I bellow and turn toward Summer. I’m breathing hard.

“Mom!” Summer draws sharply away from me and shrieks. “Your breath is awful! You smell like rat shit!”

I think I’m crying. Not only have I willingly eaten rat shit and even with I am going to die. I am going to get Rat Rabies and die! Or, maybe it will be a fatal Rat Fever or Rat Shit Cholera! I actually don’t know what terrible disease I will now get and die of because I have never researched or studied the effects of eating rat shit!

I’m blubbering. “Summer. I just ate rat shit. Look! Look!”

I show her what’s left in the bag.

“Oh, your breath is horrible Mom, it’s just horrible!!!”

She only cares how bad I smell. Wait until she smells me later.

Fortunately, because I am a hypochondriac, I am prepared for all eventualities.

I pull a large bottle of high powered Vitamin C from my purse and frantically swallow most of pills in the bottle.

I can tell you now, that I don’t die… but I do get a terrible case of the runs from all the Vitamin C….and diarrhea is not fun on a long flight to Malaysia on an old, heavy plane that is about to crash.

*It’s a DC7 or something like that.

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