Saturday, August 19, 2017

Ch 8 I mention to Stephanie that Primo and I are going to Pittsburgh but forget to tell her this in on the DL

Me: Hey girl!

Stephanie: Hi! ‘Sup?

Me: Primo and I are going to Pittsburgh.

Stephanie: Fun! Love that place!

Me: It’s for Pete’s dad’s funeral.

Stephanie: Sad. L Please give him my condolences. Never met him but P has talked about him so much I feel as if I do.

Me: OK. It will be fun except of course it’s a sad reason to go.

Stephanie: Didn’t S say nasty things about P’s dad? Both English professors. Not at same school.

Me: Yeah, Primo told me something. Sly said Pete’s dad was an intellectual lightweight—

Stephanie: all he cares about!

Me: I know! But he said that, even though Pete’s dad got his PhD at a better school and taught at a better school than Sly did!

Stephanie: Honestly. I do not get him.

Ch 8 Primo does not tell Sly and Doris that we are going to the funeral of his best friend’s father because he is worried Sly and Doris will get upset, not because Mr. L died but because they think Primo should not be wasting his time on the funerals of people he actually knows and likes

Primo has known his best friend, Pete, since our freshman year of college. He has known Pete’s dad almost that long. I met Pete’s dad at Pete and Julie’s big New Year’s Eve party last year, which I did not write about here because there are no opportunities (thank goodness) for snark when you visit people you really like and spend all your time cooking and eating good food.

Like Sly, Mr L was a retired English professor and an avid reader, so I spent a lot of time with him at the party talking about books.

Just like Sly and me.


Pete’s father died.

When your best friend’s father dies, you go to the memorial service if you can.

Primo : Can you take a few days off work to go to the funeral with me? I have miles for the plane tickets, Pete will pick us up at the airport, and we will stay with them, so it won’t cost us anything

Me: Yeah, I think I can.

Primo : I don’t think I should tell my mom and dad that we are going. They got so upset when I didn’t want to go to my uncle’s funeral.

Me: Sometimes lying is the best strategy.

Primo : And it’s not really a lie, is it?

Me: Nope. It is revealing information on a need to know basis only. This is a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell issue.

Ch 8 Doris is upset that I did not answer her condolence note properly

Primo: My mom doesn’t like how you answered her email about your grandmother.

Me: What? What doesn’t she like? I was very cordial.

Primo: She says you didn’t answer her properly.

Me: Ummm… How does one properly respond to a sympathy note?

Primo: I don’t know.

Me: Let me send you the whole chain. I want your opinion.

Primo (reading): I don't know what she's talking about. Your answers look just fine to me.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Ch 8 I am not a good environmentalist but then, I don’t claim to be one, unlike Sly and Doris, who are passionate about the environment but run their air conditioning (with the patio door open) even in the nice Florida weather

Primo (as he peers into the shower, where I am bathing): Why do you have the windows open in the kitchen but the heat on here?

Me: Different conditions.

Primo : If you were willing to suffer, you could help reduce energy consumption.

Me: I'm willing for other people to suffer to reduce energy consumption. I am not willing to suffer.

Ch 8 Comment that I am a narcissist who does not respect her elders (PS I have a lot more than 78 readers)

You guys, apparently I have hit a nerve. Maybe Sly and Doris have found this blog after all? 

A reader left this comment:

I have been reading your blog, and you sound like a drama queen with no respect for elders. You are a bit deranged, and on too many drugs. I'd say you are narcissistic.

And this one:

You are a mean , self centered person with no respect for elders. It is a nice gesture for his parents to give you gifts. Also, the fact that you want them to pay for your plane tickets to visit his own parents shows how selfish you are. No wonder you only have 78 readers.

Ch 8 I thank Doris for her note about my grandmother even though as far as I am concerned – and I am a stickler for thank-you notes, as you have noticed, a thank-you note for a condolence note is not required

Dear Doris,

Thank you for your kind words about my grandmother. We were fortunate to have her as long as we did and for her to be independent and in good health almost her entire life.

Yes, I know what you mean about mothers and grandmothers not really getting a vacation. When we visited my grandmother, she spent her time cooking for everyone. She did not make blackberry pie, but we would pick raspberries (which ceases to be fun after about three minutes -- raspberry brambles are sticky and sharp) and she made raspberry jam or this fabulous raspberry dessert with merengue and whipped cream.
Even when she did not have company, my grandmother kept busy: church almost every morning, then to the PO to get the mail. She was part of the ladies' circle at church (they cooked for funerals and weddings) and helped care for my mom's schizophrenic cousin. She kept a huge garden, played cards at the senior center, made quilts for family and friends, and went to her painting classes. That woman had more energy! She put me to shame!
She was ready to go, though. She had friends at the nursing home but still missed her independence (who wouldn't?) and was still mad at my mom for taking her car keys. I am comforted by the fact that she is in heaven[1] with my grandfather and with other loved family and friends and I know I will see her again someday. (But not too soon, I hope.)

[1] Yep. Mentioned heaven on purpose. I know. I am a bitch. Whatever.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Ch 8 Sly asks Primo to figure out how to return the watch Primo bought for him and I want to be ticked off about Sly’s burdening Primo with things Sly should figure out for himself, but then I realize that Sly is not being completely unreasonable, which makes me cranky to admit – darnit, Sly! But then Sly creates the second problem all for himself and still wants Primo to fix it

Primo buys a watch to Sly from a flash sale site. Woot ships the watch to Sly.

The watch doesn’t work.

Sly, who is retired and is, may I remind you, The Smartest Man in the World, does not try to deal directly with woot. Instead, he asks Primo to deal with it.

Sly wants Primo to help him return the watch that Primo ordered for him.

OK. Maybe I can see that for a parent who is not technically proficient and who did not place the order in the first place, meaning he didn’t necessarily have access to all the order and ship information.

If it were my mom in this situation, I would help her. I guess it’s not so unreasonable for Sly to ask for help. Man, I hate to admit that. Primo helps my mom with her computer, even though she has an associate’s degree in computer science. Oh I hate this! I hate not being able to be completely righteously indignant about something Sly has done.

Primo contacts woot, gets a shipping label, and forwards the link for the label to Sly.

Sly opens the link, prints the label, prepares the package, and mails it.

The package is returned to Sly with a note from the USPS: The bar code was wrinkled and unreadable.

Sly tries to print another label but the link has expired. Sly writes to Primo, "Please advise."

·         Is there really no procedure at the USPS to have someone process such a package manually? Would they really rather return a package to sender than read the address that accompanied the bar code? That is not efficient. I am not pleased with the USPS.
·         Is Sly, who is the Smartest Man in the World™, truly incapable of solving this problem by himself? Does he really have to delegate it to Primo?

If it were me, I would try these things:

·         Ask my postman if I can re-send for a human to read the address that is printed on the label next to the bar code.
·         Ask my postman if I can re-send with a new label without a bar code.
·         Email woot myself and ask what to do.

I would not ask Primo to solve the problem for me. I would think to myself, "I have a PhD from Michigan. I am super super smart. Doesn't everyone know that? I tell them that all the time. I am so smart that I can figure this out by myself. I am not going to ask my son, who has only a BS – he doesn’t even have a master’s degree! – to solve this problem for me because he is probably not smart enough."

What I suspect Sly thinks is, "Why should I do this work? I will see if I can get Primo to do it for me, even though I don't do anything all day but watch porn online and drink."

Primo emails woot. He forwards the response from woot to his dad with the note, "Dad, this should be enough information for you to return the watch. The customer service email and the order number are included in this note."

Seriously. The Lazy!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ch 8 Doris sends a nice note about my grandmother

Dear Goldie,

Please accept our sincerest condolences on your grandmother's passing.

I only knew my paternal grandmother who baked scrumptious blackberry pies on her old-fashioned range (Grandpa collected fresh blackberries but did little else to contribute to family endeavors).  My parents and I visited her and my grandfather every summer when I was a child.  She and my mother spent most of the time we visited cooking and cooking to host and socialize with all my Dad's relatives (two brothers/families and several aunts/uncles and their families). The location was Belleville, IL, not far from St. Louis, MO.

We all sweltered in the 90 degree heat and high humidity in my grandparents second floor.  I often think about my mother's role there and how she never experienced a "vacation."  Nonetheless, the experience was "family" and I am grateful to have been a part of that.

They were both deceased by the time I was twelve.  My maternal grandmother died the year my parents were married (1935).  Since I didn't happen until 1938, I lost the chance to know her.

Sly’s maternal grandparents died before he was born--the paternal "grands" are a vague memory and were never close to him.  They passed early in his life.

It is wonderful that you had a close relationship with your grandmother.  Grandmothers and mothers are very special--my mother's birthday was today.  I still miss her so. She loved me beyond measure and had the same total love for Primo and Nancy.  At this moment my tears are flowing.

I'll be in touch further and soon. I promised Primo to send you some zucchini recipes we've enjoyed.  Will do soon.



Ch 8 We argue about how to do the trash and I refrain from pointing out that Primo’s trash obsession, although directed differently, might be as bad as Sly’s

Me: Stop mashing the trash into the trash can. It makes it really hard to get the bag out.

Primo: You got it out, right?

Me: Yes, but it's a pain in the neck.

Primo: But it's important to fit as much trash as possible.

Me: No, it's not. It costs what - one and a half cents a bag?

Primo: No! It's a lot more expensive!

Me: Three cents.

Primo: More than that. Five dollars a box, so maybe a dime a bag.

Me: Oh no. A fortune. It’s my money. I get to decide.

Primo: It adds up.

Me: Says the man who buys cookies at the store rather than making them himself. I think I can afford it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ch 8 Sly does not like the Father’s Day card that Primo sends him

Primo: I called. I got it over with.

Me: What did your dad say about the Father’s Day card?

Primo: I asked if he got it.

Me: Yes?

Primo: And he said that he had. I had to bring it up.

Me: Did he think it was funny?

Primo: No. He said it was a "love/hate" card.

Me: What? He said that? About the card you sent him?

Primo: Yes.

Me: Remind me. What was on the card again?

Primo: A family in a station wagon with the dad saying, "If you don't knock it off, I am going to stop this car."

Me: Well. I can see why he was offended.

Primo: I thought it was funny. My mom thought it was funny.

Me: Apparently, everyone who was on the review committee at Hallmark thought it was funny or they never would have produced it.

Primo: Yep. My dad does not have a sense of humor.

Me: Nope. And he is not nice, either.

Primo: Maybe I shouldn't have sent it.

Me: Yes, you should have. It's funny and light and it's not offensive and frankly, it's important to stand up to tyrants occasionally. You and I are usually powerless against him because he will take it out on your mom, but every now and then, you have to assert yourself a little.

Primo: Yep.

Me: You are not like your dad.

Primo: No I am not.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Ch 8 My grandmother dies and Primo and I go to the funeral

Not the happiest of occasions, but my grandmother was 97. She lived a good life, surrounded by people she loved, and people think of her and smile.

We fly to Minneapolis, drive to Medford, and gather the day before at my aunt Rita’s house to cook for the funeral. My aunts and cousins are there. Primo joins us making dinner rolls and strudel and rhubarb bars.

Nobody will go hungry on my family’s watch.

The funeral is crowded. Not too shabby for a small-town funeral. Full church, full lunch afterward.

PS There is no licking of the cheeks. I think my cousin is reformed. Good.

And now it’s time for one of my favorite jokes.

The Ole and Lena Funeral Food Joke

Ole was on his deathbed. Pastor Inqvist had been there to give him the last rites and had left. Ole was lying in his bed, waiting to die. It is very boring waiting to die.

Lena had gone downstairs.

Ole noticed a wonderful fragrance wafting up from the kitchen. Could it be? Could it possibly be his favorite rhubarb bars? His favorite dessert in the whole wide world?

"Lena!" he tried to call, but his voice was too weak and he sounded like the guy in the Man Cold video who croaks out, "Laura!" but she can't hear him.

He spent a few minutes recovering from the attempt to call Lena, then made a decision. He tried to sit up, but he was too weak. Too weak to sit up in bed.

So he rolled. He rolled over out of bed and fell to the floor.

He spent a few minutes resting, then began to crawl, one painful, slow inch at a time to the stairs.

Once he got to the stairs, he rested for a few minutes, then turned around so his feet were facing down and bumped his way down the stairs on his butt, one stair at a time.

When he reached the bottom, he rested, then rolled over onto his stomach and crawled into the kitchen. He got to the island and painfully pulled himself up to the counter, where Lena had cut the rhubarb bars and placed them on a plate.

He reached for one, grabbed it, and was about to take a bite when Lena walked into the kitchen. She ran to him, shocked, slapped his hand, and said, "Ach, Ole! Shame on you! Dose are for after da funeral!"

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Ch 8 Sly is upset that I am taking Primo away from them because if it weren’t for me, Primo would live with them in Florida or, at the least, spend every single holiday with them and all of his vacation

Primo: My mom is not feeling well. My dad is upset. At you.

Me: What did I do now?

Primo: You are taking me away from them.

Me: How?

Primo: Umm… Because I don’t live with them? I don’t know. I think he expected me to visit them for Mother’s Day and my birthday.

Me: I’m sure they would have enjoyed that.

Primo: But that’s not how I wanted to spend that time. He says you do not respect them. He is also angry that I will not – his words – take control of our relationship and get you in line. He says if I don’t get you in line, he will disinherit me.

Me: I thought your dad was an ultra-leftist. That is not a very liberal attitude. It’s definitely not feminist.

Primo: My dad is not a feminist lefty. He picks and chooses the parts he likes.

Me: A cafeteria lefty?

Primo: Exactly! Anyhow, he says he is “hurt” – no, “deeply hurt” that you do not have a relationship with them.

Me: I write letters to your mother. Which I should not have to. My relationship is with you, not with your parents. My mother doesn’t get pissy that you are not writing letters to her. What exactly are the responsibilities that they think go along with being a girlfriend?

Primo: Well, they are pretty sure I am going to marry you—

Me: Unless they can convince you not to.

Primo: Yes. And they probably think that if they don’t get you in line now that it won’t ever happen.

Me: I do write to your mother. Against my will. Because you want me to because you feel sorry for her.

Primo: Yes, but you don’t acknowledge him in the letters. He says you don’t even acknowledge that he exists.

Me: I don’t feel sorry for your dad and neither do you. It’s your mom I am trying to have a relationship with because I feel so bad for her and because you have asked me to. But your dad? Nope. I am not going to bother. He’s not worth it.

Primo: My mom is not doing well. My dad says that she is hardly eating and gets most of her calories from alcohol and that she has the runs all the time.

Me: I think that might be dangerous. Isn’t that a symptom of severe alcoholism?

Primo: I am really worried about her. It looks like she'll go first. But then what do we do with my dad?

Me: Maybe we bring him up here to live with us.