Saturday, October 3, 2015

In which Sly insults Primo so things are getting back to normal and Primo is reminded (as part of the insult, actually) of the horribly tacky wedding gift that Ted gave to him - do not read this post if you get offended easily

Primo: My dad is feeling better. He is getting back to his old self.

Me: Oh. Is he starting to be mean?

Primo: No! Well. A little. He wanted to read today and he wasn't so out of it. But he picked at me.

Me: Uh huh.

Primo: And he told me that I have some speech pattern that annoys him.

Me: You mean the speech pattern in the speech you have while you are away from your home for more than a month, taking care of him?

Primo: Yes.

Me: That's what I thought.

Primo: Well it's not like I have anything better to do. It's not like I should be with you instead of with him.

Me: Of course not.

Primo: Then he brought up the gag gift that Ted gave me at our wedding.

Me: What gag gift?

Primo: Don't you remember?

Me: No. He gave us the big salad fork and spoon. That wasn't a gag, was it? I actually like those.

Primo: No. Maybe I never told you.

Me: What was it?

Primo: When it was just my dad, him, and me, he gave me a cock ring.

Me: What?

Primo: I know. I feel kind of dumb because I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to do with it.

Me: Wait. Wait.

Primo: Have you ever used one?

Me: No. I have heard the term but have never seen one.

Primo: Do we need to spice things up?

Me: WAIT! WHO DOES THAT? Who gives that kind of gift?

Primo: Ted.

Me: What. A. Jerk.

Primo: I know. Are you upset I didn't tell you then? It was probably because there was all that other stuff going on that week - you didn't need any more drama.

Me: The only reason I would have wanted to know back then would have been to reinforce what I thought about Ted, which is that he is a jerk. This would have given me more ammunition so I would never have had to wonder since then if perhaps I was misinterpreting or misjudging him and he is actually a great guy.

Friday, October 2, 2015


Just talked to Primo again. Ted called again. This time he wants a list of every single drug that is going into Sly. He also told Primo that Primo is emailing too many people about Sly's condition.

"Are we using the information to negotiate with Russia?" I asked.

Primo just doesn't want to be taking phone calls all day. He thinks emailing everyone concerned once a day with a status update is a good way to handle the problem. I do, too.

So Ted wants a list of all the drugs because you know he has doctor friends and the internet and etc.

Primo said, "You know, if MY MOTHER hadn't JUST DIED and dad's surgery were the only thing I was dealing with, I might have time to get the information for you. But I don't."

Below is a conversation between my sister, a  nurse practitioner, and me.

(M is a guy she dated whom she introduced to Ted. Ted makes movies, you know, and M needed someone to make some videos for him. Ted and M met and hit it off because, as my sister noted dryly after she had broken up with M, "They are both so full of shit.")

about an hour ago
Now Ted (who told Primo it was a good thing you didn't marry M ) asked Primo to get him a list of all the drugs that Primo's dad is taking. You know, so he can run it by his doctor friends. And he HAS FILMED BRAIN SURGERY, YOU KNOW

My sister
He is right, it is a good thing I didn't marry M but curious why he thinks so.

My sister
If he wants to know, why doesn't he get his ass to Florida and talk to the doctors himself.

My sister
No hotels in Florida? How is he staying there for the funeral?
nope not hotels
PS don;t know why he thinks it's good you didn't marry M - Primo didn't ask him. Probably didn't want to encourage him.
Blesshisheart he thinks his opinion is relevant.

My sister

My sister
M thought Ted was the shit.
Ted thinks Ted is the shit
Chat Conversation End
Seen 6:22pm

In which Primo cleans up Doris' computer and we talk about the will

Primo: I had my mom's MacBook with me today at the hospital, cleaning it up. My dad will want to use it.

Me: Good idea.

Primo: She had a couple hundred documents on her desktop.

Me: What?!

(Who just throws documents on a desktop? You set up a file structure in a logical order so you can put things where they belong. My files below. Most of them have subfiles because that is how you put information in order so you can find it!

  • A Femme d'Un Certain Age (from when I was helping Tish with her FB page)
  • Business (subfolders for receipts, correspondence with home repair, medical, insurance, stuff from my marriage)
  • Primo's run for assembly/Congress
  • Christmas letters
  • House
  • Newspaper (from when I wrote for the local paper)
  • Neighborhood (block list, block party stuff)
  • Novel
  • Recipes
  • Rice alumni
  • Taxes
  • Work, my resumes, my friends' resumes, job-hunting advice, including a lot of great stuff from Ask A Manager)

(Documents on a desktop is a messy way to do things.)

Primo: I had to read a lot of them. She had one to her doctor about how much pain she was in.

Me: Oh I'm sorry sweetie. That had to have been very hard to read. Your poor mom.

Primo: She was in pain and so unhappy.

Me: I wish she had not been so miserable. I wish she could have had some happy years.

Primo: And another one with notes about an argument she was having with my dad.

Me: Like doing research on an argument about politics?

Primo: No. He had done something that really upset her and she was writing about it.

(Poor Doris. She really needed a blog.)

Primo: They say they had something so special, but it seemed like they couldn't stand each other.

Me: Well your dad sure wasn't very nice to her.

Primo: No.

Me: Leigh used to work with abusive men, counseling them. When I told her that your mom had been skinny with a bad complexion in high school but then got gorgeous and didn't know it, she diagnosed it right away.

Primo: What?

Me: Low self esteem in a woman plus a bullying man leads to abuse.

Primo: She was stuck with him.

Me: Well, financially.

Primo: She was just so tired after my sister.

Me: Your mom did not have it easy.

Primo: I can be really annoying -

Me: Yes.

Primo: And sometimes - about once a year - I can be a jerk.

Me: A cheese-throwing jerk.

Primo: But I have never been abusive, have I?

Me: No!

Primo: I mean, I am not a bully, am I?

Me: NO! And if you tried, I would stand up to you. No sweetie, you are not like your father.

Primo: When I got to college, I was like my dad. I thought I had to be right and tell people when they were wrong. But there were people I wanted to be friends with who did not want to be around me. I realized I was being like my dad and that I had to change if I wanted friends.

Me: You are NOT like your father.

Primo: Ted thinks he is in charge. He is like my dad. When my dad dies, Ted will become the know it all in the family.

Me: Speaking of that - I know this is your issue, not mine, but do you think perhaps your dad might take care of the will?

Primo: I was thinking about that. He has to make some hard decisions. Ted and Jack will think that my dad's money should be divided three ways.

Me: I don't think so. For one, they will also be getting money from their mom. Second, your parents have already given them a ton of money - thousands of dollars a year to Ted for your nephew's school and then a quarter of a million to Jack for the restaurant.

Primo: Yeah, if I have to make the decision, I will tell them that I get half of everything because of my mom and then we split the rest three ways.

Me: They might never talk to you again. But would that be so bad?

Primo: No. Ted is really getting on my nerves.

In which Ted, who is not a doctor and has not even played one on TV, asks Primo if Primo interrogated the anesthesiologist

You guys know that Ted is not my favorite, right? He is the one who sent me a super-nasty email about how f*ing stupid I was about Ted Kennedy, whom I had not met personally, so who was I to judge? I have searched my old emails to try to find the actual note. I can't find it, but because Ted BCC'd everyone in his family on his note to me and because Primo never deletes his old emails, I know it's somewhere in Primo's archives and I have asked him to find it so I can share it with you.

Wait. I found it. It's too nasty. I was not a saint by any means, but a tasteless joke about Ted Kennedy and a restating of the facts, which as far as I know, have not been in dispute for decades, does not merit a personal attack on me. He wrote:

please do me (and yourself) two favors: 1. stop with the stupid-ass smiley faces on emails. makes you look like a dipshit.2. the day after you have a knowledge base that exceeds kindergarten about these issues, let's talk. you can start by listing your syllabus on this issue. have you been to dike bridge? did you know edward moore kennedy? how much do you know about mary jo kopechne. please: stop being such an asshole on this subject.

You can imagine I have no interest in seeing this guy again.

My sister has met Ted. She also knows what a jerk he is.

Ted had called Primo after Sly's surgery and asked Primo if Primo had grilled the anesthesiologist before the surgery.

"About what?" Primo asked.

"About what drugs he planned to use! X drug! Y drug!"

"No!" Primo answered, bemused.

"Well I have filmed a lot of  brain surgeries," Ted told Primo.

"Just what was I supposed to do?" Primo asked me. " I assume that the surgeon AT MAYO knows what the heck he is doing. I didn't even know I was supposed to be asking those kinds of questions!"

"I don't think you are," I replied.

Then we laughed about what a pompous jerk Ted is.

I messaged my sister, who actually is a medical professional. And I wouldn't even ask her to grill the anesthesiologist on my behalf. You know - because she is not an anesthesiologist.

11 hours ago
Talking to Primo - he says Ted asked if Primo grilled the anesthesiologist about the drugs
"I've filmed lots of brain surgeries," Ted said
Because someone who has filmed surgery is qualified to discuss which drugs to use

My sister

My sister
And what would he do with that information?
a few seconds ago
Maybe tell the doc how to do it right?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

In which I am really surprised at how many people Sly could get to come to Doris' funeral - but it was just a dream

Saturday 12:11pm
I had the most bizarre dream - we were at the service for your mom. Your dad threw a big dinner and a ton of people came. He organized them into singing an a capella version of "Walk on the Wild Side" and you had a guitar that you did not play but hit on the side to get the beat
Saturday 4:31pm
Your dreams are very strange. You remember that level of detail?
As you know, I rarely remember my dreams in much detail, but there was something about my mom last night.
He had a cash bar. At a funeral. Tacky.

In which my sister points out that sometimes, one must sacrifice for one's husband

2 hours ago
Primo just said Ted might be staying at his dad's for the funeral . I will have to slit my wrists if i have to spend 2 days with that guy
24 minutes ago

My sister
These are times you suck it up for your husbands sake. Or you could kill off the brother.
How long would i be in prison do you think ?

My sister
Too much and I'm not sure how good you look in Orange.
I actually look good in orange

My sister
Then u don't have much to lose.

My sister
The cats would miss you.
They like whoever feeds them

Thank you

You guys, thank you so much so your condolences and kind words. I have read all of them to Primo and he is touched that people who have never even met him are being so kind.

I agree with the thought that some of you so eloquently expressed that we wanted more for Doris - that even if she could be not likeable sometimes, she did not deserve the life she had with Sly. And Primo pointed out that in the few times I was with Doris without Sly, she was a different person.

"THAT'S who my mom really was," he said. "She was a nice, good person."

I hope wherever she is now - if anywhere, that she is not in pain and is with the people she loves.

In which Primo and I discuss the sleeping arrangements for Doris' funeral

Me: I know it's way too early to talk to your dad about this, but it's something for you to think about. If I am going to spend three days there for your mom's funeral, maybe you and I could work on getting some of the stuff out of the house.

Primo: Yeah. My mom's stuff can all go.

Me: I don't want to sit around doing nothing.

[Translation: If Sly is home, I do not want to sit all day on the sofa waiting for him to criticize me.]

Primo: We'll figure it out. Ted and his wife might be staying, too.

Me: What?

Primo: If my dad is not home yet, then they would just stay in my mom and dad's bedroom.

Me: Three days with Ted?

Primo: Yes.

Me: Oh man. You know I really love you, right?

Primo: It's my mom's funeral!

Me: I know. But Ted. I will have to slit my wrists. I don't think I can stand being in the same space with him.

Primo: I have stayed with your relatives!

Me: All of whom like you and are nice to you! [Except Licking Pat. But even she was not mean. She was just rude.]

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

In which I am still in shock but Primo is going out for a beer and you know what? I don't blame him

You guys, it's been such a weird day. I spoke to Primo at 7:20 a.m. and then went straight to three hours of conference calls, so I couldn't even think about Doris' death. Then I thought about it and felt guilty that I had not been nicer to her and had not wanted to talk to her more when she was in the hospital but she didn't like me! When I am sick and in the hospital, please do not ask the people I do not like to call me to cheer me up.

But I still felt guilty that I had not made more of an effort. Does that happen after every death? I didn't feel guilty with my dad, but I had no mixed feelings about him. I loved my dad. Period.

I felt sorry for Doris but I didn't like her and now I feel bad for that.

I have been in shock most of the day. I just spoke to Primo for the third time today. He is on his way out for a beer. This morning was going to be the first morning in over a month that he was going to get to sleep late. He has been staying at Sly and Doris'. Sly spent last night at the hospital so this was going to be the first morning that Primo was in their house alone, without Sly getting up at 7:00 a.m. and making all kinds of noise. (Sly does that. I have stayed there. He and Doris made no attempt to be quiet, even though the guest room is right next to the living room.)

But he got a phone call at 6 a.m., so he didn't get to sleep.

I had texted Sam, Primo's best friend, and my brother, my sister, and my mom to let them know Doris had died. Sam notified three more of Primo's good friends.

"These people have called and I haven't had time to call them back!" he said. "This is very stressful."

I assured him that nobody expects a return call in a situation like this. "They are calling you not necessarily to talk to you - they know you are busy and in shock - but to let you know that they care about you and that you are important to them. They are not sitting by the phone thinking, 'I cannot believe he hasn't called me back!' Nobody expects it. Nobody. They want you to feel supported and loved. That's all."

When he talked to me this afternoon, after he and Jack told Sly that Doris had died (but only after talking to Sly's doctor to find out if Sly was in a state to receive such news - he did have surgery yesterday), he asked that I be nice to Sly and maybe give him a fresh start. Oh sure, I said. I mean, I am not going to pick a fight with Sly.

"My dad said my mom had been really nice the past few weeks," he said.

"Hmmmm," I answered.

"I told him it was because he had been nice to her."


ButI know Sly won't care about repairing a relationship with me. If he does do this deathbed conversion and become Mr Lovey, sure, I'll go with it. But I am not holding my breath.

"Have you thought about where he might live?" I asked. "Didn't he mention moving near his sister?" (She lives in another state.)

"Oh no," Primo said. "That would not work."

"Why not?"

"We even talked about it today. He says he's close to her but then he says he doesn't really like her and doesn't want to live near her."

"That makes no sense."

"He doesn't really like her" - remember this is is sister - the one person alive who has known him his entire life - "because she is a [opposite political beliefs from Sly]."

I laughed. "He doesn't like his own sister because of her political beliefs? The same beliefs I hold?"

"Yes," Primo answered.

"So there isn't really going to be a relationship between Sly and me," I said.

In which I get a very early morning phone call and those are never good

I am in shock. I woke up this morning to find that Primo had tried to call three times before 7 a.m.

Primo is not even out of bed before 7 a.m. Why on earth would he be calling?

"My mom just died," he said.

I gasped. She was getting better! She was going to start physical therapy! Sly was supposed to die first so Doris could have a year or two of peace without him, so she could live in assisted living and have some friends and drink coffee with them and talk about books and get her hair and nails done.

She didn't get any of that.

She got an abusive husband - she even admitted to Primo a few days ago that she had married a mean man - and a hard life.

I didn't like her, but I don't think she deserved death to come this way.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

In which Sly does not die in surgery, as I knew he would not

1. Doris gets to start physical therapy. That means medicare will pay for the nursing home, which will make Sly happy.

2. Sly survived the surgery.

Me: Did the doctor suggest that your dad should not be drinking five ounces of booze a day?

Primo: I don't think he knows about that. Any time my mom and dad have to answer questions about their drinking, they say they are "moderate" drinkers.

Me: They go through 1.75 liters of bourbon, a liter of brandy, and wine and beer every week. That is not moderate.

Primo: They think it is normal.

Me: If that is normal drinking, then I am Cindy Crawford.

Note: I am NOT Cindy Crawford. Nobody would ever mistake the 5'5" 142-lb me for a supermodel. Even if I were taller and thinner, nobody would mistake me for a model.

Primo: People think what they do is normal.

Me: It is not.

Primo: Sometimes I have that much in a day.

Me: You do not drink that much every. single. day. They get drunk. Every. single. day.

Primo: My dad doesn't appear drunk.

Me: Yeah. "Appear." So when he makes your mom cry with his meanness, he's doing that sober?

Primo: Hey. He has just had cancer surgery. It's not time to focus on his meanness.

Me: Cancer is not a get out of jail free card. It does not excuse being a jerk.

In which Primo has to clean Sly's you know what AGAIN - Warning: Bodily functions discussed in detail (this is what happens when people get old and sick)

  • Primo

    My dad is in surgery. I got almost no sleep last night, and I had to clean up shit. I think making people (especially elderly people) prepare themselves for surgery instead of admitting them the day before is cruel.

    I'm cranky.
  • 7:34am

    you had to clean up shit?
  • 7:39am

  • 7:39am

  • 7:40am

    He had to get up and poop four times after drinking his magnesium citrate, and one of those times he didn't make it to the bathroom before the poop came out.
  • 7:41am

    your dad should be on his knees thanking the God he does not believe in for you
  • 7:41am

    If we should thank God for good people and good things, we should also damn God for bad people and bad things.
  • 7:41am

    ok let's not make this political


    that your dad
  • 7:42am

    I know. smile emoticon
  • 7:42am

    1 should be cleaning his own shit



    you have sacrificed weeks and months now OF YOUR LIFE
  • 7:42am

    But he can't clean up shit on the floor. He can't bend over!
  • 7:42am

    cleaning his figurative and literal shit
  • 7:42am

    This is why people like him should be prepped IN THE HOSPITAL.
  • 7:42am

    then he needs to get on his knees and thank you

    he needs to show some damn appreciation

    and acknowlege that you are doing FAR MORE THAN ANY CHILD SHOULD E EXPECTED to do
  • 7:43am

    He has been showing appreciation. I think he's never been so nice to me before.
  • 7:43am

    yeah well

    he had 50 years to be nice to you