Monday, April 20, 2015

Stuff and a Whole Lot Of Kleinigkeiten.

Two of my from each side of the family and not realizing they were both heading south.... are in Delray to take their leave of my folks. This is an extraordinary kindness, and I am glad that they are there. As excited as we are about getting the 'rents into assisted living, we are all very aware that they are saying goodbye to siblings and relatives and close friends. 

One of the sidebars to this move is that they will probably not see Tante, Aunty G, and Uncle Budgie again. Not only are my folks in their nineties, the others are close behind them. This is a rather harsh reality, one nobody wants to talk about but one that cannot really be pushed aside. Deal with this we must. 

My parents have spent a fair amount of time in Minnesota over the years, but they are east coasters and living in the land of Swedish passive aggressive even in a Jewish seniors' complex will bring its own set of challenges. I am hoping their old sense of adventure kicks in once they get here, and that they will find having all their meals provided, classes, exercise and assorted activities right on site will renew their independence, something they've both been missing since Mom stopped driving a a couple of years ago. They have been members of our shul since its founding, they know the rabbi and he knows them. It's not exactly a strange land, but it will be different from that comfortable world they know. 

Aunt Jane and Grandma Sarah
Once upon a time, my grandparents boarded ships and floated across the ocean, knowing with absolute certainty they would not see those left behind ever again. Siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even parents waved goodbye and prayed that a letter or two might come from across that vast sea. It must've been terrifying for Grandma Sarah and Aunt Jane, already orphans, to get on the boat in South Hampton to sail to their aunt in New York. But off they went to make new lives for themselves in a strange land. At least they spoke the King's English. Many more did not. 

Grandma and Aunt Jane, Grandpa Moishe, Grandma Bessie, Grandpa Ben....they all came to America believing this was the "Goldeneh Medina,"  the golden land. They believed if you got here, it would all work out. The Lower East Side was a gateway, not a final destination. They were all immigrants.... as was anyone who was not Native American. They came with expectations, lived with reality, and eventually figured out how to live here. There was the belief that if you worked hard, you would get ahead. Some did it better than others.

America has changed since then. And America is changing once more. The middle class is shrinking. Blue collar/manufacturing jobs that were once the backbone of this nation have evaporated. Service industry jobs don't exactly pay a living wage, and lots of people are losing ground. Once upon a time, a minimum wage job was enough to provide food, clothing, and shelter for a family. These days, a minimum wage job isn't enough to provide any of those, much less all. If you're a two parent family, chances are pretty good both parents work and pay for daycare to make ends meet. You may or may not have health insurance through your workplace, but at least now you can get it through the ACA, and millions have done just that. 

The economy is bouncing back. There's a resurgence of manufacturing and product development that bodes well. It's slow growth, but it's deliberate, careful growth, not  a boom/bust mentality. Still, we are a nation with serious problems. Our water supply is shrinking. We are having incredible droughts on the west coast which threaten much of our food supply. Roads and bridges are in desperate need of maintenance and repair. We have a social gap that is widening, not shrinking as it should be, and the social fabric of this nation is at risk. These are the issues that should be front and center in the upcoming presidential election.

And what are the candidates talking about? 
  • how to prevent women from getting reproductive health care that's available in every other country on the planet, but not in ours. 
  • how to protect inherited wealth from taxation while upping the ante on lower and middle class families. 
  • how to remove science from classroom curricula in order to replace it with mythology.
  • how to prevent scientists from using incendiary phrases like "climate change" when talking about shifting weather patterns.
  • whether or not a child born to an American citizen in one of the 50 states that comprise the United States of America is a citizen.
  • whether or not corporations count as people when money is involved.
  • whether or not Hillary Clinton flying coach is electioneering ploy.

From Jonathan Allen's Twitter feed
This list is just the beginning, and it's all (as my mother would say) from the kleinigkeiten....trivial baloney. The amount of stupidity that passes for political discourse is an abomination. The amount of hate speech that comes out of the talking heads on television makes me wonder about who is monitoring this stuff....and suspect they just going for the scandal and not the news. Who gives a rat's ass if Hillary got on a small plane that had no first class? Do you really think there is some sort of secret code message in that action? Or is it possible it was a plane going to Newark and she got on. Really, folks; this is newsworthy?

I must be living in some alternative universe where common sense and civil discourse have been replaced by garbage talk from BOTH sides. And I know I sound like a broken record when I say, once more with feeling, that the only ones who can fix this are We, the People. Until a large segment of this population wakes up to the notion that there are candidates out there pandering for your vote who want to put an end to the idea of the public good, we will continue to elect congressclowns, and presidents who are acting against the needs, the good will, and well-being of this nation. 

Meanwhile, and much more importantly, my folks will arrive next week and I am looking forward to that. I am thankful they can afford assisted living. Having been FIL's caregiver under my roof, I am especially thankful that they have each other and that they can have a flat of their own. Believe me when I tell you I know how lucky I am. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Never underestimate the ease and sanity of just renting a U-Haul truck.


  1. Your parents are blessed to have you--as was FIL.

  2. try this on for size!