Monday, April 25, 2016

When You Can't Tell The Toons Without A Scorecard

Well, I guess I moved this past week. At least I think I did. I'm sitting in my new kitchen at the moment, a bit peeved that there appears to be no water hook-up to the ice machine in the fridge. And here I had just gotten used to having a working ice maker again. 

There are books on the shelves in the living room, the crystal is back in the china closet, and my room is nice and tidy....just the way I like it. And since the clothes in the closet all seem to fit me, I suppose they are mine. But there are boxes everywhere else.

I've not been paying too close attention to the clown cavalcade on either side. This latest bit of collusion between Grandpa Munster and Governor Kasich to maximize the number of delegates they can pull away from Drumpf? Good plan, guys. That should be a real show stopper On the other side, I'm still smarting over the Democratic descent into politik hell. I had such high hopes....but alas. 

Oh, I'm pretty sure Hillary will be the Democratic candidate, and I will vote for her without hesitation or reservation. She will be a perfectly fine president. She will bring a new perspective and I'm sure she will do lots of things I like as well as lots of things I don't like. That's the beauty of democracy in action.

Democracy. That's the thing where you get to elect your government, and then, if they screw it up, you get to un-elect them. Right? It's the part where the people get to live under the rule of whomever they put into national office. Right? And it's the part where the citizens have to take a leap of faith to trust the people they elected will do the right thing to those, the people. Right?

Not every country gets to do what we do....listen to a bunch of crazies for umpteen months say incredibly naive and stupid things and then pick one of 'em to run the country. We have elected more than our fair share of addicts, abusers, and assholes, but somehow we've managed to survive one or two terms of idiocrasy without too much damage. It's as if this is a game show.....

Oh, wait. It IS a game show. This does not warrant further explanation  because we already know it's true. And maybe this is really the direct descendant of bread and circus. Maybe it's no surprise that ROLLERBALL, HUNGER GAMES, and SURVIVOR are all giant hits. Maybe it's because we really don't care anymore so long as we have a lifetime supply of nachos and batteries for the remote.

Back in the day, when the Senior Son was in 2nd grade, he decided to start his own school newspaper. The first couple of issues were great, full of 2nd-grader-deemed-worthy news stories about the teachers, his friends, Skeletor, you know, the usual fodder. But by the third issue, he was struggling to come up with new stories. We talked about doing some interviews, perhaps writing to his buddy Mr. Henson who would certainly contribute something for his friend. But there was a deadline to meet and there wasn't much time. When issue #3 came out, we didn't know whether to laugh or cry. But we did have a sit-down with him about truth in journalism. Looking back, I'm thinking this was nothing compared with some of the pro-GOP sites. 

You think I'm kidding? Here are a couple of samples. Read 'em and then tell me you think we're not in deep and serious doo-doo: The Political Insider, Florida Family Policy Council, and PRINTLY

My WTF-O-Meter went off the charts when I read the comments. The ones on PRINTLY are mostly the spam variety I get here all the time, Hi, I found your blog meaningfulness and want to share ideas for making millions with you because I am liking you so much. I am certain they are all Nigerian princes who want me to help them get their rightful inheritances. But the ones on The PI are downright scary. They are hateful, racist, anti-Semitic, and just plain vile. At least the ones without semi-automatic Glocks. That said, Anita Staver of FLFAMILY announced she was now going to shop at Target armed with a case she has to go into the ladies' room. Really? People write this stuff in a public forum and come off as nutballs beyond the lunatic fringe. Are they all harmless? I have no idea, but my guess is not all. 

But harmless does not matter. They are out there. And they will vote. And there is not much anyone can or should do, other than campaign harder. If We, the People who do pay attention to the details are serious about stopping this game show from becoming a reality show, then not voting and not doing anything is not an option. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
The first thing to do when the moving van leaves is make your bed.
Have someplace sane to lie down at the end o'the day. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I'm late, I'm sorry.

I sat down on the bed last night at 6:53 to catch the very end of News Hour on PBS....and woke up at 6:10 this morning. I think I was tired. 

If Passover is about the journey from slavery into freedom, this year it will also be personal journey from care-taking to ......something else. Not a clue what that something else is, but I'm sure I'll figure it out. But it starts with a new kitchen that's already pesadik. Junior son, Ms. Junior, and Little Miss helped me affix the first mezuzah on Sunday morning. I'm ready to go. 

As I write this last episode ....originally started in the study and now being finished in the kitchen, I wonder what it will be like to write it in the new house, looking out a new set of windows. Will I see things differently in a house without the the ghost of most of my adult life? In pitching so much of its ephemera, it was like losing Ziggy all over again. I cried, I tossed, I had You've Got Junk three times...all in an effort to pare down my life into something manageable. I'm close, but not there yet.

Since this is Tuesday morning, not Monday night, I will get there tomorrow. The moving van cometh at 8:30. While it's taking the billion boxes of books and the furniture, Cousin Laurie and my friend Bill have been helping me move the other stuff, lovingly tossed into baskets and bins to be immediately off-loaded in the house....including the endless stream of crystal. It's all in the new house waiting for the china closet to come over.

Since the house is not yet sold, there is more stuff to bring by my regular kitchen stuff, and it will come after Pesach. But come over it will.

The departure from Egypt lasted for 40 years until all the old slaves were gone and an entirely new generation born into freedom could return to the land of Israel. Moses could see it, but he could not enter. It was not for him. In a odd way, that mirrors one piece of this journey for me. Mom was to come to the first night Seder at Cousin Laurie's house. And I'd promised I would bring her to the new house on Sunday. For the last month or so, Mom poured over the pictures, we talked endlessly about what would go where and whether or not the dining room set would come with me. In the end, sadly, she was only  able to look. 

Even though none of them, not Ziggy, nor FIL, nor my folks will ever see the new place, I will have them in my heart. 

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Day
Always try to  move right before Pesach, then you only have to pack the kitchen once. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Have I Mentioned...?

Have I mentioned that I'm moving? 

This morning ended the period of shiva (7 days) for my Mom. It's very strange not to hear her voice on the phone, and not to call her when I hear something of interest. I have had her voice in my ear for over 6 decades, so I guess I'm allowed a little bit of time to acclimate to the idea she's not there. Not having either Mom or Dad is excessively weird. 

Have I mentioned I'm leaving Chez WP for a smaller, more manageable domicile? I am closing on the new house on Friday. This barn, however, is still up for sale. 

Meanwhile, back at Rancho Politico, I can't say I'm too happy with the Democratic candidates these days. I loved the early days of that race, when facts were facts and uncivil behavior was being trademarked by the GOP. I love it when candidates actually talk about the issues and their own differences. Now, they have descended into junior high hell. I also get the distinct impression that Bernie does not do his homework as thoroughly as he needs to. This is a problem for me...and rumor has it I'm not alone with this concern. 

Have I mentioned that even though I got up from shiva for Mom, I continue saying Kaddish for Dad, which means I'm doing a double header for the next seven months? My Dad did it for his parents. It can be done. 

Lots of things can be done. People do stuff every day.

And so I will. I'll keep you posted.

The WP

Monday, April 4, 2016

Dinner With Dad

Well, my mother...who never met an event she could not organize....organized herself into having dinner with my Dad...and probably the rest of the gang was there, too. All last week she'd been saying she was ready to meet Dad for dinner. After the Junior Son and I called the Senior Son late Friday night to tell him to come home and we told her we'd called, I think she decided to wait for him to arrive. 

She was so happy to see him when he walked through that door. 

When the phone rang at 8:20 Sunday morning as I was getting ready to leave for morning minyan, I saw the word SHOLOM and I knew. I cannot say I was surprised or shocked; I think it was almost a relief. She said she was ready to go, and she was. Her body had come to the end of its ability to bounce back even if her brains thought otherwise.

Mom was lucid until the end. She told people she loved them. She seemed to have made peace with herself and her own world. When I kissed her goodnight late Saturday night, she did not respond as she usually did, and I think I knew this was my last goodnight kiss.

It was hard to see my mom, that grand tower of strength and defiance, lying there, breathing softly, and not responding to my kiss on her brow. She looked so frail, so weak. Not much like my mom. 

During the last few months of my Dad's life, she was Tiger Woman, defending the love of her life as he slowly slipped into the Olam ha'Bah, the World to Come. She could be fierce and demanding, but I never saw her in that attitude when it was not warranted by what she determined to be Dad's needs. I also listened to her say some unkind words about people she believed had wronged our family in one way or another, and once her respect for you was gone, it was unlikely to ever be fully restored. She was staunchly loyal, but rarely blind. I learned a lot from her this last year... lessons in being strong, lessons in compromise, lessons in how to bend but still manage to get your own way, lessons in how to live with yourself after disaster. 

She cared deeply for many causes, and even on her last day, Mom asked me to turn on the news. I did, she listened, and then asked, "What? Trump isn't dead yet?" I know she meant his candidacy, but it was pretty funny all the same. Her stalwart support of Hillary Clinton never ceased to amaze me. She was always the leftist in our family, so I thought for sure she would be feeling the Bern, but no; she wanted to live long enough to see a woman president. Not too long ago, she told me she had three goals: to be there for Little Miss's second birthday in October, to dance at the Senior Son's wedding a week later, and to vote in the 2016 Presidential election a few days after that. "I don't wanna see Daddy until I can tell him I voted for Hillary, and that Hillary won." Dad would have apoplexy ... even in the Olam ha'Bah....and she knew it. 

We, her family and close friends, were well aware of her follies and her foibles, her impatience with incompetence, and general dislike of laziness. Like the man she married, she was an ethical human being who was, in matters of civil rights for ALL, way ahead of her time. Her intolerance for intolerance was a running theme this last year, and she was pretty vocal about it. I think this primary season really upset her more than she let on....except when it was just us sitting around her room...and she would let the TV-news anchors have it. 

The boys knew their Bubbe as their very first, very bestest friend. She was always ready for an adventure, there was always time to talk. She wanted to hear anything and everything they had to say. Bubbe was comfort, she was advice, she was present. There was nothing Bubbe could not make happen, and even when they were kidlets  no more, Bubbe was still the foundation rock. It was the Junior son who pulled the plug, so to speak, on their condo living and convinced them to come to Minnesota. He and Mrs. Junior Son dangled the carrot called Little Miss....and north they came. Even the Senior Son, albeit in that other state next door, was in driving distance of Bubbe and Zayde...and saw them more this year than ever. This year, this gift, of having them close at hand, marveling at the wonder that is Little Miss....priceless. 

When someone dies, people always try to say nice things about them. And Mom's is no different. Lots of people, over the course of the last year, have talked to me  about what a great presence she was, her tenacity, her ability to help others, her kind and loving words to so many people. This morning, as I was in her room picking up a few things, there was a constant stream of Sholom staff telling me what a difference she made in their lives, and at Sholom itself. Everyone told me how she always asked about their lives, their kids, their challenges, and how she always had follow-up questions when she saw them again. That she remembered and asked made them love her to bits. She knew everything about everyone, and kept it close. She was not a gossip.  On the other hand, we called it being nosy when she did it to us. I guess we never realized how precious that made her to others. 

Mom was far more than just the sum of her parts. She was many things to many people. In the end, however, only one thing mattered to her: she was our Mom, our Bubbe, our friend, our defender, and we would take her forward in our hearts. No doubt about that. 

I really hope the party at Aunt Ruth's last night was one giant shindig. 

May her memory forever be a blessing.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
That's all.