Poor poor me

Im Poor

I have never understood the seemingly discordant relationship between the amount of time it takes to MAKE money versus the amount of time it takes to SPEND money. For example, I need a new set of tires for our car, and suspect four new tires will cost between $600 – $800 dollars. It has taken me a bit of time to earn/save that money and yet, it will be spent in the blink of an eye. One debit card “swipe” and “POOF!” that money is out of my account. Gone. As though it never existed there.

That sucks, I think.

It seems like you should feel good about spending money for at least half as long as it took you to earn and/or save it. Another example: many of my friends save all year to go on a one week vacation. Saving? 358 days. Enjoying? 7 days.

That just isn’t fair. Plus, who gives a sh*t about new tires, I mean, none of our friends have ever invited us over for dinner and to “take a gander at their new tires.” Ugh. I hate being poor…

Universe? Could you possibly send me the winning Mega Millions numbers in a dream? I would be the kindest, most generous and most humble mega-rich person ever. Promise.

No, really… Give me $200 million dollars and just watch all the good that I will do. I am waiting…

Monday Memes 22

So, it has almost been a MONTH since my last Monday Memes post; sorry, I have had a “lot” going on lately. Anyway, as I was researching memes for today’s post, I came across this image:

dream

Given all that has happened for me this year – closing a business, burying a parent, all in addition to the other daily BS we all endure – I kinda’ lost myself, and my “dream” for a bit. Good news? I have taken SEVERAL deep breaths and am, as they say, BACK in the game. Thanks to my friends and family for all your love and support, not only recently but over the course of this whole year. Thanks to my beloved Martin, and his unconditional love and support. He IS my dream… And thanks to my parents for allowing me the opportunity TO dream while I was growing up.

For me, now? The dream continues… 

Revelations About Grammy and Pop-pop

On Sunday, I began the task of organizing and clearing out my parents’ house, readying it for sale after my father’s recent death. My Mom passed away six years ago and my Dad (Pop-pop) pretty-much left the house intact since – I mean, my Mom’s cigarette case is still on the coffee table and a pack of Kool 100’s is in the freezer (now six years old). Anyway, today was the first few hours in what I can see will be a lengthy process.

My goal today was to organize my parents’ living room, making it look as though they still lived there – not for any creepy reason but out of respect to their memories, and the house they loved. My father spent his final few weeks at home before he passed away there. Since the hospital bed got picked up, there has been a “hole” in the living room and the coffee table became the unofficial sponge bath staging area, holding towels and bedding. It was important to me that the room be returned to its former semi-glorious state, more or less as an homage to my parents and the house I grew up in.

As my project got underway, the first thing I noticed was that, in the final few months of his life, it appears Pop-pop replaced household cleaning products with household disinfecting products, as if Clorox Wipes and Dow Scrubbing Bubbles would make his cancer disappear. I wound up dusting the furniture with a damp cloth (goodness knows, my Mom accumulated 1000+ dish towels in her life, LOL!) Then I began the “clearing-and-straightening-up” process. I immediately determined three things:

1. My Mom never met a silk flower she didn’t like. Or a candle ring. Or a garland of silk ivy…

candle ring

I must have tossed three or four candle rings (all seasons, BTW), more than a few garlands of silk ivy (my Mom had taken to wrapping them around curtain rods; it is a look for sure) and two silk arrangements from her OWN funeral – saved by my father after – now all dusty and faded. Don’t get me wrong – my LOVE for my parents is boundless BUT my Mother definitely had her own ideas when it came to “home accessorizing.” Which leads into revelation two…

2. Grammy had an addition to burgundy key tassels. A serious addiction.

tassel

I must have “liberated” about eighteen of these today from my parents’ living room, They were on door knobs and cabinet pulls, hanging off the dining room chandelier (not even kidding!) and pinned to curtain edges. Again, I love Grammy, but Mom, please – enough with the key tassels already. And finally, Pop-pop’s answer to key tassels?

3. The Yellow Pages. My Dad was a phone book “hoarder.” I cleared 2005 thru 2013 out of the house today.

phone booksMy father’s attraction to phone books is odd – he hated talking on the phone. I suppose he just always wanted to ensure he could find a number when he needed one.

So anyway, when I left, I was quite pleased with how the living room “looked” – it was neat, organized and clean. I was not happy, however, with how the room “felt.” Sad thing is, in my efforts to make it look like someone “lived there.” I made it look like a model apartment: stacks of books here, strategically-placed pillows on every piece of upholstery and – forgive me, Grammy, forgive me Pop-pop – I also re-arranged the lamps.

I know – I am a horrible son (and anal retentive/ mild OCD, too!) And, know what was REALLY missing from the living room, the one thing I cannot “fix” or glam up? My parents are gone.

I’d stack those phone books, re-hang all those tassels AND wind faux ivy around any length of chain, rod or rail if I could only have my parents back. I missed them today, BIG TIME. And while I relished pitching those excessive things out, I’d be the happiest child on earth if I could hear my Dad ask for a phone book, or have my Mom ask me which candle ring I liked better.

I miss you Mom, I miss you Dad. Please look after each other, OK and, if you could, give me a glance every now and again, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks in advance!

Stars in the sky

It has now been one week and one day since my Pop-pop passed away. My life has somewhat returned to normal (I am blogging again, LOL!), although it is definitely a “new” normal. I still find myself looking at the clock, wondering if it is too late to call him. I thought today that I needed to remind him that Saturday is my beloved Martin’s birthday, but remembered that he wouldn’t forget because his birthday is this coming Monday. Their birthdays are only two days apart.

Then I remembered that we wouldn’t be celebrating Pop-pop’s 85th this year, and it made me sad. Sad that my two favorite guys wouldn’t be together and sad that I wouldn’t be there with them. Losing one parent sucks; losing both parents? It’s hard to describe the emptiness.

This saying came into my head tonight, supposedly an “Eskimo Proverb” – and shouldn’t that really be called an Inuit Proverb? Anyway, I have always taken great comfort in the past when I read it, and tonight it is no different…

starsMaybe my Dad always knew this proverb was true. Before he became ill, many nights you could find him sitting outside my parents’ back door, on a tree stump that serves as a stool (it looks really cool, I promise), just staring at the stars. When I was younger, he tried to teach me all the constellations, although I never made it beyond the Big and Little Dippers.

He would sit in silence in the dark, looking at the bright night sky, content and happy. On the occasions when I was home visiting and this would happen, I would ask him if he wanted any company, and he always said, “No, that’s OK. I am just fine out here.” Now I guess I finally understand why. He wasn’t alone at all.

The sky is a bit cloudy tonight but Pop-pop? I’ll be out there very soon, looking for you and Mom. Give me a little twinkle when I find you two, OK?

Tired

Every time I hear my phone – be it a text message beep or an actual ringtone – my heart stops for a minute. I always wonder if this will be “the” call.

Pop-pop is fading rapidly now, and whatever residual, foolish hope I and my siblings may have held for a miracle now seems unattainable. My Dad is getting ready to go on to Heaven, or a higher plane, or whatever terminology you prefer. I do not want him to go but I cannot bear to see him suffer.

Well-intentioned friends and family members have suggested we say to Pop-pop that it’s OK. You can go. The really sad thing is, I think they are right. And, I have come to realize that maybe it is not Pop-pop that doesn’t want to let go, it’s me…

You are tiredIt’s a strange feeling, you know, getting ready to essentially become an orphan. No matter how good or bad one’s parents are/were – and mine are/were pretty great – once they leave, once that anchor falls away, we are left alone. I mean, I am lucky – I have an amazing spouse (I love you MSW!), a small but frickin’ outstanding circle of true and loving friends and a pretty great therapist, LOL! I will be fine. But there is definitely an uneasiness hovering nearby me, waiting. Waiting till I am “alone” with my life, with no one really to answer to about it. It is a pretty overwhelming feeling at times.

I am thankful for the loving parents I got. Folks that know me well know I believe we all “pick” our parents – I got a flipping amazing pair. Perfect in their imperfections, my Mom and Dad were a great gift to me. I love them both very much. I miss my Mom every day, and worry now that – regrettably and unavoidably – I will soon miss my Pop-pop every day, too…

I know Mom is waiting for him, and I know he is waiting to see her again. My parents loved one another for fifty-one years, a record I hope to match in my own life with Martin (I have to live to be 100, but I accept the challenge!) My Dad has always been a little lost without Mom and, while I know my Mom has had good company these almost seven years since her crossing over, I know she will be happy to see my Dad again.

My cousin Vickie recently said to me that every one is 33 years old in Heaven. I’m not sure where she got that intel but I like the idea – my Mom and Dad young, beautiful/handsome and very much in love again. I hope Vickie is correct…

 

Pop-pop’s Fridge

I have been absent from blogging for a few days.

empty-deskThose of you who follow my little blog know that my father, Pop-pop, is terminally ill. Hospice has been called in and, as they say, “Now we wait.” It is a heart-breaking time and, frankly, it sucks. A lot. My siblings and I are taking turns staying with Dad now – he cannot be alone.

My father, once a robust, contrary guy with an opinion about anything and everything, now spends his waking hours – which are getting fewer and fewer – in an adjustable bed in the living room, watching TV for a few minutes at a time, sometimes with the sound blasting and other times with the sound muted, the closed captioning scrolling across the bottom of the screen. And all the while, my sister, brother or myself sit across the room in a recliner, or even closer on the nearby sofa, talking with Pop-pop when he feels like talking, making sure he has a drink or the daily paper (which he never reads, he just likes to “have it”), adjusting pillows and blankets and helping him with the TV remote. Increasingly, he just surrenders the remote and tells us to “Watch what we want.”

Did I mention that this really sucks?

I love my Pop-pop, and am angry that he is so sick. I am angry that doctors took so long to finally “figure out” WTF was wrong with him (why do we have to rule out everything before we arrive at diagnosis?). I am angry a bit with my Dad; seems he may have suspected he was sick over a year ago but, like all men I guess, we think he avoided seeking treatment or even a diagnosis, maybe because he was afraid of what he would find out. I get it, I do, but I am mad. And selfish, in a childish way – I don’t want Pop-pop “going anywhere…”

But now we are faced with the reality that is, well, reality. This past weekend, I went to my Dad’s house and spent the night, Sunday through late Monday evening. Pop-pop lives an existence without wi-fi, computers or internet anything – I mean, he really does still have a rotary phone at his house. So, no blog posts. Plus, I had more important things to do.

Rotary-Dial-Phone

We had a nice overnight, my Dad and me. We just kinda’ hung out, had a bite together and then he mostly slept. I slept on the couch right beside his bed. It was a beautiful time for me, sad as the situation is, but I am thankful Pop-pop and I had that time alone together. It was a bit surreal, though – I mean, I have always heard all the expressions, you know the ones: “Life is one giant circle. Parents become your children. In the beginning, parents give you life and, at the end, you help them exit theirs.” They are all true.

As the evening progressed, I helped my Dad eat – he wanted a Bacon Junior Cheeseburger, a few fries and a Frosty from Wendy’s. At this point, we are all worried less with nutrition and more with making Dad happy. He ate half the burger, about a half dozen fries and maybe half his small Frosty. As I pulled his bed tray away, I looked at him and told him how “good” he had done, much as he had done to me as a child when I ate my dinner. I wrapped the burger and fries (I ate the Frosty!) and put them in the fridge. Inside the fridge, I saw other recent left-overs – three McNuggets here, one KFC chicken strip and a barely-touched mashed potatoes on the top shelf, two-thirds of a Burger King something and a few onion rings on another shelf. As I nestled the most recent left-overs into the fridge, I stood crying silently in the kitchen, out of my father’s sight.

McNuggets

The fridge that had burst with food when my Mom was alive was now all but empty, save for half-eaten fast food meals. a bottle of apple juice and goat cheese.

Yes, goat cheese. Pop-pop recently mentioned that he had always wondered what the heck goat cheese tasted like. So, on my visit, I brought him some to try. I spread goat cheese on three crackers and brought them to him on a small plate. He ate one, said it tasted “all right” and now he would be able to say he had tasted goat cheese…

goat cheese

My sister is staying with Pop-pop the next few days. I wonder what she will think, looking past packets of honey mustard dipping sauces and shriveling French fries, when she sees the goat cheese. I hope maybe she gets the chance to share some with Pop-pop, too…

Look Up

I have had a LOT on my mind lately – my personal daily/weekly/monthly schedule has been overrun recently with work and personal matters that ALL need my immediate attention. Sigh… Some days, it is exhausting just being me, LOL.

Anyway, today at work, I did this. TWICE:

skyIt was amazing both times. I sometimes forget that we are all connected not only to one another but to our planet as well. I found both my brief visits outside very “grounding.”

I read a piece once by an author living in Manhattan, who shared that he had not walked barefoot in the grass for more than a decade. I remember feeling sorry for him.

Tomorrow I will be staying with my Dad for an overnight visit. After he falls asleep, I plan on walking around in the yard I played in as a child, in my bare feet. I’m looking forward to it…

Problem Child

If I were my own parent, I’d ground me (think about that for a minute – I know, it’s a little hard to follow, LOL!) The thing is, I have a task that I have been avoiding for several days now, something I call my “Adult Homework” – balancing my checkbook. Ugh. It.Is.Torture.

do-your-homework1(Frankly I know nothing about this image; I found it on BING and it made me laugh out loud)

Anyway, so yeah – I have been “avoiding” my checkbook for several days now, probably because (like always) once everything is balanced, I will be sad to see what remains. It is an ongoing problem in my life – a paucity of excess income. (Nice SAT word, right – paucity?) I know I have shared more than once that my beloved Mom always said, “Timmy? Be grateful that you always have enough.” I’d like to put this offer (challenge?) out to The Universe: “Universe? If just ONCE I looked in my checkbook and said – after balancing everything – holy CRAP, where’d THAT money come from?” well, listen… If you think I am grateful now, well, just make that happen. You’ve never SEEN grateful.Whaddya’ think? Hmmmm?

While you are pondering my proposition, I’m off to do some online banking/bill paying, hoping that maybe, somehow an extra $100K got deposited into my checking account… Maybe.

Wasted Day?

Today – for the first time in many, MANY weeks – I had a “lazy day.” Yup, I pretty much pissed this whole day away. It.Was.GREAT!

Lazy-Sunday-cat-ft

Today I woke up WELL after 7A, and literally spent the day in my PJ’s till 4:05P, when I pulled on some sweats and walked over to the market to grab some dinner fixin’s for my hub-bub and me (he worked today till 7P). I made dinner, he came home, we ate, we had coffee, we watched TV and now I think he might be snoozing on the sofa in the TV room as I write this.

I couldn’t have asked for a better day…   🙂

Don’t get me wrong, I DID do SOME work today, but without the usual timelines and expectations – I was my own boss today for a change. And it was pretty flippin’ great.

I have a L-O-N-G week ahead, starting tomorrow – things with my Dad, a couple client meetings, my regular 9-2-5 and all the other nonsense that defines as as “adults.” But today, Universe? Today was pretty awesome and I thank you for it. Let’s do this again very, very soon, OK? I’d like that.

I Must Have Been Insane

My beloved Martin is such a great support to me – in every single way. For example, as I transition my design practice from its former (now closed) storefront to our apartment (working from home REALLY cuts down on overhead expenses, LOL!), he is working hard to convert our guest bedroom/computer room into a fully-realized office/work space for me/us. Part of MY job in this transition is “clearing out” things that have come to rest in that room – an old tube TV, lots of no-longer-needed immigration reform materials, my non-functional Dell desktop computer (see previous posts) and my Beanie collection, to name a few.

Yes, Beanies – as in Beanie Babies… I know. Don’t judge.

beaniesWhile the image above is not one of my own personal Beanie hoard, I do have quite a few of the styles pictured. I started cataloging them tonight and stopped at fifty; all told, I bet I have like 110 or more. I know. What was I thinking?

It was so easy getting caught up in the Beanie baby madness twenty years ago – yup, a LOT of my Beanies are twenty years old. They took American consumers by storm – driving people (like me) to haunt Hallmark stores across the nation, waiting for the next delivery of USA Bear, or Floppity the Rabbit or Lucky the Lady Bug. If you were lucky, you found a “rarity” – for example, I myself own an Echo (killer whale) with a “Waves” tush tag. Priceless, right?

In the moment, it felt like hitting the lottery.

I spent – on average – about $5/each for all my Beanies. They are the stuff of collector’s dreams – none have ever been played with, all came home and immediately went into Ziplock bags, quite a few have tag protectors, they have always been stored in a smoke-free house…

They.Are.Perfect. And they are all but worthless…

A quick internet search reveals a few Beanie brokers willing to pay $0.40/each – top dollar! – for Beanie collections/lots of over fifty toys. If I have 99+ beanies, they will send a “free” UPS call tag to pick up my collection. So – that is roughly $550.00 “invested” for almost twenty years to yield – maybe – $44.00. Sigh…

I can honestly admit – I am a FAR better interior designer than investment counselor. But, in the potential office “purge,” the Beanies have to go to make room for files. Maybe I will make $40.00 or maybe I will donate them to a charity that serves underprivileged or homeless kids. One thing I DO know for sure:

Next time, I will just buy some shares of RPM common stock instead.  😀