Thursday, April 26, 2012


First the back story. Always the back story. At my age, almost everything is back story. More fun looking back than forward, if you know what I mean. (If you don't know what I mean, just exit and go twitter what you had for breakfast and maybe someone will care. I won't.)

If you want to skip the back story, just scroll down to the #tag and read the part where I made a total and absolute fool of myself.  I'll understand. I just will never speak to you again. *sigh*

Back to the back story. Three of us were friends from nursing school. Old time nursing students with Florence Nightingale blue capes, white caps and starched uniforms. Oh, Lordy, how long ago was that?

Never mind. Don't ask. It's not relevant.

Anyway, we did the nursing school thing, took our boards, passed, (!) and moved on. The three of us married, took part in each other weddings,  (all the husbands liked to hunt and fish, bonus points!) had kids. We traveled through life stages together. Buying houses, raising kids, working, putting suddenly tall children through college, attending weddings, having grandchildren. Achieving the Great American Dream as we saw it.

And finally, retired, we're ready to travel. Wahoo!

#tag Our first trip together was a Hawaiian cruise. Packed our bags, flew to LA and off we went.  The crew kept us entertained during the sea time from the main land to the dream land. 9000 calories a day and activities. Oh, yes, the activities. Our guys watched films on fishing and volcanoes (yawn) but us gals took hula lessons. Got that? Hula lessons. The waving arm motions, the waving hip motions, knees bent, straightened, broad smiles, face the audience, turn, now back is to the audience. Us broads dug it. One of the women in this group obviously had some elderly issues. Her vacant smile, the halting, shuffling gait, the inability to do the arm and hip motion things were a give-away. Her husband was loving and attentive and propelled her, his arm on her elbow, through the dining room, fixed her plate, cut her meat, tended to her. Lovingly, so lovingly. He brought her to every scheduled hula lesson.

Okay. So the deal is on the return trip from dream land to LA, the last night at sea, the passengers are the evening entertainment. The hula group is scheduled to perform. We're up for the gig. (We may have been drinking. Oh, Lordy, how long ago was that? I dunno.)

Before we went on stage, I was in the ladies room, checking last minute for lipstick on my teeth, wearing the perfect dress for a hula performance. The skirt was "car wash style" meaning  it was cut in thin strips from knee to hip like a car wash swirling mop. Perfect. I followed the elderly lady from the bathroom to the stage and saw she had a long tail of toilet paper stuck to her shoe and snaking behind her. "Poor woman," I thought, "how embarrassing. I hope I am never so unaware."

We're on stage. Taped ukulele music playing. Choreography rules. And as I sway, arms moving, hips moving, broad smile, facing the audience, then turning, back to audience, I realize I had tucked most of the back of my car wash skirt into the waist band of my underwear. Hips swaying, my bottom in full view.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012


First some back story. I raised three children to adulthood so it is okay to assume I know a thing or two about kid maintenance. Things like the value of fruits and vegetables, the everyday need for clean underwear, the critical importance of carpools, and how to bury a dead hamster. Important stuff.

Fast forward to being a grandparent. Whole new ball game. M&M pretzels are better than apples and finger painting is more fun than doing laundry. A dynamic shift in the rules and regulations of everyday activities.

So. . .now for the confessions. (Painful, painful confessions because it's hard to admit to your own flaws.) Recently we were asked to kid-sit two grandchildren. Jared, age fifteen, and Anna, age eleven. Piece of cake, right? Especially since their Mom (my daughter Amy) had printed her unabridged eighty page Kid Maintenance Manual and placed it in a ring binder, center stage on the kitchen counter. Everything we needed to know. Phone numbers for pediatricians, dentists, veterinary (dog included  with this assignment), neighbors, emergency contacts. Lists of chores for the kids. (Yeah, like Nana is really going to make the kids do chores.What, and lose her Nana halo?)

The most complicated part of the Kid Maintenance Manual was who had to be where at what time. Swim team, band practice, piano lessons, track practice, youth groups. Each activity had specific times and addresses. The most complicated day was the day we had to pick up Anna at school (remember to bring her a snack), drive her to swim team, and, if Jared had track that day, pick him up and then circle back to pick up Anna from swim team. All of this in Northern Virginia traffic during rush hour. Be still, my heart.

Okay. Got it. Plugged all the relevant addresses into my GPS. Nana obsessive-compulsively organized.  And on swim team day, we left the house, as instructed, promptly at 3:40, jumped in the car, hit the swim team address which had been saved to "favorites" and off we went. It wasn't until we were almost to the athletic center when we realized we hadn't picked up Anna. She sent us a text message, a sad little text message: where r u?

We circled back to the school (it was really rush hour now) and there she was, lonely and forlorn, waiting for us in front of the school. She got into the car and told us the principal said whoever was supposed to pick her up was irresponsible but seemed to understand when Anna explained it was her grandparents. . .as though grandparents, painted with a broad brush, could be excused for being irresponsible.

The next swim team day we did remember to pick Anna up at school and get her to the pool on time but we forgot her swim bag containing suit, towel, goggles and all.

There. Now you know. I am not perfect. I made them Jello with fruit in it. (Yuck.) I made macaroni and cheese from scratch with RoTel tomatoes in it. (Yuck.) But I did buy a big bag of M&M pretzels and we did play some riotous rounds of Scrabble. And I never had to use any emergency phone numbers.

And a good time was had by all!