duality clarified

The primary reason i’m hacking up morsels of my memory banks out here in the blogosphere is to sort out the duality of my nature…

Raised in The Park.  Comfortable in The Park.  Understand The Park.  Appreciative of Earthiness of The Park.  Know that my heritage lies in The Park.  Amused by The Park.


Disgusted by behavior in The Park.  Struggling to run from The Park.  Embarassed by my connection to The Park.  Confused as to how i emerged from The Park.  Frightened by the potential impact of The Park on my children.

and then it hit me…



oh fuck.  i’m a human mullet. 

“business” in the front, and “party” in the back…

Bitches and roses…

i don’t want to get in the habit of just “ranting”, although it’s fun and relieves stress.  Since i spent most of the day in The Park, taking Mom to the cardiologist, it would be easy to drop into “rant only” mode – so the ground rules for tonight are “at least one positive thing for every negative thing”, but i can earn extra “rants” as needed by spending an additional 10 minutes on the elliptical trainer tonight.

Here goes… i’ll start with a bitch.*

Bitch:  Alarmist local media – waking up at 0500 to get Mom to the doc by 0900, the first bit of weather news was dire: Frozen Highways of DEATH!  Major Rush Hour Disaster Looming! Only the crazy should venture out!  Knowing that the trip to The Park today was mandatory (due to potentially serious medical issues for Mom), i had to steel myself for an awful drive.  The reality of it was – roads were fucking fine…  bastards… but hey, i got there in time for a cup of Mom’s Homebrewed Decaffeinated Sludge…

Rose:  Dr. M, the cardiologist of my dreams (see footnote about Dr. M here) was absolutely brilliant as she handled stressful news.  Mom will need additional diagnostics, to include extensive heart catheterization.  Dr. M was patient, attentive and communicated the issues effectively to Mom – minimizing worries about the impending procedure.  All medical personnel should be so considerate and genuine…

Bitch: Returning to Mom’s house after the doc appt, i needed to shovel the 4″ of snow in the driveway.  I had to walk next door to get the snow shovel from DQ’s house.  It was past noon, and both DQ and BJs cars were in the driveway – both home sleeping in on a weekday.  Neither had bothered to get up to take care of the chore at hand, or get Mom’s trash to the curb.  Or change 3 burnt out lightbulbs in the house….

Rose:  When discussing possible venues for the angiogram, we had the option to choose a hospital – either the ‘downtown’ hospital, known for exquisite cardiac care, or the suburban hospital, more convenient to The Park.  i asked Dr. M about prospects for more serious issues arising, such as the need for bypass, and if she would be comfortable working at the suburban venue.  She said “The Chief Surgeon there is Dr. B, and he’s very good. No concerns.”  I said “Wait a minute… i think Dr. B was Dad’s thoracic surgeon… is he tall, salt-and-peppr hair, and, um, and really hot?”.   And the lovely Dr. M replied “He’s ok… i mean, if i were eating a sandwich i’m not sure i’d look up if he walked by…”.  (i’m wondering if this isn’t worth two roses…)

Bitch:  Getting old…  We’re all circling the drain, man.  Whether it’s Mom quietly acknowledging that she’s not just in the fourth quarter, but at the two minute warning… Or me realizing that my life and plans must take a back seat to caring for Mom for the forseeable future – for both of us, it’s gonna suck.

I’ve said it a million times – we can’t really change the outcome, but we can influence the path.  Finding ways to help her feel better, so she can enjoy herself a bit, and have things to look forward to… That’s the best i can hope for…

Rose:  Looks like i’ll be spending more time with Dr. M** this year…


* quote from one of my favorite rap songs, Dr Dre’s “bitches ain’t shit”… covered nicely by Ben Folds here.  Strong language warning…possibly every other word, in fact.

** I always admire women who are intelligent, competent and accomplished.  But whenever i run into such a creature and she is also gorgeous?  Instant crush…  what the hell is up with THAT?!?!?

Fourth and Park

Another blast from the past.  A Fourth of July Picnic in the Park – reconstructed from rabid e-mails discussions with friends as i processed the days events. 

DQ, my niece, lives next to Mom.   She divorced her first husband after he was sentenced to 4 years in prison.  At the age of 33, she had become engaged to a hardworking 19 year old man, BJ. 

BJ is a member of a wealthy construction family.  This is, of course, the sole reason my niece wriggled her way into his family – entrapping him and convincing him that she was the love of his life.*  He is a hardworking man, and has done wonders with their house.  He has also been a very good father for DQ’s 13 year old daughter, DQ, Jr. 

DQ and BJ hosted their first 4th of July barbeque, bringing both families together in preparation for their September nuptials.** They worked hard to be good hosts.   BJ fussed over Mom, and kept her in Budweiser, bratwurst and clean ashtrays.  There were probably 30-40 people milling around.  I went to be polite and supportive, but given the choice, i’d have rather been handing out K-Y Jelly in a maximum security prison shower room….

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Ghost branch in the family tree?

When we last left Mom and her gummed up hydraulic and ventilation systems, her juicy-hot cardiologist* had determined the need to switch up the medications for her high blood pressure.

There is always a bumpy transition when reducing the dosage of the old drug, and ramping up the new one.  The edible Dr M reviewed the process carefully, and painstakingly went over the symptoms which would trigger a call to the office – spike in blood pressure, drop or spike in pulse rate or heart palpitations.

When we got back to the house, I asked DQ to come over from next door to go over the dosing schedule for the next three weeks, as well as warning signs.  Heads nodding in understanding all around – like a Smoking Bobblehead Convention – i was confident that marching orders were delivered and received.

Three nights ago, I got a call at 11 pm from DQ.  Mom had been having heart palpitations for a couple days, and just told DQ about it an hour earlier.  DQ, remembering that this is one of the bad things, wants to call me (she’s a reliable and diligent soldier when given orders). Mom argued with her about bothering me so late – but DQ did call.

After beating through it, and spanking around on the web, we decided it could wait til morning – but that it would be prudent to call the cardiology shop first thing in the morning.

The next day I called mom while driving home, to see what the doc said….

Mom:  “I didn’t call”

daisyfae: “What?”

Mom: “I felt a little better this morning.  I don’t want to be a bother….”

daisyfae: “Ma, this is why we pay them. Haven’t you noticed all the Mercedes and BMW’s in the physicians parking lot?  They don’t mind….”

Mom: “I was afraid you’d have to take off work and come down here if they put me in the hospital for tests…”

daisyfae: “Thoughtful of you, Momma, but I’d rather deal with that than deal with you stroking out on us….”

In my head, I quickly climbed the limbs of her Appalachian-American** family tree.  Czech, German, English….  Nope.  Not Jewish. 

So where does that “I’ll just sit here quietly in the dark until my heart explodes” thing come from?

* Dr M is about 35 years old, gorgeous, considerate, wicked smart and has the patience of a saint. She wears those sexy Tina Fey “smart girl” glasses.  Yeah.  I’ve got a girl crush on her.  Get over it.  Of course, that’s not the only reason I take an entire day off work every few months, get up at 5:30 am, do full “hair and makeup”, drive 120 miles round trip and spend an hour in the waiting room listening to Mom recount the details of every meal she’s eaten for the past week.  I am there to ensure Mom gets to spend a few minutes with the cardiologically brilliant Dr M.  Really….

** Redneck

A day in The Park

I took the day off work, and went to The Park to take Mom to visit her cardiologist.  A few vignettes from the day…

     – when i arrived to pick her up, she was having breakfast on the couch.  coffee and potato chips.   she then tells me the story of DQ, Jr (12 years old) and a friend getting arrested at a movie theater for taking video for the last few minutes of the Hanna Montana movie.  No charges filed, but damn good drama all around…

     – the doctor asks many questions, including “how are you doing with your sodium?”  Mom answers the question, saying she has switched to sea salt, and thinks she’s doing ok.  i wait… until i can’t stand it any longer and casually mention her daily breakfast of potato chips and the fact that she unloads at least a half shaker of salt on everything (including her coffee) prior to tasting it.  65 years of smoking will do that to your tastebuds, i suppose.

     – Mom’s blood pressure is high (170/60) and her pulse is low (55).  Time to change her meds!  she tells the doc that it’s been like this for a few months – and that there was one night in December her pulse was 48.  doc is concerned.  i am concerned – and frustrated, because this is the first i’ve heard of this.  remember that little surprise we dropped on her a few weeks ago?  it really could have caused a stroke…

     – driving from the doctors office, she finished her cigarette in my car.  picking her up in front of the cardiology building while she’s blowing smoke rings out her nose? doesn’t really phase me much anymore.  i don’t care for smoking in the car, but it’s not like smoke will make the shitmobile smell worse.   on the highway, she mentions that she isn’t sure the cigarette went out the window.  it didn’t.  i managed a quick recovery of a smouldering butt from the back seat, while driving 70 mph leaving only a small flesh wound in the upholstery.  good thing i don’t care…

     – at the house, DQ (niece next door) comes over to review the medical info.  DQ, Jr. is asked to take the 5 month old baby, DQ, III, into the other room so Mom and DQ can smoke.  I’m encouraged that they are at least not trying to smoke near the infant.  As DQ lights up and blows a big ol’ cloud of smoke toward me, she informs me she’s pregnant again.  That it was an accident – “…we were being careful…”.  What?  By only screwing on days that end in “Y”?

As far as these things usually go, it really wasn’t bad.  Just another day in The Park…

you’re never fully dressed…

When Dad died, I was surprised by the overwhelming number of minor decisions that had to be made – even though he had made his wishes known regarding the ‘big stuff’ (no life support, no heroic measures, no plastic flowers on his grave*…)

In the days before the funeral, family members dealt with different pieces of the puzzle – one of my jobs was to bring clothing to the funeral home.  Amidst a million other errands, i flew into the house, quickly went over the items Mom had prepared, then ran out to get the clothing to the funeral home by the requested delivery time.

Walking into the office at the funeral home, i was greeted by a receptionist – exhibiting the demeanor of a woman who had seen much and reacted to little.

And then it hit me.  I didn’t say “hello”, or “I’m bringing clothing for…” or anything else… The only word I could utter?


The unruffled receptionist politely said “I beg your pardon?”

I whispered, in complete shock: “Pants!  I don’t have his pants…”

She remained calm, and said “We fully dress here…” **

Choking back a fit of the giggles, I held up a finger and managed to tell her “I’ll be right back”.

I raced back to the house, where Mom and my sister (and fellow refugee) T, were dealing with other issues.  Breathless, i ran inside, and stood before them in the dining room.  I asked the same question: “Pants?”

T turns immediately to Mom and blurts out “SEE!!!!  I told you he needs pants!  Nobody’s sending my ass out of this world without my fucking pants!”

And then came the stress giggles…


* Mom is a packrat.  One particularly annoying ‘collection’ is of cheap, dusty, faded and completely horrible plastic flowers.  My Dad hated these things – and one of the deathbed promises i made was to assure him that there would be no plastic flowers on his grave.  It’s a constant battle, but i’m tenacious…

** During preparations for my Grandmother’s funeral, i was surprised to learn that it was a local (Appalachian) custom to only dress the corpse from the waist up – since the casket would only be half-open during visitation.  Grandma was buried in her bloomers, pantyhose and the top half of a pantsuit.  I find many burial rituals bizarre and barbaric, but this one seemed particularly goofy.  I’ve often wondered if it somehow originated from depression-era frugality.  I have yet to find much documentation on this practice. 

Safe and (Un)sound

At 55 years old, my oldest sister, S, is still ‘traffic-stopping hot’.  She’s a size 4, has Loni Anderson hair, looks fantastic in leather pants and rides her own Harley.  She is also hard-working, tenacious and very smart – having worked her way up from the secretarial pool to become the head of the IT department for a prestigious midwestern law firm – with no formal education beyond high school.  Let’s overlook for the moment her taste in men

Even with so much going for her, she has a near-crippling fear that she’ll be murdered, raped, skinned alive or otherwise assaulted.  I didn’t realize how bad this was until we took a short trip together last year. 

Since i own nothing but shitmobiles, we agreed to take her car.  As we were leaving her house, she said “i just don’t feel safe.  do you mind if i bring my gun?” 

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The shot that keeps you coming back

Golf is an addictive game, so i’m told, because on any given day even an average golfer can have a fantastic game, or just an amazing moment.  It’s called “the shot that keeps you coming back”.

I spent three hours in The Park this morning.   It may seem from my commentary to date that i’m just out here to make fun of them.  Well, ok.  There’s a little of that. With this much material?  How could i resist?  There’s been guilt, though.  I wasn’t sure whether my love for my family would come through.  Just yesterday i wondered if i’d ever find something uplifting to write about!

This morning?  I got it.  Double barrel blast of magic.  Almost had to stop for insulin on the drive home… it was that sweet.

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Saturday Skinny Stoner Saga – the story of G

Because one person asked me to do it By popular demand, here’s another installment in the Saga of G, my oldest sister’s second husband.

Previously we learned that G revealed his interest in wearing his mothers clothing to my sister, S, about a week after they were married.  Rather than face another failed marriage, S, decided to stick it out.  Intrepid readers asked “if that didn’t get her out of the marriage, then what finally did?”

We’re not sure what really drove her to file the paperwork.  It was at least partially due the advice of her baby sister, who pointed out that if he got arrested for dealing weed out of the house, the local authorities could confiscate everything she owned – you know, one of those “it’s not violating the constitution  if we take away the rights of bad people” laws…

After the divorce, G went downhill quickly.  We learned that he was arrested for stealing angel figurines from graveyards.   Things escalated, and later that year learned that he was a fugitive from the law! [dramatic music goes here] Attempted Bank Robbery!

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