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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Missing Dad

When the call came in from my father’s home health aide, I was on the elliptical machine watching an episode of Housewives. Automatically, I groaned. It was first thing Monday morning; never a good way to start the week.

“Um hey Jolie,” I greeted hesitantly. Would she have found him asleep on the bathroom floor? Would the place have been turned upside down by an evening of semi-conscious wandering? Did he throw her out again?

I tightened for the impending trouble, “What’s up?”

“I can’t find your father.”

I wasn’t expecting that, but still, for all the crazy that went on in my father’s small world, at the moment this was still pretty low on the drama scale. I considered getting off the exercise machine but then decided to power on. I needed a positive place for my stress. And it was my time to exercise.

“Okay,” I said slowly, thinking as fast as I could, “You’ve checked the tub, right? And the floor?” I gave a little laugh. Only in my world, could my father’s frequent trips into unconsciousness be cause for sad humor.

“His walker is still here,” She said, “And the door was slightly open, his meds on the table and his bed was made.”

“His bed was made?” I repeated. It was the most curious and disturbing thing she had said. “So his weekend girl was there at some point but he never slept in the bed.” I stopped pedaling. “Shit.”

I hung up on Jolie to make some calls, while she did a more thorough investigation of his living quarters and surroundings.

My first call was to the home health agency to double check whether the girl had in fact seen him on Sunday. She was a fill-in, so I asked them to double check with her and get back to me.

Still pedaling, I contemplated my continued pedaling. Was I not taking this seriously enough? Should I be pacing? After 20 plus years coping with a mentally and physically challenged parent, I had learned to go flow, which meant keep peddling until I no longer could.

So while my feet moved on, my brain back tracked. He didn’t answer the phone yesterday. I didn’t think much of it at the time, since he often slept through the weekends. The last time we spoke was Saturday, although since he was half asleep, muttered unintelligibly was much more accurate than spoke.

With no one else to call and no other realistic options, I considered the two possible hospitals where he could be and dialed the closer one.

“Hi there, I’m looking for my father. He may have come in there yesterday or this morning?”

I waited while she checked his name.

“Yes, he was brought in yesterday. I’ll transfer you.”

Okay I breathed, missing father found. But why was he there? With his health problems and history, it could be a million things, many of them terrible.

My pace slowed but my heart rate sped up significantly. I was used to hopscotching through the landmines of his life, but while my sensitivity chip was broken it still emitted some charge, and I waited anxiously.  For a fleeting second I thought he could even be dead; a realistic possibility that has loomed over my head for decades, so many in fact, that it almost didn’t seem possible.

Could this be it? Could this be the moment I had become so complacent and emotionally detached from that I didn’t even think to dread. Could the man who a lifetime ago told me stories by the edge of my bed, gave me dollars to tickle his back, charmed me with word and a smile no longer be?

I stopped pedaling. The air became more still. I heard my breath.

A nurse picked up, “Your father is fine.”

I almost laughed with relief and amusement. She clearly didn’t know my father.

“He came in for anxiety and we’re still awaiting psych to release him.”

I began pedaling again. It was just business as usual.

Missing Dad

Missing Dad… since 1992

I Dream of Bikini  

I’m going to share an embarrassing superficial secret.

For years, decades really, I have wanted to wear a bikini. In my mind I saw the perfect one. It was always bubblegum pink with those 70’s strings hanging from the sides of the bottoms. I also imaged smooth, thin tanned legs that those sexy ties would be resting against, as well as the long lean torso showcased in the middle.

This would explain why besides the three times in my distant memory, I have never worn a bikini.  The fantasy is not the reality and for a long time I was the kind of girl who thought if you can’t do something right, don’t do it. I’m still sort of that kind of girl.

Thus, years of swim dresses and cover-ups ensued. I even successfully managed to go without wearing a bathing suit for an entire summer – twice.  Of course, all of this is unnecessary. I could certainly comfortably wear a swim suit, but that doesn’t mean that I am comfortable doing it. Also, since I dislike the water – both pool and ocean – turns out bathing suits are easier to avoid than you’d imagine.

I worked within these confines for basically my entire life, but the other day I was flipping through a bathing suit catalogue that somehow mistakenly wound up in my mailbox, and I came across a suit that almost fit my fantasy… as did the model wearing it. I lingered on the page; silently coveting and felt a shift within me.

I wanted that suit.

I couldn’t believe it. Now that I was over 40, had three children come out my pooched, overstretched stomach, I was going to cave? Was this some trick of middle age? I knew I couldn’t see distance well anymore, but could I no longer see myself clearly either? Did I really think I could get away with this?

Logically the answer was no, at least not in the way I’d like to, yet still I felt gripped by urgency. This was probably my last chance to wear something like this before middle age really set in around the middle.

I’m already done with having children. I’m done with going out late nights and dancing till dawn – okay, I don’t think I ever danced till dawn, but you know what I’m saying. I’ve got wrinkles and pains. I’m happy to be in bed by 10pm. I like hot water and lemon. I carry hard mints in a Ziplock bag. I’m – Aaaaccck – getting older.

I’ve noticed other emotional changes in myself as well, now that I’m further up the maturity chain. I’m a little more ready to take chances, a little less judgmental, more appreciative, less giving a shit. I’ve also gotten simultaneously more and less vain; which means, I notice many more things that bother me but I also don’t care as much.

Which brings me back to the bikini I’ve coveted but never owned much less worn; it was now or never. Without thinking any more, I added it to my cart and clicked purchase.

I don’t know if I’ll ever wear it, but lately I’m full of surprises.

bikini pic












Accidents and the drive to feel pretty

The windows are rolled down, the day is gorgeous and the wind is dancing in my hair, which just so happens to be fabulously clean. I’m working the stylish shades, flashing the Colgate smile and pretending to all I pass that I am just another young sexy thing in my young sexy car. Good thing I’m going at least 30mph. I couldn’t pull this off without the blur factor.

I’m not bold enough to roll back the soft top to drive at optimal coolness. Well, actually I’d have to take off the doors if we’re really talking optimal. But no matter, I am satisfied just being in this midlife crisis mobile and feeling like a rock star.

I shied away from driving it for the last couple of weeks because, I don’t know, it was so high off the ground and I had gotten used to the feel of a car, even if that car is a minivan. Plus it was all new and shiny, and I’m one of those old and dull people who kind of fall in love with comfortable.

It certainly would explain my closet where the only time I get new things is when my mother brings them over. I’m content in my well-worn wear. It’s so easy just picking up yesterday’s outfit off the floor or grabbing a new set of old gym clothes. Don’t judge.

But today I felt a little pressure to step it for the new car, so I was wearing my better old clothes with my newly washed hair and got a string of compliments. Really, have I set the bar so low that all it takes is washing my hair for people to notice? Well, there’s something to be said for that.

Still… Soft, creamy fabric, the clip clap of strappy shoes, the hot new car – it all makes me want to twirl and dance and smile for the cameras. It’s true that feeling pretty feels pretty fabulous. I guess I forget that sometimes since I’m usually feeling pretty tired or pretty lazy or pretty who gives a shit.

The only reason I’m driving the car today is because of an unfortunate altercation between me, my minivan and a stupid tree, that apparently showed up unexpectedly while I was backing up. And of course on this one day, my car’s rear sensors which always beep when things unexpectedly show up behind me weren’t on. But I’m not here to make excuses, well, except those already noted.

The aftermath was a broken rear taillight and a few minor dents and scratches. Nothing compared to some of the driving malfunctions I have inflicted on my poor mom machine. Like when I drove over the divider and got stuck. That was hysterical. Or when I crashed into a boulder right after it was fixed. Good times. So, really this was nothing.  Except that without my passenger side brake light and blinker working, it was no longer drivable.

For the time being, I will have to drive the new car.  Which means, until further notice, I’ll be sporting clean hair and might need to go shopping. I’ll also need to be extremely conscious of surprise agriculture and such.

I already miss the minivan.

Stupid tree

Stupid tree



Aw look, it’s a new baby Jeep

My husband stood outside in the sun, still flush with the excitement from the delivery of his beautiful new baby. The look in his eyes said it all. Love. Pure and simple.

He had waited for so long for this day and now she was here in the flesh, or um, in the chrome and steel. Yes, cigars all around, we are now the proud owners of a Jeep Wrangler.

“Hey boys!” He called out excitedly to our children, “Come look at the new car. Isn’t it so cool?”

But our boys are too cool for cool. My oldest barely raised his brow, my middle one shrugged unimpressed and said, “Eh. It’s alright.”

But my little guy eagerly ran over to his daddy who scooped him up and looked at him expectantly. “I know how to spell Gum!” He exclaimed.

But stars in the eyes cannot so easily be put out. “We’re going for a drive!” My husband yelled, refusing to hear the chorus of boos from the mini peanut gallery.

We all piled in and started to drive as my husband pointed out what button did what and all the beloved features of his new baby. He took a deep satisfying breath. “Smell that?” He asked, his eyes a glimmer, “Nothing like new car smell.”

“This is so boring,” My middle guy droned.

“Where are we going?” My oldest wanted to know.

“Mommy, I had three brownies at the party,” My youngest confessed.

We drove through the wealthy part of our town where Richie Rich Mansions overlook the sound; so close yet quite untouchable with its own police department. It is beautiful and mouth dragging, except to the chorus in the back.

“Why can’t we live here?” Middle demanded accusingly.

“Why are we here?” Oldest whined annoyingly.

“Can we go play at that one?” Youngest wanted to know, pointing to a massive home with a Bentley and a Rolls parked on the drive and surrounded by its own ponds with a rowboat sitting idle.

We in the front do our best to enjoy riding in a cool car without a roof, the wind in our hair and visions of our twenties spread out before us like an open road.

But it is hard to ignore those in the back driving us crazy.

With nowhere to off road or the possibility of leaving our kids by the side of one, we head home. The boys climbed out, grateful to be released from what was apparently ‘the most boring ride ever’ and ran in the house to engage in more stimulating activities like sitting on the couch and playing with iPhones.

“Are you coming in?” I asked when my husband lingered in the driveway.

“In a minute,” he said, his eyes fixed on the perfect form, beautiful coloring and shiny exterior.

I nodded and left the two of them alone. I had a feeling he would be spending a lot of quality time with this new baby, the one who didn’t talk but purred.

Right now I think it’s his favorite.

Proud papa

Proud papa