Thursday, April 14, 2016



I just reread Ashley's post HERE about remembering her dad, riding around with him on weekends, stopping for hot dog fixings, and cooking them in his vet clinic with makeshift heat and the mustard and catsup that were stored along with refrigerated medicines. She was treasuring her memories of her father, who died recently, and wondering what her children will remember.

I've been working hard writing about my dad's life; most of it from memory, but for me it's a long trip back. I was twenty-seven when he died. I still have memories, but they're not as recent nor as fine-tuned as hers. Mine are more like reminiscences, wisps of memories, small things that come back to me in pieces. He didn't laugh much, and yet he was happy and joking most of the time. I don't know. Maybe he was the show and I was the audience. I know he held my hand anytime we were in a crowd, or even in a place that was strange to me.

I know he shaved with a straight razor every morning, sharpening it on the strop that hung beside the sink, making shaving cream in a cup with a special brush. He would wink at me as he swirled that brush over his cheek and under his chin. At the end of the day, his cheek would be rough with whiskers. I remember how he sat in the leather upholstered rocking chair next to the radio and the bridge lamp, how he held his head back so he could read The Daily Register Mail through his bifocals, and how he never minded if I crawled onto his lap.

That started me thinking of my children's memories, but two of them died before me, so Wes will have to do a lot of remembering. I close my eyes and what I see is Wes running in the front yard , dodging trees, trying to catch that football Amy threw. As in tennis, she had a good arm, but just as Lucy would pull the ball away right before Charlie Brown was ready to kick it, so Amy had her own Lucy move. She graded him on all of his catches and she would never give him above a B. He tried through at least one football season before he realized that the A would never happen. They called each other 'Bubba.'

His memories can't include the day I tried the 'no supper until you pick up your toys' on Julie. We were still in Florida, so she was probably about six years old. That didn't even sound like me to me and I took her a glass of milk at 9pm. The room still looked the way it had before I gave that ultimatum. Wes can't remember her teacher at the University of Florida kindergarten. One day she said to me, "I always have one little girl who stays clean the whole day no matter what she does. And this year, that's Julie." I looked down at my clean little girl in a pink dress and clean white tennis shoes. I could only smile at Miss Swett. I didn't want to burst her bubble by telling her what Julie's room looked like at home.

Wes's memories of Amy are probably varied, a range from fun to sadness. He can't remember the day Amy totaled up her collections for the Green Acres swim team to $140 and he can't remember the day she stayed home from school because she was sick and sitting in the family room with me watching Phil Donahue who had as his guest the woman who wrote The Bereaved Parent. As we watched this program together, Amy told me about some of her fears after Julie died, how she had cried for me because I was sad, and how much she still missed having Julie in her life. She was twelve, eight years after Julie died, and it was still real enough for her to grieve. I don't believe Amy ever recovered from that grief, and yet the one thing that everyone who knew her talked about was remembering her smile, and her ability to make others laugh.

Not too long before she died at age forty-eight in a car accident, Amy told me she had decided she was mad at Julie. Oh, how I understood. Grief comes at you like a whip, hitting you in places and at times you couldn't imagine. You know you're not alone, others have felt grief before you, but it feels so lonely there in the middle of it. Nobody's grief is the same as yours, just as nobody's smile is the same as yours. You'd like to find someone to hand your grief to. "Here, hold this for me, just for a minute, will you please?"

Wes can probably remember the night Amy took him to watch the fireworks on the other side of town on July Fourth after a pool party. They didn't tell us they were going and hadn't counted traffic into their plans, so they left some scared parents behind for a couple of hours. We should appreciate cell phones now.

What will Wes remember? Dressing up as a clown for nursery school? I think Amy was the makeup artist.

Picking flowers for me dressed as Spider Man? It's amazing what you can do with an old sheet and a magic marker.

Wes will be forty-five tomorrow.

Will he remember that summer afternoon--dressed in his Superman clothes--talking to a policeman who was investigating a burglary in the neighborhood? That scene in our family room is implanted firmly in my memory: Wide-eyed Wes sitting on the edge of a chair, the big yellow S on his chest, a bright red cape hanging behind him, dirty white sneakers swinging a bit nervously against the chair. A young policeman--uniform, gun in holster, clipboard poised to take down Wes's statement about the man he saw go into the house across the street where the burglary occurred. According to Wes, the man had something shiny on his belt. A gun?

The poor policeman was hardly able to maintain a straight face and I didn't dare look at him. We would have both lost it. He took down Wes's name, his address, the time he saw the incident. across the street. It was all official. The man Wes saw turned out to be another policeman and the shiny item was a pair of handcuffs, but for one shining moment, Wes was the center of a very important investigation. Take that Batman!

Wes could find precarious situations without even trying very hard. Will he remember climbing the althea bush (Rose of Sharon) that was almost a tree at the corner joining the house and deck, then jumping down (pardon me, flying down) wearing whatever hero's cape adorned his body and whatever dreams inhabited his mind for that day? On one occasion he climbed from the tree to the roof and was about five feet from the pole that held wires coming into the house from the high-voltage transformers above the street. Without even knowing what the danger was, I got him down safely that day and there were stern admonitions about roofs and wires.

But there was another day when I asked him to climb the drop-down stairs to the attic to get something for me, forgetting that the large exhaust fan was on and just a foot from the top of the stairs. Yes, he put his hand there and cut it. Not so bad that we had to make an emergency room run, but bad enough for me to feel worse than he did.

Will he remember the parachutes we made out of his dad's handkerchiefs for his super-hero dolls, and how he wrapped them just so and threw them into the air off the highest end of the deck? Will he remember the hook I put at the top of the basement stairs, so he could tie a string on it for those same super dolls to slide down? A makeshift zip-line? I found the hook before we moved in 1997, a bit of string still clinging to it. I put it in my pocket. When he finds it in my jewelry box, will he know why it's there?

Friday, March 18, 2016


Sometimes it appears in the middle of a sentence making the meaning of my words suspect.  Or it will appear on top of a word as if to help me cross my t's and dot my i's.  Once it came between the t and s in its, which would have been fine if I had been using it as a contraction, but I wasn't.  Once it even appeared as an apostrophe following the word 'your,' and if you think that didn't cause some trouble, your tastes probably don't run to commas, contractions, or apostrophes--and you're bored with all this stuff anyway.

Another time that wicked little speck appeared in the last of a series, one space before the 'and.'  I suppose it thinks being an Oxford comma gives it some form of distinction. The Oxford University Press gives some battle lines HERE for those addicted to words and their punctuational parents.  
"Alarmed, annoyed, and distraught . . . "

I was taught that since the comma represents the word 'and' in the rest of the series, it should not be used before the last item unless the 'and' is dropped: the comma in that situation causing an 'and and' interpretation.  That can give rise to some interesting sentences.  Here is one sentence that makes me lose that argument. "I need to thank my parents, my sister and the Reverend Paul."  I suppose we could say, "I need to thank my parents, my sister, the Reverend Paul," but we've become accustomed to the last 'and' so the resulting sentence gives us no clue that the end is so close. (Example stolen from above reference.)  

I like this quote from the above source, too. "The Queen's English Society agrees that "there is no need for a comma before the 'and' unless the sense demands it."" Don't you just KNOW how that little comma in the middle of my screen would have messed up the sentence preceding this one if I hadn't done such a good job of messing it up myself?

Back to the comma in the middle of my screen: it has been known to create run-on sentences and rejected numbers. 10,00 looks more like a subset of numbers, certainly not a thousand. And I can't begin to tell you how many times that piece of print has begun a quote within a quote never to end it, making already confusing prose even more so. 

Of course, there is the title of the recent Eats, Shoots and Leaves, by Lynne Truss. It uses my oft non-use of a comma in the penultimate item of a series.  She also suggests as quoted in the above link to the Oxford University Press, concerning those who have different opinions about the use or non-use of the Oxford comma, "I'll just say this: Never get between these people when drink has been taken."  

In a sentence,  'My, thousands of dollars have been spent on foolishness."  makes me the reporter of, and absolves me of any participation in, the misuse of  money. That one saved me from ridicule, but it is nevertheless incorrect to the incident because I have spent 'my thousands of dollars on foolishness.'

JUST SO YOU KNOW:  I  read grammar books for fun. Dictionaries and etymology intrigue me.  Maybe that's weird, maybe I can blame it on three years of high school Latin, but I'm not alone.  You would be surprised at the number of people who collect, list, and organize words and phrases into non-fiction books and the number of people who collect them.  I have many in my library from forty years of collecting,  

Some of the books-about-words listed below I found in antique shops or old bookstores and some I bought new. Some I read immediately and others I bought for some anticipated need for reference, but I have used them all--and there are others.  I chose randomly here and listed them by year, and I included at the end the two handbooks I used in college. 


If you want me to put you in my will, let me know and I'll leave one of these books to you.


The Verse by the Side of the Road, The Story of the Burma-Shave  Signs and  Jingles with all 600 of the roadside rhymes, Frank  Rowsome, Jr., 1965  (Bill Jones will want this one.)

1000 Most Important Words, Norman Schur, 1982

New York Times Everyday Readers Dictionary for Misunderstood,  Misused and Mispronounced Words, Revised Edition, Laurance  Urdang, 1985

Why Do We Say It, The Stories Behind the Words, Expressions and Cliches We Use, Castle Books, 1985

Loose Cannons, Red Herrings, and other Lost Metaphors, Robert  Claiborne, 1988

The Play of Words, Fun and Games for Language Lovers, Richard  Lederer, 1990

Woe is I, The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English, in Plain  English, Patricia T. O'Conner, 1996

Lapsing Into a Comma, a Curmudgeon's Guide to the Many Things That  Can Go Wrong in Print--and How to Avoid Them,  Bill Walsh, 2000 

Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words, Bill Bryson, 2002 

Common Phrases and Where They Come From, Myron Korach,  2002  -- You can't put this one down. 

The Grouchy Grammarian, Thomas Parrish, 2002 

Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynne Truss, 2003

Metaphors We Live By, George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, 2003

The Facts-on-File Dictionary of Cliches, Christine Ammer, Second  Edition, 2006

A Dash of Style, The Art and Mastery of Punctuation,  Noah Lukeman,  2006

Hash House Lingo,  Jack Smiley, 2012 --This one is a hoot if you've ever been a soda jerk or a short-order cook.

Embracing the Pun and Promoting It,  Bob Greenman,  a fun and informative article in the Visual Thesaurus, posted online on February 22, 2011.  Click  HERE to read it.   You'll learn a new word - paronomasia.  Here's just a bit of what he had to say about puns:
    "Puns -- quality puns, at least -- are not the lowest form of humor, but among the highest, involving imagination, creativity and wit.  Punning is a natural act of people who like to play with words and who have the verbal dexterity to make unusual word associations. Their minds work like one-armed bandits in gambling casinos with plums and cherries and oranges spinning madly upon someone's utterance, searching for the right combination to connect on a pun.  Speaking more scientifically, imagine a brain scan of a pun in the making, all those activated and excited synapses and neurons."  


Reliable handbooks -- 

Harbrace Handbook of English, 1941 Hardback Edition, John C. Hodges   Find Hardback USED for as little as a penny plus postage.   New, 18th Edition, 2012, on Amazon, is more than $100.  No PAPERBACK is listed,

Harbrace College Handbook, 1946 Hardback Edition, John C. Hodges. This also has the hardback  USED  listed at a penny plus postage from various Amazon vendors.  The one PAPERBACK is listed at $747.78.
Needs research to find out why. Are you game?

Obviously, old paperback Harbrace Handbooks are valuable I would like to read anyone's take on this--a little data journey into the history of these books, especially if you have one! (One source, The University of Tennessee, News and Events for March 7, 2012, is HERE. Original author John C. Hodges was a professor in the UT English Department.)

All the other Harbrace books, both paperback and hardback are very cheap.  Without even considering the money angle, my opinion is that Harbrace is old and very valuable as a reference. 


And don't forget The Chicago Manual of Style, The MLA, and Strunk and White.


Okay, there are too many to list, but this one is special ---

Les Bons Mots, How to Amaze Tout le Monde with Everyday French   Eugene Ehrlich,  1997 -- I can now go into a French restaurant and ask for a vin rouge pas cher, or an eapchay edray ineway, but there is no French restaurant in Athens and Pig Latin is lost on all but the ancient


This one I'm ordering now.

Eggcorns finally get their due in a bountiful book of malapropisms, going to hell in a hen basket,  Mark Peters, advertised and promoted online in The Visual Thesaurus. Click on the author for a link to The VT.

Hang in there, you're almost to the end.

Here are some I don't have (YET)  listed in the Visual Thesaurus under 
    DOG EARED  Books We Love 

"Spinglish": A Smorgasbord of Evasive, Duplicitous Delights,  Mark Peters

Talking Right: How Conservatives Turned Liberalism into a Tax-Raising, Latte-Drinking, Sushi-Eating, Volvo-Driving, New York Times-Reading, Body-Piercing, Hollywood-Loving, Left-Wing Freak Show,  Geoffrey Nunberg

Political Dictionary, William Safire

Dog Whistles, Walk-backs, and Political Handshakes, Decoding the Jargon, Slang, and Bluster of American Political Speech,  Chuck McCutcheon and David Mark

The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics,  John Pollack 

It's Been Said Before: A Guide to the Use and Abuse of Cliches,   Orin Hargraves

From Selfie to Skedaddle: Words of the Generations,  Mark Peters


 I found a one dollar bill in The Grouchy Grammarian.

Grammarly software told me to put a comma beside 'Shoots' in the title of Lynne Truss's book, and called it a 'critical issue.'  We know where they stand.


BTW, that comma on my computer monitor?  It was a flyspeck. I left it there to remind me to write about the small stuff. 


Whew,  the end!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015



How many times can you say, read, hear those words together before they lose all connection to common sense?   What if I feel like crying?  or swearing?
or I'm carrying a big bag of hate?   What if I'm on my death bed?  What if I'm cooking?  And the worst: -- what if nothing is funny?

I guess that's living.  We can at least make it pretty. Silly, Silly, silly.  Once is enough.  

Then we hear and see too often, "It is what it is."  And for some reason I should buy those words carved into a 36-inch-tall piece of antiqued wood for $29.95 plus postage?  Really? 

Yesterday I got one of those catalogs in the mail.  You know the ones.  Lots of pictures of things it would be fun to own.  Antique or retro or sleeky new  -- I look and ponder where I might put this or that.  Baskets of wire and raffia,  handy carts on cute red wheels, bins labeled potatoes and onions.  I know I would put onions in the potato bin --  "Mary, Mary! Quite contrary." 

Mixing bowl sets and canisters. Geodesic hanging lights.  Multicolored bottles and pale jade birds. Bistro tables and butterfly rugs.  Cookie sheets and graters. Mandolines and coat racks.  Hat boxes to hold everything but hats. Roosters on clocks - subtle.  Remember when everything  displayed a goose wearing a hat with a blue ribbon?  

Pillows and bolsters and throws.   I fell for one once and bought a throw that had the picture of a little girl looking at 'fairies at the bottom of her garden.'  

Well, if you need a throw over your shoulders on a cool evening, I guess a garden of flowers on a green background is as good as anything, but I'll bet I paid extra for the fairies.

My point is simple.  I would like to see a pithy quote once. Maybe twice would guarantee my attention to the thought for a sufficient period of time.  But do I want a pillow with those words embroidered on it to sit on my sofa every day?   I don't think so.  I saw a piece of wood with "All's well that ends well" printed on it, $9.99 plus postage.  (Sorry, William S.) 

Words I Like
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body.  But rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming . . . . WOW what a ride."  From the book by Mark Frost, The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever - a book of elegant suspense.  It's a quote I like, but I don't need it on my wall.  Maybe the imagined visual of the broadside skid into the presence of St. Peter makes this one so memorable.  

More Stuff
You can buy a bird feeder with carved birds sitting on it, a paisley comforter, huge angel wings to hang on the wall, triptychs of flowers, cupboards to fit behind toilets, surreal cat statues, and if you want pillows, there's a group with a smattering of these words and others -- imagine, have fun, let go, slow down, breathe, relate, hit it off, share, put your feet up.  I'd get very tired doing all those things.  

Wreaths, sprays, vases with fake water, to hold all sorts of fake flora, arranged flamboyantly. Did you know there's no synonym for flamboyant?  I looked it up, because flamboyant was a little too heavy a word for flowers, even fake ones.

And Dishes
There's a set of dishes with 'laugh' on the bowl, 'dream' on the cup, 'love' on the dessert plate, and 'family' on the dinner plate.  I didn't see any serving dishes, but I can think of a few for those --  gluttony, carbs, lo-cal.  

I would probably buy the set of little ducks if it were in front of me, and maybe the bunny with a flower necklace.  The word bless is on many things.  It might be the new carpe diem, vying with 'It is what it is.' for space on available surfaces.  We don't see carpe diem much any more.  Maybe it has been replaced with 'So many (fill in the blank,) so little time.'

I wrote another post about labeling things, but this post is more about putting 'eye-catching' words and phrases on merchandise for sale. The t-shirt is the most obvious example, but we're all accustomed to those.  I like the one that says 'I can't decide if I'm the good sister or the evil sister,' and of course UGA on everything. 

And Then There's Labeling Possessions 

Amy liked to write words on things when she was a little girl, especially her name, which is still carved on the front of my piano, right below middle C.  She tried to blame her brother for that one, but the evidence was there for all to see.  I think he would have carved W E S.  Her name was on so many other things that her denial was a hopeless endeavor and a family joke for years.  

Amy was a bouncer as well as a labeler, always bouncing where she sat, especially against the car seat.   For Christmas when she was almost three years old, Santa brought her a horse, just her size, on heavy bouncing springs.  Oh, how she loved that horse.  She would climb on it, and frequently fall asleep there, so I made her a pillow in a hurry, because she needed something between her head and the horse's plastic mane. It's the pillow that came to be known as her best, best pillow.  

Apropos of nothing, she also had a best, best cheeseburger at Add's Drug Store.

I don't know why Amy liked to write on things when she was little, maybe a need to show possession.  Her big sister Julie could read and write and do all those wonderful things Amy wanted to do, so she found a mislaid magic marker and wrote  A M Y  in the middle of the flowers on her pillow. It's faded, but you can still see the A.  

Every night she fell asleep on the horse with her teddy bear, Pia, in one arm, her thumb in her mouth, her head on the pillow, and her other arm holding tight to the horse.  How she was able to rock while sleeping is still a mystery.  We would carry her to bed. Oh, how I would love to hold her in my arms now, that warm, sweaty little body with her dark tousled curls, wet thumb, and sleepy sighs.

Friday, April 10, 2015


Except for that one time when I bought a black and white checked dress with a red belt, I have never enjoyed shopping for clothes.  Even last week when I went to buy a pair of slippers I came home with the wrong size.  Seems they were made in China and marked with European  numbers. ???  How do you try on slippers hanging on a rack?  I used to be able to walk on walls, but I can no longer do that.

I bought that black and white dress with the red belt when I was sixteen.  It may have been the first time I bought a dress by myself.  I was working at Nelsons' Confectionary and Grocery, and for the first time had my own money. Longer dresses were in, and this was my first one -- that meant mid-calf instead of a hem at the knee.  We all wore dresses then, or skirts and sweaters - no pants or jeans - and bras, and slips, bobby socks and saddle shoes or hosiery with seams up the back, garter belts or girdles, matching purses and shoes, white or kid gloves, and a hat, always a hat to church - scarves to school, the kind you fold into a triangle and then put over your head and tie under your neck.  If you were lucky, you knew how to tie a Girl Scout knot.  Babushkas? 

Sizes were different then, too.  Junior sizes were odd numbers starting with size 9.  Women's sizes were even numbers starting with 10.  Older women,  matrons? bought half sizes, starting with 10 ½. It's all screwed up now.  If you can get away from the XS, S, M, L, XL, 0X, 1X, 2X, 3X, and 4X, for women and SP, MP, LP, and XLP for petites (That means for short women, not that you're cute as a button.) then you have to go into the never-never land of numbers.  Beginning with 0  (yes, that's zero) through  99?   I don't know where it stops.  I just know I'm not a zero, but that dress with the red belt was a 9.  

Underwear is still all kinds of odd sizes.  Slips and bras are in the 30-48 range.  Then there are cup sizes, AA through D, DD, DDD, E through L. There are strapless bras, and underwire bras, and training bras, and falsies to insert -- and of course half slips.  Panties of the 100% white cotton elastic leg brief kind (We've been here before.) or bikinis or thongs in nylon or silk.   Those sizes are all in the low numbers  4 through 15.  Colors have stayed the same, usually any undergarments come in white, beige, or black -- sometimes pink.

And there's a universal rule, too.  Anything you buy can be marked small, medium, or large and you get to guess.

So now, to the crux of the matter.  I hate to shop, but I've gone through various stages.  Shop unwillingly and go through the trying-on-in-the-dressing-room, carrying your little number tab so the lady watching the rooms knows how many you took in.  Of course in the high-end places you don't have to worry about that.  Trust is their middle name.  I've shopped in them all -- maybe I didn't buy in them all, but I shopped.

My friend Marilyn and I used to go to Jacksonville from Gainesville to shop, and she swore she couldn't get me out of Sears.  Well, I knew Sears. So it was natural to go to Sears.  Davisons was new to me.  There was no O. T. Johnson's like there was in Galesburg where I grew up. This was the beginning of malls where we could find more than one store, and just as it is in Athens, high-end and low-end meant more than just merchandise.

Sears had sizes one could trust.  They had a catalog.  No online shopping, but there was that huge catalog and the telephone. That's where I bought my tennis shoes for $2.50.  Amy called them my screeties.  No, I don't know why.  She just did.  I bought other things there, too, because I could order them. I ordered so often that I had our sixteen-digit charge card number memorized - from sheets to underwear for the kids.  Bonus was getting a package in the mail addressed to ME. Amy also said my bras came from New Zealand.  I don't know why she said that either.  They came from Sears.

Remember that post about 100 % WHITE COTTON ELASTIC LEG BRIEFS?  I finally found them at Sears.

I never had enough nerve to drive to Jacksonville, so Marilyn did it.  She was brave that way, but on one trip we had a flat tire.  I think she left to get help and I stayed with the car.  We were probably both scared, but we made it home and I don't even remember the details, just the flat tire part and the scared part.

On another of our trips we both had men's pj's on our lists, because Jim and Wayne were going to an APGA convention, and they would be staying together in a hotel.  At a display table with men's pajamas on sale, it took us about two seconds to set them up.  Can't you just see them opening their suitcases and pulling out matching pajamas?

When we moved to Athens, the shopping trips were to Rich's in Atlanta, but I was still too chicken to drive. Usually Marge drove, because she was brave and had a big station wagon -- lots of room for packages and four or five women.  It was fun, but I missed Marilyn.

One year when we went, wigs were really the thing to have --  and boots.  Wigs and Boots -- sounds like a country song.  We always split up to shop and I ran into Marge right after I bought a pair of black boots for myself.  (It was supposed to be Christmas shopping, but we're women.)   I tried to talk Marge into buying some, too, but she said "No, boots don't look good on me."  Well, everything looked good on Marge, so I kept at her and finally she said, "Okay, if you'll come with me while I try them on."   I don't think I've ever laughed so hard.  I didn't know her legs made parentheses, but they did in boots.  She was from Texas, so it seemed unnatural that she couldn't wear boots, but she was right.  Boots were not for her.  But, she was not about to let me outspend her, so she bought a wig that looked beautiful on her, and for the record I never liked the way I looked in a wig.

I think hats are coming back and I wish I were younger and taller.  Hats are fun.

For the next trip to Atlanta, you have to remember that I love tools.  I grew up spending parts of my daily life in my dad's shop and learned to use all kinds of tools -- hammers, saws, screw drivers, wrenches, pliers, chisels . . .    I know, I get carried away writing about tools, definitely off the 'shopping' track, but there is a point to be made.

Back to Rich's in Atlanta and my good friend JoAnne.  You've read about her before and know that something funny always happens when we are together, and this isn't even the last thing I remember. Well, I was pregnant with Wes on that trip to Atlanta, and when I'm eating for two, I'm eating for two.  We had just had lunch in the Magnolia Room at Rich's, and after shopping for another hour or so, I ran into JoAnne.  I tried to get her to go back and eat some more lunch or dessert or something..  She just looked at me in that way she has and what she said was absolutely JoAnne at her best.  She said,  "No, Chris.  Go play in the tools."  I probably went to the candy department.

Now I order from Amazon and send most of it back.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Beginning January 24th
The germs crawl in.
The germs crawl out.
The germs play pinochle 
on your snout.

I know that's supposed to be worms when you're telling horror stories about zombies, but it was the germs that came to live with us for awhile.  Didn't see any worms.  For many years Wayne would ask, "Do you have worms?"  if one of the kids, or I, got particularly antsy, or wiggly, or impatient.  He asked it a lot.  

I remember once asking my friend Gleam if she had worms.  We were driving back from a writers' conference in South Carolina, and she was wiggling around in the passenger seat.  She said indignantly, "I do not!"  I miss her.  She was funny.

I've been 'antsy' to write on my blog again, or maybe I do have worms.  We've had some strange months this winter, but everybody is well and back to normal, whatever that is. Wayne was in the hospital twice with pneumonia.  Don't know what we would have done without Wes and Amy to be at the hospital for some long hours. They took such good care of him.  I came down with an awful cold almost the same day, so I only went to the hospital once.  I preferred to stay home and sneeze and just talk to him on the phone.  

When he came home the first time, he was still really sick, dragging oxygen.  I take that back.  I was dragging the oxygen with a long tube.  (I was almost over the cold.) We thought we could handle things and the young Antenens went home.  

Breathing was easier when Wayne sat in his recliner, but when he wanted to go to bed, he was too weak to get out of the chair.  Once, just once, I was able to help him, but that was the last of my strength.  The next time I tried to help him to bed, he just sort of sank to the floor instead.  No, I did not drop him, but we had to call 911 to get some help.  Those EMTs were so nice that they provided a pleasant ending to what began as a catastrophic evening.

Wes came to the rescue the next day by locating a lift chair by phone.  He called Care Medical first and they told him they had one, so I persuaded Gay to take me there to buy it. They didn't have one.  I don't think we'll believe them again.  

Wes then located one at Adcock Furniture. After being out of the house for the first time with Gay, I decided I could probably drive it myself.  Adcock's said they only had one, and the one on the floor was a horrible color, sort of golden, orange, yellow, bleh!  Not picky at this point I bought it.  When I asked how soon we could have it, the sales person called the warehouse and the truck driver said.  "Ask her how soon she can get home?"  

I beat him home, but not by
much, and the one he brought was a nice brownish color, so I guess they had more than one after all.  Maybe that was the one Care Medical thought they had!  That chair made a big difference for Wayne and it's also comfortable.  We now have the old recliner sitting on the porch.  He wouldn't get sick just so he could have a new chair, would he?

Back to the Hospital
The home health nurse, Laura, didn't think he was doing so well after a few days, so the ambulance took him back to the hospital for another six days. When he got home the last time, he was much better and didn't need the oxygen.  For this recovery, we got smarter and hired help from 10 to 6 for several days.  We could get used to that. 

Letitia was a lifesaver.  An RN in her own country of Romania, she is working towards getting credentials here because she wants to work in a hospital.  I think she'll make it as soon as she can get past the language and credential requirements. She was studying every spare minute, and her knowledge was so helpful to us.  If you're in need, it was Visiting Angels in Watkinsville who provided the help -- very professional group.  

News Flash
In evaluating what is happening today in the area of hospital care, there are surprises.  Always before, when a hospital stay was indicated, there was a familiar procedure.  I don't care if you were having a baby, or ill with pneumonia, or needed back surgery, the procedure was the same.  Your own doctor arranged for your hospital stay with those elusive pieces of paper called 'orders.'  You went to the hospital at the appointed time, you were admitted, and later that evening, your doctor showed up doing 'rounds.'   

Families worked their schedules around when he or she might arrive, so they would get the latest news on your condition. I wonder if doctors knew about that hide and seek game families played.  The doctor did rounds the next morning, too, took care of your needs every day, and was the one who made all the decisions, including the one to allow you to go home.  Now these doctors don't even have access to the hospital for your care.  I'm sure that's true for both hospitals, which have their own physicians in each area - called hospitalists.  

Why didn't somebody tell us about this?  We kept trying to get our 'primary care physician' also familiarly known as an internist and our PCP, to tell us what to do.  I think I even raised my voice once when he didn't call back.

In my part-time job taking care of Wayne's dog Weezie while he was sick, I discovered lots of hair in the basement.  I've been overlooking it for months, but I can't any more.  She's such a nice dog.  See Shuffle and Balance  for an example of her good-dog behavior.  Wayne just now brushed her and showed me the pile of hair. There's enough in that bag to knit an afghan.  

Weezie is about twelve years old and stays outside in the run for most of the day, sitting on the 'deck'  Wayne built for her, or in the igloo shaped house on the deck, or she might go to the small deck he built in the best spot for lying in the sun.   Because she's outside so much, she has a beautiful thick coat and lots of that soft, downy under-hair.  That's what keeps flying around, because she seems to shed year-round.

took on the task of eliminating the problem inside first by getting some of those doggie rugs, and they really seem to be working.  Also, I bought a furminator.  Wayne usually brushes her once a day, and she loves it, so we'll have her groomed professionally, and then try to keep up by brushing her daily with the furminator.  I think if she doesn't object, I could hook that up to the vacuum cleaner!   

New Posts
I've been working on a post about my dad for a while.  I also added some of his family history, and part of the post about my dad's upholstery shop to the 'About Me' part of this blog which I named Child of the Thirties.  It's amazing how the details about the shop and the hours I spent with my dad came back to me as I wrote.  For eighteen years I lived in the same house with my dad's shop just a hop, skip, and a jump from the back door.  I was a very lucky child.

I know this is more like a journal entry, but I wanted to ease into coming back to the blog.  It's been about five months since I've written any posts.  We've been busy getting through the holidays, being sick, and other things.  The rest of the story about my dad's family is in Child of the Thirties if you're interested.  

Appliance Hell
Friday our washing machine filled and filled and filled.  I caught it just as it was ready to go over the top - 17 good years!  Saturday I bought a washer and it was delivered Tuesday.  Amy and Wes came for a visit Saturday afternoon, so Amy helped me get the water out of the old one.  I had already taken the clothes out.  Of course the clothes had not been through the rinse cycle, so I had to do that the old fashioned way.  Lucky us, we have a new washing machine now that we're approaching mid-80's.  Not as much fun to get something new as it was when we were young.     

On my way home from buying the washer, I stopped at Urgent  Care, which is connected to the Athens Orthopedic Clinic, and got an x-ray of my arm. It's been hurting since I tripped in the hall and fell down a few days before Christmas.  Osteo arthritis had settled in two places, bicep and rotator cuff, muscle tears? (BTW I don't understand that.) The doctor gave me a steroid injection somewhere in my shoulder in the vicinity of the rotator cuff.  

He also gave me a prescription for Prednisone. Now I have to consciously stay away from eBay and Amazon because I have a tendency to buy stuff when I'm on steroids. I have already bought a pair of capris and a striped shirt -- gonna look like Shirley Temple in a sailor outfit this summer.  Anyone know how to fix my hair in ringlets?