Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bloggerversary Contest

Help me celebrate my second bloggerversary. Just look at the fabulous prize package you will win: A Massachusetts instant game ticket, Scary Money 2008 with a chance to win a cash prize. See odds of winning, a box of Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies to savor the sweetness of winning or the consolation of losing, and a framed picture of Auntie Rose to have as your very own.

Entry is easy. All you have to do is leave a comment on my blog. You lurkers out there; don't be shy. Just say "Hi". Tell me about the weather in your area. Whine. Relate an anecdote. Anything. Each day you comment, your name will be entered into the contest. Comment each day and increase your chances of winning! The contest will run until 11:59PM EDT on Friday 3. October 2008. The winner will be announced at noon on Saturday 4. October 2008. U.S. residents only.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bloggerversary Contest

Saturday, 4. October 2008 will mark my second year blogging at Whine. Can you believe it? Two years of fine whining. I didn't pay attention the first year to the date so missed the bloggerversary. This year, I'd like to do something to mark the occasion.

I wanted to run a contest, but didn't know what to offer as a prize. 24 cans of beets? 20 loaves of bread? The Weebles? While brainstorming with Erica and later Himself, a grand prize was suggested.

First, the contest rules. Stop by CJ's Whine and Cheeze and leave a comment this week. That's it. Just leave a comment. Say "Hi". Tell me about the weather in your area. Whine about your own sandwich experiences. Relate an anecdote. Anything. Each day you comment, your name will be entered into the contest. Comment each day and increase your chance of winning! The contest will run until 11:59 pm EDT on Friday 3. October 2008.

Saturday, 4. October 2008, Auntie Rose will draw the name of the contest winner by lottery. You don't even have to send $11.95 to see if your name is on the contest list like Ma does. At noon EDT, I'll post the name of the winner.

The winner of the contest will win a legitimate Massachusetts Lottery scratch ticket with a chance to win a cash prize, a box of Little Debbie treats, and a picture of Auntie Rose.

The contest is open to U.S. residents only.

Good luck!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Twilight Zone

Shortly after Dad has his second procedure to remove gallstones, he related a story to me.

"I woke up and there was a man in my room. He was wearing a white suit."

"It was probably just a dream, Dad." Either that or tripping on whatever medication the hospital sent him home with.

"No, it wasn't a dream. I was awake."

"Did you know the man?"

"No, just that he was wearing a white suit."

All I could picture was Mr. Roarke from the television show Fantasy Island or Tattoo, Mr. Roarke's little dude sidekick. Boss, de plane! de plane!

Did this man talk to you?"

"No, but I heard a voice say, 'Not now, they still have time.'"

Dad was not at all upset about a stranger in his room.

"Your mother heard the voice too."

"She did?"

"Yes, because she asked me the next morning who was in the house."

Not exactly what I would call a good witness as Ma hears someone singing risque Italian songs all the time.

"God sends someone to come and take you home."

Dad seemed quite comforted by this thought. Now I have heard this type of story, though I had heard it was always a family member or someone you knew who came to help you cross over. Not a complete stranger. On the other hand, The Happy Wanderer would gladly go with anyone that offered him a lift.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


At the beginning of the week, my Palm Z22, my brains just up and died. The Z22 was my electronic calendar and synced to Outlook. Just the thing I needed to keep track of all the appointments including Weeble appointments. I had been thinking about a smartphone, phone and PDA all in one device, but hadn't been able to rationalize the expense until the Z22 bought the farm.

Rather than buy another Palm device (this was my third from two previous upgrades), I decided to bite the bullet and go for the smartphone. Since the Weebles have a doctor's appointment on Tues. the decision had to be made right quick. So this is Chip, Verizon's SMT 5800. It's a candybar style with a slide out QWERTY key pad.

Now I'll be able to run out the door with the smartphone and my wallet in my jacket pocket. Not often that I carry a purse. Just ask Frauee what a minimalist I was in TX. I can transfer calls from the home phone to the smartphone. I have my calendar and Weeble appointments at my fingertips and I can surf the web while waiting in the doctor's office. That's a nice feature. Not a necessity, but nice.

I even managed to download a couple of my own ringtones to Chip. Where would I be without the theme from The Big Valley as the general ringtone? I can even associate ringtones with contacts so I can instantly know who is calling. I've been searching the Internet for The Happy Wanderer to associate with the Weebles. I'm sure The Stupid Song isn't available.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Birthday Party

Ma turned 90 years old last Tuesday. Ordinarily, I would have held a holy day of obligation on the Sunday before. This year, I had a conflict as Sunday was the day The Eldest was to move back into her dorm. I had thought I could hold the festivities on Saturday, but after dealing with Dad's illness, doing Weeble laundry, and trying to get The Eldest organized, I just didn't have the energy to deal with a party. The house was a wreck with health and beauty items, office supplies, snacks, and other sundry items that needed to go live at college. So I decided if I had time, I'd drop in on Monday (Labor Day) or Tuesday (Ma's birthday). I'd bring a cake and a bouquet of flowers and call it good.

Ma was pleasantly surprised by our visit especially because The Young One had come for a visit, too. She thought everyone had forgotten about her. Dad had gone out (See The Happy Wanderer) and she was left alone. She had also fallen earlier that morning too, but that might have been a sympathy ploy.

As I was getting the cake ready to serve, Ma served me a slice of guilt. In all fairness, she did not comment to make me feel guilt, but it was the way I interpreted her comment.

"Did you ever think you get this far?"

"Ninety years old? No, never. I told your father I wanted a big party, but he didn't bother."

"Oh." The guily version of "Oh, Wow."

And for a split second, I took a bite out of the guilt slice. I could have had her and Dad over for cake and coffee on Saturday. I didn't have to do a seven course meal. So the house was a disaster, the family would have been too polite to remark about my lack of housekeeping skills. I just didn't want to expend the effort.

Ma said she wanted a big party. She was probably thinking of the big party Uncle Salvatore had for his 80th birthday, about five years ago. His son had hired a function hall, invited friends and relatives and given his father a surprise party.

A surprise party. That would have been nice. Except all her relatives and friends are dead. Sad but true. We would have had to hold the festivities at the Holy Name Cemetary where the bulk of the relatives are buried.

I suppose I could have tried talking The Brother into making an appearance for cake and coffee at Ma's. I didn't want to make him feel guilty. Ma would have been very happy to The Brother and his family and me and mine sans The Eldest. Auntie Rose and Grandma Celeste would be smiling down at us from the wall of pictures. But can you imagine the horror of having 91 candles, open flame and all of Ma's papers around? Yup, would sure clean the place out, but as I said before I don't want to be there when it happens.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Happy Wanderer

Labor Day found us heading to the Weebles to celebrate Ma's 90th birthday a day early. We had picked up a cake, a bouquet of flowers, and a card. Traffic wasn't too heavy so we were zipping along.

"There's your father," Himself said as we zipped by the old brewery.

"What? Where? Are you sure it's him?"

"There's no mistaking him. He's wearing a straw hat that looks like a dog chewed its brim, a plaid jacket that looks like some poor VW bug is missing seat covers, and he has his cane slung over his shoulder with a shopping bag on the end of it like a hobo's pack. Should I loop around to pick him up?"

Himself likes to drive in the passing lane and there was no way to pull over to pick up the old man. Dad was some two miles from home.

"Yeah, don't let him walk home. What the hell was he doing up here anyway?" I could feel the muscles in my neck clench and me without my Tylenol.

"Do you think Grandpa dresses like he's homeless on purpose?" asked The Young One.

"Maybe he thinks if he dresses poor mouth, no one will bother him while he's wandering around town," I answered smoothly. I wasn't really sure of the reason. He has tons of clothes, many of them new, still in their original plastic with pins holding the folds neatly in place. I've teased him for years that he has a trousseau. I have a feeling this is another instance of Weeblenomics. The clothes he wears are threadbare and out of style, but perfectly serviceable. What's a few holes? The new clothes are to be saved. I'm not sure what occasion he's saving them for, perhaps his funeral. I might have to tell him, we can only bury him in one outfit. He won't be able to take his wardrobe with him. Wonder if we'll be able find a short, portly fellow on eBay to buy Dad's expensive Hickey-Freeman suits, he used to wear them to work and they are still hanging in the closet?

Himself took the half cloverleaf turn and headed back up the highway. We were now on the Westbound side, and I was anxiously watching the Eastbound side for a glimpse of Dad.

A black SUV, what Dad calls a "Soove" had stopped on the highway next to Dad. My heart leaped to my throat, and I watched with horror as Dad accepted the ride.

Note to self: Get a pack of Tylenol Meltaways (no water needed) to keep in the car in case of Weeble induced headaches while on the road.

By the time we made the second loop, the black SUV was gone.

We turned into the Weebles street, and there was the SUV parked in front of the Weebles' driveway. Dad was leaning in and chatting with the driver.

The driver was a young, good-looking fella in his mid-thirties.

"I take it this is your dad?" he asked.

"Yup, that's him. Thanks for picking him up."

"No problem." We watched as the driver turned the black SUV around.

"Did you know that man?" I asked Dad.


I sighed heavily. "Y'know the old rule about accepting rides from strangers applies to you too."

Dad shrugged and gave me a sheepish grin.

"What the hell were you doing up there anyway?"

"I went to Eliot to visit a friend. Then Roche Bros. had a deal on paper towels."

That's what was in the bag that was looped around his cane. The store was close to two miles away from where we saw Dad on the highway. The shoes on Dad walk round and round.

"You couldn't have waited until I came Thursday to take you guys to the Mahket?"

Another sheepish grin.

Maybe we need to have an electronic fence installed around the Weebles' house. Then if he crosses the line, the electronic collar will zap Dad to remind him to stay in his own yard. On the other hand, the Happy Wanderer would probably learn pretty quickly that if you took a running start and ran through the electronic wire, the zap would only hurt for a second or two. Or if he sat by the boundary long enough, the collar battery would wear out, and he could happily wander away without a zap.

Oh, may I go a-wandering
Until the day I die!
Oh, may I always laugh and sing,
Beneath God's clear blue sky!
My knapsack on my back.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

You're A Winner

Conversation with my cousin turned to Ma and her scammer contests.
"The house is cluttered with papers. You can barely find a place to sit down."
"I know."
"She's convinced she's winning millions of dollars. All she's doing is throwing her money down the drain."
"Preachin' to the choir."
"You really should make her stop."
"You know, I've had conversations with Ma about the foolish way she's spending her money. You know what she told me?"
"She told me to mind my own damn business."

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Who Is That Woman?

My Cousin was telling me about her visit with Ma.

"We were sitting in the living room having a nice chat. I was looking at the family pictures your mother has on the wall. By the way, who is that woman?"

"What woman?"

"Your mother has a picture of a woman I've never seen before. She has white hair and is smiling."

"Oh, you mean Auntie Rose?"

"Auntie Rose? I don't remember an Auntie Rose."

"Oh, she's new. Auntie Rose is Ma's psychic. Auntie Rose tells Ma to send her money and Ma will be rich. Ma sends the money. Because her picture is on the wall with the other relatives, The Nephew christened her Auntie Rose."

Auntie Rose and her chit eating grin. Wonder what the story will be if Aunt Jemima's picture ends up on the wall? Maybe we can say Aunt Jemima's from the Sicilian side of the family.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Not A Little Princess Job

Ma's washer went on the fritz. Somehow, I ended up volunteering my washer and services and Himself to pick up and deliver the Weeble laundry. Y'know, doing other people's laundry is definitely not a Little Princess job. And the moral of this story? Never miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut. Next time I hear "My washer is broken." The response is "Oh, wow."

I suppose the job could have been worse. I could have had to take it to the laundromat. You can read all about my first laundromat experience The Princess and the Laundromat.

Monday, September 01, 2008


I picked Dad up from the hospital after he had a procedure. Hed was sent home though he was looped to the gills. Poor fella couldn't get warm and was shivering so much his teeth chattered like castanets. I called the day surgery to ask if this was normal. Nope. Try to get him warm and if that doesn't work, bring him back. Warmed a quilt in the dryer. That and Dad's fave ratty Turkish terry bathrobe made him feel better. He was running a low grade fever, but I thought that was due to him being over dressed and tucked up with 1,000 quilts. After he was warmed up, I got him to just wear pjs and blanket and sheet. His temp came down. I ended up staying the night because Ma can barely take care of herself let alone trying to cope with Dad. Sat. morning, he was up, about and had cereal for breakfast. He grumped at Ma for hovering so figured he was back to normal, and I went home.

"You look horrible," said Himself as I flopped on my chair in the sunroom.

"Thanks, Kid. Just the kind of fuzzy welcome home feeling I was looking for."

"Rough night with your Dad?"

"No, he did alright. Just that I forgot how hot the upstairs room is. My God, how did we live like that? And my bed had tons of junk piled on it so I slept in the other bed. The other bed had junk too, but not so much that I couldn't pile it on a chair. There were too many peas in the bed and the pillow wasn't soft and comfy."

The Young One had come upstairs while I was whining.

"You sound like the Little Princess from the story," she chuckled.

"She was based on me. What's your point?"

"Guess you won't feel like cooking us supper because you didn't sleep well," Himself said flipping through the channels while the ballgame was in commercial. His comment was a statement and not a question.

"You got that right. Though it just wasn't because of two star accommodations at the hotel. Dad perked up around 10pm and he was looking for a playmate. So I sat up and chatted with him for an hour or so. Ma was busy shuffling papers. Around 11, I decided to go to bed. I'm heading through the livingroom and there's Ma standing in the middle of her papers with a candle and match that had to be yard long. She was burning papers in the fireplace."

Himself laughed.

"It's not funny."

"Don't you and your brother joke that a Zippo would do wonders to clean that place out?"

"Yeah, but I don't want to be in the middle of the house when it goes up! So I slept with one ear open listening to see if Dad was having any problems. Do they even have a smoke detector in the house?"

"I don't know."

"Well, I stayed awake wondering about that, and then trying to plan my escape route from the second floor. Do I go out my bedroom window, hang from the sill and drop hoping I'd fall into the bushes instead of the concrete where the clothes line is or do I go out the office window and jump to the concrete patio?"

"You wouldn't have to worry about jumping?"

"Why not?"

"The fumes from the burning Styrofoam plates would probably kill you first."

"Thank you, Gretchen Sunshine. She's not burning the plates anymore. She's putting them through the dishwasher now."

"Hey! I know what you can get your mother for her birthday?"


"A fire extinguisher."