I’m Back with a Surprise

I have been quiet for several months because I have been a busy bee. I have been working on the election (writing postcards, posting informative messages to Twitter and Facebook, researching candidates, and taking a class on working on the Voter Protection Hotline) as well as planning weekly lessons with my four-year-old granddaughter. We are learning to speak Spanish and to sign—both of which have been on my bucket list. Hola, mucho gusto, gracias!


Although we had a brief period of allowing our grandchildren to visit us at our home, we backed off several weeks ago due to our decision to isolate ourselves for the upcoming arrival of our newest grandchild. We did not want to take any chances of not being allowed to visit her.

Looking back on my infrequent posts this year, I realized I never announced the impending expansion of my family tree. I guess I did not anticipate a break in writing for so many months.

It has not been a typical pregnancy. The visits to the doctor were sometimes virtual, which was not comforting to both Mother and Grandma. The shower was via Zoom and the shopping trips to choose the baby furniture were stressful, but at least it was easy to keep those pesky sales people at a distance. Not to be able to visit my pregnant baby was sad, but now the excitement is reaching its peak.

After months of waiting, the time is finally here. Mommy-to-be checked into the hospital last night—6 days before her due date because the baby is predicted to be a bit on the large side. We have been getting text updates and had one telephone call so far today. Bampa mentioned that his traditional meal-in-waiting was always a BLT sandwich. What will be the meal of choice for our family’s newest father?

I can’t wait to see them all as well as my mom. We have not been together since November because of the virus. I look forward to seeing how Jamie morphs from teacher to mother. Will she be a typical first-time-mother and boil each item before the baby touches it, or will she be more like a laid-back veteran mom and teach her daughter how to juggle knives? After all, the new dad is very skilled at juggling the tennis balls I sent her in case she experiences back labor.

In any case, I lost the baby shower guess-the-date contest. My date was October 16. The winner looks like it will be the God-grandmother/great aunt. I don’t know if the Godmother of the mother is the God-grandmother, but this is my story, so I get to choose!

I hope to get the call announcing the arrival of baby ____ (I am not announcing her name!) before dinner time today. Then I will be able to raise my glass in a toast.

It is time for some happy news for a change!

Pandemic Challenge

“Are you brushing your teeth with that toothpaste,” Dad asked while pointing to the nearly-empty tube of toothpaste. I smiled, and he responded with a mild expletive. He was not happy. I was another step closer to winning our latest pandemic game, which is focused on toothpaste.

Our latest game is similar to the one we played several months ago with toilet paper. In that game, which was made easier because we were able to use separate bathrooms, the goal was to see whose roll of toilet paper would last the longest. Dad won, but that was not surprising because it is a well-known fact that men use less TP than women. I won’t elaborate on the obvious.

During the toothpaste challenge, we are both working on the same tube of toothpaste. The winner is the last one who is able to squeeze that final drop of paste onto their brush. Each day it is getting more and more difficult to fill our toothbrush. We have resorted to flattening the tube and rushing to the bathroom to be the first one to brush our teeth.

I am determined to be the winner.

Not the DMV!

Ever since we left New Jersey, the DMV is not something I think of often. When we moved to North Carolina, we had to get our cars inspected, but that could be done at places such as Jiffy Lube or some gas stations. We only went to the DMV to take get our driver’s licenses when we moved there.

Once we moved on to other southeastern states, we learned that there were no requirements to have our cars inspected. Que sera sera was the motto of Georgia and South Carolina. So I only visited our local Motor Vehicle office to get my license when I moved to the state, to obtain a temporary handicapped sticker after my hip replacement, and to get a Real ID to so I could fly on an airplane without a passport.

So it was a strange situation which brought the DMV to the forefront of my thoughts again. Here’s what happened.

Uncle Dave mailed me some documents, and on Saturday, he called to ask if they had arrived because he got a notification that they had been delivered in the morning. I check the porch, looked in the bushes, and then went to the mailbox, but I found nothing. I called him back and got the tracking number from him, which claimed the envelope had been delivered to a P.O. Box at my local post office at 9:48 am. Well that was certainly interesting because I do not, nor have I ever, had a post office box.

Monday morning I made an inquiry at the post office where the envelope had allegedly been delivered. I waited, and waited, and then was asked if I had one of those clustered mailboxes (no), or if I ever had a P.O. Box. I was told to hold a minute, and I could hear some shuffling around while the number of my house was being discussed.

When the nice post office worker returned to the call, he informed me that the envelope had ended up at the DMV. How interesting! Apparently, this happens frequently enough that the post office routinely receives mail that has been mistakenly delivered to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

My envelope should arrive at my house on Tuesday. Let’s hope so.

What a Nice Surprise!

I recently learned that my brother can sing, which turned out was not a surprise to all my siblings. I think that after we moved, I was pushed out of the loop of some family gossip. I don’t think it was intentional. It just happened. Out of sight, out of mind!

This new discovery happened when I saw a notification that Uncle Dave had just performed on a Facebook Group called Quarantine Karaoke, and when I heard him singing “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” I was shocked. He was really good, and I was happy to see him enjoying himself since his life has been filled with one punch after the other.  It began with the accident that killed his wife, followed by the death of his nephew, and now with his diagnosis of ALS. But here, in that space, he can enjoy himself for a few minutes.

I called Grandma to relay my news, and like me, she did not know about his singing. Now it is possible that she knew but forgot, but I like to tell myself that I am not the only one in the family who was not told this huge piece of family news.

I explained to her what karaoke is, but I don’t know if she really understood the concept. Then this morning, I had a revelation while in the shower. A lot of my best thoughts happen there. I recalled the sleepovers at my grandmother’s house when we would play with her underarm flab, tweeze the hair off of her upper lip, and watch Sing Along with Mitch.

As I told you in Sleepovers at Grandma’s House, someone would sing a song, and just like in karaoke, the words would appear at the bottom of the television screen so his viewers could all “sing along with Mitch.” Looking back on that show I now realize that Mitch Miller was the creator of karaoke.  Check it out: Sing along with Mitch. 

I can’t wait to discuss this with Grandma today.

She Was a Character

Tomorrow is our state primary, and after reading some Facebook posts on one of our neighborhood pages written by someone who wanted to vote for one person in the Democratic party and another in the Republic party, I was reminded of an election when both Dad and I faced the same quandary.  Our solution was for each of us to choose a different party. I do not recall who the Democratic candidate was that we wanted to ensure made it to the general election in November (It may have been the man who would become governor, Brendan Byrne), but I remember that the Republican candidate was a feisty older woman named Millicent Fenwick who loved to smoke cigars.

What was it so many years later about this woman, I wondered today, so I went to the Google machine for the answers? She was quite an interesting politician, but as a Republican during that time, I do not see her fitting in with today’s party. She followed the traditional party’s view as a fiscal conservative, but her Congressional biography said she had a “lifelong commitment to liberal activism on behalf of consumers, racial minorities, human rights advocacy, women’s rights, and dedication to campaign finance reform.”  She even voted against her House GOP colleagues 48 percent of the time.

A writer in the NY Times, Bruce Lambert, recalled that “during a debate in the New Jersey assembly over the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a colleague told her: ‘I just don’t like this amendment. I’ve always thought of women as kissable, cuddly and smelling good.’ Fenwick retorted, ‘That’s the way I feel about men, too. I only hope for your sake that you haven’t been disappointed as often as I have.’ ”

I miss the days when we had outspoken Republican politicians of character who were not afraid to speak their mind. No wonder Dad and I had to split our vote that year. One of us had to make sure she stayed on the ballot.

He’s No Spring Chicken but….

We had another playdate with the kiddies, an event that I cherish because I know that the chance always exists that the coronavirus may result in losing those visits again. Each time one of us ventures away from our homes, we discuss our movements and decide if the activity requires a quarantine from our two families again.

Our visit was primarily indoors because it had been rainy, so after some marble races, bed making, and a few rounds of Mancala, it was time for another round of indoor miniature golf. (Remember how we played in January.  Fore !) Bryce went to work in the dining room while Dad took a quick nap. He had awoken before 4:00 am that day so he needed to close his eyes for a few minutes.

The holes consisted of a few chairs, boxes, a rolled up drawing, and a couple of placemats. I practiced with the kids until it was time to wake up. When it was Dad’s turn (he thought) to try it out, he grabbed the putter but was stopped dead in his tracks when Bryce said so innocently, “You should skip this hole, Bampa. You are too old.”

What an incentive that statement was! Daddy lined up the shot and took a swing. Aha! It was a hole in one! So much for old age.

Coronavirus Hair- Part 2

Yesterday was another “adventures in covid-19.” I say adventures since we are the lucky ones because our health has not be impacted by this insidious disease. We are only inconvenienced, which is nothing to complain about by no means.

Since the rain had stopped, Dad decided to venture out of our little cocoon of safety in order to visit a new local salon, “Karen’s Kutz.” He heard wonderful comments about the proprietor, aka Mommysmeanderings! So we went out to the patio, where I draped him in an old sheet, and I organized my tools of the trade: a comb, scissors, shaving thingy, a mirror, and a spray bottle of water in case his freshly washed hair began to dry. I think I was much more excited than Dad.

I had prepared by watching several videos for tips on cutting curly male hair. I began by carefully shaving the hair from the back of his neck. “This is fun,” I thought as I then moved onto trimming the hairline. I then grabbed my scissors and moved on to the back of his head, holding Mr. Pointer and Tall Man together to form a line for cutting.

Dad’s curly hair made it both tricky and easy to work with, because while it kept curling as I tried to maintain a straight line, the curliness was hiding any mistakes I might make. Next was the most dangerous part of the job: the hair around his ears. But I was ever so careful, and I am happy to report that I did not do a Van Gough on Daddy’s ears. I snipped and I combed, working from side to side and back to front.

When the job was completed, I gathered the hair clippings to spread over my most deer-eaten plants because I had read somewhere that deer avoid plants surrounded by human hair.

I am happy to report that Dad looks much better, and he even admits that I may have gone too easy in a few places. So when the rain stops today, I hope to encourage him return to Karen’s Kutz for another round!


Coronavirus Hair

Everyone is getting tired with staying inside, getting fed up with seeing few people in person but those in our immediate household, and just a little embarrassed at looking at our multicolored roots and long hair. If you live in my state of South Carolina, that is no longer a problem because we can go to indoor restaurants, gyms, tattoo and massage parlors, pools, barber shops, and hair salons.

My family and friend know that I watch and record the daily data so I will know when I am comfortable venturing out, particularly to get my hair done. Until that time, I had to take matters into my own hands, so in March I purchased a pair of scissors and a box of root touch-up. I also purchased toilet paper at Sams Club. I saw the writing on the wall way back then.

Last month, Dad helped me do my roots, but one box was not enough because there was a lot of work to be done. So with two boxes in hand, I donned an old shirt that was headed to clothing recycling and then mixed up the magic potion. I took care of what I could do on my own with the gray hairs I could see and then handed dad the brush. (This is called trust because he was working out of eyeshot.)

He painted away, and every so often I heard him exclaim, “Oh, wow!” as he discovered how bad it really was. I was not happy with his little comments. We all know that he has lost much of the hair on the crown of his head, but he has somehow managed to maintain a lot of his original brown hair. (I would rather have gray than none!) He also commented that he could understand why it costs too much because it is not an easy job if done well.

Anyway, when he was done, I rinsed, conditioned and dried, and voila! It looked great. Dad’s response: “You owe me $100.”

Ee I Ee I O!

I have not written for a few weeks because, as it turns out, staying at home during this pandemic has kept me busier than I had anticipated. We are cooking more and experimenting with more recipes based upon what food is on hand, talking on the phone to friends and family much more than before, gathering and graphing data of daily Covid-19 cases (that’s the mathematician in me), and learning how to farm from inside our home.

My jalapeno pepper plant that I saved last year from the deer attack produced peppers throughout the winter while nestled in the pot near my kitchen window. Now it’s beginning to flower again and produce a new round of peppers. Hello Mexican night!

My Instacart shopper brought me home a sad-looking, wilted basil plant, but with a little tender loving care I was able to revive it and am almost ready for my famous red pepper and basil pasta sauce.

I am also watching the pot out in the yard, where I threw a package of basil seeds several weeks ago and am now beginning to notice a few small leaves peeking out of the soil.

Now to the really fun plants. I learned that you can purchase a bunch of scallions and then regrow them by placing the white stems in a glass of water, and if successful, you never have to buy another bunch ever again!

After watching those green onions grow, I went to the good old Google machine and searched for other edibles that can be regrown from scraps and low and behold, I learned I could grow my own Romaine lettuce. I admit I am not a huge fan of Romaine. I prefer spinach leaves in my salad, but this sounded intriguing so I decided to give it a whirl.

I retrieved the bottom of the plant that Dad had just thrown in the garbage . It was inside a bag so it was not yuckily (is that a word?) covered with food garbage, and I placed it inside a wide glass filled with just an inch of water.


This process allegedly takes about 10 days, and then it’s time to move it to a pot of dirt. So let’s see what happens. I will let you know.

Until then, goodbye from Old McMommy!

That Man was Nuts!

While Dad and I were out for our evening stroll recently (It may have been while in our car. Time and our activities are just so muddled lately), we were passed by a slow-moving car, and I was immediately transported back in time. I saw what appeared to be an adult seated in the passenger seat with a young person at the wheel. The man appeared to be looking down, presumably reading something very important on his cell phone rather than watching possibly the last moments of his life unfold before his eyes.

I told Dad that it appeared that she was a new driver, and I was surprised that he was not paying any attention to her. When I was teaching all of you to drive, I was always conscious that I was taking my life in my hands, so I was never as relaxed as the passenger in that car.

I especially recalled driving to a mall in Atlanta with Casey, and she did not  want to drive on a highway (nor did I). But I knew she had to learn, so I figured I would throw caution to the wind and force her to drive north on 400 for our little shopping excursion.

There was no way that I was relaxed enough to be surfing the Internet or checking my email. No siree! I had a responsibility as a driving instructor and to the preservation of our lives to keep my eyes on Casey and the cars whizzing by us.

She was a nervous wreck and made me do the driving on the return trip home. What was wrong with that man in the other car?