Sunday, June 28, 2009

Her Name Is Lisa

She was only two years old when I first met her. A precocious little blond girl who marched into my kitchen and the first thing she did was try and open my refrigerator. I quickly put my hand on the door to prevent it from opening. She looked up at me with a quizzical look on her face, so I explained right away that such a thing was not acceptable in my house. "If you want something you may ask, and if I have it I will decide if I want to give it to you or not." I told her that when I was her age, my mother would not allow any of her children to ask for anything in someone else's house. She was sure if they wanted to offer us something, they would. Then if they did, we had to get our mother's permission as to whether we could have it or not. Otherwise we were to be polite, sit down in a chair, and be quiet. From then on we were the best of buddies and she never tried to open the refrigerator again. This little girl named Lisa, was the daughter of a young girl my son married. She was now my step-granddaughter. I had no blood grandchildren at the time so she was a special gift to me. As she grew, so did our relationship. When she was old enough to use the phone she would call "Gram" several times a week. She was on the phone quite often when doing her homework to ask me how to spell a word or to ask if I knew the answer to one of her homework problems. We would work on it together so she could figure it out for herself. She came often to our house and we romped in our backyard dough boy pool. We played a game on our raft floaters called "Horsie" We bounced up and down holding on to each other until one or both of us fell off. I love that memory! When she became a teenager, she called for advice. I do not think she ever took it , but she often asked for it. After her mother and my son divorced, she still remained in my life as did her mother. They were so dear to me and still are. When she married for the first time, I was no longer legally related to her, but to her I would always be her "Gram." She insisted I be in her wedding picture, saying, "You have to be in it, you are family, and you are my grandma." I am not too sure her blood grandmother was happy about it, but she did not say anything. Over the years Lisa has not adhered to what is right and what is wrong. She is still outgoing, rebellious, stubborn, and lives by her own rules. When you talk with her she makes you think that she knows a lot more than you do and no matter what you say, she has a correction or a different opinion. She is still that little girl marching into my house determined to open the frig. However, she and I are still the greatest of friends. She still calls me often and she emails me now and then. I can be critical of her and give unwanted advice and she never gets mad at me. We talk about it and discuss it, but she handles it very good. If I was to say anything like I say to her, to my blood grandchildren, they would cry and fly out of the room and put me on their silent list. During their growing up time they rarely came for visits and never ever called on the phone just to talk to me. One time I asked my grandson when he entered the room and ignored me," Well J...aren't you going to say hello?" He said, "What? I was talking to my dad." Then he asked if I wanted a hug and I said, "Yes and I love you J..." He then would not come into a room where I had gone as he said he was uncomfortable around me. That is the way they always are. I have to walk on eggs when I am around them. Lisa's children call me grandma also, and often when I see them, the boy (the oldest) always says,"I love you grandma!" How good that feels. Lisa was in town last week and I took her for a burger and a visit. We had a good time and did our back and forth thing. She is still such a "brat", but I love her unconditionally. She is my granddaughter!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Good Old Daze

The Good Old Daze
When you get to be my age, you start reminiscing. So many things race through your mind; most of the time your thoughts go back to remembering bygone days. Just the other day I was thinking about what we did before we had television. Of course in those simpler times we listened to the radio. Going back to my youth I recall my father's favorite radio program was One Man's Family. When it came on, we had to decide what we were going to do, get it done, and then sit silently and listen. Two of his other favorites were Fibber McGee and Molly, a funny married couple, and Amos and Andy, a comedy team of two white men portraying two African American men. They were extremely funny and loved by the radio audience. My mom liked to listen, in the day- time, to Stella Dallas and Ma Perkins. Those programs aimed at women were sponsored by companies like Proctor & Gamble, and hence became known as “soap operas.” Listening to radio was better than today, as you could move around, do your housework and still listen to your soaps. Creepy and scary were programs like the Inner Sanctum and The Shadow. They even started off with eerie openings. The Inner Sanctum had a loud chord played on an organ followed by the sound of a doorknob turn and a creaking door opening. Oooooh! The Shadow opened with a man’s low scary voice saying, "Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of men? The Shadow knows!" Death Valley Days was another program that gathered the family together. For the Western lovers there were Hopalong Cassidy, and Gunsmoke. For more humor we had George Burns and Gracie Allen, Baby Snooks with Fanny Brice, and The Goldbergs. For mystery there were The Whistler, Sherlock Holmes, The Green Hornet, The Saint and the Adventures of Phillip Marlowe. There were so many more, but I had to really reach to remember these. Radio was great though and was not nearly as profane or as blatant as television is today. It left so much more to one’s imagination, and as the stories unfolded, they created visual images in our mind, unlike today’s television which rarely leaves anything to the imagination! It also brought the family together. Not only did families gather around the dinner table, but also the radio. Those were the good times and the good old days that people talk about. I guess my mother had her good old days to talk about also, and my grandchildren will have their good old days too. And on and on it goes.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Tile Tale

Well, these last days have been like a nightmare. My former daughter-in-law, whom I love dearly, asked me to consider hiring her former son-in-law to lay tile on my kitchen floor. She said he had just done a bathroom for somebody and he had done a very good job as she herself had gone to inspect it. She said he was a tile layer and that he needed the money and could do it cheaply for us. We had considered hiring my son’s boss’s husband as he is a contractor, but he like a lot of contractors, was remiss in getting back to us in a reasonable time. We were tired of waiting and wanted to get the job done so we said O.K. They both came over and looked and measured and D…. said he would get back to us also about what his price would be. The first fellow said he worked for $20.00 an hour and it would take about 3 to 4 days. D…finally called with his estimate, which was $1000.00. So long to D…. We are both low-income people so that absurd bid was out of the question. We pondered a couple of days on what we were going to do when D…. called back and said he was a little high on the price and would do it for $400.00. He made some excuse as to why the change, but my son did not relay that to me and we said all right to him doing the job. Well, D…is a hard worker (when he works) and he does a good job (when he works) but this job stretched out into eight days. Eight horrible days. Not only that, but my son told him not to come back for the finishing things that needed to be done as he would do it himself. Our stove has been sitting on the deck all this time and the refrigerator is in the living room and the kitchen table in the garage. We have been living like campers, only worse, as we could not get to stove or microwave to heat anything. We either had to eat cold or go out which was not a good thing for our budget. The first day I offered to fix a sandwich for D…. At that point I could do it, but was told by the d-in-law he did not eat breakfast or lunch. He had told me he ate a big breakfast before coming over so did not need lunch. Who the heck is telling the truth here? Turns out my son had to go daily to Mc Donald’s to get him a burger, fries, and coke. I footed the bill one day. He was offered a cream sickle once and devoured the rest at his own pace each day without so much of a “May I?” Also he asked once for a bottled drink of my son’s and was told sure. Never asked again, but just took and drank them all except a couple. He never worked past 3:00P.M except the last couple of days when he was told he could not leave until certain things had been done for the day. The first day he came at 9:00 A.M. The second day it was 10:00A.M. and the third day it was 11:00 A. M. That day we had to call and ask where he was and why he was not here. Two days he put in a full 8 hours. The rest was 5 or 6 hours. In those hours he probably worked 4 hours, as he was so busy talking on his cell phone. The phone seemed to ring constantly. He would cut the conversation short when I would go look at what he was doing. He took breaks very, very often also. He claimed the guy he last worked for kept his tools and would not return them so my daughter-in-law purchased him a saw, and we had to buy some tools for him also. If she expects to get her money back when he got paid from us she has a surprise coming when she returns from a trip she is on. He took a $150.00 draw before the end and he has a girl staying at the house with him. My d-in-law is letting him stay at her house to dog sit, and I don’t think she knows about the girl. Maybe she does, but he is very secretive about it. While he is working, he makes all sorts of groaning sounds and he also has music plugged into his ears and every now and then shouts out something I assume is some form of the song. He never says goodbye, I am leaving. He just takes off. Most days we have picked him up in the morning after we straightened out his being late, and taken him home, when he quit early, but there has been a fellow come in a car to talk to him and we think he knows the time the guy will arrive and just takes off before we can object. I believe he has gone through my pantry while I was off getting him more grout as we found empty packages of my low calorie snacks empty and discarded on the deck. He sometimes brought his own drinks, but needed more obviously. I do not mind sharing my food or drinks, but would appreciate him asking. The first two days were hard as there was more underlay to be removed than we thought and it was hard to get up so we give him credit for the hard work he did, but again he only put in 6 hours. The day he laid tile should have been done in a day, but it took him two. His constant talking on the cell phone drove us crazy and when his company shut his phone down due to non payment, he used my wall phone walking all over the kitchen stretching the cord and only hanging up when I caught him. Then one day a friend of his called on my phone asking for him. Not a good idea. This last day I went to pick him up he no sooner got in the car than he dialed someone on a cell phone he had. I asked if his was turned back on and he said no it belonged to someone else. I said, well what is that person going to do? He said, “Sleep.” So I assume it belonged to the girl who is staying with him at the house. He proceeded to make another call before we got back to my house. The calls continued. I told him he was addicted and he said, “Not really.” He asked what time my son would be home so he could get paid and said the grout would only take him about an hour to do. It took him three. Another thing that was irritating about him is that he wanted no suggestions, or questions, or to be corrected in any way. If you said anything at all, he sat back on his butt, gave a big sigh and looked away from you. He then became silent and would not talk at all. He has never cleaned up after himself and my deck and some of the flowers are covered with powder from his mixing. The bricks in the yard have an abundance of stuff on them from his mixing. Inside, my cupboards have either grout or that stuff he puts under each tile smeared on them, and some on my hallway floors. Oh so sloppy he was and never ever thought of laying paper or a tarp down. The biggest and most disgusting thing of all is he did not raise the seat on my commode and dripped his last drops on my toilet seat and I had to clean that up.
Here it is five o’clock and my son is on his hands and knees filling in spaces where not enough grout has been applied and discovered one tile is raised above its neighbor, just enough where I might trip, but it is too late to pull it up now. What a lesson we have learned. You get what you pay for my daddy always used to say and he was so right.
I am now writing the day after D... has left. My son and I are scraping the tile glue off the walls, the dishwasher, the windows, (at least three feet above the floor), the door exiting the kitchen,(both inside and out) and the kitchen cabinets. I do not know how this stuff got there, and some so high up on the walls, but I am assuming that when I seen him get mad at himself he would sling his tools. So this is evidently how it got there, but so much of it? Also, the grout has to be washed at least twice and dried, and all the base boards have to be put back in place This was our choice to do as eight days of him was enough. It was, at the very most, a four day job for any other person to do. And even though putting back the baseboards and washing down the finished tile was his job, that would have run into nine days. We still have to apply the sealer ,but we will do that also. Strolling out into our patio area we find he thought that area was the garbage dump. We have picked up wrappers from all the food he took from my pantry and just wadded the wrappers up and tossed them on the ground. There are two waste cans out there. Good riddance to him!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Is That Your Phone Ringing?

Well, it does not take much to get me started on voicing my opinion when I think something is entirely out of line. I did not read Dear Abby today, but I was told what it was about and I literally came off my rocker. Now I am in favor of progress and the invention of new things, especially when it makes life better. I don't think so much of it making life easier because I think we should all put a little effort into anything we do which is worth while. Sometimes making life easier makes us lazy in the process and that is no good in so many ways. Abby had someone write in about the cell phone user who does not respect other people around them. She complained about the use of it on her commute. So many people were talking away loudly, not caring who was listening or if they were annoying anyone. Abby suggested she get up and move. Well shame on you Abby! How many times can you move on a bus, and how many seats are available when so many people are talking on their phones? Slow down now before you jump on me. I am not opposed to cell phones! I have one myself, but you know what? There is nothing so important that it can't wait until I get home to gab with you. I am not going to impolitely talk to you in a restaurant where other people can hear me and where I neglect the company I am with, or intrude on the people in the next booth, and I am not going to walk down the street yakking away with that instrument stuck in my ear looking like an idiot talking to myself. I am not going to turn it on in the grocery store and have people thinking I am talking to them or that I am a bit senile talking to myself. What is wrong with these people? Is their life so uneventful that this is their only outlet? Do they not think they are being rude and inconsiderate? Do they think they were put on this planet to be special? Do they ever say they are sorry for disturbing the space of someone else? Have people become so thoughtless and uncaring, and into themselves that they just do not care? If so, I find that so sad. They have an addiction and do not even know it. There are some people out there that actually need to have their phones on and take messages wherever they are, but the general public is not in that category. Now go ahead. Jump on the wagon and tell me off. I know you are dying to do it. You have your opinion the same as me and are entitled to give it. Maybe you can even change my mind, but how did you get along when you could not take the phone with you and it was just hanging on the wall at home?