Tag Archives: Coffee

A Mid-Life Marriage is Like a Carpet.

A mid-life marriage is like a good carpet. It’s stood the test of time and is a little frayed around the edges. A few stains here and there, but still serviceable. You walk all over it without much thought because it’s there all the time whether you notice it or not. The only time you become concerned is when company is coming and you don’t want them to trip over it or think “eeww, they should really get rid of this pox ridden flea trap.”

I think the thing to do is drag it outside, hang over the fence and beat the living crap out of it. Beat it good and hard, let the dust cloud clear out, then beat some more. You can get rid of a boat load of stuffed down aggravations this way. If you’re really in snit, beat all the furniture. Trust me, it can take it.

Trim off any straggly fringes. Oh come on, seriously, are you EVER gonna get down there and sew them back on? I like to compare fringes on carpet to those daily annoying habitual spats. Do you snark at each other every morning about who wants which coffee. Get another coffee pot, his and hers. A buck 50 will get one at a thrift store. I have a least that much in change floating around in the bottom of my purse.  If it doesn’t work so what? Give it back to the thrift store. No, just joking on that one. Do the world a favor and throw it out. Just a suggestion, I don’t live in your house do I don’t know what goes on there in the morning or any other time. But you do and you know. If you don’t, what pills are you taking anyway?

I learned a great lesson about early mornings, and coffee, and spouses from my sister, almost half my age. I’ve found that I learn a lot from anyone if I shut my trap and listen, instead of dispensing sage advice from my pedestal of advanced age. She claims that she and her husband of 15 years have reached an unspoken agreement regarding mornings. They don’t try to talk to each other until after they’ve had their coffee. If they do, it can get bad real quick.

Back to the carpet. If it’s a Persian rug or a Persian wanna-be, I know a solution for those pesky faded spots. I speak as an expert on this because I did part-time piece work for a friend who owned a Persian Rug shop. Go to an art store and get some good quality art markers. The liquid kind, not the grease pencil type. Then get down on the carpet and draw on it like you’re a kid with a coloring book. Choose  colors that are close to the color near the carpet’s bare spot and fill it in with the marker. It’s actually fun and if you do it with the windows closed you’ll get a buzz from the markers and start coloring on everything, so consider yourself forewarned. When admiring  your work standing up you cannot tell that the carpet is worn or faded. If you have a who guest notices, then he or she is so drunk that they have their nose in the carpet. Deny everything and send them home.

Another thought about fringes and straggles in your marriage is to do a bit of soul-searching. I know, I know, what a gruesome task. But only do it a little bit. Do you have a favorite comfy shirt that has stains on it or pair of pants that make you look like a bag lady and when you wear it you spouse rolls their eyes and shudders.  Get rid of it—Today! It will only hurt a little and you’ll have forgotten all about it by tomorrow.

If there is some one little thing your spouse does that drives you bat-shit crazy? Tell them what you want for Christmas is for them to lose that habit. It might just work. If not work on ignoring skills. They might turn the tables on you and ask you to stop something that you do. I feel safe because I’m a perfect lady and never do anything annoying. (I threw that in there because the Hub-man reads this blog and I like to zing him.)

Whatever the 2 of you come up with to make it through your day-to-day life is fair game. It all works out in the end.

Reality Show – a Short Story

Howdy folks. Thought I’d change things up a bit a shoot out a short story. For what it’s worth – here it is.

Reality Show

She sat in the coffee shop sipping cappuccino. The morning sun flashed off her bracelet, temporarily blinding her. She changed the angle of her chair to get out of the sun.  It was a pretty bracelet but she hated it. And it was a pain in the ass to get it off and the hassle involved was not worth it.  A vibration jolted her, an unpleasant reminder to not to fiddle with the clasp. Oh well, back to reading a book. She chose an oldie but goody “The Turn of the Screw” to pass away the morning. No one would object to that, surely?

Later, she ordered another cappuccino and sipped it, watching people scurry by the window to their oh so important jobs, functions, errands, meetings, and clandestine adventures. All with sleeves rolled up to sport their bare wrists. She absent-mindedly swatted at a gnat that kept buzzing around her head. At one point she almost grabbed a chunk of newspaper from an adjoining table to get rid of the gnat for good, but thought better of it. One must not injure or kill any animal. They are all creatures of the Cosmos, here for a reason. Yeah right! She had serious doubts that leeches or mosquitoes served any grand redeeming moral purpose. But, who was she to judge? At least that’s what they told her at the hearing. The fact that the gnat was not in fact a gnat but a micro camera designed to monitor her rehabilitation and every waking moment, was beside the point. She thought it was a gnat and destroyed it without so much as a single thought for its feelings or point of view.

Wonder what I should do today, she mused. She supposed she could come up with something socially purposeful, like slopping soup at an unemployment shelter, or attending a lecture on social activism. There were certainly enough of those going on. One could not walk half a block without tripping over a sign proclaiming the latest theory. No one would notice if she didn’t attend a lecture today. Well that’s not exactly true. Someone would notice she just wouldn’t know who. She could never know. That would violate some busy body’s privacy. That her privacy was violated was no longer an issue. She didn’t deserve any, according to the social justice laws enacted a few decades ago. She would get a nasty-gram from the Bureau in her e-mail box some morning, reminding her that she had volunteered to cooperate.

She decided to go for a walk down by the shore. Not many people about early in the morning these days, especially since that the city banned fishing. The little old man who used to swear that biscuit dough was the best bait never came here anymore. Biscuits had disappeared before he did though. All that saturated fat and white flour epitomized willful disregard for the health of self and financial resources of others. She missed the fisherman and wondered what he was doing now. Maybe he just sits in his house watching reality shows all day. He didn’t have a fall back hobby other than fishing and had nothing else to do. Perhaps he was relocated to a hobby camp, receiving re-education because someone caught him fishing on the sly.

Finishing the remains of her coffee she started laughing for no particular reason, breathed in some of it and began coughing and choking. The barista gave her a stern look. She explained that she inadvertently inhaled a coffee ground. What a rude thing to do in a public place. He rolled his eyes at her and turned back to his steaming machine. She muttered “I’m fine and thank you for asking.”

With a muted chuckle she remembered graffiti she read on the restroom wall at this very establishment years ago, probably long before the smug brat behind the counter was born. It read “Love animals, don’t eat them.” Below it someone else scribbled “Love plants, don’t eat them either!”  She laughed out loud thinking about it. Looking down at the table she wondered if her little spill of coffee offended the table’s sensibilities. Did its mate, the table next to her rage silently for such a callous use of the table? According to those who appointed themselves in the know, even a table had some sort of consciousness. They were made of wood after all and had been alive at some point. Was this a desecration?

Leaving the coffee shop, the morning was still misty with a cold nip in the air. She pulled up her collar and snapped it closed. She walked to the dock and sat on a bench, staring out at the sea. The sound of the waves and the sun warmed her and she fell asleep. 2 short vibrations from her bracelet woke her. She had been motionless for over an hour. Ah crap, time to move around for a while.

She remembered that she had to go to the health clinic to get her weekly dose of pre-diabetes meds. It was a long walk from the docks and she was tempted to hop a bus. She decided to walk instead to get her prescribed 1 hour per day of physical exertion out of the way. She dreaded taking those God awful meds. They gave her headaches, indigestion, and even occasional shortness of breath. She used to just get the refills and flush them down the toilet to stay under the radar. But a random drug test caught her when no traces of the meds were in evidence. That’s what got her into this mess to begin with.

The solemn Judge advocate read the charges; Theft of Social Services. She knowingly and willfully neglected her health. This was in violation of the Public Health Act of 2018. By doing so she put herself at unnecessary risk of needing treatment for the diabetes that she might possible develop due to refusal to ingest prophylactic medications. She remembered feeling a strong urge to grab the judge’s gavel and beat him about the head and shoulders with it, but refrained because that would have really made things worse than they already were. But not by much, now that she looked back at that day. Come to think of it she almost wished she had after all. Cranky old women don’t get away with much anymore.

As she walked her mind drifted back to the time decades ago when the world made some kind of sense. She was married and lived in a nice house in a cozy cul-de-sac in the suburbs. She and her husband lived a pleasant life. They both retired early and could afford to do pretty much what they wanted to do. They took road trips several times of year and took the occasional train rides up to Chicago or New York just for the fun of it. Vacations they were called, before “stay-cations” became the politically correct form of entertainment for the “idle rich.” Meaning anyone with enough money to leave home for no apparent reason other than they just damned well felt like it.

Now vacations were almost a form of 4 letter word. A criminal waste of natural recourses. These extravagances required an approval form submitted 3 months in advance and were more often than not denied. “Just because I want to” is no longer a valid reason for doing anything other than remaining in one’s allotted living space. Unfortunately, staying inside all the time is also frowned upon. Government funded recreation parks were sprinkled liberally in all urban areas. Cameras with facial recognition software fitted on light poles or preferably hidden in trees monitored the health and attendance of all citizens.

Any extended absence from the park was duly noted and violators received a cheerful reminder via email that they were missed at the park and would hopefully return soon. An extended absence would trigger a visit from a friendly and concerned neighborhood social case worker. Concerned of course, because who in their right mind would refuse to keep themselves healthy via the approved and publicly provided recreational areas and services?

One could exercise in one’s home but that does not take into account mental health which requires outings, fresh air, sunshine (even if it’s raining) and interaction with other persons. That these persons might be dumber that a box of rocks or had views that made you want to stab yourself in the ear with a rusty spoon was moot. Human interaction is required for one to be considered mentally and socially healthy. The Surgeon General certainly thought so anyway. Although no one could recall ever seeing him take a stroll in any public park.

At the clinic the nurse popped the pills from a small plastic cup into her hand. She put them in her mouth, swallowed, tilted her head back and waggled her tongue around. The nurse peered into her mouth with an expression of bored professionalism and ticked a check box on her chart. She left without a word and walked into the sunlight. The sudden brightness made her eyes water and brought on a sneezing fit. A few minutes later she coughed and then studied, a bit surprised, the pills ejected into her palm. A coughing fit so violent that one regurgitates recently ingested pills? She laughed out loud wondering how that might be defined in legal terms. According to the recent Reality Clause, Section H.3. Paragraph 7, there was no such thing as an accident. Therefore, she deliberately, and perhaps with malice of fore-thought yakked these pills into her hand one sunny Tuesday in late September. She could almost hear the drone of the court clerk now.

She closed her hand over the pills and shoved them in her pocket. Tired from the long walk she took a bus back to the stop near the waterfront. “Hell, I’ve earned at least another hour of gazing out to sea. I’ll do something useful later.”

Bumping along on the bus, her thoughts drifted back to her husband. He was a good man, with a great sense of humor. They fought from time to time. What couple didn’t? She would always love him, and missed him a lot more than she thought she would. The case worker had convinced her at the time of Separation that this was for the best for both them and the unfortunate souls subjected to witnessing their harsh exchange of words in a public venue, more commonly known as the grocery store.

The Judge explained that the Decree of Separation was in full force as of that day and permanent. Also they both received a restraining order requiring them to remain at least 1,000 yards from one another at all times, no exceptions, including illness or any other emergency. Her case worker strongly urged her to move to another state because separated couples who remained in the same area tended to get back together regardless of the severe legal ramifications of doing so. Up to a possible long term internment in a gender segregated rehabilitation facility. Once a couple was declared legally incompatible there was precious little to fight against. Rescinding these decrees was almost unheard of in the past 15 years and cost a great deal of money.

Her financial monitor would probably not approve of the expenditure on those grounds alone. He disapproved of just about anything she did anyway. It was annoying and a bit humiliating to sit through a lecture given by what appeared be a 12-year-old boy. He was probably a recent higher learning institute graduate and at his first job. He informed her over the top of his spectacles that a woman her age should not be drinking caffeinated coffee and that drinking any beverage with an alcohol content higher than 2.5% bordered on criminal negligence, although there was no statute preventing her from doing so…yet.

She decided to go to her apartment first and grab a few things for her return to the sea shore. She looked around the space and wondered what anyone thought about her when seeing her abode. No photos on the walls and not much in the way of personalization anywhere in the place. Anyone who stumbling across her signal feed and tuned in would probably die of boredom before she did.

She pulled a 6% beer out of the fridge and rummaged in a drawer, pocketing a bottle opener. She looked around the room as if forgetting something. Then opened another drawer, took out a small hammer and put it in the inside pocket of her coat. The mist had cleared up earlier and it was warm now, but it was easier to sneak a beer to the dock wearing a coat.

The concrete bench had warmed in the sun and felt great when she sat down. She pulled out her beer bottle wrapped in a napkin and opened it. After a few long sips, she took the hammer out of her pocket. Her arms were thin and the bracelet was looser than it should have been, but who would try to take one off anyway? Nothing but trouble in that. Prying, fiddling and occasionally wincing at the sharp warning jolts shooting up her arm she finally managed to get the damned thing off her arm. She laid it out on the bench, stared at it for a few seconds and started smashing it with the hammer. She beat on it a good five minutes before deciding that it was as destroyed as it was going to get.

From another pocket she pulled out a bent and battered cigarette purchased from the dealer who hung out in the alley behind the liquor store. It took her a week to save up the cash money because most of her approved transactions were electronic, for her own well-being. Seniors had the unacceptable tendency to squander their money on needless things.

She sipped the beer enjoying the carbonation and a warm calm drifted through her veins. She rolled the cigarette under her nose as if savoring a fine cigar and then lit it, took a deep drag and exhaled with a long slow sigh of forbidden pleasure. She blew the smoke directly at the gnat camera flitting around her head. The barely audible but indignant buzz of the puny gadget struck her as hysterically funny. She laughed so hard she almost spit out her teeth.

Later that month at the obligatory hearing in Social Court, the tired, over worked Judge asked her why she destroyed public property; to wit, her monitor bracelet. Did she have any mitigating circumstances to excuse her actions? She answered “because I felt like it.”

I Fought the Meds – And the Meds Won

exploding head

Stand back…She’s gonna blow.

Yea, you heard me, “I fought the Meds and the Meds won.” Well Phooey, I say. Damn and drat and hogwash and and and… I give up. Those of us who do suffer from mental illness need to remind ourselves that it is not a fig newton of our hallucination.

I did the very thing to myself that others do about depression and other mental disorders. I feel fine! I don’t need no stinkin drugs! Well duh, I feel fine because I am one of the lucky ones that found a good combination of head meds. A combo where the benefits far outweighed the side effects. Mr. Husband was on board with this, one thousand percent. He never said any crap like; just snap out of it, you’re just not facing reality, blah blah blah, rutabaga, rutabaga.

So what did I do because I felt all fine and dandy? I decided to cut back on the meds. That’s the cruel joke, you feel good so you think you are “normal” now and don’t need meds. Now granted I did this with my Physiokeeatrist’s supervision. She did not suggest it. I did and she said “well if you want to try cutting back on drug X, try it for a month and then check back and we’ll reassess your situation.” Thinking back on it, I don’t recall that she jumped out of her chair to do the happy dance.

So I cut out drug X and for about a week I was on cloud 9. Tra La La, I feel happy, down to only 1 head pill. If I felt any withdrawal side effects they were minor and traveling, drinking, partying, etc. masked them well enough.


The Demon of Depression

About a week ago the demon came roaring back. He started as this little black smoke puff of annoyance and then it grew into a raging Dante’s inferno of anger, lethargy, fidgets, anxiety, can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t think, can’t not think, but too tired to do anything. Then it escalated to weird aches and pains I had forgotten about, migraines, and a general but undefined desire to blow up the house. (Just kidding Mr. Hubman, about the house part, but you know what I mean) Brushing my teeth was the big accomplishment of the day. Taking a shower was going into the bonus round.

Then last night I was laying in the recliner thinking; maybe if I’m still enough, I’ll just sink down into the cushions and merge with it, and no one will ever know I was even here, ever. The earth will keep on turning without my assistance. Ding, ding, ding, – danger danger Will Robinson.

That’s when I said, “to hell with this! Who am I trying to kid? Myself, that’s who.” Or rather, that little devil that sits on my shoulder and whispers thing like “you don’t need these meds, wouldn’t you like to be able to brag about being 57 and not taking any meds at all.” Now that’s just plain silly, I do need meds for diabetes and now I’m trying to tell myself that I shouldn’t even be taking that?

So I headed to my magic pill box and took the pill that I “didn’t need.” Well turns out I do need it. I didn’t like that version of me without it. An hour later I felt some semblance of normal. As in happy in general, relaxed, wanting to do stuff. Then I got sleepy at a “normal” hour (for me) and went to bed. I’ll be damned that I did actually sleep, all night.

This morning I woke up happy, before Mr. Husband even. I got dressed…in clothes and brushed my hair. The birds are singing. They were before but it annoyed me. I made coffee! Now I’m drinking the coffee and it tastes good! I stuffed a sock in the mouth of the little nag who says crap like “coffee isn’t good for you.” To hell it’s not! I like it dammit. And I intend to continue drinking it. Bury me with a coffee cup in my hand. But not anytime soon I hope.

So life is good again. The moral of this tale is that if you suffer from mental illness, you have to stop fighting with it. It’s not a battle you can win. It’s a true test of having to trust others to be on your side and there for you. If your spouse, significant other, friends are telling you that there has been an overnight sea change because you went back on your meds. If you notice that people around you are walking flat footed instead of tip toeing around. Well……maybe you need the damn things. Just think of them as one of your food groups and get on with your life.

Le Grande Manage

Happy Hour

One thing I forgot to mention in all this rampant absenteeism was a wee little round trip to New Orleans by car. Went there in February for a week to do a spring cleaning of my mother’s apartment. Why on earth would I want to do this? Good question. Mother’s house has gotten a little out of hand over the years because she can’t say no to anyone who needs shelter from the storm. Some of the shelterees left belongings behind. Mom won’t throw anything away. So there you go.

Spring cleaning has a fine tradition dating back to before dinosaurs roamed the earth. I assume there was a temporary break during the Ice Age due to no spring occurring. OK I made that up, but it’s going strong again. Seriously, and according to Wikipedia it dates back to the Persian New Year. It’s called “khooneh tekouni” and means “shaking the house.”

Blew Out My Glove

Sister, Mother and I shook her house for almost a week. Started with the ceiling and worked our way down the walls to the floor. Nothing was sacred. We threw so much stuff out that some of we had to sneak stuff out on different trash days so the neighbors didn’t freak out thinking some one died. I’d estimate that we spent 2/3rds of our time cleaning and the remaining waking hours consuming beer. It’s necessary to keep the momentum going.

Mother was a good sport about the whole thing. I forget to tell her that was why I was coming New Orleans. “Hi, I’m here to tear your house apart” isn’t the best opening line for a houseguest. But, with 2 daughters who know enough to not throw away her most treasured possessions we managed to get the job done.

Pub Set - some assembly required

During this trip I purchased and assembled a pub set for Momazelle’s kitchen. It took 2 days and a lot of beer and swearing, but the final result looks great in her kitchen. Thinking back on the whole adventure I now know why I took a break when I got home.

PS: We also consumed massive amounts of fresh roasted coffee. My sister’s husband owns a coffee brewery in New Orleans. He does good coffee. Yum Yum. She sent me a link to a recent article post about his coffee over on NOLA.COM

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