Friday, March 24, 2006

Not Your Normal SSM Post

my pal generik passed along a link to me today that i don't think even he could understand how much i would appreciate. there's a blogger out there writing about baseball cards in a most amusing manner. i had many minutes of enjoyment checking out this guy's posts. the one i've linked to in this post is very good. you don't even have to be a baseball card collector to appreciate it. oh, but if you are i have a collection of about 5000 mostly from 2000 up to the present that i would let go for a nominal fee. and when i say nominal, you know it's gonna be cheap.
on that note, i have to say that i'm feeling a spring cleaning mood coming on. what to do with the telescope i haven't used in over a year? 8" Celestron with a full array of lenses. hmmm. and the 24" flat screen tv still wrapped in its shipping shroud. and all of the baubles like the candle holders and dishware and kitchen appliances. or the gateleg table from the 1920's. well, i might keep that one.
then there are the futon couches that fold out into beds. and the corner pieces that will hold a tv or a computer.
the big box of music.
the bigger box of movies.
the books. oh my god, the books. by the way, Hunter Thompson's last compilation titled "Hey Rube" is a hoot. it's from his days as an ESPN sports journalist. damn funny and as wacky as ever. the dvd my sister sent me of a bunch of interviews he'd done over the years (dave letterman, conan o'brian, charlie rose and others) is fun, but it is obviously something someone duped from old vhs copies and HST is hard to understand. watching him interview keith richards is like watching a masonic handshake. you know it's important and you really want in on the joke, but they won't let you. the interview is to spoken english what shorthand is to the written. still and all, watching conan have to go to colorado, drink whiskey and shoot bigass guns to get his interview is funnier than an amoeba at a hermaphrodite's convention.
where was i?
oh yeah.
it's tough being an amateur heterosexual interior designer with ADD and commitment issues. and before you can ask the obvious joke question about whether i'm an amateur hetero or amateur designer: the answer is yes. i maintain my amateur status in all things. as it should be. forever and ever. amen.
so, back to moving things. do i take it all down to st. paul's thrift shop? some of it would just be going home again. seems a shame, but there's symmetry to it. kind of look at it as a rental. time served and on to the next lucky person. or i could do what i and a couple of friends used to do when i lived in seattle (before i moved back to the 'No). and that was to take what we could out to a garbage dump in the boonies and shoot the ever lovin' shit out of it. one of those buddies has been trying to get in touch with me. perhaps, the kitchen kabobbles need some good old-fashioned, all-american iraqification. and it would be good practice for me, because in about a year or so i expect the draft age to move up to 45 and i'll finally be eligible again for that free education i blew when i didn't study for my SAT's. so long as the PT at bootcamp is changed to the 16 ounce swig; nanosecond nachos munch; and body fat to muscle ratio is measured not in percentages, but in comfort zones. then i think i'm in and i can shoot things and spy on people and be like that really cool french guy who schmoozed all the english gits, ate all the caviar and champagne, and found the murderer in the last chapter.
god-damn it. i lost my train of thought. oh, the hyphen between god and damn it? it's so cool. have you ever watched mickey rourke? next time listen to how he says that. he always puts this pause where the hyphen goes. he makes sure it's two words and you know that he's pissed. just watched domino and he did it like three times. and then keira showed her boobies and...let's just leave it at that, shall we?
so, i got stuff to move. what to do? what...to...do? yard sale? free ads?
my neighbors keep lugging in lots of copies of newspapers. this has been going on for a week now. i don't know if they're paying 25 cents to clean out the street corner paper machines or they're taking the daily leftovers and i have no idea what they might be using them for. i do remember from when i was little and our family was very poor. my dad would wrap large bundles of newspaper in wireties and burn them in the fireplace like wood logs. the heat wasn't all that great, but it was better than shivering. and it looked neat. one thing my parents would do was buy some of that sparkly dust to throw on the fire so that it burned in different colors. so cool to a child. and it was a smart way of distracting from the harsh realities of a teacher's salary who was raising six kids. that reminds me that i never tasted real milk until i was about ten or so. all i knew until then was the powdered stuff. let me tell you, tasting 2% for the first time was like neil armstrong stepping onto the moon. life changing. history making. finally a true mustache. and i was no longer behind the curve compared to all of my friends.
i remember going over to michael's house, because he said his parents had a new tv. AND IT WAS IN COLOR!!! i had to know. it was glorious. and it filled me with shame, because he would no longer come over to my house and play. of course, his dad was a principal at one of the other schools. and michael had a ping pong table and a foosball table. none of us really liked him. we just used him for his toys. but going home to a small black and white tv was like being kicked out of saks fifth avenue and finding i could only shop at the salvation army.
but you know what? i watched martin luther king, jr give his biggest speech on that crappy tv and i remember it. we had the tv and this godawful black vinyl couch that sat about 40 and i remember him on the tv speaking and me being allowed to stay up past my bedtime even though i was all of about 4 or 5. my parents don't remember this, but i do (they remember the speech, just not me being in the room, but i do). so, that crappy tv will always have a splendored place in my heart. plus, i watched scooby doo, gilligan's island, the andy griffith show, sesame street, the flintstones, bewitched, i dream of jeannie,. oh man, just mentioning them brings back all of the pre-adolescent crushes i had. mary ann (she was a GOOD GIRL, ginger was too racy), daphne, aunt bee (okay, that one's weird, but i swear it was non-sexual maternal thing), betty...oh betty...oh mama, tabitha (yup) and, of course, jeannie with the "you can't see my belly button because that's not allowed on tv, but i bet you wish you could" and oh boy did i want to.
and, somehow, this all brings me to my grandma. like all children, i was born to two sets of grandparents. some of us knew all of them, some didn't. i knew three. my grandma on my dad's side and both on my mom's. my dad's mom died someime during my teens. she wasn't a very nice person and so it wasn't a truamatic loss to me. my mom's dad died in the 1980's and it did hit me. i was home with my sister the night the call came in. we were joking around with our parents when the call came. to watch my mother crumble while holding the phone was immediate in its cruelty and whim. without knowing what was being said we knew. my mother had lost her father. he died in his sleep, which is, i think, what we all wish for ourselves. no drawn-out, painful death. just a did not wake up moment. but it hurt me and my sister so much seeing that look on her face. and to see my dad knowing there was nothing he could do but hold my mother. inconsolable grief is the most wretched thing ever put upon humans.
after granddad died, it was down to one. my grandma. the woman who would visit with granddad every summer and i would run out to their guest room every morning and eat toast with raspberry jam and look at the stick figure pictures while they read from the good news bible. they and i had a routine and it was not to be fucked with. ever. we had fun and i learned and i loved them.
and now my grandma has collapsed. at the amazing age of 102. she just fell and they took her to the hospital and they told my aunt that she can no longer live by herself. she has to have assisted living. my grandma has always been adamant about living in rest homes. she hates them. she hates not being independent. she's legally blind (gave her license up when she was 96, voluntarily) and going deaf. she'd been fine up until now. but suddenly she falls to the floor and her cognitive powers are no longer what they were. she wants to go home. and she can't. and she doesn't understand. and my aunt can't make her understand. and my grandma is not all there anymore. she's confused and scared. and now we're waiting for her to die. because we know she's dying. because her worst fear was not being able to take care of herself. and the waiting is worse than the event itself. she is going to go out like uncle gene did. confused, unhappy, and lost. and no one will be able to console her in any manner which we would like to.
and i keep her quilt on my bed. the quilt was made of old clothes her mother cut from worn out stuff when grandama was a child. they were poor, too. they lived on a farm and they recycled clothing for as long as they could and then great grandma made it into quilts. and i have one. and it keeps me warm at night 80 years later.
they did what they had to. just as my grandma will do if she realizes she can't go home ever again. and i think she does deep within.
and i feel so bad for my aunt. she saw her husband succomb to alzheimer's disease in the last two years. she had to have him put away for his and her own safety and he died soon after. now, she has had to do the same thing to her mom. it's not fair for one person to have that much sorrow dumped on them in so short a time. there should be a limit. there should be a moment of rest in between. there should be a pause for reflection and a time of joy to celebrate each person.
and i wish i hadn't been the last child in my family. i wish i had been born sooner just so i'd have more memories of her. she taught me so much about caring and virtue and patience and loyalty and tolerance (when she met my son she took him straight to her heart) and so much of everything that it would fill 1000 lifetimes.
i didn't know this post was going to go this way. i apologize. i wanted it to be light hearted. instead, i've cried the whole time i wrote about my grandma. she's really special.
she came with my parents twice to visit me in seattle. i remember one of the the times we went to beatty's books on third avenue (a block from my apartment). mom was in a hurry to get there and grandma was lagging. i walked with her and she looked up at me at one point and said "your mother and her schedules. if she'd just slow down for once we might enjoy the day". when we got to the bookstore, grandma promptly found the right chair in front of the big street window and went to sleep. the beattys made sure that no one woke her up. and thanked me for bringing a woman of her literary taste to their shop. all i could do was laugh and thank them.



i miss my grandma.

10 comments:

Mustang said...

Understood.

M

lecram sinun said...

Sorry to hear about your Grandma.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about Gramma.

I want to buy that telescope!

email mintzworks@aol.com

Steph

jade ed girl said...

Hey Pookie... I feel ya. Hugs and love and stuff... please come home.

Generik said...

If I'd known that the email about the baseball card blog would have inspired all of that, I'd... I'd... I'd have sent it off to you with my best wishes and condolences. Damn.

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