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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Signs, Signs, Everywhere There's Signs

Today is the third year anniversary of losing my dad, and I'm finally feeling acceptance. Weird, huh? I've always been a little slow, so this comes as no great shock to me. I was really lucky to have such a good guy in my life. This is not going to be some dead daddy day pitty party, so it's okay, keep reading. Acceptance takes the tears and turns them into smiles, flooded with good memories.

When you witness someone on their death bed, it kind of haunts you. It takes a while for the good to shine through those last few days. Like a scratched record, those last moments... last breaths, play in your head on a continual loop, while your heart searches for one good solid memory prior to illness taking over.

I tried really hard to be the family rock. It felt like my role at the time, and I was honored to be that for anyone willing to accept my gesture. That last morning, I walked in and just knew. I called hospice and told them we needed them to come. I called the church and asked Father Flannigan to come. I called my brothers, uncles, aunts and a couple of my dads friends. I was focused on what needed to be done.

I walked in again to visit with him. He was sleeping. We had baby monitors set up, and I called out to my mom and sisters because his breathing seemed so labored. It was time. I don't know how everyone got there in time.

I remember Lane 2 looking at my sister Mary crying, and trying to be her aunt's rock. Tears welled up in her big brown eyes as she looked up at the ceiling trying to make them go away. She's a lot like her mommy.

Mary took Lane 2 in her arms and they cried together. Rocks solidifying in great pain and love.

As I gave information to the priest and the hospice lady, Anita took Mom in her arms. She stroked her hair and kissed her. The roles had reversed. The daughter, taking care of the mother, consoling and loving, helping her overcome her greatest sadness and fears. Very solid.

Angie was knelt beside dad's bed telling him how much she loved him, clinging to his arm, tracing his facial features with her fingertips as if she was forcing herself to never forget her daddy. With a guy like him, there would be no forgetting. Etched in stone.

The oldest of the grandkids, Yoda, who played a caretaker role more than any young man should have to, paced a worn out section on the hallway rug, welcoming everyone into Dad's room. Ushering them out and offering a shoulder along the way. The statue of David had nothing on that kid.

Uncle Eddie ran down the street toward the house. There was nowhere for him to park. His eyes, overwhelmed with worry, his lip stiff. Solid granite.

Uncle Giant's hands dwarfed Mom's face as he wiped her tears away. Trying to be the rock, he hugged all of us kids, holding back his own emotions. He even called the hospice lady sweet pea, a term of endearment to console this person he'd never met. He was a gentle giant, the diamond in the rough.

In the last seconds we all made sure we said our final words to our wonderful dad, not that we didn't think he already knew, but we all seemed to want to make sure he knew.

And just like the good old days, we were talking over each other. His final moments, like the rest of his life, surrounded by really loud people who loved him. Now, I finally have freed myself of that day enough that I can visualize the good old days. Dad would be the first to say we all have rocks in our heads. I guess he really was right.

Something really weird and cool happened last week. I had an impulse to clean the closet in my bedroom. When I saw old purses in there, I emptied them out to throw them away. As I looked at all of the weird shit I saved, I laughed when I found a piece of paper with my dad's handwriting on it, and then I said, this has got to be a sign. You know why?? It was lottery numbers written on that piece of paper. Dad always played the lottery.

The next day, feeling rather confident, I bought a ticket. Lane 2 asked if she could have some candy. I said, sure. She put caramel Bull's-eyes on the counter. A candy she never gets, and my dad's favorite. I really felt like he was hanging out with us. You know? Anyhow, the next day, I was looking for my camera cord, that I haven't seen since we moved. I wanted to show you the footage of Lane 2 getting her Wii!!! Great story for another day. But instead of finding the cord, I found a printed lottery ticket.

It had the same numbers that were written on the paper, the same numbers I'd played. I smiled at the thought of my dad haunting me in a non-scary yet freaky way. Was he trying to send me pennies from Heaven? Yep, I was sure he was.

The night of the big drawing for $220 Million, I switched back and forth from Idol to the channel that plays the game. Some guy comes out on the stage, with a guitar and starts singing "What a Day for a Daydream"... the same song, my dad and brother sang often. The same song my brother Jimmy played at Dad's funeral. I seriously had goose bumps.

After the lottery drawing and my big loss. Yeah, I lost, but I didn't, you know? I was laying in bed, listening to a rerun of Cold Case on the TV as I dosed off, and I heard the song, "Is You is or is You Ain't My Baby" another song Dad always sang.

And then I told that man to get the hell out of my room! Seriously people, I was trying to sleep.

Today I will go be with my mother and siblings and we will be happy for the time we did have.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Wild World

We've only been in our new town for a year, which means, we are still learning of new places to shop and eat. We went to a Mexican restaurant a few nights ago for an early Valentine's Day family date.

Yeah, because nothing says, "I love you!" quite like refried beans or its aftermath.

The waitress seated us, and said, "You all havin' the buff-et (pronouncing the T) or ya need menus?"

Trying not to smile, I asked, "What's in your buffet?"

"Um, we got fried chicken, mashed 'taters, corn, salad and brownies." Raising her eyebrows excitedly, she added, "You can eat as much as you want of everything, includin' the brownies."

Lane 2 started to giggle, and said, "Did I tell you about the food fight we had in school?"

As soon as the waitress left, I wound up for the lecture about wasting food, and making a mess, and getting in trouble at school, but before I could say anything, Lane 2 quietly blurted, "There was no food fight, Ma. I just had to think of something fast because, helllooo we are in a Mexican restaurant and the whole dag-gum buff-et is everyin' but Mexican food. But there's good news 'cause we kin eat as much as we want at this all you kin eat buff-et, even if that means havin' ten helpin's o' brownies."

We all giggled quietly until my ears heard something else intriguing. "You kin punch in just about an'thang if you type in a dot com after it."

Ahhh, Bubba done discovered the internets and I was lucky enough to hear all about it.

"People put up these videos of stuff all the time. You can see just about any thang in that tube. "

Bubba's friend seemed confused about this tube, also known as Youtube, heck the whole internet concept seemed too much for him. I guessed he never used anything but a fishin' net 'efore.

Bubba, the high-tech redneck told his friend all about the difference between "usin' the phone jack instead of the cable. It's like the difference 'tween NASCAR and soapbox derby. You cain't believe how fast that sucker pops up."

Holy hell, I wish I had a camera rolling because that sure would have found its way on Youtube. The more people like them I see, the more I love living out in the country.

It's been a busy week for funny shit here. Lane 1 has been saving her money to buy a wii. Everyone and their brother seems to want this game system. It is even sold out online, which boggles my mind. I see commercials for it every time I watch TV. Why would Nintendo waste all that money advertising something that you can't buy?

Apparently the company just can't make and ship them fast enough. I've tried for months to talk my daughter out of this system, but she is determined. And on her birthday, in November, she finally came up with enough money to buy it and at least one game. Trouble is, we can't find one anywhere. We live in the country and our closest store that would sell one is 30 miles away. I compiled a list of places within, seriously an 80 mile radius. She calls, I call, none of those places ever have them in stock, since Nofuckingvember.

In fact, most of the places say, "You really have to be here in the store when we get them. Which we never really know when we will be getting them, but the last shipment we received had seven consoles and they sold out in less than 20 minutes."

So unless the girl and I camp out in one of these stores, she is not going to be getting it any time soon.

One day while making the calls I dialed the number for Kmart just as the urge to go to the bathroom hit. Unless I am on the phone with my own mother, I can't talk and pee. So I handed the phone to my old man, and said, ask if they have it, and off I ran.

A girl answered and said, "Good morning. Thank you for calling Kmart. What can I help you discover today?"

And just like his Burger King comment that came flying out of his mouth, he said, "The G Spot."

He said he didn't know what came over him and just hung up without asking about the video game.

"Why would they answer their stupid phone that way?"

He acted like the girl who answered was just asking for a smart assed caller to say something like that to her. He obviously won't be getting a job at Kmart anytime soon, either.

Mr. Lane is still having a good time with his "Burger King" comment, but continues to work at the job he had before this job search took place. (See post below if you feel lost.) His boss must be somewhat nice, I mean, he did give the man five days off without much warning.

A couple of nights ago, in bed, I snuggled up to my old man. He said, "Come on baby, you can have it your way. This is, after all, the home of the Whopper."

"Whopper Jr., maybe," I laughed and then I... I... (Mom, stop reading.) I grabbed that man's penis, put my mouth up to it, as if it were Mr. Microphone and asked, "Is there any way I can super size my order?"

I don't understand why he doesn't appreciate my sense of humor. Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Butcher, The Baker & Candle Stick Maker

Most of you know, Mr. Lane in a really good baker. I believe I've posted sexy kitchen pictures of him here before. Seriously, there isn't anything sexier to me than a man baking chocolate goodies. But I'm kind of waiting for him to tell me he is going into business making candles next.

Mr. Lane has done so many things in his life and career. Make that careers. In our younger years, he job hopped like crazy. Every year, the man gets an itch. Thankfully it isn't loin lobsters. But for whatever reason, he feels the need to change jobs.

He began looking through the classifieds and found several perfect truck driving jobs. I personally didn't know there was such a thing. "Looky here, Bubba, this uns got a CB and a NASCAR decal, and they're fixin ta pay me to drive 'er."

One of those jobs was offering double the salary to do basically the same thing he was doing. The man was on it like the paparazzi on Britney.

He made the calls. He lied to his boss so he could have a day off to fill out an application. He lied to his boss again so he could go in for a drug test. After another callback he lied so he could go get his driving record from the DMV.

It was such a slow process, but finally, they called him to do an actual driving test, which meant, one more white lie to his boss, and one more day without pay. Off the bat, this potential job caused him to lose four days pay. I didn't have a great feeling about it, but I tried to be positive for his sake.

A couple of weeks went by and he began doubting his chances. He kicked himself in the ass about missing work and pay. Said stupid things about himself and his abilities. I was his sideline pep rally, trying to cheer him up, and convince him they didn't know what they were missing.

They eventually called him in for an interview. Fifth day unpaid leave from his job, yet I exercised my right to remain silent. Even though, I had plenty to say.

He came home, looking like a broken horse. "Well that was a complete waste of time."


"Well it's a truck driving job so I figure my record should speak for itself. They really shouldn't have much to talk to me about. But there were all these people in the room. They were sitting at a rounded table in suits, and I was in the center, like it was monkey in the fucking middle. They were throwing questions at me left and right, and it was all bullshit questions, scenarios, like 'What would you do if a flock of pigeons were lodged in the grill?' Well not really that, but stupid shit I can't even remember but would never happen.

"They were asking so many questions so fast I didn't really have time to answer, until this one guy says, 'What's the first thing you think of when you think, customer service?' I didn't hesitate and quickly blurted, 'Burger King!' In my head I was like, 'Did I just say Burger King? Why the fuck did I just say Burger King?' I was shocked. And they looked shocked. I could see it in their eyes as they looked at each other like they were all asking themselves, 'Did that fucking guy just say Burger King?' Trying to regain my composure after the awkward silence, I said, 'A-hem, you know, customer is always right. They can have it their way... and stuff.' I don't think that helped my situation."

It was really hard to not laugh. So the man who bakes yummy goodness, also butchered his interview. I felt bad for him somewhere beneath my insane internal laughter. But I was happy it turned out the way it did. As he continued to shake his head in disgust with himself, I asked if he wanted me to make some coffee, and in his best retarded voice impersonation, he yelled, "Burger King! Dat da white ansa?"

That just dropped me. I could no longer contain the hysterical laughter, and neither could he. I say that company doesn't know what they are missing.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

It's That Damned Old Rodeo

Hey you, you cute little blog buddy! How the hell are you? It's been so long. I know my last post was a bit whinish. Sorry I get caught up in thinking a little too often. Today is a brand spanking new day, and the only whining you will hear (read) will be from my sister Angie, providing she leaves a comment. Because today, my wonderful bunch of coconuts, I'm going to share one of the most embarrassing stories of her entire life. This story is part of a manuscript I've been working on and I need to know if it really is funny, or if it is just funny to me because she is my sister.

This story is smack-dab in a chapter where I discuss growing up to be a private eye. The next Nancy Drew, if you will. Let me know what you think, and be honest...while making fun of my sister of course.

Angie was the sister most frequently caught with her pants down. There should have been an award for that title. One day I caught her with a neighbor boy and a neighbor girl. Knowing the three of them were full time trouble makers, on their way to the big house, I watched them very closely. They walked into the apartment building next door from ours. When they didn't come out immediately, I knew they were up to something.

Using my stealth-like, master detective abilities, I tiptoed toward the door, holding my breath, trying to quiet my own heartbeat. Carefully I gripped the doorknob in my hand, giving a gentle and silent turn. I gave them the ka-powee. When that door flung open, I was scarred for life by what I witnessed. They were playing horsey in the hallway. To play horsey, I guess you have to be bareback, because she sure was, and so were the other two kids.

I barged in to see my naked sister sitting on the steps, cupping her face in her hands, with her elbows on her knees, awaiting her turn. The other girl sat naked on the boy's back. He was also naked... and on all fours. He was the horsey I suppose. The neighbor girl had a makeshift lasso, made from a jump rope she had tied around his neck. I think I even saw her digging her ankle bone spurs into his thighs.

Since no rodeo goes through Chicago, their efforts were fruitless. Although, our mother sure did look like a rodeo clown loaded up on meth, when she whipped a lecture into my sister's ass. I almost felt guilty about informing her of the latest developments. Almost.

**Edited to add, Angie was 16 when this happened. Kidding she was 8 or 9, and she has given me permission to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me blog.