Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Sometimes, as Kona and I are combing through our reams of fan mail, invitations to soirees, gifts, telegrams, awards and accolades, we come across a missive or comment that deserves extra attention.
And so, without further ado, a question from Faithful Reader Missy:
“Miss Tasha, I was explaining to my husband Steve how the Great and Wonderful Tasha-with-The-Boobages was having all these problems with Turbotax, how gremlins had infiltrated your computer or something like that and made sure that none of your tax programs worked. And he’s a guy, so he couldn’t quite figure out how that could be, mumbled something about how TurboTax is supposed to let you open previous years’ files no matter what. So is he being clueless, or just being a guy? Ha, but I repeat myself!”
Gentle readers, this is a question I get quite a bit, in various forms. Namely – “But that’s not what’s supposed to happen! Why isn’t it working for you?” Because you see, for everyone else, aka those who inhabit NormalWorld instead of TashaLand, it’s true. Everything works as planned, at least for the most part. Those reliable easy-to-use Macs? Yep, those work just fine – they don’t wind up with a dying hard drive inside of 14 months. iPods? Same. They don’t generally freeze up and refuse to work, NOR do they play Dancing Queen over and over even though you keep deleting the damn song.
And so it is with TurboTax. I’m sure that it’s supposed to work such that you can indeed open previous years’ returns with ease and aplomb. You forget who you’re dealing with here though. Not only does technology hate me, but let’s recall that the IRS has now apparently lost my returns for 2 years (2004 and 2006), and they’re jerking me around for 2003, even as we have multinational corporations paying not one single dime in taxes. Is this a beautiful country or what?
They don’t call me Schleprock for nothing, kids.
And a comment from Astute Reader Kim:
“You my friend are so courageous. Thank you for taking one for the team, you have saved your thirteens of readers from the artery clogging sampling of KFC's newest grease bomb. Komen would be so proud.”
Indeed. I am expecting the call from Komen any day now, informing me of my impending sponsorship by their organization. Or the grant they’re surely planning on giving me. Oh, wait a minute! Damn, I forgot! They don’t actually do anything with their millions* for actual individuals. They’re still working on making people aware of BC. You know, breast cancer – the happy shiny smiley pinkish cureable “a pink gift in disguise!” kind of cancer! Yay! Pass that fried chicken! Maybe I’ll jus’ eat mah chicken while I’m admirin’ them Jingle Jugs, given to me by my still-secret elf last Christmas. Jingle Jugs, also allied with Komen. Yep, sometimes even I can’t make this shit up.
The Jingle Jugs, by the way, will be my fantabulous door prize at the Coming Out/Bring Your Boobs Par-tay I’m having in June. This grand prize will go to the one lucky winner who comes the closest to guessing just HOW many bills/letters/notices/etc. Miss Tasha has received from medical providers or insurance over the course of her “cancer journey.” Start counting now, folks.
*Though I read just today that they’ve actually raised $1.2 billion over the years – WTF, $1.2 billion and you don’t have a fucking cure yet? What the hell are you people doing, Scrooge McDucking your way through acres of cash?
And finally, from my mom:
“What’s going on with your taxes? And how about your driver’s license?”
Sigh. This is the problem when you’ve reached the level of fame and fortune…..well, fame at least…that I have. Your life is an open book. I can’t keep anything a secret anymore – okay, so that might be because I write about everything here in the blog, but I don’t think that’s a huge factor. Incidental at best. But now that my mom (hi mom!) has discovered my blog, and figured out how to read it even on her ancient computer, I’m doomed. Unless I start writing a totally different kind of blog about the perfection that is my life. Hmm……
Next up: The unveiling of my new blog, theperfecthappyrainbowfilledlifeofmisstasha.blogspot.com!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
It takes a village. We all know this. And yet, one wonders – who are the villagers, and who the villagees? Who are the people who take up the pitchforks and go in a crazy mob to the town square to protest the latest injustices, and who are those hiding out by the cozy hearth, eating bonbons and leaving the dirty work to everyone else?
I’m sure these are the exact same types of thoughts that go through everyone’s head when confronted with a monumental decision, one that requires taking one for the team, so to speak. Sacrificing the good of the individual for the good of the collective. Going boldly forth, testing the boundaries, risking extreme danger to one’s self.
I am of course talking about KFC’s new DoubleDown sandwich, which, if you haven’t heard, is a heart-stopping behemoth of a “sandwich” which substitutes 2 patties of fried chicken for the bread/bun, and has cheese, bacon, and a special sauce in between.
Even to me, someone who embraces crappy food with a vengeance (only to fuel my training, of course), and who’s been known to travel with a salt shaker, this sounds like a Bad Idea. A grease bomb of hideous proportions. And yet. Yet. I wonder – is this what America was built on? This kind of reluctance, nay fear, towards actually trying something out before condemning it? Maybe the DD has a hidden charm to it, something that doesn’t become clear until one tries it. I mean, isn’t this how the pioneers felt as they were crossing the plains in their covered wagons and encountered their first Big Macs? Which is the original weird amalgamation of meat and cheese and “special sauce”, yet one that somehow coalesces into a perfect entity unto itself?
Plus I was in CA on vacation, and because calories don’t count when one is out of the home territory, it seemed the only appropriate time to try such a thing. And I admit, I wanted to see the spectacle of the “Buckets for the Cure” flying out of KFC, now that KFC has partnered up with Komen, the most discriminating of organizations. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has said, often, “Oh, if only I had eaten more buckets of fried chicken loaded with hormones and chemicals, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten The Cancer!” That’s not just me, right?
In any case, there I was. In an odd fugue state where I was willing to risk it all for the good of mankind. And so….I did. Took a deep breath, walked into KFC, shelled out money for the infamous DoubleDown. Notice that the bacon looks like a strip of cartoon bacon, perfectly rectangular and oddly colored. That the cheese isn’t melted, and wonder about some odd DD forcefield that prevents nearby ingredients from acting as they normally would. And finally take a bite. One bite. And I think it would be no exaggeration for me to say…..
I died just a tiny bit that day.
No, really. I think I’m down to just three major arteries as I could feel one blowing after just that one bite of this greasy, salty, god-awful horribleness. Of a saltbomb so heinous it defies description. And I realize that fried chicken truly needs to be accompanied by bread, to absorb some of the grease and make the whole thing palatable and tasty, rather than scary. This was scary. I still have nightmares. Me, thinking that something is disgustingly salty? Yeah, that’s a problem.
I doubt anyone reading this was planning to actually go out and try the DoubleDown, except for scientific and/or research purposes naturally, but if you were, or were just thinking “what the hell,” consider yourself warned. And if this thing becomes some big best-seller in the US……god help us all.
Monday, April 26, 2010
No really, it’s true. And I don’t even think this is a result of the brain injury or anything. To recap – I’ve been dealing with the IRS because of issues with my 2003 return – and then to add insult to injury, they told me they couldn’t find my 2004 or 2006 returns. WTF? So because I’m a dumbass and have the filing system smarts of, say, a peanut shell, for the last month I’ve been frantically looking through every scrap of paper I own, looking for those damn 04 and 06 forms. They also wanted a copy of 2003, which I figured was a piece of cake – just print off a fresh copy, right?
Because you see, when you buy a new TurboTax for each subsequent year, apparently they overwrite the program for the previous year(s), so when you go to open, say, the 2003 return, you can no longer do so. Unless you use the original disc that the ’03 program was on – and god only knows where that is. Remember, my system of filing < the intelligence of a peanut shell.
So I can’t print out 2003. I can’t for the life of me find 2004. And 2006? Well, my printer doesn’t work when hooked up to my Mac, so I figure I’ll print it out on the PC – except that doesn’t work either, as 2006 is before the TurboTax people made it easy for you to save as a PDF and thus be able to open your docs on a PC or Mac. And all this is supposed to be faxed to my Taxpayer Advocate friend at the IRS today. I’ve left a message for my erstwhile accountant to see if she can fax me 2003, but she’s been pretty useless from the beginning, so I’m skeptical that that’ll work. Needless to say, I’m a little stressed out. Contemplating a cocktail. Cursing my disorganization. Drinking a cocktail. Saying “to hell with it, I’m goin’ to jail!” Okay, so I didn’t quite get to that point, yet, because just at that moment, the phone rang.
Most awesome person in the world: Hi, this is Michelle M. from the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Office and...
Me: Omg, great to hear from you! I was just thinking of you!
MAPW: I was just calling to tell you that I did pull your 2003 returns, and it’s still not clear if anyone was assigned to them, so I’m going to forward them to the review office, so it’ll take another 30 days for that.
Me: Great! So glad you found the 2003s. About the 04 and 06 ones...
MAPW: Oh, that’s not a big concern right now...
Me: But I do want to make sure you have them, so I have one less thing to worry about. I have 2006, but I can’t find anything for 2004, and as god is my witness I swear I did my return but I just can’t find a damn thing even though I’ve looked everywhere in this damn house! It could be on one of the computers that died – there were two of them – so that’s my next tactic, to try to retrieve them.
MAPW: Okay, that would be fine, but really......
Me: But just in case, could I perhaps get a summary of my 1099s and whatever forms you guys have, so I can recreate my tax return if necessary?
MAPW: Oh sure, that’s not a problem! I have them here – how about if I just fax them to you?
Me: PERFECT! That would be so great. You are the BEST! Thankyouthankyouthankyou...
MAPW: You’re very welcome – have a great day!
So she faxes me the forms, and I discover that a) they seem to be missing my key 1099 for 2006, so it looks like I didn’t make any money and hence I have no income to declare*, and b) I made little enough money in 2004 that it would be easy enough to just redo the damn tax return already rather than spending hours, nay days, looking for the originals. Even though it irks me to have to buy TurboTax 2004 again. Why oh why does technology hate me??
After I realize I’m okay with the IRS for now, i.e. I don’t have to worry too much about them freezing my bank account again or anything, I feel so dizzy with success that I wonder who else I can call to try to straighten things out. Dare I even think it.......the Driver’s License people??
Maybe I’ll just start drinking again....
And seriously, would it be so wrong if I sent Michelle a lovely bundt cake? That's acceptable, right? Like an IRS agent has never received a bundt cake as a gift before - puh-leeze.
*Just to clarify that I’m NOT an itinerant scofflaw, at least not with my taxes, I did put all my income on the 2006 return, even though they don’t seem to have a record of it. I’m not THAT stupid. Well, not all the time, at least.
Alert Reader Kim has taken me to task for a seeming “dissing,” as the younger generation calls it, of The Kone. Implying that as I’m gallivanting around LeisureWorld, shuffleboard here, bocce ball there, I’m ignoring the plight of Kona as he tries to make his way through the cruel world he’s been thrust into, also known as Life at Jennifer and Bo’s Day Spa.
The truth of the matter is that I know that my readership is delicate and sensitive, and so, I hesitated to post more about the trials and tribulations that our hero Kona has been enduring. Not only has he had to forego the daily petite scone (I know! The horror!), but he’s also….well….umm…..okay, I guess that’s the main thing. The suffering is almost unimaginable!
And as if that weren’t bad enough, then I hear about the torture he’s forced to endure at the paws of his brother Dash! Jennifer’s email detailing this latest travesty:
“You would have laughed at Dash trying to "convince" Kona to give up the nylabone he was chewing on. Dash tried every trick in his repertoire to no avail. He barked, he bounced, he rolled around on his back, he rolled on top of Kona's head, he sidled up next to him, he pleaded his case. He even tried to use Buggles to distract Kona. Kona didn't buy any of it. He just kept right on, contentedly chewing the bone. Dash was so mad. And so very loud about it too. Dash eventually had to be on a time out to get over it.”
Once you see Dash, it’s easy to understand the strain Kona was under:
Poor Kona. If being terrorized by an 11-pound Italian greyhound isn’t the ultimate that one could be expected to endure, then really, what is?? I’m happy to report, however, that he’s survived the torment and is now safely ensconced at home on the couch, recuperating. Or sulking because he’s not having fun at Jennifer and Bo’s Day Spa any longer – tough to tell which.
It occurs to me that in the perfect KonaWorld, he’d have all his favorites in one place: Terra, Dash, and I guess we can put me in there too. So, Jennifer and Bo, clear out a room – we’re movin’ on over.....
Sunday, April 25, 2010
My final full day in Cali, I decide to head down to the town of Seal Beach, to actually SEE the beach and ocean a little bit before I leave. Ah, if only I had thought to bring a parka! No one’s actually on the beach, of course, but the few people wandering around town actually do have scarves and hats on, in addition to those bulky coats. To my untrained eye……yeah, I’d say it’s going to snow.
That night, I’m watching the news, and of course the first item is the weather. But unlike the last time I was here, when it was all about the torrential rain hitting LA and people-on-the-street were given identifiers of either “likes the rain” or “doesn’t like the rain”, this time it’s “doesn’t mind the cold” or “ready for spring.” I’m just glad to see that my mad weather skilz inspire that kind of consistency.
What’s great about the local news though is the alarm with which they report the weather: “Extreme Cold Snap!” “Deep Freeze continues, 20 degrees below normal!” “Hang on for one more night of this bitter cold!” And no, I’m not making this up. Of course, I’m leaving the next day, after which – our newscasters breathlessly report – “the big warm-up is on the way!” Coincidence? I think not……
And have no fear, my thirteens of readers, I will be sure to warn you of any impending travel plans so that you can make the necessary preparations: crop covers, arm and leg warmers at the ready, postponing of picnics, etc. That’s me, always trying to be helpful.
Of course, I suppose one can’t really take seriously a newscast that has a story about the big computer virus that swept the nation that day – and as part of their “special report”, has their reporter explaining the virus by comparing it to a malfunctioning car alarm, as he’s standing next to said car in a garage. And then wraps yellow caution tape all around that car.
I still have no idea what an alarm-triggered car wrapped in yellow caution tape has to do with a computer virus – but I would like to know how that conversation went.
Dweeb tv story researcher: So, this story about the massive computer virus related to McAffee, what I think we should do is…..
Brash young tv reporter: Yeah, I’ve got it! So to put it in terms our viewers understand, I’ll tell them that the virus is like how annoying it is when….your car alarm goes off! Yeah, that’s it!
DTSR: But that doesn’t make sens….
BYTR: And THEN, to really bring the point home, I’ll take this…….yellow caution tape, and flamboyantly wrap it around the entire car!
DTSR: But what does that have to do with anyt…
BYTR: AND I’ll punctuate the point by gesticulating wildly and speaking dramatically, and then maybe I’ll somehow work the name Toyota into the whole thing, since I’ll be standing next to a car, and then we can call this segment the “Virus of Runaway Death!” or something like that!
DTSR: What?? What the hell are you talk…..
Out-of-touch Head Honcho, pounding table with fist: I like it! I like the way you think! Let’s get on it! Research, find that yellow caution tape, that’s key!
DTSR, resigned: Yes sir…..
My life, that is. Yes, the phenomenon of fame and fortune following me around like a lost puppy continues, with everyone wanting a piece of me or my rock$tar life that they can then turn around and somehow incorporate into their own humdrum existences.
Take Tom Hanks, for example. Not sure if most people have heard of him, but he’s done a few movies or something. Well, after *I* wind up spending a good amount of time hanging out at Frank’s Restaurant waiting while the Monte Carlo is being fixed, who then decides to film his next movie there? Yep, you guessed it, Tom Hanks. When I head over to Frank’s that next morning after leaving the car with Andy’s “guy,” I learn that the place will be closed from April 26th – May 9th for filming of a movie called “Larry Crowne”, about some millionaire who loses all his money in a stock market crash and finds himself working as a cook at this diner. Or something along those lines. Apparently I’m going to be played by Julia Roberts, though I wonder about that. Is she leggy enough? You tell me. I’m just not sure….
Then I get a call from Motya, telling me that my Life With Grandma at Leisureworld has been made into a movie called In Her Shoes, with Cameron Diaz playing me. Apparently she’s some slacker who goes to live with her grandmother at the retirement community and involves herself in the lifestyle there. Though I don’t know how that parallels my life that much, other than the fact that it could certainly be said that I’m the brunette, smart version of Cameron Diaz. So that much makes sense.
Anyway, after all this excitement, I’m ready to relax and so I stroll the grounds of LeisureWorld, noting that that evening it’s karaoke night at the rec center. Might have to check that out. I head off to the pharmacy/gift shop/rec center to see if I can find anything that says “LeisureWorld” on it as gifts for friends: shotglasses, t-shirts, waterwings, etc. Alas, nothing (and talk about a missed opportunity!), but as I’m wandering around the shop, who should come up and start chatting with me? None other than Methuselah himself.
Methuselah: They’re doing bone scans over there!
Me: Oh really?
Meth: They’re free!
Me: Ah, interesting….
Meth: It takes just a minute and they’ll tell you how good your bones are.
Either Meth is moonlighting for the bone density scan people, or for some reason he thinks I look like I really need a bone density scan. Regardless, I glance at his sheet of paper, and I’ll be damned if he doesn’t have really good bones. And he’s probably around 102 years old. Hmm. I glance over at the scan table, where the 2 guys are looking pretty bored, so I wander over.
Me: So what’s with this bone density scan thing?
Guy 1: We’re doing free scans today! It just takes a minute, and we’ll give you a sheet of paper with your results that tells you what percentile you’re in and how your bones are doing.
Me: What do I need to do?
Guy 1: You just put your foot right here and it’ll do the scan. Simple as that!
Me: So it gives you an average?
Guy 1: Mumble mumble jumble mumble better than MRI because mumble etc.
(I kind of tune out at this point as he goes on about why this particular device is better and more accurate than an MRI, which I don’t really get because an MRI measures the density of whatever specific bones it’s looking it. Which is how I know that my left hip bone is borderline crappy, whereas my right is already in osteopenia territory. So I just smile and nod as he’s yammering away.)
Finally, about half a minute later, I get my results, and I’m…….yep, still crappily boned.
Me: So how are my results?
Guy 1: Well see, there you are, compared to other people your age. So you’re at a .6, which is kind of almost still okay.
Guy 2, piping in: But that means you should stop drinking, start exercising, cut back on smoking……
Yes, I don’t even bother trying to explain that I don’t drink or smoke but that FatSurly is crumbling my bones as we speak. What’s the point?
Me: What about the important question - how do I compare with the general population of the geriatric crowd at LeisureWorld?
Guy 1: Compared to some you’re okay, we’ve had other .6s, but we’ve also had some 100-year-old women come in at 1.0!
Me, sighing: Great. Just great.
As I’m leaving, I recall that my friend Meth – he too had better bones than me. At this rate, maybe I should think about getting in on LeisureWorld on the ground floor, so to speak….
Thursday, April 22, 2010
After dodging more danger at the hands of my brother all weekend (rich Italian food! margaritas! buttery corn-on-the-cob!), and working on Monday (as it’s a sunny, glorious day), on Tuesday I decide to head to Malibu. Soak up some sun, hang out with the little people, show folks how it’s done, etc. The usual stuff I do at home, in other words, but under the blue California sky.
As I’m driving along, hurtling down a mountainside on my way to the coast, I notice that the car is making a loud humming sound. VERY loud. Annoyingly loud. It stops the instant I touch the brakes, and seems to only happen when I’m coasting downhill. Okay then, I’ll avoid hills/mountains while I’m here in Cali –should be simple enough, right?
Except that when I hit the coastal road, the humming sound is now continuing unabated, stopping only when I touch the brake, which I really don’t want to be doing unless I want a bunch of angry Californians beating me to a bloody pulp, and deservedly so. So I head over to Zuma Beach, park, and make a couple of phone calls.
To my mom: Hi, mom? So when you discovered all this stuff wrong with this car, what exactly was that? Anything that would cause me to think that something’s going to snap at any moment and send me hurtling off a cliff?
To my brother: Ha, nice try, but I made it to the coast unscathed! Say, do you know why the car would be making this loud humming sound?
Then, of course, it starts to pour, so where do I find myself? Yep, the Malibu Starbucks – the next stop in my Starbucks Across California Tour. Here, I pretty much assume that any pretty people – tall, leggy, blonde – who walk in are stars or starlets, so I grab a piece of paper and am about to start working the room (“excuse me, sign here please, and then write your name so it’s legible – the autograph won’t be worth much if I have no idea who you are, yes? K’thanks!”), when my phone rings. It’s Andrew, who “claims” he has “no idea” what could “possibly” be "wrong" with “the car.” Right. But supposedly he knows a guy, so………
3 hours later
I’m sitting at Frank’s Restaurant and Coffee Shop in Burbank, looking at the pouring rain outside, waiting while John (Andy’s “guy”) looks at the car at his shop. But my immediate problem is much bigger than whatever’s wrong with the car: I need to work on my computer, and I’m running low on battery power. Gadzooks! What to do?
Intrepid soul that I am, I immediately spy a couple of outlets, and the only things that seem to be plugged in are some kind of fan/ventilation system, and something else industrial-looking. Maybe a stove. No matter though – I’m sure they understand what our priorities are here. I must update my blog – my public awaits!
Okay, so how was *I* supposed to know that I was about to unplug some kind of fan element that is basically the entire restaurant’s exhaust system? Sheesh. You’d think they’d have a warning sign or something. Like I’m a mind reader!
Honestly, the audacity of people sometimes just amazes me.
So apparently the rear brakes on the car are totally shot, like practically scraping metal shot, and one of the brake drums that’s supposed to be round is oval, leading to a warp in the transmogrifier or the space modulator or whatever, causing the humming sound. Beautiful. Looks like I’ll be back at Frank’s in the morning, early, while they fix the car. I really need to figure out which outlet I can plug into……
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
As my faithful reader(s) know, my adored older brother Andrew has been trying to kill me for some years now. Oh sure, it’s not obvious right off the bat, but really, what turnip truck did *I* just fall off of? Is someone really going to try to tell me that when I visit him and he’s plying me with steaks and lamb chops and rich French sauces and espresso at midnight with heavy cream – that he’s not up to something? And then when I ask him where I should go hiking, he gives me perfect directions to some beautiful places, and then adds “Oh, and make sure you say hi to the baby bears while you’re hiking around – they’re really friendly!” Hmph.
I’m not sure why this is so – perhaps it’s because I was always considered the “special” child growing up, and maybe he still resents that. Who knows? All I know is that I try to handle things with the usual equanimity that I’m known for, the calmness, the reasoning, the sunshiney mien. So when it starts – I’m ready.
Andrew: So I was thinking that after we eat these awesome short ribs that I’ve been cooking to a state of perfection all day, that then we should go to the movies.
Me, suspiciously: A movie, huh? Hmm. Which one?
Andrew: The Alice in Wonderland movie is playing in 3D, and…
Me: Oh, I can’t do 3D anything – I totally get motion sickness with anything like that.
Andrew, smiling expansively: Okay, no problem, we’ll go to the 2D one then….
Me: So you’re SURE we’re going to the 2D one? Because really, I get sick as a dog puking ill with any kind of those virtual reality kinds of things. I’m very sensitive, you know.
Andrew, innocently: Oh, didn’t I mention it? They didn’t have the 2D one, so we’re going to the 3D one. Is that a problem? I had no idea!
Me: Curses! Nice try! Unfortunately I can’t go – I have work to do. Shucks.
Andrew handles this with grace, seemingly, but I’m sure he’s plotting and scheming away. Must stay on my toes. Is that a cookbook I see open on his nightstand? “101 Ways to Make a Heart-Stoppingly Rich Pie, with Real Lard!” Hmm….
Wednesday – Friday
Seal Beach, CA – High of 60, windy.
Chicago, IL – 82 and sunny.
So it’s no surprise that when I get to my brother’s on Saturday and am sitting in the living room with the news on in the background, I soon hear Angela burst out laughing as the weather forecast is on.
Weather forecaster: We’ve got some kind of front moving in that we very rarely ever see, with split jet streams, so that means there’s a good chance of rain every day. Very unusual weather pattern!
Monday, April 19, 2010
- The fact that I’m toodling around CA in an 18-year-old car that has either 45K miles on it or 450K – it’s unclear which – isn’t what’s most alarming. It’s the fact that the speedometer doesn’t go past 85mph. Is that even legal? How can I trust a car like this?
- That whole carpool lane – I’m driving along and contemplating it, even though traffic in the regular lanes isn’t too bad. Or it might be that people are just giving me a wide berth as I cruise along in my stylin’ Mercury, trying to keep it out of the “red zone” of 55mph and above. Anyway, the carpool lane – don’t the Boobages count as a person? Or, persona? Would a cop really argue with me if I said it was me and The Boobages on a road trip? We cannot and should not be contained to the slower lanes!
- It is SO RUDE of people, when you’re stealing their internet connection, for them to have a weak connection. Or even worse, to have that connection come and go, like people actually turn off their routers or something. Come on people! I think there’s etiquette about things like this!
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Grandma gives me the grand tour of LeisureWorld, as we go past the golf course, the rec center, the park square, and of course the swimming pool and Jacuzzi. I check out the water temp of the pool as we pass by – 86 degrees. Brr! Are those harp seals I see swimming around in there?
I then decide to read the LeisureWorld/Seal Beach local gazette, see just what kind of establishment my grandmother has gotten herself involved in. Aha! I knew it was a hotbed of criminal and other nefarious activity! To wit:
The first article I read: LWer receives death threat from scammer
“…..the man called to say he had a “package”……then speaking with an accent, he announced ‘I’m in trouble and I’m your grandson.’ So the resident just hung up.”
Shudder! And the second article I notice, where I’m quite certain that “bunny of the week” is just a code phrase for something involving drugs or gun-running: Rosie Andrews bunny of the week
“Rosie Andrew won ‘bunny of the week’ honors at the LeisureWorld Wa-Rite Weight Loss Club thanks to her weight loss…as a result, she wore bunny ears. Rosie also ate very healthy this week, sometimes dining on tuna twice a day.”
(but then the tone gets a bit snarky)
“She said she didn’t “have to” go out to eat this week because her friend is on vacation (as if she is forced to go).”
Now is it just me, or does it seem like the article writer has some kind of long-standing feud with Rosie Andrews? Perhaps some latent jealousy over those coveted bunny ears? But at that point, my eyes drift to a third article – Learn to be ham, classes offered – and my head explodes, so the beleaguered Rosie is left to fend for herself.
Kona update: I know that many are wondering how Kona is coping in the situation he finds himself in – i.e. no petite scone every morning, just hours of playtime with his girlfriend Terra and the other Graves’ dogs. The Kone is still putting on a brave front, hiding his anguish nobly, the cloak of despair not readily apparent as he romps, plays, naps, snacks, plays some more, naps, basks in the sun, etc. So brave! I don’t know how he does it….
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Where to begin? With the fact that my grandmother lives in a retirement community called LeisureWorld, with all the hokey 50s kitsch you’d expect from a place with a name like that? Or that the main road as you pull in and make your way past the traffic-directing security guards is called Golden Rain Blvd. Seriously, Golden Rain? I can’t help but think of my similarly ill-named rose bush back at home, variety “Golden Showers.” Hey, I'm not the one who originally bought it and planted it, okay?
Because my grandmother has no internet connectivity, not even any anywhere that I can steal (or rather, “borrow”), the morning after my harrowing arrival at LeisureWorld I head off to familiar stomping grounds, aka Starbucks. Where within seconds I know the names of the people who work there – hi Cam and Ryan! – and have chatted with Cam about triathlons and gotten to be buddies with Sam, who is in there even though it’s her day off. (Have fun in Alaska, Sam!) California people seem
insanely friendly to me. Oh sure, I’m my usual chipper self, smiling and chatty (I try to reserve the bitterness and cynicism and rage for those who deserve it), but usually in Chicago that only gets me scowls in return – except at my own Starbucks, of course. Here, I’m ready to invite all these folks over for some bundt cake.
But just then I receive an email which has me gasping in dismay and forgetting everything else – it’s Jennifer telling me that Kona is on a hunger strike! Yes, apparently he’s channeling his inner Gandhi, to make some deep statement about how much he misses his mom, and how it’s just not right that my life doesn’t revolve around him ALL the time.
I of course leap into action immediately after reading this troubling missive, frantically looking for a number for Starbucks so that I can try to have an emergency shipment of petite scones delivered to The Kone, who is surely wasting away after missing one meal, the poor boy – I don’t know how he’s managing to soldier on through this kind of horrible situation, and…….oh, wait. There’s more to the email.
Jennifer, cont.: “Apparently he decided that hunger strikes are noble and all, but really, a boy has to eat. He will be leaving the statement hunger strikes to those more suited to such endeavors. Dinner last night was consumed with great enthusiasm. Dogs that play like this have to eat you know!”
Aha! So now he’s couching his grief in the form of “happy playtime antics” – poor baby. I weep for his suffering……..
Friday, April 16, 2010
As evidenced by the comment made by my dear friend George from Canada, in response to my last post:
"And the irony is that Helen probably has a legitimate laminated drivers license with photo."
I have absolutely nothing to add that could make that any more perfect than it already is.
Sometimes the specter of death comes lurking in obvious forms. Cancer. An assclown on the highway. A bike ride through the bucolic Wisconsin countryside. Sometimes……it does not.
So we land at the Long Beach, CA airport uneventfully, and the other passengers are in an unusually charitable mood, as they do NOT try to kill me and my grandmother as she insists on shuffling her way through the airplane to get off with everyone else instead of waiting until the end to deplane. There’s another helpful JetBlue guy with a wheelchair, and we get our luggage without a problem. So far, so good.
Then I meet Helen. An innocuous-seeming, petite Asian woman with whom my mom has arranged a pickup from the airport for me and grandma. We load our stuff in her car and set off, Helen careening a bit wildly towards our destination. They know each other and attempt to have a conversation. Key word: attempt. My grandmother is apparently in a hard-of-hearing mode tonight, even though she generally has the ability to hear a pin drop a mile away. And Helen’s English isn’t that great.
Helen: How your trip?
Grandma: No! Everything okay! You go for downtown?
Did I mention yet that my grandmother has only a rudimentary grasp of English? Yes, after being in this country for 60-some years, she still pretty much just speaks Ukrainian.
Helen, trying again: Was warm in Chicago? How was weather?
Grandma: No, house not sell yet. How is swimming pool? Is cold here! How long like this?
Helen, rallying, sensing a common theme here: It’s been cold for last 2 weeks like this.
Grandma: I no hear so good – how long like this?
Helen: 2 weeks! 2 weeks!
I chime in now, translating for my grandmother.
Me, in Ukrainian: Grandma, she said it’s been like this for 2 weeks!
Me, yelling: 2 WEEKS!
Grandma, peeved: Listen, don’t talk to me in that tone of voice!
I close my eyes and just shake my head. Is there a hidden camera in the car maybe? No, this is just how absurd my life always is.
Helen: 405, is north or south? Yes, south, I want south. No, north!
While she’s peering at the sign, she’s actually stopped the car on this busy road, right in the path of the people trying to get onto the on-ramp for the highway.
Me, looking nervously at cars coming up quickly behind us: Uhhh, you might want to….
Helen: Oh, south, up ahead! (giggle) I not so good drive at night!
Whew, we make it onto the highway. Surely now she knows where she’s going?
I at least have given up on the conversation, and have gone to the happy place in my head, with coneflowers and margaritas and cute HockeyBoys, lalalala. Life is good. And precious. And much more fleeting than I had imagined just a moment ago, because now we’re on a typical 8-lane California highway, and there are 2 more lanes to the right of us, where cars are getting onto the highway, and for some reason Helen seems to think that they’re merging into our lane, and she also seems to think that this requires that she come to a complete stop. So she does. On the super-highway. And sits there, peering over to the right. Oh. My. God. I brace for the crash, and think, “so this is how it ends – not with The Cancer, or even something entertaining like a runaway truck in the town of Eagle, WI – but a fiery ball of flames on a CA highway. I just hope The Kone is kept in the style to which he’s accustomed….”
But you know what they say about God protecting fools and drunks, and Helen finally gets going again –and then, thank god, lurches over 3 lanes to get off at our exit – before we go up in said flames. So I think we’ve got the first category covered, and I’m pretty damn sure that as soon as we get to our destination, the second one will be ably covered as well, at least if I have anything to say about it…..
Next up: LeisureWorld!