Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ping Pong Gina

Chicago....the South.....Chicago....the South.

Gina feels like a ping pong ball.

This week it's Chicago.

And apparently this is how life is going to look for a while.

Despite hard hard work....and even with men coming in to do this and parent's house is big and complicated with lots of work to do before I can put it on sale....and lots o'stuff.

I had hoped to get the house on the market by July 21st....that might be wishful thinking.

So back and forth....back and forth....back and forth....this is going to be a strange life for a while.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Send me a man....

I blew the dust off the old chalk statue.

At first, I thought it was a statue of Mary, the mother of Jesus, but then realized the young child next to her was a girl.

St. Anne?

"Dear Saint Anne, send me a man."

The prayer automatically slipped out of me.

If you're not in the know about Catholic saints...let me recap St. Anne.

She was an older pious woman married to Joachim. They prayed for a child and God granted their desire with a daughter named Mary, who would become the mother of Jesus. Legend goes after Joachim died....St. Anne married again and after that husband died ....married again....and after that husband died...married one more time.

So although she is known as the mother of Mary....she also became the unofficial/official patron saint of women looking to find a man.

I admit....I remember chanting her prayer in high school....around prom time.

I mean the chances of finding a man at an all girl catholic high school was slim....really slim.

St. Anne was probably so besieged with requests at prom time....the man supply ran out....because a tall hunk didn't appear on my doorstep.

So St. Anne and I....well we sorted parted ways after that.

I was, therefore, surprised to find her in my dad's garage. What was my father doing with an old St. Anne statue? My paternal grandmother was known for sort of having two husbands (at the same time) I doubt she needed St. Anne. And the statue couldn't be my mother's. Things that belong to my father or his family were always in the garage or basement...never in the house so if this item was my mom's.... she would have had it inside the house not relagated to a dusty corner in dad-land.

I tucked St. Anne into the car and brought her home. The other day I found her wrapped up in a towel in a box. I googled her.

To my surprise....I found Anne to be a very busy saint....she was not only finding men for yearning women.....(I discovered the proper prayer actually is : "Dear St. Anne, send me a man. If he lies or if he dies, please, Mary's mother, send me another") but she was the saint of equestrians, miners, housewives. lace carpenters and turners. grandfather was a carpenter and turned his own tools. So the statue was probably my grandfather's and since he was a pious carpenter and even hand-crafted rosaries....he must have had her in his workshop or bedroom.

I gently cleaned St. Anne yesterday afternoon....kissed her on the head....and put her in my bookshelf.

I thought of my grandfathers...official and sons...and other wonderful men I have known...and smiled......perhaps she didn't get me a prom date....but in the end....she sent many a fine man.....

BUT if any of them lie or misbehave.....St. Anne..... please send better men my


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

One Hot Chick....

It is 155 degrees with 110% humidity.


Okay.....the official forecast for my city today read: 92 degrees with 1000% humidity.

Okay.... maybe the humidity was only 88%

The problem is.....I'm not acclimated.

If you live in the the temp and humidity rise in become tolerant....which means you pant but not quite like a dog and you sweat but not quite like someone with diseased armpits.

Going back and forth to Chicago....a week here.... a week back home.....has totally wrecked my internal thermostat.

Last week it was 70 degrees in Chicago...I grabbed a jacket to go out at night....and slept with the windows open.

In one long day's drive, however, I left the cool and reentered the southern tropics.

So.....I've spent the last few days....standing in front of fans in my house....cursing the atmosphere every time I step outside.....and staring at the thermostat wondering why the hell it feels so hot in the house despite a temp in the comfort zone.

I even turned on the air conditioner in my convertible instead of driving with the top down....sacriledge!!

It was so hot today....I even dreamed of going to the neighborhood grocery store ...a certified goose bump/ nipple- rising zone in the summer.

I imagined myself idling in the frozen vegetable section....opening one frosty door after another.....bending deep down into the case .......pretending to hunt for stray boxes of exotic legumes....while an artificial Nor'easter trimmed my core temperature.

Ah....but there's no use in trying to acclimate Monday or Tuesday ...Ozzie the Wonder Dog and I head up again to Chicago.....for a long two week work period......where 80 degrees will sound like heaven and low humidity will be a gift from the gods.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Painting and Purgatory

I've got family room on my elbow.....ceiling in my hair and parts of the bathroom on my knees.

Despite regular showers and good scrubbing...I always seem to miss spots of paint on myself.....I reach for my coffee at a restaurant or hand money to a clerk and discovering parts of my body are still covered with paint.

I'm a perfectionist about my walls....but oblivious to what gets on me.

Good thing I'm returning home on Friday for a week......I'll be able to de-spot myself before I have to come up again.

I'm working on my parents house....but it's easier this time.

Hub came up with me for a I don't get as teary eyed...and I don't often find myself sitting and staring at their things...which I do a lot when I'm alone.

As good as I am with some jobs....there are things I'm absolutely clueless changing out light fixtures, sprinkler systems and hub came up to provide both technical and emotional support.

Things are progressing in the house.....I have the foyer and almost have the family room done. Painting over their dark wood paneling was a truly a job from hell....or actually Purgatory.

I grew up Catholic and when I was a could say prayers off a holy card and get out of Purgatory quicker. Purgatory was an end zone after you died if God decided you were bad but not really bad. Apparently you could fry some sins off....and then go on to heaven.

I don't know why...but when I was priming and caulking and re-priming and finally painting....I kept thinking if there was a purgatory and I did end up there....painting over wood paneling should remove about 5,436 days of deep frying.

Obviously....... paint fumes are clouding my cerebral processes.'s back to the ol'paint brush for me...just a couple more days and I get to go home.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Beauty and the Pills....

I was glad the nurse took my blood pressure before the doctor entered the room....otherwise I would have ended up in the ER for hypertension.

I decided to go for a check up this week....and also decided to switch doctors.

I'm not sure why but I assumed this new doc was a gray-haired professional .... but his good reviews made me think he was a seasoned veteran.

My first impression wasn't very good.....I'd been sitting in the exam room for over an hour and was now officially pissed.I had already texted my kids, cleaned up my iPhone and read the NY Times online....and now my phone was signalling a dying battery which meant I couldn't even distract myself.

I was thinking evil thoughts....(maybe I should just walk out of here ...) when the door opened and this tall dark and handsome man....(Yes I know a cliche but oh such a good one) entered the room and said...."Hi, I'm your doctor."

Geez.... I wish I hadn't thrown all my old nursing uniforms away....because this was one man you wanted to play doctor and nurse with.....

But I behaved.....and actually stiffeled my blush.

He asked appropriate questions.....and even took my chief complaint on the admission sheet seriously......."pale...pooped and puffy"....which I thought would be a hilarious remark for a stodgy 60 year old doctor to read but somehow found it quite embarrassing when Dr. Goodlooking read it.

Suddenly he turned away from my review of symptoms and wanted to know if I was depressed. Did my family members think I was coping? Did I think I was coping?

I actually didn't know what to say to do you measure coping 6 weeks after your parents died?

If you can sleep through the night without having troubling dreams?....if you can remember to brush your teeth and pay your bills?

He gently but firmly offered you need them he asked sincerely....gazing so intently into my eyes that I squirmed in my chair.

"No, not now."

He typed my refusal into his laptop.

"You'll let me know?"

"Yes..... I will."

"Okay now."

As Dr. Goodlooking left the room....I sat there for a while...wiggling my bare legs in the hospital gown .....tracing the zig zags in the tile with my toes.......

Shouldn't a person be allowed to feel bad? Shouldn't your heart be allowed to ache for a couple of months before you take drugs to numb things?

It seemed too quick for antidepressants....I figured as long as I was walking, talking and taking out the garbage on the appropriate day.....I was still in the good shape.....and although I feel bad when I look at my parent's things stacked in our dining room...or when I open correspondence forwarded to our is in essence....a good this is still manageable......still not that feels in proportion to what happened.

"The Doctor would like to see you again," the receptionist said as I was checking out.

"Really? "

"Well, not this doctor but he has your scheduled for a mammogram, pap test and blood work."

"Oh" I said....... surprised at the disappointment in my voice.

She gave me a knowing smile.

a snippet of poetry

the signals we give—yes or no, or maybe—should be clear: the darkness around us is deep

--William Stafford

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Snapping Back?

I looked in the mirror yesterday and wondered who the hell was standing in the bathroom with me....surely that pale pasty puffy pooped woman couldn't be me.

So I pinched myself and the alien said "ouch."

I'm not sure that's enough evidence for a court of law but it probably would be considered enough proof in your bathroom.

So I fluffed up his woman's hair....put a little mascara on her....and sighed.

I have no snap in me......

No's like my personality has gone Matzoh.

I don't regret the emotional price I've felt over my parents death....or the work or the heartbreak experienced.

What happened to them was sad and tragic and loving them meant feeling all the trouble and ache and pain that accompanied their illness and death.

It's just that....I'm a little I can see the results on me yet....especially here at home.

In Chicago....working in their house....I expect to be a wreck....emotions rollercoastering...but even in the sanctuary of my own place...I feel shadowy....not quite all together.

I bought a plain brown journal the other day to start writing some ideas for what to do down the line....someday in the next year....their house will be sold....and all the mountains of stuff will be somewhere or at least mostly organized and processed....then what will I do?

My hub suggested a trip....but even when I said words like Mongolia, Jordan, Ireland....they sounded if they were not living breathing ideas but cardboard.

A friend suggested writing down my experience with my parents....maybe put something together....but I have amnesia...I can't seem to remember it chronologically....I just have images....still frames of moments throughout the last months.

I wish I could cocoon for a week or two.... process things quietly....but there are financial matters...and a memorial service....and the IRS has already sent them a letter....and I'm seeing this person and that person...probate may loom ahead.

All "have to's".....that can't just be put on hold. ...or maybe they can....and I just don't know it.