Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Crisis point

Waterloo - a final crushing defeat; "he met his Waterloo" - an unsuccessful ending to a struggle or contest

I am in Chicago liquidating my parent's estate....and feel like this is my "Waterloo moment"...I'll either end up insane or a basket case. Coming out ahead....seems remote at this moment.

The days have been grueling, the work exhausting, the complications numerous and my plans change almost daily.

Finding the estate sale did not empty the house, was a surprise and a setback. And even though I have a "remainder" crew, nothing has been easy. I am still sorting....still putting things to Goodwill or the remainder ladies. I've cleared out the main floor and bedrooms....but still have the basement and a significant amount of my parent's good clothes.

Today I watched my parent's bedroom set squeezed into a truck along with my mother's dainty salmon pink bedroom sitting chair. As they shoved the chair into the truck, I broke down and cried ....right in front of the crew.

It's like experiencing another little death...the departure out of my life of something so familiar and so much a part of my parent's life. Since the moment I have opened my eyes and been conscious of my surroundings....I have seen this bedroom set....poked through the drawers when my parent's weren't looking....borrowed scarves and jewelry when I was older....and now it heads off in a squeaky van....never to be seen again.

The excruciating part that nags at me is the conflicting need for expediency (so I can get the house cleared and get back home) plus a meaningful placement.

If significant parts of your parent's life are being hauled want the things to go to good places and to people who will also treasure them....but when you don't have months or years to do accomplish this match....the chance of arranging this type of hook-up is remote.

And so the things that the people you loved....loved....go off here and there....and it brings me no comfort.

The emptying of my parent's house....bit by the washing away of their lives...little by little.

I know this is the way it has to be and must be....but is it emotionally so painful.

I called my hub and told him....I'm not going to do much more work in the house. I'm calling in painting crews, this crew that crew....because I have to get out of here. I can come back once a month and check on the house while it's for sale....but I don't want to live here any longer.

My cellphone rings almost immediately again.... and it's the real estate this tough market....there are numerous folks cruising for houses.....they'll pay you cash but give you only 50% of the value of the house even adjusted for the market. She tells me we have another scalper offer.....and I sigh....wondering....when the tide will turn and all this will come to an end.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I am so depressed tonight I can hardly move....hardly breath.

I am back in Chicago and dealing with the aftermath of the estate sale.

I feel terrible.

I feel like I've betrayed my father.

The real estate agent showed me a picture of the dumpster I rented for the estate sale people...It was a 20 foot dumpster and overflowing with things.....I believe they threw out many old things dad had saved because it didn't bring in the threshold amount of money they want to make per item. Old magazines, pamphlets on old products.....even many small old items.

Dad saved everything...he saved things not for himself...but for the future...for me...for the grand kids......for the moment when someone....would appreciate what he saved of history and the times.

Estate sales are not about history or appreciation.....What you have is a group of people...looking for ways to make money....if an old pamphlet or vintage tool...doesn't meet a monetary standard...then out it goes to the has to bring in money ...or else it's not worth their time.

Today....I am dealing with a second tier of people who thrive on making money off my need for speed and closure on my parent's estate.

This is the remainder person...who comes in and boxes everything up....and scurries off to sell more things........your things....for pennies on the dollar.

It's not that I want thousands of dollars for what my dad saved....but I want a good home and respect for the items which he cherished ....instead .....everything is just a commodity......but it's the middle man--- who has the time and leisure to go on ebay or sell things online--who will make a fortune in comparison to what you were paid.

It is a greedy seems everyone makes money except the original owner....and I am so the last minute ...I packed out more of dad's stuff.... we took a whole truck back home....because the old and cherished things he had saved for me and for his grand kids....would have gone poof in the hands of estate sales people.

They wouldn't have cared about my grandfather's straight razors...or his's all about moving ....moving the merchandise out for as little as possible to someone else who will collect as much as possible.

I am sorry things my dad saved were probably thrown away.... many things were small and interesting ......I wish I had years to research things leisurely...I wish I had half a house to store all the things....I wish I lived only a few miles away so I could protect and sell things in a way that would honor both my parents.

I have been working so so hard going through things....I am exhausted ...... yet there's little time to ponder and cherish....there is only....we must clear this room or this space or this portion of the house.

I'm sorry dad....what I saved I'll cherish and try to pass on in a more thoughtful manner.

You worked so hard to save the past....I'm sorry the circumstances won't allow me to cherish all that you did.

You were an amazing guy,,, dad....I always knew that....and everything I touch reaffirms that.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

You've got Schmaltz.....

Steve patted the tub.

"It's my best batch ever." His brown eyes twinkled. "Better than my mom's," he laughed, "and she's from Brooklyn."

I took the container from his hands and placed it on the passenger seat. I wondered if I should place the seat belt around the tub.

Steve must have read my mind. "It's's not going anywhere."

I was ready to exit the parking lot when Sarah, a pretty brunette, motioned for me to pull over.

"Oh.....(she spied the tub)....Steve's chopped liver."

"It looks good."

"It's great...but it will kill ya."

"Kill me?"

"It's got schmaltz."

"Schmaltz? What's that?"

She waved her hands at me...."Go ...go home...and google it."

I gave the tub a few discreet sideways glances while I drove home.....watching for small clouds of toxic gas to rise or perhaps the plastic would melt.

Nothing happened.

I set the container on my counter top. After thirty minutes of looking just like a container, I dipped a spoon in the mixture and spread the pate on a crispy baguette slice.


Obviously if this was going to kill me ...this was the way to go.

So I made another little baguette slice and headed up to my computer room to google the thing that would kill me.

Schmaltz. Rendered chicken or beef fat.

This was something to fear?

Both sets of my grandparents came from the "Old Country".....which means I've eaten things that would make many Americans weak in the knees like.....

beef tongue with gravy. The meat was sweet and tender. Grandma served it with homemade brown gravy and killer mashed potatoes.....made with cream, eggs, salt and mashed by hand until all the lumps were gone. Warm...smooth...soft....the textures and taste would put you into a comfort-food-coma.

Oxtails. Did I stop and think it was cow tail bones? Of course not, but simmered all day in a tomatoe-y BBQ sauce and then served on buttered egg noodles.....was like mmm mmm heaven.

I've dipped into duck's blood soup (my mother told me it was chocolate soup and I ate it..and if you don't know what cooked blood taste's rather chocolately....I mean you wouldn't think you were eating melted Hershey's in a bowl...but it has a distinct chocolate taste) , dried sausages, fried wild rabbit and in Africa I chowed down on camel...goat...and fried snake.

Therefore...rendered natural fat.....does not scare me.

What does scare looking at a product's ingredients and seeing it consists mostly of monotriphosphateglycomicases.

That's fricking scary.

So I served my chopped liver tonight....and everyone mmmmmmmed and everyone there were no bodies on the floor....and no arteries left behind noticeably clogged.

Tomorrow....I'll eat more veggies....I'll have some Greek yogurt....maybe eat a mango.....

but right now...I've got a happy glass filled with a rich smooth Syrah....and I'm going to sneak down to the extra fridge in the garage and take another hit on Steve's chopped liver.....

I've got schmaltz.....but I'm a brave woman.
It didn't kill us.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Viva la difference.....

A man installs a new switch plate.


A woman installs a new switch plate.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Calling Noah

Another day of rain and some one is going to have to ring up Noah to get an ark down here.
Rain. Rain. Rain.
My cactus are wood deck is slippery.....and the grass goes squish squish squish.
. can't survive outside for more than 5 minutes.
I tried to prune some flowers by my front door and felt a tingly sensation in my legs.....looked down and it was like southerns at a free legs were covered in mosquitoes....I had a horrible flashback to an old "Off" commercial where that lab guy would stick his arm in a Plexiglas box full of mosquitoes. That's how my legs looked except they weren't in Plexiglas's.
Never nipped the flowers cause the skeeters were sipping on me.
"They say"....(all the local they sayers aka weathermen) that it will be over in a few more days.

Hope so.....I've always been a tad distrustful of the Noah story.....

Monday, September 14, 2009


It's quiet and dark in the house.

I'm sitting in my small computer room ...fidgeting.

I've read the NY Times online....I've checked my email....I've made my "to do" list for the week...

tomorrow my hub will fax papers to a real estate agent in the morning and the process for selling my parent's house will begin.

A potential sale is still a ways off....there's some renovations and repairs to complete....but...the papers will set a new set of work in motion.

Of course I have to sell their house....of course I have to sell their stuff....of course I have to stop driving up twice a month to Chicago....


I am just scared.

I know this is all going to make things hurt again....the razor I've been ducking and dashing going to find it's way to my heart again.

I wish joy would knock on my door unannounced....

I wish new options would burst open....

but right now I just see more hard work and stress....

and a particular type of worker bee drudgery.

Even though there is no escape from what needs to be done....

I wish for a little honey....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hot flash?

I turned on the chandelier in my foyer.....armed myself with a couple of rags and began tackling the long flight of stairs to the second floor.

There was a dust bunny on every step and I swear lint from every sock that passed on the threads.

I had brushed about 6 stairs....raking up the crud...when suddenly ...I feel funny......woozy....then hot...damn hot....the sweat starting to form little rivulets down my temple.

I grabbed a paperback someone left on the stair and starting fanning myself.

Whooo heee.... what's going on here?

Then I panicked.....
Oh god is this a hot flash? is this it????

I'm....over 45 years old..... could it be that time???

Oh god...I can not lose my estrogen on top of everything that has happened this year.

Tears started spilling over........I am so not ready for this.

I started to cry....big time.

I visualized my happy little estrogen engine frozen in mid choo's gears never to pump again.....

I thought of my parents.......

I thought of a friend whose husband had a stroke....

I thought of painful loses in the last couple of years....

and I just howled.

Ozzie the Wonder dog came up the stairs and sat down next to me...looking nervous. The cat looked down over the ledge wide-eyed.....I totally let it rip.....

eventually the snot and tear combo got so bad....I needed to mop up after myself.....

I headed into the kitchen trying to find the new roll of paper towels I just bought
ahhh there on the desk...

tore off a few sheets....blew my nose.... sopped up my fluids.

I took a couple of deep breaths then the blinking numbers on the wall caught my attention.

I squinted at the new dial.

I pressed a button....the digital reading flashed 83 degrees.....84 degrees

What the hell?

Then I remembered....before I started cleaning... I turned up the air condtioner

appears I pressed the wrong button and added ten degrees

then add another ten degrees from a chandelier with two dozen lights....

and you've got a toasty foyer around 102 degrees.

I patted my ovaries....."good girls.....good good girls.....don't fail me now"

And I started singing to my little estrogen-making machines:

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

You gotta love Facebook

I was seriously nudged onto Facebook about a year ago.

I rolled my eyes and sighed and made all sorts of faces signing up because Facebook is ...well Facebook.

But I've grown to like the damn thing.

And I have some clever friends who always post interesting things.

(And just for the record, yes, I am a fan of Nutella.)

This quote, from Rick, made me laugh today.

"May those who love us love us,

And those who don't love us

May God turn their hearts.

And if he cannot turn their hearts

may he turn their ankles

so we may know them by their limping."


Sunday, September 06, 2009

Late Night Confession.....

Geez....I keep thinking about Dr. Manhattan....
especially the part where he splits himself in two
because he thought his lover might like to play with more than one the same time....
ahhhhh...when did graphic novels get so erotic?

And if you like you blue naked men with music:

Friday, September 04, 2009


I leaned back in my computer chair.

A sudden rush of spirit entered my heart and I felt the need to giggle.

I just clicked "reserve" on the computer screen about five times.

What's happening to me?

I pulled up my online dictionary and starting entering words to make a diagnosis.

happy.....excited......giggle...... merry....and Bingo:

glee (glē)
lively joy; gaiety

I was gleeful.

It's been so long since I felt this way .....I needed a dictionary to help me name it.

I'm planning a trip and the juices are flowing.

Every year when I see "the ball" drop in NYC on New Year's eve....I want to be there.

I turn to my hub and say ....."Wouldn't it be fun to be in Times Square?


"But there's millions of strangers pushing and shoving and confetti and bad weather and long hours of standing in one spot....doesn't that sound like fun?


I've tried friends......"Hey would you like to go to Times Square with me?"

Different valid nos.

So I tried my hub again a couple of weeks ago. "How about going to Times Square this year?"

But I admit.....I greased the deck..........I did the saucer-eyed thing....made my lip quiver a little and looked sad......because....damn's been a fucking hard year.




So as soon as I arrived home....I started studying and planning.

Since I know this is a big sacrifice on hub's part.....I decided to design a trip which would have a part he would enjoy too.

So it's Washington DC he can get his fix of museums....then we take a train to NYC.....and somehow figure out how to stand around with a million people in Times Square on New Year's eve.

Of course... this is a Gina I decided to do a few extra things......

After I wave goodbye to hub and send him back home....I'll hop on a train and visit my friend Krista who is now a professor-type person at Syracuse University. Go Big Orange.

then I'm not sure yet.... perhaps I'll spend a day in the city...or somewhere else...... but I know exactly how this trip ends.

Robert Moses beach lot #5.

I don't care if its 20 degrees below zero...if it's raining...sleeting ...snowing....or there's a big nor' long as the causeway is open and I can drive to the beach....park my car and walk near the waves and hear them sing...I'll be happy.

Tick off one square on the "bucket list."