Stories and other insignificant stuff for my family and friends.

Teeth Cleaning

Today Mike and I both have appointments to have our teeth cleaned.  We haven’t been to the dentist in a good while.  Longer than I care to admit.  Going to the dentist is something that many people put off for a lot of reasons.  I think the top two would be because of money issues and/or they are afraid of the dentist (dental phobia).  In some cases people just don’t want to take the time to go.  For us it was a little bit money, a little bit fear and a little bit not wanting to take time out of our “oh so busy lives”.

So what made us decide to break down and make our long overdue dental appointments now?  A New Year’s Resolution?  No.  A toothache?  No.  Money to burn?  No.  Our schnauzer, Boots, made us do it!

I always ask lots of questions concerning Boots’ health whenever I take him in for one of his checkups.  I am usually pleased to hear that he is in excellent shape.  When I took him in for his checkup in November however, the vet asked me if we had ever had his teeth cleaned.  I told him they get brushed every month when he is groomed.  He had always told me in the past that Boots had beautiful teeth for a canine of his age (he’ll be 8 years old this coming June).  I relayed this thought to him.

“Oh, his front teeth are immaculate.  I seldom ever come across a dog his age with teeth as beautiful as his.  They are like those of a two year old.”

“So what’s the problem?” I interrupted.

“It’s his back teeth.  It’s hard for a groomer to get back there and do a good job.  Come over here and let me show you.”  He held Boots’ mouth open so I could get a look at his back teeth.

“Gross!  It’s a wonder he doesn’t have bad breath!  What does it entail and how much will it cost to have them cleaned?”

I was shocked at the cost.  I learned that besides having to have blood work done, dogs also need to be put under anesthesia when having their teeth cleaned.  It is an all day affair.  The cost would be close to $300.

I told the vet I would have it done after the holidays.  On the drive home I began thinking that I should probably have mine and Mike’s teeth cleaned before spending all of that money on Boots.  Once I had that thought it became a plan that I decided to stick to.

I was telling my girlfriends about this while we were playing Scrabble last Thursday and they started laughing hysterically.

“What’s so funny?”  I asked.

“You and Mike having your teeth cleaned by the veterinarian”, they both spurted out in unison.

It took me a few minutes to set them straight about this.  So is this how rumors get started in the midst of it all?

To Tell Or Not

As children go, our niece Angela was exceptional.  She was quiet and well behaved.  She gave her parents very little trouble.  Her brother, John, was another matter!  All boy!  Not a bad child, just a boy!  He was always getting into things he wasn’t supposed to be getting into.

Angie tried to be helpful by letting her mom know when he was doing what he shouldn’t be doing.  This seemed to be happening every five minutes and Angie was coming across as a tattletale.  Reggie sat down and tried to explain to Angie that she didn’t need to watch John’s every move and come running to her every time he was doing the least little thing.  “You don’t want people to think you’re a tattletale, do you?”  Of course Angie didn’t want that.  She promised her mom she would stop running to tell her everything John was doing.

A few days passed.  Angie had a friend over and they had the lawn sprinkler turned on.  They were running through it, giggling and laughing and just having the best time.  John wanted to play too, but that was out of the question.  This game was for girls only! Reggie suggested that John stay in and play with his toys in the den.  A few minutes later she went down to the basement to check the laundry.

Reggie was taking the clothes out of the dryer when she looked up and saw Angie standing there.  She was wringing here hands and had a troubled look on her face.

“What’s the matter, Angie?”

Angie bit her lip and squished her face.  “I know I’m not supposed to tell on John,” she started speaking slowly and just above a whisper.  Then loud and fast, ”BUT JOHN TOOK THE SPRINKLER AWAY FROM US AND BROUGHT IT IN THE DEN AND IT’S GOING BACK AND FORTH, AND BACK AND FORTH, AND WATER IS GOING EVERYWHERE!”

Needless to say, Angie was smart enough to realize she had to tell her mom about this even though she was afraid of getting into trouble for it.  What a dilemma for a little girl!  It’s a hard job raising kids, but it can also be a hard job being one.  Still you have to see the humor in this story.  It’s either laughter or tears.  I vote for laughter!  Laughter can make what life throws at us a little easier to swallow in the midst of it all.

My hearing has been getting worse and worse with each passing year.  It had gotten to the point that I hated to be around people because I either couldn’t hear what they were saying or I couldn’t understand them.  It was like being all alone in the crowd.  I finally purchased one hearing aid over the summer.  I knew so many people that never used their hearing aids because they said they didn’t work, so I wanted a really good one.  They cost $3000 each and my medical insurance covers next to nothing.  This was the reason I only bought one.  I figured I would get the other one next year.

I was thrilled the day I went to the doctor’s office to pick it up.  It was July 16th, my granddaughter, Ché’s, birthday.  We were all going out to dinner.  Usually on these occasions, I would sit back quietly and enjoy watching everyone interact. I usually didn’t have a clue as to what was going on, but I could see they were having fun and that made me happy.  They were aware of this and they did try to talk loud enough and include me in all the festivities.  It isn’t an easy feat when you’re in a crowded public place.  The day I got my hearing aid it was a different story.  I could actually hear everything and participate.  It was amazing!

The past several weeks, I haven’t been hearing as well with it.  I was told it might need adjusting from time to time, but it wasn’t registering that it might be time for me to take it in.  When I put it in in the morning I can immediately tell the difference.  My world goes from almost dead silent to the sound of life buzzing around me.  This makes me think that it’s working fine.  The morning of New Year’s Eve I finally realized that I was really not hearing very well like I had been.

Cheli had called me and I thought she asked if she could come over and make two cups of coffee.  I thought to myself that her coffee pot must be on the blitz.  I was also thinking it was kind of odd for them to want to drive over here to make two cups of coffee, but it was fine with me.  I told her we probably had some in the carafe but I didn’t know how much, but they could make some more if they wanted too.  As the conversation progressed, I realized she didn’t want to come over to make two cups of coffee, but to make two copies, because here copier was out of ink.  I started laughing.  Then I had to explain to her what was so funny and she started laughing.  So when my doctor’s office opens up on Monday, I will make an appointment to take care of this.  Hopefully between now and then I won’t be making any coffee when I should be making copies!

My mother’s family always had a big Christmas party with food, drinks, Santa and presents. It always started at three o’clock Christmas Day. Santa arrived at seven-thirty, so everyone always tried to arrive before then.

One particular Christmas back in 1958, we were running late. We lived in Kenner and the party was at my Aunt Lil and Uncle Paul’s house in New Orleans East. It was about a 25 mile drive. Back then it took a while to travel that far. There were no interstates and most of the roads were only two lanes. The holiday traffic made it more of an ordeal.

It was very cold that year. My brothers and sisters and I were bundled up in the back of the old Jeep station wagon, singing Christmas songs at the top of our lungs and trying not to think about the cold. The Jeep had no heat and no radio. We were lucky it was running. All of us were silently hoping it wouldn’t break down while we were on the road. We had been there many times before. None of us thought it was the adventure Moma and Daddy tried to make us think it was.

It was after dark when we turned down Aunt Lil’s street. The street looked like a Christmas Wonderland. On one side were the small ranch houses, which were almost identical to each other.  Every one of them were brightly lit with Christmas lights and adorned with an abundance of decorations. On the other side was the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic church and a big playground. The church had a big Nativity display which lit up that side of the street.

There were so many cars parked on the street that we had to park in the church parking lot. We hurried out of the Jeep excited to finally have reached our destination. Daddy told us to leave the packages. He would come back and get them after we warmed up a bit.

We rushed across the street to Aunt Lil’s and rang the doorbell. One of my uncles answered the door. I didn’t recognize him, but that wasn’t unusual. My Moma’s family was so big that we didn’t always recognize everyone. Some of them we only saw every few years. There were usually at least ten guests there that weren’t even related to us. So we kissed and hugged and murmured the usual season’s greetings. We shed our coats and helped hang them in the hall closet and hurried off to join in the Christmas festivities.

The house was very crowded as it always was on these occasions. We made our way through the living and dining rooms to the back den, hugging and kissing everyone as we went along. We all got something to drink and nibble on. We were having a good time. I kept looking for a familiar face, but couldn’t seem to find one. I thought that was weird.

My brothers Artie and Murray had run off in search of our cousins Rolland and Stevie. Moma, Daddy and I were trying to find my sister Merle who had gone to her boyfriend’s for Christmas Dinner and was supposed to meet us here. Rani had fallen asleep on the way over and we were taking turns holding her as we searched the crowded den.

People started coming up to us and introducing themselves. My daddy finally asked one of them if they knew where Lillian and Paul were. No one there seemed to know anyone named Lillian and Paul! Uh-oh! We were in the wrong house! Who would have thought two families would have an aluminum Christmas tree in the picture window of their blond brick house decorated with pink ornaments and a spotlight shining on it that changed colors every few minutes Even the added on den and wet bar looked the same!

As people began to realize that we didn’t belong there the laughter got louder and louder. It seemed as though everyone there was trying to get a look at us. I think they thought we might look like Martians or something. Even so they invited us to stay! We politely declined.

It was nearing seven o’clock. After finding Artie and Murray we got our coats, thanked our accidental host and hostess, and high-tailed it out of there! As soon as we were outside, we realized Aunt Lil’s house was a little ways down the street across from the playground and not the parking lot. It was an exact duplicate of the house we had just left right down to the aluminum Christmas tree in the picture window.  Since we didn’t go there that often it was an easy mistake to make.

Moma and I were giggling nonstop about our little detour! Daddy didn’t think it was funny! He was so embarrassed! Moma tried to make him see the bright side by pointing out that we hadn’t brought the presents in with us.  It would have been even worse if we had to dig our presents out of the pile from under the other peoples’ tree!  The thought of that seemed to make Daddy more agitated.  He instructed all of us not to breathe a word about going to the wrong house. He took Artie and Murray to get the presents out of the Jeep while Moma and I headed toward Aunt Lil’s real house with Rani in tow. All of the commotion woke her up. Too much holiday for a two year old!

Aunt Lil greeted us at the front door and was genuinely happy to see us. Everyone had been worried about us, since Merle had told them we should have arrived about five-thirty or six! They were all worried we had broken down somewhere or worse. Some of them even wanted to leave to go look for us along the route we always took. Finally someone asked my Moma what had happened to make us so late. She looked at me and we both started laughing.

Daddy came in with Artie and Murray each carrying a pile of presents. He gave us a warning look as they headed to the back of the house where the presents were piled. I just gave him my sweetest “the devil made me do it” grin as I very loudly began to relay the story about stopping off for refreshments at the wrong house! By the time I was finished everyone was laughing to the point of tears including Daddy.

This is a true story. The names haven’t been changed to protect the innocent. It has become one of my favorite Christmas stories and I hope it gets passed along through the generations!

How Mikey Fishes

Brr! It’s cold on Moonraker Island this morning! We think so anyway! It’s only 45 degrees, but it will get up to about 75 before the day is out. Mike is fishing or making believe he is. He says it’s too cold to sit out there, so he rigged up our two poles and after casting off set them in the rod holders. Now he is waiting for a bite while he plays solitaire on his computer. Maybe I should get him a nanny-cam for Christmas. He could set it out on the dock and watch his lines from his computer desk. It would keep him from having to run out to check them for nothing. Just one of my thoughts in the midst of it all!

I was going through some pictures today and happen to come across some of Candy and Alfonso’s wedding. As soon as I laid eyes on a picture of her friend’s son, Oscar, I thought of this story:

I first met Oscar at a barbecue Candy and Alfonso had in Candeleda, Spain prior to their wedding. With a little prompting, he told me all about himself. He was five years old, he had a cat, and he spoke five languages. He was about ready to name the languages he spoke when his Mom, Megan, came looking for him. When I commented on how amazed I was that Oscar could speak five languages, she seemed surprised.

“Oscar”, she said, “you speak four languages, not five.”

Oscar grinned. “No, I speak five. I speak English, Spanish, a little French, a little Italian and Cat!”

Megan and I looked at each other and burst out laughing! Leave it to a five year old…..!

The Empty Boat

Living on the water is something Mike and I really enjoy.  Just getting up in the morning and having coffee while we look out over Moonraker Canal, across Highway 11 and onto the wetlands makes life worth while.  Some people might not consider ours the prettiest of views, but we love it.  It is our little piece of paradise.  We worked hard to get here and we are going to enjoy it for as long as we can.

This morning, Mike was drinking his coffee and reading the Sunday paper, when he looked up to see a good size fishing boat floating by with no one aboard.  First thought was did something happen to the person who had been operating the boat.  He hurried out to try to catch up with it, which he managed to do.  By the time he got out it had passed us and he had to go into our neighbor’s back yard and onto his dock to be able to stop it before it plowed into another neighbor’s pontoon boat.

Our neighbors, Dave and Annie, came out to see what was going on when they say Mike rush across their yard.  I was still sleeping, but heard the commotion and woke up.  Mike came in to get his phone to call the sheriff’s office, but before he could Annie was at the patio door. The owner of the boat showed up at their door.  I guess he had dry docked his boat last night without tying  it off.  The water came up because of all the rain and his boat floated away.  He was out riding in his truck hoping to spot it when he saw Mike pulling it in.  So that was our excitement for the day.  Next we will be watching the Saints game!

When my girls were little and had to go to the pediatrician for a checkup, I always took them to eat at the lunch counter in the K&B next door to the doctor’s office afterwards. The waitresses were all old and in many cases cantankerous.

On one particular occasion my oldest daughter Candy ordered a grilled cheese sandwich. The waitress we had was particularly old and cantankerous.

First, she didn’t like the fact that I was so young with two children. She let that be known when I told her I was their mother and not their sister. I let that pass.

Second, she wasn’t too happy that I let my two year old and four year old daughters place their own orders. She thought they were too young to be doing that. She didn’t think Cheli, my two year old, was at all cute when she ordered a hot dog with a bun, chocolate milk and a straw. I ignored her.

Third, was her big mistake! When Candy asked for the ketchup, she snipped, “What do you need ketchup for? You don’t have fries. You don’t need ketchup!”

My poor baby just stared at her with big tears in her eyes.

“Lady!” I said. “She’s the customer and she wants the ketchup! It is for her grilled cheese sandwich!”

“Ha! Did y’all hear that?” she called back to her co-workers and anyone else that was listening. “This kid wants to put ketchup on her grilled cheese! Have you ever heard of such a thing?” There were some snickers from a few of the old coots that had now become an audience.

“Lady, you must not have children. If you did you would know that a mother can turn into a lioness real quick when someone messes with her babies. I suggest you get my daughter the ketchup and apologize to her while you are still able to walk, because this mother has grown claws and her hair is up. One more crack at the expense of my daughter’s feelings and this lioness is going to strike!”

The whole place got quiet. The manager came to see if everything was alright. I smiled brightly and said, “We were just asking for the ketchup.” The ketchup magically appeared along with the check. The “mean old ketchup on grilled cheese waitress”, as Candy came to call her, never did apologize, and I didn’t tip her! She avoided waiting on us after that, which suited us just fine. The doctor moved his office a few months later and we started going to Burger King next store to it where the ketchup was abundant!

As long as I can remember Scrabble has been a game most of my family and friends enjoyed playing. One night when we were playing, my granddaughter Cera, came up with the word succah.  We had to challenge that one, so we got out The Official Scrabble Dictionary.  The Official Scrabble Dictionary is enough to give anyone a good belly laugh!   We found the word succah listed as a noun meaning sukkah. I looked up sukkah in my Merriam Webster Dictionary to find it was a noun describing the temporary shelter used for eating meals at a Jewish Festival.  This was a far cry from what we thought it would mean. Cera was surprised it was even a word!  We played and giggled until our sides almost split open. Laughter can be the best medicine for learning and creating some happy memories, in the midst of it all.

One morning I was on the phone with a man from the IRS. I had called to get some information I needed. While we were talking, he asked me to hold. I told him I would. A second later my great granddaughter, Porshai, came running into the living room. She had just gotten up. I always sing to her when she wakes up. Since I was on hold, I saw no reason not to keep up our morning ritual. As soon as I finished the second verse of “Good Morning to You”, I heard the IRS man say, “That’s so nice! No one has ever sung to me before!” My husband, Mike, and granddaughter, Che, were rolling with laughter as they listened to me sputtering as I tried to explain to the person on the other side of the phone why I was singing. When they found out I was talking to someone from the IRS they laughed even harder. Before long they had me laughing too. I think I should have gotten a tax break for that one, but I didn’t!