Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lynn Ellen Smith

I moved to the town of Skokie in 1955. I was 9. I'm from the ghetto, where we learned to fight before we learned to walk. We moved from a changing neighborhood on Chicago's West side, however most of the change was already complete. I was about 70 LB and way too street wise for a nice Jewish boy. I immediately got into a fight with Dickie Youngstrom, the toughest kid in our new class and won, making me "Top Gun". That was probably the first fight I'd ever won. Back then, all you had to do was sit on the other kid and hold his hands down until he gave. It was easy. No automatic weapons or even knives in this new suburban school. I liked it!

Our neighborhood was quiet. We played baseball, basketball and football, without the interference of adults. We'd pick sides and play, no parents with injured egos to deal with, just sports. Life was simple.

Then one day a girl moved in across the street, but honestly I didn't even notice because I was still working on my curve ball. The following school year, a new girl was walking to the bus stop, Lynn Ellen Smith. She was cute and quiet and had great posture. She was prim and proper and walked with a few girlfriends. What, with my curve ball and that new slider, I had no interest in her. That went on for several years, then one day I noticed that she looked different. Either that or my curve ball and slider weren't too important anymore and Lynn Ellen's posture had changed considerably and in a good way. I recall her always walking with her notebooks in front of her. Now that area in front of her was filled, but it wasn't with notebooks. She had developed quite the feminine shape. One that a retired pitcher paid attention to.

I think I was about 17 when I finally started talking to Lynn Ellen and used some excuse to get to know her better. She was cute and shapely and bright. I'd find a reason to wander over to her house almost every night and watch TV with her and her folks. At some point Mom and Dad felt comfortable with me being there and went to bed, leaving Lynn and I to get to know each other better. We "made out", a major break-through in our relationship. We'd just kiss and every time I got creative and found my anxious hands wandering, Lynn would politely put them back where they couldn't get into trouble. That went on f-o-r-e-v-e-r! I must say, Lynn was a nice girl and never let me get too ambitious. I remember walking across the street every night to my parents house, kind of limping, thinking maybe some day. But that day never came. At some point and I'm sure neither of us know why, we just kind of cooled things off and she started seeing a guy named Johnny. Johnny drove a Mustang and left it parked in front of Lynn's house until the wee hours of the morning. Every night I'd peek out the window to see if the Mustang was still there broken hearted, regretting that I'd let that relationship slip away. Johnny and Lynn Ellen married and are still married at the present time. Some things happen for a reason and her reason was Johnny.

Living Opposite Lives...

When I was a young boy, I recall lingering in bed and really sucking up all of the goodness of the bed as long as conceivably possible. It felt sooo good to lounge there and doze off repeatedly. Obviously it was the weekend or a holiday when school wasn't in the horizon.
As life went on, those lingering days were gone and replaced with hopping into action, getting ready for work or to change a dirty diaper, or to answer a ringing phone call from the Fraternal Order of Police Relief Fund. Those days of lounging in bed were over and truly missed. Well, they're back! They stopped at 16 and started again at 60. It's just wonderful. I love my bed and my bed loves me.
This morning I called and left a message for Dippy. I had already missed her by oversleeping. I didn't get up to call until 9 AM and she had worked all night until 7:30 AM and had already gone to bed for the day, by the time that I called. I left her a groggy message and she returned my call today at 5 PM as she was stretching and starting to get ready for work again. She works three, 12 1/2 hour days from 7 PM until 7:30 AM per week, back to back and then has 7 days off in a row. Awesome schedule, but hard to get used to.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Having to return to work tonight, Dippy and I just finished a 48 hour marathon with one another. Because I'm extremely old, the events of the 2 days seem to be running together, but I know for sure they include both Mexican and Chinese foods, at least one or two Margarita's and a whole lot of fun. Not the weird kind of fun that you can't really talk about, but the side splitting fun that only happens when 2 people are on the same wave length. Seemingly, we both like exactly the same kinds of food and often order the same entree. Dippy is a little more partial to Mexican and I can eat Chinese food almost everyday. I'm always willing to bend if it's a Mexican food night, however. I did make one point to Dippy after paying the bill for our Chinese food. I asked if she knew the difference between Chinese food and Mexican food and she ask what? About 20 bucks, I replied and we left.

Wednesday night was our honeymoon night and we laughed and played all night, finally drifting off about 4 AM, but when the phone rang at 7:30, we both jumped into action to see what was wrong. Forgetting that the rest of the world is up and about at that hour, we settled back to doze for a few minutes, but the night was officially over. Then we drank "our" coffee and dressed and headed over to Dippy's for her to shower and change clothes. We went to lunch and then picked up my Corvette that was at the repair shop on the other side of town. Or it was the day before and we just went back to my house to settle in. We watched TV and talked and told stories from long ago and looked at pictures of kids and people long gone. By the time night fell, I personally was bushed, having had only 3 1/2 hours of sleep and I'm pretty sure Dippy was feeling the same. We headed up to bed and that's when Dippy asked for extra pillows. I looked at her like she was kidding because there were already 4 on the bed. She volunteered that she likes a lot of pillows. I went downstairs where I remember 2 king sized pillows in a guest room closet and 2 more on the guest room bed. Climbing the stair with 4 large pillows and throwing them onto the bed that already had 4 pillows, I just laughed. Dippy was elated and thanked me for my thoughtfulness. She settled in as I just watched and climbed into bed too. I asked her to scratch my back and I think I recall about 3 scratches before seeing that it was not only light out, really bright. I slept like a log! I rolled over to my left side to see if my playmate was up yet and that's when I saw it, "THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE". To my recollection, it was only Superman that had a "Fortress of Solitude". Now there was one in my very bedroom and right there in my bed. Dippy had created a cave of pillows. She had disappeared into this cave and I wasn't sure I'd ever see her again, until I rubbed my eyes and recognized my black T-shirt that I had worn the day before. It was stuffed with boobs and hiding inside the FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE. She'd built a fort! Inside this fort, god only knows what weaponry was armed and ready to fire. I woke her gently by whispering a private message in her ear. She must have been dreaming of an invasion, because she jumped into action. I calmed her with my obnoxious laugh and inquired about her Fortress of Solitude. Innocently, she just replied, I told you I like a lot of pillows! Tonight she goes back to work and life will resume a more routine style.....................until next week, then look out!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hardcore Family

Ever since the dysfunction of my own family cast me out with no one, I've been envious of people that have current, active relationships with their families. It really isn't that hard. All you have to be is a little normal and the emphasis is on "little" and "normal". After my son brought home the daughter-in-law from hell, there wasn't much chance of anything that resembled unity. So, slowly but ever so surely, she sabotaged everyone and emotionally kidnapped my son. I'm not blaming her exclusively, as he let it happen. All of that left me a 63 year old orphan, along with my former wife, his mother, who has also been made a mockery of too.

When I was seeing LJ, I tried to get myself included in her circle of family, but she wasn't about to give up even one smile from either of her grandchildren, although she would show me innumerable pictures of the 2, soon to be 3 darlings.

Time flashed by as it does when you're older than dirt and along came Dippy. Now the dynamics of Dippy's family is endless. It's like taking a course called Family 101. There are names, people, animals and don't forget events. Starting with Abby, the Golden Retriever that doesn't "take" well to men. I was kind of leery about her, as I've never met a dog that I didn't like and respectively liked me. I was prepared for the worst. When I first walked in, Abby the protector of the family approached me with her ferocious tail wagging and hasn't stopped yet. Much like myself, Abby is half blind and the other half can't see, 2/3 deaf and a sweeter personality can only be found in her grandchildren, who I all ready find myself adoring. Naturally, Jack the 2 year old is my favorite, but the older ones, Jaydah 8 and Noah 12, run tight seconds.

Saturday is for shopping, right? Dippy invited me over to do a little shopping, something I've been forced into before. I thought I knew my way around the stores by now, but no. I arrived about noon to Dippy, her 22 year old son Ben, her 30 year old daughter Katy and as usual, my favorite, 2 year old "Smilin' Jack". I've never seen that kid without a smile on his face and a warm greeting.

I was informed "we" were going shopping. I thought Dippy and I were going shopping, but shopping turned out to be a family affair. We all piled into the car with Dippy driving and headed to Safeway. Being a Fry's guy, I felt a little disoriented, but was able to find my way around. The adult kids grabbed Jack and tossed him into a child seat in the cart and took off on their own, leaving just Dippy and me. You can really learn a lot about a woman watching her shop. The basic animal instinct comes out, the drive for survival, if you will?

As Dippy tossed things into her car at lightning speed, I just watched in amazement. How could anyone fill a shopping cart that quickly? At some point we rendezvoused and Katy and Ben had done pretty well too (for trainees). All the while, cheap ass Mel was yelling, that's a Costco item! It's half the price at Costco. Surprisingly, Dippy listened and we checked out. Next stop, return some movies, drop by the shopping center where Jody, Dippy's oldest daughter, was at the Dance Studio where the big wedding shower was being held on Sunday, tomorrow. She was getting a jump on her Jeep that surprisingly was dead. Jody is the 32 year old mother of the 3 grandchildren, got all that? Me too.

Next stop, go back to the house to unload groceries, Ben, Katy and Smilin' Jack. Did I mention he's only 2 and NEVER cries?

We're heading out to Mesa and Chandler to stop at the credit union and Kohl's and Costco. After a quick exit in Mesa somewhere that may not even be on the map, we headed to Kohl's to pick up the earrings for the bridesmaids that match the necklaces and that is the only Kohl's in the valley that had the precise ones. After waiting patiently at the jewelry counter for the only employee to free herself of her customer, Dippy's mouth was left open as an overweight woman rushed the counter and stepped right in front of us, smiling and saying, "you don't mind do you, I'm in sort of a hurry?" Another woman may have ripped her face off and poured salt on her bleeding flesh, butting in like that, but Dippy just smiled and said to go ahead. Porky did and was gone in a matter of minutes. Again, I was just observing....

With earrings secured, we headed back to the car once again and searched for Costco. Lost and tired, we spotted it at Elliot and the 202. It was a Saturday at the only Costco for miles around and the parking lot looked it. This is one of my reoccurring nightmares. I go to a Costco on a weekend and drive around their parking lot endlessly looking for the perfect parking place, but I never find it and then drive off a cliff. *Idea for Costco* Have golf carts picking up customers from their parking lot and shuttling them to the front door.

We enter. Again Dippy is like greased lightning filling our shopping cart, when suddenly I see she is talking to a little man and I'm fearful that she may toss him onto the cart too. But no, he was just passing out menus to a restaurant near by. We exited after Dippy paid the bill. We filled the Expedition and the gas tank and headed out, me being proud that I saved my gas purchase all day and saving over 22 cents a gallon by filling up at Costco.

So we're driving along and I notice that my gas mileage has dropped to 14.9 MPG, probably because of the load we're hauling for the wedding shower. Now this is not my part of town and frankly, I was born with out a SOD, Sense of Direction, so dippy says to take the 202 to the 101 North and I do. Suddenly, she screams at me, "GET OFF HERE" so I do and say, I thought you said the 101 North and this is the 101 South. With her head down, she whispers........sorry! Now we're officially lost and heading to Tucson. For whatever reason, the car got awfully quiet as we backtracked quite a few miles home.

It was during that drive home that I noticed that I was having trouble reaching the gas pedal and the brake, and I'm thinking, what the.........? Who know that you could actually walk off about 2 inches just shopping? I'm actually glad I lost it in my height, I couldn't have afforded it anywhere else!

Reaching Dippy's house, aka headquarters, I mentioned that I was really kind of tired and while Dippy prepared over 20 LBS of potato salad, I thought it a good idea if I headed home and prepare for our romantic evening I had planned. I did that and Dippy arrived at my house about 10 PM, we played for a while and laughed for awhile and fell asleep until morning, awakening with an OMG, what am I gonna tell the kids? I guess with combined ages of 118, me supplying most of it, we have come full circle. We no longer hide our activities from our parents, we hide it from our kids!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

NOT a love story...

For those of you that are in a relationship or in a long term forever marriage and are thinking about freeing themselves of that involvement, this entree is for you too. Those of us that are single and looking, there is a dating service call It is for everyone that I write this post.

On July 24th, of this year, I was on my way out the door to meet Dippy for our first introductory date. We refer to this as the interview date. I was about out the door when the computer chimed to announce I had new mail. I stopped and what you read below came from an attractive 48 year old flight attendant. I quickly replied that I was on my way out, but would write her back in a detailed email and definitely get in touch with her. Little did I know that Dippy and I would "hit it off" and I wouldn't follow up with this Diane. Feeling guilty and not knowing how Dippy was feeling about me, I tried to buy myself some time by writing and saying I'd been pretty busy with selling my house, but was still intending on contacting her by phone soon. A week later she replied, "A call only takes a minute, it's up to you."

Yet another week later, I was sure that Dippy and I were pretty content with one another and I wrote the next email.

Initial email from Diane:

Date received: July 24, 2009Subject:
I am also from the Chicago area (Evanston). and have a lot of the same interests you do. Your pictures are great!
Since I am often on the run, I can't always get to a computer. You can reach me at XXX XXX-XXXX.
Take care,

My "buying time" email.

Hi Diane: First let me say that I did have every intention of contacting you, but things have changed since you first wrote. As I replied to you, I was on my way out to go on my first date with a lady that I had met on Match. As you can imagine, I had no idea how it would go. It appears that it went pretty well and we're currently seeing each other. I'm not what you'd call a "player" and do not intentionally ever deceive anyone. What I told you about listing my house is true, but you are correct, a phone call takes only a few minutes. I wanted to see how this relationship developed before meeting someone new and it appears to be quite "on track" at the present time. Do you think it would be acceptable to you, if the current situation changes, that I contact you at that time and see if you're still interested? As I mention in my profile, I believe in honesty, even when it's not good news. Mel.....

Yet another week went by and this is my response from Diane:

game playing and dishonesty. Sorry

My knee jerk reaction when I read this in the middle of the night:

What I'm hearing is a sore LOSER, but a LOSER none the less! Sorry.

Then I felt bad about saying something so rude and insulting and didn't figure she joined a dating service to be emotionally dismantled and follow a few hours with this:

Please forgive my knee jerk reaction to your previous email. I awakened in the middle of the night to read your reply. If you're fair about the entire situation, you'll have to agree that I couldn't have been more honest with you. If you'd prefer to have it your way, that's okay too. Apologizing for being cruel, is the intention of this email. Good luck to you.


Then, last night I got this email another full week later: (hold onto your hats)

Date received: August 16, 2009
Subject: RE: Seek professional help!

I can't believe that I haven't even met you. You know nothing about me and you sent the last 2 e-mails "with the intention of being cruel". I especially couldn't believe you called me a "LOSER" All I can say is LOOK IN THE MIRROR DUDE!
What makes you even more of a loser is the fact that you met someone you like and you still want to leave communications open with me! You are the exact person that I want nothing to do with. If you think you are God's gift to women well guess what - you are more like the booby prize!
Thank God I didn't waste any time meeting you in person. You need psychiatric help before you go off on someone and hurt them I am now blocking you from contact I never want to hear from you again. LOSER!

And this, lol...

Date received: August 16, 2009Subject: RE: Re: RE: Excuses are Like............
Sore loser - YOU WISH! I haven't even met you (and believe me - you NEVER will) I'll put it in a nutshell - you look like a child molester and your personality is delusional. I am going to report you to Match because your e-mails are scary and sick! Why don't you put yourself in a "dutch oven" and turn it on high!

I never got to meet Diane... Do you think I dodged a bullet? I think Diane is alone for a reason and that reason is ANGER! Child Molester????

Friday, August 14, 2009

A LOVE Story...

Me at 17 yrs.
It was the spring of 1963, I was just 17 and strange hormones raged through my veins through every faction of life. I was tall and thin and muscular. I was 6' 1" and weighed an amazing 147 LBS. sporting a 30 inch waist with broad shoulders. It was the first warm sunny day of the spring, in our Chicago suburb of Skokie. I recall laying on a towel in my parent's backyard wearing nothing more than a black Speedo and being ever aware of the warm sun on my groin. One word that best describes every 17 year old boy, was HORNY. That would be me. As I layed there with the sun beating down on me, I was completely aware of my masculinity and was hoping no one else saw me. With my eyes closed, I suddenly felt the showering of a handful of pulled green grass, softly coming down on me and I opened my eyes. There stood my new next door neighbor, a woman of 22 that had recently moved in with her 32 year old husband and their 2 small children. Donna was clad only in a bathing suit, as well. In one fell swoop, I grabbed a handful of grass and leaped over the 42" fence to the neighbor's side and threw my handful of grass at Donna. She bent over claiming yet another handful and tried to put it down the front of my bathing suit. I grabbed her 2 hands and forced them behind her back, leaving us face to face, lips to lips and she reached up and kissed me. It was a long, deep, passionate kiss that must have lasted a full minute. It was the longest minute of my 17 years and during that 60 seconds, I thought of all of the ramifications that were being implied. After that kiss, there were no words spoken, she just lead me into her house to the dark cool basement, where I became a man and she remained a woman. That affair lasted a full 5 years and only stopped when I got married. I thank God that the only thing that ever got broken as a result of that affair, was my heart...

A Flash from the Past...

I shared this story with a friend this morning and they thought it would make a great blog entree, so here we go.
The year was probably 1962 or 1963. The location was my home town of Skokie, Illinois and it was the heart of winter. We had suffered a rather bad snow storm the night before and I was sitting on the end of the sofa, looking out the window, watching Jack our next door neighbor shoveling snow to clear his walkway. Jack was a pharmacist and worked a ton of hours at our local Walgreen's. He was almost never home during the day.
My father, a man without a sense of humor, walked up behind me and put his hand on my shoulder and looked to see what had me so intent on observing. In a rather matter of fact way, he asked, "Jack off today"? Knowing that timing was everything, I slowly turned, looked him in the eye and said, "No, you"?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Here We Go Again...

Dating Dippy has proven to be quite a test of patience for me. She went back to work tonight for another week without having her as my attentive girlfriend. Not that anything of this love affair has changed, but when she's working...............she's really working. She does the kind of work that's interesting and rewarding and completely fulfilling. She's a baby catcher in the delivery room at a hospital. When the baby come sliding out, Dippy's hands are the first thing in this world that baby feels. What an amazing feeling? But for me, all I get are some pretty descriptive occasional stories about babies being introduced to reality. Frankly, I'm alone again. When someone works a 12 hour shift and wants to asleep about 8 hours, realistically that only leaves 4 hours a day to go to and from work and eat an occasional meal. I wouldn't know where or when to slide a little Mel-time in. So we go from spending a lot of time together, sitting up until 3 or 4 AM just talking (n stuff) to no contact, other than an occasional text message and a brief hello.

Ohhhhh, lonesome meeeee.........

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cock and Bull Story

I recall as a young child, coming home and being chastised by my mother, with her yelling at me, "If you think I'm going to believe that Cock and Bull Story about why you're late, you've got another thing coming". Although I had no idea what a "Cock and Bull Story" was, I got a general idea and thought it unwise to ask at that particular time.
I was laying in bed tonight and couldn't sleep. That incident ran across my mind and I realized, that although through the years I've learned what a Cock and Bull Story was, I still wanted to see what the Internet said about the whole affair. This is that explanation:Cock and Bull Story

Monday, August 10, 2009

Speechless at "Fascinations"...

At age 63, it's safe to say that it's been quite a long time since I've been to an adult amusement park. What is an adult amusement park, you ask? I'd say it's a store where they specialize is adult trinkets, machines, oils and fashions that tease the sexual being of a person. You know, that inevitable sex drive that we all have. A porn shop! Although the porn doesn't interest me, some of the creations by twisted and warped minds does seem to "fascinate" me, thus the name of the store truly applies. On our way to my favorite Chinese restaurant yesterday, we found ourselves driving down 32nd St.. As I looked up I saw a sign that read "Fascinations" and had always wondered where that store was located, that has advertised on TV around the holidays. I looked at Dippy and asked if she wanted to stop and before she could really answer, I pulled into their driveway and parked. With her look of, what are you getting me into now, we entered the adult amusement park. I was dumbfounded!!! It was at least 2 or 3 stores wide inside and just packed with different things to amaze you, that you never even knew existed. Most of the things, I couldn't even imagine what they were for. For example in their wide selection of vibrators, they had one that was 18" long for couples! The look on my face was that of shock, as we entered the S & M section, just loaded with whips and leather things.

I neglected to mention that as we entered, a trio of employees greeted us with a warm, friendly welcome. The trio was made up of a Hispanic girl-person that was probably 18 that was definitely a little masculine, a Black girl about the same age that was all about business and a boy that after closer inspection may have been a girl at some point in his genetics. It is that 3rd employee that attached him/herself to us.

What I'm about to describe is a new situation for me. I found myself completely embarrassed and at a loss about the whole affair. My face was flushed and I couldn't make eye contact with our "guide". He/she was describing what everything was used for in graphic detail. At some point I asked if it were okay to just browse around and was pleased to be given our freedom to look and make snide remarks about the things we saw. I think that's when the Hispanic girl came over to help. They were clearly a tag-team. We were parked in front of the lubricant area and I made the mistake of asking what they meant when some item said it had menthol. She explained aloud, so everyone and their sister could hear, it's effective for both vaginal and anal penetration and leaves the clit in a happy and soothingly relaxed fashion. I think that's when I grabbed Dippy's hand and headed for the exit. As the door closed behind us we heard, "stop by again"!!! We went to lunch....

Saturday, August 8, 2009

FOR SALE- "Marital Beds"

Marital Bed
Most of the learning that an individual does is probably between the ages of 1 and 5, but that doesn't mean one cannot learn forever. I learned something today, that not only was a true realization, but could possibly grow to be a very lucrative business. Selling "Marital Beds". During a casual conversation with Dippy this morning, we were discussing why she doesn't own a punch bowl, but rather thinks her former husband was awarded it in their divorce. That made me think of all the things my ex-wife took when we split the sheets. Debra would come for an occasional visit and see something she liked and casually ask, you don't use that Persian rug that just sits in the foyer, do you? I'd reply, no it just sits on the floor, I never really use it and quick as you could say "Jack Robinson", it would be rolled up and on it's way out to Debra's car, gone!

So Dippy was telling me how she wanted mostly new things when she and her spouse split, except for the family room furniture she took, leaving the living room furniture for him. Then she added she certainly didn't want their bed! Although this conversation took place on the phone, I felt I could almost see the look of disgust on her face. That's when I realized I'd heard that before. The women NEVER want the "Marital Bed". Did it hold such horrors? Did such terrible things happen in that bed that it was to be cast away without thought? Women act like it goes without saying, that bed has to go!

Why was it that my bed was good enough when my ex-wife and I played in it, before we got married, but as soon as we got married, WE NEEDED A NEW BED?

Here's my thought. I run an ad online, perhaps Graigs List, offering cash for unwanted "Marital Beds"... Well, what do you think?

1/4 Jewish

Shortly after meeting Dippy, I told her that I was of Jewish heritage, but I seldom or never practiced the religion. I think that's when she told me that she too was 1/4 Jewish, as one of her grandparents was of Jewish descent. About 10 days ago, Dippy invited me to dinner at her house and of course I was happy to accept. As time progressed, she told me that Katie, her 30 year old daughter would also be there and I thought great, it will give me a chance to get to know her a little. When Ben, her 22 year old son found out there was going to be a dinner cooked, he also invited himself, which is how normal families do it. About a week ago, Dippy called pretty concerned that she had made a radical decision concerning that dinner without checking with me. I thought it was going to be something extreme from her apprehension about telling me. Her oldest daughter asked her to watch her three children that night, as they had an event to attend and her 3 adorable grandchildren would also be there for dinner. I couldn't have been more pleased, as I get to meet the whole family practically. I think at this point I've got the guest list set and it seems like there are now 7 people attending this dinner, with Dippy's 32 year old daughter and her husband showing up for a guest appearance, dropping off and picking up the kids. I've opted to leave out the limo driver that showed up to drive the parents of the grand kids, as it was a wine tasting evening.

Let's back up a few hours. I knew by the reaction of a friend, that it would be a good idea to bring something, but what? I spoke with one old friend that is known for extreme overkill, and she suggested getting something for each individual grandchild. I decided that was was too much, not even being positive of age or gender. I had already bought flowers on Wednesday, so that was done, for the week at least. A cake from a bakery might just be the thing?

I had some errands to run and that would bring me near Karsh's Kosher Jewish Bakery. Ah perfect. So after my stopping at Ernie's to let him scalp me with one of his far sighted haircuts, I picked up some meds and was off to Karsh's.

Not realizing it was Friday afternoon, it was pretty crowded with elderly Jewish people preparing for the Sabbath. I took my number. When my number was finally called, I explained to the young lady that I needed a gift for a casual dinner party. She asked me how many and I thought 8 might be close to accurate. Seven I knew of and leaving one for a mystery guest. She immediately showed me a cake that would feed 20 to 30 people and it was on sale for $20, because someone ordered it and cancelled. Overkill was the word I'd used. Much too large for our needs. Then she walked me over to see the 7 inch cakes and quoted me $31.50 for these little cakes. The 8 inch cakes were $45.00 and I was in a new world of finance. Why was I expecting $7.95? Suddenly, my cheap Jewish mind went reeling back to an image of 2 minutes earlier. ("This one is on sale for $20, because someone ordered it and cancelled") With that overwhelmed look that I've been having a lot of lately, I said I'll take the big one!

Good, she replied and started taking the monster out of the show case. It was so heavy I watched her arm shake as she lifted it. It probably weighed 20 Lb with 18 LB of being pure granulated sugar! Oh well, it's a party.

It was so tall, she had to build a box to accommodate it's height. She asked me if I wanted anything written on the top of the cake and I replied, no. As the young lady taped and folder card board to act as a riser, I suddenly blurted out, "1/4 Jewish!" Shocked, the girl asked, WHAT? That's when it dawned on me that all of the background noise that was taking place had ceased. You could have heard a pin drop. All eyes were on the guy that screamed, 1/4 Jewish. Suddenly realizing, I had stopped business, I kind of whispered, 1/4 Jewish. Still not hearing me, the girl handed me a piece of paper and a pen and told me to write it out, just as I wanted it to appear. That's when I remembered that there would be 7 or 8 people looking at that cake when it was opened and perhaps they wouldn't understand my sense of humor and this would be the first time they'd be meeting me. I cancelled my request and the girl went back to building her box, people went back to their business and sanity was restored. What was I thinking?

I carried out the 20 LB cake and had to give it it's own seat in the car and of course it weighed so much, I had to engage it's own seat belt to stop the ringing. My cake was developing a life of it's own!

I took the monster home and knew I couldn't just leave it in the car for several hours and carried it into the house and cleared off a shelf in the fridge. The door barely closed, with 1/4 Jewish in it's interior. The afternoon pressed on. Soon it was time to get dressed and I announced to 1/4 Jewish that we were going for a little ride, again fastening her into her own seat. I drove to Dippy's and went around to get "1/4 Jewish" and carried her to the door and rang the bell... When Dippy opened the door, I heard an, OMG! We carried her to the counter where I was compelled to tell the story of 1/4 Jewish.

Soon the Limo driver arrived and right behind him entered Dippy's oldest daughter, Jody with her husband Neil and the 3 kids. First is Noah, the 12 year old, then Jaydah, the 8 year old birthday girl, and last but not least, Jack, her 2 year old, who quickly became my best buddy. All three kids were wonderful, well behaved and polite at first, but quickly warmed to me and accepted me into their pack. Before the evening was over, Jack was in my lap being read a story and Jaydah was doing her cheer leading for my private viewing, while Noah and I discussed Shark Week on the Discovery channel!

The only true surprise of the night was when early on, one of the kids yelled here comes Papa-Frank. Here is how my mind processed that thought. Isn't Frank the name of Dippy's ex-husband? Papa, isn't that what some children refer to their grandfather as? Hmm.... I wonder??? Well I didn't have to wonder long. In came this man about my age and everyone ran to him, welcoming him to the party. He was so well received, I felt like running right over and giving him a big hug myself, but stood my ground. Soon Dippy introduced me as her friend and Frank and I shook hands and he couldn't have been nicer. He continued to play with his children and grandchildren and left after about 20 minutes with a smile and another hand shake.....................Whew!

All and all, the evening was great and I got to see what families are REALLY supposed to be like. I look forward to seeing them all again.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Playing Hooky...

Realtor Chris
Dippy works and lives a weird schedule. If she were a baby, we might say she has her days and nights mixed up. I know that's what we said when our children would sleep all day and be up all night. Last night I went upstairs about 11 PM to start reading my newest book, Cell by Steven King. About 20 pages in, I had no idea what was going on in this crazy book, but I did hear the phone ring downstairs about 11:45, with a sexy woman's voice leaving a message. Instinctively, I bound down the stairs, to see if it were some emergency. The voice said in a raspy sleepy, sexy voice, "I just wanted to see if you were still up". Well, I wasn't up, but I sure could be... Taking the stairs 2 at a time, taking the phone with me, I dialed Dippy's number. We proceeded to have a 3 hour and thirty-two minute conversation that included everything from anger issues to ex-spouses. She finally begged to hang up and try sleeping. I knew I was ready. It was 3:30 AM. Reminiscing, the last time I was up that late was for a pretty good reason and yes, Dippy was there!

I hung up the phone and 13 seconds later I was fast asleep. At 7:45 the phone started singing it's song, but I was too tired to answer. I heard a man's voice rambling about some damned thing and I feared it was another dreaded Real estate agent interrupting my beauty sleep. I've had 4 1/2 hours of sleep, not enough if you asked me, yet plenty according to Chris, the Realtor's plan. Listening to his message, he was coming over and giving me about an hour to wake up and look like reality. When I finally came down the stairs today, showered and shaved, I listened to the message again and realized I had yet another hour before his window of 120 minutes even started. It was between 10 and 12 noon and it was only 9 AM. Oh well....

I was chatting with Dippy when I saw a bald headed young guy cross my landscaping to get to my front door. I HATE when people do that. I told Dippy I would call her back and went to answer the door. There stands this 40ish looking dude, wearing a threadbare Tee shirt and low rise, butt sticking out, jeans. I assumed he was the buyer, how could the Realtor be so irresponsible as to show up for work without caring. Following Chris were his clients. Now get this! Here come these 2 high school kids and I'm guessing about 16 to 18 years old. He was wearing a cap, the type Ringo Starr used to wear when he was a Beatle and white cutoffs. She was terribly young and was dressed in a summer dress and her mom was probably pretty pleased with her attire. They were just KIDS! This house is 3500 Sq. ft and is priced at $440,000 even in this depressed market. How could they be serious about buying this place? I was expecting them to ask if there were many children in the neighborhood so they'd had friends to play with! This trio stayed an amazing 3 minutes showing that they either had no interest or were late for school... I was still on the phone with Dippy when they left and just waved goodbye yelling, "later"..... I could have been sleeping.....

Monday, August 3, 2009

Productive Day...

Slowly but surely, I whipping this house into shape. Today's project was to clean off the plant shelves of their 17 years of dust. No easy task. First, the shelves are about 12 feet high in the living room with the vaulted ceilings. I laid in bed last night plotting my plan. One of the best investments I've made in my life was my 6 HP industrial shop-vac. I think it cost about a hundred dollars, but has paid for itself many times over. Here is how it paid it's weight in gold today. This shop vac has a hose that's about 6 or 7 feet long. I have another old shop vac that I found in a car I bought once that I use for small or extra dirty jobs. I had a hose that was also about 6 feet long. I duct taped the 2 together, brought 2 card table chairs into the house from the garage and rested the shop vac on top of those chairs. I now could reach the 12 foot shelves with the vacuum and had about 3 or 4 feet of play. The I got my 6 foot folding old wooden ladder out of the garage and tested it for sturdiness. Seemed okay until I climbed up. There I was standing on top of this wobbly ladder holding onto the shelves for dear life. I was okay at that point, but realizing that wood dries out, worried me. Now I had to climb down with this thing as wobbly as riding a bull. Remember my chest is held together by bailing wire after that heart surgery and I'm not sure it can take a hit. I safely made it to the floor and felt pretty good about feeling it under my feet. I go out to the backyard and get my extension ladder, but need to prepare it for leaning against the white paint. I climb back up and push the ladder away from the wall, while standing on it, to put 2 kitchen towels under it to protect the paint. Now it's time to climb back down to get my shop-vac hose and ascend once more. I've attached a nozzle that I found in my garage and believe it or not, I got the job handled. I'm tell me they don't have those plant shelves in the new homes........................good!
I had 2 potential buyers show up with their agents after calling. I'm thrilled to be getting this much attention on a weekday. The first lady showed up and I recognized her from years of sending out fliers and calenders with her picture on it. Why didn't I remember her when I was listing it. She seemed polite and very businesslike as we chatted while awaiting her client. The client arrived, a woman about 45 and they stayed for over 45 minutes. At some point I thought they had left, they were so quiet. They were upstairs really checking things out. They came down and asked some pretty intelligent questions. The kind of questions that REAL buyers might ask. when they finally left, they stayed out front for about another 10 minutes chatting. I wouldn't be surprised if they showed up again with the husband.
My second group was a family of people from the Middle east. A husband, wife, 3 children, the agent and a guy that I couldn't account for. Maybe the brother of the wife or possibly just a hitchhiker along for the ride. He didn't win any favor with me as he obviously hated the heat, but didn't want to miss any of the conversation while the family was outside inspecting my lush landscaping. So his answer to his dilemma was to hold my back door open to be part of everything while my perfect 78 degrees inside quickly rose to 79 or 80. He must have held that door open for 5 full minutes. I was seething and wanted to yell, "Hey, what are you trying to do, cool off Arizona"? I said nothing!
As they left I told them how nice it was to meet them and with a house this big, they could have at least 3 more children. That caused a roar of laughter and a rebuttal in a language I did not understand. They also spent 15 minutes in front of my house, talking. We'll see....

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My Cherry Got POPPED!

My House
I woke up this morning like every other morning, late and not knowing what day it was. My first business of the day, everyday, is to determine what day of the week it is and act accordingly, which is the same when you're retired. I did however realize that my house is now listed in the Greater Phoenix Multiple Listing Book and I might be inspected by a perspective buyer. I've dreaded this day for almost 17 years, when I went through it at my last home. This meant I'd have to make the bed, dust, close closet doors, put my hair dryer away, out of sight and otherwise act like I'm living in some model home, which I'm not.

After showering and shaving and hiding any trace of my existence, I skipped down the stairs and made coffee. By this time it was almost 10 AM. Sipping my first cup of Java, the phone rang and it was a real estate agent saying, "Hello Melvin"... I replied, it's Mel and he wanted to argue because the listing said Melvin. I asked if we could move on? He was stuttering and lacked the self confidence that it takes to sell anything. I didn't give him a very good review, frankly. We made arrangements for him to be here in 1 hour.

I leaped from my easy recliner and began paying attention to business. In the next 60 minutes I had to get this place presentable and it included, dusting, moving furniture back to where the staging princess ordered it and raking up the leaves in the backyard, but only after putting stuff away that was not permitted to be out. When I finished all that, it was 10 minutes early, so I texted Dippy that my first customers were coming and I didn't have a clue as to what to serve. Since she's working nights, she was fast asleep and won't see my message for hours. I think I was talking to Barry when a car pulled up in front of the house, stayed about 2 minutes and drove away. I figured it was them, but didn't like the outside well enough to come in. I was either paranoid or hurt! Promptly at the arranged time and young fellow pulled up in front, with another car following and they rang my bell. It was the "stutterer", only he was full of confidence now and I realized he was all along, just doesn't have a good phone presence. He was about 40 and well dressed and polite. I welcomed them both in. His client was a single man clearly doing the search for the family. They seemed impressed. They stayed a long time too. I told him I was brand new at this and if they had any questions, just to ask. I volunteered the fact that I was a real estate virgin. I broke the ice, I always do.

While they was touring my estate, the phone rang and it was some guy asking if his wife could show the house at 1 PM. I said sure and we hung up. About 5 minutes later, my agent called and said there was a woman trying unsuccessfully to reach me, was a 12:30 showing okay? Again I said yes and made ready for my busy day. Immediately I wondered if I'd priced the house too low. Too much action is a sign of a bargain. If it were a car, I'd rethink my pricing.

At precisely 12:30, a Mrs. Fink handed me her car and I graciously welcomed them in. It was a young family with an 18 month old, being carried. I remember those days, but they were long ago. I was introduced to Kirstin and her husband Arthur and we shook hands. Then I was introduced to Alex and Kirstin quickly corrected Art, who was really Arthur in her eyes, that the boy's name was not Alex, but Alexander. It appeared that Kirstin had something very snug, stuffed up her little ass. I shook hands with the little guy and without thinking said, "Hello little Dude". Kirstin rolled her eyes. It turned out, that was the car that pulled up, stayed for 2 minutes and left. This young family didn't stay long, but when they came into the family room where I was parked, I offered that I was playing elevator music so they'd think I was sophisticated. Art said back, "I'm wearing my hat backwards so you know I'm not"! We all had a good laugh, except Kirstin who evidently was very uncomfortable with that thing stuffed up there. They left...

Now I'd received 3 calls, so I was still expecting my 3rd and last buyer. I sat there on the sofa, hungry. I didn't want to start cooking when people were walking around. It's bad enough my personal real estate agent told me my house stinks. She flat out told me, I had house-a-tosis! I should buy Fabreeze. I asked almost everyone I knew, that would tell me the truth and no one said my house stunk. I also had a more personal problem. I needed to use the bathroom. I don't want to start discussing numbers, but it was the one that relates to "fiber". Now how could I do that with people inspecting my bathroom right after? So I just walked around with that Jamie Lee Curtis look, after eating her daily dose of Activia yogurt.

Now buyer number 3 was due at 1 PM and it was now 1:30. How long do I wait for a "no show"? That's when I looked at the caller ID and it said, "Fink", the same name as the woman that was working with the young family. Dummy! It was 2 calls for the same person, so I went to the john, and cooked breakfast at 2 PM. I'll get used to having my lifestyle scrutinized by perspective buyers..............around the turn of the next century!