Lucie Plays Vanna White at Church

A month ago, Cindy, our church’s Welcome Coordinator, emailed me asking for help with the upcoming church photo directory.

I never know where my various health maladies are going to take me, so I rarely volunteer to help out.

The directory, though, is something that she and I have worked on in the past and I figured, “What the heck? No big deal. We’ve done this before, so it’ll be a slam dunk.”

Yep.

You’d think by this age, I’d know that nothing is a slam-dunk in my life.

I don’t have enough nonsense in my day to day existence living with the Princess and two wacked cats. I need a little more drama in my life to keep my blood pressure up.

We meet with the photo company’s representative and learn that everything now-a-days for church directories is computerized – from setting up the initial appointments for the photographs, to designing the actual church directory.

OK.

No big deal.

Technology comes as easily to me, as swimming to a duck with a 100lb anvil wrapped around his neck.

Yep.

Cindy’s a couple of steps more tech savvy than me, but between the two of us, we’re not exactly Silicon Valley’s version of Bill Gates and the late, Steve Jobs.

So, we decide that we need to get ourselves organized and agree to meet with each other a couple of times to set up a to-do list and get a handle on the situation.

After meeting a couple of times, I was feeling quite competent with what we needed to do and figured the cheat sheet that I meticulously wrote out and placement of the photo company’s web-site as one of my “favorite’s” on my computer would have me totally covered to do a competent job of signing up people after Sunday’s service in no time flat.

Uh-Hun.

You’d think as a retired teacher, with multiple years of teaching experience under my belt, that I’d know better by now.

Unfortunately, wisdom and intelligence does not come with the graying of one’s hair. If it did, I’d be a genius many times over.

Yep.

I got to the church early Sunday morning, so that I would have plenty of time to set-up, get myself settled-in and meet with Henrietta, the other sign-up volunteer, and I discovered that my oh-so-reliable computer (that the Princess lovingly purchased for me for my 60th) did not want to connect with the church’s Wi-Fi.

After an hour of repeated failed attempts by a number of the church’s tech gurus to connect me to our Wi-Fi, I decided that I needed to call the Princess and have her bring her Mac to the church.

Surely, the Mac would work and we would be good to go, as soon as the service had ended and people started heading into the social hall to sign up.

Uh-Hun.

Well, the Princess decided after 6 months of endless nagging by me, that this particular Sunday would be a great day to organize the garage.

And of course, being the little multi-tasker that she is, she threw in a load of laundry, turned on some ear-splitting music to keep her spirits up and the fleas at bay; and started to organize the disaster of a hell-hole that we sometimes refer to as a garage.

All the while she was home innocently singing and cleaning the garage, I was at the church, calling and texting her endless messages and thinking, “When I get ahold of her, I’m gonna ring her scrawny little neck. She’s gotta be taking a shower, but how long can a shower take for a 4 foot, 10 inch smurf?”

Seriously.

Che palle! (keh Pal-leh, loosely translated, “What a pain in the ass!”)

As luck would have it, our church’s Board President takes a crack at my computer difficulties and gets me hooked up just as the church lets out and our table gets swamped with eager attendees.

I started signing up my first parishioner, pressed the bottom to confirm the date, and whoosh, the information went into some tech cloud never to be seen again and my computer screen went totally black.

Madonna!

I had a table swamped with eager parishioners, a computer that I wanted to permanently bury, and a sign-up partner that was calmly and efficiently taking as many of the requests as she could, all the while politely dealing with a couple of parishioners that apparently fell asleep during our Pastor’s sermon on grace, because they weren’t exactly what you’d call graceful while they waited, don’t ‘cha know?

In the meantime, the Princess had gotten my messages and attempted to get ahold of me, only couldn’t because I had my phone on vibrate and conscientiously crammed into my purse while I attempted to sign-up people.

Not knowing what to do and knowing how I freaked I get when I’m “outta my bubble and stressed”, she grabbed her computer and sped to the church, bra-less and in raggy sweat pants.

She then attempted, once again, to get ahold of me by phone from the confines of her automobile. (God forbid someone spotted her walking toward the church with her ta-tas flapping in a stained sweatshirt and shaggy sweat pants.)

Failing in her attempts to connect with me, she decided that nothing was worth our church friends seeing her bra-less and looking like a bag lady, so she headed back home and anxiously waited for me to return.

In the meantime, I was into my Vanna White act talking up the photo shoot, while Henrietta did a stellar job in single-handedly managing the computer sign-ups.

We finally got the last of the parishioners signed up and I looked at Henrietta and commented, “You’re totally amazing, Woman! No matter what anyone threw at you and how crazy it got, you remained totally cool-headed and calm.”

“You’re amazing. Simply amazing,” I continued while shaking my head back and forth in total disbelief.

“What do you do for a living that has you so level-headed and calm in the midst of pure chaos?” I innocently inquired.

Without missing a beat, she slowly turned her head, calmly looked at me and matter-of-factly stated, “I work as an intake counselor for the mental health clinic at Stanford Hospital.”

Uh-Hun.

Yep.

I’m thinking maybe she’s  good at what she does, People. What do you think?

Have a great day and I’ll catch ya next adventure looking at life from my shoes!

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Lucie Does Facetime for the First Time!

So, I’ve read a lot of books on writing lately and decided that Julia Cameron’s suggestion to solicit a friendly reader to read my writing and tell me what they like and what they’d like to see more of was a good idea.

I decided to solicit one my blog followers that has similar pieces as mine and dropped her an email asking her if that’s something that she’d be interested in doing, and lo and behold, she actually said, “yes!”

Both of us aren’t exactly tech geniuses, but with the help of grandchildren and significant others, we figure out that there’s a thing called facetime on our Apple phones and computers and that we can talk to each other and actually see each other on this facetime thing-a-ma-bob.

“Great,” me thinks.

So, after she stopped wrestling with a rotten head cold that she had picked up on an out of town visit, and I stopped tap-dancing with some weird stomach bug that I had recently acquired, we finally set up a date and time.

And I was tickled pink.

Finally, after all this time, I was gonna meet one of the writers that I actually admired and emulated.

“This is totally cool,” I tell myself.

Then it dawns on me.

What does one wear to a “face time viewing” for the first time?

I’m usually in raggy sweats and a stained sweatshirt, while I bum around the house. And I rarely comb my rat’s nest of a hair-do hair in the morning, unless I have an appointment.

Surely I can’t look that scruffy on the first viewing.

If I scare the hell outta her, she’ll never wanna be my writing buddy. Maybe a clean turtleneck and a pair of pearl earrings will do the trick. It’s supposed to be in the upper 70’s today where I live, but hopefully I won’t be sweating too much so she notices.

Hm…I’m not into make-up and lipstick, but after dancing the tango trots for a few days, I was looking a little peaked and thought that maybe a touch of lipstick and a little rouge would help make me look a little less dauncey.

Cazzo!

Get a grip, Lucie!

You don’t wanna date the woman, for Chriminy sakes! You just wanna have her as a writing buddy.

I’m setting up my computer and getting everything ready for the big event, when I notice a familiar smell wafting through the house and discover that our cat, Molly, who was not too pleased with us for having an over-night guest stay with us last night, has peed on not only MY bathroom rugs, but the Princess’s, as well.

Yep.

Swell.

So, now I’m sportin’ a clean turtle neck and one of my better pair of sweats and end up with two stinky sets of bathroom rugs to wash before Janet calls to facetime with me.

Cazzo!

Forget the rouge and lipstick!

I’d better get those rugs into the laundry before Janet calls and thinks I live in a barn, for Pete’s sake.

And then it dawns on me – unless this facetime app has some serious “smell-vision”, I was good to go.

Yep.

That’s life in my shoes today, People!

Hopefully yours is less odiferous than mine was today.

Have a great day and I’ll catch ya next adventure, looking at life from my shoes.

My Mother’s Call

I called my Mom this morning.

Nothing out of the ordinary.

I do most mornings to check on her.

I knew when she answered the phone that she was having a “down day” – her voice was low and her words came slower than normal and with little emotion.

“I just got some bad news a half an hour ago,” she slowly started.

“My friend Carmie died a week or so ago. Her daughter called me this morning and told me. Remember Carmie, Lucie? I used to go to the state fairs and meet up with her and her husband in Auburn. Remember?” she quietly asked.

“Yeah, Ma, I remember you telling me what a great time the three of you had, but I don’t really remember that much about her,” I answered.

“Was she one of your school friends or someone you met after I left NY?” I asked, lowering my tone of voice to match hers.

She told me that Carmie was a school friend that she had known for many years, and they had kept in contact with each other as much as opportunity and time would allow. They had reconnected with each other after Mom’s divorce, and she really enjoyed the reminiscing and fun that they had every time they saw each other.

“We didn’t see each other much,” she continued. “I couldn’t drive that far and her husband stopped driving up here years ago because of his health, but boy when we did see each other, we had such a good time – such a good time…” and her voice suddenly trailed off.

The phone then went silent for longer than usual with my Mom, and I could hear her let out a deep sigh, as she composed herself for what she had to say next.

She then quietly continued, “I know it’s our time to go and there’s really nothing to be sad about, ‘cuz she lived a good life, but I’m losing a lot of my friends these days and I feel kinda bad today, Lucia. To tell you the truth, I feel a little sad.”

She hesitated again and in a voice laden with sadness and a hint of regret, continued.

“I knew when I called her at Christmas that things weren’t going so well for her and Bruno,” she said, “and I just felt something was terribly wrong for the last couple of weeks and wanted to call, but didn’t want to bother them.”

“Isn’t that weird, how I just knew something was wrong and then her daughter called me this morning and told me that she died two weeks ago?” she continued.

“No, Ma, I don’t find that weird at all,” I answered. “You were close friends and sometimes close friends and loved ones sense things about each other. I don’t find it weird, Mom.”

She quickly changed the topic of conversation and we chatted for another few minutes and then she told me that she needed to take her walk before it got too cold outside.

So, we hung up and both went on with the business of our days.

Only by this point, I was also “feeling a little sad, to tell you the truth” – feeling a little sad that my Mom was alone in her grieving.

What struck me even sadder, though, was the reality that my Mom is at that age when I think she’s wondering if her time may not be so far away, and that the infamous phone call that Carmie’s daughter made to her, will be made soon by one of her own children to some of her remaining friends.

It’s a topic that I really don’t want to discuss, but one that I firmly believe is necessary and important for her to express and get off her chest.

We know where her plot and headstone are and we know where all the important papers are, and we know that she wants to be cremated.

But maybe, just maybe, we need to know if there’s anything on her heart that she wants to say before she goes – if there’s anything that she needs to express to us before she joins Carmie and all of her good friends for that final and eternal pitch game in Heaven with God?

Hm…

I think I’ll make an important phone call today, People, and catch ya next time, looking at life from my shoes.