Shit Happens!

I called my Mom this morning to check-in with her before I started my day and had another one of those Momma Benedetti conversations that had me giggling before too long. Unlike last month, she had now decided that maybe a woman President wouldn’t be so bad for the country because as far as she was concerned, “Men aren’t thinking too clearly, lately, and maybe handing over the reins of the country to a clear-headed woman would actually be good for our country. At least women have the sense that God gave a mule and know that shit in the local waterways isn’t healthy for our local townspeople. Sometimes men are total stoonods, idiots, and need protection from themselves.”

Ok. She got my attention.

Last month she thought BOTH candidates were stoonods, and I was curious as to why she had suddenly changed her mind, so I asked her, “Ma, what’s up with your change of heart in voting this November? I thought you didn’t think a woman could handle running the country and that we were better off with a man? What made you change your mind?” I continued.

“Well,” she started. “The stoonods that are running the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Hoosick Falls, or one of those cities just south of here, allowed over 50 gallons/minute of shit to end up in the Mohawk River on Monday. I don’t hafta be concerned about MY drinking water, because I use a Brita water filter for my water, but can you imagine what those poor people in Hoosick Falls are going through?”

“Cazzo!” she continued. “We don’t hafta worry about enough stuff in our day to day lives, but now we hafta worry about drinking shit in our water. Che schifo! (keh SKEE-foh: how disgusting). Those poor people in Hoosick Falls. They should fire the whole bunch of them and elect some women to run the plant. At least a woman would have the sense that God gave a flea and stop it before it got out of control. Men hafta have a meeting before they do anything and see what department is responsible and who to blame before they do anything. It’s a bunch of shit, if you ask me; a total croc of shit!” she lashed out.

“I’m thinking Hillary won’t be such a bad choice in November. I think she’s dealt with enough shit in her life to take on this job. After this disgusting episode, Hillary definitely has my vote this Fall,” she rattled on.

OK.

By this point, I thought that telling her that her Brita water filter was totally useless for protecting her from the nasty illnesses that she could acquire from drinking shitty water was gonna fall on deaf ears, and I wasn’t quite following her logic as to how this incident in the Mohawk River directly affected her voting choice, but I wasn’t prepared to negate Momma Benedetti’s logic; so I said to her, “I’m pleased to hear that you changed your mind about voting this November, Ma, and that it only took a load of shit in the Mohawk River for you to do that. Good for you. I’m sorry for the poor people in Hoosick Falls, but I’m really glad to hear that you’re re-thinking your stance on who you’re voting for in November.”

“Fa-nabole (get out of here)!” she responded. “I gotta put on my lipstick and meet the girls for cards today. Ciao!” she said and abruptly hung up.

Yep. Another enlightened voter headed for the election polls in November, People. I can now sleep soundly knowing that individuals like my Mother have the fate of our democracy in their hands.

Have a lovely day and I’ll catch ya the next time, looking at life from my shoes.

 

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Lucie Tells the Princess to Take a Hike!

Sometimes people just need a break from each other – not saying that these people are grumpy or need an attitude adjustment or anything – just saying that there are times in a relationship that certain individuals need a little breather from each other’s less than endearing habits.

Hiking in our local Redwoods is something that I find exhilarating and absolutely spiritual and a perfect anecdote to a loved-one’s quirky habits. The beauty and grandeur of these lofty denizens is something that one has to personally experience themselves to truly appreciate their majestic presence. There are times, when in their presence, I feel the overwhelming need to hug one; so, I do – often at the embarrassment of my hiking companions.

Persuading the Princess to forego the morning paper and instead head-out into our local hills for a short hike on the weekend, most often requires an act of God; and even then, He or She doesn’t always inspire her Royal Highness to spend a Sunday morning away from savoring a cup of freshly-brewed coffee and the funnies.

But the Almighty doesn’t know how to whine.

I, however, am the Queen of Whiners and really needed to hug a Redwood that Sunday.

So, I finally convinced her highness that a hike into Wunderlick, one of our local parks, would be just the thing for our relationship.

We’re quietly walking up the oak and madrone-lined hillside, totally absorbed in the solitude and ambiance of the mountains, looking for the beneficiary of my hug; when the Princess interrupted my reverie and said, “Ya know, Hun, I didn’t get a chance to have my morning cup of coffee.”

“Yes,” I patiently answered. “I’m well aware of this fact and very appreciative that you decided to come with me. Isn’t this just a glorious Sunday morning?”

“Un-Hun,” she mumbled and continued to hike in silence, until once again she broke my spiritual connection with my beloved Redwoods and snapped, “Ya know, Lucie, I didn’t get a chance to eat any breakfast this morning, either!”

“Is that so?” I responded. “I grabbed a breakfast bar for myself before we left. Did you bring one with you this morning?”

“No,” she hastily answered. “We only have Kind bars and I don’t consider them to be breakfast.”

“OK,” I mumbled between clenched teeth. “Can your highness maybe give me 10 more minutes of hiking? Just 10 more minutes, please?” I asked.

The Princess, rolling her eyes, answered, “Fine. Guess 10 minutes ain’t gonna kill me.”

We walked-on when Miss Grumpy Cat (a.k.a. the Princess), miraculously became little Miss Merry Sunshine and chirped, “I keep tellin’ ya, Hun, we gotta get out and hike more often. Look at how beautiful it is here, Sweetheart! It’s right where we live, for Pete’s sake. We have no excuse for not getting out more,” she continued, as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth.

I, Ms. Sweetheart herself, stopped dead in my tracks, eye-balled the endearing Minion-being and squeaked, “Seriously?! Seriously?! You tell me that we need to get out and hike more, and this is from a woman who I had to get on hands and knees and beg to leave her funnies behind this morning?”

I then took-in the deepest of cleansing breaths, and said, “You’re right, Hun. You’re absolutely right.”

By that point, the Princess had acquired the cheesiest of Cheshire grins and declared, “Guess both of us are a little hungry this morning, eh, Hun? I’m thinking maybe a certain tree hugger needs to munch on her Kind bar, before she gets her knickers in a knot.”

Cazzo!

I think, People, this tree-hugging, knicker-knotting, hungry-hiker needed more than a Kind bar. Maybe a little vacation from a certain, red-headed Minion was in order. What do you think?

Until the next adventure, keep a Kind bar in your backpack and your hiking britches un-twisted, and I’ll catch ya the next time, looking at life from my shoes.

 

 

Obama Messes with Ma’s Routine

There are certain things that are as regular as rain in my Mother’s life; and you don’t mess with her routine or she gets a little grumpy. Morning coffee, visiting “the facilities” after morning coffee, playing her weekly card games with the gang; driving to the Dollar Store, and watching her favorite morning show, “The Price is Right”, are set in stone for her.

This morning, President Obama messed with one of Mom’s routines; and as luck would have it, I was the fortunate offspring to make the phone call to her just after Mr. Obama’s untimely faux pas.

“I missed the last 5 minutes of ‘The Price is Right’ this morning and I’m pissed off,” she said when I asked her how she was doing. “I didn’t see who got the car or boat,” she continued. “Obama interrupted the show and I missed the last few minutes of it. Damn it! The man is always 5 to 10 minutes late when he gives a speech, and this morning he had to be early. Boy, he pissed me off!”

“Hm…,” I responded. “How inconsiderate of the guy. What was he talking about?”

“How the hell do I know?” she shot back. “I like the man and all, but I don’t always listen to him – especially when he interrupts my shows. All I DON’T know is who won the car or boat today!”

“Well,” I answered. “Glad to know that ya got your priorities straight.”

“So,” I continued, deciding to strike while the iron was hot. “Ya know who you’re voting for in November?”

“Cazzo,” she answered. “I’m 87 years old, Lucie. Who the hell knows if I’ll even be around this November? I just picked up my car from the garage this morning for the 3rd time this month, and I think my car and ME are both are on our way out. Best I felt was today and yesterday,” she continued. “Must be I’m ready to kick the bucket. They say you feel your best when you’re on your last legs.”

“Well, that’s a sobering thought,” I remarked before she quickly continued.

“And who the hell knows who I’m voting for?” she answered. “They’re both stoonods, idiots, as far as I’m concerned, and Trump seems like a bigger stoonod than the other one, but I’m not so sure I’m ready for a woman to run the country. I’m not gonna worry ‘bout it. I could be dead by then. Who knows? I gotta let you go, Lucie. I’ve still got put-on some lipstick and iron my shorts before I go play cards. I ironed my dungarees this morning, but totally forgot to iron my shorts. Sometimes I’m a stoonod myself. I’ll talk to you tomorrow, honey. Love you.”

“Love you, too, Ma,” I said and the next thing I heard was the phone click off.

Sometimes life throws us these little challenges to keep us on our toes, People. We can either put on a little lipstick and show up, or crawl back into bed and start over again tomorrow – totally your call.

In the meantime, be kind to one another and I’ll catch ya the next time, looking at life from my shoes.

 

 

Lucie Runs Outta Luck!

I have major sleep issues.

For people that know me, that little fact is really nothing to write home about.

I haven’t slept in years.

Doing my Monday morning errands this week, though, I ran into some people who I think may have been a little sleep deprived themselves; either that or badly in need of a Monday morning attitude adjustment.

I thought a trip to the library that day would be a good plan of action in light of the fact that I just read an article in “Scientific America” that talked about how your brain has a built-in garbage disposal that gets rid of toxic proteins and that much of this “cleanup activity” takes place during sleep.

In light of the fact that I’m not sleeping too well these days, and probably have a lot of garbage floating around in my brain, I thought a library visit would be a healthy choice of action for me after my morning adaptive P.E. class.

Concerned about my next “garbage pickup date” and needing to challenge my brain as much as possible, I checked out one of Janet Evanovich’s summer reads and headed back to the parking garage to pick up my car and continue my errands for the day.

As I was walking to my car, humming one of my favorite songs (I kid you not!) – “If I Only Had a Brain” from “The Wizard of Oz”- I was unpleasantly greeted with the repeated beeping of someone’s car horn, when I noticed a gentleman in a Toyota sedan erratically backing into the front end of some lady’s Mercedes as she was driving down the lane.

Immediately realizing that the offending horn-tooter was the woman in the Mercedes, I saw that she was in the right of way and was laying on her horn because (I assumed) she didn’t want the front end of her car mangled.

The Toyota dude apparently saw it differently, because the next thing I heard him yell was a not-too-friendly, “F-yourself! And go around me!”

Uh-Hun.

The dude backs up into her (on a one way lane!) and HE swears at her.

OK.

I figured it was a good time for me to get the hell outta Dodge and go to the Target Dept. Store for errand number 2 of the day.

 

I get to Target and spend 15 minutes looking for a type of protein bar called “Kind”. They used to be healthy for you, so Target always had them in the aisle with the other healthy, protein bars. Guess they’re not so healthy for you anymore. According to one of the clerks, there’s some class action lawsuit against the company for not disclosing the fat calories in their almonds or some such nonsense, so they have to put them in another aisle.

Hm…

They had a sale on them – buy 4 boxes and get a $5.00 Target gift card. I figured the “Kind Co.” thought if they were going to secretively get you fat with their almonds, they’d best give you some incentive to do so.

Alrighty. I’m game. I like bargains just like the next guy. I’m not getting too much sleep these days and thought the added protein would help get rid of some of that extra brain garbage that I’ve been carrying around and help me sleep.

With the help of a store clerk, I found the Kind bars in the cookie aisle and finished my shopping. I headed for the check-out area, when I noticed unusually long lines at each of the registers. Accustomed to using the express line most of the time, but wanting my $5.00 gift card for my “Kind bars”, I opted to stand in one of the long lines, so I’d have access to a human cashier.

I quickly analyzed each customer’s basket of items and decided that aisle number 5 looked the fastest to me.

Yeah…

Well, Erma Bombeck here couldn’t have picked a slower lane if she wanted to! After all the other aisles got crammed with a bazillion customers, I discovered that aisle number 5 was being serviced by a handicap clerk with access to only one hand.

“OK. No big deal,” I said to myself.

“I’m a retired special ed teacher and I’m happy to give up a little time to accommodate his handicap.”

Uh-Hun.

Well, of course the customer in the front bought over 25 items and lucky me – two of the 25 items didn’t have price tags – so they had to call customer service.

“No big deal,” I said to myself. Ruth, our chair Yoga instructor, recently taught us some stress relieving exercises that you can do for situations just like this.

“I’ll do one of them,” I told myself.

Uh-Hun.

Well, apparently, before I could start my “de-stressing,” I was smiling too much at the little girl in the shopping cart in front of me because the next thing I heard was this little munchkin say,

“Mommy, this lady’s smiling at me. I don’t want her to smile at me.”

Evidently, this smiling, over-weight, gray-haired, old woman standing with 4 boxes of “Kind Bars” and 2 different types of cat food, must have seemed dangerous to this munchkin. So, not wanting to send this child into therapy sessions well into her old age, I decided to try to win her over and said,

“Hi Sweetheart. You helping Mommy shop today?”

The Mother, hearing my question; abruptly turned around, eye-balled my smilin’, clueless self from head to toe and snapped, “Haley, you don’t have to look at that lady or answer her if you don’t want to.”

Un-Hun.

I totally understand teaching kids “stranger danger”, and I can appreciate how stressful it is for parents these days keeping their kids safe, but ya think maybe we’ve gone a tad too far when we start treating everyone like they’re dangerous pedophiles and nut cases?

Geesch!

There used to be a time when people bonded while standing in unusually long lines and chatted about the weather or one of the headlines in the current Rag (magazines) on the check-out stands. Now-a-days, people go into a yoga pose or just impatiently breathe heavy and check out their Smart Phones. What’s happened to socializing with another human being?

I don’t know who I felt sorrier for that day – the Mother, who frowned at me with disapproval – or the little munchkin, who also scowled at me like I was something “bad”? Maybe I felt sorry for both of them.

And maybe, just maybe, I’m feeling sorry for society, as well.

After patiently waiting in line for 15 minutes, behind Snagglepuss and the kid-version of Grumpy Cat, I finally got rung up and then told that I had 3 of the 4 type of Kind bars that were eligible for the $5.00 gift card and that if I wanted the promotion, I had to go back and get the other kind or I was “outta luck”…

Cazzo!

By this point, I wasn’t smilin’ too much and was thinkin’ maybe I could understand Mr. Toyota Dude from the parking garage this morning.

Have a good one, People! And remember: we’re all carrying around a lot of garbage these days – some of us more so than others. Be kind to one another and I’ll catch ya the next time, looking at life from my shoes.

Lucie and the Princess are Baffled!

There are certain things in life I could have gone to my grave not knowing, but living with the Princess brings with it an awareness and knowledge of things that most of us could give two hoots about before we die.

But what do I know?

Up until recently, I always thought the word baffle was a verb, meaning bewildered, perplexed. I now know that baffle is also a noun, as in how many baffles does your clothes dryer have that are currently loose and creating havoc with your very expensive, limited braziers?

While most of you spent your Friday night having a leisurely dinner enjoying a glass of wine with a friend and/or loved one, I was home in my garage repairing the baffles in my dryer tumbler.

You say you never heard of dryer baffles or for that matter a tumbler? May I assume that your braziers and jock straps are still in one piece and haven’t been latched onto and gnawed on by the detached baffles of your dryer? Either that or not in a relationship with a “Princess”?

Baffles are those plastic dividers attached to the inside of your dryer on the tumbler that catch and fluff your clothes as they tumble and spin in the dryer. And if you’re like the Princess and have to have your quilts and blankees extra fluffy, you dry them with 2 or 3 tennis balls to fluff them out and beat the hell out of your dryer baffles; which in turn creates loose, clanging baffles that eventually grab ahold of one’s bra straps and hoodie drawstrings and rip the hell out of said bra’s and hoodies.

Not wanting this scenario to play out again for the next guy, Friday night I graciously decided to take one for the team and fix the damn thing.

Un-hun.

So I googled how to fix dryers and I found a number of videos on the subject. I’m viewing the videos and thought to myself, “This is gonna be a piece of cake. I’ll have the dryer lid off and those baffles tightened up in no time flat!”

Yep.

I got my ratchet set, my screw drivers, and everything prepped and ready to go and then proceeded to snap open the top of the dryer. I leaned the top as far back as I could get it and wedged a screw driver under the hood to keep it propped open, while I worked on the outside of the tumbler and tightened the screws attached to the baffles. Noticing the one baffle was missing a screw and not able to find the same size to replace it with, I chose a larger one as a substitute. Struggling to screw the larger screw into the baffle, I decided to ask for assistance from my stronger, more adept Princess, who unlike her partner, could use a screwdriver and not strip the head of the screw.

Yeah…

Well, the Princess took the screwdriver from me, stuck her head under the lid of the dryer, proceeded to turn the screw, and suddenly sneezed; causing a chain of events that had her screwdriver taking a back flip down the side of the tumbler, her head to collide with the top of the lid and the propped screw driver to dislodge and disappear into some black hole in the back of the dryer.

Yes-siree, Bob!

So we had baffles that were mostly fixed, one screw driver wedged next to the tumbler on the bottom of the dryer; the second screw driver God knows where, and me ready to blow a gasket staring at the Princess, who’s ready to bust a gut laughing, but knows I’m fuming inside and aptly decides to control herself.

This simple, piece of cake job turned into a Pandora’s box that gifted us with the dilemma of figuring out how to retrieve not one, but two of our Philip screwdrivers; and unlike the mythical Pandora’s box, no hope inside of ever locating the one.

After spending an unsuccessful hour trying to lasso, pluck, pull and extract the driver I could see, I reluctantly decided that we had no choice but to take apart the front section of the dryer. I figured if I found a video on how to repair dryer baffles, there had to be one on taking apart the front section of a dryer. And lucky me, there’s You-tube for idiots.

We get the front section of the dryer off without dropping the tumbler on our feet, retrieve the Princess’s screw driver and still cannot find the screw driver that I used to prop-open the lid.

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” I mumbled to myself. “If that screwdriver fell down the lint tunnel, we’re totally screwed!”

I strapped my camping lantern onto my head to give the situation some more light, checked the motor and surrounding areas; got myself propped on a step stool bending over the top area of the dryer, so I could get a better view of the back section; and suddenly spotted the elusive screwdriver wedged in the narrow space of the dryer behind the tumbler and second panel.

At this point, I’m ready to cry because I realize that it’s 10 o’clock at night; I’m exhausted, and I am just not up for arm wrestling with a dryer tumbler and tinkering with that second panel.

No siree Bob! Not. Not. Not.

In the meantime, the Princess took one look at my sullen, defeated face and trying (I assume) to be reassuring said, “You know, Hun, I have no problem calling a repair man – no problem whatsoever.”

Now if y’all recall, I have no problem calling a repair man, either. No problem whatsoever. The last one was so helpful with his super glue recommendation on my shower’s diverter handle, but I was bound and determined not to look like some klutzy, needy woman.

And then it suddenly dawned on me – “What two items do the Princess and me most often use to fix everything?”

Super glue and duct tape!

I rolled up a piece of duct tape, stuck it on the end of a small pipe, lowered it down to the screwdriver and grabbed it with the sticky end of the duct tape.

Who needed a repair man?

Yep!

Worked like a charm.

A half an hour job only took us just under 3 hours, we had quality bonding time and learned some new mechanical and interpersonal communication skills.

And the next time we’re out and about with friends or family members and the topic of how to fix one’s dryer baffles comes up, think about how impressed everyone is going to be when we tell them how to do it!

Life is good at our end, People.

Until next time, keep your balls on the tennis courts and your drivers out on the golf course and I’ll catch ya the next time, looking at life from my shoes!

Each Man for Himself!

Years ago, when the Princess and I first met each other, we prudently decided that 10 years of therapy between the two of us was more than sufficient for two people to plan a simple tenting expedition to the local Santa Cruz Mts.

After all, she’d been on a catered backpacking trip to Yosemite in her youth, and I was a former Brownie from the local Girl Scout troop of the Adirondack Mts. in upstate NY.

An inexperienced backpacker and a naïve Girl Scout – we were the perfect pair for camping in the Redwoods of Northern Ca. – or so we thought.

Preparation for food and camping equipment was carefully planned and packed into my Isuzu Rodeo, and a short time later we found ourselves quietly standing in a secluded canyon of dripping redwoods, babbling creeks and various chaparral ecosystems; listening to a pileated red-crested woodpecker chopping away at a dead tree nearby, presumably foraging for carpenter ants for its evening meal.

One minute we were sweating like pigs in a bacon factory, hustling to pack my SUV and get ahead of Friday’s ghastly commute; and the next minute we were staring in total awe – jaws dropped, chilled to the bones – as a blanket of fog slowly immersed the forest of majestic, towering redwoods.

How could we live so close to such a paradise and be so blind to its beauty in our day to day lives?

I didn’t know.

Being the more pragmatic of the two, though, I knew that if we wanted to get our site set-up and dinner started while we still had some daylight, that we’d better stop gazing at nature and start hustling with some practicalities of the tasks at hand.

Yep.

Apparently, I took too long appreciating nature and somehow lost the Princess to the ever-enticing Woody, the Woodpecker, because she was nowhere in sight.

“No biggey,” I told myself. “The tent poles had bungee cords and I’d put it up without assistance before. I could easily do this myself.”

So, I did just that.

I set up the tent, lickety-split, and made everything cozy with sleeping bags, pillows, blankets and a lantern.

Shortly after I set up and prepped the tent, I spotted the Princess lollygagging in the woods nearby and decided that Girl Scout or no Girl Scout, I needed help preparing our dinner that night if we were going to eat before sunset.

So, I shouted to her and asked that she give me a hand.

Yeah.

Well, the Princess being the Princess, she decided that prepping for a simple meal of hamburgers and potato salad was not exactly a herculean feat requiring any expert preparation and brusquely shot back, “What’s the big deal? Slap together some hamburger meat, throw it on the fire and we’re good to go!”

She then stared at me in disbelief, shook her head and asked, “What are you getting your panties all up in a knot over?”

“Just look at how beautiful this is!” she continued, throwing her head back and stretching her arms toward the redwood-crowned-horizon, like Stuart, of the famous Minions cartoon characters.

Yep.

Deciding that a fire was best started sooner than later, to deal with the chill of the blanket of fog enveloping us, my knotted-up panties and I headed into the nearby forest searching for dry kindling in woods that were slowly becoming saturated from the fog and dripping trees.

And, of course, there wasn’t a dry twig to be found.

I wasn’t worried, though.

Girl Scouts are always prepared.

I went into my car, whipped out my little camping stove, set it up under the raised, hatchback door of my Rodeo’s cargo area; and began the arduous task of prepping our simple meal; while continuing to make my case to the Princess for her assistance.

Once again, the Princess informed me that I needed to lighten up and chill-ax.

Uh-Hun.

At that point, I’d had enough chill-axing to last the whole weekend, and decided that it was too soon in our relationship to tell her to “f – herself” and that an each man for himself survival strategy may be the more therapeutic way to go.

So, I carefully made a meal for one, took myself and my hamburger into the tent to get out of the dampness of the night and settled in for an evening of reading and chill-laxing; when I heard the unmistakable sound of the tent zipper opening and the elfin head of the Princess suddenly poked in.

“Hey,” she said, smiling at me.

“I smelled the hamburgers cooking a while ago. Where’s mine?” she innocently continued.

Acutely aware of the fact that it was ME who set up the tent, ME who prepped the inside of the tent, ME who attempted to light a fire for us, and ME who prepped our meal; I decided that a simple constrained statement of, “Tonight’s dinner is an each man for himself kind of meal. Help yourself, Sweetie. If you can see your way around out there, the meat’s in the cooler in the outside storage unit.”

I then proceeded to zip-up my sleeping bag and continued my reading.

After what seemed like forever and a day, the red-headed Minion fumbled around outside, threw some sort of sustenance together and crawled into the tent – wet, tired and looking not too friendly.

Observing that she was not too keen on bed-time conversation, I decided to call it a day, and settled in for the night.

I figured tomorrow would bring with it a new day and hopefully a new attitude by all.

Uh-Hun.

The next day the Princess woke up bright and early, crawled out of the warmth of her sleeping bag, unzipped the tent, rummaged outside for some breakfast goodies, and brought them back to the tent; where she carefully preceded to lay out a verifiable breakfast feast for one, on top of her bag.

Smelling the buns and the sweet, earthy smell of freshly brewed coffee, I woke up and sleepily said, “Smells great, Sweetie. Where’s mine?”

Looking at me like only the Princess can when she’s being the Princess; she smiled and tauntingly said, “Sorry, Hun. It’s an each man for himself kinda meal.”

And on that note, we looked at each other and slowly burst into unbridled laughter!

Be kind to one another today, People, and I’ll catch you the next time, looking at life from my shoes.

Spider Guts and Clean Sneaks

Mom called me this morning. The weather was crappy and she was bored.

“Hey,” she said, starting the conversation.

“Your sister, Carmie, called this morning.”

“Hm…that’s nice,” I mumbled as I tried to feign interest.

“What’d Carmie have to say this morning, Ma?” I asked.

“Ya know,” she said, totally ignoring my question. “You kids need to let the phone ring longer when you call me sometimes. Your sister called when I was on the toilet this morning and only let the phone ring 3 times before leaving a message. Cazzo! I’m old, ya know? I can’t get off the toilet and answer the phone that quickly any more. My legs aren’t that flexible any longer.”

“I know, Ma,” I started to say before she continued rattling on.

“You kids are so impatient. Wait ‘till you get to be my age,” she continued.

“Mom,” I tried interjecting again. “If you change the answering machine setting…”

“You kids are all alike,” she said, interrupting one more time. “You’re all in such a damn hurry.”

“It’s a miracle I didn’t have a heart attack trying to answer the phone this morning,” she continued.

“Uh-Hun,” I quickly interjected before she started on another tirade.

“Don’t you have your card game today at Trackside with the gang?” I asked, trying my darndest to change the topic of conversation.

“Yeah,” she responded. “I hope we play cards today, but it’s windy out and it’s supposed to sprinkle. Who the hell knows if they’ll show up today? The girls don’t like the wind or rain.”

“Well,” I responded, “Isn’t the place that you play cards right there on ….”

Once again, she interrupts, “Cazzo! What the hell is crawling on my rug?”

“Che schifo (keh SKEE-feh, ‘how disgusting’)!”

“I don’t vacuum today and I’ve got a spider crawling on my rug! Don’t hang up, Lucie. I gotta kill this damn spider!”

“I’m not going anywhere, Ma, I…” and again she interrupts me.

“Son-ah-batch! Your Mother’s a killer!” she yelled into my ear.

“Shit! Now I’ve got squished spider guts on the bottom of my clean sneaks,” she rattles on.

“Damn it! I’m gonna hafta wash my sneaks and I just washed them last week.”

“Well, Ma,” I calmly started to say. “You can simply wipe off the….”

And once again, I get cut off mid-sentence.

“If I wasn’t such a pig and vacuumed my rug this morning, the little shit wouldn’t have found a home on my rug and I wouldn’t have had to squish it with my sneaker,” she abruptly informed me.

“Well,” I started again trying to get her back on the topic of playing cards today. “Why don’t you wash your sneakers tomorrow and go over and play cards today with the girls? It’ll give you something to do, alright?” I lovingly suggested, trying to get her off of the topic of squished spider guts.

“Madonna! I told you at the start of our conversation, it’s windy today and it’s supposed to rain. Ma, che sei grullo! (How silly are you?),” she said.

“Well, Mom, don’t you guys all live right there at the complex?” I innocently asked.

“Correct me if I’m wrong,” I continued, “but isn’t the hall like 20 to 30 feet from your apartment complex?”

“Yeah,” she curtly answered, “but like I said Lucie, it’s supposed to rain and be windy today.”

“Uh-Hun,” I mumbled.

“Don’t you all have umbrellas out there on the East Coast, Ma? Or rain slickers?”

“Can’t you put on a rain slicker and brave the elements for 20 feet, for Pete’s sake?” I continued.

“Ya know, Lucie, I’m so glad you went to college. You’re such a stoonod (idiot)!”

“Cazzo,” I answered back.

“Ya know, old woman, if ya don’t wanna walk the 20 or so feet in a little wind and rain today to play cards with your buddies, then stay home by yourself and work on your circle word puzzles. I really don’t care. I thought you sounded a little bored and lonely when you first called me, but what ta hell do I know? I’m an educated stoonod!

Yep.

Conversing with my Mom can be sooo uplifting some days, ya know?

She’s lucky I love the little rompicoglioni (pain in the ass).

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