Tag Archives: humor

Because Every Lucy Must Have Her Ethel…

Everyone has at least one of them. That person, the one person with whom you can be in the worst situation with and you can turn to them and say, “Don’t worry, once we get out of this, I’ve got an even better idea,” and they are with you! Lucy had her Ethel for these things and I have Diane.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Diane and I are not out there, doing illegal things, trying to get on to “Ricky’s show” or something, but we do have a great deal of fun with the adventures we do concoct.

Although Diane is my cousin, I really don’t remember us growing up together. I began spending time with Diane when I was in college. She was in the midst of raising three little boys, I was getting my college degree and not enjoying the experience. Until I began spending time at Diane’s house. Those are some of my fondest memories of my years in college. We could talk about anything, laugh at what her boys were doing and dream of how we would be in the future.

Diane saw me through romances,  my wedding, my first child; she was always there and she always seemed a little smarter than me(which I believe she is). She was always the voice behind when I concocted wild ideas. It was never, “No, you can’t do that.” It was more like, “Well, okay, we’ll do it that way if you want, but maybe we should try….” Definitely, she was the Ethel voice of reason behind my Lucy wild ideas.

Jackie and her Cousin Diane

Jackie and her Cousin Diane

Then, it was time for Diane and her family to move on and have their own adventures. I thought perhaps our friendship would fade, but happily, I was wrong. We spent hours on the phone—not every day—but often enough. We would have each other rolling on the floor with our descriptions of the things going on in our lives. So many nights I would crawl into bed late, my sides aching with laughter and a smile on my face from our conversations.

Children, careers and grandchildren take up so much of our time these days, but nothing wipes out this friendship. We don’t get together as often as we should and frequently when we do, it’s to go shopping. Diane should have been a designer with her artistic eye. She can put an outfit together and make it look good on me faster than anyone I’ve ever met.

I’m sure we’re quite a sight in the stores, with Diane flitting on ahead, giving her infectious chuckle as she exclaims, “Oooh! Look at this! Look at these skirts..oh boy, the clearance rack!” I’ll be dragging along behind going, “No, Diane, stop looking, I can’t buy any more…ooo! Where did you find that; it’s gorgeous!”

I imagine that Diane and I will remain friends until we’re little old ladies, shopping for dentures and hearing aids and good back braces together. Whatever we find, though, as long as I let my “Ethel” do the choosing, this “Lucy” will be one fine-looking old lady!

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My Nursing May Be Hazardous to your Health

For those who know me well, the following statement will not come as a surprise: My nursing skills could be fatal. You need a band-aid? I might be able to help—provided its not bleeding or icky. You need someone to tend you while you’re sick? Forget me; you’d be better off with a construction worker using a sledge and a jackhammer.

Just to give you an idea, let’s explore Roy’s last illness. He doesn’t get sick very often because he knows what kind of nursing he will get and he wants to live. But, one day he came home with a scratchy throat. lozenge-462867_1280When he was foolish enough to admit to it, I followed him around the house for a day holding out orange juice and some throat lozenges I found in the back of the medicine cabinet. The orange juice burned his sore throat and the throat lozenges expired in 2010, but he took them both just to get rid of me.

Then, the poor man developed a cough. Now, I have to admit that when it comes to other people coughing, I’m selfish.  At the first cough, I fling my hand, my sleeve or the nearest gas mask over my face. I’ve seen all those epidemic movies, you know. All those diseases that wipe out whole populations always begin with someone coughing. Roy is on his own with a cough, because I am not dying of some mutated plague that begins with him coughing!

The fever came next. He dragged himself home from work and went straight to bed. Of course, plenty of rest was what he needed. I did my nursing  job by flinging open the bedroom door every ten minutes and inquiring, “You okay?” The first time I let the cat in. She climbed on top of him and he was forced to get up and  throw her out. The second time I checked, I found a spider on the door. My shriek caused him to sit straight up in bed, convinced, I’m sure, that we were under nuclear attack at the least.

At that point, he was ungrateful enough to request that I leave him ALONE. Of course I could do that. All he had to do was ask.  I left him alone  for an hour, then tiptoed in and whispered in his ear, “You any better?” He wasn’t, especially after he jerked his head up in surprise and cracked it on my jaw. I left him for another hour, then opened the door so slowly that it made that weird, creaking noise. He turned over in bed with a sigh. “I still feel lousy,” he muttered.

“I’m so sorry, what can I get you?” I asked in my most understanding nurse’s voice.

“I would love some takeout from HuHot,” he said.

“But honey, I’d have to drive for four hours to get you take out from there,” I protested.

“Good; maybe go twice then,” he punched his pillow, pulled the blanket over his head and rolled over on his other side.

For those of you who think it couldn’t have happened that way, you’re right. I did leave out some parts, like when I brought him aspirin and water and dropped the aspirin under the bed and spilled the water on him. Then, there was the cold pack I put on his feet while he was sleeping, because they told me it would help with fever—it didn’t.

If you’re worried about Roy, though, he did recover his health. But I think it might have been in spite of my nursing efforts; not because of them. My nursing skills should probably come with one of those government hazard warnings!

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Nailing It!

Photo Credit: saferbuild.com

Photo Credit: saferbuild.com

Back in the heady, early days of our marriage, Roy and I had a dream of building our own house. We would let someone else frame up the outside, we fantasized, and then we would work together, using the labor of our hands and the rhythm of our own love to build the inside.

Then we woke up and realized that our marriage would never survive a full-out, building your own house experience. We learned this through painful experiences in remodeling or repairing things in our existing home. The pain, the tears, the whining—and that was just Roy, whose idea it usually was! To put it in Roy’s own, sweet words, “One of us would have gone off the roof; and it would almost have been an accident!”

It isn’t that I’m a poor assistant. It’s that I have to assist at all. Roy is one of those perfectionists, who measures everything to the exact second and I am a “slop-it-up-and-call-it-good” type. So, while I am standing there, holding it against the wall, Roy is standing back, measuring, trimming, leveling, to make sure it’s right. Frequently he attaches it to the wall to the phrase, “Put a nail in it, for pete’s sake, before I let go and drop it on your head!”

It isn’t just nailing things up which creates a problem when Roy and I go into construction together. We don’t play and paint well together, either. I need drop cloths and tape around the edges and I still make a mess. Roy can paint anything without a single drip or smear. The biggest fight we have had in recent history was after he carefully edged and painted  the white ceiling and then left me to roll paint on the yellow walls. When he arrived home from work, I pointed proudly to my finished work.

“What’s that spot up there?” he pointed at a spot on the edge of the ceiling.

“Oh that? Well, I got too enthusiastic and the roller hit the ceiling a little, but I painted it over with white, again,” I was a little defensive.

“I can see that, because now there’s some white on the yellow wall, and by the way, the white didn’t cover the yellow on the ceiling.” It goes without saying that there was no compliment on my painting job….or further conversation at all….or supper, for that matter!

Varnishing has always been one of the biggest issues for us, because we have re-done so much furniture and worked on cabinets. I am pretty good at sanding although I’m not a fan of it. I can even stain, when it becomes necessary, although Roy is much better at it. But varnishing with the perfectionist is not fun.

Varnish is thin, and clear and drippy. Roy is pretty good at applying the varnish well, but one of these days he’s going to get a face plant with a full varnish brush when he follows along behind  me and cleans up the varnish drips I leave.

He’s a firm believer in three coats of varnish. You know what that means: put on the first layer, wait forever for it to dry, sand it lightly, apply the next coat and etc. By the end of the application of the second coat I’m ready to be done, but Roy is still lightly sanding and wiping down on the third coat three days later. I tried to help with the sanding once, but he got upset because I may have sanded so hard I took off all of the varnish and some of the stain. Some people are so picky.

Roy, prepping for hanging drywall

Roy, prepping for hanging drywall

So, as you can see, the dream of building our own home quickly faded on the horizon of our lives and because of that, we have for the most part remained happily married (don’t check this fact with Roy when we are doing repair work). However, this week, we are hanging sheetrock in a room in the basement and so, it probably means that you don’t want to ask about the status of our relationship. Roy has elected to use a manual hammer for this project rather than a nail gun. I think that’s probably a lot safer, don’t you?

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At Least I Keep My Ears…

In a world full of artistically creative people, I believe I got the short end of the paintbrush when it comes to the visual arts. I can write, yes, but painting, drawing, sculpting; these are all foreign concepts to me. From the first time the kindergarten teacher looked at the stick horse I had drawn (much larger than the people) and observed the little lump of clay squished between my fingers, she swallowed hard and said, “Well, isn’t that….nice.” What she was really saying was,”Michelangelo and Van Gogh have nothing to worry about.”

This isn’t something that weighs very heavily on my mind most of the time. After all, Michelangelo had to lie on his back and paint over his head and Van Gogh had some issue which caused him to cut off his ear, so I’m just as well off, right?

Every so often, however, I put myself in a situation which illustrates my lack of ability and such was the case this week. There is a new trend in parties in which women gather together, have snacks and wine and paint pictures. I’ve often wondered about these parties, but this week, I got to go to one.

We sat down before blank canvases set on small table easels. I followed the instructions of the woman conducting the lesson and went up to get myself some paint. A plate with black, white and then some purple paint. I set it back on the table beside the canvas. The canvas promptly toppled over and fell in the paint. I took this as a bad sign. I’m pretty sure the canvas intended it as an aborted suicide attempt.

I thought at first that we would be choosing our subject and I had my large stick horse with the too small legs and the rabbit ears all ready, but alas, it seems we were all to draw a scene with a sun or moon and graduating shades of paint topped by a dead tree full of scroll branches and a swing. Okay, I could do that.

While everyone was painting their graduating shades of paint around a white center, the leader was admonishing us to blend the different layers. I thought I did that, but by the time I was done, it looked more like that weird tunnel from the twilight zone. When the leader wanted our attention, she would call out, “Ladies, ladies, ladies.” We were to respond with, “Yes, yes, yes.” And have a drink of wine.

As it happens, I don’t drink alcohol (although I thought about changing this policy that night), so I had brought a huge glass of Sprite. I love Sprite, so when she said, “Ladies, ladies, ladies,” I had a big slurp of Sprite. This created two problems, however. One, I couldn’t her instructions over my slurping and even worse, I had to running to the bathroom, so I missed even more instructions.

I managed to get a dead, black tree on the canvas in front of the Twilight Zone tunnel, but my branches didn’t curl in that scroll that she had made. In fact, the branches looked more like an open safety pin and a baby’s curl. I tried to make a tire swing (wanting something a little different) and my first attempt looked slightly pornographic. When I was done with the picture, everyone walked by and, using the same tone and look as my kindergarten teacher, said, “That’s…..nice.”

The "finished" product.

The “finished” product.

It’s okay that I’m not good at painting, though. At least I didn’t have to lie on my back and paint over my head and I wasn’t required to chop off either of my ears. But the next time I’m invited to one of these drink and paint parties, I’m going to drink and let somebody else paint!

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