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I Recently Discovered That I Am Old

I realize that every birthday makes you a year older. Duh. What I did not realize is that others keep track of your birthdays and how much older you get each year. This is alarming. Don’t you have better things to do with your time?

I do not feel any different after each passing birthday. Well, maybe with the exception that some of my personal parts “have traveled south” on me.

I do feel like I have grown wiser, but not older. That being said, I feel like the warranty on my body expired at the age of 40! I feel like now when I “break” stuff in my body that I do not bounce back like I did when I was 20.

Who decides what age constitutes old? Younger people? They do not know anything about being old. Most younger people I know cannot even do the math for a tip at a restaurant without their cell phone calculator.

The changes that have occurred since I found out that I was old have been slow but steady. I now have a chronic problem locating my car keys on a daily basis.

Sometimes when I am leaving my house I have to stop and “take stock” of myself before going out. The list includes: did I remember to put on deodorant? Where did I put my cell phone? Did I remember to put on underwear?

I remember one day I was trying to leave the house to go to work and I was on my phone talking to someone. I was getting dressed, while still on the phone. I was deep in conversation while I got downstairs to gather my stuff. As I got my things together, I placed my hand on the doorknob to leave. As I turned the doorknob, I realized that I was not wearing a shirt! I almost walked out of my house to my car with just a bra on top. I did have on pants and shoes, but my upper body was exposed. This is not a site that needs to be seen. Thankfully, I did not open the door. This is why I have a new “self” rule. I am never on the phone when I am trying to get out of the house!

I remember another time I was “on the phone” trying to leave the house. I kept walking in circles trying to find my cell phone. It took me several minutes to realize that I was ON the phone that I was looking for! E-gads!

According to my daughter, these behaviors make me old. She is nine and does not get to vote on this issue. Unfortunately, I tend to agree with her, but don’t tell her. She will gloat.

Now that I am old, these are some behaviors that I have noted about myself:
I find that I am now reading labels on the food that I buy.

I do not order certain foods due to the salt content.

I do not buy clothes that hinder my movement, as I seriously do not like being uncomfortable in the things I wear.

I do not wear high heels because I have a propensity to fall down in them.

I do not go to a gym because it is boring, and you are supposed to work out when you are there.

I will sit in my car at a drive thru window line with 59 cars in front of me rather than park and go inside.

I do not buy anything that needs to be ironed or dry cleaned. I do not own an iron anyway.

I get very aggravated in crowds.

I cannot sleep through the night without having to get up to go potty, at least once.

I will drive around and around a parking lot so that I get a parking space close to the door.

If you have agreed with more than three of my gripes, you are officially an old fart. Alas, being old has its advantages!

For starters, you get to do most of what you want to do. You get to talk smack about “the kids today”. You get to say “no” to things you do not want to do.

One thing I can say that getting older helps with is now I am better able to tell when people are lyin’. I am not sayin’ I have not lied or not been lied too. I am saying that I can better tell when someone is trying to BS me. You know what I am talking about, if you are over the age of 30.

I watch their faces when they are talking and when a lie comes out, it changes. It could be an eye flutter, a small gasp after speaking or even a lip curl. All of these are indicators that someone is being less than truthful. Maybe the person does not mean to lie or may not be aware that they are lying. But I can tell.

I have also noticed all the physical changes to my body. You know how little kids run everywhere. I don’t do that. I am afraid I would break my ankle.

There are now clear lines on my face, my toes are not “cute little piggies” anymore and I have little hairs on my chin that were not there before.

So, I try to recall funny lines about aging that make me laugh. As Truvy stated in Steel Magnolias, “honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it’s marchin’ across your face.” True that!

There is no real way to stop aging, so I try to take it in stride. I am thankful for face cream and compact powder. I have never considered plastic surgery because it scares the pants off of me and I don’t want my face to look like a jigsaw puzzle gone bad.

However, if I get one more cotton pickin’ letter for membership to AARP, I am going to scream!

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What Women Are Really Thinking About

Heck if I know! I do know that at any given moment, I have at least four ideas going in my head at the same time! Most of my ideas are not even related either. If you need a mental picture, it looks like a circus juggler who keeps throwing more and more red balls in the air like a clown.

Don’t believe me? Ask any woman over the age of 21 to tell you all that she is thinking about at that moment. Then, sit back for the next 10 to 20 minutes for the answer!

On any given day you could ask me what I am thinking, and it would go something like this. “Did I put that load of clothes in the dryer? What does my kid need to take to school today? What else do I need to get at the grocery store? Did I finish my last article? Should I read it AGAIN before I post it? Where did my daughter leave her backpack? Did I get all the receipts together for our taxes? Where did I put all the receipts for our taxes? And so on… It is like a running Vaudeville show!

I used to think that I had a lot to do before I had a kid. After she came along, my list grew exponentially! I will not bore you with that list.

How do we get it all done? Well, I used to try to multi-task. If it was just two simple tasks, I could manage. Add a third and poof, it all went up in smoke. Then, I would have to start all over.

I read a research article that stated if you tried to multi-task more than two tasks at a time that most of the time none of the tasks would be completed correctly or not completed at all. The research stated you would then have to go back and start each task one at a time. This defeats the purpose of multi-tasking. The research concluded that multi-tasking actually costs you more time!

So why do women have so much on their minds all the time? Because people expect us to “do it all”! Like the old cologne commercial. “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never let you forget you’re a man, because I’m a woman.” By the way, that cologne smelled like old socks that had been soaked in stale vinegar.

If you ask me, and you must have as you are reading this, we have too much to do on any given day!

As a kid in the South, I had few responsibilities or cares. As I grew up, life just seemed to get more complicated and I had more expected from me by others.

However, in today’s world, it seems that we move faster, without time for reflection or relaxation. Don’t believe me? Answer this question. How many Fridays were you working and glad it was Friday so you could have the weekend to catch up on WORK? Ha! Gotcha.

When I was younger and working, Friday at noon, I would start thinking about all the fun things I was going to do over the weekend. I never had to work on the weekends. I was mentally picking out what to wear to go out dancing and bar hopping. I also gave deep thought as to where to have brunch on Sunday. This was a must.

After I got married and had a kid, this pretty much stopped. Both my husband and I had full time, corporate jobs. Friday afternoons after 4:00, I was mentally packing my computer bag with all the files that needed work done over the weekend. What a game changer!

Instead of planning a fun filled weekend, I was being grateful for two days that my business phone did not ring, so I could get paperwork done! Oh, boy! Fun.

In order for me to not go completely insane, I tried to divvy up my load by making separate lists on my phone. This helped me to stop thinking too hard about all that I needed to do at all times. Unfortunately, this created a lot of lists on my phone.

If I can speak for the women I know, I can tell you a few things we all have in common that we think about, probably daily.

Thoughts and questions include, but not limited to: How am I going to get all this stuff done by Sunday night? How many kid birthday parties can I actually stand to go to over the weekend? Is there anyone else in my household that knows where the grocery store is located and know what healthy food is? Does anyone else, besides myself, know that each of us has a shoe rack that is located in your closet, it is not the living room floor? I can count on one finger the number of people in my house who know where the laundry hamper resides, and it is not the den. How many times is my kid going to ask me to go to the swimming pool in the next 48 hours? Who ate the last cookie and left the empty box OPEN in the cabinet? Why is my husband asking me where HIS wallet is and blaming the cleaning lady because he can’t find it? How long will my husband leave his clothes in the washer until I have to change it over to the dryer, so I can do the “house” laundry? Why are coasters for beverages “optional” on the wood table? Sunday night, 8:00pm, my daughter informs me she needs to have a project done for school on Monday morning.

As I lament over my situation and bask in my own self-pity, something else happens.

I am helping my daughter clean out her backpack for school, over the weekend. Inside, she has written a short story about “her mom.” She hands over the ragged, notebook paper that she has written her story on, in pencil with various spelling errors, but I can decipher it. She mentions how hard I work, that she loves me and that I make her feel special. Awe, man. I feel my frustration slip away. I feel a smile cross my face and a tear slip down my cheek at my little cherub.

I later find a greeting card and it is not a holiday. It is from my husband. It simply states a “thank you” for all that I do and that he loves me. Again, I feel myself calm and think about what is important.

Maybe it is because, as women, we think toooooooo much. Some days I get so aggravated that I plot to quietly climb into my car at 3:00 am, push my car down the driveway and escape to a paradise island that actually likes Americans. If you can find one.

The next time you think you have “had it” with your family, think about this. What would it be like to not have them? I do not mean for a weekend, but for a year. I find that in those times of strife that maybe it is ME that is placing all of these expectations on myself. I think that I should be frustrated with ME and not them. When I get “over myself”, I realize that I would not trade any of it.

To answer my own question about what women are thinking, lost of stuff that is not important. What I strive to think about is the faces of the family that I live with that love me no matter what. I realize that the people in my life are way more important than getting that last load of laundry done.

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How Many of Your Opinions Do You Truly “Own”?

What do I mean? How many of the opinions you hold true come from an educated stance, on your part, about what you believe to be true and accurate? Did you research the topic in a “creditable” place? How many articles or research journals did you review before you decided your stance? Did you check the credibility of the sources you read? Did any of these sources include Teen Beat or People Magazines? I’m just sayin’.

The subject matter really is not what is important. It could be what diapers you think are the best for babies or your thoughts on illegal immigration. The milieu is not relevant, this is evidenced by many teenagers, of all social economic levels, spouting stupid crap they have heard from some other knucklehead and state as their own idea. Most times they do not even understand what they are “regurgitating” but claim it as their own thoughts.

I have said before that when you speak, your mind is on parade. This still holds true to any subject you speak of and express your opinion.

When I was young and single, I remember being at parties and social events, meeting new people. This is a good thing on its own. However, there were many times I would be cornered into a discussion with some troglodyte male who was trying to impress me with his “knowledge of the world” crap.

One of my favorite stories was meeting a guy at my neighbor’s house one evening. I was in my 20’s and lived alone in a condo. I had two single guys that lived across the street. These two dudes were forever having small parties and drinking until dawn. I was right there with them on several occasions.

I am out on the back deck and enjoying the early spring weather. This Poindexter looking guy saunters over to me to start up a conversation. He could have also been stumbling, but I did not notice the difference at the time.

He strikes up some bogus conversation about politics. Um, yawn. I am in my 20’s, working like a dog during the week. I just wanted to chill and talk smack. “Einstein” decided to use the “in the know” approach to engage me. Here we go.

So “dip-stick-alina” tries to impress me with his political knowledge and savvy. I am mentally rearranging my sock drawer in my head. I would have escaped but I was on the deck and he was blocking the door. (Note to self, never let a guy get between you and the exit.)

“Nostradamus” was trying to engage me in a banter over social politics and whatever other drivel he was spewing. He asked what I thought about blah, blah, blah, but apparently, I took too long to answer, so he just kept talking. I was busy calculating the odds of him getting struck by lightning, but unfortunately it was not stormy weather. Dang it.

I was contemplating spelunking off the deck to escape, but it was too high, and I had no ropes. I kept wondering how long my ankle fracture would take to heal if I just jumped anyway. Too large of a margin for me. So, still stuck on the deck with “congressman know-it-all.”

I was using most of my energy and concentration to make sure I did not roll my eyes or let out an audible smirk of a laugh. This was not easy.

So, I decided to keep drinking in hopes that I would go deaf or that “senator douche bag” would get bored and leave. No joy. Then he said some stuff that “pissed me right on off.” (As we say in the South.)

I was doing my best to be polite while he was talking. I kept trying to re-position myself closer to the exit. I was planning on saying I needed to go to the restroom in order to dart. Then, “captain doofus” starts quoting from radio station talk show hosts about the government and other political issues. He must have rambled off four or five quotes from different people on the radio. Well, snap!

My Southern manners had taken enough of a beating and I thought to myself, “that’s all I can stands, cuz I can’t stands n’more!”, as Popeye the Sailor Man used to say. I mentally ate my can of spinach (beer in this case) and waited for the strength of my verbal skills to kick in. Beer helped a lot.

I looked him straight in the eye and asked, “I have heard you state all of your quotes from others with their opinions. Let me ask you something. Do you have any opinions of your own? I mean, all that you have said has come from other people.” His response, Crickets!

He looked like the guy at the carnival game in the dunking booth and I was one with the ball that hit the target sending him into the pool of ice, cold water! In my attempt to save his pride, I excused myself to the ladies’ room. Funny, when I came out, he was gone.

I never really talk about politics anyway. One, I am not educated on the subject enough to hold a conversation with any accuracy or current political knowledge. Two, it bores the pants off of me. And, three, I have seen many political “discussions” turn into “arguments.” Count me out.

I am not saying you need a Ph.D. in a subject in order to discuss it. What I am saying is you need to understand what your opinion is on the matter and where you obtained your information.  For example, if you read my blog to obtain information about current political policy, you have come to the wrong place. I have already stated that I am not a “credible” source in these matters.

However, if you want to talk about camping in North Georgia or anything to do with Walt Disney World, I am your gal! I could also recommend the right beer or wine to drink while consuming a piece of yellow cake with chocolate icing! In these subjects, I am an expert.

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Who Said That Women Have to Do All of the Cooking?

cooking

When I was growing up, I used to hear about all my friends’ moms that cooked for the family at dinner time. This was a completely foreign concept for me because my mother rarely cooked. We used to joke that my mom was “allergic” to cooking, or at least that was what she said. My mom was a wizard at creating quick meals that did not involve pots and pans, they were called “reservations.” Sometimes it was a drive thru window. All in all, we did not starve. I can not tell you how many Kentucky Fried Chicken Snack Packs I had consumed before the age of 12.

I can remember being in the kitchen with my mother and placing myself between her and the stove. Since she was “allergic” to cooking, I did not want her to have some sort of ill reaction to coming into contact with any cooking devices, such as the stove. Conversely, she did not seem to have the same allergy to the toaster.

Now that I am married and a mom, I rarely cook either. I call it “assembling” a meal. This may involve a trip to the pre-made section at the grocery store that only requires me to remove a plastic wrapper and place it in the oven. Voila! Dinner is served. I am exceptional at take out! All I have to do is go home and put it on a plate. That is just how I roll!

I do have a great appreciation for those who can cook well. I rarely turn down an invitation for a home cooked meal, as long as it is not at my house. Besides, if I actually “cooked” a meal, you would probably not want to eat it. Just ask my husband.

When did it become the women’s role to do all of the cooking? I know, those “fantasy moms” on TV, June Clever and Donna Reed are responsible for this! Did you ever see a stain on their aprons? I bet they also went to the store, bought pre-made meals and just plated them for the family. Conniving witches. These two made the rest of us look bad. I always wondered how these two women could wear such fancy clothes with pearls around their necks and not a have spot on them. I later realized it was because this was TV and not real life. Besides, I do not own an apron or a pearl necklace!

Before I married my husband, we discussed the cooking issue. I made it very clear that I do not cook and probably would not in the future. I do not mind simple things, but Baked Alaskan was not in my repertoire. It just seemed to me that it took so much time to create a home cooked meal that took less than five minutes to eat. It made no sense that you had to find a recipe, make a shopping list, actually get into the car and go to the store, then come home and spend, who knows how long, dirtying up the kitchen. And for what?

Several years after we were married, our daughter was born. When she was six months old and started to eat solid food, my husband attempted to have the “cooking” conversation with me again. Here we go! He thought it was time for ME to start cooking for her to have better quality food. I pointed out that we had already had this discussion years ago. His point was that now I had motivation to cook, as we were trying to give our kid healthy choices. She was getting healthy foods, I just was not cooking it. How did the fact that HE wanted someone to cook and I was supposed to be the one to do it? Why don’t YOU cook it? I will feed it to her.

At the time, I was working full time and my job required travel. The LAST thing I wanted to do when I got home was touch pots and pan to cook. Besides, don’t you get some kind of metal poisoning if you touch a pot or pan? I will have to locate the medical research on that point.

I tried to gently remind my husband that neither of us cooks well. OK, maybe not so gently, but he got the point.

How did it become the “gospel” that women were the ones to do all the cooking for the family? I blame traditional ideals that were impressed upon us as children. As a kid, I would ask adults how is it that most of the moms did the cooking? Responses included, “well, that is just how it is done” or “my mother always did all the cooking, so I just continued the tradition.”

Well, if you have read more than one of my stories, you know that I often “buck” tradition. First reason, most traditions that are “for women” make absolutely no sense to me. Second, did you ever notice that “tradition” always involved more work for women? Ladies, how did we let this happen?

Currently, I work from home. Somehow, my husband has translated this to mean that while he is “away” at work, that I am at home, sitting on the couch watching soap operas and eating chocolate covered strawberries all day. I assure you this is not the case. Even if I did do this, cooking would still not happen.

So, how to we solve this dilemma about cooking? Honestly, I really have no idea. I just wanted to see if anyone else out there was having the same quandary.

Now, each workday at 4:00pm, I start stressing out over what to have for dinner. I try to mix it up and sometimes “assemble” new meals. My same pattern continues with no end in sight. When I make the “big buck”, the first thing I am going to do is hire a cook!

For those women that love to cook, I say rock on! Just please do me a favor and not make the rest of use women looks so bad. It is embarrassing.

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Why Is It When Someone Tells Me “No” That They Think This Will Stop Me?

We have become a country of lazy minded, verbally challenged, “can’t think outside the box” and “let someone else take care of it” kind of people. We blame all of our problems on other people or our perceived circumstances. What a bunch of pansies pants we have turned into over the last 20 years.

What happened to “work ethic”, “taking responsibility for yourself” and “going the extra mile”? Growing up in the South, you pretty much started working when you left the womb. There were always chores to be done, food to be cooked, laundry to be folded and so on. This did not change in adulthood, by the way.

I remember working my first “real” job when I was sixteen. I worked in a clothing store. I never seemed to have any money though. I guess that came from me buying all of my clothes with each pay check, but whatever. My boss was forever telling us how to make the store look better and instilling in us a pride in our work. My boss did not believe in the word “no”. She would just say that we needed to find another way to accomplish our goals. This has stuck with me for life.

In my past life, I worked in many hospitals and corporations. If you have worked in a work environment that was very large, you know change is as slow as molasses. I have had countless times when change was proposed that was intended to increase productivity and create a better work environment. Most times, the “upper management” just flat out said, “no.” Just no, not any reason, no explanation, no follow up.

Well, this never “set well” with me. I can handle “no”, if you have a reasonable explanation. It had to make sense to me, though. So, this started me off on a long career of getting in trouble for circumventing the “no” at work. I can’t tell you how many times I got “written up” at work for doing so. I was not exactly what you would call a “rule follower.” Most of the rules made no sense to me and just seemed to complicate my life, so I dismissed them.

It is my opinion that life has too many rules anyway. I find that many rules do not make much sense and curtail your ability to think for yourself. I think that all people should concentrate on working on themselves and their issues. This would give them much less time to work on what they perceive are my issues.

Back in the day, I was working at a hospital and was tired of having to “dictate” all my notes. For you younger folks, dictating was done on a hand held, tape recorder. You had to speak into the recorder, then another person would type up what you said. The problem was I could not see what I had just documented and spent countless hours replaying what I dictated. I would get so aggravated that I would write out the entire note, then read it into the recorder. What a freakin’ waste of time. Besides, you had to deal with typos, missed spelled words and some sentences that got completely left out. By the time I reviewed the dictation on paper, it looked like a two-year-old playing on a typewriter for the first time.

I made a proposal that each therapist type their notes into the computer right after seeing a client. It would save time and money. What a concept. What happened? A big, ole’ whoppin’ NO! There was no reason given, no appreciation for attempts at my cost saving measures and it “put me on the radar” to my superiors. Oh, great. If you have not gathered, I am not good at “no”.

So, I trudge on in the “corporate grind” in attempts to streamline our notes and increase our availability to see clients. Well, you would have thought I was Hitler by the way I was treated. I got so many “talking’s too” (Southern phrase for lectured) that I had to start being more discreet. I did not say I gave up, I said I got quieter. Giving up was not an option.

I slinked into my office and brooded over the incompetence that surrounded my upper management. I objected to how the powers that be could not listen to a person on the front line providing excellent services could be dismissed so readily. (This means I was pissed.)

I had an idea! I would join every subcommittee that was available at work that would allow me to share my opinions in a more “committee” fashion. Most corporations and hospital have volunteer committees to meet on various subjects with the intent to improve productivity, identify cost savings and identify new services/programs. All of these efforts are in attempt to increase cash flow. Do not fool yourself. These are all money-making ventures and need capital to stay in business. You want a paycheck, right?

Does the phrase “crash and burn” mean anything to you? I swear I tried so hard and the only things I got were raised eye brows and a possible pink slip. (Pink slip is old school for “you are fired,” BTY.)

As I moved along my spectrum of jobs to advance my career, I landed in a true corporation position. I had not been in one before but had been warned repeatedly that it was very different than a hospital. Boy howdy, they were all right.

Of course, I was so excited when I stared the corporate job. I felt like it was glamorous and really getting to do the work that I wanted to be able to do for my clients.

For the first few years, it was the bomb! I had a company car, they paid for gas, I had benefits and my salary was reasonable. I travelled around the state a lot, but it also gave me time to go shopping in between appointments. I met a lot of interesting people and the clients I had really wanted to return to work. Maybe some of my clients could have spoken to that guy I dated, that lived in his mother’s basement, about motivation.

So, once again I tried to make changes to the way we documented to save time and money. It was brilliant, if I do say so myself, which I just did! Short version of story, I came up with a way to decrease the amount of time documenting and increase amount of time with clients. You see it coming, right. Big, fat, juicy NO! This time, I got an explanation. Are you ready? “This is not how we do things.” Um, I am aware, that is why I am trying to change it. Response: NO.

I have been known to be a bit of slow learner, but this time it hit me like a frying pan to the head. I was doomed in the corporate world. I had also gotten “warned” to behave myself or I was going to be back on the radar of the uppers. I was officially done! Pie baked, bacon cooked, bags packed and mentally on my way to a private island in the sun.

As it turns out, I was not the only one in business trying to make changes. Others were just better at it than me. However, I stuck to my principle that “NO” only means find another way.

I encourage you to think for yourself, remember you are of value and know that you have the ability to make positive change in all aspects of your life.

There were times that I was able to make good changes to things in the face of “no.” Sometimes change took longer than others, but success can be sweet, at times.

All I want you to take away from this is “no” does not always mean a real no. Do not let others diminish your intents and goals. We have become “mentally flabby”, by this I mean weak. If you have an idea, search out people that nurture it. Do not listen to the nimble minded people that nay-say what you believe in doing, most of them do not understand what you are saying anyway. I love the words “hair-brained”, “crazy” and “eccentric.” I consider them compliments.

So, the next time you are told no, think of how to create the yes. (This excludes dating, cause when someone says no and you keep on, this is called stalking.) Other than that, rock on!

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Every Pot Has Its Lid

When I was single, dating was such a chore. I was not dating just to get married, but to go out and have some fun with the opposite sex. Girlfriends are my touchstone, but men have the “lovins” that only they can provide. What can I say, I am a sucker for romance?

Being from the South, I dated the “old fashioned” way. I went to bars! Yes, I did! Nothing like some “liquid courage” to meet someone new. Get to a bar, down some drinks, then watch the fireworks fly! Nothing like trying to hold a meaningful conversation with 3000 decibel music playing in the background. Then, you have to deal with the guys “posse” that is watching you like a science experiment. I felt like a lab rat, but only until my fourth beer. Then, liquid courage took over.

I tried the “blind date” thing a few times, but I am sure I would have needed to be visually blind to hang out with these derelicts that my friends thought “would be perfect for me.” Are you insane? There is a reason they call these “blind dates.” This is because no normal person with an IQ over 15 would go out with these Neanderthals. After some of these “dates’, I would follow up with the friend that fixed us up and ask if I had wronged her in a past life. I mean really!

So, I meet my future husband at a bar. True fact. I was heading out of town the next day to go to Yosemite and visit my folks. Meeting someone the day before I left town never seemed to work out for me. It’s as if going out of town made my attractiveness “expire” before I returned to town. Every time I met someone and contacted them when I got back seemed to cause them to have amnesia.

So, I met future husband at the bar, I immediately ask him to marry me. That could have been all the beers I had, but he had the “right eyes” for me. He was the full package, tall, somewhat dark and very handsome. Oh, he was also employed. Score!

We exchanged phone numbers, but I made it clear that I would not call him until he called me first. I was trying to break the “going out of town” curse. To my delight, he did call me and leave a message when I was out of town. So, I returned his call when I got home and said some of the dumbest things on the phone, as I was nervous. Way to go, spaz.

We set a date for our first date and to my surprise, he showed up. He had those cute little “doe eyes” that made me swoon. We went out for a regular kind of date and to my astonishment, I still liked him after that! Shortly after that, we spent every moment together that we could. This is known as “limerence” and it is one of the best times you remember when dating. Unfortunately, this does dissipate over time.

So, we see each other often and decide that we do like each other enough to get into a serious relationship. He was not prince charming, but that is not what I was looking for in a guy. I wanted someone down to earth and he seemed to fit the bill. “Prince Charming’s” have always been very expensive, moody and they dress better than I do. Too much work and maintenance for me.

After a time, you have to meet the parents! This was not a level I had come too in quite some time, so I was a bit freaked out about the whole thing. He had a large family with lots of sibling and cousins. I did as well, but if have read any of my stories before, we do not talk to them. This is on purpose.

In the car to meet the parents and rest of family. I was trying to keep calm and make sure I did not say anything too stupid, as I tend to do when I am nervous.

I meet the matriarch, my future mother in law. She is as calm as a cucumber and I am sweating like a whore in church. (Please brain, keep our mouth shut unless you hear what you are going to say before you speak.)

Much to my relief, things went rather smoothly. I did not think about the fact that his mother has five kids and has probably met a million dates from her kids.  As we were leaving the visit, his mother and I hugged. She said, “well, you two seem to be pretty happy. My grandmother used to say, ‘every pot has its lid.’” I had no idea exactly what she meant, but she did not throw me out of her house, so win win.

My new honey and I continue to date, and he meets my parents. I think him meeting my parents was more stressful for me than him. This was not his first rodeo.

Moving on to getting engaged! My husband and I still adhered to the old-fashioned, Southern way of meeting the dad of the future bride to ask in person to marry his daughter. I know, antiquated. I would have married him anyway, but my folks seemed to like him. My dad was just glad I was finally getting married. He thought I might be gay and would not provide any grandchildren. (My dad seems unaware that you can still have kids if you are gay, but whatever.)

So future hubby goes to meet with my dad, alone. This is like sending a hunter into a dark cave to see if there are any bears in there! Good Luck.

So, things went well enough at the meeting for honey to still marry me. Swhooo. It could have gone either way really. However, there was little “glitch” in the conversation between them, at least in my opinion. My dad calls me immediately after the meeting to inform me that things went well. Then, he said, “well, I told him that your mom and I wanted grandchildren. So, I asked him if he knew how to do that. Wink. Wink.”  I said, “for the love of all that is good in heaven, please tell me you are joking and did not say that?” My dad replied, “nope, I did, and he said he knew how.” Oh, good grief. I was thinking, for years you want me to get married and you run off the one I picked. Fortunately, my future husband did not seem to mind.

I have been married for some time now and things between parents and in laws have tamed. This was a slow process. And sometimes a test in patience.

The moral of the story is if you are not in a relationship and want to be, get out there. You will fall flat on your face a few times. This is a given. However, after a while, you will start to see what you want in a mate.

Always remember, every pot has its lid! (Thank you, Rhonda)

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Questions That May Cause You to “Come to Harm” in the South (Ideas That Stay in Your Head and DO Not Come Out of Your Mouth)

Are you really going to eat that?

Answer: This usually applies to something sweet or heavy in carbs. This automatically makes me think that the person asking me this question thinks that I am fat. I do not care what your intention was when you asked the question. By the time your question has reached the question mark, my brain is plotting your destruction through words. My brain runs through all the other times that I never said what I was thinking about what you were eating. I start trying to dig up the most calculated come back to insult you. So, if you ask me if I am going to eat that piece of chocolate cake, the answer is yes, but I am not finished with you. Do not think that by my moment of my silence, after you ask me this question, that I have no reply. Once my brain has settled on my reply, you can count on some “doossies.” Such as, “So let me ask you, those jeans on the top shelf of your closet, that are from high school, you know the ones with dust bunnies all over them, do they still fit?” or “a piece of cake is not something I eat every day, not like your constant consumption of M n M’s that you keep on your desk that you say are “for the other people in the office”.

Do you participate in volunteer work?

Answer: What? I barely have time to spit. Do you have any idea of the amount of crap that I have to do every day just to keep my home and family operational? My kid thinks that all I do for her is volunteer work every day, as it is. My husband thinks that clean sheets and beer appears in the house by some winged fairies. My family seems to believe that food “lands” in the pantry and the refrigerator by a lark that shops and delivers. How do you think those clean clothes end up in your drawers and closets? I assure you that it is no fairy. Now, volunteer work is much needed, and some places rely on volunteers to operate. I get that. I have done volunteer work in the past. It’s the politics of volunteer work that wore me out. It seemed to me that there was more “drama” going on than “work.” So, to answer your question, no.

Is the weight listed on your driver’s license accurate?

Answer: I am laughing so hard that I peed my pants. Of course, it is accurate…when I was 16 years old. Let me ask you a few questions, Captain Obvious. Have you seen a scale in this decade? Please tell me you know what a scale does? By the looks of you, it has been awhile since you stepped on one, unless you broke the last one. Oh wait, the county fair or carnival, maybe? Did you win a stuffed animal at the “guess my weight” booth?

Note to self: Asking this question is probably the number one way to come to harm, in the South.

Have you ever asked this question to a woman with a good result? If you have asked it more than once, then you are too far gone for any help. If I have to explain to you why you do not ask this question, then you are too stupid, not ignorant, to understand the explanation. At least ignorant people can be taught, stupid is incurable.

Why are you not married?

Answer: Because too many people I meet are just like you! How many times have I heard the statement, “what is a nice girl like you not having a husband?”  Number one reason, men are expensive! When I was dating, I dated such pond scum, life force sucking guys that I ended up paying for almost everything! I dated a guy for a while that was such a loser that he never paid for meals out. He got so comfortable with me paying the check, that when the server brought the check to him, he would keep talking and slide the check over to me. Sad part is, I paid it! Of course, he always had an excuse. It always struck me funny that he never brought his wallet when we went out. Finally, I got wise and understood that I was stupid (not ignorant) to continue dating this person. I later thought if I had married him that I would be working two jobs while he sat at home watching sports and drinking beer on a couch, all of which I probably paid for.

I also dated some guys that just wanted to “date” forever. These guys were not interested in getting married, ever, or being faithful either. It was like trying to catch a greased pig in a thunderstorm. They always had an excuse such as “they need to focus their career”, or “I just came out of a bad relationship.” I later realized it had a lot to do with fact that these guys were always in pursuit of the next set of big tits.

How many times have you been married?

Answer: So far? or what do I predict in my lifetime to come? This does not require an answer, but maybe an anvil to the foot or the privates.

Second answer: Which number would you like to be, honey? I am looking for another Dip-Shit and you fit the bill.

Is that your natural hair color?

Answer: (Did someone drop you on your head as a baby?) Of course, it is not my “natural” hair color. Most Southern women do not even know what their natural hair color is for a reason. We are expected to play hostess and need “hair assistance” to maintain that status. Your input/questions are uninvited, vulgar and just plain rude. Have you taken a good look in the mirror recently, Tarzan? Old, dried up, crusty and gray does not handsome make Also, please clip you nose hairs and ear hairs. If I can braid either hairs, they are too long.

Are you pregnant?

Answer: I do not care if you are asking this question to her while she is giving birth. At this point, there is no help for you and you probably need to move and I mean far away. I mean really, do you ever hear a Southern woman ask you about your “sagging nether regions” or your protruding beer gut? Both are probably hanging so low you need a sling.

How much money do you make a year?

Answer: What? By the looks of you, I make a lot more than you do or ever will. Are you with the IRS, by chance? When was the last time you held a job that did not require you to wear a name tag and make you smell like fried burger and fries? Weren’t you the guy I dated that lives in his mother’s basement?

How many people have you had “relations”?

Answer: None of your dang business.

Second answer: How is this question going to enhance our relationship/friendship? Do you have a number in mind that constitutes “too many or too few”? Do I get to see photographs of some of the “close to circus act” people you have dated? (This is not an episode of Sex in the City.) Asking this question is like opening Pandora’s box, you may not want to know the answer.

How old are you?

Answer: I am 29 and have been for over 30 years.

Second answer: Did you just ask that? Did your mama ever tell you that you do not ask women this question? Were you raised by wolves or in a barn? I will say that I am old enough to buy your beer though.

Is that what you are going to wear?

Answer: I was until you asked. I spent a lot of time to look like this and now I have to go back upstairs and start all over! Maybe while I am changing my clothes, you could locate a hair brush or toothbrush. Furthermore, you might as well change out that white T-shirt with the big ole’ ketchup stain that you have been wearing since last Tuesday.

Guys, let me give you a little piece of unsolicited advice. If you are planning on asking any of these questions, consider the ramifications. I have tried to encourage you to “think before you speak.” If you are not able to understand this concept, then march on with “your bad self.” However, my answers were tame compared to many women that I know who are not interested in your opinions.

If you choose to venture into this “Bermuda Triangle” of these questions, I suggest you invest in lots of bags of frozen peas. I hear they are the best ice pack for any bruising to the facial area. FYI, some women “shoot lower” than the face. I’m just sayin’.

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“There is No Such Thing as A Wallpaper Steamer”

My husband and I got married, then we promptly moved into a house together. It was a cute ranch style house with a fantastic back yard. Ok, the house looked like a military barracks, but it was all we could afford. The backyard was till great though.

It had a crawl space under the house that reminded me of every horror movie I had ever seen, which is not many because I am a pansy. I have never understood why people pay money to see movies that scare you. I would do it for free.

The house was a sturdy brick house. Though, I kept waiting for the house to whisper, “get out”, like in the movie Amityville Horror! (Side note, if my house even said it once, I would leave without packing!) All you would see was the back of my head as I raced to my car!

Did you ever notice that all those “who killed um’” shows always involved a basement or a crawl space? This did not escape my attention. My current house has neither of them for a reason.

As the house was old, we needed to update the inside. We painted some rooms, which almost cost us a divorce, due to my husband’s behavior. He had neglected to tell me how much he disliked painting until we were half way through the project. Could he have mentioned this before we started?

One day during the painting, I got so mad that I threw down my paint brush and stomped out to the driveway “for some air.”

After a while, my husband came out to find me in the driveway to make sure that I had not left the premises.

He sees me sitting on the drive, my knees pulled to my chest with arms wrapped around my legs rocking back and forth like a mental patient off their medication.

I was seething mad. I sat there plotting his demise and deciding where to bury him in the crawl space when I was done. There was not a lot of room so I would need to be precise in the burial location. This would require thoughtful planning.

He approaches me with a nonchalant-type attitude of, “I am not being an a*hole” and tries to joke me out of the last three hours of his crappy demeanor. No joy, I was not going for it. Suffice to say, the “new car smell” of being newly married had worn off that day.

He has the audacity to ask me if I am mad at him. Really? What gave it away? I was actually thinking of which size shovel I needed to use to dig a big enough hole to bury him without getting caught.

As I calmed myself and was updated by my husband that he did not like to paint, I decided he could live another day.

We did finish painting, but decided that the hideous wallpaper in the rather large laundry room had to go! It looked like “little old lady with 10 cats” kind of wall paper. You know what I’m saying! It was white with various flowers and peeling in the corners. It does not help that I am not a fan of wallpaper.

So on a Saturday morning, bright and early, we decided to tackle the wallpaper. And so, it begins!

I have mentioned that our house was old. Circa 1799 or so, this is just an estimate. So, the method of installing wallpaper probably involved limited technology and skill.

We joyfully began removing the wallpaper by hand. Um, do not try this at your home. We got some wallpaper off, but it also brought the dry wall with it! After the previous painting escapade, I knew my husband would not be down for dry wall work without WWII starting again. So, I convinced him that we needed to stop tearing down the wallpaper until we found a better method.

I get on the handy, dandy Internet to see what options we had besides a contractor. I discovered that there was a machine called a “wallpaper steamer” that would loosen the glue behind the wallpaper. This would allow you to easily remove the wallpaper and spare the dry wall. Why did I not think to do this sooner? Duh?

In my new-found relief and joy, I called Home Depot tool rental. To my amazement, they had 4 wallpaper steamer machines for rent. I could already hear the angels singing!

I almost trip over my own feet trying to run to my husband to tell him of my solution.

My words tumble out in excitement about the wallpaper steamer. His response, and I quote, “there is no such thing as a wallpaper steamer.”

I was taken aback and stunned, but just for a second. I shot back, “then why does Home Depot have 4 machines to rent?”

He looked at me puzzled and replied, “they probably misunderstood you, there is no such thing as a wallpaper steamer.” What? Turn around so I can talk to your butt, as this is where you are getting your information. Get in the car!

We head off to Home Depot and continue to banter the issue of the steamer. We arrive at Home Depot and guess what? They had four wallpaper steamers at tool rental. Imagine that?

So we rented the steamer. It was glorious! The wallpaper came down like a dream in 30 minutes! My husband even took the machine from me to do it himself. Shocker.

My husband has a “horrific allergy” to saying he is wrong, so I normally do not press him to admit when he is wrong. However, this was not one of those times. I was still “bent out of shape” since the painting episode. I just could not let the wallpaper steamer issue rest.

As we completed the removal of the wallpaper and were packing up, I started “in” on him. I could not stop myself.

I lured him into a false sense of security by asking, “how do you think the wallpaper steamer worked out?” (wink, wink) He was bouncing around with his new toy looking for other wallpaper to remove. Sadly, we had none. He gleefully states, “this thing is awesome, can we do some more?”

I descend in for the kill with, “did you not say that there was no such thing as a wallpaper steamer?”

The smile ran away from his face, but he stood his “shaky” ground and said, “I just had never heard of one before.”

I try to be gentle and point out that just because you do not know about it does not mean it does not exist.

Then, I calmly asked him to admit, out loud, that he was wrong. This took a minute, but he did manage to “squeak” out the words. I think he gave himself a hernia in the process.

It was as if he admitted he was wrong that he would get impaled by a hot poker, which was on my list of ways to “off him”, ironically.

I did learn from this experience. My husband is amazing at fixing things and creating things out of scraps. I also learned that he does not always have his facts straight.

Now a days, my husband and I still get into disagreements. There are many times when he and I are wrong but we continue working on admitting it more often. However, when I am certain he is wrong I just look at him and say, “wallpaper steamer.” That usually ends that discussion!

Touché!

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Some Things You Need to Know About Southern Women

1. First and foremost. Never load another women’s dishwasher in the South. I mean never. If you do it anyway, we will graciously thank you. It is appropriate to stack dishes in the sink and on the counters. I realize you are trying to help, but this ain’t it.  If you try to load my dishwasher, I can tell you how this is going to go down. My brain will gasp in sheer, epic horror that you actually loaded my dishwasher after I have already told you not to do it. I will wait until you leave. Then, while mentally cussing your name to the moon, I will unload the dishwasher mess you made, then re-load it “properly” to my standards. Loading our dishwasher is not helpful and can cause someone to break out in hives at the thought.

2. Do not scrub cast iron pans! Some people do not use cast iron. Those that do know that it can take years to “season” a pan. I had someone tell me that a friend was trying to help clean up after a cookout and scrubbed her cast iron skillet to a shine. My friend was so pissed because it took her three years of cooking with the pan to get it seasoned. Just don’t mess with cast iron if you do not know what you are doing.

3. We can carry most of what we need in our bra. This may include a small gun. When I was younger, I used to go out without a purse when parting. I could carry my money, my identification, lipstick and compact all in my bra. My mother continues to put her cell phone in her bra so she won’t lose it. I still carry Chapstick in my bra.

4. “Bless your heart” is not always used in a caring or kind manner. Most times, it is said to show sympathy or understanding of what a person is saying or doing. But sometimes it is said because we have no idea of how to respond to whatever you just said or did. It keeps us from asking ridiculous questions of you to explain your bizarre or stupid behaviors.

5. When we call you “darlin’, precious, sugar, honey or sweetie”, is because we have forgotten your real name. Or, we do not care to recall your real name as it is just easier to use one of these words. It also may make you think you are special, when in fact, sometimes you are not. It can be hard to tell which is true.

6. Smiling at you while you are talking does not mean we understand or agree with what you are saying. We also may not even care, but we keep smiling. Mostly, we are just being polite and just waiting for you to shut up.

7. Do not ever ask, “do you remember me?”, unless you are prepared for the answer “no”. This question is rude and serves no purpose. This is one occasion when manners can be put aside, truth be told. If I remembered who you are, I would have said it, so help me out and just say, ‘Hi, I’m —.” (This is expanded in a previous discussion)

8. When we gently pat you on the arm or the shoulder, we are trying to get you to shut up. It is just our gracious way to help you stop talking without intentionally embarrassing you. More than likely what you are saying is inappropriate or just plain dumb. We are attempting to save you from yourself. If the “pat” on your arm gets harder, then you really need to stop talking.

9. Sometimes our perceived hospitality far out weighs our patience. This can occur when someone “drops over” for an unannounced visit.  Southerners know to “call ahead” before dropping in for a visit. This does not mean to call when you are in route to our home or already in the driveway. If someone comes to my house unannounced, I will not answer the door. This is not a personal affront, but simple manners that allows me time to brush my teeth and put on a bra before you come over. If someone says, “stop over anytime”, this also means a call is in order before doing so. Just know the answer may sometimes be no.

10. We do not air our “dirty laundry” in strange company. We may gossip with each other, but rarely “dish” on our own Southern people in front of strangers. This does not apply at family gatherings, as we have to get the “dirt” on each other when it is only family around.

11.” White lies” are allowed if it spares the recipient a major confrontation or may greatly hurt someone’s feelings. For example, “why yes, that looks lovely on you, though you may want to wear a sweater with it”, “no, those jeans do not make you look fat, it is just the new fashion”, “no, that pie was great, just a little under done, but I could hardly tell”, “of course that outfit is not too small, the tag probably has the wrong size”, or “bless your hard, you tried.” In our heads, we are wondering if you actually own a full-length mirror and looked at yourself before you left the house. Hell, do you own a mirror at all? Did you think that maybe a size or two larger would be more attractive? Later, when we get home, we just pray for you. I’m just sayin’. (This is also another discussion.)

12. Southern women are strong! Never let that sweet smile and the batting eyelashes fool you. We are usually doing two to three things at once from the time that we awake and until the time we go to bed. Our mind is constantly thinking about all the things we need to accomplish that day, even while having a conversation with another person. It is just a fact. Ask a Southern woman what is going on in her “pretty little” head at any given time and you will find it involves various unrelated activities and chores that need to be done.  Pretty impressive, if you were asking me.

13. Southern woman are tired of hearing about our “accent”. Did it ever occur to you that it might be its you “that talks funny”? Accents are not directly related to intelligence, by the way. Sometimes, I will “lay it on thick” with my “accent” just to watch your reaction. “It tickles me pink!” (Also Southern) My favorite part is the facial expressions of the people interacting with me while they seem to be “deciphering” what I am saying. This makes me happier than a pig in slop! Later, we joke to our Southern friends about your discomfort and squirmy behaviors as you talk with us. Just to be clear, we do this on purpose, at your expense, then laugh our butts off when we compare notes. My absolute favorite part of these conversations occurs when people correct my language or grammar. I was doing it on purpose, dork. Sorry, but this is true. (I said Southerners were smart, hard working and take care of one another. I did NOT say that we did not enjoy humor at someone else’s expense from time to time.)

Just a side note, I do not behave this way to kind and gracious people. This naughty behavior is reserved for people that have either insulted me more than once or have just generally pissed me off at the wrong time. Welcome to the South and YeeeHAAAA.

14. Southern women have LONG memories! This can be both good and bad. We remember small kindnesses and thoughtfulness. We remember when people “helped us out” during times of need or shortage. However, we also remember the times we were lied too or were the “fodder” for gossip.

Southerners have a lot of pride in our history and in our work ethic. We may not have done everything right, but we made our way in this country.

After all, we built Stone Mountain, right? That took a while and a lot of hard work. (If you believe this, then I have a pyramid scheme, I mean business proposal, that you may be interested in.)

So, enjoy your time spent in the South. This is where the iced tea is always sweet, porches are a meeting place, Y’all is a proper noun and folks are welcome, as long as you call first. Bless your heart.

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Some Things You Just DON’T Do at A Southern Funeral (or any other funeral, for that matter)

Of course, no one enjoys going to a funeral. It has been said that some of the strangest things happen at wedding and funerals. The South is no exception. However, here in the South, we have a few ways of doing things that are unique. Here are some tips for surviving a Southern funeral.

1. Do not say,” I know how you feel.” That is straight up stupid and wrong. No one ever truly knows how another person feels. In the south, some families have certain rituals when someone passes away. Some of them may seem strange to others. But whatever you say, don’t say that! Under no circumstances are you to indulge in your old, worn-out sob story about any losses you may have endured. The recent loss has caused enough misery and we do not have the time or energy to comfort you, at that time, but maybe later we will bring you a homemade pie.

2. Do not bring a dish to my house that you expect me to wash and return to you. If you are kind enough to bring a dish, bring it in a container that does not need to be returned. From personal experience, I could not remember who brought what in each dish and worried myself into illness trying to get the damn serving platters back to the rightful owners. It was not worth the effort. If you really want to help, get a gift certificate to Longhorn Steakhouse. That would be the bomb diddly! I would also recommend one of those delivery services that bring you ready to cook or already cooked meals!

3. Do not say, “let me know if you need anything” if you do not mean it. Southerners pride themselves on their ability to take care of themselves and their families. We come from a longline of hard-working folks. However, during times of grief or strife, we may ask for help. So, if we ask you to take our kid for the evening, do not be surprised. If you do not know how to entertain kids, send them out into the yard with an air nail gun. I promise you they will figure it out! If that fails, try Benadryl. That stuff is made by “sleepy fairies” and will buy you hours of peace and quiet.

4. Do not get carried away with your expression of your grief. No one is allowed to openly grieve more than the family of the deceased. By this I mean, if the family is calm and collected while at the funeral, you cannot be in the corner screaming and crying like a baby. Some Southerners believe their grief is private and grieve in private. It is hard enough to have to attend a funeral for a loved one, but to have to deal with someone coming up to you in crazy tears is too much. If you are having a break down at a funeral, take it somewhere else until you get a hold of yourself.

My family for example. My great uncle AJ (Andrew Jackson West), good Southern name, passed away when I was young. The entire family attended the funeral. I met aunts, uncles and cousins that I had only heard about or seen in pictures. My great uncle was a cantankerous, old fart, but a funny man. He worked hard all his life in the railroad business. Uncle AJ had two grown daughters that attended the funeral with his widow. One of the daughters had had a tumultuous relationship with AJ throughout her life.  At his funeral, she could not keep it together. I mean she was openly sobbing and crying throughout the graveside service to the point to cause others to stare. Meanwhile, my great aunt, wife of the deceased, is trying her best to keep her composure, in spite of the situation. The finale was when AJ’s daughter broke away from the grasp of her husband, who was physically supporting her, in order to throw herself across the casket and sob. I was so shocked to see this grown woman physically drape herself across the casket and hearing her screaming inaudible words into the side of the casket. At that point, my great aunt “cracked.” My great aunt did not like outward displays of grief such as this. The daughter was then lead away by her husband at the request of my great aunt.

Some Things You May Do at a Southern Funeral

1. You can  help with setting the tables, put out food and get drinks ready for after the services. This may not seem like a large task, but hospitality is our specialty. In the South, we pride ourselves on our ability to dote on others and make people feel welcome. Good food is a large part of having people over.  At a Southern funeral, the food to be served after the funeral will be discussed at the church service, the grave side service and all throughout the car ride to the after services gathering. The food will also be discussed for several weeks after the funeral, along with the how the flowers looked. This is how we do it.

2. Do help with keeping guests with food and drink, always make sure dishes are put to the kitchen and lend an ear to visitors. This may involve frivolous conversations with a “batty” relative or long list of cousins that show up for free food and drinks. This will keep these people away from me! Most of them are just plain nuts and want to share their “pearls of wisdom” about the deceased. This is also the time to catch up on the latest family gossip! Some folks think that after doing their duty by going to church, that now was the time to dish out all the latest rumors or share that quiet family secrets.

3. Do know that whatever you do is appreciated. Southern women do have a wonderful way of recognizing your intentions, even if you do it wrong, which is often I am afraid. That being said, we do have an honest thank you for your thoughtfulness, unless you scrub the cast iron skillet clean.

4. Do bring a cooked meal for the family to eat later will be appreciated. May I suggest foods that can be eaten cold. Most times we do not have the energy to even put something in the microwave to heat it up. I usually bring fried chicken, cold salads, diced fruit or some kind of yummy bread.


These meals are much appreciated when one is lying in the bed at 2:00 am trying to remember who brought the silver platter with the congealed salad shit that no one eats in order to identify who you would have to return the platter to later. See my point?

Yet another family example.
When I was very young, my family traveled to Texas for my great grandmother’s funeral. It was an epic experience in my small world. This side of my family is German. I mean tall and stocky type. The average height was 6’2” and that went for the women too!

I was not close to this side of the family, but my dad loved his grandmother. So, off we go to Texas.

Once in Texas, I met many warm and loving relatives that I had only heard about in my dad’s stories. I met smiling aunts and jokester uncles as well as distant cousins. We had a time. Now I understood why my dad would “escape” his parents and blossom into a happy boy when he was with these people. There was so much love there that all I could do was bask in it.

After the funeral services, we went back to my great aunt’s house. There was food EVERYWHERE! This looked like a pot luck dinner on steroids. I am not sure if I had ever seen so much food in one place at one time in my short life.


After everyone consumed copious amounts of food, the tables were covered with sheets with the food still out! I was awe struck. I ventured to ask my great aunt about putting the food away or in the frig. She just smiled her big grin and said not to worry about it.

Then the strangest thing of all happened. (Remember, I said some Southern families have traditions) I look around the room and everyone is asleep where they were sitting! People were sound asleep on the couch, the recliner, the chairs and everywhere else! I was in awe and shock at the same time. I had never seen anything like this before. It was as if fairies had sprinkled “sleepy dust” on everyone.


A short time later, maybe an hour, everyone was back up and awake. You are not going to believe what happened next. My great aunt took the sheets off of the tables and everyone started to make more plates of food! Are you kidding me? Did we not do just the same thing less than a few hours ago? It just goes to show you that even in your own family, some traditions are just straight up weird!

If you are not sure how to help after a Southern funeral, just ask the family. The family may say no in the beginning but may later take you up on your offer(s). I usually try to make a phone call to “check in” and/or offer to take a family member to lunch. Rest assured, if you want to take me to lunch at Longhorn Steakhouse, I can be ready in ten minutes or less!

If you decide to bring food, note to self. DO NOT bring any of that congealed, fruit salad. That stuff always reminds me of that weird chunky bar soap they sell in “them fancy boutiques.” Besides, no one really eats that mess anymore.