76. Movers and Shakers

I  know it’s been awhile.

I came back from Italy, had jet lag and with my sister Marcia immediately focused on helping Julie move.

Yesterday was moving day.

Julie’s new place is about 15 blocks from her old apartment.

In one way it was easier than we thought  ( I say this because I did very little of the packing) and in some ways harder (not for me that much but there were a million oys coming from my loved ones).

The easy part was that she had the greatest movers who kept rearranging her furniture for her until she was happy ( Go Shleppers!)

Also Julie was smart enough to make sure that the cable /internet guy was there on moving day because as she told me yesterday  since the internet was turned off the day before they left their old apartment, Violet was living like a pilgrim. She actually played with a puppet.

Well the movers left, lots of stuff was put away and I suggested that it was time to toast the new apartment.

Since the cable guy was still there I assumed it would be rude not to include him.

Obviously not everyone agreed because Julie came out of the bedroom with a look of disbelief on her face asking “Did I just hear you invite the cable guy for cocktails?”

“Guilty as charged”

After a frenzied search for a corkscrew only solved by our friend Claudia going down to buy a new one and by the way picking up a bottle of red to go with the white we already had, it was time to celebrate.

“What’ll ya have?” I asked the cable guy “Red or white?”

“I’m kind of a wine virgin, either one.”

“Okay, red it is”

We all toasted the move, the internet and just life in general.

A few minutes passed and the wine virgin said “Maybe I’ll give that white a chance now”

“Er, okay”

Me still in a party mood asked “Which do you like better?”

He seemed to mull it over and after swilling down the remainder of the wine in his glass gave us a thoughtful “Red”

We all pretty much ignored his holding up his glass, I suppose to see how the mixture of the two would go down, and thanked him and started putting the wine away.

Everything went well until about ten minutes after he left, the downstairs buzzer rang and it was WV coming back up.

I will say that Julie, my sister and Claudia all looked at me with accusatory glares blaming my gracious invitation for the possibility that we may have a stalker.

It turned out he just forgot to have Julie sign the paper that said he had done what he was supposed to, in internet terms that is.

They had to feel bad for maligning me without reason.

To you out of towners, here’s something you may not know.

In Iowa, if you move 15 blocks away you’ll meet pretty much the same kind of people. Here in New York, not so much.

That really hit home to me on the new bus route I took back to my neighborhood.

This is  how they wear sweaters where Julie lives now.


760 Muchas Gracias Italy!

I’m home. I think my cat actually missed me. He keeps rubbing against me and hasn’t bitten me once. Well maybe just once but I was askin’ for it.

While this was the best vacation I ever had I must say that we didn’t leave Italy without incident.

While we were checking in at the airport, the cabdriver came running up and said that we had taken the room key with us and could we please give it to him to bring back to the hotel.

We assured him that we did nothing of the sort. We were quite sure of this since as Liz said how could we carry home the equivalent of
a gas station bathroom key attached to a hubcap?
Just to reassure the driver though, we looked through our carry on luggage. No key.

It wasn’t until we were on the plane flying over Omaha (I’m pretty sure we pass Omaha on the way from Venice) that Marcia while searching her bag for a sock to put over her eyes (don’t ask) that she sheepishly pulled out the arm shaped key to room 155.

“How did you not notice it?”

“With all the stuff I was bringing back my bag weighed a ton. How would I notice an extra quarter of a ton? And besides, shut up. I’ll mail it back when we land”

It was kind of refreshing hearing Marcia tell me to shut up again. All this niceness was getting old.



759. And then came Liz

As some of you know my sister Marcia and her husband Paul lost their dog, Tony just before she came on this trip.
They were looking for a new rescue dog to keep their remaining dog company.
Marcia, feeling a bit guilty for going to Italy told Paul that he needn’t wait for her to come home before getting a new dog. If he found one he liked he should just get it.
The other night on the phone he told her that he found the perfect dog. He called the woman who was giving it away and even though the dog would cost $550 he knew that that was the dog for him since I’m guessing mutts were very rare in the state of New York.
The woman lives in Arkansas and as my sister says played Paul like a fiddle.
Paul told her “She said she just moved to Arkansas and it was so great to finally speak to an intelligent person”

Although I have no right to give marital advice I asked Marcia why didn’t she tell him that he was being taken?
She said because it was on the phone and I’m in Italy.

“Gotcha” I said, “Why cut off his balls if you aren’t there to see it.

Back to me. Here’s why people should use travel agents.

She, Eva, picked fabulous hotels with luxurious rooms, centrally located at a reasonable price.
I chose the hotel in Venice myself because it had wonderful memories for me. It was not too far from the Piazza San Marco and had charm.

Let me tell you what “not too far” means to knees that are almost 40 years older than the last time I made that trip.
Try dragging 2 suitcases and a breathing machine over a bunch of bridges without screaming in pain.
And charm? Me I find air conditioning charming and rooms that when you open the windows don’t allow every bug that ever made its home in a canal in to take a bite out of you.
And to add insult to injury, at my suggestion, Miss Liz made a reservation in the same hotel so we could spend the day together.
Marcia and I were so happy to see her this morning. And leave it to her not to make a peep when she saw her room.
We all went out to experience Venice together. We kept saying how happy we were.
We shopped and had lunch by the canal.
Now we’re all having a nap until cocktail time when we’ll paint the town red.

Tomorrow home. Can’t wait to kiss Elvis.

758 My mother had a friend named Florence. She was nutty as a fruitcake.

I don’t want to tell Italy what to do but if you’re going to have a church every 10 feet and you feel it’s your responsibility to gong out every hour and follow it up with a song maybe you should get off the 24 hour clock.
Come 21 o’clock you just want to go shoot a priest.

Today was another good day. We walked our feet off, shopped, paid way too much for something we aren’t sure we’ll know how to work when we get home and just loved being together.

I have decided that there are 2 themes for this trip. Photos of everything we eat for my friend Susan and pictures of my sister standing next to strange men.
The second part is not easy. Unless the men embrace it Marcia immediately runs away.
When that happens I threaten her by saying that since she didn’t like that guy, the next guy I approach will be worse so she’d better stop fighting me.

I admit on occasion it doesn’t go exactly as I’d like. This afternoon I instructed Marcia to stand with these two young men with their cameras and I stepped back to get a shot of it.
The men started screaming at me in italian that I was in the way of the photo they were trying to take of their girlfriends.

I couldn’t have cared less but Marcia was halfway down the block in about a minute.

I had to punish her by making her pose with the two toothed guy that sold magnets. As an extra special treat I picked up a nice magnetic statue of David, a prestigious item on anyone’s refrigerator.

Marcia has a very important job also. She is our mouthpiece. It seems that when we checked in we had a bit of trouble getting internet and I might have gotten a bit too graphic in telling the desk clerk what he was missing in the brains department.

Needless to say any questions we have must come from the sweet sister.

Well it’s about a quarter to 19. Gotta get dressed for dinner.

While I hid behind a pole Marcia got a recommendation from the desk clerk for a wonderful restaurant.

If he didn’t spot me it should really be good..

757. Buon Giorno Americanos

My sister and I take security very seriously. Well I do. I’m a City girl. Marcia lives upstate where I assume there are no robbers.
Twice she got out of a taxi here in the land of the Mafia and left her purse in the cab.
If I didn’t pick it up with my stuff and sweetly ask her if she was sure she didn’t want this, dangling her pocketbook with my lips pursed, she’d be in big trouble.
Anyway with my urging we both bought small purses to hold our passports and money that I wear under my sweater but Marcia wears out in the open (Why do I even try?)
This morning we almost missed breakfast because we couldn’t find the key to our room.
I made it real clear to Marcia that without it we;d have to haul all our valuables down to the dining room.
It turns out that I should have looked where I left it, in the lock outside the door.
Marcia said not a word of recrimination. At first I thought I heard her say “nice going stupid” but I’m sure I’m wrong.She’s way too sweet for that.

Since my finances were decimated by my “better” half running off to a lifetime of happiness, my travel souvenirs have changed from jewels to refrigerator magnets. I was trying to buy one in this little shop across from the Duomo in Orvieto but I was told that the guy had no change.
The thing was 4 euros and I had a 5.
How could a store that only sells crap to suckers not have enough change to get the deed done?
I walked out disappointed but cheered myself up by saying I’d just have to be satisfied with the magnet I got in Rome that has the Pope giving a thumbs up.
Then it was off to Florence. We were lucky to get a cab driver who was kind enough to take us from the Duomo to our hotel to pick up our luggage and then to the train, about a 15 minute drive for only fifty bucks. May that prick come to New York and try explaining to a New York cab driver in broken english that he wants to see the Statue of Liberty. I’m thinkin’ we’ll be about even then.
The rest of the trip went okay. I think the woman who sold the tickets at the train station got annoyed with my almost perfect italiano. I”m pretty sure she called me a whore.
Isn’t a putana a whore in italian?
Ah I’ve been called worse.

756. Another day another slight

The day started off great.
Borghese Gardens right after breakfast. The museum was sold out so we went to the gift shop and bought a guidebook that we studied so we can pretend that we saw the stuff.

Then we went to lunch at the same place we ate at the day before because the food was great and we were treated so well.

There was one minor difference today.
We were seated next to 2 beautiful girls. The waiters were stepping all over their dicks trying to make them happy. Not that they paid attention. They were so busy taking selfies that the only time they spoke to the waiter was to ask him to take a photo of them together.
PLUS to add insult to injury they were both smoking cigars so stinky smoke was blowing all over our lunch.

I told Marcia that as soon as their lunch comes we should start farting in their direction but just our luck, they had already eaten.

When they asked for the check the waiter gave them each a hand painted souvenir ashtray and thanked the beautiful senoras for dining with them.
The fuckers didn’t even give us salt and when we asked for the check I’m pretty sure they added a 5% wrinkle tax.

The rest of the day went better. A snazzy Mercedes picked us up, thanks to Stephanie and Terry and brought us to the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. It’s a 12th Century monastery outside of the mountain town of Orvieto.
This is the best trip I’ve ever had. I love my sister so much. We both keep saying how lucky we are, that is when we aren’t cursing those 2 cunts that ruined our lunch.

755 Ah Roma

I already wrote a whole draft about how I had 2 vodkas and 1 and a half mental patient pills before boarding so I wouldn’t run screaming down the aisle when the plane took off. Gladly risking a Karen Quinlan result for a little piece of mind.
I followed it up with how great it is to have a travel agent because there was a guy to pick us up and take us to our hotel which incidentally was really nice and pretty cheap and had a view of a much nicer hotel from our window so we had the best of both worlds.
Now imagine this with hysterical jokes and valuable travel tips that you would be reading right now if I had remembered to save the fucker.

I decided not to bring my laptop and write on my ipad so if there are lots of %’s in this it’s not my fault.

When we got here we couldn’t check in because it was so early so we decided to tour the city.
Since we hadn’t slept a wink it is a tribute to the love my sister and I have for each other that as we carefully followed the map the hotel guy had given us into one blind alley after another not one cross word was spoken.
We finally got to the Trevi Fountain which though lovely was mostly adored because it had a wall we could sit down on while admiring it. That is until some guy in a gladiator costume kept ruining it by standing in our line of sight.
Then we limped on to the Piazza Navona which was our original destination where some guy with two parakeets kept offering to take a picture with us for a few ruples or whatever they use for money here.

It turned out that we should have taken him up on it because the next guy who wanted to pose with us had his feet on backwards. Why that merits a photo op, your guess is as good as mine.

Anyway, tomorrow, Orvieto in a car paid for by our little niece and nephew Stephanie and Terry.
Until then, Pasta Fagioli and good night.

754. Style thy name is Mattie

Liz was in NYC for a few hours yesterday and we did a bit of shopping for our trip to Italy. As I told you, Lizzie is meeting me and Marcia in Venice on our last night there.

As far as packing Marcia and I both determined that we weren’t bringing any fancy duds because I don’t have a husband to accompany me and Marcia’s husband would rather have lit cigarettes put out in his eyes than take this trip with us.

I was having cocktails with Liz and David last night. I knew that they’d prefer our cozy threesome to any time alone. What would they talk about?

Anyway Liz looked at my shoes and said “You aren’t bringing those Merrills are you?”


“Oh no no, that won’t do.”

She really talks like that. Now this is someone who has chosen for a life partner a guy who thinks that using the word “Hebe” is being politically correct but I guess love is blind, and deaf.

The truth is that I have never seen Liz in any item that wasn’t perfect. When my niece Cheryl comes to stay with me she delights in seeing what Liz wears just to hang around the house. Cheryl thinks Liz looks like Doris Day.

Cheryl tries but she’s a little more “devil may care” with her clothes choice.

She once mortified her daughters by picking them up at school with shoes that had soles that weren’t fully connected to the tops so one of them was flapping when she walked.

When her daughter complained Cheryl tried to get away with it by saying they were the latest thing,  Shandals, a combination of shoes and sandals. You can imagine how that went over.

Back to me.  As if the Merrills weren’t bad enough I really gave Liz the vapors when I said I was bringing a fanny pack.

The way I see it, I want my hands free so I can glad hand the people I meet in Pizza land. (I really must see less of David)

It might have been  a mistake mentioning it to her because I started packing and I can’t find my fanny pack anywhere. I wonder if  Miss Manners came over and hid it before she left.

It’s also possible that Elvis ate it.

753. The law according to David or the penalty for putting cucumber in my Peking duck when I specifically asked for scallions is death.

Miss Liz is stopping here for a day tomorrow on her way to Italy.

Happily my sister and I are leaving Tuesday for a week there too. In fact Lizzie is meeting us in Venice so we can all laugh and eat and drink and shop together.

 This morning David and I were having coffee. I said I’m sure that the first thing Liz will say when she gets here is “Where’s my cat?” She and Elvis have a real love affair going.

 David wondered why if Liz loves cats so much she doesn’t get one.

I reminded him that he shouldn’t encourage it since he hates that Liz brings her animals in the bed.

“Rupert doesn’t sleep in the bed any more. I put my foot down. I told Liz that when I’m in Santa Fe that little motherfucker isn’t getting in the bed with us.” Then he went on and on about how he can’t believe that “snarky little shit” is still alive.

“I was so sure that I was rid of him a few months ago when he had an operation for cancer. I was even nice to him for a few weeks thinking that he wasn’t going to be around much longer. The fucking dog is FIFTEEN. Not only was he cured, now he shits when he barks which is all the time. That little bastard will outlive me.”

He had that real stern look on his face that he makes when he’s describing what he’d do to some waiter or cab driver who doesn’t fulfill his duties to David’s satisfaction. No details but it’s always bloody and usually accompanied by a mime of him shooting the person in the head for his misdeeds.

This was pretty tough talk from a guy who a few minutes later winced when Elvis threw his fake mouse in the air and accidentally brushed his nails against the couch while he was reaching for it.

“Every time he scrapes stuff it’s me that gets in trouble.”

All I’m thinking is “Why don’t you mimic shooting him in the head you tough talking little pussy?”

But did I say it? No because I too am a tough talking little pussy.

752. My father in law died yesterday

I guess he was still my father in law. I didn’t divorce him.

He was one of the truly good people in the world. He was an intellectual.  He was a Methodist minister who practiced what he preached. That all sounds like platitudes so let me tell you how his daughter, Judy spoke of his last moments in the email she sent me last night.

My dad died today at 2:45. I was there, told him it was ok to go, that we would
all be ok, thanked him, he could go be with Mother and that I loved him. I was
alone and it was a special time for us. The relaxing music that they had gotten
for me on the tv (with ocean pictures, etc.) was playing softly. I saw the signs
that he was going and the palliative nurse came in and confirmed it and left us
alone. So I just talked to him, held his hand and rubbed his head. I stayed with
him for a while watching the process…It wasn’t terrible like I always thought it
would be. I even kissed him when he was dead, which I thought I’d never do. It
was special. The visiting minister from church knocked on the door right in the
process and (since I don’t know him very well and don’t love him) I said “He’s
dying.” Then I motioned him away. (The person I live with thought that was
interesting since most people would want the minister in there at that time…but
I didn’t want an intruder whom I didn’t love…It was our time together and I
didn’t want it interrupted. I never saw the guy again…I wonder what he thought??
) So I kept holding his hand, feeling the warmth slowly go out of it and just
stayed there about 15 minutes until the nurse came in. I told her he was gone,
she checked his heart and agreed. Funny thing but on that music thing there were
several different sequences and after he died, Amazing Grace came on which I
thought was a nice touch! So I called Joe and Erin, packed up my things and
looked over at my dad and said,”I can’t believe you’re dead!” It hasn’t really
hit me yet. I’m still running on adrenaline I guess. I’m just so glad that I
was there. My religious friend said that God was good to him to take him fast.
I said He probably felt bad about what He did to my mother. I guess that wasn’t
so nice, but then I’m not always nice. I’ll go now. That’s the story. I can’t
believe this is me taking care of all this…It’s supposed to be our parents who
do all this stuff. How weird to be so far along through life and so soon it
seems. Love you!

I love you too Judy.