254. When you got it, you got it. Even if you haven’t used it in forty years

Flirting is a fine art.

I think women are either born with the talent or not.

I, for one, am a champ.

My first subject was my daddy.

If I wanted him to take me with him to pick up the Sunday paper and bagels I’d look up at him with my cute little smile and he was putty.

When I was going  to summer camp we went to the store that the camp recommended we go to to buy clothes. I just blinked my baby hazels at him and he not only got me what I wanted but he bought me the full camp uniform, neckerchief and hat included because,  “I don’t want  anyone to have anything that you don’t have”.

Interestingly I was pretty much ostracized for the first week of camp just for putting said outfit on when we lined up for breakfast on morning one. It seems that the camp “suggestion” was pretty much ignored by everyone else.

This taught me that you have to use this gift judiciously.

As I got older, a raise in my allowance? Piece o’ cake.

When I went to college I needed a car? Lo and behold, a Studebaker Lark was mine.

I haven’t done it in 40 years but I learned last night I haven’t forgotten the art.

Miss Liz invited me to go with her to a restaurant in Brooklyn to sample the wares of a chef from Rome. The food was free but you had to pay for your wine or beer.

We met two of her friends there Tiz and Jessica. They were beautiful and funny and even though they were very young, they made me feel welcome.

The chef, Stefano, made a variety of different little sandwiches and you were able to sample some or all. He suggested that I try the  meatball.

“It is my grandmother’s recipe, I think you’ll like it”

He had an adorable Italian accent.  When he came around and stopped at our table he asked how I liked the meatballs.

“The best I ever had. You did your grandmother proud”

“Then we should go out”. ( His english wasn’t very good but that’s what I think he said)

From a far off memory I pulled a flirty response out and flashed my eyelashes .

“You put a meatball in each pocket and I’m there.”

253. This morning I put on my big girl shoes.

I keep saying that I have to pin down what to do with the pension for both dave and  myself. It’s keeping me awake nights and making me shake during the day.

Neither one of us have ever made these kinds of decisions.

All my life either my father or my brothers in law helped with any financial choices dave and I made so this falling on my shoulders is extremely hard for me.

I keep asking questions but I don’t always know the questions to ask and I frequently don’t understand the answers. I don’t have one person to tell me what to do.

At Liz’s suggestion, I wrote myself a letter this morning.

I’ve determined that I only have two choices. I wrote down what they are and what I need to know to chose that option. Then I wrote to both the people who would have the answers.

As long as they write something that I understand I will make my decision next week. Only then can I start my new life.

I think I feel better already, that is if none of the answers have the word “lizard” in it.

252. Since it’s a new year I think I’ll covet my neighbor’s donkey

Well I believe I’ve been saved by my sister Marcia fasting for my soul yesterday. I start the year with a clean slate sin wise.

I was a little worried because late last night my newly fixed TV went black for a minute. I wondered if it was God’s way of saying you can’t send in a sub for Yom Kippur but my friend Susan said not to worry I’m okay. She speaks a lot of Jewish so I trust her.

Now that the holidays are over I am expected to take care of any business that has been put on the back burner.  It’s making me scared because I’ve gathered many of the facts and it’s almost time for me to make a decision that will affect me and dave for the rest of our lives.

I think I’ll need help with this. A money person.

I  feel that I’ve been writing too much about David. I do this mainly because he’s someone I deal with a lot and also he’s kind of a colorful person.

Liz who’s much smarter, nicer, prettier and funnier than David doesn’t get written about much because number one, she won’t let me  and 2. she’s got a 24/7 job of protecting me from David and that crowds out many of her bon mots.

Why just last night I got an email from David that put me in a state of panic. He said he may not be able to travel with me to Santa Fe because he could be away on business. He added some stuff about it being safer if we travel separately so at least one of us would reach our destination.

Liz was forced to yell at him because she said quite rightly that since the chances of his not traveling with me were remote there was no reason to worry me. (She knows me very well and has been present for many of my dithers). She reminded him of what he always says “What’s in it for me?”. He should have known full well that I would drive him crazy until the day of departure if he scared me.

Also, she continued, saying he’ll throw me a croissant is one thing but joking about the dangers of flying is not acceptable.

“I just won’t talk” he always threatens this but never does it.

“Oh Bunny” she comforts him “Just be more sensitive”.

That’s like asking a pig to wear high heels.

251 This being the holiest day in the Jewish calendar I will not write anything negative.

I had a pleasant surprise the night before last. My kitchen light didn’t work so I couldn’t see to make dinner.  I was invited for pot luck at Liz and David’s. I donated what I had planned to eat and we had a lively political discussion during dinner.

David, that scamp, mentioned 2 or 10 times that since I knew nothing about nothing he wouldn’t bother explaining whatever idiot point he was trying to make. Did I say “idiot”?  What I meant was “in depth” point.

Anyway a good time was had by all.

This morning Liz told me that she didn’t want me climbing the ladder to change the bulbs in my kitchen light so she would do it for me. She took down the bulbs and since I didn’t have replacements I went to Home Depot and bought them.

Although Lizzie insisted that I wait until she got home to put in the new bulbs I’m far too independent for that so I climbed up and changed them only to find that  it wasn’t the bulbs.

I called my super who immediately came up and let me know I had to replace the whole fixture which I did. Now am I going to dwell on the fact that I had to buy a light fixture out of my measly money stash or  delight in the speed at which it was fixed?

What is the title of this blog?

Then I decided to check the shows I had taped the night before and was disheartened to see that  the Real Housewives of New York wasn’t recorded . Rather than getting all upset (see title) I recalled that my fairly new replacement of the box had been acting up since I got it so I took this opportunity to get a new one.

I unplugged said box and told Rupert that I wouldn’t be long and made the 2 bus trip to Time Warner Cable. I always like traveling by bus because I get to rub elbows with my fellow New Yorkers, something that rarely happened in my previous life when I would have taken a 15 minute cab ride instead of a 45 minute bus trip.

It actually would have been a bit longer but, silly me, I misremembered the location of TWC and took the crosstown bus on 86th Street instead of 96th Street. That meant I had to lug that fucking, I mean informational, box 10 blocks to trade it in.

I got there and as luck would have it I only had 34 people in front of me so I was able to use that time to fight whatever disease the woman next to me had that results in a hacking cough.

My number was called and I explained to the very helpful guy behind the desk that since this was the third box I’d had in the past 2 months possibly he could give me a new one rather than a refurbished one. This man really knew his business because even though he was playfully teasing the girl standing at the next register the whole time he was helping me he was still able to reassure me that a refurbished box  was every bit as good as a new one.

I left feeling more than satisfied.

I got home, greeted Rupe who had made me some origami out of a tissue box, clever pup, and set up the cable box.

Now, funny story, the box didn’t work. It played but it didn’t record. Did I laugh.

I called Time Warner and was lucky enough after talking to a disembodied voice for 20 minutes to speak to a real person named Gail.

She was just terrific. She restarted my box for the third time and had me read out the numbers that came up. None of which should have been appearing. Gail and I cracked up about this.

She made an appointment for the next day for a repairman to come after I told her , with a smile in my voice that if she thought I was going to shlep up to that shithole they call a help center to speak to another know nothing idiot she can think again.

I’m Jewish, not a saint.

250 You know how you want to follow the thought thread that brought you from wallets to penises?

I wrote a Facebook entry today to my cousin Maxine reminding her of the time that she and I were sitting on the beach at Eldorado Beach Club when I called her attention to Morris Levy’s balls sticking out of the side  of  his bathing suit.

Now why did I remember that?

Maybe it’s her daughter Tracy. Sometimes I look at Tracy’s website just so I can admire her paintings.  I was doing that today and so it’s likely that that made me think about  her mother.

When I think of Maxine, it’s always with her laughing. She’s an easy laugher. I don’t see her and her sister Barbara very often but whenever I do I feel such a rush of love for both of them.

It has to be Maxine that brought this long forgotten memory to mind because it simply couldn’t be Morris Levy. He was a friend of our parents who, let’s be honest didn’t wear his bathing suit or his age well.

It wasn’t like seeing Tom Cruise’s balls. No sirree.

Now that I think of it, I was pretty young and I come from a family of all girls and a modest father so it’s entirely possible that since my slut years didn’t start till much later, Morris’s balls might have been the first balls I every saw.

Hmm now that’s an unfortunate blip in the Mattie Joan Smith timeline. What started as a fond cousin memory has ended with me having a severe case of the icks.

249.Friendly skies my ass.

Now you all know I’m not a complainer.

Accepting that fact, I keep reading stuff about American Airlines firing maintenance workers and outsourcing their jobs to people outside of the control of the FAA.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before but for the most part I stopped flying for 25 years because I couldn’t stand beginning and ending my vacations in terror.

When I say “for the most part” I mean that if there was no other way to get there , I did fly. For example when calling a cab to take me to Japan didn’t seem possible I did dope myself up and fly. But I drove or took trains or boats everywhere else.

It turned out that this came to bite me in the ass because I probably would have toured with dave and he wouldn’t have been able to spend so much time with you know who.

Anyhoo (thank you Julie) I did start flying again after first my sister Phyllis and then my sister Iris died. I figured nothing could happen to me that would be worse than losing them.

Just because I fly don’t think for a minute that I enjoy it. But as I said I’m not a complainer.

So let’s not consider this complaining. I’d like to think of it as “thinking aloud”

My trip to Santa Fe is on American Airlines. I only chose it because that’s the airline that David is taking and I thought it would be more comforting to travel with him. Speaking about thinking I should have given that a little more thought.

At first I was upset that he was traveling first class while I had to squeeze myself into coach. For some odd reason I was sad that I wasn’t sitting with him.  Then he told me that when he sits next to nervous flyers he likes to say things like “What was that?” and “That doesn’t sound right” or “Do you smell something burning?”.  I realized then that the distance between First and Coach was barely enough.

Now today I’m reading that the airlines are outsourcing to mechanics that aren’t real mechanics and there could be problems with a seat that won’t come back up or a hole in the engine only the first of which will be detected.

I feel so sorry for whoever is sitting next to me on that plane.

248 Some days you wake up and you just want to punch a nun.

I woke up cranky today. I don’t know why.

Even having coffee with David and Liz didn’t cheer me up.

Getting David riled up is often my favorite part of the morning.

I like to bring up subjects that make him spit in rage.

Usually just praising Obamacare does the trick as it did today but I didn’t derive my usual pleasure at his anger.

I decided to go to second base as they say and quote Bill Maher. That’s my go-to inciter.

But when David did his rant about not peeing on Bill Maher if he was on fire it didn’t bring even the slightest  smile to my face and today he was more colorful than usual in stating that he himself would like to immolate Bill and watch him burn yet it still did  nada for my mood. Even when he stomped out of the room… nuthin’

I am trying to think of something I like to do that I can do today but in the mood I’m in I won’t like doing it and I’ll probably ruin it.

I know one thing.  I’d better stay away from the few friends I have.

I did have a good thing happen to me today. My nephew and niece sent me 3 bottles of fancy wine. Now let’s see, it’s 9:56 a.m.

The sun must be over the yardarm somewhere. Unfortunately the “somewhere” is Japan where my fuckhead husband is sharing cocktails with his shithead girlfriend.

Man I can’t get a break.

247.Lucky ground crews don’t do anything important so firing 11,000 of them shouldn’t be a problem if I’m traveling on AA.

Even though I’m not leaving for a month I spend a great part of my day planning for my Santa Fe trip.

What to wear? What to wear?

If this were a Jewish function I would just pile on the jewelry and relax but I understand the goyim are quite subtle in their dress.

I figure I’ll pack a bunch of choices and take the lay of the land before I appear in public. The problem with this plan is that David said I can only take carry-on. Aside from my 2 season wardrobe that would mean I have to lug my computer, my pocketbook and my sleep machine along with my tiny suitcase. Fitting in all I want to bring with me won’t work even if I wear 5 or 6 layers.

Luckily this morning Liz overheard David when he was telling me that he would leave my ass at the Albuquerque airport if he had to wait even one minute for me to get my luggage so she told him that I could bring as many bags as I want and he’ll have to lump it.

That problem solved.

Back to my clothing choices. I assume Santa Fe is different from New York  I don’t want to feel out of place so no daisy dukes and absolutely nothing midriff baring. Certainly during daylight hours. At night I’m sure anything goes.

Liz’s father is the biggest wheel I’ve ever met. He rubs elbows with Presidents and movie stars. Not to mention Shahs. Even though I can get by telling my friends in New York that he and I are very close friends and he never makes a move without checking with me, that might not fly down there where  people know him so I’m probably going to have keep the “bragging” to a minimum.

I’m not only going to have to clean up my wardrobe, my language will need a bit of brushing up.

Yep for 4 days, 3 nights it’ll be like the word “fuck” was never invented. And “cocksucker”? Never heard of it. Even if someone asks me “How’s dave?”

246.When your story starts getting old hat you gotta add some color.

I just called the pension people to find out how to divide dave’s pension between us and how we can start taking the money.  dave says that whatever I decide to do with my half, he’ll do with his.

Now if I were a different kind of person I’d tell him that I’m investing my half in mood rings but as you might have already guessed I’m too much of a saint for that and besides if he lost all his money I’d probably end up giving him some of mine.

I’ve been told that at some point I have to stop telling people that I’ve been left after a long marriage and I know that’s true but sometimes it just greases the wheels. Especially with women.

The woman at the pension place, Becky, became way more attentive after I happened to mention in conversation that my husband had a girlfriend.

Like I said though, men aren’t that sympathetic. The guy from American Airlines wouldn’t budge and upgrade me even when I embellished the story slightly by claiming that dave tried to kill me with a sword.

From now on when I want something done and a man answers I’m going to slam the phone down and keep calling back until a woman picks up.

245 A lesson in Godliness and seasoning

I wasn’t lying yesterday.

By 6:30 Julie and Violet had gone and the dishes were in the dishwasher.

When Liz came home she just sat at her place at the table and started eating. I did leave the food out. I had just found God as I do every September and being a good hostess is in the Torah so she knew her dinner would be there whatever time she got in.

I have to plan my day.

I like to do 6 things every day. Then I can feel that I’ve accomplished something.

Some days it’s easy. Make business calls or go to the dentist,  you know, like that.

Other days I have to pad my list. Read Celebitchy, tape Dr. Phil, WATCH Dr. Phil.

Today is a hard day.  It’s still Rosh Hashanah so I don’t want anyone who’s not Jewish seeing me doing something ungodly like going to Bloomingdales.  Whatever I do has to appear to have angel’s wings attached to it.

For example maybe I should be  throwing away my old spices. I have a shelf of spices above my sink most of which I don’t use..

Unlike my mother before me who was strictly a salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and garlic powder kind of girl I have added oregano and basil to my repertoire.

Even though I’ve never used them, my spice shelf has rare herbs on it like fennel. What the hell do you put fennel in? Not that it matters. It’s been there since 1989 so the chances of it adding or detracting from any recipe is unlikely.

Besides I cook everything so long that flavor is only a distant memory in any of my dishes.

I just finished my list with “Think about throwing away your spices”

Whew! That felt good.