852. Julie and I may have to go on the lam Or maybe we’ll just wear different hats?

About 6 months ago my niece Julie told me that she got a letter from America (the New York City Court part) stating that her landlord reported that she hadn’t paid her rent.

She not only had paid it but as she was out of checks she got a bank check and gave it to her super as usual.

I won’t go into all the details but since when she got the bank check the money was taken out of her  account she didn’t know that they hadn’t received her rent until she received this letter.

The Super remembered giving the check to the landlord who obviously mislaid it. Julie went to the Landlord, showed him a copy of the check and advised him that she couldn’t cancel and replace the check for 90 days.

He understood and she continued paying her rent each month until the check could be cancelled and the money put back in her account so she could pay that month’s rent.

She never gave it another thought.

Until yesterday when she called and mentioned in conversation that she received another letter from the Court.

“What did it say?”

“I don’t know I didn’t read it.”

“Email it to me”

“You’re scaring me.” (This is a giant no no. No one in the family is allowed to scare her. She hates that. She gets all red and her knees shake.)

“It’ll be fine. Just send it to me”

When I get the letter I see that her failure to answer the first letter gave a win to her landlord and he can now take over the premises, namely Julie’s apartment.

“Remember that first letter you got from the court? What did you do with it?”

“I threw it away. I had settled it with the landlord and I didn’t like looking at it.Why are you asking me this? Am I in trouble? My knees are shaking. FIIIIIX THIS MATTIE”

“Let me call the court. I’ll take care of it.”

And fix it I would. I had visions of Julie, Violet and Dan with those 2 shitting dogs living with me.

I phoned Housing Court and spoke to a court officer. I explained the situation and since Julie had told me that she had back and forth emails with the landlord proving everything she said I was  hoping that he would just vacate the order (a term we learned in court)and that would be the end of it.

This was not to be. It seems that she had to go down there and apply for a date to appear before a judge.

I asked if we could come down next week. (I needed time to break this to her).

“That’s a bad idea. A marshal has already been ordered. I’d get here asap.”

Now let me explain my role in the family. When ever any of my sisters are not readily available my job is to make things better.

That used to be my father’s job and he was great at it. But he died so each of my sister’s were there for their own families and Marcia (Julie’s mom) was also in charge of me until I got married when dave promised to be responsible for me until he wasn’t then Marcia got me back. But my 2 of my sister went and died and Marcia lives upstate so frequently I am the one to fix stuff.

I called Julie who took it like a big girl.

“Whaaaat? I have to go to court? My arms and legs are flying off in different directions.”

“I will pick you up tomorrow morning. We will go to the court and show them your proof and all will be well”

“I won’t have to go before a judge?”

“Maybe not”. I wasn’t exactly lying. I really did hope we could take care of it with one visit once they saw how pretty she was.

The next day bright and early Julie and I drove down to the area where all the courthouses are.

Julie was somewhat calmer. I never did tell her the part about the marshal to avoid having her collapse like a noodle.

She was even cheerful. Now that we were taking care of it she felt better. All these courthouses brought her old boyfriend, the bank robber to mind.

“This is like memory lane. Here’s where he was tried the first time. Oh and that building is where his parole was revoked. Good times.”

I won’t go into all the details but it was a no go on squashing it that day. We had to go down to housing court and sit in the gallery while one person after another came up before the judge.

There were a lot of rules most of which were completely ignored by everyone but me and Jules. Years of playing cards while watching “Judge Judy” when Julie was supposed to be working and I was supposed to, I don’t know, clean or cook or whatever housewives do, prepared us for proper court behavior.

No court officer had to point to us and remind us that silence was the rule of the day while the Judge was on the bench. We texted each other.

“Could that woman’s skirt be any tighter?” You know , court stuff.

Anyway our name was called and a man came up to us and gave Julie a series of papers with her court date and letters to send to the landlord and the marshal.

“Don’t worry” he said kindly “The marshal has been called off.”

Since that was the first time Julie had heard that the marshal had been called on, she looked at me accusingly.

We left and went to pick up the car which was parked in a lot with a very deceiving sign that suggested a special of $9.99 all day with tiny letters underneath saying every half hour.

I paid the $33.00 and off we went to lunch.

“I really learned my lesson. No American letter will ever be ignored by me again”

We both agreed that it was a very interesting morning.

Julie found the housing judge very pro tenant and said she was glad we weren’t there for anything more serious.

Which immediately reminded me that many years ago while we watched the news about this guy killing his wife I made dave promise that if he ever found me wanting that he’d wouldn’t kill me he’d divorce me.

That was one promise he kept.

We sat there patting ourselves on the back for a job well done when I had a sudden thought.

You know the apartment was in Dan’s name. If anyone was going to go to the slammer it was him.

We enjoyed the rest of our meal with the thought that even if this court date goes to shit, we’re home free.


851. Luck Be A Lady Named Mattie

This is what was hanging in my guest bathroom yesterday.


This is what’s hanging there today.


It feels like everything I touch turns to gold.

If I’m driving, I find a place to park right in front of my destination.

I went to a new doctor. She barely looked at me and asked me few questions so no need to lie.

Suge Knight fainted before he could ask me to loan him 25 million to get him out of the slammer.

I’m THIS far away from discovering why eyebrows suddenly start growing crazy after 65 and you know that once I solve it and find a cure the money truck will be permanently parked in front of my house.

The other day by mistake I bought chunky peanut butter instead of smooth and guess what? I like it better.

Hey, seems like a good time to give myself a haircut.

Except for the back what could go wrong?







850. My life would be easy if it wasn’t me living it.

You know how when you get nervous you start saying nutty things?

I just realized that maybe that’s only me.

Lew dying did something to me in addition to making me sad. It made me decide to go to the doctor.

To most people that’s something they just do but not me. I am terrified of going to the doctor. Mainly because I’m scared of being scared.

It isn’t dying I’m afraid of. It’s being told that I’m dying.

I do my best to protect myself from that by either not going for check ups or lying when I do go.

I feel if the doctor is worth his salt he’ll be able to tell what’s wrong with me me without my help.

Anyway after Lew died I called my doctor. A really nice man that didn’t ask too many questions and I loved his nurse. Unfortunately he no longer takes my insurance so I had to search out someone else who does.

I decided to go with a woman this time. I’ve never been to a woman doctor. I was afraid I’d become a lesbian but at my age any port in the storm.

And although my natural urge was to go to a Jewish woman I decided that I’d best choose someone from a poor country who’d find someone a bit overweight as a positive sign of health.

I chose a Dr. Lee.

Now onto the crazy part.

I called her office which is right down the block from my house and made an appointment for this morning.

But before actually confirming it I let them know what they’re in for.

I explained that I’m really nervous about going to doctors. “Is she nice?’ I asked.

“Really nice. We’ll take good care of you”.

I felt a little better but here’s where the nuttiness comes in.

Just as I was hanging up I looked for reassurance. “So everyone will be nice to me?”

“Yes they will”

And then here it comes. “And no one will make fun of me?”

“Huh? Make fun of you? Of course not.”

I have no idea why I said it or what it meant. But immediately the woman’s voice went from reassuring to frightened.

That’s when I wished dave were there. He would have grabbed the phone from me and told them I was only joking. After all his job was to rebuild all the bridges I burned.

But he wasn’t there. It was only me meekly saying “Well see you Monday” and hanging up.

Anyway I’m expected there in 20 minutes so I have to go. I’m cringing at the thought of introducing myself but I have on my diamonds, took a mental patient pill and I combed my hair neat.

I’ll let you know how it goes.


849. Ya got good days and bad days

I haven’t written for awhile so let me ask, what’s new with you?


Let me see. Last week Julie and her main squeeze Dan and I went out to Montauk to pretty up the house so I can rent it for the summer.

I went down to the basement and was greeted with about 6 inches of water all over the floor.

At first I wanted to cry but then Sunshine Sally that I am I figured that with an indoor pool I can really up the price.

Throw a couple of noodles and duck head tubes down there and we’re set to go.

I would have stuck with that but when I went into my bedroom that too was full of water. Water slide? Probably not.

I spent the next three hours, until almost 1 a.m. cutting up the carpet with the furnace guy (a heating pipe broke) and throwing it out the front door.

So much for spending the weekend working on my tan.

I was telling my sister that I was dreading surprising dave with all the expenses of late, replacing the 30 year stove and now the $2500 deductible for the flood.

My sister Marcia, who has always had a beautiful way of expressing herself said “Fuck him, he’s given you a few surprises too.”

The weekend closed with my hearing about the sudden death of my dear friend Lew Soloff.

The funeral was both a tribute to how much he was loved and a reminder of how much he will be missed.

There must have been 200 people there standing in the muddy snow for a few hours.

There was a soldier playing taps with not a dry eye in the house.

I couldn’t help but think “Lew in the armed forces?” It really didn’t compute. He wasn’t a ‘toe the line’ kind of guy. But when I heard he had to take basic training twice, well I accepted it.

You never know what to say to the family at a time like this. But you do the best you can.

I went to his ex wife, Emily, who Lew was still very close to. She had moved to Texas and I hadn’t seen her in years and I missed her.

I put my arms around her and whispered in her ear “Oh Emily, if only we were here for my ex husband”.


848. Lew Soloff (I can’t believe I’m writing this)

What do I know about music?

Not much.

I do know a lot of wonderful and talented musicians and they all thought Lew was one of the greatest trumpet players ever. Let them tell you why he was everyone’s first call.

I’ll tell you about Lewie.

I called a friend to tell him about Lew dying last night and after the shock wore off, my friend said, “I feel bad, haven’t been close to him in years.”

It was then that I realized that if you ever met Lew in person you were close to him. You know how when people say to someone who is talking too loud “Use your inside voice”?

Lew didn’t have an “inside personality”. If you met him for a minute he was the same as if you knew him for 30 years. He might tell you about how he lost 40 pounds or where to go for the best sushi.

Man did he love to eat. I heard a story and I don’t know whether or not it’s true that when Lew played with Blood Sweat and Tears and the money was rolling in he’d fly to Bologna just to eat in this 5 star restaurant. It’s certainly sounds like Lew.

He was incredibly honest which sometimes made him a pain in the ass and always made him someone to trust.

He was also kind. After my divorce he made sure to keep in touch with me. He invited me to his 70th birthday party but I declined because I felt funny being around all those musicians. He called me up and nagged me until I said I’d be there.

Look, sometimes he’d drive me crazy.

We were in Japan having breakfast and he insisted on questioning the waitress who spoke almost no english which juice she preferred mango or papaya? Her smiles and blank looks did nothing to stop him. He thought if he added a few more adjectives she’d get it. Sweeter? More delectable? Because you know that if someone doesn’t understand the word ‘sweet’ they’re bound to get ‘delectable’.

It was only when I yelled at him ” Pick one or get them both Lew.This isn’t the last juice you’ll ever drink”.

But that wasn’t Lew. He was always searching for the perfect juice or the perfect note.

Yeah, he drove me crazy but I loved him in my bones.

My deepest sympathies to his family. Luckily his lovely daughters were with him at the end.

I understand he died right after he had dinner.

I hope he had dessert.


847. The End

I’m going out to Montauk today to make my house pretty so someone will rent it for the summer.

Julie and her boyfriend Dan are going with me. We will laugh and hop.

Ray is staying at home with his cousin Scott and Scott’s girlfriend Mary.

I haven’t mentioned that Ray sleeps in the master bed but I guess they’ll find out soon enough. He also likes to snuggle.

Miss Liz is back in New York and she’s using this opportunity to right all the wrongs that David and I have been doing without her guidance.

Her first night here she gave me a lecture on making a living will because my family loves me. She said that it will be hard for them to pull the  plug on me without trying to save me.

I realized that there was some truth to that for all of them except Stephanie who tries to cover my face every time I doze off. Actually Steph says she will take care of me even though she wouldn’t give me a happy day. I can accept that.

I kept meaning to send out a note about my wishes when as luck would have it my nephew Jimmy issued an email to the whole family suggesting that we all form a family fantasy baseball thing.

I “replied all” with

I’m in.
BTW now that I have you all together I want to ask you not to use any special means to keep me alive at the end of my days. I especially don’t want that thing down my throat.
Now I don’t mean if I’m getting something minor out. I mean something that will kill me.
I know I don’t have to tell Steph this but the rest of  you may think you’re doing me a favor trying to pull me through.
Now Go Yankees
 Julie immediately answered with:
Living will via fantasy baseball email thread. Sounds good.
I’m hoping this will replace my previous living will witnessed by my sisters, Marcia and Phyllis in 1991.
living will photo
You see when I made that the Channel 2 lineup was “Murphy Brown”  etc.
I’m more a Bravo girl now.