Sunday, April 04, 2021

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Day whatever


 Mood, Jake and I sitting outside Trader Joe waiting for Gary to senior shop, year 2 of the pandemic, 4/3/21.  

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Day 365

 

Day 365, self quarantine 

Erm...happy anniversary?

How was the worst year of my life also the best year of my life?

I loved slowing down and shutting myself off from the rest of the world, I’m a loner.

March 13, 2020 was the last day Gary and I worked.  We giddily agreed to use two weeks of our vacation time to do our part to “flatten the curve.”

We were actually kinda excited about a totally unplanned holiday where we’d stock up on all kinds of great food and weed and hide out from the world while it fixed itself.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

How ironic that today, on our one year anniversary of quarantine, Gary and I both got vaccination #2.

In two weeks, after literally a year in the house except for stealth runs at dawn for groceries and dog walks, we’re free.

Free!

But...free to do what, exactly.

The kids aren’t vaccinated yet so even though Gary and I are losing our minds missing them, we have to wait.

I’m not ready to be around people yet anyway.

Let me put it like this.  I no longer want to be around people I don’t love.

I’m old, I no longer have to, it’s one of the perks.

So I’m not going to ever put myself in that position again.

Omg I’ve changed so much this year and so has Gary...it’s unbelievable.

Gary...where do I start?

Gary has long hair and a beard and always talks the liberal hippie talk but honestly, I felt like I suffered through four years of Donald alone.  Gary watched sports on television 24/7, he’d watch sumo wrestling over MSNBC.

He got angry at me if I brought up politics and/or Donald.

“He’s not getting re-elected,” he’d say, blowing me off.

I’d grit my teeth in anger.  I was beyond worried we were stuck with him forever. If you will recall, I predicted the insurrection.

Anyway...

Sometime during the pandemic, that all changed.

Yesterday, Gary and I had a spirited discussion about how much we like Nicole Wallace and Joy Reid, Chuck Todd not so much.

I never in a million years could have dreamed of this conversation a year ago.

It’s nuts!  I fucking love it!

Not working agrees with Gary.  He’s basically stress free these days and almost always in a good head. He’s out in the yard feeding and talking to the birds every day, and if not for missing the kids and the virus, his life is pretty damn swell.

In my world, I’ve become acutely aware of how fragile life is. One second you’re here...and then you’re not, and there are devastated people weeping at the loss. 

And yeah I know that thinking about all this when I’m shut in the house with a deadly virus outside the door is insane but it’s hard to stop.

Twelve people I knew and interacted with closely died last year.

My brain still can’t wrap around it.

I look at Gary.  We’re together fifty years. We’ve been through so much unbelievable bad shit it’s a miracle we’re together.

And now?

I wonder how I could possibly go on without him.

And yet, I know people who do it every day.

This year, man.

Mind boggling.  Life changing.

I am going to make sure those changes are positive.

And really, what a great time to do that, huh. I’m at the beginning of my golden years, dammit, time to get started.

But first...disclaimer.

This post is not what I intended.

I was going to do an epic wrap up and recap the entire year.

And then I thought, ew, who the fuck wants to relive that.

I just wanted to write what I’m feeling today, with so much that has changed, and so much about to change for me personally.

I will write more about that in the coming days after I get certain people to take their fingers out of their ears and stop singing la la la every time I bring up the retirement word but yeah yeah yeah my paper clip haggling days are over.

This summer is gonna be 🔥🔥🔥




Sunday, February 28, 2021

Day 352

 

Day 352, self quarantine:

The summer I turned 15 was one of misery.  I wanted to be free of my parents and old enough to live on a commune, where I’d smoke weed, bake banana bread and write all day.  Gary and I weren’t in an adult relationship yet.  

I was angry and impatient that it was taking so long to grow up.

I was a baby hippie wannabe, obsessed with leaving home ever since hearing the Beatles sing about it two years earlier.

She’s Leaving Home was my fucking anthem.

I formulated a plan. I wasn’t old enough to leave for good, but I was old enough to leave for the summer if I could find a job as a mother’s helper at the Jersey shore.

In 1969, comfortable middle class Jewish families in Philadelphia would rent homes for the entire summer in Atlantic City.  It was before legalized gambling. Moms didn’t work.  The dads would stay in Philadelphia all week for their jobs, but every Friday night they would drive to the shore where they’d stay til Sunday night.

That’s where I came in. Mother’s little helper.

I only got paid $15 a week, but I had room and board at a beach house. All I allegedly had to do in return was help out with child care, especially when dad arrived.

And I also had a day off to spend that $15 weekly fortune and go wherever I wanted with no rules, because in Atlantic City, I had no parents.

I found the job in the Evening Bulletin, our nightly newspaper. Can you imagine a 14 year old cold calling strangers via a want ad?  To apply for a job to live with them?

You might think my mom was insane to have let me do it, but life was so different and innocent back then.

Though even without the benefit of the internet, this family was easily identifiable. The dad owned a popular beauty salon in northeast Philadelphia.  The mom went to the same high school my mom and I went to.

There’s no way they could have been as bad as my crazy family, with my jazz musician druggie father and my mom who did naked yoga in our living room.

That summer, one year after the Summer of Love, my parents and I were bitterly arguing every day.  I think they were happy to get rid of me.

Plus they were worried I was getting too close with my boyfriend 😂

Anyway, gah, how do I even begin to talk about my adventures on my own that summer.

I had a one sided love affair with a twenty one year old life guard and also inexplicably decided that I wanted to be a ballerina.  I enrolled in a morning beginner class where I stuffed my chubby body into a leotard and twirled around the room with a bunch of eight year olds who giggled at me.

Also, I managed to blow going to Woodstock.  Not that I’m even sure I knew exactly what it was.

I mean, I heard a few cool bands were gonna play and we could drop acid and sleep in tents.

Sounded good to me!

Woodstock fell on my 15th birthday.  If I wasn’t a total idiot, I could have gone but honestly, I wasn’t devious or worldly back then and I never would have gotten away with it. I doubt I would have been savvy enough to even make it to the actual festival but a plan WAS in place and I was set to go but at the last minute, I called my mother for permission.

I have no idea why I did that.  I stopped asking my mother for permission for things from the age of eleven when she cancelled a hotel reservation I’d made for a sleepover party at a local Howard Johnson’s.

The nerve.

Alas, my mother had already heard about Woodstock.

“What about your job?” she shrieked.

“I’m gonna quit, it’s the end of summer anyway.”

Well, I was...

“You can’t do that!  You have responsibilities. If you don’t want to stay there I am coming now to pick you up!  But you really shouldn’t leave, you made a commitment!”

Yeah, yeah.

So I didn’t go to Woodstock, I stayed in Atlantic City until Labor Day as promised.

The other thing I wanna tell you is that’s the summer I decided I’m never having kids.

😂😂😂

Welp, the family who hired me had three boys, ages 3, 5 and 6. It wasn’t humanly possible for a 15 year old stoner to enjoyably take care of three little boys.

Oy, not only did I babysit, I had to give them baths, feed them, and put them to sleep.

It was IMPOSSIBLE.

And after they finally went to sleep, I had to do the family ironing.

So that was another thing I learned.

If it needs to be ironed, I don’t want it.

I don’t even want to own a fucking iron.

Anyway, you can’t even believe what happened.

That family loved me.

Omg, they wouldn’t leave me alone.  They called me all year, begging me to come back the next summer.

Their three little boys worshipped me, probably because I would be totally off the wall like Otto the Bus Driver meets Mary Poppins. I’d make up crazy games and stories to tell them and sneak them candy and cookies in between meals so I wouldn’t have to cook them a lot for dinner.

I mean, I wasn’t much older than they were.

And because they loved me, I loved them back, kinda.  I had zero confidence and couldn’t believe anyone liked or wanted me around.

At night, after I was done ironing, if she was feeling charitable, the mom, Roz, would have girl talks with me.

I felt like we related in ways I could never relate with my “much older” mom.

Too funny, I just realized my mom was only eight years older.

I thought Roz was so beautiful.  She was tiny and had thick red hair cut into an edgy Vidal Sassoon courtesy of her husband and she wore white frosted lipstick and “designer” clothes from Ladybug/Villager.

My mom was messy and wore jeans and really didn’t care about clothes that much. She had a killer voluptuous figure, though, but I didn’t know from stuff like that when I was young.

Naturally because I was a teenager I made comparisons.

Actually, that first summer, I kinda wanted to be Roz.  I wasn’t used to a family that laughed all the time and talked about clothes and makeup and spent money freely without arguing.

The family offered to double my salary, Gary and I still weren’t in an adult relationship, and I needed money for college and/or my commune.

I used to be smart and skipped third grade so 1970 was the summer before my senior year of high school.

I was now a full fledged hippie.

The summer of 1970 was difficult.  The Viet Nam war was raging.  I suddenly looked at my employers not as a loving successful family who adored me but as plastic people, the establishment.  I couldn’t believe their middle class values. I even sneered they had three kids, I believed in zero population. 

I didn’t think Roz was beautiful anymore, either.  I wore my hair long and parted in the middle, and wouldn’t be caught dead in makeup.  Roz with her dyed flame colored hair and shiny white lips made me sick.

But okay okay, I was completely smitten with those three little boys.  We were the musketeers, partners in crime.

So I felt bad when halfway through the summer, I called my mom to come get me.

I just couldn’t go on, “working for the man.”

I was young and irresponsible and anxious to start my senior year and plan my final escape.

But you don’t live with a family for almost two summers at your most impressionable age and forget about them.

And as time went on, I felt terrible that I walked out on them. They were pretty pissed.  At my mom’s insistence, I sent them a letter of apology but they never responded.

So being creepy stalker girl, once I entered cyberspace you know I had to Google them.

Right away I learned the oldest and youngest boys were dead.

I literally gasped out loud.

I can’t even...it almost killed me reading about them.

The dad died of cancer in 2002.

The middle boy married a doctor and ironically has three beautiful daughters all close in age.  The two summers I watched over him, he was a wiry, freckled redhead.

He’s now a pudgy, bald 56 year old.

Roz moved to Florida after her sons and husband died.

I still think about her all the time, especially our girl talks.

I’d been meaning to Google her and check up on her, what with Covid down in Florida.

Instead, yesterday I read her obituary in the Jewish Exponent.

That’s 12 people close to me who’ve died this year.

Crazy, huh.

It’s fucking mind boggling.

Life changing, even.

I’m never going to get used to it.  If anything, each new death hits me harder.

I’m really tired of thinking so much. Gary and I are hitting the road the minute we can safely see our kids. We’re planning an open ended trip.

I’m working on a one year apocalypse anniversary post for March 13.  There’s a lot I have to fill you in on.

But for now, I think I am just going to close my eyes and remember what it was like to be 15 and living at the beach during the summer of 1969.

Cue the Woodstock soundtrack, please.

Somebody bring me a bong and a jug of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill.

I’ll light the candles and incense.

RIP, Roz.


Thursday, January 14, 2021

Dear Mrs. Slick


 

Dear Ms. Slick

 

Thank you for taking the time to contact me about the integrity of our democracy and the attack on the United States Capitol Building. I appreciate hearing from you.

 

On January 6, domestic terrorists, inspired, encouraged and emboldened by President Donald Trump, attacked the U.S. Capitol Building in an effort to prevent the certification of the election of Joe Biden as President of the United States.

 

While shocking, these events were entirely foreseeable. They were the direct result of President Trump's lies about the integrity of our most recent election, and his frequent incitements of insurrection. For weeks, the President has lied about his decisive defeat, promoting wild conspiracy theories about unsubstantiated fraud and encouraging this insurrection-but he didn't do it alone. President Trump was aided and abetted every step of the way by a multitude of members in both the House and Senate who, after four years of enabling his authoritarian tendencies, sought to invalidate the will of the very people they serve when Congress convened to count the states' electoral votes for the 2020 general election. These members of Congress, along with President Trump, share responsibility for this direct assault on our democracy and on our Nation's CapitolBuilding. Their collective actions and words put lives at risk and struck at the heart of our most fundamental democratic principles.

 

President Trump is a threat to our domestic and national security. It is self-evident that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. I have called on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and begin the process of removing the powers of the presidency from Donald Trump. This is the quickest way to protect our domestic and national security in his remaining days of power

 

There can be no justice without accountability for those involved in the insurrection against the federal government. As a Nation, we cannot advance our shared democratic values without consequences for those who have betrayed those values. Those who stormed the Capitol should face charges. President Trump should be impeached and removed from office because he betrayed his oath to the Constitution and incited a mob to violence. There should also be accountability for those members of Congress who led the effort to overthrow a democratic election. If they refuse to resign their office, then Congress should begin to explore censure or expulsion. Failing to hold those responsible for the insurrection accountable would be a profound injustice and give a green light to future authoritarians.

 

I am saddened to hear about the deaths of Officers Brian Sicknickand Howard Liebengood. Officer Sicknick lost his life after protecting the Capitol, members of Congress and those who work in the building. Officer Liebengood was also on duty when armed terrorists stormed the Capitol last week and was part of the force protecting the building and the people in it. I mourn their deaths and am praying for their loved ones and their fellow officers, who have faced immense tragedy and loss in such a short period.

 

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. For more information on this or other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov . I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania. 

 

Sincerely, 

Bob Casey 

United States Senator

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Day 276


 

Day 276, self quarantine:

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Had she lived, today my mom would have been 91.

Alas, she didn’t even live to see 50.

We’re also officially into month 10 of quarantine.  If you got pregnant at the beginning of the pandemic, you have a baby now.

I hope if you did, you named it Apocalypse.

Har har.

Today’s photo, my Facebook memory from 2010, broke me.

It’s cookies I baked with Julie at her Philadelphia apartment, less than a mile from Casa Slick.

I used to complain she lived “too far.”

Ha ha ha.

These are the only cookies Gary doesn’t bake.  They’re my recipe, and when the kids were little, we named them “Jems” for Julie Eric Mom Slick.

Anyway, no cookies this year, either.

What’s the point?

I can’t even believe I am saying this, but in the last couple of months, something major has changed with me.

I’ve stopped liking sweet, sugary food.

Even chocolate.

People, there’s still a full bowl of Halloween candy here.

I gotta be honest, last month I actually wondered if I had Covid.

That’s how little the idea of dessert appeals to me.

Conversely, I’ve been craving hot, spicy, peppery foods or anything with vinegar or a wine sauce.

I am what I eat?

I guess so.

Then why are my jeans tight, dammit?!

Inquiring minds...

So Joe is now officially president?

Don’t count on it yet.

Bill Barr didn’t resign for no reason.

You can be sure something gross and disgusting is coming and pardons are the least of our worries.

But don’t listen to me, I’m a hysterical senior just trying to stay alive and keep her husband alive while we impatiently wait to see our family again sometime next year.

What do I know?

Apparently not much.

Ugh, I was hoping my mood would improve as I wrote this but apparently not.

Although...

Philadelphia has a pretty good chance of getting socked with a snowstorm tomorrow.

Our house is loaded with food and water.

The dog absolutely adores the snow and watching him play in it is everything.

And Gary and I don’t have to be anywhere, so...

Tomorrow should be a much better day.

One hopes.

Happy Tuesday.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Day 274


Day 274, self quarantine:

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Gary made sweet potato black bean enchiladas for dinner last night and they may be the best enchiladas I’ve ever eaten.

So that was awesome.

Other than that, I’m completely disgusted by Donald and his white supremacist supporters and wish I could put my house up for sale and leave America.

We’re broken and the people in this country are beyond ignorant and embracing anti-intellectualism and racism.

It’s gross.

While I am no longer terrified Donald will have a successful coup, I remain terrified that he’s already incited his idiot voters to more violence and the next six weeks are going to be hell.

I hope I’m wrong.

Anyway, Merry Christmas.  I’ve somehow finished shopping, I’ve completely lost track of what I bought, and in any other year, there would be a hundred gaily wrapped presents under our tree.

I kept lists for Gary and the kids, making sure I spent equal amounts on everyone.  I wrapped packages in different paper for each recipient.  I kept careful records of tracking and held on to gift receipts in an organized folder.

This year?

Hahahaha.

The only way I know it’s Christmas is my bank account is a couple thousand dollars lighter.

I feel bad for Gary, who has never shopped online and is incapable/unwilling to learn.  Actually, I feel worse for me, I’m the one who won’t have presents 😂😂😂

Nah, I made it easy for him, I told him I want a television for my office/Julie’s room and since I refuse to let him go to a physical store, I pulled up televisions on my phone and let him think he picked one out :)

Oy, 2020.  You’re killing me.

Actually, I apologize for that remark.  It’s not even a little funny.

At least there’s light at the end of the tunnel. People my age should be vaccinated by spring.  

Ask me how fast I am jumping on a plane to see my kids once we’re all vaccinated...

Though Gary keeps talking camper rental and open ended cross country trip in 2021.

Maybe even catching some of the kids’ concerts since THEY WILL BE ABLE TO TOUR!

Hell, why not?

We’ll have nothing but time, us old retired folk.

All we have to do is stay healthy between now and then.

We’re doing our best but...

🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

Hahaha like I really pray.

Oh well.

Happy Sunday!

 


Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Day 269

Day 269, self quarantine:



You’ll all be happy to know this is not a political post.

It’s also not a virus post.

Nah, it’s a Robin found death again post.

Woo, today is the 40th anniversary of John Lennon’s death and yep, I have a freaky death story today that came about as a result of another one of my twisted Google searches.

And as I just typed this, I realize John Lennon’s death day makes a brief unrelated appearance in this story, too.

A couple days ago, a cute young drummer guy with a man bun appeared in my Facebook newsfeed courtesy of one of our mutual Facebook friends.  His name jumped out at me. Why was his name so familiar? Where did I know him from?

He looked the same age as my kids but I kept getting vibes that the name was someone from my distant past.

Naturally I went to his Facebook page.

Ooh, it was public, I could spy.

Of course he taught at the School of Rock, don’t all 33 year old drummers?

But that’s not where I knew him from.

I scrolled down his page, looking.

I hit his friends list.  

Fuck, he had 5,000 of them.

Think, Robin, think.

I kept scrolling down his page.

Somewhere in 2015 I found the post.

Jesus fucking Christ.

Soooo, back in the seventies when I was a baby paralegal at my job of 30 years, I sat next to a woman ten years older at 31, named Esther.  She was single and had a four year old and a newborn.  We became friendly but she had a fight with her boss and quit.  So her boss hired someone new.

Omg, he hired a girl my age who was the most beautiful person I’d ever seen in real life.  It was impossible not to stare at her.

On her first day, I overheard one of the attorneys in our firm say, “Jesus Christ, what did Jerry do, hire one of Charlie’s Angels?”

Hey, it was 1976.

Also understand I have always had a massive insecurity complex. And now I had to sit next to Farrah Fawcett every day.

But because I’m a masochist, we became great friends.

We’d go out to lunch together and our waiters would get tongue tied and tell us lunch was on them. Guys would send us bottles of wine. Literally men and women would do double takes when we walked down the street.

I’d pretend the attention was for both of us.

But the best was the day Elton John was in town for a concert. We’re walking down the street on our lunch hour, heading to a bar for drinks because hey hey it was 1976, when we bumped into Elton’s drummer Nigel Olsson.

Well.

Nigel took one look at my friend right there at 1:00 p.m. on Walnut Street and he was cute and he had blow and he was pretty persuasive.

I trudged back to the office myself, my groupie years behind me.

Hahaha, yeah, right.

Did I mention my friend’s birthday was December 8?

There’s your morbid Lennon mention.  Elvis died on my birthday so the two of us would commiserate but we lost touch a few years later and never had that convo again.

Yeah, my friend left paralegal world soon after that. New Jersey had just legalized gambling and all the pretty young girls took jobs as blackjack dealers and cocktail waitresses. We were entering the Reagan years.

My friend married an electrician, bought a house in Jersey, and we’ve lost touch for almost 30 years.

Until I thought of her a few days ago when I finally realized the young drummer in my Facebook feed had the same unusual last name.

Wait.  She had a brother!  That’s her brother’s name!

But...she’s my age. That means her brother is 60.

How was that possible?

Ohhhhhh.

I realized all of a sudden I was looking at her brother’s son. Her nephew!

That’s so crazy.

A drummer, like my own son.

Like Nigel Olsson. 😜

So now of course I begin my search for her, first on Facebook, then Google, and I found nothing but a white pages listing, maybe.

So she’s like my husband, no internet presence.

I’m frustrated I can’t find anything, but then, out of nowhere, I think about Esther, the woman my friend replaced.

A year or so after she quit, Esther returned to the firm, this time to work for the senior partner.

She was rough around the edges but she was smart and willing to work long hours.  In addition to working at the firm, she transcribed for court reporters at night.

The partner’s wife loved her and did a My Fair Lady on her, buying her designer business suits and expensive jewelry.

She bought herself a mini mansion in Bucks County and drove her Mercedes 90 minutes to work each way.

Once Esther and I got drunk and did Quaaludes and ended up in Florida for a week but that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, I haven’t seen her since I left my job in 2005.

What, she didn’t have a Facebook presence, either?

I tried Google next.

Fuckkkkkkkkkkk.

There it was, her obituary.

Oh man, she just died.

And omg, judging by a comment left on the guest book by a coworker, she was still working at my former office when she died.

45 years!

The obituary was short and nothing special, but it’s the comment from the coworker I’m posting because it struck me, and also, because maybe I was meant to read it?

No clue.  I dunno, something about glitter and Yanni got to me.

But here it is: 

“I’m really going to miss you.  The cup of that got cold which was a staple on your desk.  When you asked for a tissue, the extra one you slipped up your sleeve.  Always having glitter from crafts on your face or in your eyebrows.  Our adventures at the Yanni concert and craft shows.  Until we meet again, my dear friend.”

Wow, life.  One day you’re here and then you’re not.

I can’t get over Esther staying at the firm 45 years.

Her boss died in 2006 and omg Google now tells me his wife just died, too, and now I am putting down my phone of death before I freak the hell out!

I should link the wife’s obituary, it’s really something, but I dunno, my gut is telling me not to.

Anyway...

I also just remembered Esther indeed made crafts and I also just remembered two wreaths she made I used to hang every year when the kids were little and it suddenly seems important to send Gary down the basement to look for them.

Life, man.

It’s some freaky shit, isn’t it?

And that’s without talking about Donald!

Happy Tuesday, fellow apocalypse dudes.