Wiggles and I Eavesdrop on Jeanne’s Therapy Session

this is a woman with a degree! Thank God!

this is a woman with a degree! Thank God!


On the suggestion of her gerontologist, our fair mother has entered therapy.  Wiggles and I can only imagine what she talks about, but we can make some educated guesses that main topics include:

1. her children

2. the need for a weekly hair appointment

3.  her ailing husband

4. the need for a weekly manicure

5. current events: I think this week probably included a mention of the stunning tie-dye assymetrical hem dress that Wiggles bought Mah at a local Teaneck emporium. Jeanne looked adorable in it, especially after she paired it with jewelled flip-flops and dangly earrings.


This was, in fact the outfit that Jeanne wore when we delivered her to her session. We were hoping that we’d be invited in to hob-nob with Mah and her therapist. But alas, the shrink didn’t ask us to join in the revelry. She just snapped on the radio and ushered in her patient, the 80-year old living embodiment of the Age of Aquarius.

Wiggs and I had to know what Jeanne was babbling about! With no time to lose, we rustled up some props so we could hear.  Here’s what it looked like:

ooh! she IS discussing us!

ooh! she IS discussing us!


Then she abruptly switched topics. Wiggles said she heard the words “gold bracelet,” “hot dog at Costco” and “crackle nail polish.”

When the session was winding up, we had to get ourselves together. “Act casual!” I instructed Wiggs. Here’s the pose she took:

Here she is, NOT eavesdropping. I swear, Your Honor!

Here she is, NOT eavesdropping. I swear, Your Honor!

Jeanne was happy as a clam when she emerged. Then guess what we did? That’s right: onto Costco for hot dogs and lemonade. Bliss!




Mah Suggests I Write to Suze Orman

While chatting up Our Mother on the telephone, I entertained her with tales of the Lord & Master’s and my many fiduciary blunders – mortgage under water, interest-only payments on line of credit, foolishly sending Sassafrass to NYU – one of the top ten most expensive schools in the country – leaving us enslaved to one Miss Sallie Mae. You know, fun stuff designed to get her mind of being housebound, diabetic, and facing increasing dementia.

And, let’s not forget, Hot Pants & I shepherded Bob and Jeanne through their very own personal bankruptcy. It’s a toss-up whether the finest moment during that hoopla was (1) H.P. finally locating a folder marked “I.R.S.” inside of which she found not a single thing or (2) Daddy’s approach to the bench in court accompanying himself with a fart for each lurching step he took. As their lawyer said, “Well, this’ll be a first.”

She zeroed in on the solution immediately.  “You should write to Suze Orman. She can fix this.”

“I’ve seen a lotta Money Morons in my day, and you’re right up there with the worst.” Hell, if I’m gonna mess up, I’m gonna go all out!

Oh, Mah, I wish it were true. Yet here I sit on another gorgeous spring day in San Francisco, doomed to be stuck in paradise. Until Wells Fargo repossesses.

So, here goes:

Dear Ms. Ormon: 

My mother wants you to undo the craptastic financial dilemma in which I find myself. Please help.


Another Idiot Who Used Her Home Equity Like an ATM.

I can hear ol’ Suze lecturing me right now. “Use of your credit card – Denied. Using electricity and heat in “your” home – Denied. Eating – Denied.”

Pancake Meditates

I have been listening to Guided Imagery CD’s from Belleruth Naparstek, a psychotherapist, to help me sleep better. Here’s what Belleruth looks like:


Perfect, right?

So I was in bed a few nights ago listening to her CD, with one Pancake right next to me. The room was dark, Belleruth’s voice was soothing, and I was concentrating on relaxing and the lovely guitar music that was playing underneath her words. As I breathed deeper, I thought to myself, “God, I hope this works.”

A few seconds passed. Then I heard some surprisingly hardy snoring right next to me. It was from this little girl:

Little Miss Dainty can really chop wood while she sleeps!

Well at least meditation is working for someone!


Jeanne & Geography

“I’ll just mosey up Route 17. Why are so many cars honking?”

Our Mother Jeanne has always been a bit of a kook. Not for nothing did her children refer to her behind the wheel as “Mrs. Magoo” – and that was when she had all her marbles. As a risk-averse person, I considered being her passenger as a kid a solid 100 on the Terror-O-Meter. (Not that Daddy’s driving would have won any awards, either, but that’s another story…)

Anyhoots, the residents of Bergen County can rest assured that Hot Pants has taken possession of Jeanne’s snazzy little dinged-up roadster.

Now all Mah’s geographical adventures take place in her head. Bob & Jeanne have a woman named Indiana who helps them out with life’s daily demands. Seriously, her name is Indiana.

Well, Mah was yakking on the phone with H.P. and said, “I wonder when Kentucky will get here.”

“You mean Indiana?” my smartypants sis inquired.

“Oh, right, of course,” Jeanne didn’t miss a beat.

Well, I’ve gotta hand it to her. Indiana and Kentucky do border one another. And the source of my geographical certainty comes from the Broadway hit Show Boat. As any theater hag can tell you, baby Kim’s name was based on the Mississippi River location of her birth – the meeting up of Kentucky, Indiana, and Missouri – K I M.

I imagine Mah dredging up some long ago school assignment on the map of the USA. Indian, Kentucky – what’s the diff?

To quote Bob’s favorite American, Abraham Lincoln:  I laugh because I dare not cry.

Uh-oh: Someone ATE Pancake’s Ball

I took my Pancake to the dog run with a new acquistion: this wonderful mini squeaky tennis ball, perfect for her to hold in her mouth comfortably while she gets her belly rubbed, is humped, and otherwise frolics with the other hounds.

But today, that ball caused trouble.

It all began when a big old lovable lab/retriever sort whom I will call Henry went wild when he smelled Pancake’s ball. He was sweet but strong, and was nosing around us as soon as we got there. His owner was a very nice young woman who kep dragging Henry away from Pancake, who was both taunting Henry with her small prize (ie, sticking her face right in his and wagging her tail, saying, “Look what I have! And you want it but ya can’t get it!!”) and valiantly guarding it with petite woofs and growls.

But eventually Pancake got distracted by a big humper named Juicy Fruit who literally would not get off her tail –  and that’s when Henry dove in, grabbed the ball – and swallowed it.

The collected dogs and owners went crazy. The owner was pissed and told me that Henry had swallowed balls before and would probably poop it out – but that I shouldn’t have brought out a little ball at the dog run where there are lots of big boys. I suppose she has a point and I did feel terrible. But shouldn’t she have better control over her dog? He was the only one chasing after the `Cake.

Is it just me?




Hef came to Bob & Jeanne’s!

Bob, aka Hef

Bob, aka Hef


I went to Bob and Jeanne’s this weekend to celebrate Jeanne’s triumphal return from her second visit in as many weeks from Hackensack Hospital. Brother Peter, who’d flown into NJ to slap some sense into his aged parents, made a Chicken Parm Surprise for lunch. Bob wanted to eat in front of the TV, which he likes to blare at a dulcet volume level of 85 so he can watch CNN around the clock and hear 10% of what the reporters are saying. But his beloved children prevailed on him to come to the table, so he reluctantly wheeled himself out wearing a devastating ensemble of Depends and a blue velour bathrobe, circa 1975. You can see how he looked, in the first image above. Andy took one look at him and said, “Hef? Is that you?”

Bob nodded amiably as he speared some ziti. Then he debonairly took a sip of Diet Pepsi through an ancient straw. Come to think of it, Hef and Bob probably do look a lot alike these days.

Is It Wrong That We Siblings Had a Blast Teleconferencing About Our Invalid Parents?

Ever ready at the mike, our New Jersey brother calls in to the 1st Annual (Weekly?) Brothers & Sisters Conference Call.

The purpose of our teleconference was to brainstorm ways to foist support and help upon our resistant parents, who prefer to think of 911 as their sole personal rescue plan.

The result, to my everlasting joy, was a hoot-filled laugh riot as Bob & Jeanne’s offspring called in from San Francisco, Chicago, New Jersey and Manhattan.

Ever the organizer, Hot Pants set up the call. I, boob that I am, agreed to a time during which I was getting my weekly hair shampoo & blow dry. What the boys were up to, I’m sure we’ll never know. Unfortunately, H.P. dialed some other number, where she found herself the only one in the “conference room.” “Hello? Hellooo? Anybody there?”

There's Hot Pants and our Chicago brother soaking up the suds in Arizona during more lighthearted times.

Finally, she found the rest of us as we shared our individual and combined efforts to impress upon our parents that a man with Parkinson’s Disease and a woman who’s an alumna of open heart surgery, diabetic, and, now, with growing memory issues, may not be giving each other the best home health care.

But the truly unexpected surprise and delight of the call was how easily we all fell back into a loving and laugh filled sibling experience. Suddenly the decades of going our separate ways disappeared and the closeness of our childhoods bloomed back into reality.

I doubt if Bob & Jeanne intended this result, but, oh, what a blast.

Imagine the hilarity that will ensue when we actually present them with our plans. Extra in home helpers! Eventual institutionalization! Woo-hoo!