Seven months. We had plenty of time to prepare. But as the fateful day was upon us – nothing. We scrambled. We made phone calls to the funeral home and to the crematorium. No one could give us a clear answer. We were on our own.
My mom passed away seven months earlier. Immediately after her death, we had a formal service – lots of speakers and a reception to follow. Friends and family came in from out of town and we celebrated and honored a grand old lady. Closure. Sort of. But since my mom was being interred beside my dad at Arlington National Cemetery, there was a seven month gap between services. And today was the day that she was being interred.
As a family, we agreed that we would take some of her ashes and spread them somewhere special. I had the urn tucked away on a family room shelf for 7 months. A quick peek revealed a tightly clamped seal – the kind that one cannot replicate at home. Arlington National Cemetery was very clear with their instructions — no partial ashes.
Since my mom was a bit of a rebel, this seemed perfect. We had a clandestine mission. She would have approved. The boys were out – my brother and my husband wanted nothing to do with this — their squeamishness and their rule following natures rendered them helpless. So, my sister-in-law, Julie, and I took charge. Julie went to the craft store and got two vials – and supplies to “bedazzle” them. We cut off a bottom corner of the ashes bag and poured some ashes into the shiny, pink, bedazzled vials. We took an old fashioned twisty tie and sealed the bag and tucked it beneath the bulk of the ashes. Our secret deed done.
Most of my mom now resides next to my dad at the storied Arlington National Cemetery. But the rebel in her floats in the lake that she lived on for 40 years – and the adventurer in her drifts in the waves in a secluded beach in Tortola. I think she’d like that.
Usually, bad lessons learned from gambling result in money lost and sad people. But that is not how this story ends. This is the story of a couple of lucky friends who made poor decisions and were rewarded for it.
Ken and I were gambling buddies. There was a time when we would go to Atlantic City once a month. We’d play craps and blackjack — but mostly craps. We played blackjack when we wanted to relax. We were “smart” gamblers – we had read the books and we knew our odds.
We usually fared pretty well. We were disciplined. If our allotted money ran out, well, we were done. But not on this particular Sunday. Our money ran out way too fast. So, we did exactly what you are not supposed to do … we hit up the ATM. We agreed to each take out $20. When playing craps properly, that is basically one bet.
So .. we put our money on the line and we put it behind the line. Dice were rolled. We won right away. Another roll. Another win. We placed bigger bets. We kept rolling the dice. We played craps for two more hours. We were high fiving and giggling and our mantra was “this is such a bad lesson!”
By the time we left, we had each recovered our original losses and then each netted a profit of over $400. We sheepishly grinned as we left the table, knowing full well that we were not supposed to be rewarded for making those decisions. But I was indeed rewarded – I bought a set of wrought iron furniture for my deck (nutty gambling purchase, I know). That was 22 years ago — and I still have the furniture and I still have a great gambling story!
It’s hard to only walk 168 steps in one day. Unless you are sick or are bedridden, it’s practically impossible. I don’t mean to brag, but I was able to accomplish this rare feat one weekend in March.
I was on my annual girls weekend. It was Sunday – the day we don’t leave the beach house. Getting out of pajamas and showering are considered optional.
What was my trick? How did I do it? It involved a tight triangle. I went from the couch, to the bathroom, to the kitchen and back to the couch. Repeat every hour from 10:00 am until after midnight. Talking, eating, and drinking do not count towards steps. Genius.
Sports people often ascribe to the adage, “it’s better to be lucky than to be good.” Well, I’m not an athlete, but I am usually pretty lucky – and it’s good!
When my kids were about 5 and 7 years old, I took them to Redskins Training Camp. It was a few miles down the road and we needed an activity. And what the heck — it’s never too early to instill a love of football and the Washington Redskins.
When we got there, the place was buzzing. Aside from watching the players practice, there were games to play and pictures to be taken with cut outs of players. There was a massive merchandising tent.
I took my kids to one of the games – where the goal was to toss a football into a cut out circle (which was meant to be the receiver’s hands). When it was our turn, the kids wanted me to be the one tossing the football. So, without much thought, I tossed the football and it went through the slot. No big deal, right? Wrong!
The slouchy teenager who was working the game stood up and exclaimed “How did you do that? No one has made it all day.” He called over a co-worker to tell him what just happened. The grandparents behind me peered in to get a glimpse of me. The folks in the back of the line started inching closer to see what was causing the commotion. My kids looked around and started beaming — realizing that their mom was somehow impressing all these people.
The teen-aged boy asked me to do it again. The onlookers wanted to know my secret. I just smiled and shrugged and said it would be best to let some others try – and we walked away.
I know I was lucky that day, but that was my secret. It was good to be a superstar in my kids’ eyes. No explanation necessary.
I haven’t had a two year old in 16 years, so when I went out on a boat with one, it proved to be quite an adventure. Julie, my sister in law, was called into babysitting duty when a friend went into labor.
We were having a lovely time cruising around the lake – fishing, sipping our drinks, and noshing on cheese and crackers – when suddenly, the two year old blurted out that she needed to poop. Lacking any good options, we looked to the shore and saw a family friend’s house. We saw a young man outside and figured that must be Philip or Michael — let’s dock there.
Julie got off the boat and approached the young man – who was a complete stranger. She was clutching the anxious two year old’s hand and panicked and blurted out “Can we use your house to poop?” Poor Andre — a grown man who doesn’t have kids and who had no idea who Julie was – just nodded and showed her the way.
The little girl wanted a shred of privacy so she went into the bathroom alone – leaving Julie standing awkwardly in the hallway with Andre. The girl said loudly and matter of factly, “Ms. Julie, I can wipe my vagina, but can you wipe my butt?” Awkward glances and sheepish shrugs were exchanged between Julie and Andre.
Julie quickly made her way back to the boat and proclaimed her humiliation. We giggled and told her that we appreciated the humor. We learned two things that day – a new spot to catch bass – and a new place to poop.
I got a pedicure today and I had the most delightful thing happen – and it had nothing to do with my feet. I’ll remember it far after the polish wears off and the calluses return.
As I was browsing through the pedicure options, imagine my surprise/delight when one of the options was “cucumber hell.” What?? This prompted so many questions and even more giggles. I really didn’t even know what it meant .. peal? heal? I told several friends and we decided that cucumbers really shouldn’t be feared.
I’m a avid traveler and I understand the challenges of a language barrier. I have been the victim of a translation gaffe myself — when we were in Puerto Rico, I thoroughly embarrassed my daughter when I mispronounced the name of a beach — thus calling it “ass beach.” Yup, she could not have been more proud.
But Spring is here and I can’t think of anything more delightful than going through cucumber hell and then spending a few days on ass beach. Sign me up.
As a grown woman, one of the things that I treasure most in life is the friendship of my girlfriends. I am still close with my childhood girlfriends. These are the girls who knew me before puberty. They vacationed with my family. They had crushes on my brother. We knew each other before we had ever kissed a boy or had experienced peer pressure. We had no secrets.
I recently went on a trip with these childhood friends. Nothing can replace the casual intimacy of 37 years of friendship. We talk, talk, talk. We talk about our kids, our husbands, our sex lives, our health issues, our disappointments, our hopes. It’s always supportive. It’s often accompanied by alcohol, and it’s always accompanied by laughter. As soon as the trip is over, we can’t believe all the things that we forgot to talk about.
I wish I could spend endless lazy summer days with these ladies, but geography and our grown up lives prevent that. But the bonds that we share carry through until next year. We already know our plans … eat, talk, drink, stay in PJ’s, laugh. We just need a date. I’ll be there!