“You gotta keep on doing it right.” ~ Brady Bunch

(*Note to my Sweetie Peeps: actual pics of Bill’s stuff was not used in order to protect the dignity of my beloved). So, first I want to say that everything is ‘all right’ between Bill and I even we experienced the greatest challenge to our relationship thus far. It was a bit dicey for a while but we (or actually, mostly me 🙄) overcame and are still going strong. You see, Bill is getting ready to move back to his hometown where I live and he has a new job in, and while I was at his bachelor pad this past week for a couple of days, I helped him pack. Ladies: you may now groan.

It’s funny how you have to learn things about people as you go. For example, we all remember Bill’s aversion to buying furniture…and food…for his pad, but now there’s something else I have to accept: my man is a pack-rat. Yes…for a man who has nothing of substance in his rooms, he has a fuck (sorry, ma 😐) lot of crap hiding in his closets.

We got started and I’m thinking: “This will be a cinch! How much can he have shoved away? We’ll be done in an hour at the most.” Ha. How naive I was. I got out a couple of hardback books that I could sit on in the hallway (no chairs…) while he began dragging out boxes that were barely held together with tape that was beginning to yellow.

I open up the first box he shoved my way and as I started rummaging around, he said: “Kristi…be careful…there could be valuable things in there.” Well, there wasn’t; it was full of books from the 1980’s he had promised himself he would eventually read. Some of the titles that stood out included “Electrical Technology” (this was sure up to date…the PC hadn’t been invented yet 🙄), “The Book on Running” which said, among other things, to run between 40-80 miles a week…no matter what (no pain, no gain), and “Intermediate College Algebra” which of course you want to revisit again and again despite the fact you graduated in the 90’s with a C in it.

So, I said this: “Bill…this box is full of books that are out-dated and would cause even Job to poke his eye out with a stick. I think they need to go in the ‘donate’ pile.” He said: “I need to go through every one of those.” In actuality, this meant that he had to open EVERY single book to show me a page or 2 in it that might be of interest to me or trigger a memory for him. Yes, seeing an electrical wire was not only a thrill but a trip down memory lane. Finally, after we got through only this one box after an excruciatingly long amount of time passed (🥱), I began to think this was going to take longer than expected.

Then came the box of Victrola records and come to find out, Bill no longer has a Victrola. I told Bill: “This box definitely needs donated since you don’t have anything to play these on.” Bill looked dumbfounded and said: “Are you nuts? These are worth money!” So, I looked them up on eBay and at the best, with what he had, he would have gotten about $30 for the lot. That is, if the person didn’t mind that the covers were seeped in mold with centipedes crawling out of the record jackets willy nilly, and the records themselves so scratched up, that anything played was going to sound like a screechy mess (much like my own singing voice 🤨).

What followed was a ‘discussion’ about memorabilia. Look, I’m all for keeping things that mean something to you…I have a nut cracker my grandpa had and it’s one of my favorite things. However, do we need to keep EVERY piece of memorabilia ever saved from his family for the past 3 generations? Hmmmm. So we compromised…he kept a couple of records that were the ‘least’ moldy. 🙄

Another box slid my way and while Bill sort of hinted around he didn’t want my ‘help’ anymore (“Kristi, is there something else you need to do?”), I nevertheless grabbed it and started my archeological dig. This particular box had papers in it. Papers. Not letters from gramma or recipes from mom or little prayers from Uncle Bob, but paper; for example, an empty envelope with a cellophane ‘window’ in it that was torn down one side. I said (very patiently I might add): “Bill…this box is full of useless papers and needs to be thrown away.”

He looked gobsmacked and ambled over to see what I would dare call trash (I called the entire box trash). He said: “Let’s save it.” Now it was my turn to stare at him wide-eyed and I said: “What in the name of all that is holy are you going to do with a torn, used envelope?” He said: “I don’t know. Tape it and use it?” With the patience of a saint, I looked at this man who might be my future hubby (why not…after 3 what’s one more 😏) and said, slowly so he would understand, “Bill…you can buy NEW envelopes at the Dollar Tree. For a dollar.”

So, the process went on. And on and on and on (😐). After we tackled the boxes, we moved on to his closet where I methodically went through every item that was hung up and told him to tell me which clothes he actually wore and liked…the others would be donated: the processing of every garment took him about 5 minutes each, and all of the clothes I thought would look so cute on him are the one’s he didn’t like. For example, he told me to put a dark blue, chambray shirt by Ralph Lauren that matches his eyes in the donate pile but to keep a solid white polyester number he wore to a dance decades ago. He tossed the hot looking Army green work shirt aside but kept a green polo that had some indistinguishable animal over the left boob.

By this time it was almost dark, and I was dusty, moldy, sweaty, hungry and cranky so Bill says: “Wanna tackle the kitchen?” I’m almost ashamed to tell you my response but since I’m always up-front with my sweetie peeps it was this: “Fuck no. Feed me now or I’m outta here.” He understood.

Anyhoot, he’s pretty much packed up and thanks to me, boxes and boxes of stuff was given to Goodwill. I know I’ll never…ever…help him pack again and I’ll monitor his ‘collecting of nostalgic items’ since he’s one ceramic figurine (without limbs 🙄) away from being a hoarder. Yes, we survived this first real test of our relationship. Yes, I forced myself to continue packing even though I would have given my adult coloring books for even a small break. And yes, if he ever asks me if he can go through my stuff…my answer will be no.

Kristi xoxo

“Sunday, Monday Happy Days…” ~ Happy Days Theme Song

Photo by gya den on Pexels.com

So, my ma sent sissy and I an e-mail that was literally entitled: “Pictures for Seniors”. Yes. You read that correctly. My ma apparently thinks my sis and I are in the ‘senior’ age category like she is. I think I speak for my sis when I say I was going to e-mail ma a snarky comeback to such an e-mail, but then I opened the damned thing and realized I knew a LOT of what these ‘old pics’ were. Thanks, ma. I now feel elderly. “T? Should we start looking at old age homes together?” 🙄

These 2 pics actually made me laugh out loud. When ma was a fresh divorcee and I was a freshman in high school, she decided she wanted to save some money and asked me to give her a perm. Let me rephrase this in case you don’t get the dramatics of it: Ma asked a freshman high schooler who had absolutely no experience at all with curlers, perming lotion, etc. to give her a perm with the expectation it would look at good as the gal at the beauty parlor used to give her for $50. Now I ask you…what could go wrong?

Well…first off, ma’s hair is not the thickest and after rolling 3 curlers, I was done. I literally got all of her hair into 3 rollers and figured the ‘stragglers’ and short hair underneath that couldn’t fit on a roller would just ‘blend in.’ Ma was skeptical since the beauty parlor used about 30 on her but I told her to trust me…I knew what I was doing. (I had no fucking clue what I was doing…sorry, ma! 🤨). Anyhoot, I drizzled on the very smelly and chemically goop on the curlers and we waited for the magic to happen. After a time, I figured we should wash it out. Now, here’s some life advice for you grasshoppers…please take heed: when you are asked to wash your ma’s hair in the sink with a shitty sprayer, don’t do it. Period. You will inadvertently spray water in her ears, up her nose, and in her eyes. She will get mad at you and say words you never ever thought your ma even knew.

I took out the curlers (didn’t take long) and VOILA! Ma had a perm in 1/20 of her hair with the 3 curls looking fried and crispy. She was not a happy camper…but neither was I! “That’s what you get for trying to save a buck, Ma!”

My grandma also liked curls and after grandpa would shampoo her hair in the sink (she certainly didn’t fuss like ma 🙄) she would sit on the ‘davenport’ (which was always covered with a flowery sofa cover so you never knew what it looked like at all) with a hand mirror between her legs and make her ‘pin curls’. It was quite something to see.

Does anyone play ‘jacks’ anymore? I’m thinking not since they are sharp, metal mini-weapons that you played on concrete to where you scraped your hand with every move. Ahhhhh…those were the days. Anyhoot, I was a jacks champion! I could get to my ‘sixies’ fast but I have to say this: T had the best jack ball of all and I was pea green with envy. Neon orange and pink and bigger than the standard ball…it was a sight to behold.

I know there are still roller rinks around but in the 70’s they were the bomb! The skates that stank of old feet whose laces were always torn so you had to tie little tiny knots you couldn’t untie later in the day. The disco ball rotating above the floor with The Village People singing YMCA in the background while you made the letters with your arms. The ‘moonlight’ skate where you…gasp!…held hands with a crush and skated around to Olivia Newton John. The snack bar where you could buy a plate of nachos with sticky orange cheese globbed on top. The bathroom where your friends would congregate so you could giggle about the guys you skated with. I’ll say this: best $5 you could spend. 😃

And I actually had a ‘Wooly Willy’ and Pic Up Stix. When I think about it though, Wooly Willy was kinda creepy and if I had one now, I’d probably be naughty with where I put the black stuff. But I loved Pic Up Stix…trying to get a stick out of the pile without moving any others. Only for the very talented…that’s for sure.

Now, do you know what these are? They go in the center of 45’s (records, peeps) and you played these singles again and again and again. There was nothing sis and I liked more than to grab our hairbrushes, close her bedroom door (her room was bigger…my closet was bigger…it worked out well), and sing The Partridge Family to our pretend fans who were listening with rapt admiration while we gyrated along on our pretend stage on T’s shag carpet. *T…should we go on America’s Got Talent together? Text me ASAP.

Ahhhhhh…the smell of old classrooms with chalk and crayons and pencil sharpeners and the class hamster no one wanted after the first week. I loved school! Every single classroom I was in from Kindergarten through at least middle school had the green alphabet hanging over the blackboard. Why in the name of all that is holy are some school districts not teaching cursive writing? This just burns me 😠 ! Writing in cursive is an art and doing so can actually boost creative juices…this is why so many authors write in long-hand like Joyce Carol Oates and J.K. Rowling. In fact, Voltaire once said: “Writing is the Painting of the Voice.” Isn’t that a yummy quote?

And ditto machines? Every worksheet was in purple and to be one of the teachers helpers and actually operate this beast was the best. I loved using the machine because not only did you miss class for a bit, your fingers got all purple and the ink smelled so good. Actually… Hmmmm… I think the ink actually made me quite high at times. No wonder I wanted to be a teacher. Go figure.

Whenever I see a flashbulb camera, I think of my grandpa at holidays. His wasn’t as cool as this one but he had a camera with a flashbulb that would literally blind you after it went off. Hells bells…no wonder everyone in my generation wears glasses. Anyhoot, you had to stand ramrod straight so the pic wouldn’t blur, look directly into the lens so gramps could line everything up correctly, and then BOOM! A blue light flashed throughout the room and for the next 10 minutes, you battled a migraine while seeing spots 🤪. Now son, I know you are a professional photographer and are so amazing at what you do. But until you use a flashbulb and everyone’s skin looks transparent and their eyes remind you of someone possessed, you haven’t experienced photography at it’s best. Just sayin’.

So…I just read this over and am kinda thinking ma did right by sending that e-mail even though her daughters are no where near being a ‘senior.’ It’s fun to look back on things that seem so archaic or silly now and it makes me wonder what my son’s future kids will someday say about what he grew up with. Laptops? iPhones? Pokemon? Blue Ray player? What the heck are those? Of course my grandkids will think I’m the hippest grammy ever…and I’ll be right there with them rolling my eyes at my son as he reminisces over his Charmander card one more time.

Kristi xoxo