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Archive for the ‘Humor in Life’ Category

We found our house on the internet.  I fell in love with the picture of this  bungalo on a large pond, with woods all around.  What we found was that bugs come in the house, from those woods, when it starts getting cold. The second storey was built over the walk-out basement without removing the existing roof.  Hence, our floor creeks like it has ghosts and has a ridge in the kitchen floor.

I really like this house from the outside, and we still love our 3.7 acres, but inside is a different matter and being on a fixed income it is inevitable that everything is breaking down over time.  The latest is the circuit to the air-conditioner, but before that, it was the washer and dryer.

Since my mother lived with us for several years before moving to her own apartment, we have found ourselves with duplicate appliances. It is nice to have a spare occasionally, but mom’s washer/dryer were a stacking set and these things are notorious for problems. It was worked on numerous times the first year or two of its life then it settled into random problems. First, anything but a full load of water would overflow.  So, if you had a half load to wash, you had to set it on full and waste that water. Then, the dryer started squeaking and you could not dry clothes after anyone went to bed because it would wake them up with it’s Chinese water torture squeak.

It was no surprise when the dryer went completely.  My dryer was brought in from my studio and set beside the stacking set. So, now you wash in the stacking set and dry in the single dryer. That is, unless you are half asleep.

Gaffer got home late one night from work, and being a fry cook, had really greasy white shirts to wash, put them in the dryer and pushed the on button, walked away without realizing the dryer was not running.

Next morning, he stumbles into the laundry room and realizes his shirts were not dry.

I think he needs to get more sleep.

“Darn” (sure, that’s what he said.)  Blinking dryer. I’m going to have to wear a wet shirt. I have one clean shirt and it’s heavyweight and it’s over 100 here in Indiana. “Darn, Darn,Darn.”

He put on the last shirt, started the dryer again and left for work.

He did not check the dryer when he worked a long shift and came home late. Morning came and the dryer still did not dry his shirts.

It was with good humor, that he told me that evening, that he realized, for two days he had been trying to dry his shirts in the stacking unit, which was broken.

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It is 2am and I am going to post this without corrections.  YES, I DO go back through and make corrections, believe it or not.  Which, even I have trouble believing sometimes when I re-read what I have written.

We’ve been at the hospital since Monday, or Tuesday, or last November (it seems) and, when I got home tonight I crashed; slept more soundly than I have in days and now I am up, but the brain may not be up to correcting things much.

The brain is such a marvelous, misunderstood, know-nothing-about organ. My neurologist says they know the least about the brain out of the whole body.  I have had diagnoseees/diagnosis/plural/whatever that have said, that I have either left-temporal lobe epilepsy, or familial hemiplegic migraines (which mysteriously, I do not have a single symptom of, or just those curvy brainwaves.

It has often been said, about my mother and by my mother, that no one will ever know if she gets dementia because it is her normal state.  They were wrong.  BIG TIME!

Mom is 90, so a few months ago, when she started getting  significantly more spacy than normal, it was no surprise.  Last week, she descended quickly. We thought she was having mini strokes. She has been diagnosed with partial seizures. She stares into space, mouth open and then comes back to us, she also mentions she has a headache, starts talking gibberish and then says, “I can’t even understand myself.”

Unfortunately, she also has Alzheimer’s. I imagine that she would also like me to mention that it is highly unfair to expect her to remember what year it is as she has always been bad with numbers.  That’s what she told us when she failed her fourth Alzheimer’s quiz.   Oh, and there are also only two numbers in the year because the first two numbers don’t count, so saying the year is 27, is correct, even though there is no 7 involved in saying 2012.

Poor gal, also has to have surgery, but that’s in a couple of weeks.

Tomorrow, the doctor and husband and I take mom across the ER parking lot to the rehab/nursing center. She wants to go home and keeps forgetting she is going there, even though she said it is fine to go there. She wants her computer, even though she cannot remember how to turn it on and her crocheting even though she has not crocheted in years. And, I will bring her travel Scrabble, and we will play it together.

I might actually have a chance to win now.

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Conversation with mother (age 89) yesterday, after she had a heart attack in the morning and fell in the evening and was doped up on painkillers.

Setting: Her apartment.  I’m trying to get her tucked into bed.

MOM: You need to move that fan.

ME:  You want it closer?

MOM:  and close that window.

ME: You love the evening breeze on you.  It’s not going to rain so why not just enjoy the open window?

MOM: Because you are going to yell at me about the stuff.

ME:  “What stuff?”

MOM:  You know, the wet stuff.

ME: (pause)  Not really sure I know what wet stuff you are talking about; let alone when have I yelled at you.

MOM:  It gets damp and you yell at me because I’m not turning on the air-conditioner.

ME:  OHHHH!  When it is 98 degrees out, at 2pm, and really humid and you are sitting in your apartment panting, and having trouble breathing, because of your COPD, yes, I want you to close the window and turn on the air-conditioning.  But, it’s night out now and dry and there’s this nice cool breeze.  So, why not enjoy it?  You love sleeping with the windows open.

MOM:  Okay!

By this time, she is almost in bed.

Two seconds later, as she has all of her medicines and her cold water to drink.

MOM:   You need to move that fan.

ME: (foolishly thinking this issue was settled)   Why do you want the fan moved.

MOM: Because you are going to yell at me about the water.

ME:  If you are talking about the humidity, I only worry about it when you are having trouble breathing during the day.  But, it’s a nice cool night and you like the window open.

Mom is now tucked in and as I am turning out the lights, I hear,

MOM:  You need to move that fan.

ME:  Good night, mom.  Sweet dreams.

About about fans and windows, I’m sure.

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Husband has a faulty electrical energy field.  Watches break within minutes of him wearing  them, answering machines stop working, clocks run backward.  There is no end to the mayhem that is my husband.

Once, he went to pick up a brand new refrigerator and by the time he got it home, the only side that was not scratched, dented   or banged was the BACK!  THE BACK!  For crying out loud, couldn’t he have let me have one side???

So, when he was finally given a cell phone (he was the last  to receive one in the family and we were all in trepidation over the gravity of giving him a cell phone), we all held our breath to see what would happen.

It didn’t take long for the phone to fight back.  It repeatedly talks to him when he pulls it out of his pocket to see what time it is.   (Since he cannot wear a watch.)

PHONE:   “Do a command.”

Husband fumbles with buttons.

PHONE:  “DO A COMMAND!”

Husband opens and closes lid.

PHONE:  “LIKE, Call home!”

Okay, his phone is obviously “like, a valley girl.”

Husband begins pushing buttons.

PHONE:  “Calling Home.”

Me:  “Hi.  Whatcha’ want?”

Husband:  “I wanted to know what time it was.”

Me: Pause.  “Ah, if you open the lid of your phone you will see what time it is.”

Husband:  “That’s what you think!”

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I love to find bloggers who can make me laugh and I think I have discovered one of the best.  http://thebloggess.com/2011/06/and-thats-why-you-should-learn-to-pick-your-battles/   The Bloggess is hysterical.  I forwarded it to Facebook and got a comment right away from someone who tried it and loved it.  My daughter then wrote me and said that she was laughing so hard she was crying and her husband was looking at her like she was nuts.

When I find a blog like this, my main thing is to read as many old entries as I can.  That is the only thing about The Bloggess, it’s really hard to find/read her past entries.

But, they are all priceless hysterical gems.

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I would love to have natural humor in my writing.

My humor is of the more dry kind.  Someone is having a conversation and I pop in with a blatently obvious observation that no one else will dare to say.

Okay, example:  I graduated from the School of the (Museum) of the Art Institute of Chicago.  You study all forms of art, 2-D, 3-D, 4-D, etc.  We had attended a show of some performance art, where a young man is naked in a cage and trying to pleasure himself.  (It is the Art Institute); lots of naked, lots of angst.  The class was discussing the ‘purpose’ of the performance and what we learned from it.  I, one of the older students, opens my mouth and out pops, “That it’s harder to come in public than you think.”

To me, it was just one of those rules of nature that everyone should know, but the class spent the next five minutes ROFLOL.  (See, I’m not as old as you think.)

Often, when I say these things, I don’t even realize it’s going to be funny.  This makes it hard for me to write humor.  I’ve had a lot of ‘things’ going on in the last year; ill health of family members, ill health of pets, the financial situation, idiots, etc.  Not a lot seems funny to me and I have made a point of going back through my book and MAKING some funny.

I used to read my daughter’s blog, BRAINDEBRIS  at http://braindebris.wordpress.com/, for lessons in funny.  AND, AND, that girl has started blogging again.  That girl is funny in her sleep and it is just all so natural.  I also have a niece who has you in stitches all the time.  I have just discovered, from one of my other favorite blogs, EpBOT at http://www.epbot.com/, to the Bloggess’ blog:  http://thebloggess.com/2011/06/and-thats-why-you-should-learn-to-pick-your-battles/  This one goes to the top of my list, right alongside http://www.crazyauntpurl.com/  BECAUSE, everyone should have a 5 foot tall metal chicken.

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I am a big proponent of going green.  We have looked at things that could save energy for years.  We would love to be off the grid, but it all costs money folks, and some of it big money.

My dad’s family were thought to be Dutch German.  My nephew has found out they are Norwegian, but I am thinking that folks might have thought they were Dutch because of the popular belief that the Dutch were a frugal lot.  My dad’s family was definitely a frugal lot.

VanVleck family 1940s

My dad's family in the 40s

This was the usual group who we would visit with, twice a month when we drove to Kankakee, Illinois to visit my sister.  That is Granddad and Grandma to the left, then Uncle Clifford holding Richard and next to him Aunt Lucille with David Merle VanVleck in front of her.  Aunt Laura and her husband were behind and then, at the right side is my mother, Phyllis DeWitt and my dad (in uniform) Harold VanVleck.  In front of mom is my sister, Evelyn, and next to her is my brother David Merle VanVleck  (1942-1990).   I was not on the scene yet.

Yes, you read that right; cousins each named David Merle VanVleck.  It was not as common a name as John Doe.  One lived in Indiana and one in Illinois so no one thought there was a problem with it.  However,  when my brother got out of the Air Force, he ended up living in Kankakee, Illinois and boy did the problems arise then.    If you are going to be frugal with a name, and use it twice in a family, make sure that one of them isn’t a rather shady character.  My brother had to repeatedly prove that he did not owe the money or had not done the deed.

Anyway, I realized just how frugal my family was when I walked in Grandma’s kitchen, after one family gathering, and saw paper plates hanging on a clothesline drying.

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Dude, please.  by | Blurt.  posted a rather disturbing picture today of what he feared would be a new fashion.  On his way for a bagel, he saw a man in a spandex wrestling suit. 

Now, this may not seem odd in the gym or in the wrestling ring, but trust me men, this is not a sight I want to see on the street.  It ranks right up there with those spandex bicycle shorts.

Mom and I were having breakfast, last summer, and I was up at the front register when four men, all in spandex bike shorts walked in.  Now, if you knew my mother, you would know that men rank right up there with dirt, snot, smelly pooh and, well, MEN!!!  She’s not a fan and the last thing she wants to see at breakfast is four men’s penis’.  How do you spell, penises?

Mom has reached the age where she can’t be quiet.  She comments and I hide.  All I could do, was walk back to our booth and pray.  “Keep your head down, Mom.  Keep your head down, Mom.  Please don’t look up.  Please!  Please!”  Luckily, at five foot tall, she sits with her chin in her plate.  She did not look up. 

But, really, guys, REALLY!

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Every time something bad would happen, when I was a girl and mostly in school, I would come home and complain to mom and she would tell me, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” 

Frankly, it did not make me feel one whit better.  Not one.  And, I mumbled all evening about a God who has nothing better to do than to screw up my life.  Couldn’t he feed one of those starving children that I was so diligently cleaning my plate for, to make sure they got enough to eat?

There was another premise that did not make a lot of sense to me.  It went right along with how much protection I thought I got hiding under my wooden desk from an atomic bomb attack. 

While attending Casper College, in Casper, Wyoming, I studied under and with Lynn Munns.  Lynn became a great friend and fantastic mentor and, excuse me if you have heard this before.  I used to just not “get” modern art but something made it all snap into place for me and Lynn made the statement about this phenomena, that you may see or hear something a thousand times but you need to be in just the right place for it to snap into place.  He was so right.

Which was just a huge, no humongous build up to a very small story.  I was reminded of it by scratches on a scrap of paper but I read Crazy Aunt Purl = via Crazy Aunt Purl,  titled: You Got My Attention with your Big Orange Sticker and finally remembered to blog the story.  Check it out.

The poor State of Indiana got my attention, but it was with a small paper orange sticker, stuck ceremoniously on top of a sign warning travelers, going probably 50 mph, of upcoming road construction.  Some states have huge bright lights that shine in your eyes.  Others flashing, spinning orange ones.  Indiana had taken three post-it notes and mounted them on a wire above the sign.  The orange notes spun around the wire and made a truly impressive warning sign.  NOT!

Guess, God and construction workers work in mysterious ways, or I just was not in the right place to see the brilliance of it all.

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  • Three year old JCountry eating the Christmas tree bulbs.  Not so funny at the time but we now laugh a lot about all the things he ate back then: 1/2 tray of brownies while sitting on top of the refrigerator; dog food out of the bin, at the store and the bag, at home; and, light  bulbs.  For a while, we followed him around with white bread (poison control said that was all we could do).
  • While we are on food, the joy of throwing up on Christmas even because  I ate the whole package of chocolate covered wafer cookies, while everyone else decorated the tree.  Hey, I was a kid and it beats me eating so much liver sausage at grandma’s house that I threw up in the car, on the way home.
  • Last year, at Teacher daughter’s, watching her new shelter dog lick everything in sight.  Mia especially liked the new grandchild, whose mother so patiently bit her tongue at dog spit on her child for days.  We love you Francis!!!  Okay, maybe that was last summer, but it was still fun.
  • Mia also entertained us with her immitation of a short range missle tracking a lazer point on the floor.  When said lazer pointer was turned off, Mia spent the next hour/s trying to find the missing red dot.  ‘Sniff, Sniff, Oh, it’s not between the chair and the cabinet, it must be under the rug.   Dig, dig, dig, nope, not there either.  Where’s the dot?  Where’s the dot?’
  •  There was the Christmas that we had to turn back from visiting my sister’s house as the snow was too bad so we joined my aunt at her house instead.  Her turkey ended up on the floor, but she had a great story about her husband’s temper.  Seems he got really mad about the floor not being clean and waxed , so on the way to work, he went to get his lunch out and yanked the refrigerator door really hard and pulled the whole thing over on himself.  (he wasn’t hurt and that’s not the funny part), he was late and only had time to change his pants and not his underwear.  When he got to work, and went to change into work clothes, he realized the beets had done quite a spill on his boxers and his fellow employees ribbed him for months about it.  But, the floor was clean enough we could eat the turkey.

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