Category Archives: Humor

Birds Do It….Bees Do It……

I havent shared a Story Slam in a long time. Mostly, because I haven’t done one. So here’s this week’s feature on the topic of Nature….Enjoy!

My Yogi is a Bear………….

I returned to the practice of yoga a few weeks ago. I can’t seem to get things right. I keep having to practice law and yoga.

I’ve done yoga for many years. I retreated for a time because, for unknown reasons, my neck and shoulders stiffened up. It was gradual but I wasn’t paying attention. Ultimately, I could barely turn my head right or left and started to lose the ability to raise my arms all the way.

My chiropractor, who happens to be my brother-in-law started the miraculous process of getting me back to normal (that’s a relative term… oh sure why not? pun intended!). I went on to find a physical therapist like no other through my masseuse, who is a genius unto herself. Yeah, I got a team you would die for.

So now that I can hear and see people talking behind my back, I returned to yoga to get as limber and balanced as possible, even though imbalance may run in my family. Yoga has magical properties.

Imagine my surprise when the yoga teacher confronted me at the door to the studio.

“Hi, I’m Lili, have you done yoga before?”

“Why, yes I have.”

I thought she was asking because often the yogi will want to know if you’re a beginner or have special physical needs that she should be aware of.

“Where?”

Wow. Why does that matter?

“Well, I started at the YMCA quite a long time ago.”

“With who?”

Geez, I’m thinking, do I need to qualify for this class? There are only 4 other women and every one of them looks older  and no more flexible than me based on the stretching going on on those mats. I think I’ll be okay.

“I studied with Sandy. And then she moved to a private studio down the street and I practiced with her and Sue.”

“Well, this is a special yoga class. We do %$^#% yoga ( I have no idea what she said, I never even pay attention to the names of the poses. I have enough garbage in my head. I just follow directions and look at the teacher)

She went on to tell me that she’s 80-years-old, has to wear her orthopedic shoes during the class because she hurt her feet and she introduced yoga to the YMCA in this area 21 years ago because she studied with some famous guru and Deepak Chopra.

And she still wasn’t letting me go put my mat down. I really was intimidated by now. What had I done wrong? Why can’t I go sit with the rest of the old ladies?  I JUST WANT TO DO YOGA!

What I think I look like doing yoga.
What I really look like doing yoga.

Breathe. Just breathe. Yoga. Breathing.

‘Look, I said, I’m not into Power Yoga. I’m over that. I have a big, stressful day ahead of me and I just want to get my head in the right place.” And you’re not helping, I  wanted to say.

“Okay,” she said, “well we better get started it ‘s already late.” That was my fault as well because I wasn’t passing the interrogation.

I’ve decided the whole fiasco was because I was wearing my new millennial-style, super chic, RBX yoga pants and Lili thought I was going to want guerilla yoga.

By the way, it was a great class. Very relaxing, goddammit.

“You Just have to Laugh…..”

©Cathy Sikorski 2017

 

Secret Santa Millennials…….

There’s a post going around Facebook that basically says when my grown kids ask me what I want for Christmas, let them know I just want TIME with them.

This is the mantra of all the empty-nesters out there. So I have a proposition. Instead of a cookie exchange, or a Secret Santa gift exchange, I propose we do a kid exchange.

My kids live in cities far away from me. I can’t go Christmas shopping with them. We don’t have time to bake cookies together. We don’t go to the local Christmas Symphony concert anymore. We can’t play that game at the Mall where we would watch the young mothers gingerly place their toddlers and infants, all dressed up in their Christmas finery, onto the lap of a big scary guy with a white beard and a crimson red suit and guess which child is going to be delighted or scream their bloody head off. Good times.  My husband and I don’t listen to missed notes of flute practice for the school concert, wondering how it will all come together to actually sound like Christmas carols.

So enough with the melancholy. Let’s put all our millennials’ names and addresses out there to each other! Let’s find out where they live and whoever lives the closest to you, you get to have them for the Advent Season.

You can bake those cookies now! You stopped baking because all you were doing was eating them for breakfast. Now….you can get rid of them. Take them to your Secret Santa Millennial. Better yet, take them to their job! Everyone at their workplace will be thrilled to see you, especially with those home-baked cookies.

You can make plans to take your borrowed millennial ice-skating, Christmas shopping for their Mom (who knows better what their Mom would like than another Mom?). Your millennial will come to your house for hot chocolate and help you with the Christmas decorations! You can take selfies and send them to their real Mom and post them on Facebook, so everyone knows you have a Secret Santa Millennial. Think of all the other Millennials who will be so jealous when they see your “Insta” postings.

Your Secret Santa Millennial will probably teach you how to Snapchat! Then, everyone can  see all the fun you’re having, like you used to with your own kids…but only for 10 seconds!!! How cGIPHY Studios Originals nice santa santa claus naughtyomforting is that? In case, you do something naughty instead of nice!

And I feel very certain the millennials will love this. We all know they are hungering for another Mom to send them texts, call them, Facebook comment, and show up at their work and apartments with Christmas cheer, suggestions, plans for their weekends. It will be like they never left home! What could be a better Christmas present than that?

Since I just saw that Facebook post and came up with this idea, I’m going to have to concede that it’s too late for this Christmas. But don’t worry, I never forget any of my amazing ideas, so I’ll be contacting all of you for your Millennial’s “deets” next year!

Can’t wait for my kids to read this and comment!!

Merry Christmas and all the Best in the New Year to each and every one of you!

“You Just have to Laugh……”

©Cathy Sikorski 2016

The True Meaning of Christmas………………..

This has become the Christmas of boycotting….everyone is telling everyone else where they can shop and where they can’t shop.

It doesn’t matter why or what  you’re protesting. You can’t buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks, underwear, ties, beer, vodka, cereal, cookies, soda, anything in Target, anything on Amazon, gift cards for anywhere, coats, shoes, take out food, and some of these things and places are being boycotted on both sides because no one can seem to get their facts straight.

So we are all going to have a Christmas where we go “commando”,  can’t get drunk, can’t have coffee to help with our hangover,  have no presents to complain about, can’t go out with those restaurant gift cards to those places we would never go without a gift card, won’t have a warm coat to wear or a tie to wear to church, no cereal for breakfast, so somebody better be cooking Christmas breakfast AND dinner….like that would ever happen. And think of all those  people who don’t even celebrate Christmas  who can’t call for take-out on Christmas Day?

And no cookies for Santa, unless you’re one of those crazy people who still bake, are there still people like that? I sure hope so cause those elves who make cookies are probably out of work right now.

This was not well thought out, people. It’s Christmas, for heaven’s sake. How are we supposed to buy a bunch of crap for others that they don’t want or need if we are boycotting all things capitalistic?

Yes, I am inspired by this. I think we will all come to find the true meaning of Christmas.

See how nice our underwear is, George?
See how nice our underwear is, George?

To paraphrase Clarence in It’s a Wonderful Life…… You see, George, you’ve really had a wonderful life and some wonderful underwear. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?

The true meaning of Christmas….is about not throwing out your old underwear until you have new ones….otherwise, the term “Jesus!” takes on a whole different meaning.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Wonderful New Year to all my amazing readers. I wish you joy, happiness and clean underwear wherever you go!

“You Just have to Laugh………….”

©2016 Cathy Sikorski

Where’s the fire?

Two weeks ago, I wrote a tale about my mother-in-law needing to move to assisted living because the fire department had been called one too many times when she left things on the stove.

I thought that was the end of my fireman stories. Until yesterday.

I went to visit my friend, Lisa, at her brand new Senior Living apartment. As hip young seniors we keep trying to turn this experience into a fun-loving event, rather than a crystal ball into our future as we look down the hallway at the walkers and scooters sitting outside apartment doors.

Every time I go there, Lisa has a new story that most assuredly will provide material for our sitcom about TBIs (Traumatic Brain Injuries) combined with Senior Housing. It’ll be a  hoot, based on our initial research!

She’s been in this newly built apartment building for about a month, as has everyone, so the glitches are still being worked out. The biggest challenge is cooking, not because these people don’t know how to cook, but as I suspect based on my mother-in-law’s experience, because the designers of senior housing were forewarned that seniors leave things on the stove.

In response to that, the smoke alarms have been set to super-very-sensitive. So that if your tea kettle steam starts to sing, off goes the smoke alarm for the entire building. If you’ve burnt your toast, because you LIKE burnt toast (yes, there are some of us out there), the smoke alarm goes off. If you have a few items on the top of the stove that are boiling, the smoke alarm will likely accompany your potatoes, carrots and green beans.

This alarm is not just in your apartment. The entire building goes off with blinking lights and shrill clanging that does not stop until the fire department arrives and shuts it off.

And remember, this is senior housing. These aren’t sprinters who live here. They have to find their keys, get their coats and purses. Don’t even think of telling them to go outside without their purse. Sometimes they are napping and are jolted out of their beds. This has danger, broken hips and fear-of-cooking written all over it.

Lisa told me this has happened at least a half a dozen times in just the first month. I, of course, think she is prone to exaggeration.

Until we come home from our shopping trip, and everyone is out in the parking lot, lights are blaring, we can hear the fire engine several blocks away, the clanging alarm is assaulting our conversation, and I notice that there are half-naked people standing in the parking lot.

aka "Silver Lining"
aka “Silver Lining”

No, they are not Seniors. Sorry, but nobody wants to see that. They are lifeguards from the YMCA, which is attached to the senior housing building. So every time the alarm goes off, they have to clear the YMCA, which includes the pool, in November, when it’s 40 degrees outside and raining. And yes, there is always a silver lining.

Lisa’s 85-year-old neighbor approaches us with:

“Why don’t they just take out all the stoves in our apartments?”

To which another replies:

“I made chili yesterday and didn’t move from the stove until it was completely done. I was afraid to even go to the bathroom, in case it set off the fire alarm. And it wasn’t even five-alarm chili.”

Yep, this sitcom is gonna’ be a hoot!

“You Just have to Laugh……”

©2016 Cathy Sikorski

Shoes, Glorious Shoes…….!!!!

I have been fighting against “old lady shoes” for quite some time now. Okay, I’ve just been fighting the ‘old lady’ thing altogether. But I love shoes…high shoes, shiny shoes, fancy shoes, boots, sandals…you name it.  I can’t get enough of all kinds of shoes. I think for two reasons. One, I like looking down at pretty things, and two, my feet are really skinny. It’s so dysfunctional, I know. And you’d think most people would hate that because all shoes don’t fit. But I like using the word skinny sometimes when I’m not ordering a Cinnamon Dolce Latte.

Yet, the gods of comfort are beckoning to me. And not in a nice way. The other thing I love to do is travel. And every shoe-loving woman will tell you that travel and shoes are like oil and water….unless you find the perfect vinaigrette…. which I think I may have at my new bff shoe store…SAS shoes.

A while ago I told you how I dutifully took my Mom to get her standard shoes at SAS, and

Pretty even without me in them!
Pretty even without me in them!

much to my surprise, I found a pair of adorable patent leather flats that seemed too good to be true…super comfy and shiny and fun! I loved them right away. Six months later I took Mom back for summer sandals and again I was chomping at the bit to go across the street to the fun, funky shoe store as soon as Mom got her feet squared away for comfy walking.

And lo and behold, there in the SAS store were these candy-apple sandals that felt as yummy as a treat at the county fair. I plunked down my credit card and decided I would

Sexy French Feet Thanks to SAS Shoes!
Sexy French Feet Thanks to SAS Shoes!

give them the ultimate test………I took them right out of the box and off to a walking trip in France.

My feet never felt so good…at least I didn’t notice they felt bad, what with all the French wine and croissants. No, it was better than that, I could walk on the beach, go shopping, see the sights and not once did my feet hurt…and they were pretty, and shiny!

I was re-thinking the ‘old lady shoe’ prejudice.

Then I got an email from some lovely gal named Taylor at SAS shoes.

“Would you like to review our new fall shoe called ‘HOPE?

Would I????©2016Cathy Sikorski

©2016CathySikorski
Happy Feet!

These beauties came just in time for a quick trip to NYC to spend time with our daughter and meet the new boyfriend. This was a big risk. I can be pretty cranky if my feet hurt. There’s no way to get around NYC without walking for blocks and blocks. So I put on my new burgundy suede HOPE shoes and off we went. I should have told the new boyfriend to HOPE for the best. Boy, did he get lucky!

I do so love SAS shoes. My arches were happy, the color is so ‘in’ this fall, and museums didn’t leave my feet hopeless. It was such a beautiful “Autumn in New York….” day that we even walked the 20 blocks home from lunch because we were enjoying the day and each other so much. I think my daughter and the new boyfriend are now a fan of SAS shoes!

In that former blog, I decided that SAS must not just mean San Antonio Shoemakers, but also Style and Sass (that’s my new name for them!). So, yes, I got the HOPE shoes for free to review them, but the other SAS shoes were on me. Now, SAS shoes will always be on me….to rest from my 4-inch heels and remind my feet, I really do love them!

“You Just Have to Laugh…..and wear comfortable cool shoes!”

©2016 Cathy Sikorski

Sometimes You Just Need a Lion on Your Side…….

I called the hospital today. Well, more accurately, I called the hospital billing department. The billing department is no longer in the hospital. The hospital is in Pennsylvania, where I live, and where my loved ones go to the hospital when they have a problem, medically.

The billing department is in Tennessee, where nobody, who goes to my hospital, lives or goes to if they have a problem medically or otherwise. Okay, maybe that ‘s not true, maybe some people go to Tennessee if they have a problem with say, country music, and want to see if it’s them or the music.

By putting the ‘billing department’ in Tennessee, it prevents all of us in Pennsylvania from actually going to the billing department to talk about a problem. That way no one has to discuss these problems face-to-face. So much easier, said no one, ever.

I called Tennessee today, and although the gentlemen was very nice, the problem was apparently unsolvable.

“I want to know if this bill, which started out at $4500 and is now magically down to $500 has been paid? ” I queried, for the third time in three months.

“Well, ma’am let me see. Now before I answer that question, even though you’ve given me the account number, can you give me the address on the bill, the date of birth of the patient, the date of the bill, the services rendered, the patient’s blood type and the name of their cat?” he asked ever so politely.

Okay, he didn’t ask for the blood type or the cat, but why not? My question is, why in heaven’s name do you put an account number on the bill if it means absolutely nothing in terms of information? Do you make more money by keeping me on the phone? Are you tracing the call just to make sure I’m not in Tennessee, but that I stayed in Pennsylvania where I belong?

We do-si-do all around the information, until we’re both exhausted and wish we had taken more square-dancing lessons, and finally, he says:

“Please ignore that bill ma’am the insurance company has agreed to review it.”

“Okay, but I have an estate to settle, so can I assume that the bill will be no more than the $500 you currently are requesting?”

“No, you cannot.”

Here’s where I want to find a cat, maybe a tiger or a lion, and release it into the wilds of Tennessee with the scent of this insurance company on its nose like a barrel of catnip.

“Um……….why would that be?”

“Well, what if the insurance company decides to take back all the payments they already made? Then the bill would be more.”

“Why would they do that?” I asked, “Medicare paid this over a year ago and this has been your fault for not properly submitting the balance to the other Medigap insurance carrier.”

“Well,” he replied, “we don’t know what they will do.”

‘Cause you don’t know what you’re doing……that’s really what I wanted to say.

But since he told me to ignore the bill, I’m gonna’ do just that. Probably forever.

“You Just have to Laugh…..”

©Cathy Sikorski 2016

 

Prequel, Shmequel…just stick to the publication date……..

Sometimes I think we forget how the generation above us made a sensible life for themselves.  We fail to give our moms and dads credit for having figured out how to well…figure it out. Life has always been complicated, the addition of technology as not only a tool, but our new best friend is  making it worse. And yes, this flummoxes people like my 88-year-old Mom. But let’s not pretend it doesn’t do the same to us too.

I was trying to explain the concept of a pre-quel to my mom the other day.  My mom and sister and I have become rabid fans of the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child. There are like 20 of them and I’m happy to read them in whatever order the books come into my life. Some I get from the library, some I get from my friends, and I read whichever ones I haven’t read yet. And then I pass them on to my mom and my sister.

The one thing that was bugging all of us is that all of a sudden (Spoiler Alert, but probably not really if you’re a fan) is that everyone was talking to Jack about how sorry they were because his brother died. What? When did that happen? He was just alive two books ago. And how did he die? Nobody (at least not the characters) is talking.

So my mom and sister decided  to put an end to this. They are both Virgos. They cannot abide this frivolous lack of organization. My sister finally put her foot down.  We are going to look in the newest book we have, get a list of all the titles and start from the beginning.

Okay, fine.

Turns out not one of us ever read the very first book by Lee Child with Jack Reacher as his main character, the Killing Floor.  That’s where his brother, Joe Reacher dies.

Now my mom is confused, outraged and refuses to accept this.

“I ‘ve read dozens of these books, so far,” she said, “and the brother is alive in some of them. This doesn’t make any sense.”

“Well,” I told her, “perhaps the author wanted to go back in time with Jack’s life and talk about  where he came from, his mom and his brother and their life together. So he had to create a pre-quel.”

That seemed to be the end of the conversation, until a few days later when we were going shopping.

“I need you to give that book, “The Killing Floor” back to me, ” she said.

“Okay, but I’m reading it. Can it wait?”

“Well, okay, but I wrote down the publication date as 1997, and I just want to see if that’s right because I’ve gone through all the Jack Reacher books I have at home and none of them are before 1997. I just don’t understand it. I must’ve written it down incorrectly.”

“What are you talking about, Mom?”

“It just can’t be right that that book was written in 1997 because his mother and brother are dead and they are alive in other books.”

Now, here’s the thing. Do not try and use Star Wars as an example of a pre-quel to your 88-year-old mother. I tried. She’s never seen any Star-Wars-anything.  Princess Leia sounds naughty, Yoda sounds like exercise and Obewon Kenobe sounds like sushi, all of which she detests.

Since pre-quels didn’t seem to exist before  Star Wars, well, you’re just going to have to figure it out.

I’m not finished The Killing Floor yet, but I’m thinking about ripping out the copyright page and dummying up one that says 2016. For my mom, for my sanity, for senior citizens book clubs everywhere, and for all readers born before 1983.

“You Just have to Laugh…..”

©Cathy Sikorski 2016

Who does this at your age?!?!?

Just thought I’d lighten the mood a bit and share my latest Story Slam.  The topic was RISK!  This is as good as it gets from a goodie two shoes Catholic School girl!

A-rears or Ass-inine?

Yesterday, I went to the Social Security Office unannounced. It was a big risk. You could be there 20 minutes or three hours. You never know. There was only one couple in the waiting room and one lady at the window talking to a representative. Jackpot!

My number was called in less than five minutes. Clearly, the gods were on my side.

I was in the Social Security Office to check on the missing checks that were to be sent to the children of my brother-in-law. See, there ‘s a rule in Social Security. If a bank receives a check after a recipient has died, the bank must return that check to Social Security.

Now this might make sense to you. However, what you need to know is that Social Security pays in arrears.

What that means is that if  you die in October, and you receive a check in October, you are being paid for September. So that’s still your check, alive or dead. You lived all of September. You get paid for September. Admittedly, if you don’t tell Social Security that you died ( well, okay if someone else doesn’t tell them that you died), and those checks continue to go into your bank account they should be returned to Social Security.

But here’s the rub. Almost every funeral home alerts Social Security that  you’ve died and the whopping $255 death benefit will be sent to the beneficiary. It’s a nice favor that funeral homes do.

And yet, 99 times out of 100 that monthly check that the bank returned to Social Security does indeed belong to the deceased. And it would naturally flow to the estate of the deceased and dealt with accordingly. The bank can’t help it. The bank is required by law to send that check back as soon as they are notified that someone has died.

But because of this stupid rule, I had to go to the Social Security Office, get the proper form and submit the names, addresses and Social Security numbers of the children of the deceased.

And I did that….on March 27, 2016.

By August 27, 2016. five months later, the beneficiaries contacted me to tell me they had not received their checks. Which I was grateful for, since I have no way of knowing if Social Security did their job or not.

So I went to the Social Security Office after Labor Day and asked the representative if she thought it was weird that we hadn’t heard anything, hadn’t received the checks and seemed to have fallen into the black hole of lost paperwork. Of course, I had a copy of everything I submitted. She admitted that was weird.

So she looked up the case from my paperwork and said: “Oh, that case was cleared August 29th.”

“What does that mean?” I asked.

She just shook her head and shrugged her shoulders and said, “well, I would just wait another week to see if those checks are delivered. And don’t lose these copies.”

Yeah. I made those copies for just such an occasion, not because Social Security told me that would be a stellar idea.

Hmmmm.

Five months to correct a thing that never should be happening. Why is this even a thing? Who made up this stupid rule, costing deceased families time and money, costing banks time and money, and especially since Social Security knows they pay in arrears.

Imagine waiting five months in your office for someone to read a paper and take action. The checks came, my beneficiaries were happy and we all just shook our heads and shrugged our shoulders.

Think of these blogs as instructional, so you don’t lose your mind and please……

“You Just have to Laugh…..”

©2016 Cathy Sikorski