Monthly Archives: November 2014

2014 Reasons to be grateful….okay only 10…..

Everyone has something to be grateful for…just look around you:

1. Grateful that my cleaning lady is downstairs and I’m up here typing.

2. Grateful that my company left, not because I didn’t LOVE having them here, but now I can forget to put on a bra, or clothes and run to answer the phone or quick send that email.

3. Grateful for my sister who basically cooks the entire Thanksgiving dinner, except the turkey and stuffing and brings it to my house. You should all be so lucky, especially when it’s snowing.

4. Grateful that my brother-in-law is home and snuggled in his independent living and not in a nursing home anymore……even if the visiting nurses still try and get me to look at the miraculously healing wound on his derrière.

5. Grateful for my darling, amazing, commenting, fun, funny, interesting readers of this blog.

6. Grateful for Depends, mail order drugs, external catheters, bed pans and spit cups. Yes, those inventions make my life better.

Wine...just wine
Wine…just wine

7. Grateful for the Hallmark Channel, bad Christmas movies and wine, really grateful for wine.

8. Grateful for all the people, Facebook posts, somee cards, and Pinterest posts that make me laugh.

9. Grateful for heat, electricity, water and wine, not necessarily in that order.

10. Grateful that I am able to sit here and write this blog because I have an amazing husband, daughters, mom, brothers, sisters, friends, a cleaning lady and wine.

Thank you all for being my readers, my friends, my supporters and my partners in laughter…Laughing alone isn’t nearly as much fun and…..

“You just have to Laugh………”

©2014 Cathy Sikorski



Book Review: Are You Kidding Me? by Stacey Gustafson

I have been given the great honor to provide my most excellent readers with a book review on a humorous tome called : ARE YOU KDDING ME? MY LIFE WITH AN EXTREMELY LOUD FAMILY, BATHROOM CALAMITIES AND CRAZY RELATIVES.

For those of you who know me intimately, no this is not about you and I didn’t write this book. (That does not mean you shouldn’t panic about the future).

Stacey 2This rollicking review of life comes form Stacey Gustafson and gives us funny, charming, naughty and brutally honest snapshots of 20 years of ups and downs in her family. The fact that they still love her and talk to her is downright incredible.

Some of my personal favorites include driving lessons with her eldest called : Stressed Out in the Passenger Seat, even my daughters will tell you to this day that I am the worst passenger while they are driving.

Also loved, Toilet Phobia, not because I grew up with one, like Stacey, but because I am always on the lookout for one and can see how I might get confused once I’m in there.

I wished I had been living with her during her “Burnin’ Love” period.  There can never be enough homemade pizza…..or so I thought.

And her mother’s antics are actually more like me than my mother. I saw a peek into my daughters’ future, and it was scary.

Stacey captures the craziness of family life and gave me all the smiles I miss from reading Erma Bombeck.

I’m sure you can find ARE YOU KDDING ME? MY LIFE WITH AN EXTREMELY LOUD FAMILY, BATHROOM CALAMITIES AND CRAZY RELATIVES  at Amazon or a book store you love…if not ask for it and make them get it for you!

Best of luck, Stacey. You are definitely in my corner where

“You just have to Laugh…..”

Below is Stacey’s blog and how to link to Amazon to get her book!




©2014 Cathy Sikorski

Nailed it……………

I am getting a mani-pedi tomorrow.  First, ballroom dancing and now mani-pedis. Who is this so-called caregiver? But I have to because I’m going to a Masquerade Ball where I can use my new and improved dancing skills.

This brought me to the conclusion that my brother-in-law could use a mani-pedi himself. I just can’t get him to the salon. No one will transport him in his humungous wheelchair if it is not a medical necessity. Now actually, it is a medical necessity. Because he is diabetic, he must have his nails taken care of as a function of keeping infection and fungus away. The podiatrist will come to his apartment and take care of feet, but not fingernails.

Conveniently, there is a salon in the building where he lives. After 6 months in a rehab nursing home, wanting to feel clean, and groomed and just as much  a regular guy as possible, we made an appointment for my brother-in-law to get a haircut and a manicure at the salon in his building.


The manicurist won’t cut his fingernails. They are too hard to handle and she’s afraid of hurting him or cutting him. Albeit, she is supposed to be a professional manicurist. She suggests I get the visiting nurse to do it.

I text the visiting nurse. This is our text conversation:

“Hi cathy…We r not allowed to cut nails due the (sic) the risk of infection with diabetes..Sorry :(”

“Thank you for telling me. Do you know what other people do?”

“A podiatrist for the toes and I guess they do the fingernails themselves.”

I know. Already you are saying…………but Cathy, if he could do it himself you probably wouldn’t be asking this question… a nurse.

I can only come up with two possible solutions:

1. Pretend he is a bride and make arrangements for a personal manicure on his “wedding day.” I know some manicurists will do that. They may require an entire bridal party, but I’m sure I could get my mom and sisters, maybe some nieces and girlfriends to show up.


2. See if I can get him a mail order bride that is a manicurist.

Either way the word bride seems to be the answer to my problems.

“You just have to Laugh…..”

©2014Cathy Sikorski


Or we’re gonna’ go round and round……..

Sometimes a girl has just gotta’ dance. Whilst deep in the Rumba, the dance of love, according to our ballroom dance instructor, I actually turned off my cell phone. I take this ballroom dancing seriously, since I read it is the number one hobby that can stave off dementia. Plus, my husband can’t believe I have found an activity we can do together where children, siblings, parents, caregivees, nurses, insurance companies and doctors can’t get in touch with me.

After 90 minutes of “slow……..quick, quick” and wine and cookies (okay, there are other perks to ballroom dancing), my husband and I are happily re-connected, refreshed and ready to go home.

As we leave the dance floor and enter the parking lot, it’s snowing like a blizzard out there on November 13th. This should have been my first clue of disaster.

Fine. I’m refreshed, I can deal with the first frostbite of the year. Then I checked my phone.

Two calls from my brother-in-law. Two messages and a few other missed calls and texts from his caregivers. Uh oh.

The good news is my brother-in-law called. At least I know he can dial his new phone. He insisted I bought a completely useless phone that he couldn’t operate. So there’s that.

I cringed for the bad news as I listened to the messages:

Message 1:

“Cathy, this is ‘L’, nobody got me out of bed for dinner, and no one delivered my meal either.”

Message 2:

“Cathy, it’s an hour later. Don’t know if you got my first message. I didn’t get dinner. Wish someone would have warned me that  I wasn’t getting dinner tonight. I guess I’ll be ok.”

It’s now 90 minutes after the second message…the exact amount of time it takes to learn the dance of love with 6 variations. I call him back. No answer. Either he has passed out from hunger, someone came to his rescue, or he gave up and went to sleep.

I text the last caregiver who I know was with him to give him his night meds. No response. I make an executive decision to let it go until morning. Based on his overall weight and eating habits, I’m pretty certain missing one meal won’t end his time here on earth.

The next morning on my way to his facility, I called his caregivers. I wasn’t planning on taking this side trip to see him, but I wanted to reassure him that I received his phone messages and was taking care of business. They assured me that someone had set up his meal for dinner. I’m not so sure. My brother-in-law doesn’t have dementia. He just generally only thinks about things he cares about and leaves the rest to me.

When I get to his room, after breakfast, (I wanted him to be fed and in a good mood………I learned a thing or two from having toddlers), I asked him if he ever got dinner last night.

“You called me twice last night to say no one brought you dinner, remember? Did you have dinner or not?”

He looks at me like I have the head of Medusa, or am speaking in Italian.

“I don’t remember calling you or if I got dinner, but I just had breakfast, so what’s the big deal?

I just Rumba my way out of the room………….slow….quick, quick…..slow….quick, quick.

“You just have to Laugh…………….”

©Cathy Sikorski 2014

Patience…the Patient has gone clear….

Have you ever had the experience as a caregiver (or even a co-worker) where you’ve been taking care of someone and they are clearly forgetting things and allowing you to have all the responsibility and power? Basically, they are done. They don’t want to engage in any way that is challenging or difficult. And okay, fine. You deal. And then this happens:

“You are going home tomorrow from the nursing home to your own apartment,” you say to your brother-in-law, with every so much enthusiasm because he has been waiting for this day for 5 months.

“I know, but I thought I was going home Tuesday.”

“Umm…you are….tomorrow is Tuesday.”

“Oh, yea.” Caregivee laughs at his own silliness. Then he says, “and it’s time to sign up for Medicare, right? It’s open enrollment. And we were going to look at all the options to make sure I had the best plan. Did you do that  yet?”

This is where I go through these thoughts:

I want to kill you.

Who are you and where is my brother-in-law?

When in the last 7 years have you even said the words, “open enrollment.”

I take a deep, cleansing breath, and say ,”sure, we can work on that when you get home.”

“Because your sister and her husband worked the same place I did and they are on the same retirement insurance. He had a heart transplant, so he’s no healthier than me, ” says the guy who refused to do his physical therapy just so he can hold a cup without spilling it.

Sometimes I want to run away from home.

Medicare 2015No worries. I will read the 500 page booklets from Medicare and your employer retiree plan and we will end up doing the same thing we have done for the last three years because the plans in your retirement only have one option with unlimited lifetime benefits. And you’ve probably used over a million dollars already. And your young, very young. Sick, but young. That’s what I think, but what I say is:

“Okay we will go over that, we have a few weeks yet.”

“Okay, just wanted to make sure you were on top of it. Now did I have lunch yet? Why is that picture on the wall crooked? I don’t think anyone changed the  clock to daylight savings time?”

You just have to Laugh…..”

©Cathy Sikorski 2014


Brussels Sprouts or Sidney Poitier?

In honor of Aunt Jean who passed away a year ago today:

Aunt Jean and two other great beauties.
Aunt Jean and two other great beauties.

Aunt Jean was an Australian blonde beauty who married my husband’s uncle in 1945. During World War II, Uncle Mike was stationed in Australia. He met Jeannie at a dance contest,  won the contest and her heart. At 18 years old, she moved to New Jersey without knowing a soul, moved in with my husband’s family and stayed here mostly, for the rest of her life.

Jeannie worked in New York City.  She had copious stories about all the famous and infamous people she met, more by accident than on purpose, which may be one of the greatest gifts most of us are missing by not listening to the tales of the elderly.

Her friend Mae was a live-in housekeeper in a high-fallootin’ building on the Upper East Side. When Mae’s employer went out of town, she was allowed to have her own guests over for dinner. So Jeannie and her friend Ellie got all dressed up just to go in the fancy building and up the elevator to Mae’s apartment.

Now the point of this story from Aunt Jean’s perspective was, as I was making dinner, she wanted to tell me how great her Irish buddy, Mae, concocted Brussels sprouts, so I could do the same. Something to do with sautéing them in onions and butter and bacon. But this is how she got to the Brussels sprouts recipe.

“So we were in the elevator going up to the penthouse and in walks a very handsome black man. My friend, Ellie is pulling at my sleeve and gesturing to me that this is someone I’m supposed to recognize. She’s rolling her eyes and trying to be cool, while the gentlemen is politely staring straight ahead. Finally, it hits me and I say:

“Excuse me Mr. Poitier, it’s so nice to meet you. Do you live in this building?”

“Why yes, I do. Do you?”

“No,” I say, “we are just visiting friends.” I said it like we weren’t visiting the housekeeper, of course.

“Well, that’s nice. And what is your name?”

“My name is Jean and this is my friend, Ellie.”

With that the elevator door opens for Mr. Poitier’s floor and as he gets off he says, “So very nice to meet you, Jean and Ellie. Have a lovely evening.”

“AUNT JEAN!” I said, “you met , Sidney Poitier????? You never told me that.”

“Oh, yes lovey that was fun, but let me tell you about the Brussels Sprouts, I’ve never had any so delicious.”

We miss you Aunt Jean, because whenever you were around….

“We just had to Laugh……”

©2014Cathy Sikorski