Monthly Archives: April 2016

Hello…it’s me….

I just returned from three weeks away to get a good head start on my next book.

I have been running from one person to another who just needs to see me. I don’t care how far technology has come, people want to actually see you. My mom, my friends, my book club, my uncle, my sisters, even my cleaning lady. And I want to see them.  It has made an impact on me. I realize that human contact, not just phones, or email or even Skype take the place of eye to eye, hand on the arm, hugs and kisses. Actually talking in person to someone can make your life better.

Never more so was this clear,  yesterday when I sat with my Mom as we made yet another phone call to the Veterans Administration. It was not frustrating or anger-inducing as I have recounted in the past, but it was a hoot.

It was reminiscent of a phone call I had made just days earlier to Medicare.

This was the Medicare call with a robot voice who was trying to get me to the right place:

Robovoice: Please state the purpose of your call.

Me: “Claims”

Robovoice: I heard ‘disability’ . Is that correct?

Me: “No, Claims.”

Robovoice: I heard ‘enrollment’ . Is that correct?

Me: “No, Ugh. I just want to talk to someone!”

Robovoice: I heard eligibility. Is that correct?

Lest you think I’m making this up, my friend was in the room listening, so she can confirm that this was a real conversation. I hung up and started all over again. My friend said, ” well there’s a blog.”

With my Mom and the VA however, we used this great service where they called us back rather than keep us on hold. In 10 minutes, a real person was on the phone answering our questions. She was kind, courteous and extremely helpful in leading us to the correct information.

The only problem was the phone connection was so terrible that she and I had to repeat every single sentence. I don’t know why, but neither of us got crazy over this. We just kept repeating. Finally, she said she could send me an email to make sure we had what we needed. Of course, do I have an easy email address? No, why would I?

This is how that conversation went:

Me: My email address is my name. I’ll spell it c-a-t-h-y

VA  lady: Is that J-R-P-P-I?

Me: No, it’s C, my  name is Cathy.

VA lady: Okay, Jathy

Me: No, it’s C, like in chocolate. (Now I know ‘military C’ is Charlie. I have no idea why I said chocolate)

VA lady: OH “C”! Okay you’re name is Cathy!

Me: Yes, My last name is Sikorski.

Hello? Hello?
Hello? Hello?

My mother sitting next to me says: “Oh God, this will never work!”

I just jump in and spell my last name : S as in Sam, I as in Ink, K as in Kitchen, O as in Olive, R as in Radish, S as in Sam, K as in Kitchen, I as in Ink. I don’t know the rest of the military alphabet. This is my  version.

VA Lady: Okay, I’ll send you the email.

Me: You will send it by mail?

VA Lady; No, the email, I’ll send the email.

I had no hope of this ever happening.

And five minutes later, there it was in my inbox.

If only we could have seen each other, it would have been so much better. But my Mom and I had a great laugh as we sat together at her kitchen table.

“You Just have to Laugh….”

© Cathy Sikorski 2016

Let’s Shake on That……………..

I had this brilliant idea that I would offer to house sit and dog sit for my dear friends while they went to New Zealand for three weeks. The biggest reason I wanted to do this, other than stay in their magnificent shore house, was so that I could make a real dent in my next book.

And it was working, for one day.

Then I got pink eye.

I went for a walk on the beach and by the time I came home, I  couldn’t see. I was sure it was because the wind was whipping pretty furiously but I persevered. I also thought that my eyes were red because, well the wind was whipping furiously!

After writing all morning and subjecting myself to a vigorous walk on the beach, my creative juices deserved a nap.

Upon waking, so ready to dive right back into that book, my eyes refused to open. They were sealed shut tighter than a child-proof cap on a bottle of Tylenol.

I’m in a shore town, in April. There’s nobody here. I don’t have a doctor or even an ER close by.  I drive to the CVS pharmacy hoping they have a Minute Clinic where I can get drops and be on my way. Really  hoping I don’t have to drive much further because I can’t see a damn thing out of my right eye.I keep wiping my drooling eye with a new tissue and immediately put it in a used grocery bag because I suspect I’m contagious as hell. I don’t want my steering wheel, door handle, or anything else to propagate this vile disease for the next three weeks of my self-imposed writing bootcamp.

CVS tells me the closest Minute Clinic is 100 miles away. Luckily, a beautiful Emergency Medical Tech is standing next to me and gives me directions to the closest Urgent Care, whilst moving very slowly away from me with every well placed word.

I find a great staff and physician at the Urgent Care. I tell the doctor I’m so glad I caught the pink eye before it infested both my eyes. He gives me a sympathetic nod. I got the feeling he wasn’t convinced this disaster was over. Kindly, he told me to call if I needed anything else.

I went back to the CVS, picked up the miracle antibiotic drops and went home to listen to YouTube videos. I couldn’t write because I couldn’t see. I went to bed secure in the knowledge that in the morning I would be clear eyed.

At 2:00 AM my writing life was over. At least for another day. I now had pink eye in both eyes. Since I’m not an idiot, I put the magic drops in both my eyes and four hours later rebaptized my suffering eyeballs.

Then I called the doctor to call in another prescription so that I would have enough drops to finish the job.

Not so fast.

The Urgent Care doctor was not surprised that he needed to call in the prescription. The CVS pharmacy, however was hog tied by my medical insurance.

“Sorry,” the pharmacist said, “but I can’t refill the prescription until next week. Because you just picked up that medicine yesterday, the insurance company won’t allow me to refill it.”

“But, but, but that was for ONE eye, I now have it in BOTH eyes!”

It didn’t look like this

The pharmacist flinched, not because this was a crazy request, but, I’m pretty sure because she was being begged by Quasimodo to fix this problem.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” she said.

I couldn’t help myself. I had pink eye all over the place. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t drive, or go to a bar and drown my sorrows. I was typhoid Mary and couldn’t hide it.

So I wiped my eyes with the palm of my hand and stuck it out to the pharmacist.

“That’s okay, I’m sure you understand what it’s like to have this in both eyes. Thanks for your help.”

Her horrified face met my proposed handshake as she grabbed the phone. She called the insurance company and said to me: “Come back in two days, you should have enough medicine until then.”

She left my handshake hanging, but I was okay with that.

Message received.

“You Just have to Laugh…..”

©Cathy Sikorski 2016

Time to get an Education……….

I have a guest poster today!! I read this and laughed so hard I needed to share it with you my wonderful readers, and Roxanne was so kind to let me post it here! Enjoy and see you next week!


7 adult ed classes just for boomers


My local adult education organization offers a pretty diverse assortment of classes, several of which Hubs and I have taken.


For example, together we learned how to roll our own sushi, and he took yoga for men (until he hurt his knee). Plus, a friend and I took a belly-dancing class that made us laugh more than it helped us master our core muscles.


But some other offerings hold no appeal: I don’t want to learn how to be a dental assistant, make collage resin coasters or attend bridal boot camp.


So that got me to thinking about other topics that adult ed could offer, particularly for us baby boomers. Here are a few I came up with:


Snappy Comebacks in the Face of Ageism

Tired of feeling dumbfounded when the twenty-something bagger at the market asks if you want help getting your groceries to your car? Are you tempted to bitch-slap anyone who says how good you look—for your age? In this class, you’ll learn to deliver witty ripostes that simultaneously raise awareness of the offender’s ignorance and insensitivity, and cut him/her down to size. Example: “Don’t worry about me, honey. Worry about your eyebrows.” A set of pocket-sized cue cards is included in course fee.


How to Learn a Foreign Language When You’re Forgetting Words in English

Don’t let tip-of-the-tongue syndrome hold you back from learning another language! Research shows that adults are actually better language learners than kids—despite perceptions to the contrary. You’re never too old to become fluent, and this engaging class provides tips and techniques for doing so, including how to interact in your chosen language daily without traveling, mnemonics, and a wealth of free online resources to help you succeed. You, too, can become a polyglot!


Entertaining in the Age of Dietary Restrictions

Having people over for dinner isn’t as simple as it used to be. Gluten sensitivity, nut and shellfish allergies, lactose intolerance, vegan/vegetarian and Paleo devotees, acid reflux issues—what’s a host/hostess to do? In this hands-on class, you’ll learn to prepare a meal that accommodates eight different types of dietary restrictions, along with appropriate wine pairings. Class fee includes cost of food and a discount on our “How to Make New Friends” class.


Boomer Grandparent Etiquette I: Among Friends

Yeah, yeah, we know that your grandchild is the cutest, smartest and most interesting kid to walk the face of the earth. But when does talking about his or her achievements cross the line and become boorish braggadocio? What is an acceptable number of photos to show someone at one time? How often should you post about your progeny on Facebook? Do people without grandchildren really care? This class will help you recognize cues such as glazed-over eyes and backing away that signal it’s time to change the subject. Class fee includes a set of magnets for mounting your little darlings’ artwork and/or photos on the fridge.


Boomer Grandparent Etiquette II:  Understanding Your Role

When your kids have kids, it’s a wonderful thing. But it’s important to remember that you are the grandparent, not the parent. In this class, you’ll learn where you fit in the new family order along with essential peacekeeping tactics such as avoidance of: expecting your kids to parent the same way you did, nagging new moms about their baby weight, hopping kids up on sugar before sending them home, demanding holiday visits, and pumping grandkids for information about their parents. Fun exercises will test your ability to zip your lip in various scenarios. You’ll also receive a list of alternative names for “Nana” and “Grandpa.”


How to Stay Sane When You’re Both Retired

If you’re one of the millions of married boomer couples approaching retirement age, you may be in for a rude awakening. For better or worse, retirement poses big challenges to couples who suddenly find themselves together all the time—especially if they haven’t really discussed their expectations. In this class, learn more effective coping strategies than starting to drink at breakfast, locking your spouse out of the house or running away from home—and avoid living unhappily ever after in retirement.


How Not to Sound Like an Old Fart

If maintaining an image of relevant coolness balanced with the gravitas that comes with age maturity experience is important to you, then this class is legit. Avoid dating yourself with passé words and phrases like peachy keen, in the swim and da bomb, and advance your hipster cred by using (appropriately) such of-the-moment phraseology as hangry, on fleek and FOMO—without sounding like an idiot poser anachronism. An especially useful class for boomer guys who want to date twenty-something women, or parents of teens who want to understand what the hell their kids are saying.


Okay, fellow boomers—what do you think? What adult ed classes would you like to see? While you’re thinking about it, here’s your Boomer Haiku:


Having lived this long

we think we’re smart, but we don’t

know what we don’t know.


A million thanks to Roxanne for being a guest poster today!!!!  Go visit her…..

RoxanneRoxanne Jones blogs at, a mostly light-hearted, often irreverent look at life as a baby boomer, 17 syllables at a time. When she’s not tapping out haikus, she’s a freelance medical copywriter, enjoys chardonnay and contemplates plastic surgery to get rid of the wattle on her neck. Although she’s never raised a child , she does have a 44-year-old stepson, 36-year-old daughter-in-law and six-year-old grandson, two cats and a husband. You can read more Boomer Haiku