Tag Archives: Ballroom Dancing

Burritos or Betelgeuse……..

John and I were rumba-ing, quite nicely I might add, when my cell phone buzzed in my bottom. I was thinking I had the sexy rumba move down pat, but then realized it was my phone and the BIL (brother-in-law) moniker was flashing.

When I answered, I could hear a conversation but no one was talking to me. Obviously, it was some kind of a butt dial from one of the caregivers. I called the central caregiver dispatcher to tell her that she needed to call her peeps on their cell to disconnect BIL’s phone.

Ten minutes later, my butt jangled again. This time with some difficulty, BIL got on the phone and told me he was losing his mind.

After a long conversation with Howie, the caregiver, we were all losing our minds. Somehow, my BIL who hasn’t walked for 4 years had gotten out of his wheelchair and into bed with no visible assistance. He was distraught, he was disoriented and he was of the opinion that he could take care of himself.

Howie went to the Manager of BIL’s facility to investigate. Ten minutes later, I’m still trying to learn slow-quick-quick and the mystery is solbed. Howie reported that management had a freak out with BIL. At dinner no one could figure out why his power wheelchair wasn’t working. Management called the police, who came and pushed the behemoth chair to his room and apparently lifted him into bed, left him there and didn’t discuss it with anyone.

I have yet to come down on those people. First things first.

Howie says BIL was still very upset, so we leave the concluding ballroom class lickety-split and high tail to the apartment. We are seconds from pulling into the parking lot when my cell jangles yet again.

“Your BIL says he didn’t have dinner, so can you bring him something to eat?”

“Ummmm…it’s almost 10 at night, so I guess we can turn around and go to McDonald’s.”

I hang up, my hubby turns the car around, we drive 2 blocks, my phone rings. Life may have been so much better when there were no cell phones. Truly.

“He doesn’t want McDonald’s. He wants Taco Bell.”

Really? How distraught is he? I get his order and off we go to Taco Bell.

To make sure I get just the right order, I go in to Taco Bell. It is now after 10. This is a very small town. No one is in Taco Bell. No one is going through the drive-thru. There are three very sweet, young teens working behind the counter.

“Can I help you?”

tacos“Sure,” I said, “I’ll take a plain bean burrito, a 7 layer burrito, and a small Coke.”

The place is so empty my order echos throughout the joint.

“Can I have your name?”

I burst out laughing….because you might confuse my order with someone else’s?

“Ummm….I’m the only one here!”

“I know but I can’t place your order without putting a name into the computer.” I so wanted to say Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, but I was afraid my night could get worse.

She hands me a cup and I go to the soda machine. Now, I haven’t been in a Taco Bell in years and years. This soda machine looked like a pinball machine. it was huge, had blinking lights of all different colors bouncing around and if I had had a brain injury, I probably would have gone into a seizure. I had no idea how to get the soda I wanted.

In that moment. I realized I, too will be handicapped in my old age. I won’t know how to get soda, I’ll have to give my ID to get anything I want, and young people and machines will wonder why I can’t navigate a world as simple as Taco Bell.

And yet….. I was still laughing at night’s end because an empty Taco Bell can put a laugh out there, bad night or not, McDonald’s wasn’t good enough, and the demand for bean burritos was to combat constipation. So even in our old demented age, we aren’t always the one’s who will be full of crap (bean burrito, anyone?)

“You just have to Laugh…”

©Cathy Sikorski 2015





The best things happen while you’re dancing…..and then……..

Recovery from a crazy weekend symbolized too much drinking, eating, carousing and not enough sleep. Good times. Recovery in the baby boom lexicon foreshadows peculiar changes.

Last weekend my husband and I went to two dinner dances. We love to dance. In fact, we took three different ballroom dancing classes this year.  Since ballroom dancing is one of the top five things you can do to stave off dementia, we figured a thrown hip or knee was a better choice than Alzheimer’s. You wouldn’t recognize ballroom dancing if you watched us, but we just love to dance and that was a legit way to get off the couch, do something fun together, and laugh at our mutual lack of skill.  Then we go back to our lounge lizard moves.

Now at our age, two late nights of dancing, in a row, is pretty risque. The problem is not the actual dancing. It’s the recovery. Saturday night’s gala lasted until midnight. Traditionally, at this affair, we are the last couple on the dance floor with our best friends. This is a country club affair, and if my husband is the recipient of an award  (which is often, because I married a winner in every sense of the word) then we dance more, he drinks more, we talk more and we recover more slowly.

Yes, he won.

Recovery now means we were up too late (past midnight!), too much physical activity

What dancing really looks like
What dancing really looks like

(dancing?) plenty of sleep (because we pass out in our bed as soon as we fall into it) and at least one person who was the designated driver and is only recovering from too much water. And yet, the morning after….the bones creak, the legs move slowly, napping is scheduled as a high priority the minute one wakes up, and the thought of grooming to a high level all over again is daunting.

The next day we both tried to lay low knowing full well our other set of best friends would expect dancing mania, especially since they just completed a course of ballroom dancing with us. We did not disappoint. Although, with 30 minutes of rock and roll left, I could see my intrepid husband slowing down.

“My legs are giving out,” he whispered, as he twirled me in towards him.

“My feet are killing me,” I said quietly, as I did the cha-cha around him.

Now I know what Ginger Rogers meant when she said something like: You try doing this in high heels and backwards….and Fred gets all the credit.

As we limped to the car, the second night in a row, I said to my dancing partner and life partner, “I don’t think we can do this again.”

He mumbled something back which was either, “sure we can, we love to dance,” or “I think we can refinance.”

Drinking coffee at the breakfast table the next morning, I hear my husband coming down the stairs mumbling, “Ow, Ow, Ow.”

I would have gone to the bottom of the staircase to help him, but I had just crawled over to the coffee pot and wasn’t about to do that again.

“You just have to Laugh…”

©Cathy Sikorski 2014



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