Tag Archives: funny

One Man’s Trash…is a Girl’s Night Out!

When you spend a good part of your time or life as a caregiver you find forgetting to be a common occurrence. I have classic tales about my Nana forgetting where she put her shoes, her wallet and most disturbingly…her teeth.

My mother-in-law would hide her “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” button in ‘safe’ places. Every time we went to the assisted living facility we would be ready for a game of hide-n-seek with the magic button, a button she would never push anyway.

My brother-in-law would forget where he put bills, checks and insurance papers all the time. He was actually happy when I agreed to clean up all his paperwork and just take over.

Eventually, with all this stress, the caregiver starts to be the one to forget. We all experience this as we get older. I’ll admit, it makes me panic a little. When you are too close to forgetfulness you start to think it’s a bad omen if it becomes a part of your day.

Since my caregiving has dwindled quite a bit in the last few years, I take bad memory very personally, like my brain is betraying me. I know it happens to all of us, and it is definitely a symptom of stress. But I have always known it’s a source of hilarity. And today was no exception.

As you may recall we have a very long driveway. So we put our trash cans and recycling in my SUV and drive it to the end of the driveway. A few months ago our new trash hauler required us to start using a large container for trash.

My husband’s pet peeve is that large, unsightly container defiling our cul-de-sac. So several yards before we get to the end of the driveway we pick up the large trash container,  which is tucked in the woods, and wheel it down to the end of the driveway. Then we take the trash out of my car and put it in the container.

As the SUV is my car, my husband said,

“Hey, I loaded the trash in your car. Drive me down to the bin on your way to your dinner with your girlfriends.”

“Okay,” I said.

The real culprit

I stop the SUV where the bin is tucked away. My husband gets out. And I drive away.

Down the driveway, past the mailbox, through the cul-de-sac, down the steep hill to the end of the street.

My car makes a few weird noises. Now, I’m mad because I just got new tires. And my car stinks. What’s that all about?

I turn the corner, go around the bend, there’s that noise again. I look in the rearview mirror

A fun place to take your trash!

and see the trash. I was taking the trash with me on a ‘girls night out.’

I found a driveway, turned around, went back up my street to the cul-de-sac, and I see my husband slowly walking back towards the house shaking his head in disbelief.

I’m laughing so hard, it’s silent. I can’t speak. He just looks at me.

“I was waving my hands and yelling, ” he said so plaintively. “I called your cell phone and you didn’t answer. I couldn’t believe in a nano second you forgot that you had the trash in the car and just drove away.”

He’s officially worried.

“You Just have to Laugh….”

©2017 Cathy Sikorski

 

 

 

A Christmas Story……….

 

On Sat, Dec 19, 2015 at 4:30 PM ( MY NEPHEW Wrote)

Dearest Aunt,

Could you find it in your heart to take a few minutes out of your busy day and send me the mailing address of the ( my brother and his son)? It would be most helpful of you and I would owe you my gratitude.

Yours,
Mr. J Doodles ( A NAME WE ALL CALLED HIM WHEN HE WAS A TODDLER)

 

On Dec 19, 2015, at 9:48 PM, Cathy Sikorski <cathy.sikorski@gmail.com> wrote:

Dear Mr. J Doodles,

Here is the requested information: (Info redacted to protect those unsuspecting relatives)

I will be sure and keep the ‘chit’ you owe me for this great burden and use it in the future when I find it  most necessary!

By the way, love our thermometer, except it’s broken . I debated telling you. I don’t want you to go to any additional expense but thought you’d want to know. Hope you all have a wonderful Merry Merry Christmas. We will try and call  you on Christmas day before we go to your other aunt’s for dinner. Love you all! So excited that you’re coming to  thewedding!!! Love A. Cathy

Cathleen S. Sikorski, Esq.

My Darling Aunt,

I am so sorry to hear about the damage incurred by the United States Postal Service. I was quite concerned about the thermometer making the arduous northern trek unmolested, as it is such a fragile thing. Thank you for telling me about this calamity and rest assured this wrong shall be righted.

Thank you for the addresses. It makes physical correspondence with the New Jersey relatives much more convenient. You have made the impossible, possible. You can add that to your long resume of assisting others with their most dire needs. And as for the ‘chit’, you deserve it, as I am sure you have a huge pile of chit from your years of caring for those who need it. Every time I see your face I think of all of the great things that you have done for me and my family and all of the chits that face has garnered. So in my eyes, you are always chit-faced.

Thank you again, and may your holidays be filled with friends, health, and good cheer,

– Mr. J Doodles

Wormed out of my Apple

See….it’s genetic..

“You Just Have to Laugh…..”

©2015 Cathy Sikorski

No Regrets…..

Hope you enjoy my Grand Slam Story Slam for 2015! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, my beloved readers. I am so thankful for all your reading, comments and support. Hope this gives you a chuckle. I have never had one regret putting myself out there for all of you!

 

 

Out of the mouths of babes………..

When my sister died from breast cancer in 1995 she was just 41 years old.  My daughters were 6 years old and 3 years old. At their age, they knew it was a sad affair, but they were resilient enough that they adapted to the sorrow around them with the beauty that young children have. They made the grown-ups smile and realize that happiness could and would return one day, even if in a different way.

Trips to the cemetery weren’t really unusual for us. My Dad died when I was a little girl, my Pop-Pop was buried there and quite frankly the cemetery was bucolic, filled with flowers and beautiful. I also grew up across the street from two different cemeteries. We used to play there all the time. So I took my girls to our church cemetery when they were young, sometimes with my Mom or my Nana. We would plant flowers, the kids would get water from the old fashioned pump, and run between the headstones plucking billowy headed dandelions and blowing them into the air, making wishes.

So cemeteries were not a sad place for my girls. Four months after she died, it was my sister’s 42nd birthday. I told the girls I wanted to take something to Aunt Cindy’s grave. They wanted to go to the Dollar Store and get balloons, like we did for their school parties. I thought that might be a nice idea. So off we went.

There were dozens of balloons decorating the walls and racks of the dollar store. I was surprised that the girls went right to the balloons to make their choices. They were usually distracted by the thousand different trinkets, candies, and party supplies that assaulted you as you walked in the door.

But they were on a serious mission.

Rachel, the big sister, picked first.

“I like this one, Mommy,” she chirped.

I immediately teared up and tried to stay happy and positive. Rachel could read by this time and the balloon said, “I miss you….”

“Of course, we will take that one, Rachey.”

Margot was still diligently looking through all the birthday greetings, the balloons with numbers on them and the ones in black were not to her liking. And then she found it, the perfect balloon to honor her Aunt Cindy,

“I want this one, Mommy!”

“Really, Margot?” I said a bit slowly, since my three year-old couldn’t read just yet.  “Why do you like that one?”

“It’s pretty, Mommy. It has pretty flowers on it and Aunt Cindy would like that.”

“Yes, sweetie, she truly would.”

Get Well 1Aunt Cindy would like the sentiment a thousand times more than the flowers… So I bought an identical one for Uncle Larry this week, as they are buried together, having a chuckle I hope.

“You Just have to Laugh………..”

©2015 Cathy Sikorski

One Man’s Trash or When the Saints Go Marchin’ In………….

There are karmically times when you know you are too distracted. Of course, you don’t usually find that out until karma hits you over the head with a two-by-four.

Yesterday, I had a massage, which although meant to be therapeutic, was also supposed to have the added bonus of relaxing my head, neck and shoulders which love to tie themselves into knots on a weekly basis.

I was feeling pretty zen as I left the masseuse, and then my mind took over.

“Okay…now I have to go to Wawa, get lunch for my brother-in-law who despises the nursing home food. Then go to his old apartment, get his mail, pick up his hand braces talk to the management about closing up his apartment, and get to the nursing home before lunch so he eats the lunch I’m bringing and not their swill.”

For some strange reason, as I get back in my car, I decide this is a good time to clean out all the extraneous trash. I have a cup from the masseuse, who gave me water, I have a napkin with a peach pit in it, which was my breakfast on the go, and some WalMart receipts that I no longer need sitting in the cup holder. I gather up all these items, throw them in the big bin outside the store and drive away. I’m feeling very superior, as I now have a tidy driving space, not like all those other slobs driving around!

On the way to my brother-in-law’s apartment, I remember that I’m passing the post office and need stamps for my daughter’s bridal shower invitations. A quick yank of the car into the post office parking lot, and I reach into my purse for my debit card. No card.  I take everything out of my purse, go through every pocket in the purse, take everything out of my wallet. No debit card.

How can this be? I just had it at Wawa? Oh crap. Did I put it back in my purse, or was it still in my hand when I threw away the trash? Oh crap. I start to pray: “Dear Saint Anthony, come around, something’s lost and can’t be found.”

I don’t even get out of my car, thinking, I’ve got to get back to that trash bin before they empty it or some other superior feeling keeper of a pigsty pours their left over Big Gulp on top of my trash. I’ve got exactly four minutes to get here (I timed it on the way).

AnthonyDear Saint Anthony come around something’s lost and can’t be found. You can say that a lot in four minutes,

When I get to the Wawa, there’s a space right in front of the trash bin. And, of course, a guy sitting in his car watching me. Ugh. Don’t care, I’m goin’ in!

I look in the bin and cannot believe my eyes, The bag is completely clean. The only trash in there is mine and my debit card is sitting right on the top. My first foray into dumpster diving felt so good, I wanted to do a victory dance. But I refrained, that guy was still watching me.

I must’ve been good today. Karma and St. Anthony my new BFFs.

“You Just have to Laugh…..”

©2015 Cathy Sikorski

It’s gettin’ hot in here. So take off all your clothes……

I’ve been so entrenched in caregiving, I decided I needed a girl’s day out. So I went out, all by myself. I need to find a mother-of-the -bride dress, because well, I’m the mother-of-the-bride.

My friends insisted I try to find a gown at  Neiman Marcus. This store is ridiculous. On my way to the evening gown department,  I walked by a “SALE” table loaded with purses. The sale was 50% off, as marked on the price tag. The first tiny clutch I picked up off the table is on sale for $2500.00 TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS! Hmmm. Might be out of my league here.

But my sister bought her mother-of-the-bride dress here and the price was well within all the other places we had gone to. I forged ahead to the snooty, fancy-pants evening gown High Heelsdepartment, which was right next to the shoe department where the Christian Louboutins snuggled every so comfortably next to the Jimmy Choos. Not a pair was under $600.

But, okay. I would not be stopped. I found a few gowns to try. I couldn’t find a salesgirl to save my life. So I stood outside the locked dressing room, struggling to hold these expensive, voluminous gowns while praying someone would come to my rescue.

Finally, a sales person shows up, ever so happily puts me in a dressing room and comments as she leaves. “Oh, I don’t think you want to try on THAT dress, it’s cut way too low in the back.” All that did was piss me off, and I said, “No, I want to try it on anyway.”

I swear to God, there isn’t one damn item in this store for less than $100, and now in the dead of August, when it is over 90 degrees outside, these dressing rooms are NOT air-conditioned. What, they can’t afford the electricity? I’m sweating profusely while taking off my clothes. Now, I’m going to try and put on slinky gowns that stick to me in every possible crevice. It’s hotter than the hinges of hell in here.

Many minutes go by and no one comes by to help me. I peek out of my dressing room completely unzipped and there’s a man chatting with a woman about the Jimmy Choo’s she’s trying on in the dressing room.

First, why is there a man back here, when we are in various stages of undress?  Why isn’t there anyone to help me zip up a $700 gown. And why is it so damn hot in here?

I struggle in and out of a few dresses…nary a sales person in sight, except for the conversation I’m hearing in the next dressing room.

The man and woman are discussing how adorable the shoes are that she is trying on. THEY have a sales woman who is bringing them different sizes of shoes, in the dressing room. Is it me, or is that weird? Go to the damn shoe department, and take that cursed man with you.

And then I hear why I’m getting no help.

She: “So we have about 10 grand in shoes here.”

He: “Yeah, that seems right.”

She: “Well, we have four grand in clothes, so we’re right where we want to be with that.”

He: “Yeah. So the shoes should be okay.”

gown 1Why would anyone help little old me with just a $700 gown?

I’m pretty sure those two had their own air conditioner in their dressing room.

“You Just have to Laugh…..”

©2015 Cathy Sikorski

Happy 99th Birthday, Marie!

Today would have been my mother-in-law, Maire’s 99th birthday.  In honor of all our great and hilarious times spent together, here is my tribute to a great party gal!

Please click on the link to see my StorySlam tribute to Marie!

 

 

 

Winner, winner, Jack Daniels for dinner? If only…………..

The beauty of sharing a sense of humor with the one you are caregiving for is beyond measure.

My brother-in-law has been in and out of rehab and the hospital for 8 months now. It has been a rocky road……and not sweet, like the ice cream. But he has turned a miraculous corner and although, still in rehab for a few more weeks, I have confidence that he will finally be returning home and will be relatively healthy for a good long time.

Since he has come so far, he is finally taking an interest in his daily life and activities that eluded him while desperately trying to get healthy. And he’s funny again. He is entertaining his healthcare workers, and any one else who walks in the door, which, of course, I love.

On my trek to see him yesterday, I took my Mom and husband as we were then going to have dinner with a friend who lives close by the rehab center. It takes us an hour to get there, so we decided to take advantage of being in our friend’s neck of the woods.

A half hour before we left, there appeared some calls and one message on my cell phone from the rehab center. The nurse stated that my BIL had a few lab work issues, but if I didn’t get back to her today, we could discuss it tomorrow. As I was on my way down there to see him, I thought: Okay, no big deal. I did return her call, but she was gone for the day.

When we arrived at his room, his bed was stripped and  his wheelchair was empty. That is always a panic button for any caregiver. Where the hell is my brother-in-law????? At the nurses’ station, the nurse tells me that they sent him to the ER because his hemaglobin was so low, he might need a transfusion.

“You couldn’t leave a message that he’s at the hospital, that I just passed on the way here, so I could stop there first?”

No answer.

Off we go to the ER and they usher us into his room. There he is joking with the nurses, and, feeling relieved that he seems okay, I say, “well, yet another hospital we get to check out. Whoopee!”

This is how I know he’s ever so much better overall: “Well at least, it’s  not a Friday night!” he says.

Classically, for the last 8 months, we have gone to the hospital without fail on a Friday night. I told him my husband was getting jealous of our date nights.

jack-daniels-551052_1280Then he turns to the nurse and asks, “can I have a Jack Daniels with that Percoset?”

Then he goes into a litany:

“So now I’m going to miss my dinner. I told them at rehab, “hey, what about dinner?”. Then I come here and I’m asking them, “where’s my dinner?” But no, no dinner. And you know they’re going to screw around, and no food or drink until they decide what to do with me. And then they are going to  tell me I’m fine, because I feel fine, but then what about my dinner?”

onion-rings-274123_1280See, all of this is a sure sign that all is well in brother-in-law land. If his focus is dinner, dinner, dinner…………….he’s in great shape. You caregivers know what i mean.

In the spirit of kind caregiving and true sympathy to his plight, I say:

“Well, okay, now that we see you’re okay, we’re going to take our friend out to dinner! See you  later!”

He bursts out laughing. Yay…………

“You Just have to Laugh………..”

© Cathy Sikorski

Is your Plug Male or Female……..

Today’s tale is a bit vulgar….but I find honesty to be the best policy.

As my faithful readers know, I, with no training or inherent skills, have become a wheelchair repair expert over the last few years. I was able to get a different BIL (code for brother-in-law) to transport the humungous wheelchair to the rehab center, so disabled BIL would be able to get out of bed every day. By the way, there is no service, or transport that will take an empty wheelchair…well….anywhere….you have to find your own way to get it there.

One day, I’m walking down the hall of the rehab center and the physical therapist is manually pushing the electric behemoth with my BIL in the chair.

“What’s up?” I ask her.

“Oh my God, I’m so glad you’re here. No one can figure out how to get this operational.”

Because it had been a month since my BIL was even in the chair, and memory issues are a part of his disease, he was of no help either. In 2 minutes, I had everyone  operational and instructed for the forseeable future.

Then we went home.

I stayed with my BIL for about 6 hours that day. As happy as he was to be back in his apartment, he was feeling insecure and squeamish and not ready to be alone. I arrived home in time for an 8:00 PM conference call.

At 9:00 PM my phone rang.

“Hello, Cathy, this is the caregiver.”

“Hey, what’s up? Is he okay?”

“Oh, he’s fine, no problems. But we can’t plug in his wheelchair. It seems like a piece of the plug is missing that connects to the battery. So we can’t charge the chair.”

UGH. He needs that chair. He needs to be out of bed and as upright and mobile as possible to have a life where he goes to meals, talks to friends, plays SODUKU on his computer.

“Okay, I’ll come in the morning and look at it.” I must’ve been very tired. I’m still not a wheelchair repair person, what was I going to do?

Before I left the house, I called the wheelchair repair people, who told me the only thing they can do is order an entire new charger which would take 3 weeks.  When I asked what he’s supposed to do in the meantime, wheelchair repair guy thought for a minute or two (really??? no one has ever asked you THAT before?) And told me he could look around and see if they had a loaner charger, but that would take a day or two.

As I set my hair on fire in protest (only in my mind) I went over to my BIL’s apt. examined the plug and set off for the rehab center. I checked his room, as they had just cleaned it, we called down to housekeeping, I went to the nurses’ station, therapy rooms, front desk and had the social worker call the ambulance transport to look for it. No dice.

I went to my book club and my French Class. Mai oui…..I do some things for my self!

Then I returned to his apartment, there was the charger plugged in. But as my engineer BIL told me, truthfully, it was smoke and mirrors. It wasn’t charging at all. I showed the plug to him and hoped he had some brilliant insight. Nope. So I said to him:

“Well, you know what Nana would say?” She had a fine adage for problems when something would just not fit into a hole.

“Yep,” he nodded, “put a little hair around it.”  Yep, that’s what she always said.

Luckily BIL is a fiscal conservative and only used 3% of his power that day.

We then had the brilliant idea to call some local durable medical equipment providers and one dear soul sent me to Interstate Battery. As I was leaving with high hopes and the battery, my BIL said:

“I don’t know how to tell you this, but as an old man would say, I think you’re pissing up a rope!”

So with those axioms under my belt and a big huge 24 Volt battery in my arms like a newborn. I went to a big, ol’ manly grease monkey, full-of-testosterone battery warehouse.

And this is where the Good Samaritan works when he is not out on the road rescuing.

Keith worked for thirty or forty minutes to rig this battery charger so I could use it. The first thing he asked me is if it’s a male or female plug. I considered my Nana’s advice, but that didn’t lead me to any conclusion. I suppose I should have been able to deduct the answer, but I panicked and just looked as cute as I could. In that environment, I was a shoe-in.

By the way, there was never a missing part. It had been so abused over time by pulling it out by the cord that it basically pulled the charging plugs too far down into the casing.

Keith told me he has a few friends in wheelchairs and he sees this all the time, where they can’t get timely repairs and no one seems to care. He told me to just ‘Pay it Forward.’ I told him I try to do that, and he said, “well then, now it’s coming back to you!”

Sometimes…..”You just have to SMILE….and laughing never hurts, either.”

© Cathy Sikorski 2015

Techno and Testing………..

As I sit in the waiting room for my husband to have his colonoscopy, I am reminded of all the times I’ve been to various hospitals and doctors’ offices for tests of one kind or another as a caregiver.  Sometimes, I think we test like our patients are the next subjects in a high school science experiment.

When my mother-in-law was 86 years old, I took her to her cardiologist for a semi-annual check-up. By that time, she had a pacemaker and was required to have it tested in the office to make sure it was working properly. In the interim, they had sent her home with a machine that she was to use monthly to check the battery and operation of the pacemaker over the telephone. This was hilarious.

Marie had to take out this little box, put two wrist bands on herself, call a phone number, place the phone in an electronic phone cradle at just the right moment,  while holding some gizmo over the pacemaker on her chest, and wait for the buzz to tell her all was well. It sounds simple. But the set-up, the conversation with the technician and the ultimate getting the phone in the cradle at just the right time was a comedy of errors. Phone check-ups had to be by appointment only. I tried to get there on the exact date every month to help her, but some dates were just not possible for me. So after training my mother-in-law, this darling 86 year-old woman who lived alone and had not the slightest relationship with technology, did the best she could. I prayed she could do it, or in the alternative prayed that the pacemaker just worked until the next month.

At this bi-annual visit with her cardiologist, the good news was, her pacemaker was working just fine. Dr. Smarty Pants, however, had no trouble telling us that every month they weren’t getting the best reading, and we would need to do better. You know what I wanted to retort. But instead, I  said, “Okay.”

Marie took it personally and tried to explain how hard she worked to get it right, but by that time we were dismissed on that topic to discuss further things.

Dr. Smarty Pants was concerned that Marie’s chest X-ray showed a slight spot on her lungs. The X-ray had been taken as a standard procedure due to her heart condition and pacemaker. This spot, however seemed new and the doctor was concerned.

“It could be nothing, or it could be a sign of further pathology,” he said to us.

“Well,” I said, “exactly what would you like to do?”

“I think we should do some more tests,” he declared. “I would like to do a CAT scan, or perhaps even an MRI, and then based on those results, we may have to do a biopsy of the lung area to see what we are dealing with. And then, based on that information, well, actually, as soon as we have the results of the CAT Scan or MRI, I would probably send you to a lung specialist as this is not a cardiology issue in any event.”

“So let me get this straight. As her cardiologist, you want to send this 86 year-old woman for a CAT Scan, and MRI, a possible lung biopsy and then off to another specialist, as this isn’t really your bailiwick anyway? Do I understand that correctly?”

“Yes.”

Now my mother-in-law is just sitting there in her paper gown, probably freezing, as it is cold in there and I haven’t even taken my coat off, watching this banter .

“Let me ask you this doctor,” I said pretending I was just seeking information, but wanting to put my hands around his throat while he strangled out an answer if he were lucky enough to survive.

“Tell me a bit more about this spot on the X-ray. Is it big, is it new, what do you suspect it could be?”

“Well, it’s tiny, and we haven’t seen it before. Honestly. Sometimes it could just be a spot or speck of dust on the machine and not pathological at all. But we don’t know that for sure.”

“Okay,” I say incredulous but still pretending to be seeking only information and not the death penalty….for him…..”Let’s just say you find the worst case scenario after all those tests, the biopsies and whatever else you do….then what? My mother-in-law is 86 years old. She has a really nice quality of life. She has heart problems, diabetes, and high blood pressure. What exactly would you do or suggest under those circumstances?”

“Well, truthfully, I probably would just make her comfortable, she’s not really a candidate for surgery or even intensive therapies.”

“Um…hmm.. that’s what I was thinking, Doctor.” Of course, what I was really thinking was: “You’re an idiot.”

“Based on that, Doctor, I think she’s already pretty comfortable so we will pass on further testing and let nature take its course.”

My mother-in-law lived 11 more years, with nary a cough.

“You just have to Laugh…….”

©Cathy Sikorski 2015