Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Eight: Ma’am and Auld Lang Syne…

The New Year’s song or New Year’s anthem is Auld Lang Syne. It is Scottish and translates to “old long since”, but the meaning is more like old times or the olden days. The song is all about preserving old friendships and looking back over the events of the year.
It is sung all over the world, evoking a sense of belonging and fellowship, tinged with nostalgia. Although this year, I surmise we can all agree that 2020 was unlike any year before, and not very nostalgic.
I have been trying to write a post reflecting on 2020. All I can see is a poop emoji and a complete stew of nonsense. It is daunting and I feel like we are all aboard this Crazy train and none of us is able to get off. 2020 is indeed a runaway train of a bad Lifetime movie that we are all trapped in. There are so many things to worry about and we have all had such trying experiences this year, I imagine we will be having several PTSD moments in the future.
If you haven’t seen the show Snow Piercer based on the movie I feel that 2020 can be summed up watching this series. People are trapped on a runaway train because due to climate change the world is now completely frozen. There is a hierarchy on the train and the upper class has a Marie Antoinette “Let them eat cake!” attitude to the rest of the train. (Sound familiar peeps here in the States?!)
Okay, as the Brits say”Stiff upper lip.” “Keep calm and carry on!” Let’s look at the positive things coming around the corner. Covid vaccines, a sane non-crooked, non-lying administration is headed our way. These are good things I know! But it is difficult to navigate all we have been through.
I don’t think that ringing in the New Year has ever held more meaning for me! We have lived through a pandemic, unemployment, EVERYDAY craziness here in DC, and the world!
All I got out of it was a lousy t-shirt saying: “I survived Covid!” For Fucks sake! Of course, I am grateful and I know shouldn’t be whinging about this compared to others, but I am HUMAN! I have my moments and this is one of them!
I am able to get out of things with Confused Husband, all I have to say is: “Remember you gave me Covid”. I know this is my hall pass for the rest of my marriage and I am grateful. It is my kryptonite. Confused Husband is Superman and I am Lex Luther! I like Lex Luther will use my kryptonite when need be.
Instead, my New Year’s resolution is going to try and focus on important news like: Is Hilaria Baldwin really Spanish? Will The Kardashians have to actually fly commercial? These are the kinds of news stories I want to worry about.
As a world, we have all been through and are continuing to go through stuff. We have been tested as a species. My hope is that we are kinder, don’t take the simple pleasures in life for granted, such as hugs, handshakes, and seeing smiles. That we strive to be less judgemental and instead offer a compliment. Hopefully, we see every person in each race, religion, country, sexual orientation, to be our friend and family.
If I have learned anything this absurd year, it is to embrace each day, every experience, and not to sweat the small stuff.
There are no guarantees in life.
My wish is that 2020 is like the line:”Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.”
Perhaps we can’t forget 2020, but we can attain a new appreciation of insignificant moments that now mean so much.
Happy New Year!

Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Seven: Will Ma’am be fa- la- la-ing….

Christmas is approaching, and although it is indeed different from Christmases past, there are still things to be done. As time has passed, and the chickens have flown the coop, we are down to one child left at home. I no longer have my little elf helpers. It is just me decorating, baking Christmas cookies, and shopping.
Confused Husband has never been a fan of Christmas. He gets his Grinch resting face on the day after Thanksgiving when I pull out the Christmas decorations and begin the merriment. Heaven forbid I ask him to assist with a Christmas project! He looks like he is having a root canal! He grumbles about the money I spend on Christmas cookie ingredients, but I don’t see him complaining as he shovels them into his mouth. I also notice that the various Christmas candies I have scattered about the house have left a trail of wrappers.
But this year, I have a secret weapon! A Superhero power, if you will. Every time he starts to complain about something, I say: “But you gave me Coronavirus.” It shuts him up real fast! I drag him along on my Christmas merriment excursions, whether it’s to walk through the city looking at the lights, grabbing a festive hot beverage, window shopping, whatever I feel like. I ignore his angry elf face and the fact that I even made him wear a goofy elf hat. I chuckle at it askew on his head. I am DEFINITELY driving the Christmas sleigh this year.
I also enjoy listening to Christmas music and watching holiday movies. I catch him and teen son whispering in the other room. I can guarantee it is not a discussion on what presents to buy me, rather an extraction plan of how to get out of watching the latest Lifetime Christmas flick. I intercept phrases like “Over pour her wine, so she falls asleep.” “Die Hard is a Christmas movie!” Oh! I am on to their scheme!
I casually come into the room fake coughing and say a little over dramatically like Greta Garbo: “That’s just the after-effect from my bout with Coronavirus.” I watch the guilt wash over him like a tsunami. He announces he will make popcorn for our movie.
During a commercial, I declare that we are going Christmas caroling with masks later in the week. Right before there is a revolt, I gingerly cough and smile.

Fa-la-la-la-la!…

Chapter One Hundred Twenty- Six: A seat at the table…

I often compare the various holidays to a dysfunctional brood of family members sitting around the dinner table, each with their own characteristics. Everyone has their own distinct personalities and opinions. They possess a particular Je ne sais quoi… if you will.

Let’s start with Christopher Columbus Day, I juxtapose this holiday to the racist cousin that visits once a year. The cousin no one wants to know or keep in contact with. We all remember the old song we had to learn in elementary school:”In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue”. Forced to memorize the names of his three ships: The Nina, The Pinta, and The Santa Maria. We had parades and a day off from school. As time went on and we began to see what exactly our distant cousin stood for we became less inclined to partake in any event that celebrates him. Columbus Day is like the interbred weird cousin that the family is ashamed of. He is seated at a folding chair, because he wasn’t invited to the family dinner, he just kind of showed up. Columbus Day is definitely the relative no one invites over…

Next, take Halloween. For example, seated at the dinner table, it could be described as the Goth Teen Black Sheep of the family. The non-conformist kid that you either REALLY like or REALLY wonder how you are related to someone so unique and unusual. You question their fashion choice, their dark side, their need to wear a disguise. The yearning to go to complete strangers homes like a party trick and beg for candy carrying a plastic pumpkin or without shame, show up on a doorstep with an ENORMOUS pillowcase intending to stuff to the brim with candy! The choice to take a chance with their life by ringing some random strangers’ doorbell in the hopes of not being murdered but receiving a treat.

Halloween is even so audacious enough to attach itself to the most DISGUSTING two candies EVER to exist:Candy Corn, and Circus Peanuts! The manner in which Halloween so brazenly forces those two candies in our face is a huge slap! Halloween beats to the sound of a different drum, it can be moody and dark, yet playful and fun. Like a teen, a mixture of hormones changing moods at a whim, depending on which way the wind blows.

Obviously, Halloween was quite different this year. While we once found it exciting wearing masks every Halloween, it has now become a normal part of everyday life. Let’s just say, and I feel confident speaking for most of us that the novelty of wearing a mask has worn off. Yet Halloween will still choose to wear one. Yes, Halloween is truly the rebel, outcast of the Holiday family….

Then there is Thanksgiving. The over hosting, stuffing until you pop, kind, chubby Aunt who winds up drinking too much only to pass out, regret, as well as forget, the insults along with dinner rolls that were hurled across the table kind of holiday. She is passive aggressive with her offerings of seconds on the mashed potatoes and simultaneously commenting in an underneath her breath, under handed way about your elastic waistband pants. Like a plump Aunt she smiles, yet judges at the same time. Unfortunately, you are too stuffed and on the verge of a food coma to put up a fight, waiting for the gravy to harden around your arteries. Pondering if this is the way you are going out on a stretcher in elastic waistband pants. So year after year like a victim of Stockholm Syndrome you return to your chubby Thanksgiving Aunt for another helping of insults.

Because your Aunt feeds you well, you may over look some of the conversations. You side step the rehashing of what the Colonists did to the Native Americans, by holding out your plate like Oliver Twist and saying:”More please!” Aunty Thanksgiving brings up the most TABOO topic of all POLITICS! but you and your elastic waistband pants are on a mission and you really want dessert. Then somehow politics are segued into football which you REALLY could care less about, you just want pie.

Yes, Thanksgiving is the complicated elderly Aunt that you have a love hate relationship with…

The succeeding seat at the table is the kind, emotional, story teller Uncle, aka Hanukkah. Never one to rush things, Uncle Hanukkah takes a good eight days to tell his stories. The word Hanukkah means dedication, and celebrating eight days you have to truly be dedicated. Now Uncle Hanukkah used to only give out Gelt(money) but as time went on gifts were incorporated. Most of the food is fried in oil for Hanukkah as a symbol for the miracle oil that burned for eight nights straight. Albeit Uncle Hanukkah may force you to get out those waistband pants that you put away after the Thanksgiving debacle. Fun fact! There are over 17.5 million jelly donuts consumed in Israel over Hanukkah and it makes me ponder opening up a Dunkin’ Donuts in Jerusalem.

Uncle Hanukkah also spells his name several different ways that is how cool, calm, mellow and sure of himself he is. Hanukkah is the neutral relative that everyone gets along with, accompanied by great stories…

Christmas I consider, as being the cheery Grandpa who comes bearing gifts and merriment with song.  There are expectations, yet they are already mapped out. Eat, drink, and be merry! Gone are the visions from the nightmare of Thanksgiving, you are almost fully recovered, only a few PTSD Thanksgiving episodes have occurred. Now visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads are there. Carols are sung, stockings hung, and the anticipated arrival of Santa. Christmas makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Now it could be the egg nog laced with copious amounts of rum that you have sucked down, which makes you feel sentimental and calm. But we know the truth, it is because you are receiving gifts, and most of us already know what those gifts are. You have picked them out, or asked for them. But Christmas like Grandpa has rules. You either open presents the night before, or on Christmas morning. Additionally, you attend Midnight Mass or some kind of church service.

Christmas namely Grandpa doesn’t let you get out scot free. You are maybe forced to attend a Live Nativity scene or some sort of play. If you want those presents, Christmas will make you work for them. Towards the end of Christmas day when all of the merriment and good tidings have worn off, you are ready for Grandpa aka Christmas to leave, head back to the North Pole. Looking around at all of the rumpled wrapping paper and oodles of decorations that you will need to take down and box away somehow makes Christmas look less inviting. You are sick of all the people in your home and if you hear one more Christmas carol your head will explode. You now for some reason have no empathy for Tiny Tim and your personality becomes more like Scrooge as the day progresses. Yup, time for Grandpa to return to the old age home. Once a year is PLENTY!

Yes, you are thrilled that Grandpa aka Christmas only visits once a year, and you thoroughly understand the phrase”Bah Humbug!”

In blows New Year’s Eve. She is not always kind, and I reckon she is somehow a lost twin of Valentines Day. Perhaps a distant cousin through marriage, none the less, she shows up every year to remind you how you are alone, and your entire year sucked. She proves to you as you sit eating Chinese food solo and watching Ryan Seacrest in Times Square, what a pathetic loser you truly are. You are like the voyeur watching all of these fabulous New Year’s Eve parties that you were not invited to.

Just when you have licked your wounds from New Year’s, and gotten out of the fetal position, here comes Valentine’s Day. She starts out like the sexy aloof distant cousin through marriage that no one is quite sure what to do with. But Valentine’s Day quickly turns into the weird spinster relative. Valentine’s Day is supposed to represent love and chocolate, but the spinster relative creeps in and it becomes about; disappointment, breakups, and loneliness.

It is as though the Spinster has given you a box of chocolates with only one edible chocolate in the entire box. Like her unwanted advice, you bite into each piece, sampling her unwelcome suggestions on how maybe next year Valentine’s Day can be different for you. She is no longer the mysterious relative you have been excited to see. Upon closer inspection, she is a frizzy haired, wrinkly, spinster that has sucked the life out of you, and you are pretty sure that she is no longer married to your relative. For sure, Valentine’s Day is that one family member that you can’t seem to escape from…

St. Patrick’s day is like the cousin of holidays no one wants to acknowledge.All we know about him is that he likes green and may look like a leprechaun. So let’s drink and throw him a parade! He is the drunk cousin that keeps popping up after he escapes rehab. His connection within the family is questionable. He is either the bastard son of a disinherited uncle or the half brother of a second cousin. no one knows for sure, but like a bad rash he keeps turning up expecting a parade.

Then we have Ramadan which is like the anorexic relative that we don’t eat in front of, we wait until the sun goes down and then gorge away, when they’re not looking. It’s our time of reflection yet we are too hungry to reflect. We know we are being selfless in fasting, but perhaps we just don’t have it in us.

Try to explain the family member of Easter. The relative who has an identity crisis that no one is allowed to speak of. You try to figure out what colored eggs, candy, baskets, bunnies, bonnets, and chicks have to do with Jesus and the resurrection? It’s just a cornucopia of chaos and nobody knows what the hell is going on. So you just go with the flow. There are whispers that perhaps Easter is actually related through marriage, making the other Holiday family members feel better that they are not related to a complete stew of nonsense that no one can seem to explain.

You partake in Easter egg hunts because thats what you are supposed to do. You smile at the giant Easter Bunny that is hopping around the garden and ponder could this be Christopher Columbus crashing the family get together…

Fourth of July is like the old, decrepit relative that we keep having HUGE birthday celebrations for. Every year it’s the same theme, because chances are they can’t remember last year’s party. There are picnics, parades, fireworks, and I guarantee most attending don’t know the age of the guest of honor…

Yes. Like one huge dysfunctional family.

Chapter One Hundred Twenty- Five: Ma’am is not Florence Nightingale…

I find Confused Husband on the sofa flopping around like a fish out of water. He shares with me his kidney stone issue, sweating and writhing whilst bellowing: “You try pushing an ENORMOUS object out of a tiny hole!” Yes, he has the audacity to say this to my face! (we have four children!) I recall him being in the delivery room at the time…

I feel that most men cannot handle pain. A point in case a headache turns out to be a brain tumor. A fever turns into Typhoid each time he has an ache or pain; it is Googled and, then, we have to hear the sad tale of his demise according to some quack he found online, that has Doomed-diagnosed him.

There was the “Poison Ivy Fiasco” of the early ’90s. He had poison ivy on his leg and, self-diagnosed as Leprosy. It was RIDICULOUS! Although I did inquire about the infamous Leper Colony in Istanbul(where we were living at the time) and see if they had any vacancies…

This nonsensical sitcom turns into a documentary about the notorious kidney stone. I begin to think of it as our fifth child. All of our socializing and routines are now revolving around “the stone” I suggest a stroll over to Starbucks, which is literally feet from our home. He looks at me like I have just said: “Hop, on the chuck wagon Westward HO!” He looks perplexed: “Well, what if the stone decides to make an appearance?” (like it is a celebrity or the Pope).

“For Fuck Sake! Then you can walk back across the street into our home.” He is frustrated that I don’t show empathy for his current situation. He reiterates the pain he is in. Hours later, he has a GRAND announcement: “The stone has passed!” This declaration is SOOO over the top! As though he has just proclaimed the war has ended. Does he expect a Ticker-Tape parade?

Upset that I am not fawning over his stone and his angst like he feels I should be, he begins to sketch out a portrait of his stone. I feel like I am watching a tutorial by Bob Ross. It is LUDICROUS! He is yammering on and on continuing his farcical seminar. He is shading in his stone and acting as though he is creating an artistic masterpiece. His stone ironically looks like Italy to me with a shorter heel. He is quite upset by my description of his stone. He insists that ironically his stone sketch looks EXACTLY like a kidney bean. Never one to admit he is wrong, he leaves the house avec his pitiful sketch in hand. I watch him out on the sidewalk like the roving reporter going up to people and showing them his sketch. I observe him heading further away until he and his little Italian bean sketch are out of sight.

Hours later, he bursts into the house to proclaim that after taking a survey of seven complete strangers(I am hearing sirens in the distance and wondering if they are headed here to cart him away in a rubber suit, after receiving several complaints of a nuisance in the neighborhood). Five of them agreed with him that it indeed was a kidney-looking stone, and the two that agreed with me that it looked like Italy were an elderly- woman with cataracts, and the other one didn’t speak English so, he thought she was saying Italy! (She was probably saying, IDIOT! Or calling for help in her native tongue).

I am all out of sympathy and he then bellows”You could never be Florence Nightingale! You have no empathy for me! That mister we can agree on….