Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Decoy Duckess Reigns

Our great blog friend, Teri of "Here's To Happy Women" fame wrote an essay on June 16, 2006, titled, " If It Looks Like a Duck". It is a great essay and very insightful in the area of human relations. Go to her site and read her terrific post. At the time, I made a comment on her blog, which I have copied in this post..(I'm going to ask her if that is okay--- or even legal) So you will understand where I am heading with this whole thing --- I will tell you that my comment on her blog was just the beginning of my new insight into the personage of my "decoy duckess". The thought to be continued on to other side of my comment--- see you there.
I said..."Oh, my goodness --- I just love you! Metaphorically speaking.... I am a lucky duck to have found your nest here in the blogosphere.We used to have a horse farm with a one acre pond. There were three ducks, who had somehow made reservations for our pond while en route to and from warmer climes. There were two males and one female. We called them "the pair and a spare". The nesting couple kept this quack around, sort of riding shotgun for them, but if he ever got too near the duckess.....Look out Daffy! They always arrived and left as a trio...perhaps the spare was hoping for a chance to become a lucky duck, if the head duck took a dive.I personally have a relative "decoy duckess", who has been fowling up my life for years. She flies freely, soaring into space, while somehow keeping a webbed foot firmly planted on my neck. I know she is a decoy, because she is covered with peacock feathers. Your great post has given me the courage to quietly rub catnip all over her nest and swim away with my beautiful drake, her brother."
Since I have told you that my "decoy duckess" is my husband's sister, you can figure out that she has been involved in my pond for most of my life. Being a peacock, she preened her feathers at the country club pool and quickly learned the right way to do everything in the socially correct suburbs. My drake and I were lucky to find enough corn scattered around to keep us from starving to death. The duckess and her foie gras cygnet lived in the manner of the upper swan strata, because their first homes and cars were paid for by his swan parents. He was an only child and my drake had been the only other egg in her family's nest. I so admired her and wanted to emulate her flight patterns, but we were still in the nest while she was soaring aloft with the country club set. They had hatched three lovely ducklings and in due time, three of our eggs hatched into splendid little yellow ducklings. My decoy duckess proudly wore her peacock feathers, cooked gourmet grains and was seen at all the best nests around the private watering holes. She wanted to direct our paths into her webbed footsteps, but unfortunately I was chicken to try following this peacock in her fowl ways.
At this time, I will stop with the duck doo doo and try to explain how her high flying ways have ruined the relationship we could have had for all these years. My peacock has so much talent in all areas that it is easy to understand why I suffered by comparison. When my children were little, she offered to take care of them for over a week when we were given a trip to New York City by my husband's company. Our oldest had just turned two and the youngest was only six weeks old, but she calmly took care of them and her own three older children with one wing tied behind her back. She invited us to her house for many holiday dinners and was always very organized. The problem was that during the course of conversation, she always knew everything about every subject. Even if she were dead wrong and you knew how wrong she was, she still managed to treat your opinion as though you were a blithering idiot. I dreaded phone calls, because I would become uncomfortable with dead spots in the conversation and fill the void with silly inanities. My husband's father was an alcoholic, but she turned a blind eye to the problems it created. If my beautiful drake tried to discuss the problems with his sister --- she would pull her peacock feathers over her head and deny anything was wrong in the family. We, however, lived nearby and had the responsibility of taking care of any problems that arose. She and her family moved back to our city and still she denied any alcohol related problems, even though Dad would come home at night and fall down in his front yard --- dead drunk after having driven four or five miles home. At the end of his life, I had to travel twenty miles every day or two to do some nursing treatments that were nothing extraordinary for me, but would have caused him to wait at the local hospital for hours in the emergency room for a couple of simple treatments. During this time, she and her husband decided that we (the two couples) should take turns living at the parents place for a week at a time. Who? We had a horse farm to care for and my husband had a full time job. We suggested that they arrange for medical assistance. When she reported back about the available help; this is what she said, "We can get an aide or an LPN, because we don't need a real nurse." I am an LPN! At the time, I was working coronary, doing my own meds, I.V.'s , assessments and reports. What did she think an LPN was? One Sunday afternoon, she called from Dad's house and said that she thought he was dying. My drake said, "We'll be right down." She replied, "Oh, you don't have to come." To which, he said, "He's my father, too." I took my nursing supplies and we drove to his little town. When we arrived, he was moaning in pain and had wet himself, but was not conscious enough to take anything by mouth for the pain. Hospice had been called, but had not responded to the decoy duckess' calls and she hadn't the slightest idea of how to get him cleaned up and dry. For once, I pulled my neck from under her webbed foot and called his physician. After telling him that I was a nurse (lowly LPN) with a medication license, the doctor told me to go to the local hospital and they would give me I.M. medication. They gave me seven vials of morphine, the syringes, needles and even the alcohol swabs. I gave him the first injection and then my husband and I cleaned him up and changed his bed with blue under pads, draw sheets and a strategically placed urinal. We sat on the floor on each side of his bed for about four hours and then gave the second injection. He died peacefully, pain free and dry, because I AM A NURSE!
Dad had appointed the peacock's husband as executor of his estate and everything that my guy had wanted as a keepsake from his Dad, Mom and grandparents was taken by the decoy duckess. Her husband even had the nerve to take an executor's fee.
Jump ahead about ten years. We moved from our farm to a beautiful, private country club and were finally feeling that we were living in a manner suitable to the peacock's status. After five years in a condo on the fifth tee box, she and her husband moved to a condo on the fourth green. They joined the club and instantly became social ducks in the club's pond. We have continued to use the club for golf and entertaining, but dang! They do it bigger and better.
Retirement from the world of work and great income caused this quacker and her drake to tender our resignation from the world of the rich and famous, only to discover that our city is economically depressed and our club would be unable to pay back our stock certificate for many years. We decided to approach the board of directors with a deal they couldn't refuse. Would they allow us to play out our stock instead of paying monthly dues and we would never ask them to repay our $10,000. investment? The lady who takes care of things in the financial area just loves my friendly drake and she approached the board on our behalf and it is a done deal. Now, we just have to pay the locker fees, driving range fees, putting green fees, caddy shack fees, cart fees and eat $1200.00 worth of food in the dining room. Well, guess who has followed us to Florida and is living half an hour away on an executive golf course? So, since they are now residents of Florida, they want their stock money back or want to play our club as out of state residents. When informed that they cannot be out of state members as long as they own a condo on the course, they raised the cry of "Fowl" and brought up our special deal. It almost cost us this coming summer of membership and the remainder of our stock certificate,but they just don't get it. Why should that bother us?
We arrive at Easter Sunday and an invitation to join them here in Florida with their three fifty something children and their families. Dinner was lovely (I already told you she does everything perfectly) and we sat and talked with their ducklings while the Master's Golf Tournament finished. I was chatting with her daughter-in-law about some unusual medical things and we mentioned that most heart patients take a baby aspirin every day. I brought up that I had an unusual condition called Sampter's Triad, which prevents me from ever taking aspirin or any non-steroidal medications, since developing an allergy related to asthma. I have since been desensitised to aspirin by an allergist, so I must take one every morning and every night to keep the allergy at bay. I thought the daughter-in-law might be interested, since she works in a coronary unit and it is a pretty rare deal. My peacock turned to me and said, "Don't you ever have a good day?" She has officially become my lame duck! It is hard for me to believe that anyone, even a cold duck can turn a quiet conversation into a nasty comment and not expect to be caught. No, I didn't open my bill or quack a single quack. I just sat there and thought about how firmly her webbed foot is planted on my neck while she flies freely --- dripping peacock feathers in her wake. Since I don't have enough hutzpha to actually call her on it when she pulls out my tail feathers one by one, I think I'll quit worrying about her feelings and never visit her pond again. Oh, yeah --- don't bother telling me that peacocks are all males, because this hen really has a set!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wasted Summer

Summer is only a few weeks old, but since we have embarked upon an election already seems to be too long. The conventions will be next month and promise to be hot and windy. This election has been going on and on ever since November of 2004. The Democrats have not been satisfied with holding sway in The House and Senate. They want the whole enchilada. Believe me, I'm afraid for any one party to be in charge of everything... where will our system of checks and balances be?
In our house, we are steadfast Republicans, but are not enamoured with Sen. McCain and his policies. How can anyone think we should not drill for oil on a few acres in ANWR? Why does he buy into Al Gore's the sky is falling gloom and doom crap about global warming? Oh, I believe in recycling and being conscious in our use of nature's gifts, but for every scientist he produces to claim impending catastrophe ... there is another one refuting the claims. Why are the lawmakers going along with the light bulb stuff? The new and improved mercury bulbs have long and tedious processes for cleaning up a broken bulb involving Hazmat Teams. Someone must be kidding me!
I don't see much difference between the two candidates, except that Obama has little or no experience in foreign affairs. Both candidates are centrists at this moment, but watch how fast they lean to the left ... giving us a choice between higher taxes and highest taxes.
Okay, that was summer and now it is late October. We have nine days until the election. McCain has modified his positions slightly and nominated Sarah Palin as his runningmate. She is the conservative we have been longing to see, but the media has decided to band together to kill her popularity. Obama has chosen Biden as his running mate and he is busily saying things that require a whole cadre of handlers to retract and tone down his mouth.
Obama himself has taken to the airwaves with comments worthy of Karl Marx. I am left wondering where he is getting all the money for his candidacy? How many little Democrats does it take to make a hundred million dollars? One? Like in George Soros? Why are ACORN activists roaming all over the country registering people from adjoining states, street people and convicts in local jails? Everything is so different from the day in 1960, when I had to drive to my county seat and provide a birth certificate to my Board of Elections, to enable me to cast my first presidential vote. I was so, I am just plain scared. If we have a one party Congress, Senate, President and most of the Supreme Court, bills will be passed and we will have no say in the new policies. Can you say Socialists? My big worry is that the husband and I will not live long enough to see if our children and grandchildren will be alright or will they be living in the world of "Dr. Zhivago"?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Twenty-Something vs. Seventy-Something

We watched a television talk show today about twenty-somethings who have working-world confusion and do not want to leave home or go into a lesser lifestyle. Do the people who decide how these programs are formatted not know that the same identity confusion lies at the other end of the working world? We awaken every day with a lack of purpose and a debilitating sense of ennui. At one time in our lives, we had a sense of importance and validation for taking up space with our bit of protoplasm. Surely, there is more to life after work is done. Our hearts hurt when we look into the mirror and see an older person and realize that there is no going back --- only forward into an unknown abyss. I don't think most people question their lives on a daily basis. They get up and live --- and then go to bed again. We, on the other hand, scrape each other raw with the desperate searching for something to do with the tiny amount of life that is left to us. We don't want to waste it, but in persuing the "great American dream", we lost sight of where we were heading fifty years ago. I want to be the happy, cheerful person my husband married over fifty years ago, but suddenly I am desperately looking for a reason to be happy about living on the tail end of life on a downhill pull. My own children don't seem to be aware that we might not be around very many more years or that there could come a time when we will need elder care. Perhaps, that is what is really bothering me --- I never want to become so incapacitated that I cannot take care of myself. I want to stay useful and vibrant until the day I am planted in a little box of ashes.
A lady of great beauty and grace has just stopped by and we talked of life, love, marriage and spirituality. I am left wishing I had her serenity and adaptability. Eva,--- God loves you and so do I. My thinking on old age will surely evolve as we are led along the way this spring. We will be back in Ohio, where regeneration of life is more visible than it is in Florida.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Behind the Wheels

There are those who would think that several decades of marriage would make two people think similarly. The problem occurs when you take into consideration that men think with testerone coursing through their veins and women think with estrogen levels going up and down depending on the time of month or the time of life. For purposes of this blog, my darling, forever husband will be referred to as HRH. ( His Royal Highness) HRH is truly the love of my life, but now that we are past the child bearing stage, his testerone has been converted to aggressive competition on the road, on the golf course and any other place where folks keep score. Here in southern Florida people drive as though they just escaped from the asylum. A space between you and the car immediately in front of your car means someone will make a lane change in the blink of an eye. You better not blink or you will hit them in the arse and the insurance company will hit the delete button on your account. Yellow lights do not mean "proceed with caution", but instead mean "hurry like heck before the cars going the other way can gather enough speed to wipe you out"! So, HRH and I drive around town with him aggressively keeping ahead of other drivers, who might want to make it to the next corner two seconds faster. I do suck wind far more than most women are allowed and occasionally make pointed comments like, "Oh, look out" or "Cops on the right up ahead" or "There is an old lady on a bike over there" or "Stop sign"! Perhaps, my mind thinks he has suddenly gone blind, but I really believe the only people who worry about how someone drives is a person who is also a licensed driver in a passenger seat. Passenger seated people have no control over how or where the vehicle goes, so we make useless comments .... just to be on the safe side. There is no answer to a problem as old as the automobile, because we cannot change from women into men. Yes, HRH is aggressive, but is the best driver I know and I would go with him to the ends of the Earth. HRH would like to invent a seatbelt that covers my mouth, but it looks like someone beat him to it. I'm going to patent a protective steel plate for the floor to keep passengers from sticking their right foot through the floorboards.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Seasons of Life

There was a man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn not to judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.
The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the fall.
When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.
The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted.
The second son said, "No it was covered with green buds and full of promise."
The third son disagreed; he said, "It was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful---- it was the most graceful thing I ever saw." The last son disagreed with all of them; he said that it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.
The man then explained to his sons that they were all right, because they had each seen only one season in the tree's life.
He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person by only one season, but by the essence of who they are. The pleasure, joy and love that come from life can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons have been fulfilled.

Sometimes, I think our children forget that we, who are in the winter of our days, have been through all the other seasons and have learned the lessons therein. Don't sell us short --- we may be slower, but we are not dumber. We've been there, done that and bought the Tee shirt.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

New Kid on the Block

There's a new kid on the blog block. She has been around the block a time or two, but decided to get a new place in the sun. Truly, she is enamoured of many terrific bloggers, but can't seem to say what she wants without fear of affecting her family or incurring the wrath of the relatives. So, bear with her and she'll try to see if being private and illusive will allow the muse to settle around her like an old friend. Hope you all will come around now and again to see what she has to say. At least the relatives don't know where she has gone, so to quote Martin Luther King ---"Free at Last"!