Who’s Watching the Kids??

This couple isn't getting divorced. They're arguing over who should inherit their kids.

This couple isn’t getting divorced. They’re arguing over who should inherit their kids.

Being Jewish, the only Godmother I ever actually knew was obsessed with pumpkins, mice, the stroke of midnight, and pranced around singing Bippity Boppety Boo. However I saw a lot of my non-Jewish friends give careful consideration to selecting godparents when their babies were born. I breathed a sigh of relief that we wouldn’t have to choose anyone.

Fast forward to a time when we grasped our own mortality and hired an attorney to draw up our living trust. Interesting that it’s called a LIVING trust and yet they force you to think about DYING.

My husband thought we should choose his mother. And by “mother” I mean “the woman who took a razor to our newborn baby’s head so her hair would grow in thicker and then sought a wet nurse because she was convinced I couldn’t breastfeed properly.” My own mother (upon hearing the possibility that my mother-in-law was in the running) stormed into a fit of jealously just thinking about having to make an appointment to see her own grandchildren with someone who went out of her way to wear an all-white mother-of-the-groom dress at my wedding. “Who does she think she is? Snow White?” Clearly neither grandmother was a good choice.

We moved on to siblings. My husband and I both wrote down the qualifications we thought made our sisters outstanding candidates. Each list had the exact same number of positive attributes, which got us nowhere. At my suggestion, we next jotted down both ladies’ faults so we could pick the lesser of the two evils. (Hi Sis….I love you!)

My Sister

  • Still eats Capt. Crunch cereal.
  • Wears nylons.
  • Wears open-toe heels with those nylons.
  • Saw Star Wars 23 times.

His Sister

  • Shaves her head.
  • Became a wet nurse.
  • Wears white to compete with brides at their wedding.

Hmmmm, understand our dilemma? Also understand his genetics?

Seeing as there wasn’t anyone waving their arms madly while shouting, “pick me, pick me!” we began to weed through our friends. It soon became apparent we were going to need to offer really good “incentives.” That’s a nice way of saying our kids were so bratty, it required bribing our mere acquaintances to please accept this profound responsibility. Even my beautician asked if we’d throw in a lifetime supply of latex gloves along with inheriting our 5-bedroom home? Apparently henna stains are unsightly. I consoled myself thinking my daughter would have perfectly manicured nails for her Bat Mitzvah.

What was happening? This was crazy thinking! What were the odds that something bad would happen to both of us at the same time? We could board separate airplanes. He hates to fly with me anyhow because I leave deep fingernail grooves (the non-manicured kind!) in his arms during scary turbulence.

It was settled. We wouldn’t choose legal guardians because the plan is to live forever. As an extra measure of security however, I have an idea. I’ll buy our daughter a red curly wig and teach her to belt out, “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow!”

Surely Daddy Warbucks doesn’t wear nylons, isn’t a wet-nurse and won’t need a pay-off.

How did you choose guardians in case something happens to you??

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The Doctor Is In – – But I’m Out… (of my mind!)

formeAll my adult life I have dealt with a debilitating disorder – – it’s called, “Tell & Show Syndrome.”  Someone will TELL me about a new rare disease and WHAM! – – all the signs of it SHOW up throughout my body.

To say I am highly suggestible is an understatement.  I can read an article in a woman’s magazine entitled, “10 Symptoms You’re Too Shy Too Discuss With Your Male Doctor (But You Should Before It’s Too Late!)”  ~ Immediately I have all 10 plus 4 bonus ones the author wasn’t imaginative enough to think of.  Fear and panic overtakes all my shyness.  I’m gonna grab that Male Doctor right by his shirt color – – I might even consider going to Second base with him for a Second opinion.

I do have a regular physician I call several times a week, and I’m sure the nurses give him messages that go like this – –

“That hypochondriac lady (who resembles a very menopausal Amy Winehouse, minus the tattoos) is on the phone again.  Today she claims when she walks, it feels like thumbtacks/paperclips are poking her feet. Should we advise her to proceed directly to the local office supply store?”

Instead I go to my beloved online medical information mecca – – “The Web MD.”

First of all, it never occurs to me that the word “Web” in their name is a subtle symbolic tip-off that I should stay far, far away.  Let’s think about this, shall we?  Who has webbed feet?  Ducks!  And what do ducks say?  “QUACK!”  Hello??

But this does not deter me from typing, “thumbtacks sticking feet” into the symptom-checker box and obtaining The Diagnosis From Hell.  Four horrific diagnoses, actually.  One relates to my Brain, one relates to my Heart, another to my Lungs, and the final one to my Stomach.   Interestingly, none of the diseases have anything to do with Feet. And all are extremely fatal.

Having gotten C +’s in my Deductive Reasoning classes in high school, I know it isn’t possible that I am afflicted with ALL four of these maladies. That’s only logical, right?  So which one should I eliminate?

Next I do what I always do at 2:00 in the morning – – I log onto a hospital patient message board and post about my situation, asking if someone “out there” has ever experienced a symptom like this but everything turned out to be completely fine?   I stare for hours at my computer screen waiting for anyone to give a reassuring response.  And then it dawns on me . . .

The reason nobody can answer my question.  Everyone who had this same problem has already died.

Should I start writing my Obituary or my Will first?  And Guardians for my precious kids!  Why, oh why couldn’t my ex-husband and I ever agree who to name as caretakers in the event of our deaths??   His sister puts ketchup on eggs, doesn’t believe in orthodontia, plus Danielle Steele is her favorite author.  So what?  I shoulda let all that go.

“Please God,” I bargain, “I know last week I hated this world and said I’d rather be dead than go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew my expired driver’s license.  But I promise to find gratitude and renew my zest for life – – just please don’t let me expire!”photo 2-3

There’s nothing left to do.  Except find a brand new doctor who hasn’t heard about my “Boy Who Cried Wolf” past.  My previous doctors have issued, “WARNING: Circus Side Show Freak” bulletins about me to the medical community at large, so this will be no easy task.

Finally I show up on the doorstep of an office in a faraway town.  I watch as their “The Doctor is in” sign lights up.  I’ve always believed first impressions are important so here is how I fill out the paperwork on the clipboard.

 New Patient Form:

NAME:  (circle one)  Miss/Mrs./Ms    I’m divorced so technically it’s “Ms.”  But please call me “Miss” as in “Little Miss Menopause.” Although Mr. may be a distinct possibility these days – –  can you check my testosterone level?

AGE:   I just caught a glimpse of you at the reception desk….I could be your mother big sister.

REASON FOR TODAY’S VISIT?  Look at me!  Isn’t it obvious?  I just need the Dr. to confirm how much time I have.

WEIGHT:  Who cares at this point?   Just order me a size 8 burial gown.  And yes, I’m banking on the fact that loss of appetite will kick in soon with this particular disease.

PROFESSION:  Writer  (Pssssst!  Hot tip:  Publish this form.  Everyone knows a deceased author’s last work commands a high price.)

EVER SKIPPED A PERIOD?  Yes, but I’m working diligently on eliminating my run-on sentences.

WHOM CAN WE THANK FOR REFERRING YOU?  You mean blame?

PERSON TO CALL IN EMERGENCY:  Um…my two ex-husbands will deny knowing me.  Let’s see….My kids will just ask, “what’s for dinner?”  Oh, don’t call the neighbors, they’ll tell you I should have been deceased 8 times already!  Hmmm,  I think you might call Mabel, my hairdresser.  But when you say, “Died”  – –  you better spell it.  She’ll think you mean Clairol Nice n’ Easy Deep Burgundy Brown.

I’m interrupted by the Doctor, who calls me in.  He listens to my heart and pronounces it steady and strong.  I resist the urge to ask when he’s last had his stethoscope calibrated.  I describe how I feel  (this time likening it to feet stabbed with steak knives) but he cuts me off before I can get to the Web MD part.

DR:  Have you ever heard of Transient Paresthesia?

ME:  Oh no, Dr.  Not that!  I don’t even ride a train or bus!

DR:  Not “Transit.”   Transient, meaning Short-Lived.

ME:  Good Lord, you mean I’m gonna go even quicker than I thought?

DR:  Where ya headed to?

ME:  Aren’t I dying?

DR:  We all are.  But I think you’re gonna survive this one.  Transient Paresthesia = Limbs falling asleep.

As I depart, I glance over my shoulder to see him sketching a big-haired woman with the caption, “BEWARE OF CREATIVE BLOGGER WITH TOO MUCH TIME ON HER HANDS….She needs to be cut off ASAP!!”   He then posts it on the WEB MD  website!

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The Write Way To Die.

I killed someone today.  And nobody will ever even know.  Well, just one person, but she won’t tell.  Let me see if I am brave enough to recount it for you.

Mean Girl:  You’re going to turn fifty in two weeks and you think NOW, all of a sudden out of the blue, you can try to make something of yourself with writing?

Me:  It’s not totally out of the blue.  I’ve tried my hand at writing before, you know.  But something always roadblocked me.

Mean Girl:  Something?  Typical.  Gotta have that scapegoat, doncha?

Me:   Well I know it seems like an excuse, but there were kids and divorces and deaths in the family and health issues – – mental health issues you know.  Can you keep that part to yourself, please?

Mean Girl: Hah!  Your children are so easy, it’s not even funny. What do you know of kiddy turmoil?  Good grades, no drinking, no drugs, nothing! And you were a stay-at-home mom, for God’s sake.

Me:  But there’s six.

Mean Girl:  Boo hoo – – try being a working mom AND raising kids.  Try being a widowed wife, working mom AND raising kids.  Try being a widowed wife, working mom, raising kids AND being diagnosed with breast cancer.  Try being…

Me:  I get it.  I see what you mean.  But don’t forget the mental health issues.  Those were hard.

Mean Girl:  Ohhh, right.  All that silly depression.  And your lovely, (most entertaining) thoughts of suicide.

Me:  There is such thing as a mid-life crisis, you know.  It’s legit.

Mean Girl:  You’re just fat, lazy, stupid, and dumb.

Me:  Stupid and dumb = same thing.

Mean Girl:   Google it, you idiot.  The fact that you don’t know the difference just proves how stupid you actually are.  Besides, that part needed emphasis.

Me:  You’re right.

Mean Girl:  Yep, reach for those chocolate chip cookies right about now.  Time to get even fatter.

Me:  I’m not.  I’m going to write instead.

Mean Girl:  Cough, cough.  Oh….My mistake.  I meant that jar of peanut butter.  And when you say “you’re going to write,” you’re using the term loosely.

Me:  That’s really unfair.  Certain people do enjoy my kind of writing.  My humor is . . .

Mean Girl:  So redundantly boring.  Insipid wordplay, cutsey-cheesy-corny titles, unrealistic, inane plots, ridiculous top-ten lists.  But it doesn’t even matter.  Who reads blogs anyhow?  It’s a totally moot point.

Me:  Well, I do have a few more followers these days.

Mean Girl:  Will wonders never cease?!  You know what? Just shove ten cookies in your mouth and call it a day.  Tomorrow you can start fresh.

Me:  Yeah, okay.  I bought some Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies – – they were for the kids.

Mean Girl:  LOL.  Seriously ?  And you’re fooling whom with that “it’s for the kids” crap?  I know.  They know.  We all know.  So eat them, already.

Me:  I could try taking a risk with my writing, blog about something different than my typical humor. Something meaningful to me in a more serious light?

Mean Girl:  I don’t think so, babe.  Even if you dared – – you’ve still got that old-age thing going on.  When are ya gonna do something about that?

Me:  What can I do about it?  Cosmetic surgery?

Mean Girl:  Nah, you’re way beyond that.  But here’s an idea that would kill two birds – – pun intended.  (I know how you love them puns.)  Kill yourself.  And then maybe, if you get lucky, some well-meaning friend or relative will talk up your writing and some of it will get more known, given higher regard. You know the whole “Unrecognized artists who only become famous after their tragic death” thing.  Google it.  It’s real, not an urban legend.

Me:  Yeah?

Mean Girl:  Yeah.  Sound good?  Or too chicken to even go that route?

Me:  Shut up.

Mean Girl:  Come again?  What’d you say?

Me:  Shut up.  Shut the hell up.

Mean Girl:  Oh, it’s getting interesting now.  A  big-talking loser.

Me:   You’re the loser.  What are you, like 15 years old?  Like the Mean Girl from middle school.

Mean Girl:  I WAS born in middle school.  Good job.

Me:  Born at age 15 – – thirty-five years is a long enough life for you.

Mean Girl:  Ya think?

Me:  Die.  Die, bitch.

Mean Girl:  You’re the one who feeds me.  You’ll have to starve me.

Me:  That’s too slow. I’ll put my hand over your stupid ass voice right now and squeeze the life outa you.

Mean Girl:  Yeah. Suffocation. Works every time.  If you have the guts.

Me:  Guts?  I hate your fucking guts. There’s no use for you around here anymore. You. Are. Dead.

Mean Girl:

Me:  There.  How was that?  That okay?

Therapist:  Well done,  Stephanie.  Well done.  It was self-defense.

Note:  This was an atypical posting for me.  My blog is humor based  (with an occasional anchoring of seriousness) so if you need a laugh after this, please see my most recent posting – – about the Academy Award nominated movie, “Her.”  Just click  HERE