Monthly Archives: August 2009

My Childhood Home is For Sale

It’s strange that I still call the house of my childhood, my house. It seems she’s in a bit of a pickle these days.

“Sign on your old house has to do with the condition of the outside of the place.  The grass is too tall. Very weedy.  Moss is growing on the siding.  One note said public nuisance, and the other said “Abate”.  I looked it up on Yahoo and it means cut the grass and take care of the garbage or you will be fined.  I don’t thing anyone is even living in the place right now.  Part of me would like to see the inside and part of me says that is not a good idea.”

I talked with my cousin a few days ago. She said she had driven past the home of my childhood. There were notes on the door. Later she drove by again out of curiosity to see the notes and sent me the above email.

Before starting to write today, I looked for a picture of the house to share…kind of like an obituary. However, with the staging of my home and rearranging of everything I couldn’t find it.

She was a proud home. She was built in 1940 by my father for my mother when they married. As far as today’s homes go, she really wasn’t all that big. The upstairs had two bedrooms and one bath with a third bedroom over the attached garage. When my dad finally got that room and my sister had to share the “master” bedroom with me for one year, I used to lay in his bed to read because his bedroom window faced south and the sunlight was strong. It was warming in the winter. It was more cheerful than my north facing room. His room had an alcove with a desk which originally belonged to one of my mother’s sisters. That is all that would fit in that small space. I would often do my homework at that desk before he got home.

BATHTUB

The bath had a corner tub with a shower, but for some reason, we never had a shower curtain and everybody took baths. I can remember the day I asserted my independence and told my dad to leave. I was old enough to bathe myself. I have no idea how old I was, but he honored my request. I think he was relieved because I was difficult to reach over the seats.

The master bedroom only had one wall upon which to place furniture. There were three large windows to the north and two to the east. There were two deep closets which fit under the sloping roof. Between the two doors was place for a bureau and although it was tricky, there was a cat-a-cornered dresser in the other corner. When I was twelve I got to pick the color of my room. I chose a beautiful shade of light lavender. We had an area planted with lilies-of-the-valley directly below my east windows. I loved the arrival of spring because the fragrance of those flowers would drift up to my bedroom. That scent would be combined with the lilac bushes in our backyard.

Behind the master was the room which was originally the nursery. I remember nursery rhyme linoleum on the floor and light blue walls before my aunt moved into that room. It had one window to the east and two to the south. My aunt hung sheer crossed curtains over her windows. I always loved those beautiful curtains. Every spring she would take them down and wash them. When she did, the whole room smelled “spring time fresh”.  Behind the door was a built in book case where I was allowed to keep all my books. I belonged to the Weekly Reader book club for several years so the shelves filled pretty full. When I was in seventh grade my father bought me a set of World Book Encyclopedias which went upon the shelves.

On the main floor there was a living room, dining room and kitchen. The dining room was big enough to hold about eight people when the leaves were inserted into the table. There were two corner cabinets that stored mother’s good dishes and for many years my sister’s story book dolls.

refrigerator

The kitchen was large enough to have an eat-in kitchen table, cabinets on either side of the sink, and a gas stove. The refrigerator was built in the space under the stairs. I often wondered how more recent buyers handled the problem of a refrigerator because more modern refrigerators would never fit. It had no freezer.  Later we bought a more modern one with an extremely close fit but it still was short by today’s standards.

The basement was divided into two rooms. The gas furnace was in the back room. It was absolutely huge by today’s standards. It filled almost a third wash machineof the room. There were two wash tubs and a wringer washer which we used until I was in high school. We then added a dryer and finally a more modern washer .  The front room was where the laundry was hung on rainy days and all through the winter. The cement walls were unpainted giving the rooms an eerie cold feeling. I really didn’t like going down into the basement.

When I entered high school we had a clothes dryer by then. The basement front room was painted yellow and my sister’s old radio/45rpm record player, which she no longer wanted, was moved down there along with a glider. I hung a bamboo curtain over the storage space under the stairs. In the summer it was a much cooler place to hang out during the day. I even hosted a church youth group meeting down there one time. My one and only party at that house.

The house had one other house directly across the street. There was a deep ravine separating it from the next house. During the summer the kids on my street spent a lot of time down that ravine in the woods. We would traipse down a steep hill to the bottom where a small stream flowed. There was even a waterfall, although it was only about two to three-foot high. We would play in the water and make figurines out of the clay.

The street was made of cinders from all the coal-burning furnaces. It ended three houses down from my house. There were wonderful berry bushes which produced luscious berries in the summer. My aunt’s house next door had wonderful puddles at the end of her driveway where I would sit and play. My cousin and I made mud pies behind her house. I really do have fond memories of my neighborhood. Eventually the road was extended over the gully, the berry bushes removed and the road curbed and asphalted. But by then I was in high school and didn’t play out in the street any more.

I loved my house, I hated my house. But it was my house until I graduated from college and moved away. I’ve met a lot of people who have lived in a lot of houses in their lives so that no one house was considered their childhood home. There may have been many things lacking in my life but I did have a roof over my head and a safe place to play until dark. For that I will be always grateful.

I am praying some kind family will find her and resurrect her. At times I’ve felt the pull of her to take me back to my childhood home. I know that won’t happen but there are worse things than returning home towns. I don’t think I would have the same burning desire to escape as I did back then.

Thanks for dropping by. Peace be with you. Attic Annie

PS The house finally sold after someone bought it and rehabed it. There were pictures on the internet. They really made the old girl look good. I wouldn’t recognize the new kitchen or bath. When I drove by in September, there was play sets in the backyard so there must be a young child/children living there. I’m happy for the house. I’m sure she’ll last a long time.

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Here’s to those who’ve made lasting impressions

Mother-and-Daughter-Posters

Marguerite loved me

Good morning. I’ve been thinking lately about people who have made an impression on me during my life’s journey. It’s a mighty short list. Not that there aren’t a lot of people out there who are impressive, but rather, I try not to think more highly (or lowly) of one person over another. I’ve always been that way. I’ve never been one to be excited over some famous person coming to town.

The first person I remember was my father’s cousin, Margarite. She came to stay with us after my mother died. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was not to be permanent. She just agreed to the job temporarily until a more permanent situation could be arranged. I remember her because she loved me. I was not quite four years old, yet I can still picture her playing with me, reading to me, holding me on her lap, hugging me and letting me hug her. That was more important to her than washing the dishes after lunch. I loved her.
Then she disappeared. I don’t remember seeing her much at all after that. She lived in the next town which seemed hours away when I was young.
When I was a young teen, I was visiting her sister in her home. My aunt, who moved in with us when I was five, and her sister, were close cousins and often did things together. We were upstairs for some reason. Margarite was in bed very ill. I deliberately did not go in to her bedroom to talk with her. I had strange feelings of wanting to speak to her, but I realized how mad I still was at her. She had just disappeared in my young mind. To my way of thinking, she had abandoned me. I remember feeling guilty about feeling mad. She, of course, would never have guessed after ten years how I felt. It gave me satisfaction to turn my back on her and not go into her room. For that I was sorry for a long time. I never was able to ask her, “Why did you leave me?”

Another person who really impressed me was my guidance counselor in  high school. She did not have much time for any one individual student to counsel, but she did take time to talk with me a few times while I was having major problems my senior year. She asked if she could talk with my father during that time. It’s strange that I don’t remember if it was before or after I tried to commit suicide. ( see my blogs on my father) I just knew she was there.

At first our relationship was purely counselor-student, but I kept in touch with her over the years and we became friends. When I moved to Texas I still kept in touch with her when I visited my home town. We would have lunch together and catch up with news of our families. I couldn’t wait to show her my son for the first time. She’s in a nursing home now. I finally tracked her down but then I lost her telephone number so I still can’t contact her. I do miss talking with her. She was so encouraging all my life.   She died in2009 and I didn’t have a chance to say good-bye. I would have liked to have done  that.

This may surprise the few of you who really know me, but another person in my life who impresses me is my sister. When her children were growing up, it didn’t matter whether it was 1 PM or 1 AM when you visited her house. She always kept it looking like a showcase out of Better Homes and Gardens. Everything had its place. You’d never guess her house was anything other than a model home. She sewed, she cooked, she knitted. She was in every imaginable club she could find. When she was in school she always carefully laid out her clothes the night before and inspected them for the slightest flaws. She is still that way. I often wondered how she became that way when I was the exact opposite. I guess I’ll never know. I guess she feels she must be in control of every possible situation whereas I was one who felt I had no contol over anything.
My uncle was very important to me. He and his family lived three doors away. I spent more time talking with him than I ever could begin to think about talking with my own father, even when my own father was still alive. He was way over six feet and solidly built. To a little girl, he was a giant of a man. I felt like he kind of took on the role of surrogate father.
I loved to go to his home just to visit. When I would go back home we would make arrangements to go out to eat, just the two of us. He made me feel special. He made me feel noticed.  He took an interest in my life.

I asked him to walk me down the aisle when I was married. We were talking on the phone the night before. I mentioned that it had started to snow. As he was walking to the window to see for himself, he tripped over the foot stool. When I saw him the next evening, there he was in his tuxedo with this huge shiner around his eye. He had hit his cheek. When I moved to CT and IL and then to TX, his letters to me were always a joy to receive. He kept me updated on all the trivial things happening with the family…the kinds of things that make one still feel bonded. He died an accidental death and I couldn’t go to his funeral. To this day, I still miss him and the positive influence he had on my life.

maxine

I guess I would have to include Maxine on my list. Maxine lives across the street from me and now that we are both retired, she comes over several times a week to sit on the glider on the front porch with me.
She’s not old enough to be my mother but her husband is old enough to be my father. There’s 13 years difference in their ages.
I sometimes feel I have a mother hen in her. She’s kind of a best friend, sister, mother, advisor, micromanager all rolled into one five foot two chunk of pure energy. Every day she’s out working in her yard, taking care of her husband, helping out her daughter, etc. She sneaks our visits in in between her other jobs.
She was a good neighbor from the moment I met her. The day we moved into our house my son became cranky and feverish. I thought he was getting another ear ache but it turned out to be fifth disease. Another neighbor had been kind enough to bring a pitcher of lemonade to my door while I was unpacking. I returned the empty pitcher to her and asked her if she knew where I could find a pediatrician. She found a name for me but didn’t know how to reach his office.
Enter Maxine. She was out in the yard and I asked her if she knew the way there. My son’s temperature was climbing and my worry must have shown. Right on the spot she volunteered to drive us to the pediatrician’s office. I was so thankful. She was out in the street with her daughter cheering when my son learned to ride a bicycle. She and her husband have driven me to several doctor’s appointments and surgeries when I was not allowed to drive myself. She attended my son’s high school graduation and would have attended his college ceremony if he had opted to participate.
Yes, she has impressed me with the distance she is willing to go to be my friend. There have been people along my life’s path all along. I just needed to take off my blinders and see them. Gotta run to church. Namaste. Attic Annie

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Shift Happens Is USA ready?

I hope those of you who have been visiting my site take the time to watch at least part of this video. The facts are mind blowing to say the least. This video is not brand new so you may have seen it before.
I probably don’t have to worry too much longer about the effects of this global transformation, but my grandchildren (if I ever am fortunate enough to have any) and their grandchildren will continue to live in worlds many of us can’t even begin to imagine.
When I migrated through the education maze in the 50s and 60s it was thought most important to learn facts. As long as we could regurgitate answers, we were deemed “educated”. I remember how grateful I was that we never had to do the story problems at the bottoms of the math book pages. As long as we could add, subtract, multiply, and divide the problems at the top of the pages, we were fine.

What I didn’t realize then that I do now, it was those questions which would have taught us how to think. I now believe the reason that we were never required to do those questions is that the teachers we had were probably unable to teach us how to do them.
That’s not a slam against my teachers. Except for a couple of them, I really did like all of them, and for their time, I believed them to be good teachers. However, they were brought up in an age that viewed “learning” in the same way. Read, write, and regurgitate. That was education.

In high school I had a history teacher who taught the same material the same way year after year. She only changed when the district adopted a new text. She had outlined each chapter of the book and her class consisted of copying the notes she wrote on the chalkboard. I knew her back much better than her front. She only faced the class a few minutes each class. I remember that Thomas Jefferson had red hair and rode a white horse to his inauguration. I actually had to put that in my notes. Funny the stuff you can remember. All of her tests were multiple choice. I don’t blame her, however. It is difficult to grade essay tests when there are thirty to a class and you have five or six classes a day.

I will admit when I first started teaching, I taught the way I was taught, that is, concentrating on learning the basic facts. I thought it was important that my students be able to recognize whether they were writing complete sentences and to tell me immediately what 36/6 was.

 We were all told that our teaching style would develop  based on how we learned. To a great extent in the beginning of my career, this was true. Then in continuing ed classes I started to learn how to let the children create products and present what they had learned in a variety of ways. Now I was wise enough to know that some of the children got more than 90% help from parents, but they were still responsible for reporting to the class the results of their work. Their oral presentations counted just as much as their project did. They had to know what they were talking about. This evened the field out somewhat. There were always children who had no help whose projects looked rather grim but they gave excellent reports and answered all questions satisfactorily. There were those whose projects looked great but didn’t really have much to say about them and couldn’t answer simple questions.

There was a superintendent who really bought into children learning to think and reason. However, this was to the point where he saw no reason for the kids to drill on math facts. We weren’t to spend class time on such things as timed tests or playing “around the world” competitions to shout out fact answers. As a result, the kids knew how to do the problems but got stuck knowing whether the answer was correct because they had to use all kinds of devices such as fingers or hash marks to find out 7×6. We were told that all the kids would always have calculators for that basic knowledge. My question was always, “How will they know if the calculator is working properly?”

About twenty years ago, we were told we had to teach the children how to learn. Everything was about higher level thinking skills. Teachers would not be evaluated very highly if their lesson on the day of evaluation was basic knowledge and comprehension. This was from kindergarten on up.

Now, believe me, I taught in this new way, but in the back of my mind I always wondered how the students were supposed to use the higher level thinking skills if they had limited knowledge and comprehension. To me it was kind of like building a high rise without the foundational basement.

I do know that what were facts yesterday may not be facts today, especially in science. The world, once and for all, is NOT flat, and the sun does NOT revolve around the earth. Those two facts were irrefutable about five to six hundred years ago. Facts change as new research prove they are no longer correct. That means we cannot teach “just the facts, maam” as Sgt. Joe Friday would have wanted. Our knowledge is expanding at exponential rates. It is now impossible to learn even a small fraction of everything.

According to the video, more information will be generated this year in exabytes than was generated in the last 5,000 years. In case you are wondering, this is an exabyte      :DEFINITION – An exabyte (EB) is a large unit of computer data storage, two to the sixtieth power bytes. The prefix exa means one billion billion, or one quintillion, which is a decimal term. Two to the sixtieth power is actually 1,152,921,504,606,846,976 bytes in decimal, or somewhat over a quintillion (or ten to the eighteenth power) bytes. It is common to say that an exabyte is approximately one quintillion bytes. In decimal terms, an exabyte is a billion gigabytes. Now, does that blow your mind or what?

Fact: Student in high school can’t find South America on a map. They don’t know who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. but know that Sponge Bob lives at the bottom of the sea. Fact: The top 25% of Chinese students are more students than all of the US total.

American education is failing huge numbers of students. 

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Nearly 6.2 million students in the United States between the ages of 16 and 24 in 2007 dropped out of high school, fueling what a report released Tuesday called “a persistent high school dropout crisis.”

Is it because we don’t teach them basic information on which to build higher level thinking skills? Is it because we teach too much “knowledge” and not enough thinking? No one really tends to have the answer. Of course we must factor in all the societal changes which have been taking place. I do know that once the British Empire ruled the world. Once the United States led the way in all areas for the rest of the world to follow. Now it continues to fall in rank.

In spite of all this, there is still hope. With this vast knowledge and instant communication, the shift is happening. The following video is an update you might find interesting. Maybe there is a light at the end of our proverbial tunnel after all.
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Thanks for dropping by. Namaste. Attic Annie

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Teaching and Vicodin …definitely a no no

Good morning. I wrote my blog last night. I woke up at 4 but decided to go back to sleep. It’s a gloriously cooler morning so far. Welcome.

It’s Thursday evening and I hope to get most of this blog done before I crash. I had a surgical procedure done last January. I was given a prescription for twenty hydrocodone (vicodin) tablets for pain. When I had my root canal on Tuesday I still had nine left. I really don’t like to take pain meds any more than I have to, but my jaw was really bothering me since Tuesday so I took one that night, two yesterday, and one this morning. I thought I would tough it out and not ask the dentist for any script. I was wrong. I was glad I still had my bottle.

I have been a zombie all day. The prescription reads one every four hours. I hate to think what my brain would look like if I took that much. I seem to retain pain meds far longer than the average person does. Take your pick of side effects. This chart could easily have my face on it….with a few other alterations!

What your body looks like on drugs

What your body looks like on drugs

Thank goodness I am retired and can waste a day now and then. Back about twenty years ago, I had a run in with the same stuff that maybe could have cost me my job. At least I was that paranoid about it.

I had had dental surgery back then too. I didn’t let that bother me. I taught school the next day anyways. As long as I took the tab with food like I had at breakfast, I thought I was OK. It was getting close to lunch and my jaw was starting to throb. I thought, “I’ll sneak one now. I’ll be eating lunch in fifteen minutes. It will be OK.” Well, it wasn’t OK.

About ten minutes later I started feeling really strange. It was time to prepare for lunch. I called one of my students up to the desk and said,

“P l e a s e  g o  f i n d  M r s. H.” I felt like I was in a slow motion film. Mrs. H. was one of my teaching partners. She came back to the room and took one look at me. “Annie, what’s wrong?”

“I  t o o k  o n e  o f  m y  p a i n  p i l l s  o n  a n  e m p t y  s t o m a c h,” I said into this echo chamber. “Oh, geez, Annie!” She replied. She turned to my class. ” Laurie, go up to the cafeteria and get Ms. A  a tray. I handed Laurie the money. “The rest of you line up and follow my class.”

No problem. The kids were out of the classroom and food was on the way. I can’t tell you what I had to eat,  but I do remember the “fun” of trying to eat it. I was stoned and I was trying to avoid chewing on one side of my mouth.

Mrs. H. returned to my classroom and escourted me down the hall to the telephone. I held on to her arm all the way down. Of course this was before cell phones. We had a phone in the teacher’s lounge. With her help, I was able to reach the dentist. I evidently was coherent enough to tell his assistent my situation. I remember her saying, “You’re not feeling any pain now, are you?” There was kind of a laughter in her voice. Nope, NO pain….worry and guilt maybe but no pain. She told me I would be OK. She asked if I had eaten anything yet. I responded that I thought I had.

Mrs. H. started to walk me up and down the hall. I distinctly remember trying to grab the floor with my toes to keep from falling off. Off of what I wasn’t sure.  I kept mumbling that I hoped the principal or the program coordinator would not come see us. They had a habit of popping in whenever. I could just see the newpaper in front of me. “Elementary teacher gets stoned in front of class”. I saw the termination papers in front of me as I was getting kicked out of school.

Gradually feeling started coming back into my feet and I stopped talking like a zonked out robot. I was no longer trying to wrap my toes around the carpet. Mrs. H. assured me there were no administrators present. We walked for a few more minutes. She went back up to the cafeteria to collect our students.

By the time the kids got back to class and rotated rooms, the worst of the feelings were gone and somehow I was able to carry out the afternoon schedule.

I don’t know how drug addicts do it. I have difficulty taking more than two a day. I can’t imagine what kind of pain I would have to be in to take six a day. It’s a scary thought.

As I sat here this evening, a storm blew through. I brought up the radar for this area and saw some bright red blotches on the radar right over our neighborhood. I knew I was supposed to unplug the computer but I chose not to. The storm has passed and nothing was damaged. There was a huge clap of thunder right over my house. My family room lit up like noon with the lightening showing through the skylight. My TV had gone off the air (my dish satellite tends to do that). I called Maxine but it was a very short conversation. She didn’t want to be on the phone in the storm.

That reminds me. I have a question. I know it’s not good to be on an old fashioned corded phone if there is lightening. Does that warning still hold if both parties are on a cordless phone? It seems to me that there would be no problem, but then again I know very little about such matters.

We got another drenching. Once again, the lightening was its usual spectacular self. Somehow when I was growing up, I don’t remember the weather shows like we have down here in Texas where everything seems to be grander.   Maybe because we don’t have as many storms as other places the weather gods store up all the energy for fewer but mightier storms. It’s time to call it a night. See you in the morning. Namaste. Attic Annie

                                                                 fw lightningstorm

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Texting and talking to the max…hazardous to our health

Good morning, a friend of mine sent me an email last evening with this You Tube video. I had seen a small part of it on the news the evening before but the news didn’t show the entire clip.
For a PSA I thought it was very well staged and realistic. Even if it is just acting, it is still very disturbing to hear the little girl ask why Mommy and Daddy won’t wake up or to see the blank unresponsive blue eyes of the baby.

It lets the viewer guess if any of the passengers in the driver’s  car or the others are still alive. We see their closed eyes and bloody faces and are left to wonder. The driver  is the only one who is still conscious.  I think that’s one of the points of the PSA. She gets to know the outcome of her moments of inattention  because she was texting while she was driving. If this were real, she would get to think about what she had done for the rest of her life.

I don’t really have any reason to text anybody that urgently and I doubt if any teenagers really do. Until I put my home up for sale, I refused to keep my cell phone turned on while I was out. I don’t give my number to anyone unless there is a specific reason to be called. If I am out of the house I am out for a reason. My landline still has an answering machine. If I feel the need, I can check for messages when it is safe to do so.  Yet, millions of people world-wide are not like me. There is a feeling of needing to be connected 24/7 by their electronic umbilical cord. It  must be addictive to be able to communicate instantly. Perhaps I am wrong, but I fail to see that there could possibly be that many life threatening emergencies that anyone needs to be in constant contact.

 I used to think people would use their cell phones as if saying, “Look at me! I’m so important I must talk while I’m dining, eating, walking, shopping, driving, whatever.” The most annoying ones still do it with the loudest voices without consideration for those nearby. Did you ever notice how much louder people talk on their cell phones? I could clearly hear a woman in the waiting area of the dentist office when I was back in the treatment room. No one else was in the room with her except the receptionist who had to listen to her non-stop talking.

I remember the day I saw the first man walking down the street when the Bluetooth first came out. bluetooth  I swear I thought he was arguing with himself. I was to the side of him and couldn’t see the phone stuck in his ear. I evaded him as much as possible. I felt it fairly scary to be in the presence of an unmedicated schizophrenic.

All of my objections to cell phones and texting have been regurgitated by others so many times that it would ill serve to mention them again now. I will only express my own feelings.

It amuses me that while I am in the grocery store I see so many one handed cart drivers trying to manipulate the aisles. The other hand is plastered to their heads. Now I can understand the convenience of checking with someone if an item or two can’t be remembered (we’ve forgotten how to make lists), but the conversations that I unavoidably sometimes hear occasionally make me blush that people will talk about such intimate details in public. I will admit I sometimes come close to sharing intimacies here on my blog but I sit here in isolation by myself. I’m not talking to the entire crowd of shoppers at WalMart.

I resent hearing cell phones go off at church. One can’t really even say “ring” any more because we are bombarded with all kinds of “cute” attention getting sounds. A couple of weeks ago the same phone could be heard five different times during the service. I was so nearly tempted to stand up and say, “Answer the damn thing whoever you are.”  But my GA (guardian angel) kindly kept my shoulders pushed against the pew so I wouldn’t embarrass myself or interrupt our minister’s message. He was trying dreadfully hard to ignore the annoying sound. It is announced every Sunday to please turn the cell phones off, but it’s almost a given that at least one will ring, play Bach, or pass gas sometime before the end.

I had a new experience last week when my friend and I attended The Time Traveler’s Wife.  Two young girls arrived after we did and sat down directly in front of us. During the movie the girl to my left pulled out her cell phone and started texting. That light is quite bright and distracting in the darkened theater. She put it away and I ignored the situation. After she had done it the fifth time, I was really going to stop being  just annoyed and tell her to put the phone away. I don’t understand it. She pays for a ticket, as did I, and then ignores the movie in favor of whomever is at the other end of the text.

No one is getting through to these people. Where have the boundaries of rudeness receded to? There is a girl in CA who texted over 300,000 times in a month. Her response, “What can I say? I’m popular”. I read a few moments ago the comments of a young girl who felt it was rude of someone not to answer her texts because she took the time to write it. Now it’s the fault of the receiver? I don’t think so.

Studies have been conducted on teenagers exhibiting the side effects of sleep deprivation. It seems they are texting each other far into the early morning and suffering health consequences from it. Isn’t it about time to come to our senses?

The original phone hung on the wall and had to be cranked. We’ve come a long way since 1876. We no longer have one phone in the center of the house for all to use and to listen in on conversations. As of 1999, in the US there were 86.1 million subscribers, 32% of the population. I will some day take the time to see if I can find more recent figures because between 1998-2001, the number of cell phones increased 29%. “Worldwide use of Cellular Telephones, 1999.” World Almanac and Book of Facts. 2001: 571. We are not limited to our homes. Sometimes, cell phone useage by others is just plain annoying. Some times it’s just plain hazardous to our health and the health of others. What too many people don’t realize is that they should take seriously the fact that cell phone useage and texting should be eliminated while we are driving planes, trains, or automobiles as has been the cases of causes of “accidents’ in the news lately. The statistics are horrendous. We take for granted the safety of the insides of our cars. We shouldn’t. Namaste. Attic Annie

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Growing old(er) is not for sissies!

Got lots to do but come sit down. We can talk a while.

Got lots to do but come sit down. We can talk a while.

Good morning. I’m not talking too well this morning. I went to the dentist yesterday.

OK….so maybe deep down I may be a masochist. I am making appointments right and left to “fix” everything all at one time. Why? Only GOD knows. I am in pain…and I am the one who is usually quite stoic. I take things as they come. However, I have achieved a position that has almost brought me to my knees.

Several years ago I lost a tooth to an abscess so a “permanent” bridge was made. It’s lasted several years,  but not the lifetime I had hoped. I went to the dentist in April and with the usual yearly xrays it was discovered that the first tooth of the bridge had a cavity under the crown. Now I was naive enough to think that once a tooth was crowned, there would be no more decay.

I was wrong!

I was given two options, a partial denture or two implants.

They would remove the bridge, pull the decayed tooth, and make a partial plate with two teeth. They were willing to do this but said the back tooth may not stand up to the pressure of being the anchor due to bone loss surrounding the tooth. They didn’t mention any partial hidden clasps like in this picture. This was not their first recommendation.

I remembered my dad’s partial. He used to complain about his gums being sore underneath. I hesitated about this option.

The next option was to pull the decayed tooth and put in two implants.

The “insurance” I have is not insurance but a dental discount HMO type. The company pays very little for implants at this time. The periodontist was charging $2,000 per tooth for the metal screws. Then on top of that, there was  more than that (a LOT more) for the regular dentist to prepare my mouth, do the extraction, and make the crowns for the implants. Total cost, WITH the amount taken off by my dental discount, was over $7,000!

“The disadvantages of implants are that they can cost more and be more  time-consuming, and the cost may not be covered by dental insurance. You will likely have to deal with two dentists – the dentist who does the surgery to place the implant, and the dentist who puts the false tooth on top of the implant. There is also a delay in getting the false tooth or teeth – a healing interval of several months may be required before the artificial root can have a tooth placed on it. There is also surgery involved with its attendant discomfort and healing period.” http://www.mynewsmile.com/missing.htm

After deliberating my options, I decided to get a third opinion. My friend suggested I see her dentist. She has been going to him for many years and trusts him explicitly. I made an appointment. He doesn’t accept the dental discount program I had. He only takes PPOs. Thank goodness for the internet. I found a PPO he did accept. The savings I will gain offsets the cost of having both a PPO and an HMO discount program for the next several months. I bought into the program.

His idea was to do a root canal on the first tooth, cut out the bridge tooth, and get one dental implant in its place. Well, with only one implant that was a savings of $3,000 right there.

I had another root canal several years ago. I don’t remember any special discomfort. I was not expecting any yesterday. Unfortunately, he ran into an unexpected abscess. The procedure took a lot longer than he planned as a result. He kept asking me if I were feeling any pain. I was fine. I can say I was not too fond of the noise of the file grinding away at my tooth’s root.

I couldn’t say that thate was no pain after the anesthetic began to wear off. I hate to take hydrocordone. I had a surgical procedure last January and out of twenty tablets prescribed at that time, I still had ten left. I had two of those and four Tylenol after I returned home from my appointment before I went to bed. The pain was only numbed. I don’t know what to expect for today. Visits to the dentist and oral surgeon will continue for the next several months.

Masochistic part number 2. My chiropractor moved to another part of the state and I had to find a new one. I’ve had lower back curvature problems probably since birth that causes an imbalance because of a cockeyed center of gravity. It explains my lovely performances in sports growing up. No doctor has ever taken the x-ray view that revealed it before. Most generally my left shoulder is a little lower than my right. My pelvis tips causing one leg to be longer than the other. My aunt would always tell me “Annie! Look how you’re standing. Stand up straight.” I had no idea what she was talking about. I thought I WAS standing up straight.

With my other chiropractor I would go in several times a year for an adjustment and all would be well. Now  I had to find a new one.

The one I found takes an entirely different approach. She takes her clients through a twenty visit program to realign their entire spinal column. In 2004 I was in an automobile accident that caused a sideways “whiplash” to my neck. I feel no pain any more, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. I had no idea my neck muscles were as stiff as they were. If it doesn’t hurt, it’s out of mind.

So now I have a chiropractor three times a week working on realigning my neck and lower back with adjustments, the tens unit attached to my back for ten minutes, and resistance exercises. She puts a headband around my head that is connected to a resistance rubber cord attached to the wall. I have to stand there and stick my chin forward while keeping my shoulders back and straight. They call it “the chicken”. Ever watch a chicken walk? Yep, that’s what I do. Except only my head moves…not my feet.

Then comes the manipulations. She is more vigorous than I am accustomed to although she does not hurt. She can’t adjust my neck because of the stiff muscles. She has to use a device which she cocks and presses against each vertebra. Kind of reminds me of a jack hammer. Doesn’t hurt. This will continue three appointments a week through the middle of October. I’m already 5’7″ which is relatively tall for women. The chiropractor is decompressing my spine and correcting the curvature. I’m wondering if I will come out of this a couple inches taller!

Why do I consider these two things (dentist and chiropractor) as masochistic of me? Well, the two of them together really aren’t too much to handle. However……later today I have to make an appointment with the podiatrist to treat my ingrown toenail. My pain is definitely in my mouth, my neck, my back, my toe, and my PURSE! I’m experiencing a “pocketectomy”!

“Growing old is NOT for sissies!” I believe it! Namaste. Attic Annie

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I think my marriage was never closed

Hi there. Glad you stopped in. I am sooooo psyched! I wasn’t at my computer when it happened, but when I checked at 7:30 pm last night, I had surpassed my 1,000 visitor by 22! Y’all come on by there’s still plenty of room on the porch. When it gets cooler, we’ll move to the attic!

Now that I’m on this particular phase of my life, I think I’ll say a few more things about my marriage. The first thing I never should have done was get so quickly involved with someone I met who had been divorced one week before I met him. That’s called REBOUND

He should have been wearing this t shirt!

He should have been wearing this t shirt!

 and I jumped into the game immediately before I knew whom I was playing against.

My ex’s wife had left him several months after she began an affair with a man where she worked. My ex resented that on two fronts. One, he was feeling the sting of rejection, and two, the particular man had only a high school education and did manual labor, whereas my ex was a college graduate with a degree in engineering from a prestigious Indiana university! The thought of her picking someone lower in class than he was quite a blow to his ego. He said more than once, “He repairs cars for Christ’s sake.” His father had been a manual laborer but that was not good enough for him. He resented his family background. He was going to be a winner in this social race.

When I was asked by a neighbor if I would like to have a blind date with someone, I was told he was divorced. I was never told how RECENTLY divorced. We were supposed to go out to eat but he didn’t show up on time or call, even though the date had already been arranged for a month. He finally made it about 1 1/2 hours late. He’d forgotten and he’d picked up a secretary to take her out for drinks before he remembered.  I don’t want to go into that first date right now because that’s a whole blog in itself!

About three weeks later we were sitting on the couch and he said something about the fact he had been with a prostitute. My warning bells went off but I overrode them. I pretended I didn’t hear what he said. He was so charming that I just dismissed that comment and went right on feeling the rosy glow of beginning love. It was a major case of lust but I didn’t know the difference at the time.

Five weeks after I met him, he invited me to live with him for the summer. By that time  I knew I was in love with him. Yes, I know that was quick. His home was more than a three hour drive from mine, it was summer, and I was not working for ten weeks. Had he been in my home town, I think we would have moved at a slower pace.

When I arrived at his home on a Friday evening, I felt kind of grimy from the warm day and the long drive (no expressway)  so I took a shower. There was a gold cordoroy smoking type jacket hanging on the back of the bathroom door so I borrowed it. “Oh,” he said, “that’s what (insert any female name here) used to wear when she stayed  here. “Hello! “(knock knock on Annie’s skull) “What did he just say?” He had been divorced nine days when I met him. He was a traveling salesman with a wide territory. “When SHE stayed here?” Again, I let that slide. After I took a shower, he took one. While he was in the shower the phone rang. I answered it and told the woman at the other end where he was. She hung up the phone and never called again while I was there.

My ex traveled from Monday morning through Thursday night. He’d come back on Friday. That was the amount of time I had with him for those whole ten weeks. Ten weeks. That’s Saturday and Sunday. Friday night he often spent in his home office completing business. I said she never called again. I never thought to ask if he called her.  That was also ten weeks in which every other week he’d pick up his son who would stay with us for the weekend thus cutting our “get to know each other” time in half.

All in all there was not a significant amount of time that we spent together really getting to know each other on all levels. I just knew how much he said I satisfied him and I knew how much he satisfied me. I had no compass to guide me so I was sailing in very unknown waters. He drank significantly every weekend but that just made him more loveable and cuddly. He was just a teddy bear. Besides, I was drinking too so the alcohol just managed to muddy the thought processes even more.

After summer I went back to my job and I saw him a couple more times before he was transferred to Ohio for some kind of training program before being transferred to New York. That meant except for the time we spent moving my furniture into an apartment in Connecticut I only saw him two more times during Thanksgiving and a long weekend in Ohio before our wedding. We had gotten engaged in September.

Our wedding and honeymoon are still another blog. We managed to get through the first year together although he was already starting to stay out late. The following year I found out I was pregnant. We were transferred to our new home two weeks before the birth of my son. I had wanted to stay with my obstetrician in CT but I was convinced it would be easier to travel before the birth.

Our first visitors after my son’s birth were long time friends who came up to stay overnight. A few days after their visit, I got a phone call from one of them. I had gone to bed early (my son was less than two weeks old). The next morning she had gone into the living room and all the furniture was misarranged in front of the fireplace. She straightened everything back up before I could see it. Later she asked the other guest what had happened after she had gone to bed. The other guest denied everything but to this day I still believe she and my husband had a one night stand in my home. I noticed more than once how fond he was at staring at her more than ample breasts. He had no intention of downplaying his long leers.

That was the pattern from the beginning. His job always involved traveling. When he was in town, he would often come home late. One summer my sister came down for a visit after we moved the following year. My ex and I were becoming increasingly intimate one evening when he asked out of the blue if I would go get my sister for a threesome. I told him of course NO but then I added, “If that’s what you want YOU ask her.” Thinking she would be shocked and would get a clue as to the real man I married. Not thinking in a million years he would get up the nerve. It was just recently that my sister and I had a conversation and I learned he had indeed asked her. She claimed she didn’t say a word and just walked out of the room.

That was my “open marriage” with my husband. Here I was serving on a legislative committee with a guy and I would join him for coffee in a public restaraunt to measure our progress…and I felt uncomfortable about even that. My ex certainly never felt uncomfortable. Of course at one point in our marriage we went for marriage counseling. The psycologist felt that he was bipolar and had sociopathic tendencies. Tendencies? Ha …he wrote the book.  There could easily be a picture of my ex besides the sociopathic link. I can’t say he exhibited ALL the characteristics listed but then he was already 30 when I met him and I never knew anything of his past childhood or young adulthood.

Here I was a love-starved young naive woman and there he was. I had a target painted on my back and I didn’t even know it.  I’m so glad all of this is in the past and I now have some semblance of self-esteem and self-pride. I am in the process of healing and it is showing.

I recently had an opportunity to get involved with someone else but his actions were a little too familiar for comfort. I’m not about to go down this same path again. I am woman, hear me roar!

 Yahoo! I DID it! You are witnessing my first You Tube video post! I don’t need no stinkin’ personal tutorials. I watched how to do it on a tutorial blog and whalah! I done it all by myself! Oh joyouse day! I’m learning! Namaste. Attic Annie

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