Tag Archives: Maxine

So Long, Maxine

Maxine1                                     Saying good bye to Maxine is one of the hardest things I am having to do. For those of you who followed me in the beginning, Maxine lived across the street from me. Of course that is not her real name, but she acts so much and looks so much like the Maxine cartoon that I started calling her that.

She and her husband moved to a retirement community in early January. It is only about eleven miles down the road, but it may as well have been 100. I was feeling my worst and not doing much other than keeping doctors’ appointments and shopping for groceries. Driving that far if not medically necessary was too much of an effort.

Maxine is in her early 80s. Her husband is 93. He has been having health difficulties with his blood for many years. It affects his energy and his cognitive abilities. For a while he was doing quite well, but for the past couple of months he is once again going down hill. Maxine dotes on him like a mother hen. Such dedication among married couples is not exactly common.

They invited me to lunch about a week ago. It will probably be the last time I see them. They are now living in a lovely retirement community. Their’s is a two bedroom apartment on the first floor. I’m not sure what the age range is, but the diners all looked approximately the same age. I had looked into such communities within the last year, but I think I’ll wait about at least ten more years before I make that move.

Alice has intentionally lost about twenty pounds and is looking quite healthy. She seems more filled with energy now that she is not taking care of her big house. Of course with the energy she has, she has met and knows the name of almost everyone in the building. She introduced me to about twenty diners as her neighbor while I was there.

After lunch we went back to their apartment. Her husband was very tired so he excused himself to take a nap. She and I talked about ten minutes more before I headed down the road again. I never have felt at ease to talk in person. It is much easier for me to write.

I love Maxine and will miss her greatly. I never learned that to tell Maxine was to tell the entire neighborhood. She would just mention my affairs to a couple of her friends but she just knew they wouldn’t tell a soul!

I don’t remember being especially that much taller than she, but when I hugged her good bye, her head came to my breast. I have no idea when she started shrinking. She certainly hasn’t stopped talking.

I will always think God put me in this neighborhood for a reason. My son was six when my ex left. Next door we had Grandma Annie and Grandpa John. John died when my son was in the first grade. Grandma Annie passed away when he was in middle school. The couple across the street from them and their daughter all died in the following years. Maxine was always there whenever I needed some help. She’d cook too much and bring over supper pretty frequently. Now Maxine and her husband have moved. I once stayed in this house because I didn’t want to leave the village that was helping to raise my son. Now my son has no desire to return and the village people who meant everything to me has gone.

I wish a Maxine on everyone at some point in their lives. She says she wants to get an IPad but that hasn’t happened yet. She refuses to touch her husband’s computer. I will probably not handwrite letters and she will probably not handwrite answers even if I do. I’m hoping the IPad, if she gets it, will keep us in contact. She always asked me questions that were very personal, she gave me advice I didn’t want, she was able to get more information out of my son than I ever was. She was special. She is the sister I wish I had rather than the one I got. She gave me a gift that few have given to me. She cared. Namaste. Attic Annie

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All Things Work for Good for those who love God …why do I sometimes forget?

Faith…sometimes I momentarily let it slip

It is 6:30 Sunday evening. I am still feeling full of energy (another story for another day) despite sitting in a house that is now 85 o. At one point I thought I actually felt cool with the fan blowing on my legs and the ceiling fan stirring the air behind my head. Due to the humidity, that is not the case any longer. I now feel quite clammy and sticky. I touch my hand to my arm and it actually feels as if there is a layer of weak glue trying to hold it there.

Unfortunately, my air conditioner broke yesterday. Since I have a repair contract with an air conditioning company, I was able to get a repair person to come check the outside unit at 5:00 pm on Saturday evening. Since he was just here last Thursday and pronounced my AC ready for another season, there is no charge for this return visit.

He says I have a couple of valves broken in the compressor. I sit there in the dining room (I can’t stand now because of the news) and listen to Dave. He’s the one who has been coming spring and fall to check my furnace and AC. I am too stunned at the thought of having to buy a new AC for my house to be able to listen. That’s because, in order to cool this house, I need a five ton three phase unit. The present AC is a 1998 model. That’s thirteen years. It replaced a model that was installed in the early 60s and didn’t die for almost thirty eight years. I was expecting longer service out of this model.

I feel sorry for myself and call Maxine across the street. I haven’t talked about Maxine in quite a while. Whenever I begin to feel sorry for myself, she snaps me out of it. I honestly don’t remember what she says. I just know I feel a lot better when our conversation ends. For those of you who don’t know Maxine, I call her that because she is so much like the cartoon Maxine, I swear the cartoonist knows my neighbor personally. It’s not just her attitude. She could be a model for Maxine herself.

After I talk with her, I feel much better. I start to tear up but those tears soon dry up. There’s just no reason to cry when you talk with her. Sorrow for self just doesn’t cut it with her.

It’s just that I feel I’m being bombarded from all sides. One issue is the hail damaged my roof and I’ve been dealing with the contractor and delays for many days.The roof was supposed to be done last Wednesday.  The contractor is a nice  guy and I really appreciate him, but I will be very glad when I can put the roof behind me. I called him to tell him he can stop looking for a sub-contractor to do another job I asked him to bid on because I would not have the money for quite a while due to my AC breaking.

We’ve talked several times about topics other than roofs, and I enjoy his company. I know he is younger than I am but I find him quite attractive. I realize the attraction is one way. When I tell him about no AC in my house, he actually extends an invitation to sleep on his couch in his apartment! I realize he is offering for humanitarian reasons and no other, but I thank him politely and tell him I’ll be fine. It’s still getting down into the low 70s at night. I assure him my bedroom will cool down sufficiently. (It actually did. By 2 am I had to pull the sheet over me between the ceiling fan and the stiff breeze blowing into my bedroom windows.)

If we had been in the same situation thirty or even ten years ago, I would have been knocking on his door in a heartbeat. He would not have had time to hang up the phone. I really have been too trustworthy all my life. He probably has too. Besides, he has a cat. Next to dust mites, cats are the second on my list of thirty four allergens I’m allergic to. I would be miserable before the night was over. One, because I would be out on the couch, and two, I would be sneezing and my eyes would be itching. I may even be wheezing. It doesn’t matter if the cat is in the same room with me or not. Cats are a great reason for me to remain sane with invitations like that.

Now I am in the process of contacting AC companies and getting bids. I probably won’t know until Wednesday or Thursday who will do the job. In the meantime, I have a window unit in my converted garage and a friend brought over a floor unit for my bedroom. If I recline under the ceiling fan in my family room, I actually do not feel too warm. I think I will make it.

I slipped for a moment yesterday when I panicked over the thought of such a large bill. I know better than not to trust that all will be well. Once again in my life I am “Letting go and letting God.” That’s all I can do. I affirm that all my needs will always be met and I will have enough provision to have some of my wants as well. That’s all I can do. That’s all I need to do. The rest is in the “hands” of a power greater than I. I am grateful I live an abundant life. All is well. Namaste. Attic Annie


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The economy is so bad! (according to Maxine)

Welcome to my porch. It’s been a while since I remembered to say “howdy”! It is raining as I talk with you now but some times that is a favorite time for me to sit outside and watch the rain fall. OK. I’m easily entertained, what can I say?

I admit it. I’m a Maxine groupie. The same friend who sent me the video  yesterday also sent me the following Maxine cartoons. I’m afraid I don’t know that much about copyright laws. I guess if I’m going to have a blog for any length of time I’d better find out. I get cartoons in emails all the time. Is it OK for folks to send them in emails? Is it OK for me to use them in my blogs?

It’s obvious I am not the creative artist who produces Maxine. If I use any of his images in my blogs, am I supposed to credit him even if I do this free of charge? No one has given me a penny for my thoughts as of yet.

If I am to credit him then here is his credit. There, hopefully that will take care of that issue.

Everybody knows the economy is bad. Actually, we are told so many times a day in so many ways, I think perhaps it is time to get some comic relief going in this situation. I can say that because I haven’t lost my home, I managed to bail out of the stock market with my IRA not completely wiped out…seriously wounded, I will admit. I am managing to still live rather frugally on my teacher’s pension. (I am not a high maintenance person. If you knew me you would readily acclaim that is an understatement.)So therefore, in spite of the misery around me, I can see some humor in our situation.

The artist also sees humor…and unvarnished truth. I appreciate people who tell it like it is. And, thanks to Maxine, he does.

For those of you who haven’t been following my blog, the neighbor who lives across the street is the spitting image of Maxine. I talk about her every so often in my blog. She also tells it like it is. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love her dearly. She is like the sister I wish I had. If I could, I would take a picture of her and post it on my blog. It would be difficult for you to tell which picture was the real one.

The economy is so bad. It will remain bad for quite some time. But at least there are some around who specialize in helping us discover for a few moments that if we are unable to laugh at this time in our lives, at least we might be able to smile a little. Did you know the economy is THIS bad?

I hope Maxine makes your day. Sometimes it  is the artists, writers, and poets among us who help us see situations like they really are. They can make true statements (generally) and it is protected under the Constitution…at least if the artist lives in America.

I see a lot happening in America that I feel needs to change, but using humor to help us get through the day is not one of them. Namaste. Attic Annie


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Sharing Maxine with you

In case you have recently found me, Maxine is what I call my neighbor. She frequently comes over just to talk for ten or so minutes at a time. This is the story of her birthday November 13.

Friday was Maxine’s 76th birthday. I told her earlier in the week about my soccer and girl gang violence blog being chosen for front page wordpress. She said she’d like to read it, but didn’t want to read it on her own computer. She and her husband just got a new one a couple of months ago. For some reason, which I cannot fully understand, she does not like to get on it. In fact, for the most part, she refuses to touch it. I offered to email the blog to her, but she wasn’t interested. I found out later that day that her screen is black and the writing is white. Nobody seems to know how to fix it.

Friday morning she called and asked if she could come to read it on my computer. I certainly didn’t mind. I asked if she could give me ten minutes to get dressed first. I tend to start blogging early in the morning while still in my night shirt. There’s no one around for me to bother, so it doesn’t matter to me what time I get dressed. Some days I just don’t.

She came over and quickly sat down to read. When she got to the part I had mentioned about the girls fighting in the mountains she said, “I’m gonna smack your jawls.” (That’s Georgian for jowls.) Iwasn’t sure I understood what she said, so I asked her to repeat it. “I’m gonna smack your jawls. That’s what the girls used to say to each other. Then they would hit the other girls on the cheek. That was the extent of the physical violence. But I heard some rough verbal fights. Girls today are so much rougher.”

I asked her, “Did you read yesterday about the girl who got shot on Seminary? She died.” Maxine asked if I was going to blog on that. I told her that I had decided not to because it was so close to the blog I had just written about gang violence among girls. She was only sixteen years old. She was an only child. The picture in the paper shows her grieving mother and quotes her as saying, “I told her to stay away from them because they were nothing but trouble.” And then she added prophetically, “I told her they could bring a gun next time.” The girl was born in Los Angeles but moved here for a fresh start. She was shot in the head while she and her boyfriend were tying to escape in their car. Two boys, 14 and 15 have been arrested.

 No wonder I’m beginning to worry about gang violence. She was shot near a mall I had just visited a month ago. It’s less than three miles from my home. I’ve begun holding my breath as I drive in that area. Depending on where I go at night, I have to drive through that area to reach my home or go way out of my way. The interstate isn’t that much safer. It passes in front of that same mall.

Back to the lighter side of the morning, Maxine had stated when she first came in that she and her husband and niece were going to the Kimball to eat lunch. I didn’t say anything right then. After she finished reading and talking about my blog, she started to move in the direction of the door.She only stays about ten minutes at a time. I asked her, “Are you going to lunch to celebrate your birthday?”  “I am,” she replied.

I had her birthday card in my hand. “Well, here’s a little something for your dessert.” I handed her the card. “Should I open it now or take it with me?” she asked. “I think you’d better open it now,” I replied.

There had been several cards at the drug store the night before that could have done the job of wishing her a happy birthday. I had picked out a couple of Maxine cards, but I really wasn’t happy with either one of them. I don’t especially like to be out by myself after dark in this whole area, so I wasn’t really thrilled about going to a different store. I had seen a whole set of cards a week or so before that I thought would be perfect, but they were all sold out. That’s the danger of not buying what I want when I first see it.

I was about to settle for what I had found when my eyes fell on the picture of this gorgeous hunk lying on his back sunbathing. I opened it and giggled. I knew I had found the perfect one for Maxine. She’s been under a lot of stress lately, and I just knew she would appreciate my sense of humor. I figured it would lighten her mood a little.

Maxine looked at the guy on the front of the card. “Oh my,” was all she said as she opened it. Then she laughed. She didn’t just laugh, she howled. She first bent slightly forward and then she tilted her head back and must have laughed for at least a minute or more. She couldn’t stop. Of course by that time I was laughing with her. It felt soooooo good. But then it always does when Maxine and I start rolling.

I suppose you’re wondering what a birthday card had to do with dessert? Well, the guy on the front was perhaps dessert enough. Neither of us is too old to appreciate eye candy. The message on the inside said, “I thought you might like some roasted nuts. Happy Birthday!”

When she calmed down she said, ” I can’t wait to share this with my friend.” She’s still in contact with a group of friends she went to school with in Georgia. “I’m going home and call her. She’ll really appreciate this!” Then she started laughing again, tickled at what her friend’s reaction would be. “She has a sense of humor like you. You’ll probably hear her laughing over here.”

She always displays cards her husband and she get on the small shelf on the kitchen window above the sink. It’s constantly full of well wishes they receive from grandchildren, children, and friends. She said a little hesitantly, “I hope you don’t mind if I don’t put this one on the shelf with the others.”

Always one for Southern propriety, she’ll giggle and enjoy the card for years, but not in public. She considers her kitchen public. I didn’t ask her what she would do with it. Maybe she plans for it to warm her on the cold winter nights that are coming! If I hear her laughing, I’ll know she’s still enjoying the card. Namaste. Attic Annie

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Everybody needs a Maxine


Saturday I awoke about 7 am tidied up the house, took a shower, dressed and waited. Someone had booked a showing at 10:30. I have decided I am no longer leaving the house until clients actually show up. I was all ready to go. I put Ri-Leigh on her leash, picked up the newspaper and sat down on the glider to work the crossword puzzle.

They had booked from 10:30-12. Most people only book an hour. As I sat outside I started getting queasier and more and more light-headed the longer I sat. I closed my eyes and just sat, hoping the feelings would disappear. They didn’t. I managed to make it outside on the glider ’til noon. I tried to work the puzzles while I waited, but found it easier just to close my eyes. I finally decided no one was coming so I made it to my bedroom and lay my dizzy body down on the bed.

At one o’oclock the doorbell rang. I made it to the door. A woman stood in front of a younger couple. I heard something about being sorry and would it be okay….I responded with, “Yes, you may tour the house if you don’t mind if I sit on the glider on the porch.” I knew it would be no use trying to walk to the car. I didn’t trust myself to drive. They, of course, didn’t mind. They entered and closed the door behind them.

While they were inside, Maxine drove into her driveway. A few minutes later she started walking towards my house. She asked if she could join me. I replied I didn’t mind as long as she didn’t. I could hardly communicate. She just sat there quietly beside me. I think she wanted to see who would come out of the house.

In true Maxine fashion, she started peppering me with questions. No I didn’t feel well. No I didn’t know what was wrong. No I hadn’t had anything to eat yet that day…it was almost 2 o’clock by that time. Yes, my blood sugar was still ok. It had been high that morning. No, I wasn’t running a temperature…well, not higher than 99.1 o anyway. “What can I do for you? What can I bring you?” I assured her I didn’t need anything. I didn’t think I could hold anything down.

The clients left and I returned to my recliner. All of a sudden I felt like upchucking. I knew there was nothing in my stomach but I headed towards the porcelein thone anyway. I don’t remember feelint that way since I was thiry and gave up drinking more than one or two glasses of wine or beers at a time. I was right. There was nothing in me. I couldn’t make it back out to the family room so I again lay on the bed and fell asleep.

I didn’t hear a thing until about 3:40. I woke up and walked to the kitchen. When I looked out the window, there was Maxine checking to see if I had any mail. Just as I saw her, the phone rang. Evidently I had slept through the call of Central Showing. They were cancelling a second showing for the day which was to be at 3:30. The client didn’t show. Thank goodness. I want to sell the house, but by that time I had disrobed and was standing in the kitchen in my underwear.

Maxine was gone by the time I hung up the phone and checked my phone messages. Yep, somebody wanted to show the house at 3:30.  My new phone is set to play a lovely melody instead of the irritating ring. This is the second time I’ve been told someone called. I guess I have to go back to the ring because the melody doesn’t wake me up if I nap, especially if the TV is on.  Since Maxine had been at my mailbox, I went to the door expecting mail. Inside the screen door was a big bottle of Sprite.  She told me she was going to the grocery store. I told her I didn’t need anything. She’s one who can’t take no for an answer.

When I called her, she asked how I knew it was her. Well, duh, she was the only one I had told about not feeling well. She was also the only one checking my mailbox.

That’s Maxine for you. She couldn’t come home without something for me. She didn’t want me to get dehydrated. Now isn’t that thoughtful? She’s like that. Mother Hen. Best Friend. Of course she’s pretty much like that with most of the other people I know who know her. She’s just one of those kind of people. She can’t rest until everybody is helped. Maybe it’s because she grew up on the campus of a small Bible college where helping others was ingrained in her. Maybe it’s just because she is who she is.

She has a husband, a daughter, two grown sons, two daughters in law and four grandchildren. Whenever she needs help there is always someone who can help her. I keep telling her I can’t even begin to repay all the things she has done for me over the years. She tells me that I listen to her when she comes over to sit on the glider with me. That’s all that is important to her.

Isn’t that sweet?

Right on schedule Maxine called on Sunday just to check on me. She must have seen my car leave for church because she waited until around 3. Somehow I knew she would call.

I’m really going to miss her being across the street when I sell this house. Even if she will only be less than a mile away. It just isn’t going to be the same.

Oh, and I was fine the next day, thank you. A good ol’ dose of Milk of Magnesia (or an apple) can cure most everything that ails me. Take care. Namaste. Attic Annie

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