Oct 6, 2010

Poll Shows Disturbed Readership

Valued readers, in my last poll, I wanted to see who you predicted would win the World Cup. This was the poll.

Who Will Win the 2010 World Cup?
- Holland
- The Dutch
- Netherlands
- Vatican City
- AARP Soccer Team
- Other (Do not specify)

Voters could vote for more than one option, and polling closed after the final game of the World Cup. As any impartial pollster would do, I hired a statistician and a psychologist to interpret the results. Their findings were astonishing. The statistician gasped, and the psychologist rubbed his greedy little hands together, telling me he’s hit the motherload of potential disturbed clients who need to seek professional help. I couldn't wait to share the results with you.

Let me remind you that I ran the poll the day after the final World Cup game. As a result, the “predictions” of the winner of that game should have been 100% correct. That would be the case if it was a poll of Wall Street Journal readers. But this is Jackie S. Phillips’ blog, where we attract a “different” caliber of readers, a unique demographic of weirdoes, shoplifters, small children, wanderers, and my friend Lisa from Haverford. . . you know, the craziest of the crazy. (Except for you, you’re normal.)

A picture is worth a thousand words, so look at the chart. It shows the results and what shape they would take if they were turned into a mountain. Very steep and rocky. Wouldn’t want to fall off of that. My old neighbor Cindy said it looks like a unicorn. She needs glasses. By the way, happy birthday Cindy! She’s going to be around 75 on October 7. She says she’s 60, but I don’t buy it.

The second chart, the bar graph below, is a better picture. It clearly shows that most of the votes identified “Vatican City” as the winner of the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. This is a sad reflection of the readers’ grasp of reality. Vatican City is not a soccer team, people. It’s just a city (actually a city-state), but let's not get bogged down with that. The key word is “City.” That’s where the Pope lives, along with lots of priests and Vatican workers.

Priests, for those of you who don’t know, are not professional soccer players. That’s why they wear different uniforms. The psychologist told me I should include a picture of a priest and one of a soccer player so my readers could tell the difference, but that would cost extra. So I’ll just say this: contrary to popular belief, no Pope has been on a professional soccer team since 1974, and there has never been a professional athlete priest since the days of John the Baptist.

The second runner up in this poll was the AARP soccer team. Fifty-two percent of the votes said the AARP soccer team won the World Cup. "AARP" is not an acronym for a county name. Many readers asked me if AARP means “Argentina.” Yes, you pointed out that three of the letters in AARP are also in the word Argentina, but AARP and Argentina are still not synonymous, just as USA and USSR were not synonymous. Don’t feel embarrassed if you were one of the confused. Even Connie, whose husband is from South America, got that wrong.

Moving on, 35% of the votes went to “Other/Do not Specify.” I received many impudent e-mails where people did specify Spain as the winner. I have no tolerance for people who don’t follow directions, so I threw out their votes. That is my blog’s no-tolerance policy, which is clearly indicated in the sidebar entitled, “No Tolerance.”

The final statistics were a real treat: 17% of the votes said the Netherlands won, 11% said the Dutch won, and 5% said Holland won. Don’t you realize Netherlands, the Dutch, and Holland are all synonymous? They should have gotten an equal number of votes. You think AARP and Argentina are synonymous, yet you have no clue about this? The psychologist and the statistician both laughed about that one. (I'm not mean like that, so I laughed later, when no one was watching.)

In conclusion, Spain really won the World Cup. Even an octopus could predict the winner better than the readers who took this poll, but that’s because an octopus, much like a potato, has eight eyes.

P.S. Roy Halladay just pitched a no-hitter in the National League Division Series. Go Phillies! (And, no, there will not be a poll on that.)

Sep 25, 2010

Fair Day is Not So Fair for Some

We live within 1,000 miles of the great state of Nebraska, so this Monday our schools are closed for Fair Day. That’s when the farmers and their families take their prized pigs, horses and cows to the local fair. Animals pay the same admission price as a child, but they get to ride the rides for free. I don’t know what else they do there, but apparently a good time is had by all. This year’s motto is “What happens at the Fair Stays at the Fair.”

We’ve never been to the fair, though we’ve lived here ten years, but attending is a long long-standing Midwestern tradition, like hog calling and wearing cowboy boots with those little wheels on the end.

Our family is from New Jersey, so we're at a huge disadvantage in this state. We don’t wear cowboy hats, and we don’t know our way around a farm, a fair or even a pig. The kids at the high school can tie a goat and ride a sheep, but my boys can’t do any of that. They get teased for it.

They’re also the only boys in the whole school district who don’t own livestock. It’s a sensitive subject. People think diversity refers to race, religion or culture. Out here, you’re diverse when you don’t have that farm animal to boast about, and God bless people like us who don’t fit in! I was thinking of buying the boys a small calf for Christmas, but our apartment has a strict no-bovine policy. Very sad.

I try to keep it all in perspective. One hundred years from now, no one will care what kind of job I had, what kind of car I drove or what kind of farm animal I didn’t own. (I saw that on a bumper sticker.)

Anyway, high school may have its challenges for the boys, but at least all three are in the same building this year. It’s great because I work at the quickie mart just behind the school, so I get to see my sons whenever they skip classes or run away at lunch time. It’s a thrill to see them in the middle of the work day. I just love it.

I didn’t love this past week, though. My husband went to California on business, so I felt sad without him. I don’t like being separated from Joe. The house feels empty when he’s not around, and the kids feel his absence too. Sure we filled the time by going out to fancy restaurants every night, renting movies, and going bowling, but it wasn’t the same without Joe, even if it was one of the best weeks of our entire lives.

My husband is usually full of spunk and energy, but things have changed recently, especially when he's around me. I’ll give you an example. After Joe’s flight arrived last night, I recounted everything we did this past week. His demeanor quickly became distant and he appeared to be in a catatonic state as I spoke. Maybe it was jet lag, but why did he suddenly become reenergized when the phone rang, ending our chat? I’m suspicious about who called, and I think it was a guy.

Well, no sense in dwelling on the unknown. The boys are very happy to have Joe back because he took them to play tennis the first thing Saturday morning. He plays tennis with them a lot. Joe was a great tennis player when we were in college. He'd beat my sister, Annabel, and my friends Jane and Jack all the time. They'll all attest to that. They used to call him Bjorn Borg, and it wasn't just because of Joe's long, flowing hair. But time has changed Joe's game. He can no longer see the ball or his opponents well, much like Mr. Magoo. Basically he swings his racquet every now and then, unaware that my sons are playing a real match around him. It’s much like you would play if you had a little child on the court. My boys are good kids. Every couple of minutes one will say, “Good one Dad!” as if Joe actually hit the ball. Sometimes, unbeknownst to Joe, his racquet hits the fence that surrounds the court. The kids yell “Ace!” whenever that happens. Aren't those boys just so sweet? They deserve a million bovines.

So anyway, we’re set up for a nice, lazy weekend for a change. We’re just doing whatever strikes us at the moment. I’ll probably put some plant food in my herbs on the windowsill. Maybe look at some cats. Typical late September stuff.

Well, before we know it, Halloween will be here and then Christmas. Time flies when the days start to get shorter and depression kicks in. Have a great week.


I quite enjoyed your recap of Joe's tennis aptitude. Very funny!
~ Amanda from Nebraska

Jackie's husband's response to Amanda: At least my kid doesn't eat grass.

Enough with the Lady GaGa,how about some Bollywood music?
~ Ron in NJ

Jackie's Rebuttal: Woah Ron, this isn't Burger King. Special orders DO upset us. Second, considering I am your wife's client (readers, his wife delivered two of my babies), aren't you concerned that you might anger me? Keep it up, and I may not use her to deliver the next child.

Sep 4, 2010

What Drives a Marriage?

Two of my friends recently had summer weddings. Neither invited me to the festivities, but I guess I can’t blame them. I shouldn’t have made passes at their fiancés. My husband pointed that out when we were in the waiting room at Jiffy Lube today. Perhaps he’s right. Live and learn.

I always get butterflies in my stomach when I enter a Jiffy Lube. Bad memories. In fact, I hate being a female and entering any mechanic shop all by myself. I feel like the mechanics prey on women’s ignorance about cars. Is that a stereotypical thing to say? Well, too bad, I said it. If you're naive and a female, you're probably going to be cheated, even on something as simple as an oil change.

The first time I got my oil changed, I was 21. My husband, Joe (back then he was my fiancé), had forewarned me that the mechanics might try to scam me into paying for things that aren’t necessary. Sure enough, the mechanic called me over and said the color of my car’s oil indicated that I needed to change the differential fluid. I said, “No way, Jose!”

The mechanic also told me my brake line was somehow severed. Did Jose think I was born yesterday? As much as he pleaded for me to be reasonable, I stood my ground and told him to buzz off. I felt proud as I drove off to morning mass. But when my car crashed through the church right onto the altar, barely missing Father Steinberg, I realized maybe not all mechanics lie. Again, you live and you learn, but God bless the unfortunate altar boy, Abdul, who took quite the hit. He left Catholicism the next day, saying I smacked the Islam right back into him.

After that incident, Joe took care of all the typically manly stuff, and I focused on looking pretty. My husband eventually got fed up of my ignorance and told me it’s time for me to overcome these issues. He reminded me what he told me two years before, “Just go to Jiffy Lube, get your car done, and don’t let them do anything extra.”

Simple enough. We lived just outside of Philadelphia at the time, so one Saturday morning, I woke up early and went to a seedy looking Jiffy Lube in seedy Bensalem without Joe’s coaxing. The bays were all empty, and several mechanics were standing around waiting for a customer. I felt very awkward, being a young girl with all those men staring at me. But I walked up to the counter confidently and said, “I’m here to get my car done.”

The cashier guy said, “What do you want done?”

Yikes. What the heck kind of question was that? I racked my brain, but I didn’t know how to answer, so I said, “Well . . . I don’t know. What is it you do?” All the men stood around laughing. This is a true story. Years passed before Joe asked me to go to a car place again.

That’s when the next car incident occurred. We had an honest mechanic, despite living in New Jersey, so when Joe said my car desperately needed an oil change, I decided to take care of it. I took my three little sons (all under age five) with me to Factory Tune in Williamstown and asked the mechanic to work on my car. Wouldn’t Joe be surprised when he got home?

Well, surprised he was! He took one look at the Visa receipt and said, “What the heck did you do to the car, honey-bunch?” He really used worse expletives, but I’m keeping this clean for the youngsters.

“I got the oil changed for you!” I responded, still clueless.

“For $60?!”

Long story short, I asked for a tune-up, thinking that meant the same thing as an oil change. Who’d have thought those two aren’t synonyms? It explained why I did so poorly on the SATs. Joe was not happy. He cannot abide improper word usage. He decided to get the oil changed himself the next day, and I retook the SATs to improve my score. I was just glad no one got hurt this time.

So then we adopted a new system. Joe handles all things to do with cars. Now and then he explains automotive things to me, but it’s hard for me to understand since I don't listen. Luckily, we’ve been married a long time, so he doesn’t really notice what I do anyway. Everybody’s happy.

But going back to my newlywed friends, I love the excitement I see in their eyes. They even smell like happiness and sunshine, and that’s such a nice thing to see. (The smell isn’t so pleasant, though.) I believe all married couples who’ve been together for a long time need to be exposed to newlyweds to get a refresher course in how to appreciate and fully live the moment.

So while we were waiting at Jiffy Lube today, I told my husband about the two happy brides and how they gave me a sense of perspective. I also told Joe that I’m lucky to still be married to my best friend and the only guy in the world I’d want to spend my life with. “I know you are,” he responded as he stared at the hot, young chick who just walked in the store. And so it goes when you’re married for a while. Congratulations my newlywed friends!

Here's some insight into marriage for all of us, married or not:

"My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met." ~ Rodney Dangerfield

"When you see a married couple walking down the street, the one that's a few steps ahead is the one that's mad." ~ Helen Rowland

"I don't think I'll ever get married again. I'll just find a woman I don't like and give her a house." ~ Lewis Grizzard

"My wife and I had words, but I never got to use mine." ~ Fibber McGee

Who would purposely live in Bensalem?
~ Karen

I thought Joe had all those babes. You're saying he's happily married?
~ Steve, PA

Why are all your comments questions?
~ Jackie

Jul 15, 2010

Anger Surges After Surgery

Hi everyone. As summer rolls on, you must be wondering how I am doing after my surgery. So nice of you to ask . . . finally. Yes, thanks for all the cards and gifts you sent, and by that I mean thanks for nothing. No one sent a card or called, including my family. They didn’t even show up at the hospital. They all had excuses – one had to go the post office, others were watching TV. My husband didn’t even have the decency to HAVE an excuse. He said was in the waiting room during my surgery, went out for coffee, and just “plum forgot” to go back. How can you forget that your wife is having surgery? Do you know how embarrassing it is to have to call a taxi when you’re discharged from the hospital because your family forgot about you? I had to pretend the taxi driver was my husband, calling him “Honey.” He backed away, as if I was a nut case, and the nurses shook their heads at me.

The taxi took me home, and when I rang the door bell, the whole family looked surprised to see me standing there, all bandaged up. They took me upstairs and holed me up in a dark, remote bedroom. They put some frozen TV dinners on the nightstand and told me to ring the bell if I needed anything. I knew, of course, that there was no bell. Then they shut the door behind me and wished me well, never to return to the room again.

Three weeks later, I emerged from the room and went downstairs to the kitchen. My husband and sons looked surprised to see me. Some had obviously forgotten me and then tried to pretend they didn’t. The eldest son extended his hand as if he was meeting me for the first time and said, “Nice to meet you,” but when I gave him a quick rap on the head, he suddenly remembered who I was. “Oh! Mom! Welcome home!” he said, as if I had just returned from a trip.

I scolded all of them for forgetting to take care of me. My husband said it was much quieter when I was “gone.” Again, I reminded them all that I wasn’t gone at all. I was upstairs! Instead of apologizing, they looked dubious, as if I had made up the story.

My husband tried to change the subject by handing me a card that sent by my night-time employer. I clean some offices late at night to earn extra money. I was glad that someone remembered me, but I was soon disappointed when I opened the card. It read, “Happy Bar Mitzvah Morrie,” but someone crossed out “Morrie” and wrote “Janie.” My false name is Jackie, as I’ve told them a million times. Adding insult to injury, their “well wishes” were really just thinly veiled to-do lists for when I return. One person wrote, “Feel better and please fix men's room toilet, which keeps overflowing.” Another person jotted, “Get well soon and we need more ant poison by the vending machines.” I looked at the other messages and realized how empty my life is. No friends, no family. No one cares. I was mentally plotting a bloody revenge when the doorbell rang.

I looked out the window to see a flower-delivery van in my driveway. My heart jumped. Could someone have sent flowers to me? A large, sweaty man was standing at the door holding a package in one hand and a cigar in the other. “Delivery for Janie Phillips,” he croaked.

“I’m Jackie. I mean Janie,” I said. He coughed a horrible smoker’s cough into the package and then told me to sign for it. Then he handed over a beautiful edible “flower” arrangement made of fruits. The arrangement sparkled in the sunlight, as if to say, “You are special, Janie!” I gave the guy a generous tip and told him to be careful as he tripped over the rotting jack-o-lantern on our front stoop. He hacked a whole lot more all over my bird bath and then said, “Thanks.”

I was so excited. I never get packages, so I ripped open the card to find that the edible arrangement was sent by my two younger sons, who used their own money to buy something to cheer me up. I was ecstatic! I hugged and kissed the two boys, and they said, “See, we didn’t forget.” How thoughtful. When I went to bed that night, I realized that life wasn't as bad as I thought. Some people in my family really love me. And some is good enough for me.

No matter how bad you feel, keep your spirits up and never stop shooting for the stars. Even if you don't hit 'em, at least you can take comfort in knowing you've got a gun.

Jul 10, 2010

Octopus Predicts a World Cup Win for Spain

Ah summer. Don’t you love it? Summer is my favorite time of the year with the exception of a few other seasons. This summer, I am beside myself with excitement about the World Cup. Spain will face an unknown opponent tomorrow at 2:30 Eastern time, 7:15 military time. I can't wait to see the match!

I am secretly rooting for Spain. I have nothing against the Netherlands. Who doesn’t like wooden shoes, windmills, Jackie Chan, and everything else stereotypically Dutch? But Spain is a well oiled machine that deserves to win, and I'm not the only one who thinks so. I just learned that Germany’s Paul the Octopus, a credible sea-life psychic, has predicted that Spain will prevail, and to have my humble opinion seconded by none other than Paul the German Octopus means Spain is certain to win. I go so far as to predict a final score of 13-1.

Wait. Do you know much about Paul? He’s a real octopus (not those fake ones you see in restaurants and aquariums) who has accurately predicted the winners of the last six World Cups. Paul was born in England, but chose to emigrate to Oberhausen, Germany as a young squid. Paul is well traveled, so he must be intelligent and have psychic capabilities.

I tried to create my own “Paul” by capturing a squirrel in my backyard and asking him to choose between Spain and the Netherlands, but the squirrel was wild and made too many demands for nuts and special treatment. He also chattered constantly and barely spoke English, so I finally got rid of him. We cooked him and ate him. Anyway, soccer is the real subject here, so let's not lose focus.

I'm looking forward to the World Cup final, and I hope you are too. If you weren't planning to, you really should watch the World Cup -- it's the "Super Bowl" of Futbol!

Also, don't forget to take the survey at the top of this blog to let me know which team you think will win. I suggest you choose Spain. If you have friends, ask them to vote too. I'll write again soon. ~ Jackie

P.S. Sorry I haven’t written in a while. The squirrel monopolized all my free time.

Click on the title of this post "Octopus Predicts . . ." to connect to an article about Paul in the Vancouver Sun, my first source for reliable information. I just fixed the link. It wasn't working before. You can also scroll to the bottom of the article to see the U-tube video of Paul making his exciting decision. (Note added 7/14/10.)

Mar 22, 2010

A Most Unusual St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, readers! Sure, it’s several days after the fact, but while you were all out drinking green tea and stuffing your faces with green jalapeños and green lettuce leaves, I was in the hospital undergoing major surgery. I bravely chose the luckiest day of the year to have a body part removed.

The events leading to my surgery started months before. I was having a lot of pain for quite some time and finally made an appointment in January to see a Japanese doctor who requires that you speak to him through a translator. Dr. Yamagata is cheaper and more compact than other doctors. He takes any insurance, as long as the insurance card is plastic or laminated. He is allergic to latex.

After the examination, Yamagata's translator said my uterus just wasn’t doing its job anymore and that I’d need a hysterectomy. He said it’s obvious the uterus has never been good to me, making his point by pulling out copies of my kids’ very mediocre standardized test scores; a good uterus wouldn’t even consider hosting such offspring. He added that my uterus was “getting old and needed to go,” pausing at that moment to eyeball my husband, Joe, who was staring at his shoelace deep in thought. Joe later explained that he was wondering how his laces became tied because he couldn't remember tying them. “You don’t need to settle for mediocrity anymore, Jackie!" the translator said, snapping me out of my thoughts. "It’s time to have a hysterectomy!” he added dramatically. The doctor clapped in approval.

I had a gut feeling that neither the doctor nor his translator, who wore a chef’s hat, was qualified to make medical decisions. Maybe I should go to a doctor who had a degree posted on his wall. Mine just had a framed 2008 calendar. Maybe I should go to a doctor who speaks English so he can understand what I'm saying. When I asked Yamagata if this surgery was medically necessary, he told me he bought his shoes at the Macy’s One-Day Sale. When I asked him how long the surgery would take, he said gazelles run faster than raccoons. I couldn’t argue with his logic, but something was amiss. I couldn’t put my finger on it.

My husband whispered that we should just listen politely and leave, but then the doctor’s impressive use of confusing medical terms swayed us into thinking that perhaps this man knows what he’s talking about. He said a surgery would change my life. The clincher was when he got out several 8 x 10 glossies of famous people whose uteruses he removed . . . Tina Fey, Drew Barrymore, Angelina Jolie and that guy who plays James Bond – not the Timothy Dalton Bond, who was cold and distant, but the new, sensitive Bond who cries all the time. He said I could be like any of them if I had a hysterectomy. I asked him specifics about the surgery. My husband asked if he could keep the picture of Angelina Jolie.

With the evidence weighing heavily in favor of having surgery, I told the doctor that I’d agree to do it if he could perform the surgery on St. Patrick’s Day. The translator quickly made a phone call, in which I overheard him saying Dr. Yamagata can finance the purchase of the new yacht after all. When the translator hung up, he said the surgery date had been set.

I went home to talk to Paul the paperboy about the situation. He told me to relax and go ahead with the procedure. He agreed that only the coolest people have surgeries. He gave examples of Hollywood actors who go into surgery looking like 60-year-olds and come out looking like 20-year-olds. Paul Cynewski said all of his customers who had operations told him they wish they had done it years ago. He assured me that surgery will change a mediocre life into a great life. I reflected for a moment. Didn’t David have surgery before he killed Goliath? Didn’t New Orleans’ quarterback Drew Brees have surgery right before he won the Super Bowl? Didn’t Donald Trump have a hysterectomy before he fired the surgeon? The paperboy told me I was making the right decision. He also said my porch would look more inviting with a garden gnome on it. I like that kid.

So when March 17 rolled around, my husband and I went to the hospital feeling confident. We were a bit flustered to meet a “Dr. Grogg,” who said he would be performing the surgery instead since Dr. Yamagata was taken away in cuffs. I wondered if he meant hand-cuffs or a formal shirt with the sleeves cuffed.

Dr. Grogg was really nice. He could pronounce the word uterus without help from a translator. He had the look and feel of a real surgeon. He didn’t even have an eye patch. His name tag was an official hospital ID that read “Dr. Terry Grogg, M.D.” I recalled that Dr. Yamagata’s name tag was a sticky label that said, “Hello. My name is_______.” He scribbled on it, “Doctar Yamagata," misspelling doctor. Joe must have had the same thoughts running through his mind. He squeezed my hand, and we exchanged relieved smiles that said God was taking care of us. My husband kissed me goodbye, and, as they wheeled me to the surgery room, I saw him take out his photo of Angelina Jolie.

In the operating room, the anesthesiologist asked me to count backwards from 10. It was unfair. If I had known they were going to quiz me, I’d have practiced the night before. Embarrassed, I spoke as slowly as possible, hoping I was correct in starting with the number 8. After that, I don’t remember anything.

The next memory I have is of waking in a hospital bed with several nurses around me. They said everything went well and offered me chocolate Jell-O pudding. They showed me a photo of Bill Cosby and asked me if I recognized him from the Jell-O commercials.

I saw that my husband was in the room too. As long as Joe is with me, I always feel like everything will be ok. He was very helpful and attentive. He stayed overnight at the hospital with me, despite the fact that the “guest bed” was really an uncomfy chair that pulls out into a semblance of a bed. He had me take the chair so that he could get a good rest.

The next morning, my sons came to visit me and brought with them their most recent tests from school. Each of them got As! Removing my uterus had already made a major difference. In a couple hours, Dr. Grogg discharged me from the hospital, and we were on our way back home. As we pulled into our driveway, I saw that the paperboy had placed a garden gnome on our doorstep. I like that kid.

An hour later, I awoke from a deep sleep to the frightening sounds of loud banging on the front door. Suddenly the door was kicked in and the scene was frenzied. An angry policeman was yelling and pointing a gun at us. He shouted that I was under arrest for stealing the garden gnome from my neighbor. I cried, swearing I did nothing. That I just had surgery. I showed him the scars as evidence. The sight of the incisions made the cop feel faint, and he dropped to the floor like a banana peel.

When he regained consciousness, Officer Sal apologized for the wrongful accusation over and over again. He felt so bad that the tossed the keys to his cruiser to my sons, telling them to go out and take a break, and he'd take care of me. He then brought me cranberry juice, a Percocet and the heating pad. He took a Percocet himself and wrote up a restraining order so the gnome neighbor wouldn’t bother me again.

In retrospect, Dr. Yamagata was right in saying surgery would change my life for the better. I wanted to visit him in jail to thank him, but he has fled the country.

Jackie's Note: This posting to dedicated to our good friends Ellie and John, who also had surgeries this week. My surgery went well, and I'm doing fine. Thank you for your prayers. My real GYN is Dr. Stuart Jones. Dr. Terry Grogg is the one who did my robotic surgery. They're both fantastic!

The character of the translator in this posting is entirely fictitious. Paul Cynewski no longer delivers our papers.

~~ Are you now a male without a uterus? 3/22/10
Jackie's comment: I am offended, but I'll look into it. I'll get on Wikipedia now.

~~ Did Obamacare pay for this??? If I'm going to pay for 30 million people, you might as well be added to the list!!! I'm glad the doctor's name wasn't Mengala. Keep us posted on Joe's Vasectomy. He should "feel your pain". Who won the raffle of the uterus? 3/23/10
Dr. Pig, Veterinary Medicine
The Ohio State University
Class of 1921
Youngtown, Ohio
Jackie's comment: I'll keep my political comments to myself, but no, my neighbor is paying for this. She's on vacation so I used her ID and insurance card. I don't recognize the name Dr. Pig, but you must be a female. No man I know would wish a vasectomy on another male.
Regarding the raffle, the proud winner is Bernie Gutman, of Queens, New York. For those of you who don't know, I raffled off my uterus before the surgery. Bernie, you'll get a package in the mail soon, compliments of the US Postal Service. They said if you don't get it tomorrow, it'll probably show up eventually. And don't worry, Bernie, no one is judging you for entering such a raffle.

~~ Glad you're better. 3/24/10

~~ Good to hear it went well. 3/24/10
Tina, NJ

~~ My dear friend Jackie....so glad to hear you are feeling better. If you enjoy gnomes as you profess, you may enjoy watching The Amazing Race. Gnomes tend to make cameos on that show. John's surgery was peanuts compared to your Shyamalan tale. He was hefting toddlers and baby brothers around shortly after he crawled home from the operating table. What a man. 3/25/10
Joan McAvoy, Dayton
Jackie's comment: John is truly a man! I am in awe of his manliness. I'm glad to hear he is better. Did he see that this posting was dedicated to him (and to Ellie from NJ)? Hey, I have a stack of books for your toddlers. I assume they like anthologies to do with Middle English literature? There are even some plays about my personal favorite, medieval morality.

~~ I had no idea you had a hysterectomy! Well I'm glad things went well. I'm surprised to hear you raffled off your uterus. I thought your people ate them as part of some fertility ritual??? 3/27/10
Dawn, Dublin, OH
Jackie's response: Wouldn't be too late for "fertility" if you removed a uterus to eat it? I'm not sure what was in the water in Long Beach Island, but I can tell you drank a lot of it. Some people really eat the placenta after birth and some animals eat their offspring, as your husband would tell you, but I'm not a weirdo. I eat things normal Americans eat, like fudge and asparagus.
Yeah, I'm doing remarkably well. Gained a ton of weight for some reason (from 106.5 to 115) just after surgery, but what do I care? I'm married. It's Joe's problem now. Thanks for writing. Oh, and thanks for all your post-op "help."

Feb 27, 2010

The Winter of Discontent

I am tired of the cold weather. I don’t know how Eskimos and yodelers do it. I just want to stay inside in the house under a warm blanket and watch TV. But then you turn on the TV and what do you see? MORE snow . . . on the Olympics. It’s cold everywhere.

Actually, I’ve hardly watched the Winter Olympics this time around, but I want to. Unfortunately, the few times we have turned them on, all they’ve shown is non-sporting events, like curling. The kids and I get so aggravated that we say things like, “Aaargh,” but my husband is fascinated by curling and thinks it’s cool. He says everyone watches it at work every day. Of course, he works with software developers - go figure. But Joe’s tastes are sort of weird anyway. He’s been like that since the summer he worked in the glue factory. Unfortunately, he gets outvoted on this one, so when curling comes on, we change the channel to a Family Guy rerun. Joe's a good sport. He no longer becomes violent about it.

Anyway, the snow has kept the whole family busy. All we’ve done for a month is shovel or come inside to thaw. In the beginning of the season, some nice people shoveled for us, but when we called the cops on them for getting on our property without permission, they stopped helping. I guess the cold made them cranky too.

To boost the family’s morale, I’ve been cooking and baking more. That hasn’t worked well because, who are we kidding, I can’t cook or bake. I used to bake well, but our oven is on the fritz. It turns off whenever it pleases, even in the middle of a cake. It’s like it’s on strike. The washing machine and dryer are in on it too. The washer fills with water and then won’t agitate. If you hit it, it’ll start working again. It’s sort of like children. The dryer produces dryer-like sounds, but really does nothing. It’s more of a figure-head appliance, like a vice-president. My husband wants to buy new appliances, but I’ve insisted we wait until the end of March so we can get them for Raphael’s birthday.

Some people replace old stuff just because they want something new. I believe you shouldn’t get rid of anything until it’s fully dead or useless. I said that to Joe that on our wedding day and have lived by my words. For example, we once had a hamster that died, but I didn’t bury it for a week just to make sure it wasn’t hibernating. Some animals do that. Like llamas.

We also keep our cars until they’re dead. My husband drives a sporty red Mazda Protégé that was really nice back in the 1990s. Of course, now it no longer holds its hubcaps or its fluids, but surely that doesn’t mean we should “put it down,” as they say. If I get rid of it, what message am I sending my children? Will they get rid of me when I can’t hold my fluids?

We may have old stuff, but, let me tell you, we live like kings. Our house has a few TVs, and two of them are color sets. The black-and-white is a 9-inch TV with a rotary dial and up to 13 channels. We also have a 19-inch color TV that turns on by itself at random times. Can your TV do that? Our big-screen TV, the 27-incher, has a problem where the volume suddenly goes up to the highest level possible. Other people would throw out the set, but I tell the kids quirkiness is charming. Maybe I've used that expression too much. The boys now purposely act quirky around girls – talking suddenly loudly for no reason. Hopefully, they’ll grow out of that.

But none of us in the family are into "stuff." We are much more interested in food and travel. Stuff has no meaning, but the fun of traveling and eating are memories that last for hours, sometimes days.

Anyway, I am looking forward to warmer days when I can finally complain about the heat. Meanwhile, I’ll have to keep cooking and stay cozy with the family after a long day at work. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how cold it was or how old things are around you, it just matters what’s on TV that night.

Oops! I just realized whole purpose of this posting was to share with you the results of the Thanksgiving Day survey, but thanks to Olympic athletes and my mutinous appliances, I have no room left! Thanks for nothing Steve Holcomb and Bode Miller! You’ve ruined my blog once again.

I didn't know a llama could hibernate. I did know Buckeyes hibernate after the last football game. They didn't hibernate as quickly this year because they finally won a bowl game. 2/28/10
~~ Woody Wolverine, NJ

The Olympics were awesome! 2/28/10
~~ Carol, PA

Readers: My toaster is now part of the mutiny too. One side is working, and the other side won't do anything. What is going on here? Are your appliances rebelling in masses too? 2/28/10
~~ Jackie

Does your drier drop the F-bomb too? 3/24/10
~~ Brenda Jamison, Dayton
Jackie's comment: Yes, if F means Fluff.

As it so happens, our appliances are acting out of sympathy to your appliances. Our toaster is on strike. But only on the left side. The knob that your press down (is it a knob? a handle? what do you call those things on toasters that you press to make the toast go down?) falls off quite a bit and the left crumb tray doesn't want to go to its home. Also, our dishwasher is acting very flaky. By my logic, that means we need to use our toaster oven when the toaster dies, and we need to buy both a new dishwasher and a new oven (when the $ fairy stops by). Very sound logic. 3/24/10
~~ AJR, Dayton, OH

Jan 24, 2010

I'm Pretty Sure I'm Better Than You . . . Now that Joe has a Job

I know I haven’t written in a long time. I had nothing to say, but NOW I’ve got news to write about. My husband got a job. It was back in September, but I didn’t know how to tell you. Do you recall that Joe was laid off this year? It was awful, but that's all over now.

Joe’s new job is the kind of position everyone dreams of. He works at an extremely selective high-tech firm. They hire the most technically qualified software developers to work on cutting-edge technology. It’s an exciting atmosphere, a veritable think-tank of elite innovators. Joe cleans up any messes these men create while they are brainstorming in the conference room. He also cleans the floors around their desks and sometimes dusts and vacuums when the employees complain. He’s so happy, and we are too!

Having an income again lifts a giant boulder off our shoulders. When we heard the news, we celebrated much like Eagles and Buckeye football fans do after a win – we overturned cars and set things on fire. But that celebration was short-lived because we only had one matchbook.

Having a job changes everything. To be able to eat fancy foods again, buy things we don’t need, get bank loans we can’t pay back, and spend excessively is just such a relief. It’s more than a job. It’s the American dream.

In fact, I remember the moment Joe got the phone call. I had just gone out to the woods behind our house to rustle up a raccoon to cook for dinner when the kids excitedly called to me, "Mom, come in! Big news!” My husband didn’t even have to tell me what the news was. The first thing that ran through my mind is that I wouldn’t have to look for a dead raccoon to eat that night. I said, “Family, we aren’t poor anymore! Get in the car. We’re heading out to Wal-mart to buy a gun.” The children cheered. They knew that meant we’d no longer have to wait for the woodland creatures in our back yard to die of natural causes. We’d be shooting our supper that night, just like everyone else in Idaho. The kids went wild and my husband was too choked up to talk.

Getting a job doesn’t only affect our family. It changes the lives of those around us. When we had no income, I had to find creative ways to feed a family of five. I had to steal lunches from the refrigerator at work. That was horrible, especially because I framed Norm Madison when people began to suspect me. It crushed me to see him fired in shame, especially so soon after he recovered from that lung transplant after his wife left him. I’ll bet when Joe’s previous employer laid him off, they never realized how many people that layoff would effect – Norm Madison didn’t deserve to lose his job, but this is what happens in a bad economy. I’m disgusted just thinking of it. But now that Joe has a job again, I no longer need to think about people like Norm.

Nor do I have to hang out with false friends who have lots of money but no real substance. They care about superficial things, and hanging out with them just to get free dinners and gifts turned my stomach. Now that I have the money to go to dinner by myself and buy my own stuff, I don’t have to listen to their blathering. Thank goodness I’m out of THAT scene.

The sad part is that the layoff affected the children. My poor sons didn’t have a single friend over to celebrate their summer birthdays, but once again we can afford to hire child actors to pretend to be their friends. Part of the reward of parenting is seeing your children so happy. I’m giddy thinking of all we can do again.

Good things come out of bad, though, and one good thing was a life lesson we learned. This is serious. Many people equate their jobs with their self worth. Sadly, what job you have represents your status in this society. But always remember that how you treat people of a “lesser” status allows the world to see what's deep within your heart. Our family is above that pettiness. We always remember who are friends are, and even though we no longer associate with the little people, especially those who are poor, we still have very fond memories of them. Our plan is to replace those old memories with better memories of our newer, more affluent friends. In fact, it's our New Year's resolution. Have a great January and Happy New Year!

P.S. I have to get a hysterectomy soon, and in the spirit of giving back, I've decided to donate my uterus to the poor. Now that's what I call generous!<>