Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Who you callin' grumpy?

I am getting to be a grouchy, testy, crabby, grumpy old lady and you kids had better stay off my lawn if you know what's good for you!

Lots of things set me off:  TV ads are high on the list.   Here's the middle-aged gentleman consulting his doctor about whatever middle-aged gentlemen consult their doctors about.  The doctor nods gently and reassuringly and the middle-aged gentleman smiles in relief. They shake hands and then the doctor and the patient stroll down the hall together, chatting amiably!  Oh, sure.  When is the last time your doctor walked you to the elevator?  If your experience is the same as mine, the answer is "never."  You clutch the prescription for your $200 bottle of pills and you hightail it out of there while the nurse is already calling the next patient.

Here's the latest wonder drug,  Formaldehyedroxin.  Cures just about everything.  The ad is full of happy, healthy-looking people whose symptoms have been cleared up after years of suffering.  However........Do not take Formaldehyedroxin if your skin should turn green, if you suddenly gain 100 pounds,  or if your fingernails start to drop off.  Call your doctor if you notice that you have blood pouring out of your ears or if you become blind or have out-of-body experiences.  Ask your doctor if Formaldehyedroxin is right for you!!

 Erectile dysfunction (or ED, as the drug companies like to call it) ads can be a hoot.  What do  you do when that "right moment" strikes?  Well, instead of heading upstairs and tumbling into bed like most people, the folks in the ads get dolled up, go out to dinner and a show, or maybe stroll out in the woods and build a campfire.  It occurs to me that the 4-hour erections  that the ads warn against might come in handy in these situations.

Then there are the food ads.  Usually, when you put  something in your mouth it takes a moment or two for the taste buds to register the sensation and the brain to process what is going on.  But not on TV!  As soon as the spoon touches the lips, a beatific expression of bliss and delight hits the face of the recipient.  Same with digestive aids and pain pills.  Pop that antacid pill and before  you can swallow it....blessed relief from  that acid reflux that's been keeping you awake at night!  My experience is that a pain pill takes a little while to do its work, but in the TV ads, not so.  Before it has had a chance to dissolve,  the subject is dancing, picking up the toddler, trotting up the stairs, biking around the block.

Drives me crazy.

It doesn't have to be that way.  There is a lovely ad  on TV with a man walking his Spaniel on the beach, meeting some neighbors out with their dogs, chatting for awhile and walking on, just as any of us might do.  Natural and believable, and the pitch for the drug advertised is just as forceful as any of those other ads.

I am a person of very limited imagination.  I do not like magic shows, fantasy or science fiction.  As a child, I hated Alice in Wonderland,  Peter Pan, the Arabian Nights, and Aesop's Fables.   I like things to be realistic, every-day,  plausible.  I cannot suspend belief and pretend that fabulous, unlikely things can happen.  My loss, I know.  But we are what we are.

 I could go on, as I have a tendency to do, but I will shut up before I get started on the movies.  Or  telemarketers.  Or politicians. Or computers.

 Didn't I tell you kids to stay off my lawn?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Trailer Park

When it became apparent that a four bedroom, three-bath house on one-half acre of landscaped grounds was getting a little beyond our ability to cope, Erik and I decided to look for a smaller place.  We wanted to be close to where we were, since our life had been centered there for so many years. It was at the start of the real estate boom, so our property was increasing in value, but so was every one else's.  Our realtor, a friend and former neighbor, showed us (or rather, me, since Erik was not really able to handle the climbing in and out of cars, etc.)  a succession of unsuitable and unpromising prospects.  We put down a deposit on a very nice unit in Rossmoor, the local retirement community, but then Erik got into a dispute with the management over some modifications we wanted to make, so we kept looking.

One day, while poring over the Real Estate For Sale columns, I ran across an ad for a mobile home.  I had never actually been inside a mobile home, but it sounded perfect!  3 bedrooms,  a fireplace, spacious kitchen, in a nice development where someone else did all the landscape work.

Some obstacles presented themselves: (1) It was quite far from our center and(2) my husband was NOT GOING TO LIVE IN A TRAILER!

After some persuasion, he agreed to call the agent and at least have a look.  As it turned out, she had another listing closer to home we might like to see.  Well, OK,  (sigh) if I have to, I'll go see it, but I am not going to like it.........Mmmmm, not bad.  Not what I expected.  Quite nice, in fact.  How much is the listing, again?

And thus we ended up in beautiful Brookview Park where we spent 15 happy years in our comfortable, roomy, and I think, very attractive mobile home.

Mobile home owners are very sensitive to the terms "trailer" and "trailer park".  We were constantly reminding people that although our home had been pre-assembled elsewhere and trucked in, it was sitting on its own permanent foundation and was not a "trailer" or a "unit" or a "coach", but a real house.  Hard habit to break, though.  And a wonderful source of bad jokes.  (Erika moaned:  How am I ever going to tell my friends that my folks have sold their beautiful Alamo home and moved into a trailer park?  Haha.)

But, oh, the luxury of having someone else trim the bushes, tend to the pool, plant the flowers!  All we had to do was enjoy.  Our last few years in Alamo were a constant battle with so-called "gardeners".  Once I left a big tall weed near the patio just as a test.  It was there for weeks.  Once, when I was resting on my bed, I heard voices outside on the patio and when I checked, there were two of my "mow- blow- and -go" gang stretched out on the lawn chairs having a nice chat.  They were quite surprised when I appeared.

I now live in another mobile home in Lakeport on a lagoon that stretches in from Clear Lake.  This house has had kind of a hard life, I think, doors a little crooked, floors a little slanted. A cake baked in the oven will be a bit higher on one side than the other.  We bought it on the spur of the moment just months before Erik died.  I think if he had been himself and in good health it would have driven him crazy to live here because nothing is "plumb".  My kids will tell you that, to their Dad, being  "plumb" was next to godliness as a virtue.  But I am very happy here, it is airy, bright and comfortable and I am willing to overlook my little house's eccentricities to be near my family (some of 'em, anyway!) and to enjoy the abundant bird life on the lake and the wonderful clear air and beauty of Lake County.

And I am definitely not living in a trailer.