Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Conversation With The Rabbi

Rabbi Bill Kramer marries us in 1980
Turns out, not everything gets included in the wedding vows. If on this day back in 1980, our rabbi had said to us, in front of family and friends, "Listen kids, one day, you'll get mad at each other and then, God willing, you'll make up. One day, you'll discover something new and wonderful about each other, and one day you'll discover something you could live without. One day, there'll be boxes to pack and unpack, moving trucks and something mysterious and all-consuming called escrow.
"And one day, there'll be two boys, two little adorable humans who'll make noise and wrestle and play loud video games. They'll want things from you. Like Burger King and skateboards, basketballs and hockey sticks. You'll want things from them. Like good behavior and good grades. You'll teach them to drive. They'll drive you crazy. With a little luck it'll all work out fine in the end. They'll get Bar Mitzvahed, that I guarantee. They'll graduate college. They'll do great things, in general. How do I know this? I know you.

"And so, the two of you, the high school sweethearts, as you look at each other today on your 37th anniversary, your view partially obscured by Larry and Bob, the Flea Mavens, knowing now what you couldn't know then, that along the way, there'd be sadness and loss, blessings and mazel, earthquakes and plumbing fiascos; that you'd have your ups and downs and in-betweens; and given all that mishegas, if I asked you once again, would you still say, 'I do'?"

To which we'd respond, "Rabbi, not only would we say 'I do,' we'd say what we actually said on this day back in 1980. We'd say, 'Definitely.'"

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Help Me, Rhonda

"Hello, Flea Mavens. Rhonda speaking."
"Help me, Rhonda!"
"How can I help you?"
"I'm desperate."
"May I have your name?"
"You may."
"What is it?"
"Oh, sorry, Rhonda, I'm a little farmisht. I haven't slept in days."
"Name please?"
"Short Jewish Gal. But you can call me SJG."
"Alrighty then, SJG. I see you've already emailed us... oh my, 82 times, since 8 a.m."
"I told you, Rhonda, I'm desperate."
"Yes, you mentioned that. Tell me how it started."
"The fleas, Rhonda? Or my rapid dissent into madness?"
"Either one, hon. We've got some time before the eclipse."
"Did you get the special glasses?"
"I've got them right here on my desk. I'm very excited."
"Just between us, Rhonda, I'm so distracted, I don't give a rat's patootie about the eclipse. The whole world could go dark, permanently, and it would only mirror the darkness in my soul. I'd be fine with it. I would!"
"So, I take it a rat started this problem?"
"My God, Rhonda, you're good."
"Thank you. So who killed the rat and started the trouble? Was it you, SJG? I won't judge. You wouldn't be the first to snap."
"The dog did it."
"My, my, you gave the dog up quickly."
"I'm not good under interrogation. I'd be a bad spy, Rhonda."
"I take it the rat's gone?"
"My husband gave him a proper burial. We recited kaddish. If the rabbi hadn't been on vacay, he would've done the funeral."
"No, Rhonda. Just no. How soon can you get here? The walls of my fragile psyche are caving in."
"Wednesday, we'll come, we'll spread non-toxic powder, we'll spray things."
"What time?"
"Between 11 - 1."
"How soon will we see the results, Rhonda?"
"Soon is a little vague."
"Four to six weeks."
"Rhonda, did you hear that?"
"The total eclipse of my sanity."

Monday, August 21, 2017

Wishing You & Yours Totality

Today is all about Totality. The whole thing has a cultish ring to it. And yet, anyone who has schlepped to see the Total Eclipse of the Sun, or has planned their entire day around this epic, two minutes and change event, the SJG wishes you complete and utter fulfillment. May things go dark in the best way and may you not burn your eyeballs because that would totally suck. So be careful out there, Totality Seekers.
On my end, I'm only searching for one kind of Totality. The Total Eclipse of the Fleas. Apparently, this is a process. But then, what isn't? Meanwhile, prepare yourself for a totally unexpected segue: The passing of comedy legend Jerry Lewis. How will I tie this in? Just you wait, Henry Higgins. Just you wait. I admit, it's going to be a stretch. But here goes. When my parents went in search of Marital Totality, they found it in Chicago, where they got officially hitched. My daddy was writing for Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis' radio show. Jerry was a generous guy and did a mitzvah. He paid for the wedding. Totally true story! What? You want photographic proof? You got it:
Under the chuppah with Ben & Glo & Jerry Lewis 

In conclusion, may you achieve Totality today and every day, and that goes double for the SJG. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Day In The Life of Who Else?

"Would you like to hear my diagnosis?" "Not really."

"We've never really encountered fleas of this ilk," says hubby, after I've once again pointed out the 82 bites on my personage, bites that are driving me slowly insane. My next blog may be coming to you from The Institute For The Very, Very Itchy. All week, we've been assuming these horrific bites we've both collected, although the scales of injustice being what they are, I've amassed mucho mas, were mosquito-esque in nature. Turns out, we were mistaken. These hateful bites come courtesy of a certain Royal Rescue Pup of Questionable Lineage. I don't want to name him, in case he reads this later and feels hurt, but his name starts with a "B" and ends with a "Y." Now and then, he kills a rat when the mood strikes. That's all I'm saying.

Once hubby caught the culprit napping on the doggy's behind, we spent the rest of the day compulsively cleaning like lunatics. The SJG took on the laundry, for I am the Laundry Bitch, while hubby vacuumed everything that can be vacuumed, including me and the dog. After a quick emergency call to the doctor, I'm now currently jacked up on steroids, antihistamines and all-consuming angst that this is my destiny, to scratch and itch myself into oblivion.

The evening was a happy reprieve from my suffering. After bathing in oatmeal and spraying myself with a delightful hint of Calamine #5, we headed off with the sons and the in-laws and hubby's hilarious aunt to celebrate his mommy's birthday at our local Italian eatery where they used to know our names but can't remember them anymore.


It's not often you get to break rosemary bread with two sisters, one 85, the other 91, who still talk to each other and make each other laugh, and most importantly, me. I needed something to distract me,  and these gals did the trick. Some of my favorite exchanges:

"I can't believe I'm 90!"
"You're not 90. You're 91."
"I can't believe I'm 91." She turns to me. "You have any idea what it's like to be 90?"
"You're 91," my mother-in-law reminds her.
"You have any idea what it's like to be 91?"
"What's it like?" I say.
"All your friends are dead."

Which brings us back to the fleas. May those bastards rest in peace.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

That's How It's Done

Over here at the SJG palatial estate, both the Upstairs and Downstairs staffs are making demands. They want more overtime, more tea time, more "me" time. Early this morning, I decided to set them straight.  
"Sir Blakey?"
"Your whole day is 'me' time. I command you to vacuum the entire house!"
I really should have been a labor negotiator. Oh, wait, I already did that, during the birth of the youngest boy. "Get this thing out of me now!" I hollered at the labor team, and they did just that. Well done, me!
And now, onto hubby, lounging on the La-Z-Boy.
"What's with the slacking off? I'm sure there's something in the house you can fix."
"Such as?"
"I thought I heard something leaking somewhere."
"I'm on it."
Whereupon he sprung to his feet and grabbed his tool box. And that, my friends, is how it's done.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Short Listed

I might as well just come right out and tell you. I'm a short list maker. This goes with the territory of me being me. If I were tall, I'd probably make nice tall lists and feel super organized all the time. Instead, I make short lists, and when I find them hidden in the oddest places, shoeboxes that once held my beloved clogs, address books from my misspent youth, the scribbled info tends to be revelatory in nature. Like this list I recently unearthed of five inspirational rock n' roll bands I worshipped in the days after I was ousted from the synagogue for "utter silliness." These rock gods got me through that difficult time, and launched me into puberty. What I would've done just to meet one of these musical mensches! I get an attack of shpilkes just saying their names:

1. Shlomo & The Heartburns
2. The Matzoh Breakers
3. The Kosher Grape Stompers
4. The Circumcizers
5. The Bitter Herbs
Oh Shlomo! Even today you make me sigh. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

My Favorite Near-Death Experience

What's for lunch?  The SJG on rye!

Any time someone mentions Yosemite, which happened just last weekend, when a delightful British family I adore told us about all the big fun they'd had schlepping around lost, I'm compelled to share the very disturbing tale of my Near-Death Experience at the hands of a Yosemite bear. Make that two Yosemite bears. Ask hubby. He was there. In Yosemite. In fact, I'm pretty sure he's the reason we almost died. I try not to bring it up too often -- only on special occasions. Birthdays. Anniversaries.  "Happy birthday! Remember when you almost got us killed?" "Happy anniversary, darling. Thank God we're here to celebrate." Why dwell on the past? That's my motto. Except we almost died!

Not everyone would describe me as "outdoorsy." Okay, no one would describe me as "outdoorsy." But this particular tale takes place in the mid-70s, when I had long hair and hiking boots. Back then, hubby was pre-hubby. What can I say? It was an arranged marriage. For the sake of this story, I'll call him the former boy scout. But I'm the only one who gets to call him that. If you see him on the street, please address him as "sir."  

Summer before college, the F.B. and the SJG, for some insane reason, decided to go backpacking in Yosemite. It sounded very romantic at the time, until the mosquitoes started to swarm and devour the majority of my backside. We set up camp somewhere secluded (bad move) and pre-hubby proceeded to do his boy scout thing. "See that tree over there? That's where we put the food." "Why would we do that?" "It's the only way the bears won't get our food." "And neither will we." I'd gone to camp in Big Bear, five consecutive summers.  Not once had I seen this nifty maneuver, but I decided to humor him.  I laughed my tush off as the F.B. lassoed a branch and strung up a cloth bag of dehydrated goodies. 

Early in the morning, we awoke to the sound of rustling. We had company. "Oh sh*t!" said the SJG.  "Oh f**k!" said the FB. A few yards away stood Mama Bear, and she looked hungry.  She eyed me. Too short. She eyed the FB. Too salty. She eyed the cloth bag in the tree. Just right! She climbed up, pulled the string and down came three days' worth of sustenance. She dragged it off, ripped the bag apart and feasted away, sharing every morsel with her baby cub. It was adorable. If only we had photographic proof of this event. But then, we'd probably be dead. Bears are notoriously anti-paparazzi. With no food, we had no choice. We had to hike all the way back to civilization. Ask me how many times I've been camping since. I think you can guess the answer.