One Less Among the Living

SOB (sister of blogger) and HOSOB (husband of SOB) just got back Monday night from Oregon where they were visiting HOSOB’s ill parents.  HOSOB’s father, Mr. HOSOB, was in very bad shape.  On Tuesday morning, SOB emailed that Mr. HOSOB died during the night.

My first thought was “Thank G-d HOSOB was there over the weekend.”  Of course, it is one of those anecdotal truisms, that a person waits for the family to gather.  A final blessing from the dying one to his/her loved ones.

My second thought was “Shiva?”  HOSOB and Mr. and Mrs. HOSOB are not Jewish, although HOSOB has effectively converted by osmosis.  Culturally, that is. HOSOB and Mr. HOSOB were, are, and remain, conscientious objectors when it comes to the existence of G-d.  Still, SOB thought it was a fine idea for Blogger family to come over before HOSOB and SOB go back to Oregon for the cremation. POB (partner of blogger) and I went to their house tonight for, let’s say, a Christian Shiva.  Or “chriva,” maybe.

So, what to bring to a chriva?  Rugelach and a chocolate bobka, of course.  You have to be born into the Jewish tribe to stomach an offering of gefilte fish.  But I say, “what’s not to like about rugelach and bobka? Chocolate in cake-like creations.  Something, any chriva-goer would enjoy.”  Even, HOSOB shrugged and threw his head back, in that Jewish way, when he repeated my words in even mimicking a slightly high-pitched voice.  So, maybe, he’s Jewish already.

DOB (Dad of blogger) also came.  He brought Hebrew prayer books in case we really wanted to have a service.   “What’s the big deal about a minyan?  [Mr. HOSOB] wasn’t Jewish anyway, so we don’t need ten people to say Kaddish.”


Logic? NONE.

But DOB loves HOSOB like a son and wants to comfort him in the only way DOB knows how.  And it touched all of us.  I bet there were ten yarmulkes in DOB’s pocket, if necessary.

We did the usual things that are done at shiva (even though this was a chriva). We got teary-eyed at times and laughed at other times.  We toasted Mr. HOSOB’s life and his memory.  We told stories and looked at pictures of SOB’s and HOSOB’s wedding, when Mr. HOSOB was still strong and his eyes twinkled with joy.

Eventually, POB and I had to go home and HOSOB, SOB and DOB had to go out for a bite.

DOB, at his age, usually goes to very sad shivas.  This was an upbeat chriva (although all of us are heartbroken for HOSOB).  So, he was probably very pleased with his first chriva experience.  Which misses the point, in that way that old people do, but every death makes us grateful for each elder that abides among us.

To my dearest HOSOB, may your father rest in peace and his memory be a blessing for us all.  We will always remember him.

~ Blogger

A Traditional Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving, we gathered the usual suspects around the table.  We also had two new people, a young girl from Paraguay and a colleague from Zurich.  SOB (sister of blogger) thought I should issue a disclaimer to my foreign colleague that this was not a “traditional” American Thanksgiving.  Clearly, we are not traditional.  No, sir.  Evidentiary exhibit no. #1: we have brisket instead turkey.

Then, more food than anyone should eat in a week covered the table, and there was more waiting in the kitchen.  I sighed.  SOB and I looked into each other’s eyes and we had to acknowledge that our Thanksgiving is as traditional and American as anyone else’s.

In truth, SOB and I feel best when there is so much food that no one could possibly go away hungry.  First, if a guest had a “clean” plate, that meant there wasn’t enough food and the neighbors would whisper that we didn’t come from a good home.  Second, my grandmother always said if the Russian army showed up at your door and you had plenty of food, they would leave the women alone.  Coincidentally, these precepts handed down from generation to generation drive us to mimic the conspicuous, over-consumption that is our American Thanksgiving.

We were, in fact, sooooo American that, even though it was brisket and not turkey, DOB (Dad of blogger), like so many patriarchs hating to turn over the reins of family celebrations, muttered “under his breath” (but so loud that the neighbors could hear), “I could’ve done a better job of carving.”  Gee, thanks, Dad.

SOB, we have arrived.  We are no longer an immigrant family.  We ARE America.


It absolutely gets better

As a girl (in the 1960s and 1970s), I was fearless, self-confident and wholly comfortable with my body.  That is, until I became a teenager.  Then, as quickly as a flip of a switch (or so it seemed), everything changed.

Aside from the raging hormones that could have alone turned me into an alien, I had unfamiliar feelings and longings.  And I didn’t fit neatly into the role of a 14 year-old girl who had to wear skirts (dress code) to school.  But, generally, I liked the way I looked.  And I liked the way other girls looked, too.

Except, I was supposed to be looking at boys.  Once I realized my “mistake”, I knew “fitting in” was something I would have to study, like any other subject in school.  And I figured it would be hard, like Biochemistry (yes, I was precocious at 14), but I was smart and a good student.  So, I thought, “I could do this”.

It was harder than Biochemistry and you couldn’t learn it from a book.  My high school girl friends were “into boys” in such a natural, innate way. I withdrew into myself because I knew that this difference was too basic and I couldn’t fake it.  I wouldn’t make close friendships because I had this secret and this unease about where friendships ended and romance could begin.  I needed to keep people at bay.  Invisibility was my goal when it came to talking about boys, what you did with boys, make-up, etc.  Just blend in.

All through high school on Saturday nights, I used to take long walks around the East Side so my parents didn’t know that I was friendless or weary of feeling like the outsider.  Only years later, did I learn that someone else was doing the same thing because she had the same issues, except her route was different enough so that we never bumped into one another.  We would have recognized each other because we knew each other from camp and Hebrew School.

Inside, I was confused and sad and I knew, just knew, that my troubles were my fault.  How could I fix something that I couldn’t even talk about?  I medicated with food and alcohol.  Brilliant.  I added significant weight gain to my problems.  And nothing makes teenage life worse than being fat.  Now I was a liability to be around if you wanted to talk up cute boys.  I was less than background; I was avoided.

I remained heavy through my college years.  I was still struggling with wanting to be straight and not wanting to deal with this horrid, scary secret. On campus, a right-wing newspaper printed the names of the members of the GSSG (Gay Students Support Group).  I was secretly grateful that I was too scared to join.  I remained anonymous but I saw the effects of being “outed” on some of my friends. What happened to them confirmed my every nightmare.  “Out” meant parental disapproval (and worse), no chance of having children and discrimination. I wanted my parents to be proud and I wanted a family.  But I also wanted love.  What did I do to deserve this fate?  I had to have done something so unspeakably wrong to be exiled to a long and lonely road.

But sometimes the desire to feel whole can make a person go to crazy extents.  During college, I kept trying to put myself in situations where I might meet lesbians but only at a distance.  Two girls giggling in a bathroom piqued my interest, but I stayed in the background.  Invisible.  My comings and goings seemed mysterious enough so that my friends assumed that I was a Soviet spy meeting my handler.  No joke.  They still tease me to this day.

When I was graduated in 1985, I resolved to live a double life – try to marry a man and have an emotional (or romantic?) relationship with a woman. I had a hard time keeping up with the lies about why I was a no-show with my college friends or why I spent so much time with a particular woman when my mom would ask. I was a handful of shards of glass, each reflecting a portion of me, but not adding up to the whole.

I joined a gym to relieve some of the stress of my life and because I simply got sick and tired of literally wearing the weight of my troubles. I joined a gym to stop the “you would be so much more attractive if you lost some weight”.  I really channeled my anger and fears into exercise.  I was angry at G-d for making me gay and I was fearful of what would happen if I acted on those feelings.  Maybe you can imagine how sweating buckets can calm you down and make you so tired that you needed to adjourn those quandaries until the next day.  And, the next day, and so on.  I used work-outs at the gym to avoid my issues.  The upside was that I was really getting into good shape.

When I got thin, the family’s mantra “you are so thin and pretty now, I am sure the boys are knocking down your door!” returned.  In truth, I tried boys.  There was one lovely man I came close to marrying.  But he sensed the issues that lay right under the surface and called me on them.  “Do you need to sow some wild oats or should we just not have female housekeepers?”  And then, “should I wait?”  “No,” was my anguished answer.  (“If only you were female,” I thought.)  G-d bless him and his family forever.  (He has a lovely wife and two adult children now.)

In New York City in the 1980s, there were still no positive images of lesbians, let alone images of feminine lesbians. What was I thinking throwing away a solid relationship with a wonderful man? But, he and I both deserved to find our heart’s desires and soul mates.  At least he did; I couldn’t see how I was going to meet someone.  I didn’t want to be with a butch woman; I was a woman who wanted to be with a feminine woman.  They were invisible (unless they were on the arms of butch women). I was looking for a hypothetical feminine, pretty, Jewish (not essential), well-educated, funny and slightly neurotic lesbian.  Whoa, tall order.  I figured I would be alone for the rest of my life.  If it sounds sad, you can be sure that this is an understatement of how I felt.

Somewhere, on the other side of town, was a woman in a relationship who was wondering if she would ever meet her soul mate, her heart’s desire. We would have recognized each other if we met because we knew each other from camp and Hebrew School.

If I was going to leave a relationship with a wonderful man because of this “girl thing”, then it was high time I started gluing the shards of my life together.  Even though my father’s “I would welcome him as a son-in-law” echoed in my head and threatened to push out my brains through my ears, I tried to be open and honest with my family, my friends and, yes, me. And that required coming out.

My told my friend NYCFOB (dear NYC friend of blogger) in a cab, “you know my boyfriend John?  Her name is [girl’s name].”  I could see her brain working; a lot now made sense to her.  “It changes nothing between us,” she said simply.  She gave me a gift of a lifetime – in those few words, she said to me: “I am your friend even if you lied to me because I get that you thought it was necessary.  And I don’t care about the gay thing.”  Then, “who else knows?” She needed to know whom she could call and with whom she could shriek about some serious scoop. I still think she doesn’t know that we know that she has the biggest heart and a wellspring of love and acceptance tucked beneath a New Yorker’s veneer.

As for my parents, let’s just say that their rejection was hurtful and ugly, although it had a happy ending. Imagine a nice Jewish girl whose grandparents were the pre-World War II remnant of Russian Jewry, and parents who were poor children of immigrants of the Depression Era.  That means I was raised to need my parents’ approval on a daily basis.  Imagine that nice Jewish girl being cast out.  The gym was my haven.  I could sweat and lift weights and expel some of the anger and hurt I felt.  As I processed all the changes and charted a rough course for my life, I started not to want to be invisible or ignored anymore.  I had arrived – 115 pounds, toned body, good looks.  I was ready to fit in and conquer all social settings – gay or straight.

So, I joined a hip and groovy gym. It is a rule of life that if your gym is hip and groovy, you will work out in a sea of tall and beautiful women in that blond, willowy way with perfect gym outfits.  I wasn’t ready to be “out” because I still preferred ambiguity. Secretly, I wanted cute boys to talk to me as some sort of vindication of my sexual appeal – that men might want me even if I wanted women.

The muscled, handsome straight (and hell, even gay) guys talked to them and not to me.  Even the trainers didn’t pay attention to me.  I was still invisible. I know it doesn’t make sense, but nothing relating to body image, sexuality, and desire has anything to do with logic.  It was probably because I was too scared that if I came out, there was no going back.

Life got a lot better over the years.  I realized that you have to be a little out in order for people to find you.  Family hurts healed (with my mother’s wanting to ride on our synagogue’s Gay Pride float and my father’s making a huge stone sculpture of two women with a child). I had good romantic relationships (and some horror shows, let’s be honest).  I was happy.  I had friends.  I was an up-and-coming lawyer.  I found my groove.

Still, the gym was complicated. Working out made me feel strong, in control and let me expiate work anxiety and stress.  I started to understand that maybe I didn’t fit in because, for me, the gym was not my primary social outlet.  I went there to get sweaty and release endorphins.  Ahhhhh.  Still, I wanted to be noticed.  I know, I know.  It doesn’t make sense but it is what it is.

At Rosh HaShanah evening services in 1996, I was living the quintessential lesbian drama – my present girlfriend sat to my left and my ex-girlfriend sat to my right.  I was looking up at the ceiling, finally introducing myself to G-d. (This alone should have wiped away my sins for the year.)

In the midst of this bad movie, I heard a singing voice I recognized.  I turned around and I saw her. She was my best friend at sleep-away camp when we were 10 year-olds.  We went to Hebrew School together through senior year at high school.  I thought, “she is too cute to be gay”.  It’s that internalized homophobia ingrained in many of us who came of age in the 20th century and, no matter how we try, it still sometimes slips out.   (And I had very attractive exes.)

I looked for her after services, but she had left in a flash.  Ten days later, at Yom Kippur service, I was carrying the Torah around the synagogue during a ritual where the Torahs are marched around the sanctuary. I saw her again. POB (soon-to-be partner of blogger).  I knew somehow that we were living in parallel bubbles that “kissed” ever so slightly over the years.  We were both in relationships and just looking for friendship.

Our friendship was deep and supportive.  We leaned on each other when things got hard in our relationships.  We pushed each other to re-invest our emotions in those long-term relationships.  Nevertheless, our relationships ended between 1998 and 1999.  In spring of 2000, we realized that we were each other’s intended ones.  We fell into a happy rhythm of life together and started to think about having a baby.

Still, the gym was an important part of my life.  Sometimes we would go to the gym together after work, around 8pm.  We didn’t work out together; we needed our separate areas at the gym. I was working out the toxicity of life as a young partner in a law firm; she was just getting a fitness work out.

Then my mother had a recurrence of breast cancer.  I needed a punching bag and boxing gloves.   Our gym had those.  I watched others and then just copied them.  Tears would stream.  The rings on my fingers under the boxing gloves cut into my flesh.  I was bleeding and I was punching G-d as hard as I could.  In summer 2002, POB and I had a little boy.  In January 2003, my mother died.  I needed to punch out my unspeakable pain and sadness, but with newborn and two working moms, there was no time for the gym.

2002 through 2008 were rough years.  Setting aside various economic and professional upheavals (which don’t matter much in the end, anyway), POB’s mother’s chronic illness worsened to a point that hospital stays on respirators were not uncommon.  Ultimately, she died.  Our son presented with some developmental issues, which are resolving (something for which we are grateful everyday).  There was much joy and happiness, of course, in those years, but joy and happiness don’t make for interesting writing.  And besides, as a neurotic, urban-dwelling Jew, it is my cultural duty to emphasize the gut-wrenching, the embarrassing, the bizarre and the ooky.

When our son was six years old, POB and I were able to clear some personal time in the family schedule.  I chose to return to the gym.

What a difference six years makes. My first day, I was in the locker room and to my horror I discovered that I packed form-fitting running tights that go down just below my knees and a geeky t-shirt that stopped at my waist.  Two things to note: I couldn’t remember when last I shaved my legs, and if this outfit looked good on me, I wouldn’t need to go to the gym.

Now, our son is 9 years old.  He is 70 pounds and still jumps in my arms when I come home, so I need strong leg, stomach and arm muscles so as not to end up in traction. Now, I do sit ups and pull-ups.

I hate pull-ups but I do three sets of three (sometimes four).  And all the gym boys think it’s really cute that a gray-haired, middle-aged lady can do unassisted pull-ups.  No, joke — I get compliments, fist pumps and high-fives from male trainers and regular gym rats.  And they give me technique pointers.  And I know that some of the women are watching me. They are not checking me out; they are wondering how they could try a pull-up when no one is looking.  At long last, the “buff and beautiful” (even the trainers) notice me and talk to me.  It took some gray hair and a few pull-ups to be the belle of the gym.  Of course, now I don’t need that kind of attention.  At 47, I have lost some elasticity and agility, but age has given me determination and self-confidence, and, yes, helped me negotiate a comfortable detente with my body.

And now I am visible at the gym? The gym gods must be crazy indeed.

So, this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for my life, my family and my wholeness.   It does get better.

~ note from Blogger:  Special thanks to the Soeurs for editing and remembering and loving me, in all my guises.

Siren’s Song

Dear SOS (our son, source of sanity) is a hyper-heterosexual (after all, what would two lesbians create?) at age 9 years-old.

POB’s (partner of blogger’s) sister has taken a young, very pretty, girl under her wing.  This young girl joined us tonight at pre-Thanksgiving dinner with POB’s family.  She will be at Thanksgiving Dinner.  She is about 13 years old and is quite beautiful (for a little girl).  She is from South America and, throughout dinner, SOS was trying to show off his knowledge about her home country.  When we got home, SOS started throwing himself around his room muttering her name in a way reminiscent of Shakespearean star-crossed lovers.  Dramatique, vraiment, especially since she did not notice him in that way.

I kept thinking, “is this what you do when SOS’s Bethrothed (the one to whom he proposed at age 7 and still considers his wife-to-be) is not around?”

All I had to say is:  “Remember your bethrothed!!”  Besides the young girl you are mooning over is in eighth grade!!

Then SOS said something in such a self-assured way that stopped me in my tracks.  “That’s just one obstacle, E-Mom.”

Well, okay, buddy.  But, remember, you have commitments, especially to SOS’s Bethrothed and her parents.

And I know you are only 9 years old.  So, I am fastening my seat belt for one helluva roller coaster adolescence.

The Making of a Middle American

On Tuesday, I got up before dawn and took a plane to Cleveland.

By 7:30pm, I was at the airport for my flight home.  Yes, work day with a really bad commute.

I was exhausted and starving.  After I got through security and found my gate, I looked for the nearest “pub”.  You know the place, it is in every airport, right past the Hudson News Store and just before you can get to the nuts and gummy bear vendor.

I sat at the bar and ordered a “vegetarian-style” house salad.  It arrived and there was lettuce covered by pepperoni, salami, and provolone, all tossed in Italian Dressing.

My server mistook my shock at the lack of vegetables in this carnivorous extravaganza.  So she asked if I wanted “Ranchwiththat”.  It took me a minute.  Ah, did I want Ranching Dressing with that?  Really?  I am trying to reconcile the name and contents of the salad and she wants to introduce another foreign substance.

I was hungry so I dug into the hunks of salami.  But it wasn’t enough.  I know it is hard to believe that I was still hungry after eating about a pound of meat by-products.  So, I ordered chicken wings.  My server asked if I wanted “Ranchwiththat”.   This time I understood.  Nope.

The order came with legs and wings, so I wondered why the menu didn’t say “Buffalo Chicken Parts”.  This was not a very accurate menu.  But — G-d forgive me for saying this — the food was good — for what it was.

Someone came up to the bar and ordered a cup of chili.  It smelled really good.

Now that I had finished my meat-filled “vegetarian style” house salad, and 6 fire-hot Buffalo Chicken Parts, I asked for some chili, no onions and no cheese.

“Cup or crock?” my server asked.

Crock,” I said.

“Jalapeño peppers?”



No hesitation.  “Sure.  And by the way the house red is really good!

Thank G-d I was headed home.  Another minute, I might have lost my New York citizenship.


Sometimes a lollipop is just a lollipop

Our son, our source of sanity (SOS) is not a candy freak.  He prefers ice cream (vanilla, only) and french fries.

He still has Halloween candy left over.  Every few days he asks to have a piece of that candy as a treat.  Everything in moderation is our mantra.

DOB (father of blogger) is a retired dentist.  Growing up, we were not allowed to have candy at all.  Imagine what it is like to have to hand over your Halloween candy in exchange for raisins.  No wonder I hate Halloween.

Tonight was family dinner.  DOB came over at his usual 4:30pm and he and SOS watched Life of Birds, while SOS explained some of the finer points of the species they were viewing.  DOB was amazed at his grandson’s knowledge.  POB (partner of blogger) made a fabulous meal.  SOS was engaged and engaging at dinner and DOB was again amazed at his grandchild.  DOB was surrounded by family.  A great night for all of us, especially DOB. 

That is, UNTIL . . .

SOS asked for a piece of Halloween candy and picked a Tootsie Pop.  Then he came back to the dinner table with it.  I glimpse DOB:


followed by


followed by the deep breath that means impending


“This is very bad.  You are introducing a corrosive agent into [SOS’s] mouth.  If a child has one of these every day, there will be damage to the gums, enamel, the placement of the teeth in the mouth . . .”

I stopped listening but I imagine that soon the fact that my son is sucking on a lollipop will inevitably lead — through perfectly reasoned logic — to nuclear confrontation with Iran.  So, I wanted to ratchet back the hysteria a little.

“It’s only a lollipop, Dad.”

SOS (sister of blogger) gave me a look that said, whaaaat were you thinking saying that?  How long have you been alive?  Will you never be able to converse with Dad without me as referee?”

Only a lollipop?  [said in a slightly outraged toned] Well, as you remember, you did not have any candy when you were young and aren’t you glad?”

SOS is right; I need her always as referee.  I could have ended the conversation right there by agreeing.  But no, no, no, I had to dig in deeper . . .

“Well, actually, no.  For years, I couldn’t stuff enough Snickers Bars in my mouth because, because, because  —- ” “the Forbidden Fruit?” (Cousin Birder offered helpfully) — “yes, EXACTLY.”

I saw my father’s face and I immediately promised him that SOS would always have very little amounts candy, drink copious amounts of fluoridated water, and hold hands crossing the street, and . . . ., all the while knowing that DOB will be re-hashing this episode with SOB over the coming days fearful for SOS’s future and our parenting skills.

I start chanting in my head: “Sometimes a lollipop is just a lollipop, Dad.” Sometimes a lollipop is just a lollipop, Dad.”Sometimes a lollipop is just a lollipop, Dad.”

Sigmund Freud said something similar about a cigar; that sometimes, a cigar is just cigar.  Sigmund added a caveat: “, but rarely.

The Marathon That Wasn’t But the Family Got Together Anyway (and had more fun)

Cousin Runner was planning on running the NYC Marathon, to raise money for the memorial fund she founded in memory of her father, my cousin, who died too young.  Her father embodied the our family motto of “no boundaries” tempered by endless love and concern.

Cousin Runner’s mother flew in from San Francisco for the event.  Cousin Runner’s brothers came in, as well, from albeit lesser distances.

Unfortunately, Cousin Runner pulled something and could barely walk.  So, she joined the 15,000 person injured list and had to sit out this marathon.

The rest of the family was happy.  We could avoid having to wade through the sea of humanity in order to glimpse her bib number.  Does anyone remember the legend?   Promptly after the man ran to Marathon to tell his people of the advancing army, he collapsed and died.

Since Cousin Runner’s mother was my cousin before she was Cousin Runner’s mother, she gets an acronym distinct from Cousin Runner — JFCOB (Judy first cousin of blogger).

FCJOB is staying with us, and arrived Friday night and POB (partner of blogger), FCJOB and I had a long dinner catching up.  As we were kissing each other good night, FCJOB remarked, “Wow, how did we polish off a bottle of wine?”  I shocked her when I told her that we EACH had a bottle of wine.  I was immediately dreading my training session at the gym on Saturday morning.

We all gathered for Saturday night dinner.  DOB (Dad of blogger) arrived 2 hours early as usual.  SOB (sister of blogger) trailed in, ahead of HOSOB (husband of SOB) who was sporting a purple 1980s thin tie.  I had to come to HOSOB’s sartorial rescue and offer him a glass of wine in exchange for handing over the tie.  (“Just give me the tie, and no one gets hurt.  Drop the tie.  For the last time, drop it“.)  All was Eden once again.

Cousin Gentle came.  Cousin Runner (with boyfriend) and one of Cousin Runner’s brothers (ASCOB — Alex second cousin of Blogger) rounded out the table. Or so we thought.

But then, a surprise visit from another young cousin who is in dental school in New Jersey!!  (I thought I had scared him off last year when I blogged about the partying rampage that left him just beginning a hangover at 6pm.) Strong work, Cousin Dentist, Jr.!!!!  So glad you came.

SOB was setting us up for a group photo shot with the auto-shoot option.  We stood still, absolutely still, multiple times as she checked and re-checked it.  Luckily, ASCOB offered to help and discovered that every time SOB set the picture, she then hit the “off” button.  Really, SOB??  The button has OFF written right above it.


What would you do?

POB (partner of blogger) came to our relationship with a housekeeper.  Before POB would move in with me, I had to fire Marta, my existing housekeeper.

But, Marta was cleaning the apartment even before I lived there.

New Yorkers will understand this:  I took over my friend’s lease and her spot in Marta’s cleaning schedule.  Although I met her once, I wouldn’t know Marta if I fell over her.  Every Friday, I used to wake up super-early and take the stairs and the back door out of the apartment building.   I just didn’t want to fail to recognize her as we passed in the lobby or by the elevators and then realize that she was turning the key to my apartment.  Yes, I would rather climb over garbage than risking not recognizing the woman who cleaned my underwear and dyed all my whites blue (ooops).

Since I never saw her (by design) and her English wasn’t so great, I had to fire her by leaving a note, saying I was moving out of state and offering to give her a reference even though she ruined my clothes and I didn’t know her last name.  I left a large severance.  She wrote a note back thanking me and sending me blessings in my new home and life.  Ok, not one of my finer moments.

Enough back story.

POB’s housekeeper, Lucy, was wonderful.  She took such good care of us.  And, we in turn took good care of her.  This summer, she and her husband moved back to Poland.  She recommended someone to take her place and we offered the person the job because Lucy trusted her.  If Lucy trusted her that was good enough for us.

Well, she is trustworthy.  But we are not loving the situation.  We try not to do the mental comparisons, “Lucy did it this way. . . .”  Still, it isn’t really working out.  And, yet, in these tough economic times, we are not going to look for someone else just because we don’t feel some sort of kismet with our new housekeeper-who-is-not-Lucy.  Besides, Lucy would hear about it (through the Polish community) and then she would be mortified that she recommended someone who didn’t work out.  So, it is really out of the question.

Add that this woman also cleans POB’s father’s house.  Think, “No exit.”

“So, what do we do?”  POB asks me tonight.

“Move,” I say.


“Yeah, move to California.  People move for a lot less than to avoid confrontation with a housekeeper.”

Really?  Really?  You are going to stick with that plan?”

No, of course not.  Because we aren’t firing our new housekeeper. Ever.  She inherited this position from someone we respect.  And I am not going to “Marta” her.

It is what it is: the home edition of The New Normal.