New driver. Cliff hanging! Grounded Forever!

Six Word Memoir. (Subject: Cheating death)

I'm trying this new thing about writing a memory of some event in six words. Totally fun! And hopefully gets my creative juices going.

The brief story behind my Six Word Memoir:

Home alone, 16 years old, freak snow storm, slid half-way off cliff overhanging farmer's property below; two tow trucks later, truckers wanted paid, I forged Mom's signature - thus grounded for the rest of my life. Go figure.

Ok, the real story. My parents were gone, along with my siblings, so Dad could write a story about the experience of staying in a mock Fall Out Shelter for the weekend, along with about 60 other people just waiting to sleep on the floor and eat unleavened, unsalted survival crackers.

I got to stay home alone. Woo Hoo!! And Sunday morning I was coming home from church, when we had a freak April snow storm that coated the road just enough to make it slicker than snot – especially to someone who had never driven in snow. I was rounding a curve just yards from my house, when the car slowly, but surely, slid to the cliff edge of the road and ended half hanging at a 45 degree angle over Farmer Bruell’s field. You know Farmer Bruell. Rumor had it that he ATE children who trespassed into his property.

This is Farmer Bruell. One heavy snow winter, my Dad had been obsessing over Mr. Bruell. He hadn’t seen him in days. What could be wrong with him? Maybe he fell and broke his hip, and he’s laying on the floor helpless, starving and freezing to death. Maybe he had a stroke. Maybe he had a heart attack. After all, he’s old, and cranky, and grumpy. So Dad dressed for the weather and hoofed on down to Farmer Bruell’s door. Upon inquiring of his health and not seeing him for several days, Bruell blew pipe smoke in my Dad’s face while bellowing, “What damn fool would be out in THIS weather, I tell ‘ya!” And slammed the door shut.

Back to my cliff. As I sat there, scared out of my mind that I would indeed continue sliding until I fell into his field, car and everything, who should appear below me with, I SWEAR, a pitchfork in his hand, but THE Farmer Bruell, bellowing at me “Don’t you fall into my field!” I wasn’t going no where. I was petrified.

Farmer Bruell climbed up to my car and for once in my entire six months of driving, I did NOT lock myself in from “all kinds of predators” as Mom instructed, and Farmer Bruell was able to reach in through the passenger door and YANK me to safety!

It took two tow trucks to attach lines on either end of the car and very, very carefully slide it back on the road. Then these two beefy drivers walked up to my house to seek payment. Thinking my Mom would be jumping for joy that I was ALIVE, I wrote them out a check and signed her name and sent them on their way.

When the family arrived later that day, my dreams of hero worship were dashed to the ground, when Mom went into her frenzied,-I-don’t-know-what-possessed-me-to-give-birth mode, with an accusatory, high-pitched scream, “You did WHAT??” And I’m thinking I have several choices of interpretation here. 1: she is surprised that I was calm enough in the face of death to get out of the car, mildly bruised, or 2: she was worried that I actually trespassed on Farmer Bruell’s property and something would happen at dawn, like tar and feathering, or 3: she was really ticked that I committed a federal forgery act using her name, for God's sake, or 4: Her home had been invaded by two beefy tow truck drivers knowingly forcing her daughter to forge a check. I think it was all but No. 1.

So there you have my adventure in six little words, like a headline portending doom and gloom.

New driver. Cliff hanging! Grounded Forever!



No Pressure

People are fairly used to seeing me upbeat and positive. I strive to have a good attitude about everything. In working up a mission statement for myself, I came up with this unbelievably high standard, even for me, to “Live to Inspire.”

No pressure.

And then dialysis became a key integral part of my life – in fact, life saving. Now that I have come to that albatross looking so much like Mount Everest, and unconquerable, I have found the experience to be downright pleasant and restful. Absolutely no pressure!

And then, recently, I actually had No Pressure!!! I’m sitting there minding my own business, watching something banal on tv, when the alarms on my dialysis machine go off, red letter warning signs are flashing, and I look over and see my pressure is 80 over 40. Whoa!! That is very low pressure. Heart’s barely beating at 40 beats per minute. And I’m thinking it must be someone else’s machine, because I feel pretty good - not like I'm going to beat my last heart beat in about 30 more seconds. But no, it’s ME! Then every 15 minute checks start and it’s STILL going down. So they quickly stop the dialysis, give me extra fluids to replace the fluids they removed, and I start to feel normal again.

Talk about pressure.

And then the next time, well, I’ve got pressure to spare. I could give my pressure to several people and still have enough left over to keep my heart beating. The heat’s on, I’m thinking to myself. The pressure is on. And rising. 260 over 120. Stroke time. And with my doctor arriving, the pressure doesn’t ease one little bit. Finally, dialysis is over and I’m told to wait until that top number goes down below 200.

No pressure there. I wait. And I wait. And my anxiety is just exploding and I’m thinking that there is no positive thought powerful enough to calm me down. And I wait. Wait some more. And finally, after exactly 60 minutes, it hit 198 over 98 and I kicked back my chair and ran out of the building.

The last two times were perfect – 120 over 60. Heavy sigh.

There’s no pressure like worrying about your blood pressure and then having no blood pressure makes No Pressure a high anxiety stressing hope-I-don’t-die type of heavy duty pressure.

Hopefully, a weekend with friends at Blogfest 2010 will ease all that pressure!



O Mom!!!

That is said in a whiny, double syllable wail. O, Mo-om!!! After I have done something, anything to embarrass my poor sons. Now that they have become well into their 30s, I don’t hear it at all, but when they were teens and young adults, it seemed to be the only phrase they knew – because I seemed to do things that only embarrassed them.

Like the time I wanted my 14-year-old to quit smoking! I was appalled that my little baby, pink-skinned and perfect, would take up something so disgusting (that, and tattoos!) Who ever thought their little bundle would some day sport dragons and swords on their arms, that you had personally made – perfect!

So – I took copies of his 7th grade picture and posted it on every little Ma & Pa store in the neighborhood. Saying something like, “THIS child you are looking at is a MINOR and you will be arrested if you sell him cigarettes.” I didn’t think it worked until one day he came pounding through the house, whining “Oh, Mo-om!!! I can’t believe you did this!” I just smiled.

Then my older son was in the Army in boot camp and I worried about him all alone and forlorn and maybe clinically depressed and no way for me to stroke his hair and make him feel better. So, I bought 30 blank greeting cards with cutesy sayings (Mary Englebriet) like, “Find Your Own Spot” or “Where Ever You Go, There You Are.” I asked all the attorneys and staff in my law firm to help me cheer up my son – and surprisingly, the men from Viet Nam days grabbed up all of the cards – stamped and addressed to my son.

So, he calls me up and “Mo-om!!!” He thanked me for the cards and asked if I could please slow them down. Why?

“I have to do 50 push ups for every card I receive!”



So, I was called in to Unemployment to show Proof of my Job Search for a specific week (the last week of the year when nobody in their right mind would actually hire anyone).

Also, the thought crossed my mind that some higher up was looking for Proof of Life. Like a giant finger poking my forehead, and a deep booming voice asking, “Yo! Anyone in there?” Sometimes I wonder.

Jobs are not exactly pouring over my head. The applications and resumes go out, but nothing comes in. I repeatedly check my phone to see if it self-opted for meeting mode to silence all those hundreds of employers who really, really want me.

In the interview we were told not to whine about looking for three jobs a week because some states require fifteen job searches a week. And it occurred to me that I am relatively lucky – secretaries are a dime a dozen (almost literally). But what about unique jobs, like, say, neurophysicists. What if a neurophysicist was laid off and then had to make 15 contacts in a week? How many neurophysicists do you think live and work in Spokane? New York? Well, that would just suck. So, I’ll follow through on my measly three job searches.