seniors dining

Better Than Meatloaf Night At The Senior Center

In 2014 I have been employed for precisely three months. I’m NOT complaining, mind you. This year has been among the most joyful of my life. How often does an adult get to carve six months out of their life to travel and discover which tiny piece of Paradise to call their own? Long, languid days of sleeping in and swaying palms, and azure blue seas. Days so long and serene they felt like weeks. Hours lazing on white sand beaches, snorkeling, and ingesting more seafood than should be legal. No place to go, no place to be. I was already here.

It might then seem odd that I can’t wait to tell you about my amazing new job. Perhaps all that leisure time has made me appreciate structure and a return to productivity, possibly the generous $$ and benefits. Whatever, the Nirvana of my wonderful new job is such a welcome relief after wandering through Dante’s Inferno of employment since 2012.

First was my encounter with “The Murderess”. I thought it a bit odd that she conducted our interviews on a weekend with no staff or patients present; I learned seven months later that was because both staff and patients wanted to stab her hateful, imperious little self in the heart. Fun, laughter, and joking around with our patients was strictly verboten. You were not allowed to address The Murderess without her express permission. Doing so would have her beady black cobra eyes staring you down until your innocent question or remark trailed off onto silence.

The first months I worked there I could smell something rotting and terribly wrong, but I couldn’t identify what that stench might be. Whenever I walked into the staff lounge all the other employees would immediately cease their whispering and sit in silence. Little did I realize I was on the outside of a terrible secret shared by these coworkers. There was no idle chit chat, no water cooler gossip. This was a place where dread went to slow dance with despair.

One summer day, the shell of this practice’s secret began to crack when two DEA agents arrived to terminate my doctor’s sedation permit. Over the ensuing months, we discovered that our practice was on the auction block. The stress of the unknown was horrific but when the state dental board revoked her license for life, the story finally began to emerge.

Only one day prior to our first phone interview The Murderess was extracting a single wisdom tooth on a healthy 57-year-old woman, under sedation, when she went into cardiac arrest while the doctor was out of the operatory. Apparently the doctor was on a lengthy call with her interior decorator and ignored her assistant’s frantic summons. The terrified assistant was finally able to alert the front desk to call 911, but it was already too late. The Murderess could have changed her destiny in that moment, but decided to lie to paramedics and, consequently, the dental board, by falsifying the patient’s record of the events of that fateful morning.

It took one year, but the dental board’s final report told a tale of arrogance, patient neglect and lies on the part of my doctor, which resulted in her malpractice policy paying out a final settlement of $3-7 million to the surviving spouse. Wonderful new owners bought the practice, but much irreversible damage had been done by the news coverage. The Murderess’ patients were appalled that she had continued to perform sedation dentistry on them and their unwitting teens for seven months following the death. My job was eliminated due to lack of business, and I had the luxury of conducting an autopsy on my life. Realizing that living in a cold, grey, dreary environment hours from a beach was killing my soul soon had me seeking my tropical future, but not before a truly fun month-long adventure working for an Indian dentist.

For openers the reception area was so tiny, the crammed patients were practically sitting in my lap, redolent of curry and garlic. They all had unpronounceable names consisting of 34 consonants, with the occasional vowel thrown in to keep things interesting. To make things even easier, the men sounded like women, and the women all had deep smoker’s voices, so you had no clue if you were addressing a male or female on the phone. 90% of our male patients were named either Raj or Samir. What a dry and humorless people. The day I quit without notice it felt like being pardoned from Federal prison.

Then, I moved here and immediately followed that fun and frolic up with “The Adulterer”. If you missed that one…http://saygoodnitegracie.com/2014/08/

I’m hoping that, like celebrity deaths and plane crashes, truly horrific jobs come in threes,  which would mean I can wave bye-bye to that memorable two years, as they recede in my rear-view mirror. A great job that you can’t wait to get to truly is better than Meatloaf Monday.

Featured image courtesy of alternativesforseniors.com

 

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November’s Grey Days and Goodbyes, The Ending #82

Originally posted on SAY GOODNIGHT GRACIE:

Looking back, I suppose the trouble all started with 9/11. As a former securities litigation attorney on Wall Street, Rob had several acquaintances and former coworkers who died on that monster of a Tuesday morning, and it seemed to affect him to an unusual degree. He began seeing a therapist and started down a rocky road of antidepressant use.

My husband opened a one-man law office in our small town in 1998. After a slow and financially shaky start the first year, things really began to gel and business was booming. In addition to his legal secretary, he added a paralegal in 2001. One month prior to 9/11, just four weeks before we were to move into the home we were building, his newly hired paralegal embezzled $28,000. Anyone who has ever been under contract on a house knows that this is not an opportune time to suddenly be short $28K. The paralegal was jailed…

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November’s Grey Days and Goodbyes, Part 2 #81

Renee Moore:

This 9-year-old story is why I want to go to bed on November 1 and stay there until this treacherous month is in my rear-view mirror…

Originally posted on SAY GOODNIGHT GRACIE:

The ten days between Thursday November 10,  2005, when I learned of the death and possible suicide of my husband Rob, and Monday November 21, remain a blur. Quick snapshots in my memory, yellowed, blurred by age, and all slightly out of focus; these are all I remember from that time. Family, friends, and neighbors arriving by the dozens, bearing casseroles and good intentions. The funeral home mercilessly bearing down, forcing quick decisions to be made by a mind unable to comprehend the simplest request, unable to separate day from night. My brain was in mental lockdown; perhaps this is what Alzheimer’s victims experience? I watched mouths forming words, sure that they must have some meaning, but unable to discern what they might be. When you are accustomed to having a quick and witty brain, and find yourself suddenly helpless as a baby, the terror is absolute. My brain was thickened by molasses; synapses were not connecting. I feared this might be my new and  permanent…

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November’s Grey Days and Goodbyes #80

Renee Moore:

This trilogy is why I spend the month of November underground. Every person I have ever loved in my 62 years on earth has died in the month of November

Originally posted on SAY GOODNIGHT GRACIE:

November. You are not my friend.

For two years I told anyone who would listen that a wolf was at my door. I couldn’t name the wolf, or recognize it if it knocked, yet I felt its presence, pressing forward, getting bolder and drawing closer with each passing day. I knew he was leaning in for the kill. Until 5PM on Wednesday Nov. 9, 2005, it was just another ordinary day of being a mom to my 12-year-old son, a wife of the local attorney, and manager of the cool, hip, young dental practice in town. Just a routine, average day in a routine, average life. The wolf was now standing with his paws pressed against my front door, poised to knock; I could almost hear it.

Although my husband Rob and I only worked two miles apart, we rarely saw each other during our busy workdays. We usually spoke briefly by…

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tortie kitten

THE FELINE PSYCHOSIS OF BITTER BETTE

Looking at my raggedy pile of 18-year-old mangy fur, it’s hard to remember the fearless, bursting-with-life puddy cat she used to be.

The night Paco and I brought the adorable 6-week-old tortie foundling home and she bolted from her carrier straight up the stairs to our bedrooms, I warned my 4-year-old boy that she would likely secret herself under a bed for a week or three. In my motherly wisdom I gently told him she would be quite scared and shy, and to not be disappointed when she wouldn’t play with him right away.

Forewarned, the two of us quietly crept up the stairs to see what bed she might be hiding under. What a sight! There was Nico, our tiny kitten, leaping onto Paco’s bed, then catapulting herself onto the top of a 3-story toy parking garage. She would slide down the twists and turns and land on her bum with Chinese eyes pulled tight into slits of delight. Repeat until exhausted.

In a side note…only Paco’s Dad  would possess the flair to name a 2 lb. kitten after Andy Warhol’s beautiful blond 1960’s protégé Nico.

Nico’s decline into depression began with the arrival of her baby brother, Baxter the Boxer. In fairness, I suppose having a huge puppy mistake me for a chew toy thirty times a day would take its toll on my nerves too. 027The situation worsened when he began to pick her up by the scruff of her neck and carry her from place to place. It was in this era that she began writing me suicide notes…

Dearest mamaa,

Sory about steeling yur debit card, had 2 get to a bar 2 by sum Pussytinis 2 get up the courage to off miself, that’s rite, im a go swim wid da fishes. Cain’t take it no more, no how. Eye will c u in heavn.  Luv yur puddy cat

Then one day, Bitter Bette’s dreams finally materialized…that sh*t heel boxer brother of hers had a new mistress and was going to live far, far away, due to Mommy’s new nomadic gypsy life! The skies parted and angels sang a HALLELUJAH chorus. Her joy lasted only one day, until Mommy moved her raggedy butt to a 3rd floor apartment in a noisy city. The suicide notes resumed post haste. Then, those plane rides to and from Texas exacerbated her mental unhinging. Or maybe it was those longhorn steers, the rearing horses at the ranch, or the wee incident with that F4 tornado? http://saygoodnitegracie.com/2012/10/15/the-homecoming-let-there-be-squire-dancing-107/

I’ve gone to court & officially changed her name to Bitter Bette, after the characters Bette Davis played in those terrifying B movies, like “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte”. The one where the bracelets clang and dangle menacingly while she reaches for the axe to whack off her philandering finance’s head, in a well-played act of revenge against his wandering willy. Ah yes, good times those.

My Bette’s eyes are perpetually slitted against life’s next outrage. She alternates between hours of catawauling punctuated by brief moments of narcolepsy. Her newest fetish is to chew obsessively on her right leg, which is currently quite bald.

Now before you PETA peeps go getting all up in arms, “What if the poor kitty has an undiagnosed illness or some rare ebola-like, usually fatal leg-chewing disease?” Let me assure you that I just spent $600 last month on a “Senior Panel” of tests at her vet’s, where they assured me my girl has the vitality and physiology of a five-year-old. She assured me that Bette will live to AT LEAST the ripe old age of 22…giving me another six years of recriminations to look forward to.

Between jobs at two dental practices, and dining, dancing, and dating my way through Paradise, Somewhere in This World, it’s difficult to find the time to indulge Bitter Bette in her dotage. Perhaps it may just be time to shove a broom handle up her butt and call it a day?

 

 

dr pepper

Dr. Prepper

Lord knows, dating over 60 certainly has a rhythm and motion all its own. The rhythm of a walker tap-tapping across the linoleum floor of the senior center and the fashion forwardness of Mr. wearing his pants hitched up just south of his man boobs. So, when my wonderful hippie friend Mentah excitedly told me about my “Perfect match” I was only reluctantly game.

The restaurant my “date” had chosen was closed for the off season, so when the only car beside my own pulled up in the deserted parking lot, I knew this must be the fella in question. Only, what the hell was he driving? Mon dieu, a grandpa car; a Cadillac Seville, mostly driven by 60-year-old dental hygienists who cheerfully wear lit reindeer sweaters to demonstrate their Christmas spirit. Then Mr. Ancient steps out of the Babe Mobile wearing (you can’t make this stuff up kids!) jeans, a yellow short sleeved shirt with…wait for it…an ascot! Now, I really like Mentah, so I opted for my best Girl Scout can-do attitude and realized that at least he was fit and trim, so…I decided this would be the quickest  blind date in recorded history; a margarita and an app, then I’d make like Road Runner, or was it Speedy Gonzalez?

A funny thing happened on the way to my speedy retreat however…we had 1807 things in common, odd things. We are both obsessed with healthy, conscious eating, both meditate one hour a day, with the same Holosync method. Both practice yoga and have zero faith in traditional modern medicine and Big Pharm. He is a holistic doctor, which had me at hello. We both belonged to the exact same five religions growing up. Common sense insisted I go out with him a few more times, even though there was absolutely no chemistry. With each date, he grew slightly more appealing, but there was still no danger that my lack of sparks might burn down a restaurant any time soon.

So, when I had an unexpected day off work, and he invited me to come see his waterfront home and make me dinner, it don’t seem as painful as a gunshot wound to the eye. Then, when he invited me to bring my beloved puppy Reggae so that she and his dog Daisy could meet, I thought that was really sweet. ROAD TRIP!

The puppies fell in love at first sight and were soon sharing spaghetti & meatballs whilst watching “Lady and the Tramp”. lady and the trampSooo sweet, until the good doctor offered to give me a tour of his new home. By the third room, the hair was standing up on my arms; there was an assault rifle propped up in the corner of every single room except the kitchen. Not even concealed, just right out there for anyone to see. He must have noticed my look of horror, because he proudly said, “Oh, those aren’t what they look like. They’re all part of this…my Doomsday plan.” At which point he revealed a heavy concrete door that lead into a bunker. A bunker filled with all manner of horrifying things…flack jackets, ammo, hand grenades, and a three-month supply of food, water, and batteries. He excitedly told me his survivalist plan for outwitting “It“, whatever the hell “It” is. ISIS, ebola, ET, a black bear population explosion, the eminent resurrection of Joan Rivers?

My paleness and lack of conversation while he was “cooking” dinner where not lost on him, as he went to great lengths to explain why I would be so safe with him when “It” happened. While I watched him prepare our dinner, which turned out to be 20-30 raw veggies on a plate with coconut oil drizzled over them, I tried to make sense of how this seemingly gentle man with these holistic, spiritual world views could reconcile having an armory of destruction in his home. Dinner revealed that the good doctor took his healthy eating three steps over the canyon rim for my tastes. Turns out that he was a  bit more than the vegetarian he’d let on. He is a vegan and a raw foods advocate, who doesn’t eat cooked food. He’d just been masquerading on our dates to appear more acceptably mainstream in order to lure animal-eating, ranch-raised little ol me over to his vegan ways.

Suffice it to say, Reggae and I stopped at a restaurant on the way home that evening for some real food involving mucho protein. I ignored Dr.’s calls for five days, then received a text simply asking, “No contact equals no interest?” That was a challenge that required a phone call. I told him that if this mysterious  “IT” should occur, I certainly had no desire to survive it. I’ve had a huge and rich life, and have no desire to hang on a few additional months whilst sleeping on a tree  branch and eating yak dung for survival.

Dr. simply couldn’t wrap his brain around this lack of gratitude. “I thought you’d appreciate that I want to protect you and take care of you in times of danger! Don’t be a beautiful ostrich with your head in the sand about what will soon happen to this world.”

Two months later, Dr. is still scratching his head over my attitude. I suppose if ISIS shows up at my door next week and beheads me I may have regrets….NEXT

 

 

 

 

 

 

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They Left the Suds in the Bucket and the Clothes Hangin Out on the Line

Originally posted on SAY GOODNIGHT GRACIE:


Funny how real life so often imitates a really good country song. Crazy people and Eastern North Carolina go together like a duck on a June bug, like cheese on a cracker, like a spray tan on Snooki. It’s a land where teeth, literacy, AND common sense are optional. After fourteen years, I am about to conclude that the folks around here who clean houses are MORE than a few bricks shy a load. For the past fifteen months, every second Friday, a swarm of ants arrived at my house armed with vacuums, mops, brooms, and all manner of their favorite cleaning products. 30-45 minutes later these industrious little ants leave and presto, chango, I have a deliciously sparkling clean, lemony fresh home, making mama one happy little camper.
I have been delighted by the work they do, and on the rare occasion when they overlook something, I just…

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