Don’t #$%*#^* Call Me On My #$%*#^* Cell Phone! #65

Who would have believed ten years ago all the amazing things IPhones could do? It’s like an app smorsgasbord. I couldn’t/wouldn’t want to live a day without mine. But please people, it’s NOT to be used for actually receiving phone calls. If you want to call someone over the age of 40, I’m imploring you to just call them on their land line. Here’s why.

I’m in the Mommy Van when I hear some dreadful banjo music, which twangs like the soundtrack from “Deliverance”. I quickly insert my Nat Lamco/Ron Popeil orifice protector, just in case.

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Hoping to be Ned Beatty's new BFF. Image from

"You're gonna put that thing WHERE?" Image from

It takes about 20 seconds to realize that hideous caterwauling is coming from my phone, since I can’t figure out how to get a Keith Urban or Adele song for my ringtone. Then I have to actually locate the tiny thing inside of my purse, using the Helen Keller Braille method of blind hand groping, while still driving. OK, object found. Now I have to pull over into a parking lot in order to find my reading glasses to see who’s calling. If I try to drive with these reading  glasses on, I can’t see beyond the dashboard. By this time, whoever HAD been calling has already hung up, so I have to wait for them to leave a voicemail or check my most recent call to see who it was. Of course, it’s almost always sunny in coastal North Carolina, so the glare makes it impossible to see a darn thing, especially something as small as the most recently received phone number. Now I have to open the glove compartment in search of darkness and stick the phone inside in an attempt to read the screen. The glove box is too far to the right for me to reach it without releasing my seat belt. But now I lean toooo far to the right, lose my balance, and drop the damn phone, which proceeds to slide up against the passenger-side door. This now means I have to get out of the vehicle, walk to the other side of the car, open the door, and prayer that little sucker doesn’t hit the pavement before I can catch it. P.S. On my walk around the van, I just stepped in some 7-year-old’s discarded bubble gum. You see how receiving 2-3 calls during what should be a 30-minute outing, can really mess with one’s schedule. So, work with me here; just call me on the house phone!

Now, back to the next installment of “Texas Toast”. My first Christmas with Jack arrived, along with my parents,  Jack’s Mom, Dad, and brother.My new mother-in-law was one of the dearest souls ever created, but, just as Jack’s ex-wife Catherine had warned, his Dad was one unique piece of work. When you love someone, it’s very hard to be in the same room with someone who harmed them repeatedly. When I thought back to Catherine’s stories of the abuse Jack and his Mom had suffered at the hands of this man, over so many years, it made my skin crawl. It was difficult being in the same room with him, much less having to force myself to speak to him. We formed an instant and mutual dislike, a condition which never improved. Francis was in one of his manic phases during that visit, and would monopolize the conversation for hours.

Francis extolled the virtues and successes of his “real” son, Russ, but nothing that Jack had accomplished in his career or life was acknowledged, much less appreciated. We had arranged for a limo to pick all the family up at the airport, we had fabulous tickets to see “Annie” and “Side by Side by Sondheim” on Broadway. We dined on caviar blinis and iced vodka at The Russian Tea Room, had dinner and dancing to a live orchestra at The Rainbow Room, took carriage rides through Central Park, and took high tea at The Plaza Hotel. None of these things counted with Jack’s Dad. By the end of the week-long visit, I was sending prayers of thanks that they lived on the opposite coast.

The funniest thing about that holiday was cooking my first formal Christmas dinner for eight people. I pulled all the usual novice mistakes, like leaving the package of giblets and neck inside the turkey while it baked, and the gravy had more lumps than liquid, but not a single soul turned into skin and bones at the table. I must have been terrified by the whole experience because I found old Polaroids of that day, and I’m absolutely ashen and drawn-looking. My face was frozen in apprehension as I stared bug-eyed into the camera. It’s surprising that I went on to love cooking after that Christmas.

But the best part of that holiday was Jack surprising me with the news that we would be going to Europe for eight weeks, as part of an international ad campaign for Oil of Olay. The plan was to hit eight major cities twice. The first time to cast actresses for the commercials, as well as scout for locations. After all that work was completed in each place, we would retrace our steps and return for the actual shooting and post-production work. I was wild with excitement at the thought of an all-expenses paid two-month-long trip with Jack. We would visit Rome, Venice, Madrid, Stockholm, Copenhagen, London, Vienna, and sadly, Paris. I know what you’re thinking. “What crazy fool wouldn’t want to go to Paris, TWICE?” For the answer to that I refer you back to “My Life Among the Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys“.

We left NYC on March 16, 1978. The first stop on the tour was Rome. It’s a lucky thing we enjoyed ourselves tremendously in first class on the trip over, because when we arrived, all hell had broken loose on that great city. Perfect timing!

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