The Prancing Sheilas #2

This is a repost from October 2010

Hola chicas! Well, trying to learn all this new techno wizardry in the midst of a 5-day family event in Atlanta with 20 people, ages  9 months to 88 years, swirling about, all having private conversations with one another, while not letting that deter them from chiming in on whatever group confab was shouted through the air, is a challenge to be sure. In our family gatherings there are certain forbidden words, due to wildly divergent political views. The words Obama, Bush, Democrat, Republican, Tea Party and Palin cannot be spoken for each individual’s personal safety.  Anyone who violates the word ban immediately receives a naked (nee neekked) butt spanking. After the first three violations it is my sincere belief that there will be no further family transgressions, except of course, for the perpetually mouthy and opinionated husband, Carl, fondly known as The Spousal Unit.

Feeling simultaneous agony and ecstasy about my new writing venture. Agony because I only have today and tomorrow with BIL at my elbow, then it’s home to NC and I’m on my own. Good Lord! Ecstasy because I managed to take photos with the IPhone of the motley crew at my sister-in-law’s gathering last night and I made a successful grocery list today on my IPhone, then agony again when I promptly deleted it upon entering the market! YEE HAW!! Will I remember any of these tricks when we arrive home late Wednesday? The technology age divide was really driven home this morning when I searched on Facebook for 15 friends and family members  (all age 48 or older)and only one was there, and even she could not figure out how to post a photo. All these lucky kids under 30 (the Millennium generation) have no clue why this comes so unnaturally to their beleaguered, Baby Boomer parents.

Here in Atlanta missing our beloved 8 year old “puppy” Reggae, AKA Pooter. She’s the sweetest pound puppy ever, half Lab and half Blue Merle Aussie Sheppard.

Reggae AKA “Pooter”

She’s so goofy looking; kind of like a silver polka dotted dog as painted and interpreted by Andy Warhol on an acid trip; you get the picture. The poor girl is about to get a baby brother, a Boxer puppy named Baxter (AKA Booger) and I’m anxious about how this will go as Reggae’s been an ‘only child’ up to now.

Also heading home just ahead of Hurricane Earl, which is currently a Cat 4 & aimed right at the Outer Banks. So far we have personally been unscathed by these nuisances in the 13 years of living in the SOBX, but one never knows til the last minute, so you go through the mandatory drill of putting everything away that can blow and then putting it back in place the day after. An annoyingly small price to pay for living in paradise!

What a contrast to my first apartment in NYC! A fifth floor walk-up off Gramercy Park, chosen by my then live-in companion/architect boyfriend (AKA Baseball Bat Boy; use your imaginations sisters!). He had gone ahead to NYC to start a new job for a lighting design firm while I finished up my school year at University of Texas at Austin in 1974. He very excitedly described our first Manhattan flat as having “tremendous views overlooking Gramercy Park, one bedroom, bath, kitchen, and living room”. For $775 per month and with him being an architect (albeit a newly graduated one!) I figured, how bad could it be? ?  Let me now share with you just how bad….the day we arrived on the wrong side of the Lincoln Tunnel in our UHaul we were met by six of Baseball Bat Boy’s newly acquired friends, who were going to help us move into our Taj Mahal. Ripples of unease began to roil as they each introduced themselves to me as “Hi, my name is Alan, but it’s really Mary” “Hi Doll, I’m Mary’s husband Bill, but you can call me Alice”. “Dahling child my name is Harry but everyone knows me as Sheila and do you know any cute little farm boys back in Texas because I am currently single and I just would love to watch one handle his tractor?” And so it went down the cast of six. Uh Oh Dorothy, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore! Little did I know this motley crew that I dubbed The Prancing Sheilas would be a fixture in my life for the next two years!

But whatever, seven strapping men should make this move a cakewalk, right? When we pulled up in front of our building on University Place we were astounded to see countless news trucks and camera crews. What on earth?? Turns out Clifford Irving had written a faked biography of Howard Hughes and the news of the fraud had just hit the press; just our luck Clifford Irving lived in the building next door to ours!  Having to jostle past this press mob with furniture and a mattress was harrowing but nothing prepared me for the 5-story hike and the tiny 10’ x 7′  living room with a closet containing a hotplate, sink, and RV fridge. There was a bedroom, but unfortunately the single closet and bath it contained could not be accessed when a mattress was placed on the floor; visions of the beautiful, 2-story Spanish style hacienda we had rented in Austin flashed before my eyes as I pulled open the door of the little fridge only to have dozens of cockroaches spill out all over the “kitchen” floor, carrying little bits of Texas Toast and my tears on their tiny brown backs.

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