Pickett House is about loss, starting over, growing up, and falling in love. Elizabeth Pickett died peacefully at the age of ninety six in the family mansion known as Pickett House. However, a ninety six-year-old woman was not always a ninety six-year-old woman. She was once a little girl…a teenager…and a grown woman.
You can order a copy of my latest book in kindle or paperback. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CPWE8IK
I am not upset about turning sixty five. I am upset about all of the nonsense I am going through in order to sign up for Social Security and Medicare.
I do not have hoarding tendencies. I am, however, currently fighting my way through all of the PART B, PART D, PART Q (or whatever) mail I am receiving. PICK ME…NO, PICK ME…NO, PICK ME. For some reason I am also receiving endless notices from that outfit that grants fantastic loans to military veterans. The only uniform I have worn in my entire life was when I was in the Brownies.
A lady from Social Security has been hounding me. Emails, text messages, phone calls. OMG. When I finally called her, she was more confused than I was. Something about . . . because I was born on February 1st, Medicare will start on January 1st. I said, “Okay.” I don’t understand this logic. However, okay. Then she started blathering about my State of Michigan retirement and how she has nothing to do with my State of Michigan retirement so she cannot advise me on what to do with my State of Michigan retirement. I asked, “If you cannot advise me on my State of Michigan retirement, how is that you EVEN KNOW ABOUT MY STATE OF MICHIGAN RETIREMENT? Something about how the State of Michigan may pay for my part B Medicare; however, because she doesn’t know about my State of Michigan retirement, she can’t tell me whether they will pay for my part B…or not. Sheesh.
She then started giving me a bunch of options that made absolutely no sense. My birthday is February 1st, so Medicare starts in January (okay…I already told her this made no sense to me but I had already said okay). Well, then she starts harping about how I won’t get February Social Security benefits until March. WHAT DOES MARCH HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?
Evidently because it was inconsiderate of me to have been born on the first of the month, benefits go all wacky one month before and/or after. I told her that none of this was my fault. When I was born, I was young and inexperienced. It is hardly fair to hold me responsible for her confusion.
I’ve decided it may just be easier to die at sixty four. It is a federal conspiracy to cheat me out of my benefits..
I bought a Jitterbug phone. I tried with the Smartphone. Honestly. I did try. It was simply too painful.
I bought the flip-phone Jitterbug. It’s red. It fits in my hand with just enough heft to feel like a phone. I don’t feel as though I am talking into a graham cracker. With the Smartphone, the earpiece part of the phone never seemed to be anywhere near my actual ear. Drove me nuts.
I realize now I was never going to be comfortable with a Smartphone. I am from the generation of Windex. There is something about smearing fingerprints across a window that is simply not done. I couldn’t even answer the danged thing half the time.
I like my flip-phone. It rings. I flip it open and say hello. When the call is over, I say goodbye, and flip it closed. No finger smearing required.
I’m probably the only kid in America who dreaded the coming of Halloween. Who didn’t like Halloween? Trick-or-treating for candy—getting to dress up as though you were somebody—or something else. What kid wouldn’t love that? Me.
I knew what the coming of Halloween meant for little Linda. I had to be a hobo. I lived on a working class street with about a million kids and attended an elementary school full of working class kids. Almost everybody was a hobo for Halloween. It was an easy, cheap costume. Mom would smear dark stuff all over my face, dress me in my older sister’s most ratty-looking clothes, and make me wear her shoes. Her shoes were too big. When I would complain, mom explained that hobos had to wear whatever shoes they could find. I recall asking, “Can’t we pretend the hobo found shoes in my size?” Nope. So, at school I had to clomp around in Barb’s clown shoes. I never won the best costume contest either. I was never the shabbiest of hobos. At least Mom let me wear my own shoes during the actual trick-or-treating; wouldn’t want little Linda to trip over her own feet—in her sister’s clown shoes.
Even with the lure of candy I thought trick or treating was stupid. The street looked like a hobo invasion. I was always worn out after about five houses. I recall dragging the paper trick-or-treating sack along the sidewalk. By the time I finally got home there was a hole in the bottom of the sack from dragging it along the sidewalk. I didn’t even care that I had lost a significant portion of the night’s haul. I just wanted to go home and shed the Halloween hobo identity.
Nowadays kids can’t be hobos for Halloween. The costume is considered to be offensive and politically incorrect. I wonder whether anyone asked the hobo population. I’ll be they wouldn’t mind at all. They likely have more important things to get upset about.
We’ve all got one. I’m convinced. One song. That one song that comes on the radio without warning and the next thing you know your whimpering as you bang against the on/off knob to make it go away. MAKE IT STOP. What’s even worse is when the song comes on when you’re someplace where you have no control to MAKE IT STOP; such as, the dentist’s office. The poor dental hygienist just thought I had a gag reflex. I did.
The one that does it for me is by Phil Collins. One More Night. The music score simply enhances the awfulness of the lyrics. I’m convinced that Phil ripped off the music score from a funeral procession of druid monks. It goes on for…forever. That song must be fifteen minutes long. Here is a sample of the lyrics: one more night…one more night…one more night…one more night…one more night… one more night…one more night…one more night…one more night…one more night…one more night…one more night…one more night—ARGHH! ENOUGH! ALREADY!
Seriously, there are other words to the lyrics. There must be. I just can’t hear them. The song puts me into a hypnotic voodoo trance. If I’m driving, and allow the song to continue, I start to hear: one more night…one more night…one more night…drive through tree…drive through tree…make it stop…make it stop…make it stop…make it stop…drive through tree…make it STOP!
If you don’t believe me, the following are the actual lyrics at the ending of the song:
“Give me just one more night, give me just one more night Oh one more night, ’cause I can’t wait forever Give me just one more night, give me just one more night Oh one more night, ’cause I can’t wait forever
“My dog, Riff-Raff, is an eight pound Maltese/something-else dog of the female gender. When she hit the ten pound mark, Riff went on a diet. I usually take her everywhere, but the Turkey Creek Mall people are a bunch of snobs, so I had left her with Mrs. Towers. Mrs. Towers is an eighty- five-year-old widow friend of ours who resides in Unit 19 of our complex. She is going on her third year of being eighty-five. She gets around pretty well with a walker for eighty-five-plus. She has one of those help-I’ve-fallen gizmos but it never seems to be anywhere nearby when she falls. Fortunately she has wall-to-wall carpeting, as I do. I do not understand why older people elect to reside in single-level homes to avoid stairs and then put in hardwood flooring. Carpeting cushions a fall whereas hardwood is a blunt instrument to the back of the head. Quality carpeting is also kinder on the arthritic knees of an older person. I float to the floor with the grace of a balletic fairy. I rise with grunts. When I find myself nowhere near anything substantial enough upon which to lever, I am reduced to log-rolling across the carpeting until I encounter something. Riff likes it when I log-roll. She thinks it’s a grand game.”
“When I was a teenager, the number sixty-nine was infamous. The alphabetic spelling of the number had no significance other than representing the number following sixty-eight. The numerical version became a secret code for an agile sexual maneuver. At the time, a lot of us didn’t appreciate what was so scandalously naughty about 69. That didn’t stop us from scrawling it all over our lockers and decorating sidewalks with chalked 69’s while giggling like fools. I was probably seventeen when I learned that 69 had something to do with sex of an orally reciprocal nature. I grew up when girls were not as knowledgeable about sex as they are nowadays. Even when I finally grasped the meaning behind the whole 69 phenomena, the whole thing impressed me as a rather dyslexic gymnastic maneuver.”
I self-published my book, In-Between Reflections, during a period when I was scared and felt helpless. My husband had just had surgery, ended up dehydrated, and I was told that he was in kidney failure territory. I went home and started fooling around with the self-publishing site on Amazon. The next thing I knew, I had an eBook for sale. Wow.
Of course, the book wasn’t anywhere close to being ready for publishing. It needed serious rewriting, editing, and everything else known to the world of publishing. I suppose this little adventure of mine served its purpose. I was distracted from my personal fears for a little while.
By the way, my husband is recovering well. And, I have gotten input from author friends on In-Between Reflections. It’s a great story. The telling of it needs a lot of work. I’m fine with that. I’ve pulled the book from Amazon.com. I’m going to take a nap.
p.s. I wish to thank my daughter for buying the book.
I recently came across a notebook written by yours truly when I was in the sixth grade at Pierson Elementary School in Flint, Michigan. This was prior to the high levels of lead in the water; therefore, I cannot attribute any of the following creatively written excerpts of my youthful knowledge of science and scientific-like stuff to poisoned water. Evidently I have always had a way with words. Enjoy the following topics and excerpts:
TOPIC: The Human Body. Partial excerpt from Linda’s term paper.
“Your body is like a machine because you move your arms and your legs and everything.”
TOPIC: What is digestion? Partial excerpt from Linda’s term paper.
“The food is chewed.”
TOPIC: The Human Eye. Partial excerpt from Linda’s term paper.
“Muscles in the eye help you to move your eyes.”
TOPIC: First Aid for Drowning. Partial excerpt from Linda’s term paper (and, my personal favorite).
“A drowned person usually looks dead.”
This kid obviously had a future in the world of words. It’s okay if you want to laugh; however, I got an A- on the notebook.
We followed all of the instructions. By the time we arrived at the appointed place at the appointed hospital, and at the appointed time, I was lugging around a folder stuffed with instructions. None of them said anything about bringing a pack animal.
My husband, Fred, had total knee surgery on February 8th. A lot of people offered to go along and sit with me whilst I awaited the surgical outcome; my daughter, best friends, church people, etc. I turned them all down. I was going to be fine. I learned why people have people sit with them. No one person can lug around all of the stuff. When we were taken to the getting-ready-for-surgery room, Fred shared the lugging-of-the-stuff. The getting-ready-for-surgery-room is the little dinky hospital room one is assigned prior to being wheeled into the bowels of the hospital for the actual surgical procedure. If you’ve ever had same-day-surgery, you should recognize the little, getting-ready-for-surgery room.
So…Fred is on the bed/gurney and I am now the holder-of-the-stuff. L.o.r.d.a.m.e.r.c.y, what were we thinking? Here is a partial tally of the stuff:
My winter parka that has seen too many winters.
Fred’s suede winter coat that makes him looks like a lumberjack.
An overnight bag with toiletries, some underwear, and the robe and slippers which the hospital staff INSISTED he HAD to have in his possession for walking the hallway during physical therapy sessions. NEVER USED EVEN ONCE. They left him in those stupid hospital gowns mooning fellow hallway walkers.
The clothes Fred had worn to the hospital and his clunky, athletic shoes.
A canvas tote bag filled with my reading material, an unfinished knitting project (didn’t touch it once…much like the robe and slippers), and the doctor and hospital paperwork that NOBODY EVER ASKED ME FOR EVEN THOUGH THEY INSISTED WE PRESENT UPON SHOWING UP AT THE APPOINTED DESTINATION AT THE APPOINTED TIME. I kept trying to give it to the desk people.
My purse; enough weight for any woman to heft.
The walker Fred had been stomping around with for the past couple of weeks whilst awaiting surgery. I realized that I was woefully unprepared to lug all of that stuff back down two long hallways to return to the waiting room. I envisioned the evening cleaning crew dragging my puny, exhausted body off to one side of the hallway and piling it there along with the scattered detritus of our stuff in order to buff the floors later that evening. I am, however, one resourceful woman. I took myself out to the nurses’ station and blathered something until a heavy set, blonde nurse finally looked up at me. “Do you have a cart or something that I can borrow for a few minutes? I have a load of stuff I need to cart back to the waiting room?”
She blinked. “No.”
“I can’t move all of this stuff by myself.”
She blinked again and observed, “Most people have at least one other person accompany them to the hospital.”
I was getting exasperated with this nurse’s lack of empathy for my plight. “I did. Unfortunately, the attendants wouldn’t let me pile all of this stuff on the gurney alongside my husband and take a circuitous route past the waiting room on the way to the surgical suite.”
Evidently this woman had no empathy and no sense of humor whatsoever. She simply shrugged and went back to her charting…or whatever she had been doing before I had approached. She could have been working the word jumble in the newspaper for all I knew. I made one more attempt in the form of a clever plea for mercy. “Perhaps there is a spare donkey somewhere that you could scare up for me?”
This heartless woman was now completely ignoring me. I, however, am one resourceful woman and refused to be deterred. On my way back to the getting-ready-for-surgery room, I swiped an office chair from the hallway. It had been setting in front of some kind of monitor-like machine of some kind. As there was an identical station alongside it with an identical office chair setting before it, I rationalized the theft as being barely noticeable. I triumphantly wheeled my prize back to the getting-ready-for-surgery room and piled it full with all of our stuff; topping off the pile with Fred’s walker. Fred asked, “Where did you get that chair?”
I looked my husband straight in the eye and announced, “I stole it from the hallway. The nurses around here have no compassion at all. I requested a cart or a donkey or something, but the lady out there simply ignored me.”
Around that time two nurses crowded into the little dinky getting-ready-for-surgery room. They had blood pressure gizmos and an I.V. pole with a bag of clear liquid swinging from it. These two nice ladies had evidently attended a different nursing school than the dispassionate witch at the nurses’ station. After they had completed their getting-ready nursing chores and had Fred all blood pressured and hooked up to the I.V., they both looked over at me where I sat beside the stacked office chair. One of them asked, “Where did you get that chair?”
I looked her straight in the eye and announced, “I stole it from the hallway. I requested a cart or a donkey or something, but the lady out there at the nurses’ station simply ignored me. I’ll bring it back.”
“They won’t let you borrow that chair.”
“Too late,” I quipped, “I’ve already got it.”
The other nurse said, “Most people bring someone else along for companionship…and to help them carry all of the accumulated stuff.”
I said, “Don’t start with me. It’s already been a long day and the surgery hasn’t even started yet.”
These two nurses turned out to be what nurses everywhere are supposed to be; compassionate AND resourceful. They wheeled in a wide wheelchair that would have easily accommodated three people and proceeded to help me transfer all of our crap from the office chair to the wheelchair. The walker balanced atop the pile, one of the ladies said, “There, you can keep the wheelchair with you until your husband is assigned a regular room. Unless someone from Three East accosts you and demands the immediate return of the wheelchair, you should be good to go.”
I spent three hours in the waiting room sitting beside my trophy chair like a proud bag lady. Not a single person ever challenged my ownership. I am one resourceful woman.