Today started out real lazy. I went to bed last night at 1:30 AM, and once in bed, I watched the last half hour of Laurel and Hardy's movie, March Of The Wooden Soldiers, aka, Babes In Toyland. Laurel and Hardy have to be two of my favorite old time comedians. I don't think I every saw a movie of their's, that didn't make me laugh. I remember one of their movies in particular, that I just roared too. I'm sorry, but I can't remember the name of the movie off hand, but the scene that made me laugh so hard, was when they checked into a boarding house, where their very strict landlord forbade any cooking in their room. They were both very hungry, and had no money to buy a meal, but they had somehow acquired a nice large fish that could feed the two of them. The trouble was, they had no means to cook it. Then as Laurel and Hardy always do, they came up with a harebrained scheme. They decided to remove the mattress from their bed, and place a candle under the wire bedsprings, and use them as a grill! Ingenious, or completely insane? I'll go for completely insane, but I still love to laugh at them!
In spite of turning the lights out at 2:00 AM, I woke up at 6:00 AM, because I had to pee. I blame that on drinking diet cola right up until bedtime. When will I ever learn? I mean, I'm only 62 years old. You'd think I would know better by now! Well anyway, I got up and went to the bathroom, then hopped back into bed, thinking I would fall right back to sleep.
Nuh-uh! My brain had other plans. I laid there for another hour and a half, and every time I thought I was about to nod back out, my brain would assume the role of the "sleep nazi"............."No sleep for you!" Finally at 7:00 AM, I got tired of fighting the sleep nazi, and got up. I hated it! ? Sitting on the toilet to pee once more, I envisioned that little brown shirted bastard, grinning at me!
Finished with peeing, I went into the kitchen to make some coffee. Considering that I only had about four hours of sleep, I was going to need it! As the coffee brewed, I boiled some water in my Sunbeam Hot Shot, and then pored it over a mixture of oat bran, and a bit of Kellogg's All Bran, a sprinkling of cinnamon, and three packets of Splenda artificial sweetener. As a type II diabetic, I always eschew natural sugars, either as a main ingredient, or an additive. Not just because they have too many simple carbohydrates, but too many totally unnecessary calories as well.
As the hot water began to be absorbed by the dry cereal, I put about two teaspoons of Smucker's sugar free Blackberry Jam into a bowl with two packets of Splenda (artificial sweetener) and mixed in a cup of low fat yogurt. A half of banana sliced onto the top of the oat/all bran, and breakfast was served, with a fresh cup of coffee!
As usual when I am sleep deprived, about an hour or two after breakfast, I feel like going back to bed, but at this point is was mind over matter, and I was determined to stay up. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was about to start, and I certainly couldn't allow that to pass, without at least making an attempt to watch it. And watch it I did, until lunchtime finally arrived. By lunch time the distraction of the parade was over, and I began to feel the effects of just four hours of sleep the night before. As the afternoon progressed, I gradually became more alert, and then it was shower time, so I could get ready to go o my mother's. My new well pump and pressure tank appear to give me more consistant water pressure than what I was used to in the past. With the old system, the water pressure would noticeably cycle up and down, as the pressure tank charged up and discharged, but apparently the guy who installed the new one, set the limits on the pressure switch to much closer specs, because the drop and increase in pressure as the pressure tank discharges and recharges is barely noticeable.
Anyway...........after a shower, it was time to hop into the Dakota, and drive the 45 miles on into Richmond. While driving, I listen to NPR (National Public Radio), by far the best radio in the the US, unless you are looking for contemporary music, but unquestionably the best for more sophisticated music, and certainly as a source of objective, domestic and world news coverage. Driving from the Piedmont into Richmond there was a noticeable climate shift. I'm about 30 miles east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, while Richmond is about 75 miles east and considerably further south. The distance is not all that great, yet their is a great contrast in the foliage between where I live, and in Richmond proper. The Trees out where I live are now stripped bare, with the exception of the occasional White Oak and maybe one or two others that I can't identify. Many of the trees in Richmond however, still have their leaves, and color. Chalk that up to an approximately 10 ° average differential in winter time temperatures, between Richmond and the western Piedmont.
When I arrived at my mother's, I parked the Dakota in one of the parking places on the perimeter of the lot, that were designated for guests only. I had just gotten out of the Dakota, and was walking through the parking lot, when I heard a horn honking. I turned to see who it was, and it was my niece and her boyfriend pulling in behind me, in her brand new, 20 year old Volvo station wagon, that she bought for $800.00 a couple of months ago. (Hey! Don't laugh! It still runs, and after 20 years of bike riding, and hitching rides with friends and family, it might as well be a Cadillac to her! I hope she gets many more years out of it, and that its never stolen.)
Anyway......I let them park, and I proceeded to the building. Mom lives on the tenth floor of a 12 story high rise apartment building. You can't just walk in, you have to be identified by the desk clerk looking at your image on closed circuit TV. Usually they recognize me, and as soon as I approach the electronic door, they open it for me, but Ed, the regular desk clerk had the holiday off, and his substitute was and older woman. Quite older actually. She may even be an elderly resident. She has seen me dozens of times over the years, but I still always have to identify myself into the speaker, before she will let me in. No problem, she's just doing her job, I mean after all, I could be the Boston Strangler, come down south for a change of venue! Now, if she wanted to give the sort of sexually invasive pat down that TSA (Transportation Security Agency) agents are now giving to airline passengers here in the US, then I think I would have to protest!
Entering the lobby of Mom's condo, I waved hello to the old lady at the desk, and wished her a Happy Thanksgiving, I'll have to remember to ask mom what her name is, so I can address her personally the next time I see her pulling guard duty on a holiday. I might even want to bring her some kind of little holiday gift, for being so sweet as to substitute for Ed on his holidays. She seemed to be quite delighted when I acknowledged her upon entering the lobby, and I wished her a happy Thanksgiving! She then wished me the same in return, and onto the elevator I went, and I pushed the button for floor #10. In no time I was stepping off the elevator, and taking the left turn down the hallway to Mom's apartment at the very end. Being politically liberal, I'm so glad that she didn't choose one of those awful apartments in the right wing of the building instead! ;-)
As it is she hads wonderful neighbors, although her next door neighbor has a claustrophobic friend, that insists she keep her door open whenever she visits, so many times when I walk by, and her door is wide open, and the two of them are sitting in there, simply enjoying each other's company. Mom says she has talked to her neighbor, an discovered, that her friend once OD'd on some sort of psychedelic drugs, and her brain is addled. I don't believe it. My guess is that it had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with illicit drugs, I came of age in the late sixties and early seventies. We all did illicit drugs by the handfull. Only those who were already unstable to begin with, had a permanent problem, and the drugs didn't cause it.
On to Mom's at the end of the hall. I used the key that she gave me to enter her apartment. Mmmm..........can there be any nicer incense, than the scent of a roasting turkey with stuffing, a sweet potato casserole, and freshly baked Pumpkin Pie. Hmm.....hmm!
Right on my heels, My niece and her boyfriend came in. I exchanged warm hugs with her, and politely greeted him. I hadn't met him before, but he turned out to be a rather nice, mild mannered sort, that played guitar in a heavy metal band. Quite a contrast to my egomaniacal former brother-in-law, who to our secret delight, had opted to have Thanksgiving with some old friends of his!
We had a wonderful time together! My soon to be 90 year old mom, who is normally a tea totaler, had two glasses of Riesling, and became wonderfully giddy! My niece , while perfectly sober, is so much fun to be around, because he is just so naturally uninhibited, and my sister and I just seem to connect on a very subtle humorous level. Often just a word or certain look will propel us into laughter! It's aways been there, but I feel this connection between us is more acute, since I came out to her over a year ago! The same goes for my niece! While I have always loved them both dearly, I always felt like I had to hold back a significant portion of my personality when I was around them. Now that they both know the full story, and have even seen many pics of me, It's so much easier to let down my guard when I'm around them.
I have noticed another significant change in my relationships with family members. Now, right off the bat I want to emphasize that I dearly loved my twin sister, who departed a little over a year ago, but god love her, she had a personality, that put her in front of every one else. She was without a doubt, Mom's pet, and as such, recieved amazing forgiveness of sins. Now don't get me wrong. My twin was not a mean rotten sister by any means, she was just spoiled rotten, and consequently she gave little consideration to others, except when she wanted to for her own reasons. She was never deliberately rude to anyone, and she would have been appalled by anyone who was, but because she was so spoiled, she often didn't even consider the thoughts or feelings of others. She simply assumed that everyone else was on her wavelength. I never blamed that on her, I blamed it on my mom, who made a pet out of her, instead of a daughter. So.......anyway, when she was alive, she used to dominate the conversation between my mother, my older sister, and my niece if she was there. I couldn't get a word in edgewise, and was relegated to conversing with my brother-in-law, with whom I had little if anything in common. But a while after my twin was no longer able to dominate our narrative, I came out to my older sister and my niece, and ever since, we three have had a much stronger bond. I no longer feel like I have to compete with my twin to be part of the conversation, and I enjoy my time with my older sister, mother and niece, so much more. I'm sorry to say, that the passing of my twin has brought me closer to the rest of my family, but it has.