The Latest from Lola's Diner

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy Mother’s Day

At the end is my usual post for Mother’s Day. Not every year, but often. At the top is something entirely new from my perspective of being a Mom of 2 children with mental illnesses.

I am the person I am today because of my Mom and I thank God every day for that. Why?

• I witnessed her love, compassion, and strength every day, not only to people she knew, but strangers.
• I watched her struggle and persevere through tough times. She was a SAHM. The only income was my Dad’s. Working for a division of GM lay-offs were common, once a year or every few years. My Dad had 3 back surgeries. That was back when a back surgery had you hospitalized for months. My Mom didn’t drive but managed to visit him every day while we were in school and be back home before we got home from school, and we had a hot homemade meal. She carried groceries home everyday because she could only buy what she could carry.
• I definitely admire and appreciate everything she did to keep our household afloat.
• My Mom had always made time to talk to neighbors, their kids, strangers at a bus stop, my Dad’s family who popped over once a year or so with no notice.

I would never say I was ever near her level, as a person, parent, neighbor, relative, human...anything. 

I’ve had different challenges but in the heat of them I always asked myself “What would Mom do?” (WWMD?) Without that question I was lost. 

When I think now, I don’t think there is one person on this planet (or off this planet) who knows ALL of the challenges I’ve had. Some of them were mortifying and I have only told a couple of people...20+ years later. A lot of it’s repetitive. The same challenge over and over. 

Separating from my ex and all the mortifying things I did/went through to do what I had to do to keep my kids safe.

My daughter’s hospitalizations were grueling and soul wrenching. While I was in the family room at the hospital with her I was calm, cool, collected, like it’s a normal day. In the beginning she is catatonic, psychotic, seeing huge bloody dogs chasing her, lunging at her, wide-eyed and terrified, didn’t talk at all (poverty of speech), refused to eat, paranoid she was being poisoned. After I crossed the threshold out of our visit and passed the window I fell apart. 
A P A R T. The first time my knees buckled, tears streaming, couldn’t breathe, shaking.

Watching my son fall apart almost before my eyes, when he had his first psychotic break. As it’s happening, recognizing the signs, the symptoms. Keeping my cool getting him from the pizza joint to the hospital.

The over 20 hospitalizations for my daughter. Not knowing where she was for days because of HIPPA. Turned out she was in the psych ward, but I had no idea if she was even safe before I heard she was there.

Having 2 children with mental illnesses, all the research, medication research, all of the confused thoughts that I could not challenge so as not to upset the child.

Dealing with the other symptoms when they are not actively psychotic.

Thinking about those lost years when the kids were having the worst symptoms. When they are actively psychotic, looking them in the eyes and seeing nothing. My kids who were teens at the time...were just gone. Even though they are in their mid 20’s (Wow! That just hit me.) they are living their teens. I pray they move beyond their teen years, the teenage behavior. I can’t think about what could have been and instead think how I can help them to progress as far as they are capable.

Without witnessing my Mom’s strength and compassion I would not have gotten through any of those challenges.
My encore post:

For those who are fortunate enough to have your Mother around this Mother's Day, give her an extra hug.

Lilacs were my Mom's favorite. We had several bushes in the backyard, where she could enjoy them while she was hanging out the laundry to dry. There's nothing like the smell of laundry dried outdoors and the smell of Lilacs. In 2009 I planted several Lilac Bushes in front of my porch. The bushes now fill in the entire front of my porch and the fragrance is amazing. Sitting on the porch, drinking my coffee, breathing in that wonderful smell takes me back. For some reason, Lilacs and Coty Airspun Facepowder are the smells that most remind me of my mother. I recognize both instantly and it takes me back.

March 10, 2019, she would have been 91. She passed away 35 years ago. I was 22 at the time and I was devastated. It was completely unexpected and sudden.

My Mother was Italian. She was the youngest of 4 girls. Her Mother died during childbirth. The 4 girls were put in orphanages. My Mother was adopted and raised by a childless couple. Her father remarried and had another 2 girls and a boy. I believe it was in adulthood that the siblings reconnected and remained close. We always had holidays at what would have technically been my step-grandmother's house.

I was very close with my Mother. I would sit and watch her make spaghetti sauce from fresh tomatoes from the garden or clean huge fish that the neighbor boy brought over from his fishing trips with his Dad. I was always watching her when she cooked, no matter what it was. Whether it was simple fried pork chops, cube steaks, Sicilian steak, lasagna or bracciole. I was always there watching. My love of cooking was cultivated in her kitchen.

My Mother was my best friend and she was the Mom of our block. Our house was the 'go to' house whenever any of the other kids on the block were having a bad day at home. Sometimes the kids would wait until late afternoon when my Mother would sit on the stoop, other times they were bold enough to ring the bell. My Mother always had a treat and a hug and a kind ear for all of them. I must admit that I was a bit jealous of the attention they got and I would always tell my Mother how she was being so taken advantage of because all they came for was the cupcakes, cookies, brownies or candy bars. Of course now I've come to realize they came for the hugs. For them, the treats were the icing on the cake. 

Four years before my Mother passed away my sister and I threw our parents a 30th Wedding Anniversary Party. I rented out the local bar that had a hall that our relatives always used for occasions. I conspired with my Mother's sisters and her step-mother. One of my Aunts sent them an invitation for a Wedding Anniversary for one of her sisters. My parents had no clue the party was for them. My mother even purchased a card and a gift. When they came to the hall and we all yelled "Surprise!" my poor mother turned around and walked out. Her sisters had to chase her down. She was embarrassed by all the fuss. After a few minutes she came back to the party and we all had a really great time. After the party my sister and I loaded up our cars with the leftovers and took them back to my parent's house. I sat up with my Mother for hours and we just talked and talked.

A few years later on New Year's Eve I didn't have any specific plans. I drove to my usual haunts and found nothing going on. After driving for awhile I stopped at PDQ (similar to 7 Eleven) and got a bottle of Cold Duck, a can of cheese spray and a box of Triscuits. I know it sounds funny, but hey, I was in my twenties! Besides, beggars can't be choosers when the only thing open was PDQ. My Mother and I drank the Cold Duck, ate our cheese spray and Triscuits and rang in the New Year with Dick Clark. My Mother and I talked and laughed until my Father and my sister came home.

My Mother died suddenly the morning after my sister and I came back from a weekend in Madison. I'll never forget when my supervisor came up to me and said my Father had called and wanted me to go home right away. My sister was working with me at the time. I took my car and we drove home. Neither of us looked at each other. Tears streamed down our faces. Somehow, even though our Mother was never ill a day in her life, somehow we knew she was gone. When we pulled into our subdivision and saw the police squad in the driveway, we knew for certain. One of our friends drove us to the hospital, but she was gone before she left in the ambulance. A valve in her heart burst. Nothing could be done.

I don't remember what happened the rest of that day, other than I never slept. The next day my Father made me go with him to the funeral parlor. He told me that I had to go so I would know how to handle things when he passed. He was right of course, but that didn't make me feel any better about going there. When my Father did pass 6 years later I just went to the same funeral home and told them to just do it all up the same and I signed the papers. I really didn't need to go through that experience with my Mother to do that, but I think my Father had the idea that I was the oldest and that I had to know how to do that sort of thing. Surprisingly I did remember all the minutiae of the process. 

I don't think I slept for an entire week. I had never drank coffee before my Mother passed away, but I started drinking it after and I pretty much lived on it that entire week. My Mother had always said coffee was for grown-ups and had always looked down on youngsters drinking coffee. I guess with my Mother gone I suddenly felt like a grown-up. I still drink coffee to this day.

I think I cried the hardest the night of the funeral as people were getting into their cars and driving away from our house. I walked one of my friends to her car and it suddenly hit me that I never gave my Mother grandchildren. She so loved children and she often babysat for some of the other families on the block. Eventually I did have children, kind of late like she did. I'm hoping she's looking down from heaven and watching over her 2 beautiful grandchildren.

Today I will be sitting on my porch, drinking in the smell of my lilac bushes in full bloom, drinking my coffee and sharing stories about my Mom with my kids.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Lola’s Diner cc 2008-2019

Friday, May 10, 2019

Car buying is exhausting

Why is it so exhausting? I was at the Buick dealer for 3 1/2 hours yesterday. Another 3 hours today.

I have to think CarMax is faster. The no haggle thing has to be faster.

Not that we did haggle. I went through AARP to TrueCar. They give you a certificate with the total price + the dealer documentation fee. When we sat to do the numbers the documentation fee was more and they added on the costs for GM Certification and dealer prep. Aw heck no! When we asked what was the best price he could do, he took off the dealer prep fee (almost $1,000). But that certification fee (over $2,000) was still there. That’s when I got up and left the building. I called TrueCar Car Dispute Resolution. I went back inside and told the salesman he needed to take that off, it was not in the TrueCar price. He left for awhile, not sure if TrueCar had called him right away or not, but he removed the fee. Later in the transaction a mystery fee of $400 appeared. At this point I was beyond exhausted. I tried to get them to remove it but got double teamed by the salesman and the finance manager (he finishes the sale, no matter the method of payment and sells the extended warranty.) I tried. At that point it was either walk out, no car, no coming back or give in. I caved. Then came the extended warranty. This is what jacked the price up over what I planned on. 

I’m not broke, but we won’t be getting new central a/c. We’ll continue to deal with window units as we have since 2007 when the storm and tornado hit and zapped our central a/c. Oh well. It was important to me to not have to worry about future repairs. I really got burned badly with the van that has sat in my driveway for over 2 years as I still make payments. We have until the end of the month to sell it, I’m not paying insurance beyond that. We are covered until the end of the month, so that’s it, it goes. If we can get it running it will go to our mechanic to get checked over (so we know exactly what’s wrong with it and how that affects it’s value.) If we can’t get it running I’m screwed. I will definitely be upside down and have to pay instead of get paid. Praying we can get it running.

We spent 3 hours there today getting a tour of the vehicle, having all the electronics demonstrated, showing us what all the buttons did, how the remote start and the power liftgate work. Then our salesman set up our iPhones and then I had to play with the equalizer. I couldn’t get it to adjust the way I like. Our salesman was at lunch, so another volunteered, but ended up sending us to the service department. They ended up resetting it so I had to re-do the iPhone setups. Then we lost text to screen. I still haven’t figured that out. It worked before the service department did the reset. I’ll figure it out, I just hope I don’t have to read all the manual books in the glove box.

Am I happy with my purchase? 😎 Am I happy with the games with the price, no and if TrueCar calls me back I will tell them so. The extended warranty was more than I wanted to pay, but, it is bumper to bumper. About the only thing not covered is brakes. Roadside Assistance is included. That’s important to me because I can no longer change a tire due to my back injuries. There’s also a cool feature that not only is power seat memory, but when you exit the vehicle, you push a button and the seat moves back so you can easily swing your feet out to exit. On the Pilot I have to power the seat backwards myself. Ohh, and the front seats have lumbar support.

There was a lot of weirdness with the finance manager. Said my SS was required because of the Patriot Act and Identity Theft. I asked the salesman not to have my credit report run and he said they don’t. Well, the finance manager ran my credit report. I immediately got notified by my bank and went in to confront him. That’s when he told me that bs. So I told them I have to be who I say I am, or how would I get a notification and know they ran a credit report? Sheesh!

So Sunday is Mother’s Day. I may actually break my Sunday rule (I don’t leave the house at all on Sundays.) Maybe we’ll go for a nice ride.

Lola’s Diner cc 2008-2019

Monday, April 22, 2019

If you ask for help and are super specific....

The article caught my attention:
I was a bit appalled at this dude’s gall. I get all the mansplaining towards the end. He did not know what he did, maybe he took what his wife said too far. 

Both times I was pregnant I was on my own. No help whatsoever. My ex-husband was of no help. My sister only came to visit me at the hospital for 5 minutes with my first born and didn’t bother with the second. I’ve had 4 surgeries. My partner and 2nd spouse did help. Spouse moreso.

I would never ask friends, relatives, marginal acquaintances for help, except for the GoFundMe campaign. We were desperate and I do apologize, I felt creepy doing it. I still feel creepy about it. It was a dire situation. Having your wife bring home a new baby and asking for gourmet meals with high end ingredients so you and your wife have meals while trying to get accustomed to parenthood is not a dire situation. No new parent died from eating PB&J’s for a week because they were too exhausted to toss a Lean Cuisine in the microwave oven.

I wholeheartedly believe what my Mom always said, “You do for family.” I don’t think many people nowadays believe in this. I only recall one person doing for me. It was the “family” of my neighborhood growing up. One of the neighbor boys my Mom babysat was very generous. I do for family whenever I can, if I have the means to help....even if that means cutting finances close. Another axiom from my Mom, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Back to the article. I’ve heard of Meal Train and other systems that people use today for help with meals or whatnot after coming home with their baby. I think how it is received by friends and family is reflective of the relationship. In some circles what this guy asked for could be completely acceptable. If his family and friends have the means to buy high end produce, foods, they might not think what he asked for was outrageous. Or, they may know him to be socially awkward, so they cut him some slack about his asks. 

Part of me also thinks that in some ways this goes back to entitlement. This dad seems to feel entitled to continue to eat the kind of meals he and his wife had prior to the baby coming home. He couldn’t figure out how to make a PB&J, or microwave a Lean Cuisine or some other frozen meal more conforming to his tastes?  Heck, On-Cor frozen entrees or canned ravioli saved us in a pinch.

This kind of reminds me of the articles I’ve read about Brides and their wants for their shower gifts and wedding gifts. 

Be happy with what you get, be thankful for the generosity of others, if someone asks you how they can help have it be something simple that either costs no money or is frugal. Which reminds me, I forgot a couple things from the grocery store. A friend of my spouse’s had rotator cuff surgery reversal on Friday. (I feel so badly for her. She had a pit bull attack her at a shelter and it flung her around by the arm like a rag doll. She had rotator cuff surgery a few months before and everything got all torn up.) Anyway, my spouse promised a tray of homemade mostaccioli.

Lola’s Diner cc. 2008-2019

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter!

I think this is my all time favorite photograph of me.

Well the time has finally come...a break from tradition. So far the kids have not brought it up and they were super enthusiastic about selecting 2 bakery pies from Meijer. It was my son’s idea. (🀫It just occurred to me there will be no pineapple upside down cake.) It is a favorite of mine I look forward to every Easter, however, pineapple is pretty high in carbs. I have none of the ingredients and I am so done for today, I’m not going out to buy them. I haven’t bought pineapple canned or fresh since finding out how many carbs are in it. Yes there are carbs in pie, but I could have pie anytime. Pineapple upside down cake is just for Easter.

I or my spouse will do hard boiled eggs in the Instant Pot. Enough to color and enough for 1 tray of deviled eggs. Spouse is handling the ham today and baked potatoes Saturday night.

I had big plans for Saturday’s dinner. Good thing I didn’t share them with the kids. They asked me to make kishka. I had a great recipe for mock kishka using corn flakes and foil instead of sausage casings and other nastiness, but I can’t find it. I tried Pinterest and Google. Anyway, I had wanted to make the kishka in with a pot roast. Didn’t happen. My back has been acting up...much more than usual. A Saturday night Passover meal just wasn’t something I could handle. I spent too long at Meijer, got super irritable and came home and waved the white flag. I bought raw chicken breasts and ingredients for French bread pizza. I told my spouse to pick one or the other to make for dinner. Yes, I did! I shopped, spouse can cook.

So I still want to incorporate something Passover’ish for Sunday. The plan is a savory kugel. Again, my recipe...gone. I found a couple on Pinterest. If I have help, or if I supervise, it might happen. I usually try to do some Jewish recipes for the different holidays because the kids remember them from when they were little. And yes, I can make kick ash matzo ball soup, kugel, potato latkes, kishka. 

My son wanted the Cauliflower Mock Mac n Cheese he saw last time at Sam’s Club, but they didn’t have it Friday, so that’s out. Yes, I have a kick ash recipe I’ve made several times but I’m just not feelin it. Yes the back pain is a factor, but I think my depression is off the rails too. I think it took a turn when I found out a road trip back home probably wasn’t going to be possible till the fall because of the crazy road construction. It just wasn’t the road construction, it was the way one of my childhood neighbor’s conveyed it. Whatever. I’m going to have to figure out a different destination. I have no clue where.

UPDATE:  The ham was good. The kugel...not so much. Bad recipe. The Potato Onion Kugel just tasted like onion. I think the leftovers will become breakfast potatoes.
I should have done the Spinach, Cheese, Noodle Kugel. Next time. 

Lola’s Diner cc   2008-2019

Friday, April 19, 2019

Friday Funday

I went for 3 test drives today. I took my son along. I think he had fun and was as excited as I was.

I am supposed to get a $50 visa gift card for the first one. The salesman told me if I just wanted the gift card to just tell him and he’d do the paperwork. But I really did want to test drive the Hyundai Santa Fe. I liked it, 
but it just didn’t have much umph. And I have a thing about cars with 4 cylinder engine. I don’t like like them.

Went to the Honda dealer we used to buy from. I test drove a 2018 Honda Pilot Touring. Besides being out of budget, it has a funky way of shifting gears. There is no gear shift. There are buttons on the center console. You change gears by pushing buttons and they put the buttons right near the cup holders? 

Went to a different Honda dealer. ❤️I’m in love!❤️ I test drove a 2018 Honda Pilot Ex-L, the same model as the Pilot I have, so it has everything I want. Not only am I in love with that SUV, I’m in love with the dealership’s way of doing business. When I bought the 2006 I paid, they gave me the keys, that was it. They didn’t explain or demonstrate anything. This guy went through all the options, explained the rear camera and the side camera and the different views, and explained to me everything about nitrogen instead of plain old air in tires, and how to view your iPhone’s map programs on the screen.

Can’t do anything till I get my check. Since when do you have to pay the sticker price, unless you are at CarMax or a True Car dealer? I swear car salesman think I have “sucker” tattooed on my forehead. I did some research when I got home. The price is in the middle of the KBB range, so the price is fair. It’s just that who wants to pay sticker? It’s Honda Certified and has low miles. 

I have my reasons for my choice. I plan on keeping the next Pilot I buy at least as long as my first, or longer. It has to be comfortable and have the options I want. I have had the first for over 13.5 years and still going strong. 

I’m really hoping I get a call early in the week from my attorney to come get my check.🀞

Lola’s Diner cc 2008-2019

Monday, April 15, 2019

It’s been a good day

I heard from my attorney today about the car accident. Settlement time. All along he kept saying that there wasn’t anything left for me after paying medical bills and the firm. We were sure that meant I was really getting zero, or maybe a couple hundred. He pulled a rabbit out of a hat and negotiated down the medical bills. 

I plan on getting the Odyssey running (probably rebuilt transmission), and then immediately taking it to CarMax to get an offer and then shop around for a good used vehicle. Whatever I get, I will be buying an extended warranty. Boy howdy did I learn a lesson the hard way with the Odyssey. I will not be buying a mini van, done with that! Very doubtful I will buy a Honda. They are very hard to find used.

I’m seriously looking at the GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave. I also looked at sedans, Cadillac, Lincoln, and Chrysler. I think SUV will win out, but that depends on how easy it is to get in/out of the vehicle with my bad back. A friend of my spouse’s who just had a similar wreck to mine on Friday had an “in” at a local Chevy dealer and they have a deal going. I’ll check it out, but I doubt I will go that route.

I guarantee a road trip is in our future. I can’t wait! Because of the issues (now all repaired) with the Pilot we were limited to local, short trips.

All I need is some good car shopping juju.

Lola’s Diner cc 2008-2019

Sunday, April 14, 2019

No Sunday Quiet Day, Mother Nature has other plans

It’s April 14th and we are having a snow storm.

We went from 70° to this.

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