No Walk in the Park

Crying HeadFor the first time in weeks, the thermometer read below eighty degrees. I peeked out the front door, where my husband was weeding the walk. “Hey, do you wanna go for a bike ride?”

“Yeah, sure,” he said, and went to ready the bikes.

I told the kids to get dressed and I dressed myself. I was going to walk while they rode. I’d hurt my back and biking posture would kill me, plus I was pretty unsteady on my new bike. (See “Just Like Riding a Bicicle”) I hadn’t been taking my morning walks because of the heat, and I missed them. read more

Just Like Riding a Bicycle

imagebot (11)Fingers crushing the handle bars, I started to pedal. The bike steered me on a wavy path before I realized I was leaning too hard on the handle bars and squeezing too tightly. I loosened up and got more control over the bike. I pedaled it up the incline, around the circle, shaky. It wasn’t true what they said. You really do forget how to ride a bike. I made a few laps around the cul-de-sac and slowed down for a break. I wasn’t used to using those muscles. I braked slowly and when I’d slowed down enough, put one foot down for balance. At least I remembered that.

I hadn’t felt that shaky on a bike in nearly forty years. I thought of the hot-pink bike my parents bought for me, with the chain guard that said “Sweet and Sassy.” Neil, my next-door neighbor, made fun of that all the time. “Sweet and Sassy, Sweet and Sassy,” he’d taunt in a singsong voice. Even so, it was a great bike. It was two steps up from my tricycle – I’d never had the middle step, so I wanted training wheels. read more

About My Dad

old_man-2Friday was the first anniversary of my father’s death. As my long-time readers know, my dad used to be the star of this blog. So as a tribute, I’ve gathered some of his most memorable moments.

The main thing anyone should know about my dad is that he loved money to the exclusion of everything else. This incident happened last year when we went to New York to take care of his affairs.

Our lawyer got the court to allow us access to his safe deposit box while we were still in town. We talked to the bank manager. She was very nice and led us into her office, which was right across from the safe deposit boxes. We handed her the key and she unlocked the box and put it on her desk. She asked us to sign that we opened it, and handed us two stapled signature cards. My dad had signed at least 50 times. Why would someone go to their safe deposit box that much? In our box’s three-year history, I’d opened it twice.

“How often did he open it?” I asked.

The manager laughed. “He came here about three times a week. He’d open his box and go sit in the room with it. It’s right there, next to my office. I’d knock after a while – I do that with all old people. We want to make sure they’re okay. Plus he usually came about 4:45 when we were getting ready to close and we wanted to go home. He’d answer me and sit there a while longer.  We can’t kick them out. When he was done, he’d come out and hand me the box to lock up.” read more

No such thing as a good morning

alarm clockIt all started two weeks ago. My husband got a new job that came with a new commute. His old job had him working at home. I liked having him home. We had a good morning routine. We got the kids out of bed, dressed them, got them breakfast and then we’d all eat as a family. Then my husband would walk my daughter to her bus stop and I’d drive my son to preschool.

The new commute would change all of that. My husband had to leave earlier, so no more family breakfast, no more teamwork in the morning. Sort of. These days we divide and conquer. My husband wakes my three-year-old son early, gets him dressed and takes him to school. I wake my daughter, get her dressed, have breakfast with her, and get her to her bus.

It would make sense for me to handle both kids, because I’m home, but we decided on the new routine for two reasons. First, my son is potty training and he always has to poop right about bus time, and if he had to wait, either he’d poop his pants on the way to the bus or my daughter would miss the bus waiting for him to poop. Second, whenever I brought both kids to the bus stop back in Seattle, my son would drag his feet and cry and carry on all the way to the bus stop. My daughter was always lucky to catch the bus. read more

That Old House

House_sitting_on_a_pile_of_moneyI haven’t written about my father in a while, mostly because he died almost a year ago. But he’s definitely not gone. He was a pain in the ass in life and he’s a pain in the ass in death.

Before I go on, I want to make it clear that I am grateful for everything he’s done for me and everything he left me. Really grateful. Believe me. But sorting through it is another story.

Take his house. Please. He left me his house in New York – the house I grew up in. I definitely didn’t want to live there. Too many bad memories. So when he died, I put his house up for sale.

On the way back to Seattle, I got a text from my Realtor. None of the keys I’d given her worked in the locks. She wanted my permission to hire a locksmith. So we did. He broke in and changed the locks. Fine. read more