Life & Death
Let me begin by saying that this is the most difficult column I have ever written. Forgive any gross grammatical and or stylistic errors. I was originally going to write about a much "lighter" topic, but just couldn't after the recent turn of events in my life. I'll save it for next month.
It all began last Monday. I was having a rough day at work. Just a matter of too much work, too little time. My life gets crazy after Buddha Boy's birthday in July. It's birthday after birthday on top of getting ready for school and trying to juggle three soccer practice schedules while starting a new job blah blah blah. No time to do anything "Martha" style like I like to. I had left my cell phone at home as it was on charge. If I remember to charge it, I forget to put it back in my purse. I have only left it at home twice since I have begun the new job, and each time something awful has happened, and I didn't get reached until much later than I could have been. I called home to make sure the two little ones had arrived home safely on their own. I then called the bigger boys to make sure they were on their way home. They normally get home about 30 minutes after the younger ones. They assured me that they were going to be given a ride home by a friend which was good news.
Just as I was rushing out the door, I received a call from my eldest telling me that they did not get the ride, and had now missed the bus. I told them to wait at the bus stop and that I would pick them up. I was irritated as it was out of my way and it meant that the little ones would be on their own for an even longer period of time. No big deal. I went to pick them up, and Soccer boy gently reminded me that he had a soccer practice that evening. We don't normally have practice on Mondays. and I had planned on cooking a Tri Tip for dinner, which would now be impossible to do as I would be running around dropping and picking up. I was annoyed and reminded him that these types of things needed to be written down on the message board on the fridge lest I forget.
We got home, I kissed the little ones, and my daughter exclaimed that we had forgotten to bring the reading log candy treats to school (it was our turn) and as such, no one got their reading log treats! Crap! How could I forget? And to think, it was just mentioned at Back To School Night. Okay, another stop to add into the busy evening. Feeling quite overshelmed by all of these added demands, I then rushed Soccer boy to practice and as I was dodging crazy drivers during rush hour on Reseda Blvd, an ugly thought crossed my mind...... what if I got slammed and unexpectedly checked out? Who would take care of the unexpected soccer practices and reading log candy purchases? (!) It was an ugly sick thought, and I immediately thought of my four darlings left motherless, and my poor hubby trying to take on my duties in addition to his own, and I tried to erase the thought completely out of my mind. I felt guilty for even thinking it, but I honestly didn't try to think it.
When I walked in the door, Computer boy, who mans the phone when I am gone, told me to call my sister in law. I sighed, another unscheduled thing to fit into the day, but as she is so important to me, I figured I would call her right away. She is my soul sister and we trade kids and driving duties, share doctors etc... I was in no way prepared for what I would hear when she picked up my call. Without any intro whatsoever, she informed me that my brother in law had died that morning! Suddenly everything just stopped. I was waiting to wake up from a bad dream. It couldn't be true. But it was. I collapsed on the couch and cried, which I never do in front of the kids. They asked what was wrong, and I told them we would talk once their dad got home. I then tried to call him, but could only get his machine. I was frantic, and called about 8 times in ten minutes. I knew that he did not yet know.
By then it was time to pick up Soccer boy and buy the reading log candy. By the time I got home, my husband was out of his training class, and had gotten the message. I threw some frozen chicken burritos slathered in enchilada sauce and covered in cheese into the oven, and proceded with lunch packing and homework, and planning my daughter's upcoming birthday. Funny how fast bad news travels. One of the moms I had called to see if her son would be joining us, knew of my brother in law's death before I did since her mom knows my mother in law. My husband had sent out an email unbeknownst to me, and the phone was ringing and ringing. He finally got home around 8:30, and we then told our children what had happened.
They seemed in awe of the news.It was especially shocking as we had just seen my late brother inlaw two weeks prior at my father in law's 80th birthday celebration, and he looked fit as a fiddle. He prepared tri tip for 60 people, and I videotaped him laughing. There were a lot of questions we couldn't answer. I tried to get the 6th grade math problems completed. Turned out that we missed all of them.
Later, when my husband and I finally got a moment to speak, he told me that he had spent the morning at work in a meeting regarding Bereavement Benefits of all things! His co worker, the one who got married on his birthday to his ex girlfriend's sister, who had their first child two weeks after we had our second child, who had their second child on our anniversary, happened to have a very ill brother, who could go at any time. As such, my husband thought it prudent to find out how to handle this situation in the work place. As it was too painful a subject for his friend to brooch, my husband decided to do it for him. Little did he know that he would be needing this information first...... It was really uncanny. He's worked at the same job for 12 years now, and has never asked about this. On the day that he does, his brother dies. It was all very disturbing. My ugly thought, his uncomfortable questions...... It seemed like the universe was trying to warn us in its own weird way.
So much more had to be done with no time to do it. Baby's birthday had to be postponed. I couldn't have 20 kids show up for a party when we wouldn't be there. Time had to be taken off from work, funeral arrangements had to be made, Eulogies written, flowers ordered. Not to mention all of the phone calls. We gathered with the family once again only under much different circumstances. One can never be prepared for this type of jolt. I thank God that he didn't suffer a prolonged illness, but I worry for the wife and son he left behind. We will all miss him so terribly much. He was a wonderful man and touched the lives of so many.
John O'Reilly hoisted his beer and said, "Here's to spending the rest of me life, between the legs of me wife!"
That won him the top prize at the pub for the best toast of the night!
He went home and told his wife, Mary, "I won the prize for the best toast of the night."
She said, "Aye, did ye now. And what was your toast?"
John said, "Here's to spending the rest of me life, sitting in church beside me wife."
"Oh, that is very nice indeed, John!" Mary said.
The next day, Mary ran into one of John's drinking buddies on the street corner. The man chuckled leeringly and said, "John won the prize the other night at the pub with a toast about you, Mary."
She said, "Aye, he told me, and I was a bit surprised meself. You know, he's only been there twice in the last four years. Once he fell asleep and the other time I had to pull him by the ears to make him come."
I have no idea who the author is:
My forgetter's getting better,
But my rememberer is broke
To you that may seem funny
But, to me, that is no joke
For when I'm "here" I'm wondering
If I really should be "there"
And, when I try to think it through,
I haven't got a prayer!
Oft times I walk into a room,
Say "what am I here for?"
I wrack my brain, but all in vain!
A zero, is my score.
At times I put something away
Where it is safe, but, Gee!
The person it is safest from
Is, generally, me!
When shopping I may see someone,
Say "Hi" and have a chat,
Then, when the person walks away
I ask myself, "who was that?"
Yes, my forgetter's getting better
While my rememberer is broke,
And it's driving me plumb crazy
And that isn't any joke.
My name is George and I have a Golden retriever. One day I was buying a large bag of Purina Dog Chow at
Wal-Mart and was in line to check out.
A woman behind me asked if I had a dog. On impulse, I told her that no, I
was starting The Purina Diet again, although I probably shouldn't because I had
ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I
awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my
orifices and IVs in both arms.
I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it
works is to load your pants pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one
or two every time you feel hungry & that the food is nutritionally complete
so I was going to try it again.
I have to mention here that practically everyone in the line was by now
enthralled with my story, particularly a guy who was behind her.
Horrified, she asked if I'd ended up in the hospital in that condition
because I had been poisoned. I told her no; it was because I'd been sitting
in the street licking my balls and a car hit me.
I thought one guy was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard
as he staggered out the door.
Redneck Math Challenge
I am sick and tired of hearing about how dumb people are in the South,
and we challenge any so-called smart Yankee to take this exam:
1. Calculate the smallest limb diameter on a persimmon tree that will
support a 10-pound possum.
2. Which of these cars will rust out the quickest when placed on blocks
in your front yard?
(A) '65 Ford Fairlane
(B) '86 Dodge Diplomat
(C) '80 Ford pickup.
3. If your uncle builds a still which operates at a capacity of 20 gallons
of shine produced per hour, how many car radiators are required to
condense the product?
4. A woodcutter has a chainsaw which operates at 2700 RPM. The density of
the pine trees in the plot to be harvested is 470 per acre. The plot is 2.3
acres in size. The average tree diameter is 14 inches. How many Budweisers
will be drunk before the trees are cut down?
5. A front porch is constructed of 2x8 pine on 24-inch centers with a
field rock foundation. The span is 8 feet and the porch length is 16 feet. The
porch floor is 1-inch rough sawn pine. When the porch collapses, how many
dogs will be killed?
6. A man owns a house and 3.7 acres of land in a hollow with an average
slope of 15%. The man has five children. Can each of his grown children
place a mobile home on the man's land and still have enough property for
their electric appliances to sit out front?
7. A 2-ton truck is overloaded and proceeding 900 yards down a steep
slope on a secondary road at 45 MPH. The brakes fail. Given average traffic
conditions on secondary roads, what is the probability that it will strike a
vehicle with a muffler?
8. With a gene pool reduction of 7.5% per generation, how long will it
take a town which has been bypassed by the Interstate to breed a
I betcha thought that there test was gonna be an easy one, didn't cha?
It's okay if ya didn't do all that well. Just goes to show ya there's a hole
heap of things that big city book learning don't prepare ya for in this life.
As an added bonus for taking the "REDNECK MATH CHALLENGE",
here's some southerly advice that may come in handy down the road a piece...
Next time you are too drunk to drive, walk to the nearest pizza shop and place a
delivery order. When they go to deliver it, catch a ride home with them.
We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.
Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.
What pleasure it is to human beings everywhere
When their children possess knowledge surpassing their own!
When a mother hears her son heralded a good and learned man,
Her joy exceeds that of his joyous birth.
Its in the difficult times that were growing and you cant just rebuke everything hard. Weve got to endure it and fight the good fight of faith and pass the test.
On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
The same undivided and indivisible space is outside and inside of a thousand pots. Likewise the Self pervades all beings.
Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.
Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him.
For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks; the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
The moon is one, but on agitated water it produces many reflections. Similarly ultimate reality is one, yet it appears to be many in a mind agitated by thoughts.
Greed is an imperfection that defiles the mind; hate is an imperfection that defiles the mind; delusion is an imperfection that defiles the mind.
-Buddha, "The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha"
Prayer is faith passing into action.
When we are firmly established in nonviolence, all beings around us cease to feel hostility. When we are firmly established in truthfulness, action accomplishes its desired end.
When we are firmly established in integrity, all riches present themselves freely. When we are firmly established in chastity, subtle potency is generated. When we are established in nonattachment, the nature and purpose of existence is understood.
-The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 2: 35-39
All who would win joy, must share it; happiness was born a twin.
Jesus life began in a borrowed stable and ended in a borrowed tomb.
The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.
-Dr. Wayne Dyer
It may be that those who do most, dream most.
Whenever you fall, pick something up.
To err is human; to refrain from laughing, humane.
Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.
Who is rich? One who is happy with what he has.
- Ethics of the Fathers 4:1
Often the difference between a successful marriage and a mediocre one consists of leaving about three or four things a day unsaid.
You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.
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