A Full Life, Part 2

So I told you about my grandmother in yesterday’s post. Well, here’s another story I had to share. I just learned the full version of this. It’s classic.

I mentioned that my grandmother had a ’67 Mustang. And that she drove it. Well, I knew she had been stopped a couple of times, but had always gotten out of it.

Or so I thought.

Turns out one time, when leaving our house and driving back to Hartford, she was stopped for speeding. Apparently fast enough that she lost her license for a month.

She worked for the Hartford school system and was basically the superintendent’s right hand. She called and said she wouldn’t be in for a month. He said, “But, Margaret, I can pick you up and drop you off each day.”

“If I can’t drive my own car, I won’t be driving in anyone else’s.”

Love it.

But, believe it or not, it gets better.

Turns out this speeding situation was the reason why my grandmother kept a couple of bottles of the liquor in the car.

She got stopped again going home from our house to hers.

No ticket this time for her.

Just a bottle of scotch for the officer.

What else? I got nothin’.

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A Full Life

My grandmother died early this morning.

The title of this post says it all, as she died less than three weeks from her 101st birthday. Yup, 101. Another couple of weeks and she would have made it. But, you know what, those weeks wouldn’t have been worth it for her.

She made it to 100 — how many can say that? That was last October. And she didn’t just get to 100. She practically sprinted. A few months after she passed that line, however, her body actually realized how old it was. She simply started to fail.

She was my dad’s mom. And after my dad passed, my mom became her primary caretaker. They didn’t have the closest relationship in the world, and her care was a burden on my mom — more than she, of course, would let on.

My grandmother lived more than an hour away most of her life. Then, when it wasn’t the best for her to be on her own, she moved in with my parents. She was in that house until this past April when she needed the care available in a nursing home.

It was the best thing for her. And it was best for my mom. We all tried to help out as much as possible, but it always ended up falling more on my mom than anyone else.

It was difficult to visit her. Someone who was once so strong physically was, literally, fading away. She was basically bed-ridden, unable to support herself on her feet for more than a few seconds. And, she refused a hearing aide, so the best way to talk to her was by writing on a white board.

But, you know what the last thing I saw her eat was? A shake.

And, while her body was failing, her mind remained sharp as ever. Even towards the end, when dates and other things would confuse her, she still had the ability to grasp memories from her mind and share them with us. She always told so many stories about times she spent with us as kids and stories about my dad. It was always great to hear that.

I’ll always remember things like these:

1. that she drove a 1967 Mustang. And when I say drove, I mean drove.
2. that until I was probably 15 or so, everytime I saw her, she’d sneak me a $5 or $10 bill
3. that she used to bring the best desserts to holiday meals. Who cares if they were store bought, it was good stuff
4. that she used to take me down to the beach in the off season
5. that we used to play Crazy Eights when I was a kid
6. that she was a stubborn Irish woman
7. that she traveled all over and always brought me something
8. that she would have me up to her house for sleep overs on her screened porch
9. that she loved her Hartford Whalers and even her New York Yankees
10. that she never showed the emotion of burying a husband and two sons

My grandmother was a piece of work. Truly a stubborn Irishwoman. Certain things just weren’t talked about. And I’ll always wonder about that and regret that about her to some extent. But, she lived to be a 100. She could do what she wanted as far as I was concerned.

I mean, she was born in 1906. All the wars. The Depression. And so much more. She lived through them. And while we never talked about it, it had to have an impact on her life. How could it not?

She definitely had an impact on all of us. It’s never all good, especially when it comes to family. But, the bottom line, more than anything, is family. And she was part of mine.

She had said a month or two ago that she was going to make it to another Christmas and that would be it. Heck, considering her condition, she got further than most probably would.

She didn’t like the condition she was in. I’m convinced of that. She felt as if she was a burden on all of us. You can say this is a relief to my mom and the rest of us. You can say it was expected. You can say it’s a blessing and all of that. 

And, you know what? It’s true. It absolutely is.

But, she’s still gone.


I’ve Been Tagged

It’s been a while since I’ve been tagged. And, I haven’t been feeling incredibly creative today, so I welcome the tag from KLC. I welcomed, too, the bag of Twizzlers she sent to the office following the great licorice debate of ’07.

OK, here goes:

Four Jobs I’ve Had
1. Cook at a clam shack (where I met the girl I knew I would (and did!) marry
2. DJ — I’ve been part of a top 40 morning show and I’m an in-game DJ for a professional sports team
3. Substitute teacher — did this for a while when I got married (I left my job and moved to where she was established…so did this until I landed on my feet)
4. Publicist. Current gig. I rock at what I do. At least I think so.

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over
1. Shawshank Redemption
2. Caddyshack
3. Stripes
4. Silence of the Lambs

Four TV Shows I Like (reality version)
1. Survivor
2. Amazing Race
3. Dancing with the Stars
4. Rock of Love

Four TV Shows I Like (non-reality)
1. Prison Break
2. Lost
3. How I Met Your Mother
4. Vegas (love, love, love THE Vegas. Thank you Vanessa Marcil)

Four Places I’ve Gone on Vacation
1. Ireland
2. Italy
3. Antigua (ok, honeymoon)
4. Quebec City

Four Favorite Foods
1. Lobster
2. Good steak
3. Mashed Potatoes
4. Ice cream

Four Websites I Visit Daily
1. espn.com
2. boston.com
3. cnn.com
4. theday.com (local newspaper)

Four Places I’d Rather Be
1. Doing a puzzle with Aidan or holding Erin
2. Sitting in Fenway Park
3. Ireland
4. The movies (no idea why, just popped in my head)

Four Bloggers I Am Tagging
1. Elizabeth
2. Hallie
3. Michelle
4. John

What else? I got nothin’.


I’m Back

You know you haven’t written a while when you’re lying in bed and your wife says, “You’re falling behind on your blog.”

Yikes. It can’t be that bad. So my Monday post is going up nearly on Tuesday, that’s OK. Perhaps you were still enjoying the fabulous reads from my guest bloggers, Anna and Molly. I can’t thank them enough for stepping up, particularly on such short notice.

And, I’m going to be away again in a couple of weeks. So I’ll be looking for guest bloggers. I’m just saying.

And, speaking of just saying, what I’m saying to Molly, and what all of you should be saying to Molly is CONGRATULATIONS!!! Molly’s Michael has made her the happiest bride-to-be in the history of happiest brides to be (well, second happiest — I mean, wait until I tell my engagement story). I’m sure there will be more to this as details of the engagement and all the planning unfold, but before I look in the boss’s manual for “How to deal with an incredibly excited newly engaged person,” I offer Molly and Michael nothing but happiness. If you like reading her now, stick around, it’ll get even better. Meanwhile, come on, go here and wish them well.

So last week, I was in Florida for a couple of days. It was a cross between a business and pleasure trip. Let me just say this, no way in hell I could live in Florida. Too hot for my blood. The best part of the trip? Well, OK, it’s not really in the top five, but it’s still fun to do — people watch in airports. Is there a better place to people watch? I haven’t found one.

Had to bring some things home for the kids, so that made for an exciting time for Aidan. He got a few things, but the cutest thing is what he and Erin each got. When they are in it at the same time, I’ll be sure to take a picture. What is it? Well, I bought a Thing 1 shirt for Aidan and a Thing 2 onesie for Erin. I couldn’t resist.

Today at the breakfast table Aidan asks, “Dad, what will Erin’s voice sound like?”

My Patriots are on a roll, and my Sox are in the playoffs. It gets no better.

This is the big TV premiere week. Prison Break continues to be fabulous. We watched Big Bang Theory tonight. I laughed out loud a bunch of times. Hope it doesn’t disappoint. And for those My Boys fans, the star of Big Bang Theory is the guy who played Trouty. A complete TV post coming later.

For now, let’s just leave it at that.

What else? I got nothin’.


Guest Blogger: Anna

Greetings, Mike fans. I’m here to keep the seat warm while Mike’s away. My name is Anna, and some of you may have visited me at Hank & Willie.

I’m also a coworker of Mike’s. About a year ago I was home with my newborn baby, working about ten hours a week when I could find a minute (well, 600 minutes), and the rest of the time just adjusting to life with two kids under two.

My toddler Will was trying his hardest to do things like run into traffic when I wasn’t looking or swat his baby brother, and my baby Henry, who had already given us a lifetime of anxiety with his premature birth and illness, was now starting to suffer from a severe milk and soy allergy. We didn’t know this yet-we just knew that the former preemie we used to wake for feedings was now waking all night long, screaming and writhing in pain. And we were REALLY tired.

So with this circus going on around me, I would be writing emails to Mike about work things, and would include crashingly boring details about my days and nights.

You know, like:

So Henry was up NINE times last night. NINE. That’s every 45 minutes, if you’re keeping track. I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck and if I don’t fall asleep sitting up it will be a MIRACLE.

Mike has a son the same age as Will, and he had a new baby on the way in his family, which is probably why I felt like I could clutter his inbox with these details, but it wouldn’t have mattered if he didn’t live a similar life-Mike is just an exceptional friend and listener. He would write back with appropriately sympathetic comments and then would close by saying YOU NEED A BLOG.

Not that I wasn’t all about blogs. It was my own boss at a previous job who got me hooked on blog jumping: “It’s so cool, you read the post, then you read the comments of other people, and they all have blogs, so you keep clicking…” (It was the early 2000s, folks, quit your snickering.)

I enjoyed reading them, but to me those people were either famous (Hello, Dooce and Mighty Girl) or just little weird for talking all about their lives or jobs or hobbies on the Internet. Where people could READ IT.

But when Mike started his blog, and introduced me to Molly’s blog, I started to really get it, that it isn’t weird after all. (Well, some of my friends still think it is.)  I had always loved my friend Rush’s non-blog, so with these three real-life people as inspiration, I decided to give it a try.

And I love it.

I love the release a daily (or not so daily) bit of unstructured writing gives me. I love the fact that I am actually, in a roundabout way, chronicling the lives of my babies. And I love all the interesting, funny, caring and smart people I’ve discovered through blogging. 

But the best part? Is how many other people have been inspired by Mike to start blogging. In the last year, the number of Mike-inspired or six-degrees-of-separation-Mike-associated bloggers has exploded, and now I get to learn all about cool people like:

 Beta Mom  and JC and Elizabeth and Jess and Hallie and Chelle and Larisa.

Which says a lot about Mike as a person and friend. Or maybe it means he was tired of all the sad-story emails he was getting from his friends!

So who’s next? When are you going to start YOUR blog? Can’t wait to read it!

And because I am all about the photos and hardly ever post without something visual, here are a few sneaky peeks of Mike and his beautiful kiddies, Aidan and Erin!

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This won’t get me a raise…

Hi there, readers. I’m Molly. Some of you may know me from These Little Moments, some of you may know me as Mike’s assistant and some of you might not know me at all.

Mike is currently in sunny Florida, leaving me all alone in the office. He’s also left himself in a very vulnerable position, as I am sitting at his computer with access to his password, blog and anything else I could want. Hmm…so this is what power feels like.

A few months ago, Mike wrote a guest post on my blog and considering that we work together every day, he was pretty nice. And while I could take this opportunity to try and embarrass him, I think it’s only fair that since Mike told you about the PR Assistant Molly, I tell you about the Boss Mike.

I couldn’t ask for a better boss. And no, I’m not just saying that so he’ll tell me to forget about working this Saturday. As far as bosses go, Mike rocks. I knew from my very first interview that if we were to work together, things would be OK.

Mike is easy going. So easy going, in fact, that he’s usually the one to tell me to relax. Often when my stress ball is poised and ready to be thrown at the head of the next person to walk through the door. Although when he does get stressed, I’ve learned how to deal with it. Let’s just say a little chocolate goes a long way in this office.

He’s funny. Not just in a haha that’s a funny joke type of way, but in a I can’t believe you just did/said/sang that type of way. Has he told you about his collection of boy band music? Or his not-so secret man crush on Bon Jovi?

You want some sappy? Because I’m the Queen of Sap and can lay it on thick. He’s a great dad. It’s so inspiring to see a guy who loves his children as much as he does. He’s always armed with a new story or photo of Aidan and Erin and lights up when he talks about them. He’s been married for 13 years and loves his wife more and more everyday. If that’s not a good man, I don’t know what is.

Aside from being my boss, I also consider Mike my friend. He’s knows about all the day to day stuff, my desire to get engaged, my friends and my family. He’s met my sister and always asks how she’s doing in school. And when his brother passed away and I hugged Mike at the wake, I left tears on the shoulder of a friend, not a boss.

Alright, enough sap. Like I said, this won’t get me any more money.

So there you have it, the Mike I see every day. Forty hours a week. Fifty weeks a year.

Wow. When you look at it that way, maybe he can stay in Florida a little longer.


Look at Me, I’m in B

Yes, loyal readers, I’m leaving you.

But only for a couple of days! (I can hear the collective Phewwws right now.)

I’m headed to Florida early Thursday morning, back late Friday night. It’s a quick business trip, actually.

The title of this post means I was late doing my online check in so I’m in the B group aboard Southwest. This is no problem when traveling alone. B is much better than C. If I was in C, I’d have to be one of those people that arrives two hours early and puts all my stuff down in the C line up area so I can be first in that group.

It’s always fun to watch that happen…or if people aren’t lining up, they are waiting on the first person to move before everyone follows suit. That’s always fun because it’s like if someone gets up to go to the bathroom everyone gets in line because they are afraid of losing that spot.

Anyway, I digress.

I’m not sure if I’m going to have online access or not. So, since you never let me down, I don’t want to let you down.

I’ve enlisted two fabulous bloggers to write for me while I’m gone. It makes me almost feel important!

On Thursday, you’ll hear from Molly. For those of you scoring at home, Molly works for me. She’s also the one responsible for me doing this blogging thing.

On Friday, you’ll hear from Anna. Now while Molly got me into this blogging thing, Anna claims that it was me who got her into the blogging thing. Or, at least pushed her over the edge to do it.

So, I’m leaving you in quite capable hands. And, I have no idea what they are going to write. They have been given complete editorial license to write what they wish. Anna probably has more freedom since she doesn’t report directly to me, but you never know!

I’ll see you when I’m back.

What else? I got nothin’.