kitschy kitschy koo…my life with lawrence welk

Somehow we always ended up at grandma and grandpa’s house when Lawrence Welk was on. I’m not sure how that happened, since the show moved around. But we saw it from its black-and-white days in the sixties to its living-color days in the seventies. Though it was always in shades of gray for us, since grandma and grandpa never had a color tv.

I can’t speak for my parents or siblings. But I know that grandma and grandpa and I more than watched that show: we LIVED it. I knew the personal lives (or at least what grandma imagined them to be) of all the stars: Sandy, the red-headed Mormon girl. Cute little Mary Lou, who was quite the dancer. Guy and Ralna who were married in real life and made such a cute couple. That nasty tramp Tanya who married Lawrence Welk’s own son just so she could get more air time. (Grandma was not the least surprised that they got divorced. She never mentioned that Guy and Ralna did, too.)

I was fascinated by the breadth of Gail’s forehead and the shortness of Bobby’s legs. Confused by the horrible lip-synching in the group numbers. Amazed by Ken Delo’s gravity-defying combover.

Grandpa also weighed in from his throne: a giant gun box covered by a thin mattress that he reclined on to smoke his two packs a day. (Think of a recumbent Ed Asner, but larger and more nicotined.) “Now that’s a real man’s voice,” he decreed whenever living Ken doll Tom Netherton took the stage. Never mind that he wore powder blue suits and held the microphone like a china cup at high tea.  Ava Barber was “one cute gal,” but Lynn Anderson and Janet Lennon (a bit before my time) had been cuter. Grandpa had been a bandleader who called himself “Ace Hover” back in the day – the day being in the 1920s – and he liked just about everything on the show.

Except Joe Feeney, Irish tenor. Joe Feeney’s introduction always got grandpa off the gunbox and heading down the hall to the bathroom. This activity was so regular and predictable that “Joe Feeney time” became our family euphemism for needing to use the facilities. Even after grandpa died, when Joe Feeney would come on, we’d look skyward and imagine grandpa shuffling down the heavenly hallway to the Lord’s own loo.


killing me softly

So last night I took poison. And tonight I will do the same.

This is supposed to make me get better.

I avoided chemo with my cancer, but now I’ve got a truly magnificent case of psoriasis. And psoriatic arthritis. And to make my immune system settle down and stop fighting my own skin, chemo it is. Methotrexate, to be precise. With three pages of patient warnings that I actually read, even though the font is teensy.

To coin an original phrase, this sucks. Hopefully it will suck less than waking up frantically scratching in the middle of the night. Hopefully it will suck less than needing help putting on a bra.

Hopefully it will suck less than being The Human Snowglobe.

At this point, poison seems to be the lesser of a stack of evils. I might lose my hair. I might get a legendary case of nausea. I might have beneficial change at the cellular level that results in a complete remission of the patterned afghan that my skin has become.

What scares me most about all of this is the tiredness. Fatigue makes it hard to care. And not caring makes it hard to fight. Energy is welcome. And since giving up coffee had no effect on this crap at all…so is Mr. Java.

the wisdom of teeth. for my niece who’s getting hers yanked tomorrow.

Wisdom teeth? Really? Who decided on this term? So they come when you’re older. That is certainly no guarantee of wisdom, as our elected officials have shown us (which you can agree with no matter what side of the political fence you’re on).

But I digress.

If you’ve read my post about orthodontia, you realize the herculean, nearly soul-destroying effort that got my mouth into some semblance of order. I was not about to give that up for some back-of-jaw, late-to-the-party interlopers. Especially when two of them didn’t even have the courtesy to grow in the right direction.

Maybe the “wisdom” in wisdom teeth refers to the career choice of the oral surgeon. Yes, that’s where I went. Not to Dr. McCoy of the military buzzcut and kielbasa fingers. I went to a place where they would knock my ass out completely. Cuz I’m brave like that.

I remember lying down, and looking at posters of the ocean on the ceiling. A nice lady told me to count backwards from 100, and by 97, that ocean was moving. I’m pretty sure that by 95 I was out cold.

I think I remember hearing a crack, but the next thing I really knew, I was being told to wake up, and then was propped up on a bench in the back to await pick-up. There was another kid there, probably 10 years old, who I think had had a cyst removed from his mouth. Didn’t matter, because we were both completely whacked, mouths packed with gauze, blankly staring and drooling. We stared at each other for over an hour without blinking. Okay, maybe three minutes. When you’re drooling time doesn’t really matter.

So at some point my mom collected me, and seated me securely in our luxury vehicle. Which happened to be a Ford Courier pick-up that farted when you shifted into fourth. I believe I lolled a bit, and wasn’t really paying close attention, but when we got close to home my mom started yelling at me. Really, Mom? Yelling at someone clearly not at full capacity? Who couldn’t grasp a witty retort with a pair of barbecue tongs? I had no idea what she was yelling about, but she only got louder the closer we got to home. Like I cared about anything at that point.

So we got down the driveway, and I managed to extricate myself from the seatbelt and get out of the car. Clearly not content with her verbal harangue, my mom came after me and slugged me. Really!

Okay, not really. What she did was slap me so hard on the back that I nearly fell over frontwards. My mind registered only an enormous WTF, but fortunately my body mechanics were more on track. The blow to my back dislodged the big hunk of gauze that had slid halfway down my throat and blocked my airway.

The yelling had been about my breath ceasing and my lips turning blue. Impending death – who knew? Thank God it was before the Heimlich was known, because if my mom had tried to hug me at that point I probably would have freaked entirely.

The next several days passed in a blur of ice bags, pineapple juice, yogurt and Demerol. I survived.

Thanks, Mom.