It was nestled amongst the Christmas cards when Hubs brought in the mail. Didn’t think too much about it, thought something was on sale.
Wasn’t addressed to ‘our neighbor,’or worse yet, ‘occupant.’ I saw my name typed neatly, to me it had been sent.
Return address didn’t ring a bell, the envelope was business size. Had Hubs signed me up for a contest? My notice of the grand prize?
Then remembered a long phone call, that I myself had made. Inquiring about the loan on my Jeep, “how much to get this paid?”
“I’d like to be more specific,” she said, “but the total’s not written in stone. The sum I can give you is good for today, but then adds to the rest of your loan.”
“For every day that passes, the total I just stated, 32 cents must be added for interest, before your loan is negated.”
Jotting numbers on a notepad, as her words flew in my ear, since math is not my strong suit, and it’s hard for me to hear.
I started with the payoff, determined extra days, I’d have to UP that total to get the interest paid.
Decided on a dozen days, mail’s not the best ‘round here. I didn’t want another note which said, your loan is still not clear.
I’d mailed my final payment, had I sent the right amount? Found a note inside with a check attached, which proved I still can’t count.
The Jeep’s all mine and I’m thrilled with this check, hoping to be financially prudent. But I lack the math skills when doing our bills, I was such a piss poor student.
I am tickled pink with this bonus, how should I spend this dough? Just add it to our savings and with interest watch it grow?
It might be nice to surprise the Hubs, we don’t spend money that way. Though I searched high and low, finding no gifts to show for my shopping effort that day.
Was this being fiscally frugal, spending money whatever my whim? Would my shopping spree ever bother me, if I spent my windfall on him?
The practical side of my brain interfered with what this money could do. Books or vacations, gifts or donations, before my money was through.
With raging inflation gas prices have soared, so filling my tank would be shrewd. With my buck-sixty-seven, parked at pump 11, I bought a half gallon of crude.
When it finally hit what a sap I have been, I found it hysterically funny. What made me think this was some kind of a gift, it had always been my own money…
I don’t normally have ‘aha’ moments, so when I finally realize my long time assumptions are completely out of whack, I’m blown away. Nope, did not see that one coming. Here’s a few I’ve been saddled with, some for most of my life.
1. I love quesadillas. Shannon taught me how to make them years ago when Tracey was Jackson’s basketball coach. He’d invite the team over for supper and Shannon would take the kid’s individual orders. I make them at home, nothing fancy because I’m not a very adventurous cook. Tortilla shell, buttered side down, covered within an inch of the edge with shredded cheese, seasoned chicken, green onion, yellow/orange pepper, tomatoes, (I add jalapeños on the Hubs’) more cheese and another tortilla, buttered side up. Once the bottom is sufficiently brown is where the problems stem.
After 20 years I should have learned how to flip these suckers but I can’t without making a mess. I’m careful not to get ingredients too close to the edge of the tortilla and bought a spatula as wide as my ass, yet I’ve never flipped one without losing 25% of the stuff I want to keep inside, plus thoroughly messing up my stove. I should buy one of those bolt on lidded frypans like the waffle irons at hotel breakfast buffets. But I’d only use it once a month and my kitchen cupboards are full. Besides I’m Dutch and kinda tight.
2. My bladder’s capacity and holding power has not changed since I was 35. Ha, I wish. Nuff said.
3. I’ve never been a good sleeper. Gospel truth. But since I hit 50 (menopause) I can count on one hand (with fingers leftover) the number of nights I’ve slept really well. Yet once a week I’m so full of Jiminy Cricket optimism I’m shocked after I tossed and turned all night. Again. This day occurs after I’ve stripped the bed and put on crisp, clean, ice cold sheets. “I’m gonna sleep so good tonight!” Twenty years have passed without one night of sound sleep, yet I remain hopeful the one day a week when the sheets are fresh I’m gonna have a great night’s sleep. Bunch of hooey.
4. My timing mechanism may be off. I’ve always been a list maker. It’s how I get chores and errands done. I’ve never changed the time limits on these tasks since I was in my 30’s. Say I’m making a big bowl of potato salad. I know how long it takes to cut up the veggies (I add a lot of them, don’t judge), cook the spuds and boil the eggs. What I haven’t changed is how long this actually takes me now. I assume it takes me as long as it did in 1980. Hahaha. I used to spend a good share of an afternoon, now it takes me 2 days. Cook the eggs and cut the veggies one day, the next day cook potatoes and mix up the dressing. Two days. Two.
5. After my parents joined a church during the early 1950’s, (I was 2) both congregations where they belonged had fellowship twice on Sunday, so I literally grew up going to church every Sunday night. It wasn’t a big deal because most of my friends were (begrudgingly) taking up pew space too. Truth be told, I liked RCYF (Reformed Church Youth Fellowship) which was held before and during part of our night service. When our youth meeting ended, the church service upstairs was on the cusp. The sermon was just about to start. We’d form a line and trudge (sorry God) up the steps. We passed one of the entrance doors but not many of my peers dared venture through it. Everyone of our parent’s heads were turned, each waiting for their kid to file in. I was rebellious but savvy enough to know what hell on earth I would be entering if I snuck out before the service was over. It just wasn’t done, especially if you had any plans for the coming week or month, because you’d be certainly be grounded.
The night church thing became a serious issue when The Beatles entered my life. The foursome openly declared they desperately wanted to ‘hold my hand.’ Our appointed rendezvous during Ed Sullivan on February 9th, 1964 was a bust because my head was bowed during the (not very sincerely) long prayer for their first live performance in America. My folks would not let me skip church that night. My life was never the same. I’m still bitter.
6. Not quite done with the whole Sunday night church thing. Besides missing The Beatles debut, word near the water cooler at school on Monday morning’s revolved around another Sunday night show I was missing every week. One of the best on TV. A western called Bonanza. A show I couldn’t watch until we eloped in 1969, so the series had been on for a decade.
A couple of week’s ago I asked Hubs to look for the old Bonanza series so I could finally catch up on some of TV’s best during the 1960’s. What a riot! I’ve only watched the first 5 episodes and Hubs warns me every time I start giggling. “Show some respect. You can’t laugh at the Cartwright’s.” Really? It seems like everyone hated those four guys, with the possible exception of Hoss. I thought they were this wifeless, motherless sad sack bunch just trying to get by in a cruel world. But they owned most of the world and everyone else resented them, at least in the beginning. The music is hysterical when something ominous is about to happen. But I’ve promised to watch the first couple seasons with the assurance that the series does get much better.
That’s it for my latest list of myth-conceptions. Stay tuned for ‘The Myths-teries’ about some of the odd things that make me feel old…
I go through this routinely during the last month of the year. Not moping, but reflective. December’s always been different and unique. Mom’s, Shannon’s and my birthday are in December. I remember birthdays in Iowa where we had a snow day from school during a blizzard and birthdays where I wore shorts because it was 60 degrees, sunny and downright fabulous.
My mom, Florence (Wanningen) Gerritson passed away in 2004. Her twin brother Floyd passed away less than a year before her. Floyd at the very end of 2003, mom in the fall of 2004. Although their deaths occurred in different years, both were 77. I’m not surprised how close together their deaths were. They had an unusual bond even though for much of their adult lives lived a couple thousand miles apart.
When I mull their childhood I find it incredibly sad, but it wasn’t that unusual for the year of their birth in 1926 (which makes it even sadder). Their mother, Jacoba (Coba) Berghuis married my grandpa two years prior on December 6, 1924 at the tender age of 18 (same age as me when we eloped). Coba graduated from high school in May of 1924. By October (that same year) she had her teaching certificate and began teaching in Sioux Center, Iowa. My grandpa, Gerrit (his nickname was Lakey) Wanningen was born in 1896 and 28 when they got hitched.
By their second anniversary Coba was ready to give birth. Mom never told me if my grandma, Lakey or even the doctor knew she was having twins beforehand or if it was a big surprise to everyone. Prenatal care was seriously lacking by today’s standards.
The celebration of the twin’s birth was short lived because Coba, 20 died of complications when the babies were 13 days old. After all these years this still makes me feel so bad for mom and Floyd. Never having a chance to know their mom, but had to rely on stories from relatives and friends about their mom. I know once Lakey lost Coba his attitude about life, marriage and parenthood took a huge toll on him. For the twin’s first few years he was not an active presence in their lives.
Both sets of grandparents were supportive and played a big part in raising the twins. Coba had 6 siblings and 2 of the twin’s aunts supplied a lot of love and nurturing. Alida was the oldest, married and had children not much older than the twins, so Florence and Floyd spent a lot of time on their farm. The other aunt was Lena who was a couple years older than Coba and still living at home. But the majority of time the twins lived with Lakey’s parents, Guert and Jantje, both close to 60.
The Wanningen’s had recently lost their only daughter and newborn grandson. Both mom’s maternal and paternal families had suffered tragedies. Still, for the roaring 20’s these three deaths were not that uncommon. Death during childbirth or complications shortly after was part of life back then. I was told Grandpa Lakey’s sister, Jennie died from cancer the day she gave birth to a stillborn son. He was placed in her arms in the casket and they were buried together.
Mom came to terms with the loss of her young mother a long time ago. She doted on all four grandparents, especially her two grandma’s and felt she was lucky to have them in her life. She lost Jantje in 1950 right before I was born and Effie Berghuis in 1958, the same year we lost my 12 year old brother Larry.
About 2 months before mom passed away was the last time I was home to visit. She’d been in a long term care facility for a few months and decided not to start treatments after her 3rd occurrence of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. She and dad celebrated their 62nd anniversary a month before she died. She called me October 18th and told me she loved me. Dad was with her the next day around noon when she passed, a couple months shy of her 78th birthday. Mom would be celebrating her 95th birthday on the 13th. It seems impossible that she’s been gone 17 years already…