Christmas with an INFJ and Five Four-legged Hoodlums

December 21, 2018 4:03 PM

I’m not a fan of Christmas. I don’t think of myself as a Scrooge character, per se. It’s not like I begrudge other’s from enjoying the holiday season — whichever holiday it is they choose to celebrate. Christmas and all the hoopla that surrounds it just seems to touch on everything I hate. Here’s a few of the major challenges I face every year.

Socializing. My Myers Briggs personality type is INFJ. The I stands for introverted. (Read more about INFJ in I Always Knew I was an Odd Duck )That means I don’t like large gatherings of people of any kind. I define a large gathering as a guest list with over four in attendance. Unless there are playing cards involved. Then I’m good with six, maybe seven in attendance at the most. Since most Christmas get-togethers involve more than four people and do not involve playing cards, I generally avoid them whenever possible.

Awkward gift-giving. When you give a gift and they don’t – or worse, they give a gift and you don’t. I realized this year that I inadvertently put myself and my neighbor in this position.

My neighbor has dogs. I have dogs. We’ve become a bit friendly in the past couple of years because of our conversations about the dogs — as in are your large, unleashed German Shepards going to eat my small Pomeranian mix? And I’m really sorry my old, cranky Bichon Mix bit your unleashed miniature poodle who wandered into my yard while my dog was leashed.

Seriously. My neighbor is a very nice guy. Who doesn’t leash his dogs. But I like dogs and his dogs are friendly, friendlier than mine are, so it’s all good. Last fall, around early November, I had accumulated a bunch of new toys that my dogs didn’t like for whatever reason. I put them all in a bag and gave them to the neighbor thinking his dogs might like them. Christmas Eve last year, the neighbor showed up with doggie gift boxes for my dogs and, horror of horrors, I had nothing for him. Not so much as a Christmas card (because I don’t send Christmas cards). I was so embarrassed. I’ve been embarrassed for the past year because of my faux pas. I was determined that it wouldn’t happen again this year.

I shopped in early December and bought doggie toys for the neighbor’s dogs. (No, I didn’t buy him three leashes, although I was tempted). I wrapped some of the toys and put bows on the gift boxes. I’ve been ready for him to stop over with his Christmas gift for two weeks. This afternoon, I saw he was outside so I sent Dennis out with the bag of gifts for his dogs. I even put in a Christmas card. (I got several sent to me when I donated to an animal fund).

When Dennis gave the gifts to the neighbor, the neighbor looked at the bag in horror and said, “Oh no, not again this year!”

Oh my God. The neighbor misinterpreted my dumping off gently used dog toys last year as an early Christmas gift! He was reciprocating my used toys with his Christmas gift last year. It’s like the reverse Gift of the Magi. Neither one of us wants to exchange Christmas gifts but we’re doing it anyway.

God, I really hate Christmas. INFJ’s don’t have nearly enough tact or social skills to deal with these kinds of situations. (Doug, if you happen to read this blog, please don’t reciprocate with a gift this year. We’ll call it even and ignore Christmas next year!)

Christmas Cards. I like getting mail as much as the next guy, but then there’s the problem of what to do with the cards I receive. Do I put them on the mantle and let the cats knock them down and the dogs chew the paper? Do I scotch tape them to a door frame and let the cat chew the scotch tape, knock down the cards and have the dogs chew them? It seems like a shame not to display them. And it seems like shame to read them and throw them away. So I end up tucking them away in my bill box for a month until I need the space for all the Christmas bills that are pouring in and I throw them away in February and feel guilty for not enjoying them more. Only an INFJ can feel guilty about a Christmas card.

I did send Christmas cards once upon a time when I still bowed to the social expectations of the holiday. I didn’t enjoy it. I never knew what to say. I always ended up sending them out on the 23rd so most people didn’t get their card before the holiday anyway. Slowly, I parsed down my list to only the really old relatives who would be offended if they didn’t get one. Now those relatives are all dead, so I don’t send out any cards out any more. I know that probably sounds tactless and harsh, but it’s the truth. If you don’t get a Christmas card from me, don’t be offended. Be flattered. You’re not old in my eyes.

Holiday Decorating. This one is probably the greatest bane of my holiday hate-list. I do not like decorating anything. Houses. Christmas Trees. Cookies. Don’t like decorating any of them. Christmas is nothing if not all about the decorating.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a nicely decorated house for Christmas. I just don’t want to do it. And I don’t have a talent for it so when I did do it, it didn’t look very good. Plus, there’s the five four-legged hoodlums that rule the house which would destroy a Christmas tree and, more importantly, make themselves sick from eating stuff they’re not supposed to. One cat eats ribbon, tinsel and bows. Two cats eat plastic. All of them eat yarn. One dog steals whatever is dangling within his reach and eats it. Any Christmas decoration I have has to be something that’s not tempting to eat, chew or climb. That leaves this.


This is a small ceramic Christmas tree I bought for my mom at a craft fair thirty-two years ago. We unplug it and put it in a cabinet every night so the four-legged hoodlum cats can’t knock it off the table.  There’s also a small fabric Christmas tree on the kitchen table which you can sort of see in the corner of the picture. It’s crooked and bit sad seeing as how I’m not the greatest seamstress. It’s also bare, since a hoodlum cat pulled off all the bows last year, and I had to remove the bells because another hoodlum cat was trying to eat them, but at least it’s something.

Holiday Baking. I like to cook. I do not like to bake. It’s fussy and it requires lots of measuring which means lots of things to wash. However, I do have fond memories of Christmas cookies and do feel that having a few of the standby’s are a necessity for Christmas. So I suck it up and bake Pecan Fingers and Peanut Butter Blossom cookies every year. On a good year I’ll do a roll out sugar cookie and decorate it with colored sugar which is much quicker than going the royal icing route.

One thing I do like about holiday baking is I get to look through the baking section of my recipe books which is something I don’t do very often since I don’t bake very often. It’s like looking through a scrapbook. I have many, many handwritten recipes from my mom, my grandma, my aunt and even a great aunt.

aunt gladys2

My mom baked a batch of cookies for Christmas as a gift for me eleven years ago. My Aunt Gladys made them for me when I was little and I love them. Mom included the original handwritten recipe for the cookies and these pictures. My mom’s handwriting is on the top gift tag. The picture is of my Aunt Gladys (in the middle) my mom when she was fourteen (on the right) and her cousin, Myrtle, (on the left) in downtown Milwaukee. The year is 1943. I love the hairstyles and street car in the background.  The picture on the right is of my Aunt Gladys in her later years in 1975.


aunt gladys

This is the original recipe written in my Aunt Gladys’ handwriting. I don’t think I’ve ever made the recipe myself because they’re super putzy.


My grandma’s original recipe for Stangels, a German cookie with walnuts and meringue on top. Love these and I may get ambitious yet this year and make them. 

almond cookie

Also my grandma’s recipe card for Almond Cookies. They’re hard to make, almost like making a pastry crust with ground almonds. They were my dad’s favorite and I made them a few times for him after my grandma died. Since they’re hard to make and require rolling out the dough to cut them out and decorating, I haven’t made them in years.


This year I ran across a cookbook my kindergarten teacher made for my class in 1971. All our mother’s sent in their favorite holiday recipe and the teacher compiled it in a book. I remember we got to draw a picture of ourselves at the bottom of the recipe. My picture is really big. Apparently, I had no problem with self-image at the age of 5.

kinder cook

Dig that funky seventies wallpaper cover! I remember picking that pattern out. I picked it because I liked the pink and orange combination. I still do like pink and orange together.

kinder 2


There I am! An artist, I am not, even back then. It’s funny, but I don’t think my mom ever made this recipe. If she did, I don’t remember it. And who puts raisins in Snickerdoodles? C’mon, Mom! 


This one made me sad. Paul was my first best friend and he taught me how to ride a two-wheeler bike. Paul passed away, far too young, around twenty years ago.

Which brings me to my last Christmas complaint. Melancholy. This time of year is a hard one for many people and many people have much more difficult circumstances to over come than I do. They deal with true tragedy — like I’m sure Paul’s family does this time of year. I don’t deal with tragedy. I deal with the passage of time and the losses that inevitably occur because of it. Especially if one is lucky enough, like I have been, to experience the passage of time for the past fifty-two years.

Most of the time I do not struggle with sadness and depression, but the holidays do tend to hit me a bit harder than they used to since my son is grown and moved away and my parents have passed away. Dennis and I were talking about this the other day, and I reminded him that we have to remember we are in the good years of life. We’ve lost some people in our lives, but we are together and healthy and someday, when we’re old and possibly alone because one of us has died, we’ll look back on these Christmases we grumbled about as the “good times.”

Did I mention that INFJ personality types are supposed to the perfect personality to be a counselor? I think I’m missing that aspect of the personality type. All my patients would be suicidal after a couple of sessions with me.

In spite of the parts of Christmas I don’t like, I do very much like seeing my son for the holidays and all the fun and non-social activities that go along with it. I look forward to it all year and I cherish the memories during the following one. That’s the part of Christmas to hang on to.

Tonight is the Winter Solstice. I am a fan of the solstices, winter and summer. It’s a time when I look back on the 6 months from the last one and take measure of where I’m at. Yay or Nay? Yay means things are as good or better than they were six months ago. Nay means they’re worse.

This year’s Winter Solstice? A residing Yay. 2018 is one of the good years.

5:10 PM


The Boss

Friday, May 25th 1:52 PM

It’s an odd thing to watch the obituary column in the newspaper waiting for a name to appear. But that’s what I’ve been doing for several years now.

I was a few days behind on my newspaper reading so this morning I took an hour out and read my back issues.

It was there.

The name I’ve been watching for, but didn’t want to see, was in the Wednesday edition of our local newspaper.

It wasn’t a surprise, of course. This man was 93 years old and had been in failing health for several years. I last saw him six years ago before he entered Assisted Living.

Dennis asked if I wanted to attend his funeral. It’s today. I thought about it briefly and decided I did not for many reasons. That does not mean I am not mourning his loss or remembering the impact he had on my life.

So who was this person; who was he to me? An interesting question that’s surprisingly hard to answer.

He was originally my mom’s boss back in the early sixties. He started a custom home building business and my mom was his secretary. When I was born in 1966, he let her bring me to the office until I was old enough to walk and start making trouble. Then his wife took care of me while my mom worked. I grew up with his children until I was five and they were the closest thing to siblings that I had.

Eventually, in the late sixties my father went to work for him as well. My parents went to Hawaii with him and his wife in the early seventies. We went to their house for dinners. I remember him making grasshopper drinks that I wanted to try but wasn’t allowed since I was only seven or eight at the time.

All through grade school, whenever I was sick my mom would bring me into the office. I’d lay on the couch in the back room and read.

I loved the office. Sometimes I got to go there in summers, too, when I wasn’t sick. I remember playing on the typewriter, the smell of the mimeograph machine and how the papers came out slightly damp. I played with the building contracts that crinkled with carbon paper and smelled inky. I sat at my mom’s desk pretending to answer the phones while his loud booming voice echoed out from his office.

At lunch time, my mom would set out sandwich makings on the table in the back room. The three of us would sit down together and eat. Sometimes the three of us went out to McDonalds. That was a treat.

I worked at the office on and off during high school and college. I suspect he wanted to give me a job and income more than he needed the office help.  I think I learned more about how to succeed in the work world there than I did in college.

My birthday is one day after his wife’s was. My parents were celebrating his wife’s birthday when my mom went into labor with me. I still have several birthday cards that he gave me in which he signed them simply, The Boss.

While he was, of course, the boss, he was so much more. I liked that he chose to sign my birthday cards that way, though. It signified that they were just from him, not from him and his family.

I have many fond memories of The Boss. He drove a big, black Cadillac and I loved riding in it. It was like floating on a cloud. It was the first car that I ever saw that had a climate control thermostat setting. He always wore a gold ring with a black onyx top that had a diamond chip set in it. It clanged the table sometimes when he moved his hand. He taught me how to play cribbage and the strategy of the game at his house one cold night in October of my freshman year of college.

Then something happened between the families – his and mine. To this day, I’m not sure what. I know what my mom told me happened. Maybe that’s all there is to it. Maybe not. In any case, the ties were severed between the Boss’ wife and my parents.

My mom and I still worked for The Boss and there was no animosity between him and my mom or me. My dad hadn’t worked at the office for several years already by then, but there was no animosity between him and The Boss either.

Around that time, one of The Bosses’ sons came to work at the office, too. He was always my favorite of The Bosses’ kids. I had a crush on him when I was little. Our lunches in the office expanded to four. The rift between The Bosses’ wife and my parents was never discussed.

When my son was born, my mom and I split the full-time job at the office. One of us would work at the office and the other would take care of my son. I have fond memories of those days at the office.

Prior to that time, my time with Boss was always shared with my mom. Splitting the shift meant more one on one time with him. It was a turbulent time in my first marriage fraught with a lot of problems with my in-laws. The Boss listened to me and helped me through it. I could talk more easily with him than with my own father.

The Boss was an excellent wood craftsman. He got a wood craft magazine delivered to the office and I would look through it and point out items I’d like. I still have an expertly crafted CD carousel, high chair and cradle that he made for me. In my back yard stands a bird house he made me for my new house in 2004. It’s not just a random bird house, he designed it to look like the one room school-house he attended as a child in northern Wisconsin.

Ray's Bird House

The one-room schoolhouse The Boss made for me.

The Boss came from very humble beginnings and that he came to own his own company is a testimony to his character. No matter how successful his company was, the worry that he would someday have to go without again never fully left him.

When he was 18, The Boss was badly injured in a work accident and was laid up for nine months. The injury was so severe that he was classified 4F during WWII, something he was very ashamed of at the time. I remember discussing how that injury could have saved his life during one of our lunches. Born in 1925, The Boss would have been one of the first round of Americans to enter the war.

Eventually, my mom retired and I took the job full-time while she took care of my son. The Boss didn’t do anything to acknowledge her 30+ years of working for him on her last day. I know she was very hurt by this. I think The Boss just didn’t know what to do and he was upset that she’d changed their plan of retiring at the same time some day.

I worked full-time for a while at the office, but it wasn’t the same place anymore. The Boss was stepping back, working less days and his son was taking over the business. One day, when The Boss was out of the office, I got into a fight with his son and I quit on the spot. It’s a decision I still regret to this day. Not because I left the job, it was time for me to do that. Because I added to the rift which was already there with The Bosses’ family.

I have never repaired my relationship with the The Bosses’ son. I saw him at the grocery store about ten years ago and I was going to apologize to him but he turned away and made believe he didn’t see me.

What I didn’t consider when I quit (actually, I didn’t consider a lot of things) but the main one was that I would no longer see The Boss. I found that I missed him and our talks. If he was angry about my leaving abruptly he never said so. I did see him occasionally at my parent’s house and he stopped by my house now and then. It was never the same, though.

And so today was the day I’ve been expecting. I learned of The Bosses’ death by reading his obituary in the paper. It was short and it gave some genealogical information on his children and his brothers and sisters. That was it.

I know it’s just an obituary, and that’s what obituaries say, but it struck me as so lacking in the depth and feeling of what this man accomplished and how many lives he touched through his business and his personal life.

So I come back to the question, who was he to me? He was someone very important in my life. He was someone who cared about me and who went out his way for me and took care of me, in his own way.

He was The Boss.

2:57 PM





Veg Day

Tuesday May 15, 2018 2:17 pm (To be posted on Wednesday, May 16)

It occurred to me that when I post these blogs about snap shots of memories I will likely be writing them about something that happened the day before. Or writing them the day of, but posting them the day after because I already posted once for the day. Did that make sense? Anyway, I will now list the actual day and time that the piece was written along with the day it will be published.

Today’s snapshot is an easy one. And rather than being a specific moment, it’s the entire day. An unexpected, unplanned day of freedom and creativity.

Although I don’t presently have a job, I do keep a schedule to my days. I’m that kind of a person where I like to have a daily goal that I work toward before I have “free” time. Sometimes the goal is just to finish a load a laundry, other times it’s a whole list of chores and errands I feel need to be done. Today was supposed to be one of those days. The laundry-list type of day, complete with laundry and errands and my most hated task of all – dog food prep.

My mom’s dog, Charlie, has special dietary needs. Many special dietary needs. He’s allergic to chicken and turkey, has mixed reactions to beef and can’t tolerate much wheat at all. This means no store-bought dog food works. My mom devised a recipe that he tolerated well, made of ground lamb, mashed canned green beans and carrots and smashed baked sweet potato. She cooked two pounds of meat for him for about two weeks worth of meals. She didn’t like doing it either.

charlie by addy

Charlie. He’s a pretty happy guy these days. 

Since coming to live with us, Charlie has more than doubled his food intake. I think it’s all the exercise he gets playing with Sammy and the walks. He used to pick at his food and he now steadily eats (I don’t think he’ll ever be a gobbler, like Sammy). In any case, that amounts to a minimum of four pounds of ground lamb (or ground pork – we’ve branched out), four cans of vegetables and two sweet potatoes a week just to cover his day to day needs without having any extra saved up in the freezer.

It took a lot of time to cook enough food for him every week so as the months went by, I devised easier ways of quickly prepping his food. One of those way is to prepare a large volume of what I call Veg – the mashed canned veggies and sweet potatoes. I make ten packages at once (that’s 20 cans of vegetables and 5 super huge baked sweet potatoes) and freeze them in individual packages. It’s much easier to only haul out the food processor to grind the canned veggies once a month than several times a week. Then throughout the month, I can pull out two pounds of frozen meat, fry it and add the add the defrosted veg. Takes all of 20 minutes. Much less painful than prior dog food cooking sessions.

However, this means that once a month Veg must be prepared all at once and I hate – make that HATE – prepping Veg. It’s messy. There are bits of carrot and green bean on every towel and in the crannies of my counter top, no matter how much I clean up. It’s also time consuming. Twenty cans of carrots and green beans have to opened, drained, rinsed with water, drained again and then pulverized in batches of two cans each in my food processor. Even with microwaving the sweet potatoes, Veg still takes me at least 2.5 hours to prep and clean up. There is no way to fill a freezer bag with Veg and seal it without Veg creeping out and getting all over my hands and the counter. Every dish rag and towel I use during this chore has to be washed after Veg is prepped. Did I mention it’s messy?

frozen veg

Veg in it’s frozen state

Veg with meat

Veg being cooked with meat.

Today was supposed to be a Veg prep day. And a laundry day. And an errand day to run to the store to get more ground lamb so I could make another batch of dog food tomorrow. Not a day I was looking forward to.

However, when my alarm went off this morning at 7:15, Frankie, one of our cats, was snuggled next to me purring. This is a rare event not to taken likely. Our cats are playful, but there’s not much cuddling allowed so I felt I had to take advantage of the opportunity and stay in bed and soak up all the cat love I could until Frankie left on his own. Of course, I fell back asleep and didn’t get up until 9. Already behind schedule.


Who could say no to this guy? Not me!

Then I opened the blinds and discovered it was a marvelous, sunny, warm with a nice cool breeze sort of morning. The Orioles were singing on the deck and the spring peepers were chirping in the swamp. This kind of a day cannot be taken for granted in Wisconsin where it feels like it’s winter for 8 months year. I felt the same way about the gorgeous morning as I did about the affectionate cat. It was a rare gift not to be wasted.


This is a picture from last year taken on our deck. The Orioles love the grape jelly.

So no Veg prep happened today. Most of the chores have been deferred until later in the week (although I did manage to do a couple loads of laundry today). I am enjoying sitting outside writing which is exactly what I want to be doing now. It’s a true gift and a blessing to able to do exactly what you want, when you want, and I’m extremely grateful to have it.

This kind of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of day reminds me of when I did work. Whenever there was one of the first really nice spring days like this one, I would use a vacation day and drive to Devil’s Lake State Park by myself to soak in the wonderful weather, the gorgeous scenery (which is especially pretty at Devil’s Lake during spring when the dark green of the pines contrasts with the pale spring green of the new shoots), and to just hang out and veg with myself. My way of re-calibrating my brain cells after shaking off the doldrums of winter. I’d always bring a notebook and pencil and get some writing done, too.

So that’s what today turned out to be. My re-calibration day. It’s still a Veg day, but a different kind of veg than I expected. I like this kind much better.

devil's lake

Devil’s Lake last fall. It’s even prettier in the spring.

side yard pic

This is the view I enjoyed for most of the day. I opted to stay inside the fence instead of going on the deck so the dogs could hang with me.

May 15, 2018 2:44 pm

A Snap Shot of Life

May 15, 2018 10:41 am
Last week, I received my notification from Word Press that my blog, One and Done, would renew for another year in June. I was surprised to receive it. It doesn’t seem like a year has gone by already. A lot has happened since then. A lot hasn’t happened since then. A lot of writing that is.

I started One and Done committing to write an hour a day as way to get back into the flow of writing with the intent to finish the rough draft of a book I’ve been working on forever. It was my way to get the creative juices flowing again if you’ll pardon the cliché’. And that did happen for awhile. A few weeks of steady writing. Then a few months of sporadic writing. And lots of months of silence.

And now this. The email reminder. The line in the sand moment, so to speak. Do I renew for another year and invest $38.95 in a promise which didn’t turn out to be as much of a promise as a wish the last time I made it? Or do I cancel it and use the $38.95 to take my husband out to dinner? Admit defeat that writing one hour a day is too daunting of a task?

Admittedly, a life-changing event happened early on in my endeavor that I hadn’t anticipated when I started One and Done and it derailed me. The event caused my world to shift in a way that will never be righted. For a long time, sorting out the event and what my new life looked like seemed to be all I wanted to write about (I’ve got many, many composed entries that I never committed to paper swirling around in my brain from the past year). But I didn’t want this blog to sad and dedicated to loss. I didn’t have a specific theme when I started it (which is a problem), but I knew and I still believe, it’s not meant to be about living in the past. It’s about now. Being present and creative for one hour a day. Can I do that? Do I still want to?

Do I or don’t I hit the renew button? As of last week Tuesday, I decided I don’t. I hit the cancel button and admitted defeat. Not a big deal, right? I’m sure there are more people who give up on blogs than ones who actually stick to them. Not doing a blog doesn’t mean I still can’t write.

Even though I cancelled the blog, I didn’t stop thinking about it. Which I was doing last weekend when I was finally able to bring myself to go through the boxes of old photo’s from my mother’s house. They’ve been sitting in my sewing room in the rec room of the basement in a storage cabinet that I purchased for the purpose of hanging on to the items from my parent’s house that I wanted to keep. They were the last bit of her personal items that I haven’t gone through yet. Probably not the best time timing to do this task – right before my first Mother’s Day without my mother, but I felt like it was the right time.

It wasn’t as hard to do as I anticipated, and I actually enjoyed the memories some of the old snapshots brought back. Some of the people in the pictures I didn’t know, but I wish I did. I wish my mom had jotted just a name on the back of them so I could tie their faces back to an old story or even the family tree I’ve been working on in

Which gave me an idea. An idea for a theme for my blog. What if I write about one moment that is worth remembering each day? Some moments may be funny, happy, or sad. But they will be my written snapshot of life. As the days race by and meld into years, it would be nice to have a way to go back and remember the ordinary happenstances that make up a life. One day and one hour at a time.

After ruminating on the idea for a few days, this morning I logged into Word Press and clicked the Renew button. I committed the $38.95 for another year. And I’m committing to do better with my posting, too, with a few changes.

While I would like to commit an hour a day to One and Done, realistically, that’s not going to happen for a variety of reasons. Some days, especially weekends, are busy because it’s the time Dennis and I get to spend together the most. Other days are still hard for me with my mom being gone, and I won’t have it in me to write. Excuses? Maybe. But allowing that they’re likely to happen will make it more likely for me to meet my goal.

So I’m changing up the rules a bit. This year, my goal is to post three to four times a week. Maybe more, if I’m on a roll, but not less. I will still keep the one hour format. Once my hour is up, I’m done. I try to stop writing five minutes before the hour so I can spell check, but if I write too long, I hope you’ll forgive the occasional error.

I’m going to change up the name slightly, too. When I started the blog, I named it One and Done with the tagline “Learning to let go one hour at a time”. My intent when I wrote it was referring to letting go of constant revision thus the rule of writing and publishing a post in one hour. However, the tagline proved to be very ironic when my mom died several weeks after I started the blog. Now when I read it, it no longer has the original meaning to me anymore, so the tagline has to go.

The new name of my blog is One and Done 2.0 – A Snapshot of Life. The tagline is now, “Capturing life, one hour at a time”. I’ll hope you’ll join me in my journey as I create the 2018 memory album of our life.
May 15, 2018 11:35 am
5 16 18
My little buddies hanging out with me while I write.

Adult Activities

10:37 am 7/28/2017

This morning I was a grown up. Of course, at the age of 50, I’ve been a grown up for quite some time. But this morning I did very grown up things. Adult things. And not in the good “adult” way, either.

I made many phone calls. I called financial institutions. I called a real estate agent. I even called the government’s Social Security office.  It’s now official with all the entities that matter: My mom is dead.

I’ve been putting off doing these calls, and with good reason. There’s just something about saying “My mother passed away” a half a dozen times, to a half a dozen strangers, that really brings it all home. I only cried a little bit on the last one, with the real estate agent. She was too nice. I do better with the impersonal voices.

A few minutes after the calls were done, the funeral director who screwed up my mother’s birthdate in all the obituaries called me. His timing was perfect. I was too bummed out to yell at him. And besides, he’s making it right. New obits will run in the Freeman today and the Journal on Sunday with the correct dates. Grown ups forgive mistakes because they know we all make them.

I once shipped an entire semi trailer of plastic goods to a tiny one-man office in central Pennsylvania, a good 3 hours from the larger location it was supposed to ship to. (There was only one address in my Rolodex. I was new to the job and I didn’t realize there were two locations). I bet the one guy at the office and the truck driver weren’t thrilled with me. I know my boss sure wasn’t. But mistakes happen. We all make them, even when we have the best intentions.

My mom made mistakes in raising me, but I still loved and miss her. I made mistakes as her daughter, too, but I know she loved me. I guess that’s what family is. We make mistakes but still love each other in spite of them.

For the most part, being an adult is better than being a kid. I like being in control of my own life, even if it does come with responsibilities. I’ve never been one to yearn for the carefree days of my childhood. Besides, childhood’s aren’t really carefree when you’re in them. I had worries as a kid, they just weren’t adult worries. They were kid worries. A worry is a worry, though, and they seemed just and important then as the adult ones do now.

Today is one day, though, that I don’t like being an adult. I didn’t like making those calls or saying those words. This afternoon, I have to pick up my mother’s remains and the death certificates from the funeral home. I won’t like that either.

I think tonight calls for some adult beverages. I like those. And then I’ll move forward, into tomorrow, where maybe I’ll like being an adult a little bit better than I did today.

11:08 am 7/18/2017