You need a designated sex diary, naked photos, equipment, and porn discarder

Time to start Marie Kondo’ing your house. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it so your children aren’t stuck with it

One of the many many items that had to find a new home after Mr T’s parents died. Hint: That home was not with us.

Now that we can exhale, let’s talk about another very important topic: the naked pictures you have of yourself that you don’t want your kids to see.

Or, even if you’re OK with your kids seeing them, let me assure you, your children do not want to see them. NOBODY WANTS TO SEE NAKED PHOTOS OF THEIR PARENTS.

Now, advice about naked photos may be becoming less and less relevant as this sort of thing becomes digital, but there are other categories of Things Your Kids Do Not Want To See that cannot be digitized, like your – um – equipment.

Don’t tell me what you have. I don’t want to know.

But you need to have a plan.

What am I even talking about? you ask.

Mr T and I attended a brunch for our college class reunion last Saturday.

Yeah, it was on zoom.

Because covid has been horribly mishandled in this country because of that man but he’s almost GONE so maybe next year, we’ll actually be able to go to Houston and see our friends in person. Inshallah.

Anyhow, one of our friends joked that she was going to let her kids clean out her house when she died.

She had a good point – she said, “I want to enjoy all my possessions until my last day on earth.”

That’s fair.

She also said, “Plus this is what they can do to earn their inheritance.”

Also fair. Ish.

I am a bit – what’s the proper word? – bitter? jaded? still furious with the heat of a thousand white suns? so angry I would dig up their bodies just to spit on them? – about how Mr T’s parents left things.

They died within two months of each other.

For the many years preceding their deaths, Mr T asked them to clean out their house.

Our class reunion friend has a lot of stuff in her house, but she’s not a hoarder: she’s a baker.

Mr T’s parents were one step under hoarders.

That is, when they moved from Pittsburgh to Florida, they took their winter clothes with them.

Narrator: You don’t need winter clothes in Florida.

And a bag full of newspapers. A brown paper bag, full of just regular old recycling. I know, because that bag sat on the floor of the guest room closet, under a bunch of the winter clothes that went unworn because you don’t need upper Midwest winter clothes in Florida.

And a whole lot of other stuff. Their house was full. I wasn’t even allowed in the other bedroom. Mr T said his mom was ashamed of it. When I saw it after they died, I understood her shame. I, too, would have been mortified to have a room like that, but I also would have been ashamed of the rest of the house.

(I blame Mr T’s dad for everything, though. He was not a kind person.)

Anyhow, Mr T tried to convince his parents to get rid of stuff, not for his sake but for theirs. It’s not pleasant to live in a crowded, messy house.

They told him that they had had to clean out their parents’ houses and he would have to do it for them.

Narrator: Parents often wish to keep their children from suffering the way they had to suffer. People who grew up hungry usually don’t intentionally starve their own children. This is how healthy parents react – they want their children to have a better life than they did.

So. They died. And, as I had noted in 2005 when I read their will, Mr T was the executor.

And he was disinherited.


That is correct.

They made him the executor and they disinherited him.

They gave all the money to the grandkids, putting it in a trust and making Mr T the trustee.





And they specified that he could not be paid for being trustee. (Which, I can tell you, is a thankless pain in the neck job that requires weird tax filings and a ton of work.)

Let me be clear: I don’t care that Mr T was disinherited. People get to do what they want with their money. It’s theirs. Expecting to inherit from your parents is kind of dumb, I think. I want my mom to spend every penny she has, dying with exactly one cent to her name. I don’t want her to scrimp and worry about leaving an inheritance for my siblings and me. I want her to enjoy her money.

And my nieces and nephews are lovely and I am glad they have this inheritance to help them as they get started with their adult lives. I would have loved to be able to pay my student loans with something other than my meager income ($20K salary, $13K in student loans).

What I care about is they disinherited him and still stuck him with all the work.

He had to clean out all the crap in the house. He couldn’t just throw old papers away because current financial information was mixed in with eight years’ worth of EOBs from Medicare. He couldn’t find the title for the car. (Finally found it in a manila envelope on the top shelf of the closet in the office.) He didn’t know if they had a safe deposit box or not – he found a list called “Demise Prep” that included “safe deposit box” on it, but no further information.

It was a mess.

And that wasn’t even the worst part.

The TL;DR: He found their sex toys and their naked photos of themselves with those toys and his dad’s sex diary and all their porn

I don’t care what you do in your bedroom. Or kitchen. Or garage. Or wherever.

I don’t care what consenting grown folks do.

That’s their business.

But nobody nobody nobody

Narrator: NOBODY

Nobody wants to see photos of their parents naked with – well, equipment.


And yet that’s what Mr T found.

He had to touch – the equipment.

He had to shred the sex diary, page by page.

He had to shred the photos.

At least with the sex diary, he didn’t have to read what was on the pages.

Narrator: He accidentally read one page where his father wrote about having sex on his sister’s waterbed. It’s difficult to shred stuff with your eyes closed.

He had to drive around town looking for a dumpster for the porn.

(We later learned there is a market for vintage porn, so perhaps he should have tried to sell it – but – ick.)

He did not enjoy any of this.


Do not let this happen to your children. Even if you leave all the winter clothes and the old newspapers and the rusted tools and the rinsed takeout coffee cups and 12 years’ worth of magazines and the junk mail for your kids to clean, don’t leave them your naked photos.

You need to designate a trusted friend to be the porn sweeper for you after your death. Put all this stuff in a box somewhere – it can be easy for you to get when you want it – and tell your friend where it is.

The second you are dead, your friend can go to your house (yes, you have to give her a key so go to the hardware store today to have copies made) and grab the box and take it to the dumpster behind Home Depot and toss it in without opening it.

Narrator: A good friend will help you move. A great friend will help you move the body. And an incredible friend will toss your porn when you die.

Do it today. Make your porn plan today. Or else your children might never forgive you.

When they torture you on the bus

You say, “entertainment.”

I say, “Why can’t we just have silence?”

Not the beach in question. Not Mexico.

I have been cleaning out old stuff – you know – covid cleaning – and found a bunch of old Christmas letters. This is from my 2003 Christmas letter, before I met Mr T.

BTW, I have changed my opinion on KC and the Sunshine Band. People can grow.

Trouble in Paradise

“I still can’t talk about it without shaking,” says Texan as she sits in the swing on her front porch, overlooking a calm summer morning scene of butterflies and hummingbirds flitting through her award-winning garden. By now, the whole world knows how she and her boyfriend, Harpo, were tortured during their vacation to Cancún. Wrapped in a thick terrycloth robe, with her damp hair combed back and no makeup, she looks dewy and fresh, despite the trauma.

“The abuse was all psychological,” she explains. “The scars are here” –  and she points to her heart and to her head.

 During their bus ride from Cancún to Tulúm, she and Harpo were subject to the most excruciating torture: they were forced to watch three Adam Sandler movies.

“We still don’t know why they did it,” she says. “We don’t know what they wanted or why they chose us. All we wanted was a relaxing vacation. Cancún seemed like a good idea. Harpo was able to get us a great deal with a charter company he works with. We even got to stay in one of those swanky hotels right on the beach with our own bathroom and everything. We were having fun sitting on the beach, eating migas and batidos de guayaba, and exploring the Cancún Wal*Mart. Then we decided to take the bus to Tulúm.”

The Torture Starts

She pauses and takes a deep breath.

“And that’s when things started to go bad.”

Texan and Harpo got on the bus, thinking they would watch the scenery or nap on the three-hour ride to Tulúm. But as soon as the bus pulled out of the station, the bus driver started a video.

“It was ‘Mr. Deeds,’” she says flatly, clearly struggling to control her emotions. “Neither of us had ever seen an Adam Sandler movie, so at first, we didn’t know what was happening. But by the middle of the movie, we realized we were being tortured. We thought we could endure it, but as soon as ‘Mr. Deeds’ was over, the driver started ‘Little Nicky.’ Harpo kept telling me to be strong, to hang on, but it was horrible, just horrible. All we wanted to do was to escape, but there was nowhere to go.”

Temporary Relief

They finally arrived in Tulúm and were able to get off the bus. For the return trip, Texan tried to bribe the driver.

“I thought that if I bought him some ice cream, he might spare us on the return trip. I’ve done a lot of research on torture survivors and have learned that that sort of bargaining is a very common occurrence in these situations. I believe they call it the ‘Stockholm Syndrome.’”

She takes a sip of diet Coke to calm herself, then continues.

“But it didn’t work. As soon as we were underway, he started ‘Punch Drunk Love.’ That was the worst one. My friend Leigh actually liked that movie, but I have come to realize that she and I have – how do I say this? – different tastes. I mean, I love her and all, but if she recommends a movie to me now, I don’t go.”

Finally Safe

“We finally got back to Cancún. We were both exhausted and frightened when the bus pulled into the station. But we mustered our strength and ran off the bus as soon as it stopped. We were afraid they would try to keep us there and do even worse things to us, like make us watch Demi Moore movies.”

“I have since learned that Mexico is a signatory to the Geneva Convention, which prohibits forcing people to watch anything with Demi Moore in it. I guess the Mexicans didn’t want to be tried for war crimes.”

Investigation Continues

Authorities are still investigating what the US Embassy calls the “heinous” treatment of Texan and Harpo. The Mexican government has apologized for the incident, but notes that the movies were made in the US.

Such treatment of tourists is not unusual in Latin America. In Chile, KC and the Sunshine Band is on the heavy rotation list of every radio station. In Argentina, they show Steven Segal movies on the inter-city buses. Investigators are not sure of the extent of the problem because it so often goes unreported because of shame and horror on the part of the victims.

“I’m just glad to be home, where I can walk out of a movie theater any time I want,” Texan says. “I’m never leaving this country again.”

If you’re white, you’re complicit. Period. And you have a moral obligation to fix it.

“Welcome to the knowledge,” said my friend John, after I learned that the man who endowed my university was a slaver – that is, when I learned that I personally and directly benefitted from slavery

From The Legacy Museum and “The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which opened to the public on April 26, 2018, is the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.”

What I used to think

  • My family is from northern Wisconsin, where they didn’t have slaves, so I had not benefitted from slavery so therefore it had nothing to do with me. (I was wrong.)
  • White privilege didn’t apply to me because I have never gotten a job or gotten into a school because of connections. (I was wrong.)
  • Our country is a country of opportunity for everyone. All you have to do is study and work hard. (I was wrong.)
  • Just don’t sass the police and you’ll be fine. (I was wrong.)
  • There is no such thing as systemic racism. Our country is just. (I was wrong.)

A Little League baseball team in Youngstown, Ohio, won the city championship. The coaches, unthinkingly, decided to celebrate with a team picnic at a municipal pool. When the team arrived at the gate, a lifeguard stopped one of the Little League players from entering. It was Al Bright, the only black player on the team. His parents had not been able to attend the picnic, and the coaches and some of the other parents tried to persuade the pool officials to let the little boy in, to no avail. The only thing the lifeguards were willing to do was to let them set a blanket for him outside the fence and let people bring him food. He was given little choice and had to watch his teammates splash in the water and chase each other on the pool deck while he sat alone on the outside.

“From time to time, one or another of the players or adults came out and sat with him….”

It took an hour or so for a team official to finally convince the lifeguards “that they should at least allow the child into the pool for a few minutes.” The supervisor agreed to let the Little Leaguer in, but only if everyone else got out of the water, and only if Al followed the rules they set for him.

First, everyone–meaning his teammates, the parents, all the white people–had to get out of the water. Once everyone cleared out, “Al was led to the pool and placed in a small rubber raft,” Watkins wrote. A lifeguard got into the water and pushed the raft with Al in it for a single turn around the pool, as a hundred or so teammates, coaches, parents and onlookers watched from the sidelines.

After the “agonizing few minutes” that it took to complete the circle, Al was then “escorted to his assigned spot” on the other side of the fence. During his short time in the raft, as it glided on the surface, the lifeguard warned him over and over again of one important thing. “Just don’t touch the water,” the lifeguard said as he pushed the rubber float. “Whatever you do, don’t touch the water.”

Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson

What I have learned

  • George Floyd. Jay Anderson. Elijah McClain. Alvin Cole. Philando Castile. Ahmaud Arbery. Dontre Hamilton. Tamir Rice. Rayshard Brooks. Sandra Bland. Freddie Gray. Eric Garner. And the list goes on and on and on.
  • Redlining
  • Sundown towns
  • Black vets couldn’t get the GI Bill
  • Unions would not admit Black people
  • My own city – my own house – had restrictive covenants. That is, it used to be illegal for me to sell my house to a Black person. (Or a Jewish one.)
  • The FHA would not lend to Black people: “He notes that the Federal Housing Administration, which was established in 1934, furthered the segregation efforts by refusing to insure mortgages in and near African-American neighborhoods — a policy known as “redlining.” At the same time, the FHA was subsidizing builders who were mass-producing entire subdivisions for whites — with the requirement that none of the homes be sold to African-Americans.”
  • Black women have a higher rate of maternal mortality than white women, even when you hold all other factors, like education, income, and general health, constant.
  • “Black suspects are more than twice as likely to be killed by police than are persons of other racial or ethnic groups; even when there are no other obvious circumstances during the encounter that would make the use of deadly force reasonable.” (Columbia Law School)
  • “Police in the United States kill far more people than do police in other advanced industrial democracies….Black women and men and American Indian and Alaska Native women and men are significantly more likely than white women and men to be killed by police. Latino men are also more likely to be killed by police than are white men.” (National Academy of Science)
  • Mass murder and destruction of Black properties and neighborhoods.
  • Lynching was not just an isolated event in our history that happened to handful of people. (Even that would be bad.) Thousands – THOUSANDS – of Black people were tortured and murdered by crowds of people who took picnics to watch.

My great-great grandfather Anthony P. Crawford was born in January, 1865 and owned by Ben and Rebecca Crawford in Abbeville, South Carolina.

My great-great grandfather Anthony P. Crawford was born in January, 1865 and owned by Ben and Rebecca Crawford in Abbeville, South Carolina.

He walked 14 miles roundtrip to and from school each day and proved to be quite a scholar. When Anthony finished school he was a laborer for Ben Crawford until Thomas Crawford, Anthony’s father, died in 1893 and deeded some land to Anthony, who was the only one of nine siblings able to sign his own name.

Anthony Crawford was lynched in 1916 in Abbeville, SC by a crowd estimated to be between 200 and 400 blood-thirsty white people. His crime you might ask? Cursing a white man for offering him a low price for the cotton seed he was trying to sell and being too rich for a Negro.

His ordeal lasted all day. His body was beaten and dragged through town to show other Negroes what would happen to them if they got “insolent.” Finally, he was taken to the county fair grounds and strung up to a tree and riddled with bullets. Although we have heard his body was thrown on someone’s lawn, we have yet to locate his grave.

The family was ordered to vacate their land, wind up business and get out of town. They did just that.

My great-great grandfather stated early in life, “The day a white man hits me is the day I die.” And he did. But he left an example of hard work and determination.

He still lives in all of us. Many of us still attend AME Churches and we have been told that we have “that arrogant Crawford way.” But we know that those murderers were NOT successful in breaking up the Crawfords. We still stand today proud and close and live our lives as he would’ve wanted us to. We will not stop looking for each other until the last Crawford is accounted for, and we can stand on his land and look toward heaven and pray that he knows we are together again.

American Black Holocaust Museum

What I want

I want our country to live up to its promise.

I want justice and fairness for everyone.

What I will do

Even though it scares me, I will march in protests.

It scares me because WE BLOCK TRAFFIC.


But – what do I, a middle-class white woman, really have to fear? That the police tell me to get out of the street? That I might be tear gassed? That I might be arrested?

I’m white.

They’re not going to kill me.

I need to use my power to help others.

Even though it scares me, I will speak up when I see injustice.

What’s the worst that can happen to me? That a white guy I don’t even know gets mad at me? What’s he going to do? Hit me?

Not going to happen.

And this doesn’t scare me at all – I will vote vote vote for candidates who support racial justice and equity and are against the death penalty and want to end police brutality and who want to invest in schools and who believe in voting rights.

What will you do?

I am not brave

I just happen to think the truth is obvious

This is what campaigning looks like when your country is so poor that most people can’t read.

I am writing this on Monday, Nov 2, the day before the election.

I hope that when you read this, we are all happy.

I hope that when you read this, we are celebrating.

I hope that when you read this, we are on the road to managing covid, addressing police brutality, and, in general, having decent leadership and being a decent, compassionate nation that is a beacon to the rest of the world again.

I hope we are truly making America great again.

Friends on facebook have told me they think I am brave for supporting Biden and being open about my absolute disgust of Donald Trump. Because they own small businesses, they are not in a position to speak out, they say. But they admire my courage.

I am not brave.

I am not courageous.

I am a white woman born in the US, which means I am in the class of the luckiest women on earth.

Brave is marching in a BLM protest when you know there will be tear gas and you might be arrested.

Brave is protesting the Belarusian election, where you risk being shot.

Brave is standing in front of the tanks in Tiananmen Square, knowing you will probably be killed by your own government.

Brave is even saying you think Trump is awful on a blog where you reveal your identity instead of writing anonymously, as I do here.

There is nothing brave about saying on facebook, with your settings at “friends only” that you think the I hope soon to be former president of the US is a horrible human being and the worst president ever, especially if most of your friends and relatives agree with you.

But if that horrible man wins, I will have to be brave. I hope I have what it takes.

Stop reading this and go volunteer to help get that man out of office

I say it with a smile – but we have only a few days to keep our country from sliding into (more) disaster

A water seller in Morocco. Nothing to do with anything except with Biden as president, I am confident we will soon return to a time when we can travel. Or you know – go to the movies.

I can’t write about politics right now – I am so terrified that that horrible man will win. And if there are any Trump supporters reading this – I would have thought I would have lost you long ago. But yeah – Orange Man Bad because Orange Man IS Bad.

So I will write about some non-political stuff and then you can volunteer.

Here are some things you can do:

Send texts to people who have not voted yet. You can do it from your computer and don’t even have to talk to anyone.

If you don’t mind talking to people you don’t know, call people who have not voted yet.

Send $$$ to Milwaukee to help get voters to the polls. City of MKE voters tend to vote in person. The lines will be long, although not as bad as in April. Did you know Wisconsin is a swing state? And city of MKE sat out the election in 2016? City of MKE went for Obama before but didn’t vote last time. We need these voters. (I will be working the polls.)

OK. Some non-political talk now.

I had two job interviews recently.

The first one was via zoom.

I hate zoom. Does anyone else hate zoom? I do not need to see a person to talk to her. People have been having phone conversations (which I also do not like) for decades and it worked just fine. Whose stupid idea was it to force us to direct super high-resolution cameras to our faces from below? I don’t take selfies. I don’t let other people take photos of me. I am not interested in looking in the mirror.

But in a job interview, the supplicant does not get to call the shots.

So I got up early so my eyes would unpuff before the call, took a shower, dried my hair with a hairdryer (can’t remember the last time I’ve done that), and then, because my hair looks awful because Mr T cut it for me and he had never cut hair before but he did the best he could so I’m not mad but oh man is it ugly, I got out the straightening iron, WHICH ONLY MADE THINGS WORSE.

And I couldn’t fix it.

So strike one – Bad Hair.

Then I had to put on clothes that were

  1. Not pajamas
  2. Not my leopard-print fluffy robe
  3. Not gym clothes

Which meant that I had to wear clothes I have not worn since the Before Times.

Clothes that might hurt.

I compromised and wore Regular Clothes on top and gym clothes on the bottom. I figured they wouldn’t do a pants check on me.

(Yes, there are companies that are requiring their work at home employees to wear work clothes on their whole bodies and to show themselves at the beginning of zoom meetings.)

(As soon as things are better, people will leave these companies for better jobs.)

I had the interview, forced to look at my puffy face and Bad Hair. The recruiters looked fabulous. I hope they judge me on what I said and not on how I look.

The second interview was over the phone, so I didn’t shower or get out of my PJs before the call.

And I even asked the recruiter, who is working from home, if he had changed into his daytime PJs or was still in his nighttime PJs.

It’s kind of weird asking someone you’ve never met what they’re wearing.

So I didn’t ask, “What are you wearing?”

But I did express my relief that this was not a zoom call because I didn’t want to have to show my clothes.

Neither job pays much.

It’s like I am moving backwards in time with my career – making (or having the possibility of making) less and less money with each new job.

But – health insurance.

Which would not have been such a big deal (still a medium deal) if not for the case before the SCOTUS trying to destroy the ACA.

Oh man. I’m done.


Love and death

Our last memories have been stolen from us

My dad with, I think, me and my cousin

I bet if you ask random people on the street what their greatest fear is – if you had asked even in the Before Times, many of them would say, “Dying alone. I don’t want to die alone.”

I bet most people would say also that they do not want to be sick alone. That they don’t want to be suffering alone. That they don’t want to be in the hospital alone.

And yet, that is what’s happening to so many people.

They are being forced to spend their last weeks, days, minutes alone. Separated from the people they love and the people who love them.

They are being forced to be apart in the worst time of their life.

They are forced to endure pain and fear alone, without the comfort of a hand to hold.

It didn’t have to be this way. It didn’t have to happen like this.

This beautiful twitter essay about a woman dying of cancer 20 years ago in the hospital, surrounded by the people she loves, ends with the nurse thinking now about how things have changed since that patient died:

Time passes. Twenty years. The nurse was young back then, but now she is a seasoned veteran. And now she holds a phone up, so that a family can look upon their dying loved one from afar. And she remembers sadly what it used to be like, before, where all roads meet.

Sayed Tabatabai, MD

This is how people are being cheated – being robbed – by COVID, and, by extension, this president and his administration.

Not only are more people dying than should be dying, they are dying alone.

Sick people and their families are being cheated out of precious time together. They are being cheated out of memories and hugs and goodbyes.

I still miss my dad. I now realize how shockingly young he was when he died – he was only 62, which seemed old to me at the time but is now not so far away and is just a normal age where people still do stuff.

But even in my sadness and loss, I have memories of our last days and minutes together.

I have the memory of sitting next to his bed in the hospice while he told us stories about his childhood.

I have the memory of sleeping in the chair in his room when he was first diagnosed and not getting much sleep at all because it’s almost impossible to sleep in a hospital. But he asked that I stay – he didn’t want to be alone.

I have the memory of both of my grandmothers coming to see him for the last time. Watching a mother in her 80s say goodbye to her youngest child, knowing she will bury him, is not a happy memory but it is still a precious one.

I have the memory of trying to get my dad to eat while he was going through chemo, doing whatever it took to tempt his appetite, even if it meant finding the nearest Burger King to get him a milkshake that he then took two sips of before admitting that he just couldn’t eat any more.

I have the memory of trying to watch the movie “Babe” with him and my brother and my sister because we wanted him to see it because it was a good movie, right? And he tried so hard but after half an hour, asked us to turn it off. He didn’t say it out loud, but I realized he didn’t want to spend the last days of his life watching a movie.

I have the memory of sitting next to him as my mom called his friends from around the world so they could say goodbye. He laughed and his eyes sparkled and when she hung up the phone, he said, “I didn’t know there were so many people who loved me.”

I have the memory of flipping through the yearbook his students sent him. He had been their teacher for only a few months when he was diagnosed with cancer and medivac’d back to the US, but his junior high math and science students at the school on the US navy base on Sicily loved him so much that they had two bake sales to raise the money to buy and send him a yearbook. They all signed it.

I have the memory of Sister Jovita, the nun who ran the hospice where he died, telling us that he told her things he wouldn’t tell us because he didn’t think we could handle knowing how scared he was.

I have the memory of hugging him with barely a touch, as even the weight of the sheet on his body hurt him.

I have the memory of my brother crying in frustration to the doctor when my dad refused further treatment. “Can’t you make him do something?” my brother asked. The doctor shook his head and answered gently, “There is nothing we can do.”

I have the memories of my cousins and my aunts and uncles bringing us food at the hospice, making sure that we didn’t have to leave to find lunch or supper. Every day, one of them drove the 35 miles from their house to the hospital to bring us a meal.

I have the memory of the going-away party we held for my dad in his room at the hospice. My grandmothers, my aunts and uncles, and my cousins came. My dad had raved about my aunt Pat’s Old Fashioneds, so she brought an entire pitcher of them. We wondered if someone in hospice should have alcohol and then we realized that was a stupid thing to wonder about and poured him a glass. We opened a bottle of champagne and toasted him. We talked about everyone he would see in heaven, including his own father, who had died at 59, his best friend, who had died in the 1960s in a fire on his ship, and our cat, O’Malley.

I have the memory of my dad finally saying that he hoped he would just go sleep and not wake up – that he was done.

I have the memory of sitting at my dad’s side as he slipped into a non-responsive state. I asked the doctor, who would come just to hang out with my dad – the same thing happened when he was first diagnosed, as well – the hospital chaplain would come just to hang out because he liked my dad, if we shouldn’t be giving him fluids via IV. “I wouldn’t let a dog dehydrate to death,” I said. The doctor asked, “Do you think that’s what your dad would want? All fluids would do would be to delay his death.”

I have the memory of a nurse shaking me awake shortly after 6:00 a.m. My mom, my brother, my sister, and I were sleeping at the hospice in a dorm room down the hall from my dad’s room. “He’s just died,” she said. I ran to his room but I was too late. How could I have missed it? He was still warm. But he was gone.

I have these memories and they are so, so sad.

But I have them.

Nobody took them from me. Nobody prevented us from being with my dad during his illness and during his last days.

These memories make me cry.

But I have them.

In my father’s last days, I got to talk to him and touch him and pray with him and sit by his side.

This is what has been taken from us now.

This is what this horrible president and his horrible, evil, inexcusable lack of leadership has done to us.

He has not only caused people to die – more people than should be dying, but but he has also stolen from people their last memories. He is ensuring that people die alone, scared and lonely. He is turning peoples’ last days into a hell.

This did not have to happen.


I will not shut up

When you assemble peaceably and it’s a riot

Laverne was very happy to have extra attention last night from our surprise guest.

Last night, Mr T and I rioted.

Oh wait.

Let me re-state that.

We went to a peaceful protest, assembling freely as is our right.

We went to a peaceful protest that included babies, children, pets, and people using wheelchairs.

And the evening ended with Mr T and a friend (“Laura”) who was also at the protest stumbling up to our back door, trying to rub the tear gas out of their eyes.

In 2014, a Milwaukee cop shot and killed Dontre Hamilton, a man who was sleeping peacefully and legally on a park bench in the middle of the afternoon.

In 2016, a Milwaukee cop shot and killed Sylville Smith as Smith was running away. Smith had discarded his gun and was on the ground when he was shot the second time.

Body-camera video from another officer — played for the jury last week — showed that Heaggan-Brown shot a second bullet into Smith’s chest after the suspect hurled his weapon over a fence and had his hands near his head. Smith was on the ground when he received the fatal shot.


In 2016, a Milwaukee cop shot and killed Jay Anderson, who was sleeping peacefully and legally in his car at a city park. No body cam, so there is no way to judge whether the cop, who claimed that Anderson lunged for the gun he legally possessed, was telling the truth.

What are you willing to die for?

When I saw Laura at the protest, I told her that at first, I had been scared to participate in a protest. But then I thought about Laura and asked myself, “What would Laura do?”

And I knew she would stand up for what’s right.

“Ten years ago,” she answered, “we were at dinner at a friend’s house. After we ate, we played Table Topics. The question was, ‘What are you willing to die for?'”

“We all answered something about our families and our children – we would die for our families.”

“But all none of us thought about anything outside of ourselves.”

I interjected. “But ten years ago, we were not facing an existential threat to the foundations of our democracy.”

Laura nodded. “But after Dontre Hamilton was murdered, I realized that I would put my life on the line so that everyone might have the same privileges that I do.”

Jesse Jackson had come to town after the DA announced that the cop who shot and killed Dontre Hamilton would not face any charges.

Laura and her friend Meg decided to go to the rally.

“Everything was fine and then we started to march. In the street. We were hesitant about that, so we stayed near the edge of the road.”

“Then the protesters started blocking intersections.”

“Meg and I just couldn’t do that. We would jump up to the curb and wait until they started marching again.”

“At the courthouse, Jesse Jackson came out with the family. He started to lead a call and response, but I was so uncomfortable and couldn’t participate.”

“The calls were full sentences, but he would give only a few words at a time.”

“I couldn’t do it because I didn’t know what the whole sentence was. I didn’t know what I was committing to.”

“It was a total white privilege thing,” she said.

This year, the same cop who killed Jay Anderson also killed a 17 year old. Yes, Alvin Cole had a gun, but he was on the ground, subdued, surrounded by several officers. The cop shot him less than 30 seconds after arriving on the scene. From the DA’s report:

Police responded to a report of a man with a gun. Mensah arrived to see other officers and mall security running after Cole. During the pursuit, Cole pulled out a handgun from a fanny pack “and the gun fired, apparently accidentally, striking Cole in the arm,” the report said.

“Cole fell to the ground into a crawl position, where he was surrounded by several Wauwatosa police officers. Cole was commanded to drop the gun, which was still in his hand,” the report said.

“Unbeknownst to the officers (and likely Cole himself), Cole’s firearm had become inoperable because the magazine was not attached and the bullet in the chamber had been fired. Cole did not drop the weapon,” the report said.

According to Mensah, Cole pointed the weapon at him “and fearing for his personal safety, Mensah fired his gun at Cole five times, repeatedly striking Cole and causing his death. Cole still had his own firearm in his hand after being shot,” the report said. 

No other officer fired their weapon, the report said. Mensah was on scene less than 30 seconds before encountering and shooting Cole.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Protestors have been marching every night in Milwaukee since the end of May.

Every night.

They have been in my neighborhood.

The only ugly incident I know of – and this was not in the news, this is first-hand reporting – was when my neighbor across the street stood in front of the protestors as they came down our street with both hands in the hair, middle finger extended.

She also used the N-word to my neighbors up the street. Mary is white and her husband, Bob, is Black.

Our mutual neighbor does not approve.

Bob, who lives four houses away from me, wrote,

Our house was egged soon after we moved in. Standing in my front yard, I’ve been asked by “Helpersons” if I was looking for something. My family is ignored by parents we see almost daily at our kids’ schools. And I recognize the difference between genuine and forced smiles.


On Wednesday, the DA announced he would not be charging the cop who killed Alvin Cole.

On Wednesday, in the middle of the afternoon, well before 7:00, the mayor of my town announced a curfew of 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for the next several days. He also closed all city operations, including the library.

On Wednesday, the National Guard started arriving in my neighborhood, along with police officers from neighboring cities wearing tactical gear and driving in military vehicles.

On Wednesday, a crowd of protestors marched almost ten miles from downtown Milwaukee, where the DA had made his announcement, to my city.

They encountered police, who tried to stop the protestors.

The protestors were marching peacefully.

After the protestors encountered the police, a few of them, despite shouts (caught on video) of, “Don’t DO that!” from other protestors, broke windows in local businesses.

So yes charge the persons who damaged property. I do not defend lawlessness. But I do defend peaceful protest.

On Thursday night, the police arrested Alvin Cole’s mother in the church parking lot, treating her so roughly that she spent the night in the hospital.

Yesterday, Mr T asked if I would join a protest that started at 5:00 p.m. Two hours before curfew.

I did not want to.

First, I wanted to watch TV yesterday afternoon.

Second, standing at a protest seems stupid to me.

Third, I wondered where I would be able to pee easily.

I told him no.

Yesterday, Molly Beck, a reporter for the local paper, announced on twitter,

GOP lawmakers are drafting a bill that would define a riot & create a Class A misdemeanor penalty for attending or inciting a riot, and a Class I felony to “knowingly participate in a riot that results in substantial damage to the property of another person or bodily injury.”

Molly Beck

The Wisconsin legislature, of which the majority are Republicans, has not taken up any legislation since April 14.

That is, the Wisconsin legislature has not taken up any legislation (they have barely even met) in an attempt to help Wisconsin citizens with covid since April 14.

The Wisconsin Republicans have gone to court to try to block the governor’s orders about covid.

They themselves have not enacted or even proposed any covid (or other) legislation since April 14.

The hospitals in central Wisconsin are full. They are opening an overflow facility that was built on the Wisconsin State Fair grounds.

It’s already illegal to damage property or persons.

Until last week, my only experience with a curfew was when I lived in Chile, a few years after the Pinochet dictatorship ended. I heard horrible stories about the Pinochet curfew, including one about the death of my friend’s father, who had a heart attack after curfew and could not leave their home to go to the hospital. He died.

I associated curfews with repression and I especially associated police and soldiers taking up arms against their neighbors with repression.

Yes, I will, I said. Yes, I will protest.

When we got to the protest, we found babies, children, pets, and persons using wheelchairs.

We heard chants and singing.

And then we watched as Humvees with men in tactical gear and cradling machine guns arrived. And they weren’t even just from our local police department – they were from PDs in neighboring cities and counties.

We were a group of babies, children, and out of shape middle-aged people.

The fine for violating curfew is $1,000. Mr T and I decided we were willing to pay for one fine but not for two. He, along with much of the 5:00 p.m. crowd, would stay past curfew.

I saw my friend Laura. I have seen her only twice since covid time began. She, too, was planning to stay past curfew.

“[My husband] is out of town,” she said. “If I get arrested, will you feed my dog? Or make sure my neighbors who have the key feed him?”

Of course, I said.

Before curfew, the police arrested two people who were standing in a crosswalk holding a sign.

I came home and started watching twitter.

I heard helicopters and sirens.

I saw video of the police, in full riot gear, including the big plexiglass shields, kettling the protestors.

I heard the pops of items being launched. I saw that it was tear gas.

Commenters on twitter said that if people don’t want to be tear gassed, they shouldn’t violate curfew.

Unlike you smoothbrains i can choose to support neither failed ideology. We probably agree on quite a few things, but you gotta be a bitch about the small shit we don’t agree on. I’d say suck start a shotgun but you’d probably pass out if one was ten feet from you.

Twitter commenter to me

If it’s OK to tear gas people for violating curfew, is it also OK to tear gas them for not wearing a mask?

If it’s OK to kill suspects for going to the 7-11/sleeping on a park bench/sleeping in a car/passing a bad $20/being subdued on the ground after shooting yourself in the arm, is it OK to kill people for violating curfew?

Alvin Cole’s mother was protesting police brutality when she was arrested with more police brutality.

My great-uncle was a cop in Milwaukee. For a while, he was in assistant chief. After George Floyd, my dad’s cousin wrote to me,

I was highly incensed and angry about the killing of Floyd in MN. You know my dad was the assistant chief of police back in the 60’s-70’s. Before he got this promo he was the personnel director, in which he had the responsibility for hiring and firing cops. Then the government stepped in with their new laws which literally gutted the acceptability levels and significantly lowered the hiring standards. My dad told me they…abolished the psychological testing/reviews. My dad predicted the results back then: you would end up with a few crazed gun happy goons that were on a “power trip” and you could do little to prevent their hire.

The cop who killed Floyd had 18 prior writeups for use of excessive force. He should have been fired long ago.

I watched the online photos and videos of police in riot gear hemming in peaceful protestors three blocks from my house. I smelled the tear gas through my open windows. I heard the helicopters overhead.

I have to believe that most of the police and Guard were horrified to be placed in this position. I know my father, who was in the Wisconsin Guard when he was in college, would have been appalled.

I heard voices outside my house.

“It’s locked! Let us in!”

It was Mr T and Laura.

“We started running when they started tear gassing!” they gasped as they rubbed their eyes.

I ran to the bathroom and grabbed a towel and a washcloth for Laura.

Mr T was rinsing his face in the kitchen sink.

“Get a towel for Laura!” he suggested.

I looked at Laura. “It’s like he doesn’t even know me.”

I put on my mask and got a chair, some water, and some bread for Laura.

We listened to the sirens and the helicopters.

On twitter, people posted that they could taste tear gas inside their houses.

I wonder if they could taste the tear gas in the nursing home that is on the corner where the tear gas was launched.

I wonder what country I am living in.

Law enforcement personnel authorized the use of chemical (tear gas) and less lethal munitions (pepper balls and paint balls) in self-defense only as small children were present in the crowd.

Police department statement

I. Am. Speaking.

Will you shut up, man?

Remember when the king of Spain told Hugo Chavez to shut up? Good times. Dictators and bullies should always be confronted.

I don’t even know where to start.

I am done, done, done with these jerks who try to talk over us and who accuse us (women in general, not me, because I am not successful) of having professional success only because we slept with the right person.

A young man at the place I volunteer told me a few weeks ago that Kamala had clearly slept her way to the top.

I replied, “Disagree with her on policy and her record – that’s fine. But that’s bullshit that she slept her way to her success. Honestly, if it were that easy for women to sleep our way to power, don’t you think we would all be doing it?”

Another volunteer, who is another Woman of a Certain Age, chimed in. “I know I would have,” she said. “If I could be rich just by sleeping with someone? I would do it.”

A member of the Wisconsin Republican party, which has time on their hands because it’s not like the Wisconsin legislature has met in the past six months or anything, tweeted this:

“If there are any questions on how to sleep your way to the top, Kamala will have an advantage,” Best wrote. His post included a meme that said, “She will be an inspiration to young girls by showing that if you sleep with the right powerfully connected men then you too can play second fiddle to a man with dementia. It’s basically a Cinderella story.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  1. Cinderella did not sleep her way to the top. She made an awesome dress with the help of some cute rodents. I don’t think she and the prince even kiss.
  2. Let’s say Kamala (I know I should say “Harris” but Kamala is such a great name) did sleep her way to the top. I want to learn from her. Show me how to sleep with the right powerfully connected men so that I, too, can win court cases and be elected with (consults wikipedia) 3,000,689 votes.

Of course, I am assuming that everyone she slept with voted for her.

But what if she also slept with people who didn’t vote for her?

Because there were 1,416,203 votes cast for her opponent.

What if she slept with all the voters but not all of them voted for her?

How much time would it take to sleep with (3,000,689+1,416,203) = 4,416,892 people?

Leaving out the logistics of travel, etc, let’s assume 30 minutes per encounter.

That’s 2,208,446 hours, which is 92,018 days, which is 252 years.

252 years of sleeping with people to get their votes.

(That doesn’t even include the jurors on all of her trials.)

But my math might be wrong. My assumption of 30 minutes per encounter might be wrong. Please feel free to correct me.

Still, she would have been busy.

Which is why she doesn’t have time to let anyone talk over her.

Im Speaking Kamala GIF - ImSpeaking Speaking Kamala GIFs

Which is why hearing the VP trying to shut her up and hearing her response to him inspired joy in the heart of every single woman who has ever been in a meeting with men and wanted to shout, “WOULD YOU PLEASE JUST SHUT UP I AM TALKING IT’S MY TURN.”

We are so tired of being talked over. We are so tired of men interrupting us and not hearing us and saying what we just said and getting credit for it even though we are the ones who said it. We are so tired of being condescended to and being explained to.

We are tired.

And we loved it when Kamala told Pence “I’m speaking.”

Even though he knew she was speaking.

He knew and he spoke over her anyhow.

But she did not take his crap. She told him to shut up shut up shut up.

She did it more nicely than that, but that’s what she meant.

And even with that, she had to be careful.

Because heaven forbid she speak too loudly. Or too womanly. Or too meanly.

Because no matter what she does, she is going to be judged.

By jerks, I might add, but it must get tiring to be criticized all the time for doing normal things like frowning and talking and raising your voice because we all know that sometimes the only way to get men to listen is to scream and they don’t like it and ask why you don’t just ask in a normal tone of voice which is when you tell them that you did but they ignored you.

It fell to Harris to remind the vice president, “I’m speaking” — something he already knew but chose to ignore. If Harris had raised her voice in those moments, she would have been labeled shrill. If she had frowned, she would have been labeled a scold. If she had raised a hand, she would have been called angry or even unhinged.

Washington Post

Which is a whole other thing – having to scream to be heard and then being chastised for not speaking softly. Which you did do. You did speak softly. You knelt at a football game.

That didn’t work.

So now people are screaming.

Why should anyone be surprised?


It’s the water we swim in

When a candidate can be elected president despite bragging that he just “grabs ’em by the pussy”

I posted something on facebook from Jane Casey’s new book, Cruel Acts – a paragraph about a male detective asking a female detective why the murder victim, a young woman, had not walked the most direct route home.

“Wouldn’t she have wanted to go straight home? Get indoors where she was safe?”

“Not if she was concerned about them knowing where she lived. She’d never feel safe again if she led them to her door, even if she made it inside without coming to grief.”

Derwent shook his head and walked away.


“Just….” He swung back to face me. “What a way to live, that’s all. Working out what risks to take. Who to trust. Walking fifteen minutes out of your way to give yourself a better chance of making it home in one piece.”

“That’s life, isn’t it? What’s the alternative? Staying at home?”


“You’re not serious.” I folded my arms. “If anyone should stay at home, it’s men. They’re the ones who cause most of the trouble.”

“Like that’s going to happen.”

I posted this passage, along with the comment that Mr T had been very surprised to learn how much time women spend trying to prevent being attacked. He had also been surprised when I told him about the line that the biggest concern men have about a blind date is being bored while the biggest concern women have about a blind date is being raped and murdered.

Mr T is one of the good guys.

Mr T is one of the good guys and he had no idea how much we women think about these things.

Actually, we don’t even think about how much we think about these things. They’re just part of the background. Of course we don’t go running after dark. Or park in a spot away from the lights at the grocery store. Or give our real phone numbers to strangers. Or use our real names on dating sites. Or do anything but meet in a very public place when we meet men for the first time.

We don’t even think about this things. We just know.

Discussion ensued on the post, with a friend, who is a kind, thoughtful man, noting that women also commit crimes and that there have been a number of car robberies perpetuated by women by him recently.

And that’s when I realized that he didn’t know I was talking about rape.

I had said women worry about being “attacked.”

I thought everyone knew that meant rape.

I thought everyone knew that rape is what we worry about.

Oh sure I don’t want to have my purse stolen or be carjacked, but when we go to self defense classes?

It’s not to learn to protect our bags.

It’s not to learn to protect our cars.

It’s to learn to protect our bodies and our lives.

A self defense class instructor told us we could gouge out the eye of an attacker – but asked if we really wanted to hurt someone that badly.

Um. Yes.

If my gouging out your eye keeps you from raping me, I can live with that. I will not lose one minute of sleep over it. Attack me at your peril.

The instructor was male, by the way.

Sincere question to my women readers: If you had to choose between being raped and gouging out the eye of an attacker, which would you pick? Maybe I’m just mean. I don’t know. But I will take disfiguring the man who is trying to hurt me over letting him hurt me.

A couple of years ago (have I told this story here?) I was – I guess the proper word is assaulted.

I thought I was too old for that sort of thing. I didn’t think Women of a Certain Age were sexually assaulted.

I was walking home from the State Fair on a major street at dusk.

I had passed a young man – a boy of 15, as it turned out – at the corner. We were the only ones on the sidewalk, so I had caught his eye and nodded.

You know – a Hi we’re both here we’re human it would be rude to ignore you kind of thing.

I left him behind and continued walking, reaching back to adjust my underwear once I was sure I had no witnesses.

And I felt a hand on my butt that was not my hand.

I spun around.

“Maybe I can help you with that,” the kid said. The kid I had seen a few blocks before.

He had followed me.

And he had grabbed my butt.

And he was just – looking at me like this was something perfectly normal. That he, a complete stranger, could touch my body.

I was so shocked that I just shooed him away, saying, “Stop that! Stop that right now!”

I continued to walk, expecting he would go away.

He did not.

He kept following me.

I tried scolding him because – he was 15. “I’m old enough to be your [very young] grandmother!” He should have responded to scolding.

He did not.

I tried shaming him: “What would your mother think if she knew what you were doing?” He should have responded to shaming.

He did not.

Instead, he just kept following me.

And it was spooky and weird and confusing because I am A Middle-Aged Lady and he was a teenager and it was just bizarre.

He wasn’t big – only an inch or two taller than me, I think, and I probably outweighed him.

But I didn’t know what he was going to do.

I didn’t know if he had a knife.

I didn’t know why he wouldn’t react the way I expected him to.

But I did know what my fear was and it wasn’t that he wanted to steal my purse.

This was someone who had laid hands on my body without invitation. Who thought that he could touch me without asking. And who exhibited no shame about it. And who was not going away.

This is what we fear. This is what we take the classes for. This is why we automatically seek the light in the parking lot and look under the car and in the back seat before getting into the car. This is why we tell our friends where we are going when we meet a new man someplace.

“Would you rather be raped or have your arm broken?” Mr T asks.

I don’t even have to think about it.

“I’d rather have my arm broken,” I tell him.

Which – now that I think about it, why? Why is rape worse than a broken arm? Let’s suppose a rape that did not involve other physical pain or harm to my body. Why would it be worse than a broken arm, which takes weeks to heal, not to mention expensive doctor visits?

Is it the reminder that we are so powerless against men? That every bad thing they can do to each other, they can do to us and do something worse? The reminder that we have to watch out for them all the time? That we never know whom we can trust?

When I was a girl, my father told me that if someone tried to steal my purse, let it go. “Your purse is not worth your life,” he said.

“But not all men!” the men say. “Not all men!”

I know. Mr T says he never thought his walking behind a lone woman on a dark street would be a problem.

“I would never hurt someone! Never!”

And I know he means it. I know it’s true. He would not ever hurt someone.

But how is someone who doesn’t know him supposed to know that? We have to judge all men by the actions of the bad ones. We can’t take the chance.

I told the kid who grabbed my butt that I was calling 911.

I called 911 and described him as I looked at him.

He kept walking toward me.

I jogged across the yard to the nearest house and leaned on the doorbell.

The kid kept walking toward me.

A man opened the door.

Of course I have to be all Midwestern about it and preface and explain. “I’m so sorry to bother you but would you mind if I stood in your entryway for a few minutes until this guy goes away I’ve called the police but he won’t leave and I just need to stand someplace.”

And of course the man let me in because he was a decent human being.

I was mortified at barging into someone’s house – a stranger’s house.

Note this: I am more concerned as I write this that I had inconvenienced someone than over a possible threat to my safety.

The other think Jackson always tried to impress upon Marlee – and Julia- was what you had to do if you were attacked because you’d been foolish enough to ignore his advice in the first place and go down the dark allay.

“You’re at a disadvantage,” he tutored them. “Height, weight, strength, they’re all against you, so you have to fight dirty. Thumbs in the eyes…..

One Good Turn, Kate Atkinson

After that woman was raped in Central Park – the one who dared to go running after dark and for whom five young men were falsely convicted, probably thanks in no small part to a full-page ad against them taken out by the same president who bragged about grabbing us by the pussy, I was arguing with a college friend.

“How could she have been so stupid to go running after dark?” I asked.

“Why shouldn’t women be able to go running after dark?” my friend replied.

I shook my head. “Everyone knows you can’t do that.

Jackson was forever warning Marlee (and Julia, come to that, but she never listened) about the foolishness of going down dark alleys. “Daddy, I’m not even allowed to go out in the dark,” Marlee said reasonably. Of course, if you were a girl, if you were a woman, you didn’t need to go down a dark alley in order to be attacked. You could be sitting on a train, stepping off a bus, feeding a photocopier, and still be plucked from your life too soon by some crazy guy.

One Good Turn, Kate Atkinson

Everyone knows you can’t do that.

It’s just that the foremost narrative possibility our culture affords unaccompanied women on the side of the highway is not liberation, desire, quest– but rather rape, death, some combination of the two.

Glenn, Noah, and I don’t worry too much about our presence “provoking” strangers. We are free to be obtuse. Rarely if ever do we fret about finding ourselves in a situation where we’re, say, screaming into a man’s palm….deep inside….is the unshakable certitude that obstacles will melt if we white men but whistle. Each of us takes it for granted: I am no one’s prey.

In the Land of Good Living, Kent Russell

Everyone knows.

And nothing changes.

Bad times all the time

Don’t marry a bad bacon eater is what they said

My wedding dress. On sale for $39 at Macy’s and I have worn it again

Mr T and I got married 12 years ago today.

It was a crummy week.

The rest of the world was fine, though. The rest of the world was not on fire, figuratively and literally.

We got married and we spent our wedding night on the pullout sofa bed in the basement.


Why were we on the pullout sofa bed in the basement?

Because Mr T’s mom and dad were in our bedroom. My mom was in the guest room.

Mr T’s mom and dad had come to the wedding despite telling Mr T not to marry me and then threatening to boycott the wedding. I wish they had boycotted because then we would have felt comfortable inviting our friends. We didn’t invite our best friends to our wedding because we knew there would be drunken drama and we didn’t want to have to deal with all of that.

Mr T’s mom and dad told Mr T not to marry me because I was a gold digger who was marrying him just for his money —


— and because I eat bacon all wrong


They came to our wedding anyhow. And we didn’t invite our friends.

We should have eloped and invited our friends to the elopement.

If you have family issues and are wondering what to do about your wedding, just don’t tell your parents.

Seriously. Just cut them out. Get married without them because I promise you the drama will always be there. The drama will never leave and they will bring the drama to your wedding and you will have nothing but drama at your wedding and you won’t have your friends and for every year after, you will regret your decision.

If you cajole your mean alcoholic parents into attending your wedding anyhow – the wedding they threaten to boycott , they will attend and they will stay in your house for nine days.


The first thing they will do after they arrive – after your husband drives to Chicago to pick them up so they can have a direct flight – is ask you to take them to the liquor store, which, in its own weird way, is the polite thing to do, as booze is not cheap and they consume a lot of it.


The next thing they will do is fill up on cheese and crackers with the 10 oz tumblers of bourbon at 4:00 p.m., which means they are not hungry at 7:00 p.m. when you put steak or roast chicken or whatever on the supper table just for them.


Then they will criticize you for using cloth napkins and for hanging your laundry on a clothesline instead of using a dryer.


They will get drunk every night.

At your wedding, they will not take photographs. When your mom is taking photos, they will not ask her to take any with them.

When you go to the lake after the wedding to take more photos with your siblings, your mom and her gentlemen caller, and Mr T’s beautiful Bonus Daughters, they will return to the house with Mr T’s brother to drink.

When your mom sends you copies of the photos to send to Mr T’s parents, they will tell Mr T they are very offended that they do not appear in any.

At the wedding supper, they will get drunk. And when Mr T’s father offers a toast, he will manage to sort of wish Mr T unhappiness – “I hope you are as happy in your second marriage as I have been”


but he will also make it through the toast without ever once referring to Mr T’s new wife, either by name or pronoun or even the word “wife.”

The only fun parts of your wedding is when Mr T’s parents aren’t around. And there are those moments and those are the moments you treasure: the evening at the karaoke bar with your mom, her gentleman caller, and your brother and sister. The walk with Mr T’s bonus daughters. The in-between time at the lake with your mom, her caller, your siblings, and Mr T’s bonus daughters.