What do you get the gal who has everything and you’re too cheap to buy jewelry?  You get her, her very own website of course!  When I told Jerry I wanted my very own blog I thought he’d scoff and scold and declare me ungrateful for the little blog he set up for me here.  But much to my surprise he did not!  Instead he went out to the wild territory of the internets and got me my very own domain, LadyJessop.com where I’ll be blogging from now on.  Please come visit me there.

I spent a good portion of my life assuming I would one day get married and have children.  I used to think about it all the time.  I’d picture myself as a happy cheerful mom, standing in a spotless kitchen, holding out a plate of fresh baked cookies for two adoring perfect children.  I never thought I would be one of those women who’d say “I never had a desire to have children.”   Oddly, it turns out I am. 

When I was a senior in high school I was already on the “get married and have kids” track.  I was dating a good Catholic boy who was diligently working on a business degree from UC Berkley so he could begin his climb on some corporate ladder, marry me and have children.  He was completely devastated when I hit age 21 and broke up with him because I decided I wasn’t ready to settle down.  Looking back I’m impressed at how mature I was to know I was too young to get married.  At the time I just thought it was because I wanted to hang out in bars more.

A few years later my friends started getting married.  The getting married part seemed like a great idea, but then they started having babies and I thought they were crazy.  (The ones who started having babies on their own  were outright ludicrous.)  Sure, I was in a relationship at the time as well, and I talked a lot about getting married and having babies, but not right now.  Marriage and babies were still far off in the future and certainly not with that guy.  Turns out that guy was…well that’s another blog post. 

Then I hit my 30s.  That guy was out of the picture and my friends were still having babies.  Some of them were kind of smug about it and I started getting wistful.  The babies were so cute and I started to panic that I may never have one.  I was meeting plenty of men who wanted to get married and have babies but yuck none of them appealed to me.  The only guys I seemed to like were…well that’s another blog post.  

The panic lasted for a few years and then started to fade away, right about when the babies started growing into children.  My friends weren’t smug anymore.  Now they were tired and stressed out all the time.  Turns out that having children is a lot of work and there is not much time to be baking plates of cookies in spotless kitchens.  The children are far from adoring and perfect too.  Turns out that children are individual people with their own personalities and problems that parents have to deal with on a constant basis. 

Now I started to be the smug one and my friends began to look wistfully at my life.  I got to take long baths whenever I wanted in a bathroom, which was attached to an entire apartment that I got to myself.  I got to spend Sunday mornings drinking coffee and reading for hours on my couch.  I still thought about the possibility of having children, but now the assumption was gone.  Apparently there were other ways of living and I was currently doing it.

By the time I got married I was 37 years old.  I’d realized by then that maybe I too, never had a desire to be a mom or have children because whenever the opportunity presented itself I rejected it.  Turns out that having children was just a fantasy that I enjoyed daydreaming about.  The truth is, I never wanted that to be part of my reality. 

So in addition to all the other things I need to get done at work, I now also have my self-evaluation to complete since it’s that lovely time of year called Fiscal Year End ie: Performance Review Season. 

I hate writing my self-evaluation.  I spent an hour on it today and it was like being in excruciating pain.  The part of me that was trying to write kept saying “You’re great…you’re great…you’re great! Think of all the things you’ve done this year that are so great.” While another voice in my head (the loud one) kept saying, “You suck…you suck…you suck! You can’t even write a good self-evaluation!” 

It’s times like this I wistfully think how nice it would be to be one of those people who think they are always right and everyone else is wrong.  You know, arrogant.  Ah to be arrogant. 

Six years ago at this time we were leaving our wedding at the Westover Winery and getting ready to get on a plane taking us first class to the Caribbean. 

Tonight we too a beat up old Aura to a roller rink in Milpitas.  And as an added bonus I got to clean the cat’s ass when we got home. 

Believe it or not but it’s been a pretty good six years. 

Trash day is usually a good day at our house. Besides the fact that it’s on a Friday, there’s something renewing about coming home to empty cans, ready to take on the next week’s surprises.

A few months ago trash day was extra exciting because according to the notice we got from the trash company, we were getting new cans. New cans on trash pick up day. What could be better? In our constant work-a-day lives, where there is so little to look forward to, sometimes getting excited about new garbage cans is the best we can do.

Therefore, you can imagine my disappointment when Jerry and I got home that night to find that our new cans had not arrived. Close examination of the premises the next day, along with a careful forensic analysis of Jessopland webcam footage indicated that the neighbors may have swiped our shiny new cans.

While most normal people would simply confront said neighbors and ask for return of the cans, I opted for a more passive aggressive approach which involved sullen looks towards their collection of new cans, bitter complaining and constant calls to Waste Management negotiating, demanding and finally begging for new cans. I decided that Waste Management and the Castro Valley Sanitation district were the true villains in this conflict. For two weeks they promised to deliver new cans during the daily phone calls I made. And for two weeks we went without cans.

The missing can controversy was made worse by the fact that Jerry spent that same two weeks traveling for work. Without my husband around to keep me in check, my obsession about the missing cans got a little out of hand and my behavior got a little wacky. 

Thursday nights were the worst as I packed the trash and recycling in feeble plastic bags. For good measure I neatly tagged them with blunt notes like “We need cans, NOW” and “Where the hell are my CANS?” Dragging the bags to the corner would strike even more fury as I eyed everyone else’s cans, smugly lined up on the curb. One night I couldn’t help it and found myself shrieking “It’s just not right!” to a passing group of teenagers.

Finally I couldn’t stand it anymore. Since the constant phone calls obviously did no good, I had not other choice but to take matters into my own hands. I had heard rumors of trucks driving around the neighborhood bearing new cans and decided to take the day off work to see if they really existed.

I awoke to the sounds of garbage trucks early that Friday morning. Armed with a giant pot of coffee to keep me fortified, I spent the next three hours watching Food Network and ER reruns, venturing out to the end of the driveway scouting for trucks during commercials.

At 10:30am, graced by what could only be a divine miracle because I had just changed out of my pink bathrobe into an understated pair of grey sweatpants, I spotted in the living room window a pick-up truck pulling a flat bed trailer loaded with Waste Management trash bins. Like a bullet I shot out of the house and raced down the end of the drive way only to see that the truck driving by and not leaving a single can on our curb.

“NOOOOOO!” I wailed as I chased after the truck. I broke into a sprint, but of course could not keep up with my pathetic 12 minute/mile pace. The truck had turned the corner before I could catch their attention.

Defeated, I turned around and slowly walked back to the house. I felt hopeless and defeated and envisioned myself dragging plastic bags full of trash to the corner every Thursday night for the next 20 years. Then I looked up and saw another truck, piled high with cans. Elated, I broke into a run toward the truck, waved my arms and flagged them down. When they stopped I jumped for joy and I cried out, “We need cans! We need cans!”

The guy standing on the back of the trailer motioned his head toward the driver. “Give him your address m’am.”

I skipped to the open cab window and called out our address. The driver examined his clipboard and shook his head. “Sorry m’am.”

Sorry…what? NO!” I screamed. “There must be some mistake. Look again.”

“I’m sorry m’am. You’re not on the list.”

Panic swept through me. This couldn’t be happening. I stepped closer to the truck and leaned my head into the cab and quietly growled, resisting all urges to grab the guy by his shirt collar, “You listen to me and listen good. I’ve been calling your office every day for the past two weeks begging. I don’t give a shit what your clipboard says, you’re leaving me some god-damned cans!

He stared at my crazy face for a moment and then leaned his head out the window and called back, “Leave this lady some cans. Give her the big ones.”

I know I must have looked like a crazy woman, cackling as I dragged my new cans up the driveway but the sense of triumph I felt was extremely rewarding.  I even called Jerry and breathlessly detailed the morning adventure.  That’s solving a crisis Jessopland style. 

As we suspected, when we last left off, the bloody foot was in fact “the queen” feeding.  The rest of the episode was less predictable, but unfortunately did not make it more interesting.  Let’s just destroy Mary Ann and get on with next season, although at this point I’d be fine if the show doesn’t get renewed.  There was absolutely nothing about this episode that inspired or entertained me.  I can’t even lust after Eric anymore thanks to that brilliant move of putting him in a housecoat and giving him Tara’s mother’s voice.  Thanks Alan Ball, thanks a lot! 

My impression overall: YAWN!

I’m glad I recorded this week’s episode of True Blood because it was completely forgettable. Seriously, when I got an email from my friend Sheila this morning (flagged as “urgent”) asking if I’d seen it yet I realized I had already forgotten what I had seen a mere 8 hours before. After a refresher from Sheila and watching again tonight I have the following observations:

  • I wonder if Eric would be as tender in bed as he is in Sookie’s dreams. My guess is no. 
  • And while were on the subject, is it too late to bring up the fact that Eric is clearly hotter than Sam? 
  • Why didn’t Mary Ann know, through her great evil powers, what was going on a Merlottes and just come and get Sam herself?
  • Classic line award goes to Lafayette: “Jesus and I agreed to see other people but that don’t mean we don’t still talk from time to time.” 
  • Oh! Egg’s is the name of Tara’s boyfriend! I was wondering the first time around why she needed eggs when she came out of her trance. 
  • Apparently this episode was only 45 minutes. I didn’t even notice.

Overall, this nonsense with Mary Ann has gotten completely out of control.  If they continue on this route they might as well turn the show into a cartoon.  They’re halfway there already. 

I went to visit my grandmother yesterday.  It was the first time in months.  I know, I’m horrible.  How many other 42 years olds can say they have a 100 year old grandmother living in a nursing home they avoid? 

But come on, everybody knows how miserable it is in those places.  To see what used to be your strong, tidy, meticulous grandmother, turn into one of those dreary old ladies rotting away in a wheelchair is tough.  It’s disturbing and heartbreaking and just plain sad.  It’s also awkward as all hell. 

The last time I visited, I found Grandma sitting up in her bed, happy, cheerful and covered with the beautiful quilt my mother made for her last Christmas.  We chatted for a few minutes and then one of the caretakers came in and said, “OK Hetty! Ready for me to take the bedpan away?”  See? Awkward! 

Sometimes when I go Grandma is sleeping.  A little awkward, and waking her up is even more so.  Although now that I know that a 100 year old lady can be very disoriented when first waking up from a nap I’m always prepared for the visit to be short and predictable, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  After Grandma gets over her usual grogginess and we establish who I am and how we are related the conversation usually goes like this:

“Oh Karen, how nice to see you dear! Do you have the day off work?”

“Yes, I certainly do. It’s Saturday. How are you doing Grandma? Everything going OK in here?”

“Oh sure! How’s Jerry?”

“Jerry’s good.  He’s busy with work as usual.”

“So where are you living now?”

“We live in Castro Valley. We’ve been there for six years now.  We like it.  Do you remember Castro Valley Grandma? Do you remember stopping at De Luca Deli?”

“Oh sure….”

There will be a pause while we both sit there and then we will cycle through the same conversation again.  After three or four goes at this Grandma will start throwing in “Well it was really nice of you to stop by” which is my que to go.  It’s short, sweet and everyone is happy. 

But sometimes the mid-nap visit doesn’t go so well.  Like the time Grandma was really groggy and we never quite got past settling on the correct time of day, (she kept looking out the window and saying “It sure is bright for 5am!”) or establishing who I was.  When I told her I was Karen she said, “You know, I have a really good friend named Karen.  She lives in Castro Valley with her husband Jerry.” Again, awkward. 

My visit this weekend was actually pretty good.  Grandma was neither sleeping nor peeing when I got there.  She was fully dressed, sitting in her wheelchair by the window and knew perfectly well who I was.  I ended up visiting for well over an hour.  After we cycled through our standard conversation I pulled out a copy of “More Home Cooking” by Laurie Colwin and read out loud chapters on Grandma’s favorite foods: coffee, butter and biscuits.  It was a lovely afternoon.  And save for a minor wheelchair incident in the hall with another old lady, there wasn’t a single awkward moment. 

After threatening us with a fine for $5,000 and assuring us that we could answer “decline to state” for questions concerning race and ancestry, we finally succumbed to the demands of the U.S. Census Bureau last weekend and spent an hour on the phone answering survey questions posed to us by a woman who barely spoke English. 

Now that it’s all over I’m wondering why all the fuss.  The questions were completely ridicules.  We should have told them we were a Canadian immigrant couple with three disabled children adopted from Mexico. 

As it was, we tried to answer the questions accurately but because of the absurd choices of categories combined with the heavy accent of the woman on the phone I believe that according to the official census records I am legally blind and sometimes have problems getting dressed in the morning.  (The latter is actually true.)  They also think that we have an aging Persian lady living with us named Mrs. Borowick. 

As for Jerry’s strong stance on not answering questions about race or ancestry, I think they have one over on him.  I know damn well they put him in the angry Portagee category.  You can’t hide that over the phone. 

The other Sunday night I came up with, not exactly a motto, but definitely three items which, if I could simply accept at inevitable facts, would probably make me a happier and more productive person: 

  • lotto is a bad investment
  • retirement is a long way off
  • booze is a temporary fix at best