Monday, February 18, 2019

Our New Friend

My Mom met a new friend a few weeks ago . . .

. . . and was instantly smitten.

And who can blame her?

We are all smitten.

And frankly, he's not *that* new. I mean, we've known him since he was four days old . . .

. . . back in the old days when he still looked like a chicken from outer space.

And I mean that in the nicest possible way. I love chickens from outer space.

You know who else loved this kid?

That's right. The Mumsie-Pie. Notice the sweatshirt, please.

And you know who else loves him?

That's right. I believe Jacquie called him delicious. Because he is.
Plus, hand.

And do you know who else loves this kid like ca-RAZY?

These two lovelies:

This wonderful, beautiful, hilarious, joyful, nice, exuberant kid's moms.

Aren't they lucky to have him?


Isn't he lucky to have them?

Welcome to the neighborhood, Booboo.

We love you like crazy, too.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Hobos

After the beauty and intensity and gorgeousness and heartbreak of James' memorial, Mistah and I had to leave San Diego before we'd planned to, to get to the East Coast for The Mumsie's send-off.

We successfully changed our flights, and on Tuesday we got up before dawn cracked, returned our car, took a shuttle to the Alaska Airlines terminal, checked in, went to the gate . . . and was told our flight to Boston was canceled. Canceled!

We joined the hundreds of canceled passengers madly running between terminals and calling other airlines, looking for flights to the East Coast, and finally booked ourselves on an American flight leaving within the hour. Instead of direct, we would have a 3-hour layover in Chicago, but we'd be flying to Providence, which is where our car was parked, so that was a small Silver Lining. We thought.

Two hours in to our 3-hour layover, having a drink and a meal at O'Hare's famous Publican Tavern, I looked at my phone and, without a word, showed it to Mistah: Flight Canceled. Canceled! And yes, in red.

I got through to someone at American -- I was an old pro by now -- and she was entirely sympathetic and helpful, but said there were no flights going from Chicago to Boston or Providence that night, but she could put us on a flight at 8:00 the next morning to Hartford.

"No," Billy said. "We have to fly out tonight."

"But Jane lives here in Chicagoland. We can get to her house and get a good night's sleep and fly to Hartford tomorrow and Scott said he'd pick us up at the airport and drive us to New London."

"Mumsie's wake is tomorrow. If that flight is canceled, we are going to miss Mumsie's wake."

The helpful American Airlines agent said, "The closest I can get you is to Philly -- leaving at 10 tonight and arriving in Philly at 1:30 am." Said Bill: "Book it." And so I did. As well as Amtrak tickets from Philadelphia to New London for the morning.

So. Our 3-hour layover turned into an 8-hour layover. And when you find yourself with an additional five hours to kill in O'Hare, there is only one thing to do . . .

That's right. Bubbles Wine Bar. We spent a lot of time at Bubbles Wine Bar. So what if the glasses of wine cost $22? There is not a more delightful place in any airport anywhere in the world than Bubbles. I love Bubbles. I wanted to stay at Bubbles forever.

Alas, 10 pm finally arrived and we made our way to the gate . . . and our flight was not canceled. Not canceled! Only delayed an hour while the pilot was trying to make his way to the airport in the snow.

Yes, of course it was snowing.

But off we flew into the snowy Chicago night, and into Philadelphia we arrived, at 2:30 in the morning.

We made our way down to baggage claim because of course we had checked bags. And also of course, there they were, the first ones off the conveyor belt. Of course they were! What kind of story do you think I'm telling you?

We couldn't bear going through all the TSA security checks to get up into the airport proper -- plus, well, we weren't flying anywhere -- so we did the only thing one can do at 2:30 in the morning in the Philadelphia airport baggage claim . . . and no, it wasn't Bubbles . . .

. . . we found a circular bench, we wrapped our luggage straps around our arms, and we slept the blessed sleep of hobos for a couple of hours.

At 4:30 am we took a taxi to the world's most beautiful train station . . .

...  actually, Grand Central is the world's most beautiful train station ...

. . . but Philadelphia is a close second.

(Remember this statue from the movie Witness?)

. . . and the 5:15 am Northeast Regional saved the day. And that look is called hobo chic.

Those 4-1/2 hours on the train were the most relaxing and stress-free part of trip home.

We got to New London at 9:30, ubered home, tried to sleep until we realized how much we needed to do, framed photos and packed the car -- oh wait, our car was still in Providence -- waited for Mom to arrive and packed her car, burned our hobo clothes (not really), took the best showers of our lives, donned our glad rags, and got to the funeral home with plenty of time to spare.

We gave Mumsie a wonderful send-off. The wake and the funeral were lovely and perfect and she would have loved it all. And I never stopped thinking about James and San Diego for one second.

I miss him.

And I miss her.

And I miss Bubbles.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Eight-Thehrty-Thehrty

When Mumsie found herself in one of her regular visits to the hospital during the last few years of her life, and we found ourselves with her in her room, and a nurse or a respiratory therapist or a doc or a HUC or any of all the peeps who helped her entered her room, everyone -- every single one -- said, "Name?" Mumsie responded appropriately. And then, also, every time, "Birthdate?"

"Eight-Thehrty-Thehrty".

Aw Mumsie. That British Mumsie of ours.

We made *so* much fun of Mumsie, and told her she should make a sign that said, "Eight-Thehrty-Thehrty" so she wouldn't have to keep repeating herself.

And then we decided to make the sign for her ourselves. In the form of a hoodie. A lavender hoodie. For Madame's 85th Behrthday.

Happy Behrthday, Mumsie-Pie.

Oh, those summertime behrthdays . . . 

 This is my second-favorite photo of the two of us. We used it for Mumsie's obituary in the paper, and for the funeral cards.
Inexplicably, I got cropped out.

Anyway, Mumsie loved the sweatshirt and wore it well. She even substituted it for her "trusty cardigan" on special occasions.

When Mumsie died almost three weeks ago, we had a hard time tracking down her belongings. We couldn't find them in her first hospital room, or the room she was moved to. The staff scoured closets and the ED, but nobody could put their hands on the elusive green bag. "Oh welllll," I thought. "It's probably just old going-to-the-hospital clothes, anyway."

Mistah informed me, however, that Mumsie had worn her beloved "Eight-Thehrty-Thehrty" sweatshirt to the hospital -- that was what nobody could find. Which was not a happy thing to hear.

As a last-ditch effort, Mistah called the funeral home to see if they had it. He emailed Kelly and me later in the day, with the subject line:
The Green Bag. "THEY JUST FOUND IT AT THE FUNERAL HOME!!!!!!!!!!!"

Hallelujah.

I went to the funeral home the next day to pick it up, opened the bag to make sure it was truly Mumsie's clothing, and saw:

Kelly asked us the question I was hoping she'd ask: Since we had given it to Mumsie, would we like to keep the famous sweatshirt?

"YES PLEASE." I responded. "I would be honored and I will wear it with pride."

I am. And I do.