Old People

The Elmo on the Shelf

A baby, two jealous bulldogs and an annoying Sesame Street character. It sounds like the beginning of some really lame joke, but it’s actually our very own, brand new Christmas tradition called The Elmo on the Shelf.

Like The Elf on the Shelf, Elmo on the Shelf is also a thing that sits on a shelf of some sort. Except our tradition started after Christmas, is not at all magical and you only move it when the bulldogs find it.

So, we just celebrated our first Christmas as parents with our 10-month old daughter.  She was elated to find a small Elmo in with her Christmas presents, her favorite Sesame Street character. Elmo immediately became her favorite Christmas toy out of the bunch. Christmas was all about her hugging him, burying her face in his and doing that nails-on-the-chalkboard shrieking thing she does when she’s happy.

You know who else was excited about that little red Elmo? Mack.

At 14 years old, Mackie has a touch of the Doggie Dementia, which means his behavior is starting to revert back to a puppy-like stage. Which also means that Mack is not above stealing a prize Christmas toy away from an unsuspecting infant, for the sole purpose of ripping Elmo’s little head right off, purely for sport.

While Hubs and I were preparing a Christmas dinner for my mother (who was not at all thrilled at having someone else host Christmas for the first time in 25 years) I was also busy trying to gently wrestle Elmo (don’t want to tear it!) out of Mackie’s mouth. I tried coaxing Mack with treats, blowing in his face, flicking his nose, trying to pry open his jaws, all while hearing the tiny threads of Elmo’s legs pop one by one. Eventually he dropped it once it became a team effort of Hubs and I sticking our fingers in his mouth and screaming obscenities at him (all the while my oblivious mother was clamoring on about what time we should eat dinner next Christmas at her house, a year from now).

After that scenario replayed itself a few more times, Elmo got a Christmas bath in the washing machine, Mack was separated from the baby toys and I cracked open a new bottle of wine.

The next day or so we paid extra attention to make sure that Mack didn’t get a hold of Elmo, coming close several times. Just when it seemed that Mack had given up on Elmo, here comes Peterbilt trotting into the family room with Elmo in his mouth, ready to curl up in front of the fireplace to disembowel that poor, now slightly tattered, red muppet.

And that is how Elmo on the Shelf was born.

Elmo’s been sitting above our fireplace now for the last 48 hours. Fortunately for our daughter, she’s young enough where once something is out of sight, it’s out of mind as well. Not so much for the bulldogs, who have been looking woefully at our fireplace. Until we figure out how to keep those cold, calculating, murderous bulldogs from torturing a baby toy, Elmo is going into witness protection as an Elf on a Shelf.



Categories: Babies, Bulldogs, Crappy Adulthood Problems, Dogs, Farts, Funny, Old People, Pets | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Rest in Peace, Dad

A poem to my late father:

Your Last Day

The day that I last saw you, you were lying on your bed.

“You’re dad is really tired”, is what the nurse had said.

I did think you were sleeping, as you did that more and more.

Your disease had been rendering you weak, and you fell often on the floor


I called your name aloud, but you didn’t open your eyes

you continued to lay there with your Parkinson’s shake, arms laying by your side.

So I talked with you anyways, just like you were awake

and told you how I bought your favorite kind of milkshake.


I told you how everything was great and mom was doing OK

that you needn’t worry about a thing, and ‘Happy Father’s Day’

Before we left I told you I loved you and gave you a little kiss

I said I’d see you tomorrow and had your shake put in the fridge.


However, as I was leaving, I did not know that was actually ‘goodbye’

I received a call just hours later that my father had just died.

I wondered if my words were all that he needed to know

that hearing that everyone was OK was enough for him to let go.


Dad, now I look up to the sky and think of you every day

I’m eternally grateful that I visited you on your very last day.

Life can change in a blink of an eye. it’s scary but it’s true.

Tomorrow is never a guarantee. Dad, I miss and love you.


James M. Cheney – May 2, 1945 – June 16, 2014







Categories: Crappy Adulthood Problems, letter to my father, Old People, parkinson's disease | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Nursing Home Humor

Life has taught me to roll with the punches and I’ve gotten really good at it lately. I’ve also always had a knack for making humor out of just about any situation. Combine those with my appreciation for dark humor and you’ve got one sick, twisted puppy.

Case in point:

So the other day after work, I decided I would visit my dad at the nursing home. The home is just two exits up from my job and figured I’d be in and out before they started serving dinner. I admit, going there isn’t my favorite thing to do; I’ve been super busy lately, the place smells, there’s this one guy who follows me around and they keep that place heated up hotter than a sauna. Plus, it’s getting harder and harder to converse with my dad.

That day, however, it must have been a full moon because that place was more alive than I’d ever seen it.

I arrived to the second floor and was immediately greeted by that same old, stale urine smell that has been impermeated into the walls and floors. I smiled and nodded to the nurses and looked around for my dad.

The residents were abuzz and wandering around like the undead, which was unusual since most spend their hours moaning and eating brains in their respective rooms. The staff was putting on a late snack in the lunch room for the residents and they were blaring some preschoolish, nursery rhyme-type songs from a boom box. I found my dad in his room. His face lit up when he saw me and asked to go for a walk. He then repeated his ritual of introducing me to every nurse on the 2nd floor. “This is my daughter, Sarah! This is my daughter! She is a…uh…(and then he asks what my job title is again and I tell him)…She’s Director of Sales & Marketing! She’s the apple of my eye!”. It’s sweet. The nurses and I play along every time and pretend like we are meeting each other for the first time.

Dad decided he wanted to sit in two chairs that faced the nurses station. I ran through my usual list of easy to answer questions that i ask him that would be unlikely to send him into an emotional bad place:

1.) “How have you been”

2.) “Anything good on TV?”

3.) “Have you been doing any of the activities at all?”

4.) “What did you eat for lunch today?”

Straining to converse, the music in the background changed tracks to “BINGO” and one of the older, female residents in a wheelchair started yelling “Halp! Halp! My legs don’t work!” This piqued the interest of my dad and he shuffled over to the lady in distress. I followed.

He stood in front of her and stared at her with a confused expression on his face. “Halp!” she screeched. “There’s something wrong with my legs! I can’t feel my legs!!”

Her atrophied legs gave away that she had been unable to walk for some time. The nearby nurses looked at me with a tired expression which told me that this must be her catchphrase. Many of the residents there say the same thing over and over. One lady’s catchphrase is “Abba bah! Abba bah!”. I call her Abby.

“Halp me!” the lady repeated. In flight or fight, my dad has always chosen the former in precarious situations. This hasn’t changed. He looked to his left and then his right and quietly tiptoed away in front of the the woman, and the entire lunchroom of people. That seemed like a good idea to me so I followed.

We walked back up to the two chairs, but now there was a commotion at the nurses station. My dad’s “nemisis”, a 90-year old man named John, had snuck behind the station to call his dad (!!!!) sporting nothing but his diapers. The nurses were trying to get him to put the phone down, but he insisted that his father was trying to reach him and proceeded to ask me if I knew his dad’s phone number. My dad saw what was happening and mumbled something hateful under breath. Pretty sure he called John a “low-life scum bag”. This is getting interesting!

The next track on the boom box changed from BINGO to “She’ll Be Coming Around The Mountain”. Halp Lady, realizing she’s being ignorned, increases the frequencies of her distress calls. The funny part was though, and I don’t think she meant to, is that her “Halps!” are now in time with the music. So now it sounds like this:

“She’ll be coming around the mountain, when she comes!” HALP!

“She’ll be coming around the mountain, when she comes!” HALP!

“She’ll be coming around the HALP, she’ll be coming around the mountain, she’ll be coming around the mountain, when she comes!” HALP!

I faked coughed and covered my mouth to hide my obvious grin. It was all I could do not to laugh at that point and I didn’t want the nurses thinking I’m some sadistic bitch. One male nurse caught my eye and for a second, we shared the same humor. I saw a glimmer of a smile, which with great effort, he quashed.

Back to my dad, who was now glaring at John while the nurses escorted him back to his room. Another gentlemen in a wheelchair paddled up to my dad, obviously concealing something in his shirt.

“I-I have a plan,” he said to my dad. i-I know how to escape from here. I-I know a place to go to.” Holy Shawshank. This is getting REALLY interesting!

However, my dad thinks this guy is talking about John.

“Oh you mean John?” said my dad. “He’s a low life son of a bitch. I told that woman to get the hell away from him.”

The wheelchair man continued. “Don’t tell anybody about this, but I stole this map” and he pulled the concealed brochure out from under his shirt. It was the same nursing home brochure that they gave me when I registered dad there, only his was all rolled up and dog eared.

Dad took the brochure, looked at it briefly, and then continued to tell his imagined tale of 90-year old John, trying to sweet talk one of the female nurses into running away with him, but my dad knew better and told that nurse to stay away from him. Because he’s a low life son of a bitch.

Oh my. Where’s my popcorn? This is too rich.

The wheelchair man, frustrated at my Dad’s lack of hearing, paddled away and tried his escape plan pitch on another man around the corner.

At this point, my dad is getting really worried about dinner so I gave him a hug, told him I loved him and that I had a good time visiting with him today. And I did! What a story that was painted! We had a damsel in distress, a sweet-talking womanizer who still loves his dad and our very own, in house Andy Dufresne.

I walked out to my car with an amused grin and very glad to be back in cold, fresh air.



Categories: Funny, Old People, parkinson's disease, Potty Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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