Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Number Twelve Looks Just Like You



It’s that time again, cartooners—when we roll a big honkin’ blogiversary cake out on the trolley so that every member-in-good-standing of the Thrilling Days of Yesteryear faithful can have a slice while I wax nostalgic (which seems fitting, since this is a blog devoted to nostalgia) about what a long, strange trip it’s been in the many years since some sharpie at Salon Blogs sweet-talked me into signing a four-year lease back on November 4, 2003.  (“You have to move?  Oh, you can store that stuff over there—this place will never be torn down!”)

You know the origins story by heart, of course.  One of my dearest Internet chums, The Baby, mused out loud in a chat room one night that I should get me one of them newfangled blogs and I told her that I would as soon as I found out what the heck they were.  Though Baby planted the seed, it was migrant workers S.Z. and Scott C. at World O’Crap who really cultivated the soil of the entire blog project (this was a time when they were working for $1.10 an hour, waiting for sales of their hilarious book Better Living Through Bad Movies to make them filthy, stinking rich beyond their wildest dreams)—honest to my grandma, when I first began reading WO’C and said to myself: “How hard could this be?”  As it turned out, quite a lot—the first blog I authored crashed, burned, and vaporized itself in scattered smithereenies all over the Internet…prompting a second effort, which worked like a charm.  (All three individuals present at the birth of TDOY belong to my true Facebook friendage, by the way—they are among my oldest online compadres, and I cherish each and every one of them…as well as the many followers, fans and other devotees who have encouraged my behavior over these many years.)

Buy the book...so that they might continue to do the Lord's work.
This year’s blogiversary celebration is sort of clouded with a touch of solemnity…because while I had concocted all sorts of mahd schemes to beef up the content this year, I have fallen far, far short of my expressed goals.  (This will make the thirty-sixth post I’ve written in 2015.  I am a human dynamo.)  For example, I was particularly gung-ho about getting more of the old Salon Blogs material up at the Best (and Worst) of Thrilling Days of Yesteryear website…a project that quickly fell by the wayside once I was distracted by a shiny object.  I am thoroughly shamed, and at the risk of coming up with lame excuses as to why this is the case, I need to share with you some information that’s usually filed under “Personal stuff.”

You’ll remember back in July that the ‘rents and I were forced out of our Athens digs a month earlier by an evil landlord heckbent on screwing us over because he could, and that we wound up in nearby Pixley Winterville, a.k.a. “City of Marigolds.”  (I need to mention here that while our mailing address is Winterville, we’re actually situated out of that burg to an unincorporated area in nearby Oglethorpe County—which is why I never stop with the Green Acres references.)  The move took quite a bit out of us, due to the fact that Mom and Dad are no spring chickens and my rock-solid abs have the consistency of Cool Whip.  With the help of sisters Kat and Debbie, we were able to successfully complete the relocation…but the repositioning was not without its perils.

Mom started experiencing a bit of back trouble once the move was completed.  Then she started experiencing a lot of back trouble.  It would come and go, particularly since there would be days when I would order her to sit down and rest (what is it about old people that makes them so goddamn stubborn, anyway?)—she’d be okay for a day or two, and then she’d overdo and be right back where she was.  One Saturday morning, she went out to do a bunch of errands…and that was what buried the camel in a big straw stack.  She was experiencing shooting pains in both her legs, and suffering from downright agony in her back.

As stubborn as she was about not overdoing…she was downright bull-headed about seeking medical attention.  This kept up for several days, until I finally laid down the law: either she would allow Dad and I to take her to the emergency room, or I would call 911 for an ambulance and save Dad some driving.  She vehemently argued with me about this, and we agreed to a compromise—she would call her doctor in the morning for an appointment.  (I wasn’t very happy about the compromise, to be honest—the healthcare system in this country is a farce, and I knew it would be several days before she would be able to see him.)

The day of the appointment, the doc runs some tests—including an MRI.  The results reveal that Mom has been suffering from scoliosis; Doc says from the looks of things she’s had it most of her life.  (Mom is still bamfoozled that it took so long to diagnose this, seeing as how she unloaded trucks when she worked at Springmaid-Wamsutta and it never bothered her then.)  He then referred her to a specialist, where further examination reveals that there’s been slippage in her third and fourth vertebrae that’s brought about painful arthritis.  The nerves in the vertebrae area look like someone went at a circuit board with a pair of pinking shears; he had hoped physical therapy might alleviate the problem but it now looks as if surgery is the only way out.

So Mom shifts back into Stubborn Mode (though it’s really more like Denial).  She’s scared sh*tless about the surgery, which is understandable, but the only other alternative is how she’s getting around now: with a walker and a grimace of pain every time she overexerts herself (and as you’ve already guessed, it’s always too much).  We had a long talk about the surgery, and she gave me a glimpse into why she doesn’t want to hop up on the table; my mother has this complex where she’s convinced she’s the only one who can take care of my father.  “You don’t even know what pills he has to take each day,” she wailed.

“Look…I didn’t go to the best schools…but the one I did attend learned me pretty good about reading.  I think I could dope out what meds he needs,” was my reply.  As irony would have it, she’s at the doctor’s right now while you’re reading this and I hope they’re able to reach a quick decision as to when she’ll have this done.  Nothing hurts me more than seeing my mother hurt, and even though one of the doctors suggested she try to do a few things around the house to prevent from getting “stove up,” I don’t like seeing her in pain.  What really angers me is that she got so upset back in March of 2010 when I was at death’s door (well, not really—I was just helping the Girl Scouts move some cookies and I wandered into the wrong neighborhood) because I originally dismissed it as just a case of the flu.  (In case you’ve joined us in progress, it turned out to be a life-threatening calcium build-up…plus I had to have surgery to remove some too-mahs.)

With Mom out for most of this season, it fell upon me to answer the ad as chief cook and bottle washer; I’ve been preparing about 85% of the meals as well as running the dishwasher and tending to the laundry.  (We have cleaning people who come in every other week, thanks to Kat and Debbie…so that’s one chore off my plate.)  I also have had to do most of the errand-running, and that includes doing the weekly grocery shopping.  My friends—I do not exaggerate when I confess that I would rather chew off an arm and/or a leg than step foot inside a grocery store.  I hate it with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns.  But hey—sometimes all good men have to come to the aid of the party, if I learned nothing else from typing class.

Mom spends most of her time in her recliner—she’s unable to lie down in her bed, so she watches a good deal of late-night TV while snoozing off-and-on throughout the day.  As her only son, I feel it’s imperative I spend some time with her so I arrange for us to have some Mom-and-Ivan outings in the evenings; this past October I entertained her with many of the Universal horror movies I’ve collected over the years (if you recall from yesterday’s Dementia review).

So this is why the blog postings have been spotty of late—very spotty, to be frank.  In addition to TDOY and the reviews I write for ClassicFlix, I’m also in charge of the Radio Spirits blog…so you can imagine all of this eats up a lot of my free time.  I’m not complaining; I just felt you good people were entitled to know why the blog resembles a barren wasteland, and why the Doris Day(s) and Serial Saturdays features kind of came to a grinding halt—I just don’t have the available spare time to work on those as I would like.  I even missed out on writing a post about my natal anniversary in September—and I had the perfect title, “Fifty-two Pickup.”  (Crickets)

I wish I could say we’ve turned a corner here at the new Rancho Yesteryear…but for now, we’re continuing to take one day at a time.  I’m going to make a concerted effort to do some landscaping here in the meantime, with a goal of getting something up once a week…twice, if I’m feeling crazy.  In closing, I want to thank everyone for their patience and continued support of Thrilling Days of Yesteryear.  I’m having too much fun here to quit anytime soon.

20 comments:

Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

Ivan, I've always loved your blog and I congratulate you on your 12th anniversary. I hope your mother has a great outcome with her medical situation. As regards shouldering family medical issues, I've been in your shoes for years (although yours are too big for me, which is why I stumble a lot, and frankly, they're not very flattering with this dress), so I understand, commiserate, and applaud your taking the wheel. Good luck, and thank heavens you have a terrific sense of humor.

Bill Crider said...

Congrats on the anniversary and best wishes to your mom.

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Jacqueline offered:

I've been in your shoes for years (although yours are too big for me, which is why I stumble a lot, and frankly, they're not very flattering with this dress)

I can switch to flip-flops if that would be easier. Seriously, Jacqueline -- thanks for this; a laugh was a great way to start off today.

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Bill cleared his throat:

Congrats on the anniversary and best wishes to your mom.

Thanks muchly, sir. The esteemed Mr. Crider was one of the first people to link to TDOY, something I'm sure he's regretted ever since.

Scott said...

Happy Blogiversary, Ivan. If TDOY were one of those adorable show biz moppets of which you're so famously fond, it would now be getting into its REALLY awkward years and dropping from a prominent role on a network sitcom to occasional pity parts on Electro Woman and Dyna Girl.

Ugh, the back thing...the BACK thing...! I hope your mom opts for the surgery, as scary as that can be at any age, because once the arthritis sets in, Wishing It Away (which was the cheapest plan available on our state exchange) proves not to be all that effective. (Not that they don't still bill you for it -- and it's not that old One Penny Per Wish rate like the fountains used to charge, neither.) Best wishes to her, and congrats to you.

Hal Horn said...

Congrats Ivan! I am approaching my 10th year of blogging myself (a few months away)and Thrilling Days of Yesteryear was one of the first links up on my reading list from the start. Looking forward to reading for many more.

Hal Horn said...

Also very best wishes to your mom. Hit enter accidentally before I could add that. :)

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Scott advised:

I hope your mom opts for the surgery, as scary as that can be at any age, because once the arthritis sets in, Wishing It Away (which was the cheapest plan available on our state exchange) proves not to be all that effective.

I have used your similar back problems as a cudgel in my medical discussions with Mom, by the way. Mom examined Wishing It Away before deciding on the hugely popular Praying to an Invisible Sky God...which I'm convinced she knew wasn't going to work, but the habits of a Catholic often die hard.

She and Pater returned from her doctor's appointment today -- he has written her a prescription for a wheelchair, which provided the impetus for her smart-assed son to make a series of Ironside jokes.

Oh, and I forgot to mention this in the post...but that photo in the paragraph where I talk about Scott and S.Z...isn't Scott and S.Z. It's legendary country music duo Carl Butler & Pearl, perhaps the only act in which the female looks like a prison matron.

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Hal said this in front of the men:

Congrats Ivan! I am approaching my 10th year of blogging myself (a few months away)and Thrilling Days of Yesteryear was one of the first links up on my reading list from the start.

Thanks for the felicitations, and the courage to link to the blog, Hal. You're one of the good ones!

Paul Dionne said...

You're a good man, Ivan Shreve - congrats on your 12th - I check in just about every day -
paul dionne

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Paul confessed:

You're a good man, Ivan Shreve - congrats on your 12th - I check in just about every day

Thanks ever so, Paul. I apologize for the multiple days when you checked in and there was nothing new to greet you.

Rich said...

I knew a girl in junior high school with scoliosis. She had to wear one of those back brace things, which didn't exactly look all that comfortable, but at least it helped correct her spine at a young enough age. At least I assume it did. Every once in awhile I think of her and wonder how she turned out. You were right to lay down the law on your mom. Scoliosis isn't something you wanna fool around with, especially at her age.

You take your time with TDOY. Twelve years is one hell of a run. It's something to be mighty proud of, if you ask me.

ClassicBecky said...

Your blog is one of the best, Ivan, and you deserve the kudos! I'm really feeling your Mom's pain and the big changes in life that brings because I have very similar difficulties. Please tell her she has my prayers to the Invisible Man! I was my Mom's full-time caretaker when she got Alzheimer's, and I was also the only one who could make her laugh. Your mental status, although already skewed as it is, is important in taking care of someone. So, take care of you too!

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Rich suggested:

You were right to lay down the law on your mom. Scoliosis isn't something you wanna fool around with, especially at her age.

Mom is already making noises about not wanting the surgery (she has an appointment with the surgeon next week). I will need all my powers of persuasion to win this battle. Thanks for the felicitations, my friend.

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Errolette raised her hand:

I was my Mom's full-time caretaker when she got Alzheimer's, and I was also the only one who could make her laugh. Your mental status, although already skewed as it is, is important in taking care of someone.

I have already instituted a running gag where I ask Mom to sign a piece of paper (for the insurance). She is not amused. Oh -- this evening we watch Cape Fear on Blu-ray!

Tom said...

Congratulations on your anniversary, Mr. Thrilling Days of Yesteryear! My best to you and the 'rents!

ClassicBecky said...

Cape Fear! What a great film ... enjoy, you guys!

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Tom shouted out gleefully:

Congratulations on your anniversary, Mr. Thrilling Days of Yesteryear!

Please...let's not be so formal...Mr. Thrilling Days of Yesteryear is my fath...on second thought, it's okay. Thanks, Tom!

Anonymous said...

So glad you're back and hope things get better soon. You're a good son. Could your Mom be balking because she's afraid of post-surgery memory loss? As a geezer- in- training, I've seen so many relatives deal with this after surgery. Being more susceptible to memory loss after operations at the age when most of us start needing more operations sounds like one big old sick joke to me. Good luck and best wishes to you and yours.








Jeff Flugel said...

I'm sorry to be late to the party, Ivan, but congrats on making it to 12 years (!) of blogging! Been a long-time reader and fan of this site and hope you keep going for at least another 12 more!

Sorry to hear about your Mom's health troubles, and hope her eventual surgery goes swimmingly. I know how personal and family stuff, not to mention real-life work getting in the way of fun, can put a real crimp in one's blogging plans. 2015's been a real slow year for me as well. Here's hoping for a better 2016!