May I have your attention, please?

Everyone in my family talks at the same time.

You know the part where I never shut up? I mean, you kind of don't, because you have never really talked to me, but you know the part where I post every day and I post a lot of words? That is because I spent my whole life spewing out a constant stream of words hoping that 8% of them would get caught.

Last night I tried to tell Uncle Jim's son the story of the white cat.

"…and then Jim said he kept dreaming of a white cat–"

"Do you guys want a piece of cake!?!"

"No. I'm trying to tell the story of the white cat. …And then Jim said he kept dreaming of a white c–"

"Grab the baby! He's gonna pour pomegranate juice on the dog!"

"And then Jim said he kept dreaming of–"

"June! When did you get here?!"

Honestly. That is how every conversation goes. My whole life. I have never once told a story from start to finish while somebody gave me their undivided attention. I would like to lace everyone's coffee with Ritalin. Is Ritalin what you give people for ADD? What do you give people for Interrupt-y Disorder? For Pay No Attention to the Part Where I AM ALREADY TALKING Disorder?

Also, if you read this stupid blog with some regularity, or even if you are kind of stopped up, you may know that I am a tad sensitive to the smells. Like, I cannot even walk past Bath & Body Works in the mall without my throat closing up. Marvin thinks I am making this up but I am not, and I come by it naturally, as my grandmother was the same way. And yes, we all kind of thought she was a drama queen, too, and now it turns out she wasn't. Well, she totally was, but NOT ABOUT THIS.

Anyway, my mother has all kinds of Bath & Body Works soaps and lotions and candles and what pinhole for a throat, over here? The worst one was some sort of anaphylactic-scented candle, over there, in the kitchen, by the coffee pot, of all places, and finally I said, "Could we put this in a cupboard while I'm here?" and I saw everyone roll their eyes, like look at old hypochondriac June, over there, with her phony hives and her made-up wheezing.

So who thinks he is a laugh riot, getting that candle out and placing it behind me everywhere I go? Is it Marvin? Just now I was peacefully writing this and Marvin said, "How's your throat?" and I said, "Still scratchy" and he giggled and THAT CANDLE WAS RIGHT HERE ON THE DESK, hovering at my shoulder like we were posing in an Olan Mills photo together.

And then he made his move. Okay, am kidding about that part. I am just saying. I think I should be sainted, with all I put up with. They should make little statues of me for your dashboard, except for the part where the hair would interfere with your view of the road.

I did get to see my Aunt Sue yesterday and she looks surprisingly well. When she feels more up to it, I am going to print out all of my Uncle Jim posts along with all of your comments about him. A lot of other family members have read what you wrote and they just loved it. My Aunt Kathy sat here last night and read some of the comments out loud.

Of course, everyone interrupted her.

You just don’t find any Ritzes described as “out behind the Bob Evans.” Is the thing.

Dear Gitmo,

I apologize. I seem to have wandered onto your facility.  Really, you should work harder on that security thing.

When we shut off the light over our saggy, creaky, walnut-sized bed last night, it was like in The Brady Bunch, and I am not even going to try to go back and italicize Brady Bunch, because the computer is crawling as I am stealing the broadband or broad width or broad hips or whatever from the Bob Evans, I am not even kidding, but remember when they would turn out the lights on Brady Bunch and another light would kind of come on?

This light flooded our room like we were sleeping on the planet Mercury.

And the humming. Even deaf Marvin heard it. Then he kept imitating it, .3 inches from me in the saggy walnut. "HMMMMMMM!" He thought he was hilarious. Then he made his move. Yes. Let's please expose more of our flesh to whatever viruses abound in this hellhole.

Fortunately, it is finally time to go. I woke up 700 times. I can't imagine why, with the chorus of hums and the interrogation light in my retina and Marvin getting up from the walnut EVERY HOUR to do GOD KNOWS WHAT. Oh, and apparently the wall between the bed and the toilet is made of cardboard, because I might as well have laid at Marvin's feet while he was in there, so acute was my hearing of everything he did. "You're going to enjoy this next part!" he announced gleefully.

My home town, Saginaw, has fallen on hard economic times, and I suggested to my mother they may want to become one of those quickie divorce towns, like Reno.

I'm going to miss this place. The way one misses a festering cavity, or an aching boil.

The White Cat

Marvin just took the turtles back to school; the art teacher is going to take care of them for us. Our neighbor, Peg, is pet-sitting. Marvin also bought a bag of snacks that I do not enjoy (licorice and goldfish) (ugh), and we are off to Michigan for the funeral. Road trip! Snacks-I-hate road trip!

I just wanted to check in and say I may not be around tomorrow based on what horrific motel Marvin makes us stay in. My father was always very persnickety about nice hotels when I was growing up. I did not marry my father. Which, you know, is probably good because I think that is illegal. But Marvin will be all, "Oh! Look! The Crack and Lice Motel! This looks nice!"

We once stayed at The Wagon Wheel Motel and Bowling Alley. I am not making that up. Someone was arrested while we ate breakfast. This is why I am telling you we may not have Wi-Fi or whatever tomorrow. We may not have wallets tomorrow.

Before I go I wanted to tell you something sort of weird. I don't know. It's weird.

I don't know.

Okay, I'll tell you.

You know I got to go back and see Uncle Jim I think four times this year, and one of the times was on my birthday. He and I ate my birthday dinner next to each other, and he admired my new lawn edger my mother got me, and gave me tips, because Uncle Jim's lawn HAD TO BE PERFECT as did HIS HOUSE, as did HIS CLOTHING and physical appearance. He was a tad tidy. Did you ever meet Howard Hughes?

At any rate, after dinner we were the only two to wander into the living room. I guess we got away with not clearing the table because it was my birthday and because he was sick, although between you and me, in any other scenario neither he nor I were clear-the-table helpers anyway.

Somehow we got on the topic of spirituality. "Do you believe in God and spirits and all that stuff?" he asked me. "I never did growing up," I told him. "But now I kind of do," I said. "Why?"

"I keep seeing a white cat. I dream of a white cat all the time," he told me. He was really intense. "I don't know what it means."

"Well, I think it's Native Americans who believe you have a spirit animal. Maybe that's yours and it's helping guide you or something. Do you believe in that?"

"I don't know," he said, sitting back on the couch. "Sometimes." Then he dismissed it. "It's probably the medications they have me on."

I pretty much forgot that conversation, but after my Aunt Sue called me yesterday to say Jim had died, and after 86 more people I am related to called me in a row to say the same thing in rapid succession, I walked in here to the computer to tell it on my blog. I saw something out the window, really fast.

It looked like a white cat running past the window.

There are no white cats in our neighborhood. I hadn't been thinking of a white cat, or that story, at all. I just thought, "Was that a white cat?" cause you know I am up in cats, even in times of grief. And then half a second later, I gasped, remembering the story. I looked out the side window and saw nothing.

Now, it could have been a squirrel. Or my eyes could have been playing tricks on me.

Or it could have been a white cat. Saying, hey, I got him there!

I don't know.

The blue thing from when we stepped on a glass at our wedding. And if that title doesn’t suck a reader in, I don’t know what will.

Yesterday, I included a picture from my wedding day, which was 50,00 years ago, before everyone had cell phones and felt the need to constantly text each other and Skype and Hulu and whatever else you all do out there with your modern conveniences such as getting water out your refrigerator doors. In the comments from yesterday, someone asked if Marvin and I stepped on a glass at our wedding.

I am always stunned when you all remember details from my life, which is stupid because I have been blogging daily for three years now, and why wouldn’t you remember a thing like Marvin is Jewish. You know what I need to put up one day? Marvin’s bar mitzvah pictures from 1979. Oh, you haven’t lived. I am just saying, get several beach towels, because you will pee your own chair. Why you would want to pee on your beach towels is beyond me. It was the first thing that popped into my head.

At any rate, we DID step on a glass, which is a Jewish tradition, and I do not mean that Jewish people go around cutting their feet all day, but rather at the end of a wedding, you step on a glass that is under a napkin or something, and I imagine it is for good luck, but right up there with the part where I was supposed to have something blue, I have really no real idea why.

What we did was, we had our glass in a bag, and someone took all the dangerous shards of glass and had those made into a little sculpture-y thing. I can no longer recall if Marvin’s mother did this or one of my mother’s Jewish friends, and now I am GONNA HEAR IT, because I should certainly remember who did what 12 years ago at a wedding of 250 people.

Anyway, I offered to take yet another of my bad photographs (hi, dad!) of said sculpture-y thing for this blog and in the comments people said oh yes, please do, and they also said “I heart Journey,” and also “David Byrne does not like Applebee’s” I know I tell you to read the comments and you refuse to listen but you don’t know what you’re missing.

So I got the brilliant idea to pose everybody who lives here with the stepped-on-the-glass thing from our wedding, and you know what everybody here was in the mood for? Me. And my camera. And my mad photography skillz. Is what they were.

Yubotherhen

Why you bother Hen? Hen needs his shrimpy sleep. Hen chair need to be not centered in photo. Hi, photographer grandpa. Why you allergic to me, grandpa? Why your throat close up? Why your daughter not inherit your skillz?

Anyway, there it is. I guess the glass must have been blue. I never looked at it. I was busy getting married and greeting guests and sticking bottles of Bud Light down the front of my $2,000 dress. If the glass was blue why did I have to kill myself getting something blue for my wedding?

Zzzzztalu

Shhhh. Lu tongue out. Lu dream she lick things. Why you put blue blob in front of Lu? This psychological test? Lu fine. Lu not phobia of microwave. It just small fear. That straightjacket? That butterfly net? LU FINE.

Winnie

Win sleep on unmade bed. Win clean self because mom clean nothing else.

Franhateallyoustandfor

fran hate you. fran never move till you put offensive blob down. now fran get up. time for revolution. time to act be now. been planning.

Francontemplates

maybe time to act is tomorrow. fran tired. hate so tiring.

Me
Yes, I did pick this up with my feet. I cannot wait till Marvin sees this, because you know how he enjoys feet.

Marvnflo

Heeeee. Then look what I did. I had him hold it, not knowing it was held by my feets just seconds earlier. Oh, the hilarity. Also too, Marvin is holding Flo. Not Aunt Flo. Because that would be gross.

Okay, so now you have seen enough of the sculpture-y thing from when Marvin stepped on the glass at our wedding 4,000 years ago. I am certain you are glad you asked.

The day we offically got uncool

Marvin and I were gadding about all day, and then when we were done I said, "Let's go to Target on a Saturday in the afternoon, because that's sure to be relaxing and enjoyable, and also because we need bird seed because like Rik my idiot neighbor from LA, I need to feed my babies, the wild birds."

Anyway, does your husband do this to you? You are shopping like a normal person, and even perhaps saying things, and you turn around and he is nowhere? NOWHERE. Oh, it IRRITATES me. If I were remotely attractive anymore, I would grab the nearest man and make out with him every time Marvin does that, but now if I did that people would report me to the authorities.

I found him over in the music section this time, and come ON. The MUSIC  section at TARGET. You cannot tell me that is a remotely compelling place for a music snob such as Marvin. Was he perusing Eddie Money's greatest hits? (I just said that to irk Faithful Reader and Commentor Hulk, who seems to get up in arms when you insult Eddie Money.)

"What are you DOING?" I asked him, a giant bag of bird seed on his shoulder like he was Johnny Appleseed of Target.

"They have that one song about how it's after one and I'm drunk. Do you know that song?" Marvin asked.

I paused. Because sadly, I DO somehow know that song.

"We have lived in the South for too long," I surmised.

"I might buy this," he said, the way he used to say at Amoeba Records on Sunset Blvd., where they had rare things, and cool things, and not drunk-at-one-in-the-morning things.

"The hole in your soul is not shaped like a CD," I told him for the 114th time. "Let's go."

Honestly, I do not know what's become of us. We used to be hip. Didn't we? Soon we'll be eating at Applebee's.

I love Applebee's.

Anyway, I found this photo today and I thought it summed everything up. Not the part where we have become old and uncool, just the part where I never shut up.

Alwaysyakking

From DAY ONE he should have known my pie hole would be flappin'. It was right there from the first second. Look how he seems to be mulling his decision over right then. But the tux had been rented, and everyone was there, and he was stuck with me.  Fortunately he is getting deaf as a doorknob from all the music listening and band playing, so my incessant chatter and telling him about the hole in his soul literally falls on deaf ears.

Who sings that terrible song, anyway? About being drunk at one in the morning? Could someone drunk dial me and let me know?

My LA life comes back to haunt me

About a year and a half ago, I told you all about our really cool apartment in LA, and how the stay-at-home actor guy who moved in and scammed our landlord basically drove us out of it. Here is the link to the whole sordid tale: click here. (I make links really obvious for people like my cousin Katie, who is younger than me but not so into the computers, and who has been known to say, "I wanted to click on the link, but all that was there were blue words.")

If you do not feel like reading the whole story, my landlord was a lovely old queen who had no family, and this guy moved in, isolated my landlord from all his friends, isolated my landlord from us, and eventually tried to say the house was his. We reported this guy to elder abuse and the whole thing went to court and we had to move because things got ugly, as you can imagine.

Finally our poor landlord died and the "actor" who never acted had to move out, and the point of me reiterating this tale of woe is that SOMEONE MADE A SHORT FILM about this guy! And they made him look like a giant hero! Because he feeds pigeons!

Our whole house was ruined because we had 80 million pigeons at our house. He had giant unsanitary and it turns out illegal pigeon dwellings (we reported him to the Health Department, too. You can see why we really had to move) in the back yard, and they found FOUR DEAD PIGEONS in our chimney, and I got a bizarre fungal infection in my throat that took two rounds of antibiotics to clear up.

You know I am an animal lover, but feeding wild animals is not such a stellar idea. It leads to overpopulation and messes up the ecosystem and yes, I know I have a bird feeder in my front yard. Anyway, here is the short film if you want to see it, and it shows my old neighborhood with the pretentious grocery store on my corner (not that I was a prostitute, I just mean the corner of my street), and my old pink apartment that I loved so much, and the EFFING ENDLESS BIRDS he brought around.

And for my cousin Katie, here is the link. Click here.

P.S. I love how he talks about the odd jobs he does, like detective work and acting. I would like to discuss with you all the hard acting and detective work he did. "I do odd jobs, like scamming helpless old men, and claiming I own valuable property in trendy parts of LA…"

Marvin’s modern dance moves

A. Marvin bought Mint Milanos and did not tell me. What sort of demon does not reveal this information? He put them in the refrigerator, because he cannot remember we no longer live in LA and will not be invaded by 2939439202884292929482 sugar ants if we put them in the cupboard like normal people.

K. We no longer have Mint Milanos, to speak of.

C. Marvin also does not hang any pictures over the beds, even though I continue to remind him that we NO LONGER LIVE IN LOS ANGELES and have not done so for nearly three years now. An earthquake will not smack said picture on top of us in the night. It’s okay now. Really. But no. We continue to live with depressing blank walls above the bed, like Bartleby the Scrivener.

12. Why do people Facebook friend you and then never comment on your updates, never email you and never post anything themselves? Why bother joining Facebook, then?

Q. My father, the photographer, has been reading my blog suddenly, after years of not reading my blog, and he is seriously disturbed by the quality of my photographs. I do not know if anyone noticed in my post about my neighbor Pollyanna that after a few hours the photo of her azaleas got noticeably cropped. This is because my father broke out in 20 hissys and sent me said photo all cropped up with a terse note about how when you are showing a picture, it is generally a good idea to try to show people, oh, the thing you want to show them and not a bunch of other crap in the background.

He was also up in arms about the red eyes my pets have, so today I wanted to show you a cute picture of Henry:

Hen

which, really, is there anything else? He’s just so cute. Although stunted. The other day Marvin caught me giving him instructions on growing. “Just shut your eyes, Henry, and really think about it. Then push push push.”

“Are you trying to get him to grow?” Marvin asked me, disgusted. He thinks I should accept Henry as he is. I would have been one of those parents whose kid had a nervous breakdown when he didn’t get into Harvard.

Anyway, I am acutely aware of Henry’s red eyes now, and father, there is NOT some magic button you push to get rid of red eye, rather you have to SELECT something and kind of color it in, I think, and oh, it’s a whole thing and I can’t do it. You know me. It’s like when you tried to get me to go under water. Where’s my dollar?

But what I did discover was I have all these special effects on my computer. Look!

Smushy hen

Henry is smushy! Because he needs to be any smushier. What I like about this is now you’re even MORE aware of his red eye issue.

14.9(a)[b]. My Uncle Jim is still hanging in there. Every time the phone rings I about jump out my skin. Someone called at 8:30 this morning and I wanted to skin her and splay her in front of my fireplace like a rug. Except I have no fireplace. Honestly, if you know someone is waiting for a phone call like this, why would you call them at an odd time like that? Geez.

A-E. Marvin lost a bet last night (our waitress was from Michigan, which we knew because she kept announcing it at the top of her lungs to everyone in the restaurant, and he guessed Kalamazoo and I said Mt. Clemens, and it was Flint and I was closer), so he had to sweep all the floors when we got home, and it turns out we have dramatically different ideas of what it means to “sweep a floor,” I think. For me, it means get all the stuff that was on the floor off of the floor. I do not know what Marvin’s  modern dance artistic interpretation is.

Should I make Smushy Henry coffee mugs?

I never really liked you all that much

Yesterday I called my Uncle Jim's house and left him a message. I didn't even know if he'd be able to listen to it; I wasn't sure if he was alert or what.

I told him that despite the COUNTLESS TIMES he scared me by leaping out of the bedrooms at Gramma's house, he had been a good uncle.

Certainly I have told you about how he used to scare me, haven't I? I think I have. But if you haven't heard the story, here it is.

Every Friday night, I would spend the night at my grandmother's house, and because my uncle is only 10 years older than me he was always there, too. You can imagine how it pleased him, being the BABY of the family, suddenly having my cute self (and I was cute, I am sorry) always over there every Friday night, my grandmother getting all excited that I was coming over, and so forth.

Cute
(You do not even want to know the nightmare this was scanning this in. The picture is like the size of a walnut. I think it came from a contact sheet. So it scanned all crooked. At the back in the flowered blazer is mom, in the bangs is Aunt Mary before she knew about QVC, then dad in his tie, then my grandfather, then Grammy, and my cute self. I look a little drunk.)

Gramma–who was from the other side of the family and why I showed the photo above is beyond me except it was the only one of me being little I could find–would buy all my favorite treats, and I'd get to watch my favorite shows (specifically The Brady Bunch, and seeing as there were only two other channels to choose from I cannot imagine what other dreck my uncle wanted to see instead. I mean, what else is there?).

One thing I really liked was peanut butter and marshmallow creme, all swirled up in one jar. Do you remember that?

Fluffjif_1

That sounds delicious to me right now. At any rate, Uncle Jim would be so annoyed that I was coming over that he would eat the entire jar of peanut butter and marshmallow before I got there.

But the REAL thing he would do to torture me is he would scare me. Gramma had just one bathroom, and it was upstairs. Most of her kids had moved out, so there were lots of dark sort of abandoned bedrooms up there. The whole vibe at night was creepy. If you were going up there to go to the bathroom, you had to really mean business. I mean, you had to have had several cocktails.

Okay, I was four or whatever. I'd had no cocktails. But a lot of Tang had been consumed. I'd psych myself up. "Okay, I'm gonna run up there, do my thing, and maybe I'll even wash my hands down here, in the kitchen sink. Can I stand to have germs that long? Okay. It's a plan."

Now, Uncle Jim must have also felt the spookiness of the bathroom at night (by day that bathroom was delightful. Squishy toilet seat, a breeze moving the curtain in the window, a crocheted hoop-skirted lady covering the spare toilet-paper roll. It was only at night that eek!). Because what he'd do is, he'd wait till I came out of the bathroom and he'd

LEAP!

out of one of the dark scary abandoned bedrooms and

"ARRRRRR!!!!!"

scream at me

and I would flap my hands around and shut my eyes and

"GRAMMA!!!!"

yell for my grandmother and pretty much do everything he hoped for when he set out to scare me.

And he was so GOOD at it. He'd vary which bedroom he'd jump out of. Or sometimes he wouldn't leap at all, rather he'd just emit a low terrible growl from under one of the beds.

Even better, sometimes he'd LIE on the LANDING, arranging himself so he looked beheaded, rolling his eyes into the back of his head.

"GRAMMA!" Oh, I'd flap, flap, flap my hands. Being an only child, I had no semblance of cool whatsoever. I had no way to act not scared.

And sometimes he'd go a few weeks and not scare me at all. I do not know if he was that diabolical, if he was the Steven King of 14-year-olds, or if he simply was bored of scaring me. But just when I'd let my guard down and think it was okay to go back to the bathroom,

"ARRRRRR!"

I happen to know that even now, as an adult, he would sometimes scare my Aunt Sue. He would pretend to be asleep and when she'd come to bed he'd leap up and scream at her.

Really if you think about it it was kind of me to call him, wasn't it?

Anyway, a few hours after I left my message, Aunt Sue called me.

"June? Jim got your message."

I waited. You know what I wanted her to say? I wanted her to say, "Your Uncle Jim said to tell you he never really liked you all that much."

Now, maybe that is not the kind of message you would like to get from someone in your family. But that would have been just such an Uncle Jim thing to have said. Oh, how I wanted to hear that. That, or, "Your Uncle Jim said to tell you you're an asshole."

What she said was that he was able to hold the phone up, and that he nodded that he heard the message. So at least I know he heard it. At least I know I got to tell him that.

I should have said, "Uncle Jim? ARRRRR!"

As I was looking for a picture of me as a youngster I found this:

Jimnme 
It's from my high school graduation in 1983. I was about to turn 18 and Uncle Jim would be 28. Let's jam out to my mullet and what I'm sure I thought was a new wave shirt. I also enjoy Uncle Jim's Topsiders. And that damn cigarette.

I should have taken it out of his hand and stomped it into 250 pieces.