Ode to Cancer Boy’s Birthday

CUBAN STEVEN

CUBAN STEVEN

Happy Birthday, Steven Harp
I didn’t forget, I’m wa-a-a-a-a-y too sharp.
I just know that celebrations
Give you nervous palpitations.
So you’re nuts, what else is new?
That’s part of why I’m loving you!

Another year…and you’re not dead.
I know that thought is in your head.
You’re dwelling on the “Why, Oh, Why?”
So here’s the deal, my big dumb guy.
It’s not your time. You’re here to stay.
So just relax and live each day.

Your cancer comes and then it goes.
And, yes, it’s caused us many woes.

TOUGH GUY STEVEN

TOUGH GUY STEVEN

Yet every year that we endure
Brings us much closer to a cure.
And I believe the day is near
When you can live without that fear.

But for right now, what all connects
Your aches and pains and side effects,
Is not just chemo or radiation.
It’s normal aging dilapidation.
You’re not the man you used to be.
You’re older, wiser and that’s the key!

LOVE OF MY LIFE STEVEN

LOVE OF MY LIFE STEVEN

So you forget things! I do too.
I just remember more than you.
Here’s the thing you have to know
I love you and I won’t let go.
I’;m keeping you right here with me
Until you reach one hundred three.

So, Cancer Boy, let’s celebrate
Another year where I’m your mate.
And you’re alive, enjoying love
From us on earth and God above.
And that is how we’ll spend our life.
Just you and me…your trophy wife.

I’D LOVE IT IF YOU SIGNED UP FOR MY E-MAILING LIST!  IT’S JUST YOU AND ME, BABY!  I DON’T SHARE MY TOP SECRET SUBSCRIBER LIST WITH ANYONE, SO YOU WON’T GET JUNK OR SPAM OR FOUND IF YOU’RE IN WITNESS PROTECTION!  I JUST WANT TO LET YOU KNOW WHEN I POST A NEW ENTRY.  SUBSCRIBE HERE  

Help! I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up!

I'M LEAVING ON A JET PLANE

I’M LEAVING ON A JET PLANE

I am so exited that I’ve been invited to attend Cancer Treatment Center of America’s Bloggers Summit at the end of this month.  I’m also trying to convince myself that I’m lucky that I’ll be unemployed by then, so I won’t have a schedule conflict.  Isn’t that the Yin-Yang of life?  It all balances out?  I’m not really sure if I’m kidding myself or it’s the martini talking, but it’s working for me for now.

I am little nervous about going away by myself.  More accurately, I’m a little nervous about leaving Steven alone by himself.   (New readers, check out my June and July posts “Steven Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Parts 1 & 2).  I don’t actually think he’ll Baker Act himself again.  He’s a fast learner.  But I am worried about his ability to survive in Smalltown U.S.A. by himself.  Surprisingly, if I was marooned on an island with no other signs of life, I would want Steven there with me.  In a situation like that, he is amazing.  We’d have food, beverage and shelter before nightfall, and some kind of attention getting device to attract rescue.  It’s just ‘normal life’ that trips him up.

Before I embark on the latest Adventure With Steven, I have to tell you that I had a nasty fall getting out of the shower a few weeks ago.  Let me digress for a moment to reflect.  As we get older we:

  1. Don’t react a quickly as we did when we were younger
  2. Don’t bounce like we did when we were little
  3. Don’t look as good sprawled out naked on a floor as we did in our prime

It was a simple move.  I overstepped the bath mat with a wet foot, slid across the tile, like an Olympic skater, knocked over the dogs’ water bowl adding another 2 quarts of water to the floor, and then successfully performed a triple toe loop into a a double salchow transitioning into a Hamill camel before landing in a Cirque du Soleil split.  It was an unfortunate accident that I got to witness in my vanity mirror, knowing that I couldn’t stop it and that it was going to hurt like hell when I landed.  I thought I was going to need a rush trip to the Emergency Room to remove the bath mat from my uterus! 

I made a loud thud and screamed for Steven, but when he slid open the bathroom pocket door and my upper torso melted into the floor of the bedroom, I immediately knew that this, as Seinfeld would say, was a “bad naked.”  I landed like I should have been a chalk outline on a police drama.  And I was hurting and numb at the same time.  He NEVER laughs at me in a dangerous situation…until that day.  So I knew I looked hideous.  When he tried to help me up I still couldn’t move, so I just had him cover me up with towels so I could hide the hideous.  And I made him drag me off the tile on to the bedroom carpet…which left rug burns on my ass.  It was ugly…I still cringe with pain and embarrassment when I reflect on the moment.

But now, let’s focus on Steven.  After I was dried off, clothed, propped up, iced up and medicated I realized that my afternoon activities were supposed to include some grocery shopping.  Unfortunately, I’ve been a little depressed about this ‘job losing’ thing and I’ve been neglecting a lot.  Groceries just happened to be one of those things.

12-12-95  OUR FIRST DATE

12-12-95 OUR FIRST DATE

When I met Steven he was a real bachelor.  He had a refrigerator that usually had some kind of cake or pie for a late night snack and some milk to go with it.  And French Vanilla Coffee Mate for the mornings…and a light bulb.  He ate out every night, every lunch and when he left home in the morning he would stop at the bagel shop for breakfast to go.  He has not been in a grocery store since we were married.  A lot has changed in 15 years. 

So back a the ranch, I gave Steven the debit card and told him to just go to the store, get some milk, Coffee Mate and, this is where I threw him the curve, some soup.  We’d have a light dinner that he could just warm up and it would go perfectly with the muscle relaxers he was feeding me. 

Publix has been remodeled in the last 15 years.  He didn’t know where anything was.  Prices have gone up in 15 years.  A gallon of milk used to cost $1.00.  And Coffee Mate only came in one brand in one flavor…PERIOD.  His head almost exploded just trying to find the items.  He was sure he was being scammed by the prices and when the checkout girl had him swipe the debit card, I know he must have looked like a deer in headlights.  When it asked for the PIN, he was sweating, but took a guess.  After 15 years, he did know what I would use.  But just when he thought he was safe, the cashier asked him if he wanted cash back.  And he freaked out.  His question to her, me and everyone within ear shot was, “Why would YOU give ME cash back, if I’m buying something from YOU”?

And now, I’m going to Arizona for 3 days at the end of the month.  Steven will be in charge of the house and the dogs when I’m gone.  I’m worried but excited.  I expect to learn a lot at Cancer Treatment Center of America.  I also expect that Steven will provide some entertaining blog posts for us all.  Let’s just hope that he’ll try to be a little smarter…than the dogs!


To My Favorite Daughter…OK, My Only Daughter

Today is my daughter’s birthday.  I can’t believe she’s 29 years old.  That sounds so grown up but I guess that’s because she is!  Here’s the thing – I just don’t feel like I’m grown up enough to have an offspring who is this old!  Especially when I think about how smart and mature she is.  Truthfully, I want to be more like her. So usually I only reflect on that thought after a cocktail, because it’s one of those odd circle of life concepts that make my head spin.

I feel guilty when I brag about Alexis, because I know a lot of the reasons she’s turned out to be such an outstanding young woman is because of ME!  So, I’m kind of patting myself on the back when I brag.  (Although what’s so wrong with that?  Every one likes a good pat on the back…even if it is Pat-sterbation.)  On the other hand, as a parent, I learned a lot and grew up with her. So how is it that she learned a little more than I did.  Seriously…how does that happen?  That’s when the cocktail comes into play.  My brain gets stuck in that circle of life!

Happily, with all her smarts and maturity, I managed to brainwash her enough that she picked up the snarky, funny attitude and the humor that makes life fun.  Now, as an adult, I just love talking to her because it’s always amusing for both of us…and what could be better than that!

So just as I was about to send her a little birthday greeting, I got this little instant message exchange, started by her (in Blue) to commemorate the day, our communication style and our love.  She’s allowing me to share, and you get a glimpse of my baby girl – all grown up!

Ra in Text SizeHappy fruit of your loins day!  When I was younger, my birthday was exciting.  After watching my friend     Kelly give birth to her son, I feel like the least I can do is send you a fruit basket!

 

Abaco headshot-ASH  My hoo-haa was just thinking aboout you!  8:53 AM is when you entered the stage and stole the spotlight from me forever!

 

Ra in Text Size                                                                                 Ya, sorry about that!  What can I say?  I learned from the master!

Abaco headshot-ASH  It was worth every stretch mark!

 

Ra in Text Size                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks, Mom!  

   

Abaco headshot-ASH  Thank you for all the years of getting to watch you dance on the OUTSIDE!  Those Rockette kick lines you used to practice in my lady oven seemed like punishment until I realized it was just a 9 month rehearsal!

Ra in Text Size                                                                                                                                                             ha ha! Now that’s funny! : – )

 

 

Abaco headshot-ASH Not so funny the night I was at the Tomorrowland Stage watching Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine perform.  That was the first time you started to listening to the beat of the music and start practicing the Solid Gold Dancer moves!  I had to leave the show because you were knocking me over!!! ; – )

Ra in Text Size                                                                                                               I had to let my coworker read that, bc that’s funny!

Abaco headshot-ASHHAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEETIE!  I LOVE YOU!!

 

This is the birthday chat the began our 29th year as mother and daughter, and I count my blessings that I am lucky enough to have both written and verbal chats like this on almost a daily basis.  Because with all the ups and downs of child rearing and growing up, on both sides, not only do we love each other, we are blessed to really LIKE each other, too.

I Want Your Opinion

OK Boys and Girls, I’m about to be seperated from my job.  Unlike divorce, where a person shows up at your door and serves you papers, a “seperation” from work comes in the form of an e-mail, with a final date, non-negotioable package and ‘thanks for the memories’ sentiment.  I’ve already started, unsuccessfully thus far, looking for a new gig. Luckily, I was able to connect with a very helpful woman in my HR department who pointed out to me that my bullet-point resume didn’t even begin to cover the thngs I have done.  So, in my usual style, I have gone rogue and composed a backwards resume.  Rather than bullet points, I’ve gone with my forté, narrative style. And instead of starting with my latest position, I’ve begun with the most defining.  I’d like your input.  Tell me what you think.  Hit the “COMMENT” icon at the bottom of this entry and let me know if you like my resume, if you’d hire me, if you think I’m on the right track or if I’m missing the boat completely.  You won’t hurt my feelings, getting canned already took care of that.  Now, I just want to know if I’m on the right track.

Alexandra Harp

Profile

I have been extremely fortunate in my life to have been afforded multiple opportunities to step into several careers that have been both very similar and very different, simultaneously.  Rather than being a jack-of-all-trades, I make the effort to master each one.  I have further expanded my knowledge with a pseudo PhD in life experience.  Most importantly all my efforts have been incredibly interesting and fun.  I am a firm believer that having a good time at work makes everyone’s work better.

Experience

Professional Stand Up Comic, Self Employed, Comedy Clubs Across America 1987-1995

I always wanted to be a comedienne, but my only comedy education was watching comics on Johnny Carson.  When I started, I secured my first paying job as an emcee within 2 weeks of my first open mic night.  I wasn’t that funny yet, but I had studied a lot of comedians and I have a personality that audiences just like, so they gave me the break I needed to learn the job…on stage…in front of everyone…sweating when it bombed.  I don’t like to sweat.  So, I learned fast.  I wrote all my jokes, until I had enough material to fill several 30 minute acts.  I managed my own bookings and expanded my contacts by doing “guest sets” in any comedy club nearby. (A guest set is bold move made by marching into a new club, finding the manager, asking for a spot at the beginning of the show and trying to wow him in a 5-15 minute “audition” in front of a room full of strangers to secure a future date.  It took almost 4 years to go from terrifying (Dangerfield’s in NYC) to challenging (Zanies in Nashville) to amusing (Charlie Goodnights in Raleigh, NC).  I learned how to read crowds and how to tailor the material to the particular audience du jour and the area of the country in which I was performing (The mostly male audiences at Pierce Street Annex in Anchorage, Alaska was very different from the Sunday evening after-Church crowd at the Punchline in Atlanta).  I did my own marketing, following up with club owners regularly by phone to keep my bookings full.  I used head-shot post card mail-outs listing open dates, nearby bookings that could be piggy-backed and amusing comments to keep them aware of my availability and wit. I collected my fees, paid in cash, late at night, after the last show of the week…also after the audiences which left me alone with a big burly guy with a pocket full of cash from the bar register.  Once I was in a room alone with a man and a gun, twice I was frightened by the size and sneer of the burly guy with the cash, and dozens of times I wondered why I didn’t have a desk job.  But I always got my money and never got hurt.  It was the most fun job I ever had and I am thrilled that I had the courage and endurance to do it. I stopped after 8 years, when my daughter asked me not to travel any more.  The sound of a daughter is the only thing more important and more wonderful than the sound of laughter. 

 

Receptionist, Island Windows & Shutters, Indian Harbor Beach, FL 1995-1997

This was my first “real” job after my comedy career.  When I met the owner, and handed him my resume he told me he had no sense of humor.  I was intrigued.  I cast a spell on him and he hired me part-time to staff his showroom, handle the phones, book appointments and keep the books.  I took it upon myself to make up marketing brochures to mail out to increase sales, update his office procedures for efficiency and reorganize his bookkeeping system.  After 6 months I was working full time.  After 12 months we were married and I became the president of the company.  You are welcome to call my former boss, Steven Harp at 321-863-5833 for further information.  Please be aware that his comments will be extremely biased based on what I’m making for dinner!

 

Wife and Mother 1997-1999

Time off for good behavior as our family re-grouped and grew into the new life situations of marriage, new home, teen-age years, dogs, a lawn and the all American dream.

 

Office Manager/Receptionist, Dr. Gary Palsis, DMD, Indian Harbor Beach, FL 1999-2003

I booked all appointments, filed all insurance, managed accounts receivable, taught myself the antiquated computer’s dental program, memorized dental insurance coding and used my stellar personality to entertain patients so they wouldn’t realize that the doctor was always running late!  In general, excellent care givers are bad at both collecting fees and managing time. I was the charming muscle who pioneered the practice (and led the way for other local practices) from an insurance based payment structure to a patient ‘pay in full on day of service’ protocol.  With no dental background, I had no idea that this radical change was unheard of at the time, so by expecting no resistance, I got very little.  Further, this new collection procedure, coupled with tenacity and determination on my part reduced Accounts Receivable from $60,000 to less than $2,000 during my tenure.  My comedic social skills calmed the dental-phobes, chatted up the potential referring patients and built relationships that brought a family feeling to the practice. I increased the number of new patients in responding to telephone inquiries, referrals and mis-dials!  My motto – No phone call ends without an appointment!  I hated to leave Dr. Palsis.  My teeth had never been whiter.  But I had reached my salary cap and we both shed a tear when I said goodbye.  He is still my dentist and I urge you to call 321-773-7400 to hear him sing my praise!

 

Senior Design Consultant, CTI at Mercedes Design Center, Melbourne, FL   2003-2012

When I came to the design center there was a lot of information that the current designers “knew”.  Much was not written down, most was in different formats, and some was just made up on the spot.  None of that worked for me.  I made it my mission to organize all the reference material with up-to-date pricing, availability of products and design trends to support the wish lists of the customers and the cost lists of the builder.  I made sure that all products that were not available for display in the Design Center were accurately photographed with narratives and bound in books for the customers to easily view and understand.  I learned the Microsoft Excel program well enough to develop an Excel Selection Sheet format.  Before my arrival, all design choices were hand written on pre-preprinted selections sheets.  That change alone saved the company thousands of dollars each year in printing costs and White-Out!  Through natural progression (retirement) I became the sole designer at this location and have been servicing all of Brevard County for the past 4 years.  Although the position of Design Consultant was technically a sales job, to the home buyer I was their personal decor specialist and I valued their trust in me in that position. My artistic experience, guided the customers in personalizing their interior flooring, cabinets, countertops, fixtures, etc. to suit their lifestyles. At the same time it was my responsibility to CTI to sell flooring for them, thus earning my commissions.  To make each presentation smooth, I took time to learn about each family, their needs, wants and desires as well as their limitations.  With focus on the buyer’s lifestyle, I made the design center experience the most exciting and fun part of the new home buying process, always using the utmost care and focus in helping customers make their new house become their home.  CTI paid me in dollars, the homeowners paid me in hugs. Win-win!  This Design Center was also located in the builder’s corporate headquarters, making me the liaison extraordinaire between Mercedes Homes and CTI (HD Supply).  My manager, Phil Spade can be reached at 407-803-4286 for a glowing report on how I took a bullet for the team!

 

Education

Fordham University, Bronx, NY – 2 years General Undergraduate Classes

Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY – BA English, Certification to Teach Grades 7-12

Skills

Learning new things quickly

Good at Jeopardy

Writer, Blogger, Wordsmith  – I have recently been invited to Cancer Treatment Center of America’s Bloggers Summit in Arizona

I am an avid Living with Cancer Advocate primarily focusing on my husband’s pesky little bout with lymphoma 

Blog Content : Life, Laughter and Lymphoma

http:///www.theworldaccordingtoalexandra.com