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In the eleventy-billion years I’ve been blogging, I don’t think I’ve ever taken a couple of days off. See, I’m too compulsive to do that. By noon, if I haven’t gotten something completely mediocre pecked out and posted here, I’m practically banging my head into the wall, yelling, “NOT WITHOUT MY BLOG.”

I took Monday and Tuesday off, not because I was frolicking around, doing awesome things with my Cabana Boy, Raphael, but because *flings hand against head dramatically* I was very close to death.

Well, no, I was probably not near death, but I wanted to be.

See, Pranksters, I had *cue Imperial Death March* The Stomach Flu.

I hate the stomach flu more than I hate cream-based condiments, smoove jazz and decaffeinated coffee (what’s the fucking point?).

I was the last one standing against it, too. Everyone else in my house had been felled by it and I was all LOOKIT ME, ALL EYE OF THE MOTHERFUCKING TIGER ON YOU, GASTROENTERITIS. IMMA MAKE YOU MY BITCH.

Three hours later, I was laying on the hideous tile in our upstairs bathroom, praying to the porcelain gods that they would spare me this agony and just let me die.

My cats, very helpfully, I should add in my most sarcastic tone, circled around me, trying to lick me back to health. Or, perhaps, decide where would be best to start gnawing on my corpse. I love my cats, but I don’t trust them not to chomp their way into my dead body to make a nice cozy home.

Monday morning found me in the ER for a couple of bags of fluids. I had dehydrated myself so thoroughly over the previous twelve hours that I couldn’t even produce tears. I hate going to the ER, but I was all, “I’M *wheeze* ALL *horks* EYE OF THE *splat* TIGER,” and then I passed out.

(I’m always pissed about going to the ER for things because, hell, I could give MYSELF a bag of Normal Saline or Ringers Lactate if I had the proper equipment.)

The following thirty-six hours were spent in a feverish haze, where I alternated between moaning on the couch and moaning in bed. The highlight? Drinking the most delicious blue-flavored slurpee in the world. Nothing, Pranksters, has ever tasted so good.

I also fulfilling one of my OCD dreams: I bought a carpet steamer. The excitement I feel over this is pathetic. I mean, who knows how to party, Pranksters? (answer: I do)

So this is Your Aunt Becky, telling you that I’m back. In black.

What did I miss while I was gone?

Dear Aunt Becky,

My grandpa died a few years ago. About a year after he died my grandma met Sam. He was a widower and they seemed to hit it off. No one else in the family was impressed. He isn’t very friendly, and did’t seem happy when Grandma insisted on coming to family events. I’ve only met him a few times, actually, because he doesn’t like to come around. That means I don’t see Grandma often because she doesn’t come without him. He had grandma sell her house and move away from the rest of the family about 4 hours away. We just wanted Grandma to be happy, and she seemed to be so we didn’t make a big deal about it.

A few weeks ago my cousin was staying with them, and they must have thought she was asleep, because she heard them arguing. She went to see what the noise was about and saw Sam hitting my grandma. Grandma admitted it happened but said it was the only time. Now we find out that Sam convinced my Grandma to put the proceeds of the sale of her house into a joint checking account. They have a pre-nup, but we’ve also discovered it only protects his money and not hers. Her money is now their money! Grandma is having significant health problems and we also found out that she is still expected to cook and clean and basically wait on Sam hand and foot even though he is in good health and she isn’t.

I am sick about this. We don’t know what to do. Grandma is from the generation that you don’t get divorced. Aside from killing HIM or kicking his ass, what can we do to get through to her?

I really want to go Eye of the Motherfucking Tiger on this asshole. Anyhow. My anger is not particularly valuable or helpful.

Elder Abuse is defined as a intentional or negligent act that causes harm or risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.

It’s clear that Sam is abusing your grandmother. Since she’s a vulnerable population, there are special agencies that you can contact about this.

If you (or anyone else) believe someone to be in danger, obvs call 911.

Please call Eldercare this week at 1-800-677-1116. They can give you specific information about how to get your grandmother the help she needs. It’s a directory of services in your area that you can utilize for help and additional resources.

I also have a list of State-By-State resources for the elder abuse reporting and assorted programs for the elderly in your state. It’s an excellent resource.

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233)
Staff provide callers with crisis intervention, information about domestic violence, and referrals to local programs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Telephone assistance is available in many languages, including Spanish.

The Directory of Crime Victim Services is a Web-enabled, online resource sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). The directory is designed to help service providers and individuals locate victim services in the United States and other countries. Search by location, type of victimization, service needed, or agency type.

(Shit, now you’re going to see that I may have exaggerated my cat video consumption. I’m showing you what a NERD I am. Damns. See I do a lot of researching and writing pages for Band Back Together, like THIS one, on Elder Abuse).

I wish you luck, Prankster. I’m so sorry your grandmother is being abused. If you need help “taking care of Sam” I’m in.

I’m not super-familiar with elder abuse, beyond this, so please, Pranksters, help me out here.


As always, Pranksters, feel free to submit your most pressing questions to Go Ask Aunt Becky.

I’m getting a new central air conditioner today. It’s been dying a slow and painful death since Alex was a wee babe and we’ve put it off because, well, it hadn’t entirely bit the bucket. The guy came to install it and was all, “Holy shit, I can’t believe they hooked it up like this. It could have blown up.”

“Holy shit, I can’t believe XXX” is about what I think when I think back to our old first floor bathroom, so I think he and I are going to get along fabulously.


(yes, yes that’s right, Pranksters. That IS three types of wallpaper in that tiny room. And, why yes! How astute of you to notice that it’s GLUED TO THE FUCKING DRYWALL. GOD, that was a bitch to get off.)

Anyway. I couldn’t be happier to have this installed, even though it’s costing me a couple of G’s.

As I told The Daver this morning, “Hey, it beats the condo.” He laughed knowingly.

Back when I didn’t know better, The Daver and I bought a three bedroom condo in Oak Park. It was a beautiful red brick building, right on the edge of an “up-and-coming neighborhood.” (in this case, “up-and-coming” means “on the edge of the ghetto”)

Our condo was a charming thing, all tall ceilings and dark wood floors. Very beautiful.

Until we moved in.

It was only then when I realized what “vintage” really meant. It meant, “you’re a fucking sucker.”

We had a radiator in the basement, one that heated all of the units, and, well, it was on when it was on and when it wasn’t on, it was still on. Our condo was right below it, so during the winter, it wasn’t uncommon to see me walking around in a tank top and shorts.

We’d gone to a Condo Board Meeting to learn that our poor radiator was on it’s last legs…and there were no funds from our condo dues to pay for it. It cost something like ten billion dollars.

We’d just shelled out five grand for a new back porch.


And the lead-paint covered windows that may as well have been screens for all the air they kept out? Well, if we wanted to replace those, they were a thousand dollars.


A thousand dollars.


We had something like ten windows. Ten grand (plus installation!) for windows. Windows NOT made of solid gold.

See, we needed to get specialty windows – replicas of the original – to match building code.

(fuck you, vintage)

When we added fans (and learned about the faulty wiring that may have killed us in a fiery blaze, had we not gone up and fixed it) in our condo in the summer because it was 8000000 degrees and window AC units don’t work so well when the windows allow hot air to pour in? Well, we were in trouble with the condo board for not using their electrician.

I have never been happier to move back to the land of the pre-fab.

At least now, when our AC unit craps out on us, I can buy a FLOOR MODEL and have it installed. It’s not specially carved by small children in Zimbabwe to match my house. It’s just an AC unit.

And when I decide to recarpet my house, it will be regular carpet, not carpet hand-crafted on the backs of seventeen vestal virgins.

Which is fortunate. I don’t even know what a vestal virgin is.

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