Monday, October 28, 2013

Menopause Puppy

Back in the day, and I am talking even before my time and the pill, women often gave birth to a menopause baby. My Uncle Yale, Nana’s youngest brother, was one such baby. He was only nine years older than my mother.

For those not understanding this term, a menopause baby is exactly what it sounds like. A woman in her mid- to late-forties gets pregnant one last time, gives birth and never has a visit from Aunt Flo again. Remember the episode of The Golden Girls when Blanche thought she was pregnant but discovered she was actually going through menopause? My favorite line from that episode was when Sophia talked about growing a beard and said, “One morning, I woke up, and I was Yassir Arafat.”

Menopause babies also bring on something else: confident parenting. How’s that? Well, with your first child you are over-protective and watch your every move. You won’t even let your baby play in the dirt or crawl on the floor. With your second child, you let your child play in the dirt and crawl on the floor. By the time you have a menopause baby, if your child is still alive and in one piece at the end of the day, you’ve done your job.

For me, Rose Marie is like my menopause puppy. The last time I had a puppy, I was thirty-three. I held Serena when she was two days old, and I held her fourteen years later, when she took her last breath. Did I make mistakes as a new daddy with her? Of course, I did. Was I over-protective? Have we met?

Here are some examples.

I wouldn’t let children touch her. I was like Lucy Ricardo. All those other children have germs. Kids have dirty hands filled with jelly and other stuff I don’t like. Unfortunately, I ended up with a dog who hated children – and many adults.

My dog was clean. Serena had a skin condition requiring her to be bathed every week in special shampoo. Yes, for fourteen years, she got a bath every weekend – 728 baths. She was brushed every night. She was always coifed and perfectly groomed. That is why I wouldn’t let children – and many adults – touch her. They would mess up her do. She also was prissy and wouldn’t play in the dirt or walk in mud. Seriously! I never once saw her step into a puddle or roll in the grass.

People always wanted to pick her up, but she had back and knee problems, so I was constantly pulling her out of people’s arms. Once I was walking her in Mount Pleasant (which was neither a mount nor pleasant, discuss), and this stranger walked right up to her and picked her up. Who does that? I immediately demanded she let go of my dog, and I was made out to be the bad guy. Sorry, weirdo, but to me, this is my child. How would you like it if I walked up to your child and picked her up without permission?

Training Serena was both easy and difficult. I often joked we were Joan Crawford and Christina. I would demand the respect that a star deserves, and she would declare she was not one of my fans.

As a side note. Joan Crawford did that ungrateful child of hers a favor. Had she been all Donna Reed-like, Christina’s book would have been a flop, and she wouldn’t have made millions on it. I read Mommie Dearest and thought, “So what?” You should have grown up in my house. At least you had money.

Where was I? Oh yes, training. I read every stupid dog training book there was. And I learned something about dog training books. They are ALL full of dog shit!

For example: To teach your dog to come to you, tie a fishing line to her collar, then pull on it when you say come here. I did that. I pulled then Serena pulled. Guess who won? The alpha bitch, that’s who.

Use a code word to get your dog to pee. Mine was “go pee pee for me.” Really, it was. Did it work? Hell no. Serena would hold it for hours out of spite. What I did learn was that yelling, “I am in a hurry; take a goddam piss already!” doesn’t work either.

What does work? Just walking along and not saying anything and then saying “good girl” when she goes, and it only took me eleven years to learn that.

I also wouldn’t let Serena play with other dogs unless I had a complete dossier and medical records to review. As a result, her only playmate was an elderly Great Dane. For those who don’t know, Serena was a toy parti-poodle, weighing nine pounds.

As a result, she learned that all other dogs were a menace. Any other dogs who came near me, she would growl at and scare away, regardless of size. She was the best bodyguard I ever had. Too bad she didn’t do that with the jerks I dated.

I also let Serena sleep in the bed. The bad thing about that was when she was old, went blind and deaf, and fell off the bed one night I had to train her not to sleep in the bed. I spent four nights with a dog crying all night long to get into the bed. She finally got it, but she was never the same after that. Neither was I.

I may have made mistakes with Serena, but she lived a good long life and ironically, she died two weeks to the day after her twin brother, who was raised by my friend John, who rescued her mother from an abuser. He soon discovered Venus was pregnant, and that is how I got Serena (their names were only a coincidence and before the Venus/Serena tennis twins).

John was way more relaxed in raising Moochy than I was with Serena, and both lived to be fourteen.

With Rose Marie, have I changed my methods. Yes. I let children play with her. So what if their hands are dirty. I can always give her a bath if she gets sticky. I let her play with other dogs, provided they appear friendly, and what a surprise, most dogs are.

I even took her to a huge car show with hundreds of people and dogs, so she would get used to crowds.

I also don’t yell, “Take a piss already! How f-----g hard is it to piss? Just squat and go!” We just walk, and she goes. I say, “Good girl,” then we continue on our way.

However, she does sleep in the bed. Talk to me in fourteen years about how that is working out for us.

There is one thing that I don’t know if I will ever understand. Every day, someone walks up to me and says, “What happened to your dog’s leg?” If I were walking a child, and she were missing a leg, would you ask me that? Weren’t we taught how to be sensitive to disabilities? I now know how my mother felt.

When I was born, I was huge. I never wore infant clothes and went directly to toddler size. When I was six months old, my mother said she couldn’t count how many people walked up to her and said, “Oh poor dear, is your child retarded? He is two years old and can’t walk or talk.” Can you imagine walking up to someone today and saying something like that?
I never got how big I was until I was with my father in a Petco one day, and this woman had a huge baby in her cart. I asked how old he was. She said six months, and as my father walked by, he said without hesitation or surprise, “You were that size at six months.”
The woman looked me up and down, and I know she thought, “How much does one of those eat?”

I told my brother that from now on when someone asks me what happened to my dog’s leg, I am going to say, “Oh my God! When we left the house, she had four legs! It must have fallen off!” I got so used to people asking that when my friend Paul wanted to ask me a question about her, I automatically gave him the three leg story, when all he wanted to know is if she had Jack Russell in her. I felt bad for making an assumption.

Not all people are rude. One of my neighbors babysits her grandchildren, and when they saw Rose Marie, they just wanted to play with her. The only question they asked was what kind of dog she was. No one mentioned her three leggedness. Her grandchildren, and obviously children, too, were raised right.

My friend, Danny, said for Halloween I should carry Rose Marie while munching on a turkey leg and go, “Mmmmmm, only three more legs to go.”

All I know is that at the end of the day, she is fed, watered, brushed, uninjured, and still alive, so I must be doing my job.

If you want to come back as a gay man’s dog, get on my email list or better yet, buy my books:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

All She Needs Is a Black Bow

For the last year, since Esmeralda died, friends have asked me, “When are you getting another dog?”

When my father died, no one asked when I was going to get another senile, alcoholic Republican to brighten my days.

My favorite was when one said, “I don’t like the fact that you are alone?” I answered that I have lived alone for more than half my life. She then said, “I know that. I meant that you don’t have a dog.” So, it didn’t bother her that I will die alone and probably not be found until the neighbors can no longer stand the smell emanating from my manufactured home.

Oh, I get it.

Most people who ask either never had a dog or have never had to make the decision to end a dog’s life. You can call it “put down” or “put to sleep,” but the fact is it is a heart-wrenching decision that makes you feel guilty no matter how much people say you did the right thing. I had to do it twice in a three-year period, and both times, I had to make the decision alone.

I wasn’t ready to face that again.

On the Facial Book, I was always sharing pictures of dachshund and bull dog puppies because I think they are cute, and although I didn’t have a dog, I still like them. The jury is still out on people.

Dogs are proof evolution exists; people, not so much. Cats are proof aliens exist.

Well, the last few months, I started to consider whether it was time to bring the pitter patter of little feet into my home. I don’t like children, so it was time for another dog. But this time, I wanted a puppy. At almost fifty-one, I figured this was my last chance to have a puppy and enough energy to deal with one. I don’t know why. I can’t even stand guys who are more than five years younger than I am.

I visited every rescue site in the area for dachshunds, beagles and bull dogs, but what I found were organizations that had you fill out a twenty-page questionnaire online before you were allowed to contact them about seeing a particular dog. I do understand the application process since they don’t want abusers or dog fighters to get dogs, but they should at least contact you within a week, not three weeks later. Once they do contact you, that dog is already adopted or was never available in the first place. Then, they try to get you to adopt an elderly dog.

I have nothing against adopting an elderly dog, but I did that with Esmeralda, and frankly, putting a dog down or to sleep or killing one every two years is not part of my life’s master plan. As I told my friend Danny, “If I have to do that again in the next two years, I will have myself put to sleep.”

My master plan was to adopt a male puppy, name it Dr. Bombay and teach it to come when I said, “Dr. Bombay, Dr. Bombay, emergency come right away.”

A friend told me once, “You want to make God laugh? Make plans.”

My favorite was one on one of the English Bulldog rescues. They had a nine-month old dog available that had been returned. When I volunteered at a rescue, I saw this happen a lot with puppies because the people think the dog will be housebroken, can’t housebreak the dog or don’t know how to housebreak a dog. More on that later.

Three weeks later, I was contacted by email after I filled out the magna carta of applications. They didn't even mention the puppy and sent me a picture of an English Bulldog that they said was five years old, who didn’t get along with children, people, cats or other dogs, was returned three times and had a nice disposition. Even though the description told me this wouldn’t work, I looked at the picture. The dog was so gray and old, it was wearing a Life Alert collar. I told the woman I needed a young dog that got along with other dogs and people and cats because I was considering daycare or a dog walker since I was away from the house for eleven hours three days a week.

You would have thought I pissed in her Rice Chex. “Sorry to have bothered you. This dog is five years old. My dogs are in a crate eleven hours a day, and they are fine. Sorry again to have bothered you.” Her dogs were in a crate eleven hours a day? What kind of Bulldog prison was she running? I didn’t answer because if you get into a pissing contest with a skunk, no one wins. It can be fun with a bear. Just kidding.

I am claustrophobic, so I don’t like crates, and when did this crate thing start? We didn’t use crates in my day. Kelly, Daisy, Serena and Esmeralda never were in crates. I know two people who keep their dogs in crates for ten or more hours a day. I don’t understand it. I would like to put each of them in a crate for a whole day and see how they like it.

Even the rescue organizations call this humane. Sorry, but I see nothing humane about adopting a dog and keeping it in a cage all day. Notice they never say cage. Well, it is a cage. Go get arrested and see what it is like to be in a cage for fourteen hours with only an open toilet and twenty-one of your closest friends then do something horrible and go into solitary for a week. No, I have never been arrested although I apparently have plenty of friends who have.

They also claim the crate is good for housebreaking, but it isn't. More on that later.

With no luck with these other rescues, I started visiting the Washington Animal Rescue League site again. Esmeralda came from there. I had volunteered there and have a monthly recurring donation to them. I started my search with male puppies less than one year old. None really caught my attention and most were pit bull mixes, which is why I didn’t go there first. We aren’t allowed those here. Poor pit bulls. In England they are Staffordshire terriers – Nanny dogs. What they should ban are the horrible owners and that piece of shit football player who went to the same high school I did.

Now, I was thinking, maybe I am not supposed to have a dog. Maybe the universe is telling me to wait. I was getting frustrated. I had already replaced all the carpet with laminate, so no accidents would cause me apoplexy, and I had researched daycares and dog walkers. So, out of curiosity, I changed my parameters to include females. All my dogs were female, so I just thought I was due for a change. Never think. It just gets you in trouble.

And there was this cute black and brown face wearing an Elizabethan collar. I figured she had just been spayed when they took the picture. She was a four-month-old hound mix, but all they showed was this cute face with lopsided ears. Her name was Rose Morgan. My grandmother was Rose, and yellow roses are my favorite flower.

I didn’t contact them right away. I would go on every day and look to see if any new dogs arrived, and one did – a beagle poodle mix. I contacted them, and they responded immediately that she was adopted as soon as they posted the picture.

Rose Morgan was still there with the same post-surgery picture.

The following Monday, I went on again, and there were new pictures of Rose Morgan without the collar. Something looked a little different. She was a small dog and looked to be a mix of beagle, min-pin, Jack Russell and who knows what else, but on closer inspection I noticed she was missing her front right leg. Anyone who knows me would not be surprised at what I did next. I emailed them again about Rose Morgan. I asked if she could walk up three steps; if she was good with other dogs; if she got along with people; if she had any other health issues. What I didn’t ask was what happened to her leg. I mean what’s the point? It wasn’t there anymore, so that was that.

They emailed back in an hour that she was a tripod (that is what they are called), could run, walk, go up three steps, and play like a normal dog because she never had the used of that leg, so it was amputated. However, she was the feature dog on WTOP that morning, and if I wanted to meet her and fill out an application, I need to get down there when the opened on Tuesday at noon.

The next day, I left work for a long lunch hour and only told two people where I was going. I arrived, and I signed in. Then an adoption counselor took me to the puppy room where he retrieved Rose Morgan. We went to another room to get acquainted, and she kangarooed – when they go up on their hind legs, and she licked my face. Then she played and romped, and in seconds, you forgot she only had three legs. She never had the use of four, so it was no big deal to her. She also let me scratch her belly, and she played some more. She even fetched a ball. And, she played some more.

I was falling in love. And, she played some more.

I filled out the application, and they said they would call me that afternoon. I also saw they put a pink adoption pending ticket on her room (they have rooms not cages). This meant no one else could apply to adopt her.

But, they didn’t call that afternoon, or the next morning, and I was getting frustrated. A week earlier I figured I wouldn’t be getting a dog, and then I find a dog I was meant to have and no word. At 4:30 pm, I called them. They were going to tell me to be patient, but without my saying anything, the woman on the phone told me to hold for Sheniqua. I held. Sheniqua then asked me a few questions and remembered I had adopted Lulabell, who became Esmeralda, and that I volunteered there. She also said they were getting dozens of calls for Rose Morgan because she was featured on WTOP.

Then she asked if I was aware of her health issue. I said what health issue? She said that fact that she has only three legs. Because I didn’t want to be rejected, I didn’t make a joke about how I hadn’t noticed and did they find the leg after I left.

She then told me I was approved and could pick her up at 11:00 am the next day.

I thanked her, hung up and cried. The Tin Man does have a heart.

Rose Morgan may have received dozens of calls, but the Universe meant her for me.

I did make one change. No, I did not change her name to Dr. Bombay. I changed it to Rose Marie. My gay friends want to know when I will put a black bow in her hair. My straight friends keep asking me, “Who is Rose Marie?”

Rose Marie acclimated herself to my home very quickly. She found all the toys, and she ran around here like a bitch-ass-ho on cocaine. Rose Marie also requires a special harness. It took longer for me to figure that out than it did for her to make herself at home.

Then, I began the house training immediately. Now, for those who get frustrated, here is the secret. First, they will have a few accidents. Rose Marie went into the bathroom and peed and pooped in there. If you gotta go, you gotta go. You have to accept the fact that a puppy has a small bladder and needs to go frequently. Some people think the puppy should hold it for four, five or even eight hours immediately, and when the dog does not, they give up and return the dog. I cannot hold it for two hours, so why would I expect a thirteen pound dog to do that?
Putting the puppy in a crate, especially when you are home is cruel. I know I will piss people off, but that is how I feel. Eventually, the puppy will have to go, then soil itself. Using a crate as a time-out is even worse. Then it just becomes a jail cell for the dog. If you cannot deal with your dog's energy and play, don't adopt a puppy. Go buy a Digger the Dog toy.

For the first day, I walked her every two hours, and she peed on every walk. With each pee, I praised her. Did I tell you her first four days here it rained non-stop? She didn’t care, and I continued to walk her and get drenched, but this was important. She only had one more accident that day, and it was by the front door – the door we use to go out, which meant she knew where to go but couldn’t hold it. She also would gently bark at the door if she needed to go. Serena did the same thing after her first day with me.

It takes patience and a willingness for the first few week or two to take them out quite frequently, so they learn outside is where they go. You are not going to have a puppy who only goes twice a day, especially a small one. They will also have accidents but probably by the front door or whatever door you use to go out.

Rose Marie also made it through the first night, sleeping my bed.

I once dated a guy who asked about Serena, “Does she have to sleep in the bed?”

I answered, “She was here before you, and I imagine she will be here long after you.” Serena lasted eleven years longer than that idiot. My friend Christian said he smelled like death and was the closest I ever came to necrophilia.

That night, I peed five times but only got up three times. She was fine. I am fifty after all.

When the morning came, I went to pee, and she came into the bathroom and did the same thing. I just said a firm no, but I couldn’t be mad. She held it for eight hours. That was her last accident. I now walk her every three hours, and she is fine. The next morning she waited for me to be ready in five minutes then she went outside.

Then came the real test. I have a tendency to project a past experience on a present one. Whenever I left Esmeralda alone, I expected to come home to at least one destroyed object – usually a door jam or a wall. I have scratch guards leftover on the door and window sills here. Or, she would take down all the window treatments. Or, she would knock over whatever she could out of anger. That poor dog was through so much, I just had to deal. I also had to paper train Esmeralda because giving birth so many times left her with no bladder control. I can teach you how to paper train, too. 

Serena on the other hand, never destroyed anything except for a small section of a wall while trying to extract her last baby tooth. That repair took five minutes.

I went to the gym the next morning and did my back and bicep workout in a record twenty minutes. I was a black and gray blur! The manager said they always talk about how I work out with no rest between sets and run all over the gym, but this was amazing. Glad to know I am the subject of protein shake blender conversation.

I pulled up into the driveway, and I took a deep breath. After all, I really am tired of that couch. I would like some new curtains, and who cares about the small area rug in the living room. I would just deal with whatever I discovered. I did close the two bedroom and bathroom doors, and the laundry and closets, too.

I looked through the window first to prepare myself. The place looked exactly as I left it. I opened the door, and nothing was amiss, except my dog. She was nowhere to be found! No wonder the place was immaculate. She escaped. Then I heard a bit of scratching and who came crawling out from under the couch? Miss Rose Marie. Then she sang, “I Wanna Be Around to Pick Up the Pieces When He Breaks Your Heart to Bits.”

I felt awful that she hid under the sofa, so I bought her a canvas mobile home dog house with no door where she could sleep when I am gone. It also coordinates beautifully with my decor.

I have since gone grocery shopping and to a dinner, and each time I return to a perfect home. No, I am not going to another neighborhood by accident.

I wonder if part of Serena’s soul is in Rose Marie. Serena had no interest in destroying things either. Part of Esmeralda’s may be – the part that hides under the couch when I leave, except Esmeralda hid under the furniture when I was home.

I hired professional dog walkers who will come by twice a day for a few weeks, then once a day. It is owned by a nice middle-aged Jewish couple who run an insured, bonded and licensed service and offer boarding in their home. Mrs. M only took Esmeralda out back to smoke, and I don’t want Rose Marie to smell like Marlboros. There is also the issue with the Rose Marie tripping her. This little tripod is the fastest dog and the best leash walker I have ever had.

She may only have three legs, but to me Rose Marie is perfect!

On Halloween, I am going to put a black bow in her hair, and call her Sally Rogers. I did, however, get her a black collar. Surprised?

If don’t have a leg to stand on or you wish to live in a cage, follow me, join me, get on my mailing list or just visit:


Monday, October 7, 2013

It Is Only an Obsession if They Don't Work

Last night, I watched this wonderful movie, House of Versace, on Lifetime Television for women and gay men. Raquel Welch was in it, and I love Raquel Welch. She is 73 and still hotter than any of these ho-bags on screen today – male or female. I know she has had work done, but it is good work, and her wigs are phenomenal. Anyway, I could talk about Raquel and her magnificent bosoms all day, but this is not a “Rack Report.” Do I watch too much Fashion Police or what?

While watching this intriguing movie that sucked me in for two hours of drama and high fashion along with coke snorting and cigarette smoking, a commercial came on for a new reality series called My Collection Obsession. Usually, reality shows don’t hit home with me because I am not a housewife, hair dresser, drunk Italian whore, duck hunter, redneck toddler in a tiara, or Alaskan truck driver. I also have never been arrested or needed to be scared straight. Try as much as you will, you will never scare me straight.

However …

I do collect things, and when I do, it becomes an obsession for a period of time. This has been going on since I can remember. I started with tadpoles. Forgive me. I was just six years old at the time. I had bowls of them in my room until my mother threw them all out.

In my early teens, I started collecting autographed photos. I had Johnny Carson, Joan Rivers, Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, Steve and Eydie, Joan Collins, Bob Hope, Gerald Ford … Gerald Ford? How the hell did he get in there? It wasn’t enough that I collected them; I framed them and put them on the walls of my bedroom.

Now, Stern family, seriously? You couldn’t figure me out then?

Anyway, by framing them and decorating with them, I began my purposeful collecting. That is I don’t collect things I cannot use. If it doesn’t work, I don’t want it.

When I discovered online shopping and shoes in Sasquatch size, I started collecting shoes, but unlike Carrie Bradshaw, I actually wear them. It may take a few years to get around to my fourteenth pair of black Chuck Taylors, but I will. Trust me.

As you know from my more than a hundred posts, I sort of collect cars. Some would say, I just buy old cars and drive them because that is basically what I do. I don’t keep them on display in some vast garage, nor do I trailer them to Concourse events. If you saw what I drive, you would understand. Presently, my vast collection consists of three cars. My trusty thirty-year-old AMC Eagle wagon, a 1954 Hudson Jet Liner that I have already driven 1,500 miles in the last three months, and a Rambler undergoing life-long restoration that no one is allowed to mention in my presence unless I am drunk or in a coma.

I also have a compact pick-up, and I drive all my cars every week, except the Rambler, which as I mentioned is going through a lifelong restoration.

About that Hudson Jet Liner: I have driven it in the rain and up and down mountains and on road rallies. It’s a car, and if I can’t drive the car, I don’t want it, unless of course it is a Rambler going through a lifelong restoration, which you are not allowed to mention.

Lately, something has happened to me, and I blame my friend, Frank, the foremost authority on all things Mid-Century Modern. For my fiftieth birthday, he gave me a beautiful glass Procter-Silex percolator from the 1950s. I brewed my first pot, and I was hooked.

I never liked the drip makers. My OCD caused me to replace mine every three months because they would get so nasty, and I couldn’t get them as clean as I wanted, so I threw them out. Also, the coffee usually tasted like crap.

Enter the percolator. Why did people quit using these? They are easy to clean and the best part is that when you pour coffee into your cup, it goes into your cup! Who designs those drip coffee pots? My father always said he would pour the coffee directly onto the counter and hope some ended up in the cup.

Typical Milton, one percolator wasn’t enough. I had to buy another one, and another one, and another one. Before I knew it, I was collecting again. I have three chrome Sunbeams, an orange and a green Poly Perk, a chrome and green plastic totally immersible GE, and an avocado green Cory Buffet Queen forty-cup percolator. In total, I have thirteen percolators, including two stove top models from the 1920s. Before you ask, I tested all of them and they all work. I even have a travel percolator I display with the Hudson. I even talked a co-worker into getting one, and she loves it!

If you get one, the secret to a good fresh pot of delicious coffee is coarse grinding your beans and using ice cold water. It doesn’t hurt to wear pearls and heels either.

They are arranged on my kitchen counters and don't take up a lot of room. People do remark on them when they visit. Strangely, once they see all the percolators, they rarely come back.

Did I mention I use all of them? Not at once of course. That would be weird, and I don’t want you to think I am weird.

Funny thing about my collecting is when I run out of room, I stop. There aren’t percolators in boxes (well there is one, but that is a gift for someone). There aren’t percolators on the floor of my closet or in my bathroom vanities or even in my storage shed. The blessing of being OCD about a place for everything and everything in its place is that stopping is easy. I am not, nor will I ever be, a hoarder. 

But that didn’t stop me from jumping right into another obsession. This one, however, is strange indeed. Thanks to Frank again – did I tell you he also got me addicted to Jerseylicious? – I wanted a rotary phone. He has a rotary wall phone, and it is lovely and it works.

I have my phone service through my cable company. I rarely used my home phone because it was one of those cordless phones, and I hated it. I also didn’t like the way it rang and pushing the buttons, then hitting send like a cell phone. Also, the phone is plugged into a modem and the extensions are these ugly radio transmitter looking devices. I am sorry, but phones have absolutely no style anymore. None.

I tried cancelling it, but thanks to “bundling” that would have cost me an extra $50 a month. Instead they gave me a loyalty discount of $18 a month if I kept my phone service.  Go figure.

So, I thought, if I get one rotary phone, maybe I won’t mind having this phone service anymore.

Did I tell you I have a knack for finding the most obscure things?

I found a restored early 1950s style phone just like the ones on I Love Lucy from this guy who restores phones as a hobby and a business. I wonder if people think he has a collection obsession? I bought one. While it was in transit, I started to panic. What if rotary dialing doesn’t work on a modem? Maybe I should get the landline hooked up? Maybe I should just cancel the service and go with DSL, satellite and landline? Where I live that is the only other option. I called this company and that company and then I found a tone to pulse converter, and I ordered it just in case. I couldn’t wait to see if the phone worked when it arrived; I had to spend that $49 on the converter now.

The phone arrived. I plugged it into the modem and picked up the receiver. I had a dial tone. I then dialed my cell phone and loved the whirly wheel. It worked. Oh my God, it worked! It rang! All I had to do was dial. No pressing special buttons. No hitting send. No lighted dial. It actually connected faster than that appliance they called a phone that I had before. I then dialed the phone from my cell phone. And it rang!

Now, I was hooked, so you know what that meant. I had to have one in every room. Within five days, I had a flesh colored rotary phone next to my bed and a never used 1970s push button model fresh out of the box (you need one push button phone so you can choose 2 for Spanish) for my desk. The Pièce de résistance is an avocado green rotary wall phone just like Nana’s! When I answer the Nana phone, I have an urge to light a Kent cigarette and adjust my wig, while I scream into the phone.

Did you ever notice Jewish people always yell while on the phone? We just aren’t convinced the technology works because Alexander Graham Bell was a Goy. Also, when we whisper, they can hear us in Paraguay.

In addition, I have four other phones I just had to have, one is for my brother and two are for Frank, and the other I am saving for my weekend getaway home someday. I cleaned all the phones I didn't get from the restorer, and yes, they all work beautifully! Right now there are nine old phones in my house and three on the way. I am a collector not a hoarder – I hope.

To get the extensions to work, I found a General Electric wireless jack system that is easy to program. After all, what is the point of having a phone as a decorator piece? That is what I had with that cordless crap, and they weren’t even pretty.

You may wonder how well they work. First, the ring. I love the sound when the phones ring. These sissified rings on electric phones these days are disgusting. When you pick up the receiver, you know you are holding a quality product in your hands. The best part is that the sound quality is amazing. No buzzing, no static and no sounding as if you are in an echo chamber. The youngest phone is forty years old, and they work better than anything you find today.

I now know why our grandmothers were in such good shape. That I Love Lucy phone has a heavy receiver, and holding it for more than thirty minutes is a workout.

Now, if only I could find a modern TV in a 1950s style cabinet. But, what will I do with the eleven televisions I know I will end up buying? Oh well, as long as they work, I can give them as gifts.

If you miss avocado green and harvest gold appliances, join me, follow me, buy my books: