A Glutton For Punishment

The following story is true. WARNING: Do not try this at home. Disclaimer: No animals were hurt in the process, at least not many…


It all began with a 6am flight to the netherlands of NE Ohio, to join the family for Thanksgiving and to assist in my mother’s move from a hospital to a skilled nursing facility.


The morning was clear and cool. Everything looked good from 30,000 feet. No one was hacking up a lung in the seat next to me.


10am. Touch down. Ladies room. Reapply lipstick. Find a unsweetened iced tea. Check messages. Find the escalator. There’s the baggage carousel, and … no luggage to be found. It seems my bag had an appointment in Washington D.C. , and then decided a Philly Steak was in order in the City of Brotherly Love.

Of course it did.


Tickets. Stickers. Addresses. Delivery scheduled. Fine. Just get it to me.


Off I go through the big doors into the car of my fav brother-n-law, waiting for me with a bag of tacos and a Margarita (salted rim- he knows me so well). Iced tea thrown out the window. Who wouldn’t?




“This is Cheryl.”


“Cheryl. This is Carol. Your mother’s neighbor.”

“Yes Carol. How may I help you?”


“The fire department is breaking down your mother’s door!”


“Excuse me?”

“They’re breaking her door down. The police and an ambulance are here too!”


Big breath…. “Why?”


“Is she there? They say a lady called…”


“She is in a hospital, Carol. She is  NOT THERE.” Thank God for the Margarita.


“They’ve done a lot of damage. The door is on the ground and the drywall is all torn-up.”


Of course it is.


Ted and I continue on our way with me releasing a myriad of words my mother told me to never use, and…


We are RUN OFF THE ROAD by two large sixteen wheelers, up over the concrete curb, onto a snowy wet patch of grass stopping 15 yards short of a 30ft steel highway sign which says:



“Welcome To Cleveland”.


Up and over. Back on the highway we continue in silence and arrive to find police tape covering what was once my mother’s front portal.

Yellow is not my color.


(Turns out my mother, somehow, got ahold of her cell phone in her hospital room and called 911, whispered a few desperate words and dropped the phone. The 911 system has her cell attached to her village emergency system, and so with a flip of the switch and a little reverse look-up, they ascertained that the call was coming from her residence, and so… Houston. We have a problem. You just can’t make this shizz up folks).

Where do I find a handy-man two days before Thanksgiving in a city that I don’t live in.


Never mind. I did. And, after securing the door with a piece of wood and a serious kick of my foot, I felt safe for the night.


The door was repaired the next morning for a Holiday price.


Of course it was.


This very same- next- day, I was to expect a childhood friend and the rest of my family- all in to see Mom and to stay a day more to have some kind of Thanksgiving meal that would be mechanized, on a tray, the consistency of mush, surrounded by people being fed, and dashed hopes of recovery.

Gobble Gobble

The night before this splendid meal was to be shared, my girlfriend and I sat around talking blah-blah-blah, and then went to sleep assisted by a half dose of Ambien.


Ring- aling- aling it is 4:38 in the fucking am.


I think I said,”Hello?”. Who can tell?


“I’m in jail. I need you to come get me”, said a very important person.


taking it in…


“What jail? Who is this?”


“Blah-blah-blah jail.”


Deep breath… letting it register… making sure I’m not dreaming, God Damn Ambien, and…


“Okay. Give me 20 minutes.”


“Drive safe, Cheryl. It’s a blizzard out there.”


Of course.  It is.


Grabbing the purse, finding the bra, making sure I have the cash, getting the keys to the car (which has bald tires because otherwise the Universe would be balanced and my mother would be on top of her auto care), quietly sneaking out of the house so as to not disturb the guest…

I’m on the road.


Pulling up. Walking in. Paying the bail. Throwing a look… and I have the important person back to where they are supposed are staying.

“We’ll talk tomorrow.”


You bet we will.

And back to my Mom’s house, 2 hours sleep, it is 8:30 am: “Happy Thanksgiving! It’s a day to rejoice!”, says the friend.


That is most likely not true, but we all continue on our schedules to consume the fowl and contact lawyers (Thank God we have several in many states)… and I get an appointment scheduled for the next day. When my village lawyer gets back from killing ducks.

Of course he is.


In the conference. Blah-blah-blahhhhh…. and I get a call from a beloved nephew (who lives in this town) and whom is in distress over a cat that is dying in front of his eyes.


“Aunt Cheryl. I need your advise.”

And I’m listening… “Give me 20 minutes. I’m right around the corner.” (This seems to be the tag-line of the week).



“Be careful. The roads are awful.”


Of course they are.


And so, there I am, with a distraught human and a cat in renal failure.


I call my Vet friend, for a confirmation of my diagnosis. She asks for the signs. I tell her what I see in the ears, the mouth, the eyes. She confirms, and… my nephew and I have the cat put to rest. Together. Holding each other. He expressing sorrow. I expressing more of a ‘What The Fuck Is Going On Around Here?’ kind of emoting.



So… mother moved, lawyers hired, cat buried, turkey eaten, luggage delivered, door repaired, flight connections made, and…

I am back. Back home in New Orleans.


 Unpacking… and packing, AGAIN, for our annual Holiday vacation in Mexico. Leaving this week. Leaving in 2 days.


Of course I am.

I’m a glutton not only for turkey, but punishment.

See you all around December 16PINIMAGE

See you all around December 16


  • Darcy Perdu (So Then Stories) - Omigod, I need a Xanax just READING that story!!! Holy Cow! That was some trip! Glad you survived! Hope the Mexico trip is less eventful and more relaxing!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Xanax!!!! That’s it! You’re brilliant- i need to get some.ReplyCancel

  • Mary - My brain cannot think of any words to say right now! I am dumbfounded. Have a wonderful time in Mexico.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I am still recovering. My mind is a blurrrrrrrrrr…..ReplyCancel

  • Elin Stebbins Waldal - Oh man, I’m not sure I’d return from vacation if I was in your shoes, I sure as hell wouldn’t be answering my phone late night! Safe travels and cheers to Mexico!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - The phone is off the hook never to be answered again- except if you call.ReplyCancel

  • Tammy - Tough going there, Missy. Sounds like you had a bitch of a time but looked good doing it. It all comes out in the wash, doesn’t it? FABULOUS story telling, my darling. I couldn’t have done it better. Misery makes such good reading!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - HA! If you don’t laugh you’ll kill yourself. Or maybe that’s just me? Siesta baby. Siesta.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - Holy crap. I mean. Holy crap. I am so sorry…maybe next Tgiving you’ll go to the islands or something…I would!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Holy Crapola! That’s the phrase! Islands sound good to me right now. Join me?ReplyCancel

  • Christine Fury Long - This is just too funny! Happy car racing my dear!!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Zoom Zoom Christina my love. Zoom Zoom.ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne Gray - You are a trooper! Going through all of that and retaining a sense of humor about it is just amazing. Hope that trip to Mexico is calm. You deserve it!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Mexico will be wonderful but eventful I think. A LOT of personalities meeting on the beach for this one. I’m sure I’ll have a post or 2- and a few martinis.ReplyCancel

  • Travels with Tam - Hilarious. Life is a comedy, you know? At least Mexico shouldn’t be such a snafu?ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - From your mouth the God’s ears. I hope he likes to surf.ReplyCancel

  • Amy Skipper - Wow!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Yes. WOW! Wish you had been there Amy. Missed you much! XXXOOOReplyCancel

  • Ruth Curran - I know you that as you say, “you can’t make this shzzz up” but only you can make it hysterical. Here’s to a better margarita in Mexico!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Aren’t you a love! Seriously- if you don’t find the humor you’ll break in two.ReplyCancel

  • Doreen McGettigan - I feel so bad for laughing but you have a way with words. I am so glad you are home safe and really hope your next trip includes at least one good nights sleep.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I’m answering this in bed as I type. Nighty night!ReplyCancel

  • Princess Rosebud - You have yourself a well deserved vacay in Mexico. Don’t get Montezuma’s Revenge and watch out for hurricanes!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Child’s play after this trip. XXXOOOReplyCancel

  • Lisa Carpenter - Gee whiz!! I think you’d be wise to not leave your home ever again. But then again, you must, for your real-life stories are so incredibly entertaining! I look forward to the next installment of The Crazy Life and Times of Cheryl. Enjoy Mexico!ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - Ye Gods, you have makings of a perfect story. Incredible. Why do you even leave home? I pray Mexico is better. Oh wait, that is the country where they run around shooting people or making them disappear. Prayers.ReplyCancel

  • Lois Alter Mark - OMG! I can’t wait to see what happens when you go to Mexico!!ReplyCancel

  • Katie Knapp Hill - Brilliant… I’m laughing but only at the appropriate moments. Where will you be in Mexico? I fly early Friday am…early HS reunion would be fun. Its,a big country, if you are near the Yucatan hit me up.ReplyCancel

  • Sue - I am speechless that ALL of this even happened within just one trip. When does the made for TV movie come out? I wish you the nicest trip to Mexico with many relaxing days.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - One trip. Just ONE TRIP. This stuff just follows me.ReplyCancel

  • William Kendall - That is a disaster of a trip.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Jesus H Christ William. I’m exhausted, and here I go again- though this time it’s to a beach, so there’s that.ReplyCancel

  • Wendy Walker Cushing - This is hilarious! I loved it! I love your voice and how you wrote this. I can TOTALLY agree because this is my life. Strange things like this happen to me all the time, like ALL the time!ReplyCancel

  • Charles E. Burnham - This makes my Thanksgiving sound almost pleasant. I think Uncle Fester might have run a twin-trailered FedEx truck off the road, but I was too afraid to look. Not that I was frightened, but my attorney told me I could avoid testifying if I didn’t see anything.ReplyCancel

  • Roshni - Whew!! Have I told you before that you’re amazing!!ReplyCancel

  • Carolann - omg I was on the edge of my seat reading this! Poor kitty, poor you, poor mom…geez…but you were strong and made it all better! Love your writing skills!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thanks Carolann! So happy you enjoyed!ReplyCancel

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