Sunday, December 22, 2019

"The Zezimas' 2019 Christmas Letter"

By Jerry Zezima
Hearst Connecticut Media Group
Since I am in the holiday spirit (and, having just consumed a mug of hot toddy, a glass of eggnog and a nip of cheer, the holiday spirits are in me), I have decided to follow in that great tradition of boring everyone silly by writing a Christmas letter.

That is why I am pleased as punch (which I also drank) to present the following chronicle of the Zezima family, which includes Jerry, the patriarch; Sue, the matriarch; Katie and Lauren, the daughtersiarch; Dave and Guillaume, the sons-in-lawiarch; and Chloe, Lilly, Xavier, Zoe and Quinn, the grandchildreniarch.

Dear friends:

It sure has been an exciting 2019 for the Zezimas!

The first big event of the year was when Jerry turned 65. He celebrated by applying for Medicare at the Social Security office, where he encountered so many fellow geezers that he figured he’d still be there when he turns 66, at which time he can get full benefits.

He also took the AARP online safe driving course and passed with flying colors, mainly because he didn’t actually have to take the test in a car, where he is considered a menace to society.

In sports news, Jerry was a volunteer for Field Day at Chloe’s elementary school, where he helped referee the water relay, a rigorous event that would have given Jerry a heart attack if he competed and proved, as if anyone needed verification, that he is all wet.

On the domestic front, both of Jerry and Sue’s refrigerators died at the same time, probably in a suicide pact. It was a major calamity because: (a) Jerry’s beer got warm and (b) he and Sue had to clean 21 years’ worth of junk out of the garage to make room for the auxiliary fridge. Jerry made so many trips to the dump that he should have his own parking space. At least his beer is cold again.

Speaking of appliances, Jerry and Sue got a new water heater and oil burner. Now their house won’t either be flooded or blow up.

Jerry, who suffers from acrophobia, which is an irrational fear of being any higher off the ground than the top of his head, had to climb to the peak of his two-story house to accompany a guy who came over to give him an estimate for a new roof. Jerry survived, but the experience was, as his widow-in-waiting agreed, the height of folly.

Speaking of houses, Lauren and Guillaume bought their first home, a cozy ranch that Lauren has decorated beautifully. Chloe, 6, and Lilly, 3, love it because they have bunk beds and their own playroom, where Jerry, when he visits, is the biggest toy.

He has plenty of time to play because he retired from his day job as an editor (he continues to write his column, proving that not all the news is good) and is now free to be a full-time babysitter for his grandchildren.

The number increased to five, enough for a (very short) basketball team, when Katie gave birth to twins, Zoe and Quinn. Jerry and Sue met the dynamic duo on a trip to see Katie, Dave and big brother Xavier, who is 2.

Jerry, no stranger to bottles, learned how to feed the twins simultaneously with the help of a nursing pillow called My Brest Friend. He did double duty several times and even did quadruple duty (two twin feedings in one night) twice.

On a subsequent visit, Jerry learned how to bathe a baby (and then take a shower) after having double doody done on him.

But it all came out in the end, making for a wonderful year. Here’s hoping your 2019 was great, too.

Merry Christmas with love and laughter from the Zezimas.

Copyright 2019 by Jerry Zezima

Sunday, December 8, 2019

"Too Cuticle for Words"

By Jerry Zezima
Hearst Connecticut Media Group
Sometimes, a boy just likes to feel pretty. In my case, that would involve plastic surgery.

You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I have put the “man” in manicure. And I have put my worst foot forward even less frequently to get a pedicure.

But I recently discovered that I like to make others feel pretty, which is why I opened Poppie’s Beauty Salon and Nail Spa. The first customers were my granddaughters Chloe and Lilly.

The girls, who are 6 and 3, respectively, are into fashion and love to get the spa treatment. I have a fashion plate in my head, which means I am more likely to go to a saloon than a salon.

Still, when they asked me to paint their toenails, I resolved to be a beaut of a beautician and make their piggies as pretty as a picture.

The first thing I needed, of course, was nail polish. Since my wife, Sue, wasn’t home, I went through her drawers and stole a few bottles.

“I want pink, Poppie!” said Chloe, who sported rainbow fingernails painted a couple of days earlier by her mommy.

“Me, too!” agreed Lilly, whose fingernails were bright red.

Initially the girls couldn’t decide between red and purple for their tootsies but settled on pink because it matched their unicorn pajamas.

Since it was the morning after a sleepover, I also wore pajamas. They were blue with egg and sausage stains from breakfast, which is part of the service at Poppie’s Beauty Salon and Nail Spa.

In addition to polish, my equipment consisted of a nail file, which I used to file the girls’ nails (file this under “duh”); a hair dryer, which I used on the wet polish (it was easier than a ceiling fan); and paper towels, strips of which I stuck between the girls’ toes so the polish wouldn’t get smudged (when you can’t find cotton balls, you have to improvise).

But first, I gave each of the girls a foot massage.

“That tickles, Poppie!” shrieked Chloe, breaking out in giggles.

Then I started to apply the polish.

“Hold perfectly still,” I instructed as Chloe sat in a chair and I carefully painted the big toenail on her right foot.

Some of the polish got on the toe itself, but I immediately wiped it off.

“Poppie needs more coffee,” I said as I continued down the other four toenails, after which I started on her left foot.

The hardest part was not applying either too much or too little polish. By the time I got to Chloe’s last toe, I had it all figured out.

Next it was Lilly’s turn.

I grabbed her right foot and, pinching each toe, chirped: “This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy had roast beef, this little piggy had none. And this little piggy went wee, wee, wee all the way home.”

“I don’t have to go wee-wee,” said Lilly, who was eager to get it over with.

It didn’t help that she sneezed a couple of times as I applied polish that had to be wiped off her pinky toes.

When the pedicures were done, the girls sat in the family room, their toenails pretty in pink.

“Nice job, Poppie!” Chloe exclaimed.

“Yeah!” Lilly chimed in.

“Should I paint my toenails, too?” I asked.

“No!” the girls responded in unison.

“Don’t you want me to look pretty?” I said.

“Boys don’t look pretty,” Chloe declared. “They look handsome.”

“You’re handsome, Poppie,” said Lilly.

Chloe agreed.

“Thank you, girls,” I said. “You just saved me a fortune in plastic surgery.”

Copyright 2019 by Jerry Zezima