New Years Eve Surgery in Texas

Dallas, like Scottsdale, has a very competitive healthcare industry. I’m not sure if it’s because there are a lot of sick people, a lot of old people, or a lot of people who are hypochondriacs. The industrial landscape is peppered with numerous hospitals, free-standing emergency rooms, urgent care facilities and wellness centers. Advertisements grace the expressway billboards promising everything from new eyesight, 100 pound weight loss, digestive relief after all these years, recovery from breast cancer, a new you by taking testosterone, and more. They kind-a downplay the Ebola thing around here. Word on the street is they didn’t handle it all that well but finally figured it out when it was too late. I think there should be billboards that say Wait!! Sorry about that last thing! We get it now! Give Dallas another chance! Bring your Ebola to us!!”

In the days leading up to surgery, everything in my mind was categorized as before surgery and after surgery. Like a flight across the ocean, I’m never convinced there really will be an after an oceanic flight. But, each day I would find myself surrendering a little more to that mini break from life and complete loss of control, which is general anesthesia.

On the morning of my surgery I felt resigned and task oriented. I also felt hydrated because I drank almost 90 ounces of water the day before so I would not have the dreadfulness of being thirsty on a morning I could drink nothing. I put on full make-up and fixed my hair. Some sense of control I suppose. As we entered the hospital at 8:00 am on New Year’s Eve, it was very quiet. Four “concierges” with little to do huddled around an entry desk chatting. They looked at my husband and me and one lovely woman said, “Good morning! How can we help you?”

“My name is Andrea Thompson and I’m here to celebrate the New Year by having umbilical hernia surgery!” I exclaimed.

They all burst into laughter and one adorable man high fived me. I loved seeing his black hand meet my white one. “That’s the best thing I’ve ever heard at this desk!” His eyes twinkled.

I quickly found out I was the one and only person having surgery at the hospital that day so the ratio of service providers to patient was about 15 to 1. The first was a very young woman with jet black hair underneath, magenta hair on top. It’s hard for me to imagine why anyone thinks that’s attractive. She told me she was going to take my vitals.

Now, this was a problem because I have White Coat Syndrome. It’s not because I’m scared of doctors, it’s because I’m scared of what they might tell me about my health. However, it’s now evolved to I’m scared someone is going to say I’m going to take your blood pressure. My blood pressure elevates because I’m scared my blood pressure is going to elevate. When I go see Dr. Christy, I take my own blood pressure at home for 5 days in a row and document it for her and it’s always fine.

“Yes, it’s elevated,” the gal deadpanned and didn’t even blink, “177/98.”

“WHAT?” I nearly shrieked, “It’s never been that high even in the presence of the whitest of coats!! Will I be having a stroke here soon?”

“Let’s try the other arm,” she said casually as I was sweating over the fact that I knew no surgeon would proceed with a procedure with blood pressure that high. “126/81,” she said under her breath, “we’re good.”

“What?” I said, “how did it plummet in 10 seconds?!”

“You probably relaxed,” she said as she put the BP equipment away.

“Relaxed?” I exclaimed, “after being told my blood pressure was 177/98?”

She had no idea what to say to me so she motioned me to get on the scale. God, I thought, with the way things are going here I’ll probably weigh 260 pounds! No wonder I have a hernia! I did not weigh 260, I weighed my normal, acceptable, BMI happy weight of (X + 10). The 10 is my opinion no matter what BMI says.

Next, a clumsy woman attempted several times without success to insert my IV. Suffice it to say it took several stabs in several parts of my arm and hand to finally get it right and I have the bruises to prove it.

After several gadgets, devices, liquids and soft goods were adhered to, hung on or injected into my body by several of these 15 people, I met my surgery nurse. Augustine was tall and buff with a curly head of black hair and had a little trouble with eye contact. Based on his slight accent I guessed he was Jamaican. His demeanor was staid and serious and he did not smile once as he explained my procedure and answered my questions. He was clearly thorough, knowledgeable and competent and I had complete confidence in him. I asked him to keep and eye on the flow to my IV and explained the trouble the gal had getting it in. He promised he would.

I rested a minute and in lumbered my anesthesiologist. I can’t remember her name but she was plump, earthy and clearly marched to the beat of her very own drummer. She had a bohemian looking scarf on that covered her entire head and hair; and she had hair so it wasn’t a chemo deal. Maybe she chose this over a hair net in surgery? Her dangling earrings sparkled in the bright lights. She was a talker and was telling me things about anesthesiology I really didn’t need to know. It reminded me of when a refrigerator repair man comes and wants to teach me how a refrigerator works. I don’t care! Just fix the damn thing, man, and move on. Anyway, her comments were dry and unedited and I like that kind of person as long as there is no anger or hostility behind it and with her there wasn’t.

“No lifting, pushing or pulling for two weeks after surgery,” she said, “so that means Steve will be doing the vacuuming, mopping and laundry.” She got his attention and he looked up from his device and we all laughed.

Suddenly the energetic, confident and ready to roll Dr. Komen bounded in the room. “Ready for your surgery?” she asked excitedly.

“Yes, I am.” I said. “And, it’s good to see you, Dr. Komen.” I’d only met her a week before and I love when surgeons are so cheerful and positive. That attitude might affect outcomes.

“Dr. Komen,” I whispered so just she and Steve could hear, “I’m loving this! Both doctors are women and the nurse is a man!”

“Yes,” she said smiling, “It’s fun….there IS still a stigma about that, isn’t there?”

She talked about what was going to happen during surgery, after surgery and during recovery. She gave me some verbal instructions about what to do and not do when I got home. Steve was listening.

“It’s a good idea to get up and walk around the first couple days after surgery,” she said. “Wear some Shapewear or Spanx for the first week or so when you are up and about.”

“Do you have any of that stuff?” Steve blurted out. He’s a quiet guy and that was the first time I heard him talk in an hour.

“Are you kidding me?” I asked astonished as I turned my head and looked at Steve, “I probably have 10 pairs of Spanx!”

At that, the staid and serious Augustine slumped over, dropped his head and laughed hysterically. Steve looked sheepish. Dr. Komen didn’t even break a grin, she just kinda stared at me; surely she owns 10 pairs of Spanx, too and didn’t understand what the hoopla was about. Augustine was still laughing.

A sedative was dripping into my IV and I was becoming very relaxed. Steve kissed me hard. The bed started to roll with Augustine, still smiling, in the lead. Someone was steering from behind but I didn’t know who and it didn’t matter. I was in good hands. We entered the bright, white operating room and the people there greeted me quietly. I smiled at them through bleary eyes. Then the mask came over my nose and mouth.

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Sweet Linda (aka Lovely Linda)

“Sweet?” I said.

“Yes, sweet,” my esthetician Linda answered. “I used to have some impressive stuff about myself on my profile at Match.com but one guy said, I can’t date you; I’m just a regular guy.

“Oh, so that impressive stuff intimidated him.” I said.

“Guess so,” she replied, “So after that I did a some research to find the words that men use to search profiles and the top word was sweet. So now all my profile says is sweet girl looking for a relationship. The hits to my profile tripled!”

“Now that you mention it,” I said, “I remember years ago before the Internet when I was dating, a girlfriend set me up on a blind date and she told me the man asked if I was sweet. So, yeah, even back then sweet was key.”

I’ve been called many nice things in my life but sweet has never been one of them.

“What does that even mean!?” Linda almost shouted

“I know!” I shouted back, “What does sweet mean!? Oh, wait,” I went on, “I know! Sweet means you will go to bed with him!”

We laughed hysterically as she almost gouged my eye with her microdermabrasion wand.

We caught our breath and I wiped away the tears flowing from the aforementioned eye and Linda said, “Oh, that reminds me, I have this friend in her late fifties who is getting divorced. She said to me Linda, all I want is a man to be a companion, someone to have a meal with and to sit down with and talk. Ya know?

“So what I told her,” Linda said, “is that what men want is to go to bed with you, not worry about being your companion, not have a meal with you and not sit down and talk with you! Oh my god, she got so mad at me!!”

We both laughed out loud as I gently grabbed the wrist of her hand holding the wand.

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The Good Doctor (Part II)

“How are you?” Dr. Christy said as she entered the examination room. I could tell she was happy to see me. I was happy to see her, too.

“Good!” I said, “well maybe….”

“Well yeah, there’s a reason you’re here,” she laughed. (Of course she laughed. See an earlier post called The Good Doctor.)

“Right,” I said, “so it couldn’t be all good.”

“So what’s going on, Andrea?”

“Well, I’ve been nauseous for about two weeks. If I weren’t 56 years old, I’d swear I was pregnant. I’m concerned that it might have something to do with that umbilical hernia you diagnosed that we decided not to treat just yet so I thought I better come see you.”

“Hmmmm,” she murmured. She was thinking and typing. She types everything I say into her laptop computer, which I love because I know it means she’s keeping good records on me. “Do you have any cramping?”

“Nope,” I said, “just nausea.”

“Yeah,” she said, “the hernia would cause cramping, not nausea. And I was reading your chart this morning before you came in and the one prescription drug you take and the OTC drugs you are on for allergies would not cause nausea.”

“What?” I blurted out.

“What?” she looked surprised.

“You read my chart this morning?!”  I was shocked. “Oh my gosh, Dr. Christy, thank-you!!

“For what?” she looked bewildered. “What are you thanking me for?”

She has not invited me to use her first name and when I really respect a doctor (which is kinda rare,) I like to call them Dr. so and so out of respect until I get that invitation. And I don’t care so much whether I get the invitation or not. Medical school is a huge commitment and a lot of work and they deserve to be called Dr. if that’s what they want. However after this question, I spontaneously blurted her first name.

“Melody!” I said, “do you know how many doctors I’ve had over the years who make it completely obvious when they walk in the room that not only have they not read my chart, they don’t remember who I am, anything about me or what my medical history is? I’ve known for years that when I hear the doctor on the other side of the closed door take my chart off that little chart holder attached to the door that it’s the first time they’ve so much as glanced at it in months. And because 30 seconds after I hear the chart holder noise, the little knock/come in the room thing happens so how much could they have really read!?” I ranted.

“Then,” I raved on, “I have to spend the next 20 minutes accommodating them while they fumble around verbally trying to recall who the heck I am and what my deal is. Oh, right, they might finally say, you’re the one with the umbilical hernia. It’s an OUTRAGE, so yes, thank you for reading my chart this morning, Dr. Christy!”

Dr. Christy is incredibly unpretentious and she just laughed.

“Do you take pain relievers like Aleve or Ibuprofen or anything?” she was getting back to the nausea thing.

“No, I don’t take that stuff, just plain old aspirin. And I don’t take it often but I have been having a little trouble with my low back and have been taking it for the past 2 weeks or so.”

“Yeah,” she said, “that’s probably what’s causing the nausea.” She went on to explain how aspirin might aggravate another little situation I have going on and she told me to quit taking it until the nausea subsided. “Lay back” she then said, “let’s check that hernia and push it back in.” I lay back, pulled up my shirt so she could get to my belly button and she started pushing and prodding.

“Why are you fighting me?” she said smiling, “relax your stomach muscles for me.”

“Oh, sorry,” I said, “I’m trying to seem skinny.”

“You are skinny!” she smiled. I relaxed my stomach muscles.

“You know,” she said after a while, “I can’t push it back in this time, and it wasn’t so long ago that I could and that bugs me. I’m going to refer you to a surgeon and I think you should go talk to her about getting this fixed.

“So, you think I should have the surgery now?” I asked.

“Yes, I do,” she replied.

“Okay, but Doc, if I have to go under general anesthesia anyway, can we work it out so I can have a face lift at the same time?”

Dr. Christy laughed.


Technology Resistance

I’m not that scared of blogging, but learning how was hard for me. While I’ve never been formally diagnosed with Dyslexia, I know I have it. For years I wondered why a chicken place would call itself Chic-A-Fil. I finally asked my husband, “What the heck does Chic-A-Fil mean? Why would a fast food place call itself that? It just doesn’t make any sense!”

“Sweetheart,” he said, knowing well this little disorder in my brain, “it’s Chic-Fil-A, and it’s a word play on chicken filet.”

I was unwillingly dragged to Texas, had serious culture shock and as an outlet started writing about my observations. I thought my stories were funny so I emailed them to friends and family.
“This needs to be a blog,” I heard back from a couple professional writers in the group, so here we are.

When my grandmother was 10 years older than I am now, the new cutting edge, technological breakthrough was the telephone message machine. After buying my grandmother a new radio with a digital station display, which she rejected in favor of her old-fashioned dial station display, I knew she wasn’t exactly keeping up with the times. However, I was tired of calling repeatedly trying to catch her at home, so I bought her the new technology.

“Nana, I bought you a present and here it is.” I said.

“What is that?” she said less than eagerly. She loved presents and this one apparently didn’t look like too much fun.

“It’s a message machine for your telephone!” I said excitedly. I was way too enthusiastic as a young person. I see it now in young people, enthusiasm to mask inexperience.

“What does that mean?” She frowned as she looked at it.

“When you’re not home, this will record messages from people who call you and you can listen to them when you get home!” I exclaimed.

“Why would I want to do that?” she looked perplexed. “All these years I’ve been fine without something like this, why would I want it now?”

“It’s the new thing Nana; everyone has one and you have to keep up!” I cautioned her.

“Well, I don’t know about this, Annie, how does it work?” She was annoyed probably because this was not the present she wanted.

“The phone rings when you’re not home and the message machine picks it up and the caller hears your voice and they leave a message!” I explained, “and then you listen to that message when you get home!”

“It picks it up? What do you mean, it picks it up?” she asked incredulously. “How can this thing pick up a phone?”

I caught her eye and could clearly see she was trying to figure out how the machine would reach out and pick up a telephone receiver. I adored my grandmother and she may not have been the sharpest knife in the drawer.

While I was standing in line to return the message machine, I made a commitment that when I was “old”, I would keep up with the times. So, here I am, 30 years later facing Blogging, Tweeting, Facebook, Instagram, ad nauseam. Most of it seems narcissist and unnecessary and surely that’s how Nana felt about message machines. So, to honor my commitment, I’ve started this blog and I just got on the dreaded Facebook today.

So, like me or follow me or whatever you’re supposed to do on these things. God, it’s so annoying!!
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The Good Doctor

“You have an umbilical hernia,” my doctor said laughing, “and the weird thing is, so do I.” My doctor laughs at just about everything, which utterly delights me. The first time I saw her, shortly after we moved here just over a year ago I was a complete wreck.

“I hate Dallas,” I said back then, “there is nothing beautiful here and the weather is a joke.”
She laughed and typed on her laptop.
“I miss the nature and wildlife in Scottsdale so much I could cry!” I moaned.
She laughed and typed.
“I used to be a public speaker and had audiences of three hundred; now I can’t make it to the grocery store without a half of my dog’s Xanax.”
Laugh and type.
“I cough all day, every day and I have horrible anxiety because I’m sure I have lung cancer!”
Laugh and type.
“I used to write management training programs for corporations, now I can’t sort out a recipe!”
Laugh, type.
Her laughing didn’t put me off. It made me think she didn’t think anything was wrong. When I was finished emoting she diagnosed me with “severe allergies” which apparently is very common in Dallas, said I probably had PTSD (which was confirmed by a therapist several weeks later), sent me for a chest x-ray to calm my nerves about lung cancer, and gave me some OTC allergy drug recommendations.

“So, what do we do about the hernia? “I asked, “What did you do about yours?”
“Well let’s wait and see. I just push mine back in from time to time.” she said, “and I just pushed yours back in. Let me know right away if you experience any new pain and if you do, we’ll think about surgery. But for now just carry on and exercise as you normally do, abs and all. But before you go,” she went on, “how are your menopause symptoms these days?”

I’m fine,” I said, “but I’m on hormone replacement therapy and you’re not and the last time I saw you, you were having a very rough time, so I’m wondering how your menopause symptoms are.

“Well,” she laughed, “I was drinking way too much red wine and I think it was making my hot flashes worse, so I switched to Scotch and I’m feeling soooo much better.”

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Prostitution and Crack Cocaine

“Something is really weird over there,” I said to my husband Steve. “Those cars in the driveway and in the street are the ones I see at various times during the week in the driveway when she isn’t home.”

“Well, it is Thanksgiving. Maybe those are her friends or other single mothers celebrating together,” he replied.

“Who celebrates Thanksgiving with the shades drawn?” I asked.

“Well, we don’t know the layout of that house,” he said, “Maybe they’re in the backyard.”

“They aren’t in the backyard,” I said, “I can see the backyard from the upstairs bedroom and I already checked.”

“You checked?? Why are you so obsessed with this?” he asked.

“It’s the house right next door. Those cars are in the driveway at all weird times during the week. I just wonder what’s going on in there. I was telling the lady who owns the tree trimming company about it when she was here and she thought it might be a crack house or a prostitution venue and told me to call the police neighborhood watch division,” I said. “I mean, she’s been in Texas a lot longer than us; maybe she knows something we don’t.”

“That’s a bit of a stretch,” Steve said. “I really wouldn’t worry about it until you have far more evidence.” Then he went out for a run.

I might be a little OCD and the truth is I was and have been obsessed with whatever is going on next door. The woman who lives there is named Marisol. I remember that by thinking “aerosol”. She’s probably late 30’s and is a single mother of a young boy. They are rarely home and I suspect they sleep over at a boyfriend of Marisol’s most nights and that part is fine by me and is also none of my business.

The problem I have is that during the week, when Marisol’s car is not there while she is working I often see one or more of three cars parked in her driveway. They are a black Suburban, a white SUV of some kind and a black Audi. I’m convinced something sinister is going on, yes, like drugs or prostitution.

I wasn’t cooking for Thanksgiving as we were going out so when Steve went running, I sat down to read on my comfy chair in my downstairs office which has a huge picture window looking out to the street with the big, beautiful trees (take note: I said “beautiful” regarding something in Texas!!) and Marisol’s driveway. At around 4:00pm I heard her front door open. I threw my book, jumped up and leapt to the window. A man walked out, went to the street, got into the black Suburban and drove away. Hmmmmm, I thought.

I retrieved my book and sat back down. Five minutes later I heard the door open again. I threw my book, jumped up and leapt to the window. A woman walked out, got in the Audi and drove away. I knew it!! I thought. There’s a prostitution ring operating over there! Wait till I tell Steve!!

My book was starting to look a little disheveled. But I sat back down and found my way to the page where I left off, began to read and I heard the door again. My poor book.

This time an older man walked to the white SUV. I was thinking he seemed a little old to be involved in prostitution. Maybe he was a senior pimp? He unlocked the car and got a small cooler out of the back seat then walked back to the house and put it inside the door. He then walked back to the car and got a second cooler, went in the house and closed the door.

He’s replenishing the drugs for the prostitution ring, I thought. What drugs have to be kept cool? Heroin? Crack? Is crack the same as heroin? Wait, crack is cocaine of some kind, right? Different than heroin? I’m sure all these drugs have to be kept cool and that is why he has them in coolers. Now he is going in there to transfer them from the cooler to the refrigerator for the next trick. (Aren’t you guys surprised I knew the word for a prostitution transaction was “trick”?)

My thoughts were interrupted by the tone 0f a text coming in to my iPhone. It was Steve saying he’d stopped for a coffee and asking how I was doing. I told him I was fine but had a LOT to tell him about the house next door when he got home.

This time my book got a break because I hadn’t sat back down. I heard the door and zipped over to the window. Out walked the older man, an older woman each holding a small cooler and……Marisol and her son.

“Okay, mom, dad, drive safe! Enjoy the leftovers!” she said with a smile. “Tommy, say bye to gramma and grandpa! And Tommy, did you say bye to Aunt Sarah and Uncle Bill before they left a few minutes ago?”

Just then Steve walked in. “So, what’s new next door, Sherlock?”
I had to eat crow.
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YMCA Big Texas Hair

After we were in Texas for a couple months, I knew we both needed to join a gym for exercise and to control our stress. We checked out the trendy and expensive Equinox which overflowed with young, gorgeous people in expensive Nike outfits working hard on their glutes, abs and biceps while glancing around self consciously as the music pounded. I’m too old for this, I thought.

Then we checked out Gold’s Gym, which was filled with body builders who were groaning, flexing, dropping weights with a loud bang and grunt then sashaying around while the music blared. I’m too old for this, I was sure Steve was thinking.

Finally one day when Steve was at work, I saw an ad for the YMCA and wistfully remembered how much I loved those gay guys singing that song back in the day. So I went to check it out and I immediately loved it. There were young people, old people, fat people, skinny people, white people, black people, straight people, gay people, Nike people, Target people, but best of all, no music. And that makes perfect sense since everyone is listening to music with ear-buds these days anyway! I happen to like silence when I work out and find music at those already dreadful times annoying. The facility was newish, clean and cheap!

At my YMCA the yoga teacher, Susie, has big, blond Texas hair and wears a different sequined top to every class. The other day she was bummed because she couldn’t get a light in front of the class to go on and she said, “Ooooh, I’m so mad, I can’t get this light on and I want ya’ll to see my top!” She ended up going mat to mat so we each could see its brilliance. Then at the end of Savasana, the delightful ending ritual in every yoga class, while we were all flat on our backs and deeply relaxed, she said quietly and slowly, “Now ya’ll deepen your breath, begin to wiggle your fingers and toes, bring yourself back into the room, roll gently to your right and stay there a minute and when you’re ready, get up slowly, come to a comfortable seated position and fix your hair.” I’m not kidding but she was, however she was fixing her hair as she said it.
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Lovely Linda

“Okay, this is going to hurt a little,” my new aesthetician said as she ripped hot wax off my upper lip.
“OW!” I cried.
“I know, I know, I’m sorry,” she said pressing hard onto my lip with her sterile gloved fingers.

I just met Linda for the first time today and we hit it off. She is pretty, thin and girly and we laughed a lot. She is also an artist so her little skin care studio is filled with her art in various mediums. She makes intricately detailed greeting cards, beautifully adorned gift-card holders, remarkable heart sculptures, lovely paintings and jewelry.

“It’s awesome that you are an aesthetician and also an artist,” I commented.
“I’m also a handyman,” she blurted out.

Being as feminine as she is, I thought that was a hilarious joke and I laughed out loud.

“I’m not kidding,” she said, “and I’m not talking about changing light bulbs.”
“What?” I said.
“Yeah, my father was a builder and starting at age 3, I was his gofer. By the time I was 8 I knew the names of all the tools and was learning to build, install, repair, do drywall, woodworking and painting. By the time I was 20 I could do just about anything. I installed that sink, garbage disposal, faucet and cabinetry,” she said pointing to a corner in her studio.”
“Are you serious?” I said astounded.
“Yes,” she said, “I can do your micro-derma abrasion, your eyebrow waxing and your drywall repairs!”
“Wow,” I said, “how convenient!”

We continued to chat while she worked on my face. I learned she’s been in Dallas for 20 years, is divorced and doesn’t mind being single. Linda has a little dog whom she adores and sometimes dates through Match.com which happens to be headquartered here.

“You know”, she said, “when you are out of your forties you can’t hope to meet men at bars.” I loved the way she said ‘out of your forties’ instead of ‘into your fifties.’ “Men that age who are at bars are looking for much younger women.” I agreed with her.
“Yeah, I’m meeting one tomorrow,” she said.
“One?” I laughed.
“Yeah, one,” she said, “that’s what I call these Match.com guys until I know more about them. They usually don’t last for more than a couple weeks when their psychosis start to show up. The one tomorrow will be interesting,” she continued, “his profile was so impressive! He’s a card carrying Mensa, he’s very athletic, he’s interested in Eastern Philosophy and other really esoteric stuff and he sounds like a lot of fun. When I read his profile to my friend, Sarah, she said she wanted to date him! But then I showed her his picture.”

Linda went on to describe how the one tomorrow has a beard, which is about 2 inches across at the bottom of his chin and then sticks about 4 inches straight downward. She said it was so weird that he had that beard while everything else seemed so perfect. So, Sarah told Linda that all she has to do is wait until he wants to have sex and say, “Dude, everything is working for me here, but the beard has to go.”

“Well,” Linda said to me, “Maybe I should meet the beard before I start scheming.”

“Yeah,” I said, “go meet the beard first.”
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Don’t Mess with Texas’ Squirrels

We have a larger population of squirrels in Texas than anywhere else in the world. I just made that up, but when you come here you will believe it, too. Squirrels are to Dallas what rabbits are to Scottsdale and chickens are to Kauai.

Recently, at the park down the street, I saw two playing in a tree with such aggression and abandon that I said to a woman standing near me, “Oh my god, those squirrels are going to fall right out of that tree!”

“No!” she exclaimed. “I’ve lived in Dallas for 30 years! They never fall out of trees!” With that, both squirrels fell about 10 feet, slammed onto the ground, screamed and ran in opposite directions. The lady and I just looked at each other. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to mess with Texas.


Salon Lady

People raise really polite people here in Texas. There is a lot of traffic but if you turn your signal on, the car in the other lane will most likely let you in with a friendly wave, which I find shocking. And, twice I’ve seen people put their car in reverse and back up to let someone in!! I am originally from Los Angeles and this is simply unheard of.

And, everyone calls everyone else “Sir and Ma’am.” As in “Yes, Sir” and “Thank you, Ma’am.” I constantly hear parents saying to their children, “did you say ‘Thank you Ma’am’?” Or, “did you say ‘yes sir’?” It is ingrained in Texans. It is so prevalent that within a week I was saying sir and ma’am at all times. I guess it’s a Southern thing.

But around here they say this is not the South, this is Texas!

Of course, you also hear “ya’ll” everywhere. I was with an acquaintance talking to a gal at a salon and she asked me why I was laughing. I said it was because I’m so new to Dallas and that I’m just not used to hearing “ya’ll”. She was dumbfounded and said, “Well, if you are talking to more than one person, what do you say? How do you say it?”
“You guys,” I said, “We say ‘you guys’.”
“But what if they are girls?” the salon lady asked bewildered.
“It doesn’t matter,” I said, “it covers both sexes just like ya’ll.”

Ya’ll is so prevalent and I refuse to say it! The Texans say I will, though. They say it will creep into my vocabulary like chiggers sneak into your shoes! As we were leaving, the salon gal said, “Bye ya’ll.” I wondered if she was pulling my chain.