Friday, January 30, 2015

Dear Grampy ...

My oldest, Nicole, shared her thoughts today in a letter to Grampy. She gave me permission to publish it. It is so special and so sweet. I know that Sammy is probably still smiling: 

Dear Grampy

This week was very hard for us to learn that you were leaving for good. You are famous for always bouncing back. So when dad sent us a message that hospice was coming, I thought to myself, it will be ok, I’ll still get to see him the next time I go home. But I feel terribly sad that I am not going to get the chance. I hope you know how much I love you even though I will not get to tell you one last time in person.

The main reason I’m writing this letter is to tell you what I’m thankful for. Unfortunately, often times, only upon reflection do we do a good job of this. But when we lose someone, all of sudden it’s as if a wave of memories wash over us. And like a movie montage, we picture all of the things that we remember about that someone who is no longer here.

Here is what I fondly remember about you...

When we were little, over the summers, Alissa and I would go to New Orleans to spend time with you and grammy. You would pick us up from the airport in your "Sam Momberg Interiors" labeled mini van. We made sure to put our seat belts on extra tight because Lord knows it was going to be an eventful drive into Metairie. Grammy would put on her Les Miserabes, Cats or Annie sound track and the adventure began.

The days were filled to the brim with fun. We’d start our morning with a delicious bowl of Sun Flakes and coffee creamer only to be washed down with one of Grammy’s Diet Rite sodas with a straw. Then we’d head to the store to do a little work. I loved the carpet samples. I don’t know why. But I just loved it so much when we would help customers go through and pick them out. I’d play on the old type writer and write letters home to mom and dad. We’d grab a glass bottle coca-cola from the old fashioned soda machine in the back. And when lunch finally came, it was always Po Boys! The best. Usually throughout the day I’d get a smattering of your dirty jokes too. It didn’t matter if I was four or fourteen at that time, they were always appropriate for some reason. There were definitely some classics: one about Miss Piggy, A super man joke and a plethora of "three men are in a bar" (one was always jewish)....I could not wait to repeat them to the Century 21 realtors that Grammy worked with and I really looked forward to telling them to your bowling buddies. They thought I was a riot. Mom and dad were horrified.

But Sunday was really our day. We’d wake up early and go for our mall walk. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as "mall walkers" but you were the king of Lake Shore Mall. Man, you were fast. And you knew everyone. "Hey Sam!" was all I heard for laps and laps around the mall. Then we would hit Shoney’s breakfast. One big plate of delicious. You always had pancakes with lots of syrup. You ordered extra hot coffee, which you always returned because it wasn’t hot enough. And then it was time for the real fun...bowling. We would meet up with the guys from temple for our routine Sunday match. Little did I know how many times my bowling skills would come into use later in life. I can hear you saying, "aim for the arrows on the ground, stand a little to the right because of your natural curve, thumb up, now shake hands with the lane. Don’t look at the pins!" I’d get so mad if I messed up, but you were always so patient with me and encouraging. You were so proud of me...your grand daughter.

When the day was over we’d head home. Nights were always fun because it was usually filled with card games. We played lots and lots of Gin Rummy. Of course, I hate losing, so I think you let me win most of the time. That was better for everyone involved probably.

There are so many more funny stories I could share but I just hope you know how much I appreciate our time together. Thank you for such fond memories of New Orleans. Thank you for making me a good bowler. Thank you for teaching me how to play cards. Thank you for giving me the Momberg sense of humor (nothing better than self proclaimed hilarity). Thank you for being proud that I was your grand daughter. And thank you for being a wonderful Grampy.

Baby number two is on the way. If it’s a boy, we will give him your name. Sam, it’s a good strong name.

Give our love to Grammy and Uncle Wayne "ya hear".

Love always,


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sammy Momberg 1921 - 2015

Sammy passed away tonight.

He was 93 years young ... born July 24, 1921. He had no middle name. I thought about that tonight. I don't think I ever knew anyone else that had no middle name. He used to sign paperwork, "Sam NMI Momberg". Funny what you remember at times like this.

Most of his life he was a salesman ... Furniture and Carpeting. He had a little store on Veterans Highway in New Orleans that had a sign that read: Sam Momberg Interiors. It was amazing how many people remembered that sign.

There were four of us in our family. I'm the only one left. My brother Wayne died 20 years ago from a brain tumor and Mom died just five years ago. Joel, Esther, Wayne and Sam. Yes, we spelled JEWS. Not intentional (I don't think) ... just ironic.

Sam has been great blog material. Whenever he opened his mouth ... jewels just fell to the floor. I thought I'd retell one of my favorites from 2012:


Do You Perform?

Sammy broke his hip this morning.

"The TV screen was lit up when I woke up at three in the morning," Sammy told me. "I went over to get the clicker (which was next to the TV set). I turned it off and I ... fell right on my ass."

I looked at Sammy as he lay in his ER bed, telling me the story. He looked so frail, so vulnerable, so scared ... I was really hit with the fact that he was 90 years old and won't have him around forever.

Just then a nurse came in and opened the computer terminal by his bed. "Sam ... I have some questions for you. First ... where do you live?"

"Menorah Manor ... nice place ... I love it. You know the other day there was a girl in my bed (uh oh ... here comes the old Sammy). She was ... naked ... so I said if I paid you ... would you get out of my bed?"

There was nervous laughter from the nurse. I shook my head. As usual ... Sammy told a joke that he had totally screwed up and had no idea what the punchline really was. He had a big smile on his face.

The nurse tried to continue the questions for the chart. "Do you have any family history of medical problems ... like heart, stomache, etc.?"

Sammy looked at her confused.

"Sam," She continued. "Did your parents have any medical problems?"

"Yeah ... but it's too late now. They died."

She smiled ... "What did they die of?"

"I don't know ... heart attacks I guess. I have a question for you."

She stopped typing. "Okay."

"Do you perform?"

She was stunned. "Um ... perform?"

"Yeah. Are you doing my surgery?"

"Oh ... no ... I'm the nurse."

"Are you an LPN?"

"No I'm an RN."

"Do you have a certificate?"

"Even better ... I have a license."

"Good ... Then you can treat me."

It was a long day. The surgeon was operating all day and couldn't fit him in the schedule. Sammy was restless. He thought we would go out for sandwiches after he had surgery. I told him to be prepared for a long stay.

He frowned. Then when the ER nurse came in again he said ... "Excuse me honey. I'll take a room now."

Sam usually feels no pain ... literally ... no pain. He is amazing. He was in discomfort but really didn't complain much. The nurses were in shock.

They gave him pain meds anyway.

He was a happy boy. Not a drinker, I have never seen Sammy high or drunk. He was singing, yelling, kissing Debbie, kissing me ... He asked the same questions over and over. "How am I doing? Did I have surgery? Why are you here?"

He is resting comfortably now. Surgery is tomorrow and we will try to keep it light and upbeat. With Sammy, you never know who he will insult, kiss or ignore.

One thing I will guarantee ... he will make a new friend.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Duncan Donut

A few months ago, I wrote a post about Debbie's "violent interactions" with Dunkin Donuts. Okay ... violent is a little exaggerated. It was more like a "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?" interaction.

I had a moment like that last week.

Every morning I drive up to the window of DD and ask for the same thing: egg white veggie flatbread and coffee coolatta with skim milk. I pretty much know everyone who worked there and enjoyed the ribbing they used to give me about "trying new things" or "you're gonna turn into a veggie flatbread".

I said used to because there is apparently a new owner who hired all new people who are totally confused and woefully short on supplies.

Last week I pulled  in and gave my order. For the next four days I heard:
1. Sorry, we are out of flatbread
2. The coolatta machine doesn't work
3. The coolatta machine hasn't been cleaned (don't you love that???)
4. We can't do skim milk in a coolatta.

So ... I went to the SOURCE. The DD app. And ... I constructed a letter to the corporate folks about my experiences. They sent a nice reply saying that they immediately will contact the franchisee and have him made aware of the situation.

Yesterday, I got this email ... word for word:

"Just a line to say thanks for your feed back. I the owner and promise to follow up. My name is Bob c# _________. "

In the heading (I KID YOU NOT) was written:

(I think I understand the problem now. Duncan is the guy to straighten this out.)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Story Starters

It's probably not a surprise to most of you who read my blog that my mind is wired ... differently ... than most.

This morning I woke up ready to attack one of my five or so unfinished books and screenplays and, instead, came up with three more ideas. Random thoughts just swim around up there in my recently repaired brain that fester until I either do something about it or file them away. With my luck, someone will steal one of these and make millions.

Here are the most recent story ideas:

1. A homeless man wanders into an ancient Roman church, dying of thirst and drinks a cup of holy water. 

For the next three hours, the man wanders the city with religious fervor, convulsing and meeting strangers telling them of his visions while physical changes are taking place. He is rushed to the hospital where they empty his stomach and his visions stop.

Note: Studies have shown that holy water is not safe to drink and often contains bacteria and fecal matter.

2. A wealthy businessman walks into a meeting room and realizes that he has a meeting with himself.

The man sitting across from him at the table is really him ... a guy who is more than his doppelgänger. He is really him ... same name, same job, same wife, same kids. He shares the most personal aspects of his life with his twin ... testing the limits of his knowledge.

The next day, he finds that all of his assets have been wiped out, his identity has been stolen and a thank you note from his wife and her plastic surgeon.    

3. A young girl discovers magical powers that almost fatally injures her sister accidentally.

In the Kingdom of Arendelle, Princess Elsa has the power of freezing and creating ice and snow, and her younger sister Anna loves to play with her. When Elsa accidentally hits Anna on the head with her gift and almost kills her, their parents bring them to trolls that save Anna's life and make her forget the ability of her sister. Elsa returns to the castle and maintain herself recluse in her room with fear of hurting Anna with her increasing power ...



Oh no ... I even had this cool idea for a title song called Let It Go...


Sunday, January 4, 2015

6 Resolutions That I Will Probably Not Complete But Feel Better Listing Them

Every year at this time, we re-evaluate our lives and take an honest look at what we would like to accomplish in the year ahead. For me, the resolutions are ones that I know I will never do but feel better listing here:

1. Lose 50 pounds.

Gimme a break. Sure I need to lose that much. Oh I could pick 20 but that would be closer to my real reach. This way I know I can't get there. Why not 150 ... Then I could get a part in Unbroken?

2. Join a gym. 

This one sounds like one I could actually do ... for a month. Then it becomes real work.

3. Take More Time Off. 

Hah. I always have that as a goal ... Should have said PLAN more time off. That one is a sure fire loser. We never plan vacations.

4. Spend Quality Time With My Dad.

really try to do this one whenever I visit him. Then he takes out his hearing aid and  turns up the volume on his TV set. 

5. Less Gambling.


6. Finish My Book. 

Any of them ... There are about 12 at last count, all at different stages of completion. 

Ballad of the Big Prostate

Here’s a little country tune I wrote just yesterday to commemorate a dark day in my history. I don’t have a tune but realized you can use an...