Rita’s Last Letter to “Mom”

When Rita found out her chemotherapy at the Hemer Lung Clinic was not as effective as she had hoped, she walked away from the treatments (against doctors advice) and she opted  to take a more ‘natural’ approach to her death than that which the medical profession would have preferred.

Enough Already!

Giving Up on Radiation and Chemotherapy

It was at that point that I started working on her rationalist eulogy and she started working on her last letter to her mom.  When she finished writing it, she gave it to me with the following caveat:

“If my mom treats you with dignity and respect upon my death just hand her this letter and walk away.  If she treats you like a criminal and disrespects both my wishes and your dignity, then do whatever you can to make sure that EVERYBODY sees this letter.”

The full letter is available for public viewing at the bottom of this post.  The following is some expository information I have added as ‘bonus’ material.

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Final Farewell to Fort Dodge

Although it had been my intention to regain residence in the state of Iowa and live in the city from which I graduated high school (with honors) back in 1976, the cards were stacked heavily against me. Due to the fact that I have been living in Germany for over five years, my US driver’s license was expired and of no use.  Add to that the serendipitous ‘luck’ of escaping my Nazi (no hyperbole) mother-in-law in Germany on the LAST day before my passport expired and you have the stuff of Kafkaesque nightmares. This led to a situation where I arrived into the state of Iowa with absolutely NO current ID. I imagine the Iowa DMV is overwhelmed with fake passports that are two days past expiration, such is the ease of duplicating the document.  After all, who doesn’t know at least half a dozen folks running around Iowa trying to pass themselves off as somebody else using a “potentially” forged passport just slightly out of expiration?  It’s likely just as common as tits on a pumpkin.

“Welcoming” Platitudes Were as Abundant on the numbered waiting slip at the DMV as they were about the house at my sister’s place of residence.

There were many attempts to rectify this less than fortuitous situation.  More than one of my friends back home got a front row seat to the ridiculousness as well as my personal angst and disgust which I was unable to suppress while getting involved in trying to help me solve this dilemma.

It turns out that the only quick resolution to my ‘illegal alien’ status is a trip to the New Orleans passport office, the ONLY place in the USA where this can be handled in a timely fashion:

Updated and edited to add: ONLY IF YOU HAVE A TICKET LEAVING THE US IN THE NEXT TEN DAYS, a little something I had forgotten about and which added another degree of difficulty to my life a short while down the road.

Me and my trusty companion Bandit are off to the gulf coast for the purpose of proving that I am not a foreign terrorist or Mexican immigrant.  With my passport in hand I will be able to regain some semblance of a normal life in the US (bank account, driver’s license, job….).  I’m glad to have found a quick course to the resolution of my troubles and a return to a normal life in the US, even as I’m painfully aware that there may never be a return to ‘normalcy’ for the ‘family’ I left behind in Iowa.

It’s a sad situation when the Iowa Department of Motor vehicles isn’t even allowed to check the Fort Dodge Senior High 1976 yearbook or accept the dozens of signed affidavits on my identity that I’m sure I could have collected from my many friends there in the city in order to ‘prove’ my identity, but we must remain HYPER vigilant against the communist ..err…Muslim threat.

I would have liked to open a business (or two or three) in Fort Dodge and maybe even paying some heavy taxes to help rebuild the blighted areas, but such is life.  I doubt I’ll ever move back to Iowa after the fiasco I endured, unless I get a penchant for frostbite or pick up a really heavy methamphetamine habit.

Enjoy.

Last Words to a Lost Love

To My Wife

When you passed, I not only lost the best cuddle buddy this side of Bandit, but also my biggest fan and patron. Now that you are gone, I will do my best to try and make a living off my blogging as you always told me I could.  Up until now, I’ve always considered myself the Mr. Tanner of blogging.  I do not know how well I write, it just makes me “whole”.

The me without you misses you but it’s gonna be ok because there’s still ‘me’. The two people who knew me best and I loved the most were you and my mom. Both of you were exceptionally intelligent women and the only women who held me close to their bosoms while whispering to me how special I am.  I believed you both.

You did your best. I tried my hardest.  You were always right!  Your mother will always be the Devil.  She did call the cops on me as you feared predicted, but you did have me properly ‘papered” against the local police. Same goes for the immigration office.  Just as you warned me, your ruthless, soul-sucking mother tried hard to abuse me!  I can never thank you enough for making sure my scrawny ass was well protected.  I attended to MOST of your unfinished business before bouncing out of Germany and will tend to the rest as time and situation dictate. You would be proud of how well our son is handling the situation in your absence.

Rita’s First and Last Husbands

Me and Rudolf

Your first husband Rudolf and I had a touching non-verbal conversation at the “coffee and sandwich” get-together after your funeral. I’m glad you got to spend some time alone with him in your last months reminiscing and comforting each other.  I know he’s as hurt by all this as I am, even with the passage of time, and realize from your conversations about him, as well as the shared intimacy and caring glances I saw you exchange, how much you meant to each other.  I was never jealous or threatened by your fond residual feelings for any of your previous loves, lovers, husbands or the ongoing stream of men who hit on you.  They were been bound to fail, but they did show good taste, even as you skillfully swatted them away.  I wonder how many other couples have memories of sitting around on multiple occasions comparing notes on which of their friends, acquaintances, etc. had tried to hit on them at any given time?

I held with you to the end babe and you to me. On your last day it’s as if you waited for me to whisper a final goodbye in your ear before slipping quietly away.  I never sought an avenue of escape from Germany when you offered though you lovingly suggested it would be easier on ME.   Bandit and I have now cast ourselves back off into the world, far away from the toxic miasma of the Devil.  We are now back into the great swirling seas of American opportunity, far outside the confines of our shared German Utopia.

Rita Tends to Vince After Open Heart Surgery

And Vinny?  He honors us both. I recognized his love for you as being as strong as mine for my mom.  It has had a profound effect on my attitude towards him. He is a positive influence on the world reflecting your gentle manner and delicate sensibilities. We did something seriously right with Vinny. I mostly ‘blame’ you for that. That’s boy’s seriously not, not right. Polished. Savvy.  I see your heart in his eyes.

Lizzy Love

Lizzy will be tended to by Vince. I wish she was young enough to travel with me and Bandit. I think of you when I see her.  Vince needs a dog too after all!  I will miss her and Vince as I depart the continent, but will do my best to save our one remaining beloved family dog ManMan in the US.

Here's our little Man-Man

I can recreate the loving environment we hand-raised him in. Imagine Bandit and him getting reacquainted!  I understand he’s still a nervous little nelly belly.  We both know where that comes from.  I have your recorded wishes on ManMan’s disposition. I have your favorite picture of ManMan from your bedside to remind me, but I wouldn’t forget anyway.

People still take so much for granted. All is well. And thank you. Thank you for everything. I shall remain in awe of your brilliance and your faithfulness forever. I shall continue to sing the graces of our shared humanity and your special place in the hearts of so many. I will represent your wishes through eternity. I will not burden future relationships by impossible comparisons to you.

I promise to try and find the good Dutch woman you suggested would be ideal for me as a best fit companion, if and when I ever desire to remarry.  I’ll give it a go, somehow. I will vigorously defend those who misrepresent your memory with the actual documentation of your life from any distortion no matter the threat. The book of your love is written on the nooks and crannies of my heart and I shall sing it’s harmonies in prose and speech til my own throat goes stiff and lifeless and my fingers limp.

“You were you, I was me, and we were happy” Our happiness befuddled many who didn’t know our special bond. Still does. You are proof there IS some actual humanity in humans. I hate that your mom misused you so horribly. I understand your addictions. You were mine.

I will always love you.  We’ll talk about a lot of stuff later. Or not. Heaven for me will always be the time we already spent together in Eden.

If Hell shortly awaits, you’ve left me toned and properly rested. I think there are papers to prove that too!  Count on me to remain good without God. I have plenty of experience battling Devils, so don’t worry about me.  Now off to find your loving daddy Joe.  You and him have a celestrial coffee and cigarette break.  You can use the regular sugar now instead of those hideous low-calorie substitutes.  After all, it won’t kill you!  Order one of the most expensive of the ethereal blends.  Try out the special “Stardust Mix” for me and drop a Yelp review into one of my dreams.

#yourbiggestfan #tangledsouls #myprincess

Enjoy.

Why Walmart Failed in Germany

Far and away the most heavily trafficked blogpost of mine in recent history. Might be approaching my Nasa Moon Hoax post from the late 20th century. (Max on the Moon) The German Walmart disaster story is still number one daily in my stats even after nearly TWO years from the original posting. Enjoy.

The Tim Channel

Walmart, the most successful retail operation in the US, failed to make even a dent in the largest and most vibrant European economy (Germany) after losing a billion dollars in the process of bungling their German market experiment with so much failure it is now the stuff of local urban legend..  Let’s examine the reasons.

Cultural Hubris

“The problem was the company’s business philosophy, which had always worked so well,” wrote Frankfurt’s Börsenzeitung in what pretty much amounted to an obituary. “It’s people-centered – but that doesn’t actually work when the people aren’t American.

The company gave the job of masterminding Wal-Mart Germany to an American who didn’t speak a word of German.

The Germans weren’t fond of the Walmart practice of hiring old people to accost greet them at the door, nor were the German workers impressed with morning warm-up sessions (“Higher Profits Uber Alles! — Can I get…

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The Last Muse

Last week Rita and I managed to sneak off to a favorite coffee shop/bistro the Cafe Muse.  In the duration, I’m afraid her condition has worsened to the point that it’s unlikely we’ll be making any trips outside the house for coffee again.

I have truly been blessed to have spent the last twenty five years with Rita, and I shall cherish every minute we have left together.

 

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Enjoy.