Ay! Octogenarians and Crab Shacks!

topsyturvy1(Our feathers have been a bit ruffled of late. Mrs. Hannibal taking a break from the nest.)

My lord, if this State isn’t crawling with both. And they are attracted to each other like giant sucking magnets, pulling gray hair to grease in an inexorable march across 4 lanes, bridges, intracoastals and gulf coast. Please, kill me now. Although before dinner would have been better.

The routine of our life is currently all topsy turvy and my feathers have been ruffled for well over a week. Every day is a new battle. The conflict du jour involved the crummy health insurance company we have for the next 3 days until we have none, the internist’s office and yours truly, alternately snarling and weeping through 4 hours of phone crud. It seems like a simple and obvious issue: it makes good sense to get 3 months worth of our prescriptions filled before March 1, right? Before the insurance runs out? To save almost a thousand dollars? But nitwits are running the world, it seems and Cigna won’t let us fax the paper scripts we have in hand and the internist won’t accept a fax requisition from Cigna since she already handed us paper scripts and heaven knows, I have a plan to sell all of my class C narcotics Synthroid on the street at my earliest convenience. Because junkies swoon for Synthroid. And Lipitor. Together, they’re better than roofies, better than goop, better than E. Slip a girl some Synthroid laced with a statin and have your way with her. All offers to return the paper scripts by mail, filtered through automated menus, receptionists, nurse’s message machine, nurse, physician assistant…OMG. Finally, I get the attention of Tamika who says have Cigna fax it to her and she’ll take care of it. On the other end is 19 year old Cigna’s Tina: giggle, like, you know, like, it’s really hard to send the fax to the attention of a, like, one, like, a single person because, you know, like, there are so many. You know. Giggle.

So, you know, like, I’ve been giggling my way through numerous obstacles but these are also the ten days when Bud comes to visit, get warm, be fed, chat with another person rather than the cats and the television and celebrate his birthday. It’s a very happy time with it’s own set of adaptations. For one thing, he normally has no reason whatsoever to modulate his voice- he’s free to mutter or yell all he wants and the television and cats remain consistently responsive. For another, at home he’s free to do all his sleeping sitting upright on his sofa in front of the television. Here, however, the only television is in our bedroom so he’s been snoring watching with me each evening until I finally, sometime after midnight, say, “Bud. Bud! BUD!! WAKE UP AND GO TO BED!” “HUH??!! WHAT??! WHAT’S WRONG?!! Oh, I saw this movie already. This is where Nicholas Gage has that baby…”

imagesThis afternoon Bud and I drove south over the beautiful Sunshine Skyway to meet up with Cousin Betty. We did this last year, too and if we do it next year, I will finally have all 11 cousins and their spouses, dead or alive, all 24 children and spouses, divorced or not, all 38 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren vaguely committed to some blurry family tree.
Bud and Betty grew up together on the east side of Detroit as part of one big extended family. They fished in the Detroit River and raced around like dervishes in those days when kids could run amok and hit each other with baseball bats and adults didn’t intervene. Betty and Bud have great tales to tell and they also have to have the annual rundown of funerals, attended and missed. It’s actually very interesting and entertaining and would be completely fine if only not for…

p318732-naples-joes_crab_shack1The Dreaded Crab Shack. Crab Shacks dot the interstates in Florida so old people can “meet halfway” for the “early bird special” and “happy hour” and still drive home before dark. Crab Shacks are full to overflowing with way too many functionally deaf screaming gaily at each other about the demise of Aunt Hazel. Crab Shacks insist you have their signature appetizer special, which is always some sludgy mix of cream cheese, green onions, sour cream, Krab and bits of some white fish. It’s always called Crabby Joe’s or Crabby Bob’s or Crabby Tom’s Signature Crab Dip. It’s always “baked to perfection” and served with melba toast. Sickeningly sweet/sour bad margaritas are very popular as is Long Island Ice Tea. The grease of fried clams, fried shrimp and fried catfish, usually all mixed up in a basket together, is cut with the vegetable du jour, which is always watery succotash. And everybody is just screaming with conviviality. Screaming. It’s like they are all high on Synthroid and Lipitor. If, however, you are the designated driver who is not deaf, this air of jollity starts to wear a bit thin, sooner rather than later. And the grease. With sour cream, butter, cheez whiz, dip, sauce and more butter. Aren’t these people afraid they’ll damage their arteries in later life, like when they are 103?


Still. It was a hoot and I cracked up when the whole wait staff came clapping up to the table with a piece of birthday be–candled Key Lime pie and Bud started clapping too, thinking it was for someone else. And then he was really delighted that it was for him. Happy Birthday, Bud.


budandbetty(Don’t say anything. Some day you will be paritally deaf and your vision will blur.I took it on my cellphone.)


19 responses to “Ay! Octogenarians and Crab Shacks!

  1. Cigna! Man, I love your tenacity, have always loved your tenacity. Hope to see you soon.

  2. Scary, scary, scary. I’ll avoid any thoughts of Happy Hour at the Krab Shack (I kid you not, I just typoed Krap Shack). Sounds dreadful! I’ll just adjust my reading glasses and hike up the font size on my Kindle and go to bed.

  3. I love how you take on life full bore and yet reflect upon it with such humor. I have never been to Joe’s Crab Shack, but thanks for the warning. Ick! I pray the insurance situation will be worked out soon. We are going through our own personal insurance hell dealing with that of the driver who caused youngest son’s wreck. Sigh. Blessings upon you!

  4. As one who worked for a time for a dreaded health insurance company–a Blue one, not Cigna–I can affirm they are NOT interested in HEALTH care. Heaven forbid.
    I headed up a health policy department–and when the company merged, they eliminated my department. They weren’t interested in HEALTH policy! Huh? But you’re a . . .oh, never mind.
    I love the photo–cell phone taken and all–it shows a wondrous sweetness.

  5. We have our own stories about health insurance, but I won’t bore you with those. Suffice it to say that are not really in the business of helping people. Blurry Bud looks good, and I am so glad that you have the means to host him for a while. I bet he won’t really want to go home.

  6. Lost some coffee to the keyboard over this one
    “It’s like they are all high on Synthroid and Lipitor”

    Hopefully when you made it home from the Krab place you got a real drink.

  7. Insurance companies are such a JOY to deal with. Ugh. I’ve had a few dealings this year myself. The birthday festivities sound memorable. Glad that Bud had a special time.

  8. If my dreams come true, and who knows maybe they will this time (can I really be this hopeful still?), we will have real health care reform. This experience you had with cigna will be thing of the past. In fact, in my dream, cigna itself will be a thing of the past. We will be a civilized country in the 21st century with single-payer universal health care.

    Nice to see Bud there with you in Florida, soaking up some good vitamin D.

  9. Try the Crab Trap on 19. I’ll take you there for lunch. I think you would find it better than a Shack! Where is the Crab Shack, anyway?

    I have some Lipitor if you need some.

  10. You of the amazing wits,
    Felted creations and beautiful knits,
    Blogger of zoo life, birds, and kits –
    I hope you never call it quits!
    Ay, popping pills is simply the pits;
    But, the practice of yoga brings drug omits.
    Bud and Betty: Stroh’s or Schlitz?
    Is our Vicki channeling Annie Liebowitz?

  11. My husband’s company had CIGNA for one year. [The letters stand for “Call In, Get No Answer.”] The company dropped CIGNA when they refused to authorize out-of-state knee surgery for the CEO! And my husband’s company was self-insured…they simply used CIGNA to administer the plan. I can’t imagine the difficulties of a regular CIGNA plan.


  12. That is one of the funniest and best descriptions of Joe’s Crab Shack ever! It makes one yearn for the classy gourmet experience that is Red Lobster. 🙂 I set foot in one once, and never again. Come to think of it, it was in the part of the state you are in now, but they are everywhere so it probably wasn’t the same one.
    And yours was the second health care idiocy rant in two hours – my cousin ranting about her doctors giving her drugs that are not supposed to be given in combination, even though she had provided both with a list of her medications TWICE, came first.

  13. Jeez. I hope you get that all wrangled out. I’ve never been in the Crab Shack restaurants, but I feel like I have now.

  14. Oh man. You truly have my sympathy with the insurance mess. Sorry it had to coincide with the Bud visit. Your account of the restuarant had me laughing out loud. What a riot.

  15. If you need Xanax, I have some leftover still. You know, they have a Joe’s Crab Shack in Ann Arbor too. Here the employees used to dance through the restaurant when they played a certain oldie. Nice to hear you bonding with the extended fam, especially there where it’s warm.

  16. Oh! My! We have those Joe’s here too and they ARE the worst. For my birthday we went down into North Carolina, just about 45 minutes away to an out-of-the-way, hole-in-the-wall, restaurant where you can park your boat and get supplies as well as a hot meal. And it had the most fabulous fish, shrimp, huge scallops and for my mom… fried oysters. Well worth the drive…… AND if you didn’t know it was there you would never find it!

    As for giggly people on the other end of the line who are as dense as your high quality felt :)… don’t you just hate stupidity?

  17. I take Synthryoid, too. And blood pressure med. Only the generic, because that’s how the former insurance demanded I take it. Cigna sucks, to be sure, but most of them seem to. We’ve used them all over the years through out frequent job shifts and none will impress you for compassion or efficency. I’m sure the government takeover will be much better.

    The man who owns the Joe’s Crab Shacks lives here, well on Galveston Island. Big Democrat contributor, so there you go. He owns Galveston, pretty much. More money than sense.

    I hope we all live as long as Bud, even longer. He’s precious. My MIL is 86 now. She’s a character, too. Healthy as a horse. No pills or anything.

  18. Funny – my husband and I went to that crab shack for Valentine’s Day (shup up – we had a craving for crab legs and we live INLAND). Anyway, when we walked in they told us, “It’s um…*giggle* ummm….like a 2 hour *giggle* wait.”

    We left because they were obviously high on Lipitor.

  19. Bud looks so well! That may be a blurry photo, but he looks healthy and happy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s