Category Archives: Letty Watt

March 30 – Fitbit Farts and Other Funny Follies

by Letty Watt

During the week of making funeral arrangements and preparing for family visits, I couldn’t sleep much. One night, however, the noises of the house stole the hours of sleep from me.

Tossing from one side to the next, my body tired and wrinkled from near exhaustion and heartache, I could hear a nearly pulsating sound, like a fart! I questioned my mind and body. Was I so tired that my own body was giving out on me?? One more worry to add to the ever-present aging process.

Now, if my father had ‘tooted’ he would have blamed the dog, immediately pointing to Ticky or Tootles. As a child I laughed at Dad’s tricks, and then watched the poor dog hang his head in humiliation. Of course, my father, being a trickster, owned a hand-held rubber tube that fit in his pocket. On ladies day or for golf tournaments, Dad would put the fart ball, as we called it, in his pocket and casually walk by golfers and squeeze his toy in the middle of some one’s back swing. No matter what type of fart he made, the long slow “toot toot buzzz……” or the pronounced “Toot” without odor, the victim tucked his or her body in embarrassment, then followed that move by outrage or laughter when the group figured out what had happened.

Shifting in sleep mode I once again heard the squeezing sound of a fart. With one eye opened I rolled to the side of the bed and sniffed. The air was clean. The dog could not be blamed.

Now I rolled closer to Jack, so as to rub his shoulder the next time he farted! Not Jack!

The early morning hours arrived and I heard the fuzzy vibration. In sledge-hammer mode I arose and walked around the bedroom searching for some unknown fart machine or dying animal. At last when sunlight flooded the house, and my awareness returned I heard and saw the noise. There on my dresser lay my Fitbit with notifications ON! With each notification or reminder.
to get up and move the Fitbit quietly buzzed, but the fart noise came when it actually vibrated on the dresser top. My emotions ranged from laughter to anger at my loss of sleep, but the mystery was solved, and my dad would have laughed.

FOOTNOTE:

For those who wear Fitbits to help motivate or count steps, I must say I’ve learned a new trick. After complaining week after week that I must surely walk more than it counts, I discovered that it truly counts steps when I attach it to my tennis shoe laces and walk. Then my steps each count, when walking through stores with a basket being pushed or on the treadmill when I’m resting my arms at the sides instead of swinging them.

Writing soothes Letty Watt’s soul and clears her mind. She began writing a weekly blog over five years ago, with the purpose of building a repertoire of stories for telling aloud, but things changed. Now she writes because stories hidden in the recesses of her mind are begging to get out into the world. Check out her blog, Literally Letty, at https://literallyletty.blogspot.com.

This piece was originally published at Literally Letty. (https://literallyletty.blogspot.ca/2017/03/fitbit-farts-and-other-funny-follies.html)

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February 2 – Into Her World

by Letty Watt

Photo by Cristie Guevara courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net.

Photo by Cristie Guevara courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net.

My friends, whose loved ones have suffered before with the trembles of aging say to me, “Go to her world. Just listen. Don’t criticize. Don’t explain. Don’t tell her she’s wrong or confused.”

My heart understands, but my mouth, too often, says the wrong things. At ninety-two my mother-in-law’s world is spinning out of control as her body bends, and her mind becomes entangled with what is real and what is imagined.

Sitting in the lobby at the assisted living center to watch people and chat with others is one of her favorite times of day. She needs people to interact with, and we are thankful that she’s still alert enough to get out of her room. Some days her reality is similar to ours, but more often than not her fears and recurring nightmares leave her nearly paralyzed with fear.

I watched my husband the other day, as he walked into his mother’s room. Her eyes were closed, and her head drifted to the side. Her hands, worn from decades of playing the guitar and piano, rested on her purse. Her walker stood in front of her knees and feet like a faithful dog, ready to assist her. My husband knelt on one knee and touched her hands. “Hi, Mom.”

Her head rose slowly and a gentle smile formed across her lips. The sparkle in her eyes seemed slow to shine. “Oh, Jack. I’m so glad you’re here. I’ve called you and called you.”

She looked up at me.

“I’ve called you both all day long. Please do something. Everyone is moving out fall today, and I need help. They’ve left me here alone. I don’t think I can drive myself.”

My heart raced upon hearing the fear and confusion in her voice. My husband calmly patted his mother’s hands, and remained on the floor eye-level with her.

“I’m sorry that’s happened Mom. I will take care of it. Remember that John and I will always find a way to keep you safe.”

She nodded and dropped her head slightly, “Can I go home now?”

“Mom, I’m here now. I won’t let anything happen to you. Oh, look out the window at the birds feeding.”

Her head lifted and turned to the sunshine in the window. “I like to watch out the window and see who is coming to visit. Yesterday, I saw John drive through the parking lot, but he didn’t stop to come see me. Why not?”

“I’m sure he drove by on his way to work and waved at you. He wanted you to know that you were safe. Do you have some pictures of the twins to show us?”
She shuffled through her purse, finding the present day in an envelope of pictures from her grandchildren.

Beaming with pride, she said, “They are so cute. Evelyn is walking now, and Eleora talks a lot. She’s just like me.” The sparkle returned to her eyes.

lettyWriting soothes Letty Watt’s soul and clears her mind. She began writing a weekly blog over five years ago, with the purpose of building a repertoire of stories for telling aloud, but things changed. Now she writes because stories hidden in the recesses of her mind are begging to get out into the world. Check out her blog, Literally Letty, at https://literallyletty.blogspot.com.
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November 25 – Taking Back MY Life

by Letty Watt

FullSizeRender (1) (600x357)

One day this fall, while sitting on the front porch somewhat dazed with the day’s events, tears streamed down my cheeks, my stomach rolled over in a knot, and then I cried from deep within my belly. Letting it go opened my eyes to my heart.

Angrily, I pounded my fist on the bench, and to no one I muttered, “This is not the life I planned.” With this recognition the tears stopped. I stormed into the house, grabbed paper and pencil, and began to write. Rather than writing in story format, I found myself making a list of obligations: grandma, family, husband, dog, friends, golf, football weekends, house, chores, and even more excuses or things to blame than I can recall.

The tears and frustrations wore me down, and I enjoyed a relaxing afternoon siesta. Upon awakening I realized that my list should have read: “Letty’s List of Excuses.” It felt like being in a comic strip. The next frame read: “What to do Next???” Third: “Make a Plan!?” Last: “But, it’s dinner time, and I have things to do!”–imagine the foot kicking the cabinets.

During the night I remembered seeing a young writer’s schedule and notebook. She colored coded a clock face with every activity she performed throughout the day. Smarter than that, she blacked out three hours daily to write. As she explained, “Three hours is the least I can do and expect to be a writer.” At breakfast I drew a clock, and made a list of categories. Handing it to my husband, I asked, “Could you please use your computer to make a series of six clocks on a page with a ‘legend’ on the margin? It would help me so much to know where my time is going. The excuses have me worn down, and it’s nobody’s fault but my own.” We reflected on a time in the early nineties when we each followed a Franklin Planner to keep our lives on track. By noon he handed me the clocks, and I produced the colored pencils. We played with our creation for an afternoon.

I’d like to say that in twenty-four hours I managed to take back my life. The truth is that it took another month of diligently color coding those clocks before I honestly understood how I had given away my life. The twelve-hour clocks were mostly colored in greens (family/social life) and yellows (chores/errands). What I wanted to see were more reds (writing/reading) and blues (exercise/golf/gardening). After a week my mind yelled, “Relax!” so I added a soft purple box and began making time to relax. I smiled with relief.

I still spend time with family and friends. I do it on my schedule, not at the whim or whine from a phone call. For the moment, I’ve reclaimed my life, or maybe just today.

It’s raining. It’s cold. I’m inside and writing. No phone calls. No meetings. I’m writing. After retirement and a move, I readily admit that I lost control of my life’s dreams, to finish a novel. The color coded clocks redirected and helped me find my path.

Letty Watt loves to share stories that people can relate to. She has been writing stories on her blog, Literally Letty, since 2010.

January 5 – The Move

by Letty Watt

old

“Sometimes I prayed with every breath that my children would grow up healthy, and sometimes I prayed that we just had enough food to feed five hungry mouths. When we had more than enough I thought it was a miracle.”

My 91-year-old mother-in-law, Alleen, paused. “I don’t remember a time when I didn’t pray for a miracle in those years. Oh, Lord! And most of the time He answered.”

“Alleen, sometimes I prayed so hard for Katy and the boys that I was afraid I’d use up all my angel requests but I didn’t always recognize when God answered my prayers,” I replied, as we avoided the subject of her impending move to assisted living at Arbor House.

“But, oh Lord, I’ve prayed at night and prayed at day that the Lord let me stay at home and not have to move. I’ve lived here 60 years. You can’t make me move. This is all I know. I’m healthy. I can take care of myself. Why can’t I stay?”

This conversation we’ve had nearly every day for six months when we turn the discussion to assisted living. Now we are making the move.

“Alleen, I’ve been praying too. . .”

Alleen cut off my words. “But you are praying that I go and I’m praying that I stay. That can’t be good.”

For a while it was quiet between us as we drove to Arbor House and the new apartment that she’d soon call home. Then I began to think about God and how tormented he must be when people pray opposite prayers.

The street light turned red and I turned to her and said: “My experience is that God answers my prayers with his guidance, meaning I don’t always get what I pray for, but I do receive what I need.”

At that moment I was merely praying for strength and love to help her make this move.

At Arbor House I put the car in park and she mournfully turned her head to me and spoke: “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me.”

“Alleen, we (all of your children) only want the best for you. You are lonely and scared in your home and are afraid to cook. Please give this a chance. You might really like your new apartment,” I pleaded.

“I don’t see how I can.”

Then she put out her bottom lip and dropped her head in resignation. My heart sank even lower and I asked myself: Whatever have we done?

Letty is a writer by winter and golfer by summer and last year she become a mover. The first move was her daughter, hers came second, her son came third, and before the year ended she moved her mother-in-law to assisted living. She is looking forward to the adventures of 2015 and more stories to tell.

July 5 – There’s No Such Thing as a Free Meal

by Letty Watt

storm

On a sweltering hot evening in July three friends met at our local Applebee’s to enjoy a free meal, using my $50 gift card for winning the City golf tournament. We laughed while sharing our golf stories, each topping the other person’s tale of woe. As we ate, Peggy turned her eyes toward the black wall of clouds north of us, then with a touch of concern she said, “You all look at the storm cloud.” We ignored her warning, knowing that summer storms hit from the southwest, not from the north!

Before the meal was finished the first hailstones hit like a baseballs coming through the window. We jumped and children screamed. The black cloud had indeed driven straight south. I’m sure there must have been thunder and lightning in that storm, but I only remember moving away from the window with desserts in hand, and marveling at the size of the hailstones. Hail the size of golf balls, baseballs, grapefruit, and even indescribable shapes hit, but it was the direction and ferocity with which they flew that kept my eyes glued to the surrounding windows. The hail came down on us like ocean waves pounding the sand then rebounding over and over. I’d never experienced hail larger than a marble, and honestly didn’t realize its dangers until that moment. The giant hail hitting the metal on the roof at Applebee’s intensified the fears of everyone inside. It wasn’t just little children screaming with the pounding and crashing sounds.

When it was quiet but still raining, one by one we ventured out to see our cars. Windows were shattered, words of amazement echoed in the parking lot. The dents that covered the hood and roof of my car looked like a mad man had taken a baseball bat to it. Sitting in my car, I began to cry. My windshield glistened through the cracks and shards like a twisted kaleidoscope scene.  Carolyn had driven her old work pickup, and it, too, was busted and dented beyond description.

Before driving home I called my husband cautiously asking, “Jack, how bad is the damage there?”

Jack calmly replied, “What are you talking about?”

Now screaming into my cell phone I yelled, “From the hailstones and rain. Where are you?”

Again Jack replied, “The sun is shining here, but I did notice that cloud east of us. Are you alright?”

All I could do was blabber on about the storm and the damage. He interrupted me long enough to say, “Call the insurance company now, then drive home.”

A wise man is good to have in times of crisis.

Carolyn’s pickup was totaled; my car, nicknamed Lumpy, took two months to be repaired. I still have $8 on the gift card, but I’m keeping that card as a trophy and reminder of the most expensive meal we three had ever eaten!

Letty Watt is a golfer by summer months, a writer by winter, and she loves to share stories that people can relate to. She has been writing stories on her blog Literally Letty for over three years.

January 21 – Keeping A Secret

by Letty Watt

sold

My mother’s family kept secrets. My father’s relatives said we had skeletons in the closest. I vowed never to keep family secrets, but now that has changed. I hope it is only a brief time in my life that I hold this secret.

We live four hours from the home town, Norman, Oklahoma where we raised our children and where my husband grew up. His mother who is 90 years old still lives there, as well as our daughter, my sister, and his brother. Now that we are both retired we have decided to move back home. Sadly, we’ve decided not to tell his mother until we find a home to buy, sell ours, and make plans to move. We simply don’t want her to get her hopes up, only to have them dashed as we spend hours house hunting and finding nothing in the area we want, or that meets our present day needs, mainly a one level home with wide hallways. We are secretly planning for an unknown future, when she might live with us, or in our later years when we may need to use a walker or wheelchair.

The secret creates knots in my belly. Normally, I chatter with friends about life and write on my blog about what’s going on, but for the last two months I’ve been inwardly quiet, not able to share with our friends of eighteen years that we will be leaving.

So today we wait. We made an offer on a house two days ago, then drove the long road back to Kansas with our secret. After spending two days during the Christmas holidays house hunting, and the prior three days driving around Norman with our realtor, looking at homes, making notes and dreams, we finally smiled and found two that met our needs. Then like a young couple buying their first home we made the list of what we needed in a home and rated the two. When the count was made the two homes were one point apart. Relief flowed over us as we agreed totally on the new home. Time is passing slowly today as we wait nervously. The couple has a deadline of 5pm tonight to accept our offer.

I’d like to say I’ve not wasted time dreaming of paint colors for the walls or how we’d decorate, but then I’d be lying. I have tossed and turned in my sleep, taken a river cruise up a mountain (in my dreams), doodled in a journal, and today I’ve cleaned all of the ceiling fans, dusted in three rooms, and thought about writing. My husband has tinkered with electronics, and now stands in the garage rearranging tools, puttering around accomplishing little. I’m relieved just to have my fingers typing on keys.   Phone….

Letty loves to walk the dog through the field and reflect on life and smile. When she’s not walking, she’s reading, writing, playing golf on warm days or digging in the garden. Her hands are always busy, like her mind.

December 19 – Transformations

by Letty Watt

crayons

One day I was fascinated by a display of coloring books called Hidden Transformations and Zentangles in our new bookstore called “Bluebird Books”. Taking a couple of the books in hand, I sat in a soft armless chair and flipped through the black and white pages.

The owner peeped over my shoulder and said, “I think you’d like these books. They are fun ways to intrigue the mind.”

“It’s a coloring book, isn’t it?” I asked.

Melanie explained that these pictures needed a finer colored pencil, not crayons, to fill in the black and white lines.

“Why not? This looks like fun,” I walked out with a new coloring book and colored pencils.

Then like so many projects it began to collect dust until today.

Instead of a Christmas tree and packages decorating my house this time of year, it looked like a jungle of packed furniture, stacked drawers and chairs, plants in the hallway, couches in the kitchen, and a dining room table with a TV and speakers on it because today our new carpet for two large rooms arrived.

By noon the old carpet was out in the truck to be hauled off. After lunch I sat down to write quietly, only to have my computer create a glitch by not turning on. I nearly screamed with frustration, for fear of losing all earthly words on forgotten pages and my pictures!

While fretting over technology, we discovered that the order did not include carpet for the closet, but the carpet had been pulled out. Now we had new padding and not enough carpet and a computer that refused to work. The problems were compounding, and my head was frantic.

When the carpet layer placed the first roll down in the living room he turned to me with a look of doom. There before our eyes were three places that didn’t take the factory dye. My stomach knotted slightly, Christmas was a week away. The other two rolls were fine, so he began to install the carpet in our bedroom.

Before the company representative could arrive to give us our carpet options, the heating/AC company called to say they could be here within the hour to add the duct work to give us two more heating vents in the sunroom. With temperatures recently below zero this was important. Like twins the two people showed up at the same time.

We choose option one: to lay the defective carpet now, move the furniture back in, and await new carpet in two weeks, then move the furniture out again and rejoice when it’s completed without any extra charges, except for the chiropractor!

So while the house was busy with pounding, banging, and grunting, and the computer rebooting itself, I retreated to my writing room and found my coloring book. All afternoon I colored, transforming my problematic day into one of quiet retreat and colorful images, albeit not completed like my house and carpet.

Letty Watt’s interests revolve around the weather and the seasons. When it’s warm she’s outside playing golf or gardening; when it’s cold she’s inside writing, reading, and enjoying time with friends.