Life Experiences: Some Wacky, Some Wonderful

“Who I Am” – Chapter 6

Throughout 2016, I am participating in the “Who I Am” project which is the brainchild of Dana from Kiss My List and Bev from Linkouture.  This month’s topic is: ‘Betcha didn’t know…’.

(You can find all of the other chapters in my “Who I Am” story here.)

Mocadeaux - page breakWe all have some life experiences that stand out in our memory for one reason or another. Wacky, wonderful, life-changing or personality-revealing, these experiences help to illustrate the story of our life.

Please let me share a few “betcha didn’t know” facts about myself.

Over the course of my life, I have moved 25 times.

moving boxes

Witness protection program?

No, just a family that likes adventure and isn’t afraid to try new places.

These different homes include 3 dorm rooms in college, a couple of temporary housing apartments occupied while we waited to move into one house or another and multiple homes in five different states. Each of these moves involved copious amounts of boxes, paper, and tape.

So, yeah, I’m kind of an expert at moving. If you need any advice, I’m your gal.

I’ve been to dinner with Phil Donahue and on a late night Denny’s run with Timothy Leary.

When I was at Notre Dame I was the Comptroller of the Student Union. This very exciting job meant that I paid the bills for all of the Student Union sponsored events, got free admission to these events (making me a very cheap date) and occasionally got to dine with the various celebrities who came to campus.


Phil Donahue, Notre Dame alumni, husband of Marlo Thomas, and former talk show host is the person whom Oprah credits with paving the way for Oprah to become OPRAH.

Phil was on campus for a lecture and four or five of us took him out to dinner at a fancy-pants restaurant.

Quite charming, he spent the entire meal asking us about life on campus and seemed particularly interested in how women were assimilating into life at Notre Dame since the school had become co-ed only a few years earlier.


Our trip to Denny’s with Timothy Leary, world-renowned proponent of the mind-expanding benefits of LSD, was something different.

I assure you that no LSD was involved but Mr. Leary did bring a bottle of liquor in a paper bag from which he took frequent gulps while enjoying his Grand-Slam Breakfast.

I’m a proud member of the CPA Exam 300 Club.

The CPA exam consists of four parts. The passing score for each part is 75. Those of us in the 300 Club scored exactly 75 points on all four parts meaning that we just barely passed studied precisely the correct amount of time and not one minute too much.

My place of employment has been robbed – twice.

The first time was when I was in high school working at a bookstore in the mall with my sister. One day I was managing the cash register while my sister was in the back room working on inventory.

There were a number of customers in the store and a few in line at the register. As one customer departed, a couple stepped up to the register. She distracted me with questions about a display behind me before I had a chance to close the register drawer. After what seemed like only a few seconds, I turned around to see her accomplice yanking money out of the cash register.

Insanity kicked in. Yelling something like, “What do you think you are doing? Give that back!”, I grabbed the money out of the robber’s hand and the duo ran out of the store.

(Definitely one of the most foolish and unsafe things I’ve ever done and was, in fact, my answer to Coach Daddy’s 6 Word Challenge for June: Tell us about something you did decidedly unsafe – in six words.)


The second time, I was working at a bathing suit shop on the beach and noticed a woman stick a couple of string bikinis in her beach bag. This time, I was smart and called the authorities rather than taking matters into my own hands. The police nabbed the woman in the parking lot and – wouldn’t you know – she had a gun in her purse.

I’m not sure that those bikinis were worth risking a charge of armed robbery. Throw in a Speedo or two then maybe…

I volunteered on the committee to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago.

Chicago 2016

For a couple of years, I spent hours each week as a volunteer with the Chicago 2016 committee. Without a doubt, this was one of the most rewarding and amazing experiences I have ever had.

I rode the train downtown one or two days per week to work in the office doing everything from making copies to researching international holidays. I helped out at events all over the city including Taste of Chicago and youth fitness events.

I greeted International Olympic Committee members when they came to Chicago for their site visit and stood on the stage near President Obama as the city celebrated making the first cut from Applicant City to Candidate City.

Even as a volunteer, I got to participate in small ways at big events.

I collected a lot of great SWAG and most importantly met lots and lots of incredible people who were all working diligently towards the same goal.

Sadly, the International Olympic Committee decided that the games should, for the first time ever, be held in South America rather than in the greatest city in the greatest country in the world.

Go figure.

So as you are watching the Rio Olympics with all of the talk of Zika and filthy water and crime and power outages, remember the folks who tried really, really hard to bring the 2016 Olympic Games to the good old U.S. of A. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

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All Moved In

What a month it has been.

Busy, crazy, stressful. Exciting, happy, and successful.

Who relocates from Florida to Chicago in their 80s and 90s? My folks – and I’m so happy they did!

Many hands made the packing go quickly. We had a few thrills and spills but all in all, things went smoothly.

One of the many high points was the surprise going away party thrown by Gee Gee and Ray’s dear friends and neighbors on our last day in Florida.

These wonderful folks also managed to convince the county to rename their neighborhood pond in honor of “Doc” and Gee Gee.

pond dedication

Such a sweet symbol of the impact they have made during their 29 years in the neighborhood!

Now my fabulous folks are all moved in to their new Chicago area digs.

Thanks to many hands on this end as well, all the boxes are unpacked and the art is on the walls.

The place looks and feels like home.

Gee Gee and Ray are busy learning the ropes of their new “independent senior living” building, exploring the new neighborhood and making new friends.

Welcome to Chicago!


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I seem to do a lot of moving.

Fortunately, this time I am moving my folks and not myself.

My 85 year old mom and 97 year old step-dad are moving from Florida up to Chicago to be near little old me. And of course my darling husband and fabulous sister-in-law, too.

I’ve been in Florida for almost a week with about another week to go until moving day. My brother arrived a few days after me and fabulous sister-in-law comes in today for reinforcements.

We are making great progress.

Florida moving

Many of the boxes are ones that mom collected on trips to her favorite wine and spirits shop.

The folks have complimented me on my efficiency and organization.

“You should get a job helping people move!”

I told them that I only do this for people I love. And besides, strangers would not find my bossiness quite so endearing.

Although the folks have been in this home for 29 years, they have done an excellent job of  keeping things neat and tidy. No scary I-have-no-idea-what’s-in-there closet or jumbo junk drawers for them.

We have had a blast looking through old family mementos and photographs.

My favorite is this photo of our beautiful mom on the day of her wedding to our dad, circa 1953.

mom's wedding dressGorgeous, right?

We have so many great memories of visiting the folks here in Florida over the years. Now it is time to say farewell to this cozy home


and move onto more fun and adventure in Chicago.

They are ready!

I heart Chicago

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A Little Power, A Lot Of Annoyance

We’ve all had to deal with them.

People who, given a tiny bit of perceived power, go absolutely crazy and act as if they rule the world.

My sister-in-law, Kate, recently moved into a condo building which is apparently filled with these special folks.

Kate has a friend who lives in the building. He hinted at the situation, in particular mentioning the sparkling personality of the property manager.

Kate and I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. B a few days before closing. She was so remarkably not helpful!

witch on a broom

I believe that this is how Ms. B commutes to work.

Kate’s conversation went something like this.

Kate: I was told that you have a contact with the cable company. May I please get that information?

Ms. B: You will be told during your orientation meeting.

Kate: And my parking pass?

Ms. B: You will be told during your orientation meeting.

Kate: How do I make arrangements to move my belongings in?

Ms. B: You will be told during your orientation meeting.

Kate: How do I schedule my orientation meeting?

Ms. B: You will be told during your orientation meeting.

You get the picture.

Several days later, Ms. B’s assistant finally contacted Kate to set up the Holy Grail aka the orientation meeting.

At the orientation meeting, Kate was told that the first available move in date was in three weeks.

“Excuse me?!?! I have to wait 3 weeks before moving into the condo I own?!?”

“Yes, and oh, by the way, don’t even think about bringing any boxes over early or large bags, or large suitcases, or a computer or anything before your moving day or you will be fined $300.”

Welcome to the building!!!

Many deep breaths and many glasses of wine later, moving day finally arrived.

Then Kate met this guy.


Mr. Diablo, the building manager.

This sweet fellow is in charge of the loading dock. He is, quite literally, the gate keeper.

Between the moving company arriving 2 hours late, bringing the biggest moving truck ever made, and the adorable lack of compassion shown by Mr. Diablo, the day got off to a rocky start.

It was almost stopped before ever getting started.

Kate had had enough.

After what can only be described as a beautiful, masterful and completely justified meltdown, Kate convinced Mr. Diablo of the error of his inflexible ways.

The move did go on.

It was an incredibly stressful process and didn’t need to be so.

Here’s an idea Ms. B and Mr. Diablo. How about you do your jobs from the mindset of helping the residents in your building rather than making their lives more difficult?

Pretty please?

Kate is now busy unpacking and settling into her new digs. With this view.

Lake Michigan

Yes, this kind of takes away the sting of dealing with Ms. B and Mr. Diablo.

And Kate’s new place was the perfect spot from which to view the Chicago Air & Water Show.

blue angels

Have you ever encountered someone like Ms. B or Mr. Diablo?

I sure hope not but if so, do tell! Venting about it will make you feel better.

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