Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Keeping Pace

Well, he did it.  St. Bob got a pacemaker. 
Thank you, Richie, for the appropriate artwork.
His brother, Ken, flew in from Mississippi for the procedure, and contributed an apple fritter for post op recovery:
I had wondered if the pacemaker would be like a piano metronome, and we’d hear a steady ticking.
But no, it’s completely silent.  HOWEVER, you can opt for a doorbell feature to alert you that the battery’s running low in a few years.  That ought to wake you up.
And speaking of waking up, in this day of apps that do everything, why can’t they wire these things with a few more options?  Here are just a few I think would be handy:
A sleep machine feature with white noise, chirping birds, crashing waves, whatever you like. Then a lovely alarm to wake you up.
An applause setting so you can clap at performances without even having to move your hands.  For the truly lazy.
A baloney detector that goes “Wheep, wheep, wheep!” when people are lying.
A barking dog sound, just for fun.
GPS, as suggested by our son, Cassidy.
Comedy performances, and thus become a truly phenomenal ventriloquist who can talk even when his lips are tightly sealed.  Ditto for opera singing.
Books on tape that only you can hear, to help you through boring meetings.
And, of course, a whole Honey Do list of ideas to keep one’s spouse busy, along with a remote control for me to use.  But probably no one would sign up for that one.

You can, however, stay busy reading my books and watching my YouTube Mom videos.  Find everything here.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


          I’ve been waiting years for my weekly blog day to fall on October 10th.  This is because Ten-Ten is a HUGE, COLOSSAL, MEGA-GIGANTIC day in Chinatown.
          Years ago we took our kids to San Francisco on October 10th.  We live just a two-hour drive away so we go there often, but had no idea we were arriving in Chinatown exactly as an enormous festival was just commencing.
          It included the Double Ten Parade, and suddenly we were surrounded by fireworks, confetti, drummers and the pageantry of the Lion Dance:
          It was mesmerizing. If you can possibly visit a Chinese or Taiwanese district for this celebration of the Wuchang Uprising which led to the collapse of the Qing Dynasty, don’t miss it (yes, we should enjoy all the food and music but we should also know what we’re celebrating, right?)
          But this is Joniopolis.  So it can't go perfectly, right? A couple of years ago St. Bob and I decided to go back, just ourselves.  All our kids had flown from the nest, and we thought a trip to “the city” on 10/10 would be a perfect vacay. We knew the parade had gotten underway after sunset, so the night lighting would be gorgeous and dramatic, but what to do until then?
          We visited the wharf, rode the trolley cars, even made reservations at a great restaurant to while the time away until the parade. Finally it was dusk and we headed over to Chinatown.  But what was this? People were sweeping up colorful confetti and hauling trash cans back to the curb.  They had moved the parade up to mid-afternoon and we had missed the entire thing! 
          “Oh, it was so gorgeous,” we were told.  “Best ever.”  Happy residents were now bustling about, still aglow over the fun and excitement, as Bob and I stood there with long faces, chagrined and feeling like we had just awakened from comas of stupidity.
          BY THE WAY, I just texted the kids that it was 10-10 and already Nicole had forgotten it.  She texted, "What's 10-10?"
          Cassidy: 0
          Brandon: Yep
          Cassidy: There's actually a calculator on your phone.
          Nicole: Ha ha ha.
And this, my friends, is what life is really like in the Hilton house.
Luckily you can order my books on any day, at any time.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Bionic Bob

          In our last episode, we saw Joni getting hot under the collar, and everywhere else, over Bob’s ER visit for his skyrocketing blood pressure. Yes, he is now on medication for that.  BUT… what was also going on was an erratic heartbeat.  His, not mine.
And, of course, we were sent to see a cardiologist who strapped him up with a monitor and several stickers on his chest to wear for two weeks. One week into this our doctor called and wanted him to come right in. 
Now, first of all, here’s what’s on the wall as we’re waiting to see him:
It takes no imagination whatsoever to see that these are boxes of truffles, every one shiny from a coating of beautifully tempered chocolate. Right?  I get up from my chair and look closer.  It turns out these are not candies at all (so disappointing) but heartbeat diagrams of some kind. And I’d had such high hopes.
          Then the doctor comes in, shows us Bob’s Richter Scale paper, and announces that Bob will need a pacemaker.  Despite my telling him it’s only the size of an Oreo and can be installed in 20 minutes, Bob is crestfallen.  “You want one?” he asks.  Okay, point taken.
I’m actually relieved that he doesn’t need bypass surgery, but Bob has always felt invincible, has never even taken so much as a vitamin, and is heartsick, pun intended. He also has a knee operation coming up in two months.
 I remind him how lucky he is that he had a wrist operation that revealed cancer, and then a cancer treatment that revealed high blood pressure, and then an ER visit for that which revealed the erratic heartbeat, and now, Ta da!  His life is saved.
“Yep,” he says, “I’ve been thinking how lucky I am to have cancer for three years now.” 
We tell the comedians, I mean the kids, and immediately Brandon says he’s always wanted a cyborg in the family.  He also texts, “Robert Downey Hilton as Iron Dad.”
Richie suggests getting the theme song from Six Million Dollar Man for a ring tone and Cassidy says, “Can they install GPS too while they’re in there? Or LoJack at least?”  Brandon suggests there’s an app that comes with it, and I suggest we get a drone mechanism so I can control him remotely. I’m telling you, this whole thing is a win-win.

I realize not every wife’s reaction to her husband’s prostate cancer is to write a musical comedy about it, but that’s kind of our relationship.  You can see more about that (or bring it to a theatre in your city!) at jonihilton.com.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Cuff Him, Danno

          Two weeks ago I blogged about Bob’s incredible luck.  It floated right up to the Irony Fairies in the Constellation Not So Fast, and now we’ve been to the Emergency Room.
          Bob had a doctor appointment recently, so they slapped a blood pressure cuff on him and all of a sudden the room is lit up like the Aurora Borealis.  Lights are flashing, sirens are going off (I assume this is like a casino when you hit the jackpot?) and he is told that when your blood pressure goes over 200 you need to go to the emergency room. Definitely not the jackpot.
          We jump into the car and I take a moment to say, “I am begging you.  Please let me drive like a bat out of hell.  This is my one chance to get away with it.” (You may not know this, but I once called an ambulance service to see if non-medical people can volunteer to drive ambulances.  They can not.)
          Bob looks at me and says, “It will raise my blood pressure even more.”  I start the car, take off, and urge him to recline the seat and close his eyes so he won’t see how fast I’m going, but he refuses.
          “Fine,” I tell him. I obey the law. “But I get to advocate for you when you get there.”  I am, shall we say, a different creature in hospital settings and am not always happily received by people whose decisions I'm questioning.
          Once again, he refuses my offer. In fact, he wants me to restrain myself.  Or “retrain” myself.  I can’t really recall.  Pretty sure it wasn’t “remain” myself.
          We get there and apparently sign up for the deluxe package which means they will run every expensive test they can imagine, starting with an EKG, progressing through lab tests and running for home plate with an MRI.
          It takes five hours, during which time he cannot eat or drink anything.  I try to smuggle him a sip of water but Obedient Bob refuses.
          Finally-- and I am really glad you’re sitting down as you read this—his doctor comes over and says, “Well, we really don’t treat high blood pressure in the emergency room.”  Apparently it’s against the policy of the American College of Emergency Physicians.
          And I want to jump from my chair, get right in his face and scream, “THEN WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?” Nicely, of course.
          But Bob has put me under a gag order and I have to smile and nod and watch as a nurse whips up a “cocktail” of pain killers for him that will now pay for lifetime docking fees in addition to the sailboat we’ve just bought somebody.  We learn it’s mostly Tylenol and we decide to save a couple of car payments and just take Tylenol at home.
          We leave and Bob is perplexed.  One of us has to be livid, so it’s me. The next day he tops the 200 mark again (it’s a holiday weekend and we can’t see our doctor for three days), so now I take him to an Urgent Care clinic hoping for a prescription, at least.  Nope.  Wouldn’t help, we’re told. Just buy a home monitoring unit and see your family doctor next week.
          So he does, and finally gets a prescription.  Which doesn’t work. His numbers are bouncing up and down all over the place. But we understand these things may take a couple of weeks to kick in.  So if it doesn’t work, “kick in” is going to be my new operative phrase. And you don’t want to be standing in the way.

Yeah, yeah, I know.  You’d think my own blood pressure was high.  Oddly it’s so low that nurses ask me if I’m a runner. Irony abounds.  Oh—and so do my books—buy ’em here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

When King Kong Meets Hong Kong

          Imagine for a moment that you are a filmmaker and you’ve been hired to go to Hong Kong to make a film promoting Hong Kong tourism.
          Now, I’ve been to Hong Kong, so let me tell you it’s a photographer’s dream.  Beautiful junks on the bay:
Tiantan Buddha:
The Peak:
Ladies Market:
The Clock Tower:
          You film it all.  Even the delicious food:
          And then WHAMMO—a rare Class 10 typhoon hits. The entire city closes down like a ghost town for 24 hours.
          You have the good sense not to tell your mother, and you hope she doesn’t hear about it on the news (Thank you, Cassidy).  But the irony is not lost on you—who goes to a location to show how great it is, and then it nearly gets blown off the map?  Yes, that is the Hilton Irony that our youngest son will experience, probably forever. And this is why every one in our family loves comedy.  Case in point, here's our eldest son wearing a shirt that says, "Irony. The opposite of wrinkly."
Check out my humorous books here, especially Sisters in the Mix.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Lucky Bob

          Some people are just lucky.  They always find the best parking spot, they call people who always answer the phone, they win at every game.
          St. Bob is one of these people. He actually has no idea what it’s like to be a regular Joe, to find himself in the slowest supermarket line, or in the slowest lane of traffic.  It’s as if guardian angels are dashing ahead of him, clearing the way for St. Bob.
          And, of course, let’s not forget his incredible luck in marrying me. HOWEVER, his luck has taken a weird twist, recently.  And it has shown up in the form of fortune cookies.
          Here are two fortunes I recently received, which unlike the common “advice cookies” we see today, actually promised me fortunes, even if oddly worded:
          Then, check out the “fortunes” Bob got at two recent business luncheons, both at the same Chinese restaurant:
          Yes, I think Bob’s Fortune Fairy has taken a cruise to the Bahamas, and her dopey cousin, Frieda, is filling in for her.  So far the parking spots and traffic lanes are unaffected, but we’re hoping the cruise doesn’t turn into a trip around the world.

          You can control your own good fortune by purchasing any one of my books.  Lucky you, they’re right here!

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Crazy Handyman

          St. Bob and I have spent the majority of our marriage remodeling.  This is because he is a closet architect and loves to re-imagine spaces and I am a closet supportive wife (very much in the closet at times) and agree to his schemes. I mean his inventive plans.
          When I hear couples anguishing about the stress of a remodel, I think, What must that be like, NOT to be remodeling?
          For years we’ve had workmen traipsing in and out, dust in the air, sawing noises, hammering, and yes—a ladder falling onto our baby grand piano and causing it to be refinished.  It’s not something everyone brags about, but I have probably seen more butt cracks than any human alive.
          So I know a thing or two about hiring contractors and handymen. Now I like crazy people as much as the next person (more, if you ask St. Bob), but here's my advice: You are in for a load of misery if you hire someone who needs to be on medication and who is not.
Next to choosing the correct spouse, this one decision can account for 90 per cent of your future happiness.  Okay, that’s made up, but it’s pretty important.  Take, for example, a fellow we’ll call Barney.  We hired Barney because he was an inactive member of our church and we thought we could help him find his way back.  But Barney can drive you crazy in five seconds or less—faster than many Porsches can hit 60 miles an hour.
If he is in a jovial mood, you will mistakenly think everything is going to go well.  But there is a huge difference between cheerful and hysterically ecstatic.  If you get trapped in a small bathroom while he is loudly extolling the virtues of, say, shower grout, you can go deaf.  Your husband can emerge from this encounter staggering down the hall, wiping spit from his face, and grabbing for something to steady himself.
Laughter beyond any level you have ever heard can echo through your attic and smack into your kitchen, making you bang your head on the  underside of the sink.  When you go to the attic to investigate what on earth could be so funny, you find that it is nothing.
And in this fit of euphoria, the wacko handyman will go easy on himself, and forgive a little quarter-of-an-inch here and there, and the next thing you know, you will be tripping over your own floor.  Your faucet handles will turn backwards and your stove won’t fit its intended space, all because someone was thinking happy little thoughts instead of measuring accurate little measurements.
If said Barney is in a bad mood, he will come over, drop his tools, ladder, and buckets wherever he happens to be (in the doorway, say), and begin yelling about government corruption, cowardly police who won’t arrest his neighbors, and rich celebrities who give nothing back.  Your own neighbors will crane their necks to see who’s about to kill somebody, and you’ll have to yank Barney into the house and slam the door.
His work will be disastrous.  He will emit loud, gaseous noises, and will swear like a crazy handyman.  You will wait as long as possible, and finally you will drive like a demon to Nordstrom’s and buy three new outfits, and stop for a chocolate malt on your way home.  And thus your outfits won’t fit.
And you’ll have to hang them in a crooked closet.  So now you have plenty of advice for a happy marriage and a home that is not shaped like a rhombus.

Much of this blog came from my book, Funeral Potatoes—The Novel which you can buy here.  But there are many scenes in that book which came from my real life, and this is one of them.