I pride myself on always being prepared for pretty much every scenario.
Lock yourself out of the house? I’ve got keys hidden all over the place. Same thing for my office building. Keys. Everywhere.
Rip your breeches or lose a button? I carry a mini-sewing kit.
Earache? I have drops for that.
Nausea? Intestinal distress? Headache? Got, have, and got.
My purse is a veritable Mary Poppins replica.
But, what happened to the lawyer last week….well, let’s just say that nothing in my purse could have helped.
I work in a really beautiful setting. My office building sits on the edge of a lake, the parking lot being the only thing between me and the water.
Last week we had a team of auditors, and attorneys, come visit us to check out our environmental programs and permits. It’s all part of the game when you generate power.
The littlest of the attorneys was all of five foot tall, but her three inch heels made her seem much bigger. That and her incredibly fast mode of speech. I swear, in all my life, I’ve never, ever heard anyone say so much so fast. And I understood every word. Once she was done, it was all I could do not to stand up and applaud. She was impressive.
During a break she got a phone call and headed outside to – I presume – have some privacy.
She walked to the parking lot, and towards the steep incline heading down to the lake.
You know that feeling you get when something really awful is about to happen, and you’re watching it, and you are powerless to do anything about it?
She was animatedly chatting a mile-a-minute on the phone and aimlessly wandering closer and closer to the water.
Then, the inevitable happened.
Her heel caught in the grass and she went Pradas over Marc Jacobs suit, tumbling down the hill.
I really wanted to laugh, but I was truly concerned she’d not stop before the water, so I ran towards her instead.
About the time I reached the top of the hill, I looked down and she had righted herself, stood up, and was still talking on the phone.
That woman, right there, is a badass. I’m glad she’s on our side.
I’m kinda/sorta/maybe in the market to replace the 8-yr. old 165K miles-on-it car that I really do like. It’s just starting to have ‘issues’, and much as I hate break-ups I hate breakdowns even more.
Besides, at my age, my ass/back needs something comfy to sit in when I drive. And with the elebenty-hunnert grandchildren around these days we need something larger.
After much looking around the ‘Net I decided I want a Chevy Traverse. Hubby is underwhelmed at the idea of getting into payments again, so he has thus far refrained from shopping or test-driving.
I blame him for what happened Tuesday.
I found a very nice-looking Traverse with low mileage and a great price at a dealership near my house, so I decided to go by there and test drive it on my way home.
I’ve always been one to engage in the idle chatter that a used-car salesman will instigate the minute you get inside the vehicle for the test. This time I was tired, and I was trying to get a feel/listen to the Traverse, so I was silent.
ChattyBoy was not…so, he only has himself to blame for this:
ChattyBoy (CB): This is a nice vehicle, isn’t it? And you just never, ever find one for under $20K anywhere. Not ever.
ME: *silent as I’m navigating the turns out of the parking lot onto the street, but I notice there’s something ‘off’ about this vehicle*
CB: Nosiree, never one this low-priced. And…umm…it’s really nice, not scratches, no dings…..
ME: *except the scratched-to-hell inside of the back hatch door, and the chunk missing from one of the third-row seat backs and there’s something wrong with the way this thing handles*
CB: …and an exceptionally nice ride, for what’s basically a large SUV…handles pretty well, doesn’t it? And, the price! Can you believe it? Did I mention it’s also a ‘Certified’ vehicle? Yep, it goes through a 177 point inspection. All that for a remarkable price. So, what’s your budget?
ME: *finally speaking* I don’t have a set budget, it depends on the vehicle and there’s something really wrong with the suspension or else one of the right-side tires is in the shape of a football.
CB: *after a few seconds* You may be right.
ME: 177 point inspection? Really?
CB: *beaming*Yep, it’s got an extended warranty and it’s Certified.
ME: 177 points, and yet the mechanics missed the fact that one of tires may be in the shape of a football…or, there’s something much larger going on and that’s a big problem.
CB: *nervous laughter* Yeah, sometimes I wonder where the mechanic’s heads are at.
ME: So, if they missed this big a problem, what kind of confidence can I have that any of the other 177 points were addressed?
ME *on a roll now* And while we are at it, I’ve seen plenty of vehicles at or below this one’s price.
CB: Really? Where?
ME: At other-much-larger-dealership nearby.
CB: *sulking* Well, yeah..but they do a huge volume…
ME: Look, bud, you’re the one going on and on about pricing…and you know what? I wouldn’t pay that for this vehicle. It’s beat to hell, drives like it’s run the Baja, and is the most vanilla version of a Traverse.
By this time we were back at the dealership and he almost waited for the car to stop completely before getting out.
I walked into the showroom with him as he kept apologizing for the lousy condition of the car and promising it would get fixed.
CB: So, if we fix the problems, how much would you be willing to pay?
ME: No more than $13K (the sticker was $16.5K)…and I mean not a penny more.
CB: *looking crestfallen* I’ll call you.
ME: Yeah, you do that.
As I left I realized I’d just come across as the biggest bitch on the planet, and I also realized I don’t give a shit. I’m there to spend money, my money, and it’s going to be on my terms.
But, I have to admit I’d of been a lot less bitchy if hubby had gone with. He’s the voice-of-reason, and my warrior and protector. ChattyBoy wouldn’t have tried so hard after Hubby gave him that sideways glance the first time the car wonky-wooed to the right.
I told hubby about my adventure when I got home and his only response was, “You really shouldn’t be allowed to go places alone.”
Can’t argue with that logic.
I just wanted to buy my groceries and go home. I’m not normally the grumpy-granny type, but in my defense I’d been up about 14 hours already and had just found out that my washer was still not repaired, despite two trips by my very reliable repairman.
The washer is THREE years old, people! THREE!! And it’s developed some kind of electrical short. On Tuesday, Sid the Repair Guy came to my house and after much noggin’ scratching decided the electrical problem was definitely the timer mechanism. Definitely. Without a doubt.
On Wednesday, Sid’s assistant Eddie came out and installed the timer, plugged in the machine and ZAP! Breakers tripped and sparks flew.
Apparently, it’s not the timer.
On Thursday, Sid and Eddie are both coming out to troubleshoot and (hopefully) figure this thing out, although when all is said and done I probably could have bought a new washer for what this will cost.
Which brings me to my state of grumpocity (it’s a word..now..deal) on Wednesday, when standing in the flour/spices/shit that’s bad for you aisle I was accosted by a sweet white-haired woman.
“I’m babysitting my granddoggers this weekend, so I have to buy food I can prepare ahead of time.”, she said as I stood looking for an angel food cake mix (I didn’t buy it, by the way).
“Oh, I know what it’s like when the little ones are around.” I said, fully empathizing with the lack of time/energy when you are babysitting the grandkids.
“Yes, and I’m taking my girl with me.”
Her girl? I looked at her. She had to be 80 if she was a day.
“She just loves their back yard. She gets out there and runs around and gets all muddy and then I have to wash her little feet when she comes inside. And she knows to stop right inside the back door until I get her cleaned up.”
Dogs..she was talking about dogs. Grand-dogs, or in her case grand-doggers.
I could tell this conversation was going to keep on keepin’ on, so I did the only thing a woman with a broken washer and piles of laundry at home could do.
I turned around and walked away.
But, if you had any idea what kind of week last week was for me, you wouldn’t be making such a big deal about my missing Valentine’s Day right now.
For that matter, if you knew how I really feel about Valentine’s Day we wouldn’t even be discussing it. We’d be talking about the dynamic synergies of post-modern banjos instead, because that would be far less controversial.
Yes, I said ‘controversial’.
I hate Valentine’s Day.
Let me ‘splain.
When I was a kid I remember having Valentine’s Day parties at school. We’d all bring decorated shoeboxes with little cutouts in the tops and set them on our desks.
At the appointed hour, we’d go around the room dropping our handwritten Valentines in the boxes of our classmates – always reserving the fanciest ones, with all the glitter on them, for our super-not-so-secret crush.
Then the teacher would pass out the heart-shaped candies, cookies, and cupcakes with red icing on it that wound up on your face, hands, and clothes. Every. Time.
It was fun. Lots of fun.
I carried on this tradition with my children, until it wasn’t a ‘thing’ anymore and just like that one more party in school went ‘pfffffffft’.
C’est le vie.
We still had Valentines and cupcakes at home.
Then one day about ten years ago, and my kids had long since grown out of Mom’s Valentine’s Day celebration and onto their own, I happened to be at the store on Valentine’s Day.
I was getting ready to check out in the Express Lane (no more than 15 items, and God help you if you accidentally overlooked that lone lemon in the bottom of your cart which put you firmly at 16 items as the jackass behind you will LOUDLY proclaim), when I noticed a long, long, long line in front of me.
Everyone in the line was male. Each was holding flowers, candy, and cards…in some combination – many with all three.
Every one of them looked sad, depressed and anxious….as if they were in line for vasectomies, not simply to pay for the undying expressions of love they held.
That was when it hit me.
Valentine’s Day is one of those Hallmark holidays, made up to make men feel guilty and women entitled.
From that day on, I told my husband that if he wanted to give me a card or flowers or candy he better NOT do it on February 14th. Do it on the 13th, the 15th, or even not at all…just take out the garbage without my asking. That tells me more about how you feel than any pre-packaged, wrapped in hearts and flowers, sentiment just waiting for you to pay more than it’s worth at the local store does.
It’s been freeing, if sometimes awkward when someone asks me what I ‘got’ for Valentine’s Day and I launch into my tirade about how I hate that day – incidentally, they don’t ask how I feel about too many things after that, so it’s a win!win! for me.
And you know what? My hubby empties the garbage without my asking a lot more nowadays, too. Now that, my friends, is romantic.
Well, at least the person who answered the phone at Major Plumbing Company thinks so.
For the record, I’m not.
Also for the record, I need a plumber.
And that’s why I called Major Plumbing Company in the first place. The conversation went like this:
Major Plumbing Company Receptionist/Scheduler: Hello, this is MPC, how may I help you?
Me: Yes, I need to get someone to come out and look at a valve in my tub. I can’t turn the water on.
Me: 123 Everywhere, Anytown, TX
This went on for a few seconds, so I looked at my phone to see if it had dropped the call. It hadn’t.
Me: Hello? Hellooooooo?
A few seconds later….
MPCR/S: And when do you close?
Me: What? This isn’t a new house or a sale.
MPCR/S: Can you verify your address again, because I’m not finding it.
Me: 123 Everywhere Court – or it could be Drive, depends on which map you are looking at, Anytown, TX
By now, I figured out the silence was actually my being put on hold. I waited just a few seconds and she was back.
MPCR/S: What is your closing date?
Me: (what the hell, let’s have some fun) November 30th, 1997
Me: This is not for an inspection. This is not a new house, this is not a sale. I need a repair to the valve in my bathtub.
MPCR/S: And who is your builder?
Me: Jack. Mine is the house that Jack built.
MPCR/S: Is it still under warranty?
Me: I wish…but, no.
MPCR/S: And when is your closing date?
Me: January 4th, 2027
I hung up, thoroughly amused and pissed at the same time. Major Company lost out when I called Much Smaller and Local Company and scheduled an appointment in less than one minute.
Seriously, though, how stupid can a person be and still be employed. Because, if that woman is the ‘bar’, then it’s scraping the ground right now.
As I walked into the lobby at the medical building I heard half a phone conversation between Random Woman and Second Random Person on the other end.
It went like this – or at least the half I heard went like this:
Random Woman: Shutchermouth
I pushed the elevator button, RW was behind me.
Random Woman: Shutchermouth
The elevator doors open and the two of us get on.
Random Woman: Shutchermouth, nuh-uh
Up one floor.
Random Woman: Shutchermouth
The doors opened.
Random Woman: Shutchermouth
I begin walking down the hall with RW right behind me.
Random Woman: Shutchermouth
For fear I might have to strangle her, I ducked into the bathroom and waited for a few minutes.
I cautiously opened the bathroom door to look out into the hallway.
Random Woman: Shutchermouth
I’m what you might consider a robust woman.
I’m not ginormous, but I’m not optimum size.
I’m somewhere in between.
Like all women (and men!) who avoid mirrors and cringe at the doctor’s office weight scales (did you know they add like 10 lbs, consistently?) I’ve struggled with my weight pretty much all my life.
Except for that brief time in high school when I was on the swim team and could eat a whole pizza AND a carton of ice cream and Twinkies and anything else I wanted, and still struggled to keep the weight on.
The trade-off was I spent 2 ½ hours a day in a pool, swimming back and forth, forth and back.
Apparently, that dedication to maintaining a slim body went away with the birth of the first child.
So did my svelte figure.
Over the years, I’d laughingly refer to my lard-ass as “baby fat”.
Yeah, when your ‘baby’ is 20 years old that excuse no longer works.
I briefly bought into the whole idea that eating fat made me fat.
Or that my metabolism was soooooooo slow I couldn’t lose weight.
Then my ‘baby’ girl got serious about losing weight and started on a strict calorie-counting and exercise regime after the birth of her first child. In eight months she lost nearly 70 lbs.
I was in awe, and a bit jealous, but I maintained she was way younger than me and I couldn’t achieve results like hers because I was eating too much fat and my metabolism was a mighty warrior battling against me.
I finally had to admit I lacked motivation and dedication the day that baby girl told me something:
“Mom, if you were dropped on a deserted island and given 1500 calories’ worth of food to eat every day you would lose weight.”
To which I retorted:
“Depends. Would said island also house Johnny Depp? Because, I could be persuaded…”
Standing there in her skin-tight jeans she just stared at me and shook her head.
It was then I truly understood that eating less and moving more was the only way to achieve success.
Forget the Atkins Diet, the Hollywood Diet, the Cabbage Diet (no-shit, there is a cabbage diet..one word – ewwwww), the Dr. Whomever’s Surefire Weight Loss plan.
Forget all of them.
If you are struggling with your weight, I can tell you that each of the fad diets you read about and every one of the supplements you hear being hawked on the airways is all about one simple concept.
Eat fewer calories than you burn.
It’s that simple, and that incredibly hard.
It works, though.
I’m living proof.
After baby girl said that I shut up and put up, so to speak.
And six months later I had lost nearly 40 lbs.
The thing is I stopped doing the right things, for the wrong reasons. Life intervened, my Dad’s health was declining and stresses at work, and so on. The same things that all of us deal with.
The difference is, I may have stopped the diet, but I didn’t gain back the weight.
Because even though I stopped measuring every morsel that went into my mouth, I had permanently learned to eat less.
So, now that my life seems to have settled into a routine of manageable chaos once more I am going to begin the diet/exercise regimen once more.
The point of this whole post is this, if you are struggling with weight loss – and this is something you are wanting to focus on – don’t waste your money on over-the-counter magic beans or self-help guru books, just go with the simplicity of physics.
Burn more calories than you consume, and even better, if you can burn or cut 500 calories per day from your life you will lose an average of one pound per week.
I should write a weight-loss book, right? Trouble is it would only be two pages long.
And, of course, if you’re happy the way you are ignore all of the above. I salute you.
So, I went to the
optomedrip, optemotris, optomuhtis, umm…eye doctor last Friday.
It was my regular exam, no biggie – except my eyeballs gots better!!
Because, you know…ninjas.
No, there’s some technical explanation for it that comes down to this:
Eye Doc: Yeah, as you get older if you have astigmatism it can correct to farsightedness, which is what you have.
So, as we were chatting about whether or not I’d need tri-focals or bi-focals since I still need glasses for the computer and reading, I asked the doctor about something that had occurred to me when she was examining my eyes.
You know the infamous eye exams.
The strange-looking eye probe/reader thingy is placed in front of you in a darkened room and then an eye chart is illuminated on the far wall.
The object is to try and trick you into saying you can’t see anything so your eye doctor can prescribe glasses. Except if you are like me, and don’t play by the rules, you fool them….and still need glasses in the end.
Doc: Read the first line that’s clear.
Me: (looking at the largest line) Uh…heh..heh.
Doc: (flipping something on the machine so a larger chart appears) Now?
Me: Ah…okay, E – V – O – P (it was the bottom line, indicating 20×25 vision)
Doc: (begins flipping through lenses) One? (flip) Or Two?
Doc: (flip) Two? (flip) Or Three?
And so it goes until at the end, the doctor shows you how things will look with your new glasses and everyone proclaims “Hallelujah!”*
*I may have made up the ‘hallelujah’ part.
Anyway, as we were chatting I told her that during my exam I began to wonder how many times a day she does the “One, two, three…” blah, blah.
She rolled her eyes in response. “You don’t want to know.”
“So, why don’t you do something different? You know, say…One, Two, Badger, Squirrel. See if anyone is paying attention?”
She laughed, loudly, before saying in a whisper, “You know what’s really bad? I can’t go higher than ‘four’ because it confuses most people.”
Not unexpected, mind you, just sad. I told her so and we both had a laugh.
So, after much searching of the inventory I chose these glasses only in brown and I added the anti-glare feature.
How do you like the new me?
….or “How I Almost Shot My Cat”
Back in the early ’90s we lived in a rental house that was on a very popular route for kids
skipping going to school.
As a result, there had been a recent break-in at my house.
My neighbor scared the kid off, or else he just felt so sorry for us he decided not to mess with anything.
Anyway, it left the family a bit twitchy.
And, we are Texans.
Twitchy, armed Texans.
A few days after the break-in I was home alone when I heard a commotion coming from the garage.
With the recent crime still fresh in my memory I stealthily snuck past the garage door and into my bedroom where I knew the firearms were kept.
I heard the noises, again, as I looked around the room. I was sure the burglar was now a whole gang of burglars and not only were they not concerned with being quiet, they were boldly marching towards the door that led to the house and I was moments away from confronting a gang of noisy, clumsy burglars.
It’s funny how the mind will go completely blank when gripped with rising fear.
I couldn’t remember where the guns were.
Then, I heard a loud THUMP! on the door that led to the garage.
That did it, my fear was pushed aside and I found the gun.
I grabbed it, released the safety and quietly tiptoed back to the garage door.
The noisy burglars were now playing hockey in the garage.
With a bag of rocks, or so it sounded to me.
Grasping the doorknob I flung the door open and yelled, “FREEZE!!!”, as I pointed the gun at…..my cat.
Our big Siamese, Smokey, had been playing with some paper he found in the garage.
Smokey stared at me, and I swear I heard him sigh….stoopid hoomin.
Amazing how much a twenty-five pound cat, playing with paper in an empty garage, can sound like a gang of brazen, clumsy burglars isn’t it?