Archives for category: humor

     The warm weather has many oppressing effects on me. I’m one who rarely wears a winter coat during the appropriate season. Until the temperature is below zero, I’m just fine in my light jacket.

     It seems no matter what the temperature, year round, if I move at all to do work, I’m soon drenched in sweat.

     But, the worst affect is the olfactory assault. The heat seems to hold smells and stench closer to the ground. During the most recent heat wave, I realized my car reeked.

     I have been on several car trips since I retired in April. These excursions require drinks and snacks. The snacks often leave detritus that I may be slow to clean from my vehicle. Often the debris is a banana peel, which does necessitate quick removal before the aroma permeates my van.

     The smell of banana remnants usually nudges me to change the garbage bag. It does not present an affront to my schnoz, but a gentle reminder that I might want to take out the trash.

     About two weeks ago, I realized my car had a pervasive stench. I removed and replaced the trash bag but still, the smell slapped me in the face each time I got into the van. It was not pleasant. As the temperature rose over 90, the odoriferousness occupied nasal passages presenting oppressive options. Since the air conditioning in my 2001 vehicle ceased to work many moons ago, the smell enveloped me each time I drove. Ewwww!

     Then, another vehicle vendetta resulted in the discovery of the exasperating miasma.

     I always listen to audiobooks in my auto, no matter how short the trip. As I turned into a local parking lot last week, my factory-installed CD player finished playing the first disc in the 4-CD changer and attempted to automatically move to disc number two. I waited to turn off the engine until the transition was complete. It did not happen.

     The display indicated ERR and the second disc would not play. The second disc would not come out either. It whirred and whirled, but no CD was ejected. I tried the other discs, but saw the same ERR.

     Since it was an inter-library loan through my local library my next stop was the library where the reference librarian Googled my issue and told me to, “Hold both the disc button and the power button down at the same time for 10 seconds and see if that will work.”

     I tried and failed. I called Husband. He suggested I look in the owner’s manual (duh!) He would also go out and look at his similarly equipped van and would call me back.

     I did not hear back from him immediately so I reported my failure at the reference desk. It was time to go home. I’d had enough of waiting around; the heat was getting to me.

     On the way home, I decided it was hot enough I could spoil myself (and salvage the rough day) by getting a shake at a fast food drive through. While waiting for my drink, I tried the librarian’s suggestion again and VOILA! Disc two was in my hand.

     I tried the other three discs to no avail. At least I had gotten the “troublemaker” out. The others could wait until Husband got home from work.

     When the two of us got into the car to check out the CDs and CD player, the first thing Husband said was, “Boy! Your car sticks!”

     “Tell me about it.”

     He suggested I might want to get one of those hanging air fresheners.

     I explained that I had emptied the garbage and still the stench was omnipotent.

     We redirected our energies to the CD player and soon had discs three and four in our hot little hands. Still, no matter how hard we tried, we could not get disc one – the only one that I had played – to eject.

     The next day, July 4th, I drove to Michigan to visit and celebrate with my mother and siblings, including my very mechanically and automotively-inclined baby brother.

     I presented my issue to him and we walked out to the car to see what could be done. Soon he was teasing me, as six-foot two, 56-year-old baby brothers are wont to do. “Are you sure there’s a disc in there?”

     “Yes.”

     He went to his car and came back with four CDs. He put one in each slot of my player. They all played. Beautifully.

     I called Husband, who had stayed home, to check the box of CDs to make sure the first CD was not in the box. It was not.

     Since I was in the passenger seat, I took the opportunity to lean over and look under the driver’s seat for something I had misplaced in the past few weeks. I did not find what I was looking for, but, I did find something else.

     Not quite under the driver’s seat, but at the edge of the right side was a Kroger plastic bag with something in it. The opening was tied in a knot. The package squished when I touched the bottom. I knew instantaneously the Case of the “Olfactory Offense” was closed.

     A few weeks prior, we had used my van, because all the seats were available for occupants, to take the dog for a  walk. Being conscientious dog walkers, we clean up after our dog. Unfortunately our clean-up only lasted from the walk to the van and there it had stopped – to torment me for weeks. It warmed to unbelievable levels during the week long heat wave.

     I removed the bag from the van and was polite enough to ask my sister if she had garbage, other than in her kitchen, where I could make a deposit.

     It didn’t take long for much more acceptable scents to tickle my nose.

     Oh, and the CD?

     Husband took the entire player apart where we could see the disc jammed in the back. A short time later, the CD was back in the case.

     Two cases solved proving being dogged would present resolutions.

Advertisements

     The Rolling Stones song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” comes to mind because of recent food experiences.

     This refrain started at the diner where I’ve visited almost every Wednesday for more years than I care to admit.  Their traditional special on Wednesday’s is meat loaf. I love meat loaf, hence the van automatically turns into the restaurant’s parking lot on Wednesday. Shortly after the official start of spring I drove there, slid into my customary booth and asked which vegetable came with the meat loaf this week. I was stunned to be told there would be no more meat loaf until the weather turned cool again in the fall. The sales of meat loaf had recently been dismal. In recent weeks, they had too much leftover.

     This was heresy. They could make meat loaf sandwiches the next day. How about freezing the leftovers and defrosting some for me the next week? Make a smaller loaf? After all, this was a tradition from previous owners.

     My protests drew no sympathy nor no meat loaf.

     A few weeks later, a friend and I visited another local eatery. Despite the calendar proclaiming the month as April the temperature was akin to January. I stepped to the counter and asked about the soup of the day. Again, my logic was affronted by the announcement that soups wouldn’t be served again until the fall.

     I commented that I understood that the season was spring, but the temperature… Again, as at the other establishment, my protests of climate logic gained me nothing. Where was the sense in this? I would not wear a pair of shorts and a tank top just because it was April while the temperature was cold enough for snow.

     Last week, the heat wave presented other conundrums.

     My husband worked his typical day off during the 90+ temperature. I called him at work and suggested we go out to eat. We decided on Olive Garden. We had not eaten there in many months, but we, including our son, could all find something on the menu each would enjoy. There was only one concern here: the salad.

     Olive Garden typically brings a large bowl of salad drenched with dressing to the table. Neither my husband nor our son put anything on their salads. I explained this to our waiter who quickly promised that he would leave the dressing off and bring me sides of salad dressing.

     Once the salad arrived, my son took personal possession of the salad tongs and asked me, “Do you want the hot peppers?” I did. I would also take the black olives that neither of them wanted. Trey dished these into my salad bowl. I reminded him that I didn’t want any croutons. Those go to Bill, my husband.

     I thought of Jack Spratt who could eat no fat and his wife could eat no lean. Between them both, they licked the platter clean. We did similarly with the various components in the salad bowl.

     A few days later, again in the heat, I decided it was mandatory to have a Jamoca shake. I pulled into the drive-through lane and placed my order. When I pulled around to the window, I was shocked to see that the shake was topped with a mountain of whipped cream protected by a crown of a clear domed top. This was not the appearance of my last (months ago) shake.  I do not eat whipped cream. Not on ice cream. Not on pumpkin pie. Not in the car. Nowhere by far.  The young lady made me another shake, but from her facial expression, I felt as if I should have known about the change in their procedures. How? Osmosis? Sheesh.

     All these food politics are making me hotter under the collar. I should bottle that up for now and bring it out next spring when I want something hot and it isn’t available again.

A long time former neighbor was turning 90, so his children planned a big party. My entire family traveled from points near and far to Ohio to help with the celebration. My sister, Sue, drove from North Carolina and I made the two-hour trek.

I drove up on Friday. The day was sunny. The display in my car showed the ambient temperature as 75º. I wore a long sleeve shirt, to protect my window-side arm from the sun. My windbreaker was thrown on the passenger seat since the forecast was for a continuation of the weather roller coaster the Midwest has been experiencing this winter.

The constantly changing weather — in northwest Ohio, in south central Ohio and in central North Carolina — was a topic of conversation.

Sue mentioned her early blooming flowers. I seconded that by mentioning the shoots sprouting from the soil on the campus where I work. Cathy, the non traveler, commented that even Mr. Freeze had opened early (February?).

Mr. Freeze!

Mr. Freeze is the soft ice cream place in the suburb where I lived for 20 years, 21 years ago. Heck with the calendar, it was the opening of Mr. Freeze that designated the start of spring.

I lived less than a mile from the confectioner, so a walking-the-dog often turned into a stop for ice cream. That dog just pulled us in that direction. We never complained.

The lines, especially on a hot day, were long, stretching into the too small parking lot.

The amount of ice cream in a baby cone would satisfy a family of kids. On one occasion, I witnessed a man from Fostoria (about one-hour south) receiving his medium-sized ice cream and exclaiming, “Wow! If the place in Fostoria gave this amount of ice cream, they’d go broke!”

During the weekend, the temperature plummeted. My jacket was necessary and others commented that it would not be warm enough for the wind and snow that had developed.

Sunday morning, I decided to fill my gas tank before hopping on the expressway for the ride to my present home. Because of highway improvements, I could not get to the gas station the way I did previously. My detour took me right past Mr. Freeze.

I looked at the temperature. It was 32º. Freezing. I’d been hankering for ice cream since before “Mr. Freeze” had originally been mentioned. Why not? When would I be back again. A tin roof (vanilla ice cream topped with Spanish peanuts and chocolate syrup) would be a comforting companion for the long ride home.

Sunday morning, in February, 11 15 a.m., 32 degrees. And I still stood in line! Granted there was only one family in front of me, but there were two mini lines.

I approached the window, asked for a tin roof and was asked, “What size?”

Seeing my bafflement, she placed three styrofoam cups on the counter — small (6 oz.) regular (16 oz.) and large (I have NO idea). I chose the regular.

Ah! Memories of my grandmother making us tin roofs and the chocolate covered ice cream kept me company from Perrysburg to Cygnet — the length of Wood County.

Yep. It was worth it.

Every.

Single.

Calorie.

A compilation of thoughts:

1.) A few hours ago, I saw a headline “Elderly couple dies after jumping from parking deck together.” Aw, I sadly thought, envisioning a sickly people in at least their eighties. I opened the link to learn where this tragedy took place. Las Vegas. 

I truly do not mean to make light of the couples situation, but I was stunned to learn the age of both people was sixty-three! Sixty-three! That’s younger than I am. Elderly?

Recently I did reflect about myself that I could not be “middle aged” because I most certainly was not going to live to be twice my “middle” or 132 years.

I know “everything is relative.” I might consider my mother to be elderly. I’m not sure she considers herself thus.

As to relativity (mine, not Einstein’s), I recall 40 years ago when I first was looked to purchase a house. I lived in a 12 foot x 65 foot mobile home with a 12′ x 15′ pull out that made the living room roughly 20′ x 20′. The real estate agent was showing me what I could afford, but all seemed to be “cracker boxes” to me. Where would I put my furniture and the “stuff” I had?

Later, after selling the mobile home and moving into an apartment with a 12′ x 15′ living room and one 9′ x 9′ bedroom, the same houses seemed to have turned into palaces.

2.) A few years ago, two friends from Urbana, where I now live, visited my birthplace, Toledo, with a friend of mine from there. I dubbed it the “seat of the pants” tour. We saw the highlights of Toledo in Ellen’s van.

Of the four of us, only the oldest, who I believe was 70, could walk for any distance or length of time. Ellen, the youngest, needed knee replacement that the surgeons would not perform because she was too young. (She needed to be 55.) Anne’s rheumatoid arthritis hindered her locomotion. And, I have used a cane since my back surgery thirteen years ago.

In October, Anne, now 70, had a knee replaced. She has progressed to walking with a cane. When I saw her last week, she with her cane, me with mine, I thought, “This is giving new definition to a three-legged race.”

3.) My parting shot is something that I’ve wondered for awhile. Since it deals with an intimate issue, I have not had the courage to express to anyone. Here goes…

I know that as I’ve aged, it takes longer to do things:  getting dressed, getting in and out of the car, going to the rest room to name a few. So…

Since it seems to take twice as long, is it now eight-play?

It has been an incredibly emotionally sad year – especially the last three months. That has kept me from sharing my writing because I usually write lighter fare.

I have been looking forward to today because I put in motion an act of kindness that should reach fruition today. That’s all I’m going to say. Christmas means a lot to me and this will be an example of it.

One of the miracles I have awed about is my marvelous son. When I went to the hospital to give birth, I took a book. Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised that I had a book. When don’t I have a book? The book I took was Pat Conroy’s Prince of Tides. It was 2 more years and a sprained ankle before I got that book read. The only reading I did in the hospital was the face and body of my son.

It’s been twenty-seven years and I still am amazed by this young man. I constantly wonder how he turned out so fine, giving, witty, intelligent, and hard-working.

To illustrate one of his fine qualities, I relate this conversation that took place this morning.
Son and Husband, downstairs, had a conversation while I was upstairs getting dressed.
Son came up a few minutes later and, as I passed his door, I asked, “What’s going on?”
He didn’t answer until I was in my bedroom in a far corner. There were absolutely no pauses in this exchange
Son: unintelligible
Mom: “Were you talking to me?”
Son: “Yes.”
Mom: “What did you say?”
Son: “I asked dad if the fish had been fed.”
Mom: “Why didn’t you just ask the fish?”
Son: “They lie!”
Hug those you love and tell them that you love them!
Merry Christmas.

 

For months, I planned a trip to New York City. I would leave after work on Thursday, October 20 drive 3 or 4 hours, spend the night in a hotel, finish the drive on Friday, to my cousin’s where I would bunk. On Saturday we’d go into the city, meet a group of friends and attend a book brunch.

Two years ago, I had won a ticket to the brunch and had a lot of fun. I joked that my free ticket only cost me four tanks of gas, two nights in hotels, my cousin’s ticket and meals. It was still worth it to me.

About six weeks before this trip, my supervisor asked me to plan a new event – Indie Authors Day. We couldn’t do it on the Saturday the Library Journal, the sponsor had designated for the nation to observe. We’ll do it on October 19.

Okay.

This became an all consuming event trying to round up self-published authors, sending information to attendees, press releases to the media, making and updating a Facebook post, purchasing and assembling gift bags, formulating the agenda, write up purchase orders where necessary, and anything else that might arise – such as questions from the authors including “How do I get to Urbana University?”

Then, an e-mail from the Friends of the County Library. Could I assist at the Halloween party to be held on Saturday October 22.

“Um, well, no! It’s going to be a heck of a commute.” I replied in a return e-mail.

Then the good Catholic girl’s guilt  kicked in.

I sent another e-mail stating that I could buy some candy if they needed and drop it off before I leave for my trip.

The reply, “We need three dozen cookies. Each cookie has to be individually wrapped in a zip-lock sandwich bag to keep crumbs off the library carpet.”

“Okay, I could do that.”

In my original thoughts,  I would bake cookies. That idea went the way of the eight-track tape player quickly as I realized I did not have that much time between items already on my calendar.

I can adapt.

My first un-baked idea was to find Keebler Vienna Fingers cookies and decorate them as ghosts (a little vanilla frosting and maybe mini chocolate chips as eyes). I had not been able to find Vienna Fingers (my personal favorite) in a long time, so I started on the internet. I found a site where inserting a zip code resulted in finding out where these delectable morsels could be purchased.

I put in Urbana’s zip code. No results.

I tried Springfield’s. Again, no stores selling the cookies.

How about Columbus. Nada.

Toledo? (I could meet a sibling half way between them and me) Zilch.

Back to the cutting board.

Monday, October 17 was Husband’s day off. I told him what I needed to do and suggested we go to Kroger’s to pick up what I needed to make witch’s hat treats. This would be a Keebler (again) Fudge Stripe Cookie. The bottom of this cookie is chocolate coated. By applying a thin layer of chocolate frosting, I could put a large Hershey’s kiss in the center, to make the point of the hat and embellish it with a contrasting color frosting at the base of the kiss like a crown ribbon.

At Kroger’s we found the cookies, the chocolate frosting, orange spray frosting and zip-lock bags. The only thing we needed were larger than normal chocolate kisses.

Not in the candy aisle. Not in the baking aisle. Not in the seasonal aisle.

Next we tried the local Amish cheese and meat shop since they have an array of candies. No kisses for us.

Now, we are both slamming life in a small town while trying to follow a pattern that was probably imagined in a much larger city where product diversity is better.

Our last stop is my least favorite store – Walmart.

No giant Hershey’s kisses there either. We surmise they must be a Christmas item.

We did find a Walmart brand cookie that was a smaller version of the Fudge Stripe cookie. Maybe we could make a smaller version of the witch’s hat with normal-sized kisses.

Before we leave the cookie aisle, I notice Nutter Butter cookies. I think they could be covered in white frosting to make a ghost cookie. We grab two packages of the small fudge stripe cookie and two of the Nutter Butter and head to the frosting aisle. We gathered vanilla frosting, black spray frosting, (Husband had trouble believing that existed) and regular Hershey’s kisses in our cart.

We head toward the check-outs, until I’m distracted by a large package in a center aisle. It is pumpkin cookies with faces and covered with orange sprinkles made at the in-house bakery. A package of 18 cookies was $3.99. SOLD!

We were considerate shoppers, replacing the cookies and frostings to the proper places in the proper aisles. We bought pumpkin cookies.

This took most of Monday morning. I had had enough of Halloween already.

Tuesday night I came home and found my darling Husband with the card table set up in the living room. Pumpkin cookies were laid out in front of him. Some had spray frosting tracing the face. Others had a spider added. Others I couldn’t distinguish the extra frosting’s decoration.

“Do you want to help decorate cookies?”he asked me.

“No-o! Why are you doing that?”

“Well, we had the spray frosting and I thought, we should use it.”

“Well, have fun.”

He not only decorated the cookies but put each in the required zip-lock bag.

On Thursday, after the successful Wednesday event, I took the cookies to the library before I went to work.

After my trip to New York, I stopped and asked the library staff how the Halloween Party went. They thought between 175 and 200 children attended. Wow! That must be a record.They agreed that that was a higher number than past events.

Tonight, the Friends of the Library had their monthly meeting. Among the information shared was that they had too many cookies. Some were taken home by one of the members to put in her freezer until the next event.

Maybe I’ll finally stop giving in to my Catholic guilt and not volunteer when I’m already stressed.

But, we have the soup and bread tasting coming up in January. My hand automatically shot up when the president asked for a coordinator.

Another action/reaction learned in Catholic School.

 

It wasn’t really a month and a half ago that I last wrote a post, was it? (Yes, Linda, it was.)

It’s not for a shortage of ideas that I haven’t written. It’s just once again, I’ve let summer get away from me. The older I get, the faster time (and therefore, summer) goes. This allows me to explain my hour glass explanation. When one first turns over the hour glass, all the sand is at the top. If one watches, one will see the trickle of sand seeping through the hole to the bottom of the glass, but it doesn’t seem to affect the mound of sand in the top of the glass. However, when the grains are few in the top, it is hard to dismiss how little time is left. Just like aging.

For most of the time this summer, I have holed up with the window air conditioning unit in our bedroom. I. Do. Not. Do. Heat. I’m the one who wanted to move to Alaska. I love winter. My favorite sport while I was growing up was figure skating. One can always put more on to warm up, but comes to a point that nothing more can be taken off and it is still hot. (Sorry for that visual.)

Yesterday some friends and I went to the final concert at the museum. For four Fridays at the end of summer, the Springfield Symphony sponsors music at lunch time. The performance was Good Vibes, a quartet composed of a vibraphone, drums, electronic string bass, and an electric 6-string guitar.

I checked my Fitbit for the time seconds before the music started. I held the button a tad too long and also saw that I had only about 450 steps logged.

At the end, I checked the time again and purposefully checked the number of steps accumulated. I announced to my friends, “I gained 500 steps sitting, listening to the music!” Music literally and figuratively moves me. I don’t even sit still listening to symphonies. I conduct.

As long as I’m talking movement, I am going to take credit for most of the U.S.A. Olympic swim team’s medals. I sit in my recliner in the air conditioned bedroom and move my body to help push and prod the swimmers to glory. I’m glad no one is able to see the choreography I do in my chair.

There’s one more week of Olympics. What sport shall I move on to next? Perhaps Women’s Beach Volleyball? They’re doing pretty well without me. Perhaps I should have watched more of the Women’s Soccer.