Thursday, July 31, 2008

Things I've Learned Along The Way

I've learned a lot of things over the years. I went to kindergarten, elementary, junior high, high school, junior college, and finally, a four-year university. I have had lots of book learning.

I have held many jobs over the years and learned many different skills and abilities that were helpful in that particular situation. I can serve you a glass of wine and sell you a stamp without breaking a sweat.

But, there are things that I have learned in my life that I don't remember being taught. One matter that got my attention was seeing state troopers parked together along the highway waiting on the next unlucky speeder heading in that direction. I'm all for law enforcement slowing the public down. Americans drive too fast and it uses quite a bit more fuel when you exceed the posted limits.

When I passed the troopers, my first thought was to tap the brake and slow down. (After all, I drive a red mustang) I glanced at my speedometer and I was going 72 in a 65 mph zone. True, I was speeding, but, not by much. (They didn't pursue me.)

I watched the officers fade in my rear view mirror and I continued on my journey. But, as cars began to approach from the opposite direction, I started flashing my headlights. I was signaling oncoming traffic, letting them know that there were cops up ahead. Where did I learn this? I don't think it was a question on the driver's licensing test. I didn't take a class for it. I never learned that at any job that I have had.

People will say that you learned that from watching your parents drive when you were young, and they learned from their parents, and so forth. Okay, I can agree with that, but, automobiles only go back for a hundred years or so, which would be my great grandparents. I learned that trick somewhere along the way, but, who taught them?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thoughts From The Internet

Over the years I have received many emails from friends, families and people that I have never met. Some are crude, rude and obnoxious and others are just plain dumb. But, every once in a while you get one that really makes you think. I have included a few for you to ponder over.

Wouldn't it be nice if whenever we messed up our life we could press 'Ctr Alt Delete' and start all over?

Brain cells come and brain cells go, but fat cells live forever.

I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.

Old is when you don't care where your spouse goes, as long as you don't have to go along.

The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.

Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

No earth shattering information here, just a few things that make you go hhhhmmmmmm.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Paying With Cash

My sister and I decided we were going to go see an afternoon movie at the bargain movie theatre. It cost $1.75 to see the early show and was usually quite crowded. We were running a few minutes behind schedule. Not to the point of missing the beginning, but to the point of having to skip getting popcorn or we would miss the start of the picture. So, we decided to split up. I would buy the tickets and she would get in line to buy the popcorn.

As I approached the ticket counter, I noticed that two lines were open and they seemed to have the same amount of people. I jumped in line number one and was the sixth person in line.

The first two customers purchased their tickets and were on their way. I wasn't really paying attention to anything, just standing in line. All of a sudden, an older lady behind me jabs me in the back and says, "Can you believe those people up there? They are paying with coins."

I didn't say anything, I just gave a slight nod acknowledging that I had heard what she said. The lady selling tickets gave a slightly bemused look as the small child proceeded to put $1.75 in pennies, nickels and dimes on the counter.

The child received her ticket and a companion stepped up to the counter with the same amount of coins that began to slide and roll all over the counter. JAB!! The old lady hit me again and I turned around and looked at her, "That is so rude," she said. "I don't have time to wait on this foolishness."

"Maybe, it is their allowance that they are spending or change that they have collected over time," I said.

"I don't care where they got them coins, I'm gonna talk to the manager about this. Making me have to wait this long."

The third child in the group proceeded to drop her coins on the counter. My sister was looking at me telling me to hurry up. The lady behind the counter whose cash drawer was now overflowing looked up at the next customer, shrugged and kept on counting. I knew the jab was coming before I actually felt it. I dodged it. Oh my goodness! I thought that lady was gonna have a conniption fit or something.

I finally received my tickets and was about to walk away when I overheard something that nearly stopped me in my tracks. I heard the lady talking quietly to the children that were with her, "Put your change away. I'm paying with my debit card."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's Going Fast

I don't really know where the time has gone. I looked at the calendar and realized that the dog days of August are almost upon us. This led me to check my little black book (Yes, I have one) to see if I had accomplished everything I wanted to do this summer. Here's a partial rundown of what is in my little black book:

1. Go fishing at least one day a week [x]

2. Go to the movies at least 3 times [x]

3. Mow the lawn without having a nervous breakdown [x]

4. Go to the beach for a week [x]

5. Keep my air conditioning bill under 300 bucks [x] (so far)

6. Go see a play in the woods [x]

7. Win the lottery [ ]

8. Solve the NY Times crossword [ ]

9. Buy a new lawn mower [ ]

10. Meet Tom Cruise [ ]

I'm batting .600, (6 for 10) which is pretty good. I've got a lot more things on my list to get done. I'd better hurry because summer is going fast.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Amish Cheese

I was excited about taking my niece back to Ohio. She had spent almost six weeks visiting with her Grandma this summer and had spent several afternoons with me at the old fishing hole. We were going to take the long way home and spend a few days in the county that I was born and raised.

It's a nice area filled with farms, farms and more farms. It has several small towns, a Walmart, and several local tastee freezes known locally for their pizza burgers. (Yummy) It is also known for its large and thriving Amish community that owns and operates several small family markets. The markets carry everything from furniture, freshly baked goods, homemade cakes and pies to a wide assortment of meats and cheeses.

My favorite is the Colby cheese. I don't know where they get the recipe but it is simply delicious. I usually get about a one pound chunk that is cut directly from a huge block with a big wooden handled knife. The young girl will weigh it (its almost exactly a pound every time) and wrap it up in the plain white paper like they used to have in the old days and seal it with a piece of tape. I barely make it out to the car before I have ripped it open and torn myself off a big chunk.

There is a responsibility to other family members when you make the trip back home. As I sat in the car sending text messages to my mom, brother and sister asking what they wanted me to bring them, my niece is silently watching me while nibbling on a piece of cheese.

My phone beeped three times signaling me to view the responses. "That's good cheese," my niece said. "What do they want you to get them?"

I showed her the phone and all three messages said the exact same thing: Cheese. "Well, good minds think alike," she said.

My point exactly!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rest Area...Closed

There aren't too many ways to get from north Georgia to the rolling hills of southern Ohio. In fact, as many other transplants can attest to, the only way to get anywhere quickly is on Interstate 75. In my twenty plus years of being a defector from the north I have driven this route many times. It is exactly 424 miles from the farm that I was raised on to the house that my parents moved to in 1985.

The first time I made the trip was during spring break 1986. My sister and several of our friends made the trip with us. The only memories I have of that trip are the stops at the roadside rest areas. We made the trek in a pickup truck and I was the lucky one who got to ride in the back of the truck, at night, in mid March. At the rest areas, I got to get out and stretch my legs, and this happened at least four times. On my recent trip, it was only twice.

I don't know a whole lot about state budgets and who decides when it is time to close a rest area, but, I think I speak for many when I say please stop.

The state of Tennessee has closed at least two rest areas on Interstate 75. The first to close was approximately 50 miles south of Knoxville over three years ago. I could handle this closure. I usually had just gotten started on my trip and didn't want to take the time to stop, or if I was coming south, I would need to get gas and would have to go to a service station.

The second location that has closed, much to my dismay, is the rest area welcoming you to the state of Tennessee coming south on 75 from Kentucky. Why did they do this? This was the rest area that everyone stopped at. It was always packed. The car usually had three quarters of a tank of gas, so, you didn't need to stop for gas yet. Lots of times, we would have picnics on the tailgate or on one of the picnic tables. Or, you would just have to use the facilities.

Rest Area...Closed. That's what the sign said. (Uh Oh) As many travelers will tell you, there aren't many places to stop north of Knoxville. It's just hills and slow moving trucks. I have always wanted to stop at exit 144, which is Stinking Creek Road. (Interesting name) Until now, I haven't had the time or opportunity.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Away Once Again

It seems that once I get in a rhythm I am off once again. This time I am off in the wilderness of southern Ohio where I was raised. I have said hello to all of the cows, hogs, sheep and friends that I left behind over 20 years ago. I keeping getting the same thing. They know who I am but can't remember which one I am. That's okay, because as the middle-aged fat woman, I have a hard time remembering who I am as well. I'll be back from my adventure in a few days with a lot more stories to tell and a new recipe for tater salad. Happy Summer!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Election Year Signs

It was primary day here in the state of Georgia and I am glad it is over. For the last few months, almost every yard that I passed had a sign in it that read vote-for-so-and-so. Every corner was plastered with the same signs. Hopefully, once today's ballots have been counted, most of the signs will disappear.

Don't get me wrong, I admire anyone who wants to run for office. I just can't stand the election year signs. Some of them are very colorful and are the same color as yard sale signs. As a frequent visitor to many yard sales in my town, I know what to look for. Thursdays are when I begin to look for the signs advertising that week's sales. Big, bright colorful signs placed in yards and at corners reminding me that I need to stop and buy some more junk. Many times I have caught myself looking closely at the signs only to realize that is wasn't a yard sale sign. What is especially bothersome is when I think I see a tag sale sign on a Monday or Tuesday and get my hopes up only to find out that it isn't.

I am happy for those that won the election today, Congratulations! For those that didn't win, Better luck next time. Please take down your signs so I can get back to my shopping.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Shakespeare...A Midsummer Night's Mare

"What's that smell," my niece asked?

"That's nature goodness," my mom replied.

My friend and I looked at each other with eyes watering and noses tingling from the aromatic smells that had drifted over to us from the horse barn as we waited for the play to begin. It was my idea to go see Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream presented by the local theatre troupe at a new outdoor location. After all, no one in the family had ever seen anything by Shakespeare, and since it was my niece's birthday, we thought it would be both cultural and entertaining at the same time. That's when the trouble started.

The evening started out innocently enough, albeit a little warm. The location was a beautiful farm nestled in a valley about fifteen miles from town. The ranch specialized in outdoor religion, retreats, receptions, and the rehabilitation of abused farm animals, namely horses. They had a large pond that was really low due to the severe drought over the last few years. And they had a large covered open-aired structure that contained the stage and seating area. Located outside the structure were several tables, hay bales, and log stumps that the audience (mainly smokers) could utilize if they so desired.

We began the walk down the hill from the parking area, stopping occasionally to admire the view of fenced pastures, and cows and horses grazing peacefully together in this tranquil setting. We walked over to the table to pick up our playbills and funeral fans, and the lady at the table said, "Watch that spot over there, a couple of horses got out a while go and left their marks." Too late, mom had just set her foot down. As we began to giggle and laugh in unison, mom threw us a look of indifference, shrugged her shoulders, and trudged ahead. That's what moms do. They don’t get upset about stepping in horse manure because @#X* happens.

I was checking out the seating arrangements and was not happy with what I found. I had hoped for bench seating or folding chairs but ended up with plastic patio chairs, the small ones. I glanced around the barn and other largely built folks were having the same problem: Figuring which chair to sit in. My niece, who is extremely small, sat down and squirmed in one of these plastic contraptions and said they were extremely uncomfortable and seemed a little flimsy. I finally settled on a seat near the back row and adjusted my backside to fit in the chair. It was a tight squeeze, thanks goodness I had remembered the duct tape, so I could tape myself in. I sat patiently with my friend, enjoying the smells from the barn, I watched the horses play a game of tag in the pasture, I watched my niece check out the boys, and my mom glance at the bottom of her shoe, and waited for the play to begin.

The comedy was somewhere between Lysander and Demetrius pining over Hermia and Bottom wearing something on his head when I heard a crack and felt something give. It was my chair. I tried to glance behind me to see what it was when I looked at my friend who mouthed the words, “Don’t move.” She looked closer and said that the leg looked cracked and was bent backwards. “Lean up and to the left,” she said.

For the next hour I perched precariously on three legs, I didn’t move. I couldn’t swat at the flies and mosquitoes that were buzzing the toes in my sandaled feet. I had to stifle a gag and a cough when the wind changed directions and brought all of the bovine, equine, and natural goodness smells from the barn straight into Act II Scene I. Bullfrogs were croaking in the pond. My back was beginning to hurt from sitting so uncomfortably. I glanced over at my friend and my mom, and they were both laughing hysterically, at me. Tears were streaming down their faces, but they couldn’t make a sound, or they would interrupt the play. As the dawn turned to darkness, the lights finally dimmed, it was intermission, finally. I was helped out of the chair and began to investigate what had happened. The back leg had slipped off an edge of a small imperfection in the floor and had buckled under me.

I began to walk away from everyone who was now laughing loudly at me. I didn’t care, I was just glad that the chair hadn’t broken during the play. I was heading over to the refreshment area when I heard a lady shout, “Watch it.” Too late, my foot hit the pile of manure and down I went.

My choices were few. There were no restrooms, only port-a-pots. Several nice ladies brought me some paper towels and I cleaned up as best I could. It was time for the last part of the play to begin, and my niece asked, “Do we have to leave? I’d like to see the rest of the play.”

“I’ll just sit back here for the rest of the night,” I said.

My mom just looked at me and gave me a nod. She understood. You can’t get upset about it. It happens. That’s what aunts do.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I'm Not Laughing

My niece who has been visiting for the summer approached me the other day and asked, "Is the stuff you write supposed to be funny? I've read some of it and I'm not laughing."

"Well, which story did you read?"

"I really can't remember, they were all soooooo boring." And having said this, my niece turned and walked away.

My niece, who just turned 14, (Which probably explains a lot) is of this new generation that needs to be constantly in touch with something. It doesn't matter if it is the TV, the Internet, her cell phone, MySpace, Facebook, or Hannah Montana, all of these added up, and playing at the same time cannot erase the age-old adage of "I'm bored." So, what's Aunt MA Fat Woman supposed to do?

A few days later we were taking a drive in the mustang and I headed over to one of our local state parks. My niece, who had brought her cell phone, ipod, and portable DVD player with her, looked around at the new surroundings and said, "I hate going outside."

"Too bad," I said. "We're going to have some fun, and you can leave all of that junk in the car."

"I'm bringing my cell phone."

"No, you're not!"

She rolled her eyes at me, stormed out of the car and threw herself onto a picnic table that was nearby. She crossed her legs and wanted to know what she was supposed to do. My response was nothing, I didn't want her to do anything, but sit there and enjoy the scenery. After a few tense moments of sighing, crossing and uncrossing of the legs, and the incessant tapping of fingers on the table, I could see and feel the tension being released from her body.

As I waited for just the perfect moment to make my move. She threw out her arms and stretched languorously. Smack. I slapped the picnic table which caught her attention, and I pounced. I grabbed my niece and began to tickle her silly. I tickled her in the belly, grabbed some sugar from her knee, and somehow managed to wrestle her flip flops from her so I could get to her feet. I tickled her everywhere.
"Stop it, Stop it!" she exclaimed. "You're killing me. I can't take it anymore."

With tears of laughter streaming down both of our faces, I looked at her and asked, "Who's laughing now?"

"Oh, Aunt fat woman, you always make me laugh, you're so funny and cool. I just can't let you know it. I have a reputation to uphold, you know?"(Everyone wants to be a comedian)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Seens From The Porch

I was sitting outside on my porch like I normally do when the weather cooperates just minding my own business. It was a little steamy in the early afternoon as you would expect it to be this time of year, seeing as how it is almost mid July and we are in the south. I wasn't doing much, sipping on a Diet Coke, looking across the driveway and over to what I call my green spot. It is actually the backyard of the house next door. (Which is vacant) It has flowers growing wild, and flowers that I have tried to grow (But always end up killing) in different pots scattered about the area. It isn't anything fancy, just a nice green area to look at.

I'm not sure what time it was, I think I had slipped in an out of consciousness several times when all of a sudden my cat proceeds to jump on my lap and scare the @x%*# out of me. I opened my eyes and had to blink several times to clear my vision. (Or try to anyway) I know I couldn't have been napping that long for it to be nearly dark outside. That means I would've missed my supper and the middle-aged fat woman ain't known to miss a meal, so something must be up.

I saw the first bolt of lightning hit down the road a piece. I counted off the seconds and it took three seconds for the thunder to roll my way. (It was close, only three miles) As the rain began to go splat, splat, kerplop and all the other noises that a summertime thunderstorm can make I was amazed to see the lightning bugs. Hundreds of them. Either the storm scared them all my way or I was in for one heck of a storm. I have never seen lightning bugs in the afternoon before. It was an awesome sight and I was glad I got to see it. This is one of many things that I have seen from my front porch. It's a true story, I seen it with my own eyes.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Going To The Doctor

I went to my three month checkup six months past when I should have gone and my doctor(Who is very good at what she does) wasn't to happy to see me. Where have you been? (Around) I see you have gained some weight. (Tell me about it) Have you been taking your medications? (Mostly, my prescriptions ran out) Have you been taking your blood pressure? (Uhhhh)
Are you exercising? (Yep, I walk to the fridge and back several times a day) How have you been feeling? This is the question that used to trip me up. I have learned over the years to answer this question with a "Great." If you answer any other way, you'll spend the next six weeks having every test possible run to finally figure out you have an ingrown toenail. Of course, my doctor knows this, and will usually cross her eyes, throw up her hands and ask, "How are you really feeling?" (Great)

I had brought several things to read with me. When I go to the doctor it usually requires at least two hours of my time between waiting to be called back, waiting in the back waiting room, waiting to go to the lab to get blood work and a urine sample, fingerprinted and my photo taken in the business office for when I write a bad check on the way out.

Not so today. I didn't even get to sit down in the outer lobby before they called me back, weighed me in, took my blood pressure and other vitals, and in popped the doctor. I got my usual blessing out for not doing what I was supposed to be doing. I think my doctor was a teacher in a previous life because she always gives me home work(Things I'm supposed to do at home) and then gives me a grade at my next appointment.(I got a C- today)

My doctor flipped through my charts and said I needed to continue to take my medications,(I need prescriptions) begin to exercise, (Ok, more trips to the fridge) and come back in six weeks.(Three months) No lab work. (Yeah) Your homework assignment is crucial, you must take your medicine so I can tell if it is working. (OKaaay) Now, bend over and cough. (What) I looked at her and she said, "Whoops, that's the next patient. See you in six weeks." And out the door she went. I was right on her heels and when I got to the car, I had only been gone for 45 minutes. Now, that's what I call a good trip to the doctor's office.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tater Salad

It took me a few years to learn to appreciate this delicacy served at picnics, potlucks, and funerals. Church socials, family reunions and basically any other gathering that served food always seemed to have several different kinds of potato salad. Potato salad or tater salad as we call it in my family is a gathering requirement. Someone usually asks who's bringing the tater salad and the resulting answer is met with extreme caution. You see in the middle-aged fat woman's family there are four(4) different recipes for tater salad. And none of us really like the others' recipes.

Mom's recipe is a classic tater salad laced with eggs, onions,(I'm allergic) pickles, (I don't like) relish, (Yuck) and celery seed.

Brother's recipe is stocked with onions, (I'm allergic) paprika, and every dressing and sauce in the fridge which total (at last count) 43.

Sister's recipe is spiked with onions, Ohio style chili, and caffeine free Diet Pepsi. (No comment for that one)

Middle-aged fat woman's recipe is a meat-and-potatoes kind of dish. It only has a few ingredients, none of which are listed above, except eggs.

I subscribe to several upscale magazines and had seen a new recipe for Summer Potato Salad. Well, I thought la-dee-da, I'll just have to give this new tater salad a shot. The new recipe called for fancy bleu cheese crumbles, 3 tablespoons of coarse salt, red wine vinegar and freshly chopped chives.

What a disaster.

Of course, all of the stores were closed for the holiday, so, I had to stop at a convenience store to pick up those unusual ingredients, none of which they had.

I got to Mom's house and began to assemble the Summer Potato Salad. (She had already cooked the potatoes) We poured 3 tablespoons of Morton salt into the bowl. We added wild onion stems pulled directly from the front yard. Lastly, we poured blue cheese salad dressing into some cottage cheese to get the crumble effect. We had all of the other ingredients so we added them in as well.

Mom looked at me and I looked at her, "You ready to taste it?"

In went the spoons, out came a gag and a bleccckkk, she spit hers out and my eyes teared up. It was awful. Just awful. Brother came in and gave it a taste, "That tastes like @%X*^!#," he said, then threw down his spoon in disgust and stomped out of the kitchen. Sister wasn't in town for this holiday, but her daughter was. I looked over at her with spoon in hand and she said, "I'm allergic to tater salad." (Smart kid)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Parades

I missed the Fourth of July parade again this year, but just barely. I wanted to go, but I have this thing about parades. They scare me a little and usually make me cry. I was in the marching band in high school so I got to march in several parades a year. I don't think they bothered me then because I was in the parade and didn't have to watch. From the tenth grade on I marched in the very front row on the left-hand side. I played a large brass instrument and it was a lot of fun. Maybe, it was from watching all of those Thanksgiving parades on TV that made me nervous around parades. All of those large inflated creatures that if there was just one wrong misstep could send their handlers floating off somewhere over the rainbow.

As I drove into town yesterday, tractor pulled floats with balloons flapping in the breeze, pickup trucks with 'Vote-for-so-and-so' and gleaming red firetrucks passed me coming the other way. When I reached the center of town it looked like someone had set a bomb off(wonder if they had a permit?). Trash everywhere. Families were still milling around town clinging to their children's hands to keep them from running into the street to salvage any leftover thrown candy. I saw one child dart out into traffic, hit a pile of manure(EEWWW) left by a horse in the parade, pick up a piece of candy and slide across the road into the waiting arms of a very shocked parent. One parade judge was receiving medical attention because one of the parade participants had thrown an exceptionally large piece of hard candy at him and boinked him on the head.(I think they got last place) I heard a little girl sobbing inconsolably because she hadn't gotten any of the candy thrown in her direction.(See a pattern here?)

As I was waiting to make a left hand turn in the center of town, I was startled when I heard something beside me go bleep, bleep. I looked at all of my mirrors and couldn't see a thing. Bleep, Bleep, BBBLLLLEEEEEEPP!! All of a sudden, six very large clowns(I'm scared of clowns too) jumped up out of the smallest motorized vehicle that I have ever seen and yelled, "Chinese Fire Drill". The light turned green but I stayed put. Clowns were running beside me, around me, one even tried to open my door(good thing I had it locked) all jumping up and waving, one tripped over his feet, one pulled a flower from his sleeve, one honked his nose at me and one handed me a balloon in the shape of a wiener dog. As the light turned back to red, they hopped back into that car, made a right turn and sped off. I had to wait for the light to turn green again and I was shocked to hear a bleep, bleep once again. I looked up and saw that little car heading my way again and thought, "I don't think so." I didn't care what color the light was, I slammed that Mustang down into first gear, hit that pile of manure, hit the emergency brake, squalled the tires, and laid down a piece of rubber that would've made Old Number 3 right proud. I left them clowns choking and gasping in my dust.

I had to stop and get gas before I left town and was alittle uneasy when a guy in a clown suit pulled up at the next pump. He smiled at me and I just kind of looked away. I heard his cell phone ring and he began to talk to someone. I had finished pumping my gas and looked backed over at the clown.(He wasn't there) As I did so, I heard a 'honk', I jumped out of my skin, turned back around and there stood the clown. "My friends just called and said you really made their day with that manuever back at the light", he said. "They want to know if you want to go to the next town and be in the parade with them?"(Sign me up)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th Of July

The scene--Any small town in a state that doesn't allow fireworks, namely Georgia.

A guy walks into his local courthouse and asks where he can get a permit. The guard sends him down to the permit office. There is a really long line and only one window open. He admits to himself that this permit thing must be a pretty good idea, 'cause everyone here seems to be getting one. After all, on July 4th, he always hears fireworks going off all over town, so, they must have a permit, right?

The man finally reaches the counter after one lunch break, and two smoke breaks and asks the lady about applying for a permit. She pulls out the forms and said that the fee was going to be $500.00. He scratches his head and thought that that sounded like a lot of money. "Ma'am, why does it cost so much to get a permit to let off fireworks," he asked?

"Let off fireworks," she said. "Don't you know that is illegal in this state?"

The man scratched his head once again and then asked, "What are all of these people here for?"

"Sir, this is the tag office," she said.

The man, quite confused by this time, looks up and asks, "Where does the city get its permit to let off fireworks for the community each year?"

The lady, quite at a loss for words looks up and says, "Wait right here, I'm gonna go get my supervisor."

Enjoy your 4th of July wherever you are and remember this: Let the professionals shoot off the fireworks, because they have a permit. Just don't ask to see it.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Tom Cruise...Happy Birthday

I'll admit it, I think Tom Cruise is cute. From the first time he slid across the floor in his underwear to playing volleyball topless, I was hooked. Really, back in the day, who could have played Maverick better than Tom Cruise? One of the 80's brat pack? Kurt Russell, maybe? Sylvester Stallone? The Terminator? Rick Schroeder, too young? I don't think anyone could have captured the swagger, the arrogance of the walk, and Kelly McGillis for that matter, better than Tom Cruise.

Today, July 3, 2008 is his 46th birthday. He's middle-aged just like me. He looks a lot better than I do. I could never go on TV like he does because it says that it adds 10 pounds to you.(I'm vain that way) I don't even think that I want to be famous like him. I already have enough people lurking outside my house.(Dang bill collectors)

I know I'll probably never meet Tom in person. I know he'll never come over to my house and jump on me, or my couch for that matter, but a middle-aged fat woman can dream, can't she? So, Happy Birthday Tom, wherever you are and remember this: You had me from Hello!!

Fishing Elbow

I don't know if Fishing Elbow exists or not, but I have it. I cannot fully extend my left arm, so, I am using my right arm to compensate. Let's face it, I'm not a switch-hitter. I'm not Chipper Jones. (Go Braves)

I think my condition started when I went fishing with my niece. It was the first fishing trip of the year and I was a bit rusty with the cast. Have you ever tried to cast a line and forget to depress the button that lets the line go out? The result is something that sounds like PLOOMMPPPHH. Not only have you strained your arm and almost thrown yourself into the lake, you also look quite silly when you realize what just happened.(I usually look around to see if anyone saw what happened)(Someone usually has)

I think the condition was aggravated even further when I went fishing on vacation. I was fishing from the pier which requires a heavier weight(sinker) and a more violent cast to keep the line from entangling with the pylons of the pier. You don't want to hear that Ploomph sound when you're fishing from the pier. More than likely, that weight will bounce back and hit you in the head, knock you out, or send you flying over the edge to go swimming with the sharks.

I haven't even mentioned trying to fish from the surf in a 30 mph wind. (That's another story)

All I know is my elbow hurts and is making life difficult. I am doing things(use your imagination here), unsuccessfully I might add, with my right hand that I never dreamed possible. Fishing Elbow is a real medical condition and should be studied further. I think I'll go practice being right-handed. Hey Chipper, can you help me out?"

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Rescued by Upper Management...Grocery Store Blues Cont'd

After being gone on vacation for 10 days, I decided I would have to make a trek back to the local grocery store to replenish my deleted food supply. I stepped into the pantry, which is not a good thing. First, it's under the stairs and is not very big. Second, if I am stepping into it, it means that I have recently cleaned it(highly unlikely) or, I have completely exhausted all of my edible reserves. Actually, this not such a bad thing. I only need to make one entry on my list which is "everything"(Saved some time there).

I have three weeks of Sunday paper coupons that I haven't been through and I need to clean out my expired coupons from the coupon caddy(Which is really just an old stained envelope). This takes me about two hours to do and to get myself together; so, with my coupons and my list clasped firmly within my grasp, I stride confidently out the door.(I'm not even walking down the produce aisle)

As I pulled into the parking lot, the first thing that I noticed was that the lot was fairly empty. I pulled into a space 4 places from the end near the cart return area. I could have had an end spot but I like to be near the cart return thingy. I walked inside, got my cart, and the first thing I noticed was a bunch of suits purveying the scene. I guess there must have been at least 10 of them checking out the place. As I started up and down the aisles, dodging a mother with 3 screaming kids, I noticed that the suits seemed to be following me. At this, I did a self-assessment. I didn't have any toilet paper stuck to me, my fly wasn't open, I didn't have a booger swinging, I didn't know what the deal was. They were beginning to make me nervous.

I reached the end of my list and I was disappointed because I had forgotten my pencil, I had wanted to mark off "everything" on my list. I rounded the last corner and there they stood. Suits of varying styles, levels and with the words Vice Presidents in all of their names and with one purpose in mind: Me!

What happened next was truly quite remarkable. They wanted to know if they could use me in a demonstration of how to properly check out a customer. They swept me over to my favorite aisle, which, if you remember is aisle 9. Do you have your valued customer card? (Uuhh) Do you have any coupons? (Uuhh) What made you decide to shop with us today? (Five 12 packs of Diet coke for 11 bucks. I knew the answer to that one) The suits unloaded my cart, offered me a chair, brought me a latte and proceeded to bag my groceries properly. Cold went with the cold. Bread and eggs go on last and didn't try to stuff my entire order into 3 small bags. After this feat was accomplished, the biggest suit told the workers nearby that that was how to properly check out a customer.

I walked out to the car still not quite sure what had just happened and looked at my receipt. I had spent over $248.00 on my groceries.(OMG) As I was loading my groceries into the car I noticed several of the suits coming outside loosening their ties. I was excited to have been a part of their demonstration until I heard one say to the other, "I think this new policy is going to work, keep the customer distracted so they can't look at what they have spent until they get out to the car."

Letting The Worms Go

I just recently got back from vacation and am just now getting back into the swing of things. I opened the refrigerator door to check out what was needed from the grocery store(Groan)and was met with an unusual looking container. It was a small round blue plastic container with holes punched in the lid. (Hu oh!!) It was the worm container left over from my recent fishing trip with my niece. I had thought that I had taken care of that before I left. I guess in all of the excitement in planning for the trip to the OBX, something(Do I dare?) or someone got left out.

I don't particularly have an affinity for worms. We're not on a first name basis. We don't go to the mall together. I've never been invited over for tea. We've never hidden from the paparazzi together. I didn't invite them to go see Sex and the City with me. I did take them fishing with me, but, I don't think that counts.

I opened the lid on the blue container and gave it a little shake. Nothing. It didn't smell bad, no mold or other stuff growing. I shook it again, and things started to slither.(EEWWW) My arm jerked up, I jumped back, and black dirt, worm poo and worms that had been in cold storage for ten days went flying everywhere.(OMG)(OMG) I yelled hysterically, scared the cat and sent him sliding across the linoleum. My nervous tic began ticcing. My heart was beating a mile a minute. My nerves were a little shaky. What in the world had just happened?

I gathered myself and stepped back to assess the damage. On the floor were approximately 6-7 worms in various forms of slither. Black dirt was scattered in a 5 ft radius. The blue container had rolled across the room and the lid was nowhere to be found. My cat poked his head around the corner and asked, "Uh, Whatcha gonna do now?"(What was I gonna do?) I sprung into action. I went to the pantry, got the broom and dust pan, and in the blink of an eye had swept everything back into its container.(Without touching anything)I opened the door, walked over to my garden area and dumped the worms. I let them go.

Later that day, I walked over to check out the garden area where I had let them go and I couldn't find any remnants of the dirt or the worms.(HHMMMM) As I was walking away, I thought I heard someone whisper something. I looked closer and a worm was motioning towards me, I inched closer and the worm says, "Hey, middle-aged fat woman, wanna go fishing?"

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Shortest Week

After all the planning, preparing, packing and driving I was expecting it to last longer. There are really only two ways to get to the Outer Banks or OBX for short. As the old saying goes: 'One if by land, two if by sea'. My sister and her crew comes from the north(Yankees) down from Virginia on Hwy 12 through Nags Head until she reaches Avon, NC.(I don't know if they have an Avon lady there or not.) Meanwhile, Mom is steadfast in her resolution that the only way to get there is to take the ferry. Two of them. (I'm against this) Somehow, during the two days of driving along the back roads of North Carolina relearning my multiplication tables,(I still can't remember what 11 x 11 equals) practicing my German(Nein) and wondering Why I ever liked Social Studies, (my niece's school work)she had managed to talk me into it. That's what moms do.

It's day 3 of our vacation and we had finally made it to the coast. Its later than we wanted it to be because Mom had wanted to sleep in this morning. I had succumbed to Mom's subtle pressure to go ahead and make a reservation to get on the ferry. The first two time slots were completely booked so we had to settle for the 2:00 PM crossing. Ferry crossing #1 lasts over 2 hours and the last crossing is about 45 minutes. As we reach the outskirts of Avon, the time is now 6:00 PM, we're exhausted and the middle-aged fat woman is yet to put her toes in the sand.

Day 4--Rain, rain and more rain. No sand yet.

Days 5,6 & 7--Perfect. Sun, sand, sunburns, heartburn, upset stomaches, flounder bites, swollen ankles, feet and sisters. No towels, out of toilet paper,(again) I'm bored,(go play, go read a book, go outside). Cookouts on the beach. (that's another story) Now, we're on vacation!!

Day 8--Mom tells me she wants to leave early tomorrow so we can catch the early ferry. Time to start packing.

Days 9 & 10--Another 48 hours of ferries, back roads, searching for bathrooms, and reading gas price signs ($4.39 a gallon)(Holy Crap!!) should have left me wanting to get back home as quickly as possible. (Nein, I can't wait until next year!)

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