Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A "Normal" Day at Walmart

I walked out of the house with a grocery list, a bad cough, and an even worse attitude. Somehow looking like death warmed over and sounding like three pack a day smoker did not give me a break from the ever present question - "What's for supper?" Rather than argue my case I dragged myself out of my chair with an air of disbelief which was totally lost on everyone else. 

Since our town is now down to only 2 grocers and Walmart is the closest to us I decided why not make this a sporting event while I was at it. 

What happened to the friendly AARP Walmart greeters? I do not think Sam would approve of the lady on duty. She was leaning over the check out line divider chatting up her pal about the latest church gossip. Meanwhile the rest of us were left to procure our own buggies from the line of those semi attached by visible child safety straps or mysterious invisible latches that eventually released themselves after several tries. All the while the "Greeter" had yet to acknowledge our presence, much less welcome us.

The store was mad. Had I missed a holiday or an impending weather disaster? The aisle to the bread was blocked by the carts of two folks discussing the recent death of one of their spouses. By the time I got there they were discussing the funeral service. I decided I would get bread on the way out. At the meat counter I found a young lady in her teens standing there holding up two packages of beef as if she were offering them to the gods. A closer look showed she was actually only chewing gum and clueless about what she was looking at. I politely excused myself as I reached beside her and picked a beef roast - that I could identify.

After getting fresh vegetables, jam, peanut butter, chicken, pork, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and nuts, I went back to see if the bread aisle was clear and indeed it was. 

I found a checkout line and started putting my items on the counter. The cashier was friendly and did not give me the evil eye when she saw my shopping bags. When I heard the screaming of children behind me I turned to see a very harried mother. I started counting the youngsters with her and I looked twice. There were eight under the age of twelve. And one could tell from her exhaustion and their shared red hair they were all hers.

As I gathered my bags into my buggy and thanked the cashier I watched as the youngsters were raising hell and the mother had that look somewhere between exhaustion and total resignation. Perhaps my life wasn't so bad. I walked out the door by the greeter who still did not feel the need to greet, past the bench with the little lady dressed in pink who was talking to herself, right by the card table of the Church of Bethel Chapel without leaving alms for the poor in Haiti, in front of the over-sized pickup truck with the confederate flag on the back window (I was warned by the horn playing "Dixie"), and behind two red neck women arguing over whether Jeff Gordon was gay or not.

My world and welcome to it. I'm going back to bed.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Chapter 25 A Wedding So Spectacular One Could Hardly Imagine

I am hard at work on my second book. It is back from the editor and I am going through it for a thorough reading and then it will be sent to some "Fresh Eyes" for their comments.

In the mean time here is a bit of Chapter 25, A Wedding so Spectacular One Could Hardly Imagine

 . . .This mother of the bride wanted the event to be a special and memorable occasion for all. Every time she saw something in a magazine, on television, or at another wedding, I would be given the task of researching whatever the dream item of the day was. This got interesting because sometimes I had a vague description from a television show, sometimes a picture from a magazine, and the worst, the phone number of another mother of the bride. . . .
. . . . My favorite were the miniature bottles of liqueur decorated with a ribbon embellished with the bride and groom's initials that I found most amusing given this was going to be a Southern Baptist wedding.
    The most elaborate proposal was that of the ornate personalized boxes that would be placed under every guest's seat in the church. At the end of the service as the bride and groom were being presented as "Mr. and Mrs." each guest would be instructed to reach under their seat, pick up the box, and open it, releasing a butterfly creating a "romantic scene of beautiful butterflies for the bride and groom as they walked down the aisle". 
    Now in order to create this phenomenon of butterflies, a chrysalis had to be placed in each of these boxes that was at the exact age to mature and come out of its cocoon at this precise time - like within a few minutes.When it came down to it, neither the chocolates nor the liqueurs nor the butterflies made the final cut. By that time all the attention was on the invitations and the list. Those were the traditional engraved invitations. After all this was a formal wedding. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cruel Reality

Last Friday morning I flew down to Miami, met some friends who had flown into Fort Lauderdale and we drove down to Key West for a long weekend. My original plan was to leave Key West on Monday morning and travel to Miami's South Beach for several additional days of rest and relaxation.

Unfortunately, the friend I was going with to South Beach had a death in her family and at the last minute was not able to go. Therefore the South Beach leg was cancelled. Maybe I should say postponed. No doubt we will make it to South Beach for a girls' weekend yet.

All that said, Monday night, or rather Tuesday morning, about 1 am in the morning I crawled into bed after my return trip from Key West. Later that morning I awoke to one thought - reality sucks. I put the idea that instead of cleaning house and washing clothes I could be sitting at a cafe at South Beach sipping a glass of wine, out of my mind. Yesterday while I was changing linens on the bed I had the fleeting thought of the lovely art deco buildings that line the avenues of South Beach, but I quickly dashed the thought. By today, I was about over it. 

Well that was until I received a text message. I looked at my phone. Hum, that's odd I thought. The text was from USAir. When I opened it I found a status alert that my departing flight from Miami was delayed.  Needless to say this was the original flight I was on when I planned my trip to South Beach (before that itinerary was cancelled). However, all those - my plans and the flights - were changed two weeks ago. 

What an evil thing to occur. Just when I had accepted reality and was back to my humdrum life, a simple text for a moment, reminded me that reality is so overrated.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Grand Seduction, a movie review

I hope I am wrong but I doubt you will find this film in wide release. We found this at one of the smaller theaters we frequent. The Grand Seduction is actually a remake of the 2003 French-Canadian film La Grande Seduction  which I did not see. Whatever. This version is the delightful story of a tiny, very tiny, fishing village harbor in Newfoundland that has seen its economy, once based solely on fishing, dry up (so to speak). They are trying to woo an industry to save the village but are met with one major road block - they need a resident doctor. And of the 120 some residents, not one is a doctor. 

As luck would have it, in a very circuitous fashion, they find a candidate. And the story line begins - the village comes together in a mad plot to convince the doctor, by hook or crook, that he wants to stay in Tickle Cove. This story could have become a farce but instead it is a well written enjoyable comedy. The antics are hilarious and the dialogue subtle and witty. Under it all is a good story that is not as predictable as one may initially think. Instead of tiring of slow scenes, expected antics, or throw away jokes, this little film is full of warmth, charisma, and diligence. 

Tickle Cove is located in Newfoundland (where the movie was filmed as well as Labrador) and the scenery is beautiful. The cast and the setting bring an authenticity to the story. Brendan Gleeson plays Murray French, the townsman who leads the charge to entice the Dr. Paul Lewis, played by Taylor Kitsch. 

On this rare occasion I agree with the New York Times who said, "Ah, those wacky foreigners and their impossibly charming villages. . . .The latest entry in this tradition is “The Grand Seduction,” and it’s adorable." They go on to say, "Under Don McKellar’s direction, they might have you investigating the possibility of relocating to Tickle Head yourself."

I hate it when I agree with the NYT, but this time they got it right. if you can find it, the 113 minutes is well worth your time.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Three Woman Walk into a Bar

I am back. Unfortunately my travels to "far away places" are over - or at least those that were on my calendar. Now my attention is focused on the upcoming birth of our first granddaughter and a call back to reality as I continue my search for a job.

That said, this past weekend I enjoyed several days in Key West with a group of girl friends. There were seven of us and our esteemed "cruise director" had made us reservations to stay in a very nice bed and breakfast in old town. 

The B&B was large with 8 or 9 bed rooms and a wonderful shaded court yard with a pool. With the weather being around 90 with 90% humidity the pool was a wonderful respite each afternoon when we returned from our daily adventures. Somehow there was always a nice breeze in the courtyard even though it was completely closed off with a nice high white wooden fence and shaded by several large trees. 

For breakfast every morning, the inn provided an array of yogurt, cereal, toast, bagels, and the most delightful homemade cinnamon rolls. We commandeered  a table large enough for the seven of us to sit around and enjoy our breakfast including fresh coffee, diet cokes, bloody Marys and mimosas. The later two we provided for ourselves. Needless to say, I am sure we also provided much entertainment and amusement for the other guests as they "quietly" enjoyed their morning meal, juice, and coffee.

Naturally in the afternoon and after dinner, the table was our meeting place to solve all the problems of the world with bottles of Corona and hors d'oeuvres (we had picked up on the way in from the airport). Once again, the other guests gave us looks as they passed by - some of disgust and some of envy. 

 One evening three of us found a bar (not hard to do in Key West - trust me) and settled on some bar stools waiting for the others to meet us. As we sat there a gentleman next to us struck up a conversation. It was obvious he had been there for a while. He told us he have been down here all week with his girl friend but they had had some sort of "spat" and she had left him and gone home. He seemed a little confused over the issue.

He asked us the usual questions.

"Where are you from?" We responded Virginia, South Carolina, and Kentucky.

 "What brings you here? A girls weekend.

"Really, how do you know each other?"

This is when we just laughed. I said, "Well there are seven of us. I am a friend of hers [pointing to my friend sitting next to me]. And she [pointing to the third one of us] is her step daughter."


"And," I continued, "also with us is another stepdaughter. But she is by another wife, who is also with us."

I could tell he was confused. "See we have wife number one and her daughter, the daughter of wife number two who is not with us, and the current wife number three."

"So who are you?"

"Oh, I'm just a friend. And there is also another friend and the girl her son is going to marry."

"OK, let me get this straight, there are two ex-wives here?"

Here we go - who's on first. "No, we have one ex and the current one."

"And, you all get along?"


Just a little later the rest of the crew joined us. We noticed that our "friend" had left. Maybe he figured when he heard our story he had had enough to drink. But it was the truth. Come to think of it, if the folks back at the B&B thought our merriment, conversation, and repast was quite interesting, I wonder what they would think if they knew what our story was. Looking at the time we were having, no doubt they would assume we made it up.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Opossums, Wrens, and Ivy

If one ever thinks their life is average, humdrum, boring - thank your lucky stars. You could live in my world. I do not think God intended for there to be so much excitement and dysfunction in one household. We don't deserve it. As a hospitable southerner I feel like this wealth of confusion and calamity should be spread about.

A good example occurred this morning. I have had two small flight cages in my office as quarantine quarters for finches I recently purchased. They (who know best) say that new birds should be kept separate from your mixed flock for at least 42 days to ensure that they are healthy and are no likely to transmit any diseases to the other birds. As of this morning, 2 of these "new" birds had been here for 4 weeks and 1 for only 2 weeks. Naturally, my DH announced that it was time that they be transferred into the large flight cage. His theory was they were stressed being in smaller quarters.

Wanting my office back and my desk clear of flying seed, I thought it was a pretty good idea myself. So I carefully captured each finch and moved them into the larger flight cage. Of course that meant I needed to thoroughly clean the 2 smaller cages and prepare them to be stored. After taking down all the lights and heaters, removing all the water and food bowls, cleaning and wiping down each cage separately, I took the cages into the den for my DH to fold them up. 

Meanwhile I went to the garage and got the original boxes the cages came in. We could return them to the boxes, keeping all the parts, bowls, trays, and perches together when they were stored in the garage. Of course this would deny us the usual chaos of trying to locate the various and sundry parts when we next need the cages. Our MO is to always make sure that (a) at least 1 part is not put with the rest when it is stored and (b) to store the item in a place we would never think to look. 

I took the folded cages and trays and carefully slid them into the long thin boxes. My DH offered to tape them up and store them in the garage. Meanwhile I went back to my office to clean it up for the first time in a month and actually have enough room on the floor to walk around without negotiating around cartons, boxes, and bags. 

I heard my DH call from the den, "Did you look in this box when you put the cage in it?"

"No. Everything fit and I don't think we were missing any parts that we left in the box from the initial set-up."

"Well, no, but you may want to come see this."

I went into the den where my DH had pulled one of the cages half way out and was shining a flash light into the box. When I followed the light, I saw two black eyes of a baby opossum staring at me from the bottom of the box who  ha apparently crawled in the box for a nap.  I failed to notice him (or her) when I picked the box up and put the cage in it. The amazing thing was I didn't smush the opossum when I slid the cage in the box since it was a tight fit.

My point is, I came home months ago to find a wren's nest in my sweaters, there was ivy growing in one of our front windows, and now we have a opossum in our den.  I am worried about the sterling silver being polished and the beds made up. Either I am living in a parallel universe or all this dysfunction has sent me into survival mode. It is not like the church ladies are going to drop by for tea. I don't have to worry about that, there is a tree growing out of the front stoop so they could not get to the front door if they tried.