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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

This was not the first time I had roamed a parking lot seized with fear that my missing car was stolen, but not for over half an hour. I called my son Jason.

“Why are you calling me? If your car is stolen you should be calling the police. WAIT! Are you sure where you left it?”

“Yes, in front of World Market, pulled all the way through so I wouldn’t have to back out—just as AARP Safety Course teaches. After I left there I walked to Marshall’s, Ross, Sally’s, and SteinMart.”

“Are you sure it’s not there? Go look again and call me back. I’m on my way.”

I had scanned every car in front of World Market twice and none were mine, but I looked again. My stomach growled. Nothing since a 250 calorie breakfast and it was going on six o’clock. I gnawed open the pack of cheese sticks from SteinMart as I made the rounds again. My fingers turned yellow.

I went back in the store and asked for the manager. He had heard of no car thefts in that shopping center, but he called Sanford P.O.’s non-emergency line for me. Handed me his phone. They want a description, make, color etc. I relayed all that, telling them to look for the big “Who are you calling a Sea Cow?” manatee sticker on the back windshield. There are scads of gold Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs in the area. She wanted to know if I’m behind on my payments. Told me it may have been repossessed. No! Paid for long ago. Then she asks for my license number. I dug it out knowing I’m in trouble. In normal circumstances I get Alphabet Tourette’s Syndrome, but with my car being in who knows what chop shop the affliction threatened to hit double time. Thank God I had no Fs, Ps or Ss in my tag number.

“We are sending a patrol car over.”

The next call is from a male officer. “What are you wearing?” In my agitated state, it took a minute to realize he only wanted to recognize me.

“ORANGE, a bright orange sweater!” There must have been a reason I pulled out a top I haven’t worn in a year from of a drawer this afternoon. Maybe I was grasping for comfort, but maybe someone was looking out for me. It gets a little woo woo here, but I swear I thought of how perfect orange would be to identify me that morning while slipping it on, but flicked that thought aside.

I stood out front with the setting sun angled right in my face. Sweat beaded on my upper lip. A patrol car pulled in front—and whizzed right by me! Then another pulled to the curb, stopped, and rolled his window down a tad, teasing me with a small stream of cool air while he asked all the same questions. He said they had four patrol cars looking for my car. FOUR! That must mean there had been problems around there. He finally offered to let me get in and ride around with him to look for it. I slid onto the cool, vinyl seat and directed the cold air vent to my face.

“Where did you go first after leaving World Market?”

“Marshall’s.”

“And you didn’t drive down there?”

“No,” I pointed to my fitness band, “I was trying to get steps in for today.”

We had driven down only two rows when his police radio crackled. A woman’s voice said, “I found it.”

“She found it? And the thief? Where?” I hoped it hadn’t been wrecked or used in a crime and impounded. He cut his eyes at me.

He drove a little farther and stopped in front of Marshall’s near another patrol car. To our left was my stolen car.

“I’m so embarrassed—but happy—but embarrassed.” I stammered as I got jumped out of his car clutching my keys.

What was I to do but play the elderly card? I was so certain I hadn’t moved my car hoping to get in more steps today. Well, I did get a mile and a half in at that shopping center. He and the lady cop were very gracious, but were definitely stiffling a snicker.

A big shoutout to Sanford, Florida’s courteous, helpful police force, but I hope to never see them again. There is something to be said for traveling by Uber.

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Should I go or should I stay? Powerful Cat 5 Hurricane Irma was headed for Florida. All of Florida. No small one was this. If I stayed, the fifty year old Laurel oak might fall across the house, crushing my bed first and then the central bathroom where my son Jason and I would hunker down. If I chose go it would be to my son’s gun shop. Sturdy block building with no large trees as far as the eye could see, only acres of field across the street. It had a sturdy, enclosed stairwell and interior rooms under the stairs and was pet friendly. As much as I hated to pack up and leave, the choice was clear.

 

Curfew was Sunday, September 10, 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday. Twenty-three hours. My son said the shop’s power had never gone out in a storm, so we would have small fridge, air conditioning, microwave, lights, TV and room for his Bichon Frise Bolt and my Persian mix Emma to roam. What a set up.

 

Emma immediately found a hiding spot. She would find two more before the ordeal was over, each more difficult to find than the last, each taking a toll on my knees. Bolt was used to hanging out at the shop, so was right at home.

 

We realized one negative to our safe spot going in; thieves frequently braved hurricanes to rob one type business—gun shops. But we had a good security system, electricity to power it, with battery backup.  Also, more than a few guns. As a matter of fact, I even brought my personal S&W. I never sleep without it. Coals to Newcastle, you might think, but safety depends on being comfortable with your weapon in an emergency. Let’s just say, my son was well armed, too.

 

Without the usual sound of exploding transformer or flicker warning, the power went out like fingers dousing a candle wick about 10:00 p.m. Irma continued her wobbly two-step across the state, defying predictions and veering east, with the dirty side of the eye now headed for Orlando. We had plenty of flashlights, battery radios and continued following the approaching storm until the wee hours, Jason in his recliner, me on the leather love seat.

 

“What’s that red light on the box on the wall?” It was straight above my toes.

 

Jason didn’t have to turn around. “It tells me the backup battery is not working on the security system.”

 

“A gang of six have broken into Academy Sports and stole guns,” the radio’s timing was uncanny. Shortly they reported an independent gun shop in Daytona was robbed. All six thugs at Academy had been arrested, but not the latest bunch.

 

Wait a minute! Why did I turn down an offer from a dear Facebook friend to be picked up the day before the storm and whisked out of Florida in a Phenom 300 private jet? I don’t remember ever being as touched by a genuine gesture. With wind whistling outside, shaking the building, and water creeping in at the edges of the carpet, I wondered if I was also touched in the head. No. Decision made. Live with it, the operative word being live.

 

Out front the field looked like blowing ocean waves, an ocean that came right up to our front door. Jason tried to open the back, steel door at one point to check on the storm. With video I recorded his struggle to open it a foot and hold it open a few minutes. If you’ve seen weather guys taking a beating in the storm you know what it looked and sounded like. Wind showing its power against the door, rain pellets spraying his face. Grunting. Sorry, I had to laugh.

 

We weren’t very sleepy, though it was after midnight. As a matter of fact, we slept only one hour that night, from about 2:30 to 3:30 a.m. We woke to more banging outside as wind whipped small twigs and branches against the building, and vibrated it more than a few times. The radio hosts were sounding jovial and relaxed as if the worst of the storm had passed. It had where they were, and was exiting our area. We had slept through it.

 

Energy levels shot up and hunger chimed in. At 4:00 in the morning I peeled and ate a boiled egg and had a smoothie. Most delicious dinner/breakfast combination ever.

 

Jason fell back asleep near dawn and I tried, but all I wanted to do was check on my home. No way were we waiting until 6:00 p.m. We didn’t have to, the curfew was lifted at 11:00 a.m. A few more winks for Jason and too much time packing up and finding Emma and we pulled out onto a clear, wind dried road about 2:00 p.m. Grass in the field across the street blew in waves.

 

In the fourth grade, I rounded the corner after school to find my house burned to the ground. The feeling I got then returned as we crept into the neighborhood. No damage from the front. A quick survey showed none from the back. We’d have to run the generator for five days, but our window AC would cool us, and food would be safe in the fridge. We could even run the TV and a few lights. The air smelled of fresh cut wood and the earth after a summer shower. Neighbors all down the streets were already stacking mounds of limbs and sawn logs along the curb. In a few days our lawn boy would have ours cleared and mowed. Like it never even happened. But it had, and like all the other storms we survived in 41 years, we learned more lessons, sharpened our survival skills and would be even more ready for the next one. And there would be a next one. It’s the price of living in paradise.

 

 

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Now I get it! My real connection to Steve Martin’s first movie, The Jerk.

So this was me today on a short shopping trip with a specific list. Checked first two off at grocery store, one at gas station. Good job. One item to go. On to Petco where rumor has it they carry safflower seed for wild birds. They did! And that was all I needed. That’s all—“except this catnip toy.”

So there I am an hour later walking through World Market, which happened to be right next door to Petco, saying, “This is all I need, this phony French wall clock — and this pack of brown rice. And that’s all I need. Oh, and this can of stuffed grape leaves, and that’s all I need. Oh, and this tea diffuser. Yes, that’s all I need.”

To my credit I wasn’t wearing a bath robe and shuffling along with my pants at my ankles. Image

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It’s All Good

My day started with the rat a tat tat of roofers at the house behind my fence, about thirty feet from my bedroom. But that’s OK. It was nine o’clock and I really wanted to see that house repaired and lived in for the first time in years. So there was a balance of aggravation and reward. Who knew that would be the cadence of my day?

Breakfast and then off to the grocery store for prescriptions that had to be picked up today, not to mention groceries. I was ahead of my normal schedule. Looking good. Turned the key to the car and NOTHING. I mean nothing! No sound at all. Calm down. This is why I have a battery charger. Except the sound of complete silence was all I got with it attached.

Aha! This is why I have GEICO roadside assistance. An hour later a tow truck arrived. His device, looking a lot like mine, but more industrial started the car right up! I breathed a sigh of relief, but was still concerned about a bigger problem. Mine was a two month old battery. How could it do that to me? It must be defective. The tow truck guy scribbled on his pad, then nosed around my car.

“Did you recently turn on these two lights inside your car?”

“Those? No.”

“When was the last time you drove it?”

“A week ago Friday, eight days ago.”

“You sure you didn’t turn these lights on?”

“Not since I looked for a receipt about a week ago. Oh.”

But again, this was good news. My new battery might not be defective. Only the driver. To be certain I followed instructions and went to Auto Zone and had them check it out. It was charging fine by then. Bless their hearts, they had no idea when they sold me that battery they took me to raise. You see the very first day my son dropped it into his pickup bed onto a crowbar and battery acid poured everywhere. They had to come out in hazmat mode to clean it up—and give me a new battery. Now this. I’m sorry, Auto Zone.

Finally, I’m picking up my meds, which should be free or very cheap because I finally finished my deductible.

“Do I owe anything?” I asked.

“$76.00.

“What? This is what I always pay, but my deductible is behind me!”

The pharmacist was sympathetic and as bummed by insurance companies as I. There was nothing he could do. But my car had made it to the druggist and my heart would not go into overdrive without meds, so in balance, all was good.

I realized it was late afternoon by then and I had forgotten about lunch. That taste of Boars Head at the deli counter wasn’t quite enough. A little cup of pure cider was nice in produce department, but lunch was what I was missing. At the next turn was the demo lady. She was cooking meatball sandwich, soup, and mud pie. She was almost ready to serve.

“I’ll just pick up my wine in the next aisle and be right back. I’m starving, forgot to eat lunch.”

“Wine?” A waitng woman said. “Get me some.”

When I returned our demos were ready. They were generous. The three of us got into a conversation about the first time we had wine. I mentioned Boones Farm at age 30.

“Get outta here,” the other lady said, “Boones Farm was my first as a teenager.”
“Do they sell it in the U.S.?” she asked.

“They did,” I answered, “but I haven’t seen it in years. Where did you buy it?”

”Dominican Republic.”

We really wanted to uncork one of my wines to have with our lunch, but thought better of it.

“Give her an eggnog!” my new best friend told the demo lady.

So now I am swigging eggnog with a three course lunch. Not bad. All we lacked was rum.

“Oops, I forgot to announce the demo is ready,” said the demo lady.

I wondered why the three of us had time to visit.

So missing lunch seemed bad at first, but turned out to be delightful.

The bagger who took my groceries to the car would not leave until she knew the car started. If it didn’t she was prepared to put my cold items in refrigeration until I got on my way. IT STARTED. But had it not, I was covered.

Some might say I had a bad day, but no. No. I had a wonderful day. If all the negatives had not happened I would not have had the positives.

Okay, there’s one negative I haven’t balanced yet. In the mailbox waiting for me was a bill from the Toll Authority for two missed tolls for “someone” driving my car. I check the date. I insisted Jason drive my car to his oncology appointment that day to save his gas. He must have forgotten I don’t have a transponder. So I, who never drives on toll roads or Interstates has a toll violation. Where’s the good in that? It’s only $4.95, and I can pay online. Without going to jail, I assume. It’s all good.

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Fall was in the air as the temperatures dropped for the first time yesterday. Bonnie, Rebecca and I headed to the country, to Biggar Antiques in Lake Alfred, Florida. A relaxing afternoon at their Halloween festival was just what we needed.

But first, we were hungry. It was after 2 p.m. and none of us had eaten lunch. A quick bite, and we’d hit the road. Quick, but charming, Bonnie and I requested, with good menu choices, no fast foods, but food fast, because the antique store would close by 5 p.m. and the shop was an hour away. Mimi’s fit the bill. We grabbed a table outside in the breeze and shade and ordered drinks from a waifish waitress with a whispering French accent. When we ordered, Rebecca asked if the French fries were good.

“I don’t know,” the waitress whispered, “I don’t eat here.”

Okay.

We made our choices and waited, and talked. Rebecca’s friends called and asked us to come over to Elephant Bar up the street and eat with them. They would have drinks waiting. It was tempting. We could see Elephant Bar from the patio where we sat, but our food would be there any minute.

At some point we realized Rebecca was now in the sun and 45 minutes had passed. We hailed the young man who showed us to our table and asked for our waitress. Shortly she, silently appeared with her order pad.

“Hello, what I can get for you?”

“How about the food we ordered 45 minutes ago?” Bonnie said.

The waif in black whispered something unintelligible and smiled.

“No, forget it. We are leaving. We have to be somewhere,” Rebecca said as we gathered our things and got up. And she was suddenly gone. We go in to tell them we are leaving and someone came out of the kitchen with food and asked if we wanted it to go. NO! Then she explained she was the regional manager on site for “coaching.”

“No charge, just let us bag the food for you.” Which she began to do.

Now we have only food, so stop at Albertsons’s for bottled drinks, hit I-4 and get on our way. The food is cold, and Rebecca is trying to eat and drive.

“My crotch is vibrating,” Rebecca says, and grabs her phone. Now she is eating, texting and driving. But we make it to Lake Alfred about 45 minutes before closing, having no time to enjoy the country scene after we leave I-4.

The shop is lovely as ever in the old downtown building. The gifts and antiques are tasteful and beautifully displayed. Best of all, the owner, Mrs. Biggar and her daughter-in-law Karen are there with Karen’s infant son, the one they waited ten years for. He was adorable.  We learned chaos preceded us. Mrs. Biggar had cut her arm and was bleeding badly. Karen shed her Halloween costume to take her to the hospital. They were back when we arrived and doing fine, but feeling a bit harried.

Bonnie found a LOT of stuff and I found the most beautifully crafted silver bracelet I could not leave there. Did I say their prices are unbelievably reasonable for such quality and good design whatever the product?

We decide to look for a coffee shop as we leave because that’s just what we need to relax us. We would have to hit I-4 to find one. Rebecca is talking to a friend on the phone when Bonnie points to the sky.

A “J,” she says, gazing into the sky. “E” . . . “S” . . . “U”. . . Bonnie recites as the miles tick on. Bonnie doesn’t take her eyes off the sky. Then she begins singing “Jesus Loves Me.” We join in. Rebecca’s friend on the phone asks if we have been drinking. If only.

Grandma, do you still have the tin full of buttons I used to play with when I was little?” Rebecca had her grandmother in South Dakota on the phone. Bonnie continued to watch the fading Jesus. The antique buttons in the store had brought back memories. The buttons Rebecca remembered would be waiting for her on Grandma’s demise, Grandma promised. They had a charming conversation over the next few miles.

“We’ve got to find a gas station,” Rebecca says.

“Got to be Shell or Mobile,” Bonnie said.

“Is the light about to come on?” I asked. I had missed earlier conversation due to road noise and sitting in the back.

“It’s been on since before Bonnie started seeing Jesus in the sky,” Rebecca said, “She wouldn’t pay attention to me. Now it’s almost to the end of the red.”

Jesus is fading.

I-4 is packed, no proper service station appears. I volunteer to buy gas at ANY station, but Rebecca decides we can make it to Altamonte exit. Did I mention Bonnie and I now have very queasy stomachs? We are car sick or have food poisoning from the restaurant, so a Coke and motion sickness pill (just in case) become as important as gas.

We arrived at the station on fumes, grab Cokes and head to drug store for motion sickness pills for Bonnie. A more normal feeling began to creep in our tummies after a few swigs of Coke and we made it home.

I wouldn’t take the world for my relaxing day in the country. I like the “things” in my life to have purpose or memories. Every time I look at my beautiful silver bracelet our incredible day will all come back to me and I mean “incredible” in the most literal way.

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I planned to pass on a hint about how wearing a stylish, colorful scarf gets you lots of stranger smiles–until I got home today and noticed my zipper was opened. 😦

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The alienated at Valentines Day are immediately thought to be those without partners. Right? Well, that’s only half the picture. If you don’t salivate at the word “chocolate”, you are on the outs on the biggest lovers’ day of the year. You could have a dozen  lovers lauding you with gifts, but if you aren’t into chocolate, you are just not “in.”

 I feel someone has speared me with a toothpick and held me under cascading chocolate sauce spilling over a gurgling fountain. I can’t escape the barrage of advertising and recipes, approaching Valentine’s Day. “Chocolate Crusted Sea Scallops?”P-l-e-a-s-e! Until I read today’s food section in the paper I had been craving scallops. The thought of them crusted with chocolate was enough to explode that dream.

  Vanilla people cannot escape in a country of women who fuel their energy and sex drive with chocolate. In the past, these addicts harbored a bit of guilt as they indulged in their Devil’s Food cake and Dove Bars. No more. Now they remind everyone of the health benefits to their cholesterol levels. I’m happy for them. I really am. I’m just sick of hearing about their damn CHOCOLATE.  Chew it with your calcium mixed in, rub it into your thighs, slather it on your belly. I don’t care. Just do it behind closed doors as you used to do. Some of us are so sick of chocolate we want to puke.

 I’ll just celebrate Vanillatine’s Day, thank you very much.

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