Days (Day) Of Our (My) Lives (Life) – Best And Worst

Oh, y’all I think Tuesday was the worst day of my life.  (That might be a slight exaggeration.  The day I melted deodorant into my makeup bag was pretty bad, as was the day I had to have my car towed due to a dead starter and my neighbor, whose driveway was blocked by the tow truck for LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES, had a hissy fit about potentially being blocked in her garage for LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES on the off chance she might suddenly need to go somewhere which we all knew was ridiculous as she had, literally, just arrived home.)  (I read a lot of Faulkner in college.  You are welcome for the run on sentence.)

Tuesday morning I had the sinking realization that Seamus was missing.  I had a suspicion on Monday evening when he didn’t come galloping out from under the bed when I shook the treat bag, but occasionally he is moody and stuffs himself up inside the box springs to hide.  It isn’t unusual for him to forgo his happy part of the day (i.e. treats/peas) so that he can sulk alone.  I texted Martie about it Monday night and even she, who doesn’t like cats nary even a little bit, was worried and offered to call so that she could commiserate with me.  Tuesday morning I had to text her that it was official.  Seamus was gone.

When it hit me, I started to shake.  Seamus is older and slightly pudgy.  He’s weird and emotionally stunted.  He likes Murphy, treats and the white fuzzy blanket on my bed.  Once he sat on my legs and purred but when he realized that Murphy was nowhere to be found, he leapt off me and went under the bed.  Despite all of this, and I’ll say this at a whisper, Seamus is my favorite cat.  DO NOT TELL MURPHY. 

With tears in my eyes, I started looking under the beds and in the closets to see if maybe he had passed in the night, alone and wadded up in box spring.  I couldn’t find him anywhere and suddenly had the weird notion that maybe he had gotten outside.  I immediately rejected that.  Seamus, even when the door is open for hours on end, will stick one paw and one ear out the door, and like a kid dared to run into the cemetery, will immediately bound back into the house, all giddy and spastic as if he’d just done the scariest, bravest thing of his life.  In short, he never goes outside. With that thought, I left for work, teary-eyed and sad, still wondering where I would find his lifeless body.

Halfway out of my neighborhood, I realized I left my purse at home.  I drove back and ran in quickly to get it.  Guess who was standing outside the back door. Just guess.  That little turd had been outside gallivanting for two whole nights and when I opened the door to let him in, breath whooshing out of my lungs, he pranced around, clearly proud of himself.  I could have beat him.  I tried to hug him but he made a beeline for the food bowl so I settled for just rubbing his ears for a minute.  Since I was already late for work, I left him alone with his food and his friend.

When I arrived at work, I still had a bit of bile in my throat from the worry and then the sudden joy.  My legs were still a little shaky.  So when I happened to look down at the ground and saw that my jump drive, the jump drive that holds everything I’ve ever written over the last two years, the only jump drive that I own and the only place where my writings are stored, was mangled under the tire of a car, wet and covered in dirt, I started to cry.  I know I should have backed all that up.  I know that.  You won’t yell at me any louder or more harshly than I already did myself.  How it got from the bottom of my purse to the bottom of a tire on someone’s gigantic four door jeep is beyond me.  I just know what when I picked it up the mangled metal fell apart in my hands and I was devastated.  No way could I recreate all that work.  No way.

I dusted it off and took a look at it through my watery eyes.  The end that plugs into the computer looked okay and once I blew the dirt out of it, I stuck it into my laptop with my hopes lunging up and down.  I waited.  Then waited. Then waited some more.  It was nauseating.  After an eternity, the window for the drive opened giving me access to all my files.  They were all there and every single one of them opened. I immediately wobbled my way back to Katniss and said in a hoarse whisper “Give me a jump drive.  Now.”  She saw the look of panic in my eyes and handed over her brand new one.  I wobbled back to my desk and did the drag and drop into to the new device.  Then I ordered two more drives from Office Depot, one for me and one for her.  I’ll repeat the process again when it comes in, and then hide one away in a safe place and the other will be stuck in my bra at all times. 

Talk about a roller coaster.  Tuesday sucked.  And then Tuesday was glorious.  Best and Worst, all in 24 hours.  That was a lot for one day.  I need a drink.

Oh, BTW, this was Seamus when I got home last night.  I love that stupid cat. 

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A Trip To Tampa, Part One

So I went to Tampa.  I didn’t get a tan.  This should not surprise you.

This also should not surprise you.  I met some strangers.  Woney flew out to meet me there, but other than her, I knew nary a one of these people I was to hang out with for three days.  I am an excellent judge of character when I get to know you over email and/or Facebook.  I totally know the difference between someone who says “I promise not to steal your big sexy hair products and to leave your virtue intact” and someone who says “I am in Nicaragua with my mum who is sick.  I am sad.  I love you, please wire money.”  What I’m saying is you do not have to worry about me meeting strangers and picking roommates from Craigslist.

There’s a lot to discuss about this trip so I’m going to have to do this in parts.  It’s a lot to process. Plus I had a tasty beverage or two  while there and so some things are fuzzy.  I’m such a lightweight.

The flight out was lovely.  Fairly uneventful.  Crowded.  The flight attendant in my section of the plane was a nice man, although a bit of an Eeyore.  I usually fly Southwest and if I’m lucky I’ll get a flight crew full of fun.  I like the ones who sing, tell stories, and generally put some pizazz in the safety messages.  This flight attendant was nothing like that.  Following is the conversation he had with me and my seatmates.

Flight attendant, clutching his drink order pad, to those of us in my aisle:  What would you like to drink?

Seatmate1: Ginger ale.

Flight attendant:  You said Diet Coke?

Seatmate 1:  No, ginger ale.

Seatmate 2:  I’ll have a Diet Coke, please.

Me:  Do you have diet ginger ale?

Flight attendant:  No, we have Diet Coke.

Me:  I’ll have water.

Time passed.  We ate peanuts.  We waited.

Flight attendant, clutching his drink tray, to Seatmate 1:  Here’s your Diet Coke. 

Seatmate 1:  I ordered ginger ale.

Flight attendant:  I wrote down Diet Coke.

Seatmate 1:  I’d prefer a ginger ale.

Flight attendant: <heavy sigh>

Flight attendant to seatmate 2:  Here’s your Diet Coke.

Flight attendant to me:  Here’s your Diet Coke.

I opened my mouth to say, “No, I ordered water” but I saw his face, his Eeyore countenance, and the sigh that was coming, so I took the Diet Coke and clutched it in my hand until the garbage bag came around.

Then I arrived in Tampa and met some strangers and had the time of my life.

And then I had a flight home.  Boy, it was a doozy.  The flight itself was fine, no worries there, I’m alive.  But Woney and I ran into something interesting as we arrived at the airport.  We saw loads of people wearing black and bright green clothing and on all that black and bright green clothing was a green sparkly logo.  Now I’m a big fan of all thing sparkly, of course, so I was instantly captivated until I realized that the logo didn’t really say anything.  Then I caught on.   Ohhhhhh.  Stare at the logo, ask a question about it and immediately get sucked into a sales pitch.  I hate that!  Even though my eyes were drawn to the shiny, I walked quickly and firmly away from all those people.   It was a chore, let me tell you.  They were EVERYWHERE. 

I handled the walking away marvelously until I walked the gangplank to get to my plane.  There, in the bouncy walking tube, I was accosted by a husband and wife team as I began the slow crawl to get to the plane.  She was decked out literally from head to toe in her bright green and he even had his sparkly logo on a baseball jersey.  Die hards.  They were all up in my personal space, yapping at me about their product*, handing me crap that I clutched in my sweaty paw until the flight attendant came by with the garbage bag.  They wanted my contact info, etc., etc. and I politely declined as I boarded the plane, grabbing the first seat I could find in relief to be away from the vultures. 

I sat down with a whoosh in aisle two and do you know I sat right next to another one of those varmints?  She tricked me.  She had on a regular old black jacket over her sparkly green logo and only unzipped it after I sat down.  I just sighed and took the information, clutching  it in my hand until the flight attendant came by for garbage pickup.  I hate that mess.  If you are going to sell something and turn into your product, losing all your former personality and charm, go away from me.  I do not want what you are selling.

Oh, and speaking of flight attendants and charm, on this flight I had a Ricky Martin-type guy who was adorable.  He rattled off his safety spiel and suddenly, right in the middle of it, said “If you have any questions, please find a flight attendant.  Unless they are naked.  Never trust the naked ones.”  And then he went right on about his business.

So I’ve given you the bookend information on my trip.  There’s more to come.  I just have to get over my lazy haze that I got when I was down there so that I can write it all up for you. 

*I’m not going to tell you what the product was because they annoyed me.  It isn’t a product you want anyway unless you like people eyeing you critically and giving you low self-esteem with their suggestions about how they can fix you.  I like you guys too much to subject you to that.

 

Home, Part 3

I recently went home again for another holiday, to the place where I grew up.  I took another series of photos for you, this time at the grocery store.  Martie, JiJi and I went to the local market one day to pick up a few items we needed to make dinner one night.  Each of us had a different reaction to the store so I thought I should share.

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JiJi has been married to Daddy-O for 35 years now.  Right about 34 and half a years ago, Daddy-O took over the cooking duties for the household.  I think he fancies himself an Emeril, honestly, as he likes to assemble all the cooking items for the nightly meal into separate bowls, even down to the salt and pepper.  He is quite particular about which ingredients he uses and the expiration dates of those items, thus he goes to the store a lot.  Combine that with his propensity for ADD-like behavior, i.e. inability to sit still, and JiJi has not been to the grocery store in YEARS.  There is no reason for her to go.  Daddy-O takes care of every item on their list, daily.  The moment we walked into the store, JiJi’s eyes lit up.  She looked in wonder at the potato chips, the pickles, the canned goods.  She slowly drifted down each aisle and just touched things.  She looked at ingredients and sighed over all the choices of things in the store.  It was a wonderland for her.

Martie’s reaction was the complete opposite.  She was used to this grocery store.  She fairly zipped down every aisle, grabbing things in her haste.  It took her 3 minutes and 45 seconds to whip everything she needed into her buggy and then she waited for us as the front of the store, bags in hand, foot tapping.   

And then there was my reaction.  This grocery store was the grocery store of my childhood.  Oh, there were so many memories for me.  Here’s my  photo collection of things that moved me: 

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There’s more shelf space dedicated to this product than any other item in the store.  Have you never had a Sun-Drop?  Go immediately and get one. It will kill your liver, but there’s nothing like it.

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Assorted items for your family bar-b-que.

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Rooster livers.  As opposed to plain old chicken livers.  I have no idea.

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Fresh, right?

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Lobster tails and frog legs, all in one case.  What more could you want?

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My favorite part of the store, when I was a kid and now.

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Probably the biggest surprise in the store.  I had no idea things had progressed so rapidly.

Don’t you just love nostalgia?  It’s one of my favorite things. 

I Am Beautiful

There is a number by which I define myself. It isn’t a pretty number. There is no symmetry to it, nor does it have any symbolic meaning.  It does have power, though.  Every time I step on the scale, the number that I read determines the type of day I am going to have.  Not only does it make or break my day, it also is the number I use to set my value.  I allow that number to dictate every part of my life.  I think my friends will like me better the smaller that number is.  I will bring more value to the company for which I work if that number never reaches certain digits.  I become less worthy every time that number rises. 

There is a second number by which I define myself.  This one is much smaller yet again, there is no beauty or symmetry or meaning in that number.  It does have power, though.  I look at the tag in the back of my jeans to determine if I will have a date in the near future.   I look at that tag to get a read on how people feel about me.  That tag can make or break a smile in an instant.  That tag is hated or loved based on what it says, and in turn, when I hate the tag, I’m not overly fond of myself.  When I love the tag, suddenly I am beautiful and confident and worth something.

Often, I am surprised when I am invited out by friends and the reason is that they just want the pleasure of my company.  It catches me off guard nearly every time.  It’s like perma-surprise.  I offer to bring cookies or a blanket or something, and marvel when they say, “No, just you.  We like you.” 

I look in the mirror to fix my eyes and my hair.  I check to make sure that everything is where is supposed to be.  Then I spend some time wishing my skin weren’t so pink and that my eyes were only one color.  I lament my nose and the imperfections that arrive on my face with every year that passes.  I see the weight I carry and wish it would visit other areas of my body.  I wish it would stop loving me so much and just go away already.  I see tall, taller than the average woman, and alone in my bathroom I am okay.  But stand me next to a petite woman and suddenly I am Amazon. 

Why am I so focused on myself anyway?  The measure of my heart cannot be found in a number.  Neither can my kindness or my intelligence or my affection or my talent.  Why is it that I struggle to see myself outside of the measure of a scale? Why can I not just be who I am without the angst of wanting less of me or a prettier me or a different me than me? 

I’m working on that.  I’ve been working on that for a while now.  A good friend of mine and I were talking about resolutions.  It was months ago so please understand this is not prompted by a need to fill space around the holiday or beat the subject of New Year’s Resolutions to death.  Anyway, she said that a few years ago she decided to make no more resolutions but that she would simply live a life she believed in. A life she believed in.  Instantly I was captivated.  What did I believe in?  How could I live my life that way?

I made a list.  My list is not complete, I don’t think, but I have a good idea of what motivates me and what I want out of this life. The piece of that I’ll share with you today is this:  I believe that I am beautiful.  I believe that beauty is determined by many things outside of perfect skin and excellent measurements and bleached teeth and I believe that I possess those beautiful qualities.  I measure myself by my heart and my Spirit and my love, not by my numbers.  This is probably the biggest struggle of my life yet I will conquer it.  I am conquering it.  I have conquered it.

I am beautiful, and that is enough for today.   

 

Once Again, A Story About My Hair

Martie and I have an arrangement.  We have for years, ever since she decided to attend cosmetology school the day she graduated from college.  She would learn how to make hair look fabulous and I would let her practice on me.  In essence, I am her guinea pig.  And now that she is advanced in her career it is no longer called “practice” but “experimentation”.

Over the course of her career, I have been a blonde, a brunette, a redhead, a redhead with blonde chunks, a blonde with orange stripes, a blonde with brown chunks, and finally a blonde with red streaks.  I’ve also worn a glitter tattoo, fake eyelashes so long that I couldn’t even wear my glasses, and a feather in my hair.  Every new trend that comes along will be tried on my hair unless it interferes with my professional career which sadly eliminates the ombre in violet tones (I would rock that in a heartbeat), the beehive (this disappoints me like you would not believe), and the dip-dye (I’m not entirely sure what this is but I’m pretty sure I desperately want it). 

More than once over the years Boss asked “What have you done to your hair?” Once I determined that my new hair wouldn’t get me fired, I dismissed him.  Lynnette, on the other hand, has asked more than once over the years “Ooh, what have you done to your hair?”  Once I determine that she likes it, we discuss it at length. 

So back to our agreement, Martie and me.  Every month I give her a date night with her bohunk, Coach, and every time I need new hair, she does it for free.  Win/win.  This weekend was a win/win for both of us as she and Coach needed their alone time and I needed my roots done before my pending trip to Tampa.  I also needed to see my nieces so maybe win/win/win?  Oh, did I tell you about Tampa?  I’m going to Tampa. I won’t get a tan, as per usual, but I do plan on having fun.

So I was in the beauty shop “helping” her mix my color this weekend.  She had already wound my hair up into chunks and cut the foil and draped the cape over me.  We trotted off to the back where she got out the chemicals and started mixing.  Right in the middle of the mixing she said, “Oh shit.”  Being the curious type and also the type that defines herself by her hair, I hollered, “What! Oh crap, what!  What did you do?” And she said something in Swahili about mixing one developer with another something or other and basically she was pretty sure it was going to work but it had never been tried because these things had never been mixed before and then she slapped it on the roots of my hair and wadded it up in foil and stuck me under the dryer.  I heard her say to one of the other girls in the shop, “At least it’s just Jimmie” and they all nodded in agreement.

I wasn’t really worried.  Not really.  I trust Martie completely and truthfully, I am her best advertising.  I knew she wouldn’t let anything happen to my hair.  But I still had a moment of trepidation when she took the foil off.  I always have a secret fear, a very small one mind you, that she will take the foil off and my hair will come with it.  This day was no different.  The cursing beforehand probably didn’t help.  BUT!  She took the foil off and whacked my hair off into a fashionable cut and put some fancy-smelling hair goo in it and dried into the perfect coif.  And then said, “Viola!  I knew that would work.”  It was then that my stomach stopped quivering. 

Man, she’s so smart.  See why I trust her? 

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Also, as a bonus for you because I’ve been gone so long, here is the picture I promised of me and Pooh.  I took it over Christmas after I hugged her tight for a while.  I love that girl. 

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I Remain Unchanged

Yesterday was my yearly Doctor Appointment. You know, The Doctor. The Cookie One. The One I Hate. If you are new to me, think about it for a minute. You will figure it out.

I think everyone is always a little hopeful that time will grow me up, that I will no longer act like a two-year-old throwing a hissy fit in the toy aisle at Target when I go to The Doctor. No one is more hopeful than me, though. Every year I gird my loins, so to speak, giving myself pep talks and practicing some deep breathing and also praying. This year I was so hopeful that I did my makeup before stepping foot into that office. Used to I’d cry it all off and have to redo it so I learned that perhaps it was best if I just waited until after my appointment before glamming up my eyelashes. Not this year! This year I caked all that mess on and then drove on over for my appointment.

Want to have a recap of that visit with me? Let’s do this.

Did I unsuccessfully attempt to pee into a cup? Check.

Did I get huffy at the scale when forced to weigh in? Check.

Did I snap “Why in the world does that matter?” when the nurse asked if I was single, married or divorced? Check.

Did they give me a paper towel to wear? Check.

Did I lick the edges of the paper towel and stick it to myself in order to get maximum coverage? Check.

Did they measure my blood pressure? Check.

Did they have to re-measure my blood pressure after the exam to see if it came down to a non-near-death level? Check.

Did I use half a box of Kleenex for my snotty nose and watery eyes? Check.

Did I curse at The Doctor? Check.

Did I call someone a liar? Check.

Did I call another someone a liar? Check.

Did I mouth off to the scheduler and also call her a liar because upon making my appointment she told me that all doctors come in no earlier than nine, that it was the earliest appointment available, yet I could clearly see on the sign in sheet that my physician had been taking appointments since eight that morning? Check.

Did I go to work looking like bees stung my eyeballs? Check.

Katniss, my work friend, sent me a message today after witnessing my swole up eyeballs and beet red complexion and also my crappy attitude that read: I am so glad I am your friend and not your doctor. She has a point. I never cuss my friends like that.

So what did we learn here? That I am rock steady, never changing? You can count on me to be consistent? Check.