Photo Dump

Man, what a lazy cow I have been lately! I had all these intentions for writing excellent stuff, really scintillating material that would wow you, and then Madre and I took a vacation.  Since we have returned I’ve read eight nine books (finished another last night).  I’m guessing that lazing around in a hammock chair for six days really did me a lot of good as far as relaxing me but it also put some kind of lazy haze on me and I can’t seem to snap out of it.  Oof.

Anyway, I was scrolling through the photos on my phone the other day because somehow I have used up most of my storage and I can’t figure out why. I play no games.  I have maybe four songs I listen to on a rotation.  I don’t Facebook anymore, and I’ve posted seven pictures to Instagram.  I wanted to see if I could delete anything, maybe some pictures of some meals I already blogged about here or an accidental 3-minute video of my floor covered in cat fur, and it so happens that I found about 62 pictures similar to this:

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Pooh

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Tigger

Turns out if you give your phone password to your nieces and then leave them in the same room with said phone, they take liberties. I miss those children.

I’m not one to really miss people. I enjoy you when I have you and I look forward to seeing you, but I’m not going to miss you, not really.  But Madre and I flew down to Key West with Pooh and Tigger a few weeks ago to deliver them to Aunties Anne and Susanne for a three-week European trip, and I MISS them.

(Also, do you like how I casually just threw “Key West” and “Europe” in there? Very blasé, like this happens to us all the time.  These kids are in EUROPE!  And Madre and I were in KEY WEST!)

(To be fair, I suppose Key West isn’t really that big of a deal because we do have open access to the aunties’ house any time we want to go plus it’s hotter than is healthy or fun for any human down there. I do believe it is currently too hot for even the iguanas and that is saying something.)

The girls come back home tomorrow. I am beyond ready.  Their parents are frantically beyond ready which is really the only word I can think of to describe what it must feel like to be a parent of children that you miss more than I do.

In honor of their return, and in honor of them in general, I’ll share this picture and then tell you the story of how it came to be.

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About a year ago I headed down to their house for my monthly babysitting gig, although babysitting sounds very juvenile for two girls who are already shaving their legs. Let’s say that I headed down for my monthly hangout with some preteens and we decided to go on an adventure.  We set off for the woods, in the fall where we were certain to not run into any ticks, and kicked rocks along the dirt road as we walked.  After a few good kicks, Pooh kicked a clod of dirt off of something round and sort of smooth and suddenly we were on the ground digging at it with rocks and twigs trying to see what it was.  I had to scurry back to the house for a shovel with which to dig it up and only after quite a lot of work did we discover that tortoise shell.

Pooh said, “I knew it! I knew something exciting would happen today!” We unearthed it, liquid dead turtle poured out in a chunky, vile-smelling stream, and suddenly it seemed less exciting.  I was not one to crush the excited hopes of a preteenager, though, so I excitedly placed the shell in the scoop of the shovel and excitedly carried it hobo-style back home. We placed it on the rail of the porch for the parents to exclaim over upon their return which they did with hands clasped over their noses and faint traces of nausea on their faces.

I think what I really want to focus on here is the hopes and dreams of these girls, the exciting opportunities available to them. I’m such a selfish person, or maybe an indulgent person, and while I want good things for everyone, truly, it is very hard to be as enthusiastic about your hopes and dreams as I am about my own.  I think that is human.  These children have forced me to be different.  They have forced me to face the fact that I am not the most important person to me anymore, the spinster, the person who gives herself everything she wants because it is clear that no one else will. Now that indulgent person wants every good thing I ever had or never had to be theirs, whether it be a stinky tortoise shell or a trip to Europe or a boy to just stand in front of the girl and say he really, really likes her.  I want them to have it all.  I’ve never felt so selflessly about anyone in my life.

Perhaps I will have stories to tell about their adventures when they return.  I hope I hear them all.

To sign off, I’ll deliver more of my photo dump to you so that I can delete this mess off my phone and save more room for teenaged selfies.

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Jimmie and Pooh

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Tigger and Jimmie

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Groundhog who actually posed for this photo

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And then turned the other way for another shot.  Not joking.

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Seamus, just because

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Oh, Mexico. How I Love Thee.

I joined a new gym. Every three years or so I tell you that, I know, and yet my body stays in roughly the same shape despite all the money I pay out monthly for the privilege of walking miles and miles to nowhere.

Like 90% of the rest of America, I have jumped on the Planet Fitness bandwagon. How do you argue with a $10 monthly gym membership cost? I’ll tell you how – you show me the hydromassage bed and explain that the only way I get to use it is by paying $20 a month. You also show me the free tote bag I get for $20 a month. I feel the same passion for tote bags as I feel for hoodies, so $20 seemed reasonable when I perused the list of all the goodies I got for it, a list which also includes unlimited use of purple treadmills and stair climbers.

As per usual, I did not embark on this venture alone. No siree. Daisy got her arm twisted to get her own $20 a month free tote bag and use of the hydromassage beds and purple treadmill, and boy, I’ll bet she’s happy about that.

“Can you show me how to use that machine?”, I ask the stranger on the ab roller while Daisy hides behind the leg press.

“It smells like feet in here,” I say loudly so that the man next to me who smells like feet hears me as Daisy tries to climb off the elliptical and flee.

I query when the candy bucket is empty, “are there any Tootsie Rolls back there?” (Truthfully, that was Daisy. But I’d have asked it if she hadn’t.)

“This sucks. I’m tired. How much longer are we going to stay on this treadmill? This is BORING.” I like to ask that right in the middle of a HIIT workout. I mean, between the huffs and puffs as I check my heart rate on the downside of the interval, of course, because talking during the upside is not an option.

Really, though, I like Planet Fitness, and I like working out with Daisy. It’s not a high intensity gym. No Cross Trainers. No Insanity. No Boot Camp. Unfortunately, there are no hottie, hot, trainers like Woney has, and no spin classes with Lynnette, but overall it is a good experience. Everyone is nice, the massage beds are glorious, and Daisy is really funny. And there is a Mexican restaurant next door.

What, you don’t eat tacos after every workout?

I didn’t used to but it seems lately that Mexican food and I belong together. It calls to me, that sultry plate of refried beans and rice with cheese. It is destiny. And a pattern. A habit?

For example, we celebrated our maiden voyage to Planet Fitness with a plate of tacos. The restaurant was right next door! And then the following night, for example, we signed over the next year of our lives to Planet Fitness and celebrated with burritos at the Mexican place just down the street. Then, and this will shock you, we celebrated the first “Official Planet Fitness Workout” with some chips and salsa and Diet Cokes at the Mexican place on the corner. By recent count, Daisy and I have sampled chips and salsa at five different Mexican restaurants and only one of them wasn’t up to snuff. You’ll thank us when you ask for suggestions for the best guacamole in town. We are knowledgeable. Never mind the fact that we are retaining water from the sodium content like crazy, this is scientific research that must be done. For the good of humanity. (For the record, Los Compadres, over in Mt. Juliet has the best guacamole. Mazatlan has the best fajita taco salads. Las Palmas the best salsa. Get all that with no onions. Delicious!)

I told you that whole story so that I could share one thing. Two, actually, but the second one is just a close up of the first one so that you can really get the full effect.

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The last time we had tacos to celebrate a workout, we were seated at a table that had that ^ painted on it.

Here’s the close up, the view directly underneath my chips and salsa.

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Now I’m not opposed to men of color. I find men of all hues highly attractive. But I don’t care how hot you are in your loin cloth or how ripped up yours abs are, I don’t want to eat chips and salsa off your butt. Also, I will say this. If you want to pay $20 a month to get a free tote bag, a round on the hydromassage bed, and really change your body, yet you can’t seem to stop eating tacos long enough for your body to change, try eating some chips and salsa off a Mayan conquistador’s Harlequin Romance novel behind. That ought to do the trick. Put you right off of food for a good long time.

To cleanse  your palate, here’s a gratitutious photo of Woney’s hottie, hot, hot trainer.

Reason #498 For Jimmie To Not Have Children

What you see here is my niece, Pooh, playing softball.

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And what you see here is my niece, Tigger, ponytail flying, socializing with her friends. That is her sport. She’s very good at it.

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What you don’t see here is me, sitting on the bleachers, sniveling and carrying on because these children are growing up too fast for my liking. Every accomplishment they attempt makes my throat close up and my eyes sweat. Pooh plays the trumpet in the band. Tigger reads at a level far above her years. Pooh is in middle school. Middle school! She fixes her hair now and wants to look trendy, and sometimes the three of us talk about boys!

These poor children. They want to live their lives and do all the things their friends are doing and I’m cheering them through it on the outside, but inside I’m begging them to stop. Just be babies again, just for a minute. My heart cannot take this, and my eyes are puffy enough what with my being over 40 now.

Still, I take it on the chin like every self-respecting adult. Like a grownup. When Pooh runs off the softball field, eyes shining and words tripping breathlessly out of her mouth in a rush to tell us that her coach is proud of her, I do my level best to croak out a “Me too, baby. I’m proud of you, too,” and then wait until she flitters off back to her friends before I let the tears fall. It’s what an aunt does. It’s as close as she can get. I don’t know how you parents do this.

Stuff I’ve Read and Stories I’ve Heard – Snippets from Jimmie’s Life

A couple of weeks ago, I received a phone call from Thor.

“Jimmie, I was thinking it’s time to take better care of myself, and I remember someone saying that they cook once a week for the whole week. Is that you?”

“It is me,” I said, “and if you like I can tell you about it or you could just come over and cook with me one Sunday afternoon. I’ll send you home with lots of food.”

“That’d be great,” Thor said, and we made a plan.

A week later, Thor relegated a group of his friends with the story of how he recently melted his microwave.

“I had a pan of oil on the stove, see, and I had it pretty hot. I left the room for just a minute and when I wandered back into the kitchen I saw the fire in the pan. I panicked, of course, and vaguely remembered my mom telling me that grease fires need to be smothered. With flour.”

At this point in the story everyone in the room sucked in a collective horrified gasp.

“Yep,” he nodded, “exactly. Turns out flour is one of the most flammable materials out there, and I’ve since learned that the amount of flour I used to put out my fire is pretty much the equivalent to two sticks of dynamite. So I melted the microwave and had an entire weekend of grease fire/smoke clean up. Want to see the pictures?” And then he passed around his phone with the evidence of his handiwork.

For the record, Thor has been de-invited from my house for a mass cooking lesson, and you put out grease fires with baking soda.

A few days later, I went for a walk on my Greenway, and when I was going around the last bend, almost at the end of the path, I ran across a gigantic, enormous, humongous snake. I’m not one to freak out about a snake really, but this snake was hogging almost the whole path. That snake and I stared each other down for a while and I conceded by waiting for another person to step over the snake before I attempted it. Once I was across it, I congratulated myself. “At least it wasn’t a giant spider,” I said in a soothing manner to myself. “I can handle a snake, but no giant spiders.”

That night as I checked my social media, I ran across this post from one of my friends, Chelsea.

I think everybody has that moment in life when they see a spider so big that they’re in disbelief that they’re seeing it in real life and not in a picture or through a TV screen. I just had that moment. I doused it in bug spray. That didn’t work. It just kept standing still and waited as I sprayed it. Like, “Are you done?” . . . . and then started crawling again. This happened a few times. So finally I grabbed a wooden chair and did the inevitable . . . I went to work. After breaking the chair and a fingernail in the process . . . I believe it is finished. Unrecognizable by even its own mother. Sorry, dear arachnids. I guess I don’t love you.

I shrieked, threw my phone, then retrieved it to tentatively tap out a message to Chelsea telling her what a brave, brave soul she is.

And finally, I received this text from Roxanne yesterday:

I’ve been at work for two hours and JUST realized I’m wearing two different shoes.

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I seriously have like, the best friends.

Checking That Off The List

As a single adult who is spoiled and often gets her own way, I’ve always maintained that the best way to spend a Saturday is by going to Rock Island or to the State Fair with friends. Lounging on the beach or in my marshmallow bed with a book and a movie while a storm rages outside also rank high on my list of amusing things to do. Never once have I ever claimed that spending a Saturday morning getting your hoots smashed between two glass plates sounded like fun. That never sounds like fun for any day, actually. However, two years ago I made an appointment for the breast smash and last Saturday I finally showed up for that appointment.

I had made a few plans for Saturday and had the faint notion in the back of my head that if those plans stayed intact, I’d just reschedule that mammogram. (See above: spoiled, gets her own way.) I’ve done that for two years, what is one more week, right? Well. My calendar had other thoughts and all the fun plans I’d made disappeared, leaving me with the lone option of finally, finally visiting an imaging center to fulfill my “I-turned-40” medical obligations. Sigh.

Armed with my paperwork and some vague directions, I arrived early for my appointment. Accompanying my sweaty, nervous self was my other personality, the raging snatch I carry with me for every cookie doctor appointment and for any scheduled time which involves me removing my clothing and donning a paper gown, open in the back, please. She was sitting on “go”, just waiting to make her appearance the precise moment my wait in the lobby clicked over from five minutes to six.

The receptionist who did not ensure that the building was marked well enough so that I could see from the street that it was the location I needed would be the first to encounter that heifer. The billing specialist who’d give me the total and the arm band for the procedure would be next because he was leisurely drinking his coffee and filing his nails. And the imaging specialist? Oh, she was in for a treat. I’d been gunning for her since the day I made the appointment, two years ago. She was to receive every tear, every curse, every single insult I could hurl at her without getting arrested, simply because she was the reason for my humiliation, for the fact that I have breasts at all, and because the screening process was surely designed by a man who had never had his testicles smashed between two plates in an attempt to screen him for cancer.

I was prepared.

So was the receptionist.

Turns out, the building was marked just fine and the receptionist was pleasantly chirpy in the face of my snarkiness when she indicated that I was in the right spot. Huh.

Also, the billing specialist said to me as I sat down, “I’m so sorry you had to wait. I was to be here at 7:30 this morning and I got here at 7:35 so that wait you had is on me. Let’s get you squared away so that we can get you back there and out on time, okay?” What the . . . I hadn’t even gotten my lecture about his insouciance fully prepared in my head and here he was preempting me. I was stunned into silence. This was not the normal state of things.

I still had my shot at the imaging specialist but I was feeling a little off about that. I hadn’t had a chance to work myself up into a proper lather what with the receptionist and the billing guy being fantastic, so when that poor, sweet woman called me to the back, I could only muster up the tears from my arsenal. My other ammunition had disappeared and I was adrift.

Still, tears. I blubbered, “Look, I’m not the best patient when it comes to this stuff. I’m the nicest person in the world when I get to keep my clothes on in front of strangers, but here, today, I’m awful. I’m sorry in advance. It’s just that you are going to give me a gown that is too small and is made of paper and I’m going to desperately try to cover both sides of my chest with it but that won’t work, and then you’ll have me traipse up and down the halls in a paper towel and then you’ll make me wait and I’m not good at that. This is humiliating and you get to keep all your clothes and I don’t and I hate this!” And then I said, “See?! I’m trying really hard to be nice and I just can’t!”

And bless her heart, she handed me a real gown, a fabric one, and said, “It’s not too small. I promise.” And it wasn’t. In fact, it swallowed me whole, like a muu muu, and it was the best thing I ever wore in my whole life. Plus, it was purple.

We were halfway through the procedure (and let me say here as an aside that I’ve never been manhandled in such a fashion before – I believe she is more familiar with my funbags than I am) before I stopped crying. I’m surprised it took me that long because while I’m a dreadful patient when naked, I’m also quite curious.

“Can I see what you are looking at over there,” I asked as she took another picture.

“Sure,” she said, “come on back.”

I wrapped my purple muu muu around me after every shot and trotted over to her screen to have a gander at myself. I knew she couldn’t/wouldn’t tell me anything so I didn’t ask but I was just a regular chatty Cathy over there. “Would you lookit that! I had no idea it would show up all white. Lookit how round they are! Is that normal? Is it easier to take pictures of big boobs or small boobs? Do you think if we could smash testicles in those plates we’d get a new screening method? I bet we would. I bet it would only take two weeks.”

Y’all, the procedure was totally painless. I mean, it wasn’t pleasant but it also wasn’t awful. There was a tinkly waterfall in the background, the lighting was set on “mood” and also “dim” and the muu muu smelled faintly of laundry detergent. I exited the building exactly one minute after my scheduled departure time and was never more shocked in all my life, both that I was done and that we all had survived the apocalypse that is “Jimmie, Naked at the Doctor’s Office.”

I drove to my next event which was my four mile Greenway walk with Daisy. I had partly planned that walk to calm myself down from the state of hysteria I was certain to be in, yet my non-hysteria flummoxed both of us a bit. Daisy wasn’t sure what to do with her offer of all the ice cream and all the chocolate she was sure I would need to ease my bruised feelings, and I wasn’t sure what to do with all the Kleenex I had stuffed in my car. I’m not going to say it was my favorite day, it’s not Rock Island after all, but I lived. And until next year when we do this all over again, I’ll maintain this: “Mammograms – Not That Bad.”

Yes, That Sounds Normal

I ran into an old high school friend this weekend. He’s a police officer here in Nashville, and it seems to me that a friend like that is a handy thing to have.

I also was involved in an accident this weekend. Some guy behind me “lost his footing on the clutch” and smacked the back end of my car pretty good. I was at a red light, in heels and church clothes, and of course, got out of my car to assess the damage. The guy, a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, didn’t even put his car in gear or open his door.

I hollered, “What exactly are you doing?” and got the lame clutch excuse. He yelled it out his window and my head nearly popped off in anger. My bumper was fine, surprisingly (and I’ll say here, my car’s engine has given me lots of fits since January but it seems the body can take a hit pretty good), and when he saw that nothing was lying on the ground, he yelled again out the window, “Thank you!” and drove off, waving his cigarette at me as he drove merrily away, leaving me standing in the turn lane in my heels and skirt.

It would have been nice had I run into the police officer friend at that intersection but, no. That would never happen. Instead, I ran into him when I was at the grocery store getting “girlie supplies.” “Girlie supplies” consist of cookie dough, prewashed grapes and the neon hot pink box of *those* supplies. Why hot pink? Why such a loud color? Of course that’s when I saw my police officer friend. Of course.

Anyway, below are some pictures of my recent life. And while I’m talking about pictures, don’t forget to send me your Throwback Thursday pics. I already have some good ones and will get them up this week.

Madre's Flowers

Madre’s Flowers

Sounds Game

Sounds Game

Martie, Tigger, Jimmie

Martie, Tigger, Jimmie

Coach, Pooh, Tigger, Martie, Jimmie

Coach, Pooh, Tigger, Martie, Jimmie

Jimmie, Pooh, Martie

Jimmie, Pooh, Martie

Coach, Tigger, Jimmie

Coach, Tigger, Jimmie

My Greenway

My Greenway

And Then The Alternator Died

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You see that second hood up, there? The blue one? That’s my car, in the shop again.

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When does one decide to call it quits with a car? This is not a rhetorical question. I’m really asking. At what point do I say “uncle” and quit spending money on this car that is determined, it seems, to break every part in itself? Thus far I have spent 2/3 of the yearly money I would have spent on car payments. I guess if I come out even $5 less than what I would have spent in a year, I’m okay? I was rather hoping that I’d have time to actually save the money over the year and THEN put it back into my car but I guess that’s what I get for hoping.

While I’m in this lovely mood, I’d like to remind you that it is winter. You probably already knew that, what with all the blizzards and the snow and the busted pipes. And the electric bills that send you to the poor house. Because of winter, I’m behind on my posting. I’d like to tell you that lately I have had a life and have had no time for writing but that is a big fat lie. Lately I have had library books and a cozy sofa and warm blankets. Because it’s been cold, instead of going out to find some life, I’ve stayed home with Murphy and Seamus and read some really good and really bad books. It just sounded better to say I’ve had a life.

I am over winter. Over it. Winter can go F itself. It is the middle of March and I’m tired of the whiplash I’ve gotten from the wardrobe changes lately: fuzzy socks and a scarf! Shorts and a t-shirt! Two layers of sweatshirts! I’m roasting in these long sleeves! I’d like for the weather to pick a season and gradually work its way towards it, doling out each temperature range in small but steady bursts, like how nature was intended to perform back in the good old days when I was a kid.

At this point, when all of you are feeling mighty sorry for me, I suppose I should go ahead and tell you that my girls and I are going on a cruise soon. Woney, Squash and Nurse Bananahammock planned a trip to somewhere tropical for the four of us, but since I didn’t really plan it, I’m not sure where exactly we are going. One morning we were emailing and someone said, “Hey, we should go on a cruise.” The rest of us said, “Sure, let’s start looking at options.” I said, “I’m going to lunch. Be back soon!” Off I jetted and when I came back an hour later, they had all emailed and said, “Great, I’m glad we picked a place. Let’s book this afternoon?” Of course I said “Yes!” and then mailed off a check and just last week, I thought, “Huh. Perhaps I should see where we are going so that I can ensure I pack the appropriate clothing.” You know Woney and I never get the weather right so I don’t even know why I’m planning a seasonal wardrobe.

I keep thinking of the cruise with longing (and for the record, I just looked it up and it turns out we are going to Mexico – ooh, tropical!), and then am reminded of other trips I looked towards with longing: the tropical cruise Woney and I took two years ago that was not tropical at all, the trip to Ireland that was tropical much to my dismay, the drinking party that was my 40th birthday in Miami with my sisters.

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Actually, I didn’t intend for the Miami trip to be one giant drinking party. I intended for that to be a lazy, lie on the beach kind of trip and when I look back, that is what I fondly remember. What I had forgotten was the fish bowl margarita the three of us split, and the shots we took, all million of them taken in one night. I also forgot about our photo shoot on Ocean Drive and our text messages. Wait, here:

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Y’all, I sent that to Coach the first night we were in Miami. I did do a recap of that trip when we returned, but realized that you got the Pollyanna story and not the “Jimmie, Martie and The Squirt Had Some Drinks And This Is What Happened” story.

This is what happened.

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Martie is good at taking pictures. That is the caption for this photo.

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The Squirt found a car she liked. Bow chicka wow wow.

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Perhaps we liked the shoe? I wish I could explain it.

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This was what the whole trip was like. Laughing, just like this. And also, the trip was like this:

Pretty.

Warm. Sunny. Relaxing. I’m mourning the loss of that while I look at my frozen, brown yard and/or my broken car. I do love me some hoodies but I’m ready to not wear them every day. While winter is just ripping through here like a kid in a candy store, I’m dreaming of fruity drinks and swimmy suits and tanned legs. Until I go spend the rest of the money I don’t have on my third car repair of the year, I’ll sit here in this fancy schmancy McDonald’s and dream of my tropical respite. Please, God, let it be tropical. I just want it to be tropical.

UPDATE: My car repair was only $250! I can afford that! I took it over to 5th Gear Automotive in Hermitage and I Highly Recommend them. I offered to kiss the owner right on the mouth but with his wife sitting there ringing me up, I decided to withdraw my offer and hand over my debit card instead. I’m not destitute!

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