You, Too, Can Look As Good As All This

Katniss and I were having lunch the other day and she said, “I went to lunch with a girl in my office last week and Jimmie, I missed you. We went to Blaze and we ordered our pizzas and she ate three pieces and claimed she was stuffed.  Just crammed to the gills.  Couldn’t eat another bite or she’d be sick.  I was on piece four, heading for piece five and I felt so guilty for eating it all that I quit.  Please don’t make me do that again.”

Katniss does not have to worry. I will eat a whole Blaze pizza* and not feel one bit bad about it.  Besides, Iman, you know her, she’s the gorgeous angular, exotic toothpick widow of David Bowie, said that older women should maintain an extra five or ten pounds to keep our faces looking young.  That extra bit of fat plumps out the wrinkles, see, and keeps us from drooping into our later years.  I feel like if five or ten pounds is enough for Iman with her gorgeous cheekbones, then I need to go a step further with my lesser cheekbones.  Maybe more like twenty-five or thirty pounds, yeah?  I’m just doing my part to look young, to inspire all these kids to embrace aging with relish.

*For the record, Blaze pizzas are created for single individuals and are as thin as a Kleenex. They are meant to be eaten in one sitting because they are small and taste terrible when they get cold.

Speaking of looking young and beauty routines, I thought I’d share some of my tips and secrets with you today. I turned 44 a month or so ago and when I tell people, they’ve often said, “Well, you barely look over 43 and a half, what’s your secret?”  I’ll tell you.

Firstly, I maintain a youthful exuberance with the wavy, loose curls I like to iron into my hair. Ideally you’ll use a 1.5 – 2 inch barrel Hot Tools curling iron because it can heat up to 400 degrees in a matter of moments. This really puts a good scald on your hair which is necessary for getting a good curl.  If you can smell the heat, it’s hot enough.  In reality, I used to use the ideal 1.5 – 2 inch barrel Hot Tools curling iron but it slipped off my hair one day and onto my shoulder.  The 400-degree barrel gave me a nice oblong blistered burn that looked like a bubbled up hickey, and that really ticked me off because not only am I celibate for what seems like FOREVER, but I got a hickey from a curling iron and not a hot man. In retaliation I whacked the 1.5 – 2 inch barrel over and over against the counter whilst cursing like Andrew Dice Clay and the end result was this:

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Now I use the 1-inch barrel Hot Tools curling iron that also heats up to 400 degrees that had been lounging in the bathroom cabinet for a year or two because the curls it makes are too tight for my liking. You can still reach the youthful exuberant look with this wand, though, as evidenced here:

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Once I get my coif fluffed to an appropriate fullness, I begin work on my eyes. The eyes really tell the story of your aging, so you want to take very good care of them.  Ideally you will have a regimen than includes delicately patting ludicrously expensive eye cream under your eyes morning and night, and you will use a gentle cleanser, equally ludicrously expensive, to remove any makeup you have caked on in an effort to make your eyelashes look like caterpillars. I’m on board with that except for the part where I cannot afford ludicrously expensive anything.  I can afford Avon makeup remover which is actually very good, so that is what I use until I run out and realize that I forgot to reorder and then I rummage in my cabinets until I find something else that will work.  Behold:

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And this is how well it works. Behold:

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Ain’t that awesome? I’m down to the bottom of the jar now so I have to stick my longest finger down in it and scrape some out which I then smear on my eyes, squishing it all around until the mascara finally releases its spidery death grip on my lashes and gets washed off with a very thin washcloth which has permanent mascara stains.  Works great! I think the fat from the coconut oil and the potential allergy issues I could have from the amount of cat fur in my house (behold below) keep my eyes nice and puffy which as we read earlier, keeps the wrinkles from wrinkling which makes me look youthful!

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Once I have performed all beauty ablutions, I head to the closet to pick my clothing for the day. I told you once that I like to wear wafty, gauzy, floaty things because they make me look like a calm and serene type person. This remains true. I also believe that they make me appear younger.  No “good looking” severely cut blazers for me. No skin tight pencil skirts with fitted shirts that emphasize my (not) tiny waist and (not) bubbly bum.  I like stuff that doesn’t really touch me.  Ideally.  In reality, it turns out that wafty, gauzy, floaty things make me look pregnant as proven by the eight-year-old girl who caught me talking to her eight-year-old boyfriend at church.

“Hi, Lee,” she said as she pulled his arm into hers. “Hi,” she said to me with a squinched up mouth.  “We need to go, Lee,” she said as she dragged him off, and as she sashayed away she flung over her shoulder, “That dress makes you look pregnant.”

Well, at least I look young enough to be pregnant.

Speaking of stuff I like and use, my go to brands are below. These are the things I will spend ludicrous amounts of money on, no matter how little money I actually have:

  • Lancome Eyelash Primer – Oh my crackers, this stuff is expensive but it WORKS!
  • Benefit Mascara, Black – Talk about tar but this mascara will give you the best spidery lashes in the world!
  • Clinique Chubby Stick, Mightiest Maraschino – I wore this lipstick the other day and a girl at work said, “Wow, you look edgy. Kind of bitchy. I wouldn’t mess with you at all!” Thank you, my work here is done.
  • A Hair in My Biscuit’s Hot/Cold Eye Mask – Martie makes these and I keep one in the freezer at all times. When you have slept in cat fur all night (Thank you, Murphy) or eaten too much salt (Thank you, anything more than one grain) or stayed up too late watching Downton Abbey (Thank you, Amazon Prime), you’ll want one.
  • Flax clothing – Generously sized so that when I purchase a medium and it floats around me, I feel dainty and small. This I love because the only other way I’d ever feel dainty and small was if I had lunch next to Shaquille O’Neal.

I think this whole list screams youthful, don’t you? I mean, isn’t that what youthful really means?  Very poor decisions regarding things that really do matter and very expensive decisions on things that do not? Don’t care.  I love my caterpillar eyelashes.

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Don’t look a minute over 43, do I? Puffy eyes and all.

 

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Things That Make Me Cry

“Oh, goodie,” I can hear you saying now. “This ought to be uplifting. Anyone want to skip this one and go get some donuts?”

Tell you what, if you are mad at me by the end of this post, I’ll buy you your very own personal donut and ship it to your home address, any flavor you want. Okay? Okay.

Back when Poppa was so very sick and we spent more hours than anyone wanted at Vanderbilt, we found ourselves in need of some nighttime sitters. See, Poppa was struggling with Sundowners which basically means he was out of his head and hallucinating a whole lot. Only now can we laugh about some of his stories because only now we can accept the loss of him without feeling gutted all the time. Anyway, at night Poppa would get feisty and Brother Bear, Coach and I each took turns hanging out overnight to keep him in the bed, clothed, and stuck with all the appropriate tubes. Each of us still had to work and travel and take care of children so there came a point when we all got too sleepy to be effective. Enter Caleb.

The first night that Caleb arrived, I thought to myself, “Oh, Lort. Poppa’s not going to like this one bit.” Caleb was young. He was wearing a Bob Marley nightgown as a t-shirt, and under that he had some baggy pants and over that he had a flannel shirt. His hair was neatly pulled back from his forehead and ensconced in a ponytail holder but from there his afro exploded outward into the biggest puff of hair cloud I’ve ever seen. He had his backpack over one shoulder and he dragged his feet when he walked. Poppa liked clothes that fit, hair that was neat and youngsters who walked like they were walking, not shuffling.

Right away Caleb went into the hall and got himself a bench to sit on despite the comfy chair options he had inside the room. He placed it a foot away from Poppa and sat upright, posture better than mine, and very, very still. Right away he familiarized himself with the equipment attached to Poppa. Right away Caleb put a reassuring hand on Poppa’s toe, letting Poppa know that he wasn’t alone. And when Caleb saw me petting Poppa’s head, he got up from his bench, picked up one of the comfy chairs and placed it next to Poppa’s bed so I could pet him without getting tired. He told me the story of his grandfather who died when he was six, how he and the grandfather did everything together, literally everything, and how he wanted to help people deal with sickness because he was good at it and he knew what it was to be scared. I can attest that he was good at both helping those who are sick and helping those who are scared.

Poppa was oblivious to all of this, or so I thought. He reached over to his hand and began tugging at a tube to yank it out, something he had done with great regularity since day one of the stay.

“Hey, buddy,” Caleb said for the first of a thousand times that night, “don’t to that,” and he gently pulled Poppa’s hand away.

Poppa looked over at him and said, “Kid, I need you to take me home. Go around and get my car and I’ll meet you out front. Jimmie, you meet us at home, this kid is going to take me there.”

God, I laughed. “Kid.” Oh, Poppa, I miss you.

So that makes me cry. And this makes me cry, because it reminds me of Poppa in the best and fiercest way, but also because it is a picture of life, of getting back up when you fall down over and over again. Isn’t this picture great?

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Baby owl learning to fly, photo by Peter Brannon

Speaking of pictures, here’s another, from the cruise My Girls and I took in March.

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This was in Jamaica, and I’ll be honest, Jamaica was not my favorite place. It was hot which I suppose is normal so I can’t fault it for that, but it was pushy and smelly and we were seen as walking wallets. I guess tourists often are seen as ATMs but I can’t say that’s how I like to make an entrance into a new place. Anyway, after a whole day of grasping our purses close to our body and being made to feel very guilty because we did not part with all our funds for all time and on into eternity, we finally escaped through customs and back onto the port where our boat was docked. That picture was taken right outside that customs shelter.

I bet you look at that picture and see a mildly interesting array of boys banging on some drums, but what I see is a crew of kids who were hustling. Hustling. Those boys stood there in those hot-ass uniforms that they picked up somewhere, mismatched buttons and hats and pants, and they played their hearts out ALL DAY. They played for every person that showed even a modicum of interest. They danced for every person there and played for every person there, sometimes on their knees at our feet when they could tell someone was particularly moved (me), and sometimes as the whole line; sometimes it was a Michael Jackson song and sometimes it was just the thrum of our collective heartbeats, banging in time with the drums. If a single person watched alone, they played just as hard as they would for a whole crowd. They hustled, and it was all I could do to hold the tears back as I watched them with their young hearts and their strong arms and their glistening foreheads, trying to make a better way for themselves. I hope you see them my way and offer your prayers for them, that the hustling pays off and they get a solid shot at whatever they try, because their work for those moments on the drums is more than enough to earn them that. I also hope you realize that it took an extraordinary amount of time for me to come back to myself, what was left of me anyway, and stop the leaking in my eyes so I could count the money I had left after I dumped all I could find into their tip basket.

With that, I’ll take you to the next picture that makes me cry. Not fierce, not sad, but just about the cutest thing I ever did see in my whole life. For those of you who do not understand my deep and yearning, burning desire for a donkey, behold:

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Donkey being toted by a soldier

I have to stop. I need a donut. This whole post is killing me.

In conclusion, and I promise to you and me both that this is the end, I have one final story to tell.

Two years ago Martie and I reached a tentative agreement wherein she would take possession of the house and property called Big Creek, the family abode where we did most of our growing up, and in return for me not getting my panties in a twist over it, I’d get a donkey. By tentative I mean that I was thrilled that Martie, the most sentimental of the wad of us, would preserve our history and that Martie sort of agreed with a wavering voice that maybe, someday, perhaps there could be a donkey on their property that I’d get to name. Maybe. One day.

Pretty much I asked about that donkey every time I went home to babysit Pooh and Tigger. I drove over to the neighboring farm that housed the show donkeys to stare at them, and I pointed out the fuzzy and cute regular non-show donkeys we saw while driving the back roads in my home town. I’ve stated my earnest and deep desire to marry a donkey farmer more than once and have already mentally packed my truck in anticipation of his proposal, this farmer with his burros whom I have not yet met.

This has been a fantasy, and like all fantasies, I understand that it may never come to pass. That is okay. Still a fantasy, still nice to dream about, but likely saved for my mansion in heaven where God assuredly has a donkey with long eyelashes already waiting for me.

On Saturday, that fantasy became reality. You guys! I’m getting a donkey!

My birthday card from Martie, et al, received Saturday, June 11th at 5:13 pm, which she asked that I read aloud and which I couldn’t because the tears started in my throat and made it to my eyes and my voice which shook so badly I could not speak:

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Pictures will be coming forthwith. In the manner of someone who is expecting a child, I shall expect gifts and fetes, and I’ll register for hay and donkey brushes and festive neck attire with which I will adorn his or her neck and take selfies. Rest assured I will be crying in most of them but these will be tears of joy and love and the knowledge that my family loves me more than anyone rightly deserves. I am loved more than I can fathom. I’ve got it so good. Thank you, God. Selah.

Now, who needs a donut?

The Cutest Boy In The Whole World: Or, Why You Should Lay Off The Water Consumption In Times Of Crisis

I had dinner with Daisy last night. She and I are on this shopping kick lately, which is weird because I love it but Daisy hates it. I figure that our shopping together should bring us to some happy medium wherein when we need stuff we don’t spend our entire paychecks at Ann Taylor Loft (my preference) but we aren’t going naked to our jobs either (not quite her preference but maybe preferred over shopping). After we shop we usually eat something because shopping really takes it out of you, dontcha know, and while I’m speaking about our kicks lately, I’m on a water one. I’ve not had a Diet Coke in such a long time that I don’t remember the last one and there’s only so much unsweetened tea you can drink without having Austin Powers teeth. Plus, we got this new ice machine at work that makes Sonic ice and I spend the better part of a day trotting up and down the hall to get cupfuls of ice water. Anyway, the whole point I’m trying to make in my meandering way is that last night I had dinner and with dinner I had a lot of water and after dinner I used the restroom facilities approximately eight times and then I went home.

On my way home I ran into a slight snafu in the form of a flat tire. I’ve never had that happen before but like every other major car hurdle I’ve encountered this year (four, not counting this one), I was prepared for it. As I am a self-reliant, empowered female, I whipped out my phone and dialed my trusty Verizon Roadside Assistance people. I ordered myself up a tire change and was promised that my wait would be a mere 65 minutes. With an audible sigh, I said thank you to Cheryl and disconnected. I then caught up with all my friends on Facebook, took a picture of a deer, and dug a book out of my back seat to settle in for a long read.

Deer

Deer

While I read and social media-ed, Daisy frantically texted me. “Should I drive out there? I can wait with you. Don’t open your door for strangers. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” I assured her, and I was except I had this niggling feeling in my bladder that it might be a little too full from all the water. I ignored it because while I do like attention, I’m not particularly fond of the kind you get when blurred pictures of your naked behind appear on the 10:00 news with the headline, “Bank employee caught with her pants down after urinating on I-40 – story coming up next!” Plus I had been to the bathroom eight times already and as I reasoned with myself last night, that should have been plenty.

Seems that it wasn’t.

By the time my knight in shining steel arrived, I was about to bust a gut. “I hate water!” I moaned. “I’ll never drink it again! Stupid ice machine!” “Bring me a mayonnaise jar,” I texted to Daisy. “Open your car doors and squat down between them,” suggested my family. “Just find a bathroom already,” yelled my bladder. I am 42 years old. I should not be doing the pee pee dance on the side of the interstate, mere miles from my home. I should have outgrown that by age seven. Ridiculous.

When my RA guy came, he said with a grin, “You doing alright?”

“Sure,” I said, furiously digging around in my trunk for my spare tire in an effort to hurry him along. “I just have to pee in the worst way, naturally, and while in theory I know how to change a tire, I’ve never actually done it. Plus I’m in a dress and my nails are finally all the same length.” In the time it took me to say all that, Mike, the cutest boy in the whole world, already had my car jacked up and my spare tire at the ready, rendering all my futzing around useless and unnecessary.

Cutest Boy

Cutest Boy

“Is your parking brake on?” he asked.

“No, should it be?” I replied and when he said “Please,” I gingerly trotted around to the window to yank the brake on.

It took Mike three minutes to change my tire. Three minutes. That’s less time than it takes me to put on mascara every morning. That’s less time than it takes me to brush and floss my teeth. That’s less time than I spend on one bathroom break, of which I had already had eight and was desperately longing for another. He was frightfully efficient and very handy with a car jack and as I stated before, the cutest boy in the whole world.

Dead Tire

Dead Tire

It took two more minutes for me to sign the necessary paperwork, get his card, tell him I was going to write about him, explain my new love affair with water and the ice machine at work, explain how that water and ice were now affecting my life in dramatic and unwelcome ways, tell him that luffed him for ever and ever for saving me, and then beg his permission to leave for the bathroom.

“Yeah, I know, it adds insult to injury, doesn’t it, when you get stranded with no bathroom,” he grinned and then ambled back to his vehicle.

I leapt into my car, cranked the motor and squealed off with the parking brake still on. I threw my hand out the window as a thank you and a good-bye and only halfway home remembered to release the brake. I cannot imagine why my car has issues, can you?

As I arrived home I hollered to the animals as I wrenched open the door, “Get outcha way, get outcha way! I have to pee! Move, cats!” I tripped over Murphy (Murphy!) and nearly died but made it to the bathroom where I peed for three minutes. Longer than it took for Mike to change my tire. As I had plenty of time for reflection while I did my business, I thought back to my interaction with Mike. He was super friendly, incredibly efficient, gracious and kind. He made it to my rescue in 15 minutes, 50 minutes faster than the time I was promised. I barely remember what he looks like but I’m certain he was the cutest boy in the whole world, just really lovely.

Call these people if you often get stranded

Call these people if you often get stranded

Mike, if you ever read this, thank you. Thank you for being so nice and for not making fun of me to my face for my pee pee dance and for changing my tire like a boss. If we ever run across each other, you’ll have to reintroduce yourself to me, though, because while I am certain that I am 100% accurate in calling you the cutest boy in the whole world, I have no recollection of your face. It’s the water. I cannot help it.

Special thanks also to Cheryl at Verizon for being so nice to me, to the good Samaritan who backed his car half a mile down the interstate shoulder to check on me, and to my friend Casey who offered to rescue me. What fabulous people you are!

In Which I Write A Guest Post For Someone Else

A couple of weeks ago, I told you that I would link to a blog post I wrote for Martie, my sister. I didn’t do that because she didn’t post my blog right away, and then when she did, I had written up a bunch of stuff for you about my cruise. I’m not done talking about that yet – everybody knows that there is food galore on one of those ships and I MUST tell you about it – but in the interim, I thought you’d like to read about makeup. Boys, I know you cannot wait.

Anywho, below is the link to Martie’s blog but my writing. And while you are checking that out, Martie has an Etsy shop with some super nice stuff so check that out as well.

Martie’s Blog

Martie’s Shop

I’ll write at you again soon. SPOILER ALERT: I talk about chocolate!

In Which Jimmie Discusses Her Feelings Of Self Worth

I had to have some professional headshots taken yesterday for work (you should understand that this was involuntary on my part as I loathe having my picture taken), and I just wanted y’all to know that the photographer told me that my hair photographs beautifully.

~preen~

Thank you, Martie.

I Don’t Mean To Be Dramatic, But . . . .

Car 1

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This is how my Wednesday started.  Again.  I’m sure you all remember last summer when my car had a come apart on four separate occasions and I and my savings account fell apart right along with it.  I got all of that fixed and we have been happily driving together for just over a year now.

Here’s the truth of it.  I owe $87 on my car.   We all know what that means.  I’m terrified to make that last payment because the precise moment that payment clears my bank, my transmission is going to fall out of the bottom of my car on I-40.   I thought that’s what happened on Tuesday night when I was stranded alone at work, yet I’m proud to say I didn’t cry even once.  Have I grown up? Am I callused?  Maybe.

What I did do was call roadside assistance (the program I’ve paid $2.99 a month for seven years for and only used once) and ask for a jump start.  After dissecting everything that happened when I turned the key, roadside assistance opted to have me towed instead.  It was late, dark and 27 degrees so rather than wait for an hour on a tow truck, I decided to let it sit overnight and called Pee-tah for a ride.  He’s such a gentleman.  He rescued me, offered me dinner and dropped me off at my door when I said no.  He knew better than to push too hard.  This is why we date so well.

Wednesday morning I cornered the maintenance guy I like so much, Daniel, and asked for his help.  I just wanted someone with more knowledge than how to crank a car to tell me what I should expect to hear from the repair shop when they give me the skinny and the cost.  Remember last year I paid far, far too much to get my brakes done (screw you, Firestone) because I am dumber than a box of hammers when it comes to cars.  To prove to Daniel that I do know something about a car, I ran down to the parking lot to open my hood in preparation for his ministrations and in doing so, saw something utterly disgusting.  Murphy (screw you, Murphy) had either barfed or had some sort of intestinal disturbance on the hood of my car, right between the hood and windshield, actually.  I hate that cat sometimes. Why does he do this to me? Why?!

I grabbed a wad of napkins from my car – I keep them to blot the shine from my nose and never thought I’d have to use them to clean unspeakable Murphy innards from my car – and cleaned it off, hoping that Daniel would never notice I’d been driving around with poop on my car.  Oh, hurk.  Oh, my stomach.  I threw it over into the grass, very far from my car, and threw the wad of napkins away. Lunch was not going to happen that day, I could already tell.  Blergh.

This gets worse.  I want you to guess who stepped in it. Just guess.

Poor Daniel who is so sweet and so sincere in checking my battery and banging around under my hood, that guy who is just the nicest man, doesn’t really stand still all that well.  I forgot about that when I threw Murphy’s guts.  I remembered it, though, once Daniel started pacing and then I got nervous.  I threw the innards very far away from every car, very far away from where everyone walks.  I made sure of that.  But Daniel in his pacing walked right in it and I was horrified.

It was a sudden realization for him.  His foot squished and he stopped and said, “What was that?”

I just stood there.

“Oh my God, what was that?!” he questioned as he looked at the bottom of his shoe.  “Oh, gross!  Is that mud?  That’s mud, right?” He began shuffling on the grass, making his way over to the sidewalk to scrape his shoe.

“Is that crap?  Did I walk in dog crap?” The look on his face was so disgusted.  I just stood there, and I could feel the laughter start bubbling from the very bottom of me.  I know it isn’t funny!  I know that!

“Oh, God,” he said as he scraped his shoe over and over, “it’s really sticking.  Man, this is sick.  I’m going to have to buy new shoes.  Damn.  I have to go to Bowling Green today too.  What is that?!”

Y’all, I felt horrible.  So, so bad.  And I looked right at him, watching him scrape his shoe in disgust and said, “I have no idea.  Gross.”

I’M SUCH A TERRIBLE PERSON!

Daniel, one of the nicest men I know, felt really bad for me and said over and over, “Jimmie, I’m so sorry about your car. I wish I could fix it for you.”  And all I could do was nod and squeak out a thank you and try my damnedest to not let the laughter that was literally taking over my whole body not explode out of my mouth.  Why am I so bad?  I deserve to have my transmission fall out of the bottom of my car.

Turns out, however, it was just a bad battery.  The kind people at Firestone offered to install one for merely $144 plus tax and labor (screw you, Firestone) so I drove on down to Advanced Auto Parts and got one for $116, tax and labor included.  Got to get my savings back up for when the shocks rust and disintegrate into nothing, you know.  Once that last payment is made it will happen.  Perhaps I’ll buy Daniel a new pair of shoes, too.  I’ll take it out of Murphy’s cat food allowance.

A Post About Nothing – The Seinfeld Edition

When I began this blog, lo those many years ago (two), my Auntie Anne told me that eventually my friends would gently nudge me to write something had it been too long since my last post. She was right. Roxanne is pretty good about it, sending me notes that read: “I don’t mean to alarm you but I think a link is broken on your sight. Nothing has been posted for weeks!” Lynnette is also on top of things, saying, “Jimmie, seriously. What are you doing over there?” Katniss has been known to remind me and most recently, Dammit Todd has jumped into the fray.

Messages of that nature make me realize that I am a lazy creature sometimes. Or a thoughtless one. My reaction is either, “I know! But I was reading this really great book, see . . .” or one of complete surprise. “What do you mean? I have so much to say! How have I not written that down?” Both scenarios prompt me to go to Panera right away and scribble down some words.

Unfortunately, lately I have had no words. Nothing’s wrong, but no one has fallen down in front of me and no one of a questionable nature has asked me for a date. Actually, that isn’t true but lately I’m only interested in throwing myself under the bus, not earnest men wanting my number even though they are miles shorter than me and live 3 states away.

I asked Katniss if she could manage a strategically placed fall-down-face plant right in front of me. She screeched, “Do you not remember the time I fell face first out of the elevator?! With a full Coke in my hand?! That stain in the hallway? That was me! Do not ever ask me to fall down! I will do it, spectacularly!” And then I asked Dammit Todd to fall down, hahahahaha, no. Dammit Todd is the most athletic, agile, coordinated person I have ever met. So, no, he did not comply either.

Essentially what I am saying is my life is a bit dull now. I’m going to Ireland soon (23 days!) and everything seems to pale in comparison. I did buy a new vacuum cleaner. That was exciting. It was a birthday present from my sister and to myself, and yes, I know that last year I was all upset about Miguel buying me old people stuff and this year I went and did it to myself. But you should see how this thing works! My gosh, my old one must have died months ago because I could have stuffed a king size quilt with all the cat hair I vacuumed up. It was horrifying. Let me take a moment here to apologize to all my houseguests of late. I’m sorry you were drenched in fur. While I know that Murphy is a shedder, I had no idea that he left his entire pelt all over the house.

Also, I went to Florida with Freddie. That wasn’t dull but it did rain a whole lot. I managed to burn my backside, every area that I cannot possibly reach with the aloe vera gel, so not only did I cook my skin into bacon, I’m now peeling and I have thousands of new freckles.

Speaking of Freddie, I realize I have not updated you on my friends lately. I asked for prayers for some of them when Poppa was so sick and I now have happy news to report.

Quan is moving to Nashville. Hallelujah, it’s about time!

Freddie is a free woman, meaning Ian is no longer in the picture and hot men can apply here for dates with her.

Lynnette is a mommy now. This was the most unexpected but for at least a little while, Lynnette gets to mother the cutest little boy in the whole world.

And finally, Pee-tah (remember Pee-tah, of the I Almost Saw Him Naked story?) is going to be my roommate. Yes, I know I already have a roommate who buys me paper towels and garbage cans (I know! I got a new garbage can, too!) but, Pee-tah! I already vacuumed all the cat hair out of his room and tried to make it less girlie in there but quite frankly, that is a hopeless task. I am the girliest person I know.

Okay, that’s it, folks. Oh wait, I did have a birthday. I didn’t even bother typing up a list of everything you guys were supposed to get me. I’m 41. Who cares about 41? 41 is officially middle aged, and since I had all the big parties and shirtless men and cake last year, this one slid right on by without so much as a whimper. I think everyone was mightily relieved about that, even me.

I will leave you with one final bit of very exciting news. I’m getting a new roof! Isn’t that exciting?! Apparently some storm ripped through my neighborhood and shredded a bunch of roofs and mine was one of them. If a whole passel of roofers hadn’t repeatedly knocked on my door and offered to fix it once I signed on the dotted line and turned over a retainer (and no, I was not that naïve), I never would have known. I don’t know what I thought those shingles were doing in my yard, but roof damage? No way. So anyway, new roof!

I’m really 41, aren’t I? Crap.

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