Hot Guys Of Norway

Good evening! Is today a good day?  I just made myself sleepy by looking at Norway photos where I had time to sleep as late as I wanted but not the inclination because the sun never really went down.  I gave you plenty of time to sort through my landscape photos and today we are shifting focus to the real reason Woney and I went to Norway: hot guys. <insert Woney’s eye roll here>

I was fully prepared to meet the love of my life in Bergen as evidenced by the weight I lost before taking the trip and the plumping lip goo I carried in my bag. I’m going to deliver a spoiler and tell you that I did not come home with a hot Norwegian man.  I would have lead with that via billboard and wedding invitation.

However! I did meet some hottie hot hotties and I’m here to tell you about them now.

First up was Marco. A quick aside about Marco.  He was the first thing in Norway to make me cry which will be included in a separate post titled: Things That Made Me Cry In Norway.  Please stay tuned for that.  Anyway, Marco was a pianist and also one of three tour guides for the two mile hike Woney and I took through the woods to a grotto (which in America we would simply call a cave).  We had visited the home of Ole Bull, more about that coming later, and after the house tour, we set off for a walk in the rain to the grotto.  We were implored to go ONLY IF our shoes could take the journey as it was gloppy and mucky.  No one mentioned appropriate footwear neither in the ticket booth nor on the informational literature so I had opted for fun over functional in the hopes I would find my hot guy on day one.  Well.

I asked the three tour guides if my shoes would work, making especially sure that I hiked my pants above my ankle so that Marco could see my well-turned foot bones, etc. and despite all of them musing, “meh,” I opted to go. Woney was going to do it on her new titanium knee and one of the tour guides was wearing rubber rain boots and carrying an apple basket so I figured I’d be okay.  How hard could it be?  I’d just go slow and hang on to somebody’s arm, perhaps Marco’s!  And for a while, that’s what I did.

But then what had happened was, I was following feet instead of bodies and some of those feet took a detour but in the rain I couldn’t really see that so I found myself at the top of a slippery precipice which featured stunning views but lots of rain and fog and heather and mud. “Huh,” I mused.  “Where’s the rest of the group?  Where’s Woney?  Where’s Marco?  Where’s the lady with the apple basket in the rubber boots?”  I found none of these answers but I found Margaret and her husband on the precipice with me, and we made our way down the rocks amongst the heather, Margaret clutching her husband and me clutching Margaret.  Things were going swimmingly until I hit one rock just the right way with my “meh” shoes, and in the space it takes a hummingbird’s wings to flap, I was on my ass in the mud, my head buried in a bed of wet heather.  I looked up to see Marco turn the corner, a look of horror on his face, and then he sprinted towards me.  You’d think I’d be pleased what with Marco sprinting in my direction to save me, but the truth is, Margaret was no spring chicken and I had taken her down with me.  Yes.  I took a white haired old lady down into the mud and heather, and not only was I humiliated, but I think I hit so hard that I peed a little which is not really the way to properly introduce yourself to a hot Norwegian man, even if he has already seen your well-turned foot bones, etc.

We all made sure Margaret was okay and we got most of the mud off my butt (Marco did not help) but the mood was ruined.  We then made our way to the grotto where I took this stunning picture so in the end, I guess I’m okay.

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No, I did not get a good picture of Marco.  Of course I didn’t.

A couple of days later, Woney and I took the Norway in a Nutshell tour (HIGHLY RECOMMEND!) and I experienced the second and third things in Norway that made me cry. Stay tuned! Post coming soon! Part of that tour included a ride on the Flam Railway which is just about the most scenic trip I have ever taken in my life.  I guess it was the same for everyone because the great seats Woney and I snagged were soon squished with other eager passengers, two of which were Magnus and Stiegan, and Magnus was gorgeous.  Wait. Magnus was GORGEOUS.  My word, his legs, his oddly green eyes, his manly jaw.  He sat next to me and I thought my ovaries were going to burst.  Not only was he beautiful but he was interesting and friendly, not very common in Norway.  The Norwegians are not a friendly people.  Not unfriendly, mind you, but not in your face friendly like we are here in the South.

Anyway, we had a couple of hours to yap with Magnus who is an orthopedic surgeon (!) and also Stiegan who I do want to mention because he was nice although a little homely, and things were going quite well. I figured, “what the hey, I’ll see if I can get a selfie with him,” because I had used my lip plumping goo and thought we’d look nice together, but the minute I whipped out my phone, Magnus fell into paroxysms of “No!  I can’t allow photos to be taken!  I am terrified of biomolecular biological technology and facial recognition!” and I wondered if maybe he’s a wanted man?  Was I sitting next to a criminal of some sort, like a playboy ax murderer?  It felt a little weird and Woney and I made eyes at each other like, “Is he serious or just a fruit loop?”

Later Magnus and Stiegan offered us a drink but it was a warm can of beer out of a box and they were hiding behind a pole so that the train conductor would not see them drinking at the train station. Plus they both donned ladies sunglasses, so all-in-all, I think Woney and I dodged a bullet from a bonafide fruit loop.

You will understand that we did not get a photo of Magnus. Or Stiegan.  Trust me, Magnus was a hottie.  And sure, Stiegan was nice.  It was this train ride where I took this stunning photo so I’m okay with no hot guy photos.

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Finally, Woney and I took a second scenic cruise that featured a wad of fjords and also the fourth thing in Norway that made me cry. That promises to be an exciting post so be sure and look for it!  I was standing on the deck of the boat, my hair whipping in the wind and my mouth hanging open as I looked at our beautiful world, when a hottie hot hot guy said, “Hey.  It’s gorgeous isn’t it?” And that was it. We were off and running.  I’ve never met a more me person than me before until I met Dhruv.  “Hey, want to take a selfie real quick?” he asked.  DO I! “Hey, want to try my snacks?” he asked. DO I!  “Hey, can I have a hug before we part ways?” he asked. CAN HE!  “Hey, should we try to get together before we both leave for our home countries?” he asked. SHOULD WE!  Poor Woney.  She is used to me and loves me but I think it was a bit much for her to have two of me all in one spot.  Oh, she tried all the snacks and took all the selfies and gave all the hugs but it was more “your new friend is cute and you do what you like, but pajamas are calling my name” than it was “yes, let’s have lunch and breakfast and tours of the leprosy museum with a midnight meeting for some more food, yay, new friends!”

Dhruv and I tried hard to get together again but in one teensy way Dhruv is not like me (aside from his nationality and heritage and gender, of course) in that he wants to hike at every opportunity. I like hiking, sure, but I do get tired like a normal human and so it never happened.  He went hiking and Woney and I went shopping.  We are connected, though, and Woney and I plan on heading to London soon to meet up with some of our new friends, Dhruv included.

Yes, I did get some good pictures of Dhruv and I present him here for your viewing pleasure. Ain’t he cute?  Plus the whole vibe is “stunning photo” so I feel good about it.  I’ve got Dhruv’s deets for any of you interested in meeting a man with a British accent and excellent teeth.  I’ll take you with us to London.  Woney will be so pleased.  <insert Woney’s eye roll here>

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Words of Wisdom, From Joe

“Jimmie!” said Joe. “Did you know that macaroni has lots of calories?”

My supper club bunch and I were having dinner at Finezza’s (Italian – very good, highly recommend), and Joe had apparently watched a new documentary.

“Yes, I know,” I replied.

“It’s got more than the cheese! I thought macaroni and cheese was healthy!”

“No,” I replied smugly*, “noodles have a lot of empty calories. They are a great way to convey flavors to your mouth but the calorie payoff is pretty rough.”

*I can say this with smugness because I’ve recently given up all grains and if I don’t say it smugly, I might cry.

“Also, did you know that fruit juice is mostly sugar?” Joe was distraught.

“Yes, Joe, I know. It’s disappointing.  It sounds so good for you but it’s really not,” I replied.

Joe shook his head mournfully. “No wonder I’ve gained so much weight,” he said (he hasn’t) and then he sighed.

The waiter rounded the table to take our orders and I wondered what Joe would eat. He’s a lot like Dammit Todd.  His food is his focus until the meal is gone and there’s no talking to him until the last bite has been consumed.  He thoroughly enjoys whatever he has ordered and it’s a pleasure to watch him at dinner.

“What will you have, sir?” she asked Joe.

“Lasagna, please. Extra cheese.  And lemonade, thanks.”

Oh, Joe. I do love him.

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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

Conversations With Joe

You guys remember Joe, right? Joe has been a long time member of my Supper Club at Fifty Forward and honestly, he provides me with most of the fun stories I have even though I almost never share them here. He is a lifelong bachelor and you wonder when you meet him if that is by choice or circumstance. What I mean by that is he’s sneaky. He will begin a conversation with you in a myriad of ways:

Jimmie, I watched a show on tv the other day and did you know that they inject corn with high fructose corn syrup? It’s true, they do. The guy said that the only time you should ever eat corn is if you grow it yourself.

Hey Jimmie, have you ever been to Canada? I have. We went to that part that is so rich you need to have green blood to afford a hotel there.

I’m giving up refined sugar. Unless it’s a sorbet. I will eat some sorbet but I won’t eat refined sugar. It’s bad for you.

Jimmie, what’s a starch? (This one is asked in the middle of dinner when he hasn’t spoken for twenty minutes because he’s intent on his hamburger and fries – his favorite meal. Once he asks and gets an answer he goes back to his burger and never brings it up again.)

It’s in Banff Springs! (When you ask him “What?” he replies, “That hotel in Canada? The one that is in the rich part? It’s in Banff Springs. We were there.)

You know what that guy said, he said that if you want to give someone cancer you should send them to chemo. (At this point I was no longer really tracking because it was the third time he mentioned it, but I suspect this was another tidbit from the guy on the tv show he recently watched.)

After a couple of hours of conversation with Joe, you find yourself wondering if he’s all there. He drives just fine and always has money to pay for dinner and it is clear that he held down a steady job for many years so that he could retire in relative comfort, but you wonder if maybe he has a benefactor of some sort or a guardian who stays in the shadows. It isn’t until he pops off with something like the below that you see how sneaky he really is:

Jimmie, I would never finance a car. You should never buy a car that has a payment larger than your rent. People who do that are just showing off and the amount they pay in interest could be invested into a 401(k) and they could increase their retirement income by 7.5%. That could mean a higher grocery budget every week and people later in life need to pay attention to these things.

And you look at him in utter astonishment because in the five years you’ve been doing this, you never suspected that underneath the wavy eye and the shuffling feet and the nearly incoherent Kroger rant he subjected you to two years ago for the sum total of three hours, Joe is a pretty smart guy. Not even pretty smart, but very smart as in he paid cash for his car AND his house and lives debt free today. Damn. Caught me off guard, that one.

I leave you with one final Joe conversation.

“Joe,” I asked, “did you ever have a girlfriend that got away?”

“Oh, yeah,” he said, “several of them. And some of them I had to kick away. Bad news.”

I LOVE THESE PEOPLE!

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About A Boy; About A Girl

I had dinner with my senior citizens last week. I still do that every month in case you were wondering. Our normal pattern is while we eat, we discuss other restaurants we’d like to try on another outing, and I make a running list of places so that choosing a new one every month is easy. Jan, the woman who is me in 30 years, piped up from the end of the table. “I’d like to go to Big Bang. I heard it was fun.”

I was conveying a piece of potato to my mouth with a fork and this revelation rendered me unable to hold onto my utensils. I dropped potato and fork into my lap and then snapped my open mouth shut.

“Jan, Big Bang is a bar. A rowdy bar. Downtown. With drunk people. You want to go there?”

“Yes,” she said adamantly. “I think it would be fun.”

So I put Big Bang on the list. I once spent a lovely evening there watching my friend Miguel kill it on the dance floor to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Seriously, he knew every move and did them all for the whole song. I’ve never particularly seen him as a ladies man but it seems that the ladies really like a man who can dance every move of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Miguel got a lot of numbers that night. I guess I’ll be teaching our two single men at the senior center how to dance now. Turn them into lady magnets. I’m pretty sure that’s why they come to these dinners, to find themselves a lady friend.

Speaking of single men, we had a new attendee at the dinner this month. Jack was the lone male that signed up to ride the supper van full of women. He was the last to arrive at the center and as he walked up the stairs to the front door, all the single ladies pressed their faces to the glass to watch him. I don’t know if that is a common occurrence for him or what, but once he realized he had an audience he threw both arms out to the side and puffed his chest out as if to say, “Drink it in broads! I have arrived.”

I fought my way through the crowd to introduce myself and explained that he was the single exception to our hen party. “How many women are on the bus,” he asked, looking around with some glee.

“Thirteen,” I replied and then he did a fist pump victory motion whilst exclaiming, “YES!” My kinda dude.

Remember ages ago when I told you about Jim and Jane, the couple who found each other late in life? Jim is the sort who swaggers into a restaurant with his tabbed-waist pants and his pinky ring, kind of smoothing his mane of white hair in a fluid motion. Jack is nothing like that.   Jack had on his rock star jeans with the designs on the pockets, his Daniel Cremiux shirt and his hipster glasses. He’d shaved his head into a shiny Bruce Willis dome and he expertly rolled his pant legs up into a look so trendy it hurts. He told us later that he’s 90 and a World War II vet. Went to a middle school last week to talk about his experience as a soldier and the kids ate it up. I think he did, too. I know I ate it up. Man, I hope he comes back. He was a treat. I’m anxious to see which lady friend he settles on, or perhaps more accurately, how many lady friends he settles on.

We also had another new person this month, Heather. I’d heard she was coming long before I ever got to the center, because Heather is what you’d call a “handful.” The schedulers wanted me to be aware from the get go that she would be there as she is legally blind, speaks extra loudly to make up for her lack of vision, and doesn’t get along with Jan at all. I mean at all.

Heather has had a pretty rough life but she’s not one to shy away from talking about it. Five bypass surgeries, sixteen eye surgeries, something in her kidney area and all the complications from a severe case of diabetes. She will tell you all about it and even show you her scars, but the whole time she’s talking she’s got the most upbeat attitude.

“I just figure that you only get one life,” she pontificates, “and you might as well like it. I take the bus anywhere I need to go and I get along. No need to complain.” She’s right but she’s also annoying in that no one around her is allowed to have a regret or a complaint or a question that might imply even a borderline problem.

For example, at the dinner one of our ladies, Beth, asked if her steak could be put on the grill for another few minutes as it was cold and little too raw for her liking. The waitress happily obliged but Beth was given such a tongue lashing from Heather over not being grateful that Margaret, another lady whose steak wasn’t done, ate her cold, raw meat in silence so as not to draw attention to herself for her own verbal tongue lashing. I don’t want any meek mice at our dinners so I had a talk with Heather afterwards who then hugged me and told me I was fantastic. Even put her head on my shoulder to rest on the ride home.

I am so lucky. I love these people. I sure do meet all kinds.

Because I’ve been remiss in writing about this lately, below are some of the places we’ve been for dinner and my review of them:

Butchertown Hall, Germantown area – a Texo-German place which means lots of meat. Yes, go. It’s painfully trendy, just annoyingly so, and it’s easy to get scared by the reviews on Yelp. It seems that the staff finds it excruciating to wait on you, the customer, and they run out of brisket later in the day. However, we had a delightful experience. It’s almost as if the wait staff got skewered by somebody higher up over the Yelp reviews and straightened out their act. We had Andrew as a server, and let me tell you, he hustled the whole night. He patiently answered every question we had about the menu, made thoughtful suggestions and kept the food and water coming. You’ll enjoy this place if you can get a table. Well worth it. The food was delicious, and I highly recommend the brussels sprouts. Mmmmm

Woody’s Steak House, Madison – old school steak house. When I say old school, I’m talking 1980’s wood paneling with heavy maroon trim, mood lighting in the form of wall sconces made to look like gas lanterns, and baked potatoes the size of your head. If you want atmosphere, this is not your place. If you want a side of beef, it is.

Cajun Steamer, Franklin – a total dive bar. It looks like nothing special inside or out. It’s in a strip mall for Pete’s sake. But when you go, order the tuna dip. That face you are making right now? Yeah, I made it, too, but then I tried the tuna dip and it changed my life. At the very least it changed my thinking about tuna dip. Trust me on this one.

Mere Bulles, Brentwood – a Nashville institution. When it was downtown it featured a painting of Madre on her horse, Louie. That painting is long gone now, sadly. But go there. The food is outstanding and the service, too.

Blue Moon Waterfront Grill, East Nashville-ish (I’m good with directions) – a marina bar and grill. It was pretty good. Go when it’s not so hot, though. And if you really want a marina bar and grill but you only get one shot at it, go to the one in Lakewood. It’s better.

Okay, that’s it. If any of you want to meet us at the next location, let me know. I’ll include you in our reservations. Single men more than welcome. You can have your pick of the ladies. They’ll treat you real nice.

A Walk In The Woods

A few weekends ago, I gave Martie and Coach their monthly date night.  They get at least one night per month to be randy teenagers, and I get to spend the night with my nieces and do crafty things.  This particular date night was the anniversary of Martie and Coach’s wedding so I came for the whole weekend, giving them two nights to be randy teenagers and they came back utterly exhausted.  Aging is a bitch.

Anyway, I had big plans for the girls that weekend, some of which included a crafty thing (which I will feature on Martie’s blog, A Hair In My Biscuit) and some of which included a walk in the woods with a picnic.  See, Martie and Coach, et al., recently moved into Madre’s house, Madre moved into the guest cabin behind the house, and now Martie and Coach, et al., have all this land on which to traipse and explore.  I want those children to be fearless when it comes to that exploring so I figured we’d take Madre, who knows every blade of grass out there like the back of her hand, and go see it all for ourselves.

Treacherous Creek Crossing

Treacherous Creek Crossing

We packed up a healthy lunch, threw our hair into pigtails and set off into the woods.  As we were leaving I said, “This is perfect weather.  Sunny but not hot, and too early in the year for ticks and mosquitos.”

Madre and Tigger

Madre and Tigger

After a bit of walking, we realized that carrying a picnic lunch and some blankets through the woods was a giant pain, so we settled into a clearing and set up camp.  Lucy, Madre’s dog, sat diligently at the edge of the blanket waiting for any kind of crumb to fall from our sandwiches, chips, or apples, and once it fell, would leap to attention and snap it up, usually along with some grass or weeds, so excited and diligent was she.  After lunch we left our paraphernalia and went exploring in earnest. We saw rabbit warrens and snake holes.  We crossed over trees that had fallen and drug branches out of our way.  We opted to cross the creek twice and had to throw big rocks into the water all the way across so that our feet wouldn’t get wet.  We got tangled in a bit of barbed wire and saw the dumping grounds for someone’s trash which just ticked me off.  Throw your stupid faded, busted up Big Wheel into the dump instead of our forest, please.

Young, spry children off in the distance

Young, spry children off in the distance

We are so cute

We are so cute

After a few miles of exploring, we walked back to our camp, occasionally swinging on a vine for the fun of it, or hanging like a monkey from an overturned tree.  (Incidentally, did you know that women really have to work on upper body strength?  I’m far weaker than I imagined, or far heavier, especially in light of all those free weights I do at the gym.  Yeesh.  My imagined leaping onto the tree trunks and swinging myself all around was actually more like tentatively grasping the trunk with both hands, lifting my feet from the ground, and dangling there like a spent worm for the 1.2 seconds I could hold my body weight.)  We picked up our blankets and picnic baskets and headed home to shower and prepare for crafting.

Lucy's rear

Lucy’s rear

Upon arriving home, I began to notice an itching sensation in my navel region.  I’d scratch, comb Pooh’s wet hair, scratch, get Tigger a towel, scratch.  Etc.  When I finally looked at what itched – y’all.  Oh My God.  Y’all!  There was a tick on me!  A tick!  Oh, you should have heard the screeching.  I was on that phone, banging out Madre’s number, bellowing, “Madre, get down here RIGHT NOW!  Bring the tweezers, OH MY GOD, there is a tick on me! Hurry!  HURRY!  This is an EMERGENCY!”

Pooh and Tigger calmly watched from the kitchen table.  “Can I see?” asked Tigger, and I showed her, groaning and moaning the whole time. This was a devastation.

“It’s just a tick,” said Pooh, and I looked at her with my eyes bugging all the way out of my head.  Just a tick?  No.  I can handle snakes.  Just step over them.  Keep your distance from the poisonous ones.  Throw a tarantula on me?  No big deal.  Just shove it off.  Kill the brown spiders and the black ones but not the hairy ones.  Rabid dog?  Kick him in the throat.  No biggie.  But let a tick attached itself to me?  The End Of The World.

Madre came down from her cabin and rescued me, and then again a second time when I found another.  Doesn’t that sound calm?  It wasn’t, I assure you.  I reasoned with God, “No more, please!  Pooh and Tigger are resilient little things.  They can handle this with their hearty children’s bodies.  It is too early in the year for ticks, GOD! Madre is 71, yes, but she’s not ailing in any way. She is not frail.  Give her the ticks.  She can take it!  Just, please, no more for me!”  And Madre listened to all that nonsense as she swabbed me down with alcohol and snatched the tiny, baby seed tick right out of my skin. What an ordeal.  I still have not recovered.

Let this be a lesson to you, people.  Don’t ever let me take your kids into the woods with my grand notions of instilling fearlessness.  Hell naw.  Or do.  Because nothing is more ridiculous than a 42-year-old throwing a baby fit over two ticks.  Even kids can see that.

My stomach still itches, though.  Really bad.

Pooh and Tigger

Pooh and Tigger – brave, fearless girls

UPDATED: Date Night With Pee-Tah

Pee-tah said to me on Saturday night, “Jimmie, this is terrible. We are perfect together except for the whole part where we both like boys and/or your being female. I mean, I’m taller than you and everything.”

“Yeah,” I sighed. “I know. You don’t even have a stupid name and I bet you barely know what NASCAR is.”

We looked at each other resignedly for a minute and then put on our matching hoodies and went to the grocery store.

For the record, my date nights with Pee-tah are the best date nights I’ve had since . . . . er, I’m trying to think here . . . . . okay! I have a story.

A long time ago when I lived in Alabama, I had that group of friends that I wrote about recently, and in that group was a guy I’ll call Lee-Lee. Lee-Lee was just about the nicest man ever, kind of shy, a little endearingly awkward, and significantly taller than me. He was a member of the National Guard, having joined years before as a means to support himself while he earned a degree. One of the perks of that military program was a military ball, and one year Lee-Lee found himself without a date. It was on a random Tuesday night that he called me and said, “Jimmie, can you help me? I need a date for this ball and I’d like to ask someone who will be fun, someone I really like, but someone who also understands that this is a friend date, not a romantic date.”

“Oh, sure,” I yelped as soon as he took a breath, ever helpful. “What about Julie? She would look very pretty in a ball gown and you know how nice she is. Everyone would love her.”

“Well –,“ he started, and then I said, “Or! What about April! She loves to play dress up. She would look gorgeous and would love to hang out with a bunch of men in uniform.”

“Yes, but –,“ he tried again, and I then I hollered, “Hey, what about Jana? She really likes you but you could just tell her that you aren’t looking for a date date, just a friend date. This might make her get over you actually –“

“Jimmie!” he barked. “Stop, would you? I’m asking you if you want to go. Will you go with me to this ball, please?”

Y’all, I seem to have always had trouble seeing myself as desirable, even just as a friend, which is stupid as I’m the most fun person I know. But anyway, I said yes and then I rented the prettiest gown you ever did see, paid money to have my hair put up in pin curls and bought the tallest fancy shoes I could find. Lee-Lee showed up at my door in his uniform and escorted me to the ball in high fashion. We had the best time dancing and laughing, and as I took the 1,000 bobby pins out of my hair that night, I sighed in contented happiness. It was a perfect date. I went out with a gentleman who enjoyed my company, just for me. We laughed and talked and ate and never once did I worry about my safety, my virtue or what he thought when I consumed everything on my plate.

Dating Pee-tah is like that. Every night we spend together watching Bourne movies is a night spent sighing in contentment.

This is what that looks like:

Matching Hoodies!

Matching Hoodies!

Comfort option #1

Comfort option #1 (see below for details)

I love a man in the kitchen

I love a man in the kitchen

Speaks for itself

Speaks for itself

Pee-Tah serenading me from the Methodist Hymnal

Pee-Tah serenading me from the Methodist Hymnal

Studying the BDIYET Recipe

Studying the BDIYET Recipe (also see below for details)

Rawr!

Rawr!

Pee-Tah, the man who thinks eating is a waste of time, does occasionally get hungry, and when he does, he’ll whip out his repertoire of three recipes which includes only comfort foods (spaghetti, tator tot hot dish, and chicken and rice) and let you choose the one that would make you happiest. He then dons an apron and begins to cook, all the while discussing earnestly with you which dessert you’ll make together in his Kitchen Aid mixer. We picked wedding cake and The Best Damn Icing You’ve Ever Tasted. Remember it? It was the icing that I tried to make for Freddie’s birthday which failed miserably?

Icing Failure

Also, remember that Freddie had moderate success with that icing later in the year, making me look like a total novice in the kitchen. Still, it was never quite perfected and Pee-Tah, being a detail-oriented engineer, could not rest until he mastered it. He came as close as anyone will, I suppose, thanks to 45 minutes of whipping sugar and butter in the Kitchen Aid mixer. Our cake was small but completely smothered in icing and was the most delicious cake I have had since I last had cake.

Absolutely magnificent

Magnificent

Later that night, as I took my ponytail holder out of my hair, I sighed in contented happiness. I had just had the perfect date. I went out with a gentleman who enjoyed my company, just for me. We laughed and talked and ate and never once did I worry about my safety, my virtue or what he thought when I consumed everything on my plate as we watched Jeremy Renner beat the snot out of the bad guys. Absolutely perfect.

UPDATED:  The day after I posted this, Pee-Tah sent me a text message that read:  How much do you pay monthly for your cell phone?  Wondering if you and I shouldn’t jump on the same plan.

And then last night he came over and did this.

IMG_3265

(Yes, it was broken again.)

You just don’t find men like this much anymore.

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