Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Home Again

Home, sweet home. I am so happy to be home!

So many tales to tell. Don't know where to start! I got home last night just after 7:30. The day was long and frustrating. Just 18 miles from home I was pulled over for speeding. 84 mph. I had the cruise set and thought I had it set for 74. I wondered why I was zipping by everyone else and I knew the flashing lights were for me the minute I saw them.

I surrendered my license and my out of date insurance card and texted He Who awaited my return to inform him of the delay. The state trooper was nice and only cited me for the insurance and told me to slow down. The insurance card is the fault of He Who is supposed to take care of such matters for his wife. I had been speeding all day in my rush to get home before dark. I can't see all that well in the dark and for some reason the on-coming traffic objects to the use of my high beams.

I couldn't very well tell the officer to hurry it up, as the light was fading and I have night blindness, could I? So, the last bit of light was fading as I took off and set the cruise at 60 and fell in behind a truck so I could follow his tail lights to my exit. This is when He Who knows I will not answer a text while driving decided to text me ....... twice. Why he didn't just call me remains a mystery. I was annoyed that he didn't call when I didn't text back and was tempted to pull over and text that I was headed to jail. I didn't, but I was afraid he would leave to rescue me, since I had added the mile marker to my text. This would mean that he would not be home when I arrived and I had forgotten my house key.

This was a nightmare trip and I told my dad it was a testament to how much I cared about him! By the time I headed out Sunday morning I had made friends with "Never Lost". I punched in the address to the hotel near the airport awaiting my arrival. This time I did not choose the "shortest route", but the "interstate and freeway route". I fully intended to jump on state highway 78 when I got to Birmingham, knowing that my friend, Never Lost, would recalculate a route when I ignored her directions. Unfortunately, I was mindlessly doing everything she said when I realized she had taken me off I-20 west and was taking me to Nashville. I was going to get off and turn around, but I noticed that the traffic was at a standstill in the opposite direction. So, I went to Nashville, then to Memphis. Not really a big deal considering what the second day of my travels held.

That will be a story for another day. I hear a mower calling my name! It is good to be outside and busy after so many days of inactivity. My dad's low energy keeps him indoors most of the time. He did get out one day while I was there. I was happy to be his driver. He is so very weak. We had to employ the use of a wheelchair. He has a walker, but he was just too weak to walk too far. I did help Mama mow and weed while he napped. I gave them a nice break in the middle of the week and went to see my sweet great-granddaughter, Jailynn.

So many stories ....... so little time.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Cell Phone Etiquette or Maybe They Are Jealous?

On my big adventure I encountered strange doings. Things I had yet to witness.

When cell phones were new, it was not uncommon to see people with the device stuck to their ear. It was, after all a status symbol. I remember one man, in particular, who frequented our business in Minnesota. He was a wiry short man and already suffered from "little man syndrome". Always having to toot his own horn of self-importance. He would come in talking and never stop the entire time he was in our store. He would tell the person on the other end to "hold on" to tell me what he wanted. If I had a question, he would hold his hand in front of my face to shush me. He only did that once. I told him to let me know when he was ready to do business and walked away. I sometimes wondered if he was even talking to anyone.

Rude, just plain rude. I stopped to get a cold drink at a convenience store. I was delayed until I could figure out how to remove the key from the ignition. You would think the rental people would point these things out. I was exhausted after my tow and am not ashamed to admit that I burst into tears. I used to have a Camry and knew there was a trick, but couldn't remember. I accidentally hit the panic button and everyone knew I was there .... but that's another story for another day.

I went into the restroom, travelers always do, you know. There were several stalls and lots of people in there. One woman was talking on her cell phone. She was loud. She slipped into the stall next to me and said, "Wait a minute, I going to put you on speaker." Yes, she did. Her friend was also loud and I was entertained with the conversation. There were talking about some people they didn't like at their church. They really don't like this other woman. I should know. This other woman wears too much make-up and tries to look younger than she is ...... and ....... they were on their way to meet her for dinner.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Stranded In Memphis

Here I am, a week later. This hotel cannot compare to the last one. It has a strange smell. Not just my room ...... the entire hotel. It was cheap and close to the airport where Hertz awaits the return of the Camry.

Okay, I promised to enchant you with my ongoing tale of misery and misfortune. The tow truck arrived and I was happy to see it was a team. A man and a woman. She out-talked me (and that takes effort). They had a plan in place and told me their boss-man told them the best thing I could do was to leave my car in their impound lot until someone could take a look-see on Monday. In the mean time he provided a nice comfy car to take me to Memphis to obtain a rental.

Some of you may have already wondered to yourself about the wisdom of leaving my car some 70 miles away from the rental agency. I should have wondered myself, but what do I know about cars that stop and suddenly die leaving me stranded in the hot sun. I did ask them how I would get my car and she assured me they would take care of it, even return it for me. I felt so well assured.

I bought their lunch and tipped them $20 for all their care and trouble. I even provided them with apples and tomatoes and peppers from my garden. I was giving out apples like Santa gives out Christmas candy. I had so much stuff in my car. I had a huge sack of apples and dishpan of tomatoes and peppers. Two cakes for my Daddy, two suitcases and a box fan to help keep me cool. Mama gets cold at night and sets the thermostat at 78. And an ice chest with frozen apple and blueberry pies.

Imagine me trying to pile all that on an airport cart and down the elevator to get to the car rental. Yeah, it is funny. The nice young man helping me listened to all my woes and asked me why they didn't tow my car to Memphis, because I was the only authorized driver and the only one who would be able to return my car. See, I had not thought this situation through. I should have insisted they tow my car to Memphis, since AAA would pay for a tow up to 100 miles.

Because I am now in Memphis and I am stranded. When I turn this car in, I have no means of transportation. I dreamed of dragging all that crap down the interstate on foot. Now, I did not just realize that I would be without wheels unless I drove the rental to the transmission shop and then somehow managed to drive both cars back to Hertz.

The nice man who arranged my nice ride to Memphis, knowing full well I would be stranded, was not nice at all when I called him. He was rude. When I asked him how I was supposed to get back to Blytheville to get my car he informed me that it was my problem, that my car was no longer in his possession and "Lady, take a cab."

He called me "lady". I am not done with him. I am willing to bet he charged AAA to take me to Memphis. He will be sorry he called me "lady".

So, we have exhausted all methods of transportation. I have enough money on me for a cab tomorrow if it comes to that. He Who solves all my problems offered the transmission shop $100 to drive my car to pick me up, but got no takers. If all else fails tomorrow I will be heading north in a limo at $65 per hour, which is cheaper than a cab. Probably will smell nicer, too.

Now ..... I lay me down to sleep. Tomorrow I will be home sweet home!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Best Laid Plans ....

When last we "spoke" I was all set for my trip to Georgia. I was so prepared. Had everything so very organized, yes, I did.

I didn't set an alarm clock .... no need, I have grumpy old dog Oscar to awaken me at dawn for his feeding and care. He always gets up at 5:30 and wants to go out. Figured I would just get up then. Sometimes I can coax him back to bed for another hour or two, but didn't plan to.

You may have already guessed that today he decided to sleep in. I made a late departure at 6:25 instead of 6:00 like I wanted to. No matter, I still had plenty of daylight hours to make it to south of Atlanta and felt confidant that even if it was getting dark I could make it the rest of the way.

So, since I am sitting in a hotel room some ways north of Birmingham, Alabama eating a banana and sipping decaf, we can all assume that my preparations were all for not!

It all started with the sun. I forgot to factor in the fact that I was heading due east during sunrise. I missed my exit off I-70 to get on I-57 and suddenly found that I was headed to Chicago. I got off and went back only to find that I could not get to I-57 from west bound I-70. But ......... there was I-55 heading south. I took it. I figured I would hook up with it at some point along the way. I did ask that annoying persona on my I-phone but she kept telling me to go back to St. Louis. Over and over again. She would not stop telling me to get off and go back. I wanted to fling the phone out the window. She does respond to SHUT UP, though.

So, there I am heading due south, thinking how very excellent a paper map would be. I like visual aids and I know I can pull a map up on my phone, but, either way I would have to pull over. I drove on until I was in need of a restroom and stopped. I called He Who Tows and he agreed that I should just keep going and take a different route than the one planned. This would take me to Birmingham, then Atlanta to pick up I-75 and head south. 

Sipping coffee and zipping along at 75mph, cruise set, singing with the radio, I was happily calculating my arrival time, thinking all my trouble was behind me. That is when my car died.
The rpm's suddenly went berserk. I turned off the cruise control, but the car would no longer accelerate and I had no choice but to coast to the shoulder ........ barely. The tires were still on the white line and the trucks were rocking me every time they passed.

I called He Who Tows, slightly annoyed at the car, thinking he would be able to magically fix it on the phone. He is no magician. We tried everything just to be able to get me further off the highway, but .......

Let's see, how can one calculate time sitting on the side of the road in a rocking car at midday? After talking to the nice man at AAA (Where are you, ma'am?) and telling him that I was in the south bound lane of I-55 about 66 miles north of Memphis, I tried to distract myself from my bladder. You will recall that coffee I was a sippin'.

I thought, no problem, I will move over to the passenger seat and listen to a book on my lap top.
Windows 8 reared it's ugly head and locked me out! After following all the directions the computer kept spitting at me, I gave up.

In desperation, I opened both passenger doors and peed. Yes, I did. On the Interstate somewhere in Arkansas. I was there so long that my pee evaporated.

Stay turned for a thrilling ride in a tow truck with a couple who work together. I am finished with my banana and decaf and am off to bed. There is nothing, absolutely nothing at this exit but this Hampton Inn and two gas stations. Rumor has it that there will be breakfast.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Adopting The Highway

Blogger has not been kind this week. Adding an image is impossible and half the time I can't even see my reading list. Then ..... when I make a comment, it disappears. Poof! All my witty musings are lost in cyber-space, never to be read. This is quite frustrating, to say the least.

Whatever virus entered my body has now exited and I am back to my old level of energy. This is good, as I have much to do. Tomorrow I will be making a solo trip to Georgia. I have down loaded nearly 50 hours of audio books, so I will have the company of a good book with me. And my new I-phone.

I kept telling He Who would pretend to not hear me, then ask why I am shouting, that I was unable to access the internet with my new phone. He kept assuring me that I could. So, I finally cornered him and demanded that he try to get on-line with this amazing new phone. He couldn't, of course. So, he had to call Sprint to remedy this. Too bad he called on the day the I-phone 6 came out. Took him a long time to get an actual person on the phone, but now I have a phone that does everything it is supposed to do.

I am packed. The last load of laundry is spinning dry and I have made two cakes for my dad. The last of the ripe tomatoes have been harvested, along with the bell peppers. I have apples bagged and ready. Never let it be said that I am going empty handed! Mama is the Queen of her kitchen and does not fancy another cook in her midst.

The dog park and my dog's yard have been mowed twice. Once with the blade at the appropriate height and then again with the blade as low as it will go. He Who mows does not push a mower .... he rides a mower. The freezer and fridge have been cleaned out and re-stocked. Pills have been counted out. Instructions on how to feed the dogs and pending reservations are taped up at eye level and ready to be read and adhered to. Hope runs deep.

Speaking of mowing ....... last week, as I was out and about I noticed that the road department had the mowers out. The interstate and all the secondary county roads were being groomed. I was thinking that it was about time as some of the grasses were nearly waist high to me. I was also thinking how much wider the roads looked and how nice and cleanly shaved the shoulders were.

Well, until I saw that they had mowed through bags of trash! Orange bags of trash, no doubt gathered by those folks who adopt highways and sacrifice their time to pick up all the stuff thrown to the curb by those among us who are special. I am assuming the bags are neon orange so that they can easily be seen by whoever is supposed to harvest them from the roadside. Also, to be easily spied by mowers, one would think.

I will be reading blogs next week and hopefully commenting via my phone ..... but just can't imagine pecking out an entire post. You never know, though.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lizzie Borden Took An Ax .........

The itch has relented and now I am treating the super dry skin left behind. Other than the cough and wonky head, I feel almost normal ..... whatever that is.

Saturday, as I am contemplating closing the store early, having no pending reservations, a couple comes in and I stand to greet them. It had been a lovely day with mild temperatures and I was surprised to see them bundled up with heavy sweaters under coats and scarves round their necks. There were a matching set, round faced with red cheeks and gray hair. I wasn't sure if the red cheeks were from being dressed too warm, or maybe they had been drinking some spirits.

I asked if I could help them and they wanted to know if I sold axes. I can honestly say that this was a new request and my mind immediately went to the cost of stocking such an item. This couple was not staying here and I wanted to ask what they were going to do with the ax, as they kept looking at each other and giggling. I decided not to ask and suggested they might try a hardware store in town.

Still grinning at each other they turned and left the store. And that is when I saw the rest of their attire. Seersucker shorts, mid-calf socks and hiking boots. I am sorry I didn't ask what they needed that ax for ........ or, am I?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Under The Influence Of Benadryl

Today is my dad's birthday. He is 84. I had big plans to get up very early today and hop in the car and drive to Georgia and be there this evening to surprise him. You know what they say about the best laid plans ........

I am finally getting over my latest battle with poison ivy. I still have a little itch now and again, but not the insane urge to grab a sander with roughest grit available and quench my thirsty itch. Benadryl has been my closest friend for the past 2 weeks. In every form. I swallow it, I spray it on and I rub it on. Yes, I did read the label that discouraged this behavior, but the entity giving this advice has obviously never had this rash.

So, Friday was a cold, dreary day. Rain drizzled and the sky was gray and it was just plain miserable. I didn't feel great when I got up, but figured it must be the weather. I did the bare minimum of chores and was waiting for the miserable day to end so I could lock up and go to bed. My ear hurt a little and my throat was a little scratchy. I checked in campers and counted the hours I had left behind the counter. I debated taking more Benadryl when I scratched idly at some of the bits of rash left on my person.

A camper bought two bundles of wood at 7:30. He Who is normally available for such errands was on the highway with a major calamity and not expected back anytime soon. This being he case, I sighed deeply and grabbed the store key and the golf cart key and made my way to the wood pile. The golf cart was sitting at the barn (aka Fred Sanford's Emporium) and I had to walk through the wet drizzle to retrieve it. I was immediately soaked when my posterior met with the seat. I loaded the wood and delivered it, then made my way back to the store.

I was having a good chill, shivering all over. I changed into dry clothes, but could not seem to warm up. I decided that 8 o'clock would be a good time to lock the doors. It is normally 9 o'clock on a Friday night, but I couldn't imagine lots of folks deciding to come camp at the last minute ........

My imagination failed me. I was actually pushing the door closed when a couple drove up for a tent site. For one night. It was already dark and still drizzly and I could not imagine setting up in this weather, or crawling in the damp tent to sleep. But, I checked them in. I have mixed feelings about tents. If I were to sleep in a tent, I would have to have some sort of mattress between me and the cold ground. I am not really of the age that would consider this to be a fun adventure ....... crawling into a tiny structure not big enough to stand in and literally having to crawl into "bed". And, I would not want to spend all the time setting up camp for only one night. But, that is just me.

Soon as I finished with this couple, two kids come and want snow cones. Thinking about sucking on ice made me shiver even harder, but I made the snow cones and was finally able to close down and warm myself with a shower. Sneezing and shivering, I decided that some aspirin and Benadryl sounded good with a cup of hot tea. I was in bed and asleep by 9:30 and slept until 8:55 the next morning. But ...... I felt like I had swallowed a frog and my head was all wonky and my ear was still achy. I managed to make coffee and after that, I went back to bed and slept on and off all day.

There is no way I can go see my dad if I am sick. His immune system is shot and I will not take the chance of passing along a common cold to him. It would be fatal for him. So, I was resigned to missing his birthday. I went to bed early again with aspirin and Benadryl (for the anti-histamine to keep me from waking myself coughing).

I woke at the normal time today and actually felt better ..... not good, but better. I went about my morning ritual. Let the dogs out, fill the food dish and the water dish, wash my hands, then make the coffee. I grabbed the carafe and the part that holds the filter full of coffee from the maker in the store. I came back out with the water and the filter full of grounds. Freshly ground from my special stash of Caribou beans that my son sent to me. I put them and the water in and flipped the switch and then made my way to the bathroom, let the dogs in and opened the door to the store.

The wonderful aroma of coffee filled the air and I glanced at the carafe to see if there was enough to steal a cup before it finished. There wasn't, so I stepped outside to enjoy the crisp morning air and ended up pulling some spent stems from my day lilies. I am sure how long I was at it, time slips away from me in the garden. I know that I pulled a whole row in front of the building, then headed in for that first cup of coffee, my taste buds on high alert.

But ...... there is still not a significant amount of coffee in the carafe. I approach the counter and discover that the coffee is all over the counter, under the pop corn popper and in the floor. It is very important that one re-assembles the machine with all the parts when making coffee. I had left out that piece with the springy thing on the bottom that sits in the top to hold the filter with the coffee grounds in it. Making all the hot water leak out so fast that it flowed over the lid on the carafe.

I write this as a public service to all coffee lovers out there. Perhaps it was the Benadryl, but it was definitely user error on my part. Maybe it was good that I didn't try to drive to Georgia today. I did start crying when I talked to my dad, though. This might be the last birthday I can spend with him and I really wanted to be there.