Thursday, April 25, 2013

Who Made That Rule?

Mr. H. often tells me I get distracted too easily. Perhaps I do, but I think he enjoys pointing it out just a little too much.
This afternoon, I went downstairs to put a load of clothes in the washer and noticed that Liza (cat) had deposited a hairball in the hallway. When I went to get t-tissue to clean it up, there wasn’t any in the downstairs bathroom, so I went to the utility room to get some from the stash. That’s when I noticed Liza’s litter box needed to be cleaned, so I cleaned it, then I had to take the bag of “stuff” to the outside garbage can.
When I came back in, instead of going back to the utility room to get the t-tissue and clean up the hairball, I went upstairs and folded clothes that I’d taken out of the dryer earlier.
Later, when Mr. H. started downstairs, I remembered the hairball and yelled, “Don’t step on the hairball!” When I explained why I hadn’t cleaned it up earlier, he loved it! It was his chance to lecture me.


“You get distracted easier than anyone I know,” he said for the umpteenth time! 

“I know. I know.” I said, giving him my most uninterested look.

“You’re supposed to finish one thing before you start something else.”
“Really?” I said. “Who made that rule?”
“That’s just the way it is,” he said. “It’s the only way you ever get anything done.”
“I don’t know about that, Mr. Superior! Remember when you used to work every day and I stayed home with the kids?”
“Yeah, I remember.”
“I fed them and looked after them all day, cleaned the house, did laundry, went grocery shopping and had dinner ready when you got home at 5:30 - and I often baked something special, like a pie or cake for dessert. How do you suppose I kept from getting sidetracked?”
“You were younger then,” he said.
“So this is about age?”
“No. I'm just pointing out…”
“Maybe later. Right now I’ve got to go clean up that hairball.”  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Three Days to Go!

 Ta Da!
Here it is. I told you it would be here soon. The mailwoman delivered it right to my door this morning. The birthday box from my daughter. The one I told you about yesterday. The one that always has a great assortment of goodies in it. The one I usually open two or three days before my birthday.
Guess what? It's been eleven hours and I haven’t opened it yet. Are you surprised?
Me, too!
Oh, I gave it a good shaking, but nothing rattled. Disappointing!
My daughter e-mailed me this evening to see if I’d received it. When I told her I had but hadn’t opened it yet, she said, "I'm impressed."
I said, "With three days to go, I'm not sure I can wait. My self-control will only stretch so far.” 
She said, “You can do it.”

We’ll see.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Feelin' the Excitement!

Any day now, our mailwoman will leave a box at our front door with my name on it. You see, my birthday is less than a week away.

My daughter, who lives in North Carolina, sends a gift every year – always a few days early!  She knows I have no willpower and I’m sure she does it to taunt me.
Her boxes are so much fun to open! She usually sends one special item, maybe something I've mentioned, and several smaller things. I never know what she’ll think of – lip gloss, nail polish, hair products, bath items, a book. Is it any wonder I can’t wait?
Until last year, I always opened the box as soon as I received it. How was I to know I was supposed to wait until my birthday? When a box comes to your door with your name on it, don’t you rush in and open it right then?  Me, too. I get so excited!
She scolded me every year. “Don’t you know you’re supposed to wait until your birthday?” she’d say. I’d smile and promise to do better next time.
But then, Mother’s day follows my birthday in only a few weeks and we went through the same thing again. Her package always arrived a few days early and I couldn’t resist. I opened it!
And so… last year, when my package came on Friday and my birthday wasn’t until Monday, I knew I’d have the whole weekend to fret over it if I didn’t just get it over with, as always.
But I didn’t!
I don’t know what came over me, but I decided I could do it. I'd put the package in a spare bedroom, out of sight, and forget about it until Monday. I’d prove to her and everyone else that I had willpower!
It wasn’t easy but somehow, I pulled it off. I will admit that, when nobody was looking, I sneaked into the bedroom a couple of times and picked up the box and shook it. When that revealed nothing, I closed my eyes real tight and tried using my psychic powers to see what was in the box, but nothing happened.
On the day of my birthday, she phoned. When I told her I’d waited until that very morning to open my gift, she didn’t believe me. Mr. H. had to verify it.
She said she was proud of me.
I’m glad, but I hope she doesn’t expect me to do it again this year ‘cause I’m already feelin’ the excitement of opening that box!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

None The Worse For Wear

Some days are better than others.
Today started out nicely for me. I was up early because I had an appointment for a couple of those yearly tests that only women are lucky enough to need.
It was a beautiful day – sunny with temps in the high seventies. Mr. H. drives me to most doctor appointments. It seems to be something men do after retirement. Works for me. I don’t enjoy driving anyway and always get more than a little stressed in traffic.
So, running late, as usual, we headed up I-64. There was little traffic and it looked as if we’d get there on time. However, most things are subject to change. No sooner had the words, “Looks like we’ll make it,” come out of my mouth when Mr. H. went sailing right on by the entrance to the hospital parking lot.
There was no backing up. No turning around. Nope! This was a one-way street – a heavily traveled one. With about four minutes to go, he had to drive quite a distance around a long block to get back to the hospital. But once we were on the lot, I jumped out of the car and hurried into the building while he tried to find a parking space.
Just as I got inside, I saw the elevator door closing. There was only one young man, all dressed in white, on the elevator. I yelled, “Hey, could you wait, please?” He very kindly stopped the door from closing and let me on.
“Where’re you going?” he asked. I said, “Dr. Jones' office.” He said, “What floor?” I shrugged, feeling my face flush.
He stopped the door from closing again and said, “There’s a directory right outside the elevator. You can check that, but you’ll miss the elevator.”
Geeze, I thought, he’s a little rude!
About that time, a pretty young girl, clipboard in hand, obviously an employee, stepped on the elevator and said to me, “Who are you looking for?” I told her and she said, “Come on, we’ll look at the directory.” I said, “But we’re holding him up,” to which she replied, "That's okay.” (She clearly had seniority).
But as I started to follow her, the heel of my shoe went down into the elevator track and I couldn’t pull it loose. Not noticing my dilemma, she said, “Dr. Jones is on three.”
I said, “Thanks, but I’m stuck!”
The poor guy in the white clothes said, “Don’t move.” Sort of an odd request considering I couldn’t move!
So, while I stood there with one foot behind me, stuck in the track, and the other just outside the elevator, I envisioned all sorts of scenarios: What if the door closed now? Would it squeeze me to death? Even worse… what if someone pushed a button and the elevator started going up? Would they find half my body on the second floor and the other half still on the first?
In seconds, the man had my heel loose and I got back on the elevator – all  of me – and calmly said, “Three, please.”
When I got off, I thanked the two of them and headed for Dr. Jones’ office, none the worse for wear.
Later, when I related the whole story to Mr. H., he said, “You should know that elevators won’t move if the door is open, and the door won’t close if something is in its path.”
“I know that,” I assured him. “I was a little tense – not thinking straight.”
But that wasn’t enough for Mr. H. He likes to explain things to the max. He continued. “Even if the door tried to close, it wouldn’t. It would hit you and bounce back, wait a few seconds, hit you again and bounce back, and on and on until you moved out of its way.”
“I can see the headlines now,” I said. “Woman Beaten To Death By Elevator Door!”
All in all, it was a great day! 


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Don't You Dare Laugh!

After less than five hours sleep, I dragged myself out of bed this morning to get ready for church. Absolute determination and a large cup of coffee got me started. I didn’t feel like going, but I did and was happy about it. I always feel better when I go to church.
I think that’s the way it’s supposed to work.
Later, back at home, the caffeine wore off and I was very tired. It was all I could do to stay awake. Finally, with dinner almost ready, I put it on hold and flopped on my bed with my pillow, a thin blanket and Liza, my cat.
I rarely nap. But today, I did. And it felt good! I’m always sleep deprived. Only thing was, it didn't last long enough. Only 30 minutes. It made me feel worse. But I summoned the determination once more and off to the kitchen I went to finish dinner for Mr. H. and me.
Mr. H. is so helpful. He came in to set the table and then sat down to keep me company while I finished.
I’m always a little clumsy in the kitchen but it seemed worse than usual today. I kept spilling and dropping things.
But I kept my “cool” until I reached into the bottom cabinet for a can of something or other and dropped it. When it tumbled to the floor hitting Liza’s water bowl on the way down and splashed water all over me and the kitchen floor; I’m pretty sure the temper fit I pitched wiped out all the good that going to church had done for me.
When things like this happen, something stupid always escapes my mouth. Never fails!
“Cans shouldn’t be placed on top of each other like that," I shrieked. “It’s too easy for them to topple out of the cabinet and hit the dog’s water bowl!”
Wiping up the water on the floor, I glanced at Mr. H. and saw that his lips were curling up at the corners. I realized my mistake.
“And don’t you dare laugh!” I said angrily. “I meant to say dog’s bowl.”
After a few seconds of stilted silence, we both broke into laughter. I suddenly felt much better and we sat down to eat dinner.

I really should get more sleep. I'll start tomorrow.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bad Karma? Part II

Daughter and family arrived a little past four. Dinner was ready but nobody was ready to eat, so we visited a while, snacking on veggies and dip, sipping coffee.

Dinner and clean-up ran smoothly, considering the unexpected problems. After visiting a while, I went to the kitchen to make pies for our Easter meal the next day – cream pies that couldn’t be frozen ahead.
The rest of the family were enjoying time together when my youngest daughter went to the kitchen sink. She turned on the water, shrieked, and said, “Mother, you have another problem!”
Turning my attention from the pie filling I was stirring, I looked at her while she demonstrated how she’d turned on the water and it spewed out from under the base of the faucet on both sides – to the right and to the left. It ran all over the counter top, under the toaster, the can opener and the coffee pot and she was attempting to clean it up before it got worse.
Mr. H. heard the commotion and came in to see what was going on. It needed no explaining. One could see that when the water was turned on, it shot straight out to each side like a horizontal geyser.
I’m sure he was getting tired of all the problems, as I was, but he calmly turned the water off, left for a few minutes and returned with tools. In no time, he had the faucet apart.
Our granddaughter was amazed! She said, “If this happened at our house, the plumber would have already been called.” Her mother and dad nodded in agreement.
When I said, “We may have to do that,” the idea was shot down.
Eldest daughter said, “I have faith in Kemper. He’ll get it fixed.” (Yes, our children call their father by his first name. It started as a joke, by this very daughter, when they were in their teens. Somehow, he let it pass and it stuck!)
Her faith in her dad was justified.
She and her siblings watched him repair things their whole lives. Everything around the house, cars, and most important, the broken toys they took to him with tears in their eyes, hoping Daddy could fix them, and he always did. They grew up convinced there was nothing their Dad couldn’t mend.
Faucet fixed, water cleaned up, and pies done, it wasn’t long before everyone was off to bed.
I prayed tomorrow would go well and we’d have no more problems.
But lying there in darkness, I remembered something my mother used to say when things went wrong: “The coward prays for release from pressure. The courageous pray for strength to overcome.”
And with that thought in mind, I fell asleep. I suppose God gave me that memory because He knows our trials aren’t over yet.
Everyone was up early and it looked as if it would be a great day. Although we were having our Easter dinner on Saturday because daughter and family had to return home on Sunday due to work and school schedules, it was no less a happy occasion – having our family together for a day.
When the twelve of us sat down to dinner, it was as if nothing bad had ever happened. Over good food, we talked about old times and laughed about everything.
It was an exceptionally enjoyable Easter celebration for my family.
But as I watched our loved ones leave the next day, sadness descended upon me before their car was out of sight. I never get used to goodbyes.
Mr. H. was chomping at the bit to start on the refrigerator. Out came the tools, gauges and refrigerant. Pulling the huge appliance out from the wall far enough so he could squeeze past the cabinet and into the space behind it; he took the back off and gassed it up.
But when he finished and tried to push it back where it belonged, it resisted. So he gave a really hard shove and it fell into the little holes in the floor where it had been resting for years. Suddenly, a noise! Loud. Scary. Like a jackhammer.
“What is it?” I said.
“Must be the water hose,” he said.
Under the sink he went, turning off the water to the icemaker, but the noise didn’t stop. He finally turned off the fridge and it stopped. But when he started to turn the water back on, he found the valve leaking and water running into the cabinet under the sink again! He had to go to the basement, turn off the water, pull everything out of the cabinet, clean up the water and find a new valve for the water to the icemaker and install it.
When his head bounced off a water pipe with a resounding thud, it struck me funny and I laughed. Actually, I couldn’t stop laughing. Guess I was getting a little punch-drunk.

A little later, we got the news that, on their way home, daughter and family got stuck in the middle of the backed-up traffic from the horrendous 95 car pileup on the Virginia - NC border. Thank God, they were not actually in the wreck, but were rerouted and it took them over six hours to get home when it usually takes three and a half.
And so… that’s where we are. Our bad luck started in January and has extended into April. We’re wondering if it will ever be over. It seems to be just one thing after another. I'm almost afraid to get up in the morning or answer the phone.
I’m praying for strength to overcome, but one thing bothers me:
According to the law of karma, all suffering is deserved.
If this is true, I can’t help but wonder what we’ve done to deserve all this.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bad Karma?

On March 3, I wrote about all the things that had gone wrong in January and February – and that I couldn't wait for 2013 to be over because I feared it was bad luck. At least, for me.

A friend read the blog post and reprimanded me for being superstitious. When I saw that her message started with: “Peggy, Peggy, Peggy!” I knew I was in trouble. It made me feel the way I felt when I was a little girl and heard my father shout, “Peggy Lou!” in his gruffest voice.

I wrote back to my friend explaining, “Sometimes one says things in a blog post just to make a point; I’m not really superstitious."

However, March was rather bad for me, too, and I’m beginning to wonder. Perhaps 2013 truly is a bad year for me!

Here’s what's happening:

My daughter, who lives in North Carolina, informed me in mid-February that she and her family would be coming home for Easter. Wonderful! We hadn’t seen them since Christmas and looked forward to the visit.

I began making preparations. We have a large family. For our special holiday dinners, I usually cook for at least twelve people. More if unexpected guests show up – and they often do. So I find it easier to cook ahead and freeze what I can. This lets me spend more time with my family and I don’t get as worn out.

But, right off the bat, I began to encounter problems. The first was a defective toilet in the guest bathroom. Now, Mr. H. is a first-rate handyman who can repair most anything, but his first attempts to fix this necessary porcelain fixture were futile. He didn’t give up, however, but persisted until he’d bought almost every possible new part that one can replace in a toilet and finally, only a day before our daughter and her family arrived, it was working properly.

There’s more. Earlier in the week, while Mr. H. was still focused on the toilet, I noticed that the food in the refrigerator wasn't as cold as usual. When I told Mr. H., he looked it over, got out the vacuum, took the grill off the bottom of the fridge, plopped down in the floor and vacuumed underneath it. I said, “What do you think?” He answered, “I think there was an awful lot of cat hair under there!”
“Could that cause the problem,” I asked. “Yes, it could,” Mr. H. said. “Let’s watch it and see what happens.”

What happened was, every day the food and drinks got a little warmer. When I got up one morning, poured a glass of orange juice, which does for me what coffee does for most people, and it was almost room temperature, I said, “That’s it! You’ve got to do something about the refrigerator!”

Like the toilet, his attempts to get the darn thing to do its job got him nowhere for days. Every morning, we got up convinced it would be cold, but it wasn’t. The freezer seemed to be working fine but the fridge was just not cold enough!

Luckily, we have a smaller fridge in a downstairs area off the family room. So we transferred the most important items to that one. We figured we could barely limp along this way until after our company left.

And so… on the final day, with everything done, dinner cooking and me in the bathroom getting ready for the arrival of our guests, it looked as if everything would be okay.

But it was not to be.

Mr. H. doesn’t get stressed. About anything. But I’d swear he was about to blow when he came into the bedroom and said, “Catastrophe in the kitchen!”
“What now?” I squealed.

“Water in the cabinet under the sink. Looks like a hole in the disposer.”
He had put a bucket under it to catch the water, but as long as we didn’t use that sink, there would be no more water.

It took the two of us 15 to 20 minutes to take everything out of the cabinet, clean up the mess and put everything back.
Okay. I now had to serve dinner to eight people today and twelve tomorrow with a “cool” refrigerator, only one side of my sink available and no disposer. “I can do that.” I said, trying to make the best of a bad situation.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of this tale of woe...