Bible Verse

Beg as loud as you can for good common sense. Proverbs 2:3

Friday, December 27, 2013

What’s the Deal With Suitcases?

Have you traveled lately?  Have you packed a suitcase in anticipation of several changes of clothes even though you’ll only be gone 2 nights?  Have you tried to figure out all the zippers and compartments?

Well, I have, and it’s not pretty.
I went on a little trip recently, so I packed one small suitcase.  One thing I really love about suitcases today is the fact that they roll and have a nice handle to grip.

Years ago, when rolling luggage first came out, there were four tiny wheels, one at each corner, and you had a strap that you had to clip on (which I could never do correctly), so you ended up pulling the suitcase like you were walking the dog.  Except this dog kept falling over and you kept putting it upright, and it kept falling over, and you finally said the heck with it and left it on its side.  It looked rather crass, but it pulled much easier and eventually you were able to pick all the grass, dirt and small rocks out of it.
So rolling suitcases have come a long way.  My question is why haven’t zippers done the same?

We’re going to have to face it:  Zippers are here to stay.  I know they are essential in clothes and purses and such.  But they are driving me nuts in luggage.
They are always sluggish so you have to tug on them and give them much encouragement.  By the time I’ve got the thing smoothly sailing along, I’ve forgotten which direction I was going in!  I usually just pick a direction at random because that way I have a 50-50 chance of being right.  I also have the same odds for being wrong, which I usually am.

I’ve got 2 compartments on the front of the suitcase I use the most.  One is very long and deep and the other is much smaller.  The very long one looks like you could hide a big ol’ box of Little Debbie Pecan Spinwheels in there with no trouble at all.  And you can.  You just can’t zip it.  And what’s the use of stashing a secret something that everyone can see?  
I like you just fine, but I probably won’t be asking you if you’d like a Pecan Spinwheel.  Sorry. 

The outside compartments are very handy, but anything that takes up space in a compartment is going to take that space from the inside of the suitcase.  So when I do manage to get the outside compartments nicely packed, I realize that my inside capacity has diminished.
Which brings up an interesting point.  New suitcases now have hard sides.  Years ago, all luggage had hard sides.  When soft sides came out, we thought it a revolutionary idea!  And then when wheels started appearing, we were nearly beside ourselves with joy.

Until the zippers.  And especially that strange zippered part that supposedly gives you more room by expanding the top of the suitcase.  If there’s one thing I’m consistent about, it’s always zipping and unzipping that stupid zipper that goes nowhere.
If you want me to have extra space, just give it to me!  I believe that this feature was designed for the sole purpose of changing a suitcase so they could charge you more for the “new and improved” version.  But that may be because we’ve just come through Christmas and my cynical mind has been working overtime on all these price gymnastics.
 
I love to travel, but I hate those suitcases.  I’m thinking of using Wal-Mart bags next time – no zippers!  ‘Course that would exposing my Little Debbies to undue scrutiny.  And we can’t have that, now, can we?

 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Do You Mind?

You, my favorite reader, probably think I don’t put a lot of thought into writing these blog posts.  And sometimes you’re right!  But I normally do think about what the post will be about at least a couple of days before I write it.

So I was thrilled when, on Wednesday of this week, two days before it was due, I thought of the perfect addition to my What’s the Deal With series.  It was funny and something you would immediately relate to.  I could see you LOL-ing and sharing it on Facebook and telling your friends about it.  I said the topic out loud several times in order to remember it.  I was excited!  This was the best topic yet!
If you think I could remember it later, you’re much younger than I am.  A measly few hours later, I couldn’t recall it.  I was in the car when the thought first came to me, and I decided I wouldn’t risk life and limb trying to find my phone or a piece of paper and a pen while driving.

And, of course, when I got to my destination in just a few minutes, I had totally forgotten it, let alone writing it down.
For the last 2 days, I have prayed mightily that the good Lord would whisper that topic to me.  And for the last 2 days, I have been listening mightily.  I’ve been rather distracted no matter what I’ve been doing.  I could barely call bingo at the assisted living facility where my mother has an apartment.  I’m terrible at multi-tasking, so listening while calling bingo was a particularly difficult challenge. 

But, apparently, the Lord is keeping it to Himself.
And He has every right to do that.  Don’t get me wrong, here.  I believe that every good thought I have, whether about writing or something else, is from Him.  And He has His reasons for not sharing this particular thought with me again.  At least not for now.

The good news is that when the thought comes to me the next time, I will not even recognize it as anything I’ve heard before because I will have forgotten that I forgot it the first time. 
And so, my favorite reader, I confess these things to you because I want you to know this:  Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
 
 
 

Friday, December 13, 2013

What's the Deal With My Hair?

For years, the only thing on my body that would cooperate was my hair. 

Alas and alack, the expiration date on that has passed.

For years (like 5 decades) my hair did the only thing it knew how to do.  It just happened to look pretty good while doing it.
My hair was very thick and dark brown when I was a kid.  I actually noticed some grey in it when I was around 12, and I was completely grey at 38.

While the grey was coming in, people thought it was frosted (which was very popular back then).  Strange women would ask me who frosted my hair, thinking I had had it done in a salon somewhere.  I would always smile and say, “Mother Nature.”
I guess I was a little too smug about that, because now my hair is thin and won’t do much of what I want it to do. 

I had kept it pretty short for all those years, so I had no idea that when I grew it out, most of the hair on the right side would stick out at a 90-degree angle from my head.  And any attempt to fix that resulted in a look that I can only describe as a strong resemblance to a used Brillo pad.
The rest of my head just looked like a scrawny, dirty mop.

I started noticing the thinning of my hair a couple of years ago.  I love actress Judi Dench’s hair, so I went for that look for awhile.  It was super short and looked pretty good.  Unfortunately, you could see my scalp all over my head!  Not the look I was going for (sorry, Judy).
But now that it’s longer, I find I can do different things with it that I couldn’t do before.  For example, my natural part has always been on the left.  Now my natural part has fled the scene entirely, so apparently it’s up to me to decide. 

So, because I was particularly lacking hair on the left side and had 90-degree-angle hair on the right side, I parted my hair sort of right of middle and flipped it over to the slim side -- the female version of a comb-over.
And I guess I can forget about having a straight part.  It’s a different road every time.  Looks like a Google map gone terribly wrong.

I asked the lady who cuts my hair what advice she might have for me.  She said, “I’ll tell you what worked for a customer of mine, but you’ll think it’s crazy when you hear it.”
I replied, “My husband puts Vicks Vapor Rub on the soles of his feet, then sleeps in his socks in order to clear his sinuses.  I doubt anything you suggest would sound crazy to me.”

Turns out, her customer has had gastric by-pass surgery and was taking chewable vitamins.  Her doctor said that pills sometimes don’t dissolve correctly so anything chewable was better.
Unknown to my hairdresser, I had gastric by-pass 10 years ago (please, no comments like, “Really? I hadn’t noticed.”).  At that time, my doctor suggested taking 2 multivitamins a day instead of the usual one.  Adult chewable vitamins weren’t available yet.  So, since I hadn’t received an update, all this time I’ve been a good girl and have taken 2 a day.

Within 24 hours of that haircut, I was chewing away at those vitamins.  They have the consistency of a rubber band, but I keep chewing away on them, encouraging them to fix my hair quickly. 
I’ll probably know if they are going to help after I’ve taken them for a month.  That would put it near Christmas.

So, all I want for Christmas is my hair to be thick again.  Or the sudden knowledge on what to do with it now.  Or a cruise around the Hawaiian Islands.  Or a professionally landscaped yard. 
Well, you can’t blame a girl for trying..


Friday, December 6, 2013

What's the Deal with Gift Wrapping?

I cannot wrap a gift to save my soul.

Fortunately, God doesn’t require this for salvation.

I have never been able to wrap adequately.  Even back in Girl Scouts when we had to learn to gift wrap neatly and wonderfully, I failed miserably.  I remember our leader working with me one-on-one, telling me, showing me, and finally just doing it herself.  It was that bad.
And it hasn’t improved all that much in the 50 years since. 

I can’t explain this imperfection of mine.  I try, I really do.  When gift bags came out, I was so very grateful.  The tissue that you put in the bag has to be sticking out just right, and I usually can’t do that either, but that’s for another post entirely.
David’s mother could wrap like nobody’s business.  When she cut the paper, it was a joy to behold.  No veering off the straight line, no tearing, no miscalculations of how much paper was needed.  She’d just flip that paper onto the table and start cutting.  Perfect every time.

And the way she would patiently fold each corner, tuck in what needed to be tucked in, pull up the flap she just created, and tape straight across.  Beautiful!
Me, on the other hand – well, if you happen to get a gift from me, please excuse the wrapping.  I’m thinking of asking one or both of my 5-year-old grandchildren to wrap for me.  They would do a splendid job and if there were any obvious goof-ups, I could always blame it on them.

As it is now, I have only myself to blame.
I mentioned gift bags earlier.  Love them, love them!  But this year, I had some things that were very box-like, not something that would be hard to wrap.  I had quite a few and I knew getting the bags would be kind of expensive, and since I already had a lot of wrapping paper, I decided to wrap.

The horrors of wrapping appeared very quickly.
Now, you would think that a box-shaped gift would be easy.  Just measure – well, we’ll stop here for a moment.

For some reason, I can’t accurately measure how much paper I need.  I either cut a little too little or much more than I need.  And when I cut it down a little, I’ve cut too much and end up with too little.  Ack!
I love paper that has a good pattern on it.  On some of the wrapping paper, there were even handy-dandy lines to follow.  Unfortunately, I can’t cut straight.  Never could and, evidently, never will.

And taping – oh, my goodness!  It seems that every time I put a piece of tape down, the whole line of paper pops up at very inconvenient angles.  Of course, the only solution is to tape those angles down.  And there are always a lot of angles.
I’m telling you, sometimes there’s more tape than paper.  It’s embarrassing!

And for you people who delicately disassemble a wrapped gift, who very slowly and carefully pull off the tape so that you can neatly fold the wrapping paper – well, knock it off!  There’s only one thing worse than offering a horribly wrapped gift to someone, and that’s if they unwrap it in such a way as to show off my gift-wrapping-gone-wrong style.
I gave up sticking bows on gifts years ago when I had a cat that loved to munch on them.  Talk about awkward!  “Here is my gift to you and please excuse the bow because my cat tried to eat it.”  Unless you’re a hard-core cat person, I’m imagining that that would be a turn off.

And did you know that those bows have an expiration date?  It’s just my luck that they expire shortly after I put them under the tree.  Any movement whatsoever, and they let go and drop like leaves fluttering to earth in the fall.
So here are the conditions if you get a gift from me: 

v  Don’t look at the wrapping job, even the obvious stuff like no paper on one end.

v  Don’t undo the wrapping.

v  Just get on with it and rip the paper off.

Now that we’ve got the rules all straightened out, Merry Christmas!
And if you don’t like the gift, just pretend you do, and we’ll both be happy.


Friday, November 29, 2013

What's the Deal With TV Commercials?

I am not a fan of most commercials.  Some are really good, like the camel who is elated that it’s Wednesday, and the old Christmas standby of Santa Claus and the walking, talking M&M’s discovering each other exists.

However, you can keep the commercials for drugs that I will never need in my lifetime. 
For example, if a drug was on the market for gall bladder problems, I would not be interested because I do not have a gall bladder.  Under no circumstances would I need this medication.  You get my drift…

I understand that baby boomers are big business and therefore some of these drugs are targeted for us.  Those ads with the guys doing manly things like working on cars, sailing, playing guitar in a rock band, driving pickups, motorcycles and fast cars are some of the worst.  When they finally get around to describing the actual product, about all they say are the terrible things that can happen if their drug is taken.
Really.  Do I have to listen to all of that?  I grant you that out of all the drug commercials I’ve seen, I might be eligible to take one of them.  So if I end up taking that medication, shouldn’t my doctor be telling me what the side effects are?  Why do I have to listen to a roll call of what might occur? 

And besides that, what business does the average person have making decisions that require a medical degree?  Just listing a few symptoms doesn’t take the place of an education, experience, or knowing my medical history.
And the car ads!?!  I will never, ever buy a car from anyone who pumps up the volume and screams at me about their low prices.  I hate having to adjust the volume or just mute the thing. 

I am aware that some TV’s have a feature that will keep the volume down.  My TV has it, but it won’t do it. Don’t know why, just won’t.
Some ads are just plain boring. Take a local cable company, for instance.  Their commercials for businesses are snoozers every time.

Ads I love:  The Boston Guys who have various experiences with Dish Network’s Kangaroo services.
                Maxwell, the spokespig for Geico

                Liberty Mutual’s take on humans and their adventures.  My favorite is when a car with bicycles strapped to the top of it pulls into a garage.  I’m sure I’d do the same – maybe that’s why it cracks me up.

Ads I don’t love: Hardee’s – we used to call that soft porn, something you’d never see on TV at any hour of the day.
                        Victoria’s Secret – see above.

Well, now you know how I feel about TV commercials.  There are a lot more I could have listed because I have genuine complaints all over the place.
But let me leave you with these last questions:

If the man and the woman are supposed to be getting chummy, why are they in separate bathtubs?  Shouldn’t they be together someplace having a romantic evening?  Just sayin…

 

Friday, November 22, 2013

What’s the Deal With 431?

If you have traveled through northeast Alabama at any time in recorded history, you will instantly know what this post is about.

What I want to know is:  Where are all these people going and why are they continually in my way?
Alabama State Highway 431 (known locally as “the four lane”), is a treacherous, winding, hilly, thoroughfare that has 18 million traffic lights that you can’t hit all green no matter how fast or how slow you go.  And, yes, that’s personal experience speaking.

For reasons unknown to the scientific community, 431 is at its worst starting in Guntersville and going through Boaz all the way to the county line.  It’s about 30 miles, if you are lucky enough to drive it without being assaulted by another vehicle.
You name it, we’ve got it:  rear-ended, t-boned, head on, even sliding under.  And they keep putting more traffic lights up, so the odds of getting smacked just go up and up.

I happen to have very good reasons for being on 431.  What’s everybody else’s excuse?  Because if I’m out there, cars and trucks come at me like I’ve got a target painted on every side of the car.  They don’t appear to have any destination, other than scaring the willies out of me as they hurtle this way and that.
I’m so thankful I don’t have to teach someone to drive anymore.  I wouldn’t know where to start.

Years ago, somebody sold a t-shirt that read “I Survived 431.”  Well, it is something to brag about.
 

 

Friday, November 15, 2013

What's the Deal With Growing Purses?

Are you the victim of a growing purse?

It’s a subtle thing that will eventually grab you, shake you and then demand even more.  I speak from experience.
For years (like 30 of them), every purse I carried had three zippered compartments, each compartment having certain things in it. 

My billfold, checkbook, pens and paper were in the first one. 
The second was for Tylenol, Kleenex, anti-acids, and what looked to be a small pharmacy. 

That left the third one as miscellaneous, but I always knew I could find my stash of Splenda if I looked long enough.
I don’t know why I changed my life-long philosophy about purse organization.  Well, it could be that I was tired of looking like an 80-year-old former teacher who mutters to herself while shopping.  I’m not knocking former teachers who are 80 years old.  It’s just that I’m 61 and decidedly not a teacher.  The muttering to herself while shopping could be true in my case, but I’m not admitting to anything, especially here in front of God and everyone.

Actually, once the idea found a home in my head, purses began to call to me, like motzerella cheese sticks every time I pass a Sonic.  I started noticing women’s purses everywhere I went.  I watched with fascination as women carried their purses with apparent ease, were able to quickly fish their cell phones out, and could always get to their credit cards when needed.
And the purses themselves appeared to belong to younger, hip women, women who take charge and get things done.

Yeah, that’s what I wanted.  My 91-year-old mother went with me, and she’s the one who helped me pick the color once I figured out what type I wanted.
A big thanks to Mom because the color is about the only thing that’s good about it.

The new purse has 3 compartments, but two are not zippered.  Since I frequently sling my purse into the floor as I’m driving (I wish people would get out of my way!), I strategically placed my billfold, cell phone, checkbook, and other items so that I wouldn’t lose anything forever in the littered pit known as the floor of my car.
At first, during the honeymoon period, everything was great.  It was a great looking purse, and people complimented me as I strutted around with my new acquisition.  When I compared my purse with other hip women (or maybe that should be women who have had hip replacement), I found that I was right in there at the top.  I could set it down, and it would stand proudly by my side until the next adventure.  Woo-hoo!

Woo-hoo indeed.  Here comes the sneaky part.  As I used the purse and put completely-necessary-to-my-life articles into my purse, it didn’t stand quite as tall.  It slowly, slowly began to hunker down until it turned into a very aggravating, chaotic puddle of stuff.
The bottom of each compartment looks as if it’s disappeared.  After several rather embarrassing incidents in which it seemed that I didn’t know my own purse, I realized that the bottom of the first compartment had sagged to the point of disappearing underneath the bottom of the middle compartment.

No one tells you these things before you buy. 
And FYI:  Never put anything with a pin in it in any compartment of the purse.  It will immediately disappear and then, way later, when the memory has been lost as to why the pin is in there, and, for that matter, that there is a pin in there, it will strike you with lightning speed and make you scream like a little girl right there as you are ordering at McDonald’s drive-through.

Again, I’m not admitting to anything, but I hope that young lady gets her hearing back real soon.
So here’s one of those hard-learned lessons of life:  It’s never a good thing when your purse sags more than you do.  In my case, it’s downright criminal.

Friday, November 8, 2013

What’s the Deal With Public Restrooms?

I try not to use public restrooms.  But as I grow older, I find the need hits me more often.

When I do use one, there’s always a problem with something. 
Take, for example, the door, either the main door if it’s a one-holer, or the door to the stall.  It must close and lock.  Main doors are the biggest problem because there are times that I can’t tell if it’s really locked or not.  So I have to make the decision to assume it is locked and go ahead with my business or to start shoving the little table or potted plant or whatever else that’s movable in front of the door in case someone opens it (my biggest fear). 

And the toilet tissue!  They have hidden a humongous roll in a steel box with an opening on the bottom that is too far down to see.  So while I’m fumbling around in there trying to find the end of the roll, I find that there’s also a serrated edge (presumably to cut the paper if I can ever get it off the roll).  I find it because it has scratched the back of my hand while I’m desperately turning the big roll around and around.
So trying to wrestle with this is very time-consuming and oftentimes  absolutely futile.

I hate to drip dry, don’t you?
If on the off chance that I do find the end of the roll and I can pull some toilet tissue out of the bottom of the steel box, bending low while I hold my breath and promise God just about anything for success, as soon as I tear off what I would consider a reasonable amount, the tissue suddenly and completely on its own folds in half long-ways, giving me a small ribbon-like length to call my own.

I don’t know about you, but that’s not going to be enough.
So, of course, I try again, trying my best to dig around from the bottom of the steel box, thinking I may hit the jackpot with two successes on the same trip to the restroom. 

Sadly, I am most likely wrong.  I finally realize that the people I am with are probably wondering what I’m doing in there or I hear the announcement  that the store is closing.  Either way, I sigh, use what I’ve got to the best of my ability and then finish it off with a drip dry for a couple of minutes.
And here’s another thing:  I am opposed to self-flushing toilets.  Every time one of those things goes off, it sounds like I’m stepping on the cat, which puts me dancing around trying to avoid the rest of the cat.  I bounce around in there like a ping pong ball.

And those air hand dryers – whose idea was that?  One restroom I was in had one that I swear had the power and air flow of a jet plane.  I was sure that everyone within a square mile was aware that I was drying my hands.
So, as I said, I try not to use public restrooms.  Sometimes I’m surprised and everything is just right.  But those are few and far between, and with my memory, I really don’t remember one at all.


 
 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Welcome to Our Office

Don’t you just hate all the paperwork when you go to a new doctor?  Six pages of stuff they want to know.  And why do I have to write my name and date of birth at the top of every page?  Don’t they have a stapler in that office?

They want me to list my surgeries.  They leave me 3 lines.  Hahahahahaha!
They want me to list my medications.  They leave me 4 lines.  Hahahahaha!  I took 4 medications just while I was filling the papers out!

And if I don’t have high blood pressure because my medication is working, do I count that as something I’ve got?  I never know how to handle that.
I have to sign my name in 6 places.  I have to print my name in the blanks 6 times.  I have to initial 7 times!  I didn’t sign and initial this many times when buying our house.

They had way too many rules.  They seem to be afraid of everything and are trying to prevent the next catastrophe (which, of course, is not going to work). 
I had to agree to not use foul or abusive language toward the office staff, but that’s okay because I’m saving it for the doctor. (Just kidding…)

I am asked to remember that there are no narcotics on the premises.  (Obviously, they have not checked my purse.)

There is an encouraging note to please be on time.  They point out that they are trying their very best to minimize my wait time.  How sweet of them!
However, it goes on to read, if I’m over 15 minutes late, they are not going to let me see my doctor.  They make up for that by offering to schedule me for another day. 

I need to remember this one, especially since I have waited hours (plural) with my folks in this same waiting room in the past. 
I am also told that if I miss 3 appointments without cancelling beforehand, they won’t ever let me see my doctor again.  Of course, if I’ve missed 3 appointments, I probably don’t want to come back, anyway. 

I am warned to not drive or operate any heavy machinery while taking any narcotic prescriptions the doc might give me.  (What is heavy machinery, anyway?  Doesn’t all machinery weigh, like, a ton?)
I get a refresher course on how writing a check will impact my checking account.  If the check is returned, they’ll dock my account by $30.  (Well, good luck.  Chances are if I didn’t have enough to cover my co-pay, I probably don’t have $30 either.)

They have some questions with little boxes to mark.  They want to know if my pain is sharp, dull, stabbing, throbbing, aching or burning. I checked 5 out of the 6 choices.  I mean, it just depends on what I’m doing at the time.
They want to know if squatting or kneeling make my symptoms worse.  I nearly snorted tea out my nose when I read that.  I haven’t squatted since 1999 and I gave up kneeling about 5 years ago.

Under Sports/Hobbies, I put that my hobby is sitting and anything I can do while sitting.  Might as well be upfront about it.
It says I’m also going to court if I don’t pay, according to what I signed, and I agreed to pay collection costs of 33 1/3% of the balance as well as attorney’s fees and/or court costs.  Hahahahahahha! 

I was the small claims clerk for my county for 13 years.  I can tell you that that threat isn’t much of one.  It’s very hard to collect money from a lawsuit. 
It’s my belief that the initial paperwork at a doctor’s office is merely a test to see how tenacious you are and how much you really want to see the doctor.

I must have passed because I got in.  I always get in.  I have good insurance…
 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Acme, Anyone?

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll remember that we bought a new camper back in June or July (I wasn’t paying that much attention, myself).  Since the purchase, we’ve been trying to give it a name.

We named our last camper the Damper Camper because for the first dozen times we took her out, it rained for at least a portion of the time we were gone.
So we wanted to make sure we gave our new rig just the right name.  And because of that, we waited to see what kind of new adventures she would take us on.  Our last trip out, she gave us her name.

Our trip took us to Edisto Beach, SC, south of Myrtle Beach, to see the Atlantic Ocean, walk on the beach, stuff like that.  We would stay one night in Augusta, GA on the way there and three nights at Stone Mountain, GA on the way back.  Seems kinda straight forward, doesn’t it?
We had a great first day on the road.  A little hectic getting through Atlanta for us country folk, but we made it just fine. 

Until we came to the RV park where we were spending the night.  The two-lane road in front of the park was undergoing an extensive re-do, like having great big holes in the road, big equipment everywhere, men with hard hats milling around, dust everywhere.  We managed to get into the park where the manager met us in a golf cart to show us our spot.  It was very windy and chilly, so we didn’t try to sit outside.  We just had some supper, watched some TV and went to bed, because the next day was going to be full of travel again.
At some point during the early morning, we were awakened by a strident and urgent BEEP-BEEP-BEEP over and over again as the construction equipment was working on the road about 200 yards away. 

Shortly after that, there came a loud knock on our door.  It was the manager with a map of the park, showing how to get out on the road because the road crew had moved down and was now blocking the way we had gotten in the day before.
So we got it all together and left for Edisto Beach, the beeping a mere, irritating memory.

We were at Edisto Beach for 7 nights.  And we were enjoying ourselves, sitting out at the campsite, walking on the beach.  The campsite was a little close to a two-lane road that had not shown up on the map of the park, but all in all, very nice.
Until 3 days before we left.  We could hear something in the distance, some kind of noise, getting closer and closer.  Finally we could identify the sound -- BEEP-BEEP-BEEP over and over and over!  Turns out they were repaving the road that ran alongside part of the RV park.  Our part of the park, of course.

Now, you know how construction crews and road crews get accused of standing around and doing nothing.  But I’ve always thought that if you really watched them, you coud see that they were usually making pretty good time getting the road fixed.  And I’m sure there are fine road crews in SC that zoom right through their repaving chores.
This crew was not one of them.

The road really wasn’t that long.  I don’t know what the hold-up was, but for 3 days we awakened to the BEEP-BEEP-BEEP.  It was getting closer and closer, louder and louder.  David asked if we could move to a different part of the park the first day we heard it.  No.  Could we have a refund so we could at least leave a few days early?  No.
Well, okay, then.  We stuck it out.  But on the second day, when the tar smell was about to choke me and the ground was trembling beneath me, I hollered at David, “I’m going in the camper.”  I usually don’t holler at David, but I did that time so he could hear me!

It wasn’t that we couldn’t come and go out of the park.  We could and we did.  But it was a big hassle because they were only letting one lane of traffic go at a time.  And since we were always at an exit to the park that was in the middle of the only letting one lane of traffic go at a time, we had to have a special hard hat guy come and figure out the configuration of the traffic flow so we could move in or out.
We found some solace on the beach, which was down the road from the repaving.  The night before we left, we were sitting on the beach, watching the surf, the birds, the clouds.  We looked at each other with love, the love that comes from being soul mates for most of our lives.

“David,” I said quietly.
“Yes?” he answered sweetly.

“Do you hear a BEEP-BEEP-BEEP?”
“Yes, I do,” he said calmly.

“Good,” I said.  “I thought I was hearing things.”
You guessed it – the repaving had miraculously gotten in gear to reach the entrance to the beach.  Except it was still up at our park, too.  Amazing.  It was like a rubber band – it just kept stretching and stretching.

So on the third day, we awoke to the BEEP-BEEP-BEEP.  We actually used it as an alarm clock.  Why bother to set one when these guys got there earlier than you usually woke up?
So off we went to Stone Mountain, GA.  Have you ever been there?  It’s a great place and has so many things to see.  We had never stayed at the RV park before, so we were looking forward to that. 

We had an uneventful trip, found the RV park fairly shortly upon arrival.  We were just turning the corner to check in and find our campsite when a sign caught my eye.
“Repaving will begin on October 16.”  Today was October 16.

Once again, the BEEP-BEEP-BEEP.  But this road crew was very fast, and we hardly heard them or saw them even as we moved around the park.
God knew we just couldn’t take anymore.  Thank you, God!  And I mean that literally.

So now to the name.  I thought it should somehow reflect all the road work we had encountered, so I offered the Beepster.  No, David didn’t like that.  He came up with one that I can’t really reveal here.  I could see how it applied, though.
We finally decided on the Roadrunner because that was certainly its language.  Do you know any other creature that says “BEEP-BEEP-BEEP”?

Friday, October 18, 2013

She Loves You

When I was 12 years old, The Beatles came to America.

I was a big Ringo fan.  I had 3 girlfriends that I ran around with at school, and we all loved the Beatles.  We each had one we loved.  Debra loved Paul (actually, I think we all loved Paul, but she claimed him first), Mary Kate loved George, Linda loved John, and I loved Ringo.  I picked Ringo because I wasn’t fast enough to lay claim to anyone else.  (My love was very transferrable back then).
I had Beatle stuff all over my room.  There were so many pictures and posters, you could barely tell what color the walls were.  I had fan magazines galore.  I loved to read about them.  I watched anything on TV that featured them.  I nearly fainted with joy when they were on the Ed Sullivan Show (It was a really big shew…).

I had, of course, seen the footage on TV where the girls by the hundreds (maybe thousands) would try to surround the Fab Four’s car, all the while screaming at the top of their lungs.  Some were crying.  A few actually collapsed.  All of this had happened in England, so when they came to America, I knew what to do:  Scream when I saw them on TV.
I don’t know why I screamed.  I didn’t know why at the time.  I just felt it was expected of me, and what kind of fan was I if I didn’t participate in the screaming?

The real scream-fest was at the first movie they made:  It Was a Hard Day’s Night.  Imagine a theater full of pre-pubescent girls screaming so loud that you couldn’t hear the movie.  But that didn’t matter!  The Beatles were up there on that screen!  Yeah, yeah, yeah!
My love for Ringo and the rest of the Beatles was very deep for a 12-year-old.  There was nothing I wouldn’t do for them.  My life revolved around their latest record or magazine.  I would play Beatles records for hours in my bedroom. 

It was all my friends and I talked about.  We had debates over which one was the cutest, nicest, sweetest, and best kisser.  Of course, we had no idea if they were any of these things (especially the best kisser part since none of us had ever been kissed by a boy) so we just made it up.  It was great!  One of the happiest memories I have growing up.
Of course, there will always be people who don’t understand your passion – well, okay, your obsession -- and will try to stand in the way of your happiness.  That person was my mother.  She had very good-naturedly let me plaster my bedroom walls with all manner of pictures and posters, she let me wear my hair like a Beatle (their haircut was very controversial back then), she carted me and my friends to a drive-in theater where we sat in the rain, screaming at the giant screen because we just had to see It’s A Hard Day’s Night one more time.

So you’d think she would back me on anything Beatle.  Not.
I was going to become a member of our church during a little ceremony in which I would stand as part of a group in front of the church.  The pastor was going to ask us some questions and intone a blessing and then we would be members.

I got all dressed up in my finest Sunday dress (all females always wore dresses back in those days), put my white anklets on and my patent leather shoes.  Just one more thing to make the look perfect:  My Beatles necklace, a large (very large) white circle with a picture, mostly in black, of the Beatles.  I don’t remember where I got it, but it couldn’t have been too expensive because it had already turned my neck green on previous occasions.
Mom took one look and stated, “You’re not getting up in front of the church with that awful necklace on.”

I was crushed.  How could I show my love for Ringo and the rest of the boys if I didn’t have one of my dearest Beatle possessions with me?  The dress didn’t have any pockets.  I had to think fast because we were leaving soon.
So I did join church that day, up there in front of God and everybody, with a self-satisfied smirk on my face.  I knew my love for Ringo was true because I had had him with me despite the odds against it.  I had overcome the hurdle my own mother had put up to hinder me.

I don’t believe I’m exaggerating one bit when I say that I am probably the only person ever to join the United Methodist Church with a Beatles necklace in her bra.
Well, it was either that or my panties, and that just seemed wrong…

Friday, October 11, 2013

Southern Comfort

I moved to Alabama from Iowa in 1960.  My dad was transferred from Rock Island Arsenal in Moline, IL (just across the river from Bettendorf, IA) to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL.

We didn’t know much about the south.  I guess I should say my parents didn’t know much about the south.  I was 8 years old – how much could I possibly know about anything?
I was in the 3rd grade and had already started school in Iowa when we moved.  I remember my first day at school in Huntsville.

A boy swaggered up to me and belligerently said, “Are you a yank-ka?”
I said, “What?”

He repeated a little louder, “Are you a yank-ka?”
I said:  “I don’t know.  I don’t know what that is.”

He shouted (like volume was going to help the problem), “Are you from up nauth?”
Ah!  Finally, a glimmer of understanding was shining through the southern accent.  I ventured a guess.

“Do you mean am I from the north?”
“Yeah,” he cried triumphantly.

I demurely replied, “Why, yes, young sir, I am from the northern part of our great country.”
Well, okay, I didn’t say exactly those words.  If memory serves, I said, “Yes.”

Whereupon, he punched me in the stomach.  I never saw it coming, a true sucker punch.  It doubled me over and knocked the wind out of me.
I’m imagining that he strutted away, full of himself because he single-handedly took care of a “yank-ka.”

And you thought “The South Shall Rise Again” was just a saying…

Friday, October 4, 2013

As Time Goes By

I was a nervous wreck from the start. 

Order a wedding dress on the internet?  What happens if it’s not at all like you think it’s going to be?  How are you going to have time to buy another one?
Order fresh flowers on the internet?  What happens if they are wilted when they get here?  How are you going to find that many flowers in a short amount of time?

Have an outdoor wedding in October in North Alabama?  Are you kidding?  The weather could be anything from hotter than blue blazes to snow flurries.
“Oh, Mom, it will all work out,” my daughter said.

But what if it didn’t?
Alice refused to be swayed by her mother’s gloomy predictions.  She had everything planned out just the way she pictured it.

The wedding was to be held on the front steps of a local old antebellum style house.  Instead of a maid of honor, she asked her brother to be “brother of honor.”  She bought red shoes to wear with her wedding gown. 
First, her brother, the preacher and the groom, Daniel, would take their places on the porch, facing the lawn.  Then, David and I would walk down the brick pathway to the porch and turn around so that we could all watch Alice walk toward her wonderfully bright future.

It was getting to that point that nearly did me in.
Alice told me what time to be at the wedding site.  I was there on time, ready to help her get dressed.  She was not there.  And not there.  And not there.  The photographer arrived, but no Alice. 

I called her.  “Alice!” I said.  “Where are you?”
“Oh, I’m in Guntersville.  I had to pick up the tuxes because Daniel couldn’t because…..”

“Alice, you’re ten miles away!  The photographer is here!  The guests will be here soon!  Get up here!”
“Well, gee, I mean, okay,” she said meekly.

Fifteen minutes later, she finally arrived.  As she opened the door, she said, “You yelled at me!”  Her lower lip poked out and she looked truly hurt.
“I did not yell at you.  I was concerned because I didn’t know where you were and it was getting late.”   

“You never yell at me,” she said, which was true.
“I’m sorry.  I’m a nervous wreck.  How are we going to get you dressed and get the pictures taken before time to start the ceremony?”

“Oh, Mom, it will all work out,” my daughter said.
And she was right.  She was radiant in her beautiful internet wedding gown.  It was a lovely service, the weather was absolutely perfect, the flowers were gorgeous (not a wilted one among them).
So happy 10th anniversary, Alice and Daniel.  I love and admire you both.