Bible Verse

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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Where, Oh Where?

There’s a new commercial that starts out something like this:

“A year ago, when Mom started searching for her words, we started searching for the care she would need.”

Are you kidding? Being a mother alone has you searching for words for the rest of your life.

Early on, I couldn’t remember the names of my own children. And I only had two, one boy, one girl. You’d think that would be easy. No, I even got their names mixed up with the cats’, past and present, and my husband. Sometimes I would even throw in the grandparents’, maternal and paternal.

I have a deal in place now with my mother and my husband that if we’re out in public and I don’t introduce them to someone, it’s because I can’t remember their name. And by “their,” I mean either the person I speak with or my mother or husband’s name. They agreed because they do the same thing.

Other relatives are not immune from my occasional lapses. I called my newborn grandson Colvin several times before his real name of Colin finally set in. Fortunately, he was way too young to know the difference. I really had no defense since we had been calling him Colin before he was born through the magic of medical technology that tells you the sex, what the baby looks like, and at what age he’ll be able to program your remote control.

Sometimes I can get a little paranoid about it. For a while, I was convinced that my nephew Trey moved to Troy, Alabama, just to confuse his Aunt Carol. I would be talking to someone, saying, “My nephew, Trey… er.. that is… Troy.. no, lives in Trey.. no, that’s not right…” People would become alarmed and start to call 911, thinking I was having a stroke. I was glad when he and his family moved to Enterprise, Alabama, just a year or two later. I couldn’t handle the strain.

Another duo I get confused are my granddaughter Chloe and my great-niece Zoe. There is absolutely no excuse for this. I don’t see Zoe as often as I do Chloe, they don’t look alike, Zoe is older than Chloe – none of that matters. Their names are alike and that’s enough to scramble my brain.

Just the other day, I called one of the cats “Twiggy.” I was stunned. Twiggy was the first cat David and I owned. That was 45 years ago! I hadn’t thought of that cat, hadn’t seen a picture of him, hadn’t talked about him, nothing that would put his name in my head and out of my mouth.

So here’s a note to my kids: Maybe you’d better start looking for help when this senior quits reaching for words.

Just sayin’… 
The Fam -- May 2008

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Carol's Magic Carpet Ride

We call our 5th wheel camper the Condo Camper because it looks like a mini-condo you’d rent at the beach or in the Smoky Mountains. 

Since it was all fancy-dancy, I wanted everything to be the right color and the highest quality I could afford.

So of course I went to Wal-Mart to make my purchases. I found the perfect small waste basket and a cup, all brown plastic, but very tastefully done. They had a brown hand towel that would look great. All I needed was a small rug to step on when we came out of the shower.

I couldn’t believe Wal-Mart was selling this bathmat. It was a beautiful shade of brown, thick with foam and stitching that divided it into six sections. It cost more – a lot more – than I usually spend, but I couldn’t wait to get it in the Condo Camper.

This would be a good time to tell you that we are cat lovers. We have three of them at the moment: Gracie, Trudie and Satin. They go with us when we camp.

Yes, we are that crazy.

Our cats stay inside and have never been outside. They don’t seem to mind the confines of the camper. To them it’s just another place to eat, sleep, barf and poop.

Those last two are realities of owning a cat. It’s kind of like having small children who spit up and have to wear diapers except these kids never grow out of it.

So an important consideration always is where to put the litter box. Some campers build elaborate compartments to hide the box, but we took the easy way out as most campers do and put it in the shower.

You can count on loose litter around any litter box because the cats bring it out on their paws. Of course, this meant that they were depositing bits of litter on my new bath mat. I wasn’t worried about it. A good shake or two out the door would take care of it.

Our first camping trip was wonderful except the cat litter stuck to and embedded itself into the fibers of my beautiful bath mat. Shaking it out the door did absolutely nothing. Vacuuming did little good. I briefly considered tweezers, but cringed at the thought of tweezing my mat every night before bed.

I was very stubborn about it. I could have moved the mat and put it down only after showers, but that spot looked so lonely without it.

Finally, after two years of sulling up every time I looked at that stupid, litter-strewn mat, I decided to replace it. This time I bought a cheerful, bathroom rug of aqua, brown and white that I could easily shake out the door and wash when needed.

During the first week of camping this year, one of the cats barfed on the rug. When you have cats, you have a litter box and you deal with barf. It’s just the way it is.

I cleaned up the barf, but it left a small stain. The easy thing to have done would have been to leave it alone and pretend it was part of the pattern. Hardly anyone goes in there anyway. But I wanted to do the right thing, whatever it is that women do to keep their places clean.

So the next time we were at the house (we go home on Saturday nights), I washed the rug in a load by itself. When I checked on it, I found it sitting in water. The washer had gotten off balance by this little bath rug!

It was getting late and I didn’t want to have to stay up and babysit a rug in a washer. I set the washer to high spin and turned it on again. This is a fancy machine in many ways, but it will not start on the spin cycle. It only starts from the beginning. Great.

Later I eagerly checked it, thinking I’d put it in the dryer the next morning. Nope. It wasn’t exactly sitting in a puddle, but it was too wet for the dryer. 

David said, “Did you set it on low spin?”

“Low spin? No, I set it on high spin. How could it spin out all the water on low?”

“I told you this the last time. You have to set anything that puts the washer off balance on low spin in order to get enough water out to put it in the dryer.”

Ten years ago, this would have been the beginning of a pretty good argument. Now, though, we’ve run out of energy and we’ve stopped keeping score. We just cut to the chase. Less drama, but we get things done a whole lot faster.

David draped the rug over a chair on the patio. The nighttime temperatures have been in the 60’s, so we thought it would dry out enough to put in the dryer.

No, it did not. Can you believe this? We ended up putting it in a plastic bag, bringing it back to the camper, and spreading it out on the picnic table.
Actually, we spread it out on two picnic tables because we moved from one campground to another about an hour away.

I am not a good housekeeper, never have been and I guess never will be. A little cat litter doesn’t bother me. After living with cats my whole life, I just don’t notice it much. And when I did notice it much, it became an obsession. I was almost willing to tweeze a bath mat!

Fortunately, this strange rug that wouldn’t dry showed me to return to my laid back ways. A little barf stain on a rug that nobody but David and I and a few family members see is nothing to freak out about.

And the brown bath mat? You’ll find it on the table in the camper. Trudie loves to sleep on it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pizza, Pizza... ?

Many years ago,  Alice and I were out shopping, and I decided to stop at Little Caesar’s for a pizza. It would be a surprise for David because I rarely brought supper home. I would always talk myself out of it, thinking of all the things I could fix at home that wouldn’t cost anything.

But for some reason, I had decided that that night we were having pizza. Alice was around 10 years old, so she went into the Little Caesar’s with me. I didn’t want her sitting in the car by herself for the 15 minutes it would take.

(I guess I should insert here that I was born in Iowa and moved to Alabama in 1960 when I was 8 years old. To this day, people ask me where I’m from because of the way I talk.)

There was a young man at the counter in Little Caesar’s. I placed my order and then he asked for my name.

“Weeks,” I said.

“Beeks?” he asked.

“No, Weeks with a W,” I said slowly, enunciating as much as I could.

“Oh,” he said, “Weeks. Is that w-e-e-k-s or w-e-a-k-s?”

“It’s Weeks, w-e-e-k-s, like days and weeks and months.”

“Oh, okay,” he said, as he wrote Beeks on the order form.

I looked at Alice and she looked at me. I shrugged as he handed me my receipt. There weren’t any other customers in the place, so, what the heck – we’ll be Beeks for 15 minutes. No one will ever know.

It was obvious that Little Caesar’s discouraged people from waiting around because they had the most uncomfortable bench ever. But we sat down, hoping it wouldn’t take very long.

About 10 minutes later, who should walk in the door but David! He had had the same thought – pizza for dinner tonight. He didn’t see us as he moved toward the counter.

“Oh, look!” I said in a loud voice. “It’s Mr. Beeks!”

David froze as he looked at us, smiling at him like idiots.

Later he told me he felt he was in the Twilight Zone. 

Apparently, here were his wife and daughter in a place where they normally would not be found, and his wife of 17 years had just called him a name that was not his. He half expected Rod Serling to jump out from behind the counter with a cigarette in one hand and a pizza box in the other with some weird explanation of the whole thing.

Surprising David is so much fun! His look was priceless, and that’s why, 28 years later, I’m still surprising him.

Stay tuned for the latest developments… 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Bowled Over… Sorta

When David and I first started dating, he took me bowling, just assuming that I knew how to do it.

He had an awful lot to learn about me.

I don’t do sports. I don’t participate in sports. I don’t know how. And even if I did know how, I couldn’t do whatever is required. My body is pretty much not going to cooperate in any sport I attempt.

The first D I ever got in school was in PE (physical education). My PE teacher was a very unreasonable woman who truly believed that everyone was capable of everything. It didn’t help that the Olympics were that year and televised for the first time ever. The whole nation had been glued to the TV to watch these little pixies run across the floor and jump, spin and gracefully hit the floor with a series of somersaults.

This is what my teacher forced upon us. Oh, come on! If my performance or lack thereof was not enough to rethink her notion that everyone is an Olympian athlete, she must have been on the fringes of mental illness. I felt like I was smack dab in the middle of mental illness after trudging through her class. At least I wasn’t alone; most of the class regularly disappointed her.

That was in 9th grade. When I got to 10th grade, my PE teacher was wonderful. She knew just by looking at me that I wasn’t going to be doing any gymnastics, so she gave me and several others easier things to do. I got an A in her class. Bless her heart, she’d give you an A if you showed up, dressed out (put on the dumb PE suit, a giant, green onesie), and put forth an honest effort.

But back to David and bowling and the ridiculous notion that I knew anything about it.

I guess you can’t really blame David. He practically grew up in a bowling alley. His mother had the highest female average in the southeast for two years running along with all kinds of other trophies and ribbons.

David himself won lots of tournaments. He impressed me just by having his own bowling ball and shoes. And, boy, could he throw that ball down the alley. He threw it more than rolled it. His mother said he was showing off for me. It worked. I was duly impressed.

After he had gone through his repertoire of fancy moves and had seen the adoration in my eyes, he decided to teach me how to bowl. So he carefully selected a ball for me, which I thought was way too heavy – actually, I thought they were all way too heavy – and I changed into icky shoes that 4,000 other people had worn before me.

He took me to the farthest lane against the wall so I wouldn’t be as distracted and showed me where to stand and how to hold the ball and how to line it up with where I wanted to throw it and how to take a few steps and how to let go of it. Easy-peasy. Well, maybe for you, but not for me. As I recall, I threw a gutter ball, the first of many. David looked at me in disbelief.

“Let’s do it again,” he said, in a tone I wouldn’t call encouraging.
So he got me all lined up, repeated all the directions, let me go, and I threw another gutter ball, this time on the other side.

David couldn’t believe it. How could this have happened? He had given me all the right information – twice! – so why was I not at least keeping it between the gutters?

I was oblivious to how important bowling was for him, what it meant to him and to his family. I looked at it as just a game. So I really wasn’t very concerned that I couldn’t do it. Actually, I would have been more surprised if I had hit any of those pins way down on the other end of the lane.

Before I could do anymore damage to our budding relationship, David’s mother came to the rescue. She gave bowling lessons, so she was used to klutzes like me who would nearly get their thumb stuck in the wrong hole.

I eventually became semi-competent at the game. It was obvious that that was as far as I was capable of going. Which was fine with me.

I still thought the ball was too heavy.