Moving… to the State of Panic

Don’t think that the grandkids left behind a string of broken items and a wrecked house to put me in this state.  I’m the one that created the situation in which I now find myself:  the deep doodoo place.

Normal grandmothers would, by now, have the guest rooms all fresh and clean and cookies baked for the next visit.  Instead, this grandmother is spending my days searching for things I put away for “safekeeping”  during the grandkids’ recent Thanksgiving visit.

Although I vaguely remember putting my laptop cord someplace out of sight, I assumed it would surface before I needed it.  When the power level on my laptop dropped to 7%,  I put Plan B into operation:  I got really serious about trying to remember where I’d stuck it to keep it out of little Granddaughter’s reach.

Stupid of me to hide it in the first place.  What could she do to a power cord as long as she didn’t flush it?

I began an intensive search of all the possible places I might have stashed it.  At this point I can safely say that it isn’t in a closet or a drawer.  It isn’t hidden behind the toilet paper stash in the bathrooms or the sheets in the linen closet.  It isn’t under the bed, the sofas, or anything else with a skirt.

I’m beginning to wonder if I flushed it myself.

While I was looking for the cord, I was also hoping to come upon  a couple of Christmas presents I’d hidden before the family arrived.  Those gifts are not in any of the above places either.  One of them is a gift for our Atlanta daughter who was here.  This is the first time I can remember that she didn’t “happen to come upon” her obscurely hidden gift.   When it comes to discovering presents, the girl has some bloodhound in her.

The first of the week,  I dejectedly trudged into the Apple Store to buy a new power adapter for my laptop.  That sucker was $80!!!  The person who assisted me said that if I found mine within two weeks, I could return this one (even used) and get a full refund.  I’m down to 11 days now and I still don’t have a clue. I’m thinking of asking my daughter to come back for a quick visit.  If I dropped a hint that her Christmas gift might be very near something that smells like a power cord, who knows?

It used to be that my super-organized spouse would shake his head at my disorganization, but now, he is completely sympathetic.   Having hit the age when  chronic CRS screws around with our brains and our attention span, he understands.  Bob Dylan is right: the times, they are a-changing.

Just yesterday, my Dearly Beloved consoled me by confessing that he poured himself a cup of coffee and almost put the coffee pot in the refrigerator.  The only thing that stopped him, he said, was that the fridge was so full of leftovers, he couldn’t find room for it.

Hmmm.

I’d better check there for the cord.

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Half-Baked

The house is quiet again.  That’s both good and bad.  We miss those grandchildren like crazy, but our muscles do need time to heal.  So does the house.

Dearly Beloved went bowling and/or played basketball with the three grandsons every day.  He admits that he’s not the player he used to be.  His jump shot lacks one thing–any hint of daylight between his shoes and the ground.

He developed a bruised breastbone and sore shoulder which he claimed prevented him from Furminating the dog.   After I said he’d need a note from the doctor, he found that he could manage the task after all.

Let me digress for a moment here:  I have mentioned several times that it takes him forever to walk the dog because he and Scout stop to talk and sniff every pup and owner they encounter.  (I hope you aren’t going to ask which one does the sniffing.)   On one of their walks, he talked to a woman about Thanksgiving and she told him of the fabulously prepared Thanksgiving dinner that she pre-orders every year and picks up on Thanksgiving Day.   As he was telling me this, I already had the phone in my hand to order.

Now, back to my story. . . . The youngest grandson (age 9) hit a wall on Tuesday when he came down with horrible stomach pains and a headache so fierce that he couldn’t handle TV, book, electronic games, or even food.

The family planned to run in the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning.  In fact, Youngest Grandson and DB were to do the 1K (DB had been practicing so he wouldn’t embarrass himself) but when YG couldn’t run, DB refused to solo.  Nevertheless, he took the two older grandsons over to watch them run their 5K while their parents ran in the 8K.

That left me with one sick grandson, one 17-month-old granddaughter, and Thanksgiving preparations for 11.  The word toddler has never applied to that little girl.  She is Turbo-motion with a capital T and the sound of her little feet on the hardwoods is a constant background noise, like a spoon tapping softly on a table.  That, of course, sets off a lumbering noise–me running after her–because this is not a child who sits quietly with her dolls.  She needs to know what is in every drawer, every cabinet.  She questions my furniture arrangement and her tiny arms manage to lug large footstools throughout the house.  It’s like seeing a stool levitate around the house.

I thought I’d done a good job of preparing for her by moving any tchotchkes.   Unfortunately, I had underestimated her climbing skills, so I started cramming things in closets and drawers too hard for her to open.  If only her granddad shared her ability to jump and climb!

Nevertheless, I managed to get the sweet potatoes and green beans prepared during that time.  The meal we’d ordered was for 8 to 10 people–the only size they offered–so I’d supplemented by preparing additional  sides and another dessert.  In a moment of panic, I’d even ordered a fried turkey from Bojangles, which I knew the grandsons and son-in-law would enjoy.  They’re the big eaters, so that reassured me that the other turkey, regardless of size, would be enough for the rest of us.

Because this was my first time buying a pre fixe meal like this, I’d naively assumed that since we were picking it up at 11:30 on Thanksgiving Day, that the turkey had been in the oven at 11.   Imagine my panic when I opened the two huge boxes of food to set out the meal and found instructions:  Bake the turkey for two hours.  I tore open the Bojangles package and found the identical words.

Two turkeys and four sides in covered aluminum pans, not to mention the extras which needed warming in pots on the cooktop.

I had ONE oven and 10 hungry people milling around, waiting for a Thanksgiving meal.  A feeling of doom encompassed me and threatened to defy my deodorant with an infusion of flop sweat.

About that time, my daughter asked, “Has anyone seen Ivy?”

The last time any of us had seen her, she’d been out in our fenced back yard.  Now the gate was open and there was no sign of Ivy.

My hungry diners hit the streets by automobile, bicycles, and on foot, looking for Ivy.  I sent a plea via our Neighborhood Watch list, asking neighbors to look out for her.

I remained at the house, tossing food in and out of the oven while checking on sick grandson and chasing granddaughter.  Thank goodness, she had found something to play with after all–the basket of dog toys.

Three hours later, at my brother’s suggestion, DB checked with the golf starter at the country club in the next block.  Yes, they had spotted a dog bouncing along the course.  The Pro went after her in the golf cart.  She cheerfully jumped on the seat beside him to ride shotgun, back to the clubhouse.   The guy took her to his home and began printing flyers.  DB, Daughter and Dog were reunited eventually and returned home where finally it had started to smell like a Thanksgiving meal was in the works.

Doing the math, you know that three hours didn’t give me time to bake two turkeys and all stuffing, scalloped potatoes, roasted root vegetables in those huge aluminum baking pans, but I have two words for you.  CLOSE ENOUGH!

Dearly Beloved says he thinks it was the best Thanksgiving ever.  You know what?

I think I agree!

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Happy Halloween!

When we were kids, every now and then, my mother’s youngest sister, Mary, drove us to a tiny community in southeastern North Carolina.  She’d park near the railroad tracks and we would wait in the dark to watch for the mysterious Maco light to come bobbing and weaving up the tracks as the old conductor Joe Baldwin continued his 100-year-long search for his missing head.   Sometimes we’d perch on the hood of the car, but we never dared venture up that track in an attempt to be the first ones to spot the light.  No siree!

I can’t say for sure that I ever saw old Joe’s light, although I’d have probably taken my own children to watch for it, too, had the railroad company not, in the 70’s,  removed the tracks and the trestle bridge where the light emanated.  Poor Joe Baldwin doesn’t even have a route to follow any more.

One dependable sighting in the mountains of North Carolina this time of year is this one:

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The Bear Shadow

Just when most bears are beginning to pack it in for winter, this one emerges for a couple of weeks when the autumnal sun sets behind Whiteside Mountain, a 5,000-footer near Cashiers and Highlands.  My friend Birdie took this photo a week or so ago and shared it with me.

My blogger buddy, Mountain Woman has written about the bear too, as she also lives near that area.  There is an overlook area where people may stand to wait for it  to appear.  You can even shoot it, but only with a camera.

Now for some of the seasonal delights in my neighborhood. . . .  People around here are big on Halloween.  Perhaps because I ride past them so often,  the two houses one street over always grab my attention.  Out near the sidewalk sits this pathetic scene:

IMG_1738What could be so terrible in the house behind them that these poor babes have been abandoned, obviously in a catatonic state, in this antiquated wheel chair?

Arachnid Manor
Arachnid Manor

Spiders.  EVERYWHERE. . . a giant spider invasion!!!

Just a short distance up the street sits the Ghoul house.  One of the Ghouls must be a surgeon, as the magnolia tree on the right is festooned with hanging body parts.

Ghastly!
Ghastly!                              

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                                                Happy Halloween !

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O Sister, Where Art Thou?

My brother tells me he has found Mary Lee, the great white shark.   I  haven’t heard much about her lately and was beginning to worry.

Not that I believe everything he tells me.  He also told me that he’d found BigFoot, which turned out to be a sweet bear family whose feet, frankly, are much smaller than his.

As for the whereabouts of Mary Lee,  this looks pretty authentic, don’t you think?  If so, she’s right in my brother’s Outer Banks stomping grounds.

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Mary Lee, if you’re out there, you go, Girl!!

My brother may be Big Foot.

And a Fine 4th to You, Too!

My Dearly Beloved and I are sticking close to home this holiday.  Camp Granddad was open for our Georgia grandchildren during much of June and we loved every second of it.  This week we’re running Camp Granddog, as their goldendoodle, Ivy, is here to romp with our girl, Scout.  Ivy is a squirrel chaser and I had high hopes that she would tutor Scout in the finer points of tree rat elimination.  Instead, Scout seems to be having some success in showing Ivy the joys of lying on the deck and watching the damnsquirrels climb the feeder poles.

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Happy Independence Day from Camper Ivy and all of us at Camp Granddog!

To Pee Or Not To Pee

The City Council here had a policy discussion on gay rights last month and much of the ensuing kerfuffle centered around bathrooms and whether or not an individual had the right to use the bathroom of one’s sexual identification rather than the bathroom of one’s genitalia.    Eventually, they took bathrooms out of the discussion. . . then decided to vote down the whole proposal anyway.

I’m perplexed as to why a person chooses to vote against someone solely because of their sexual orientation.  I’m for putting equality on the front burner and leaving sex to simmer in private on a back burner.   My gaydar antenna is still in the original wrappings.  I don’t care whose team a person plays on–just make the rules fair for everyone.

As for the bathroom issue, I admit that I’d be taken aback if Bruce Jenner walked into the Cracker Barrel bathroom right behind me, but at the same time, I don’t think someone should have to drop their drawers to prove where they’re allowed to pee.  Just make sure the bathroom is clean.

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, my Dearly Beloved and I enjoy going places together, but we have different ideas about the road trip.  While I’m for stopping at interesting places (okay, they usually involve shopping) along the way, he points a laser beam to his destination and would prefer not to stop for anything.   I like to wait and buy gas in South Carolina, where it’s about 20 cents a gallon cheaper.  He fills the tank here the day before we leave and it’s fine with him if we reach our destination on fumes.

He does, however, know that bathroom stops trump everything.  In fact, he even asks me, “Do you need to go to the bathroom or should I keep going?”  because parts of our trips often go through No-Bathrooms Land.

During a pit stop on a trip a couple of months ago, Dearly Beloved pumped gas at one of those Gas/Fast Food/Junk stations along I-85 while I went inside to use the ladies room.  I walked in and headed into a stall like I always do, used the toilet, and walked out.

It was like I’d entered The Twilight Zone.  Although I don’t recall anyone else being in there when I went in, there were FOUR MEN using urinals went I walked out.  I was flabbergasted, but it was minimal compared with the stunned expression on their faces.  They froze.

How had I managed to overlook the Men’s Room sign on the door and the urinals on the wall on my way in?   If I could miss all that, might I have been so intent on my mission that I overlooked a guy or two standing around?   For all I know, Bruce Jenner might have been in there.

I didn’t look up and I certainly didn’t look down.  Nothing for me to do except say, “Pardon me!” and get the hell out of there.  I didn’t even stop to wash my hands.

So. . . I’m not about to attempt to solve the problem of who gets to use which bathroom, but other people have much interest.   I understand that some states are working on laws to ban transgender folks from using the bathroom of the sex they identify with.   Might I have been arrested for an Oops?

I did learn one thing from the experience:  If unisex bathrooms ever become commonplace. . .  as long as they’re clean, I may not even notice.

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Just Because I’m Paranoid

. . . doesn’t mean they’re not after me.  I’m not making up this stuff.  Let me offer this series of unfortunate events that I believe would make Lemony Snicket shudder.

Sometime in December, my brother e-mailed a photo of a baby squirrel, a critter so tiny it looked lost in the palm that held it.  He said he’d rescued it.

I have no idea where the rescue took place–perhaps in the cat’s mouth, maybe beneath a tree.  Don’t know its sex or why my brother named it CAKE.  I am not a very inquisitive squirrel aunt.  He sent pictures of Cousin Cake to his nieces and nephews.

One reason I did not show much interest was sciurophobia–fear that I’d receive a squirrel as a Christmas gift or perhaps as a January Birthday Cake.  It seemed wise to maintain a low profile.

A later set of photos reassured me.  I could start answering the doorbell again.  Little Cake was obviously in the care of professionals.

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Maybe I’ll knit it a little vest for Valentine’s Day.

Perhaps I sound overly dramatic about squirrels.  But before you judge, there’s more.  No kidding.  Cake was just the icing on the. . . you-know-what.

Dearly Beloved and I spent our first Christmas away from home this year.  We didn’t even decorate beyond slapping a wreath on the door.  No tree, no holly decked halls, no Carolers on the mantel.  (I’ve mentioned before about those sweet dolls with craters where their little noses used to be–all thanks to an attic invasion of  nose-fetishist squirrels one year.)  

Instead, we drove to Virginia Beach and spent a most delightful holiday with our son and daughter-in-law.   Even Scout the Wonder Dog was welcomed.

We’re not one of those families that sits around watching sappy Christmas movies.  That’s DB’s doings because I like sappy Christmas movies.  His choice is always  National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  The guys in the family always vote with him and the girls don’t care as long because it offers a respite from TV sports.  Over the years, the guys have brought along their moose mugs, their Cousin Eddie quotes, and various CV junk. including one wearing a green dickey.  Oh wait, that may  have been DB.FullSizeRender

This year, things got even more authentic.   The night before we left for Virginia, our toilets made a gurgling noise that strikes terror around here.  Sewer line backup.  Or, Yep, we , as Cousin Eddie explains it,  “Sh*tter’s full.”   Ours was, we learned $300-$400 later, was caused by roots of the large oak tree across the street growing into the sewer line.

Christmas morning in Virginia Beach, I was the last one up. I schlepped blindly into the kitchen for a wakeup cup of coffee.  When I was able to open my eyes enough to see daylight, here’s what was in front of me:

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A freakin’ nightmare, right?  Two more cups of coffee and it was still there.  It sat beside me on the sofa and stared at me while we opened gifts.  Even fake squirrels can give the evil eye.

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Ee returned from Virginia to find the damnsquirrels were partying in our backyard.  One was sitting ON the squirrel baffle, raking seeds out of the bird feeder with greedy little paws, like it had hit the jackpot on a One-Armed Bandit.FullSizeRender

Since the best place to buy Christmas tree ornaments here is at our favorite hardware store,  I headed for their after-Christmas sale the day after our return.  Some of the best ornaments had already sold out, but there were plenty of these:

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That’s it in a nutshell.  Christmas Past, Christmas Present, Christmas Future.

The strange little glass-domed ornament?  Yeah,  I bought one.  Maybe  I’ll pass it along to BroJoe next Christmas,  A remembrance of his little cupCake.

 

“SQUIRREL!” – Clark Griswald, Sr. – Christmas Vacation

“It is difficult, when faced with a situation you cannot control, to admit you can do nothing.”
― Lemony Snicket, Horseradish