Friday, July 20, 2018

It Could Have Been Worse


You ever have one of those days where things don’t go the way you planned? Well, besides every day, I mean. We plan, God laughs – right?

That pretty much sums up my month so far. July has been…um…interesting.

Like the other day, for instance. I was straightening up the house, putting things away and just sort of moving from room to room putting things in order. I walked into the master bathroom with a giant package of toilet paper and added rolls to the toilet paper holder thingie and then walked into the half bath to do the same.

Only as I pulled the last roll of toilet paper out of the package, I fumbled it directly into the toilet.

Um. That’s not how it’s supposed to work.

I was laughing at myself because I’ve never done this before. And then I had to take a photo of it. While trying to press the button on my camera, I nearly dropped my phone into the toilet, too.

It was then I decided I’d best back slowly out of the bathroom with expensive cell phone firmly in hand.

I knew, of course, that I’d have to go back in again with a plastic bag to pull the sopping wet roll of toilet paper out of the commode and dispose of it.

But first I put the cell phone down.

So while I was shaking my head and rolling my eyes at my boneheaded move, I was also thinking it could’ve been worse.

I mean, that could have been the last roll of toilet paper in the house.

So I was grateful.

I recently wrote a blog about my runaway dog, Maggie, who took advantage of my distracted-ness and made a break for it while I was picking up her, uh, deposit from the neighbor’s lawn. I got her back, but only after a thorough tour of all the back yards in the neighborhood – as well as the neighboring neighborhoods.

What I neglected to say in that blog was it was the first time I’d lost Miss Maggie Minx. Usually it’s someone else in the household who is the one chasing her – not me.

So I can no longer be smug about that.

But what’s worse is that I lost her again last week!

I had her tied up on her run outside while I did some household chores that make her crazy – like carrying the laundry basket into the laundry room to do a load of darks. And like sweeping the kitchen floor with the broom. She barks like a mad dog. And don’t even get me started talking about the vacuum cleaner or the blender. Actual appliances with noise make her completely insane.

Anyway, once the broom and the basket were put away, I went out to unhook Maggie from her run…only I somehow fumbled the little football. And she got loose. And took off like a shot.

For a half a second, I debated about letting her run and waiting for her to tire and come back home…but as that has never happened before, I decided I would have to go on the hunt.  Besides, I would never forgive myself if she were to get hit by a car. Seriously. I don’t think I could survive that.

But, anyway. I had no earthly idea where she had gone.

So I grabbed her leash and some doggie treats – and got in my car to drive slowly around the neighborhood looking for the little runaway.

I alerted our lawn guy who was working down the street (and who is familiar with Maggie) and then decided to drive to the neighboring blocks to see if she had gotten that far away.

No such luck.

After driving around for a while without success, I headed back to my street. By the time I returned home, the cleaning company was in my driveway so I had to get them squared away. And then I got a text from the lawn guy saying there was a Maggie sighting in our cul-de-sac.

So I headed that way. By now there were several neighbors with some of their dogs on leashes trying to entice Maggie to stop and play so we could catch her. Again, no luck.

Finally, after nearly an hour on the run (in 90 degree heat), Maggie headed back toward home. And – thankfully – she decided to stop for a drink out of the bowl of water I’d left in the yard for her. As she greedily lapped at the cool water, I reached down and snatched her up.

And promptly put her in her crate (with some more water) so we could all recover.

Yeesh.

My recovery involved heading to the pool and floating around the lazy river in my raft. It was either that or some retail therapy and I wasn’t in an Amazon frame of mind. 

I was relieved and frazzled at the same time. Yet I knew it could have been far worse.

I could have spent the next several days searching for Maggie and contacting area shelters and humane societies and praying that someone would return her to us.

So I was again grateful.

And I’ve vowed to be more careful when I’m carrying things like toilet paper and Yorkies. I’m not a big fan of the fumble. I don’t have that kinda time. 

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Our Maggie Minx; Dog on the Run


I just finished walking the dog – in the 92 degree heat. And I forgot to change out of my black workout clothes. That wasn’t the smartest move on my part.

On the other hand, at least I didn’t let Maggie get away from me the way she did the other morning.

Call it lack of dexterity. Or call it distractedness. But, let’s face it – a mere three moments before I lost my grip on her leash, I was happily snoozing in my bed. So I wasn’t exactly what you’d call awake and alert.

But, believe me, once she pulled free from my grip, I woke up instantly.

Maggie Minx is not the most obedient of Yorkies. She’s a runner. And, boy, did she run.

She was four houses away in 2.3 seconds.

I called for her to stop. And then when of course she didn’t, I hurried after her.

We took a tour of the houses the next cul-de-sac over. And then we took a tour of the neighborhood past that. She was at least half a mile away running down the street dragging the leash with its plastic handle bouncing merrily along behind her.

But did it stop her? Of course not. I kept hoping that the leash would wrap around a tree, a bush, a fire hydrant. Something.

But, noooo.

When we have Maggie outside with us on the patio, she gets her leash wrapped around a weed growing out of the corner of the brick. So I couldn’t believe that she could be half a mile away from home and running wild and free.

At one point, I thought I had her. She ran between one guy’s wooden fence and his neighbor’s chain link fence. So we stared at each other for a split second and I swear I saw the gears turning in her little head as she plotted her escape.

She’s a smart dog and she knows about my bad knee – so she chose that side and ran. As she passed by me, I swear I saw her smirk. I narrowed my eyes and with a major lunge, went to stamp on her leash.

And I missed.

I lost my balance and smacked against the wooden fence. This has resulted in a major bruise on my hand, but I can’t imagine what would have happened if I toppled the other way and fell into the chain link fence.

Eventually, Maggie was headed straight down the street rather than winding her way in and out of back yards, so I had a little better shot at catching her.

And, fortunately for me, a good Samaritan saw her and asked me if I thought getting a treat would help. I said it couldn’t hurt, but I wasn’t overly hopeful.

Maggie finally stopped and turned to look at me. I was a bit nonplussed because she never pays me any mind when she’s on the run. And then, much to my surprise, she started running straight toward me.

…and then she ran right on past.

I wheeled around and looked behind me. And there, on the sidewalk, was the big black poodle.

The same big black poodle that all of the little dogs in our neighborhood furiously bark at whenever he appears. And the same big black poodle that I’ve been told is mean.

And suddenly, Maggie and the big black poodle were nose to nose.

I was standing there with my mouth open in shock hoping that the big black poodle was not going to have Maggie for breakfast.

I was immensely relieved that the good Samaritan had the sense to step on Maggie’s leash to detain her. Which caused me to snap out of my stupor enough to snatch up the little fugitive.

I thanked the good Samaritan for her help and I thanked the big black poodle’s owner for not allowing her dog to munch on Maggie Minx.

And I carried my dog home the three blocks because her opportunity to run wild and free was over.

So, yeah, I’m okay with walking Maggie today in my black workout clothes in the 92 degree heat.

Because this time I didn’t lose her. But I think I'm going to have to ice my hand now. Feels like it's in a permanent cramp from the death grip I had on her leash.



Thursday, May 3, 2018

Today's Super Disgusting Chore


I have all sorts of things on my To-Do list today, yet I have only managed to cross off a couple things from the list.

One of those things was to pick up the dead squirrel off our patio.

I don’t know why there was a dead squirrel on our patio. I don’t think it was Maggie’s doing as that squirrel was pretty much torn apart and Maggie hasn’t been outside on her own long enough this season to cause such carnage.

I thought about waiting until Vince could handle the Squirrel Removal Chore, but that won’t be until Sunday and I don’t think I’d be able to sleep at night knowing there was a dead squirrel on our patio.

Interestingly, I haven’t yet managed the “Pick up laundry detergent and dog food” chore today, but I HAVE picked up the dead squirrel.

Major score in Jane’s Domain!

Of course, picking up a dead squirrel required donning a hazmat suit and taking a lot of deep breaths. There was involuntary arm flapping and full body shuddering accompanied by the inevitable look of horror on my face while performing the chore, but I always think it’s best not to have stipulations on HOW I’m supposed to perform any chore on my list.

Otherwise, I’d never manage the “Scoop up kitty litter without grimacing” chore.

Yeah, if you know me at all, you know I’m a little squeamish.

“A little”? Puh-leaze. I’m so squeamish that I need a big ol’ wad of paper towels just to pick up a dead fly.

Oh, and by the way, I wasn’t really wearing a hazmat suit when I picked up the dead squirrel, but I WAS wearing Vince’s gardening gloves and had paper towels in my hands as well as several plastic bags within bags – for reinforcement purposes. The gardening gloves went into the trash after I was finished.

Guess I need to add “buy new gardening gloves” to my list, don’t I?

This reminds me of the day last fall after walking Maggie when we had another ordeal. We were on our way up the sidewalk to the front door when Maggie darted into the bushes. Maggie is usually focused on getting back inside once she knows her walk is done so she can scarf down her doggie treat, but not this time.

When she emerged from the bushes, she had a BIRD in her mouth. I mean, there were tail feathers sticking out of my little Yorkie’s mouth and everything!

I shrieked. And I yanked at her harness hoping to dislodge the bird.

Phhht. Like that worked.

My neighbor, Suzy, who was on her way home with her two sweet little Shih Tzu pups (who would NEVER harm a bird), asked me what I was shrieking about.

I managed to babble the words “bird” and “mouth” – but I was incapable of speaking in coherent sentences.

Suzy, who is NOT squeamish, calmly handed me her dogs’ leashes and grabbed Maggie’s. She was trying to get Maggie to open her mouth, but Maggie started growling at her and wouldn’t let go of the bird.

Both Suzy and I needed to get our dogs inside and then leave for work as we had seasonal jobs at the cookie factory together. So time was of the essence here.

Finally, I came up behind Maggie and picked her up, which startled her and caused her to drop the bird out of her mouth.

I have never been so relieved. Or so completely grossed out.

Sadly, little Tweety didn’t make it.

Our other neighbor told me the next day she heard the commotion and, once she realized it was a bird, said she thought it was probably the bird that had flown into her kitchen window – so it was probably injured, if not already dead.

It made me realize that my cute little dog is an animal (ha) when it comes to prey like birds and squirrels. So when she lunges after those critters, she is seriously trying to catch them. And if she ever does catch them, she seriously means business.

I guess it behooves me to protect those little critters, huh? Either that, or I’ll be scooping them off the patio.

Maybe I’d better go buy a multi-pack of gardening gloves. Just to be safe.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to do some more chores. Thank goodness the "drop the cable box off at the UPS Store" requires no grimacing. Or hazmat suits.


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Blonde Moment...Senior Moment. What’s the Difference?


So what is the difference between a blonde moment and a senior moment? It sounds like the beginning of a joke - right? But, really. What IS the difference?

I find it hard to tell.

The other day, for example, I had one or the other of the two. I’m just not sure which.

I went to Marc’s to buy some important stuff. Like contact solution. And toilet paper. And yams.

I needed a bag of ice, too, but I decided against purchasing it as I had several additional stops to make and given that the outside temperature reached 65 degrees Fahrenheit, I didn’t want to pay $1.29 for a big bag of lukewarm water.

None of the items in my cart required refrigeration, which turned out to be a good thing. Because as I was standing in the checkout line, I opened my purse to pull out my trusty Visa card only to discover I’d left my wallet at home.

Egad! How could I have done such a thing? I chided myself and mentally slapped my forehead.

I thought well, this sure is a blonde moment, Jane Marie!

When I talk to myself, I call myself “Jane Marie.” And, strangely enough, I hear my mother’s voice in my head as I’m saying it.

But then, my very next thought was, Oh no! What if I’ve moved beyond the blonde moment and it’s now a senior moment?

Sheesh.

Like it really matters. Either way it was a boneheaded move on my part.

Fortunately, I was still third in line and I hadn’t yet placed all nineteen items on the conveyor belt, so I didn’t have to sheepishly load all nineteen items back in my cart and slink away toward the door.

Instead, I headed toward the Customer Service desk and asked them to hold my cart while I went home and fetched my wallet. Which they did, although the manager told me later that while she was assisting other customers, her overzealous assistant tried to wheel the cart away to put the items back on the shelf. Perhaps they were running low on yams or something, I don’t know.

Anyway, that was my first face palm and eye roll of the day.

The second one occurred while I was visiting my mother.  

When my dad was alive, he bought my mom’s wine in the handy-dandy gallon jug size and then transferred the vat of wine into smaller, more easily handle-able bottles.

As you can surmise, my mother is not now, nor has she ever been much of a wine connoisseur. Her only two stipulations are that the wine has to be sweet and the glass has to be full.

She has only a small fridge in her room, so a normal size bottle won’t fit. So I’ve been using a funnel and filling empty water bottles from the gallon jug.

This alone is fairly entertaining to watch as I attempt to heft the heavy glass jug and aim for the small spout without spilling wine all over me, the sink, the floor and the dog.

But I had successfully filled several water bottles with wine and marked them “MOM’S WINE!” in Sharpie lest some helpful aide at the memory care unit try to give mom some hydration and instead render her loopy.

So I arrived at my mom’s room and filled her fridge with her latest wine stash and ask her if she’d like a glass. I don’t know why I ask because Mom never says no. I guess it’s just polite to ask.

Anyway, I pull one of the bottles out of the fridge and carry it over to the table beside her chair along with her acrylic wine glass.

Hey, I figure if she’s okay drinking wine that comes in a gallon jug, she isn’t going to be any too fussy about what she drinks the wine from. Besides, plastic is way safer than glass in a 93-year-old’s hands.

So I filled her glass and handed it to her and then filled my 30 ounce Yeti tumbler with my bottle of water. I added my Arbonne pomegranate energy Fizz stick in the glass and stirred. 

All the while I'm chattering on about my day to keep mom entertained and calm so she doesn't dwell on her condition.

But then I took a drink.

It was at that moment, I realized my second blonde/senior moment of the day.  Because when I looked at mom’s glass, the liquid in it was clear.

And I was drinking pomegranate-flavored White Zinfandel.

Ugh. You should know that pomegranate and white zin is NOT a good combination.

But what was so funny to me is that I looked at mom after she had taken a drink out of her glass – and the look on her face was the exact same squinchy look as on mine. 

(If you don't know what a squinchy face is, read here.)

But anyway, Mom is NOT a big fan of plain ol’ H2O. Yet I didn’t think plain water warranted the same look of disgust that pomegranate flavored White Zin did.

But we had a good laugh for a minute while I cleaned up my goof. Mom had her wine and I had my fizzy flavored water sans wine. And life was good again.

But knowing the difference between a blonde and a senior moment still has me befuddled.

Maybe they’re the same thing and it doesn’t matter. Either way they both deserve an eye roll and a face palm.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Wherefore Art Thou, Spring?


I’m pretty sure this extend-a-winter situation is all my fault. So to all of you who are shaking your fists at the grey skies and your morning frost-covered lawn furniture, I’m – well, I’m very sorry.

I sort of jumped the gun on the spring decorating. And I figure it’s sort of like when you wash your car and then it immediately rains. You have to claim responsibility for the rain – right?

In my case, I had a neighborhood meeting at my house in mid-March and my family arrived for a weekend visit after that – so I had to brighten up our space. Plus, technically it was spring and I like spring-y new things to welcome in the season.

So I put a colorful, new Welcome Mat outside the front door. And I placed a gorgeous planter with a (faux) plant on the front porch.  

Vince isn't crazy about faux plants, but in this case it was a good idea since a real plant surely would have expired in the cold weather by now.

Inside, I replaced our old, dull hallway rug with a rug made of vivid colors that sort of match the vivid painting that’s hanging on the wall in the living room at the end of the hall.

All the bright, springy colors made me very happy. Until I realized that it’s mid-April – and we’re still dealing with winter coats and frost on the morning grass instead of blooming trees and budding flowers.

Bummer.

Especially since I suspect that my vivid rug is going to end up dull before too long since we’re wiping our snow- and mud-covered boots on it.

But there is hope at the end of the cold, gray tunnel. The sun is shining today and the outside temp is running north of 50 degrees. So that’s good news.

And, even better, I hear the lawnmower running, so perhaps the grass has actually grown enough to warrant a haircut.

But..um…there’s only one more little wrinkle. See, a couple months ago, I bought the makings of a bright, colorful new wreath to adorn our front door. To match my pretty Welcome Mat and gorgeous planter. And I’m itching to get out my glue gun.

Besides, I really need to take down the Easter wreath. Easter is over. 

Uh oh.  I’d better keep my winter coat and gloves front and center in the closet.

Just in case.

And if it snows again after I hang the spring wreath? Well, again, I'm very sorry.

Happy spring?

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Evil and Mayhem Averted. I Think.


So yesterday was another one of those “well, that did not go as planned” kind of days.

I should have known.

My first clue was when I was sitting in my car at a red light. I happened to glance at the odometer and the mileage read: “6666.”

And then I looked at the outside temperature displayed on the console and it was “66” degrees.

Ooh. Gave me the shivers.

Now some people might say I should’ve played the lottery and chosen all sixes as it might’ve been good luck or something.

But I have never liked consecutive sixes ever since I saw the movie The Omen. If you’ve never seen the flick, let me summarize. The sweet-faced little kid named Damien is really an evil little devil. Literally. Lots of people die and he kills his own mother. Finally, someone tells his dad that he’s the antichrist and they can prove it by searching his cranium and finding the number “666” tattooed on his head.  Which they did.

The movie scared the crap out of me and ever since then I have not been fond of the number “6.” I’m especially creeped out if I see “666” anywhere. If it’s on my odometer, I purposely look away until the last six rolls over to a seven.

Whew. Evil and mayhem averted.

And, yeah, I realize that none of those numbers in my car were THREE sixes in a row – but it was a little unnerving nonetheless.

At the time, I was on my way to an appointment with an accountant to handle my mother’s taxes – and the CPA called to push the meeting back an hour and a half. Evidently, she was dealing with someone with an especially large box of loose receipts or something.

Normally rearranging my Saturday is not a big deal, but (a) I was already on my way to said meeting and (b) we were hosting one of Vince’s college friends for an overnight visit and I was supposed to cook the roast. Thus, I needed to be home by a certain time to get the thing prepped and popped in the oven in order to eat before midnight.

And, by the way, yes, I realize that I’m cutting it a little close on the taxes thing as the dreaded Tax Day is looming so close it’s practically smacking me in the face. Yeah, yeah, call me a procrastinator. I deserve it. Because, let’s face it – I am one. But I really don’t like dealing with taxes.

Anyway, I turned around and headed back home to wait for another hour. This was inconvenient as I had to walk the dog immediately upon arrival. It didn’t matter that I’d walked her right before I left. Maggie Minx will act as if she hadn’t been out to tinkle since Christmas and has to go N-O-W.

So I walked her. This trip was mostly a sightseeing journey for her as she spent more time devising diabolical plans in her little doggie head on how to best catch those pesky squirrels as opposed to doing the potty thing.

Yep, my dog has me bamboozled.

I managed to get back to the accountant’s office and got the taxes taken care of and then was on my way home to prep the roast. But, again, I had to walk Maggie first. So I took the roast out of the fridge to come to room temperature and I set the oven on 500 degrees to preheat before clipping Maggie to her leash and heading out.

By the way, I never cook anything at 500 degrees F, but Vince printed out a recipe for me that calls for cooking the roast for the first 20 minutes at 500 and then lowering it to a more reasonable 350.

Well.

Thankfully, not our kitchen - or our firefighter!
Maggie and I came back from our walk to find a murky kitchen. Thick smoke was pouring out of the oven door and I contemplated calling 911 to get some assistance from the fire department. But since I didn’t see any actual flames, I just turned off the oven and opened a window.  

I did look a little silly spinning in futile circles waving my arms in the desperate attempt to dissipate the smoke lest Vince’s friend arrive early.

Turns out, the last time Vince cooked, the moussaka overflowed the pan and dripped onto the floor of the oven, which was the cause of the smoke.

Clearly, I don’t use the oven much. Nor did I realize it was overdue for a date with the Easy-Off.

Anyway, it was right about then I decided we were going out to dinner somewhere. Sure, I had already made a salad and had at the ready the veggies I was planning to sauté.

But I don’t do kitchen fires. And, frankly, I barely do roasts other than maybe in the crock pot.

When our guest arrived, I apologized that the house smelled like a fire pit and got him a beer (or three) to dull his senses as we waited for Vince to get home. When Vince arrived, he merely suggested we cut the roast into steaks and cook them on the grill.

Duh. Now, why didn’t I think of that?

Yeah, I think I’m gonna blame the sixes.

But today is a new day. And thanks to my second trip to the CPA’s office, I know there is no way that consecutive sixes are on my odometer.

Plus, it’s only 57 degrees outside this morning. Whew. Evil and mayhem averted.