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.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Blender Blunder and Other Catastrophes in Jane’s Domain


Do you ever have one of those mornings that travel so far off the course of normal you think it’s better to just go back to bed and start over tomorrow?

Yeah. This morning was one of those. And it didn’t even start with me!

My morning started out normally. A normal morning for me is like this: I get up at 7 a.m., pull on my shoes and coat and take Maggie for her first walk of the day. We come back in and usually find Vince up and beginning the prep for our morning tea and protein shake. Once he gets to the part where he actually has to turn on the blender, I have to pick up Maggie and hightail it into the bedroom and shut the door so she doesn’t go postal on the blender. She somehow thinks the blender is going to kill us all.

But then, she thinks the same thing about our laundry basket and the dustpan and brush – so…I don’t know.

She’s crazy.

Anyway, when I walked in the kitchen, the blender was nearly empty – so I thought Vince had gotten ahead of the curve and was already filling our shake cups with the lovely grayish-green goop that is our breakfast.

But, no.  

My second glance over at the corner where the protein shake production takes place alerted me to the problem.

And the problem was this: Vince had somehow forgotten to turn the blender to the “off” position the last time he made a shake. Instead it was set on “high.” And “high” is not a good position when you fill the blender with ice and powders and water and greens. Without the lid.

There was an explosion of ice shards and powders and water and greens all over the walls and counters and floor. And there was an explosion of all that stuff all over Vince, too.

And yet. He was fairly calm while cleaning up the mess.

If it had been me, there would’ve been a lot of cussing and full-on crankiness going on as I swiped and mopped and wiped.

Probably, he knew I would pitch in and gather cleaning supplies and move in for the assist, so he wasn’t as upset. Or maybe it’s just because he’s calmer than I am when it comes to a crisis.

Nevertheless, it took us a good fifteen minutes to clean up the spill.  As it is, I imagine I will be finding glops of dried crusty goo for the next week or so in the most obscure places in the kitchen and we will marvel at how far wet protein powder can travel from a lid-less blender turned on “high.”

Sigh..

I thought I was fairly calm myself, though, as I gathered up the dirty towels and put them in the washing machine. After our morning routine of drinking our detox tea and protein shakes and then getting Vince on his way out the door and on his way to work, I headed back into the kitchen to finish cleaning up.

And that’s when “normal” took another turn on me.

I picked up my 30 oz drink cup with the simple intention of opening the lid, emptying the last of last night’s fizzy water, cleaning it out and then filling it back up again.

Only I couldn’t open the lid. I know it doesn’t just pop off; it has to be unscrewed.  So I practiced the rhyme in my head “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey” as I twisted and turned and tried to get the lid off. As I bent from the waist desperately trying to open the cup, I realized liquid from the cup was spilling all over the recently cleaned floor.  

Arggh.

As I began to clean up the latest mess on my kitchen floor, it occurred to me that I had let my recently relieved-of-her-duties cleaning lady go at a very inopportune moment and no amount of groveling on my part would get her back in time to clean up the sticky stew that my kitchen floor had become.

So out came more cleaning rags and the wiping and swiping began anew. I turned on the faucet to rinse the cloth and somehow the spray function on the faucet came on full blast. It was as if someone were playing a cosmic joke on me trying to see how long I could go before I got really cranky.

So there I stood, water dripping from my glasses and nose. There were puddles of water on the counter, which were cascading to the floor in a veritable waterfall.

It was at this point, I seriously considered chucking my plans for the day and heading back to bed, but I figured that I should probably dry off the floor at the very least lest it somehow cause flooding issues in our lower level.

With all the rain we’ve had recently in these here parts, we walked down to our lower level one evening with the intention of catching a little Netflix, only to squish onto the carpet at the bottom of the stairs.

Having soggy basement carpeting once in a lifetime is quite enough, believe me.

So with a heavy, put-upon sigh, I crawled around my kitchen floor mopping up the spill.

And then I hid under the covers for the rest of the day. 

No, I kid. But I did beat a hasty retreat far away from my kitchen.

And, so far, I haven’t had any more catastrophes today. Except that Vince is now home and has started the process of making his evening shake.

Yeah. I think that’s my cue to go hide under the covers. 

But first, I need to check the blender and make sure the lid is on. No sense asking for trouble. Wish us luck, ok? We apparently need it.



Monday, March 5, 2018

My Incompetence Sometimes is "Sew" Amazing


Vince and I have this standing joke between us about the narrow room down in our lower level near the furnace room. He calls it my “sewing” room and I call it the “craft” room.

Actually, it’s neither. Right now it’s a storage-slash-junk-slash-kitty litter room.

To make it either of those other rooms, however, would require primer and paint and the installation of new flooring – none of which I’m adept at doing.

So for now it remains a storage-slash-junk-slash-kitty litter room.

I made the mistake once of briefly mentioning in passing to my husband that I used to sew. Emphasis on the “used to.” But he took it as fact. Evidently, he must think sewing is like riding a bike.  Once you learn how, you never forget.

I beg to differ.

Especially after today. Because I've come to the sad realization that that room will never EVER be truly a “sewing” room.

For two years I’ve worn this heavy winter coat – mostly on those frigid winter mornings I have to climb out of my warm bed to walk the dog before the sun is up. On those mornings, in particular, this coat keeps me amazingly toasty. It feels like suede on the outside with a furry, plush lining on the inside. And it has a high furry collar that keeps my neck and chin so toasty that no scarf is required.

However, the buttons – every single one of them – have pulled loose and are, literally, hanging by a thread.

I have been promising myself to find the needle and thread and get to work on those buttons to firmly reattach them to the coat, but I am incredibly proficient at finding other things to keep me occupied.

Vince and I are spending the day in Cleveland tomorrow with his daughter and grandchildren. And there is snow in Cleveland. And it’s going to be really cold in Cleveland. So I thought I might wear my amazingly warm winter coat.

Thus, I decided that today was the day to fix those loose buttons.

I found the needle and thread. And I pulled the coat off the hanger and took it to the living room to work on it.

So far so good.

I then managed to thread the needle without incident. But that was about the extent of my sewing prowess.

Because I spent the next hour jabbing my finger with the needle, getting the thread all tangled up and generally making a mess of the project. 

I’ve never had a coat that had the large button on the outside and a smaller button on the inside. I wasn’t sure how or where to tie it off. And I couldn’t successfully push the needle down through the large button and hit the hole on the small button underneath.  Not without a lot of cussing and repeated attempts, anyway.

This is where a lot of the needle jabbing occurred. And, yeah, yeah – I know I could have searched for a – whatchamacallit? A thimble (yeah, that’s it) to protect my digits, but I’m not even positive I’ve ever successfully used a thimble.

Hey, what can I say? I took a sewing class in either 8th or 9th grade. That was practically a lifetime ago!

Eventually, however, I managed to finish that first button. A 10-minute break was then required before starting on the next one. Mostly because I wanted to check to make sure no blood was dripping from all those needle jabs.

Plus, once the cussing stopped, Maggie trotted into the living room, took one look at that comfy coat and jumped up on the couch, did her doggie circling thing and then laid down right on top of my sewing project.

I could’ve taken that as a sign that I should quit, but I shooed her off my lap. And, okay, so it was only after another 10-minute break. But eventually I got to work on the second button.

I’d love to report that all buttons are now firmly affixed to the front of my coat, but I did quit before the last button was finished. Why? Well, because…um…I had to take the dog for a walk. And then I had to collect the trash since it’s garbage day tomorrow. And I had a load of laundry that wasn’t going to fold itself and magically disperse into the proper drawers or hangers.

So once I finished all my chores, I took a look at the needle and the thread and the coat…

…and I decided that I could just wear another coat tomorrow.

It’s probably not going to be all that cold.

And maybe by the time I get back to fixing that last button, all the needle jabs will have healed.

Either that – or I find the name of a good seamstress. Probably they know how to use a thimble.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hawaii and Missiles Don't Mix

As I previously mentioned, I’m in Hawaii. You probably couldn’t tell, what with the very few posts and even fewer photos we’ve plastered all over social media.

But if you had asked me a month ago what I was going to be doing in January, my answer would have been, “Oh, probably freezing, like everyone else in Ohio.”

Instead, I’m relaxing and enjoying the sunshine and warmth and the absolute beauty that is Maui. 

How it happened was all rather random. One evening in mid-December I came home from work. Vince had had the day off and, instead of doing helpful things around the house like, oh, like laundry, he spent the day chatting with family and friends online and over the phone. 

But – in this instance – that was okay. Because he reconnected with an old friend, Donna. And Donna was heading to Hawaii at the end of the month. She had invited another couple to join her for a couple weeks in January, but they had had to cancel at the last minute. It just so happened that Donna was talking to Vince right after the couple cancelled.

So during the conversation, Donna spontaneously asked Vince if he and I would be interested in taking a vacation to Hawaii.

Um…yeahhhh! Like she had to ask twice.

Talk about being in the right place at the right time. 

The thing was, though, Donna and I had never met before. When Vince asked her about it, Donna’s response was, “Well, if she’s married to you, then she’s probably a nice person.”

Nevertheless, Vince suggested the three of us get together to make sure we were all compatible. So we did – and we were. And so we decided we’d love to go.

Of course, the hurdles were, (a) could we get reasonable flights in this short a time and (b) could Vince get the time off work?

When the answers were “yes” and “yes” – I started mentally packing. 

Oh, who am I kidding? I was already upstairs dragging my flip flops, summer clothes and suitcases out of storage!

And before too much more time passed, we were winging our way to Maui.

So now we’re spending our days in the sunshine. We have relaxed, eaten great food, dug our toes in the sand, hung out by the pool, gone sightseeing and shopping. And we still have some fun things in store.

So we are loving it.

The flight on the way here, however, was long and arduous. Last time I spent that much time in an airplane, I was traveling to another country. And the flight attendants offered free booze. Take a note, United Airlines. But we made do with water and juice to stay hydrated and I read an entire book from Denver to Maui – so I wasn’t completely bored.

When we arrived in Maui, Donna met us at the airport with real flower leis. They were beautiful and smelled heavenly!

As it was late afternoon, we went to an Italian restaurant near the airport for some sustenance. Both Vince and Donna had steak – probably the last time either of them have had anything except seafood. Makes sense, sure, but for this non-seafood-loving traveler, I was pretty happy with the chicken and pasta on the menu!

I fell asleep pretty early that night – and slept in pretty late the next morning. When I awoke, I started my morning routine. I had barely finished brushing my teeth when I saw an Emergency Alert come over my phone, which stated:

EMERGENCY ALERT
BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII.
SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.

My first thought was someone who was really, REALLY good with computers was playing a joke on me.

My second thought was, Oh crap. We just got here. And now we’re going to die?

But rather than rush out to see where Vince and Donna were, I just stayed in the bedroom and got dressed for the day. I figured we were on the fifth floor – if it was real, we were goners anyway. I might as well apply a little lipgloss and fluff my hair. If it was a joke, I’d be ready for the day. And if it wasn’t, well, it wouldn’t matter.

Truthfully, I concluded that if it were a real threat, Vince would’ve come in to tell me he loved me so we could kiss each other goodbye or something. I had brief visions of the old couple on the Titanic who lay down on their bed fully dressed with their arms around each other waiting to sink together into the murky depths.

Instead, I heard nothin’.

A little while later, I saw another alert flash over my phone that said, basically…Oops. Our bad.

Vince and Donna had been out on the lanai talking and drinking coffee. When they saw the initial alert, they had called down to the front desk to ask about the alert. They were told to stay in the room, close the drapes and lock the door. 

Phhht. Like that would’ve helped protect us from a missile.

Since then, many natives have asked us if we were around on Saturday during the “crisis.” It was truly frightening to people who live here. And many friends back home have told us they were thinking about us during the initial scare. Guess we didn’t realize that it had been national news.

Leave it us to arrive in Hawaii just as an employee got a little trigger happy on the computer. Yeesh.

Ah well. It was a relief to know we were safe - at least for now. And we have more stories to add to our Hawaii arsenal. 

Just another day in paradise - right?!




Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Cookie Factory

It’s the middle of January and I’m in Maui. As in Hawaii. How did THAT happen??!

Well, before I get into all that, I have to explain why it has been so long since I’ve written anything. I have written very few emails in the past few months. We didn’t send out a single Christmas card or letter this holiday season – the first time I’ve EVER missed since I’ve been an adult.

And I haven’t written a single blog since November.

So why the long delay? Well, besides the fact that I’m getting a tad bit lazy in my old age?

It’s because I took a seasonal job, which started in October. This was completely on a whim, mind you.

Evidently, my whims are not to be trusted.

My friend and neighbor, Suzy, took a seasonal job at Cheryl’s Cookies, a local “cookie factory” (as Vince calls it) that had gone national when it was purchased by 1-800Flowers a few years ago. But the main office and actual cookie factory is still down the road a piece in Westerville, which is near me.

When Suzy told me they were looking for additional seasonal help in Customer Service, I figured, Eh, why not? And went in on that aforementioned whim, applied, and was hired on the spot.

Fortunately, the job did not require me to speak to actual customers; I only had to respond to emails. This was a good thing, because I would not have been interested in dealing with upset customers over the phone.

The job started with a two-week training for four hours a day. And then, once we were considered trained, we moved to six-hour days. This was to get us conditioned for the 9+-hour day, six days a week efforts we ended up putting in once Thanksgiving passed and we headed into the mad holiday rush.

Who knew cookies were such a hot commodity these days? I really thought it was the one time of the year that people actually baked cookies at home.

Not so much.

We were told we could expect about 500 emails a day during the month of December, which is why they hire additional seasonal help. A normal number of emails might be anywhere from1-200.

Imagine our consternation, then, when we came in to five THOUSAND emails instead of five hundred. And no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t make those numbers go down!

Problem was, the company implemented a new computer program/system a few months prior and the bugs had not yet been worked out. So we had production problems. And distribution problems. And shipping problems. We even ran out of cookies.

So we apologized. And gave back money. And apologized some more.

But we persevered. And, eventually, the numbers slowed down. The general manager held a meeting to discuss the problems and to thank everyone for their efforts. And the CEO of 1-800Flowers even flew in to do the same.

So it was definitely not business as usual. Which is a shame. Because I never want to go through that again.

I barely had time to put up a Christmas tree. I hurriedly shopped for all my gifts on Cyber Monday and, if I didn’t order gifts that day, I picked up gift cards when I shopped for groceries. And I only did that when we were completely out of staples like bread or milk.

I was exhausted most of the time. And the dog didn’t know what hit her – she had been so used to me being home to walk her whenever the urge came over her. Frankly, I think she likes to go out so often just to sniff out all the creatures that have been walking around her neighborhood rather than simply to tinkle.

But poor Maggie didn’t get that chance over the past three months. When I finally got home to take her out, she was desperately lunging at the door. So there was no sniffing pee mail at first.

Anyway, so that’s what I’ve been doing lately.

I apologize to those who normally get a card and a Christmas letter from us. I am sorry that I haven’t been in better touch. And I know I’ve missed some opportunities to write some good blogs.

Now I can’t even remember what those blogs were going to be about!

So I guess I’ll start from scratch.

And my next blog? Well, I guess I can tell you how we came to be vacationing in Hawaii.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Ghosts of Thanksgivings Past

Yesterday I visited my mom and, as I filed her nails and polished them a pretty pink color, I talked about the Thanksgivings we had shared in the past. I told her I was feeling nostalgic and missed some of those holidays from long ago.

Mom just nodded and smiled at me. I truly don’t think she has any memory of Thanksgiving – last year or ten years ago. Or fifty years ago, for that matter.  She just attempts to make us feel better when she nods her head in agreement.

I asked her to take her rings off so I could clean them and, while she slowly wrestled the engagement ring my dad gave her off her left hand and my grandmother’s ring off her right, I kept up a light patter. Mom gets nervous these days when no one is talking. And she certainly doesn’t start any conversations herself.

So I asked her about Nanna’s ring. It has my grandmother’s engagement stone in it, but it also has another diamond – that of her friend Frances McCartin who had bequeathed it to my grandmother. And then Nanna had had her setting changed to accommodate both diamonds.

I knew the story, but I asked mom about it hoping that she would remember. She just said that the name sounded familiar.

So I changed the subject because I felt sad that mom’s memories are so faded they are virtually nonexistent anymore.

Later on at home, as I was walking Maggie Minx, I began reminiscing about those holidays.

I remember when I was a kid, my grandparents would split their holidays between their daughters’ families. We were in Ohio and our aunt and uncle and cousins lived in Connecticut, so it was impossible for Nanna and Grandpa to see us all for both holidays. One year we’d see them at Thanksgiving and the next year they’d visit us at Christmas.

Sometimes, we’d travel to that state up north to visit our Michigan cousins for the holiday. The bonus was that around Thanksgiving was my cousin Dorothy’s birthday, so we’d always have that celebration added in.

My mom used to tell the story about how that year she had to pinch-hit for my Aunt Babbie who had to abandon her hosting duties to birth a baby.

When I was away at college, coming home for Thanksgiving meant I could visit my friends as much as it was about family.

Thanksgiving my junior year at Ohio State was a memorable one. That year, I hitched a ride with one of the secretaries in the Metallurgical Engineering department at Ohio State where I was a student office assistant. Cecily was driving close to Alliance to pick up her daughters from college and bring them back to Columbus, so she said she’d be glad to give me a ride.

My dad was to pick me up from a pre-determined spot. So I loaded up her van with all the essentials I’d need for the break, including an entire bag of shoes. I had comfy shoes. I had shoes for dancing. And I had basic black flats for everything else. Since there was a lot of snow on the ground, on my feet I wore big clunky snow boots.

This footwear turned out to be a blessing because what Cecily didn’t tell me was that her van did not have a working heater. My first clue as to what kind of a ride I was getting was when she picked me up from my campus apartment and there was a puffy sleeping bag on the passenger seat. Cecily told me to hop in and zip myself into the bag or else I’d freeze.

She wasn’t kidding. Within the first 10 minutes of our drive, I turned into a human popsicle. My teeth were chattering. My nose was running. And my hands and feet felt like frozen hamburger.

By the time we reached the hand-off spot where my dad was waiting in his beautiful heated car, I was near tears because I was so cold. Only I was afraid to let the tears fall as I knew they'd freeze on my face.

So we transferred my bags into my dad’s trunk, said a quick, shivering “ggggoood-bye!” to Cecily and took off. When we reached my parents’ house in Alliance and unloaded dad’s car, I realized I’d left the bag of shoes in Cecily’s trunk. And all I had to wear were those big clunky snow boots.

How was I going to go out dancing with Diana in big clunky snow boots??


My mom took pity on her poor, half-frozen daughter, gave her a little cash and sent her shopping for a pair of shoes that would get her through the break. And what sort of footwear did said daughter choose? Why, a pair of purple suede boots, of course.

Mom just rolled her eyes when I came home with those boots wearing a big goofy grin on my face. I loved those boots. And to this day, I still remember them. And it makes me smile.

There were some Thanksgivings I didn’t really want to come home. I was dating someone and wanted to stay in Columbus, or I had been invited to gatherings that friends were having. But my parents insisted that I come home.

I might have been a little put out at the time…but now I’m glad I went. Because those are the memories I cherish. Thanksgivings spent with my family.

One year, my cousins Brian and Joy and their two kids drove from their home near Pittsburgh to spend Thanksgiving with us, which was memorable as we rarely had extended family nearby and able to visit.

In later years, my parents started coming to Columbus to visit me – or we’d fly together to visit my sister and her family. But we were always together.

And then, a couple years ago, mom and dad were slated to spend Thanksgiving with us in Columbus. I was planning to drive to Alliance and pick them up. And then I’d take them back home after the weekend.

But dad called me the day before and cancelled. He didn’t really give me any explanation and I was pretty upset with him. I didn’t want them spending the day alone. I knew dad wouldn’t cook and mom, by this point, was pretty deep in her dementia and never ventured into the kitchen on her own. So I was worried about them

Plus, I’d bought food for the whole weekend, including the things mom and dad liked that neither Vince nor I ate or drank. So I was a little upset about that, too.

Later, I realized that dad had really wanted to come visit, but mom refused to leave her rocking chair. And that put dad in an awkward position. He couldn’t tell me the truth since he was sitting a foot away from mom.

Later still, I felt so badly about my attitude toward him. And I apologized, but dad – being the kind-hearted man he was – didn’t need my apology; he’d already forgiven me. Rather, he felt he owed me the apology.

And it makes me miss him all the more.

Yes, I’m feeling nostalgic about Thanksgivings spent with family when we were all healthy and whole. And, even though I’m grateful that I have Vince by my side to spend the day with, Thanksgivings will never be the same.

So I wish you a happy day. Whether you spend the day with parents, grandparents, cousins, children, grandchildren or friends – make it a good one. And cherish the memories. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Last Lobster Fest

Vince and I met our good friends Sue and Jeff for dinner last weekend at Brio. One of the soups featured at this restaurant is lobster bisque. Vince loves their lobster bisque!

Me? Not so much. I’m not a big fan of the seafood.

My parents, however, grew up in New England and if they could have had fish every night of the week, I think they would have.

Our summers were not complete without at least one “lobster fest.” And when my parents stayed at their cottage from spring until fall on Cape Cod they’d have “lobstah” at least once a month.

So in May of 2016 Vince and I drove around Columbus looking for a grocery store selling live lobsters. Our plan was to drive to Alliance to bring mom dinner for Mother’s Day. We had baked a cake in the heart-shaped pans that were Vince’s mom’s long ago. And we bought a card and some pretty flowers for her.

After calling around and not having any luck locating live lobsters, I told Vince that mom would be just as happy with a bucket of chicken from KFC and it would be so much easier. But he was determined.

Finally, we called a store that said they had four lobsters left, but another person had called about them. The seafood manager said that since no one had yet paid for them, they were up for grabs to the first person who came in to claim them.

Now I’m not going to say that Vince drove like a bat out of hell…but, well, let’s just say we made it to the store much sooner than we should have, what with speed limits and all. He practically shoved me out of the moving vehicle so I could get to the seafood counter first.  When I finally reached the back of the store, I gasped out that I wanted those lobsters.

And I got ‘em.

(By the way, I was just kidding about Vince shoving me out of a moving vehicle. But I can’t promise what would’ve happened if it had taken me much longer to collect my purse and unlatch my safety belt…!)

Anyway, the seafood manager carefully wrapped those lobsters, which took for-ev-er, but I finally had them in my hot little hands. As I was leaving carrying my prizes, a man hustled up to the counter and, a little out of breath himself, asked for lobster.

While I felt a little bad about it, I also turned tail and wheeled my grocery cart toward the checkout line as fast as I could. I didn’t want to get into any physical altercations over crustaceans. Especially since I’m not a big fan.

But our meal that day was wonderful – and I even ate some. Vince and my dad had carefully removed all the meat from the lobsters so that mom didn’t have to do any of the work, which actually made me a little sad. I can remember all those years, mom loved working the cracker and the little tool to get every last morsel of lobster meat.   

We took photos and enjoyed our day together. Little did I know that it was to be the last Mother’s Day we’d spend in Alliance. And we’d never get to celebrate Father’s Day in June with dad as he had his fall a little more than three weeks from that day.

Looking back, I’m so very glad we didn’t opt for the easy way out with a bucket of chicken that Mother's Day. And I’m so grateful to Vince that he insisted we go the extra mile to find live lobsters for my parents. 

I believe those moments illustrate how important it is to make the most out of every opportunity to show the people in our lives how much they mean to us. Because you never know when it will be the last time.

So last weekend when I saw lobster bisque on the menu, I ordered a bowl to go. And the next day I took it to my mom for her dinner.

Mom’s appetite isn’t what it used to be and she rarely finishes the small portion of food she has on her plate.

But she ate every drop of that lobster bisque. When she found a piece of lobster on her spoon, she smiled and savored it. If she could have licked the bowl, I think she would have.


It made her happy for a moment. And that brought me so much joy, I'm still smiling about it.