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.

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.