Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Typhoid Barry

Preface: Barry demands that this post undergo fact check and has subpoenaed Publix video surveillance footage for the time in question. He demanded blog space as well to rebut my versions of the event, but was informed that he should get his own blog. My blog, my version...and until such time, here's the story.

Barry and I go to Publix (a major Florida grocery chain). I don't like shopping with Barry. My cart inevitably fills up with unnecessary items. Barry claims they are necessary. Trail mix? He runs, but doesn't hike. ice Cream Drumsticks? "Not for me!," he exclaims innocently. "For Chris! A boy needs his ice cream." $10 small hunk of cheese? "I had this in Brazil - it's GREAT!"

We unload the groceries at the register and Barry takes out his credit card and is holding it in his left hand. It's a busy day, and the bagger persons are in short supply, so we don't have one on our aisle.

"AHHHH-CHOOOO!" Barry gives out a mighty sneeze - directly on his credit card.

Barry then tries to hand the card to me saying "I'll bag the groceries."

"I don't want that card! I'll get my own out!"

"I didn't sneeze on that hand! I sneezed on my right hand!"

"Both of your hands went toward your face. I WILL NOT TOUCH THAT CARD!"

The cashier is watching us. We are now her moment-of-the-day to share in the break room.

Insulted, Barry huffily swipes his card through the payment device. I refuse to touch the device and grab a bag to load up some groceries, because I am not touching the bags he is now touching with his diseased hands. Barry signs for the groceries and stomps out of the store, denying all the while that he exposed anything or anyone to his germy germs.

We'll see. I'm logging on to the CDC to see if they have a "public endangerment" online reporting device. If the Pinecrest Publix is covered in a tent and surrounded by biosuited federal workers, you'll have Barry to thank!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Shout outs

Shout out to...

Nancy, my Miami friend and co-leader (co-member! - we never did have a membership drive) of the Kraft Wives Club. Nancy is returning to the North. We had some great times exploring Miami. Our first trip was to Little Havana. I was expecting bustling streets with Cuban music, colorful characters, and sidewalk cafes. Maybe a couple of women strolling around with Carmen Miranda-esque costumes and headpieces. Not so much. But, we went to Frommer's "have Cuban coffee here" cafe, and I had a cup. I don't drink coffee, but since the small cup had about 1/8 coffee, 3/8 milk, and 4/8 SUGAR, I found it spectacularly enjoyable. The post-sugar/caffeine crash was intense, but worth it. At other times, we visited Fairchild Gardens, Deering Estate, and Vizcaya, along with the usual Mall lunches and shopping. Miss you!

Father David Zirilli, who is leaving St. Louis Parish to become Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Miami. Father David came to St. Louis as a new priest, 2.5 years ago. He is an amazing, dedicated young man. I can see why he was chosen to speak for Vocations - I remember one homily when he spoke about the call to the priesthood, and he said he knew seven or eight young men in the congregation right then would make great priests. My son looked at me, shrugged, and said, "Maybe...maybe". Hmmm!

Patty, my friend who received a stem cell transplant in May. She is scheduled to return to Miami in September! I miss our walks and chats! If you aren't aware, a stem cell transplant is a rigorous and difficult procedure, with the same risks as any organ transplant. Sign up as a donor - it is like donating blood - a little longer procedure, but no more complicated.

I'm off to Sam's Club and the grocery. Got a cookbook out of the library 'cause I am BORED with what we are eating. This is always dangerous and somewhat expensive, because I end up buying things like "chinese chili paste" and "fish sauce" and a LOT of cilantro. What did we do before the world discovered cilantro? I swear its in EVERY recipe on Top Chef!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blessed Sunday!

I like to do a "long" run on Sunday. During the summer, that means five miles. Even in the morning, it is 80 plus degrees and 80 plus humidity. If you run, you know those are tough conditions.

So, on Sunday, I set the alarm for 5:35 A.M.. It's brutal. Ridiculous. Bizarre. It's SUNDAY! But, I do it because on weekdays, I feel the need to be home between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. for Chris. He's 17, but I want him to feel like we are there for him. Time enough to do for myself when he goes off to college next year. I could go after he leaves, but by 7 a.m., the dog desperately wants his walk. Although I see runners out, It's too warm for me at that point.

Today, the alarm goes off at 5:35 a.m.. I was awake as the dear cat yowled and purrupped until I let him onto the porch about 5. The bathroom light shines directly into the master bedroom, so I have everything set up in my closet. Last week I ran six miles, so this week I'm totally stoked to do seven. This means I have to glide up (it's a special running lubricant, in a deodarant like stick form). When I run more than five, friction under my arms and other wobbly areas - I'm 48, for goodness sake! - can rapidly lead to skin burns. Prep takes about seven minutes, then I let the dog out ("Do it! Do it!"), feed the cat, queue up the IPOD, and I'm out the door at 5:47!

5:49: Smattering of raindrops. Analyze sky. See clear patches, cloud patches. Must be one of those 'rainy' clouds that drifts by occasionally. No big deal.

5:55: I am nearly a mile out. Begins to rain. Begins to rain heavily. Begins torrential downpour. Hide under an oak tree.

5:56: Getting soaked under tree. Decide to turn back.

5:57: Shoes soaked. Stupid rain, these are expensive running shoes! Clothes soaked. IPOD tucked in water belt, hopefully dry. Watch is waterproof. Cannot see, blinking so much to keep water out of eyes.

6: Think I see a van that might be ours. Did Barry get up to rescue me? It drives by before I can figure it out. I turn into our neighborhood. A man is outside, in the dark, barefoot, smoking a cigarette, walking down the middle of the road. I freak out and begin to sprint.

6:03: Home. Barry not home. Van gone. It WAS Barry in the van! My hero - or attempted hero! Water is pooling in my shoes. Barry comes home, but had trouble seeing in the dark and rain. He earns extra spouse points and wins next three arguments by default.

Blessed Sunday! Stay warm, dry and at peace with Christ!:)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Meet Gracie!

As noted, Barry arrived home from Brazil in the very early morning after all night flight. After working for a few hours, he helpfully agreed to drive me to IKEA. IKEA is in Sunrise, about 50 miles north. For the Prius, its a $5 Drive. For the van, $10...

Why, why why am I returning to IKEA after it stole years off my life in Chicago two weeks ago? OHHH, you don't know about that do you? No, it's not in the blog...yet! I started writing about moving Amy to Chicago, and it turned into pages and pages. Let's just say that after moving Amy's current possessions (which filled my van and the "turtle" on top) into her apartment, we then went to IKEA and re-filled the van with do-it-yourself assembly furniture, baskets, kitchen items, and curtains and moved THESE new possessions into said apartment.

The Chicago IKEA is in Shaumburg, about an hour from Hyde Park, Amy's neighborhood. After we had unloaded her new items, we discovered that the curtain rod was too short (do NOT ask me why we didn't measure. DO NOT!) and one of the dining chair covers was a bar stool cover. Now this was NOT my fault. The bar stool cover was in the dining chair bin (If you've never been to IKEA, many items are on display in the showroom, and then the shopper picks them up in particular aisle/bin/shelf warehouse storage). I acknowledge that it might have been prudent to check all the packaging, but we didn't so do NOT judge me! Since it was late in the evening, a return to IKEA trip was out of the question.

I brought home her receipt and the cover and rod. After ascertaining that my IKEA did indeed have the desired dining chair covers in stock (I'm learning!), we drove in to make the exchange. This went smoothly, and Barry and I only spent an additional $150 buying items we don't need. IKEA is like Sam's Club - you go in with the best of intentions and a well-thought out list, but in the end, you always end up spending $100 or more. It's just the way it is.

On the drive, Barry got a call from a guy doing some work for us on our Clearwater condo. Barry was told to call a woman named Francie to pay for a cabinet. Even though he called immediately, he suffered from an old-brain episode and asked, "May I please speak to Gracie?"

The woman responded, "There's no one here by that name - I'm Francie."

Barry replies - WITHOUT ANY HESITATION - "Oh, my fault! Gracie is my grandchild and I was just speaking to her."

WHAT? I have a grandchild and no one told me! AND Barry's been chatting with her behind my back!? I am hiring a P.I. to find this unknown child and satisfy my granny-lust once and for all!

I haven't seen Barry lie very often, and when he does, he does it very poorly. IF this was a lie, he did it darn well, and with little necessity! Suspicious, suspicious...

I recently discovered that a stained glass box I had for years is missing - all that's left is the lace doilie it rested on to prevent it from scratching the living room table. Everyone denies knowledge of the demise of said box. I suppose they are all going to deny knowledge of Gracie as well!

Never fear! This is JUST like an episode of Burn Notice. I'm hiring Michael Weston (on the show, he lives in Miami) to find my Gracie AND my box!

Friday, August 27, 2010

5:15, 5:25, 5:55

5:15: I wake up when Chris deactivates the alarm. Beep, beep beepedee beep. We've been using the alarm regularly since a friend's house was broken into a few weeks ago. As I roll over, pulling my pillow around my ears, I grudgingly admire Chris' dedication arising so early on a school day to run. He is doing the Donald Half Marathon with us in January and is training. I sleepily think, "maybe I should get up and run, too." I'm not only running the Donald Half, but the Mickey full the following day.

No, I do not know why I am doing this.

Yes, I do.

Barry did it last year and he got THREE shiny medals embossed with Mickey, Donald, and Goofy (it's called the Goofy challenge).

No, I have never run a marathon before.

Considering this, I really should get up and run.

Nope. Mentally chant: "Relax. Fall asleep. Fall asleep." Failure - must empty bladder. Trip to bathroom excites dog and cat. Cat begins to yowl. Let cat out on porch. Back in bed..."fall asleep, fall asleep, fall...."

5:25: Key in lock, rattle, rattle, rattle, turn, turn. Since door was unlocked, Barry, returning from his business trip, locked it, then unlocked it. Dog goes berserk, crying, whining, wiggling in paroxysms of ecstasy. His daddy is home. I give up. Might as well run. Barry is annoyingly perky after grabbing what must have been uncomfortable sleep on his flight home from Brazil. After giving me a hug (all signs appear to indicate he is quite happy to see me, ahem), he is out the door for his run. I follow, a bit more slowly. I'm stiff, so spend my first mile trotting like an old lady, then pick it up for the next two.

5:55: I'm praying there's a nap with my name on it today.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Morning Madness

The account of my morning will not nearly be as exciting as the title might imply, but I've never been good at titles.

Warning - tangent alert!

I wonder who comes up with book titles - authors or the publisher? I've recently been trying some new authors - Jennifer Weiner, Candace Caprice, Jen Lancaster. All good writers - easy reads, entertaining. I like Lancaster the best, she's snarky and fine, and in Chicago! They have cute titles to their books - "Bitter is the New Black" as an example.

Warning - another tangent!

Continuing on my new author pursuit, I'm listening to "What the Dog Saw" on CD in my car. Since I'm not in the car much, this has been an agonizingly slow process, but I LOVE the author's voice - Malcolm Gladwell - reading his own work. Gladwell is SMART and has great insights and a compelling voice (writing voice, not speaking)(I'm enjoying his speaking voice as well). One of the essays was about this man, Nassim Taleb, a trader/finance man and his particular theories of investment. The story was great and, while entertained, I learned a lot about options trading. THEN, two days ago, I open the Wall Street Journal and there's a feature story on Taleb! I felt so well informed. "Ah, yes, Taleb...author of The Black Swan...of course, you know what he's referring to, right?" (read in snooty, intellectual voice).

Back to our Heroine...

SO, big storm this morning. Opened the door to let the cat out into the porch and IT WAS COOL! Cool for Miami in August - maybe 78? But the storm had washed the humidity out, ahhhhh. Aiden and I headed out for our walk (mercifully mosquito free - we've worn out that topic). Aiden was crazy frisky, because he's gotten his hair cut and it was cool, so we were moving along.

We turned a particular corner, and I could see a small boy walking a 20-ish pound dog at the end of the street. His mom was calling for him to return to the house, but puppy had other ideas. Puppy saw Aiden. Puppy began to run pell-mell in our direction. Rather than stopping and planting his feet (I'm not sure that would have worked either), the boy ran with the dog. Puppy outpaced the boy and jerked the leash away, causing the boy to take a facer into the asphalt.

Aiden, 60 pounds of pure submissiveness, quails in the face of this friendly onslaught. FIVE children and FOUR adults roil out of the house, with a cute but intimidating two year old girl, yelling "NO NO, NOOOO!" as she ran toward us.

I grabbed the puppy's leash and handed it off to an older child. The mom was chiding the fallen boy, "What? You couldn't hold on to that little dog?" GEES, mom! I quickly explained what happened and helped the boy stand, and made a fuss over his slightly skinned knees and hands. "You did great...you really tried to keep the puppy back!" This had the intended effect of re-directing mom from scold to hold, and Aiden and I went on our merry way.

UNTIL we saw two loose dogs barking and bouncing outside of a yard with dogs. UNTIL said dogs saw Aiden. UNTIL with joyously intimidating barks they sprinted down the road, hackles raised, and crowded around Aiden. Aiden tucked his tail and if dogs had thought bubbles his said, "WHAT THE HECK?" (it would be trendier to say, "WTF?" but I don't use the f-word)(except sometimes in my head when I am driving). Both were young - one a small, leggy half grown puppy, the other a very large mixed breed dog. Clearly they wanted to play, and after getting to know Aiden from behind, the large dog became quite affectionate and kept licking Aiden's mouth. Watch the PDA buddy-roo!

After five confusing minutes (where is Cesar Millan when you need him?), a huge pick-up truck screeched to a halt at the next corner. A woman yelled, "GET OVER HERE!" and my happy dog friends galloped over, ignored the opened rear door, and leaped their very wet bodies over the driver's seat. She waved, "Sorry!" and Aiden was rescued.

He'd had enough - I had to run to keep up, and we fled home, where he was comforted by a big milk bone and a nice cuddle!

Woo! Life's a never-ending thrill ride here in suburbia!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bug off!

I'll continue on yesterday's mosquito rant and share more about Miami's insectdom (when I first wrote that word, I wrote incest-dom. Now THAT would have drawn in the readers!). I don't have any family here, so I wouldn't know about the incestdom situation (ew, ew, ew).

"What did Ann do about the mosquitoes?" If that question kept you up all night, let me end the suspense. I called mosquito control and waited on hold for 15 minutes. Isn't it amazing how long, or short, 15 minutes can be? Time wasted watching SVU reruns - flies by! Time napping...where did it go? Time on hold...endless. One thing I love about modern technology is speaker phones. I popped it on speaker - washed the bathroom floor and tub, switched the laundry, and put away the items that hopped out of drawers, cabinets and closets to scatter themselves around the house.

The 411 Miami help line personnel are polite, but I cannot imagine doing this job - call after call after call of complaints, requests, and reports. I have called 411 only once before, when my waste collector (garbage man) came to the door to report my waste collection cart (garbage can on wheels) broke during pick up. I received a new cart within days. Efficient government services still exist!

"Address?...What can we help you with?" I can hear typing. "Do you have a pen?" He waits while I find one. "Okay, here's your ticket number..11222112211. Thank you very much."

I am overwhelmed with confidence that mosquito abatement is just around the corner (2012).

I've never seen mosquito abatement occur in Miami. When we lived in Jonesboro, Arkansas, the spray trucks came around late at night. The first time we woke up and observed a truck with flashing lights slowly moving around our driveway, we freaked. When we figured out what it was, I was impressed. We lived in a neighborhood with very large lots - three or more acres (our choice boiled down to golf course lot, minimal land, maximum ducking or the 'you-can-keep-horses' neighborhood). Ours was wooded along the front border, with a center drive that came in, circled in front of the house, under the porte cochere, then around the garage. If they didn't come into the lots, the fogging would have been ineffective, but still, I thought it was great civil service, and managed the mosquitoes fairly well.

Each night, I take the animals outside and they play for an hour while I swim and do my version of water aerobics in the pool (walking from one end of the pool to the other - I keep a glass of wine on each edge. It's incredibly motivational). When I stepped out, I noticed the cat and dog were covered in mosquitoes. It was disgusting. My dog was confused why I was petting him by smashing my hand on his body. Ew, ew, ew.

HOWEVER, good news to report! This morning when we walked, the mosquito presence was minimal. Score one for Miami. I feel like calling 411, waiting on hold, giving my ticket number, and asking the agent to enter an addendum: The Bakers and their animals say thank you!

Monsters in Miami

Summer in Miami means just one thing to me...

That's not true, it means a lot of things. Heat, boat picnics, heat, humidity, pool time with Aiden, bufo toads, rain, heat, humidity....

Aside from all of that bliss, it means MOSQUITOS.

It's not as if we haven't lived in fear of malaria or West Nile virus before. The minute the sun started to set in Arkansas, giant pterodactyl mosquitos emerged, occasionally eating a small dog or cat. Midwestern summer evenings often end with a run inside to avoid the dusk descent of the little buggers.

Miami though, is as with many things, a whole different story.

Starting when the summer rains begin, I douse myself with Deep Woods Off before venturing outside for anything more than fetching the morning paper (and I've got bitten for my lack of diligence). I spray my head and shoulders if I'm going into the pool. If I don't, I'll get bitten on the cheek or ear. I'm terrified I'm going to die of DEET poisoning. The mosquitos swarm around Aiden as we walk, and if I've missed even the smallest piece of skin, I'll get a bite.

I'm bringing this up because yesterday when the dog and I started out, a new mosquito-ish bug was swarming around him. It had a heavier body, and moved slowly. I wasn't even sure it was a biting bug, or simply another swarming pest. I killed a couple that landed on me, and brushed Aiden off before letting him in the house.

Searching with Google, I found it was the Tiger Mosquito. I didn't realize how many mosquito varieties existed and commonly tortured area residents. Today, the tribe clearly had matured and gotten its bearings. Covered in Off, we started walking. Aiden was immediately swarmed. When I stopped to chat for 30 seconds with a neighbor, I was bitten on the knee and the hand - she did not have repellent on, and after several bites, turned back home, defeated by the little monsters. I can't imagine how itchy Aiden must be!

I read that people with "sweeter" sweat get bitten more than those with "salty" sweat. I'm not sure of this science. As a runner, I have had more than the usual opportunity to taste my sweat (especially trying to keep up the miles in Miami), and it seems plenty salty - but I like the idea of being vulnerable because of my sweet nature. Awww....

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of School

It's a big day in the Baker house!

Amy will teach her first elementary class today in Chicago. All I have to say is, those students are lucky ducks.

Kayla begins her senior year in athletic training at Albion and her search for a graduate school program. Between that and her sorority, and Craig's (boyfriend) fraternity activities, I'm sure she will have a full and happy year.

Chris beings HIS senior year at Christopher Columbus, and his search for the perfect college. Piano starts tonight, and Life (youth group) within the next couple of weeks. I have Parent Senior meeting soon, to learn all about CCHS and senior year.

While on my walk with the dog, I saw a parent with her two young children, waiting patiently at the bus stop. How many lifetimes ago did I experience that wait? The fun and anxiety of new teachers, friends, and activities? I miss those days - Amy called from the train, and while she is the teacher, she has new teacher nerves. After he drove himself to school, Chris texted me: "I made it to school." Kayla? She'll be busy today, but maybe I'll hear about her classes or training work.

I'm melancholy, in case you didn't notice!

The Miami traffic will triple during the hours of 7 - 10 a.m., and 2 - 6 p.m.. We will change are driving patterns to avoid school zones. Chris and I have an attack plan for the school supply list - I wish high school teachers would post required items on edline. That trip should make for a fun post!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Turn Off the PHONE!

I'm in church.

I'm in church every week.

I'm in church every week and some body's PHONE starts ringing, typically during Eucharist or Eucharistic Prayer.

Do you know where my phone is? My phone is in the car. OR my phone is at home.

Yeah, yeah, I know...so I won't be making sainthood anytime soon just because I leave my phone in the car!

Still! I can't help it:

YOU DO NOT NEED YOUR PHONE AT CHURCH (exceptions for firefighters, detectives working on critical cases, and doctors). But I don't see doctors, firefighters, or detectives looking for their phones and, when the phones ring, running out to solve murders and insure the safety of all Miamians, unless they are really undercover. I see women, pawing through their purses. I see men, slapping at their belt bags. I have seen said people not simply turning off their phone and blushing with embarrassment. I have seen them ANSWER their phones, and mutter quietly, "I'm in church...uh, huh...uh, huh..." I know, Christianity is about not judging, but really....really...even if I don't judge you, could you PLEASE not bring your phone into church?

I would like to include a plea to silence or turn off phones for other venues as well: public lectures, libraries, bible study, missions...feel free to add your preferences.

I promise you will be able to contact whomever you missed about whatever their concern as soon as the event is over. I PROMISE you will have a voice mail or "missed call" notification. Whatever cultural change has led us to believe we must be available every minute of every day, it is an erroneous assumption. You CAN turn off the phone. You CAN leave it at home. You CAN skip checking your email for one, if not several days (I personally think that's CRAZY TALK, but since its my crazy talk, I'll have to give it some credence).

Let it go. Try for some quiet. Quiet with yourself. Quiet with your family. Quiet with God.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Facebook and Me

I recently returned from my 30th High School Reunion. Click here to view a homage by Steve Sicula, creator of the comic "Home and Away". Steve is one of our class alumni:


Oh, in adding this link, I discover you can't simply type the link, you have to use HTML. Wow. It's like when I first started using EBAY and to create an ad you had to know HTML. I felt like such a pro, learning to center, make headings, and change the font color with opening and closing tags.

Back to the reunion...I was the class geek/nerd...what's the current term for smart, not dressed fashionably, anxious-to-make the-wrong-move-person? That was me. I was in theater and choir. I've helped put together all three reunions (10, 20, 30), but was not a class officer. This time last year, I was chatting with my friend Nancy, who was attending her 30th. She recommended using Facebook, so I opened a personal account. This somewhat irritated my middle daughter Kayla, who feels adults (defined as older than 25 with jobs) are sticking their noses in where they don't belong! Of course, now businesses, charities...well, basically everyone has usurped facebook from her and her peers' little college hands. She hasn't mentioned if there is something "new" (like when everyone migrated from myspace to facebook), but she wouldn't would she? Except maybe in a Facebook posting, lol.

Back to the reunion...I was stunned to already find a number of classmates on Facebook. I was friending them all and trying to get input on what participants might like in a reunion. Turns out, some of the earliest on Facebook were a little...odd...sorry guys...and I started to think it wasn't such a good idea to use my personal page for the reunion. I created a page for our purposes, and voila (I always want to write that word as "WAH LAH" or voile, which is a fine fabric), we were cyber-connected.

I love Facebook - it's fun to see what people are doing. No one writes letters anymore, and if they do, its only to close friends. Facebook maintains the loose connection I'd have if I lived in Mayberry (a lifelong dream), and saw Andy or Aunt Bee on the street and chatted for a few minutes about canning pickles, or Ernest T's latest antics, or Opie's grades. Now, I live just down cyber street from the people I grew up with, my extended family, and friends across the country.

The reunion? It was fun, more fun than the others. We didn't have a dinner - appetizers and drinks. People chatted and laughed and moved from group to group. In the past, I felt tied to my table and found it awkward to approach other tables to chat. I looked...pretty darn good, if I do say so myself...well, as good as a person attending her 30th can look when she didn't skip any grades.

If you're not on Facebook, give it a whirl. You might be surprised who you find and what they're having for supper tonight!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Marshall Madness

I had to go to Marshalls (the discount store) today. I knew this was risky - its prime pre-college days. That's why I haven't returned Amy's items to IKEA - its also a time-sucking building of doom during August (to be fair to Marshalls, IKEA is ALWAYS a time sucking building of doom, only this time of year it devours eras versus hours).

It was crowded, especially in the housewares section. Of course, my shopping list consisted of pillows, sheets, and blankets. We have a condo we're trying to sell (yes, in Florida)(stop laughing). Naturally, we have to rent it instead. One bedroom had a daybed, and the rental agent recommended switching to two twin beds. I need to pick up the linens before Barry heads up to get everything in order. I struggle through the aisles filled with mothers and daughters (oddly, no sons here to pick out matching pink polka dotted comforters). They squeal with each new find, from towels to the perfect coordinating pillows. One couple is particularly effusive and blocking the blanket/sheet aisle, so I begin with bed pillows.

I have two questions. One, why are Marshalls carts so tiny? By the time I put in two pillows and the blankets, it was full. I needed an additional set of pillows and sheets - I stacked these precariously on top of the first pillows, so I had to move the cart with one hand on the tower of bargains and the other hand pushing and steering. I would think bigger carts would encourage bigger spenders. I didn't continue browsing because I didn't want to deal with the difficulty of transporting any more items. You LOSE Marshalls! I could feel a spending spree coming on...those gooseberry preserves from 2006 had my name on them!

My second question is why don't they let the carts leave the premises? As I'm juggling items between cashier and cart, cashier and cart (pillow up, pillow back...sheets up...not so fast), she begins to bag the sheets and blankets. I'm all into good plastic bag environmental responsibility (I really need to get a life), so I protest and say "Oh, don't bag it, I'm going straight to the car."

Cashier responds, "You can't take the carts past the door."

I've seen the warning signs a dozen times, but never had a big enough load to worry about this. What's up with this? Well, the parking lot is small - and most Miami lots do not have cart corrals (WHY?), so the carts pile up in the lot. This makes parking difficult and carts unavailable to newly arriving customers (unless a shopper would bring one from the lot...hahhahaha...oh, I AM funny!). Marshalls probably doesn't have the staff to deal with gathering the carts every hour or so (they barely have the associates to keep the cashier line moving). Maybe they also had a big cart theft problem. I might have the urge to dump the whole cart in the back of the van, rather than unload. You never know with the Crazy Gringo.

Still, I'd like to have some sort of option to get my stuff to the car. They sell furniture, for goodness sake! How is a savvy Miami shopper supposed to wrestle two dining chairs out to her car, especially wearing high heels and talking on her cell phone?

I have to stop before the front door and make a carrying to the car strategy. This is when I get an attack of the clumsies. After tucking and clasping most of the items, I drop a blanket. While picking it up, one of pillows slides out of its plastic bag to the floor. I pick up the blanket and the pillow and the bag, but drop the diet coke I bought while dehydrating in line. I will now have to wait 14 hours to open it so I don't fizz all over myself and the car.

Half of the lot is cordoned off due to resurfacing. It's 12:30 p.m., so cars are circling and waiting for places. Three cars stack up behind my place as I walk to the van. My clicker key chain hasn't worked in months, so I have to drop all of the items next to the van before I can find my keys and open the door the old-fashioned way. It's 98 degrees out. I'm sweating. I'm nervous because of the hovering shoppers.

Throwing item after item into the side door, I'm grateful nothing is breakable. I drive home, and fall into bed for a nap - a privilege for the peril I've endured. (Yes, Barry, thank you for working full time and yes, I know, you don't ever get to nap. xxoo)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Complicated Mess

The federal government has proven what many already know: I am a complicated woman (mess?). I picked up the mail (delivered by the United States of America) and the following content is offered as proof:

Martha Stewart Living (I don’t care what people say – she is the original and the best!)…oh…I’ve never been to Maine but now I love it!

Boston Proper - hot sequin dress on cover (still in post reunion don’t-mind-looking-hot-as-a-cougar mode)

L.L. Bean women – flannel, cotton, - hey, I’d look good in these when I visit Maine!

Victoria’s Secret – Sundress with boots – can’t say that I would, but can’t beat the bras (cougars need support if no implants, and I’m not going there).

Jo-Ann fabric and craft stores mailer – my box valances need some trim.

Every Day with Rachael Ray – I can’t really claim this, though I own two of her cookbooks. When Amy and I were pre-move shopping, she signed up for three 3-month subscriptions. I’ll have to mail this to her….later☺.

And the conclusion is? I'm not sure, except that I understand why my husband looks at me with some confusion, even after 26 years, and why my friends sometimes speak slowly to me while leading me to the nearest chair. :)