Friday, December 8, 2017

THE PHONE'S FAULT


“What are you up to today?” my husband Steven asked as he passed through the living room where I was cuddled up on the couch playing a game of Solitaire on my phone.
“Oh, I have a long list of things I have to get done today.” I said as I reached for my cup of tea and took a sip. “I want to get a few things at the mall, then go grocery shopping, laundry and I promised Alex I'd bake a cake for dessert tonight.” I pulled my robe tighter around my neck and settled back to finish my game. “I just want to finish this last hand of Solitaire.”
“Well you better get started soon if you're going to get all that done in one day.” Steven sat down next to me a reached for the newspaper.
“I know. That's why I got up early today.” I put my phone down next to me and leaned back to stretch out my back.
“Well, it not early anymore.” Steven nodded over to the clock on the table.
I glanced over. “Eleven-thirty! Are you kidding me!” I sat up and squinted to make sure I was seeing the right time. “What happened to the morning?”
Steven laughed as he picked up my phone, took a quick look at it, then held it up for me to see. “Well, seeing that your battery is almost dead I'm going to say you were busy on your phone.”
I took the phone from him and checked it myself. “It can't be.” But sure enough the battery had a little sliver of red left. “Wow.” I shook my head.
Steven shrugged his shoulders. “That's a lot of time playing Solitaire.”
“Hey, even I couldn't play Solitaire for three hours.” I countered.
“So what else have you been doing on your phone?” he asked as he looked over the front page of the paper.
I thought about it for a moment. “Well, when I first got up, before I even got out of bed, I checked my e-mail. Then I moved on to Facebook to see what everyone's been up to since I went to sleep...”
Steven nodded. “Ah hum.”
“Then I checked my Horoscope App to see what kind of day I'm going to have.”
Steven looked confused. “Do you really believe in that?”
“Well, no.” I shrugged my shoulders. “Not really, but it's always nice when it tells me I'm going to have a good day.”
Steven finished scanning the newspaper, dropped it back on the coffee table, and looked over at me. “Well you better get going if you want to get to all the things on your list done today.”
“You're right.” I picked up my teacup and brought it out into the kitchen, then went back into the living room to scoop my phone up off the coffee table along with it's charger. “I'm going in to take a shower.”
“If you're going to take a shower, why do you need your phone?”
“Because I'm going to charge it in there and play another hand or two of Solitaire while the shower's heating up.” I said as I slipped the phone and charger into the pocket of my bathrobe.
Steven groaned. “Great. An hour from now you'll still be playing Solitaire in there and all the hot water will be gone.”
I smiled and I put one hand on my heart and the other up in the air. “I swear I'll only play two hands while the water gets warm.”
Steven didn't seem convinced. “I'll check on you in five minutes to make sure.”

I shrugged my shoulders and knew I really couldn't argue with him. “Yeah, maybe you should.” I admitted.

Friday, December 1, 2017

FIRST, BUT I CHEATED


“Yes!” I cried as I looked at the text on my phone. “I'm the first again this year!” I smiled as I looked over at my husband Steven, who was sitting next to me on the couch.
“First? What?” he asked as he muted the television and moved a pillow behind his head.
“I was my sister's first Christmas card.” I leaned back and smiled.
“Okay, well congratulations.” Steven didn't sound very impressed.
“Hey, do you know how early you have to send the cards out to be first nowadays?”
Steven just shook his head. “Nope, not a clue.”
“Before Thanksgiving!” I cried. “It's ridiculous! I used to be able to mail them the day after Thanksgiving and I'd be first, no problem. Now I have to start a week before!” I looked over at him and shook my head. “I couldn't even find cards this year. No one had them out yet. It took me three stops just to find some!”
“So why do you do it?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “Because it's tradition.”
“Tradition?”
I put my feet up on the coffee table. “Okay,” I admitted. “It's my tradition.” I took the pillow that was behind me and tossed it further down the couch. “I remember the first time it happened. My sister called and said I was her first card.” I smiled at the memory. “I don't know what it was, but somehow I felt I had won.” I looked over at him. “I was first for a few years but then one year she said someone had beaten me.” I frowned. “That year was a very disappointing card year for me.”
I picked up my phone and smiled as I looked at my messages again. I held it up for Steven to see... “Any mail?” Was my text to her. Then I scrolled down to her answer: “She said her husband just brought it in, I'm their first again!”
Then I clicked on to my other sister: “Hi – I received your card today (along with 2 others) but I'm sure you were the first. Thanks!”
I looked at Steven. “She doesn't get her mail everyday so I'm definitely saying I'm her first card too.” I settled back into the couch content with my win.
Steven pointed to the stack of cards on the coffee table. “So whose are those?”
“Oh, they're everybody else's Christmas cards.” The stack was next to my address book waiting to be done.
“But didn't you just tell me you need to be the first card out?”
“I just finished telling you how early everybody else is sending them out! If I tried to be everyone's first card I'd have to start writing them out the day after Halloween!”
“So you only did your two sisters?”
“Hey,” I shrugged my shoulders. “They were the only ones that ever noticed I was the first.”
“So you cheated?”
“No! What are you talking about?” I was sitting up now, feeling offended. “That's not cheating!”
Steven looked doubtful as he reached for the remote and turned the sound back on the television. “If you say so.”
I sat back and thought about it for a moment. “Okay, I cheated.” I admitted. “But this was the first year I ever did that! I swear.”

Steven just patted me on the knee. “Whatever you have to tell yourself is fine with me.”

Friday, November 24, 2017

MY BLACK FRIDAY


“Where's the gravy?” my husband Steven called out to me.
I went into the kitchen to see Steven and our son Alex pulling Thanksgiving leftovers from the refrigerator and piling the containers on the counter.
“You didn't throw it away again, did you?” Steven looked worried as he moved Tupperware around on the shelves.
“Are you ever going to let me live that down!” I cried as I reached in the back of the refrigerator and handed him the container of gravy.
“Wow, that was close.” Steven popped open the lid and smiled as he looked inside.
“I accidentally threw it away ten years ago!” I couldn't help but shake my head. “Maybe we could let it go now.”
“If you don't have gravy you might as well throw all the leftovers away.” he said to Alex as they pulled out plates and began loading them with their mid-morning dinner. Then he looked over at me. “If I remember correctly you blamed your sister for throwing it out.”
“Of course I did!” I had to laugh. “When I saw how upset you were, do you really think I'd take the blame?” I looked over at Alex for help. “She'd already left.” I shrugged my shoulders. “I had no idea he'd call her and ask why she threw it away.”
Steven looked at Alex. “It was gravy.” he said as if that's the only explanation he needed.
“Well anyway...” I wanted to change the subject. “It's the Friday after Thanksgiving and we all know what that means.” I smiled at both of them. “Can you two help me get the Christmas decorations down from the attic?”
Alex and Steven looked at one another then at their filled plates.
“Oh, come on!” I cried. “I'm the one who does all the decorating. I'm the one who climbs into the attic, all you have to do is grab the containers as I lower them down to you!”
Alex looked at Steven. “She has a point.” He put his plate in the microwave and started it. “Let's get this over with before we eat.”
The followed me into the hall and I pulled the stairs down. “I'll be quick!” I said as I climbed up the stairs and began looking around. “Whoa...it's a mess up here!” I called down. “Just give me a second while I move a few things out of the way.” I began crawling around pushing boxes around trying to make some sort of order out of the mess.
I'd been up there a bit when I finally found all the Christmas containers and began pushing them over to the opening. “Okay, I'm ready!” I called down to them. I didn't get an answer. I moved the boxes away and looked down at the hallway but neither one was there. I climbed back down to look for them. “Hello!” I called as I went back into the kitchen. They were both at the dining room table eating their leftover Thanksgiving. I put my hands on my hips a little bit annoyed that they left me up there. “Seriously?” I asked. “You couldn't wait ten more minutes?”
Steven looked over at me and smiled. “Hey, we can't help it if we love your turkey and stuffing.”
“And your turnips and potatoes!” Alex added. “The microwave went off and it smelled so good we couldn't wait.” He held up the zip lock bag of pumpkin muffins. “Want one?”
I sighed as I filled the kettle with water and put it on the stove. “Sure, why not.” I sighed as I sat down with them. “But right after you're done eating you're going to help me right?”

“Promise.” they said in unison.

Friday, November 17, 2017

TURKEY TROUBLE


I was at work, getting ready to go on my lunch break, when my phone pinged that I had a message. Pulling it out of my pocket and saw that my son Alex had sent me a photo of a turkey followed by several surprised looking emoji's.
I was completely confused until I realized the picture was taken in our yard. The three foot bird was sitting on our neighbor's chain link fence next to where we stored our garbage pails.

As I was walking to the break room I called Alex. “Are you kidding me!” I cried when he answered.
“I know, pretty weird huh?”
“Is it still there?”
“Yup.”
“You've got to get rid of him!” I cried. “I don't want them in the yard!”
For some strange reason turkeys showed up in our neighborhood the year before, but they'd been staying further down the street and hadn't venture any closer to us...that is until today.
“Why get rid of him?” Alex questioned. “It's so close to Thanksgiving I think it's kind of fun to have our very own turkey living with us! So, what do you think they like to eat?” he asked. “Because I gave him some birdseed but he doesn't seem interested.”
“WHAT!” I cried. “You fed him!”
` “Well, technically no, because he didn't like the seed.” I could hear him opening and closing cabinets. “You're really good about what the wildlife like to eat around here. Do you think I should cut up an apple or maybe throw out a handful of nuts?”
“Oh my gosh, DON'T FEED HIM!” I cried. “Do you know how aggressive they can get? I don't want to become a prisoner in my own home when mating season starts!” I was trying to figure out a way for him to collect the birdseed he'd already thrown without getting hurt. I took a deep breath before I started telling him my plan. “Okay listen, I need you to get the broom and go outside swinging it around until you chase him off.”
But before I could finish Alex started to laugh.
Now I was confused. “What's so funny?” I asked.
“You're killing me here!” he cried.
I wasn't sure what he was talking about but I decided that maybe I should approach the dilemma in a calmer voice. “Okay, I know it sounds scary chasing a turkey away but we can't have him coming around.” I explained.
Alex couldn't stop laughing. “Do you really think I'd feed a turkey?” he cried. “I don't like when you feed the chipmunks because they come up on the deck. They're only a few feedings away from coming into the house.”
“They are not!” I argued.
“Really, because one is on the deck right now looking at me while he eats whatever it is you left out there for him!”
“I haven't fed the chipmunks in months.” I cried.
“Okay, so whatever he got from the woods he's decided to enjoy eating it on our table.”
That was the reason I'd stopped feeding them. “Hey, they were cute when they were scampering in the yard but I have to agree with you, I don't want them on the deck either.” I sighed. “But getting back to the turkey, is he still on the fence?”
“Naw...he left right after I took his picture.” he admitted. “I just thought it would be funny to hear what you'd have to say after I sent it to you.”
Now it was my turn to laugh. “Well, I hope I didn't disappoint you.”

“Nope, you never do.”

Thursday, November 9, 2017

MOTHER LODE OF ROCKS


I was knocking on our front door with my foot hoping someone would come open it for me. “Hello? Anybody?” I called as I tapped the door one more time, trying my best to stay out of the rain.
My son Alex opened it. “Did you forget your key?”
“No.” I held up my muddy hands. “But guess what I just found a ton of?” I was headed for the kitchen.
“Rocks?” Alex asked as he followed me to the sink.
“How did you know?” I was surprised that he'd get it on the first guess.
“I can tell by the big smile on your face.” He nodded to my muddy hands. “I've never seen someone so happy to be covered in dirt.” he laughed as he pointed to the sleeves of my coat, also covered in mud.
“I'll throw it in the wash later.” I said as I dried my hands on a towel. “Can you help unload the car with me?”
“Can't the rocks wait until it stops raining?” he looked out the window.
“Not the rocks.” I grabbed the roll of paper towels and headed for the front door. “I went to the grocery store and I didn't want to get the bags all muddy.” I held up the paper towels. “I've got mud all over the steering wheel and door.”
He laughed as he flipped the hood of his sweatshirt on his head. “So where did you find all the rocks?”
“I was on my way to the store when I saw someone dumping a wheelbarrow filled with them!”

I jogged out to the car with him and climbed in my front seat while Alex began loading his arms with the bags. “Can you believe it?” I began wiping down my steering wheel. “A whole wheelbarrow, loaded with them!” I looked back at Alex and smiled. “How lucky am I!”
Alex grabbed the last bag and closed the door just as I was finished wiping down my door. “I hope I got everything I needed at the store.” I jogged ahead of him to open the door. “I was so worried someone was going to get the rocks before me that I did a pretty quick shopping trip.” I began scanning the bags as Alex put them on the counter. “I think I got everything.”
“So did the guy at the house see you loading his rocks into your car in the middle of a downpour?” Alex grabbed a bag of chips and began eating.
“Oh, he helped me pick through the pile to get the biggest ones and helped me load them in!” I began putting the groceries away.
Alex sighed then closed his eyes and shook his head. “Great. That's just great.”
“What?” I was confused. “He was a really nice guy. They just moved in and he's clearing out some of the land for a garden next spring.”
“Did you tell him you live in the neighborhood?” Alex didn't sound thrilled.
“Of course I did. I told him what a great neighborhood it is.”
Alex laughed. “You know he went right into the house and told his family that there's a crazy rock lady that lives around the corner from them.”
“I'm not crazy!” I cried. “I told him all about the rock path I'm making! He was very nice.”
Alex looked at the mud on my sleeves. “I'm telling you he'll be talking about the crazy rock lady that showed up in a downpour and loaded her car with his worthless rocks.”
I shrugged my shoulders. “They're not worthless to me.”
That's when my husband Steven walked in. “What's up?”
“Mom's got a car load of rocks again.”
“Oh great! I'll help you unload them when it stops raining.”

I looked over at Alex and smiled. “See. He gets me.”

Friday, November 3, 2017

PUTTING THE GARDEN TO BED


I put my garden gloves on, grabbed a garbage bag from the drawer and looked over at my husband Steven. “I think it's time I put my garden to bed.” I said as I opened the back door and went out on our deck.
Steven started to laugh as he filled his cup with coffee and followed me out the door. “Well, that shouldn't take you too long when you only had four pots of cherry tomatoes!”
I picked up the first pot where one lone green tomato was clinging to the shriveled vine. “I used to have five pots at the beginning of the summer.” I reminded him. “Until that fat groundhog attacked them.” I pulled the plant out of the pot and tossed it into the trash bag. Then I walked to the edge of the woods and emptied out the rest of the dirt.
“He only got one plant?” Steven asked as I went over to get the hose and rinse the pot out before bringing it back to the deck to dry in the sun.
“Nope, he got three of them.” I pulled the next plant out and showed him where I'd Scotch taped the broken stem. “Who knew Scotch tape would work so well.” I looked closer at my taping skills. “I taped them back together as soon as I saw what he'd done.” I looked over at Steven and smiled. “I obviously did such a great taping job that I never had to replace any of it all season!” I was still smiling as I tossed the plant in the trash and moved on to the next plant. “It was like it had never been snapped in two!”
Steven just shook his head. “Well there's a gardening tip you can pass along to your friends.”
“Exactly!” I put the last wet pot on the deck to dry then looked around to see if anything else needed to be done.
Steven looked at his phone. “Well that took you about ten minutes.” he laughed. “I think that's the quickest I've ever seen someone put their garden to bed.”
I looked at him, a bit confused. “Who said I was done?” I went over and picked up my hand clipper. “I have to winterize my garden tools now.”
“You have a pair of hand clippers!” Steven laughed again. “That's not really what you'd call garden tools.”
I shrugged my shoulders. “I'm thinking of investing in a trowel next year.”
Steven just shook his head.
“And I'm also thinking about making it eight...no wait.” I thought about it for a moment. “Make that ten pots of cherry tomatoes next year!”
Steven looked at me for a moment. “You know, now that were getting the yard ready for winter maybe I should winterize the grill.”
“That's a great idea.” I was rubbing the dirt off my clippers. “How do you do that?”
He put his coffee cup down, walked over to the grill, opened the drawer, and pulled out the grill cover. “I put this on it.” He shook it out before he draped it over the grill. Then he walked back over to his coffee cup, picked it up and took a sip. “As you can see my winterizing is even easier then yours.”
I had to smile. “Somehow I feel like you're making fun of me.”

“What me?” he shook his head. “Never.”

Friday, October 27, 2017

MONARCH MUNCHIES


My son Alex and I were out on our back porch enjoying a beautiful warm fall day. “I feel like I want to spend every minute outside when it's like this.” I said as I felt the warm sun on my face. “I am NOT a big fan of winter.” I sighed.
“Really?” Alex started to laugh. “I'm pretty sure we all know that by the way you've been walking around the house moaning, 'Winter's Coming' like you're a cast member on the Games of Thrones.”
I shrugged my shoulders. “Hey, I can handle some cold weather.” I argued. “I almost like a little winter for the holidays. But once it's New Year's day I'm done with the cold.”
Just then a monarch butterfly fluttered a few inches in front of us, landing on one of my geranium plants.
“Isn't he beautiful!” I whispered. We watched as he climbed all over the plant looking for something to eat. “I'm just sorry he's not going to find much to eat on that plant.” I sighed. My geraniums had been beautiful all summer long but they were beginning to look a little sad, with very few blooms left. “Poor thing has such a long trip ahead of him that I feel kind bad that I don't have anything for him to eat.”
Alex and I watched him for a few more moments.
“You know he's the fifth one I've seen today.”
I heard Alex laugh and when I looked over I could see him shaking his head. “Are you going to tell me that a long lost relative is visiting us again?”
“There's that.” I looked over at the butterfly as it took off from the plant and fluttered into our neighbors yard. “But what I was really thinking about was planting a little patch of milkweed for them to eat.” I got up from my chair and walked down the steps to look around the yard. “Nobody wants to plant it anymore.” I called back to him.
“Maybe because it has the word 'weed' in it's name.” Alex reasoned as he came over to where I was standing.
“No. It's probably because it's poisonous to pets.” I shrugged my shoulders. “That and if you get any of the sap in your eyes or on your skin it can give you a really nasty burn.”
Alex looked confused. “So you want to plant a poisonous weed in our yard?”
“Sure.” I was still scouting the back yard for a perfect spot. “That's what makes it so perfect for the monarch. They eat it and build up the toxins and then no one wants to eat them!” I looked over at Alex and smiled. “How smart is that!”
Alex wasn't convinced. “But it's poisonous.”
“Well, I'm pretty sure you're not going to eat it or rub it on your face, so I think you're safe.”
“But wouldn't feeding them be cheating?” he asked.
“Cheating?” Now it was my turn to be confused.
“Well, if you start feeding them then when you see one in the yard it won't be a relative stopping by to say hi anymore it'll just be a hungry butterfly.”
I thought about it for a moment. “I can get around that one.”
“How?”

“Doesn't matter if they're alive or a spirit. I'd offer food to anyone who comes to my house.” I looked over at Alex and smiled. “It's the polite thing to do.”