THE $400 BOWL OF OATMEAL

bowl of oatmealSubtitle “The High Cost of Being Late”.

The world isn’t divided into the haves and have nots, but instead the anally compulsive early arrivers and the fly by the seat of your pants and hope for the best crew. I am loathe to admit I am the former and Bree, one of my dearest friends, is the latter.

So when Bree decided to make her first pilgrimage to Paradise to visit me, I was thrilled. She carefully relayed her itinerary, which included leaving her house for the airport at 4:30am. Since she is someone I would never consider ringing before noon, I felt some trepidation, but decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, even though it meant leaving my adorable little part-time job as a church secretary (insert uproarious laughter here! But that’s a tale for another day; suffice it to say Ms. Ants in Her Pants simply doesn’t excel at retirement) early in order to meet her flight.

On the way to the airport I received a terse text stating she had missed her flight and would arrive several hours later. Apparently Bree had laid out a careful timetable for herself, but at the last moment decided that a hot & steamy bowl of oatmeal at her kitchen table would be the perfect start to her 8-day vacation. When she finally arrived at the airport she was late enough they wouldn’t allow her to board; no problem except the tiny regional airport only has one flight out a day to my neck of the woods.

Pondering whether this was a sign from the cosmos saying go home and cancel your trip, she decided instead to risk driving to LaGuardia to see if she could fly out of there instead, a tiny detail she neglected to tell me in her text. When she finally stumbled through the arrivals gate, she looked like a character from “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” The Walking Dead”. She was frazzled, rattled, and her eyeballs were spinning backward in her head. Did I mention she was wearing jeans, a sweater, and was toting a parka? Peeps, when you come to visit Paradise I kid you not when I beseech you to pack nothing but swimsuits and shorts! In the past year, we’ve had 313 sunny days averaging 80 degrees.

Bree was surprised to discover that the daily parking rate at LaGuardia would cost her $184 more than she had budgeted. No problem; she would temporarily park there and have her stepdaughter retrieve her car and park it at the original airport, except this didn’t happen for 5 days due to the Thanksgiving holidays. Then she had to overnight her car keys to said stepdaughter, costing her $62 each way, because she needed them back in order to pick up her car at the original airport. Then she realized she had neglected to put the parking stub in the envelope with the car keys, costing an additional $42 UPS overnight fee. Add to that the $50 change fee the airline charged to issue her a new ticket from LaGuardia, this entire bowl of oatmeal ended up costing her $400.

For all the New Age, hippy-dippy, airy fairy thinking Bree and I have in common, I will always remain the worrying, hand-wringing planner, while she will blissfully continue to decide on a company dinner menu at 7PM!

A bowl of oatmeal…$400; the value of friendship…priceless.

 

Cupid and The Cadaver #115

A blast from the past…because I’m too busy having fun to write a new post!

SAY GOODNIGHT GRACIE

“Why, oh why do I have all these spots on my face Mama?”, I used to wail when I was little. With a gentle smile my mom always assured me that “Each freckle is where an angel kissed you goodbye before you came back down here to Earth”. I’m pretty sure one of those angels must have peeked at my birth chart and said “We better give this one a super heaping helping of humor, because she’s surely going to need it!” I certainly needed it last night, when Cupid played a little practical joke on me.

Had a blind date with a Cuban writer/newspaper publisher. Great photos and my girlfriends all agreed that he was super hot, not the usual Crypt Keepers I’ve been going out with. He’d chosen a beautiful venue right on the beach at sunset and since I have a strong leaning to bronze Latin types…

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THE TRUST MONKEY

trust monkeyWhen I moved to Paradise, Somewhere In This World, last spring, I stumbled upon a genie in a bottle in my new home. Three wishes, he assured me, were so outre, so yesterday. Modern times required that the wish list be condensed into one bold desire…only one. So I wished for a wonderful mate, a man so special and unique I knew he could not exist on this earth plane. I went so far as to draw up a detailed laundry list for this impossible man, one with more than two dozen requirements. I knew this extreme pickiness would insure that I would never find him and therefore never be forced to open myself up to yet another betrayal. Clever girl, I congratulated myself. No SOB is ever going to fool me again.

Smugly secure in the notion that my diligent genie couldn’t possibly fulfill my single wish, imagine my surprise when this very man opened the door to his home to me one night in early December. Just like that…karma… universal benevolence… finally my turn? The word gobsmacked flits through my consciousness.

Which leads me to wonder…did my visualization of my future and the surety of what I desired manifest this person? Was it the work of my loyal genie? Or is it simply his turn and my turn? Our time to be happy and secure in the knowingness that this time, finally, for both of us, there might be no betrayal, no misplaced trust? But then…HE appeared, my Trust Monkey, attempting to wreck it all.

Cynicism and mistrust never entered my vocabulary until November 2005, when my husband of 18 years committed suicide, leaving behind a trail of devastation and horror that took seven years to clean up. My son, who was twelve at the time, is only now, at age 21, starting to emerge from the epic nightmare that was his Dad’s suicide. We survived my husband’s mistress and his leaving us $90k in debt. I knew my trust was broken, and yet, when pure evil entered our lives in 2007, I willingly and guilelessly opened our home and bank accounts to Satan himself.

What followed was a stint in a battered women’s shelter and living in terror for over two years. Now, Satan has my inheritance and lives in my dream home. At least once a week I practice a fun visual exercise. I imagine The Monster, in his perpetual state of drunkenness, falling through the glass shower doors of my master bath  and bleeding out on the white tiles over the course of three days. No one gives a damn about him, so no one would check on him. What a lovely shiver of joy this image brings me!

Then there was The Gift Horse, who signed his endless love notes to me “From the Last Man You’ll Ever Love”. Only when we were safely broken up and I lived 16 hours away, did two friends come forward with a litany of lies and deception that he had told me. Guess my picker is not working too well; I will need to take it into the dealership for a tune up, no doubt.

I’ve searched high and low at my local library for a primer on how to learn to trust again, after three consecutive betrayals. It is so unfair to paint someone new with the brush used by past liars. I know this, yet that Trust Monkey continues to pop up, whispering incendiary and divisive little nothings in my ear.

These are the earliest days of a fledgling relationship, which are tricky enough to negotiate, without a meddling Trust Monkey determined to undermine us. Therefore I’ve decided that darn monkey must be polished off, once and for all. Haven’t landed on how exactly to go about it though. I have an extreme aversion to guns, so shooting him is out. Stabbing him to death would leave blood spatter all over my white leather furniture. I thought of locking him in my trunk and leaving him there to perish, until I remembered my vehicle doesn’t have a trunk. My Trust Monkey has some trust issues of his own and refuses to ingest anything prepared by my hand, so poisoning is not an option.

Then, lightening quick, the solution to my vexing problem appeared as I was reading through some of my past blogs. Jimmy Tightlips! He has mob connections and must know hit men. Now that my plan of extinction for my Trust Monkey is it place, I think Valentine’s Day lends itself perfectly to the deed.

Must sign off now. Have to pick out a black dress to wear to Trust Monkey’s funeral, then prepare for my Valentine’s date with Mr. Adorable. It will be a refreshing change of pace to be just the two of us, without that meddling monkey along for the ride.

Feature image courtesy of http://www.kaboodle.com

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Tarts, a French Kiss, and the Nickel Pickle

This is a reblog of a post from 2 1/2 years ago…when my life was unrecognizable from where it stands today. Relationships are in the forefront of my mind recently, probably due to that meddling Cupid…once again. Can’t write, can’t think, can’t function, can only smile…

SAY GOODNIGHT GRACIE

sweet tartsOnce upon a time, those three silly things could transport me to paradise.

Once upon a time, the little girl that I was couldn’t wait to be all grown up and on her own out in the wondrous universe. A universe without parents and their arcane rules and values. One without bedtimes or restrictions. I couldn’t wait to catapult into the picture-perfect adult world I knew awaited me.

Today I would gladly mortgage my only son in order to crawl back to the safety and security of my childhood world. I want to curl into a fetal position and retreat into a womb of innocence and dreams not yet crushed and hearts still unbroken.

I am envious of friends who have been married to the same person for years, friends who think their lives are boring and dull compared to mine. “You’ve had such an exciting life, and been through so much. You really should write…

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JIMMY TIGHTLIPS

spongebobI am firmly convinced that all the wackadoodle things that tumble through my life exist for the sole purpose of providing me with blog fodder. What other explanation could there possibly be (cue the ghostly music)? Case in point….

When I headed to Texas, following the interlude of the Monster Madness, and fell headlong into the protective arms of my crazy ranching relatives, sure that this would be my final watering hole, I crossed paths with a gentleman who resembled a geometric building block more than a homo sapien. Turns out he was our family’s accountant. He stumbled through our kitchen a few times while doing some tax work for my uncle. Imagine a man, probably no more than 5’6″, weighing roughly 300 lbs., who was completely formed in the shape of a square. Now envision only about 14″ of this critter being legs. Think SpongeBob SquarePants on steroids. His beefeater arms hug to his hirsute knees, as did his capris. Suffice it to say that after a few sightings of SquarePants, you would never mistake him for anyone else, even with multiple shots of tequila coursing through your veins.

I overheard snippets of whispers from my cousins, Laredo Porter Wagoner and Austin Johnny Cash, hinting at our accountant’s murky past, something about New York or Jersey, and a scandal, possibly involving a family named Gotti. So loyal and secretive was SquarePants towards his former affililates that my family had nicknamed him Jimmy Tightlips. Call me crazy but I think the ability to keep closely guarded secrets of the clients who provide your livelihood is an exemplary trait in a CPA.

You can only imagine my shock some months later when I walked into my friend’s house for brunch, and there, nearly crumbling the dining room chair he was perched on, sat Jimmy Tightlips. He seemed to recognize me, yet couldn’t quite place the face, after all, we were in a world far removed from Texas. From the little that my friend, Sleuthing Susie, has been able to deduce from Jimmy and his equally taciturn wife, is that they are here in the tropics in the witness protection program. The couple rarely speak or proffer information, while they both watch you furtively from beneath downcast eyes, perpetually processing and assessing everything around them, whilst never revealing any details of their lives, past or present. Sleuthing Susie is ruthless in her pursuit of the true origins of Jimmy and his wife, and therefore eagerly agreed to housesit their five Pomeranians whenever they leave Paradise. To date, her exhaustive efforts have been fruitless, no photos, no old letters, nada. The place is as sterile as a Holiday Inn, and none of the Five Pomegranates are talking barking. Which causes me to ponder…Can I turn in someone in witness protection? And if so, to whom? And would there possibly be a reward involved? Would I become the mascot and poster child of the FBI or America’s Most Wanted? Or would I fare better by approaching the mob directly? I do so passionately adore both Italian food and Italian men, so that route holds delicious potential.

Speaking of potential…I might have a little secret I’m keeping from you.

Remember that blind date my hippie friend Mentah set up for me last Saturday? Imagine if Val Kilmer (before the weight gain), Kurt Russell, and Jeff Bridges mated (now there’s a visual)…this man could be the result. He was so unrelentingly gorgeous I kept glancing over my shoulder, sure I would spy Allen Funt and his Candid Camera crew filming this. He spoke fluent Chinese and French, was impeccably dressed, with nary an ascot in sight. He was so smart and attentive and absolutely PERFECT….on paper. I spent the entirety of our three hour lunch racking my brain over which of my single girlfriends I could fix this adorable boy up with. Mon Dieu, I know what you’re thinking! After all the Crypt Keepers with their walkers and man boobs she’s gone out with, and now she wants to throw this one back in the water?!?

Well children, it isn’t only Jimmy Tightlips who can keep a secret. Yours truly has one too. Suffice it to say I’ve been walking around Paradise, Somewhere In This World, with a huge shit-eating grin on my face since early December.

And that’s all you’re getting out of this Jenny Tightlips for this blog!

Happy Weekend!

 

Feature image courtesy of glogster.com

 

November’s Grey Days and Goodbyes, The Ending

SAY GOODNIGHT GRACIE

Looking back, I suppose the trouble all started with 9/11. As a former securities litigation attorney on Wall Street, Rob had several acquaintances and former coworkers who died on that monster of a Tuesday morning, and it seemed to affect him to an unusual degree. He began seeing a therapist and started down a rocky road of antidepressant use.

My husband opened a one-man law office in our small town in 1998. After a slow and financially shaky start the first year, things really began to gel and business was booming. In addition to his legal secretary, he added a paralegal in 2001. One month prior to 9/11, just four weeks before we were to move into the home we were building, his newly hired paralegal embezzled $28,000. Anyone who has ever been under contract on a house knows that this is not an opportune time to suddenly be short $28K. The paralegal was jailed…

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November’s Grey Days and Goodbyes, Part 2

This 9-year-old story is why I want to go to bed on November 1 and stay there until this treacherous month is in my rear-view mirror…

SAY GOODNIGHT GRACIE

The ten days between Thursday November 10,  2005, when I learned of the death and possible suicide of my husband Rob, and Monday November 21, remain a blur. Quick snapshots in my memory, yellowed, blurred by age, and all slightly out of focus; these are all I remember from that time. Family, friends, and neighbors arriving by the dozens, bearing casseroles and good intentions. The funeral home mercilessly bearing down, forcing quick decisions to be made by a mind unable to comprehend the simplest request, unable to separate day from night. My brain was in mental lockdown; perhaps this is what Alzheimer’s victims experience? I watched mouths forming words, sure that they must have some meaning, but unable to discern what they might be. When you are accustomed to having a quick and witty brain, and find yourself suddenly helpless as a baby, the terror is absolute. My brain was thickened by molasses; synapses were not connecting. I feared this might be my new and  permanent…

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