Thursday, December 29, 2011

An Honest Mistake

Christmas is a crazy busy time for lots of us.  With so much going on, we can sometimes get a little frazzled.  Because Christmas fell on a Sunday this year, it was a little more hectic than usual for our minister friends.  They held five services and delivered two different sermons within twenty-four hours.  Back-to-back Christmas Eve and Sunday services are a lot of preparation and a lot of talking, too.

Although our friend Gary is a healthy guy, his dog is taking antibiotics with his meals.  By Christmas morning, Gary was distracted and rushed as well as a little sleep-deprived.  He put the dog's pills on the counter, got out his own vitamins - and then took the dog's meds by mistake.

Ministers are human, too.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Computer Saavy Toddler

I used  to think that anyone under ten was a genius at technology.  Since I've been observing our grandson over the holidays, I've had to lower that age bracket significantly.  Brody has just started to take his first tentative steps but he's already a whiz kid at electronics.   

So it would seem that fourteen-months is the new age ten and my grandson can already do complicated things that I don't know how to do.  He's changed the screen saver on my computer twice since I've been here.  He does like to type a lot - so I chalked that up to chance.

Then I gave him my phone to play with.  The screen was locked and the phone was off.  I handed it to him upside down.  He turned it right-side up.  He turned it on.  He pushed a button to unlock it.  He slid open the screen.  He tapped the right icon to make a call.  Then he called his father. 

After that, he made a bunch of other phone calls.  Most of the time I was able to stop him before they went through, but he was pretty persistent.  Since it was December 24th, I figured any of the callees would just assume I wanted to wish them "Merry Christmas."

His other grandparents bought Brody a toy cell phone.  He looked at it carefully then tossed it aside and screamed.  His grandpa gave him an old flip phone.  That didn't cut it, either.  It was clear to me he knew the difference.

Jerry brought his new iPad with him but he hasn't been able to use it much because every time he flips open the cover, Brody crawls over and grabs it.  Katie had the presence of mind to take a video of him.  Watch it and decide for yourself if his actions are random or if they are calculated.

Even as I type this, my telephone is ringing and I hear my daughter laughing. "It's Brody calling Mom," she says.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tough Choices

I got my hair cut short in late August.  I've had it trimmed again twice since then and already hair is just sticking out every which way. Some days it looks like I'm sprouting feathers and other days I appear to be molting.  Neither of these are the chic look that I was going for but I just can't bring myself to go back and get another trim so soon.  That simply seems like too much personal primping and I don't want to turn into a narcissist (although daffodils are one of my favorite flowers.) 

I bought myself a quality witch's hat back in October and I've only worn it the one time.  It really is a thing of beauty and Mom always said black goes with everything so I'm toying with the idea of wearing the hat until my hair grows out a bit and becomes more manageable.  Thank God I didn't buy a white one, which, obviously, could only be worn between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  Come to think of it, I've never even seen a white witch's hat available for purchase.  Truth be told, I'd actually prefer a purple velvet one because purple is my favorite color and velvet is the classiest of all fabrics known to man.  This is fact, not opinion, and therefore it is not open to debate. 

On the other hand, maybe I'd prefer to wear a tiara.  After all, it is the holiday season and a twinkly tiara might just distract the eye from a disastrous hair day.

I used to have a tiny tiara that I rescued from Kate's room after she'd finished wearing it to one prom or another.  It was so small that it could fit in the palm of my hand and it glittered when light hit it.  The thing was darling.  It enchanted me.  I liked it so much that ultimately I gave it to a special friend who was turning thirteen.  Of course it was the coolest gift she received (duh.)  Every teenage girl wants to be a princess, right?  Wearing this exquisite tiara is certainly the first step in perfecting the appropriate attitude to achieve that dream.

The problem was now I no longer owned a tiara to wear when I was feeling the need to be queenly.  My husband came to my rescue though when he presented me with a new (much larger) one for our anniversary.  It is perfect!  Since I am also the proud owner of a most excellent Harry Potter wand, I can now grant wishes on the spur of the moment if I want to, which befits a benevolent queen such as myself.

Witch's hat or tiara?  Tough choice.  The hat will give me added height which is a plus, but I wore the tiara to the Home Depot the other night and I felt they treated me with just a little more respect than usual. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bailey the Wonderdog

Have you ever made a broad, sweeping statement that was so ridiculous that people who heard it brought it up again for years and laughed every time?

Here’s mine:  “Okay.  You can get a dog, but I will never love it.”

And that’s how the canine love of my life entered the picture.  She was supposed to be Jessica’s dog, but she had other ideas.  I can’t remember if it was love-at- first-sight or if it happened gradually, but somehow that mutt squirmed into my heart and taught me a thing or two about love in the process.  By the time Jerry told me that whenever I left the house Bailey would sit by the door and cry, I was totally hooked.  Truth be told, I didn’t like to be separated from her, either.

I learned about true optimism from this animal, too.  Every meal that we ate at home, Bailey would sit by Jerry's chair and watch each bite he ate with longing.  Although Jerry never once fed her a table scrap - not once - every meal, there she'd sit with this look on her face that seemed to say, "Maybe today will be the day!  I'm gonna sit right here just in case." 

When she was a pup we kennel trained her, but after she grew up and the girls were gone, she slept at the foot of our bed.  Jerry traveled a lot and having her there gave me a feeling of security.  My life was improved because Bailey was in it.

She lived a healthy life and when her time came to leave this earth, she died in my arms.  Sometimes though, when I'm distracted, something catches my eye in my peripheral vision and I think, just for a moment, that I see her sitting beside the door.

Recently, my friend Lee asked me why I don't get a dog?  The truth is that in my heart, I already have one.
My Dog Bailey

Friday, December 16, 2011

Winter in the South

The first picture came from Kate in Ohio.  It showed her parking lot full of snow and the caption was a frowny face.  No words were necessary.

Five minutes later Jessica texted me a picture from Michigan of the controls on her dashboard.  It said 29°.

It's official.  Up north, winter 2011 has begun.

Down south it's still tee-shirt weather.  Flowers are blooming and today I went for a walk without even wearing a sweater.  To see blue skies and sunshine in December is an added plus. 

In the summer, I called this place east of Hell.  In the winter, it's more like two degrees south of Wonderful.  No wonder people want to retire here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Perfect Dentist

For some people, a trip to the dentist is like tripping over a poisonous snake sunning on the sidewalk - or looking in the rear view mirror and seeing a giant spider sitting on your shoulder.  In other words, going to the dentist doesn't top the list of fun things to do.  My friend Kelly is like that. 

Kelly knew she had an aversion to dentists, so she took the bull by the horns and started searching for a dentist who'd be right for her.  Persistence pays off and she eventually found the perfect guy.  She used him for several years without incident until one day, she stepped through his door into the Dental Twilight Zone.

The first thing she noticed was that they were expanding the office.  Turns out Dr. Perfect's son was going to UCLA Dental School and would be joining the practice.  "Father and son working together.  Isn't that nice?" she thought.  

Turns out there was a second father-and-son team in the practice now, too.  Dr. Perfect's elderly father was also a dentist and had also been added to the staff.  He suffered from senile dementia so he was not allowed to do the drilling but he was able to make molds for teeth whitening and impressions for crowns.  To round out the family affair, there was the developmentally disabled daughter who was acting as sort of a dental hostess in the waiting room.

Shortly after that cleaning, Kelly swallowed half of one of her crowns.  "When I called the dental office, they didn't believe me," she said.  "They said, 'Are you sure it wasn't just a filling?'"  She was sure. That is how she ended up in the chair with the elderly father walking toward her, holding a gigantic dental plate that was obviously way too big to fit inside her mouth.  Already a bit skittish, Kelly was getting more and more frightened as he advanced toward her.  He had a bit of a tremor and the thing was clattering as he walked which did not add to her sense of well-being. Finally she burst out in nervous laughter which startled the old man, causing him to drop the plate on the floor.  "Don't you think that plate is a little too big for my mouth?" she asked when she had recovered herself.  As fortune would have it, Dr. Perfect was alerted by the ruckus, came in to investigate and remedied the problem.  Although the crisis was averted, the fear lingered.

The next visit she was to have the crown seated.  Kelly got situated in the dental chair and realized that the developmentally disabled daughter had been promoted to assistant.  She was now in the room, helping by handing Dad the instruments.  "It's wonderful," thought Kelly, "that she gets to spend the day helping her father." 

The crown was set in place and then the dentist left the room, leaving Kelly alone with his daughter.  Immediately Kelly's comfort level plummeted but she controlled herself and when she was told to tap-tap-tap on a piece of special paper, she did. Tap-tap-tap.  Thank God!  The crown was perfect.  No adjustments were necessary. 

Apparently "the assistant" had never seen a crown that fit perfectly before because the next thing that happened was that she took the crown out of Kelly's mouth anyway and started fiddling with it, drilling and sanding and doing other dental stuff to it.  When she re-inserted the crown, it no longer fit.  Now when Kelly closed her mouth, her teeth didn't even touch.  The crown was a quarter of an inch higher than the rest of her teeth. 

The daughter was confused.  She had Kelly tap-tap-tap again.  The girl was mystified.  Tap-tap-tap.  Tap-tap-tap.  Every time Kelly tapped, there was the same result.  The crown was so high that you could see sunshine between the top and bottom sets of teeth.  Tap-tap-tap.  Tap-tap-tap.  Our patient was getting a fatigued jaw just tapping on the special paper.  Each time, the results were the same.  Something was clearly wrong. 

"Is the crown on backwards?" Kelly finally asked.  The girl was indignant.  "No!" she responded but she yanked the crown off anyway and found that a piece of dental debris had lodged itself on top of the original tooth, causing the problem.  When it was removed,the crown fit perfectly again.  Kelly heaved a sigh of relief and went on her way.

A couple of months later, Kelly went to have her routine cleaning. There was a new hygienist and she was very rough, poking and prodding with sharp instruments, making her gums bleed and generally causing Kelly's limited dental tolerance to vanish completely. She felt like the lady was using a jackhammer in there. By the time the ordeal was over, Kelly couldn't stand another minute in the chair and practically bolted out of the room. As she was leaving, she told the ladies at the front desk emphatically that she never wanted to have that hygienist again.

Back at home, she told her husband about her horrible dental experience. "What was the hygienist's name?" he asked. "Sally." she said. "That was the dentist's wife."


There's no trump in poker.  Who knew?

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Poker Run

My neighbors are sponsoring a poker run tomorrow and they invited me!  At first I thought it was a mistake.  They don't really know me and my first name is Chris, so they probably figured I am the guy of the couple.  (It happens. I get plenty of mail addressed to "Mr. Chris" and the draft board actually thought I should register when I turned eighteen for the very same reason.)  A quick email verified that ladies are welcome too.  Jer's not interested but I am.

Here's how it works:  everybody piles in their golf carts and zooms to a pre-determined house.  When they get there, they jump out, rush inside and play a round of poker.  Then it's back to the carts, on to the next house where they do it all again.  It's kind of like a progressive dinner only with cards instead of food.  Sounds fun, right? 

I don't have a golf cart and I've never played poker but why quibble about details?  I am counting on beginner's luck to guide me right smack into the center of the winner's circle.  Won't Jerry will be so jealous when I come back with a fistful of fat cash?

I'll let ya know how that turns out.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Movie Night

Although we don't own a tv, once or twice a week we get a movie, take it to our friend Mary Ann's and watch it there.  We could just as easily stay home and pop it into our computer but all three of us enjoy movie night. It's a social thing, which is lucky because we've watched a run of bad movies lately, all chosen by me.

The worst one came from our neighbor Doug.  One morning I saw him painting his garage floor and went over to check it out.  He said he was doing half in Michigan blue and half in MSU green, that he is an equal opportunity Michigander.  While he was telling me this, I was scanning through a stack of DVDs.  It's a habit that seasoned garage-salers adopt - almost a reflex, really. 

I'm picky about what I watch.  I don't like gore, horror, violence, car chases or sad stories.  I gravitate toward the inspirational, romantic comedies, intrigue or dramas with happy endings.  I want to be entertained, not depressed.

A lot of the films in Doug's movie stash were family classics already but when I picked up a title that I'd never seen, he said, "It's good.  You'll like.  Take it."  It seemed like we had similar taste in movies, so I did.  I figured if it was in his garage, he probably wouldn't be needing it any time soon anyway. 

There was a decapitated body in the movie we watched that night and the head turned up in a cooler, too.  No need to say more.

The next evening we ran into Doug at the grocery store.  I told him he is never, ever allowed to recommend a movie to me again.  "What movie did you watch?" he asked.  "Shipping News."  "Oh.  I never saw that one.  I heard it got good reviews though."  As Mary Ann succinctly put it, "Well, that was an hour and a half of my life that I'll never get back."

For the entire month of December, all we're going to watch is Christmas Classics.  You can't go wrong watching Clark bumbling around trying to untangle his Christmas lights and no matter how many times we see Ralphie walk down the stairs in his bunny suit, we still laugh out loud.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cleaning Lady

Katie overheard me telling her father that I function best in an ultra-clean environment.  She laughed a long time.  The sound of her laughter is beautiful;  joy bubbles over into the room.  It always lifts my spirits and I enjoyed hearing it, even though I knew she was not laughing with me.  The joke, in her mind, was that she's known me her whole life and has yet to see me achieve anything that could even creatively be described as "ultra clean."  That does not negate, however, the fact that I function best with surroundings that are orderly.

I spend a lot of time cleaning and get very little bang for my buck.  Because of my propensity to get distracted midway, it takes a long time and the threat that one cleaning day will bleed into the next is ever-present.  To be frank, I stink at this.  It's strangely liberating to write those words. Now whenever people just drop by, they will know in advance that they aren't going to find "hotel clean" when they step over our threshold.  I try to get there -- a lot -- I just fail most of the time.  Like right now, for example.  I stopped cleaning to write this post.

Minutes ago, as I was cleaning the house, I thought, "What if when I die, God yells at me?"  What if he says, "Christine, I gave you a gift and you squandered it by spending all your time dusting, cleaning toilets and swiffering?"  Then he might continue, saying,  "Meanwhile you denied someone whose true passion was cleanliness an opportunity to do what she does best.  How do you justify this?"  What will I say?

It is possible that one of my true gifts is rationalizing.  But what if??  Maybe I should consider getting a cleaning lady, just in case.  Covering all your bases, I think that's what the guys call it.