Monday, April 26, 2010

hi there

It always seems so awkward when I've been away for a bit but my whole life is a bit awkward, so I should be used to it, really.

So here I am. Again.

I seem to be in a topsy-turvy time right now. My house is all jumbled up. I was taking great pride in how clean my place was in December, January and February. The porch was clean, I could have opened the front door to anyone - and invited them in to the whole house. I'd gotten rid of furniture and stuff over the winter and moved my closet to the basement and gotten rid of a lot of junk.

Then I spent every free minute for four weeks helping Mom pack and move. My sister Beth was there even more. Not only was I ignoring my housework, writing, my Golden Gloves tickets and friends, I was hauling crap home - furniture, household goods and guilt. Not necessary in that order.

I was coming home around midnight each night with arms full of dishtowels, candles and books and a bellyful of McDonald's cheeseburgers, fries and resentment. There was a mess everywhere I looked - including the mirror.

I was missing writing deadlines and trying to squeeze my job into a forty-hour workweek. And trying to squeeze my ever-expanding ass into my jeans.

There was even a boy (age-appropriate, single and cute) who was showing some interest and calling. We talked on the phone for evenings in a row, always with me crouched down on Mom's porch talking in a low voice, no I couldn't come out and play.  He came to see me three Saturdays in a row at the Red Key. The fourth Saturday he brought a date.

I don't blame him really. I was a crabby mess.

You couldn't walk through my house. Two people I was really fond of died on Easter Sunday. A cousin died the next week. Another friend last week.

The tailgate fell off of my truck on the way to work. Worse, it didn't quite fall all of the way off. It was still attached by one of the cords that keeps it from slamming down.  I head an awful noise and prayed that it was not me. An even crappier truck drove up beside me an pointed for me to pull over. Fabulous. It was me. It was throwing sparks and trash bags from Mom's were spilling out.I'm too much of a goody-two-shoes not to pick up the trash. I had to bungee cord the tailgate and trash bags in the bed. Classy.Luckily I didn't have my glasses yet so I'm not exactly sure who drove by.

My water-heater conked out. I didn't wash my whole body -- just parts, for a week.

Work is a little dicey.

What do you think sent me over the edge? My freaking right turn-signal light was out. I even had the bulb and tool to change it in the glove-box but that didn't stop me from bursting into tears and pounding on the steering wheel.  

So here I am again. Trying to organize my house - like things with like things - as my friend Kim says and my life.

Write, write, write.

Look at me go!

Friday, April 16, 2010

i can see clearly now....

...and that doesn't bode so well for some of you.

I hadn't had my eyes examined since I started college. And that was in the 70s. 1979 to be fair, but the 70s none the less.

About two months ago I started doing the long-arm routine and reading in bed became almost impossible. I was filling out my March Madness bracket at the Red Key when one of the customers who just happens to be an optometrist asked when the last time I had my eyes checked. I wrote his office number on my hand and called him the next day.

As it turns out, I couldn't see at a distance either. I went from zero to bifocals. Or "progressive lenses" as they call them these days.

I was in shock after the appointment and I didn't stick around to try on glasses - and I firmly believe that you shouldn't do that on your own anyway. Then I got busy helping mom with her move and ten days went by. I snuck away from work and Kristi met me to pick out frames. I realized I'm pretty darn opinionated about glasses. No funky color, no bling, no cutouts or anything fancy on the wings and no brand name in the side.

And I wanted to look smart. And hot. Double smarty hot.

Kristi was great - we plowed though several dozen frames. Yes, no, no, no, yes until we narrowed it down to two, then one.

I gave them a whole bunch of money and waited for over a week. I screeched into the office just five minutes before they closed on Friday.

Here's your glasses and a case and bye, have a good weekend!
Wait. I just want to sit with them for a minute, you know, check 'em out.
The best way to get used to them is to wear them. [Like in your car. Driving out of the parking lot. So we can go home.]

So I high-stepped out the door into the world. Whoa! That sidewalk is close!

Hello world!

As I drove away from the doctor's office with my brand new specs it was like I'd never been outside before. I could see individual blades of grass not just a big blob of lawn. And those red octagonal signs say something!

I'm still smitten enough with my new vision that I lift them up to see the difference and giggle.

I'm not sure that I achieved the double hot part - more people have been noticing my new haircut and not the glasses. Or they're in the "if you can't say anything nice...." camp.

Some observations of my first week of wearing glasses:

- I know the glasses didn't cause these wrinkles but I sure can see 'em now. And everyone else's for that matter.
- The part of your head behind your ears is tender.
- I'm not a great housekeeper.
- When you look down objects are not as close as they appear. I've been comically high-stepping down stairs and knocking stuff over - mostly beer bottles on tables when I waitressing.
-  My house needs painted. Badly.
- You should take them off when using hairspray and a curling iron.

I had my first glasses related accident today. While wheeling out the recycling bin to the curb I looked down, misjudged the distance and stepped on a wheel. I was soon sliding down the driveway using the bin as a surf board and the glasses flew off of my head. Luckily they landed in the grass and only one neighbor witnessed the event.

All and all I'm thrilled with the glasses I just hope Dorothy Parker was was wrong - "men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

russel settle 1918 - 2010

As you know I've worked at the Red Key Tavern for eight years and adore it and the owner Russel Settle.

Russ died on Easter Sunday. He was 92.

I could tell Russ stories all day - and have been all week. After he retired at age 87 from working six nights a week, ten or so hours a night, Russ would still come to the bar and make sure we were doing it all right. I didn't feel like I was working unless he growled " Spitznogle did you turn on the light....ring up that beer....have them hang up their coat.....?" or whatever caught his eye.

He started getting a hamburger to take home. I took great delight in drawing pictures on the paper bag that I'd put his sandwich in. If you've ever seen me draw you know that I can goof up a stick figure. Often I'd have to write a note explaining what I was trying to draw. For his birthday and holidays I'd get extra-fancy and add glitter or cutout photos. His daughter told me that he had a stack of those bags and would let anyone use them.

I loved walking Russ out to his car. Sometimes I'd need to give his bum a little boost to walk up the tall back step. I walked him out on Saturday and we chatted in sunlight. I asked if he would wait while I grabbed my camera. I fully expected him to have driven off in the time it took me to run back in to fetch it. He was still standing there and I snapped the photo above, gave him a kiss on the cheek and sent him on his way.

Click here to read the NUVO piece I wrote about Russ.