Pay it forward

My dad has this game he likes to play called "I-got-in-my-car-16-hours-ago-and-now-I'm-at-your-house...SURPRISE!"

1990. He had never been to my house in Alabama, 1050 miles away, since I had only been there a few months. In between napping/eating/wondering when I'd be able to stop wearing maternity clothes, the phone rang. He told me he was on the corner at the gas station, how would he find my house from there? It was a fantastic visit, but I don't believe I've ever been more caught off guard in my life.

2006. He and his "child bride" (she's 51) were supposed to be at my house Friday afternoon. I had a detailed, Martha Stewart type, I'm-kind-of-anal list to follow to complete everything before their arrival: cut the grass, trim the hedges, mop the floors, wash sheets, grocery shop, bake pies, etc. Thursday afternoon he called to say they were going to drive straight through rather than stop in a hotel, because they were just north of Montgomery. ACK! I do love surprises, but I prefer to be freshly showered with my to-do list completed first.

Because my sister has been depressed lately, we decided we wouldn't tell her that they would be visiting. Her mother & I synchronized our watches and met at the same restaurant for dinner Friday night. She was so shocked, she didn't even hug him initially, just stood there crying from happiness. I have an interesting photo of her veins bulging when she first realized we were there and lunged forward, but I promised not to post it. It's definitely better to be the surpriser than the surprisee.


Drama Queen Central

We were all sitting around/goofing off in the office Friday morning when my boss said he'd like to start a photo journal of run-down schools standing next to elaborate churches to show how our priorities, as a society, are backwards and that religious organizations should have to pay taxes like everyone else. A co-worker chimed in that she didn't think people without children should have to pay taxes (children are our future, who cares if you birthed them? Do you really want our country run by a bunch of ignorant adults?), though she suggested a flat tax of 10% on every purchase so illegal aliens would have to contribute to our social programs.

Belated note to self: avoid conversations about religion, politics, and especially BOTH.

We're both liberal, so I generally agree with him, but when my boss said he cheated on his taxes every year because everyone else did, I was stunned (and for the record, no one I know cheats on their taxes). I wasn't trying to be rude, judgemental or even snotty, but I said, "Hm. That surprises me. I thought you had more integrity than that." Try saying that if you ever want to end a conversation immediately, because it came to a screeching halt as he stomped out of the office.

I walked outside to call my sister, and was leaving a voice message as he walked past, "Mumble, mumble...integrity. Try looking in a fucking mirror!"

Since I wasn't exactly sure what he said, or if he was even talking to me, I said, "Excuse me?" but he didn't reply. He just got in his car and peeled out.

I try to be a bigger person (sometimes), I really do, but my fingers on a keyboard don't always have a filter. I decided I should email him an apology, and told him I was sorry that he felt the need to overreact, which a friend told me was arrogant and snarky - I should have just left it. Sigh. Two co-workers down, seven to go.


Mona Lisa Summer

One of the last photos I took of my cat Summer before she ran away/got lost/stumbled into a mole-filled heaven nine months ago alternately fascinates and gives me shivers. The background around her is crisp, while she is an ethereal beauty - glowing and planning other-worldly adventures (I'm sure it has something to do with the light or the aperture or something else technical, but that's irrelevant):

My aunt Susie is an artist - an incredibly talented, Belgian chocolate-loving personality whose work inspires those around her (and makes me crazy green with envy!). She and my mom have been best friends longer than I've been alive (they married brothers, but their friendship bond stuck even after their divorces), so she's always been a part of my life. The running joke is the time I babysat for her three kids (my cousins), but didn't pay attention as the toilet leaked and flooded their entire house with a foot of water. Hey, I was only twelve - you get what you pay for!

For my birthday this year, my mom sent a Summer portrait, painted by my Aunt Susie, who, fortunately, doesn't hold grudges:

I couldn't ask for a more wonderful gift.



I started physical therapy for scoliosis after my pre-teen growth spurt. One of the exercises was to crouch down on all fours, then stretch out with my arms as far as possible. The therapist would say, "Keep reaching, stretch, stretch. Pretend there's a million dollars within your grasp."

My cats own the laundry room, with their water and food bowls, assorted toys and scratching goodies, but they prefer the dog's dishes. Keep reaching, stretch, stretch...


I SAID super size

As I was dragging myself to McDonald's for my MUST HAVE post-drinking lunch*, I stopped at the first window to pay/rummage through my pockets/try to remember what the heck I did with my debit card, when I heard music coming from the car in front of me. Correction: it was so loud, I actually felt the music, throbbing somewhere behind my right temple.

*filet of fish, large fries and a strawberry shake. I don't know if it's the salt, the vegetable lard or the reconstituted strawberries in fake dairy goodness that helps, but it always settles my beer stomach.

The seventeenish year old drive-thru teller nodded her head in the car's direction and told me that the driver was playing that song for her.
I said, "Aw, that's sweet, right?"
She replied, "Very. We hooked up last night, and that's our song."

Romance isn't dead, but you might have to buy a happy-meal to find it.


39 and a day

Well, my birthday passed without much fanfare, drunken mishaps, or broken hips, which is probably a good thing. I went to work, then to my ex-stepmother Robbie's house for dinner (REAL southern fried chicken), shopping at Petsmart, then home in bed by 10:30. So, this is aging, huh?

The highlight was most definitely getting flowers from MY DAD TONY, who has probably never stepped foot in a flower shop, and probably only bought them accidentally because he misplaced his reading glasses and thought he was ordering a cd. They are gorgeous, and so unexpected.

They also managed to guilt my son Patrick into picking up a bouquet for me on his way home from work. Score!

Gift #3: Ed's mother will be in Savannah this weekend, so he had a friend of his fly Patrick there tonight. It was quite possibly the smallest plane I have ever seen - I'm guessing he'll have to hang his feet out the window.


Hip Hip...

How did my 9 feline anarchists celebrate/protest my return home from Milwaukee? With dirt, of course. Lots and lots of dirt.

Mediaplayer: Forever Young by Alphaville