My Fruit

comedy, family, Humor, Pets, shopping, women

She Needs to Have a Puppy

My niece, a different one than in the Reba the Mail Lady story, and her husband are expecting their first baby in the Fall.  I wanted to buy a unique handmade baby gift so I went to the seaside market where all the local crafters sold their wares.  Now that I think about it, ‘sold their wares’ is a funny expression considering I wasn’t there to buy any wears.  In fact, I wasn’t there to buy most of what was being sold.

Early in my shopping trip, as I walked around and checked out vendors’ wares, I noticed there were a lot of dogs visiting the market with their owners.  I had a dog and a not-my-kitty but they never went shopping at the market, or any other place.  They stayed at home because in those days, pushing your dressed-up rescue dog or cat in a baby carrier perched in shopping cart wasn’t a status symbol like it is today.  Yes, I know, this is the second shot at rescuers but they, like the social media buffs, like the attention. Why else would they take their pet everywhere they go and introduce them as “he’s a rescue” or “she’s a rescue”?  I never introduced my dog, Buster, as “he’s not a rescue”. And what on earth would I say about not-my-kitty, the kitty who has at least two homes?

Anyway, I’m getting off track because the real story here is supposed to be about shopping for a soon-to-be new baby but the rescue dogs got me going and I can’t seem to rein it in.  You see, not only were dogs there with their owners, but a lot of what was being sold at the market was specifically for them and a few other pets. There were unique handmade pet clothes in one tent, pet treats in the next, followed by pet shampoos, pet oils, pet bowls, and pet beds.  Where were the unique handmade baby clothes?  Baby treats?  Baby shampoos?  Baby oils?  Baby beds? Well they weren’t at the seaside market. I left empty-handed. I’m gonna call my niece. She needs to have a puppy.

 

comedy, environment, Humor, Nature, women

Tree-Huggerish

I don’t consider myself to be a tree-hugger in the true sense of the word.  I say that because I believe that saving the child rather than the gorilla was the right thing to do. A true tree-hugger probably saw that differently. On the other hand (yes, there are 4 fingers and a thumb), I am a little tree-huggerish when it comes to nature. I believe that nature should be kept natural.  Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that my nature is not natural, and I don’t like it.

I can remember a time when it was acceptable to throw trash out the window of a moving car. It’s not a funny memory but in reality, it was a common occurrence.  If you finished your Winky’s burger and fries and a garbage can wasn’t close by, the trash was tossed out the side window and you watched it float around out the back window.  Sure, you can punish me for past wrongdoings but once I, along with a few million other Americans, met the ‘Crying Indian,’ things started to change.  Littering became taboo and after a while, nature got back to being natural.  That was in the ‘70s, but something has changed.

Every day on my walk, I see litter. I don’t mind bending over to pick up paper in the form of a $20 bill dropped by a tipsy parent after a night at the local bar, but collecting all the cigarette butts, paper, plastic bags, construction debris, and cans would require me to pull along a cart-just like the one used by the janitor at my elementary school.  I would need to load my cart each morning with a supply of water, a box of garbage bags, a trash picker-upper, and a HAZMAT suit; because some of today’s litter, like the light blue latex glove that I saw today, might be toxic. Wouldn’t it be easier to just throw trash in the trash rather than make me walk an hour in hot, humid weather while pulling a fully stocked janitor’s cart uphill both ways  in order to keep nature, natural?  And what am I do to when I get one-upped?

It seems my generation was one of the last to feel the power of that 1970 Keep America Beautiful commercial where one little tear streamed down the face of  ‘Crying Indian’ while William Conrad said, “People start pollution, people can stop it.”  Perhaps we all need a little reminder to put trash where it belongs. And if you see me power walking alongside the road while pulling a cart, it’s not a resistance exercise.  This partial tree-hugger is just trying to put natural back into nature.

car, customer service, Humor, Travel

Blue Betty

Yesterday was a crazy day. I had a lot of things on my to-do list, yet by 11 o’clock in the morning, I realized the list had to wait. Someone special needed and deserved my attention.

As I worked on the first item on my list, I learned that someone wanted to buy one of my prized possessions. Blue Betty, which I never called her, was my 2004 sedan who served as my think tank for the last 12 years and 200,000 miles.  She and I covered a lot of territory during my lengthy commute to work.  Betty heard me laugh, cry, and talk about family, friends, and of course, co-workers who couldn’t get their act together and disrupted my sanity. She knew my secrets and never shared any of them.  She gave me space to sit and think and because of her, I dream of one day working at a think tank where I will go, sit, and think and before leaving at the end of the day, tell my boss, “I thought about it.”

Because I’m not well versed in selling used cars, I had to make a few phone calls in order to learn the rules.  My mistake was waiting to make those calls until after I had a buyer.  After all, I was contacting the DMV and the DOT and I knew that neither would welcome me with open arms.  I’ve never had a good experience at either of these state agencies.  When I have no choice but to contact them, I have to prep myself because I know I will be treated like dirt, and like I am dumber than dirt.

I put on my game face and made the first call. I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous just pushing the buttons, but after a few attempts I made it through to the first recorded menu. I listened to all the options and none of them fit with, ‘I need to know how to sell a used car.’  I chose the closest option and waited, and waited, and waited until a vibrant young woman named Carmen answered the phone.  I immediately spewed out the reason for my call, just like I had practiced before dialing. I heard Carmen say, “I don’t deal with that. I’ll transfer you.”  So I went back into a holding pattern for another 20 minutes.  I believe my presence in the queue woke the next ‘helper’ up from her mid-morning catnap because she was much less enthusiastic than Carmen and answered my questions with a rough morning voice. Oh, and she made me feel like dirt. Actually, dumber than dirt. She answered all of my  questions with one word answers.  I could almost hear her saying, “listen, you stupid lady” before giving me the one word. I gave her a few one words too.

My last call was to the DMV in my local neighborhood.  The ‘not-help-her’ there was abrupt. She must have forgotten that I contribute to her piggy bank each month.  I barely got to the period at the end of my first sentence when she barked back, “This-is-the-DMV-we-don’t-do-anything-with-cars-you-have-to-call-the-DOT-and-the-local-office-doesn’t-answer-questions-over-the-phone-so-you-have-to-call-the-state-level-DOT.”  I could tell by the way she rattled off that run-on sentence that she had used it many times to make other people feel dumb. Actually, I’m gonna use ‘the they don’t answer questions over the phone’ part in my think tank because phone calls would disrupt my thinking.

Blue Betty, which I never called her, heard me say a few choice words as I sat on her soft leather seats for the last time yesterday.  But she didn’t care. She let me think, shed a tear or two, and wave goodbye as I headed home to finish the other items on my list and think.

 

comedy, family, Humor, language, women, work

I’ll be an Unkies Moncle

My dad owned and operated a gas station-grocery store from the time he returned from the Army to the day he died. Running the business required long hours, which were often spent outdoors pumping gas and cleaning windshields in all kinds of weather, but he never complained.  Instead, he had fun at work and actually, everywhere he went. He was a jokester who liked to laugh, but more importantly, to make other people laugh, including his customers, kids, and grandkids.

Let’s go back in time.  My dad had loyal customers who came by for gas, a newspaper, or a can of snuff, but most often, to share in his laughter. The laughter started well before they pulled up to the pump or walked into the store due to his messages on the large yellow sign at the edge of the station parking lot. My dad made church signs before there were church signs, only his were about everyday events instead of church.  One day, the sign read, ‘Free self-serve haircuts. Inquire within.’  Now, if that isn’t masterful comedy, I don’t know what is.  Who doesn’t want to save a buck here or there on something they need and that could be done while waiting to get a tiger in their tank?  Now giving away free haircuts at a gas station didn’t exactly pull them in, but the idea of a self-serve haircut did put a smile on the faces of many people who drove by that day and those who ventured into the store, and that’s what brought him joy.

His laughter was not limited to work. He did a lot of jokestering at home too and often to the point of getting me in trouble for ‘carrying on’ at the dinner table, something my mother did not like.  Sometimes, he would get me going and I just couldn’t stop so on those evenings, I was sent to time out after dinner.  Who punishes a kid for laughing? That’s absurd, especially when the whole family was laughing because the milky white plates on which our piping hot tuna noodle casserole was served began to make loud popping noises as, one at a time, they crack down the middle. Sure, everyone else laughed and moved on, but I couldn’t.  And just as I would start to simmer down, he’d give a look out of the corner of his eye and I’d start laughing all over again.

He also taught his grandchildren about laughter through his funny sayings. When they told him something they thought was interesting, he would say, “I’ll be an unkies moncle.”  If anyone ever used the transition, ‘on the other hand’, he would chime in with, “he had 4 fingers and a thumb.”  Trying to tell him a story about one of their friends always resulted in, “Oh, you mean that big, tall, skinny, short fat kid?” And one of his all-time favorites was, “Is the water wet?” which he would ask his grandkids as they swam in the pool in his backyard.

Yeah, I grew up with a lot of laughter and it seems I’m a product of that environment, although it took me some time to lighten up and laugh at everyday life like my dad did.  I enjoy making people laugh and, like my dad, have some loyal customers who stop by every Tuesday and Friday to share in the laughter.  I am very grateful for each of them and the fact that they follow me and share the laughter, even when I’m not that funny.  I think my dad would be proud that his legacy of laughter lives on. Fappy Hather’s Day!

aging, comedy, Dining, Food, Humor, women

Lessons from the Wedding Tippers

Back in the day, it was common for a wedding reception guest list to exceed 500 people. Unlike today, kids of all ages were invited so my sister and I had a lot of fun joining the celebrations. Many of the receptions in our coal-mining region were held in a castle-like building not far from our home. Each level had a specific function; one was for food and beverage and another for dining and dancing. Family and friends of the bride and groom prepared and served all the food including a few thousand cookies and huge cake with a fancy fountain in the middle that bubbled colorful water. The cake was served, along with a shot of whiskey for those of age, to each guest who danced with the bride during the bridal dance. The dance floor was massive and it had to be because everybody danced. In fact, my sister and I learned to dance the polka on the yellow and white linoleum squares in our kitchen at home just so we could whoop it up on the dance floor to the live polka band at the reception. Colorful flowers, made from facial tissue, spelled out the names of the bride and groom on the wall in the main dining and dancing area, which was filled with rows of wooden tables and folding chairs stamped with the name of the local fire department.  Once a family claimed a table, they would wedding tip in their wooden chairs as a sign that the seat was taken before they ventured to the lower level to get their food. These are some special memories and I had forgotten about them until I was out for dinner and drinks last week.

My husband and I have a ‘go-to’ restaurant when we travel to the big city that doesn’t follow the 3Ps of dining.  We plan to get their early enough to use our Q-pon for ½ off appetizers and get out before the big Friday night crowd arrives.  Yes, my dad taught us the importance of getting there early and beating the crowd out. We arrived at church before the priest just to make sure we had a seat and watched the finale of many Fourth of July fireworks celebrations from back window of the car-as we drove away to beat the traffic. Anyway, as we sipped our drinks and enjoyed our ‘get their early’ bargain food, the room started to fill. A lot of people, whose dads weren’t as smart as mine, were standing around the bar holding drinks as they waited for a table.  And that’s when I saw it, the thing that brought back all those special memories from the summers when I was little, only this time, it wasn’t the wooden chair stamped with the name of local fire department, it was a barstool.

Here’s how it went down. A couple seated at the bar decided it was time to go outside for a smoke break. Going outside together usually means loss of front row seating in exchange for a few more cancer cells, but this couple and I must have been to a few of the same weddings back in the day. They stood up, gathered their cancer sticks, and before walking away, wedding tipped their barstools. Not their bartenders, but their barstools. I did a double take. “Did that just happen?” I asked my husband. “I never considered a wedding tip to save my seat at a bar.” Apparently, none of the 50 people standing around them had considered it either because they all just stood there and stared at the tipped stools-for 15 minutes. When the wedding tippers returned, their stools were waiting for them, just like when we returned from the lower level with our plates full of homemade food and cookies. I had forgotten the effectiveness of the wedding tip and thanks to this couple, I’ll always have a seat.

comedy, Humor, introvert, social media, women

I’m a Creeper

Social media is a phenomenon that allows us to see what’s going on in other people’s lives and if we want, to share what’s happening in ours.  The truth is, I’m not a fan of any of it. I spend most of my time trying to avoid meaningless chitchat with people so why would I share pictures of the food I’m going to eat or ‘check in’ and let everyone know where I’m at just so people can ‘like’ it or pass it on to the next person? According to Urban Dictionary, it seems I’m a social outcast; I’m not involved in a lot of social events and I spend way too much time doing a certain hobby called work, but certainly none of the hobbies listed in their definition. Starting this blog in order to share the laughter has led me to partially embrace the social media phenomenon and as a result, raised some troubling issues for me.

Let me be honest. I have a personal Facebook page, but only so I can creep on other people. There’s no need to judge. People want you to creep on them otherwise, they wouldn’t share every move they make in such a public forum. I’m just fulfilling their need to be seen and heard, just like a true friend would do, although that might end once Mark Zuckerberg sees my creeper confession and shuts me down.

I also have an Instagram account, created so that I could share and see pictures from my son and daughter-in-law’s wedding last year. I learned about Instagram at the event when I realized I had been using the wedding hashtag to post on Twitter instead of Instagram-I was in the wrong social media room and didn’t know it for a full week. See, I really don’t mind being alone.

The last part of my confession is a big one-I have three Twitter accounts. I use my real name on my professional account but for the other two, I hide behind a particular persona when tweeting. Yeah, I know, it sounds a lot like catfishing, but there are not any relationships involved and the number of followers I have certainly shows I am not luring people in. And my personas are real, not made up. One is my citizen persona who keeps up with the local news and tweets about construction noise at 7AM. The other is my observationist self who finds everyday life to be fabulously funny and works to share the laughter. Three accounts and personas are a lot to manage and on occasion, I tweet something from the wrong account.  That can be funny, or it could lead to unemployment if I’m not more careful.

As I think about it, my behavior on social media is a little disturbing. But the truth is, I’m not any different than the next person using it-I creep, hide, and pretend just like the rest of them. I draw the line though on sharing too much. Sure, I share, but not my food or where I’m at-nobody needs to know that.

birds, comedy, Humor, Nature, Pets, women

‘That Owl’ Made Me Eat Crow

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a barred owl that hung out on the peak of my house and disrupted my sleep with its prancing and pawing of each little hoof, and then some.  As I started writing this, I wasn’t sure if the owl should be referred to as ‘who’ or ‘that’ so I consulted my friend, Grammar Girl. She said I should use ‘that’ when referring to the owl because I didn’t know its sex or if it had a name. Heck, I didn’t get very close with the owl, nor did I want to after what I heard up on the rooftop, so I’m fine with calling it ‘that owl’-‘that owl’ that made me eat crow.

After writing Who Cooks for You, I went on a little excursion and left the house empty for a few days.  When I came back it looked a little like a winter wonderland. I swear that every bird on the island had been to my house during my brief absence because there were white remnants of bird visitors everywhere.  I envisioned birds floating around in the water drinking cocktails with little umbrellas in them and snickering when they dropped anchor on the cement nearby.  I could see them swinging on my pretty pink swing, letting one loose between the slats, and high-fiving each other when everything seemed to make it through, which wasn’t often.  When they had enough sun, it seems they met on the upper deck for a late dinner, watched a beautiful sunset, and painted the railing white before heading back to their nests for the night.  Sounds lovely, I know, but the worst part was, they thought the party was a recurring event-every morning and evening.  I needed a way to get rid of them, and during my search, I was introduced to eating crow.

It seems that one humane way to deter unwanted bird visitors is to place a plastic predator in the yard to frighten them.  Oh, I had a real predator that must have kept bird visitors in check and I scared it off with a few clangs of a pie pan or two.  I traded a few grinding sounds in the wee hours of the morning for a blanket of bird excrement that won’t come off no matter how hard I set the water pressure on the hose.  Okay, I’ll say it, “I should have hired ‘Who Cooks for You’ when he/she wanted to cook for me.”  There, I said it and no, I don’t feel better because of it.  The real predator is gone and now I’m doing my penance. Every morning when I wake up and every night when I go to bed, I look out my window and see the plastic owl that I had to buy in order to frighten the birds away. It’s right there, perched on the table in plain view and I have to move it every 2-3 days to keep the birds guessing.  It is a constant reminder of what I did to ‘that owl’-the one who made me eat crow.