Archive for August, 2011

Eating Crow

My dad didn’t shoot my grandfather.  That’s what he promised me when I talked to him this weekend.

When my grandfather passed away in 1995, both my aunt and my grandmother (good Methodist-church-going women, BTW) had experiences in the months that followed where they were processing their grief, alone and crying, where a black crow came alone and “out of nowhere” (Duh, GOD), and sat on a tree branch or something near them and just “caw-ed”.  My grandfather, in addition to being generous, kind, and outgoing, was pretty much a live vaudeville show,  frequently singing songs and reciting poems and telling jokes (“You know the funny thing about a pelican?  His beak can hold more than his belly can!”).  He had one special poem about a crow (that I can’t remember now.  But believeyoume, it was SPECIAL) and so my grandmother and aunt decided that the crow was my grandfather’s totem, coming back to let us all know that he was with us and loved us and allthatjazz.  And I will admit, he shows up at some pretty crazy moments.

This summer, hubs and I were West-Coasting it in NOR-CAL (Northern California, Duh) and ended our amazing trip with a visit to 17-Mile Drive and Pebble Beach (built in 1919, the year my grandfather was born…crow-incidence?  I think NOT!).  We were standing on the rocky beach looking out at the Pacific, and what should appear but a CROW.  “Hubs,” I said without blinking, “It’s my granddad.  Take a picture.”  And he did.

This weekend, my dad called.  He’s a member of the church of God-loves-you-ya-damn-hippie.  He called on his way back home from shooting crows with his 78-year-old hunting buddy.  “Why?” I asked.  This was a bad question.  Dad’s answer was [edited for content and PG-13 language],”Why not?”  So I told him about my granddad, who despite being his ex-father-in-law, was a man my dad loved and respected and still loves and respects.  “Well,” my dad said, breathing in deeply, “don’t worry.  We didn’t shoot your granddad.  We shot some crows.  But not him.”



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Little Boy

After much deliberation in the “Great Refrigerator Debate of 2011,” hubs and I decided to spring for the fridge-on-top-freezer-on-bottom model that we really wanted when we had to replace our stupid refrigerator. Little did we know that the negotiations were only just beginning.  Hubs went to Big-Box-Store to order said appliance and found the only one they had left was a floor model.  Which he expertly found a small scratch on.  And got $100 off.

As a free added bonus, “Little Boy” (this beast IS the size of an atomic bomb and now barely fits in the fridge space, but my goodness I love it!) was delivered a few days later by two young men who were neither ugly nor out of shape.  I sat on the couch and tried to make like I was busily working on my laptop but puh-and-lease, who could ignore those sweaty delivery guys?  I like to think they were also captivated by my beauty.  Shorts from the GAP and a tank top are sure to distract.  Or maybe it was my LLBean flip-flops with lobsters on them.  In any case, they got distracted enough from the task at hand (wrangling an A-bomb into a 1950’s rancher) to put a small dent into Little Boy’s front door.  As it is tiny and near the bottom corner, I’m pretty sure God put it there for me.  Alas.  THIS CAN’T HAPPEN.  And by CAN’T HAPPEN, I mean, I’m gonna need another $100 discount.  And now the price of the fridge will be what we were willing to spend in the first place.  Go ahead.  Applaud.  I don’t mind.

To rectify the situation, I called Big-Box-Store and got to speak to my man Darrell.  Darrell is very nice.  Unfortunately, I now know this because I’ve gotten to know him over the past month with a series of phone chats.  Chats regarding why it is so very hard to credit our Visa with $100.  I’ve been very nice.  Very nice.  Very very verrrrrryyyyy nice.  Little does Darrell know that I’m one call away from channeling my inner Julia Sugarbaker. And two calls away from calling the Better Business Bureau.  And three calls away from, well, I just hope we don’t get there.  And neither does Darrell.




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Remi is a bit obsessed with the game of fetch.  He would keep it up all day, every day.  When we got him from the rescue, his original owner noted that “His ball is his world.”  And as his ball was bright blue rubber with green land masses on the outside, we assumed this wasn’t hyperbole.  Unfortunately, we’ve lost his world.  And we’ve searched for the lost world.   We’ve crawled around the house, looking under every piece of furniture, we’ve carefully scoured the lawn, searching through all the shrubs.  The world is missing.  And maybe gone forever.  Luckily, Remi is not as discriminating as he sounds and will gladly accept a tennis ball as a temporary substitute.

Today, I finally broke down and went to PetSmart on my lunch break to buy another ball.  Unfortunately, they were all out of “the world” so I had to go with a glow-in-the-dark ball.  It was made to fit in a large “Chuck It,” which for the un-dogged out there, is a throwing stick that keeps you from having to stoop over 50 million times and enables you to pick up the ball without touching the slobber/dirt combo that Remi leaves on it.  Simplistic, yet genius in design.  I have two thoughts about this:  1.  $8 is a small price to pay to avoid picking up and throwing a slobbery tennis ball a million times a day, and 2.  please don’t let us lose this thing.  The new ball is glow-in-the-dark- light-green and could easily disappear in the grass.  I have visions of hubs and I, waiting for darkness, slinking through the backyard, Mission Impossible style, to find the glowing orb.  It will be a re-con mission with flashlights, scanning the yard to avoid poop-mines, and looking for the space-age chew toy.  The neighbors will be talking.  The squirrels will be mocking.  And Remi will be watching.  Heaven help us if he realizes that it is now possible to play fetch in the dark….

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So Glad You Asked

I’m what some people would call “opinionated.”  According to thesaurus.com, others might call me “assertive, bossy, biased, inflexible, overbearing, or pigheaded.”  Those people would not make very good friends for me.  As my husband can attest, the upside of this is that he always knows what I’m thinking.  The downside of this is that…he always knows what I’m thinking.  We rarely argue over misunderstandings in which I say one thing and mean another.  Except when I say that he doesn’t have to get me anything for an upcoming holiday, which every woman over the age of 12, knows is a bold-faced lie.  “Don’t get me anything” does not EVER mean “Don’t get me anything.”  It means “Get me something thoughtful and inexpensive enough that I won’t feel bad that you spent the money on me.”  To any young men out there, go ahead and just tattoo this little nugget on your brain.  Following this rule will save you from a WORLD OF GRIEF.

But back to me and my opinions.  I have a very negative opinion about a company that is a veritable “staple” in many American’s daily routines.  I’ll give you a couple of hints:  There is one on every street corner.  Their name rhymes with “Bar-Yucks.”  And you can’t get out of there for less than $4.  I’m a one-woman campaign against Bar-Yucks for several reasons:

The first is that their business model is pretty much an illustration of American consumption in a nutshell.  People visit every day, pay exorbitantly high costs, and leave feeling  somehow happy and grateful, like they received something of value during the transaction.  In my opinion (read: “fact”*), they really received a “gift” that keeps on giving:  first, a stomach ache and racing pulse for the next few hours; the second, an eventual trip to a GI doctor regarding the ulcers they have in the lining of their entire digestive tract and a study about how even the Ecoli down there are screaming, “we give up, we give up!”*.  The product itself is overbrewed.  It taste like tar (also a “fact”*).  On the infrequent day that I’m forced to purchase a drink from Bar-Yucks, I have to tell them to leave extra-extra room for cream, as I’m going to need to double up on the half and half.  I liken it to that childhood story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” in which the whole village pretends to see the naked Emperor’s new clothes and one little girl is the only one who yells out the truth, “He’s NAKED!”.  I’m the little girl.  I’m yelling.  “This stuff TASTES LIKE TAR!!!”  But irony, my friends is a real MOTHER.  Primarily because I’m in a job where I’m in sales and I buy people beverages in small establishments on a regular basis.  And when they want to meet at Bar-Yucks, I have to comply.  And act like I like it.  And fork over my hard earned dollars to a corporate Goliath.  I might have to do it.  But I don’t like it.

*  I am not a medical expert of any kind.  I know nothing about one’s digestive tract.  My “facts” are based on nothing other than my own highly isolated experience, and I nearly failed Biology in college.  Bar-Yucks is a highly profitable company with great financial ratios.  The company is often studied in business school cases, they are known for treating employees well and operating ethically.  The lack of business from me has had absolutely zero impact on their market share.  I’m only one woman.

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I grew up on a farm.  My husband grew up on a ½ acre.  My family grew a big garden.  My husband once grew marigolds in paper cups to sell at a yard sale (he was about 5 and OMG, can you stand the CUTENESS?).  Since moving to our urban paradise, the hubs has taken an interest in gardening and has done a great job planting one each year, with mixed results on the harvest.  Mainly because the squirrels get to the harvest before we do.  And so far, our wonder dog has done little to deter their presence.

However, we are GREAT at growing basil.  And I love it.  Gobs and gobs of it.  We have a good half-dozen plants in various stages of growth and I hope to enjoy home-made pesto at least once a week through early October.  All through the summer, I’ve dutifully gone out every few days to pick the biggest and most beautiful leaves.  And I’ve noticed that some leaves have been half eaten and torn.  I could never find bugs on the plants, but clearly, SOMETHING was attacking it.  I carefully snipped off the torn leaves, letting other tiny ones grow in their place.  I was frustrated by the bugs.  Until last night.  When I witnessed a GIANT PREDATOR DESTROYING MY BASIL.  His name is “my husband.”

Unbeknownst to me, hubs method of basil harvesting is (WAS), to grab a handful of leaves and rip them off of the plant.  Oh HO HO!  BUDDY BOY, THERE IS GOING to be a RUCKUS NOW!  I almost inflicted bodily harm on the man.  No worries, people.  I stopped myself.  And it IS just basil.  But for the love of all that is holy, it is the ONE THING we are growing successfully.  And I’ll be “bam-boozled” if you are going to wreck it for me.  Or tear the leaves.  I’m particular about some things (everything?).  And basil is one of them.

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So, after the checkout incident, I called a girlfriend of a similar age who would understand my full-on freakout at being mistaken for a full decade older than I am.  She did.  And as is her nature, she tactfully turned the conversation to something that would make me laugh.  We somehow began discussing the OMG prices of dry cleaning and she relayed that she recently took a load of items in to be cleaned and in the process of flinging a dress on the counter, somehow dislodged a dirty thong, which fell out of the dress and onto the hand of the dry cleaning goddess who was helping her.  The lady flicked it off like it was a bug or a snake or an item full of someone else’s cooties.  Which, it was.  And I laughed very hard at this and she told me to put it on my blog anonymously since she certainly couldn’t claim that hiney story on her own blog.  And so, there you go.

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Insult, meet injury

This happened last Wednesday, but it’s taken me until now to speak about it.  Let me set the stage:  It was approximately 1 billon sweaty, humid degrees outside.  I was on day three of a cold which included a fever, chills, and all that goes with it.  I was single-handedly driving up stock prices for Kimberly-Clark thanks to my near-constant nose blowing and ability to devour a box of Kleenex in a few hours.

I forced myself to haul my carcass out into the elements (really helped the feverish sweating, as you might imagine) to ferry my husband to the mechanic for some regular car maintenance.  I’d made a round trip between home, mechanic and hub’s work in the morning before returning home to lay on the couch and be miserable.  It was on my second round trip when it was decided that not cooking dinner was in order.

After leaving the hubs to pick up his car, I ventured out to the local not-Ukrops store.  For those of you not from around here, the Ukrops grocery store chain is as sacred to natives as the Vatican is to Catholics.  I do not jest.  Unfortunately, in 2010, the Ukrops family sold their much-loved chain of grocery stores.  When speaking to native Richmonders about this change, you might want to bow your head as if someone has passed away.  That’s how serious it was, people.

As a non-native Richmonder, I was never a weekly visitor to Ukrops, but I  will admit that their deli selection is unrivaled.  Especially when you have a cold of DEATH and you have circumnavigated the globe twice in one day just to get an oil change.  When Ukrops sold to “notUkrops,” to the relief of literally thousands, the Ukrops deli brand lived on, and no one in the West End was left to starve to death.

So, on Wednesday, I ventured in to notUkrops, grabbed some dinner of awesomeness, and decided that despite a cold, I was in the mood for a glass of wine.  Stop judging me.  And this is where the wheels began to come off.  I made my way to the check out where I chose the line of an older, friendly-looking lady.  I placed my items on the belt and proceeded to pull my credit card and ID out of my wallet.  “Are you,” she asked, staring at my quizzically, “older than 40?  Because we ID for younger than 40.”  I felt like I’d been slapped.  But because I grew up in the south and I know that whole “Southern-Belle-tell-you-to-go-to-hell-and-make-you-look-forward-to-the-trip” thing, I just sort of laughed nervously and handed my ID over.  “Oh, no, you’re not……” Her voice trailed off as she inhaled the full volume of her egregious sin.  I pasted a “Go-to-hell” smile on my face and didn’t blink my watery, blood-shot eyes.  I let stony silence settle over us as she completed the transaction.  She definitely didn’t call over one of her little minions to push my groceries out to my car.  I guess she thought that might add insult to injury.

I do not, for the record, think 40 is old.  Nor will I have a problem being 40.  But the simple fact is, my next birthday is an “end in “0” birthday and I’m trying hard enough to swallow the dawn of a new decade.  And as big as that new decade is, I’d certainly rather not skip it all together.  Especially not because of an off-hand comment made by a broad who probably saw her 40th birthday during the Carter Administration.  She’s lucky I didn’t cough on her.  Really lucky.

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