Autumn Ramblings…

I love the not very scarecrow and the upside down witches legs at the next store

I am in a strange mood for the start of my favorite season.  Fall has taken some of the heat out of the air and I woke up cold today.  Can you believe it was 73 F (23 C) in the house?? Every so often, I have notions about moving to somewhere quieter with better air quality but those places are always cold in the winter so, ‘No Bueno’.

Before the pandemic, I was delighted at myself for fixing the leaking U-Bend pipe under the sink, with step-by-step instructions from the local hardware store.  Then it leaked again, mid pandemic, and my husband fixed it.  This week it flooded again and the plumber had to be called.  Over the last two decades I have cultivated a cache of trusted contractors in Texas.  We came from a small village in Scotland where you could rely on word of mouth for good service.

I know the plumber’s wife very well and we chat away like old friends, both trapped in the house by work or anxiety. “Hello, Mary”, said I, “Could you send that nice young man that came before?”  As soon as the phrase was uttered, I burst out laughing, as did Mary, at how horribly ancient I sounded.  We shared memories about how embarrassing it was when our respective mothers talked to complete strangers.  You never think your mother’s words and accent are going to fly out of your mouth like Parseltongue.  Then you look in the bathroom mirror and she is staring at you…like Moaning Myrtle.

Mary told me that James would be delighted to be requested, especially from a VIP customer, such as myself.  James came early but phoned to see if that was okay (isn’t that perfect?) and arrived with his wee pal, Carlos.  Both were married and about 30 years old but seemed so young to me.  About a decade ago, I might have tried to emulate Mrs. Robinson for a good price (for the plumbing) but can only pull that off with old codgers now (the electrician, for example).

They went straight to the sink and James said, “This is my last day.”  NO!!!  Then I turned into Auntie Kerry as he told me that he had to take 2 months off work because his mother, in Washington State, just had a serious stroke and was awaiting a brain operation.  He was really agitated about it, understandably, but particularly because he might lose the best job he had ever had.  We chatted some more about making difficult decisions but I assured him that he was making a good decision.  Life is so short; he would probably regret not going and the plumbing company would keep the job open as long as they could.  If not, there is always a need for contractors.

As they were fixing the sink and then the cistern, I whispered to Teddy about the situation and asked him to find a nice geological rock for James as he collects them.  As they were leaving, and undercharging us, Teddy presented James with an ancient rock from Ireland and one from Scotland.  Carlos was just standing, being supportive to his colleague and I felt sorry for him.  So…I asked him if he would like a Popsicle?  Now I had gone from Auntie to Granny Kerry.  They both left, looking happier with popsicles and rocks.  How does this happen and when did I turn from sexy cougar to nice Nana?  Thank goodness I still have my gardener who calls me Babe!  Even Martha Stewart does thirst trap Instagrams.

On the squirrel front, ‘Half’ has been behaving badly.  He was chasing everyone off the deck so he could eat all the peanuts.  I opened the back door and shouted, “Half! I am going to smack your bottom, if you don’t stop that.”  Distant neighbors will be calling social services about the Scandinavian neighbor who assaults her children  The drought has returned and I am watering the garden again.  Yesterday I went into the back yard in my disgusting nightie (stains, no shape).  As I was hosing, a GIANT grasshopper landed on my head.  I had a tiny mental break, lost control of the hose which soaked me and my newly cleaned windows.  The grasshopper was terrified too.

I got washed and went to Trader Joe for groceries.  It’s a hip and groovy store and all the checkout staff are interesting…  My Dude was about 45 years old and looked like he had started a degree at a liberal arts college in California.  In my imagination, weed and surfing took over his life and now he works at a store.  He was so friendly, Bro, and we started talking.  I had bought some cans of wine (it’s a trailer home next) that were pre-mixed with sparkling water for Teddy’s restrictive diet.  The label said that the beverage was for those with an active lifestyle?  I started laughing and told him that I fully intended to sit motionless on my sofa and watch Netflix with said cans of wine.  He laughed and suggested I drink the harder stuff at the weekend.  In response, I told him that I only drink Jagermeister at the weekend (I was joking) but he looked at the old lady with new respect.  For the Brits, Jagermeister is the equivalent of Buckfast.  Gives you a hell of a hangover.

There was a big social event in the street – the second I have attended in a month!  I was so pleased with myself for going to both, behaving like a normal person and not drinking much.  But a toll has been taken – my mental health took a dip from all the social anxiety.  They were all people that I know and like but these last two years of introspection have made it difficult fight against my overwhelming desire to stay at home all the time.  I know it is important to keep challenging myself so although I didn’t feel like it, I kept a promise to visit one of our local antique towns today, with Teddy, and regretted it almost immediately.  Still, I followed through, and that’s important to improve my health.  Now we are meeting friends for lunch on Thursday.  Go, Kerry, Go!

Who doesn’t love a Corpse Bride at the Wedding Store?

Widower at Trader Joe

A_K_Wedd

Bunny and Teddy signing the wedding registry in 1982, Our bridesmaid and best man married each other and are still together.

Last night I had endless horrible nightmares. This was because I accidentally noticed a job advertised that was perfect for me. It was a low wage but had excellent benefits. There were two problems – it was full-time and in downtown Houston which is about 40 miles away in frenetic driving conditions. Nevertheless, I was thinking seriously about it after I had investigated the cost of health care. I know exactly what my psychiatrist would have said – Noooooo!

So, before we went to bed we had a normal marital fracas. I thought he was already in the master bathroom but he had gone to pick up his notebook in the study. As I had turned all the lights off, he accidentally kicked our very sensitive baby cat in the dark. He blamed me, I started fecking about how stupid he was and we went to bed in bad humor with baby cat sleeping under the spare bed. I was so angry and wanted to go sleep with baby cat in the spare bedroom but knew that Teddy would have been so upset.

The nightmare was a variation on a recurring dream. As usual, I had not completed my equivalent of an Associate’s degree and was struggling to sit the final exam with one day’s notice. In reality I passed it all (in 1980) with no problem whatsoever and have endless other useless qualifications and experience (counselling skills, training for trainers, blah, blah). I woke up terrified at 6 am, worried that I was not going to have a business major and there would be a zombie apocalypse. I ran into the living room where Teddy was starting to feed the cats and ran into his arms. He asked me what was wrong but I was too traumatized to have words yet. He apologized for being grumpy the night before and life went back to some kind of normal.

Then I met with some other volunteers for our regular lunch and life was put back into perspective with someone else’s ill health. On the return journey an 18 wheeler truck tried to take me out on the interstate and yet again perspective was realized. I knew in that moment that someone who was made anxious by lunch, had neuropathy after a 45 minute drive for something pleasant, in slow traffic, could never manage a downtown job with a 2 hour drive both ways.

I asked Teddy if he would like to go to Chilli’s for a meal so we went this evening and had a lovely time discussing when we wanted to die. At the moment, 75 is my limit and I really mean that. He worried that his middle-aged forgetfulness was early onset Alzheimer’s and I reassured him that I would ‘take him out’. After that he wanted some chocolate so we went to Trader Joe’s. We stocked up on cheap wine, Peruvian giant corn and chocolate and went to the till. Our sales assistant, Ricardo, was new to me – I know everyone there.

Teddy attempted to pay the old way with a swipe of the credit card but Trader Joe is all set up for the chip, so you have to insert it. I tutted at his inexperience and explained to Ricardo that he wasn’t used to shopping, with a laugh. Ricardo asked how long we had been married and I told him 33 years. He remarked that we had an easy way with each other that only long married couples had. I asked him how long he had been married and he said, “She passed after 30 years”. My eyes filled with tears and we chatted about whether he was ready to meet someone else. Of course, I offered to find him someone and told him he was very handsome. When we left the store I nearly fell apart with the sadness of that and once again I realized how very lucky I was.  Count your blessings.