Welcome to a tale of woe, that should be a tale of WHOA!
Once upon a time, there was a lowly peasant woman cat herder who really really really enjoyed working with an enchanted beautiful blond Princess from a far off land. The peasant woman was happy to work with the Princess, for the Princess had a wonderful gift that she loved to share with kittens.
One day, the Princess turned to the peasant woman and said, “You do such a lovely job helping me to herd the kittens. I’m sure that if I tell the Queen, you will be handsomely rewarded!”
The peasant woman was excited and a bit nervous about the Queen and her Castle on the Hill. Though lowly, the peasant woman had already worked for another, much darker Princess and had seen the inner workings of a castle. But the peasant woman so enjoyed her work now that she agreed and happily continued to herd the kittens. But what ho!! The kitten herd had become much larger and now the peasant woman was herding both cats and kittens!
The Princess met with the Queen, and while not happy with the conversation, a deal was struck. She was sure it would all work out in the end.
One day, a castle minion of the Queen, sent a missive to the lowly peasant woman informing her that she was fired, but would be rehired and after the scribes deforested the kingdoms trees to make parchment, she would receive her meager stipend. The peasant woman was not happy, but still loved her cats and the Princess.
Slowly, time passes, and the peasant woman, now feeling like the Lorax, notices that there are no more trees, so she went to the castle to ask of the minion when she could expect her meager stipend. The minion stopped stirring her cauldron and mopped her brow. She gave the peasant woman a frown and said, “I’ve just been too busy making parchment to get to you. Begone! I’m sure your meager stipend will be at your door shortly.”
Time again passes and the peasant woman again goes to the castle minion, but finds that she does not want to talk to the peasant woman and sends her to Lady Laura.
Lady Laura is a kind and soft spoken person, and writes on the copious amounts of parchment, a plan for the payment of the peasant’s stipend, which read:
The new semi monthly position was not available in the system until > today. Early this morning we requested a special check to have the 18 > hours per week paid to you on the first semi monthly pay of Sept 15. > We have processed the last two timesheets from August, but we cannot > guarantee that they will be paid on this special check. This depends > on how soon the forms are worked by the HR Shared Service > Center.
Although disturbed, this missive mollified the peasant woman, for now she had a definite time frame, other than the denuding of the forest, as a stipend schedule.
The seasons began to change, the winds blowing crisp and cool, although there were no leaves drifting about, for there were no trees, Autumn was upon them. The peasant woman was happy that she would finally be receiving her stipend and would be able to pay the miller to keep bread on her table. The promised date arrived and passed and the now lowly, and worried, peasant cat herder quickly notified Lady Laura of the missing stipend. Ever so gracious, Lady Laura told the poor cat herder that she had known full well that the woman would NOT receive her stipend by the date promised on the parchment, and assured the cat herder that if she could only wait a bit longer, maybe a week, that she would be paid. However, she would not be getting the amounts the Queen had promised the Princess, but through bloodletting and reading of entrails, she would now be getting the stipend that the runes forecast.
Now quite disheartened, and with the miller, the baker and the candlestick maker all banging on her shack for payment, the cat herder broke open the last bottle of Belgian ale and began to drink deeply. She drifted off to sleep and in her dreams victory was hers, for she had herded all the cats to the castle doorstep and a great caterwauling erupted from the massed felines until the Queen went mad and threw herself from the tallest tower. The Princess ascended to the throne and the lowly peasant woman was finally given her due.
To Be Continued……
As alluded to in a few of my past posts, I went to Ocean City a few weeks back, mainly to take my youngest to college, but for a little R&R as well. I need to publicly thank my friend Maria for letting our family use her beach house for this trip. Our tip would not have been nearly as comfy cozy and relaxing had we been in a hotel room. The neighborhood was quiet and calm and we were within walking distance to a few shops and restaurants.
Bella and I went down early (btw, Liberty has about 100 nicknames) on a Monday, so traffic was light and we enjoyed the ride with good music and giggles. After getting settled in, we decided to walk on the beach for a bit. We watched the surfers and laughed at the sandpipers, stopping to make bets on which one would beat the others in a race from the waves and even though it was overcast and a little chilly by the water, there was a myriad of pe0ple to see. Soon we realized we had walked from 49th street to 28th street, where the boardwalk begins, so we decided to move up to the boards and see if we could find something to eat for dinner. While scouting we heard a bicycle bell and to our left rode up an older man with a little girl riding in his front basket, tucked into some blankets. The gentleman didn’t have much more than a few wisps of white hair on his head, but he was also sporting a lovely little purple hat, accented by white daisies around the brim. The little girl was laughing the whole time!
As many of you know, I’m allergic to onions, so finding food “out” isn’t always easy. We walked along, debating every restaurant’s possible poisoning probability and finally found ourselves on 11th street, where we ate our meal. Exhausted, we caught the “drunk bus” home.
On Tuesday, I was restless. It was raining and peaceful, but I wanted to make sure my baby did what she wanted to do while we were at the beach. This was the day I bugged her to tell me what she wanted to do and she told me she wanted to rest and just be. Admittedly, I did settle and nap and we cuddled, but by mid afternoon I was ready to go to the grocery store. I had wanted to make lasagna for dinner and since that takes some time, I needed to get the ingredients. Off we went to the store for what we needed and when we got back, she napped some more and I put together dinner. I had pre-made and frozen some cookie dough at home and I started baking up the trademark Zoom Zoom cookies for Libby to share with her roommate come Thursday. Frank, Sr. eventually arrived, and so did Sean. This was a big surprise for Libby; she thought that none of her siblings were going to see her off. Sean and Libby took off to paint the town red and Frank and I had a quiet evening.
Sean and Libby had made the request that we all get up early and go bike riding on the boards and play a round of mini golf. (When my parents had owned a timeshare at the beach, we would take the kids to play mini golf and they still remember and recount those days with Meemaw and Peepaw.) The morning was misty wet and a bit windy. Our surrey bike was dripping wet, but we were there to ride the boards, so we loaded up and took off. Sean wanted to ram everyone or at least frighten them with the thought that we would run into them and Libby (who was driving) just wanted to tool around the entire boardwalk. It was so much fun.
After getting soaked riding bikes, we went to play mini golf. The easy banter amongst the four of us was a soothing balm for me, but when Libby said that she wished her brother (Frank, Jr.) was there and quickly followed that up with a desire for Heather to be there as well, I have to admit I was feeling all aglow and a little sad. I wanted them there too. I guess I channeled this into my golf game, because I ended up winning by 10 strokes! That was UNHEARD of in our mini golf history- we are usually very evenly matched!
Sean had to leave for home and we needed to get some sleep that night because Thursday was the big day. We all went to bed in separate rooms, but around 3 in the morning, my little mouse crawled into bed with me and I slept better than usual.
MOVE IN DAY!! We got up early, and headed out for Salisbury In the grey misty morning. It was already warm and promised to be a humid and uncomfortable day. The town was ready for the 1500 freshman students to descend upon them, with Police at critical intersections, large signs directing traffic and volunteers handing out water bottles from the local churches.
We found our way to her dorm, and parked, thinking we were going to get our exercise by climbing the three floors to her room with her stuff, but instead we were immediately swamped with members from sororities, sporting teams and student government members, all asking where to take Libbyâs things. Sweet! Since we had beaten her roommate to the room, Libby got to pick her side of the room and we set everything up, quickly getting her items in place so there would be enough room for her new roommate, Jenna, to move about while setting up her things. Libby was so nervous and anxious to meet her roommate. She had agonized over how life would be if they didnât mesh well. We waited for Jenna and her family to arrive and helped them bring her things upstairs and then vacated so her mommy could make her bed, just as I had made Libbyâs. Funny how much more comfortable you can be leaving your baby somewhere if you make her bed up for her before you leave.
The rest of the day was a blur of activity with tension over all things new. We got her books, her mailbox, a few items from the campus bookstore, visited the campus coffee shop for an organic cookie and some coffee while waiting for the family picnic and listened as she was welcomed to the school after an official class of 2011 freshman photo. I was sticky and hot and tired and a bit on edge about leaving my baby, and my poor understanding tolerant and supportive husband actually survived my tyranny with his sense of humor intact. The photos speak for themselves. I was mad, he was a Super hero
By the end of the picnic, Libby was already settling in to her new environment, ready for the next part of her life to begin and Frank and I were ready to go back to the beach house and do the same. Hugs and kisses and farewells were given.. and then Frank and I went to a restaurant called The Vineyard in the Pines and had our first empty nester dinner. It was a strange feeling, knowing that everything had changed and yet many things had not. During that meal, complete with live soft jazz and a duck parading in front of the windows to the delight of the patrons, we got at least two phone calls from various children. No complaints here!! I think the worst thing would be to not hear from themâ¦ Iâm happy to have them call.
On Friday, Frank and I spent the day at the beach; me listening to music, he flying his kites. Again, that feeling that things werenât the same came creeping up on us. We enjoyed our day and were surprised later in the evening with the arrival of Frank Jr.! He had come to the beach for a free night and to cruise the boardwalk with Dad in tow for a game of Air Hockey. I stayed home and dozed on the couch, happy to know that Dad and his boy were having fun.
THE COFFEE SHOP
The next morning, Sr., Jr. and I decided to go up to the local bagel shop and get some coffee. We walked to the store in the heat and humidity and waited in line to place our order. Sr. spotted the newspaper so he opted out of the line and sat at a table to take a gander at the headlines.
Jr. and I moved up in line and when it came time to order, Jr. muttered what heâd like to me. I jokingly reached my hand to his chin and moved his mouth and said, âHoney, you just say âIâd like a Honey wheat bagel with butter, please!ââ Amused, the woman behind the counter said, âI have to order all the time for my husband, too.â The implication was not lost on Jr. and he began to sputter indignantly and explain to the salesperson that I was NOT his wife, that I belonged to âthat man over thereâ and that I was his MOTHER. The woman behind the counter looked at me and then looked at Jr. and said, âYou are his MOTHER? REALLY?? Really?â then turned to a coworker while I was vigorously nodding my head and said, âHey, come here and look at her. He says sheâs his mother!! I thought they were husband and wifeâ¦what, did you start having babies at 5??â I told her I was going to be 44 in a few days and she did another double take, informing me that she was only a few years older than me. (She looked a lot older- a lesson here ladies, wear your sunscreen and floppy hatsâ¦ the sun is not kind to your skin at times.) Jr. couldnât stop sputtering and feeling somehow offended and I was beaming. I had just had the best birthday present I could have asked for. I was mistaken as being my 22 year old sonâs wife!!
Jr., Sr., and I made sure we played the prerequisite mini golf game that day and we packed up and said farewell to our beach house, expecting to stop by the auto dealership on our way home to look at the coupe, but Iâve already told that story. The true ending to this one is that I finally know what Iâve been wondering for years. My children are my prize, my joy and the biggest part of my life and I treasure my relationship with each one of them. Iâve been so blessed.
Artists…. cats…. is there really much of a difference??
On an unrelated topic- because I seem to be doing that today- I think I settled on a name for my car. When I drove it home from Salisbury, it didn’t seem to feel like a female, but more of a male car. That probably seems strange to most of you, how can a hunk of metal and rubber feel like any kind of gender? But it did, and so I decided to wait and see what his name would be. Coming across the Bay Bridge, the second time in three days, there was a gorgeous sunset and the letter C came to mind. My daughter had been dropped of at college, I bought a coupe, the car is the color of the skies at the beach when I normally go there (gray ‘cuase remember, it always rains!!) – although I love the beach on a gray day – but I still didn’t feel right about the name. So I waited a few more days and then it came to me.. his name is C. Everett. C’mon people,…. you can do it…..
My other cars, just so you know, all told me their names too. I had Gnat (a 63 Corvair) – a little white car, GDN (a 79 Datsun 210) – named for letters in her plate and that I worked for Herb Gordon at the time, Urban Bourbon or the Beast (93 ? Suburban) – named for the size and color, Elle (00 Intrepid) – named for the eleven cents I found in her, Trixie (05 Solara) – named because she was really tricky to drive with multiple blind spots, S’cute (07 Kia) – named because she’s a Sport Cute, as opposed to a Sport Ute, and now C. Everett.
I got this silly habit from my parents… they named their cars too. We had Bessie, Bertha, Prissy, Mean Green, The Jelly Bean and a few others I can’t recall.
When you think about it, your car becomes a member of your family. A trusted companion and worker. You get in it and expect it to go, you learn it’s little quirks and accept them (or not) and you spend time working together in a symbiotic fashion. I like to know the names of the people in my family, and now I do!
For me, Labor Day is not a holiday. It means the day I have to labor!
To be honest, I’m pretty lucky about my job. I mostly work from home – which can be harder than some of you think – and can set my own hours and work schedules, but there are still deadlines and things that have to be done.
I was recently told that I am not allowed to work above a certain amount of hours since I am not full time and that the downtown offices would take over some of my work. I was concerned about the continuity of projects that I had been working on and I guess there was good reason for that.
After giving detailed instructions a month in advance to the downtown offices, I still don’t have a large component to my project and won’t have it until tomorrow…the day I have to present it. Great! The second component of this project are presentation folders. Since material has different levels of priority, I had given explicit instructions as the the order the materials should be presented. Guess what is all wrong. I had additionally asked for extra copies of all the inserts be available, which there are none. I had some prior commitments this past weekend, so this all culminates in today being a holiday that I have to work. GRRRR… And it also makes it so the hours that were trying to be saved by the downtown offices are now going to be partially duplicated as I fix errors.
No time like the present….
It’s been a busy few weeks and I have a few stories to tell, but since I left off with the car hunt, I suppose I should start there.
Obviously I bought the 08 Altima Coupe.
I did go test drive the Mini and if anyone out there is considering this car, make sure you drive both the Cooper and the Cooper S. The Cooper was stiff and then engine seemed to *just* be able to move, but the turbocharged Cooper S was a blast to drive. Literally! That little rocket just took off, and every time it did, it produced a bit of torque steer. Being a nimble little thing, at least 1000 lbs lighter than the Altima, and producing 177 hp, every little movement of the steering wheel produced response. No sloppy steering here. With the combination of a heavy foot and responsive steering, the torque steer seemed to be something I’d have to learn to deal with. I wasn’t really happy with some of the cheap plastic knobs inside, and when we did our test drive, a check engine and check brake alerts came on. Then the windshield wipers went haywire. Our salesperson likened our little car to a cell phone that acts funky if you don’t update the software frequently and you let it sit for awhile. Considering that the dealerships close to me are 45 minutes away, and that I had read a few people’s reviews stating that service was not so good at those dealerships, I had to let the Mini go.
I had to take my daughter to college, so car buying was put on the shelf for a bit, and Libby and I enjoyed some down time at the beach. If you’ve been in Maryland at all this summer, you know that we have had a drought. That’s because I wasn’t at the beach.. forgive me. Next summer I’ll go once a week to assure your crops of rain! It rained the majority of the time I was there with Libs, but that was ok, because we just napped and read and chatted and basically did nothing- which is something new for me.
Me- “Libs, what do you want to do?”
Lib – “Ma, don’t you know how to do nothing? Can’t you just sit still and be??”
Me – “No. But I’ll try.”
I think we had that verbal exchange about 3 times a day.
After getting her into her dorm – a subject for a different blog- I had a few days left at the beach. On the last day, Sean calls me and says I need to go look at a car in Salisbury, so on my way home, I did.
I am not a big fan of silver cars, but this car is a strange gray that looks different all the time. In bright sunlight, it looks like a light gray, when it’s overcast it looks like a storm cloud. It’s just dark enough that I like it.
Long sales story short and multiple trips back and forth between my sales person and sales manager (don’t you just HATE that part) I bought the car and my payments are the same as they were for the Solara. I brought it home through a torrential downpour with bolts of lightning zapping all around and stiff winds and then a traffic jam due to an accident and it performed wonderfully.
Now I’m having fun with the Bose stereo system and the hands free blue-tooth. It’s so cool to just push a button, tell the car to call someone and then chat with them while you are driving down the road as if they were sitting in the seat next to you!
I’m happy with it; now it needs to tell me it’s name.