Monday, August 31, 2009

We're pulling up roots

I'm feeling a bit melancholy today. It's our last day in the area. Tomorrow, September 1st, we will be packing up and heading about 2 hours south of here to be near my daughter. I always feel a little sad when I leave a place that we've stayed at for awhile. I guess my roots are hurting me. This campground is somewhat near our old home, so it's nice to catch up with my friends, and be around familiar surroundings, and to be near family.

I like to walk over to see the moo-cows at the pasture next to the campground whenever I feel like it. Sometimes they come over to see me; other times they ignore me.

I'll miss Tranquility Pond across from us with all the geese. I've learned to walk around their poop. I've gotten used to waking up to their honking as they fly over our trailer.

On the plus side, I'm excited to see my grand daughter, Lily.

That first year just flies by. We'll be spending a month in the area (central Illinois) and then head out October 1st on our way to Albuquerque, NM for the hot air balloon fiesta.

September will fly by, I am sure. Things I will do during this month:

1. Visit Rip's Chicken

2. Hike in Starved Rock State Park

3. Go back up to Northwestern suburbs of Chicago for 11 days of dog-sitting two hounds - one of which is 100 pounds of Marley-and-me mischievous fun loving still a puppy golden retriever; the other a 65 pound on-it's-death-bed Collie. I would only do this for my brother. Lot's of blog fodder, I'm sure. My husband wants no part of this so his is bacherloring it that week and a half, and I'm, well, I'm not exactly alone, am I?

For those of you who signed up to follow me because I travel - starting October we'll be hitting the road and there will be lots of posts about the places we see. Last April we traveled the Natchez Trace, which runs from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. You can read about my travels in the older posts of April and May.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Construction Zone

They say that there are two seasons in Chicago: winter and construction. But it seems that there is construction wherever I go. I find it funny that they have to post the sign:

in advance, warning women drivers so they won't be shocked when they actually see MEN WORKING, causing them to drive off the road.

It's nice to see more and more women working in construction. I wonder if they do this when THEY see a cute guy walking down the street.

I, myself, would feel a little self-conscious standing before God and everybody holding a sign above my head that said, "SLOW".

You might envy the construction workers on a gorgeous day while you're cooped up in a stuffy office, but picture those same workers looking like drowned rats during a downpour.

Did you ever notice that the construction cones

look an awful lot like dunce caps?

And that's exactly what I feel I should be wearing when I'm driving and they change the traffic pattern, especially if I'm leading the pack. What if I'm leading them astray, like a bunch of lemmings off of a cliff?

What if we all get off the exit instead of staying on the highway? I especially hate when I'm driving on a three lane highway that suddenly turns into two lanes - one on the right and one on the left - with a big whopping arrow pointing in both directions. Shit! Shit! Shit! I feel like I'm on Let's Make a Deal and I have to choose between Door #1 and Door #2.

When I see the sign that reads "Dip in the Road", I can't help but think they are somehow referring to me.

Last year, while driving through the mountains, we came across a sign on the side of the road warning us of animals crossing. At first we couldn't identify the animal in the picture. It kind of looked like a horse, yet not so much. We realized it was supposed to be wild mules. I didn't get a picture of the sign, but I was lucky enough to get a quick photo of the mules. It's a little blurry since it was taken out the window going 55 mph.

Here are some interesting signs from across the world of animals to watch out for that are crossing the road:

This is a frill neck lizard in Australia. If I saw one of these crossing the road, I'd turn it into road kill.

This is an elephant crossing sign from Thailand.

This sign is from the United Arab Emirates

This Bigfoot sign is actually located in the United States, I believe in Washington State.

Here's one of a polar bear who didn't read the sign.

In case you are ever in Sweden, this is their version of a dead end sign:

And finally, our fine tax dollars at work.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Which door should I choose?

Okay folks. I am saying it now. I am sick and tired of the cutesy names on the bathroom doors at restaurants. It has gotten way out of control. When it gets to the point that when I go to the bathroom and I have to pause and study the names on the door to figure out what I am before entering, it has got to stop.

One time, while eating at the Outback Restaurant, I needed to use the facilities. To my dismay I was confronted with two doors. One said, “Sheilas”, the other said “Blokes”. I wasn’t quite sure what I was. So I had to rush back to my table and blurted out to my husband, “Quick! What am I? A Sheila or a Bloke?”

“Sheila,” He smirked.

I quickly ran and entered door number one.

Give me the “Ladies” and “Gentlemen” signs, or “Women” and “Men” signs. Heck, I’ll take the universal sign of the lady in the blue dress.

If that is too sexist, we could put the little blue man on the women's door and just add a couple of ta-ta’s to him. I don’t care. But please, please can we do away with these?

Gulls and buoys

Roosters and hens

Setters and pointers

Guys and dolls

Those weren’t too hard to figure out. It’s when you’re in an Italian, German, Spanish, etc. restaurant and the names on the bathroom doors are in a different language. Who can remember back to your high school days of Spanish 1, or German 1? C’mon folks. I need to PEE. Just slap the lady in the blue dress on the door and be done with it.

Here are some bathroom signs from all over the world. They are very inventive. Again. Listen to me people. Blue lady=international sign. It works. Here's even one of the blue lady doing the pee-pee dance. I love it!

I, myself, didn't personally experience these, luckily, because I'd still be standing in front of them with my head to the side thinking, "WTF?"

Here's one from somewhere in Iran:

Here's one in Turkey:


This one truly puzzles me. Top left - proper way to use the toilet. Top right - are those SPLASH lines? So no peeing in the toilet? I guess they want you to use the urinal. Middle left - WHAT? No praying to the porcelain god? You're not allowed to vomit? Middle right - Do you know ANYBODY who sits like that on the toilet? Bottom left - Seriously. Fishing? And exactly WHAT would you be fishing for might I ask? Bottom right - Let me say right now - if a man can balance on one leg and bend over like that and pee AND hit his mark? I would PAY to see that. Because it seems that normal men balanced on two feet have a problem with that.

Obviously only men on Viagra and women with silicone breasts are allowed to enter these restrooms!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

These Hooters are Supersized

I read with laughter Rae’s post about getting a mammogram. I couldn’t resist putting in my two cents worth. My doctor had recommended that I get a baseline mammogram at the age of 40. And I’ve gotten one each year after that. So I speak with experience. Although a mammogram saves lives, I can’t help but think that there’s got to be a better way to check for tumors. This machine is a throwback to the dark ages. It’s cruel and unusual punishment. I’ve always said that this machine had to have been invented by a man. I was right.

According to WikiAnswers.Com, “The current machines being used for mammography compression were issued a patent by the U.S. Patent Office in 1986. The inventors were Patrick Panetta and Jack Wennet.” This is what I think. If, for some reason, we had to check to see if there were cracks in a man’s testicles, believe you me, they would come up with a better machine than slapping those nuts between two pieces of Plexiglas and smooshing them till they are unrecognizable.

Luckily where I go to have mammograms, I’m the only person in the room besides the technician. Unlike Rae, I don’t have to flash anyone. If I had to sit in a regular waiting room without a bra on, in that little top that opens in front? They’d kick me out, thinking I had two puppies sitting on my knees. “NO ANIMALS ALLOWED”, they’d tell me.

It’s bad enough not wearing deodorant or powder that day (you’ll smear up the machine, whatever), but picture the poor technician who has to lift my hot, sweaty boob to put on the plate of the machine. Yuk! I’ve heard from both sides, but I think it’s worse if you have big boobs because there’s more to smash. My friends who are smaller say, “No, it’s worse if you have less, because they stretch to squish SOMETHING."

When that machine comes down on your boob, you think, “Oh, that’s not too bad.” Then it continues pushing more and more until your boob is unrecognizable. Similar to those old cartoons where the character gets run over flat, I feel like my boobs are so flat that I have to shake, shake, shake, till they get back to their normal size again.

Remember when you donated blood you used to get a little sticker that read, “Be kind to me today. I donated blood,”? I’m a firm believer that all women should receive a sticker after a mammogram that reads, “Be kind to me today. I’ve just had my tits flattened by a freakin’ machine!”

One time, while having the test done, the technician said, “Would you hold your other boob out of the way?”

I quipped, “Sorry, they’re a pair and they go everywhere together!”

I’ve gone to the same technician for years. Her name is Lana. She’s very nice, and as gentle as allowed. After my mammogram she told me that they were moving to a new building. She handed me her card with her new number on it and told me that if I wanted her, I could request her to do the test. Great, I thought.

The next year rolled around quickly and it was time to make the appointment. I called the new building to set it up. The woman on the phone said, “Okay, I must ask you, how large are your breasts?”

“Excuse me?” I said.

“Well, are you larger than a 38B?”

“Um, yeah.”

“I’m sorry, but we can’t take care of you here. Our machine isn’t large enough for you.”


I guess she could tell by my stunned silence that she needed to give me more information.

“Yes, well, you see, when they ordered the machine for the new building, they ordered one with the smaller plate, so we can’t accommodate larger breasted women.”

(In my head I’m already thinking of starting a group - BBWU – Big Breasted Women Unite, to protest.)

The woman continues, “They can service you at the blah, blah, blah facility. They have a bigger machine there.”

So now I have to SUPERSIZE my mammogram. Who knew?


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Some mornings it's just not worth gnawing through the straps

In a recent post I talked about some of the “behind the scenes” happenings of the library. Now let’s talk about the patrons. Oh yeah. First of all, don’t get me wrong. I loved working with the public. Most days. The majority of people were friendly, were happy to be at the library, some were even happy to see ME. In fact, I grew quite close to a few regular patrons. But then there were those who demanded special treatment because they were a) rich b)a doctor, lawyer, or such or c) a prick. Oops, sorry, that just came out. I am not proud to admit that I cried a few times. Yeah. Like I’ve said before, I am a wuss. But, I still loved working at the library, and enjoyed the public. Here are just some of the odd people that crossed our threshold:

On an extremely cold day in the dead of winter, a man came up to the counter soon after the library had opened. He wore a green army jacket, zipped up. “I was here a little while ago with my friend, but I didn’t think you’d let my friend in the library,” he said.

“Why wouldn’t I let your friend into the library?” I asked him curiously.

“Well, he’s a parrot.”

Come again?

“You’re right. I WOULDN’T have let your friend in the library. And why would you even have your bird out in this cold weather to begin with?” (After those words escaped my lips I realized how they sounded.) I eyed his zipped up jacket thinking he was going to open it and show me his parrot, but he just shook his head and walked away. Oookay.

There was another patron, let’s call him “Dan”, who I knew somewhat, that would come in to the library quite often. When Dan lost his job, he’d stop in almost daily and pick up movies, cd’s, etc. One day Dan was walking into the library. It was cooler out so he wore a jacket. A librarian, Virginia, (hi, Virginia) was following him into the building when she noticed a pair of eyes spying out of Dan’s collar looking at her.

“Um, excuse me,” Virginia said to Dan, stopping him. “Is that an ANIMAL in your coat?”

“Yeah,” Dan replied. “It’s my pet rat.” Like that was the most natural thing in the world.

“You can’t bring it into the library!” Virginia said incredulously.

“But I bring him everywhere with me,” Dan whined. What? Is he for real?

“NO ANIMALS ALLOWED.” Virginia said firmly.

I think back to all those times Dan came to the library with a coat on. Yikes! If he had that damn rat with him, and IF that damn rat jumped on the check-out counter, I simultaneously would have peed my pants and screamed at the top of my lungs.

We had two libraries in our town; a large main one, and a small branch. One day a mom and her son walked into the branch library carrying a small cage with a hamster inside. She must have held the cage low to her side because she got by the reference desk. It was bad enough that they brought the hamster to the library, but when they took it out of the cage to let it run around, that was really pushing it! When asked why she brought the hamster to the library she replied, “Because it’s so little, we didn’t want to leave it home alone.” It’s a freakin’ HAMSTER, lady! She was told “NO ANIMALS ALLOWED.” Can you believe this same woman showed up at the main library just a few days later with the hamster in tow? Luckily the same librarian was working and nipped that baby in the bud as soon as the lady walked through the door. I was beginning to wonder if someone had switched our library sign on the building to PETSMART.

There was another patron who I nicknamed, “Mr. Potato Head”, because one day he came up to the Circulation Desk and asked us how to cook a potato in the oven and then in the microwave. This man did seem a little simple minded, so I shouldn’t make fun of him. It was just interesting to see what questions he would come up with. One day he asked the reference librarian how he could stop the spaghetti sauce from splattering all over the stove when he warmed it up. She replied, “Keep the heat low and put a lid on the pot.” You could just see the light bulb go on over his head. Another day he came up to the Circ Desk and said he had a problem and needed our help. He was overweight, and I immediately thought maybe he couldn’t bend over to get a book on the bottom shelf. My co-worker agreed to help him, before finding out the situation. He said, “I’m having a problem with my heel.” I thought he meant with his shoe. Nooo. He took OFF his shoe, and his sock, and showed us this big, gaping blister that had popped. It was really gross. My co-worker felt obliged to help him since she already agreed. So she applied a bandage to his boo-boo. Afterwards I dragged her into the backroom and made her scrub her hands.

When a patron requested a book and it came in for them, we would give them a call. One day I had to call this elderly gentleman. I started out the call by saying the name of the library, and because it was the branch, I had to add “Eastgate Branch”. The man was hard of hearing. He said, “What? What’s that? Do I speak French? Well, I used to know a little French when I was younger, but I don’t remember any now.” I tried not to laugh, thinking – who would just answer that question if someone you didn’t know called you on the phone? I practically shouted that I was from the library and that a book came in for him. He said, “Why are you asking me if I speak French?” I wanted to slap my head!

All in all, my time at the library was enjoyable. And between the crazy patrons, the nice patrons, and all those books, it was a great fit. But I quit the job to go on the road with my husband. Here we are, four years later and still living in our “candominium.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Watery Wednesday

This photo was taken while riding a boat on Canyon Lake in Arizona. It was a gorgeous day with a slight breeze. I was on a tour boat that takes you through the canyons. We got a glimpse of some mountain goats high up on the rim. What an enjoyable time!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

So many books, so little time

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."

Dr. Seuss

I love to read, and my love for the library started when I was old enough to get my own card. It had a small metal plate in it, engraved with my card number. (This is not my original card, alas that one is long gone.)

The card was inserted in a small machine, then cards were pulled from each book that I checked out and also inserted in the machine. They were stamped with my card number on them and filed away under the due date.

When I was old enough to walk to the library on my own, my best friend, Kim, and I would each kick a stone all the way there (about 8 blocks), leave our stones near the front door of the library, each take out a book, and then kick our stones all the way home. (We lived on the edge, didn’t we?) We’d both finish our books by morning, and start off for the library again.

After I got married, whenever I moved somewhere new, one of the first things I did was register for a library card. It didn't matter that I was new to the area; the library always felt like home.

About ten years ago, I got my dream job of working in a library. I had the advantage of seeing all the new books that came in – and it certainly gave me a high. It was like a drug addict being surrounded by pills. I’d have anywhere from 16-20 books checked out at once. Sometimes I’d spread them all over my bed as I sat amongst them, flipping through the pages, that SMELL of new books wafting up to my nostrils, stacking the books in the order that I had to read them. It was titillating to get a book in from a favorite author that I had put on “hold”.

Oh-boy, that just made my day. My husband enjoyed the perks of his wife working at the library, too. I’d pick up every new Sci-Fi book that came across the desk.

I respect all books, whether they belong to the library or not. I would NEVER, EVER bend the corner of a page to mark my spot. And I hope that you wouldn’t either! You would be surprised what people use for bookmarks, though! Over the course of several years, I’ve seen toilet paper (gee, I wonder where they were reading at the time), tampon wrappers (eww, gross), and even floss. One time we found a piece of cheese. Thank goodness it was the kind that was individually wrapped! Another time a patron used an advertisement as a bookmark asking, “Is your penis too small? Are you satisfying your partner?” It was SO tempting not to take out a magnifying glass and say, “MAY I HELP YOU?”, when he came up to the counter to check out. Another book was turned in with a condom wrapper (open, empty) stuck to the back of the book. I guess he did a little reading after sex instead of the usual cigarette. The best was when we found $200 still in the bank envelope tucked inside a book. We looked up who had checked out the book and found the patron still in the library. It was a young mother of several kids. She was so relived! She told us that her toddler had taken the envelope off of her dresser and “hid” it somewhere. She had been afraid to tell her husband!

And finally, a man walked into the library one day with a tall stack of books. He dropped them into the book drop that was built right into the circulation desk. I reached down into the bin and began to take the items out so that I could check them in. The first item was a book on tape. My hand slid across the top of it – there was some brown stuff smeared across the front. For some unknown reason, I smelled my hand, I guess thinking it was chocolate. I yelled, “That’s not CHOCOLATE, that’s DOG SHIT!” My voice echoed in our small library. I was working with my boss at the time. He fell to the ground laughing so hard. I didn’t mean to yell it, but I was so surprised by that. Tell me this – if you dropped a book in a pile of shit, wouldn’t you know it when you went to pick it up? C’mon!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Do they make water wings for adults?

I was reading Wendy's post about facing your fears. One of my biggest fears is water. Don’t get me wrong. I bathe and everything like that. It’s bodies of water that I tend to stay away from. Then, of course, there’s the whole bathing suit issue. That in itself is freaking scary. But back to the water issue. Growing up we didn’t go to the lake very often. In fact, I think we went twice. My parents couldn’t afford to pay for swimming lessons so I didn’t learn how to swim in either case. There was a town pool that I went to a few times, but mainly to sun bathe. If I did go in the water, it was only at the shallow end.

My high school had an indoor pool, and for some reason, it was a requirement to learn how to swim to graduate. Why they thought this was a necessity, I’ll never know. The pool looked huge to me. Maybe not Olympic size, but still. Big. Freakin' big to a non-swimmer.

I absolutely HATED those nine weeks of swimming. It wasn’t bad if it was the last class of the day, but if it was the first – it was tough to get your hair just so in the five minutes you had to change before the bell rang. We had to wear swimming caps (this is a LONG time ago) and we’d use all different tricks, like putting our hair up in a rubber band, then put a plastic bag on our head, then Vaseline around the edge of our face, then finally the cap. The Vaseline was used to create a “seal” so as not to let any water inside the cap. Maybe if we had these bathing caps, they would have worked better.

Or at least take the attention away from the sad state of affairs of the bathing suits. We had to grab whatever suit was available, and usually they were too large and often had holes in them. We had to cleverly tie knots in them to prevent body parts from falling out. It was a real bummer if there was a fire drill during swimming. You HAD to go outside, wrapped in a towel. It was SO embarrassing. Could you imagine? AND the boys swam in the NUDE. Yes, absolutely true. Now THAT is embarrassing! I’m sure there was a LOT of shrinkage involved!

Hmmm, where was I? Sorry, I had visions of sugar plums dancing in my head. Oh, yeah, swim class. We were excused from swimming if we had our “friend”. Sometimes our “friend” visited us more than once a month. The teachers didn’t seem to notice. We could sit on the bleachers and do our homework, or just sit and gossip, while the other poor saps had to get wet.

Wednesdays were “Free Swim” days where we could do whatever we wanted in the water. One day I took a small kickboard and kicked around the pool. Somehow the board got away from me and I was in deeper water than I anticipated. I started going under and a classmate came to the rescue. She put her arm expertly under my chin and towed me to safety. I stayed close to the 3 feet after that.

I was in the Beginner’s Class. To pass the class I had to jump into the 9 foot section, swim to the 5 foot, turn over, and do the back stroke all the way back to the 9 foot again. I was scared out of my mind. I had no choice but to take the test. I put my nose plug on (what a looker I was) took a deep breath, said a silent prayer and jumped in. Amazingly I passed the test! I thought it was the end of my swimming days.

Unfortunately, this meant the next year I was put into Advanced Beginners. Oh-ho, we’re moving up now. Mrs. Ditmer, the gym teacher, had us all line up on the side of the pool, from 9 feet down to 5 feet. She told us to count off 1, 2, 3, 4….1, 2, 3, 4…..1, 2, 3, 4….etc. I was a number 1. Then she told all the number 1’s to get into the water. Did I mention that I forgot my nose plug? Yeah. So I’m shaking like a hairless Chihuahua on a cold winter night I’m so scared and I get in the water. Mrs. Ditmer tells us to tread the water. Sooo, I’m treading the water. My head is above water, I’m not drowning, life is good. She comes walking along the side of the pool and tells me that I’m treading water the wrong way. That I need to spread my arms out more. Well I’m thinking, “hey, it’s working, isn’t it?” But, I listen to her and start doing it the way she tells me to. Suddenly, I start to go under water. Then I begin to panic. My heart is pounding. I start coughing. Save myself, I think! So I grab the heads of the girls on either side of me and PUSH THEM DOWN to help me up out of the water! Yeah. You don’t ever want to be around me on a boat if it goes over. It's every woman for herself. Mrs. D had to get the big hook out for the drowning sissy girl in the pool. Funny how I don’t remember anything else from that swim class. It’s all a blur to me.

So being how I almost drowned twice, I definitely am afraid of water. I don’t even like walking near the deep end of the pool. If I go to the ocean, I will only walk in MAYBE up to my waist. I am so afraid of the waves. I was afraid of tsunamis even before they were popular. When we camp near the ocean, I lie awake at night worrying that a big tsunami is going to come and wash us all away. Do you think I have issues or what?

I envy people who can just dive into the pool and swim laps. I just don’t think it will ever be me. Or at least in this lifetime. Unless I miraculously turn into one of these.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Gone too soon

It’s funny how you can go about your life, day by day, going through the motions, then life throws you a sucker punch right in the gut. It takes your breath away. Then your life becomes divided into everything before that day, and everything after. One of my best friends died last week from a massive heart attack. Gone. Just like that. She was only 52 years old. We had been together exactly one week ago from her death. Little did I know that when I hugged her goodbye that it would be the last time I would see her alive.

Jan and I had been friends for well over 18 years. We met through our children – we both had 2 – a boy and a girl. But the opposite sexes were the same ages, so our kids didn’t become fast friends; just we did.

We’d been through a lot of tough times together: the loss of my parents, the death of her father, a very messy divorce on her part, and an estrangement from her daughter. We remained friends no matter where she lived – when she had to sell her house after the divorce and move into an apartment in the next town, and when she bought a town home and moved back into our town. We stayed in touch once I sold my house, and began traveling around the country in my trailer.

But most of the time we were together we just had fun. We would laugh and laugh. Jan had a great laugh and a great smile. We both loved nature – plants, animals, the ocean, the beach, sunshine. We both loved to read and compared books we were reading and favorite.

We loved to stroll through cemeteries and read the old grave stones. Sometimes we’d just sit amongst them and talk. Jan loved to hear true ghost stories and wanted desperately to go to a graveyard at night. I was too chicken to do it.

Jan was the person I’d watch scary movies with. We’d get a large bucket of popcorn and our drinks, hunker down in the darkened theater, and inevitably I’d either have to scream, grab Jan’s leg or hand, or even slap her (which I’d been known to do) during the scary parts. That always set Jan off to laughing during the movie. On our last night together I told Jan how I had taped several scary movies off of my DVR. She said that she couldn’t wait and we’d have to set up a date to watch them.

For some reason, we got on the subject of doctors and appointments, and she informed me that she was never going to have a pap smear or mammogram because if they ever found anything, that she wasn’t planning to do anything about it. I thought about that a lot after she died.

We also talked about her visiting me in Arizona this winter – she really wanted to come out last year but didn’t make it. I bugged her about it because I knew she would love Arizona with its mountain views, warm weather, and interesting cacti plants.

When I got the call that Jan had passed away, it was surreal. She had no signs of being sick; or at least she didn’t tell anyone if she did. I’m glad that she didn’t suffer. I’ve seen too many family members struggle with cancer in their last years.

I feel cheated that Jan was taken at such a young age. We had so many things yet to do together! But I will carry her in my heart, and I know she will be watching over me from heaven. Maybe if I’m lucky, I might hear that great laugh of hers every once in awhile. I know I will think of her when I walk along the shore of the beach, or when there is a beautiful sunset. She was a great friend, and I will miss her dearly.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Laundry Room - Drop your drawers here

I will never forget it you know. I was hangin' out my laundry the other day, minding my own goddamn business, when my girlfriend Clemintine leaned over the picket fence. She said to me, "Soph, how come you always know when to hang out your laundry, and don't get stuck in the rain like the rest of us do?"

I said to her, "Clemintine, it's a perfectly simple proposition. When I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is roll over and look at my boyfriend Ernie. If it's laying on the right, I know it's going to be a sunny day. If it's laying on the left, I know it's gonna rain."

Clemintine said to me, "Soph, suppose it's standing straight up in the middle?"

I said to her, "Clemintine, who the hell wants to do laundry on a day like that anyway?"

Bette Midler

Today is Wednesday. We did laundry today. What is so unusual about that? Well, in our house, laundry day is THURSDAY. My husband is a creature of habit. If we should stray from that schedule, he’s not too happy. First of all, he usually runs out of underwear. Last week I made plans to go out on Thursday.

“So, okay, I’m meeting Barb for lunch tomorrow, and then we’re going to the show. Alright with you?” I ask my husband although I really don’t care what his answer is - I’m just being polite in telling him my plans. (Since we only have one vehicle, the other person is stuck at home.)

“Uh,” Hubby says, trying to look stern, “it’s Thursday.”

“Yeah, so?” I reply, knowing full well where he’s going with this.

“We have to do laundry.”

“We can do it on Friday. No big deal.”

“But I don’t have any more underwear,” he whined.

Hey, look, who ever heard of having EXACTLY 7 pairs of underwear? Shouldn’t you at LEAST have one extra pair IN CASE OF AN ACCIDENT?

Every week we go into town to the local Laundromat and do all our laundry. We also collect our weekly mail that is sent to the local post office from our mail service. Most campgrounds have washers and dryers, but usually not enough for us to get done in one fell swoop. So, at least when we’re at this campground where we usually stay all summer, we head into town. On Thursdays. But not last week. I told my husband that if he couldn’t wait another day, that he could wash a load of whites at the campground so he could have clean underwear.

So I went out with my friend, with no guilty conscience. I didn’t think once about my husband’s dirty underwear. In fact, it didn’t cross my mind till the next morning when we were sorting the dirty laundry.

“Did you wash a load of clothes yesterday?” I asked him.

“No,” he said
“Well, what are you doing for underwear?”

“I’m wearing the same pair I wore yesterday.”

Ew. I sure hope he at least turned them inside out. Or that we don’t get in an accident.

Aside from the cost, I really don’t mind going to the Laundromat; it’s great to get all the wash done at the same time AND lickety-split, too. It’s true that my eyes glaze over when I slip that $5, $10, or even $20 bill in the bill changer, and listen to all those quarters rushing out. I pretend it’s a slot machine in Vegas and that I just hit it BIG. CHING CHING CHING CHING CHING! YES! I love that rush that I feel! Oh, wait, that’s right. I’m STILL in the Laundromat. Back to reality.

They now have these super-duper wash machines that take three loads at once. They are pretty reasonable, too. Only $4, whereas a single load is $2.25. Now, I’m not very good at math, but even I know that’s a good deal. Here's a picture of the mother lode. This one washes a gazillion loads at once. Ok, maybe not that many, but at least 4 or 5. It costs $9.

In a previous post I talked about some of my idiosyncrasies. I have some about the laundry, too. (surprise, surprise). It really does go against my grain to put my sheets, towels, AND whites all into one honking machine, but for the sake of saving money, I do it. When the clothes come out of these washers, they are compacted so close together and I like to shake out each particle of clothing. If my husband had his druthers, he’d just roll out the large ball and shove it into a dryer. {sigh} I have to put my hand up and say, “Wait”, which he does, while I pull each piece of wet clothing out. I separate my shirts that I need to take out of the dryer in 10 minutes, put my bras aside, etc. I tell him how many dryers to use. My husband is a VERY tolerant man. So after everything is moved to the dryers, we physically move to that section of the Laundromat. We usually have books that we’ve brought, my purse, two laundry baskets, and our mail.

So now the dryers begin to stop, one after another. We try to get Jim’s shirts out right away because he usually doesn’t take the time to iron them (unless it’s a special occasion). Again, and I know it’s me and my “hang-ups”, I have to give the shirt a brisk shake first, then make sure the sleeves are right side out, THEN I hand it to my husband. He hangs HIS shirts on hangers. He doesn’t button the shirts. THIS BOTHERS ME. Why? They’re not MY shirts. But they don’t hang straight on the hanger. I try to ignore the mess hanging there. He already knows not to fold my underwear. I was tired of him folding them inside out. I mean, c’mon, is that asking too much? I have the tagless kind of underwear (now you know) so I don’t know if he just couldn’t SEE the tag, or just didn’t care.

We have one set of sheets (for lack of space in the trailer) so we take them off the bed each week, wash them, and put them right back on. So Jim doesn’t understand what the fuss is about in folding the sheets perfectly since they are going right back on the bed. I see his point. But it BOTHERS me if we fold the sheets INSIDE OUT. We don’t fold the sheets perfect, by any means. Watch this video on how to fold a perfect sheet. She makes it look so damn easy.

Jim is pretty good at folding the towels the same way I do. I have to give him credit for that. {smile} When we’re done with all the laundry, I like to put the same kind of items in the laundry basket. I start with the sheets, the all the towels, then rugs. The other basket is for our pants, shorts, underwear, etc. You know I’m not happy if Jim should mix things up in these baskets. I know I should loosen up a little, but when you live in 400 square feet, you really try to keep things in order. And it’s hard. Really hard.

But there is comfort in doing the weekly ritual of the wash, listening to the hum of the dryers. I love the warmth of the clothes as they come out of the dryer, their fresh smell wafting up to my nose. I only wish I had a clothesline that I could hang out my laundry – nothing can replace the smell of sunshine on the sheets.

Observations from a lawn chair Part II

Autumn can’t be too far away. I spied this leaf in the grass right on my site. Isn’t it beautiful? It looks like lace, doesn’t it?

I was outside typing for my blog, when I heard this constant chirping. It sounded like a baby bird. I scanned the grass around me and spied this little momma sparrow feeding her baby who squawked constantly! I thought, “My God, give her a break, will ya?” And as you can tell by the pictures, the baby is BIGGER than the mother. I KNOW! What’s THAT all about! The baby would chirp, chirp, chirp, and the mother constantly looked for food to satisfy her baby.

I took a walk to see my moo-cows and say hello. There are a lot of babies this year. This little guy either didn’t care that his sibling was lying there, or he’s clumsy because he stepped over him and tripped. The other calf didn’t even pay attention to him.

I took about 100 pictures of a momma cow bathing her baby the other night. The poor calf was soaking wet in spit. That’s talking it one step too far than spitting on a Kleenex and wiping your kid’s face with it!

As I mentioned before, we have a lot of bull frogs in the pond across from us. I’m trying to get some pictures with shutter priority for a photography class I’m taking. I thought it would be great if I had some photos of the frogs jumping across the pond. So I set up my camera on a tripod and zoomed in on the frogs. Here are a bunch of them just hanging out.

Usually if I walk along the edge of the pond the frogs let out a little squeak and leap into the pond. So I figured that if I were to throw some stones into the area where these guys were hanging out, they’d leap they’re little hearts out. Wrong. I grabbed a couple of stones. Threw them near the area. Nothing. What the heck. I stamped my feet. Nothing. I pretended I was walking in the grass. Real loud like. Nothing. I don’t have a remote for my camera so I couldn’t go far from it. I’d slowly move the tripod closer to the frogs. Some would jump. One frog refused to move.

I called him Brutus and pleaded for him to jump so I could get his picture. I finally edged the tripod closer and he jumped but I wasn’t ready. @###$$##$#!! So I have to engage my husband into this experiment and set up the tripod and camera and then have him walk along the pond.

I like the way the feather caught on these daises.

Or this specimen of a feather left after a good preening from a goose.

I was surprised to find this guy in the pond. I think he’s a crayfish/crawfish. Isn’t he? He’s a big boy - about two inches long!

And guess who decided to grace us with his presence? I was so excited to see this gentle giant at the pond later in the day. He has an awkward walk, almost as if he’s sneaking up on somebody.

In this photo he’s leaning so far back that it looks like he’s playing limbo, but without the stick!

So I did leave my lawn chair for a little spell, but these were still observations nearby.