Category Archives: Boston

Go Faster! Hurry! Outta My Way!

I lived in Southeast Alaska for 20 years, where there isn’t a rush hour, there are rush minutes.  It doesn’t take an hour to go 15 miles.  In fact, there were only 40 miles of road before you ran out of road where I lived.  Of those 40 miles only 9 could be considered a true highway, meaning two lanes in each direction.

Every day now that I live in the suburbs of a big city and work in The City, I spend a ridiculous amount of time in my car going to and from work.  I spend a lifetime in my car.  It is the practice of patience.

Now, I love my car.  I brought my car with me from Alaska.  He’s been to Alaska.  He’s been to Florida.  Now he’s in Massachusetts.  He’s perfect for me.  I can see over the hood.  I can reach the pedals.  I can reach over and unlock the passenger door without effort. There’s not much to him.

In fact, he didn’t come with anything fancy…

No automatic door locks.

He has hand crank windows.

No radio (had to have one installed)

No beep beep to unlock him.

No rear window wiper.

No seat warmers, GPS or USB plugs.

What he does have is a great spunky attitude, cause his name is Norman and he is Absolutely Red.

How do I know he’s is a boy?

Stick shift.

Of course, when I take him into the doctor’s office for a check up, they always get a chuckle and laugh.  “Oh, you drive a unicorn.”  Well.  I guess you could say that too.  He is a rare, mythical being.

For a 3-door hatch back, that you could almost park in a 4 yard commercial dumpster, Norman gets around.  When we brought him up from Florida, he was packed with quite a lot of our household goodies.  Nobody could be believe all this fit in my Norman.

(Note: Cat not included, she arrived separately.)IMG_0312

The other thing great about Norman is winter driving.  Granted, he isn’t going to be climbing Mt. Washington any time soon, he’s not a Subaru…..let’s not get crazy.  But, weigh him down with 150 pounds of cat litter in the back and no problem!  Did I mention Norman is coming up on his 11th winter?  He’s the bomb at winter driving.  Small but mighty!

The one thing however, that is NOT Norman’s speciality is speed.  Well, it depends on where you live.  Speed for Alaska, Norman was a champion.  Speed for Miami we managed as it was mostly giant highways and we just had to stay out of the way.  Easy enough. Speed for Boston, there isn’t enough highway and way too many people.  Mostly angry, impatient people.

Norman can go 80mph.  In fact, he could go 90mph.  He doesn’t like it and will tell you all about it with a rattle and hum.  His comfortable maximum cruising speed is 70mph.

When Norman reaches 70mph, that’s when he has to call in the reinforcements.  The squirrels…. to back up the little chipmunks that normally power the car.  When you have to ring up the squirrels, it’s never a good thing cause they’re usually in the middle of their bocce ball game, taking bets on who is going to beat Marge and Harry.  Then you have to bribe them with extra peanuts, which they don’t take, they want walnuts and not just any walnuts…they want the good ones with the gold star from California.

Now here’s the thing driving in Boston.  It’s three to four lane highways.  It doesn’t matter if we’re going into The City for work, going home from work, going to the volunteer at the animal sanctuary on the weekends….Norman and I are smart enough to know.

Stay to the right.

We aren’t the fastest.  We’re not fooling anybody.   Can’t you see, I’m actually leaning forward in my seat a little to try and go faster?

I’ll be damned.

Without fail however.

It doesn’t matter.

I always get someone behind me.

A Lexus.

A Honda.

A (insert brand here) pick up truck.

A BMW.

A commercial van of sorts.

Who is insistent on riding my bumper.

Now this is what I alway say out loud.  “If you look to your left, there are three other lanes to choose from over there.  Look at all that space over there!  What makes you think by choosing to ride my ass, it’s going to make all of us go faster?  News flash….I’m in a Yaris.”

Then it dawned on me.  Apparently, Norman has magically powers.

Obviously these City people think Norman has The Power….maybe it’s because he’s a mythical Unicorn….but they think he has The Power….to control highway speed.

To date, my little Norman, the Absolutely Red Toyota Yaris, has yet to transform into a  Ferrari.  If he does, I’ll let you know.  Until then, we’ll continue to ride on the right….more power Marge and Harry!

 

 

 

 

Drama of Apartment Hunting

We thought we might want to move into a new apartment.  Save some more money, move into a location that has more green area and basically go see what’s out in the wide world of Massachusetts apartments .  We’ve been in our current location for 3 years, but our rent keeps going up and it’s a bit absurd….so we thought we’d go look.

In reality, we miss thunderstorms.  Where we live now, we’re a weather vortex.  No thunderstorms.  Very little snow.  Notta.  In three years, I can count on one hand how many thunderclaps we’ve had here.  Everyone else gets them, but not us.  After studying the weather patterns, it’s obvious we need to move north or west.

So there you have it….the search is on for a thunderstorm location.

I have been using an online app that allowed me to filter by every requirement imaginable:

Location, cost, allowable pets, travel time to work, a/c in unit, how many bedrooms… etc.

On the weekend, we set off with a list of 6 apartments, we visited 5.  Came home with one potential.  Out of the others, the 6th location’s office was closed due to a showing and we waited but they didn’t return.  I was okay with this as one set of homies were hanging out in the back of a pick up truck and the another set of homies were having a party in the commons.  The other three, as you may guess, provided blog material that I couldn’t make up.

Let me walk you through the contestants.  Mind you, on the app, these looked like winners!  And yes, the communities have had their names changed to protect the innocent, or not so innocent…so it appeared.

Contestant #1: Castle in the Woods.  Going north of town…the online description was lovely.  You could even rent units that had a turret!  I want a turret.  We arrived and proceeded to do our customary drive through the development.

All the buildings were set within a wooded development.  It was a very cute tudor style concept.  We drove around and around.  Kids playing in the pool.  Several areas for grilling with picnic tables.  A few people of various nationalities walking around the development.

We go to the office, explain our requirement:

  1.  Washer and dryer in the unit
  2.   Access to outside via balcony for The Girls
  3.   Air conditioning

Everything else we can kinda work around, but these are must haves, without question.  Without these, we don’t move forward.

We are then taken on a tour of an available 2 bedroom apartment. Great, one is available, so this is perfect, as looking at the model is never ideal.  As we make our way over to the unit, the manager tells us, “All 2 bedrooms with w/d are on the first floor.” By first floor, I mean, subterrain.  Yes, as in underground.  This defeats our number 2 requirement of, “we have to have a porch or balcony for The Girls.”

Huh.  Okay.  We proceed into the building where you could have popped open the “security door” with a screw driver.  Inside the apartment, the laminate floors were bubbling up and the musty/mildew smell hit you like the odor of strong blue cheese.  Not to mention the rotting wood on the outside of the building.

We inquire when the buildings were constructed.  1971.  Oh, so these are retro original designs?  Great.

Upon the conclusion of the tour, we get back into the car and I’m trying to be somewhat positive about the whole experience.  “Well it had a lot of cabinet space.  We could make the stackable washer and dryer work.”  The Mister looks at me after awhile and says, “It was a shit hole.”

Whew, what a relief, cause I didn’t want to live there.

Contestant #2: Fields of Fancy.  We next drive to the location,  west of the city, as I had found a cute little development that had HUGE balconies.  Perfect for The Girls.   The website mentioned newly renovated interiors and the property is next to a big state park!  Sounds perfect.

We make the 45 minute drive, from the northern apartment hunting locations and drive through the development for first inspections.  Several red lights begin to flash in my mind:

  • Some units have curtains that are sheets or blankets – not usually a good sign.
  • There’s also some screens on the ground and some rain gutters as well.  Warning sign number two in my book.

However, we drove all the way over, so it’s worth stopping in to at least check it out so we can say we saw them.

After a few minutes, we find the leasing office, park the car and make our way inside.

  • Warning sign number 3 shot through the air like a flare,  when we saw the note posted on the door indicating that access to the pool was an additional charge.  What?

We go inside anyway.

The leasing agent currently has someone at her desk and the resident is very upset.  The Mister and I try to give them some privacy, which is hard to do, when you’re standing in an office area as big as an elevator car.  Luckily they had a coffee area off to the side, so we made our way over there to view the floor plans that were posted on the wall.  The Mister proceeds to make a coffee and the conversation begins unfolding like a movie.

His concerns went something like this:

“If you don’t do something.  If something happens to my wife.   If something happens to my dogs.  I will sue this entire company.  I am calling the police!  I will bring ICE in here and haul out the illegals by the truck load!”

At this point, I look at THE Mister, shake my head and tell him NO.  He says, “I’m not going until I get my coffee.”

The resident continues, “My wife’s right bumper of her car has already been pulled off and there is a scratch on her car!  She is a legal resident of the United States.  I am going to sue this place if anything happens to her or our dogs.  I even spoke to the woman who lives downstairs and she’s happy I’m doing something because those guys in the car are nothing but trouble.  I will bring ICE in here!”

I give The Mister the look again. This is getting awkward.  We need to go before we become part of something.

Without looking back, we make our way to the door and exit.  The Mister, with his coffee in hand, of course.

We get to the car, The Mister advises, the coffee is nothing but dark colored water….and he dumps it out.

Obviously,  Fields of Fancy is a big nope.

Contestant #3: Welcome to Paradise. Another western development, that looked gorgeous online and was advertised as spacious homes was Welcome to Paradise.  All two bedrooms faced a green belt, it’s near the commuter rail, has granite kitchens, theatre room on site etc.  I truly thought, this could be a good possibility.

However, when we pulled up, we should have taken our cue when an unattended car, left in reverse, rolled into one of the employees’ cars….which rolled into a resident’s car….and dented the shit out of it.  But you know, accidents happen.

We were off to a great start.  They have limited 2 bedrooms come open due to their popularity – a good sign.  But they may have something when we are looking to move.  The agent advises she does have one unit open for viewing, A9, the new tenants are due to move in next week, so it’s currently vacant.  It’s the exact floor plan we’re interested in so we can quickly go view it.

Fantastic!  She advises, “since the last tenant has just moved out and the new ones have not yet moved in, we haven’t turned it yet, so it will be a little messy.”  By turning it, she means they haven’t had the professional cleaner come into the apartment yet to prep for the new tenants.  Not to worry, we won’t care.

The three of us head over to the building next door and head up to the 9th floor to see the unit.  It’s like going to a fancy hotel.  Very she-she.  You walk into the main lobby and they have a big round reception table with flowers and then a bank of elevators behind that.  On the 9th floor, we get off and step on plush carpet and the walls are a beige and royal blue color – very nicely chosen.  I think, I could do this.  Very nice.

Once at A9, the agent knocks on the door, just to make sure and then inserts the key.  She opens the door and the first thing that catches our eye is a Whole Foods shopping bag.

?

She opens the door a bit more and yells out, “Hello?!  Welcome to Paradise management, is anyone here?”

She opens the door a bit further and we see several pairs of shoes and flip flops and an areas obviously set up for a baby.

?

Then a voice comes from the back of the apartment, “Yes?”

The agent says, “I’m with Welcome to Paradise management, is it okay if we enter?”

The voice and now person, who is a young man…with baby crying in a bedroom in the back somewhere says “Yes.”

I look at The Mister and think, “SQUATTERS!”   Then I take a step back and think, “We aren’t really going to go in are we?”

Next thing I know the agent it going in and apparently so are we.

OMG.

The previously tenants very obviously had NOT moved out at the end of their lease, 3 days ago.  This gentleman had apparently been sleeping, by the looks of it and was caught completely off guard.

Not to mention, so are we!

Here we were standing in his hallway as the agent explained the layout of the apartment.

All I could think was:

  1.  I’ve never seen so many pots and pans in my life piled up in a kitchen.
  2. I don’t know what to say.
  3. I don’t even know where to look.
  4. Could the earth open up and swallow me?

We get past the pot & pan collection center, to the living room area and all I could utter was, “it’s remarkable how spacious it appears.”  Then I wandered over to the sliding glass door to look outside.  Yep, there’s trees out there.

At that point, the agent advised we wouldn’t be seeing the bedrooms.  Heavens no, I thought.  This poor man is about to have a coronary right here on the spot.

We all thank him and go back to the hall.  She locks the door and then we all look at each other, “Well that was awkward.”

While I can’t say that our apartment hunting was a failure, it gave us some great stories and we found one possibility up north!  Most people would only be lucky enough to experience just ONE of these experiences on an apartment hunting mission.  Leave it to us…..we get multiples.

I’m almost afraid as to what will happen the next time we go in search of our next nest.  We are creating the next list, stand by.

 

 

 

 

Chatting with a Cow Named Gail

I volunteer at a local farm animal rescue called, Maple Farm.  It’s about an hour away from our place and is located in Mendon, Massachusetts.  When I tell people what I do, half think I’m nuts and half are in awe.

Animals are the most compassionate, forgiving, non-judgmental and loving beings alive.  Yes, they definitely have their good days and bad days but after a week of sitting in an office, nothing makes me happier than hanging out with a bunch of goats, pigs, feathered friends, sheep, cows and llamas.  It’s therapy.

My homies are happy to see me and search me out for pats and snuggles.  We chat about how their week went and what they did while I was away.  A big topic is always the weather, especially now that we’re heading into the cooler temps – those with fur coats are no doubt greatly relieved.  And I’m constantly having to tell them, “No, I don’t have any snacks for you….”  Although they can still clearly smell the apples, berries and melons on my hands I just cut up in the prep room.

A Saturday routine consists of a variety of activities:

  • Cutting up fruits & veggies for 11 goat trays & 2 pig buckets
  • Sweeping out the main barn before the tour begins
  • Giving out pats and snuggles
  • Refreshing water buckets
  • Cleaning out Boo-Boo, the young cow’s stall
  • Rotating the veggie & fruit boxes in the walk in fridge
  • Taking selfies with the goats
  • Composting
  • Breaking down boxes
  • A few more selfies and time out for pats and scratches behind the ears
  • Scooping up the llama poop out in the field
  • Talking with Gwen the turkey, who supervises the water bucket refills
  • Cleaning out Pom-Pom, the duck’s area if there’s time
  • More sweeping before the tour…don’t you guys know I just did this?
  • Cleaning out the duck pools
  • More snuggles and pats

Over time, simply from going to the farm, bonds develop with the animals and no matter how busy the day becomes, there is always time to take a break and sit with your extra special friends.  On my very first day of volunteering (photo above) I met Gail, an elderly cow, who is kept in a barn down the way with her friend Emily… a goat.

I always make sure to stop in and check on my little buddies.  (Little being a relative term, as Gail probably weighs in close to 1,000 pounds.) I check their water.  Fluff their hay.  Take out any “piles” that may need to be removed.  It’s the least I can do for my  friends.  I want to make sure they know, while they aren’t in the main barn, they’re not forgotten.  Every time I go, I spend time talking with each of them.

Emily, the goat, is very shy.  However , on my last two visits she’s come up to sniff my hand all over.  Today was no exception.  Sniff.  Sniff.  Sniff.  Sniff.  We’re definitely making progress. She is so curious.  I just know she wants to be pat, she just doesn’t know how.  We’ll get there.  It may take us a year.  Someday, we shall pat.

Today, Gail was laying down and chewing her cud.  I sat down next to her, with my legs crossed.  (Yes, I sat right down in the hay. Some people would be horrified at this – seriously.  It’s not like I was sitting in a pile of poop, people. )  While I sat next to Gail we chatted about her week and how she had been since I saw her last.  She had a little respiratory infection previously.  All the while I was stroking her neck and cheek.  Without warning, she turned her head and leaned her head right into my chest and put her head on my lap.  Her big brown left eye looking up at me.

WHOA!

I just did 27 summersaults in my heart!

And that quick she picked her head up again.

I think I just got a cow hug!

I commented as calmly as possible to my better half Eric, who was on the other side of the barn door, “GAIL JUST PUT HER HEAD IN MY LAP!”

My chat continued with Gail and we talked about the weather and how it was cooling off and going to be a nice week ahead for her.  Much better than the previous few weeks and  I thought she would find fall a lot nicer.  With that, she again leaned over and put her head back into my lap.

Holy guacamole!  I just got another cow snuggle from Gail!

There are just some things in life that will send you over the moon.  For some, it might be riding in an exotic sports car, or having a fancy piece of jewelry or big house.  Maybe it’s finally owning a particular piece of artwork or learning to play the piano or getting reservations for a highly rated restaurant.  Who knows, it could be wearing a pair of designer shoes, going to a concert or solving a challenging scientific equation.

For me….it was sharing a moment with a 1,000 pound sentient being and having her trust me enough to put her head in my lap.  Not once, but twice.

 

News Alert: Decision Making Isn’t New

Indecision drives me nuts.

Making a decision for some people is paramount to counting the grains of sand in the Sahara Desert.  A task so insurmountable it’s nearly impossible for them.

Making a decision involves thinking.  Planning.  Mapping out the consequences.   Analyzing the results.  Looking at the bigger picture, will this decision satisfy the end goal?  Will a successful outcome be achieved?  Or will I fail?

Ask the first question, move to the next.  It’s a cycle and you keep going until the process it complete.  Every day we make decisions.  We’ve been doing it since birth:

I don’t want to eat.  I want this toy, not that one.  I like Mary but not John.  Green is my favorite color and I will only purchase products that start with the letter, “K.”  I hate math.  I must watch this show.  My favorite shop is this one.  I do not want to wear that dress, that shirt, those shoes, that jacket….

Of course, as you get older and the roadway of life hands you different choices, they get more challenging.  What school to attend, who to marry, what house to purchase, what company to work for or maybe to quit working for….some of these are life changing choices.  We all make them.  It’s a choice.  You cast your vote with a simple: Yes or No.

  • Do I have time to stop for a coffee?
  • Should I buy pet insurance?
  • Does Martin need his eye exam scheduled?
  • Can we afford for me to quit my job and sell lemonade on the corner from a cart?
  • THE DREADED:  Where/What do you want to eat tonight?
  • Should I tell Joan those pants make her butt look big?
  • Is investing my money in the new recycled dirt company smart?
  • Do you believe in the Lockness Monster?  Bigfoot?  Ghosts?

You get my point, right?  It’s not like decision making is a new concept to humans.  We make them all the time from the time we open our eyes in the morning, to the time we close them at night, to the time we open them at 3:00AM when we can’t sleep and wonder if aliens are real.

Here’s the thing.

The Internet will tell you, on an average day, adults make about 35,000 decisions.

35,000

decisions

a day.

Let that sink in for a moment.   Quite a bit of computing going on in the ol’ noggin, wouldn’t you say?  35,000 decisions being dealt like a blackjack dealer in Vegas.

So then, can someone explain to me why placing an order at a food truck can be so fucking difficult for some people?

It’s not rocket science.  Shit.  It’s not even algebra!  Make a fucking decision and move on.

Earlier this week, I stopped by the Mexican truck near our office.  Out of all the trucks that come to the park by my office, this is my favorite – yum!

THE MENU:

Choose Option A:  burrito, taco, salad, bowl, quesadilla  (comes loaded with all the typical Mexican fixings)

Add Option B:  beef, chicken, pork, tofu

Done.  That’s it.  End of story.

As always, the truck had a line and I was about the 5th person…so not too bad.  However, for the two ladies in front of me you would have thought they were deciding on one of life’s biggest decisions.  It was a tough choice.  Too many choices.  They were distraught.  It was a true nail biter.  Weight was shifting from one foot to the other.  Eyes darting around, checking to see if  someone might overhear their decision and take it as their own.  Indecision.  Indecision. Indecision.  Time is ticking.  Tick. Tock.  Tick.  Tock.

THE CONVERSATION:

Lady 1:  “We could each get a salad and split a quesadilla.”

Lady 2:  “Or we could split the salad and each get a quesadilla.”

Lady 1:  “Or we could each get a salad and split the taco.”

Lady 2:  “How would we split the taco.”

Lady 1:  “Oh, right.  We could each get a salad and split a burrito.”

Lady 2:  “Ok.”

Lady 1:  “What kind of meat do you want?  I want pork.”

Lady 2:  “Oh, I don’t like pork.  I want chicken.”

Lady 1:  “Really?”

Lady 2: “Maybe we could do a salad and get half and half?”

Lady 1:  “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. We could still split a quesadilla.”

***** Silence for 1 minute******  The ladies are next up in line ********

Lady 1: ” You know, I think I might just get a bowl with pork.”

Lady 2:  “Okay then I’ll get a bowl with chicken or beef. Or I might do the taco.”

Lady 1:  “You sure?  I might get chicken.  Is it a bowl or a burrito?”

Lady 2:  “Yeah, I’m definitely getting the chicken bowl.  I think it’s a burrito bowl.  I don’t know, it says burrito or bowl.”

Lady 1: (Said literally while biting her thumb nail) “I can’t decide.  Pork.  I’m definitely going with the pork.  Yeah.  A bowl with pork.  Maybe a burrito.  No, I’m getting the bowl.”

Lady 2:  “If I get a quesadilla, will you share it with me?”

Lady 1:  “Oh for sure!”

*****  Lady 1 & Lady 2 approach the order window of the truck *****

Truck Master:  “Hello, what can I get you?”

Lady 1:  “Hi!  I’d like to get a burrito bowl with pork.”

Truck Master:  “A what?”

Lady 1:  “A burrito bowl with pork.”

Truck Master:  “It’s either a burrito or a bowl, not both.  You pick Option A and then Option B.  Which do you want?”

Lady 1:  “A bowl with pork.

Truck Master.  “Okay, anything else?”

Lady 1:  “No, thank you.”  

Truck Master:  Looks to her friend …..” What can I get you?”

Lady 2: “Hello!  I’d like a burrito bowl with chicken. And a quesadilla.  WAIT! Oh my god, I don’t know!  HEY! Do you still want the quesadilla?”

Truck Master:  “It’s either a burrito or a bowl…..”

 

Note:  They got the quesadilla.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Hey! Are You Sleeping?” Said The Mother.

I have two business trips coming up, the first of which takes me to Vancouver, British Columbia.  Conviently, my Mother’s house is somewhat along the way. She lives in the hell fire deserts of Palm Desert, California.

See, it’s along the way, so I make a pit stop.

Fear not, trust me, there is a blog coming about my flights from Boston to the blazing hot, scorching deserts of California.  This however, is a quicker story for my internal body temperature will not allow much more than 5,000 words….as the external temperature of the sands rise, so does the temperature on my scalp.

In fact, as I write this, it is reaching 105 degrees today in Palm Desert.  That is hotter than two mice having sex in a wool sock, next to a wood stove, in January hot.  Just saying.

The day of my flight, I got up at 4:00AM.

Arrived to the airport at 7:30 AM.

Went through TSA Pre-check screening, had my shoulder bag x-rayed twice and then searched by 8:25 AM.

Took off on my first flight by 9:45 AM.

Took off on my second flight by 1:30 PM.

Arrived to the desert at 2:30 PM.

Mind you being on the west coast, makes my life three hours behind my regular program.  Everything is confusing to me.  I convince myself to stay awake until 8:00 PM.  Then I can go and take  shower and get ready for bed.  It will be 8:30 by the time my head hits the pillow and by God, that’s close enough.

Eureka!  8:00 arrives and I couldn’t be happier.  I am off and running.  Good night Mother.  Good night two chihuahua dogs..Buddy and Tina.  See you in the morning.

By 8:35 I am in bed, lights out.

ZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZzZzZzZzZzZzZzZzZzZz

Next thing I know, for some reason I am being woken up.  Don’t know by what.  Don’t know by whom.

I hear someone calling my name.  What the hell?  What?

I turn over and see my Mother standing by my bed.

??? Ok this is odd.

??? Why is my Mother standing next to my bed?

??? What???

??? Why is her head glowing?

??? Where the hell am I?

??? What the hell is she saying?

??? Who is dead?

??? What???

??? What the hell is she talking about?

??? Whose dead?

??? Where the hell am I and how did my Mother get here?

??? Who the hell is Tina?

??? What the hell?

At this point I figure, well if my Mother is here, I might as well follow her to see what the hell is going on.  All I can think is….who the hell is Tina?

I follow her out to the living room and my sleepy fog starts to lift…….

Ooooooohhhhh, I am at my Morher’s house.  Ok.

She’s upset. Ok.

She thinks the dog is dead.  TINA.

Ooooooooooohhhhh.

My Mother goes over to Tina’s bed and says, “TINA!  Come on! Time to get up!” And she claps her hands.

I am like, well…..the dog is deaf…..no wonder she isn’t responding….she can’t hear you.

Then my Mother grabs Tina’s head and it flops back on to the bed.

Lifeless.  No response.

Well. Shit.

Maybe, the dog is dead……not like I am an expert at these things.  So then I think, well now what?  We have a 12 pound porky Chihuahua dead in a bed.  Now what?  I ask the obvious….

“Do you have an emergency vet?”

As we stand there looking at the dog.

The Mother yells, “Wait!  Did she just breathe?”

I’m like…..lady, I barely know what state I’m in at the moment.  Could be Massachusetts or it could be California….

Mother yells, “No!  She definitely moved!  Look!”  And sure enough….Tina, the death defying, coma inducing, deep sleeping dog came rousing back to life.

With this, I bent over, put my forearms on my thighs and took some deep breaths.

SWEET JESUS!  I am going back to bed.

The Mother came and tucked me back into bed with a kiss on the forehead.  I took a look at my cell phone before going back to sleep…..it was a whopping 9:35PM.

Exhausted, I laughed….”who the hell is Tina?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relax – Can’t Do It!

Here’s the thing.  I know it’s Easter and this post should probably, if I were politically correct, to be about Jesus’ rising from the dead.

It’s not.

Rather, it’s about my massage.

A few weeks ago, I set up a make shift standing desk at work, to help eliminate some of my back pain as I can’t sit all day long.  Complete with empty boxes, reams of copier paper and old ship awards….it dawned on me.  I need a massage.

My back had been driving me crazy.  Like a third arm was trying to make it’s way out of the right side of my lower back.  It’s that damn spinal erector set muscle. Of course, if I grew an arm out of my back…literally having an arm behind your back, might be beneficial.  I don’t know of anyone who does, but it’s hard to say.  It would be good for back scratching I suppose.  And washing the back.  And maybe a back rub.  I’d rather have eyes behind my head.

The usual practice for me was to use a gadget from Brookstone called the iNeed pillow.  Four little balls go round and round.  I lean into that thing like a buffalo during a dust storm on the high plains.   Complete with the knot in my back passing over the balls like a buffalo stomping his foot to maintain an upright position.

Thump……thump…….thump……..thump…….thump.

Ahhhhh relief.  Sweet creator of the iNeed, I have relief.  Lord have mercy.

Thump……thump…….thump……..thump…….thump.

The problem doesn’t show up until the next morning when I get out of bed, stretch and think….WHAT THE HELL!  WHY IS MY BACK BRUISED? Ouch.  Ouch.  What did I do?  Then it dawns on me….I over did the iNeed.

But I really NEEDED it and NEEDED it.

Damn.

So I take a couple of weeks off from the iNeed and think to myself, I’ll go for a massage now that I can sanely touch my back without wincing from the over enthusiastic relief received from the iNeed.

One of the guys at work was talking about the massage plan at a local place and it sounded pretty good.  So I made an appointment and signed up for a massage on Saturday – let’s see what they’ve got.

My therapist was…..let’s go with Julie.  We talk about my pain, yatta, yatta and she explains how she has all these certifications and licenses in different areas and her focus is to  “work the connective tissues.”  I am keeping my fingers crossed this isn’t going to be a Rolfing session, which I’ve experienced and the Rolfing series nearly killed me.

She tells me to lay face up as she starts with reflexology first.  THAT sends me over the moon, as I love having my feet rubbed.  This is going to be great I think.  I can’t wait to fall asleep on the table.

I quickly undressed and climb under the covers where the heating pad was already warming up the bed.  She comes back in and we begin.

Rubbing my calve.  Rubbing my shin.  Rubbing my calve.  Rubbing my shin. Digging into my calve, along the shin bone.  Digging in around my ankles.  Focusing on the ankles.  Rubbing the calve.  Digging into the left side of the calve.  Digging into the right side.  This goes on for a good 7 minutes.  I’m mentally sending into the Universe; “Foot please.  Massage the foot.  Foot.  Foot.  Foot.  Foot.”  Suddenly she thumps the bottom of my foot and proceeds to the other leg.

Same routine.

I’m laying there thinking, “when does reflexology mean shins and calves?  It’s feet.”

It didn’t matter cause it still felt really good and I fell asleep for a minute.  I drifted off and started to dream about our cat Monkey.  Imagine my surprise when I jerked awake and for a brief second couldn’t remember where the hell I was.

Dark room with amber colored light and asian music playing.  WTF?

Of course, the other thing I’ve come to realize about going for a massage is, they need to make these rooms bigger.  You’re there to relax, destress, get your connective tissue back in line – and being jostled by the therapist moving the stool around doesn’t work.

You’re in the zen zone and then bump, shake, shake, scuffle, screech.  Don’t worry, just the therapist moving the stool around to work on your head.  Awesome.

The other part of my personality is I’m not a touchy feel person.  Never have been and don’t anticipate I ever will be.  Nothing against anyone.  I’m not a toucher.   Even public transportation is difficult for me due to limited personal space.  It’s just me.

I like wearing an imaginary hula-hoop.  Please stay outside that hoop unless I invite you into the trusted ring of space.  Very few people get an invitation.  Those of you that have, know who you are and don’t press their luck with the personal space thing.  I thank you for that.

Julie begins to work on my neck and shoulders, while I’m still face up.  Deep breath in….and OOOOOOUUUUUUUUUTTTTTT.  Okay.  Then she is breathing with me.  OUUUUT.  Breathing on me.  On my face.  OUUUT.

Oh lord.  This doesn’t work for me.

OOUUTT.

Going to my happy place.  Small fuzzy animals.  Snuggly little critters.  Happy.  Happy. Happy.

OOOUUUUT.

Well, at least she had minty breath.  Could have been worse.

Next it’s time to flip over to my stomach.  Safe zone!  Thank you!

Fine.  Here we go with the back.  Finally.

Then what’s that sound?  Rumble, rumble.  Rattle.  It continues.  It’s metal and something moving around.  Not a laundry machine.  No a cart going down the hallway.

Rumble.  Slide.  Shake.

Sounds like the air duct.  It’s just the air duct vent.  I’m sure of it.  I forget about it for a while.  Then it’s back.

Sounds now like something scraping against metal.  Whirling against metal.  Scampering against metal.

Dear heavens above, so help me if an animal comes shooting out of the air duct like some act on America’s Got Talent where they’re shot out of a cannon.  Now, as Julie massages the connective tissue in my back, with her elbow….all I can imagine is what the hell that noise is that is actually competing with the gentle spa music.

Could be an animal in the duct.

Could be workers upstairs.

Could be Mission Impossible Agent taking photos of Julie cause she’s wanted by the CIA.

Could be the air vent.

Could be someone in the hall doing something with a metal bookcase – like dancing with it.

Could be an animal in the duct.

Could be an artist studio upstairs and they’re working with a buzz saw.

Could be an animal in the duct….pretending to be a Mission Impossible Agent.

.

.

.

.

I don’t ask and I don’t want to know.  Julie doesn’t seem concerned, so neither am I, except I am pretty sure there could be an animal trapped up there in the duct.

FLASH BACK:  Years ago, when I lived in Seattle, I knew a bird managed to fall into our bathroom vent.  You know, the one you turn on when taking a shower, so it makes noise like it’s removing steam…but it doesn’t really?

Nobody believed me.  Finally.  I had to get maintenance to come in and look – as I was certain.  Yep.  There was a bird.  Told you it smelled like chicken

RETURN:

By the end of the massage the Secret Agent Critter in the air duct has gone away and I’m unable to ask about the noise.   Darn it.  However,  I did sign up for the massage plan.   I’ll see her again in two weeks….reflexology here I come….cue the Mission Impossible music.

 

 

 

 

 

Snow = To School or Not to School?

Beantown had it’s first snowfall of any measurable amount of snow this past Friday.

By measurable amount, I mean they were canceling schools before it had even started to snow.  No.  Really.  Cancelled.  Cancelled.  Cancelled.  Cancelled.

Cancelled.

When I was a kid, there was no such thing as getting a 12-hour advance cancellation Nope.  The process was different.  Logical.

Step One:  Weatherman (we didn’t have weather-women in my growing up years, only a Wonder Woman and I don’t believe she was forecasting any true weather.)  would prepare the area for the possibility of the snow storm.

Not to mention, it wasn’t done in the panic-inducing, Armageddon fashion of we’re all doomed.  It wasn’t over dramatic with twelve different charts and people along the roadway reporting if it was snowing yet or not.  It was a simple and polite nod to the snow with a helpful sidetone of what to do next.

EXAMPLE:  Blade County can expect about 2 inches of snow.  You might want to stop and pick up extra milk and bread on your way home tonight.

Step Two:  Children across the area kept a mindful watch on the skies. Hundreds of little weather-forcasters.   It was a vigil that can only be compared to that of the arrival of Santa Claus in December:

Has it started snowing yet?

twenty minutes later…….Is it snowing now?

ten minutes later…… How about now?  (Angst sets in and a dramatic twirling collapse onto the couch at this point is sure to happen.)

fifteen minutes later…. Now?

ten minutes later…..Was that a flake?

blink.  blink.  blink.  I saw a flake!  That was a flake!  DAD….IT’S SNOWING!

Step Three:  Kids excitedly get ready for bed, anticipating no school the following day and continue to check on the current snow levels.  At tucking into bed time, parents advise not to get too excited….after-all it’s only going to snow 2 inches and school will still happen.  (Gee thanks, Bubble burster.)

There is one last peep out the bedroom curtains – confirmed, still snowing.

EUREAKA!  This is great!  No school and no crummy math class.  NO GYM!

Dreams of drinking lots of hot chocolate and pelting the hell out of Charlie (the butthead down the street) in a snowball fight come to mind.  He really shouldn’t have broken your eraser in half….the Pink Pearl one….now he’s going to get it.

Step Four:  Without fail about 2:00AM, it’s time for an automatically induced snow verification check.  Eyes open and there is a quick scamper to the window for visual confirmation of all the piles of drifting snow.

WHAT?

(rubbing of the eyes)

WAIT!

THAT CAN’T BE!

Utter disbelief —–

It

has

stopped

snowing!

The cars aren’t covered.  The grass is still visible.  No snow in the street light glow.

NOTHING.  Not even enough to make a snowball to pelt The Butthead.

Spirits drop.  Disappointment begins.  Tears nearly begin to form.  Then it washes over like a bad milk induced vomit…..we’ll have to go to gym class in the morning.

NOOOOOOOOOOO!

Step Five:  For children everywhere, this is where they start to invoke the insurance claim process with the Universe.  Usually whispered silently while laying in bed, awash with the impending doom of school not being cancelled.  For example:

Hey, the Weatherman said there was supposed to be snow.  I was banking on that snow.  I need the snow.  Do you have any idea how badly I suck at basketball?  That’s what we’re playing in gym tomorrow.  I have no hand-eye coordination, which if you didn’t know, is ESSENTIAL for playing basketball.  And by the way, there is a Drill for Skill in math class and whenever I get sent to the board, the teacher always gives me the hardest question to figure out.  I NEVER get it right.  Come on, work with me here.  If you make it snow, I promise to not pick on my little sister for a week.  No.  Wait!  I also promise to help Mom and take out the garbage without being asked.  That’s a bargain – two things for one snow day! I can’t stand gym class and how we have to run around the school 6 times.  Have you seen how short my legs are?  Yeah, that 6 times takes me twice as long.  Please.  I don’t want to go tomorrow.  I would rather have a surprise History quiz next week then go to school tomorrow.  I’d rather…..I’d rather….I’d rather…..crack my funny bone into the doorway then go to school.  I’d do it twice!  Crack my funny bone into the doorway.  Please help me out here.  Bring the snow.  Lots of snow.  Well, just enough really to cancel school for tomorrow.  It’s not too much to ask.  Please.  Please.  Please.  Please.  Please.  Please.  Amen.

Step Six:  Exhaustion sets in and eventually sleep returns.

Step Seven:  The day breaks.  Alarm goes off for school and it’s time to get up and ready for the torture of the day.  Then it sets in —- THE SNOW!  DID IT COME?!  A race to the window confirms, indeed it did snow.  BUT there is one thing left to have —- confirmation of closure.

Step Eight:  One specific radio station lists all the school closures. It goes by the school’s assigned number.  The numbers were ridiculous.  It’s like trying to win the lottery with one number.  And patience, you better have a lot of patience.

Seated close to the radio, with the ear next to the radio, so nothing is missed….the list is being repeated again.  Parents have advised, they haven’t called your school number yet.

Everyone anxiously waits…..and listens:

 

480, 491, 500, 502, 503, 504, 505, 625 two hours late, 626, 627 no evening classes….

904, 907, 1010, 1011, 1012 two hours late, 1015, 1016, 1017, 1018, 1021…

As you listen, you begin to panic.  Not all schools are closing.  There are big jumps without closure.  Some are only two hours late.  (Is that enough to get me out of gym and math?)

Come on….1030.  Come on….1030.  Come on…..come on….come on!  Who has time for this?

1022, 1023, 1025, 1027, 1028, 1029………………waiting …………..seems like an eternity…….announcer clears his throat and make some comment about all the schools closures…….1030, 1031, 1034…

WAIT!  DID HE SAY 1030?  Was that 1030? One look at the parents confirms the out come – NO SCHOOL!

Step Nine:  The Supreme Happy Dance Celebration commences.  The relief of a day with out gym torture and math embarassment results with a shriek of delight and running through the house yelling to the world “NO SCHOOL!  NO SCHOOL! NO SCHOOL!”

Eureka!  We did it!  No school.  A torturous burden is lifted from the shoulders of this small person.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Now, where’s the snowsuit!?  Where’s the hot chocolate?  Where’s my gloves?