Sunday, June 27, 2010

Journal of a Living Lady #374

Nancy White Kelly

Some weeks are normal and other anything but. Recently Buddy and I took a rare visit to our respective hometowns in Tennessee and Mississippi. We had nice visits with our siblings and extended family. We are all obviously aging and in that inevitable transition from children to senior adults.

While visiting my brother Charles’ farm, Buddy got his first opportunity to try out the miniature video camera I gave him for his birthday. I told him that at age 78 the best was yet to come and to capture it for posterity. His most prized clip so far features Charles’ jackass enjoying a carrot dangling from Buddy’s lips. And to think I used to romantically kiss those same ancient puckers.

On the way home, we passed a serious wreck on the interstate near Chattanooga. It is doubtful that the driver lived as the over-turned jeep poured ominous black smoke which could be seen for miles. We doubled-checked our seatbelts.

Coming down Cohutta mountain, we were stopped around a blind curve by a host of state troopers. Thankfully we had made sure we had our registration and insurance papers in tact before we left. From the looks of the line of other cars parked to the side, many others had not.

We were delighted to find Sam, our Siamese cat, alive. He eagerly greeted us in the drive-way. When we left, he had been gone for two days, neither normal nor unusual either. He has a harem somewhere, but doesn’t understand he is forever fixed. Fortunately the church lady who was house and dog sitting our dachshund Patch kept hearing meows. She did some sleuthing and found him locked under the house. Obviously he snuck in behind Buddy when he inched his way in the dirt basement to check the water heater before our trip. Other than being tired, hungry, and thirsty, Sam was okay, just mad.

Immediately after we fell in bed on Sunday evening, Charlie called and needed a favor. Could we babysit Tuesday so Tori could go with him to the Braves game as he was tapped to drive the church bus? As she would be returning the next day from a week long mission trip, he and she would like some time together. No problem. We don’t need much of an excuse to visit with Micah and Noah.

I spent Monday catching up with laundry, bills, and grocery shopping. Buddy cut the ever-growing grass. After bedtime, I got the munches and decided on a bowl of cereal. Big mistake!

Even before the alarm sounded, I awakened with a severe headache. Nothing helped. I walked the floor. With no relief, I ran water from the sink hose forcefully on my throbbing brain. Then it got worse. My intestines grumbled for attention. Minutes later I was violently barfing, almost wishing to die or at least black out until the misery passed.

There wasn’t much Buddy could do to help, but he tried. He shook me every ten minutes to see if I was still alive after such violent vomiting. He offered me a variety of belly-soothers: water, tomato soup, and even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. All I wanted was to be still and quiet.

I hated disappointing Charlie and Tori. They don’t ask for help often, but there was no way I could delightfully entertain a three and five year old in my state of being. I looked more like a wild-haired monster than their Granny.

I chalked up the illness to a nasty ole stomach virus. For a whole day I was most miserable. It was also lost day for my customers of the Ye Old Coin Shop, many who had patiently awaited my return from our mini-vacation. Buddy told them that they would have to wait a little longer.

What I soon found out was that this wasn’t a virus at all. According to the press reports, there was a recall being made of sugar pop cereal from a major company with the same initial as my last name. Seems a certain packaging held the innocent-looking, but villainous food.

As soon as my eyes could focus well enough, I checked the UPC symbol. The code matched. I had consumed the product that was being recalled.

What is the value of a lost day of your life? What is a day of “wish I were dead” misery worth? What about the ancillary losses to my husband, son, daughter-in-law, and grandsons? Some friends have half-teasingly asked if I planned to sue.

According to my research, it wouldn’t be worth the time to pursue the matter. I did contact the company. Their response was for me to send them full contact information and the recalled product codes. Then they would gladly send me a coupon for a replacement box of cereal.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Journal of a Living Lady #373

Nancy White Kelly

The Living Lady has three speeds: on, off, and don't press your luck. Buddy says I am easy to get along with most of the time and he ought to know. It does take a lot to push my buttons so when I get steamed, it warrants a column.

Buddy and I are animal lovers. Our repertoire of animals and fowl over forty-five years of marriage has run the gamut. We once had a pet raccoon that had a connoisseur taste for our neighbor’s chickens. Bye-bye, Coonie.

Four years ago, twin goats were birthed in our bathtub. Some foreigners adopted them with a promise they weren’t for sacrifice.

We’ve had finches to Macaws. Last winter we had 100 cockatiels, an unintended teaching experiment on color mutation and exponententiality.

Back in the 60’s, Buddy and I obtained an organ-grinder monkey on a crazy whim. That capuchin didn’t like my main man one bit. Whenever Buddy approached the monkey’s pen to look closer, the cagy little beast would leap forward and swiftly run two long, slinky fingers up Buddy’s nose. My “for sale” ad simply said, “husband allergic.”

Animals have come and gone from the Kelly home for various reasons. Our menagerie has dwindled. We now have a Siamese cat named Sam and an orphaned cockatiel named Chipper.

The bird and Buddy do a duet whistle of the first few bars of the Marine hymn each morning. I salute the flag. Buddy was in the Navy, but what does that matter?
Our pet Chihuahua, Oppie, died a couple of years ago of old age. Soon after, I got another chi who escaped our opened doggie door. She ran across the road in front of a car. Our neighbor mercifully disposed of her battered body. It took a while to recover from the guilt of my being so negligent.

Eventually I placed a few computer-generated brochures around the community seeking another lapdog. I had forgotten about those notices until I received a call a few days ago. A lady asked if I were still looking for a pup. A friendly conversation ensued. She said her son who lived in another town was going back to school and had a 3-month-old dachshund that he couldn’t keep. The mother said he was looking for a good home for the dog. I excitedly envisioned having a new canine addition to our family. The caller didn’t think he wanted any money for the puppy which was a nice plus. She asked if her son could call me.

“Of course.”

Within a few hours the son relayed the same story. He did say he’d like fifty dollars to cover her shots which was reasonable. I agreed to that amount. He said he’d be in Blairsville on Sunday. We agreed to meet after church.

I spent the week fixing up a tiny spare room. Next came the purchase of a crate, bed, food, leash, collar and a few doggy toys. On Saturday night I called the young man to agree on a definite time and place to meet. To my surprise, the fellow wasn’t happy to hear from me. He spoke rather abruptly and said it was “first come, first served.”

My heart sank as I explained that I thought it was a done deal. He said his mother had promised him to the vet. That was puzzling since she was the one who first contacted me. The boy-man was obviously conflicted and eventually softened. He would meet me at the pizza place on the square just after I finished teaching my Sunday school class.

My relief was short-lived. A few minutes later he called back and said the dog was promised to the vet. I choked up, angrier than any mad hatter or wet hen. I tried to control my quaking voice. Nothing I said changed the matter.

It wasn’t right. It wasn’t fair. My mind flooded with sad memories. There was a time many years ago when Buddy and I were expecting a baby boy and had already set up the nursery. The pregnancy terminated unexpectedly and I was devastated for months.
After I hung up the phone, Buddy came through the den and noticed my flowing tears. He was furious. Not that he cared so much about getting a puppy, but that I was so saddened. He insisted I find another dog “immediately.” I said I would in time. My heart wasn’t in it then.

A few days later I told this story to a lady I met at a flea market. She said she had just seen an ad for a 3- month-old dachshund puppy in a local newspaper. Thirty minutes later I had that ad in hand and called. Yes, the breeder had an adoptable puppy returned because of the buyer’s hospitalization.

Buddy and I were at the seller’s country home as fast as we could put the address on the GPS. The waiting dachshund puppy, with his long body and floppy ears, was irresistible. He was white with large, copper spots. The attachment was instant and mutual. Within twenty minutes we were on the way home to Young Harris with our peppy puppy.

Trying to come up with an appropriate name for him hasn’t been easy. Solo and Scooter are prevalent names for that breed in our family. Somehow they didn’t fit our new pup. We tried Zeke, Zack, Ziggy, Doxie, Hershey, Oogle, Gizmo, and a host of other names before arriving on one that fits. His name is Patch.