I (accidentally) Went Sled Riding Yesterday…Without the Sled

With my usual grace and style, I made my way down the hill leading to the beach yesterday afternoon. In a split second, I was on my as#. And I kept going…about fifteen feet down the lumpy, bumpy, slope before I came to a stop.

Probably because the old “a body in motion stays in motion” law applied?

My latest ‘acrobatic’ feat seemed a metaphor for my life. I often land on my posterior–literally and figuratively. Thankfully, I’m not overly bothered by my falls and failures…

When I stood at the top of the hill in the wet, slushy grass, the bottom didn’t look treacherous. It just looked covered with a dusting of snow. Yet I ended up on quite the unexpected ride.

Even though I am known for my agility and catlike reflexes (hah!), I didn’t try to stop myself.  Seemed worse to fight it. I hadn’t realized the terrain was so rough until fifteen feet of it jabbed my behind as I bounced my way downhill.

For sure my rear end will be riddled with bruises.

Not that I will look. I try NEVER to look at the state of things back there.

Undeterred, I quickly dusted off my (very) wet jeans and set forth on my walk. The trail my butt blazed in the hillside made me giggle. And I had a wonderful walk, despite its rocky start…

Though it is winter in Northeast Ohio, I walk the Little Black Dog at the beach most days. Unless there is a blizzard. Then I go to the woods, or to the nearby park with the asphalt path.

I need ‘outside time’ each day. I cannot do without it.

The only downside?  I must brave the elements…

There’s mud.

Last week, I happened across a slippery slope. It rained earlier in the day.

It was sort of like skateboarding–except on mud instead of a sidewalk. And with no skateboard. I instinctively threw my arms out for balance. And all was well. I only slid a few feet. And I somehow managed NOT to become a human mud pie. Then I kept walking. Hardly missed a stride.

And water.

I am often hit by waves. Which means my shoes, socks and jeans get wet.  I tend to lose focus and end up too close to the water when I look for beach glass. Or when I throw sticks and tennis balls to The Little Black Dog. Or I get sidetracked taking in my surroundings…

No matter the season, there’s always something to appreciate. In the spring, bulbs sprout into tulips and nature begins to turn green again.

Summer brings spectacular sunsets over the lake. And the fall is stunning when leaves on trees turn all shades of golden-yellow, orange and red.

In the winter, the beach is desolate and barren. But the ice coating the empty tree branches is lovely. And there is something magical and serene about the beach during the cold, winter months.

The best thing? It isn’t crowded. In fact, I never see ANYBODY down there in the winter. I love the solitude.

Which either makes me brilliant or not so bright…or maybe a bit of both?

Nature is invigorating. So much so that I don’t mind getting disheveled to have ‘outside time.’

Could care less that I head home with snarly, windblown hair.  Wet and/or muddy sneakers. Smeared mascara and a sniffly nose from the cold air. With my jeans droopy from the weight of the rocks and beach glass in my pockets.

Nor does it matter that The Little Black Dog is a muddy, smelly, wet mess.

On the outside, I might seem mussed–save for the wide smile on my face. On the inside, I always return home lighter, happier…and with my spirit Perfectly in tact.

Yesterday’s adventure reminded me of a favorite quote:

Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again; you shall never be so afraid of a tumble. 

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson was onto something. And he could have spoken directly to me.

The more banged up I get, the less afraid I am. In fact, I’ve been knocked around and bruised with such frequency, that I am nearly fearless these days…

The Night Before Valentine’s Day…(At Wal-Mart)

I stopped at Wal-Mart earlier tonight for a few things.

And noticed that a crush of men (many with small children) dashed to their cars. One harried father tried to corral FOUR kids in the parking lot. I stopped to let them scamper past. Seemed safer that way.

Then I parked my car and headed for the entrance. And noticed MORE men (and MORE small children) rushed INTO Wal-Mart. It finally dawned on me.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day!!

I am single now and only marginally aware of Valentine’s Day. As usual, I filled the candy dish with silly little pastel candy hearts with “I love you” and “be mine” on them. They were short-lived, because my son polished off a couple of bags quickly.

The relatives sent my kids cards and I got strawberries, bagels and a bit of candy for breakfast tomorrow morning. But mostly, this Hallmark Holiday has been off of my radar.

Until I hit Wal-Mart at 7pm on St. Valentine’s Eve. The store was packed with those trying NOT to screw up. Children cried, people rushed about, cashiers looked droopy.

As I checked out, I said as much.

Me: It’s crazy in here tonight.

Cashier: I KNOW. Has been all evening…

We chatted as I paid. And I walked back to my car thinking how silly it seemed.

Does it really matter what a person buys for another? If there is somebody special in your life, isn’t that enough? Something to be grateful for? I always felt it was…

Then again, I am single. So I’m probably not an expert on relationships.

Back when I was married, my then husband always marked the day somehow. He never had specific patterns, but he often brought me flowers, some type of candy (always a winner), a card or something I enjoyed. And I did the same for him.

Even the fella I dated briefly after my divorce did just fine. He got me my favorite color roses. And I never TOLD him what my favorite color was. He probably has no idea what the he#% he bought me back then, but I appreciated the sentiment at the time.

Which brings me to my point.

Men often stress over Valentine’s Day. But really, they cannot mess up. Women typically appreciate any small gesture or kindness. They just want to know somebody has thought about them.

And really, if people genuinely care for each other, one day won’t make (or break) a relationship—nor will a gift.

What really annoys me now that I am on my own?

The stereotype of single women who are desperately unhappy to be alone on Valentine’s Day.

The reality?

Many women probably don’t mind all that much. I am just fine with being single—EVEN on Valentine’s Day. My life is far from Perfect, but it is mostly a really good life and I am quite happy. I had my fair share of wonderful Valentine’s Day celebrations. This is simply my time to be on my own.

There might be somebody special in my life down the road. And if there is, I’ll appreciate him. And if that doesn’t happen, I will enjoy the many other things that life has to offer.

If I was being real—and I do tend to say what I think—there are things about being part of a couple that I miss. Having somebody to curl up with on the couch in the evenings. To kiss goodnight before we drop off to sleep. A ‘husband’ or partner to talk to when I am scared, or need help.

I can honestly say I won’t miss a bouquet of red roses on Valentine’s Day. But then, I don’t like red roses. Too cliché…

Of course, all of that is my opinion. And I’m divorced.

Which means I’m not exactly an authority on successful relationships.

Maybe the fellas who read this (if there are any) should disregard my thoughts–And get to the store…

As for me? Not to worry. I’ll be at my favorite nail salon with my tootsies soaking in hot, bubbly water. I think a pedicure will be my Valentine’s Day gift to myself.

Locked out of my house…IN THE DARK??

The fence of my dreams…

Last Saturday morning started out with a bang when the door from the kitchen to the garage banged shut…behind me.

I loaded my bags into the Trusty Honda. And I ALWAYS have bags!  Usually full of books, my date book, my laptop, pens, notebooks, etc.

Since I still had to grab a few items from inside the house, I headed back to the kitchen door, turned the knob and realized that the door was locked.

Shi#!

The dogs barked like mad on the OTHER side of the door. Also in the kitchen with my dogs? My car keys…

I was already HOT.  And not ‘hot’ as in looking good, ‘hot’ as in HOT FLASH.  I hadn’t taken my Premarin, better known as Hormone Replacement Therapy.  (Those like me who had the early hysterectomy — or have been through ‘the change’ will feel my pain…)

I mopped the sweat from my brow and headed for the front door. Locked.

Still, I wasn’t overly concerned. After some of what I have been through, I know there is always a solution. To anything, really.

I had let the dogs out. Maybe the sliding door was still unlocked?

There will be an adorable picket fence in my side yard. The posts are in the ground, but not painted white and there isn’t yet a gate. Only a welded wire fence to corral the dogs, until my Pretty Picket  Fence is completed.

This is where it got tricky. I needed to hop the flimsy fence. In the dark. At 6:15am.

So I dragged a heavy, wood Adirondack chair over to the fence. Then hoisted the other heavy, Adirondack chair over the fence to the other side–only way to get to the ground on the other side of the fence.

I hopped up on the arm of a chair and was grateful for my agility–AND the ‘catlike reflexes’ I am known for. Because I slid sideways to the seat of the chair and caught myself, laughing out loud at my near disaster. I hadn’t accounted for the slick layer of icy frost that coated the tops of both chairs.

Undeterred,  I kicked off my clogs—that is what my daughter calls my black, leather,  slip-on shoes—and got back on the (rather wobbly) arm of the chair. I made my way over the fence using both chairs and walked over to the sliding door in my now VERY wet socks…

The slider was locked, as well.

By now, my neighbor Chapman’s three large boxers were on alert, barking like lunatics. Total barking dogs? FIVE.

Back in the garage, I weighed my (rather limited) options as I looked for tiny, sharp objects to wiggle the lock open with…

Suddenly, Chapman’s dogs were outside and in a lather. They lunged at the fence and the chorus of Five Barking Dogs was deafening.

I grabbed my cell phone. I didn’t want Chapman to wonder what was going on outside.

Me: Chapman, the dogs are barking at me.  I locked myself out of my house.

Of course, Chapman laughed at me. Who could blame her?

Chapman: Wait a minute…I might still have a key.

She rooted around in her junk drawer. (I heard her on my end) AND…Clouds parted and angels sang because she found a key!

I walked next door, laughing at myself…again. It was still pitch black outside. And it was Chapman’s day off work—her ONE day to sleep in.

Me: Morning Sunshine!!

Chapman handed over the key. As ever, she was in good spirits even though my antics roused her from a dead sleep at the crack of dawn. Lucky I have a neighbor like Chapman.

Me:  I’ll bring this back to you later.

Chapman: You’d better, for your sake. (She chuckled as she said it…)

A little later than expected, I was en route when my cell phone rang.

Dad: You there?

Me: No. I got locked out of my house, but I am on the road now…

Dad: I’m almost there.

Me: Great! Tell Tim I’m running late.

Dad: Can’t you call him?

Me: Can YOU be the bearer of bad news?

Tardiness annoys my brother, Tim. The irony? He is rarely on time. Except when he has a job to do. Tim was Tournament Director for a local hockey tournament.

My Dad, his wife Jannie and I agreed to work the tournament. And I was headed to the ice arena to be a Human Popsicle for the second day in a row. (I do LOVE my brother…)

As I took my post, I got out my reading material.  I’ve been reading an excellent book called, The Secrets of Six Figure Women.  It is an inspirational book about the common traits of successful women.

And trust me, as a single (former homemaker) with teenagers soon to hit college, I NEED all the inspiration I can get!! Though probably, most Six Figure Women do NOT begin the day by getting locked out of their houses…

And yet, I have hope for myself and my future. And along with my ‘catlike reflexes,’ I have my sense of humor…which is good, because I tend to NEED it!

Anybody Want a SQUARE Egg?

I attended a local auction last night to buy items to sell  on my eBay site.  My neighbor, Chapman (that’s what I call her) and I rode together, as usual.

We looked around before the auction started.  As ever, I started out serious. I needed to stay focused, to bid on (and win) items that I wanted.

And I got what I wanted in the first 35 minutes – and for better prices than I expected.

Hurrah!!

That’s when the fun began for me.  I shuffled up toward the front and found a desk along the wall to sit on.  I didn’t want to miss anything.

As is typical, the Auctioneer and Helpers loosened up, as the auction progressed. They tried  to get bidding started on some junk in the back…

Auctioneer: $10….$5….Nobody? Anybody want it for $2?

At least ten hands went  up–Immediately.

Auctioneer: Look at that! It’s like a hillbilly prayer meeting.

He sold whatever it was for $2, then moved to a cluster of candles.

Helper: Look at that. Brand new! Never even out of their wrappings.

Auctioneer started doing his thing and the bid was soon up to $17. For candles? And they weren’t even pretty.  Not sure what they sold for. I was too stunned to take it in…

Helper (mumbled): Yep. Smell just like horse shit.

Only a few of us up front heard and we couldn’t hold back the snickers.

Then there was a box of sewing items. I was on it, because I have done well with that type of thing on eBay.

Auctioneer:  $10, $5, Nobody? How about $2

I nodded.

Auctioneer: $3 , now $4, will you go $5, $6,

I was in a bidding war with an elderly guy on the other side of the room, with a beard like Santa Claus? Really?

Auctioneer: $7…you’re out? $8 …

And on it went until “Beardie”  won the lot.

Me: What’s he going to do with sewing crap?

Helper: Who knows? What does anybody do with any of this sh#%? Hoard it?

Me: Not me, I resell it on eBay. Like, it gets listed tonight.

He nodded his approval and went back to business.

As things wound down, I wandered to a table in the back, took a seat and looked over the costume jewelry I’d won. I accomplished my mission—no need to pay attention while the leftovers were unloaded on whoever wanted to drag them out of there. The Auctioneer and Helpers were basically looking for somebody to clean up for them.

Nobody bid on choice of about 25 HUGE boxes on a pallet in back. Not even for $2.

Choice means pick a box for $2. They tend to offer choice until ALL boxes are gone. In this case, there were about 25 of them.

Auctioneer: Everybody wants it.  Just don’t want to put their hands up.

I continued with my task at a back table. Until…

Auctioneer:  SOLD!

My head snapped up.

Auctioneer:  EVERYTHING TO #55!!!

I admit it…I cursed. Heads turned toward me.

Me: Sorry…she’s my neighbor. That means I have to load that mess into Chapman’s truck and then unload it all when we get back home!!!

Snickers and chuckles from those around me. I was riding home in the “Sanford and Son” Mobile.  They knew it. I knew it.

Then the apprentice Auctioneer took over for the last several items. Unfortunately, his name was Marco.

So…they announced Marco.

Crowd: POLO!!!

And they were off…quite a few in the crowd played the Marco – Polo game, while Marco took bids on a box of China and breakables.

At least until the Helper dropped it…and bidding stopped.

Silence.

Then a roar of laughter around the place. (Which probably drowned out the Helper’s cursing)

When the auction was over, I walked over to have a look at the (please let there be) Hidden Treasures in my neighbors pile. I was NOT super excited to drag home a pickup truck full of boxes, destined for the garbage.

I picked up a painted wood bird and waved it at Chapman.

Me: Hey Chapman, I’m giving you the bird!!

The first thing I saw. One word.

WHY…

Would anybody want a SQUARE egg?

In the end, we (over) loaded the entire bed of the pickup. And then we unloaded it at Chapman’s house.

I tramped home, my tiny jewelry box in hand. As I settled in and got to work, my cell phone buzzed.  I relayed the ‘goings on’ to The New Friend.

The New Friend: TIP –  Don’t go to the auction with your neighbor.

Me: She has the pickup truck. AND she doesn’t complain when I drag home dining room sets…(or dressers, or credenza’s…)

The wonderful news?

When the next morning, I had already sold one item I purchased last night. And for enough that I am already ahead…