Bob Solves a Problem

There is nothing that blinds me to the empty calories in candy like the day after Easter. It’s the lure of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs on discount. Add to that the knowledge that they are going away for another year, and I always seem to find a reason to go to Walgreens.

I picked up the last two bags from the ravaged shelves and went home with my bounty. I was happy. Bob was happy. Sometimes it takes so little.

Well, it wasn’t long before our bounty turned skimpy and, wouldn’t you know it, I needed to go to the store for… something or another. Sadly, the shelves were bare.

There is a CVS in spitting distance from nearly every Walgreens, so I meandered over. I was too late. Some other desperate, I mean deal-hunting, people had confiscated everything but the jelly bird eggs. When did they stop being jellybeans? I digress.

The yellow and orange crinkly paper lining on this story is that it was date night. I knew we would be venturing a small distance to go to dinner. I could approximate at least four drugstores on our route. Bob has learned not to interfere with a woman possessed with finding chocolate and peanut butter, so we stopped and found success!

Success was one bag and I had to move some stuff to find that. I grabbed it up and headed home with a smile on my face. This time the smile was not for me. It was for my grandchildren. Most of my grandkids live out of state and I was excited to bring this special treat to our summer vacation with them. I had a little problem because the bag contained 14 eggs. Bob and I have eight grandchildren. I wanted to find another bag, but I knew that was a fool’s errand.

I could give each child one egg and give one egg to each of our children, but I’d still come up short. The simplest solution seemed to be, save eight eggs for the kids, and eat the rest. But I was hopeful, so I told Bob I’d throw the eggs in the garage freezer and figure it out later.

Two days later I opened the freezer and discovered an open bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs! I asked Bob if he remembered anything about our grandchildren, whom we love, and how I wanted to give the eggs to them. Did he remember how happy they would be to get Reese’s Eggs in the summertime? Could he picture their sweet faces and hear the surprise in their voices?

He was pretty fuzzy on that. All he remembered was – there are Reese’s Eggs in the freezer. I have to thank Bob for being the amazing problem solver that he is. He’s definitely gifted! He saved me from roaming around town looking for more Reese’s Eggs. He also knows I don’t really like dealing with numbers, so he saved me the time of dividing something that was not divisible by eight. He’s awesome.

As I peered into the freezer, staring in disbelief at that open bag, I realized something. An open bag is an eaten bag, so Happy Easter to Bob and me. Please don’t tell the grandkids.

January is Mean

January may be the first month of the year, the month when fresh starts typically are at least contemplated, and the month of new gym memberships and linen sales, but to me it’s the month that reminds me why I live in Florida.

It doesn’t bother me in the least that you or anybody else knows that I’m pretty much a wimp. Truth be told, people knowing that makes my life simpler.

My preference, though, is not to use the word wimp. I do have some adventure in me, and I don’t really want people to think of me as a namby-pamby, milquetoast, yellow belly sissy.

That’s why I love reminding my sweet husband that I am a delicate flower. It sums things up so much more in my favor. Here’s a look into a recent conversation of ours where I am once again compelled to remind Bob exactly who he is married to.

delicate Hydrangea flower

Scene: We are in the bathroom, getting ready for bed. I am brushing my teeth while hovering around the space heater.

Me: It’s so cold.

Bob: It’s not that bad.

Me: I hate January. January is the worst. We live in Florida, after all. It’s not supposed to be below 45 outside.

Bob: But we’re inside.

Me (as I look at the bathroom thermometer which I keep in there just to make a point when necessary): It sure doesn’t feel like we’re inside! Have you forgotten that I’m a delicate flower?

Bob: I haven’t forgotten. It’s just not that cold to me.

Me: That’s because you’re not a delicate flower. You’re a tumbleweed.

Bob shot me a look of pain revealing that I had wounded him deeply. Words cannot express how bad I felt at that moment, even though I did chuckle a little.

Bob: I’m not a tumbleweed. I’m more like a… a bush. Yes. I want to be a bush. They’re sturdy, dependable.

Me: I didn’t mean tumbleweed as a bad thing. They roll with the punches, go with the wind, keep on going no matter what.

Bob: No. I want to be a bush.

Me: Okay. Okay. But you gotta admit, you do roll with the punches, my sweet, crazy tumbleweed – I mean bush.

Bob gave his famous eyeroll and we went to bed. Him under a sheet. Me under the same sheet with two blankets on top. Both of us muttering how we can never move any farther north than Orlando. That’s how we roll, and it’s all January’s fault.

Photo by Luismi Sánchez on Unsplash

I’d Like to Weigh in on Something

Every morning, without fail, my husband dutifully weights himself. Several years ago he lost about 35 pounds and watches that scale to make sure it doesn’t creep back on. Most mornings I, too, weigh myself. But not in front of him. When you’ve been on a diet for 45 years, you get a little sensitive about certain details. Yes, he can know how much I’ve lost. No, he cannot know what my current weight is.

Eventually, I tell him, but only after I get to my goal. He is a genius with numbers, so I know he can remember my weight loss and figure out from whence I came, but I don’t think about that. And he’s smart enough not to mention it.

Last Saturday was like every other day, only I was awake to see Bob weigh himself. He got on. He got off. He got on again. “Hey,” he exclaimed, “this scale is like the wheel of fortune gone crazy. It stops on a number and then rolls to another, over and over.”

Bob’s weight went from 170 to 214 to 68 in no time at all. Well, folks, that is 2020 for you. Nothing is what it should be. I stepped on and was delighted to see that I was in a weird bathroom/carnival game, not knowing where the scale would land. I decided I would choose a number I like and go on with my day.

By Monday, Bob was going through scale withdrawal and stopped at Costco to buy a new one. Alas, they had none. I know they’ll reappear in January, but for now, Bob had to find another source. If you follow me or know us, you will marvel at how we think everything can be found at Costco and if it isn’t there, then it’s either the end of the world or the year 2020. It doesn’t make sense, but that’s pretty much how we operate.

Bob got on Costco.com and found some options and listed them as I fixed dinner. Did we want bamboo finish, clear glass, black finish? Would we like our weight to the nearest tenth of a pound? Hey, these have Bluetooth. They will track our weight for us. That’s when I put down the spatula.

A great big NO to tracking! I turned the contact tracing off on my phone. Why would I want our scale to keep my numbers for public display to anyone who was passing through our bathroom? And who needs Bluetooth for their scale? Really, is that what this crazy world has come to?

Bob added that some scales can track up to four people. “Fine,” I said maturely, “but if you get that scale, I’ll never weight myself again.” And with that, I sliced myself a piece of pie to make sure he knew I meant business.

Amazon (Costco’s alternative universe) gave us more sensible and lower cost choices. When I saw a scale that came with a tape measure, I knew order had returned to my universe. So if you are feeling like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, remember you can discover what your weight is for $14.38 on Amazon.com. Let’s just hope this scale can keep a secret!

Searching for the Worst Beach in Florida

Bob and I celebrated our 45th anniversary last weekend. This was not without its challenges due to the pandemic and a tropical storm/hurricane threatening Florida’s east coast. Isaias (ees-ah-EE-ahs) turned out to be a dud storm for Florida, thank God, but it caused damage up the I-95 corridor. It’s gone now – only clean-up remains. Other than the obvious reason to breathe a sigh of relief, we are grateful that we will not have to listen to people trying to say Isaias properly. One local radio announcer dubbed it “the storm with the name we can’t pronounce.”

And speaking of storm names – who are the ad wizards that came up with these? Later in the year we will have a storm named Nana. Seriously? Nana is threatening the coast. Nana is knocking out power. We hope Nana doesn’t come on shore. But I digress.

A day trip seemed a good plan. Being inside with all the masked people and pandemic reminders dampening our mood was not what we wanted for our anniversary. We love a good day trip and love to explore places we have not seen, so we headed for North Central Florida’s West Coast.

We threw our swimsuits, beach chairs, and a cooler in the car and were off for adventure. Who knew what we would find? Who knew what perfect little beaches we would discover? Who knew if we would find a place where we could use the bathroom?

First stop was Crystal River. It is famous around the state for its scenic nuclear power plant. Seeing the majestic steam billowing up to the sky, well, that’s nature at its finest. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy we have it. In Florida having power is what it’s all about. We get cranky when our AC is out.

We rambled down the road and found a crowded little beach right on the Gulf. I guess you have to get up pretty early in the morning to get a parking space, so we opted for a picnic by the river, which turned out to be the highlight of our trip.

Next stop was Lil’ Shark Park at Cedar Key. We had heard great things about Cedar Key, but in retrospect all those things were from people who had boats. We had a Styrofoam pool noodle.

You know those cute little couples who even though they have been married for 45 years still hold hands? We were one of them. Of course, we were motivated by the need to steady each other as we walked into the water. I was surprised by the slippery slime under my feet. To add to the ambiance, the smell of dead fish wafted around us like mosquitoes on a summer night. We stayed ten minutes.

It was 4 o’clock and we were riding around in our wet swimsuits still in search of a place to swim. Surely Pine Island would provide that. By 5:30 we were in the Gulf again. This was a step up from Cedar Key. We could walk in the water without fear of falling, but it felt like we were walking on fishing nets. I walked about a quarter mile before getting to waist deep water. It didn’t stink and although it felt yucky on my feet, it wasn’t completely gross. We got wet. We saw a small pod of dolphins. We left.

When we changed from our swimsuits in a beach house that was about 85 degrees inside and smelled like wet dog, I got homesick for our backyard (which is where we spent the next day). We were on the road again by 6:15. Little did we know that our real adventure was finding Florida’s worst beach.

Our day in summary:

Wildlife seen: 6 dolphins, 2 otters, 1 deer

Nuclear Power plants spotted: 1

Things I’ve never seen in Central or Eastern Florida: quarries, sawmills

Places to which I would return: 0

Worst beach to swim in Florida: Lil’ Shark Park at Cedar Key

Time spent with Bob: 13 hours of talking and laughing and enjoying being together. We can’t wait to go to Clearwater!

 

 

 

It’s Springtime – Be Careful Out There

Busy bee on orange blossom. I wish you could smell this!

Bob goes to work. I stay home. I have no need to justify myself to my husband regarding what I do all day. It’s simply not necessary. He is an amazing man and the most supportive life partner (we’ll be married 45 years in August) I could have ever dreamed of having. Even my (imaginary) list of how many days I cook or what I prepare for dinner, which counts as cooking, is really only a joke. Okay, mostly a joke. Cooking isn’t my favorite. (Can we order pizza tonight, Bob?)

But after a particularly “grueling” week (read – I went outside), I decided to give him a list of the injuries I had inflicted on myself in the past seven days. I mean, you don’t get these kinds of boo-boos without exerting yourself.

  1. I burned my finger on the oven rack while cooking dinner. Yes, it was only a first-degree burn, but it hurt. A little. Bob was kind enough not to give me the third degree or rake me over the coals about it. He’s like that.
  2. I got another injury while pruning my roses. One of those nasty thorns ripped my finger. You could almost see the tear. I put a Band-Aid on it to bring attention to my suffering and possibly secure a dose of sympathy or an invitation to go out for dinner from Bob, I mean to keep it from snagging on things. (This was also risky since I’m sensitive to adhesive. I could have broken out, but I didn’t.)
  3. My hands went numb after I cut back a few too many hedges, including my roses. When we played pinochle later that night, I had difficulty holding the cards. This was weird even for me and lasted a day or so, but I have recovered. No Band-Aids were needed. I should note that I only worked around an hour, so this was more pitiful than anything else.
  4. I jammed my knee. This was not work-related. This was more stupid-related. I attempted to walk to our hot tub in the dark in order to soak my weary self after working in the yard. I walked smack into the metal edge of a stool. Since I could trace this back to working in the yard, I will count it.

After I lamented my injury-laden week to Bob, I said, “Just in case you wonder what I do around here all day. I’m active; you can’t get injuries without doing stuff.”

He replied, “Actually you can. They’re called bed sores.”

I’m not sure if he was implying anything here, but thankfully, my pride was not wounded.

Happy Spring! My azaleas are in bloom.

Love is Blind

Bob, me, and Dena 1983

When we were in our first decade or so of marriage, we had to be creative with our date nights. Inflation was out of control (raising four children is the very definition of inflation). Funds were always tight. Sometimes Bob and I would go to the mall and walk around, get ice cream, or go to the bookstore. Not too exciting, but it got us some time together out of the house, and we enjoyed it.

I am one who believes that you can make your own entertainment if you just put your imagination to use. That is why Bob didn’t care too much for walking around the mall with me.

During these walks, sometimes I would challenge him by acting like I was blind. This was especially fun when he would walk a few feet away from me and I would act panicked with my hands outstretched grabbing at the air while calling his name. Sometimes I’d even add, “please don’t leave me alone again,” just for effect.

Bob loved this game as much as you can imagine he did. I often marvel that our marriage is going strong after 44 years!

Of course, I thought I was hysterical. Poor Bob! The thing is, since that time we have watched both of our fathers lose their eyesight. Yep, it doesn’t seem quite as funny anymore, except when I think about my sweet husband navigating marriage through the Altamonte Mall while I was acting like he had navigated himself away from me, I can’t help but chuckle. Even Bob will smile at that memory.

I made the mistake of telling this story to Dena (my daughter). She loved the dark humor and suggested I post it on Halloween. Personally, I wasn’t sure I wanted you to know about this weird side of me, but since I came up empty in the idea department, I relented.

I have matured since those early days. Now I would never act like I’m blind – that’s a little too close to home. I am in my sixties though, and I can tell you that this aging thing is quite interesting. If you want to be scared on Halloween, think about that. My father-in-law once told me that being old was the hardest thing he had ever done, and he was a WWII vet.

Today, I might act like I can’t remember some things – like cooking or cleaning or how to defrag my computer. But there is a method to that madness.

Boom, There It is (x 3)

Sometimes forgetting something is the best, and so it was the night of June 24. SpaceX was due to launch another of its Falcon Heavy Rockets at 11:30 PM. More accurately, that was when the launch window would open. Launch windows are tricky and no two seem to be alike. Sometimes there is no window, they must launch exactly at that moment or wait until another day. That is rare, though, usually they have a span of a couple of hours.

I don’t live on the Space Coast. I live 45.24 miles from the Kennedy Space Center as the crow flies (thanks, Alexa). Our living room faces east, so I only have to step outside and I can see the rocket’s red and yellow glare above the tree line seconds after lift-off. It’s a great view and if a launch gets scrubbed, I just go back inside.

No photo description available.

Photo Credit: Fox35 WOFL

I really wanted to watch the June 24 launch. It has been unbelievably hot down here but the humidity hasn’t been too bad, so clear skies were expected. But I forgot all about it and was asleep before 11. At approximately 2:45 AM, Bob and I were jolted awake by the familiar sonic booms – only unlike the space shuttle’s double booms, this time there were three.

falcon heavy launch

Photo Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

I jumped out of bed and ran to the front door as Bob reminded me that, by the time we hear the booms, the event is over. Not to be deterred and also not fully awake, I maneuvered through the dark (why didn’t I turn on a light?) and beheld a great view of a very dark sky.

At this point I was fully awake and experienced a mixed bag of thankfulness and regret that I didn’t stay up waiting for the 2:30 AM launch as several of our friends did. After all, some of us (Bob) have to work the next day, and that is precisely why I didn’t engage Bob in conversation as we tried to get back to sleep.

My obstacle was that the house was making weird, creaking noises, which I verified with Bob before I let him off the hook of getting to the why of those noises. I’m nice like that. Why are house sounds so loud in the still of the night?

We live in a 35-year-old wood-frame house. I have noticed it creaks more than our former block home did. This is especially evident on colder nights, but this wasn’t a cold night – far from it. Perhaps some dynamic process is at work changing our house by degrees. I’m assuming that kind of dynamic is thermal.

Real-Life Men Of Science Who Made

Real Scientists Who’ve Been on The Big Bang Theory, Photo Credit: http://www.cbs.com/shows/big_bang_theory/photos/page/9/

All I’ve learned about thermal dynamics could be contained in a very tiny book. I’ve picked up a few things by osmosis because my hubby is a mechanical engineer and also because I like to watch The Big Bang Theory. It’s a very educational show. Or is it? If you don’t know for sure, then it could be classified as Schrodinger’s TV show. It could be a good show or a bad one, but until you turn it on and see for yourself, it must be classified as both – or neither. (I learned all about Schrodinger’s Cat from the Big Bang Theory. It has proved to be valuable information. Or has it?)

You can now understand how kind and merciful I was to my husband by not starting up this type of conversation with him at 3 o’clock in the morning. After dinner, no such mercy was extended. We had a stimulating conversation about whether or not the sonic booms from the 2 side boosters and the center core booster, which crashed, could have been responsible for the increase in creakiness of our house that night.

I wondered if sound waves could have gone out in concentric circles and had an effect on our house. Could this be related to the sonic booms? Also, the more we talked about it, the more my mind wandered to Sonic Drive-In Restaurants, even though I have never been to one. I kind of got in the mood for a milkshake but it was too late so I settled for a dish of ice cream and an episode of The Big Bang Theory. Bob, tired from the night before, just went to bed.

Tong in Cheek

When I’m not traipsing around the country and hovering over canyons, my life is pretty normal. And who says that normal isn’t exciting? Just this week I added some spice to our life with the purchase of new grilling tongs. We had quite the stimulating conversation after that purchase!

Summer brings with it the need for multiple pairs of tongs. It also brings the question – why is it a pair of tongs when they are a single unit? It’s like a pair of pants. I just don’t get it. Plural in form but singular in use – kind of confusing, and nobody says they put their pant on one leg at a time. If they did, they might be panting from the strain of holding them together.

Strain – Since we’re talking about kitchen tools – what’s the difference between a strainer and a colander? Can I “coland” myself if I work too hard? Crazy English language! My mom always called that thing a strainer, and its main use was as a drainer of liquid. I understand colanders have larger holes and strainers tend towards mesh or screen to facilitate the drain, but the words are frequently used interchangeably. I think colander sounds like it requires less work – a little classier.

But this post is about tongs and the plethora of things that are better served with the proper tongs. There’s corn on the cob, hot dogs, chicken on the grill, ice, pinching your husband. All of these have tongs that are appropriate and specific for the activity involved. Of this I am convinced. Bob is not.

I showed him our lovely new grilling tongs. He said we didn’t need them because our other tongs worked great. Oh contraire! The other ones were shorter and had silicon on the pinching end. I couldn’t be sure, but if I had the original packaging, it probably did not mention grill use.

I pointed this out to Bob who said that once I cut the tag off of the new tongs, there would be no proof that they were meant for the grill. That is why I’m going to frame this picture and hang it in the kitchen.

Our conversation kept its momentum (weak as it was) through dinner. We were eating corn on the cob. I cooked it on the stove and, of course, used the proper tongs to remove it from the hot water. I decided not to mention that to Bob for fear he would feel antagonized or, even worse, that he would think I was going off the deep end.

While enjoying our corn, which is at the pinnacle of its season, I mentioned that I thought I could eat corn every night. It’s so amazing right now.

Bob added that they use corn to fatten cows.

That’s pretty much where the conversation stopped, but I have plans to use those new tongs the next time his back is turned.

 

Is this some kind of a hint?

I think I’ve gotten myself into some trouble from yesterday’s post about movie pairings. Somehow Bob took this as a sign that I planned to cook or at least assemble dinner for the two of us.

After having family stay with us for the last six weeks, I assured him that my intentions were nothing more than to provide ideas which someone, maybe even him, could put in place.

His next move was to leave me a hint courtesy of last Thursday’s Orlando Sentinel.

 

I know better than to assume the entire news story is above the fold.

 

I countered his move by stopping at the grocery store for balsamic vinegar.

“Well played,” he responded as he put the steaks on the grill. “Well played.”

 

This is Post #29 in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.