Thursday, August 30, 2007


Mr. Fixit and I recently stopped at a nationally known burger franchise to eat before heading home. (I hesitate to mention the name, but it is one of my favorite places for burgers.) Seated at one of their outdoor tables was a young couple with a very young puppy. The puppy was on the table.

"I hope that puppy doesn't tinkle on the table," I said.

A few minutes later a manager-type came out and spoke to the young lady. Mr. Fixit said, "I bet he told her to take the puppy off the table."

No, the young lady was a carhop and it appeared he told her to come back to work. She went inside and immediately began bringing orders to the patrons.

"I wonder if she washed her hands?" I said. Mr. Fixit said that he didn't think so because she didn't have time. "I hope she doesn't bring out order," he said.

Another carhop brought our order. However, a few minutes later the one who had waited on us went over and petted the puppy. She then went back inside to resume taking food to customers. She didn't have time to wash her hands either.

Before we left a young man came of the place and sat at one of the outdoor tables. I assume that he was a burger flipper because he had on a uniform and I hadn't seen him waiting on customers. He had a baseball cap in his hand that I also assume he wore while cooking to cover his longish hair. However, he had an unkempt, scruffy beard. I resisted the urge to flip through the layers of my burger to check for beard hair, but I didn't finish the burger.

My kitchen wouldn't pass a health inspection, but I wash my hands many times during the days because of interaction with my cats. I keep the Bounty paper towel people in business.

I'm sure that we won't go back to that particular franchise again, which is a disappointment to me. I love their burgers!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I Am What I Read

For the last fortnight or so, the weather has been unbearably hot; thus I have dared not venture forth, even to the library. Darn! It’s happening again! I’ll start over.

During this heat wave, I haven’t been to the library. I have had to hit my own bookshelves for reading material. This week I chose Anne Perry’s Victorian mysteries featuring Inspector Pitt and his wife, Charlotte. Ms. Perry gives us a view of Victorian London that spans the squalor of the rookeries to the hypocrisy, glitter, and moral squalor of the upper echelons of society. I find the role of women of the era appalling, but interesting. Besides, Ms. Perry’s plots are entertaining.

Last night I realized that perhaps reading six books in three days may constitute an OD of sorts.

Mr. Fixit was at Jason’s to help him replace the backyard fence. I glanced up at the clock noting the time, 9:45 pm. These thoughts went through my mind. “I should call Mr. Fixit. I fear that he may have met with some unfortunate accident.” What? “I fear. . .?” I was thinking in Victorian English.

I have to admit similar things have happened before. A few weeks ago I watched a “Thin Man” marathon. Suddenly, I felt the urge for martinis for breakfast; I almost referred to Mr. Fixit as Mr. Fixit Darling, and considered giving the white cat a name—Asta would have been perfect. My language could be described as snappy repartee for a few days.

If I decide to read Edgar Derr Biggers and watch a few Charlie Chan DVD’s, will I start quoting the wisdom of my ancient ancestors and referring to my children as Number One Son and Number Son?

After reading “The Whistle Stop Café” by Fannie Flagg last week, the phrases, “Isn’t that just precious?” and “Bless her heart” crossed my mind several times.

If I read Mickey Spillane or Hammett or watch a few Bogart DVD’s, will I think of men as “mugs” or refer to women as “dames, skirts, dolls, or babes?”

If I elevate my taste in literature to say, Shakespeare, will I be hark-ing, forsooth-ing, and gadzook-ing all over the place? When doing the laundry will I suddenly shout “Out! Out damned spot!” When Mr. Fixit is late, will I think “Mr. Fixit, Mr. Fixit! Wherefore art thou, Mr. Fixit?”


Since I posted the above, the punctuation of the last paragraph has been driving me nuts! Where are the punctuation police when you need them?

Oh, and lest you think (here we go again) my knowledge of Mr. Shakespeare and his work is sadly lacking, I know that it is highly improbable that he ever used the term “Gadzooks.” It might have been fun if Petruchio had said to Kate, “Gadzooks, Woman! You are a royal pain in the arse!”

I find it a wonderful word. Perhaps I’ll start using it instead that rather earthy four-letter word that sometimes flows trippingly over my tongue and lips in times of stress or anger. “Gadzooks, I burned the cornbread again!”

Friday, August 24, 2007

Lucy of the Mountains - Part 2

Continuation of July 16, ’07 post:

My teacher at Sulfur Springs School was Miss Wilma. It’s funny I remember her name, because I usually have trouble calling my grandchildren by the right name. I remember her because of her looks. She was very blonde and wore one memorable pair of shoes that I adored. They were like Roman sandals with pastel colored laces that she twined around her legs to just below her knees. I think that was the beginning my fascination with shoes. I found out later that Miss Wilma was only about 19 years old and that she had only completed two years of college. I guess back in the 50’s in a country school, degrees weren’t necessary to become a teacher.

Even though her duties included teaching 3 grades simultaneously, I think my education didn’t suffer much. I learn to read and spell quite well, but my math skills were sadly lacking. She would write the numbers from one to one hundred on the blackboard and tell us to copy them. I would lose my place and never got beyond 40. She never checked to see if we had completed our work. My dad had to teach me to add and subtract because she never explained the concepts so that I could understand them. She taught us to add and subtract on our fingers.

I was a good speller though. In spelling books (at least back then) each lesson was supposed to cover a week. There were exercises to be completed before the final test on Fridays. Miss Wilma didn’t quite follow the lesson plan. The first day, she read the word list to us; that night we had to write each word fifteen times. The next day we would have a trial test, and that evening we had to write each words we had misspelled ten times. The next day was the “big” test. She never fooled around with the exercises, but I turned out to be a whiz at spelling.

In truth, I think my dad taught me more than Miss Wilma did.

We had three breaks during the day; morning recess, lunch, and afternoon recess. There was no playground equipment. For the girls, the school did furnish two lengths of clothesline for jump rope. Most of the time we played hide and seek, but once in a while Miss Wilma would come out with us and play a rousing game of Drop the Handkerchief.

I didn’t learn to color properly. We never colored. At the next school I went attended, I think the teacher was surprised that I couldn’t stay in the lines and my choices of color were not always appropriate. All the other kids had their coloring displayed, but mine never made it to the wall. I was always so embarrassed.

I was taught one other important skill that helped me in later life. One day we were all gathered in the lunchroom that was seldom used for eating for lessons in table manners There was a place setting for each of us. We were taught to put our napkins in our laps, elbows off the table, one hand in the lap unless two were needed, how to break our bread and butter it properly, how to eat soup (tip the bowl away from you when trying to get that last bite), and how to cut meat properly. There was no food; we pretended there was. I wonder if these basic rules stuck with the other kids as they did with me.

I attended school there for the first grade (there was no kindergarten) and twelve weeks of the second grade. The next school I attended had one room for each grade, a working cafeteria, and playground equipment. I was thrilled except for that coloring thing.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

News from My Little Corner of the World

It’s still extremely hot, and we have had no rain. I noticed this morning as I was driving that the leaves have begun to turn and fall, and the soybean fields look as if the crop is in big trouble. Even the kudzu is dying. My crepe myrtle bush does not have one flower on it. For the last three weeks, we have had 100+ degree weather every day.

Clemson students are back. Several of the houses in our neighborhood have been rented to students. They are usually quiet; I hope the new crop will be the same. The only bad part is the number of people they have in each house. With five of six cars, they park in the yards, killing the grass. You can tell the houses with students just by looking at the grass.

Our older son has a contract on the house he bought to flip. He invested quite a bit in it, but he should make a nice profit.

Our younger son’s pool is finished. They are now working on the landscaping. The contractor made such a mess of his yard. They have had to put sod in the almost the whole backyard and part of the side yard. Right now they are trying to fix the fence that was ruined by the contractor. BEWARE of pool contactors! The pool itself is gorgeous. When the landscaping is finished, it will be even better. The boys love it!

School has started. Noah is in the 2nd grade; Bella is in kindergarten. They were both very excited to begin. Cole had his 12th birthday this month, and his baseball tournaments have begun after being off for a month or two. I hope the weather cools a bit so I can attend the games.

Did I mention that it’s hot? Sitting here in the air-conditioned house with the ceiling fans running 24 hours a day, it still makes me miserable. Thinking about the electric bill next month doesn’t improve my mood either. It will be a whopper!

I need to go grocery shopping, but I think I’ll wait until tomorrow morning when it’s a bit cooler. Planning today’s menu should be interesting. I wonder if Mr. Fixit will like peanut butter and crackers for dinner. He’s not a peanut butter kind of guy. It’s either that or catsup soup.


As Mr. Fixit and I were having lunch, a commercial (I don't know the product being advertised. I don't pay much attention to commercials.) came on. There was a young woman on a treadmill and next to her was the sun (or a sunbeam). I suppose they discuss their product, and then the sun says, " I think I'll go work on my abs."

Mr Fixit said, "I can't believe they used that word in a commercial."

"What word?" I asked.

He replied, "The sun said he was going to work on his ass."

Time to get his hearing checked!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

That's Entertainment?

“Saving Grace” is a new program on TNT. Grace, played by Holly Hunter, is a hard-living police detective in Oklahoma City. She drinks too much, she swears, and she seems to have indiscriminate sex with every male in the show, except for her brother, the priest, and Earl.

Earl, her last-chance angel, is trying to convince Grace to change her life. Earl, played by Leon Rippy, is not one’s usual idea of an angel. He doesn’t portray many angelic qualities. He carries a soft drink bottle, which he uses to spit in. Apparently, he either dips snuff or chews tobacco.

Earl has another soul in his charge; Leon Cooley, played by Bokeem Woodbine, is an inmate on death row. He and Grace seem to be sharing dreams, if indeed they are dreams.

In the first episode, there was a sex scene that didn’t bother me too much until her partner says, “Grace, we can’t keep doing this.” She replies, “Hey, you’re the one who’s married, not me.” The nudity was restrained so it wasn’t that offensive, but her remark did bother me. The use of four letter words surprised me a bit. I wasn’t offended, but this show comes on at 10:00 pm when I suppose some children could be watching.

The thrust of the series is Grace’s path to redemption, but there is always a criminal investigation as a sub-plot. The sub-plots leave a bit to be desired. Now that three episodes have been aired, the language has been toned down a bit perhaps showing that Grace is changing. What if the show is renewed a few times? Will Grace become a nun?

I have to hand it to the director though. Through most of the show, Grace looks like nine miles of bad road. She has a hard, stringy look. She’s very, very thin, and her hair is long and disheveled with messy braids that are just all over the place. However, when Grace is interacting with children, her whole look changes. She looks softer somehow. A tender spot for her numerous nephews and nieces is her one “saving grace,” which the director shows with her softened image.

I can’t decide if I want to continue watching this show. It’s disturbing to me somehow. It is the same way I felt about “The Shield.” At first, I thought, “What an interesting program.” Then it made me uncomfortable seeing a whole squad of police officers who were corrupt and had few qualms about murdering one of their own. I stopped watching that one after the third episode.

On a Related Subject:

I see that there is yet another re-make of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” The first re-make was in 1978 with Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams; the second was in 1993 starring I don’t know who. I just couldn’t watch it. The new one will be released August 17 starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Why do they keep re-making this classic? There will never be a better version than the 1956 film with Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter. It’s one of the best sci-fi movies ever made.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Hot, Hotter, Hottest

Yesterday at 11:00 am the outdoor thermometer registered 110 degrees in the morning sun. It’s the same this morning. At 3:30 pm with the thermometer in the shade, it indicated 107. By 7:00 pm it was down to 102. At 11:00 pm, the temp had dropped to
96. The temperature for today is supposed to be 107, the hottest day yet in this heat wave.

My cats are not the smartest of creatures. They stay outside all day long. Yesterday afternoon the white one did come in and stretched out on the cool dining room floor for a couple of hours. I guess he just couldn’t take it any more. When I went out on the deck to check their water, it was the temperature of a warm bath.

It’s too hot to…

Go out
Do laundry

It’s not too hot to…

Drink iced drinks
Play on-line games
Watch old movies on TV (Yesterday there was a marathon of “Thin Man” movies. I watched them all.)

According to forecasters, there is supposed to be an improvement tomorrow. The highs will be only in the high 90’s. Big Whoop! Hot weather makes me testy.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Hot! Hot! Hot!

If Satan came to visit Upstate South Carolina, he would leave ASAP to get back to Hell where it is probably cooler than it is here.

Yesterday at 4:30 pm it was 104 degrees on the east side (out of the sun) of our house. It is now nearing 11:00 am and the temperature on the thermometer in the morning sun is 108 degrees.


Monday, August 6, 2007

The Dog House

Mr. Fixit and I have been married for 41 years. It hasn’t all been champagne and chocolate truffles. Sometimes it more like grape Nehi and Moon Pies. He has his virtues. He’s generous, hardworking, and funny. Give the man a roll of duct tape and $15,000 worth of power tools, and he can fix anything. (Well, he does have a little problem with plumbing.)

He has his shortcomings, too. It irritates me when he says, “You didn’t tell me that” when I know that I did tell him. It drives me nuts when I have to preface every conversation with, “Are you listening?” He’s also a little neurotic when it comes to being on time. For example, he has a dental appointment at 3:45 pm today. He left he house at 3:15. We live approximately 8 minutes in the worst of traffic from the dental office. We live 25 minutes away from his work. He leaves one hour before he’s scheduled to work. I have been close to causing him great bodily harm when he tries to tell me how to drive, but I have resisted the urge to slap him, so far.

At the present time, we are in one of those Moon Pie phases (at least, I am). Did I mention that I don’t particularly care for Moon Pies?

A little over a year ago, I decided the bathroom needed to be “freshened up.” I found the perfect light fixture, perfect drawer pulls, perfect shower curtain, the perfect yellow towels, etc. I love my yellow towels! They not too bright; they’re plush and absorbent. The “refreshed” bathroom looks so nice.

When Mr. Fixit went to the beach a couple of weeks ago, instead of taking the old pink towels that no longer match the décor, he took one of my lovely yellow towels. When he came home, he piled all the damp towels and clothing in a pile in front of the washing machine. I picked up the whole pile and threw it into the machine, not noticing a new towel and the underwear mixed in with the beach towels and my yellow bath towel. When putting the items into the dryer, I first noticed strange towel. It was sort of salmon colored. Then I found Pepto-Bismol-colored Haynes underwear. Where was my lovely yellow towel? Then it hit me. My LYT was now salmon colored. The culprit was the cheap, ugly towel he purchased at the beach.

I don’t think ruining towels is legally a cause for divorce, but I thought about it. Of course, I admit that it was partially my fault since I didn’t pay attention to the stuff I threw in the washer. Maybe since I was partially responsible for the debacle (yes, it was a debacle), I may keep him a while longer.


Don’t buy cheap, ugly towels at the beach, and don’t take your wife’s lovely yellow towels camping.

These were the same color.

More than you needed to see? It's interesting

that the elastic remained white.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Clerks with ATTITUDE

When dealing with people in retail establishments, I try to be polite. I say “Please” and “Thank you.” I ask rather than demand; I do my business and get out of the way. I certainly don’t talk on my cell phone while checking out. If I feel that I have been treated with disrespect, usually I just don’t return to the store.

Yesterday I went to Wal-Mart to pick up my meds. I had called the day before for the refills. I arrived after the time designated to be sure that I wasn’t rushing anyone. I was the only person at the pick-up desk. A young woman moseyed (moseyed is the perfect word to describe her pace) and didn’t speak to me; she just gave me a “look.” I asked if my order was ready and gave her the pertinent information. Again, complete silence on her part. She brought my items to the desk and said, “Sign for your insurance.” That was the first time she had deigned to speak to me. I signed. She told me the price and started to ring up the purchase. I told her I would be using my debit card. I swiped my card, punched in all the correct numbers, answered all the questions, and declined “Cash Back.” After “Authorizing” appeared on the screen, I opened my purse and put away the card. Before I closed the purse, I heard, “I’m waiting for you” said with ATTITUDE. I said, “Oh, I’m sorry” and checked to see what further steps had to be taken. I said, “It’s still displaying ‘authorizing’.” I asked if I should do it again. She gave me a mini eye roll but said nothing. After about 30 seconds of staring at me as if the delay were my fault, she said, “Swipe the card again.” I complied and went through the process again. She handed me the bag, I said “Thank you” and received no response from her at all.

In this case, I don’t have the option of changing pharmacies because of one person with a bad attitude. The prices are within our means, it’s convenient, and usually the people are helpful and polite.

I never know what to do in situations like this. Mr. Fixit said I should have asked to see the manager, but I really don’t want to cause problems even for rude young people at work. And I HATE confrontations. I must confess that I briefly considered telling her that she was acting like a snotty little @#$%*, but I decided against it immediately. It would have brought me down to her level.

After incidents like this (which seem to happen too often) I have old codgerly thoughts.
“What is it with young people today?” “Don’t these stores train people how to interact with customers?” “Didn’t this person’s parents teach them good manners?” Why weren’t they taught the most important lesson of all, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?”

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Deck Staining TimeTable

Four years ago Mr. Fixit and our son built a two level deck for me. They were advised not to stain it until a year had passed. Three years ago Mr. Fixit purchased stain to apply to the deck. The following is our timetable for completing the job:

Year One:
Bought stain
Tested stain on deck.
House to remodel
Winter Arrives

Year Two:
House to remodel
Winter Arrives

Year Three
Day One: Pressure washed
Day Two: Rain
Day Three: Rain
Day Four: Rain
Day Five thru seven: work

Last Week:
Day One thru four: Camping at Beach
Day Five thru Seven: Work

This Week:
Day One: Sanding rough spots where pressure washing nozzle was held a little too close to the wood.
Day Two: Staining begins
Day Three: Staining continues
Day Four: Staining Completed!