Tuesday, November 5, 2019

No, I have not died,

Dear One.  Neither have I fallen in a hole or gone over a cliff or taken a lengthy visit to parts unknown.  I've been right here in this spot I call home, chewing my nails (metaphorically speaking only) and procrastinating mightily (alas, in actuality) and racking up rental woes about which to regale you, Reader Dear.  I will climb back aboard the bloggity-blog train just as soon as ever I can, I assure you (in the event you are searching with any degree of eagerness for that train to come chugging along).

Monday, October 21, 2019

The Soiree

It was my first invitation!

Ah, Reader Dear, just let me explain "The Soiree" to you (you know, I'll tell you exactly what it is).
Then, I'll give you details.  But here's a note of caution: Watch out for a slight bit of green emanating from your psyche before I have finished with my tale (Oh, Dear Reader, you know that's not my aim.  It just might happen, however, that you will be a teensy bit jealous. It can't be helped).

I've got a very good friend who's got a very generous sister who, once a year, throws this party for all of her female kin (her sister, those married to her brothers, her nieces, those married to her nephews.

The Soiree is normally a twenty-four hour event at the home of the woman who hosts it (I'm going to call her AH for Awe-inspiring Hostess!).   She is the one who generally cooks the exotic meals, and who strews air mattresses on the floor to accommodate sleep for all who attend.  (This history of The Soiree was all told to me.  Keep in mind, Reader Dear, that you're getting it second-hand information.I'm trying diligently to make sure it's all correct.

 Generally there are  up to a dozen or more women attending The Soiree.  The Awe-inspiring Hostess always has grand surprises for her guests (I heard one year she escorted them to a salon, and they all walked out of there with their hundreds of fingers and toes freshly manicured and pedicured, all snazzily painted, compliments of this superb hostess!  Traditionally, she also treats them to one evening meal out.   And she's always got a physical gift for each attendee as well.  Oh, my! 

Now, you may be wondering how it all came about that I ended up with an invite to this event!  I understand your curiosity, and I perceive that ever-so-slight tinge of green.  Here's how it went:

The HM and I spent time at a lovely rental house in Elkton, Virginia, a month or so ago.    I've told you all about it, Reader Dear!

While there, the HM and I issued an invitation to the very good friend whom I mentioned in the opening remarks (of this post, Dear One! I told you about that, too, you know!  [I do understand, things may be getting murky (the current story has several background stories, all taking place at this spot in Elkton, Virginia (just jump over all of this, Reader Dear [it's not all that pertinent])]).

Following that visit, Mi Amiga Preciosa suggested to her sister (the Awe-inspiring Hostess) that perhaps she'd wish to hold The Soiree at this rental vacation house in the mountains of Virginia (rather than at her own home where The Soiree is usually held).

After the Husband of Mine and I and our family had returned home from our lovely vacation spot in Elkton, Virginia, the Awe-inspiring Hostess (sister of my friend) called me to obtain the rental contact information for the house.  And then she issued an invitation for ME to attend The Soiree! I was to be the "mystery guest" about whom she'd pique everyone's curiosity.

Okay.  NOW.  You follow all that, Reader Dear?!

Last Friday evening at six p.m.:  I arrived at the Elkton house in the mountains of Virginia. The AH had informed me that she was hiring a Master Chef to prepare the meals because a health issue was  preventing her from whipping up her usual culinary delights.  Not ever having been to The Soiree previously, I was busy trying to conjure how one would hire a Master Chef at such a (relatively) remote location and for such a (relatively extended) event--hors d'oeuvres and an evening meal on Day 1; a morning brunch, a mid-afternoon dessert on Day 2; a breakfast on Day 3.  I did not have the slightest suspicion that it would be a fellow attendee.

Here's the thing I'd neglected to consider:  This family, does, in fact, include a Master Chef!  I was likely the only invited one who didn't know or have a strong suspicion ahead of time that Jenny (neice of the Awe-inspiring Hostess) was to be the chef! She it was who spent a large amount of time in the kitchen, and served the group of nine with fabulous and bounteous spreads!

Between you and me, Reader Dear, I wish I'd have taken more photos of the food.  But, I've got something even more special:  a post by the Master Chef!

To the left is the Awe-inspiring Hostess of The Soiree!
Because the weather was quite chilly, there was not a great rush to the pool following brunch on Saturday.

Above, Dear Viewer, see the Solo Plunge into the chilly water of the pool.  Hurrah for the warmth of the Hot Tub!

All nine of us--AH and guests-- spent a good length of time there in the hot tub.
We luxuriated.
We lounged
We laughed.
We were one big tub full of buoyant bon vivants!*

*Strictly my description, Dear One.

...to be continued...

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Old Age

Reader Dear, has got me.  Folks seem to want to disavow me of my description of this new age.  But it's a milestone that I've reached, and I'm proud of it. (Er, you could use other words, too.  Such as, maybe,  Puzzled by it. Surprised by it. Astounded by it! Even, uh, slightly Afraid of it! Terrified of it!)

 Even though I'll concede that life expectancy has risen over the years, I still maintain that this new number of three-score-and-ten years that I've accumulated is a valid entry into Old Age!

But be aware, Dear Reader, there can be  perks (other than being called  "dearie" and "honey" by strangers, and having the door held open for one when out in public.

On my birthday eve, I got in on a celebration with three generations--only three persons missing from this closest group of kind kin, who treated me to a birthday dinner!

It was a fancy meal at a fancy restaurant, with a fancy drink (compliments of the restaurant)  to go with the sumptuous birthday cake!

The birthday cake was equipped with re-lighting candles, I might add (always a hit with my crew of small actors!)

It was a lovely evening!

Then, there was the actual anniversary of the day I was born.
I spent most of the day with Husband-of-Mine.
There was lunch in the city:

There was a unique sidewalk rendition of my song for the day, beautiful in its "Happy Birthday" generosity, played for me by a total stranger (whose mother seemed intent on having him perform; and me encouraging the performance, as well).

I also basked in a  birthday massage by this friendly masseur.

I was with this daughter-of-mine (the Dark-haired One) who had a masseuse working on her back and shoulders right there in the chair beside me.

Then there was this: a would-be Happy Birthday song sung to me, had the Itty-Bitty Actor not changed his mind about the whole endeavor.

Supper was with the HM at a favorite Asian restaurant.

In addition, there were lots of you (Readers Dear) and even some other  well-wishers communicating their "Happy Birthday" thoughts and paper communications and actual, open-and-enjoy physical presents (in addition to physical presence in some cases)!


I'm thinking this Old Age thing might conceivably add up to even bigger birthdays in the future!


Saturday, October 5, 2019

Still Climbing

Dear Reader, I'm here to let you know that I extricated myself from the fix that you found me in a few days back.

Or, was it a few weeks back?! (Greased Lightening!--that's how my dear old dad used to describe TIME, when he had reached an advanced age, such as mine]).

So, after sniffing the scent of burnt rubber, and pulling off the road, I had called the young man to whom I was scheduled to show an apartment, and I had explained the fact that I was stranded with a flat tire.  When he heard my predicament, this young man had offered,
"You're just a half-mile away? I'll come put your spare tire on for you!"

"Well, uh..."  I stammered.  This was a first!  I knew I could call AAA*.  But...there was that dinner date...and, and...

"Okay!" I said.  "If you're sure you want to."

Soon the would-be tenant showed up, along with his sister (who is already a tenant of mine). This bodes well, I thought.  Perhaps things will move quickly!  (Reader Dear, I didn't expect it to go like greased lightening, but, you know...).

It was coming-home-from-school time, traffic of all kinds was streaming by (there were Amish school children, who, I might point out, likely will never need to deal with burnt rubber tires!)

Well, then...argh...the would-be tenant couldn't get the spare tire out of the rear of the car, couldn't unbolt the plastic "tray" that held the tools and covered the tire.  After he'd worked on it for a while, I thought about calling the guy who deals with all the plumbing problems for me at the apartments.  He's a long-time friend and lives just a quarter-mile away from the spot I now found myself in.

I called Ron, the plumber guy.  He joined the crew.
Turns out, nobody knew what to do!

As I made a call to AAA, the two guys (Ron and the would-be tenant) at the back of my car decided to beat the plastic tray into bits.

It was loud!  I had a hard time hearing the AAA dispatcher.  "Call me before you send someone," I shouted.  "I might get lucky with my good Samaritans!"   Sure enough, Reader Dear, just as the dispatcher called me back and was telling me who it was that was coming to my assistance, the two who had been beating away at the problem triumphantly removed the tire and set to installing it.

I'm going to jump forward in time, Dear Reader.  Since it's moving at such a clip, anyway, why try to catch up with every little trivial detail?

I gave a very speedy showing of the apartment.  I called that Husband-of Mine and we met at the spot where his route to the restaurant and my route home intersected.  I leaped into his car, and off we went.  The roads were clogged with rush-hour traffic!

As you may have guessed, Dear Reader, we were late for the dinner date.
ONE MINUTE late!**

*American Automobile Association (to which one can subscribe for "roadside assistance"

**"You can't afford another speeding ticket!" I loudly cautioned the HM. "You're liable to lose your license! It's not worth it! Slow down!"***


***While it might have added an interesting twist to the plot, I'm here to thankfully tell you, Dear One, that though the HM did not heed my advice, neither did he get caught for speeding!  We enjoyed a delightful dinner with friends, and arrived home feeling fine, and with the HM's driving license intact. So, hurrah for "All's well that ends well"

Keep your fingers crossed, however (if you so kindly would, Reader Dear)  as to,  "Be sure your sins will find you out!"

Friday, October 4, 2019

The Scent of Burning Rubber

Reader Dear, is not a pleasant scent.  I've never seen a candle, room freshener, or even a stick of deodorant labeled "Burnt Rubber".*  But, alas, when things start to spiral out of control sometimes that's the scent that ends up telling the story.  It can make one believe that one has just fallen into a big old pile of rotten bad luck.  But, let me hasten to tell you the tale.

Yesterday, my day was full.  Activities and responsibilities came one after another with little room to spare.  Calm down, calm down, I told myself.  Just keep moving along and you'll be fine.  And, utilizing a rare case of optimism, I took my word for it.

However, Dear Reader,  there was the twist.  Ah, yes.  The Twist*.

All I needed to do was run to the apartments (Surely you will recall, Dear Reader of Mine, the rental tales).I had set a time to show an apartment to an interested would-be renter.  Then I would dash back home and leave with that Husband-of-Mine for a dinner date with friends.  The restaurant was nearly a half-hour's drive away.  I made sure I was quite ready to leave for the dinner date prior to leaving for the apartment showing.  Traffic is very heavy in the late afternoon hours, we all know.

Still, I could make it!  Appointment to show apartment: 4:00.  Dinner: 5:30.

Backing from the driveway I suddenly thought of my phone.
Did I have it? Was it buried in my purse?
I tried searching with one hand  (the purse has four zippered pockets; what absurdity) while driving with the other (happy to have two hands, but three or even four could have been subtly suggested to the Creator by Adam, if not Eve, herself).

Speeding up the tale (while slowing the car) I abruptly pulled off the road for a better search.  I hit a large rock.  I discovered the phone truly was missing.  I pulled back onto the road, backed up slowly, nervously, and carefully.  I re-entered the driveway, re-entered the house, retrieved my phone, got back on the road.  If I sped up ever so slightly, I'd still make it to the apartments by four o'clock.

Except.  What was this?!  The car was throwing a  tantrum, difficult to steer.  No, no, I tried to convince myself.  It must be my imagination. (Optimism, however, as I continued on down the road, was beginning to seep away like air from a slashed tire). The steering and the noise got ever more disturbing.  I crept on, hoping to make the complete four-and-a-half mile drive to the destination before giving up.

Four miles into the drive I got the clear and distinct smell of burnt rubber.  BURNT RUBBER!  Furthermore, the car began to shake and rattle most fearsomely.  I could tell there was something seriously wrong with the right front quadrant.  Was the whole wheel coming off the car?

As all sensible drivers would do, I stopped the car (yes, yes, Reader Dear, I know an argument could be made for that thing that you're thinking--sooner would have been better! Truly sensible drivers would have put on the brakes earlier! [ I'm going to just ignore that])  I put on my four-way blinkers.  I called the would-be renter to inform him that I was a mere half-mile away, but couldn't be there as scheduled.

...to be continued...

*The candle I've got burning right now is labeled: "Richly Scented Candle. Paperwhite Vanilla". Ahhh...