Archive for February, 2010

The Female Annual Exam

February 25, 2010

Yeah, I recently went in for my annual female checkup. The mammogram and Pap test, plus the somewhat vague interest in my overall health my doctor evinces. The annual was okay – after so long, I am resigned to it, and the yukko parts are over quickly. My main complaint is how long you have to wait with that skimpy gown over your body with a paper drape sort of unfolded over your knees. And my doctor has nothing interesting in the examining room to look at. So I sit on the edge of the examining table with a breeze chilling my nether parts, and learn more about the structure of the inner ear than I care to know, since that is the only colorful poster in the room. At least my old doctor had posters plastered on her ceiling, so you could lie there and look at George Clooney or a peaceful mountain stream while making chitchat over your private parts. It wasn’t the same thing as a glass of wine or a romantic dinner, but it kinda made the whole thing less intimidating.

Anyway, it is always quick and business like when the doctor finally arrives, and other than the fact that my IUD seems to be MIA, everything looks good. Since she does not have the people skills of my old doctor, she runs though a list of questions in military fashion, orders up an EKG (or whatever that test is, when the nurse attaches electrodes to your body), and a blood test, and vanishes until the next time I have a sinus infection. The nurse is way more interesting because she obviously spends all her off hours in a tanning bed, and wears the brightest purple eye shadow I have ever seen. She makes jokes while she sticks those electrodes to my flesh.

Then it is all over for another year, and I am off to the mammogram. This time they have a new tech, who shall be known as the Torquemada of the Tit Twister. I had no idea you could squash my breasts that flat without me passing out. I wonder if they use this technique on female prisoners at Gitmo. Boob boarding. God knows, I was ready to say anything to make her stop. Mean while, they forgot to tell me I needed to drink a 50 gallon drum of water so they could ultrasound my womb, in an effort to track down the missing IUD. So they make me drink water for an hour, in a little cubicle, in my gown. The lady in the next cubicle brought her toddler, who is bored and fussy (Yeah, kid, believe me, I know the feeling), and entertains himself by crawling under the curtain to my cubicle.

By the time they decide I have drunk enough water, and I decide to memorize the fastest routes to all the bathrooms in the building, the ultrasound chick fetches me, and spends an inordinate, and uncomfortable amount of time pressing her little camera thingie right over my bladder. It appears my IUD is floating around my womb, so I am reassured that the thing is still there.

The next day the doctor’s office calls and says maybe I should see an OBGYN and have the thing removed. Why? It’s not hurting anything. It’s one of those copper jobs, so maybe we can just let it deteriorate in my uterus. It would give things a nice patina, that verdigris, greenish color I like. And it could be melted along with me, when I am cremated, perhaps forming an odd shaped objet d’art. Maybe some day, a future archaeologist will find it, and do a monograph on ritual burial objects. Or someone can make a nice pendant out of it. Hah, my final laugh.

Yeah, when you are forced to endure the female annual exam, you have to take your laughs where you can get them, because, they are few and far between in the radiology department. If any health care providers want some strongly worded suggestions about making this whole ordeal less hideous, you know where to find me.

Entertaining Thoughts

February 20, 2010

Mr. GG is having a big meeting in town next week. He has invited 40 people to our house for dinner. Don’t gasp. I told him it was okay to do it. I may have been out of my mind when he brought it up, but I always like meeting the people he talks about. And I like to cook. The food thing is no problem. Costco cold cuts, sandwich fixings, some salads, vegetables and deserts and appetizers I can make ahead of time, and plenty of beer. Some kind of hearty thing for the vegetarians in the group. I am also importing potato chips from Illinois (the best chips in the world are “Kitchen Cooked”, a mellow blend of grease, salt and perfect crunch – and the company delivers).

The scary part is cleaning the house. We live a lifestyle that might best be described as “casual”. Anyone who knows me will be snickering and snorting at that “casual” – because what I really mean is that I suck at housekeeping. It is at times like these, that I finally notice stuff like baseboards and ceiling beams, and wonder if we could get a federal subsidy for managing a spider preserve. And how come I never noticed all that white crap on the windows? Does acid rain produce those smears? Or have the cats been sneezing on the glass? I wonder if it is too late to remodel the guest bath, have all the drapes cleaned, and get new furniture.

Well, yes it is. I have 5 days till D-day. It is pretty much too late for anybody except FEMA to complete my “To Do” list. And I am such a brat, that even making a “To Do” list irks me, because I hate to feel obligated, and things fall off that list quickly. Wash the windows? It’ll be dark. Who’s gonna be looking at the windows? Okay, that chore dropped to the bottom of the list. Eventually things get pared down to: have enough food, and clean the bathroom.

Mr. GG and I did have a little chat about being green. We try. We really do. And god knows, I have enough dishes to serve 40 people, but I calmly pointed out that I did not care to spend the next day washing plates, glassware, and flatware for 40 people, and that we were going to be using paper plates. I did offer him the opportunity to wash all those dishes, if it was really important to him, and surprise! He found out that gee, he guessed he could live with paper plates. Uh huh, that’s what I thought.

The horrible part is that when Mr. GG gets into an expansive, host-y mode, he will want to show people the house. This is the part that makes my blood run cold. We have a huge house. It is full of stuff. It is full of stuff that is in disarray, scattered, dumped and piled. The basement is gigantic. Mr. GG has a shop down there where he makes jewelry and saws up rocks. The Baby has a couple of apartments worth of stuff in boxes and lying around in piles from last time she came home. I put all my craft stuff, fabric, books I mean to take to the used book store, and papers I haven’t filed for the last decade in the basement. The Christmas decorations are still at the foot of the stairs. In fact, other than dumping the occasional box of miscellany down there, I avoid the basement. Last time we entertained, I closed all the doors to the junk rooms and put crime scene tape across the doors. Seriously.

While I am trying to plan things out for entertaining, Mr. GG snaps to, and realizes that things around here could be managed better. You’d think he would have learned to keep those observations to himself (at least his thoughts about how we need to delegate specific areas to store stuff). I offer to go get him a Dymo label maker, and suggest he could go around finding places to label (some of them anatomically impossible), and he realizes upsetting me at a time like this is not in his best interests.

He backs away from me carefully, and I resume making grocery lists. Why can’t he see that this is the time to pick up all the magazines scattered across the living room, and not the time to remove everything from the junk drawer and reorganize it? If he shows anyone the junk drawer, I will kill him. If he shows anybody the junk rooms, I’ll…. I’ll, wow, that is so terrible to contemplate, that I can’t even think of something awful enough to do to him. Maybe I can just duct tape those doors shut. I know. I’ll put a warning sign on them. What do you think of this?

Warning

Do not enter this room
or your life will be forfeit
Some things are not meant to be seen by human eyes.
Back away from the door!
This means you!

Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. Wow. That knocks 2 more big chores off my list. At this rate, I am gonna have time to finish the new Clive Cussler book, bake some cookies, and maybe do a little restorative retail therapy. Go me!

Shaun White’s Hair

February 19, 2010

I positively lust after Shaun White’s hair. I have always wanted red curly hair. And I did have it a few times in my life, thanks to better living through chemistry and Clairol. But it is not the same as being naturally auburn and curly.

To a folically challenged person such as myself, Shaun’s head is the holy grail of hair. Do you suppose he has hair groupies? Would I be one? Cause I find myself wondering what kind of conditioner he uses. Of course, a little trim wouldn’t come amiss, Shaun. Maybe a bit of shaping or layering to control that floofy stuff at the ends. But still. I’d take his hair over mine in a heartbeat.

This is the way I watch the Olympics. I look at Shaun’s hair. I think Evan Lysacek’s 1940’s shoulder pads verge on the ridiculous. But I was rooting for him every triple lutz of the way, cause he worked so hard, and wanted the gold so badly. I think Lindsey Vonn looks like Calleigh on CSI Miami. I think that a lot of people should have more coaching before they are allowed to be interviewed about their feelings on winning or losing. I am sick of hearing the word “redemption” used in connection with their performances. I cringe for the skaters who stumble or the skiers who crash.

I wish those guy skaters would man up and get some livelier music to skate by… really, do we still need Scheherazade and weepy ballet stuff? I am sick of McDonald’s commercials. Thank god the Baby got us that Tivo thing, so we can skip commercials if we remember to record stuff. Oh well, everybody is a critic, so that is my 2 cents worth for today.

The Blessed Virgin and Talking Appliances

February 17, 2010

I grew up in a big old Victorian house with a basement, attic, a back stairs left over from the days when people had maids, and lots of closets and hidey holes. Perfect for playing Hide and Seek. Whenever we had a mess of cousins over we would play. Sometimes my Dad would join in, popping out of a closet like Frankenstein, scaring the bejesus out of all us shrieking kids. Those were the days when catching a glimpse of “Frankenstein” was the most frightening thing we kids could imagine. I, myself, used to play dead to scare one of my sisters, and I recently found out my other sister used to jump out of closets and around corners to startle her son when he was little. She was only 3 when Dad died. That says something about the whole nature/nurture thing, huh?

It may not come as a surprise to learn I was somewhat nervous as a child. Being Catholic exacerbated the whole thing. I was a “good” kid, but not too good. I knew what happened to good kids – the Blessed Virgin appeared to them and tasked them with some impossible chore. Catholic school taught us about Lourdes, Guadeloupe, and Fatima. And there were saints and angels who appeared to other people – the whole thing just creeped me out. I didn’t want to see any apparitions. It was something to brood about at night, when the house made those crackling and settling noises, or I had to make a late night trip down the dark hall to the bathroom. I suppose logic would indicate that the Blessed Virgin was unlikely to appear in my bathroom, but I was a kid, what did I know?

I made it through childhood in a calculated balance of naughty/nice – good enough to get by, and not bad enough to warrant Divine Intervention. No apparitions. No visions. No stigmata, no talking in tongues. Whew.

Still, I have always been on edge, trying to avoid any contact with the supernatural or paranormal. I love to read about that stuff, if it is fiction. But I won’t watch the Ghost Whisperer or Ghost Hunters on TV. No sense in flirting with trouble.

Which makes it uncomfortable that Mr. GG likes to listen to talk radio as he falls asleep. He used to listen to the BBC, but it is hard to get sometimes, and I put the kibosh on Rush Limbaugh, no way am I listening to that stuff as I drift off. So Mr. GG started listening to “Coast to Coast A.M.”. This is a show that explores all things paranormal and weird. UFO’s, ghosts, ley lines, psychics, demons, time travel, alien abduction, etc. People call in with their own stories of all the weird, bizarre and frightening REAL LIFE creepy stuff that happened to them. Just what I want to hear as I enter that realm of REMs. NOT.

Mr. GG travels a fair bit, so there are many times when I am home alone, listening to the roof creak, or strange animal noises outside the glass sliding door. Or the thump of cats jumping off some piece of furniture in the dark. The sound of the furnace as it kicks on or off. The wind whistling through the scrub oak in the yard. These are times when I do not need to know that voices of the dead came through on someones’ TV, or radio, or iPod. I do not need to know about the dog-headed shadow people seen standing in the corners of their bedrooms. I do not need to know about their paralysis as aliens scoped them out before transporting them to the Mother Ship.

I am okay with the numerology, clairvoyance, and area 51 stuff. I can deal with that. But I had to make a rule. If they start in on talking appliances, Mr. GG has to turn the radio off. It is the “NO TALKING APPLIANCES RULE”. If he wants to be able to travel with a good conscience, he must abide by this. Sometimes I have to elbow him awake, to tell him to turn off the radio.

Man, I will be so glad when he finds the BBC station again.

Coming of Age

February 16, 2010

When I grow up, I want to be…. (yes, I know I am pushing 60 here, but indulge me for a bit!), a marine archaeologist. Or a famous author. Or a rock star (I think we all know that was never in the cards). Or a wealthy philanthropist. Or just plain insanely rich. I want to own a home in Ireland. I want to see Knossos on Crete. I want to be a clever artist like Mary Engelbreit, and have my name and my art syndicated. I want to be Susan Sarandon. I want to discover lost tribes and fabled treasures. I want to be the world’s leading, pre-eminent authority on something. I wish I could play an instrument like the harp, or the harpsichord or the dulcimer sweetly enough to bring tears to your eyes. I want to swim with dolphins, study linguistics, make croquembouche, and have a collection of vintage clothing that is astounding in its’ scope and beauty. I wish I knew how to cut bias dresses like Vionnet, and wear clothes like Bianca Jagger. I’d like to live in Grasse, and have the nose to become a master perfumer. I’d like a brace of wolfhounds to roam my extensive county estate with me.

Man, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Contemplating this, I see a common thread is fame, wealth, and glory. That is probably from reading all those fairy tales as a kid. And Judith Krantz in my formative, young adult period.

I think I was about 30 when I realized I was too old to be a precocious genius in any field. I will admit it was a blow. I was not living up to my potential. However, by that time, I was living a real life, and not just waiting for something BIG to happen to me, to bring me fame and an opportunity to shine. I had pretty much realized no fairy godmother was gonna zap me with a wand and override all the decisions I’d made that brought me to that point in time.

Becoming a mother changed everything. I was responsible for creating, sheltering and guiding this incredibly precious child. I had no idea you could love someone that much, or so fiercely. When they say you would die for your child, they are not kidding. The Baby became the most important thing in my life. I didn’t exactly put my own life on hold, but almost all decisions I made at that time, revolved around how they would affect the Baby and her quality of life. It was then that I started wearing a seatbelt, quit smoking, and learned to make better choices in what I cooked.

Anyway, there is a period of years when I trundled along, not exactly living an unexamined life, but focusing on things closer to the domestic front. I was lucky that both Mr. GG and I had work that we felt passionately about, though we knew we were never gonna be rich (note: Archaeology and Museum work will not make you any money. However the job satisfaction factor is off the charts).

So a lot of other stuff got put on the back burner. I learned to appreciate what I had. I learned to fight for what was really important, and it was amazing how much stuff was no longer important, when weighed against the health and wellbeing of our family. I got my priorities straightened out. And it made me happy. Mind you, I don’t think being happy is the end point of living – I think that being happy is a by-product, an emotion produced when you do things that are meaningful or important to you. Whatever that may be.

After the Baby left the nest, I had more time to devote to exploring other interests. And I am not saying that raising her put me on hold, just that I found other things were more important than moving to California to study marine biology. But now I am comfortably middle class and middle aged. I have the time and health to make a moon garden, perfect my croquembouche, fool around with writing, volunteer more often, research anything that piques my fancy, and do things that enrich me on a personal level. I still want to do all those things I mentioned above, and a whole lot of other stuff that I didn’t bring up. And I probably will do some of them. Or as close as circumstance and my desire let me get to doing them. I am still sifting through to see what strikes a chord, and excites and intrigues me. But in the mean time, I have also learned the beauty of living in the moment. Of being grateful for what I have, where I am, and who I am. There is always more to feel, more to know, more to see, more to be. So when I grow up, I want to be exactly what I am now. A work in progress.

“Ou Sonts les Neiges D’antan?”

February 15, 2010

“Mais, ou sont les neiges d’antan?” Francois Villon (ca 1431-1463)

Okay, are you impressed? I put an actual French quote up there. It means, “Where are the snows of yesteryear?” I know this because when I was in second grade, 5 of my friends and I took French from Madame Baylor. One afternoon a week, we sat in her living room and learned basic French conversational skills, and several French nursery songs. This went on for a couple of years, and I still know all the words to “Sur le Pont D’Avignon” and “Au Pres de Ma Blonde”. (She snuck that one in – I believe it is a drinking song, circa WWII).

Frankly, I rarely read quotes at the beginnings of chapters in books. Usually they are too erudite and literary, and I don’t want to waste time speculating how they apply to the story line. I just want to jump right into the chapter and see what happens. In a perfect world, I would see a few lines of Keats, and appreciate the author’s subtlety in sketching out the next installment, but it is not a perfect world, and I’m me.

Anyway, back to the snows of yesteryear. Obviously they are not in Vancouver. I like the winter Olympics, way better than the summer Olympics. Mr. GG made me feel guilty yesterday, when he commented that they were the “white people” Olympics. No Jamaican bobsled team this year. But I like snow.

I grew up in a winter wonderland. A lot of the snows of yesteryear were in Illinois. Every winter we went sledding and tobogganing. As soon as a kid in my family could toddle they got ice skates. We were an anxious mess until the lake froze enough to walk on. We brought snow shovels to clear the ice, and someone always had a 50 gallon drum for a makeshift firepit near the shore, so we could take breaks and warm up our mittened hands. We raced and twirled and fell down and had a great time. Some winters, my Dad would make us a rink in our backyard. He shoveled a flat area of the yard, built up snow berms at the edges, and then sprayed it with a hose over the course of a couple of days, to build up layers of ice. We were the envy of our friends, and Mom had hot cocoa and marshmallows on tap for afterwards.

Weekends we went sledding out at relatives farms, because those little hills in the local parks were just wimpy. Life was really fine when we got the toboggan. We could all fit on it, shrieking and screaming our little lungs out as we barreled down the Illinois equivalent of the Matterhorn. A few times, Mom roped the toboggan to the bumper of her Studebaker Lark, and towed us up and down the streets in our neighborhood. Man, today a stunt like that would get her up on all sorts of child endangerment charges, but at the time, everybody thought she was the COOLEST MOM EVER. She helped us build snow forts, and snow caves, and we sculpted snowcats along side our snowmen. We always got snow days off from school, so waking up to an unexpected holiday meant we were gonna be outside doing something fun.

So yeah, I like winter. I like snow. And I am sorry all the snow that was supposed to be in Vancouver got diverted to Atlanta and Washington D.C. Because it is quite apparent that those folks do not know what to do with it. Maybe like the grass on the other side of the fence, the snow on the other side of the years was way better. Maybe you have to be a kid to really appreciate a spate of bad weather – I don’t know. What I do know is that I feel very kindred to Monsieur Villon. Hmm. Wonder if we’ve got any of that hot chocolate with the mini-marshmallows?

Fixing Broken People

February 12, 2010

You don’t get to my age without seeing some bad stuff happen to good people. I mean death, divorce, serious car trouble, financial disaster, horrible jobs and bosses, and things happening to your kids. And I am pretty empathetic. I used to be a lot more empathetic. In my twenties, everything that happened to me or my friends was “The Worst Thing Ever”. I thoroughly immersed myself in the disaster du jour, and would spend days and months bemoaning things. And try to come up with coping mechanisms. And eventually, burn out on the whole problem. Especially if my good advice was rejected in favor of wallowing in the situation. Today, if the really serious bad stuff happens to you, you can count on my support for just about forever. I will be there with chicken soup and open arms, or whatever you need. But when it is not life threatening, or is a replay of the same old – same old, I am gonna cut you off at some point.

You can lose friends if you don’t protect yourself. You can’t let yourself get too drawn into their drama. Remember, Einstein said the definition of insanity is to repeat the same behavior and expect different results. And the airlines say, “Put your own oxygen mask on first”.

I had enough training in social work to be a danger to myself and others. If you’ve ever had therapy, or marital counseling, or been to a team building workshop, you have heard facilitators say things like, “And how does that make you feel?”. Or, “Hmm. What could you do about that?”, “Why do you think that is?”. “What could you do right now, that would make you feel better?” “What is the ideal outcome in this situation?”. Basically you take an emotional reading of wherever you are now, figure out where you want to be, and take baby steps towards making that happen. Well, this stuff is all fine and dandy in theory. Applying it is a whole other thing.

I have learned that most people just want someone to listen to them. They don’t want you to solve their problems, or help them solve their problems, they just want a sympathetic ear and a lot of consolation. I’m generally up for that. Until about the fiftieth rehash of the problem. Then I want to see some progress.

I read an article by Martha Beck in Oprah magazine, on this very subject. She had three ways of dealing with things, and my new favorite is the “guy” response. When faced with someone’s problem, instead of considering, advising or fixing, you just say, “Dude, you are so screwed. Have you seen my car keys?” Wow, that is so harsh. But I love it. Sure cuts down on the bemoaning end of things. And it is pretty safe to say, that person won’t be bothering you with their issues again, any time soon.

But that kind of response is only called for when you reach the end of your rope, or the person whining is one you don’t particularly care for. Usually before I reach that level of frustration, I detach. When someone I know keeps sucking all the air out of the room with their whining, I withdraw, and use behavior modification. I reward them for positive remarks, and start ignoring them, or changing the subject when they start their cycle of descent. This small change in my behavior has really improved my life. I don’t suffer the fools, I have more time to give to the people I really love, and I spend less time resenting the ones I don’t love.

When all else fails, I suggest they read “Man’s Search for Meaning”, by Victor Frankl. He was a concentration camp survivor, and the gist of his book is that the only thing you can really control in life, is how you think about things. Your thoughts determine how you feel about situations, and changing your thoughts changes your approach, acceptance or perception towards any life situation.

Hey….. that ties in with the Noetics stuff, doesn’t it? What do ya know? I feel the tug of synchronicity toying with my life.

Anyway, when all you can do is supply a shoulder to lean on, then do it. Do it willingly, with grace, and awareness. If you can’t, then that is a sign that your well has run dry, you don’t really care enough about the person, or the timing or circumstance is really off. Listen to that inner voice. Take care of yourself. That way, you won’t be the one sucking all the air out of the room.

One Woman’s Ceiling is Another Woman’s Floor

February 11, 2010

or: You Can’t Always Get What You Want

I have always wanted to be Doted Upon. So far, it hasn’t happened. I can not tell you how many times I have requested, demanded, teased and implored Mr. GG to dote upon me. Or even, just worship the ground I walk on for a few minutes. The fact that I usually make these requests when I have just read some sappy love scene in a book, and he is in the midst of some TV documentary, technical journal, or otherwise occupied, kinda kills off my chances. If he even hears me, he just flat out refuses. In the early days, he at least enquired as to what “doting upon” involved, before he refused. I would make big googly eyes at him, gaze tenderly at him, and coach him on the sort of romantic phrases I thought he should utter. No go. Never gonna happen.

So it was with great envy in my heart that I discovered that one of my friends was getting what I had no hope of attaining. She has found the (almost) perfect man for her. Really. The only fly in the ointment is that sometimes she wakes up to find him gazing adoringly at her, just quietly doting upon her, marvelling at his great, good fortune in having her in his life. I could not contain myself. I had no sympathy. I think I screeched at her. I told her she had what others (me) could only dream of. I told her to take one for the Gipper, to take one for me. I told her to lie there and think of England during the doting process. That she owed it to women everywhere (me) to bask in all that adoration.

I think she was a little taken aback. But really. One of my fondest dreams was being dissed by a woman I call friend. It shook me. I was forced to tell Mr. GG that other people doted on their women. I tried the old “everybody does it, but you” ploy. It didn’t make any difference. That kind of stuff just doesn’t sway him. In fact, he laughs at me.

I have gone so far as to cajole, sulk, and threaten him with days of tuna casserole for dinner, and he still laughs at me. One time I got him to specify what conditions would have to exist for him to even consider doting upon me. Talk about unrealistic! When I told him hell would have to freeze over before any of that stuff occurred, I finally admitted to both of us that I would have to soldier on through life without doting.

Sometimes I try to tell myself that doting could get old. It could get cloying, or sticky or annoying. But then I get to another sappy love scene in some book, and it all washes over me again. At these times, I set the book in my lap, and stare at Mr. GG. When he finally notices, he says, “What? What’s the matter?”. I just gaze at him (sadly), sigh, and pick up my book and resume reading. And he laughs.

A Girls Guide to Buying Cars

February 10, 2010

I am sort of in the market for a new car. My Subaru is 16 years old, and it still runs okay, but things are starting to break. I’ve replaced the automatic seat belt twice, and the clutch a couple of times, had some work done on the brakes, replaced windshields when the pits and cracks were too big to be fixed, and the interior looks like I’ve owned it for 16 years. And it makes funny noises. And the cruise control hasn’t worked since 2004.

A new car is a Really Big Deal for me. Not to be taken lightly. I research the hell out of a major purchase like this. So I have lots of Consumer Reports, new car magazines, and info from the internet printed out, and lying around everywhere. I have checked into the Costco car buying program, and have some correspondence going on with a couple of salespeople, who are in the way of being my new BFF’s. They really want me to come on down and take a test drive. I won’t do that till I have all my ducks and financing lined up.

It wasn’t always like this. My first car was an impulse buy. Well, pretty much. I had $1500.00 in my hot little hand, and I got a gorgeous dark blue 1968 Triumph 250A convertible. When it ran, that car was hell on wheels. The critical part of that sentence is “when it ran”. During that time of my life, I seemed to have a lot of romantic relationships with car repair guys. Cause they were the males I was most likely to encounter, being in the shop so much, and all. The TR250A was fast. In fact I was exceeding the speed limit by quite a bit the day it threw a rod through the block. A few other incidents of that nature forced me to store the Triumph, and get Mom to help me buy a VW fastback, a much more reliable means of transportation. That one lasted years. It was my vehicle when I met up with Mr. GG in the woods. Where he was driving a red 1956 Studebaker pickup. I tell you, it was fate. I learned to drive in a Studebaker Lark, and had very fond memories of that car. (As an interesting aside, when it came time to take my driver’s test, my dad took me to the examining station in his car – a big ole Cadillac – basically the Queen Mary with fins. I was not familiar with that car. I backed up over one of those cement parking lot thingies. I still passed the test. Working at that station was a political patronage job, and my Dad had been instrumental in obtaining the job for that particular guy. I know, Life Isn’t Fair. But that is one of the few times that things worked out in my favor, so I have managed to live with it).

Anyway, when Mr. GG and I married, I brought a VW and a TR250A to the mix, and he contributed his Studebaker and a vintage Cadillac. We lived behind a bar in a Colorado tourist town. Can you say “poor white trash’? Our driveway was a vehicular hall of shame.

Ah well, I have lots of car stories, but let’s just jump ahead to now. I can’t just go to a dealership and browse. I go armed with facts, figures, printouts, and an attitude. I find out the Manufacturers Suggested Price, the Invoice Price, and I get on the web and find the dealer’s cost with all the options I want. So there I am, juggling three different numbers, and then I have to check to see if there are any secret dealer rebates or incentives going on with the model I want. I find out what that model is actually selling for in my area. I keep tabs on the dealer inventories for my chosen car. It is a lot of work. But I don’t want to be jacked around. I don’t mind the dealer and salespeople making some profit, but I figure they don’t need my lifeblood or first born, so I have to protect myself.

Anyway, I am still in the pre-buying phase, amassing facts and figures. When I actually get around to the buying phase, I just want to get it done. I already know all the features, the predicted resale value, the safety record and MPGs. I just want to get past that dickering, and extra warranty sales pitch, and drive out with what I want. And that time is getting nearer. I just have to check a few more options.

Sunday Will Never Be The Same

February 9, 2010

Tiger Woods has really screwed up Sundays around here. After the hustle and bustle of a busy week, and Saturdays doing chores, Mr. GG really liked to sit in his chair and watch golf. By “watch golf”, I mean nap in his chair. Something about the hushed tones of the commentators, and the slow pace of the game, relaxed him like nothing else. A lot of times, I’d come in with my book, lie on the couch with a throw, and sink into that peaceful, easy feeling that comes from having nothing in particular to do, and being very comfortable not doing it. Ah, domestic harmony.

From time to time, I might glance up when it was Tiger’s turn to play, and contemplate that serious, intent expression, that cute little striped shirt, that supreme confidence. One might wonder what it would be like to have all that intensity, cuteness, and confidence focused on say, oneself.

Ewww. Not anymore. Who knew that choir boy was really a man ho? Yuck. I mean, really, it justs squicks me out. I find I am very disappointed in Tiger. And I am embarrassed to say I followed a lot of the story when the media was in their feeding frenzy. I generally don’t read People magazine (unless I am at the doctors office or getting the oil changed in my Subaru. Hey that reminds me – I hope Jiffy Lube put one of those reminder stickers on my windshield, so I will know exactly how many months I am overdue for an oil change. Hmm. Something else to put on the To Do List).

Anyway, Tiger was always one of the good guys. He looks all wholesome and he is a real success story. You could feel good about rooting for him, even if you don’t understand a thing about golf. He was an institution, for god’s sake. And now it is tainted, because I know way too much about his personal life. I know – nobody forced me to read all those lurid stories. Nobody forced me to look at pictures of all his party girls. When my mom used to comment about someone’s questionable choices, she’d say, “His taste is all in his mouth”. Well, Tiger’s taste was apparently all in his …. never mind.

So, I notice that Mr. GG has not been “watching golf” on the weekends. I am holding Tiger accountable for this. Since he is already in trouble for so many other things, I feel justified in adding this to his naughty list. I hope Tiger eventually works things out, and gets back in the (golf) game. Mr. GG needs his rest.