The Natural Order

A fat fluffy red fox jogged briskly across my backyard this morning, halfway between the house and the lake. Patches and I were sitting on the deck enjoying a cup of coffee, when the fox caught the two of us off guard.

We watched avidly as Mr. Fox scurried down into the forest, and continued watching long after he was out of sight. Patches’s tail whipped back and forth as she followed his every move; whereas, mine remained static. My tail doesn’t often whip these days, even when I’m agitated or excited. One of those unfortunate cases of “use it or lose it” I’m afraid.

Eventually I had to refill my coffee, so I left Patches on guard where she remains as I write this:

No fox is getting past her. Nosirree! Unless of course someone offers her a treat, then all guard duties will be abandoned for the sake of a catnip flavored nibble.

Now, to the point. This little essay began with the words, “A fat fluffy red fox….” The order of the words rolled off the tips of my fingers and onto the screen. Could I have also typed, “a red fat fluffy fox” or a “fluffy red fat fox?” Sure. But why did my initial word choice feel the most correct to me? We tend to say, “clear blue sky” instead of “blue clear sky,” and Patches would be a “cute black and white cat,” and not a “black and white cute cat”; although, she most definitely remains black and white and undeniably cute.

Apparently I’m not the only one who has pondered this ordering of adjectives. When I googled it I found this interesting article.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwj-2dXV_8LgAhVNhOAKHSqbB6sQzPwBegQIARAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.com%2Fnews%2Fblogs-trending-37285796&psig=AOvVaw0merRecZG_17DUM74VQjSX&ust=1550500785616506

Isn’t English wonderful? It’s also often confusing and in some ways, limiting, but it’s always interesting. And some folks can still get away with using adjectives in the wrong order. I’ll leave you with another fox, George Strait, and his rule bending song, “Blue Clear Sky.” How I’d love to see him in my backyard.

https://youtu.be/JLh5Y9PRFSc

Peace, people.

A Rose is a Rose, Right?

Yesterday I arrived home from an appointment in Tallahassee to the sight of three boxes on the front porch. I’d been expecting two of them. One was a Valentine’s gift I’d ordered for Studly Doright, one was a legal document, and the third, unexpected box was from ProFlowers.

Of course I checked to make sure it was for me, (it was), and I opened it. I could smell the roses before I saw them, so I set them aside to prepare the enclosed vase. I took the clear glass receptacle from the box, filled it with room temperature water, and added the enclosed plant food before unwrapping the flowers. Within the wrapping paper there were only six blooming roses, but dozens of stems.

“Okay, I’m sure the rest are buds,” I thought. But they weren’t buds. Instead they were portions of wilted, dessicated petals that had never managed to reach their full potential, or had reached it, but in a stunted state. I went ahead and placed them in the vase even though they looked sad and sparse. Then I got a little ticked.

I was pretty certain my husband hadn’t placed an order saying, “Hey, I want the saddest bouquet of roses you all have in stock. Stems? Yeah, a bunch of stems are great. Even better if there’s a hint of petal remaining, you know, just to let her know they were ALMOST flowers.”

Should I call the company and make a formal complaint? Should I just accept the poorly fulfilled order? I hesitated for a minute or two, then decided to talk to someone at ProFlowers.

After going through the description of the roses with one customer service representative, who clearly wasn’t in a position to make things right, I was transferred to another woman who listened thoughtfully, looked up the order, and discovered that Studly’s initial order hadn’t even been correctly filled. According to this representative’s records, Studly had placed an order for chocolates and a premium vase to accompany the roses. So, I was right to contact the company.

They promised to expedite the correct order to arrive today, Valentine’s Day, and I’ll be watching and waiting to see if the product is what they promised. Surely it’ll be more robust than this one. And yes, I’m aware that there are some lovely roses in the bunch, but overall they weren’t up to snuff.

Peace, people!

70’s Music

Sirius/XM radio absolutely is the best. Regardless of my mood, there’s a station that suits me. Today I had a really short trip into Tallahassee for some allergy meds, so on my way home I tuned my radio to the 70’s station.

“Me and Julio Down by the School Yard” by Paul Simon, was playing, and I sang along, even though I always screw up the lyrics. What were he and Julio doing down by the schoolyard? Whatever it was, it was against the law.

https://youtu.be/JVdlpZ4M-Hw

Then Ringo Starr’s “You’re Sixteen” came on, and I was immediately transported back to my living room in Floydada, Texas, where my 16-year-old self performed a corny dance routine to the song for my mom and a high school boyfriend. I incorporated a hat and cane for good measure. As I recall, neither member of my audience suggested I go into musical theatre as a career.

https://youtu.be/vkR7u_sOtHI

Steely Dan’s “Do It Again” was next. I know it by heart, so I cranked up the volume and rocked out. When I turned into the driveway at Doright Manor the mailman was pulling away and gave me a smile and a wave. I’m sure he was thinking I’d squandered my talent by NOT going into the music biz.

https://youtu.be/7JkS8WB94ME

I’ve been so weary. Of politics. Of allergies. Of petty squabbles. Thank you Sirius/XM, for lifting the cloud.

Peace, people.

Camouflaged

Okay, this isn’t the best photography, but I couldn’t resist trying to get a picture of a small hawk I saw outside my window yesterday afternoon. He blended so well with his surroundings that I kept losing him among the trees.

The rains came soon after I took the picture and didn’t let up until nearly dark. So glad I got to see this guy.

Peace and feathers, people.

Dr. On Demand

Under the category of “What Will They Think of Next?” comes the relatively new idea of online doctoring. Studly’s company’s insurance provider began pushing the service last year, but I was reluctant to take advantage of it. The whole thing just seemed like an oddity. I couldn’t quite fathom how a doctor could examine a patient via a Skype-type arrangement and prescribe treatments, and even medications, for an ailment, all without physically being in the same room.

Last evening though, as I struggled to breathe, as snot dripped relentlessly from my nose, and tears flowed freely from my eyes, Studly Doright insisted I access the site. I told him I already knew what they’d say: “Drink plenty of liquids, get lots of rest, take ibuprofen for your headache, use a humidifier and a Neti pot, blah, blah, blah.”

“I’m already doing that stuff. Plus,” I grimaced, “They’ll charge me for that information.”

Studly insisted, though, so I downloaded the app and made the call. After filling out the online paperwork, I found myself in a virtual waiting room to see the first available physician. My wait time was a little longer than ten minutes, but I didn’t have to wonder what new germs I was being exposed to as I reclined on my own sofa in the privacy of Doright Manor. I do need to acquire better magazines, though. Ours are boring.

When the doctor appeared on my phone I was pleased to see that they’d assigned me a woman. I probably could’ve requested a female, but didn’t think to do so when I initiated the visit. Dr. W exuded confidence and compassion, and got right down to business.

After going over my health history and asking about any medications I was taking, Dr. W asked me about my symptoms, then had me check to see if the glands in my throat were swollen. She had me evaluate the pain level in my sinuses.

And if you’re wondering, yes, she asked me to stick out my tongue and say “Ahhhhh!” while I pointed the phone’s camera at my throat. Apparently I wasn’t adept at this maneuver because after I fumbled about for several minutes in an attempt to expose the inner workings of my throat, she asked if there was someone else in the house who could aim the camera for me. Studly rose to the occasion, and played cameraman.

He saved the day again when the doctor had me take a blood pressure reading. Studly has a small sphygmomanometer with a cuff that wraps around one’s wrist. I was trying to put it in place while talking to the doctor, so he stepped in and made sure I did it correctly. Always the hero, my Studly.

After a few more questions the doctor gave me her recommendations: Drink plenty of liquids, get lots of rest, take ibuprofen for your headache, use a humidifier and a Neti pot, blah, blah, blah. Hmmm. Where had I heard that before?

I gave Studly an “I told you look,” but he wasn’t at all chastened.

“We needed to see if it worked,” he said. “Maybe next time you’ll have something more interesting, like a broken leg….”

That man. Remind me to keep an eye on him.

Peace, and good health, people.

Allergic to Charles M. Blow?

On Tuesday evening I took myself to the Ruby Diamond Concert Hall in Tallahassee to hear New York Times columnist, Charles M. Blow, speak as part of the Golden Tribe Lecture Series. As someone who faithfully follows Mr. Blow’s twitter account, I was eager to be in the audience.

Mr. Blow does not mince words. He does not give the simple answers to issues of social justice that we crave. He does not pat us on our respective backs for seeking those answers from him, having grown weary of white folks relying on African Americans to come up with those answers. In effect he said that we all have access to the same reading material that he does. We can see for ourselves the white privilege inherent in our society. That the calls to action are there, but largely unheeded.

My allergies kicked in right in the middle of Mr. Blow’s talk. My nose started running, and I was frantically searching for tissues in my purse to stem the flood and to catch any sneeze-related fallout. I mostly succeeded. Don’t ask.

Afterwards, back at Doright Manor, I sat in the darkness on the couch, blowing my nose and sneezing, hoping I wasn’t disturbing Studly Doright. I wondered if perhaps my allergic reaction was a physical response to Mr. Blow’s message. Was I fighting to understand or was I in denial? Probably a bit of both.

I have some reading to do, starting with this:

If you have an opportunity to hear Charles M. Blow speak, I encourage you to go and to really listen. Take your tissues, just in case.

Peace, people.

Put a Ring, or Three, on It

First thing every morning I place my Apple Watch on my wrist and begin working toward the goal of closing all three fitness rings. I’ve had the watch for over a year now and had never gotten all three rings closed.

I’ve come close on multiple occasions, usually while enjoying a day at an amusement park. A couple of times the stroke of midnight coincided with ring closure and I fell short of my goal.

Yesterday, though, I made it happen by running errands around Tallahassee. First I closed the blue stand ring after 6 p.m. but then I always close it, so I didn’t get too excited. I did note, though, that both of the other rings were considerably further along than usual.

I decided to go for it. First I headed to the elliptical machine that Studly Doright bought in a fit of fitness fever a couple of years ago. I’d kind of forgotten about it. It’s probably been used for two hours total since we put it together.

After roughly half a minute on the machine I was huffing and puffing, yet I pushed on to the minute mark. I wondered briefly if I was having a heart attack, but my breathing settled down fairly quickly and my heart rate looked surprisingly good.

I walked, jumped, and danced around Doright Manor, pumping my fists into the air, scaring the cats and amusing Studly.

“Have you finally lost your mind?” he asked.

“Yep,” I huffed. There was simply no time to explain.

“Well, I hope you find it before Vikings comes on,” Studly countered. “I don’t want any distractions.”

I might’ve flipped him off. Behind his back, because in this case it really was the thought that counted.

The green exercise ring closed next. I whooped and pushed on to close the red move ring. The elliptical was put to use again along with more dancing, leaping, and erratic arm movements. I was going to do it.

Now, it would make a better story if, perhaps, a wild boar had broken into the house and devoured me, or if a wayward satellite had fallen onto Doright Manor smushing me and my Apple Watch to smithereens just before the third ring closed, but the boring, yet satisfying truth is, I closed all the rings just in time to join Studly Doright for our weekly Vikings viewing date. Finally! A couch potato victory.

Of course I tossed and turned with leg cramps all night, and the smell of Tiger Balm wafted through the house, but by golly, if I did it once I can do it again. Just probably not today.

Oh, tonight’s the night I’ll be reading one of my blog posts at Salon 621 in Tallahassee. I’m not nervous. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway: “I’m not nervous. I’m not nervous. Really, I’m not nervous.”

Peace, people!

Cat-astrophe

Let me preface my post with this thought: I love my cats. I might need to end with that thought, as well, since reminders are critical at this point.

Studly Doright and I share our home with two felines. Scout Elizabeth*, who is 15 years old, and Patches Elizabeth* who is approximately eight. They are polar opposites. Scout is friendly and brave. Patches is afraid of her own shadow and anti-social. They’re both well-behaved, but they cannot stand each other.

(Scout is the black cat, below, and Patches is the one with patches. Studly named her. I wanted to call her Indy.)

We’ve left the cats alone at Doright Manor many times. Our housekeeper, Rosa, comes over to check on them if we’re away for more than three days. She’ll clean their litter boxes and give them treats, and remind them that there are still humans who care about them.

Over the Christmas holiday we were away for a week, so I’d asked Rosa to check on the cats twice–once mid-week and again on her regular day to clean. We’ve used this plan successfully multiple times. Unfortunately this time Rosa had a family emergency, and the cats went without a visitor all week.

We came home to a minor disaster area. The cats’ litter boxes were full and they’d done their business in some weird places: behind the couch, next to Studly’s recliner, in the smack dab middle of the dining room floor. I think they thought we were gone for good. It kind of broke my heart that they felt they’d been abandoned.

I’ve spent the week since we’ve been home acting as a combination forensics scientist, scullery maid, and pet whisperer–inspecting for bodily fluids, airing out the house, scrubbing rugs, and reassuring cats. Both Studly and I came down with head colds over the holiday which turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand we couldn’t smell the messes, but on the other hand the lack of olfactory input made it difficult to locate them.

Fortunately about 2/3 of the flooring in our home is easy-to-clean tile. And the weather has been unseasonably warm allowing us to open all the windows for several days straight. I hope I’ve found every bit of poo and pee, but my sense of smell is still compromised, so who knows!?

On an added note, we’ve got company coming next weekend. Maybe we’ll play a new game I just made up: “Do You Smell What I Can’t Smell?” Or “Poo, Poo, Help Find the Poo?!” Better yet, maybe I’ll just watch their faces as they enter Doright Manor. That should tell me everything I need to know.

I love my cats.

Peace, people.

*All my cats throughout history have had the middle name Elizabeth. Even the males. I don’t know why.

Wrapping

Amazon deliveries became a daily occurrence at Doright Manor last week. As boxes were placed on our front porch I’d place them on the floor in Studly Doright’s home office, a.k.a., “The Place Where Paperwork Goes to Languish.”

Today I decided to wade through the small mountain of boxes, open, and divide them according to their intended recipient, and then wrap them for placement beneath our little tree. As I type this I’m taking a well deserved break while sipping on my decaf coffee and surveying the stacks of unwrapped gifts grouped by person.

Some gifts were sent directly to family members from Amazon because we won’t get to see them this year. That’s kind of breaking my heart, but I’m trying to let it go. Some times I even succeed. Other times I just cry. It changes from moment to moment. So, I’m going to wrap the gifts I can and hope that helps.

Peace, people.