At Doright Manor we go to bed early. Studly Doright, my husband of 44.5 years, hasn’t retired yet and he rises early each day to get a jump on things before the rest of the work force shows up,
Last night, though, we stayed up to watch the Tampa Bay/New Orleans playoff game, and didn’t get to bed until ten eastern time. Basically that’s midnight in our world, and now I have a football hangover; although, perhaps it’s a true hangover given all the wine I drank while watching not only the late game, but also the earlier game between Kansas City and Cleveland.
Two great games featuring four of the best quarterbacks in the league were impossible for us to turn off. I have the luxury of sleeping in and staying home and working on a sequel to Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, while poor Studly had to get up early to reattach himself to the old grindstone.
It’s a good thing he’s married to me—I can nap for both of us this afternoon. He has no idea what I sacrifice for him. I’d better nap for twice as long just to be on the safe side.
The trash collection guys come on Monday mornings—usually quite early in the day. So here at Doright Manor we usually remember to move our trash receptacle to the curb on Sunday afternoon, but not always.
When I woke up yesterday morning at 7 a.m. my first thought was, “Oh crap! Is that the trash truck I hear?!”
I scooted the cat off of my chest where she’d snuggled down, blissfully unaware of such things as full trash receptacles. Her glare was equal parts disappointment and disdain. How dare you disturb me?!
Hurriedly I donned a pair of sweat pants and a non-matching sweatshirt, pulled on some socks and shoes and scurried outside into the 40° weather to try and outrun the trash collectors. I grabbed the dew-covered handle of the receptacle and winced. It was cold and wet. Ugh.
I was not to be deterred, though! I gritted my teeth and pushed the container to the curb, hoping I wasn’t too late. When I looked around at other homes I was surprised to see that no one else had their cans out for pickup. Puzzling. That was until I remembered that it was Wednesday morning, not Monday, and that I was either two days too late or six days too early.
So there I stood, on the curb, shivering in a pair of Studly’s hole-y sweatpants, which are considerably larger than any of mine, a Walking Dead sweatshirt, mismatched shoes and wet hands, wondering if I truly had finally lost my mind.
I finally got to hold a copy of the paperback version of my novel, Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort. Sadly, it’s not mine to keep. I’ll forward it on to my friend and editor, Rachel Carrera first thing tomorrow.
Studly Doright wanted to hold it. “It’s huge!” were his exact words. I was pushing for “clever, poignant, skillfully done,” but I’ll settle for “huge!”
For future reference, I should NEVER be allowed to drive at night again. Why, you might ask? Because last evening, just after sunset, I set off to pick up a few necessities at the Publix grocery store nearest Doright Manor, and subsequently became totally lost on my way home.
Somehow, as dusk turned to full dark. I missed the turn onto the road that parallels our housing development and drove at least ten additional miles before I could find a safe place to turn around. I was a quivering mess by the time I pulled into our driveway at Doright Manor, having dodged obstacles both real and imagined. Those imagined ones are the absolute worst.
I told Studly Doright, after I finally convinced my legs to carry me into the house following my harrowing experience, that I am giving up driving at night. He asked, “Does that include trips on your broom?”
If I could’ve found eye of newt and tongue of toad at the grocery store, he’d be in big trouble.
Have you ever had one of those days where you seem to successfully dodge one mishap after another? I have to confess that’s not my norm. If a ball has begun rolling down hill a mile away from me then chances are our paths will cross before long and I’ll go heels over head in spectacular fashion.
Yesterday, though, on my way home from Tallahassee I managed to avoid one potentially injurious incident after another. Rather than go into detail I’ll simply list them.
1) Someone driving a sporty red car ran a red light through a busy intersection just as I entered said intersection. My reflexes saved me. My raised middle finger was of no use.
2) A mile or so down the road an impatient driver on a side street pulled around another car and darted in front of me. I applied my brakes and my horn simultaneously. No fingers were raised.
3) As I entered a tightly engineered roundabout the car in front of me came to an abrupt stop causing the car behind me to very nearly rear end my car. At this point I’m thinking, Should I just park and call an Uber to take me home?”
4) I turned onto a familiar country road to take a shortcut home. A road construction crew had stopped oncoming traffic allowing cars in my lane to proceed. Unfortunately one southbound idiot decided he didn’t need to wait on cars going northbound and came right at me. I’ve now become something of an expert at avoiding crashes, so I find space to make room for the $&:(@?! and after honking and glaring at him I went on my less than merry way. Note: glares are as ineffective as middle fingers.
5) At this point I figured I had most certainly survived the gauntlet. Now that I was within three miles of Doright Manor surely nothing else could befall me. Then there was a cow. Now, I grew up in rural Texas where it wasn’t uncommon to see a lone cow or even a small herd of cattle on the road, but this was a first for me in Florida. I rounded a curve in the road and there she was, just waiting for me to kill both of us. I pressed on the brakes and stopped with at least two entire inches to spare.
6) I managed the rest of the drive without incident, and have decided to become a hermit. At least for a day or so. My guardian angel needs a rest.
Lately I’ve felt overwhelmed. Between our crazy political situation, the virus that never ends, being separated for way too long from my children and grandchildren, and the heartbreaking loss of our beloved kitty, Scout, I’ve been tempted to just go to bed and not get up until life feels worth living again.
My husband, Studly Doright has always been a “glass that’s more than half full” kind of guy, but he has been devastated by Scout’s death—so much so that he seriously considered dropping out of a golf tournament. That’s just unheard of, and he finally decided he’d go ahead and play because other golfers were depending on him.
Yesterday morning, before he left for the tournament he kissed me goodbye and with tears in his eyes said, “We really don’t want to live in a house without a cat, do we?”
I could only shake my head.
“Go find a cat who needs us,” he said.
And so I did. Meet Gracie:
This precious rescue kitty was languishing in a showcase at PetCo when we first met. When I spoke to her she stuck her nose through one of the holes and said “hi!”
Now, she’s keeping me company on the sofa.
Gracie is just over a year old and came to a local shelter as a pregnant feral cat. After her kittens were weaned, each one found a home, leaving Gracie on her own in the shelter.
She’d been adopted twice, and returned both times. The first family discovered that their child was allergic to cats, the other family had a dog who felt threatened by her. We’re her lucky third chance.
Gracie is doing well here at Doright Manor, but we can tell she’s a bit reluctant to go all in. And who could blame her? She really likes our screened-in back porch, and spent much of the evening perched on the cat tree Studly made for Scout.
When we turned in for the night she sat at the foot of the bed watching us for a long time. Studly tried to coax her to come closer, but she snubbed his efforts. I thought maybe in a week or so she’d feel comfortable enough to snuggle with us.
But I woke up around one a.m. and her sweet little face was just inches from mine. She’d curled up next to my head and was so deeply asleep that she didn’t even twitch when I extricated myself from the covers to make a trip to the bathroom. When I returned and slid back into bed she opened one eye as if to say, “Make up your mind, lady.”
I must admit to feeling like we rushed into adopting a new cat so soon after losing Scout. There was a moment of panic after I’d paid the adoption fee and realized I was now in a committed relationship with this little girl. But, Studly was right. I really don’t want to live in a house without a cat. And magically, I feel like I have a reason to get out of bed again.
As I approached the driveway into Doright Manor today I clicked on the garage door opener. Rounding the turn leading into the garage I noted a large lizard scampering up the door, taking ill-advised refuge in one of the door’s folds.
I yelled at the lizard, “Look out!” and tried to stop the door, but wasn’t quick enough. Now the world has one less lizard. It’s a sad day indeed.
Last week we had new carpet installed here at Doright Manor. In preparation for the arrival of the carpet layers I had to clean all of the stuff from the closet floors. Simple enough.
Finally I’d moved everything that might be in the way of the workmen into the seldom used living room and decided this afforded me the perfect excuse to assess every item, Marie Kondo style, to see if any joy was sparked before putting anything back in its old storage place.
After nearly a week of sorting through the odds and ends I’ve come to believe that joy is relative. Just because something doesn’t spark joy today doesn’t mean it won’t tomorrow. I’m hopeless.
That’s not to say I haven’t decided to get rid of a few things, but the manner in which they’re to be disposed of is giving me a few headaches.
I’m an avid Star Wars fan, and have collected dozens of action figures, plush toys, calendars, mugs, and silly promotional items over the years. But they aren’t being displayed. Instead, they’ve just been sitting and collecting dust. I did list a couple of items on eBay:
So far, I have one bid on Max and no bites on Yoda yet, even though he’s priced dirt cheap, and is in slightly better shape than Max. I’ll end up losing money on both items, but at least someone will get some joy out of them. And I’ll likely cry when they’re gone.
One of my problems in purging stuff is deciding if if an item should be tossed, sold, or donated. Actually, the tossing is fairly straightforward. Some things don’t deserve a second chance like the chewed up, stuffing-less cat toy I discovered in a box of clothes. But also in that box was this:
This deep pink (I stress “deep” and not “hot”) pleather suit was my grandmother’s in the 80’s. Yes, my grandmother’s, and she looked gorgeous in it. I can’t remember why she gave the suit to me, but she must’ve been in her 70’s at the time and told me then that she was keeping the matching trousers because she’d still wear them. I just love that.
I wore the ensemble once many years ago to a party, but it wasn’t “me” for a number of reasons, and now the size ten is a tad too small. Plus, it still isn’t “me.”
BUT, should I send it straight to Goodwill or might someone browsing on eBay see it and say, “My goodness! I MUST have that deep pink suit!” This is my dilemma.
I think I’ll ruminate a while longer, and honestly that suit isn’t taking up too much closet space, right?
Today we celebrated Independence Day here in the United States. Celebrated might be an overstatement in my case. I napped, having been unable to sleep last night. I did wear my special flag t-shirt most of the day, though.
Then, while Studly Doright and I were cooking our dinner of vegetable kabobs and fruit salad, I managed to get cooking oil all over the front of my shirt. I might’ve said, “Yankee Doodle Dammit!” Or something similarly patriotic as a result.
We’ll likely spend our evening watching “Shameless” on Netflix while listening to our neighbors across the lake shoot off fireworks. Is it wrong for me to hope a predicted thunderstorm might keep the ruckus to a minimum tonight? It’s not as if they have any children.
Suddenly I feel like the Scrooge of July 4th. Bah firecracker!