Tuesday, June 19, 2018


How can you tell that your grown children are still involved in outdoor team sports?

Well, the answer could be "from the amount of dirty laundry that will suddenly, all in one day, turn up in the laundry hamper."  The answer could also be "from the wafting odor of eau de sweaty (insert: socks, cleats, shin guards, goalie pads, shoulder pads, gloves, helmet ...)."  The answer could even be "from the massive pile-up near the front door of sports equipment, such as golf clubs and lacrosse sticks and soccer balls."

The true answer: You can tell that your grown children are still involved in outdoor team sports by the number of semi-full canisters of sports-grade-SPF sunscreen you have littering your house.  (Bonus points if you count the canisters in the kids' cars.)

Today I discover eight containers of sunscreen at various levels of use.  To be honest, the three bottles and one squeeze container are mine.  Also, to be honest, three of my four containers are almost completely empty, and the fourth bottle is less than half full.  My son's four canisters, though, are all three-quarters full or more.

How do I know that the four canisters of sunscreen belong to my son?  They're all sports formulas, specifically made to stand up to the sweating body.  The only time I use sports-formula sunscreen is for our school's Field Day (coming up Friday) when I have to be on the artificial turf, where the temperature is considerably higher due to the turf's synthetic composition, and where there is no shade ... NONE.  Zero.  Nada. 

Yup, if I use my usual coconut-smelling low-number sunscreen, I'll fry up like a piece of crispy bacon and will look like a boiled lobster before I even make the half-mile trek back up the hill to the school.  That's my version of outdoor team sports, and I'll be glad when it's over and I can get back to my beach-sunscreen mode. 

Bring on summer!

Monday, June 18, 2018


My landlord is finally fixing up the backyard.  It's a little ironic now that his children are older, but he's out there every day working on the patio area, putting down stones, building a giant stone fire pit. It's a little depressing to me that now there will be noise and sparks flying into my windows. 

I've enjoyed about fifteen years of complete and utter peaceful bliss here.  Now, though, there are workmen peering onto my patio (which sits eye-level to their backyard).  This cuts into my sunbathing BIG TIME.  It's weird enough having them all seeing me in my shorts and bathing suit top, but now their eyeballs are right at my stretch-out level; in other words, my reclining cleavage is on full display, and, if I turn just right, I'm willing to bet there's a decent up-my-shorts view of my underwear.

I love my patio, but it's no longer private and it will be even less private when my landlord's patio is completely finished.  I certainly don't begrudge them using their own backyard.  I mean, seriously: It's about damn time.  But there is a huge part of me that hates to see the last of my privacy evaporate, especially just as summer is getting started.

I guess I'll have to plan my sunbathing a little more strategically now.  Either that, or I'll need to adopt a "show must go on" attitude and invest in much, much better shorts and bathing suit tops.

Sunday, June 17, 2018


Today I'm at a wine tasting when I run into a former colleague who retired a couple of years ago.  Of course, like all retired teachers, she suddenly looks fabulous.  I offer to carry her case of wine to her car, and she offers to have me over for a glass of wine.

In addition to a glass of wine, another colleague arrives, and we proceed to have a party on my friend's expansive screened-in porch.  We eat pizza, drink wine, munch on salad, and listen to oldies music, trying to guess the musical artists and trying to remember all the words to the songs.

It's a fabulous evening -- cool and refreshing, clear sky, fingernail moon -- and over far too soon.  Driving home I briefly consider the dozens of things that I have to finish before school on Monday.  This is tempered by the reality that tonight has been all about me, all about friends, and all about relaxing.

I change the radio to the oldies station and continue the evening in my car for the drive home.  Hey, it's the weekend.  I can stretch it out as far as I want to.  I sing along as I drive, trying to recall the words, reveling in the memories of a perfect and perfectly unexpected evening.

Saturday, June 16, 2018


Finally.  Even though today is cool and pleasant and fleece-worthy, today is the day the air conditioners finally go into the windows.  This is the absolute latest we have ever put the units into the windows. Sure, there have been a couple of warm days and evenings, but so far, anyway, the overnights have been reasonably cool. 

Monday, though ... Monday is supposed to be a meltdown.  Monday will be burn-my-hands-on-the-steering-wheel-after-work hot.  There is no way I want to come home from work Monday to a House of Humid Horror.  So, today the ac units make their ways to their respective windows: one in the living room, one in the kitchen, and one each in the bedrooms because, hey, who doesn't want to sleep with a quilt inside when it's ninety degrees outside. 

To celebrate this momentous occasion, I change the empty gas canister out of the grill (well, my son does because I can't turn the damn thing) and cook up some burgers.  It's like a pre-summer bonanza over here.  Burgers on the grill, air conditioners in the window, and it's still cool enough to be tolerable. 

We're ready, though.  We're all burgered-up and plugged in and the fans are all set, too.  Show us what you've got, Summer.  We are more than ready for you.

Friday, June 15, 2018


I live in an old house.  It's not super-old by New England standards.  It's maybe about 200 years old, and it was built on old farmland.  It may have even been the carriage house at some point.  Yup -- I'm probably living in an old barn surrounded by ghosts of cow pies.

The house is so old that it has some creatures sharing the walls -- silverfish, ants, and an occasional field mouse.  Now, though, my stone basement has some real mice in it.  I've managed to kill a few by poisoning them.  I know this because my landlady mentions that the mice are eating the bait then crawling to the unoccupied side (that she owns) and dying on the floor over there.

Despite traps set, the damn mice are avoiding the spring-loaded peanut butter snacks, so I throw down even more poison plus some anti-mouse tricks of peppermint-based expensive remedies.  Today, I finally catch one of the little bastards on my own.  Well, I don't actually catch it.  It eats the poison and meets its end buns-up-kneeling on the floor at the base of the stairs.

Usually I creep down the stairs and peek carefully, almost fearfully, at the unsprung traps.  Actually, I have been so successful in deterring the little shits that I'm overly confident heading down to do laundry.  Instead of my slow creep down into the semi-lit basement, I almost skip happily down.  I have the silly and insane belief that I have won the battle of the mice.

Well, my rigor-mortis buddy convinces me that the battle has really just begun.  Instead of buying more of the expensive stuff at the store, I mix up a spray of peppermint and water, and I spray down the areas of highest mouse-evidence (and the scene of the crime).

I don't know if I will win this battle, but it truly is an old house.  I'm just not willing to share it.

Thursday, June 14, 2018


Sometimes even the best of intentions can be derailed by my motivation (or lack thereof).  Take dinner, for example  Dinner has potential, but the potential crashes and burns quickly after being on my feet all day at work.

On my way home I stop at the store and buy fresh vegetables, a couple of plump chicken breasts, and some hamburg.  My best of intentions is to make chicken broccoli ziti or to fire up the grill and cook burgers.  Or, maybe I'll make baked chicken since the house is cool enough to start the oven.  Maybe I'll create another on-the-fly stir-fry and throw in any ingredients and marinades that strike my fancy.

Oh, the possibilities!

By the time I get home from the store, though, I am leaning toward grilling burgers.  A few minutes later when the groceries are all put away, even that motivation has vanished.  Grilling means cleaning the grill afterward, and that seems like too much work.  All of a sudden, I cannot even get out of my own way.

Thank goodness for bacon, cheese, and bread.  I pull out a fry pan, make some grilled cheese and bacon sandwiches, cut up a cucumber into slices, and .... voila!  Dinner for all!

Hey, I may not be motivated enough to be the Galloping Gourmet, but at least dinner is ready.  There must be potential in that.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


I am notorious for putting things "in safe places" then promptly forgetting where those safe places are.  I've done this with money, credit cards, gifts, important papers, jewelry, and clothes, to name a few.  One would think after so many decades of making this stupid mistake that I would stop "hiding" shit and just take my chances that stuff will get stolen or lost or dropped.

No way.  I just keep on keeping on.

I am at a small event in a safe place with people I either know or am introduced to on the spot.  There is not one nefarious character in the bunch, but, for some reason, I decide that I must tuck my spare car key far down into my bag of clothes, as if having my car stolen is undesirable.  (Actually, I am bored of my car already, and I've only had it for a year.  Steal it.  Please.)

When I arrive home, I unpack my stuff and don't think about anything related to the bag or the event.  It isn't until two days later that I realize I don't have my spare car key.  But, the worst part is that it's my auto-starter fob.  That will be substantially more money to replace.

I don't panic immediately.  I assume I lost the damn thing like I always do, but I do recall that I simply slid the key fob into the open-topped bag without much thought as to its safety nor safe-keeping.  I tear through the house.  I check and recheck my pocketbook and the key basket and my clothes and the laundry.  I tear apart my car in case the bag tipped over in transit and the key fob is rolling around the trunk or under a seat.

Once I have exhausted all options, I send out an email to the event hostess who contacts the venue, a place not only 70 miles away, but a place that holds a big event there the day after I misplaced my extra key.  This means that my chance of actually finding it is probably zero.  Cha-ching, cha-ching to replace it.

I go through the day pretty much resolved that my stupidity will cost me money.  It's okay, though. I mean, nobody died, right?  It's a damn electronic starter key.

After work I am wandering around the house when I remember the last time I "lost" something (my credit card ... that I had to cancel and replace).  It turned up in my toiletry bag from a plane trip.  Oh, that's right.  I put it there so I wouldn't use THAT card at the parking garage when I got back to Boston.  I forgot it was there and threw the toiletry bag back in the bathroom cabinet for my next trip months later, which is when I found the cancelled card.

I cannot even imagine this.  I only took a small toiletry bag with me with a mini hairspray and some body spray.  I wouldn't have... I didn't think I'd need to keep it safe ... I'm positive I just threw the loose key into my bag.

Damnit, the key fob IS in the toiletry bag.  I don't remember for the life of me even putting it there, but the event was mayhem.  I quite literally threw the key into a bag inside another bag and put that inside another bag.

Yup, I find the key in the same way the old lady swallowed the fly ... I put the key inside the bag to hide it in the bigger bag to prevent it from dropping from the biggest bag; I don't know why she swallowed the fly...

Next time I hide something then lose it, remind me to check the toiletry bag.  Who knows what I'll find in there!  Oh, wait, I know: credit cards and keys.