Sunday, July 25, 2010

CATCH OF THE DAY

The first time I ate a lobster, I was in Connecticut.The sign outside the restaurant said TWO LOBSTERS for $8.99. My hubby and I ate there, everyday for a week. The price lured us and the flavor spoiled me. I was hooked. Unfortunately, the price for one of those giant water bugs, goes up, the further inland you go. So when I got home from that vacation...  I learned to skip the fancy restaurant, and instead cart the lobsters home from the grocery store in a cardboard carryout box and steam 'em live. But after a while, their cost became prohibitive and the ritual LOBSTER in a POT routine faded away for boring menus of meat and potatoes. And though my mouth watered for the flavor of succulent lobster drizzled in butter... I avoided the purchase each time I went to the store. It had literally been years since I had one... so when I noticed a sign posted at my grocer last week $9.99 LOBSTERS, one and a half pounds... I jumped at the opportunity. I wanted two. The store clerk came over to scoop them out of the tank they were in, just as a mommy and her toddler happened, past. "LOOK! LOOK!" she shrieked to the small child. "See the lobsters swimming. This lady is going to buy one." I smiled. Proud to share the moment, I interjected, "Actually, I'm buying TWO." By now the store clerk had wrestled the first one to the surface, of the water, for my inspection. Placing the lid partially back on top of the tank and sitting the lobster there... he asked me if it was about the right size? I told him it was and reminded him I needed another one. Watching his hand skim the bottom of the tank... the child sat there in the shopping cart wide-eyed, looking directly into the face of the lobster, already on board. The mother said, "This lady is going to take that lobster you're looking at, to her house,and then she's going to cook it up in a great big pot and EAT IT!" The child's eyes welled with tears, looking at the lobster and then back at me. The mother emphasized the EAT IT part, to bring home the point. And the kid got the message. POOR LOBSTER. BAD LADY. I was humiliated. I felt I needed to explain to the child... but it just wasn't my place. I was irritated by their meddling. But what could I say? The woman raised her eyebrows at me as I stood there silently cursing her. " It's my first lobster in years," I managed to exclaim. The small child turned to look at me suspiciously.. Surely, I wouldn't hurt it, would I?  Lobster #2 appeared, in the clerks hands.  Boxing them up, he said, "You're good to go". I breathed a sigh of relief. The deal was done. Dinner had arrived. No more casual conversation with strangers. These lobsters were coming home with me, right now. However... realizing, the two I had, were leaving all their friends in the tank behind… the child looked SADLY at the other lobsters. And for one brief, fleeting moment, as I stood there watching the innocence of youth... I hesitated, thinking I'd throw my two lobsters back in the tank and be a hero. Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.  REALITY LOOMED. Would meat and potatoes be a better menu choice? "Did your mom tell you about COWS?", I muttered under my breath, glaring at the woman, as I shuffled past with my CATCH of the DAY. Later that evening... when the lobsters had succumbed to the boiling water... something came over me. I couldn't look into the face of death and retrieve them from the pot. I insisted that my hubby take them out and put 'em on the plates. I thought it would help getting that first bite down. But, truth be told... it only took a minute for me to pull myself together, and overcome any grief I was feeling. Delectable and sweet, that forkful of crustacean melted in my mouth. Such a thing, is worth dying for. Lobsters were born to be eaten.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

THE INVASION

The invasion started a month ago. We began to see, an occasional BIG black ant crawling, here or there. Initially, not worried by their appearance, we would stomp them out with our shoes or pick them off with a napkin. But then, over the course of time, things changed. The ants SUDDENLY seemed to multiply. They were attacking from every angle. It felt like we were living in a HOUSE of HORRORS. Ants were crawling on the floors, the walls, my dining room hutch, the kitchen counter. It was disgusting. We needed to STOP them...  preferably at the source. So we went on the defensive looking for their entry location. WHERE was it? Then, I had a hunch. There is a lone wire that comes straight into the house, from outside, to run the cable TV. I wondered if perhaps the ants could be following that line, directly inside, through the teeny tiny hole in the wall. Sure enough, when we went to that corner of the family room to take a peek, we saw a parade of ants, SWARMING in, from behind the molding, where the hole was. The mystery was solved. Next step was to get rid of them all. Armed with a couple cans of TERRO Ant Spray Killer… we went to WAR… spritzing and spraying, one room then another, to exterminate the pests. It took forty-five minutes, to declare VICTORY. Mission Accomplished. But what a mess. Ant carcasses were lying everywhere. It took another hour and a half to CLEAN up the carnage. Then we went back, to reinforce the perimeter of the house, by adding a new invisible barrier of protection, that also included sealing around the hole. So far, so good. The barricade is holding. We’ve been ANT FREE for 6 days. Hopefully, the enemy is not plotting strategy, to regroup. If another attack occurs, we’ll have no choice but to bring in the BIG guns. Professional Exterminators, trained for this type of combat. The Battle Lines are drawn. We have met the ENEMY and he is OURS.

Monday, July 12, 2010

GRAVE DECISIONS

My husband and I are almost twenty years apart in age. Mortality has a way of creeping up on you, when you least expect it. So, a year ago… after several of our friends passed on… my spouse and I started to take stock of what is really important. That included what happens to us after we die. Feeling a sense of urgency to get our ducks in a row… we headed down to the local cemetery, looking for a nice spot. We found it on a hill, corner lot, with a tree. Every now and then, we buy a malt, then go and sit beside our newly acquired real estate, and thank god, we don’t need it yet. But there is peace of mind, knowing it’s there, just in case we do. Lately though, it’s been looking kind of barren there. So we decided, it’s time, to add a stone. Usually, this task is performed by a spouse or loved one at a solemn time and can be quite stressful. We opted to make the experience more upbeat by doing it now, in honor of our 30th anniversary. Finding a ‘contemporary’ piece was our top priority. Not an easy task, in this traditional town, where the norm is pretty standard and boring. But with a little searching, we found a company nearby that was selling something that fit the bill. The stone we picked is rectangular with rounded beveled edges. It suits our taste. Sort of looks like a flat screen TV on a pedestal. After viewing it online… we drove out to the monument place, to see it in person. Once there, it became quite an ordeal. A million different things to consider, when buying a stone. Unfortunately, this piece wasn’t in stock locally. Vermont had nothing like it. So it had to be shipped directly from India, if we still wanted it. We did. But… we now had our choice of six colors. Which one? We hotly debated between... red, black, or gray marble, but ultimately chose the color brown. We wanted  a simple, solid background. No pictures of ourselves or our favorite things. The standard, last name, at the top... on the front and back. Just our wedding anniversary date, with entwined rings, engraved in the middle of it. Plus my hubby and I each wanted TWO, eight word epitaphs added. One on his side, and a different one on mine. Also included on my side would be my maiden name. I want folks reading the stone to know where I came from before I got married. The lady who waited on us was very helpful in putting this all together. The radio in her office had on the John Tesh afternoon show, playing quietly in the background… and he just happened to play, “STAYING ALIVE”, by the BEE GEES, as we filled out the paperwork. We took this as a positive sign. Both of us were grinning... ear to ear, when we heard it. We'll always have that moment to remember. Great story to tell our friends and family. Meanwhile, the Monument Company is going to make a mock-up of the completed tombstone on paper, to show us how it will ultimately look. We’ll get to approve it or make changes in the next couple of weeks. Once that’s done… the whole process, including shipping, engraving and installation at the cemetery will take three months. We put a down payment on it, to get the ball rolling and the rest of the money is due in October, when it's finished. It set us back quite a bit of money. So much so… we could have had a hell of a nice vacation. But when you’re planning for ETERNITY… the SKY'S the LIMIT.

Friday, July 2, 2010

UNDER THE WEATHER

I feel miserable. It started with a sore throat. Then… a fever. Now I have the sniffles, congestion and a cough. I hate being sick. But the worse part is being sick in the summer. It’s been a while since I felt this bad. Usually I get sick in the winter, when it's snowing. Now, it just feels weird, to be under the weather, when it’s so HOT outside. My husband’s theory is that I caught this BUG when I was out and about, gallivanting around town. It's possible. But I think it’s more likely, he had a little something to do with it. Here’s why. My hubby has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD. Simply put… he has trouble breathing. It’s worrisome. He uses various medicines and inhalers to control it. But, most importantly, to help… he keeps it very cool inside our house, so... according to him, he can breathe easier. When he’s at work during the day, I have some relief. But the minute he gets home… the thermostat is adjusted downward, again. I’m always complaining, it’s TOO cold in here, and that he needs to turn it back up. He won’t budge. He insists, the only way he can breathe, is by turning it down that low. Otherwise, he says, it feels like an oven, with the air being thick and stagnant. This is his perception from the disease. So... he compensates, by making it feel like a freezer inside the house. And, I think that’s what made me sick. The COLD air helped make my throat DRY and therefore, more susceptible to the germs, that caused this. So that's how one thing, led to another. But I’ll never convince him, that’s what happened. He says if I don’t want him to be on portable oxygen, then I have to adapt to the cooler air. Obviously I don’t want him in discomfort or distress. But why should my health suffer too? I really am sick from this. I’ve been taking Vitamin C and over the counter… cough, cold and flu medicines to get rid of this, for days, now. It’s gotten worse, instead of better. I’m starting to think I might need an antibiotic. Last night, I was looking for a little more relief… so I had a bowl of soup, thinking that might help, break up the congestion. OLD Wives’ Tale. Didn’t work. So I just crawled under the covers and tried to sleep. It was an impossible task. My nose would clear on one side and then get clogged on the other. Eventually it affected both nostrils, at the same time and I found myself gasping for air. It got so bad… I thought I might need portable oxygen, too. Meanwhile, the doctor doesn’t have any appointments available until next week. So I’ll have to suffer and shiver, through the weekend. So much for a HAPPY 4th of JULY. I guess I’ll just have to watch the fireworks on TV, surrounded by a nice warm quilt, clutching my box of Kleenex.