The hot flashes are back. Seriously, they had gone and I was starting to live a somewhat normal life again but now I'm noticing that stress is bringing them once again to the surface.
It's when I'm working mostly. With Gary off sick, I'm doing both jobs - Office Manager and Hearing Aid Consultant. I started off by organizing and cleaning the office. I'm always up for a fresh new start! I moved some stuff around and did some serious dusting... Truth is, Gary may never be back.
About a month ago my boss decided to surprise me with a marketing scheme he thought (in his twisted mind) would work to build our business. Free $20 Walmart gift cards to anyone coming in for a Free hearing test.
So now we're giving away FREE gift cards along with the FREE hearing test. For this, I do not get paid- only on commission if I make a sale. The first week was a nightmare. I told my boss I'd strangle him if he ever pulled that one again. He did.
I was bombarded with work, but no sales. Oh, the customers acted like they were interested in getting hearing aids until I poured out 2 hours worth of blood, sweat (literally) and tears... then at the very end they said they'd have to go home and think about it. "But oh, by the way... where's my $20 Walmart gift card?" So I was testing people's hearing while answering the phone while taking care of a constant flow of old people who happened by to buy batteries or demand a quick fix for their hearing aids. I was doing tons of computer entries and paperwork. I was listening to the person on the phone tell me about their uncle's cousin's great nephew's sister who couldn't loan them the car that day because they had to take it to Jiffy Lube to have the oil changed and that's why the appointment I had suggested (to find out why their hearing aid wasn't working) wouldn't work for them because somehow it all fit in with the ride they'd be getting... I'll be honest, I missed some of the details. I was in the middle of a hearing test at the time and the 90 year old great great grandpa I was testing had inserts in his ears and was raising his hand to the beep-beep-beep that I forgot to turn off. I shouldn't have worn my white lab coat. There was no air back there, no windows, and Sears didn't have the air turned on. Perspiration had formed and was dripping down my face and I wiggled out of the coat while holding the phone to my ear and continued saying "Oh," and "I understand," trying to be polite. My hair was wet. My makeup had melted down my face. I didn't understand. I just wanted the day to be over. The familiar faces of my beloved customers who stopped by to say hello were bringing a "what do you want?" from me instead of "oh, it's so good to see you..."
The Walmart frenzy is over, but from what I understand my boss (who is two hours away... lucky him) is doing the Walmart mailers till the end of October.
That is why I'm making trip #2 to the downtown Cumberland Mall today. On Saturday I was .... to see my... oh, I can't really tell you. I do have a plan though. You'll find out soon enough.
Aww, so I'll bet you thought I'd be giving away a Walmart gift card. Well it just so happened that Gary purchased a handful of them to make sure I had enough at the office to give away.
Oh, okay then... I'll send one of you guys a card... for putting up with my ranting. Leave a comment, I'll put you're name in a hat and I'll let my granddaughter pick a name out.
I'll let you know on Saturday who won. (whoever wins will have to email me their address).
Did I tell you about Gracie winning a space in the local Times- News Dog Calendar a few months back? I didn't even know about the contest till our advertising rep. came into my office and saw this picture on my bulletin board.
"You have to submit that picture. It would have a good chance of winning," he said.
It didn't cost anything. So I did.
And now Gracie's famous.
I forgive them for putting my daughter's name down as the owner of Gracie. She's actually the owner of Marissa, lol.
It was a day like no other. Everything I did seemed to be right. Mom and Dad played toy with me and didn't even yell when I mauled my loud, squeaky chicky-bird while they were trying to watching TV. I got my ears scratched and and I was made over all day. And best of all - I GOT ICE CREAM!!!!!
I don't know what a birthday is. But they said that it was mine. I've decided that I'm going to have one every day now. I just hope they understand that and treat me accordingly... Gracie
In honor of Gracie's birthday today, I'm sharing Chapter Five
Gracie's Diary, A Memoir.
Chapter Five It's a Girl
It was our first night in the new house, and I didn’t sleep well. Boxes lurked eerily in corners transforming into shadows of intruders as the night progressed. I missed the familiar and comfortable house back in Frostburg and wondered if this place would ever feel like home. My light sleep kept being interrupted by crazy dreams and finally I grabbed my robe and went to the living room after I dreamt two drunken hillbillies were sawing away at the bars in the basement windows trying to get in.
It was good to get to the office later and away from the just-moved-in mess of boxes and chaos. The day was slow, so I sat at my desk reading the classifieds in the newspaper and highlighting some listings of odds and ends furniture, a hauling company for our unwanted stuff piled in the back yard, and a sale on Cockapoo puppies, the buff color having caught my eye.
“Look at this,” I said, handing Gary the paper. “Cockapoo puppies only $350… and the same color as our carpet.” White carpet + white dog = no mess. Was there something wrong with my way of thinking? Was my lack of sleep affecting my ability to make any sense at all? I was 99% sure this was not the right time so I left him with that thought. A few minutes later he handed me a check.
“Go get your puppy,” he said.
“What?” I asked. I could feel a hot flash coming on.
“Go ahead, get your puppy. It’ll be an early Christmas present. You’ve wanted a dog ever since I met you.” Something wasn’t right. I’d never seen that compulsive side of Gary. His newfound optimism was cautiously refreshing, and his lips were oozing words that I was not about to let him take back once he came to his senses.
I threw my arms around his neck and kissed him. “Are you serious?” I asked. We were both exhausted from the move and I wasn’t sure this was the right thing to do. But when opportunity knocks, it’s best to answer. I was in.
“Merry Christmas,” he said as I grabbed the check and disappeared out the door before he had a chance to change his mind.
I stopped at the pet store first and got a carrier, a collar and leash, some food and treats and a puppy book before I began my two-hour trek to Pennsylvania.
Hours later my car pulled into the winding driveway of a picturesque Mennonite farm. A small girl in a long dress and bonnet greeted me as I got out of my car and was bombarded by a half-a-dozen yapping jumpers, all seeming to say, “Pick me, pick me!”
I chose a curly blond one and asked, “Male or female?”
“Male,” she answered.
I had my heart set on a girl. Disappointed, I put him down promptly detaching myself from him and checked out the others. “What about that one?” I pointed to a curly, darker colored one.
“That’s a male too,” she said.
The boys were so much prettier. Pointing to the shy white pup that had been hiding behind the girl’s long plaid dress I asked, “Boy or girl?”
“It’s a girl,” she said. "Come here sweetie," I cooed, coaxing her from behind her safe place then scooping her up into my arms and pulling her soft scared face next to mine. “I’ll take her,” I said, inhaling her puppy breath as she licked my cheek. The others jumped, nudged and barked at me hoping I’d change my mind but I held tight to the timid one and named her Gracie, after the bashful and sweet wife of the infamous George Burns.
Inside the farmhouse I wrote out a check and signed some papers. “She’s pretty much house trained,” the girl said, standing in the spacious and spotless kitchen. The pup scampered around on the shiny linoleum floor, and then squatted, leaving something to remember her by.
Gracie trembled as I loaded her into her carrier in the back seat of the car and then she started bawling and before the car hit the end of the gravel driveway her nervousness exploded throughout the new carrier. “Ewwww… Gracie!” I said, putting my window down. Then the voice inside my head... Turn the car around. You’ve picked the wrong pup. I kept driving.
She howled and pranced in her poop the whole way home. Gracie Allen would never have acted that way. The smell was sickening. Just forty-five minutes from home a detour on the interstate added another half hour to my trip. The stress was starting to build.
Finally, I backed my car under the carport, pulled Gracie from the carrier and toted her at arm’s length down the steep steps as she wriggled and whined trying to get free.
“Oh no you don’t,” I scolded. “You’re getting a bath.”
Eight pounds of trembling puppy pleaded with sad eyes as I placed her in the bath, and after washing all the poop away I bundled her in a soft towel and pulled her close to my face.
“It’s okay, little girl,” I said. “Mommy will take care of you… and Daddy will be home soon. He’s going to love you!” Minutes later Gracie scampered nervously to greet Gary at the door and he kneeled down beside her.
“You’re a real cutie,” he said as she jumped into his arms.
“You wouldn’t have thought that an hour ago,” I said.
We put up barricades to protect the white carpet from Gracie who was nervously peeing and pooping in fifteen-minute intervals on the shiny kitchen floor. An end table, a living room chair and a bookcase kept her from real trouble. After observing her bathroom habits, I took her out for potty minutes before her next spill was due, but she was too interested in smelling the ground and bouncing around being cute to do her business where she was supposed to do it. After I brought her back inside, she squatted and let loose.
“I think she needs smaller confines,” I said. So we sectioned off a part of the kitchen calling it Gracie’s corner. A long bench flipped onto its side, a big box of stuff, and a five-gallon jug of water separated her and her cage from the rest of the kitchen. “That’s better,” I said. “At least now her mess won’t be all through the kitchen.” She looked sad as we walked away, and guilt consumed me because I was secluding her from the rest of the house, but as I turned to take one last look at her sad face I noticed that she wasn’t sad at all and was trotting happily next to me into the living room. “Gracie!” I said. “How did you get out?” The walls handiwork in Gracie’s corner revealed a flaw in its construction so I stuffed a towel into the little opening that I hadn’t noticed before, and then placed her back in her corner. This time she didn’t look so sad, and five minutes later she pranced into the living room ferociously tossing the towel into the air and catching it again. I was tired and not amused. I just wanted to go to bed. Then the voice, enjoy you’re new puppy… idiot.
I helped Gary bring up an old door from downstairs and we firmly placed it where the other smaller barriers had been. Gracie whined as we left her behind in her own little space, and she finally gave up and went into her cage to sleep.
I’ve been kidnapped. They keep calling themselves Mommy and Daddy, and I think they’re trying to brainwash me. It feels good to lie down though and rest my weary bones. Speaking of bones, I wonder if they have anything I can gnaw on. My teeth are killing me. (Sigh) I miss my real mom and dad. I wonder what they are doing right now, probably missing me. Well, I guess I’ll just have to make the best of things. Oh, did I mention that there is another person that lives here? Her name is Lindsey and she smells good. She’s one of those teenagers they talk about. I’m going to try to get in good with her, so maybe she can help me escape and find my way home. Maybe she’s been kidnapped too. We can break out together. Well, guess I better go. This strange woman wants to take me out to potty again, whatever that means.
I have a plan... but I can't reveal what it is just yet. Maybe spring. But I had to brave the downtown Cumberland Mall in mid 90 degree temperatures to get to my destination and retrieve the information I need to move forward with my plan.
It was hot! Ick! I wasn't dressed for the heat. I thought I'd have a meltdown.
Obviously Mr. Scarecrow was quite out of his element and had a meltdown of his own. Autumn shouldn't blast scorching temperatures like today's. Isn't it against the rules?
My popularity has diminished somewhat in the past few days and I'm pretty sure I know why.
It's the pillows.
Kohl's 30% off sale plus the KOHL'S CASH offer was more than I could resist. I love pillows. Gary likes one pillow to put his head on at night. Anything additional is in the way and gets pitched to the floor.
Gracie's had her old couch pillows since I can remember. I got her attention when I removed them from the sofa. If looks could kill... well... you know.
I replaced them with the new and improved pillows. These pillows have a button-closed cover that I can remove and wash. I'm excited.
I tried to console my angry/sad/disguested/discouraged dog... and then thinking that I could make a positive out of a negative, I took Gracie's old pillows and placed them on her doggie bed, the one she never uses, hoping to generate an interest so that me and the mister could sleep better at night with her absent from the middle of the bed. She'd be snuggled in her comfy and familiar doggie bed complete with smelly pillows.
I realized my plan had failed when I heard her plop herself down on the new pillow and give a sarcastic 'hmph!'
Since we married in 2002, Gary and I have put aside THIS WEEK as our time together. Alone. No worries. No kids. No dogs. No family or friends. No evil ex's or disgruntled customers. No laundry or dishes. No conferences or meetings. No deadlines or phone calls.
Just Amish strangers in Ohio, Dorothy and Toto in Indiana, the sun setting on Lake Michigan, countless things to do, and an entire seven days with not a care in the world.
Unfortunatly this year has not been profitable.
In addition to sales being way down, Gary's ex keeps wanting more and more money for their soon-to-be 18 year old daughter's child support + psychology bills + private Christian school tuition ....
This whole child custody/support thing has made Gary pretty sick with his Crohn's and the family courts refuse to acknowledge that he's no longer able to work full time.
The X keeps taking him back to court for more and more money, and he now owes tens of thousands of dollars on charge cards, trying to keep his obligation up to date.
I seriously think the X enjoys seeing us struggle.
The alienated, hateful child will be 18 this week, but still has a year of Christian school left and that equals an average of $700 a month child support for us to pay.
Don't get me wrong. Every parent should pay for the support of their children... But this is a unique and unfair case. I've researched the family court messes, and I've yet to see one as inhumane and crooked as what this one has been. Gary hasn't been allowed to see his daughter for four years now. He's taken back to court every few months for increases in his support though. *shake's head*
And so... we've broken the yearly tradition of finding peace in a loud and busy world. Maybe next year.
Click on the Title- link and find the daughter's latest youtube video, added yesterday.
This bothers me for some reason.
Ok. I'm done. Just had to vent. Thanks for listening.
The day was great. The sun was shining. The Cupcake spent the night and there were plenty of cookies and Cracker Jacks being flung my way. I had someone closer to my own age to wrestle with. Life was good.
Oh, she's a little annoying at times. Especially when I have my nose to the window while stalking Max the Corgi (and new next door neighbor).
But you gotta take the bad with the good.
Things were moving right along and in a good direction till BAM! I was blindsided.
I'd worked on my unique and wonderful smell for weeks. It was just about right. And then she washed it all off.
Boy was I ticked!
Ugh! I just wanted to smell again... And to have dry ears.
I heard her say she was going to the laundry room and I love the laundry room, so I had to forgive and forget. Us dogs do that you know.
Ten minutes later I hear her voice. "Where's Gracie?"
Where do you think Gracie is?
You locked her in the laundry room... Geesh!
Back to the drawing board. Forgiving and forgetting.
My human treats me like a dog!
To my mom, I have a message. Save you're words Mommie Dearest. Don't tell me that I look cute, smell sweet, or that I'm adorable. Don't wanna hear it. This is your fault.
Okay, so I'm guilty of passing judgement on Mr. Bird Watcher ... a little geeky fellow from my early adult years that I would see every day as I drove past his house on my way to work. He'd always have a clipboard in hand and he'd look into the sky, check his clipboard then gaze back into the empty air. I was pretty sure the man was over the edge.
Forward thirty years. Where'd this guy come from?
Gary has his tripod set up by our bedroom
window in front of his hummingbird feeder.
4 cups water
1 cup sugar
Bring water to a boil, turn off stove.
When water stops boiling add sugar and stir till clear.
Let sit till cools then fill the feeder.
This gives him hope.
Maybe he'll catch a glimpse of his favorite bird.
All of his efforts have been paying off.
And I've learned that we're all special in our own way. Some of us are yard sale enthusiasts and some are bird watchers.
Not getting home from the office till after 6 PM is for the birds. Supper's always late. Well, unless I stop and grab an Arby's roast beef or throw a frozen dinner in the microwave. Tonight I fixed rice topped with fresh broccoli, squash, onion, garlic, stir fried chicken strips w/a touch of ginger, brown sugar, maple syrup, lots of pineapple chunks and a little juice from the pineapple. (love that sweet stuff!) I made fresh cucumbers on the side with a little onion and imitation crab meat diced up, added, and spritzed with an olive oil-balsamic salad spritzer. It was a lot more tasty and healthy than fast food. You are what you eat you know... at least that's what they say.
Dinner. Messy kitchen. Dirty dishes. Walking the dog. Too much to do in just a few hours time.
So as the soft hum of the dishwasher soothes my tired soul and Gracie lays stretched out resting from her nightly walk... I remind myself not to forget to put the fresh steamed green beans in the fridge that I made for tomorrow.
Oh, did I tell you about the rice pudding?
I burned it. It was not fit for consumption so I tossed it.
I believe in miracles. But I don't think there's a dishwasher around that's going to fix this.
My life lesson for the day: Don't forget to stir the pudding. Often. Especially when cooking on high heat. Duh!
But I couldn't help but send you a friendly hello...
It seemed you liked my face as well,
That first night we met... I could tell.
My friends came along in case you were a night-stalker.
But it turned out you were not, but a very good talker!
You had me from Hello... and we went on to have fun,
I knew in my heart that you were the one.
You made me laugh with each comment said,
A year and a half later we decided to wed...
We'd both been married and divorced; an endeavor.
We'd learned a lot; this time it would last forever...
Your father cried; He was happy, you know.
So sad was the day when you had to let him go.
A beautiful day. A beautiful life.
Oh how I love being your wife.
Our children came together when their blessings they gave,
More tragedy later... when your youngest you could not save.
We soon had a baby of our own to share,
She tried our patience, hiding puddles under the chair.
Our honeymoon chalet & yearly retreat's peace did amaze,
Always reviving our spirits through life's darkest days.
On this 14th day of September, let me just take this time.
"Thanks God, for Gary... and for making him mine."
Happy 8th Anniversary to my wonderful husband. Gary, I love you and will forever be saddened by the events in your life that led up to your sickness, hopelessness and pain.
It's been with much inspiration and heartache that I've completed the book that you are so proud of to this day. Thank you for the continued encouragement and praise. I don't deserve it. God has put this book on my heart and it will be finished soon, and dedicated to you... the man God put into my life... the man who has brought baggage on board that is sometimes way too heavy for even me... the man with a wonderful heart whom I'll always love.