Monday, April 27, 2015

Raise Your Glass!

There's only one thing to do when it's April and your tulips are wearing little caps of snow:

Drink a margarita.

Why, you ask?  Well, aside from the obvious primary reason--because it's a margarita--there is another more subtle goal.

Winter is a cold, unfeeling despot. When it sees those under its power start to smile, or venture out of doors without down-feather armor, it figures it has gotten too lenient and cracks down. Hard.

And you end up with snow hats on your tulips in the middle of April.

 Like all despots, it reigns unfeelingly and uncompromisingly. So if you dare to pack up your mittens and scarves, you get crushed by a cold (I'm on number three this year. Clearly, I'm a rebel.)

So what are we to do? We protest. We say, "Suck it, winter. I may be stuck inside. I may be paying a heating bill during a month that should mean open windows. I may even have to keep my winter duds at the ready year-round. You can take my papasan chair, but you can't take my margarita!" We raise our glasses and our spirits in the face of the frigid out-of-doors, because no matter the temperature, "It's eighty degrees somewhere!" And the spirit of Spring cannot be overcome!

And you know what? Winter sees, raises it's fists to the heavens, and realizes it's beaten. Then, ever so slowly, slinks away until...well, until later.

The fire may burn in the fireplace, but Spring burns in our hearts. Raise your glass!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Most Interesting Man In The World. (And he doesn't drink Dos Equis....probably PBR)

I love writing stories set in the South because some of the most interesting people I've ever met hale from below the Mason-Dixon. Here is the story of one such man, who is to this day the most interesting person I've encountered. I met him during a visit for work, and wonderful craziness ensued.
Aren't little towns the cutest?!?!

His name, while fascinating in its own right, has been changed to protect the innocent.

I went to review the properties of a county and got an immediate flavor of the town when I passed two sheriffs having a Little Debbie Snack Cake Break in the middle lane of the road, with their lights flashing.
I'd made the appointment with a woman but when I arrived at the county annex, which was roughly the size of a teaspoon, she said I'd be meeting with the judge. My mind goes to black robes, silver comb-over, and a deep voice. 
I was right about the deep voice. Judge Bubba Butterstone stood up, dusted some hay off his hunting fleece, and led me back to his computerless office. We talked square footage, year built and maintenance routines, then toured the annex. I wanted to see the courthouse so he said he'd drive me over if he could smoke in the truck. 
Fine by me.
Judge Bubba warns me there may be stuff in the passengers' seat and sure enough, a hunting rifle and a hunting vest are taking up space. He moved the vest, and invited me to share the seat with his rifle.
"Don't worry, it's not loaded. Oh, wait a minute. What do you know, it sure is." 
So, I'm making sure my toes are out of the way, and then he says, "Why don't I just move that? You'll probably be more comfortable." 
Um, yeah. 
So he lifts it over my head and into the back while I shamelessly scrunch low in my seat, just in case.
As we head to the courthouse, he says, "The traffic was bad this morning."
"Oh, because of construction?"
"No, because of that convict that escaped."
"Yeah, a kid just got convicted of murder and escaped from the detention center last night."
This explains the cops and their Little Debbies. Apparently, they'd been stopping traffic to look for the murderer, and then found out that somebody's car had been stolen so they figured they should just look for that car instead of searching all the rest of them.
So we go to the courthouse, a stone building that volunteers are coating in Christmas lights. It was like a scene from a movie set in the South that you watch and think, "Maybe fifty years ago in a Thomas Kinkade painting," only it was real.  It warmed the cockles of my heart.
Then, I ask about the jail. 
So Judge Bubba says we'll just go look at it, and heads to the jail. 
At first I wasn't sure this was a good idea, but then I figured the last place an escaped murderer wants to hang out is near the prison. Plus, Bubba rolled up the windows, so if there was a convict passing by, he couldn't reach in and grab the loaded rifle out of the back seat. 
As we pass the news vans, the judge tells me not to let anyone know who he is and we won't get mobbed…by the two news crews. 
I agree to this condition.
We go inside, and all these sheriffs are walking around looking pretty P.O.'d that somebody got out. When Judge Bubba tells them I want to see the sprinkler riser they all gave us that "I'm trying to track down a killer and you want to look at pipes?" look. 
Hey, I would have done the same thing. (And I later found out that the criminal escaped via the sprinkler room, so it was a sensitive topic to begin with.)
So I just smile and get a phone number I can call after all the convicts are rounded up, and head out of dodge.
Just another day in Arkansas, y'all.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pocket Pack!

Ew, right? 
So, I thought I'd dealt with my annual cold in November-December. It was a long bugger this year and sticky. I won't go into more detail than that. At any rate, I spent my time in the trenches and figured I was good for the rest of the season.

Au contraire. This year, I managed to obtain a second cold in March. Yay. I do not like to be sick. I don't like it when my nose gets red and I sound like a ten year-old, and I have to sleep with my mouth open, which then makes my throat dry...I don't like it. So, I stock up on meds, and make sure I have Kleenex within reach at all times.

The problem with carting a box of tissue around with you is that people stop seeing you, and just picture a giant germ headed their way. Gives a body a little sympathy for Typhoid Mary. Same goes if you pull a bunch of Kleenex free and stuff them in your pockets/purse/laptop bag.  People see you riffling through a bunch of wrinkled tissues and assume you've got mucus on everything you own, which is usually only about 30% true.

Enter, the nifty little pocket pack. It fits relatively easily in a pocket or purse, and keeps all your tissues nice and orderly until you need them. I no longer need to walk around with the equivalent of a WARNING sign tucked under an arm, nor do I have to sift through wrinkly tissues
while people lean as far away as possible without falling off their chairs.

It sounds like a small thing, and it is. Until you get a cold. So, I'm grateful for Kleenex and the person who thought up putting aloe in them so my nose won't chafe. I'm grateful for the portable packaging some marketing guy thought up mid-sneeze, and I'm grateful that my spring cold was much shorter than my fall one.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Open Windows

This is not the view from my window, unfortunately, but it was
too pretty to pass up. It definitely beats my deadish yard and the
angry squirrel who regularly runs the fence.
I've been a proud homeowner for 1.33 years now, and I must say, I like it. There have been elements of adjustment, sure. Like the fact that owning a lawn means one must mow a lawn, there is no super to call when things stop working, and it costs a lot more to regulate the temperature of a house than an apartment of middling size.

We're at that quirky time of year where the typically moody weather of Colorado becomes downright manic depressive.  It snowed on Wednesday, and today it was pushing eighty.  It does keep things interesting. I don't want to flip flop between running the heat and running the A/C but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, even if her pocketbook winces when she does it.

So, I'm always very pleased on days like today. It was upper '70's, perfect sit-outside-to-read weather, but at night it will cool down. So although the house got a little to cozy for comfort today (still had the system set to heat from Wednesday) it's no matter. I can sleep with the upstairs windows open and it'll cool right back down. For free!

It makes me grateful for lovely weather days, for the fact that I have A/C at all, even if it can get a little pricey, for a fabulous down comforter in case it gets cooler than expected overnight, and for two stories in my house. I would not leave windows open if I slept on the ground floor.