So I’m Not a Shopper

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I drive a truck.
For beneficent reasons, my sweet Mighty Taurus has hit the road with another family and I hope she serves them well.
I’ve had to move on, and now I drive a truck that requires oil changes at a specific place Far Far Away from the Out There I love so dearly. It’s a forty-five minute highway road trip to get to the Oil Place of the Nether Regions. I dropped my child off at his appropriate institution of education and headed Into the City.
With two hands gripping the wheel, I made it to the location amid a throng of two thousand others also needing service post haste.
But no matter, I thought, because by golly, I see a large strip mall within walking distance and I’m not afraid to shop it!
“It’ll be at least three hours,” the tech said.
“Three?” I inquired incredulously.
“Three. At least,” she affirmed.
Steeling myself with positive resolve and a stark need for caffeine, I left my keys with the friendly tech, pulled my scarf a little tighter, and headed toward the sidewalk leading to the shopping wonderland sitting resplendent atop a nearby hill beneath early morning sunshine.
It should be noted that I did not dress according to weather conditions. I wore no coat — I wore a zippy scarf. I wore no gloves — I pulled sweatshirt sleeves over my paws for warmth. I wore no hat, thus the forty-mile-per-hour winds danced unfettered through my already dubiously coiffed tresses. And like Vegas, things are much farther than they appear when you’ve hit the trail to walk toward them.
Thus, I made it to the mall, cold, sniffly, Medusa-ish, to find that hey, stores don’t always open before ten, and hey, look at the time, it’s not even 9:15.
Still, I walked on, until my feet magically stopped before the wonder of wonders: Target, blessedly open, which wondrously housed a Starbucks, which was home to a fetching corner table upon which I could lay my Kindle Fire, loaded with this month’s book club read still to be finished.
With latte in one hand and Fire in the other, I soothed my wind-bitten face and bitter demeanor for an hour of hale and hearty reading. Then the book was finished, the latte was gone, and sure, other stores were open now, but gee, it looked so cold…
Time to regroup!
“Hey!” I yelled at myself. “You’re wearing your Fitbit, let’s break that thing in! It’s got a couple thousand steps on it, from the initial trek, let’s see if we can make it sing! Who’s with me??”
“Not me,” I told myself.
“Nope,” said the other Me.
“It’s so coooooold,” I also whined.
But out that door did go the Three or Four of Me, and We liked it! And We were walkin‘! And it was lovely! And gee, We saw a Lowe‘s (we LOVE Lowe’s!) and after at least two million wind raked steps — really, two million; We shook the Fitbit thing and muttered, “Is this thing ON?” — we at last stalked through Lowe’s whooshing doors to find a bathroom im-MED-iately! (So much latte in such a small medium-sized cup.)
(I should note that the oil change place is closelikethisclose to an Air Force base. I learned this morning that I would not be able to livelikethisclose to an Air Force base, as things larger than buildings make deafening sounds when they are nearing or leaving the base. Truly, three times I thought, “Well, this is it, the world is done; it was a nice ride.”
I don’t sleep well as it is. Last night I lay awake for four hours listening to my dog patrol the tile living room — his nails are remarkably sharp and so, so tinny sounding on ceramic tile. So living next to the place where bombers and jets live would not behoove my already stilted sleep patterns. It’s good to learn things about ourselves, isn’t it?)
After walking through Lowe’s, finding a wonderful color palette should I choose to use it to paint the outside of the house, and crouching instinctively as another thing with wings tried to remove the roof of Lowe’s with its bulbous being — no one else even flinched; remarkable people, City Dwellers — I espied the rest of the mall and bravely set about determining a course: Chik Fil A or Q-Doba? Panera or Panda Express?
Noting that I must have been hungry, I launched forward, determined to let my belly guide me whither it wished!
And my phone rang. A lovely lilting voice on the other end of the line informed me that the truck was ready, would I like another recommended car-type treatment starting with “Fuel…” and ending at “…only $199.95?”
No, thanks, and thank the sweet heavens of all that is retail, I would not darken another door until I hoofed it back to the oil changers at large!
Well.
I had walked quite a distance, it seemed.
Even my Fitbit muttered a “Way to go!” to me as I trudged my way back to the truck.
Over a mile. One way. With I’m certain no less than three small rises I lovingly call “hills”, but I know they weren’t, because hey, did I mention the air base so really how “hilly” could the area be…in the City…on a prairie…in the middle of No Hills for Miles?
Anyway!
I shall mention now that the weather had warmed, the winds had not died, and sweatshirt material proved to be far more than adequate for the day’s warming trend.
When I returned to the body shop cashier to retrieve my keys, she startled like I’d hit her with a cattle prod. I was sweaty, reddened, and had the hair of the witch who melted in Oz. I caught a glimpse of me in my key fob later — I would have startled too.
Anyway: I made it back to the Out There with a newly reconditioned truck still in one piece and a loaded Fitbit only maybethismanyormaybethismany steps from being at my goal of 10,000 steps a day — I laugh even as I write that number with all those zeroes.
And I’ve showered, using the body soap purchased at Target, open at seemingly all hours in a town near you.

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Not Close-Up Ready

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I made it into the local paper last week.
I look really happy about the opportunity. (Read heavy sarcasm into that statement, please.)
The subject: Garden Club, a small project begun in earnest and thankfully still up and running, no small feat in a tiny town with busy busy people who want to do everything but must cut their Wants into Musts. Garden Club thankfully seems to be a Must.
The problem: While my eagerness for a good story was rampant, my willingness to be photographed was nil. I tried to get the reporter to take pictures of a co-worker’s baby cooing amongst a pot of ivy, and if the reporter had half of a shutter finger, the photos would have been adorable.
She didn’t.
They weren’t. They were blurry, and shot from afar.
Which caused a repeat visit to the library for follow-up shots of one dour, camera freaked Moi.
Also in my defense, at the beginning of the “shoot” I smiled; I had on my Happy Face. I was thinking positive thoughts, reeling in Good Vibes and Kismet.
But, alas, the slow-to-the-shot lady missed all of my good side and once the camera clicked, I looked frightening. She showed me the picture on her phone, asking, “Isn’t that CLEAR?”
Why, yes, clear as a rabid wildebeest fresh from a kill. A delightful shot, thank you for capturing my essence.
Yup, come to your local library, where the librarians look constipated. It’ll be a good time.
As she gathered her things to head to the paper and muse on my genius for all things gardening, I soothed my wounded ego with: “No one reads that paper,” I told myself. “Whew! ‘Cause NO ONE reads the paper. Haha (sigh), I’m good. Still anonymous.” Then I shuffled through to the kitchen in search of chocolate.
The paper arrived. I opened it to the article and companion photo. I shrieked at my surly countenance. My boss laughed.
And eight people walked through the door chuckling and leading with, “I saw you in the paper…”

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Cold Therapy

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Once I flipped television channels during the daytime. Why I was home, I don’t remember, but I was, and I was bored, I guess, because I was a flipper.
Anyway, Dr Oz was investigating a new trend for weight loss called Cold Therapy.
His version utilized a medicinal vest, a snug black cloth thing housing cold packs around the shoulders and back. Who knows if it worked for weight loss, but it was a theory, and I didn’t hear how the rest of the show went. I was flipping.
I’ve decided that’s what I’m doing during these winter months: I’m enjoying the benefits of cold therapy! It’s fifty-eight startlingly chilly degrees in the house, because of an inexplicably poor performing central heater coupled with the fact that fire building often eludes me. Sure, I can get a flame going, but I would seldom define my creation as “roaring”.
So! I’m not freezing to death! I’m not wearing a fuzzy scarf, long socks, slippers, and three sweatshirts every night for no reason! I’m not staying at work late for heat, I’m staying late because I want to, because when I get back to the house, I’m USING COLD THERAPY for WEIGHT LOSS!
So glad to have figured out these things!
At this rate, I’ll weigh four pounds by summer.

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