Free-scape

So, here’s what happened.

I got a email. About gardening. In my very unknown, incoming-only, address.

It’s another account I keep to keep clutter from my real email.

You know, the one that people I actually know have and where the important stuff goes.

Anyway, the beauty of this junk box is that it fills up nicely with coupons and offers and a lotta ‘free.’ I love freebies. Even if I don’t need it, or won’t use it, if it’s free – I snag it and pass it along.

Samples are a great way to experiment, especially for less money. It’s a win-win. For me, experimenting for less is a happy mind expansion thing. Plus, deals and coupons save me money on stuff I know I’m going to buy, anyway. Same sort of mindset as Fetch and Ibotta. I just love layering.

I get a few newsy-type dailies that let me know when and where to find good stuff. I was particularly excited to learn Lowe’s was having a series of garden give-aways. Hypocritical, I know considering how hard I take the ‘annual that which I despise’ obligation.

I shared this with my gardening friend who had already heard about and tried to get into it.

Registration for the first event opened at midnight and her experience was that the site was overloaded and she didn’t get anywhere.

That was a bummer to hear. I’m not that driven to stay up until midnight battling it out with other batty internet users. Strangely, enough, though…

By the time I’d finished my weekly blog, sent it out into the social-universes of FB me, FB Knabble, WordPress, IG and Twitter it was 11:20 PM. I still thought it might be a little over the top to be hovering over my keyboard for 40 more minutes.

I puttered around prepping for the next-day work-day by re-filing blog fodder, and just generally straightening and restoring my desk back to the ‘real job’ configuration. At 11:47 the idea was still free-floating around in my head. I still had a bit of time on my non-gardening, don’t-like-to-get-too-dirty hands.

I turned up Spotify and tuned into Grandson. It’s not the kind of music you can tune-out to. Hence, the love. The first time I heard Grandson was through an IG video reaction site; totally recommend a follow. Besides the music/reaction, dude’s got an oddly sense of humor. (Links’ll be below.)

11:58, I thought I’d just try and slip into the site. Get queued up. No dice. Just a bit of a reprimand that it wasn’t time, yet.

So, I outed. Then, I inned. And outed and inned. Mmm hmm. Turned into an online version of the day after Christmas at Wal*mart at 4:00 AM in Tennessee. That’s a story by itself. Never again, folks. Never, again. Although, I did end up at a Michigan Kohl’s one black Friday. 5:00 AM. Easy in, easy find. Horrible two and a half hours of standing in line to check out. Never, again, to that, too. At least Kohl’s, handed out candy canes.

Stroke of midnight at Lowe’s online, I got it right! I got right in.

But, of course, it wasn’t going to be that easy.

Quote for the Week:

Grandson: (do you have enough love in your heart to go and get your hands) Dirty

Recommended reactionary: @fablefil

practi-procrasti-patience

Spring is that short-lived lovely feeling of sunshine and short-sleeves heralding the sad state of your view and the odd sense of satisfaction you know will be yours once you do what’s gotta be done.

Windows.

Smothered in low nose prints inside, sheeted with right-off-the-tree rained down dirt on the outside.

Lodged remnants of last fall’s floaty yellow helicopter pods are merely mushy brown now, and apparently insanely attractive to egg-laying creepy crawlies.

Ugh.

Don’t know why this year seems so much worse. It’s a good thing I’ve got the Costco-sized double-pack of Q-tips in my possession, along with a super-sized bottle of Dawn and 2 jugs of white vinegar.

I happen to have an unhappy abundance of COVID-panic paper towels Amazon sweetly ‘suggested’ as a substitute for my normal brand. Biodegradable, quite akin to the instantly self-dissolving single-ply ‘I-might-have-just-as-well-used-my-right-hand’ tissues I was not fond of in my youth.

The last time I bought some of those was about 6 years ago. There’s a box or possibly two left in supply. They’re really just for grown-up looks and fancy guests, I guess.  

Lazed in the last of the 6 PM incoming ray, communing with my sun-squinting cats, was when all of this presented itself so nicely. I know it’ll be delightful to have sparkly windows and dispose of those leaf-nested winged-type critters.

Being practical, I wasn’t planning on doing anything just then. Hey, I was planning, not procrastinating. More lounging lead to other conclusions.

I’m not fond of my current living room set-up. Swapping the office and the bedroom left no room for my reading recliner anywhere else, but there. It’s an awkward, bulky, comfy, often-used non-stylish, unmatched chair. I’m ready for the seasonal switch, but it’s not going to be that easy.

Because, I also gained a piece of furniture bought a while back. It’s been living in a friend’s house for a year or so. Grand Prix’s aren’t great bargain-haul haulers.  Now, one of those new mid-size Bronco’s would do. Not just, yet, though. The GP’s still running just fine.

Sitting there contemplating all this, I realized I’m kind of unhappy with my previously too-well-loved to give it up sitting room suite. The familiar urge to change something – fast – swelled into immediate need. Unfortunately, my ultra-regular go-to for a fast, refreshing fix, is a hair-over.

I’ve sort of nixed that nonsense. There’s a lot less than there usually is because I got rid of most of what was left, already.

Considered color – maybe that pretty antique blue (that last time turned out chlorinated pool turquoise green.) Maybe, I should try boxed grey, again. That pretty much did nothing, except add a little shine. Brad Mondo says you’ve gotta bleach first or you’ll end up with a dishwater-dirty mop. Not a verbatim quote. I’m more or less paraphrasing from a conglomerate of 2 AM, I’m not sleeping, hair-color-gone-wrong videos.

You know, if I’ve gotta bleach, maybe I should just… bleach. Of course, I’d have to tackle my brows, too.

Nah, I’m still waiting for the sparkly take-over. They’re coming in. Slowly.

Procrastination I mean, Patience, may pay off.

Quote for the Week:

Phantom Hair

Honesty is such a simple word.
It’s mostly what I need from me.

Sharing with much sarcasm and self-love.


I did it.

In a rather radical move (for me), I maskedly braved Meijer Sunday morning.

It was time. More than a year later, I made the purposeful trek to the walk-in hair joint that, thanks to COVID, isn’t really a walk in joint anymore.

I called first to see how that works. It’s register online and wait in your car for the 5 minute warning.

When I signed up, the wait was a reasonable 30 minutes. 3 miles and 8 minutes later, I clicked the “I’m here'” icon to see that the new estimate was 70 minutes.

So, I unparked, drove around the corner to Kohls to pick up the labor-of-love order I placed Saturday night at 2 am. I had a fantastic savings layering perfectly planned. So, I was disappointed when only 3  out of 5 items that were indicated as available at my store for pick-up found their way into my trunk.

Lessoned learned. Read the whole email not just the “Your order is ready,” subject. Because then, you can call the store and ask if there is mini chopper avail in any other color since the color you chose was now sold out. There was, but there was no saving my obliterated savings.

Layering FYI was: Spent $84, saved $79, expected $20 Kohl’s cash and a $5 reward which I would combine with my $5 anniversary voucher to purchase a $30 insert for my Instant Pot. I sadly paid $64, with no perks.

I considered the go-inside, return, grab appliance and re-buy contortions the desk clerk offered, but in the end, just headed back to the market lot to watch the hairy-ing countdown meter do its thing.

Which, brings me back to the honesty part. I’m honestly just tired if it. I’m tired of pretending, so I freed myself in a way that will likely garner criticism and concern.

To quote the Post Malone feeling, in Feeling Whitney, “I’m done.” PM, btw, so rocked the Grammys. I’ll admit I sort of expected The Weeknd to pop-up cameo, but maybe the whole druid-choir thing is an across the board vibe these days. Anyway, props to Post. ❤ him.

I’m tired of pretending, hair. The stylist and I had a conversation. Grief, 100# added, 118# lost, nutrition issues, gut issues, plus gallbladder, hernia, and ‘thing’ removal surgeries. That last one was already 3 years ago, on the left side of my head. It’s become obvious. It’s never growing back.

The hesitation was a little amusing. “Are you sure?” She asked 3 times. Clippers set on 3. Scissor cut, slightly an1/8 of an inch longer on top, maybe.

It’s not a fashion statement, nor a look-at-me statement. Not political, and not really open for discussion. It’s just what I did so I could stop worrying about the wind lifting my comb-over into an oddly bad, bald-resulting mohawk. It’s just what I did to make myself feel better.

When done, my shearer announced surprise at how much more my new wgaf style seemed to match my personality. It only suits me because I am more comfortable. I’m no longer worrying about the doo-wop flipped out-curls at my neck. I don’t look younger without the straggly mullet part in back. I just look more at ease, because I am.

The question, “You’re an artist, aren’t you?” almost moved into an automatic snort and shrug of denial,. There hasn’t been much artistic in me for a while. But, empowered by ease, I decided to own it. It’s always been what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’m grown up enough, so I said, “Yes, I am.”

Another one of those odd, maybe I should pay attention to this, universal alignments struck late last week. I lost my nose stud. Not a tragedy. I seriously, haven’t lost one in years, though. Last time was MRI related about 4 years ago. Forgot to take it out at home, so when I got to the hospital I stuck it in my wallet. Never to be seen again. Luckily, I had about 5 spares.

That was the scan that resulted in the surgery 3 years ago, because I put it off for a year/as long as possible. There’s something super creepy about having your ear unattached and the flesh on the side of your head pulled away from your skull. I needed some time to get used to that idea.

Last week, the 4 spares, became 3 spares. Happened again this week. 3 spares are now down to 2. I considered it might a sign that I maybe I should be outgrowing it.

Nah, I’ve decided it was more of a reminder to be a little louder about who I am.

Who I am is not comfortable with a shortage of spares. I’ve placed an order for a couple more.

No savings layering to be had, but the investment in myself seems worth it to me.

Quote for the Week:

PS. I have phantom hair. You can see it in person. I can see it in the mirror. Yet, every camera emphatically denies that there’s anything there. If you really want to not see it, DM me. LOL.

Better Late

I’d expected a card first thing in the morning, as we got ready for church. I’d waited  through the service and through our late, diner breakfast.

I was impatient, but decided not to spoil the fun. I’d over-eagerly done that, before. Most notably, by ruining Jeff’s engagement plan and proposal.

I figured there would be a surprise when we got home. Only, there wasn’t one.

Halfway through Sunday, July 23rd, 2006, I finally said it. “It’s my birthday, you know.”

“I know,” he replied casually. “I didn’t have time to get you a present.”

“You didn’t have time?” I asked.

“Besides,” he tacked on, “I could never surprise you, anyway, ‘cause you see all the bills.”

“That’s true,” I laughed. “Did you get me a card?” I was still hopeful.

Jeff’s flat answer was, “No.” Then, a half-hearted, “I never made it out.”

“Well, why didn’t you make me a card?” I wanted to know. “You used to always make me cards.”

Jeff sighed, “I was gonna bake a cake later.”

“Oh, ok.” I understood. Going out and getting around was getting more difficult, so that made sense to me. “You could have wished me a happy birthday, though.” I stressed.

“Yep.” he acknowledged, with a nod. “I probably should have.”

Just about dinner time, Jeff got up, and said he was going to go make my cake. I told him he didn’t have to, and that I’d be just as happy ordering Chinese food.

So, that’s what we did, complete with my favorite almond cookies and ritual fortune cookies. As usual, Jeff wanted to know what my fortune said. I read it to him, to which he responded the same way he had every time since we’d first met. “Mine,” he’d wiggle his substantial eyebrows and the tiny little paper slip, “Says – ‘Lucky Number –  69!’”

Three days later, I came home to a colorful Happy Birthday sign in our home-office window. Strategically hung facing the driveway, so I’d immediately see it when I pulled in.

Waiting for me inside, was a stellar dinner. Jeff made a special meatloaf concoction of ground beef, sausage and salsa baked under a cloak of ketchup and garlic. Accoutrements: hand-smashed, garlic red-potatoes with butter, Brussels sprouts drenched in butter and dinner croissants… with butter.

The butter-use was a nod to the occasion. Our frugal budget and our smidgen of health-consciousness meant margarine, in tubs. When planning special dinners, or upon getting good celebratory news, Jeff would roar, “This calls for Butter!”

After dinner, Jeff told me to close my eyes.  I opened them to a cake and a card. The double-chocolate cake was covered in neon yellow frosting and featured a black-piped beak plus google eyes to which he’d added eye-lashes using more black piping.

The card was a comic one. Amusing and strange, with an extra bit of Jeff’s handwritten humor. “Better late, than never.”

We went to bed full of cake topped with canned cherries and vanilla ice cream, holding hands, and giggling. I loved that chicken cake, and my husband, completely.

Jeff had managed to surprise me on a day I wasn’t expecting anything. I like to compare this birthday to the way I consistently and erroneously surprised him the day before his birthday; every year.

That card, though.

It was the last one.

Jeff had, unwittingly, been philosophically correct. I would gladly take always late, instead of never again.

Quote for the Week: 2019 03 05 late is always better than never again jakorte

2019 03 05 better late than never card jakorte

Memorable

The first time we went to church, Jeff was reluctant to ask if anyone knew our caller. I’m not sure why. When I asked about it, he just said, “Next time.” I didn’t push it, because, well, I wasn’t the reason we were there.

The second time we went, I encouraged him to ask. Jeff said, “Ok.” He slid down the pew to ask a woman he sort-of knew. He remembered her name from years ago, as a friend of Nannee. Surprisingly, she remembered Jeff quite well, and enveloped him in a back-slapping hug.

It was surprising, to me, at the time. You’d think after about the 100th time someone he hadn’t seen in 30-40 years recognized him, remembered him and was happy to see him – that I wouldn’t be astonished.

I never got used to it, certainly never expected it. It happened a lot. Like the time Jeff and I were standing in line to pay at the food auction. When we were just a few people back from cashing out, Jeff left me to pay while he went to get the car. The woman behind me tapped me on the should and asked, “Is that Jeff?” I confirmed and she lit up with a huge smile. “I was his teacher!” As she told me he was such a nice young man, I was picturing a junior high connection.

When Jeff came back in to load up our purchases, he was greeted with a hug. He explained that she was one of his early grade-school teachers.  (3rd grade, maybe?) That surprised me because I’m sure he was a little shorter and had a lesser amount of facial hair at that age. I’d never seen him sans mustache ad beard, and momentarily wondered if I’d recognize him at first glance without them. 

The final recognition surprise came a few days after Jeff passed. I received a phone call from the coroner’s office. It was the medical examiner offering personal condolences with the explanation that he had been Jeff’s pediatrician when Jeff was very young. He wanted me to know that he remembered Jeff very well and fondly, too.

Thinking about it now, so many people saw something in Jeff that could easily be dismissed as recognition; but I think what they were really remembering was his never-changing soul.

(And the fact that his laugh was so distinct, someone an aisle over in the grocery store would rush around the corner and exclaim, “I knew it HAD to be YOU!” Happened. More than once.)

Quote for the Week:

2018 02 06 faces are easily recognizable jakorte

Bonus School Photo Collage (a gift, compiled by my niece):

Jeff school photo collage 20180206_190706~2