He would have laughed… (beware – graphic, dark-humor truth.)

Warning: graphic, dark-humor truth. He would have laughed. You might, too. You might not, though. 

Peripherally, I spied Jeff’s ever-present mega-jug from Speedway on his night table. I tested the weight out, concluding there was water in it.

Actually, I didn’t conclude there was water – I really just concluded liquid. It likely could have been what I call soda or what he called pop. I assumed it was water, which is why I decided to pull the lid off the monster mug and dump the entire contents on Jeff’s head.

It was water.

There wasn’t as much of it as I’d thought.

It certainly wasn’t the deluge I was hoping for.

He didn’t wake up sputtering.

“Are you doing it?” the operator asked, referring to the mirror test she’d requested.

“Oh, my God!” I cried. “How did this happen? He’s not waking up! How could this have happened?”

Almost out-of-body, hearing myself and thinking; cliché. Soap opera style dramatics.

Frozen, fleetingly, I wondered: was drama reenactment of reality or was my reality a reflection drama?

Sensing my conclusion, I was assured, the ambulance was on the way. She said she’d remain on the line until it arrived.

Having endured Jeff’s preference for based-on-true-events TV, I’d either half-watched or got completely sucked into countless crime-solving and autopsy shows.

A horrifying scenario popped into my still grappling brain.

“They’re going to think I drowned him!”

“Oh, my God!” I blurted aloud, in response to my silent reasoning. I scooted around the bed.

“Do you hear the ambulance?” The voice surprised me out of my own head. I was shocked to find I was still holding my phone – firmly plastered to my ear.

“No. I don’t.” I replied. Swiping a washcloth from the counter, I scrambled back to Jeff.

I used the maroon square to swipe Jeff’s wet face and hair.

My inner dialog continued. “Oh, no! If he starts breathing, inhaling water could kill him!”

I pushed a small corner through the tiny opening between his teeth, trying to sop up any of the gushed liquid that might have run into his mouth.

“They should be there soon…” came consolingly over the line.

Well past the verge of hysteria, another terrifying possibility crossed my mind.

“Oh, my GOD!” I wailed, wildly recalling the frequency with which the tiniest of fibers had helped solve mysteries and finger murderers.

Fortunately, only heard within the confines of my scrambling head, my error screamed, “They’re going to think I smothered him!”

Quote for the Week: 2019 10 15 The brain works with remarkable speed to process jakorte

The Oddity of a Moment

What happened next, seems like an out-of-body experience to me, now.

I don’t remember any logical thought process. I can’t explain it. I clearly see myself glancing at the linen closet. In a fractal second, with no room for self-question, I pulled out a blanket.

It’d never happened before. I never even entertained the idea before. I only know this. I settled on the couch, fluttered the blanket over me, and seemingly instantly, fell asleep.

My reality memory kicks back in here.

By my best approximation, it was between 3:45 AM and 4:00 AM when Sadie decided to use me as a trampoline-style dog run. She ran straight up my body, barked in my face, and took off running. I curled protectively onto my side and sighed.

Seconds later she ricocheted. Running the prone length of me again, Sadie barked in my face, again, and sprinted down the hall toward our bedroom. I was hoping her antics might have woken Jeff up, so he could take her out. After her third round of nonsense, I threw off my cover and stomped to the back door.

Sadie followed me but refused to go outside. I picked her up and took us both over the threshold. When I set the squirmy girl down, she stood at the slider staring into the house. So, we went back in. As I struggled to un-clip her, she pranced in antsy expectant circles. “You’re not going to get a treat for that,” I admonished, but Sadie-lady didn’t stick around to hear what I had to say.  She immediately galloped away, rocketing back to the bedroom.

Passing by, I saw Jeff was still blissfully asleep and wanted to cry. With spiteful thoughts, I closed the door. She can just stay in there with HIM and the next time she thinks she needs out… she can wake HIM up.

I went back to the couch and grumpily set my phone alarm to be sure we’d be up in time to eat breakfast and get to church. A blink of sleep later, I was up and making breakfast.

I fixed the bacon, first. When that was done, I mixed up eggs for a scramble, started a pot of coffee. Amused that the yummy wafting smells hadn’t roused man or dog, I went to wake them, both. 

I opened the door I had so surly shut a few hours earlier, and immediately asked Jeff if he’d rather have toast or a bagel. It took me a second to scan the situation.

With one paw on Jeff’s knee, short-time-ago spastic Sadie the hyper-pup was sitting stock-still. Oddity registered, I stared.

Unblinking, maintaining constant contact with Jeff, Sadie’s return stare seemed pointed, communicative, a bit impatient; like she was waiting for me to catch on.

Quote for the Week:2019 09 24 Not everything that’s real is true jakorte

 

 

Music to His Ears

I didn’t have to listen to AC/DC the entire drive

I don’t dislike AC/DC. The manic mouthiness is a little too raucous for early morning deer-watch drives. Absolutely, better suited to starting off a party right, then keeping you awake on a midnight swoop home.

On M-50, just outside of Tecumseh, Jeff nodded off.

Not unexpected, although that usually didn’t happen until Jackson. I made sure he was solidly snoozing, before I flipped the station, and commenced with a self-indulgent, quiet little country music sing-along.

Jeff shifted, sort of snorted, then settled down, again.

An hour and some later, at the end of the exit ramp in Lansing, I clicked the radio off, and nudged him. “Hey, wake-up,” I tickled his chin.

Jeff lifted his head as I turned the corner, checked his bearings, then turned to me and smiled. “I like listening to you sing,” he stated, sincerely.

The thing is – I can’t sing.

Evidence:

In 8th grade, it was strongly suggested choir might not be my best elective.

In summer theatre, I was given a silent part in Godspell – you know, a mime.

Admittedly,  I endlessly played each new vinyl record (yep, I’m that old) over and over trying to perfect a lyrical breath or catch an unusual beat-part. At some point, my father would reach a breaking point and yell down the stairs for me to stop singing. I always did. Except, for that one time, I decided to hum along. He told me to stop humming, because that as off-key, too.

I can’t explain Jeff’s enthusiasm for my voice, but that’s the kind of thing love does to a person. He once compared my weird warble to the angelic lilt of Alison Krauss.

I told him he was horribly mistaken, but isn’t it sweet how love can taint your ears?

Quote for the Week: 2019 07 30 LOVE hears your song jakorte

 

An Anniversary, An Eggplant Plan

After the phone calls, after dinner, we settled into our comfortable spots.

During a commercial, we started talking about where we’d go for our 5th anniversary dinner. There was no contest, really. Sal’s Italian Restaurant in Tecumseh. Close to our almost-in-town townhouse, it had been a great favorite Friday night, take-away spot for us.

It was the first place outside of New York, I’d ever had a good Italian Wedding soup. The garlic bread was perfectly garlick-y, beautifully buttery and sublimely sprinkled with parm. The red sauce was perfectly saucy, from an East Coast perspective.

Sal’s eggplant parmesan was wonderfully and deliciously authentic, too.

Not so long before Jeff brought me to Sal’s, I made this dish for him. We’d been dating about a month, and it was supposed to be our first stay-in, dinner-in, at my Okemos apartment.

It was awful. Bitter and mushy; with raised forks, we watched each other watching gooey, grayish globs weeping through the tines.

He asked me how long I’d salted it before cooking. I accompanied my dumbfounded look with the teary explanation that I had just winged it. “Gotta salt it,” Jeff sagely advised. “Even then, it’s not so great, sometimes.” We went out for Mexican.

I was so enthralled by Sal’s version, that Jeff happily tried a bite. Even though he’d been down that road before. Even though he wasn’t fond of that particular nightshade. Even if it had been salted, fried and layered with cheese, his aversion to eggplant rivalled my aversion to cauliflower, even if it had been salted, fried and smothered in cheese.

Sitting in Sal’s, I watched Jeff contemplatively chew for a bit, and laughed when he decisively summarized, “I’d rather have the chicken.”

Jeff mentioned Evans Street Station as an alternative. Because we’d already be dressed up for our church photo, I considered that. It was so sweet of him to mention the fanciest restaurant in town. A few years after opening, it was still on our to-do list. We just hadn’t made it there, yet.

“Maybe, some other time,” I smiled. “I’m really missing Sal’s. It’s the first place we ever went to dinner in town. So, that kind of makes it ‘our place’, too.”

“You won’t get any arguments from me!” Jeff grinned.

Quote for the Week: 2019 07 16 The best celebrations aren’t always the most expensive jakorte

 

more usual than un-

As Jeff requested, we went straight home. Didn’t stop to eat on a Friday night, which was unusual, for us.

I cooked that night. Nothing unusual. Just my usual, my-turn-to-cook, spaghetti and meat sauce. Quick, easy, and yummy;  only because Jeff had taught me how to doctor up the jarred stuff. Fresh garlic and onions, sautéed with the meat, and finished with generous handfuls of fresh grated parmesan, made all the difference.

Jeff ducked into the shower, while I was prepping. He announced that he had sweat enough for a whole week that day, and needed some freshenin’ up. He was in there a little longer than I thought he would be. I considered checking on him, but he appeared, just then, in fine spirits.

“What can I do?” he asked, brightly.

“You can go sit down and relax,” I said. “Dinner’s almost done.”

“Supper,” he jokingly corrected me.

It was our usual, silly corny routine. The result of early dating differences, and trying to convince each other what the proper name for our evening meal should be. A lot like the next Saturday/this Saturday debate. After a few, important, miss-communications, we’d decided it was best to always supply a numeric date, when discussing the future.

Happily headed to the den, Jeff parked himself in his chair, legs elevated, as usual. I was stirring the cooked pasta into the sauce, when the phone rang. The one-sided part of the conversation I could hear, was Jeff laughing and saying, “Oh, hi. Yes, I’m fine. Feelin’ great now. Must be…. ’cause I even got my appetite back. Just waitin’ on the wife to serve me up some supper!”

I playfully arched an eyebrow at him through the pass-thru. “Oh, I’ve done it now,” he laughed, said his goodbye, and hung up.

The check-in was from the owner of the business who had taken our original 10’x10′ spot at the mall. They hadn’t been open all that long. I’d only, recently, met him and his wife.

But, Jeff, as usual, had encouraged them, and advised them, and in the course of the day when there were few customers, extracted most everything there was to know about his new friend.

“Wow.” I thought on that for a second. “That was really nice.”

“Yeah,” Jeff nodded. “That was real nice…”

I delivered Jeff’s serving, along with his usual big glass of white milk. On my way back to the kitchen, I stopped before rounding the short, separating wall.

“So, you must have really scared him, too. Huh?”

“Nah. I didn’t scare him,” he negated. “She did that!”

Quote for the Week:2019 06 25 only caring can create jakorte

 

 

 

Churdled (milk)

Then, it occurred to me.

Wait – my chocolate milk? I haven’t bought any chocolate milk, lately.”

“Yeah, you did.” Jeff came back. “It was just a little one, with the rabbit on it. I think maybe it wasn’t any good anymore. It smelled kinda funny. It was kinda old, too.”

My mind went from – I don’t remember buying chocolate milk to – “Wait – what? How old? It smelled bad, and you used it anyway?” I squawked and gaped.

“Well, it wasn’t that old. I checked the date. Just a couple of weeks. And, I don’t drink the stuff, so I don’t know what’s good!”

The rule-follower in me was flabbergasted. My brain shorted into partial words. I stumbled over ‘chocolate’ and ‘milk’ and ended up with an accidental coinage. “You gave me churdled milk? This is why perishables are date stamped!”

“Nah,” Jeff insisted, remarkably patiently, considering we were having this conversation  for perhaps the hundredth if not close to the hundredth time. “Those are just sug-gest-ed dates. Things don’t suddenly go bad on that date.”

“I know that,” I insisted, back. “But, they eventually do!”

That earned me an eye-roll. “Well,” he jokingly reasoned, “If you just drank the white milk, ya would’a had better coffee, then.”

“Yeah?” I countered, “and what is the date on that?”

Jeff yanked the fridge open and grabbed the milk jug. “Hmm,” he noted, grinning. “Says yesterday.” He pulled off the cap and, to my horror, full-on stuck his sniffer in the hole.

Not much scared Jeff. Inserting his nose into, or, even taking a swig from, a gallon of possibly spoilt milk, wasn’t on his list of scary stuff. For the record, though, being chased with a dead fish, was.

“Nope.” Jeff split-second analyzed the experience. “It’s definitely not ch-urdled, yet.” He glanced over at me, and grinned at my expression. “Probably wouldn’t use that either, wouldya?”

Me, grimacing back: “No. Especially, not since you just stuck your nose in there.”

“Aw, my nose didn’t touch the milk!” Jeff scoffed.

“So what, if it didn’t touch the milk? Your nose got wiped on the spout! You’re gonna have to pour the milk over that!’

“Geez, ok.” Jeff went for a paper towel. “I’ll wipe it out!”

“Don’t even think about giving me that milk, tomorrow.” I warned him. “And, don’t cook with it, either!”

Jeff guffawed. “You’re not gonna die from the milk!”

“Damn, right.” I replied. “Cuz, none of it is going past my lips!”

He took a swig, swished it around in his mouth, and ridiculously wiggled his tongue in my direction. “Wanna kiss?” he teased.

(To be fair, I guess Jeff helped coin the word. I dropped it, but he picked it up and ran for the punchline.)

Quote for the week:2019 05 28 Sometimes there is only one way to figure it out jakorte