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

 

 

 

to a kid –

I almost believed him.

“Oooooo – k.” I took my time stretching it out.

“If you’re sure…” I added, in an identifiably skeptic tone. The one Jeff had come to recognize as my ‘that might not be the best way to handle this‘ voice.

“Actually,” he hedged. “Mmm. Maybe, you should pick me up.”

                                                                         ∼

The thing was, until I was picked up for the ride home, I’d forgotten that my other end-of-the-line back-up driver wasn’t with me.

I decided to stop at the store on the way home, to see for myself. When I got there, he was sleeping. He woke up immediately, but was mildly disoriented for a few moments.

I couldn’t take him in the commuter van – that was an unauthorized no-no, which could have disbanded the van pool.

I considered parking the van at the store and driving the Buick home. But, we had a visiting trip planned for Saturday, and wouldn’t be able to pick-it up until Sunday.

The thought of leaving it in the parking lot made me nervous. If anything happened to the van while it was parked there, I’d be responsible.

I asked Jeff to call around, and see if someone could meet me at home in Adrian, and then drive me back to Tecumseh., so I could turn around drive him home. That wasn’t easy, either. After a lot of attempts, Jeff finally found someone.

There ended up being some sort of confusion; some sort of delay. Jeff announced he’d just drive himself home. He didn’t want to put anybody out.

I put the ka-bosh on that, attempting to entice him with the promise of stopping anywhere he wanted to for dinner on the way home. He said he’d wait, but he wasn’t really hungry.

My whole trip from the store to home, and back to the store, took about an hour. By the time I got back there, Jeff was feeling better, and feeling badly, that he’d cause so much concern.

Our rescuer was a sweet, new-ish driver, whom Jeff had been giving cooking lessons to, and who happily referred to him as ‘Uncle Jeff.’

I gotta tell you; this. It never ceased to amaze me how kids gravitated to him, and how strong those bonds became. Little people didn’t look up and see a huge, hairy scary giant. They instinctively recognized him as a big, loveable kid. There wasn’t a single one who was afraid of him.

In fact, there was one little boy, we were about to meet who had developmental problems. We’d been told he was terrified of new people, and had been known to throw himself on the floor in tantrum when faced with an unfamiliar situation. We’d been warned, it probably wouldn’t go well.

We were prepared for that. Actually, I was prepared for that. Jeff wasn’t prone to pre-conceived notions. He’d just step into any situation, and wait and see how it’d go.

What I wasn’t prepared for was for the little guy to walk right up to Jeff, shake his hand, and say, “Hello.” It was truly special.

And, a profound moment for me. I didn’t suddenly learn something new about my husband. There was no Godly beam of light or angels chorusing, but my heart swelled, as if there were.

I know some of those kids still remember him, because they still talk about him. About all the silly, outrageous, playful things he did. About his patience and the knowledge he loved to share.

As I’ve told you before, he was kinda unforgettable. Even more so, to a kid.

Quote for the Week: 2019 06 18 Its normal to reconcile the world in relationship jakorte

 

Typical, I’m Ok.

There’s a memory gap, between the time I left the house Friday morning and the time I got the phone call.

I don’t remember what I was working on at the time. I don’t remember if it was before lunch or after lunch, or what time it was when I answered my phone.

At the time, the conversation didn’t shock me. It does, now, though. Because of the way the mind works.

Jeff’s body had already cried “wolf” so many times, it wasn’t too terribly concerning. We were operating under the well-documented and demonstrated assumption that he would rally, of course.

“Jeff told me not to call,” she said. “He’s going to be mad I called you, but I felt I should.”

Typical for Jeff, he had fallen asleep in his squeaky, red-glitter vinyl, swivel chair behind the display case. Importantly, the swivel and squeak would often jolt him awake, if he happened to drift off. They had saved him from falling back, or falling front, or falling off.

“I had a hard time waking him up,” she said. “A really, really hard time. I thought he should go to the hospital, but couldn’t get him to go. He doesn’t look so good.”

Thanking her, I hung up, and immediately dialed Jeff.

I rushed over his typical, jovial greeting. Hi, just calling to check up on you. How’s it goin’? ”

“It’s goin’!” he joked. “Had two customers today.”

“Cool. So … how are you feeling?”

“Oh, I’m, uh, feelin’ ok.” He stammered.

“Really?” I asked. “What’s been going on there?”

After a beat, Jeff huffed. “She called you, didn’t she?”

“Yep. You wanna tell me what happened?”

“Nah. It was nothin’.”

“Really?” I ppersisted. “She thought it was somethin’. Said you scared her.”

He explained he’d arrived there later than he had planned (typical). “Was walkin’  around, then, I was out of breath, and I was sweatin’ real hard. So, I set down to drink my pop.”

“Mt Dew?” I prompted, knowing he’d likely have to  answer ‘yes.’

Knowing I’d be annoyed and prone to not so subtly reminding him, again, that sugar and caffeine were not a diabetic’s friend, Jeff decided to skip right over that rote role-play.

“Aw, I didn’t mean to fall asleep,” he almost whined. Continuing on a sigh, he finished in typically optimistic Jeff style, “… but, it was a good sleep, so, I must have needed it.”

“So, you’re totally fine, now?”

“Yeah,” he answered. “Kinda a little bit dizzy, sick to my stomach.”

“Maybe, you shouldn’t finish the Mt Dew,” I poked.

“Oh, I already drank it, all.” Jeff confessed. “And I think it helped, some. I’m not so tired now.”

“Uh, huh, sure.” I snarked. His expected chuckle sounded a little off, not quite right.

“Hey,” I gentled my tone. “You sure? You feel ok to drive home?”

“I’m ok.” Jeff assured me.

Quote for the Week:2019 06 11 a true friend is willing to go behind your back

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

 

 

Coffee, in a Clutch

Friday, September 29, 2006.

Jeff was up early with me, Friday morning, and very much back to being his usual perky self. While I was in the shower, he made coffee and packed my work breakfast and lunch for me. I knew I would be short a van pool passenger this morning, which gave me a few extra minutes.

So, I sat and sipped my creative, coffee surprise of the day. Raspberry flavored coffee with vanilla creamer. Jeff and I had joined the Gevalia coffee club, convinced by the free coffee maker. The flavor assortment was a bonus, too. Back then, whole beans were considered radical. But, we had a spice grinder; specifically dedicated to coffee. Fancy.

Jeff was the brew-master, in-charge of keeping our cabinet stocked. Each new shipment was a challenge to him. I can only recall one time when I had to explain that I hadn’t been able to drink the disaster in my cup.

I’m not a fan of scalding hot coffee. I prefer cold, however cool, room temperature, and lukewarm are acceptable alternates. Yes, I’m that person – the one who uses a spoon to chase ice around a water glass to cool my coffee. Because of this, I rarely drank my freshly- brewed, morning beverage at home. Hardly ever on my commute, either.

Insulated car cups hadn’t come close to popularity, or reaching and reacting the efficient way they do now. As the van pool driver, my commute was close to an hour. So, by the time I got to work, the coffee in my up-cycled, individual soda bottle, was a pleasant room temp. In summer, it was almost properly chilled from parking in front of the air conditioned vents.

The conversation about the concoction I threw away, ended in laughter, as usual.

I started it. “Whatever you put in my coffee, this morning, please, don’t ever do that again.”

“You didn’t like it?”

“No. It was terrible!”

“Oh.” Jeff pondered. “It seemed like it would work, to me.”

“What was it?”

“Hazelnut, but there wasn’t enough. So, I added the cherry kind we got in Traverse City. Then, we were out of cream, so I added the rest of your chocolate milk.”

He was right. A chocolate-covered, cherry cordial hugging a hazelnut sounded like it should have been good, but…

Quote for the Week:2019 05 21 complex flavors dont always make the cut jakorte

 

 

 

 

It’s Ok to Step Away

It’s ok to step away.

One foot off the path isn’t usually trouble.

Remember, you know the way back.

Don’t be too hard on yourself, if you’re not ready to return.

Loss is only measurable by the strength of the relationship;

By  breadth of share, by depth of care, and trueness of the heart.

 

Experience hasn’t taught me what to say, but, that’s ok.

I’ve learned other things; to whole-heartedly listen, to laugh along.

To remain steadfast and patient; waiting for the heralding moment.

To acknowledge clear tears of realization; there will be no more memories made.

To stand by and let you know: it’s ok to step away.

 

Quote for the Week: 2019 05 14 It’s ok to step away jakorte

Common. Quirks.

“Oh, geez,” he protested. “I was just waitin’ for the end of the song.”

He smiled, and waited for me to smile back. I smiled back.

It was one of the crazy quirks we discovered we had in common, on our first date.

We’d pulled into our second restaurant location for dessert and what was supposed to be a good-night, night-cap.

Jeff pulled the handle to get out of the car, then glanced over at me, questioningly.

I hadn’t moved. My hand hovered over the dial. Poised, because, the song on the radio wasn’t at an appropriate end-spot. For my tastes, anyway.

Sheepishly, I explained my compulsion to listen all the way until the end of a tune. Or, at least, wait for a well-timed verse break or chorus completion or the top (or bottom) of an instrumental break, or when the singer took a big breath or something.

Jeff’s concerned expression had quickly morphed into a high-eyebrowed, silly grin. “Me, too!” he endearingly exclaimed.

My expression morphed into a silly grin. I flipped the switch as a comfortable place to end the music arrived, and we exited in sync.

We spent a good 20 minutes or so talking about the best place to stop listening, if you absolutely had to stop listening. If you didn’t have to, we agreed it was best to wait until the song ended. We also both expressed a dislike of DJ’s who liked to talk over carefully crafted ending instrumentals, and confessed to not being able to put a book down until the next chapter; or until the last line of a page had a completed sentence that ended in a period.

Jeff sat down at the kitchen table, while I dispersed groceries. I set a pot of water to boil. Spaghetti was always our back-up when Jeff didn’t feel like cooking. Or, when he took an unplanned afternoon nap that lasted a few hours.

“So,” I asked, after loading the milk Jeff said he’d drink into the fridge. “What was the song?”

“I don’t remember. It was kinda a surprise when I woke up.” Jeff told me.

“Hmm,” I wondered aloud. I asked him what his most recent blood-sugar was. “Oh, that’s ok!” he reported. “It’s only 220!” 220 was a low. Norm was 250-280, fasting.

“Why is it 220?” I asked. “What did you eat today?”

He told me he’d made fried eggs and fried bologna for breakfast, and hadn’t been hungry since.

I continued my inquiry. “Any of your meds change? Have you missed any? Run out of anything?”

He thought about that, while tapping two fingers on the table. “Nope. Got ‘em all picked up last week. Nothin’s changed in a while,” he concluded. “I’m just tired.” He chuckled. “Yep. Guess if I keep fallin’ asleep, I must be tired.”

“Well, maybe you should mention that to the doctor, at your next appointment. Do you have another appointment?”

“Yeah. In a couple weeks.”

“Maybe, you should call before then.” I suggested.

“Yeah.” Jeff agreed. “Maybe, I should call.”

Quote for the Week: 2019 05 07 most relationships begin with quirks jakorte