Not Napping Music, Not

The same evening, between other commercials, I addressed the schedule for our up-coming weekend plans.

We were closely booked, which would require a bit of running. Over the past few weeks, we’d canceled a few social outings.

Among those, one was an overdue family visit. One was a much anticipated ‘meet the baby’ date. We’d previously discussed rescheduling the baby outing for Saturday evening or Sunday after church. When I asked Jeff if he’d been able to arrange it, he said he’d been thinking about that.

“Maybe, Saturday at lunch time, would be better,” he hemmed.

“We can’t, tomorrow.” I answered, quickly, shortly.

Jeff’s brow furrowed.

“We’re going to Lansing, tomorrow.” I reminded him.

“Well, huh.” Jeff scrunched his lips to the side, and puffed out one cheek. “Maybe, we can reschedule that for when I’m feelin’ better?”

“We’ve already canceled, twice.” I pointed out. “We can’t to cancel, again. Besides, the store is already covered for tomorrow.”

It wasn’t always easy to find someone willing to tend shop by themselves for an entire day. We’d already cancelled our scheduled helper’s shift, once, too.

“Mmm… maybe, you can go without me, this once…?”

“Absolutely not!” I popped back. “I’m not going without you.”

I missed my cousin’s wedding in Georgia, because Jeff simply couldn’t make the trip. The advice I received from a non-family member was that he was a big-boy and he could take care of himself for a weekend. I stood my ground that time, too, and refused.

I was terrified enough; always wondering each weekday, if that day would be the day. I can’t even imagine what would have become of me, if I had left Jeff for a weekend, and Jeff had left me forever that weekend.

I badgered my continued opinion. “You can sleep in the car on the way up, and back. It’s what you’d be doing at home, anyway.”

Jeff sat there, lips pressed, two cheeks puffed out.

I’m not even sure he was trying to come up with an argument, but in case he was, I enticed and cajoled. “You can pick the music.” I stated, with unarguable finality, “even if you’re gonna sleep through it all.”

That got a smile. “AC/DC, it is!” Jeff crowed.

“You realize, that’s not really napping music.” I conveyed; fair point.

“Yeaaahhhh,” he wheezed on purpose, followed by a sinister Mutly laugh.

“Maybe, I’ll bring Kid Rock, too. I can sleep through anythin’ and one of us has gotta stay awake for the drive!”

Quote for the Week: 2019 07 23 your people will understand if you can’t make jakorte

 

How to Miss a Wedding (finale)

Cash in hand, we got that settled. It wasn’t a pleasant ride there. We didn’t stop for lunch on the way home, because we were officially a breath away from broke. I spent the rest of the day rebudgeting and being annoyed. It seemed like every time we had scraped just enough to cover a month’s expenses into our savings account, it’d trickle back out again for unexpected car repair or medical expenses.

As self-righteous as I was about our money habits, my life before Jeff wasn’t always so strict. I mostly did what I wanted, saved very little and had no plan for the future. I never really thought forward much, because there wasn’t much to look forward to.

Being with Jeff changed all that. Together, the future was worth thinking about. Comparatively, I ended  up being the spend-thrift in our relationship. Don’t forget, I said, “Yes” a lot. To a lot of really silly things. We collected knick-knacks – Cow Parade figurines, NASCAR die-cast, and chickens. We collected a kitchen full of gadgets – some of which I haven’t used in years; others I’ve never used at all.

Unfortunately, shortly after our crisis, Jeff was asked to stand up in a wedding – a vow renewal actually – in Las Vegas.  My ‘No’ came out quickly. There wasn’t any money left, so there wasn’t anything to think about. But, Jeff continued to think about it. His insistence that he wanted to go should have clued me in that the event was important to him. More than important, actually.

He re-iterated, his Mom could and would be happy to lend us the money for airfare. “How are we going to pay for the other stuff?” I asked him, listing, “… Gas to and from the airport? Parking? Hotel room? Food?” Then, added, “Do you even have dress pants and a suit jacket?” Jeff pulled in his bottom lip and softly nodded his understanding.

The next day, Jeff came back excitedly with another offer to let us borrow the money not covered by the airfare. Again, I refused us that, stead-fastedly stuck on thoughts that borrowing money ruined relationships and knowing we wouldn’t be able to pay either his family or his friend back for a very long time.

There are a few solid times in my life I would like to do over. Sometimes regrets earned from behaving responsibly are far worse than those gained irresponsibly. I wish I’d said to hell with our future finances, and made memories instead.

Quote for the Week:2018 06 19 RRegrets earned from behaving responsively jakorte

 

 

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Choice: Making Good Choices

Choice: Make the Right One

Choice: What It Means To

 

How to Miss a Wedding (part 3)

Here’s the thing. One person’s prolonged wrong can turn into another person’s wrongs, multiplied.

It was an unpaid ticket for which he’d received multiple notices… at his mom’s address. Sally had been safely tucking them away. She’d given Jeff a few; might have misplaced one or two. Jeff never took them from her while I was there. In any case, he had an inkling. A very strong inkling. Strong enough to make him want to hide his suspended license in my purse.

So, that explained a lot. He’d planned on taking care of it, but had ‘forgotten’ until the flashing lights did not pass us by. But, the extra excuses – 

That he didn’t have the money because I did our banking, and watched it like a hawk…

That he never had a chance because we were always together…

That he didn’t want me to know because I’d be upset … – were the ones that irked me even more.

I don’t know how Jeff talked himself out of being handcuffed and taken in, because that is where the officers told him he was headed. Or why they didn’t take into account his shady evasion tactics. Or even why they believed him when he’d told them I had no idea that he’d shoved his card into my purse. They just gave him a multiple-fine ticket to add to his already outstanding charges and told him to take care of it within three days.

‘Three days’ would mean mid-week. Mid-week would require both of us taking a day off. Jeff argued that I didn’t have to go with him. I countered with the thought it would be a very bad idea for him to drive himself since his license was worthless, at that point.

We emptied our savings of cash, because none of our credit cards would be able to handle the full amount. I didn’t know if they would run multiple cards. I wasn’t going to ask, and we weren’t going to be taking any chances. Jeff suggested we could borrow money from his Mom, if needed. This is where my parental influence kicked in.

It never kicked in on the advice to save money, or plan for the future much, but it somehow stuck with me that borrowing money was the lowest thing you could do. It would show the world your failure and absolutely ruin relationships. I told Jeff that I would never agree to stooping so low, and insisted that nobody really needed to know, anyway.

We’d just have to deal with it like adults. Money was going to be very, very tight for a few months, and I decided we were going to get through this on our own.

Quote for the Week:

2018 06 12 One persons prolonged wrong jakorte

How to Miss a Wedding (part 2)

Jeff and the first officer walked toward the driver’s door. I took that as a good sign that we would be driving off soon. He was rooting around for something on the floor, then exclaimed, “I got it!”

I was watching; trying to figure out what was going on. Just as I realized he must have retrieved his license from my purse, a voice from behind startled me.

It was the other officer, informing me he had a few more questions:

“How long have you known Mr. Korte?”

“What does Mr. Korte do for a living?”

“If Mr. Korte were to not have a license, how would that affect his job?”

The last was an interesting one, because, well… he obviously had one. My mind sped ahead. Why wouldn’t he have one? Is it possible he wasn’t going to have one soon,? Like (oh, no) very soon? It was a very unsettling inquiry with an even more unsettling answer. Jeff carried a CDL, and he needed it to do his job.

Seemingly satisfied by my answers, my  interrogator gave me a nod, and returned my license. “Come with me,” he directed. Because my mind works the way it does, I figured I probably wasn’t going to be arrested. Otherwise he’d probably be walking behind me, instead of beside me.

When we met up with Jeff and officer #1, Jeff handed me the keys and said, “You’re going to have to drive…”

“Ok.” I replied, and kind of questioningly waited for a beat.

Jeff’s officer stated, “You’re free to go.” I wasn’t sure if he was saying I was free to go or if we were free to go.

“Um,” I pointed at Jeff, “Is HE coming with ME?”

Jeff’s eyes opened wide in shock in disbelief that I would even ask that question. “Yeah,” he huffed, emphatically shaking his head up and down. “I’m GOING with YOU…” That exchange made both officers crack slight smiles.

As I got into the driver seat, I heard the officer admonish Jeff. “Mr. Korte, you KNOW what you have to DO…”

It’s a little nerve-wracking to start-up a car and pull away from a police stop. I had no clue what the protocol for that was. Do I pull away first; do they pull away first? So, the first thing I did was turn to my now passenger and repeat, “What the hell, Jeff?”

“Just drive away, please,” he requested. “We gotta find a gas station fast. I gotta pee…”

It seemed the occupied police car was waiting for us to move. They followed us until we got back to a main road, and then, thankfully, turned the opposite way. Jeff and I drove in silence, except for the slight sound of Jeff’s legs bouncing and the steady drumming of his fingertips against his knees.

I pulled into a gas station, dropped him at the door, and sat in the car waiting. Jeff came back with two Mountain Dews, two hot dogs, a bag of chips and a sleeve of mini donuts, sheepishly admitting he didn’t think either of us would want to stop for dinner after our impending talk.

Quote for the Week:

2018 06 05 unattended small problems inevitably jakorte

How to Miss a Wedding (part 1)

Roger told Jeff: Call me whenever you’re down or lonely.

He visited Jeff while I was at work. He helped Jeff get to medical appointments. Jeff told me that Roger had said that Jeff was being unfair to me by not trying harder.

He did try harder. Did he try hard enough? Not hard enough for me. I was critical. Often.

Probably just as often as I was lenient. If he wanted a new diecast, I’d say, “Yes.” When he wanted more cable channels because he was getting more bored, I said, “Yes.” As time went on, I said, “Yes” a lot more. I’d do anything to help him be a little happier. Money was tight, but, somehow that came to matter less and less.

That had a lot to do with another day when I’d said, “No.” It was mostly out of anger and somewhat to do with how I was raised. One weekend afternoon, we were driving home from a trip to Jackson.  Jeff had an ex-coworker friend who lived nearby, so he thought it would be nice to stop and see him.

Jeff was driving and I had no clue where we were, so I wasn’t paying that much attention. Until the police car sped up behind us, siren blaring. I think we both thought they were just trying to get by, but when we pulled off to the side, the police car pulled off behind us, too.

Suddenly, Jeff appeared panicked. He grabbed his wallet, took out his license and thrust it into my purse. “Don’t tell them it’s in there,” he pleaded.

“What?” I asked. “Shhh. I’ll tell you later,” he answered without looking at me. When asked for his license, Jeff took out his wallet, opened it, and remarked, “Hmm, I guess I don’t have it on me.” The officer asked for his personal information and went back to his car. “What the hell, Jeff?” came out of my mouth, probably not as quietly as he would have liked. “If he asks tell him we work together… and shhh.” he repeated, still not looking at me.

I was looking at him, though, and he was sweating bullets. The next thing I knew, the officer was back on Jeff’s side and another policeman was standing on my side. The one on my side asked me to get out of the vehicle. “Me?” I asked, stunned. “You want ME to get out?”

The answer from the officer was, “Yes, and I’ll need to see your license, too.” So, I grabbed my wallet, leaving the purse on the floor between our seats, where it had been. I handed over my license and was told to stay there and to remain outside the car.

By this time, Jeff was out, too. He and the other guy were having a conversation at the back. When the second officer joined them, they all seemed to get a bit more animated. 

After a few minutes, my officer came back to me, and asked me how I knew Jeff.  Because I was now terrified, I decided to sort of go with Jeff’s request “We work for the same company,” I told him, adding, “… and…we’re .… friends… too.” Just in case Jeff might have mentioned that

Quote for the Week:2018 05 28 2018 In certain situations jakorte

 

Stocking Sauce

Once in motion, we spent every spare moment immersed. I’d come home from work and ask Jeff what he’d accomplished during the day and what we were going to work that night.

One evening he replied that he’d spent the day ‘getting sauced.’ The next day he’d said, “I got more sauced!” Each time a creative answer followed. “I’m having a saucy day!” “I got saucified!” “Saucing!” 

We spent three weekends preparing, in grocery stores, on the web, on Food Network, and on the phone locating our opening stock.

In stores, because we didn’t want to duplicate easily found sauces, and it was likely we wouldn’t be able to match the big store low price.

On the web, looking for other hot sauce ventures: makers, sellers, stores, web sites. Yes, it’s true. We culled the names of the more popular brands and small start-ups.

On Food Network because BBQ challenges, and the many city specific food discovery shows featuring small business owners and local specialties.

There were a ton of tiny outfits. We learned that even if a popular brand was already stocked in mainstream or gourmet specialty stores, often the hotter-hottest of the line was not.

Jeff made friends. And, I’m talking more than acquaintances. Even over the phone, he had the gift of friendliness.

Within a few days free samples began rolling in. Some came from new makers/suppliers Jeff discovered. Two of the larger branded names couldn’t accommodate our small 2-4 or at most 6 bottle orders, but they were willing to provide the name of businesses who would.

Jeff spoke to both sources and within a day, after Jeff and I had agreed and disagreed on some items, our first order was placed.

The disagreement was about anything with the name or word ‘fart’ or ‘ass’ included. I know it’s more of a man thing than a Jeff thing, but no matter what, I just didn’t find it funny. I never understood the guffawing over the fart scene in Blazing Saddles, either. Especially after seeing it for the umpteenth time. I will admit the only time I’ve ever found a fart funny was when Peter Sellers was involved.

My vision was more gourmet, experimental, unique. Jeff didn’t think anyone would ever be interested in olive salsa or crab salsa, but his approach was, “Why not? Let’s see what happens.” 

On a Wednesday, two big boxes of serious shipment had arrived.  I only remember it was a Wednesday because we were debating the merits of waiting until we could get the shipments to the store or opening them now and just being excited.

 With enthusiasm we tore open the loot. The first thing Jeff pulled out delighted him and annoyed me…

Quotes (from friends and I) for the Week:

2017 10 30 The Tecumseh Herald Oct 2004 opening jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

 

 Funny?: flatulence

What?: popcorn farts

How?: like this

The Honeymoon Hustle: Purple Pyrex

The day after the day after our wedding, we embarked on an adventure.

Our honeymoon wasn’t exactly planned. At least, in my opinion, it wasn’t planned.

That’s not to say Jeff didn’t have a plan. He did, but he didn’t do any actual planning. He opted for an outline and a map, certain  there were plenty of road signs which would lead us where we would go.

Jeff envisioned a tour of the Michigan of his childhood, taking me to the places that brought him happy memories and making newer ones with me.  He wanted to do this and his enthusiasm was so contagious we set off knowing that we’d play it by ear as we went along.

We ended up traveling sort of up the east side and over to the middle of Michigan, down the west side, and back through the center.

First: Frankemuth

We pulled off the highway and pulled into A&W to grab a quick lunch and a glass jug of A&W Root Beer to take along on our journey.

We shopped the outlet mall for Calphalon and cookware, and found a great sale on Pyrex. It was a ridiculous bargain in a ridiculous color: purple.

Jeff pointed out that it would be a  lot easier to determine which item we would take home from family potlucks, as no one else would likely have that hue.  I nodded along. I’d already been to quite a few of those, and didn’t remember anyone having purple Pyrex.

It didn’t bother me at all that our new pie rounds, lidded casseroles, mixing bowls, and storage bowls were going to be violet. I secretly really liked the quirkiness, and the price was more than right. We paid for our purchases and giggled with happiness, because, well… we just bought purple Pyrex.

We spent some our dollar-dance money on clothing for both of us, had to stop at the tool shop, and spent some time in a sport memorabilia and trading card store.

Our dinner destination was wonderful, fun and delicious. I found a chicken platter in the gift shop that found its way into the Neon’s little trunk along with some cheese straws and our other treasures.

We had been to Zehnders together before. We’d been to Bronner’s as well, but we revisited there, too. It’s easy to get lost in the wonder of aisles and aisles of Christmas, wandering down every one. Time sort of flew by us, and before we knew it, we were getting back on the road much later than we meant to.

We set out to cut away from the east coast and stop somewhere around Clare for the evening. In the morning we would go through Roscommon State Forrest and continue on to Houghton Lake.

For reasons beyond our control, that’s not at all what happened.  Our first night’s lodging ended up being even more unplanned than our casually unplanned plan.

Quote for the Week:

2016-10-18-courageously-set-forth-jakorte

Enjoy This Weeks Discovery Links

A&W: Root Beer

Birch Run: More than Just Great Outlets

Zehnder’s: More than Just Amazing Chicken

Bronner’s: More than Just Christmas