How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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North to Alaska: Will We Make it to the Airport?

When my sister, Mary, and I booked this trip, by way of Vancouver the year before, I’d been gung-ho. The day for departure had arrived, but my heart wasn’t in it.

The afternoon before our flight, I booked a taxi online, then called by evening to check the booking with a human being. Everything was fine. We were set.

When I go away, I use Gravity Pet Feeders (one for each cat with kibble and one full of water for both). That taken care of, Mary and I watched a movie when Dickens waddled to the sofa and sank into the carpet at my feet. His breathing laborious, heavy, and shallow, terrified me. Was he knocking on heaven’s door? What timing for a vet visit so close to our flight. Dollars spun in my head. I picked him up. His eyes were dull and half-mast. What to do? We analyzed the circumstances and an Aha moment struck. Unbeknownst to me, he and Lady Gaga thought they’d arrived at Kibble Heaven and gorged on the mountain of food before it disappeared. Dickens stuffed himself to bursting and had to wait it out. Lady Gaga, ever a lady, pushed away from the tray sooner than he. Just. An hour later Dickens’ breathing better, we toddled off to bed, I wrestling he’d make it through the night; Mary off to sweet dreams. Dickens isn’t her cat.

I never sleep well before a trip. Worried about the scheduled taxi pickup in the dark hours of the morning—more like the middle of the night—I woke up at 2 a.m. sleep gone. My bedside alarm finally jolted me out of a doze two hours later. The travel alarm I’d specifically purchased as a backup had failed. Mary’s phone alarm rang first. Good save.

Forty-five minutes isn’t a lot of time to get ready and out the door but we managed. Dressed, beds made, breakfast choked down, dishes rinsed and deposited into the dishwasher.

As I scrambled, the phone rang with an automated message that our taxi was in transit. Five minutes later, another call: the cab waited in the driveway. Mary gobbled her cereal as did I. My bags were already upstairs by the front door; hers in the trunk of her car.

What is it with taxi drivers with his personal items in the trunk, leaving little room for passengers’ bags? I’ve seen it happen before. He didn’t know how to position them to close the trunk. Exasperated, I leaned in and made them fit. Our carry-ons came into the back seat with us. I had asked for the $35.00 flat rate to the local airport. Agreed. You have to ask for it. Mary and I each kicked in $20 for a five-dollar tip, considering the ride lasted 15 minutes and the storage shortage in the trunk.

An airport attendant, mere feet from the door we entered, approached right away and helped with printing the boarding passes and luggage tags. The agent told us to bring our luggage to the conveyor belt and goodbye bags. They weren’t even weighed. How does that happen? Wow! Mary over-packs coming and going and fussed about paying extra for an overweight bag.

What a difference between Hamilton Airport and Toronto’s Pearson, or are domestic flights less complicated? A previous domestic flight we’d taken from Toronto was nothing like this one. No hassles: no crowds, long lines, miles to walk, and no belt or shoe removal. The Waiting Area was one minute away from—what else?—a Tim Hortons. Mary needed a coffee; I held off a few minutes. Fumble fingers me almost tossed the hot liquid all over myself when I did. How I managed a quick save, I’ll never know.

“What was that?” Mary asked with a smirk. A few minutes later, she up-ended her coffee on the table where her brown overflow carry-all/purse rested wide open with now wet contents. After our boarding passes had printed, the lovely attendant mentioned boarding would be late about an hour. Our Direct flight to Vancouver needed to be refueled and prepared for return there. I wondered why our boarding pass and the electronic posting still say 6:25 a.m. Mary had checked if the plane would be on time the previous night as you’re supposed to. Confirmed. Flight time not changed. By 6:40, the overhead flight information flashed:

Flight 241 departure 6:25 a.m. Delayed. Estimated 7:25 a.m. 

Thank you.

Our waiting area for Gate 3 had a scattered dozen souls. An announcement over the loudspeaker apologized for a minor delay: some valve(s) had to be replaced. Valve(s)? Didn’t sound minor to me. I believe in transparency, but this was scary news. Why were valves mentioned at all? And don’t say they are a minor fix. What’s minor about them? They all feel major to me since we’re to lift off into the sky.

~ * ~

Next on February 9, 2018: Where’s the Easy Button?

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

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#BlogBattle 2 – Prompt Thorn

Find the rules at Rachel Ritchie’s blog here.

Genre: Fan Fiction

Prompt: Thorn

Words: 920

Thorn

She slept long and deep. The man paced and stopped. “You’re awake.”

Piercing jade eyes glowered in the near dusk. Thick sheets of dark hair covered her like a blanket.

“You’re curled so small. Let me help you.” His blood raged when they touched. Knees limp as young clover, he kept his balance. The girl slapped away his hand and rose unaided. Spellbound, he watched her gaze about—a head shorter than he—blue-black tresses swung in slow motion, her movement fluid as water.

A low whistle escaped his lips. “The Creator made you a different design. Interesting. I like.” Man stroked his chin. Chest and arm muscles bulged. He circled her with the ease and stealth of a cat, while his blood stirred as never before.

“Who are you?” The words came slow and spaced apart. She tilted her head.

“I’m…I’m Man. The Creator gifted you to me.”

“What is gifted? What is this place?”

“Paradise.” With open palms, he swung muscle-bound arms about. Bird chatter, insect thrum, and the soft rush of waterfall crammed the garden air. “This is all ours.”

The girl yawned heavy-eyed.

“You are Woman.”

“Wo-man,” she said, sampling the new word. “Wo-man.”

“Come. I have much to show and teach you.” She drew back from his touch.

~*~

Days faded into weeks. Where one walked, the other followed. The two roamed the spectacular garden, eating a multiplicity of fruits and nuts abundant to them.

“Have I seen everything? I feel we’ve walked in circles. What’s in the middle of this garden?”

Man bit his lip. “There is something—the most extraordinary tree in the heart of Eden.”

“Show me.”

He could not deny her. “There are rules. You must promise.” She ignored him, traipsing ahead. He tapped her shoulder, chin pointing. They entered a grassy clearing. A snake slithered across their path. Sssss.

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“Stop here,” he said a hand on her shoulder.

“Wow.” Woman gasped and pulled on his hand. “What is this tree?”

“Forbidden fruit—The Tree of Knowledge. Everything is ours but not this.”

“Why not? This makes sense to you?”

“Enough. We must leave.”

The next day, Man could not find her. Desperate, he searched everywhere. “Woman. What are you doing here again? Stand back.”

“They reflect my image. Se-e-e.”

“You’re playing with fire. Come.”

Another day, Woman disappeared again. He found her in the orchard once more. “You mustn’t come here ever again! Temptation is great.”

On her third visit, she crept closer and gaped, entranced.

“Go ahead. Touch it.” The voice drew her like a magnet.

“Who’s there? Where are you?”

“Here I am. Sssss.” An over-sized, brown frog-like face peered out among the branches, spiked tongue flicking.

“I’ve seen you before. You speak?”

“Come closer. Closer. I won’t bite.” Hypnotic murmurs tugged till the woman lost all resistance.

Snap! She plucked the lustrous orb and thrust it into her mouth. Juice oozed over her chin. “S-o-o good.”

Man materialized out of thin air. “What have you done?”

“Taste.” She brandished the bitten apple beneath his nose. The sky dimmed, the garden faded into dull shadows of gray. The wind shrieked and blew a wild streak of swirling breath around them. The animals hushed and disappeared.

“No. I can’t.”

“Why can’t you do something I want for a change?

“No.”

“I’ll play your favorite games all night if you wish. Come o-on. You won’t be sorry.” She twirled the red and white fruit before his mouth.

Man tore into the offered fruit. Before he swallowed, thunder crashed and lightning ripped the sky.

“OUT. No more free lunch for you. A deal’s a deal.”

“I’m sorry, my Creator…”

Woman pouted. “Wuss. Don’t blame it on me. You could have said no.” She fixed a claw-like grasp on his forearm.

Man’s mouth flapped.

“Don’t look at me.” Woman stopped, pensive. She flung his arm away, aware of their nakedness for the first time. Examining a grove of massive leaves, she seized Man’s wrist. “Help me tear this off. She shielded her body from the angry rain and his ever-watchful eyes.

“Rip off another.” She winced, tracing a map of his frame in her head, from shoulders to waist to heels. “This one’s for you. For heaven’s sake, cover yourself.”

“All is not lost, Woman. We still have each other.”

“Sure we do. And a bun in the oven. I see you’ll to be a thorn in my side for the rest of my days.”

The rain pelted their tender skin like buckshot though they had no knowledge of what that was. The wind bawled and churned. “Where will we spend this night of fury?” Rain and wet hair lashed her face. One hand braced against the leaf, she spun round to place an open hand against his chest. “Well? I need to dry off and soon.”

Man shook his head, free hand raised to the sky in supplication. Fingers of lightning shot towards the ground followed in a nanosecond by a deep grunt of thunder.

The Creator roared in anger. “As you said, Man. Not all is lost. Now you must work hard for a living instead of savoring the cushy life I had planned with her for you.

Man hung his head. When he glanced up, Woman shook her head. “Let’s go. Do I have to do everything around here?”

The lashing rain turned to a fine drizzle. The animals peered around bushes and from the trees and watched two round-shouldered figures trudge into the night until they vanished.

The End

© 2017Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles.


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Come Fly with Me

I feel the clock has picked up speed. The tick-tock clamors for attention. I can’t believe there’s less than a week to go.

  • Packing is half-done
  • Airport limo hired for flight and return home
  • Two appointments outstanding for next week
  • Bills paid and up-to-date
  • New refill to be picked up Thursday at drugstore
  • Most groceries in fridge used up
  • Calcium tablets low, pick up new to do duration of trip
  • Notify newspaper to suspend delivery
  • Pickup money
  • Talk to bank about bank card and where it will be
  • Type instructions for Lady Gaga’s feeding schedule + list likes and dislikes
  • Pick up more kitty litter
  • Pick up ear plugs
  • Pack lots of chewing gum
  • Decide whether to bring boots for traipsing Wall of China, Terracotta Warriors, etc.
  • Make a decision regarding internet usage away
  • Pack snacks. (Wish I could make popcorn in the rooms.)
  • Tidy dining-room table of all the crap that’s been collecting
  • Double check what I can pull out of my suitcase

Good thing I’m writing this post and making a list. I’m reminded of a few jobs I hadn’t thought of until now. Must keep a copy so I don’t forget to do these things.

Sometimes my brain slams to a full stop and leaves me blinking. It can’t compute and I wait for something ot come. Too much to think about. Thank goodness I’ve made lists (and sub-lists and sub-sub—I kid you not). At least I’ve had the presence of mind not to scribble on loose pieces of paper or on a notepad. I used a spiral note book (6” x 9”) for note-taking because it’s harder to misplace. I’ve a talent for losing things.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

Note B to self:

Do not pack any jewelry.  What no earrings? I’ll feel naked without my baubles. I promise to pack only one or two cheap pair. Someone made the comment, “You don’t want anyone ripping your ears off when they grab your earrings, do you?” (Large is implied, I can tell.)

“No, but…” I have only one size: big. Maybe I’ll leave them behind. Maybe. We have a couple of formal dinners on the ship while on the Yangtze River for four days. I can’t dress up without some bling. I must pack a couple of pair, right?

By this time next week, I will have been en-route for about twelve hours, including a five-hour stop-over with miles and hours to go. With time changes, it’s still going to be a long day.

Note C to self:

Take a long afternoon nap Thursday afternoon. Must be awake at 3:00 a.m. Friday morning when airport transport arrives.

This is it guys and dolls. One more post and screen dark until my return. Will miss you like crazy. If I have time. No, I will miss you all. Cross my heart.


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First Priorities

Our flight will leave, our time, at 6:30 p.m. to Chicago. The flight has triggered lots of excitement already. We get to fidget and walk miles and miles at the airport killing time for over five hours before our departure for China. My travelling friend is already worried we paid cheap, no wonder we’re off to such an auspicious start.

Four and five star hotels

A friend suggested a site of her blogging pal who had been to China (five years ago). A tip in one of her posts said, ‘Learn to squat.’ I bring this up as our tour rep promised all accommodations will be in four and five star hotels. The photograph on the presentation screen showed an ultra-modern toilet and a glassed in shower in the bathroom. One interested couple in attendance had come because friends of theirs had travelled with this tour earlier and loved it. I heard no mention of squatting.

Microsoft Clipart.

Microsoft Clipart.

Of course in five years’ time many changes have occurred in China.

I’ve checked all the hotels we’re booked at during our stay. The bathrooms look like Hollywood movie sets: modern and luxurious. Think Dallas, the series. Of course I checked out comments by previous visitors. Tour people appear to have been delighted. Several, travelling on their own who booked their own hotel (same hotel), complained their bathrooms had mold, were dirty and servers did not understand English. Their bathrooms has windows into the main area and the blinds did not close. What? Indeed, there were several comments like this. Others who had booked their own rooms were happy. Everything’s subjective, right?

Internet access

i read an interesting fact tthat over 600 million people in China have internet access? But did you also know that laptops and desktops, depending who you read, are considered meh? Most everyone prefers a mobile phone. Ah the fast pace of life on-the-go. North America is getting there too, but  the numbers are staggering in China.

Most of the hotels booked for us advertise complimentary WiFi, some in the rooms, and free /available in the lobby or in public areas. One mentioned a five minute walk to an internet café with a five-dollar-an-hour charge.

I plan to unplug while I’m away, but I wanted to know what challenges I might have in contacting my family. As well, once in a while I’ll need to check my e-mail or my Inbox will explode.

A cruise on the Yangtze River for four days and five nights advertises 29 internet stations at a fee of .35 cents a minute, considered low by ship standards. Uh-huh. That’s only $21.00 Canadian per hour. Can’t wait. I’ll take two.

These are my up-to-the-minute top priorities.


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Hot Flash – Return

“Before you leave, I must return these.”

morguefile.com http://mrg.bz/bycfv3

morguefile.com
http://mrg.bz/bycfv3

“What is this, Madame?”

“Love letters to your Maman.”

“Who wrote them?”

“They are from your Papa.”

“I know nothing of him.”

“You will know soon.”

“Who was it? Tell me.”

Madame grit her teeth. “He is Lord of this Manor.”

“Your husband?”

~ * ~

The word limit for Return is 50 words. I used all 50.

The Summer Quarter finishes the end of this month. For the rules to join the next quarter of Flash in the Pan, check out: http://mommasmoneymatters.com/flash-fiction/


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Flash in the Pan – Go

“Don’t go, Bobby.”

“Nobody’s lived in that shack for years. What’re you scared of?” Bobby’s irises grew blacker; his grin wider. “’Fraidy cat, Dixon. ‘Fraidy cat, Di…”

Smack.

“Hey, watchit.”

Loosened fists at his sides, Dixon grit uneven teeth and flushed to the roots of his ginger crew-cut. “Okay. Nothing else to do.”

The sagging veranda creaked and moaned beneath their grubby sneakers. A weathered shutter hung by spider spit.

Wikipedia Commons

Wikipedia Commons

“Weird—no broken windows. See anything?” Bobby yanked the doorknob but it separated in his hand. He fell against Dixon and they tumbled on their rumps.

“Ouch, I got a sliver on my butt. Get off me.”

His friend snickered. “Uh, this is boring. Come on.”

“Let’s try the back.” Dixon massaged his backside.

Whack.

“Ow!” they hollered and collapsed to their knees as the cane thwacked bare calves.

A sandpaper throat cleared. “Something I can do for you boys?”