How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


100-Word Challenge for Grown-ups – Week #138

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The prompt is: …but what is the prompt?… + 100 words




“Expect the team at 1:00 p.m. Friday.” The cashier handed Ellen a receipt, who skimmed the itemized list and frowned.

“Only two for the setup?” Her sister slumped beside her. She grabbed her wrist. “I’m paying for three?”

“No, Ma’am.”

“Write guaranteed on-time on the invoice.”

The sisters raced to the car. “This is it.” Ellen winked. “What wrong, Trace?”

“I’m nervous. What if I mess-up?”

“No way.” She patted her shoulder.

“But, but what is the prompt? When does everyone shout Surprise?”

“We’ll enter the living-room and you’ll flick on the lights.”

“Hope Mom doesn’t have a heart attack.”

“You agreed.”

“Still, Mom’s 85.”


Waste Not; Want Not

I can’t help thinking about a recent birthday celebration I attended at a Chinese buffet-syle restaurant. It had been a glorious day and a happy time spent with family members. No cooking or cleaning or washing up afterwards. Perfect.

Some things bother me about what I saw. I watched well-dressed, intelligent-looking people act like children. They piled up their plates and then left good food to be picked up and discarded by the servers. There’s so much food (at buffets and weddings), customers go for seconds and waste again. One young man filled up his plate to a cone-shaped disgusting pile twice. I’m surprised he made it safely to his table without an ugly spill—more waste. Twice more he piled a plate but ate only half.

Maybe I’m too conservative. Why not take small portions of something you’re not sure of and go back if you love it. Stuff yourself if you must but don’t waste. I’m not going to mention all the starving people in the world our mothers used to warn us about.

I overheard someone say at a table behind me, “Can you imagine, there’s a buffet restaurant in (fill in a name here) which charges their customers an addition set amount per plate if  they leave food on their plate. Good way to lose customers,” she said.

 To my way of thinking it’s not a bad idea. Just because you pay for the buffet doesn’t mean you should thoughtlessly waste it. Does it? Yet, that’s what customers do without a second thought. It’s not free but they seem to believe because they ‘paid’ for it, anything goes: at the hot buffet, the salad bar, the sweet table and the fruit bar.

And then we have free food at weddings. Call me old-fashioned or a fuddy-duddy. I just don’t get it. Isn’t that considered waste too? Shouldn’t food be respected? Aren’t we lucky in North America to have as much as we do?

One more thing. I have seen people order in restaurants, eat half and complain they didn’t like it and expect a free replacement. The goal is the rip-off. Come on; who is getting ripped off in the end do you suppose?  

Maybe I should confess that I’m not allowed out much.


It Was a Blast in the Past, but. . .

I’ve started reminiscing as another birthday quickly approaches.

During my early twenties, I picked up the bad habit of smoking. By the time I moved an hour away from home, I have six years’ work experience under my belt. I struggled to find a new job in unfamiliar territory and to settle in in a strange city. It was a difficult time sorting good influences from bad and keeping on the straight and narrow.

I met the man I would  later marry and went down to 104 pounds. I bought a house. He moved in with me and I thought I knew what I was doing. I had always fallen for the party boy.

In my thirties life was more eventful. I got married, had a baby, had a hysterectomy and got divorced. Not a great decade but I survived. Did it make me wiser? Probably more careful and more selective. But that’s no guarantee, is it? Time would tell.

Once the forties arrived, I was OK. I worked, slept and looked after my daughter. I met an older man (by 19 years) who was totally taken by little ole me. I made it clear I would never marry again before there was a chance for the subject to come up. I bought another house. I even quit smoking. My boyfriend moved in and my daughter made three. Everything was hunky dory for several years.

By my fifties, I decided life was slipping away far too quickly. The face in the mirror wasn’t quite the same. How many good years did I have left, I wondered? My live-in and I finally split up after almost ten years together. Guess I’m not great couple material or once burned…twice shy.

Then, my daughter wanted her boyfriend to move in with us. I was against it so she moved out and had all the hanky panky I never wanted her to have yet. Had I made a terrible mistake? Life could have been sweeter between us but they did get married a few  years later.

All alone in a big house again, but still in the workforce, I became a homestay host for international students, which kept life very lively and interesting. I also became a grandmother and fell helplessly in love with my new granddaughter.

Hitting the sixties brought the relief of retirement and another gorgeous granddaughter. The homestay hosting was becoming unpredictable and the students less respectful. I decided to throw in the towel after nearly ten years of service. I’m glad of the experience as I travelled the world from my armchair and got to know a lot of really nice and interesting people.

Alone in the big house yet again, carrying high maintenance costs and taxes, I came up with the perfect plan—IF it got accepted. I decided by the time I reached sixty-five, it might be a good idea to sell my house but I couldn’t imagine living in an apartment. I asked my daughter if she and her husband would be interested in buying a house together. I only had the one daughter so nobody’s nose could get out of joint. Her husband was harder to convince but he was soon on board. The perks were too hard to resist, I guess. Instead of waiting, once we ‘girls’ started looking at houses, well, you can imagine. We found a great house within seven months instead of three years down the road and it was time to move.

What would I change in my life if I could? Would I want to go back in time to relive a particular time? To be younger again? No and NO!

I couldn’t face being young again especially in this new age. Once is more than enough for me. I’m not greedy. I’m comfortable with myself and am finally doing the things I’ve been waiting so long to do. Without a doubt, there are things I wish I could have done differently or better, but I’m more than grateful for what I have been able to accomplish. I laugh more and occasionally cry more. Age has made me softer.

It was a blast in the past, but I tend to look forward with anticipation. New adventures and discoveries await—I hope. On second thought, I wouldn’t mind not having to age anymore and just staying the same for say another forty years or so? Now THAT would be SOMEthing to look forward to? Wouldn’t it?