How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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25 Ways to Kill Time at Chicago Airport

I thought I’d revisit the China posts. Some of you haven’t seen them. Enjoy.

Warning: This is longer than my usual posts. Also Note: Newbie person traveling. Some of this may be old hat to you.

We didn’t need to worry about our luggage as it flew ahead direct from Toronto to Beijing. What a blessing, yet this causes me discomfort not knowing exactly where it might be. A whole string of what ifs torment me anyway. The most nagging: what if my luggage goes to the wrong destination? Pul-eese. It’ll be fine. I’d packed two changes of clothing in my carry-on thanks to advice from my blogging friends.

It turns out we’re a long way from the main building and a shuttle arrives as we land in Chicago. We jumped aboard in a fine spring mist, hoping for delivery to the correct terminal. We then jogged in the now drizzle to the entrance. First stop a washroom.

What is this? I feel like a country mouse. The toilet had unusual self-sanitizing seats. Think ultra-soft (memory foam). This video shows better than I can explain:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cokBht49qt8

Only five hours and 45 minutes to kill.

Now, what? We saw Starbucks and MacDonalds; a kind of deli; various health food shops; tons of neck pillows and sunglasses;  books and magazines, and a bar or two. Maybe we should have considered sampling our way through the food shops to keep busy.

25 Ways to Kill Time in the Chicago Airport:

  1. Walk, limp, stumble. keep moving.
  2. Learn to avoid lineups around boarding and arrivals gates on both sides of the building.
  3. Dodge weary travelers more concerned about their wheelies than who’s in front or behind them.
  4. Gape at the zillions of people (I don’t get out enough), from all parts of the world, who arrive and depart in giant waves like schools of fish—big ones— with luggage
  5. Close your mouth time and again and do your best not to stick out as if you’d just left the cabbage patch. Isn’t the world a big and confusing place?
  6. Make a deposit at each washroom you wander past. When the opportunity presents itself, you might as well grab it. Best keep your tank empty.
  7. Hang around the unusual new-fangled toilets. What will they think of next? (refer to Youtube video). I wondered how often the plastic covers were replaced and asked an attendant, but she didn’t know either.
  8. Stand in long lines to buy food/water even though not hungry
  9. Fight the crowd to buy coffee.
  10. Search for an empty table to rest aching feet. Why were all the tables occupied? Pull out my now soggy pizza out of your carry-on.
    At Chicago O'Hare Airport killing time

    At Chicago O’Hare Airport killing time


  11. Take pictures of a plane through a restaurant window, not exactly proof you’re in Chicago but what the heck.
  12. After tiring yourself out walking around the gargantuan airport, sit and try to read or people watch.
  13. Comb the gift shops for a Chicago fridge magnets but don’t buy one. They were too expensive at $5.99 each (U.S. dollars of course) and tiny—the width of two of today’s postage stamps.
  14. Check the screen for your gate early. Why is the waiting area full already. Lucky to find a seat each.
  15. Count tall people / short people. If they keep shifting up and down. start over and give up.
  16. Survey couples in boarding area to guess which ones might be going to Beijing. (Sue spied a couple from our Toronto flight).
  17.  Without hesitation, strike up a conversation and ask if they are on your tour.  knows how to peg them. They are going our way.
  18. Stare at the time in two-minute intervals, which doesn’t move it any faster. One hour and 25 minutes to boarding.
  19. Notice a planeload of pilots attached to wheelie carry-ons, who mill about purchasing food. Have you seen so many at once? Why are they hungry? Are they arrivals or departures?
  20. Gawk and wonder how all these pilots happen to be so good looking, but much more important, fret if they are indeed old enough for the job? Most look around fifteen.

    Someone's tired of waiting and waiting and waiting

    Someone’s tired of waiting and waiting and waiting

  21. Shift and re-shift from one numb butt cheek to the other and blink faster than a turn signal to stay awake. Eyes too dry to read? You wuss. You’ve only been awake 29 hours. Fifteen and a little bit to go.
  22. Evade running and screaming children
  23. Stew over whose toddler is wandering around alone. Not your responsibility, but where are the parents? You want to know, don’t you? Where ARE they? No one’s paying attention to the little guy. Nobody.
  24. Line up as directed with visa and boarding pass to get the visa to China stamped. This takes five minutes. One hour and 15 minutes to go
  25. Spy a female pilot. Wow! She looks about 40, old enough and experienced compared to the fifteen-year-old male pilots. You could trust her but where’s her crew?

The clock clicks one mouse whisker at a time. Time’s up. Boarding is announced by a distorted male voice. Not unlike unconscious sleepwalkers, you funnel into lines and shuffle forward, necessary papers clutched and eyes begging for toothpicks.

*  * *

Next on December 23rd – A Pause for Thanks and Christmas

©Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles.

For more related posts, click on China tab above

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#BlogBattle Week 32 – Prompt: Mars

To join  and / or meet the wizard behind this challenge click below:

http://rachaelritchey.com/blogbattle/

Rules:

  1. 1000 words max
  2. fictional tale (or true if you really want)
  3. PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
  4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
  5. Go for the entertainment value!
  6. State the Genre of your story at the top of your post.
  7. Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST
  8. Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story, put a linkback to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/orinclude a link to this page in your own blog post(it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
  9. Have fun!

Each winner will receive this awesome #BlogBattle Winner Badge to display with their winning story on their webpage:

************************************************************

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Choices

Part 4

Sporting a practiced smile, Victoria smoothed Sylvie’s brow. “Sleep.” She straightened like an automaton and headed for the door. Hand on the jamb, she glanced over her shoulder. Good. The girl’s breathing sounded steady and even.

Heart strumming like a Spanish guitar, she sprinted down the hall to the kitchen. A car door slammed. She seized her purse and coat off the chair, but froze when a key slid into the lock and Steve bounded in, but halted with a jerk at the top of the steps, a foot suspended in mid-air. Cocky as a barnyard rooster, he plastered on a smirk.

“To what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?” He wiggled bristly black brows pantomiming the likes of Groucho Marx of vaudeville and slapstick fame.

Clearing her throat, Victoria proceeded to throw on her coat. “Maybe you should first ask where your wife is. She’s at the hospital with the baby.”

“What’s wrong with my son?”

“All I know is he has a high fever and won’t stop crying.” She bit her lip. With the little contact she’d had him, she’d never looked at his face. She did now, startled by his puzzled voice. He had that suave dark look about him Latin men exuded, but on him it came off as arrogant. A curl hung down his forehead adding to the Sal Mineo look she’d seen in old movie magazines her mother still hoarded.

“Your wife took a cab to Emerge. I’ll stay with the girls if you want to find her.”

“I wouldn’t mind spending more time with the girls either.” He crossed burly arms across a broad chest, leaned against the door frame, and snorted.

“Keep your tone down.” Fists clenched till her nails cut into her palms, Victoria listened for activity from the bedrooms. “It’s the least I can do as repayment for the other day.”

“Cozy. Already we’re exchanging favors. What’s next? Christmas cards?”

Mouth flapping like a fish out of water, words failed her. Victoria slapped her purse and tried again.” What is wrong with you? Where have you been living? Mars?”

Steve rocked back on his heels squinting down his nose at her. “Little Miss Perfect has all the answers.”

“Wha…?”

“I got a wife needs me.” Nostrils flared, he blew a noisy breath. Color rose in his cheeks as he spun away and down the stairs in a huff.

Victoria fanned trembling fingers against her breastbone. What’s his problem? This has to stop.

Lost in thought, muffled voices dragged her back to the present. Whipping off her coat, she tip-toed towards the sound. Talking, then laughter. Sylvie wasn’t in her bed. Victoria gasped, a fist to her mouth. By the light of the half-opened bathroom door, she made out two forms in Sarah’s bed, her older sister’s head on her shoulder while she mumbled in her sleep. Mesmerized by the sleeping twosome, she remembered three sisters cramped in a bed during her own youth, out of necessity not choice.

She dared peek into the bathroom mirror and shrank back. She might as well be naked: face pale as a ghost without her usual makeup and lips bloodless and grey as a corpse. Instead of crying with humiliation, she hastened to laugh inwardly. This is last minute after all, an emergency.

Back in the kitchen, she paced, looked around for a book, a magazine. Anything. The wall clock above the art-cluttered fridge showed 9:15 p.m. She flicked on the light in the living-room. A stack of movie magazine littered the coffee table. She laughed out loud. Carol and her mother were cut from the same cloth. She grabbed the heap and settled into a kitchen chair. First, tea called to her.

Victoria checked the kettle, plucked a mug from the drain board, and rummaged in her purse for the Ziploc bag of teabags she carried. The kettle shrieked. She poured the water and jumped sky-high at a disruptive jangle. Water spilled all over the counter. Oh great! It buzzed again; the ringing insistent. She threw a tea towel on the flood and followed the noise.

“Hello?” She stretched and twirled the black cord around her fingers. “How’s the baby?” Victoria let go and watched the rubber covered wiring spring back to its original curly shape. “Wonderful news—yes, he left here about ten minutes ago.” The clock on the fridge wall read 9:33 p.m. “See you soon.”

Victoria cleaned up the wet mess on the counter. The tea cooled past her liking, she drank it anyway, rinsed the mug and returned it to its last place. The magazines returned to the coffee table, she dropped into a kitchen chair to wait already checking her cell for missed calls or messages. Nothing. A yawn reminded her how long the day had been.

A distant, but building drone, fragmented the silence. Soon the noise drowned out the steady tick tock of the clock. A car door slammed, and then another. A murmur of voices outside and then inside the kitchen. The baby asleep, Carol smiled wide, eyes shining. Dressed and prepared to flee, Victoria squeezed her arm as she headed to the door.

“Wait. Don’t go yet. Back in a sec.”

Steve gave her a darting gaze and disappeared down the hall.  Victoria shifted her weight and admired the floor.

“Would you like tea and a sweet?”

“Maybe another time. You must be tired. Goodnight.”

Nerves dancing a rumba, Victoria hastened down the drive. She blew out a breath unaware she’d been holding it. She slipped her key into the lock.

Nothing turned. Nothing touched. Nothing moved.

She stomped on the rubber door mat and flapped her hands.

“Problems?” The nasal voice dripped with sarcasm over the low privet fence, separating their properties.

To be continued

 

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.


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*Applause, Applause*

 

I wrote my About Page four years ago today. It appears I’m off the radar at WordPress, however, because no notification of my blogoversary has arrived yet. Woe is me. NO matter.

It’s been an exciting time and I count myself most fortunate to have met so many fascinating bloggers. Some of you have stuck with me from the beginning to present day. Yes, it took time to meet one at a time, but I’m exhilarated to be a part of this kind and nurturing community.

At last I’m writing thanks to the discovery of Word Press and blogging. I hope with time I learn and improve this amazing and fulfilling craft. You have been most generous in your support and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Credit: Microsoft PP Slide art

Credit: Microsoft PP Slide art

This anniversary seems the perfect opportunity to celebrate you, and to go on hiatus. I haven’t been firing on all pistons of late and need to rejuvenate. Instead of whining, it’s time I do something about it. I plan to clean up and complete impatient writing projects for which I’ve had neither time nor energy, and to add new ones.

See you in September, kids. Wish me luck. It feels strange to cut myself off for the summer, but I’m doing it because I must. I miss you already.

Credit:  AK47bandit


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One Clear Day

“Might you slow down, I’m nervous rushing in this weather.” Jane hiccupped and hugged herself. “We’ve already had one dreadful start to the summer.”

Billie gunned the accelerator. The Dodge van lurched over the line. Whoosh the wipers dashed stubborn rain aside. Bloated, slate-gray clouds gushed water like a busted dam.

“What’s the matter, don’t you trust my driving?” Billie lifted an over-plucked eyebrow as she glanced at her friend. “Should have been there twenty minutes ago. We’re late.”

Jane tucked whispy hair behind her ear and didn’t respond at first. “At least the traffic’s light. I’d rather be late than dead.”

“Why the hell did her husband buy her that motorcycle?” Jane stared through the sluicing windshield and bit her lip.

Thank you Microsoft Clipart

Thank you Microsoft Clipart

“Yeah, only one ride and gone at fifty-three. My God! Two young adults, motherless. Life’s unfair. I can’t imagine how her husband feels.” Billie’s tears slid down her creased cheeks.

Silence sank like a sodden blanket between the two sixty-something women. The driver gripped the steering wheel. Silver-streaked, once black hair stuck to her forehead. Eyes intent behind thick glasses, she frowned at the deluge. Although the wipers were in high gear, the windows fogged up. Billie cranked on the defogger and let up on the accelerator. The slosh of tires on the wet asphalt changed rhythm and slackened to a softer splatter.

“I hate funerals, especially this one, not that I’ve been to many.” Billie cleared her throat. “Sue was always there for me, you know. I ran away from home—before I met you? Sue’s family took me in and Mom was madder than a dragon spewing fire. We didn’t know them well then.”

Jane closed her eyes and nodded. Sitting straighter, she breathed deep and hard.  “How did this happen? The road was dry and the day clear.” Chin to chest, she sighed. “Sue was such a live-wire. Into everything—how long did you live with them again?” She massaged white knuckles, first one hand and then the other.

“Almost six months. We were both twelve.” Billie hesitated. “We became tight as Siamese twins. Soon after I agreed to move back home, her father changed jobs. They packed up and moved to Vancouver. Even Mom was sad to see them leave.”

The rain slowed to a fine mist and the humidity dropped inside the van. Both women concentrated on the road. Jane pointed to the exit, “Turn right on Wellington here and then left on Riddell. “Geez, this lot is packed.” She leaned into the backseat to grab an umbrella.

Billie swallowed and blinked away threatening tears. “Can’t wait to get this over.” They snaked up and down three aisles before they spied a parking spot. “By the looks of it, the chapel will be standing room only. Lord give me strength.”


60 Comments

A Challenge from Jacqui: The Dilemma +100 More

This all started because of

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week-137/

The beginning:

https://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/100-word-challenge-for-grownups-137/

 ~ * ~

She kicked off her heels with a clatter and drew in a silent breath. Cell to ear, she blew out again. “Hi. Sorry, can’t make the book-club.”

Harry sauntered back into the hallway, red-faced, rubbing his neck.

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m on hold. They’re crazy busy.”

“Thursday night?”

He raised a finger. “She will?”

“Yay, progress.”

He shook his attractive head. “Haven’t talked to Collette yet. The bartender says she’ll call back.” Harry paced, avoiding eye contact.

Carolyn marched around him and scrutinized the dining-room.

“What’s Fitzroy’s drink? His wife’s?”

“Scotch, and can’t remember.”

The landline shrieked. Harry dropped his mobile.

~ * * ~

What will happen next? Now I have a challenge for YOU. Who wants to add another 100 words? Let’s play The Dilemma +100. The first blogger to respond will be up next on Wednesday and the second one, the Wednesday afterwards and so on.

Post on your blog, send me the link, and I’ll paste the content pointing back to you. I’ll track all submitters and notify each with a time-table.

This will be a riot! Anyone want to suggest / offer a small badge? Come on. Let’s do it!


49 Comments

100-Word Challenge for Grownups #137

 

Check out the rules:

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week-137/

This week’s prompt is  …but 90 minutes!… + 100 words

100wcgu-72

The Dilemma

“Not tonight, honey.” Carolyn wormed on her stilettos and tapped a shoulder for her bag.

“I haven’t said anything yet.”

“Your face says it all.”

“Where are you going?” Eyes, glazed, Harry rubbed his chin and cheek.

“Why?”

“Fitzroy asked if we’re still on for tonight. I forgot, okay?”

“He’s here? Why didn’t you call?”

“I did.”

“When? I had my hair appointment this morning…”

“Then you’ll make dinner?”

“I would, but 90 minutes! Not enough time, brother mine. Take him out.”

“And his wife and daughter?”

“Oh—will Chez Colette deliver?”

“Brilliant. I’ll call her.”

Carolyn winked. “She’ll do it, for you.”


92 Comments

100-Word Challenge for Grown-ups #136

Check out jfb57  for the rules and http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week-136/

This week’s prompt is …it was 50 years ago… plus 100 words.

100wcgu-72

Knots

“Birdie.” Monika halts, hands clasped and eyes narrowed. “Birdie.”

“Huh?” The blonde’s hand snakes to her throat and squeezes the skin. “What?”

“Where were you sweetie?” Monika touches her sister’s shoulder.

“What?” She chews her bottom lip and continues staring through the canopied window.

“Tell me. Please. Why are you tied up in knots?”

Birdie twists around, a smile quivers on her lined face. “It was 50 years ago…”

Monika blinks, and blinks again. “Oh, sweetie. I’m—”

“Mike jilted me and now he wants to meet for coffee. I despise Facebook.”

“Will you go?”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“The problem’s you want to—don’t you?”


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Day 1 (cont’d): Killing Time at Chicago Airport

Warning: This is longer than my usual posts. Also Note: Newbie travelling. Some of this maybe old hat to you.

* * *

We don’t need to worry about our luggage as it flew ahead direct from Toronto to Beijing. What a blessing, yet this causes me discomfort not knowing exactly where it might be. A whole string of what ifs torment me anyway. The most nagging: what if my luggage goes to the wrong destination? Pul-eese. It’ll be fine. I’d packed two changes of clothing in my carry-on thanks to advice from my blogging friends.

It turns out we’re a long way from the main building and a shuttle arrives as we land in Chicago. We jump on in a fine spring mist hoping we’re delivered to the right terminal, then jog in the now drizzle to the entrance. First stop a washroom.

What is this? I feel like a country mouse. The toilet has unusual self-sanitizing seats. Think ultra-soft (memory foam). This video will show you best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cokBht49qt8

Only five hours and 45 minutes to kill.

Now what? We see nothing but Starbucks, McDonalds, a kind of deli, various healthy food shops, tons of neck pillows and sunglasses on offer, books and magazines, and a bar or two. Maybe we should consider sampling our way through all the food shops to keep busy. Instead, in no particular order we:

  1. Walk, limp, stumble. keep moving
  2. Learn to avoid lineups around boarding and arrivals gates on both sides of the building
  3. Dodge weary travelers more concerned about their wheelies than who’s in front or behind them
  4. Gape at the zillions of people (I don’t get out enough), from all parts of the world, who arrive and depart in giant waves like schools of fish—big ones— with luggage
  5. I close my mouth time and again and do my best not to stick out as if I’d just left the cabbage patch. The world is such a big and confusing place.
  6. Make a deposit at each washroom we wander past. When the opportunity presents itself, I figure it’s best to grab it. Best keep the tank empty.
  7. Hang around the unusual new-fangled toilets. What will they think of next? (refer to Youtube video). I wonder how often the plastic covers are replaced and ask an attendant, but she doesn’t know either.
  8. Stand in long lines to buy food / water even though not hungry
  9. Fight the crowd to buy coffee
  10. Search for an empty table to rest aching feet. Why are all the tables occupied? Pull out my now soggy pizza out of my carry-on.
    At Chicago O'Hare Airport killing time

    At Chicago O’Hare Airport killing time


  11. Take pictures of a plane through restaurant window, not exactly proof I’m in Chicago but what the heck
  12. After tiring ourselves out walking around the gargantuan airport, sit and try to read or people watch
  13. Sue combs the gift shops for a Chicago fridge magnets but doesn’t buy one. They are $5.99 each (U.S. dollars of course) and tiny—the width of two of today’s postage stamps.
  14. Check the screen for our gate too early but the waiting area is full already. Lucky to find a seat each.
  15. Count tall people / short people but they keep shifting up and down. Start over. Give up.
  16. Survey couples in boarding area to guess which ones might be going to Beijing. Sue spies a couple from our Toronto flight.
  17.  Without hesitation, we approach them and Sue strikes up a conversation and yes she knows how to peg them. They are going our way.
  18. Stare at the time in two-minute intervals but it doesn’t move any faster. One hour and 25 minutes to boarding.
  19. Notice a planeload of pilots attached to carry-ons on wheelies, who mill about purchasing food. I’d never seen so many at once. Why are they hungry? Are they arrivals or departures?
  20. Gawk and wonder how all these pilots happen to be so good looking, but much more important, fret if they are indeed old enough for the job? Most look around fifteen.

    Someone's tired of waiting and waiting and waiting

    Someone’s tired of waiting and waiting and waiting

  21. Shift and re-shift from one numb butt cheek to the other and blink faster than a turn signal to stay awake. Can’t read. You wuss. You’ve only been awake 29 hours. Fifteen and a little bit to go.
  22. Evade running and screaming children
  23. Stew over whose toddler is wandering around alone. Not my responsibility, but where are the parents? I want to know. Where ARE they? No-ones paying attention to the little guy.
  24. Line up as directed with visa and boarding pass to get the visa to China stamped. This takes five minutes. One hour and 15 minutes to go
  25. Spy a female pilot. Wow! My guess is she’s about 40. Old enough and I expect she has lots of experience under her belt. I could trust her but where’s her crew?

The clock clicks one mouse hair at a time. Time’s up. Boarding is announced by a distorted male voice. Not unlike not conscious  sleepwalkers, we funnel into lines and shuffle forward, necessary papers clutched.

*  * *

Next Friday: Are We There Yet? A Long Haul to Beijing: 13 hours, 40 minutes  


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Zone: Daylight Savings Time

As long as I can remember, changing the clock back in the fall has been nothing more than the gain of a little extra sleep. The first day of Daylight Savings this year proceeded as if I had my feet stuck in mud. Throughout the day, nothing worked as it should.  My internal clock was confused and out-of-sync. I felt not unlike the Tower of Pisa, tilted in shifting foundation soil.

I’d decided to sleep in Sunday morning. When I awoke at 8:20 a.m., I realized I’d forgotten to turn the clocks back before dropping into bed. Drat. I might as well get up as I’m awake and creaky, and my butt hurts from that stupid chair.

Bleary-eyed, I fumbled with the electric alarm clock to reset to the proper hour. I fed my sweet and patient kitty—she’d let me sleep without complaint. After a hot shower, soothed by the water, and a black cup of coffee, I grabbed my novel and opted to read for an hour. Sundays are my down day to read whenever possible. Forget the laptop and the internet till later.

Tilted back, my recliner is much more forgiving than any seat in the house and I read until I’d guzzled a whole pot of coffee. I checked the clock. It wasn’t even nine yet. Had the batteries died in both my wall clocks? The microwave? No, no and no unless they were in cahoots to drive me bonkers. Yeah, right.

morgueFile free photos

morgueFile free photos

I experienced the oddest sensation as if time had stood still. Nee nee nee nee nee nee nee nee. The theme music to Twilight Zone echoed in my head. Get a grip. This is the 21st Century. Rod Serling hasn’t been around since 1975.

I made another pot of coffee although I’d had enough and looked around as his ghost was breathing down my neck. I peered at the clocks again to see if they were dead or alive. Two minutes had passed. Okay, nothing to worry about.

My tummy wasn’t complaining yet; I wandered over to my laptop. Let’s see what’s happened while I snoozed the night away.

Within minutes, I was lost in the blogosphere. You know how it is: time flies. After a while, numb from sitting, I glanced up. It must be near Noon. Nope. Not yet. My tummy called for sustenance.  What the heck is going on here? How come it’s only ten-forty am?

I have never lived such a day. For the first time in my tenure on this majestic earth, Daylight Savings arrived faked as a place not a time. Unconsciously I’ve wished off and on—and who hasn’t—that elusive time would slow to an easy trot instead of the full gallop the last few years have wrought. The weird slower pace was kind of nice but creepy.

Have you noticed anything unusual since the time change almost three weeks ago?


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Freedom Daze

Both grandkids are in school all day as of this week. The younger one is in Grade One now.

All summer as I babysat, I felt I accomplished nothing and began to dream about this fall. The extra time I’d have to myself had me levitating. Lunch or coffee with friends any time I want as long as I’m at the bus stop when school’s out.

So far, this week’s been a mirage. Monday was a holiday; Tuesday, the first day back to school. Wednesday was my bookstore shift. I had a meeting Thursday and had to rush for the bus. That was the same day my dental office called to change next week’s appointment to Friday (today) at 9:00 a.m.  Of course the school bus was late this morning, as was I. Then, the dentist pulled a White Rabbit act from Alice in Wonderland.

Hurry up and wait.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

I finally straightened up my house for my granddaughter’s sixth birthday this past Sunday. I hadn’t noticed the accumulation of books, notebooks and paper. Mountains of the written word everywhere: on end tables, on my small writing desk in the kitchen, the coffee table and all over my eight-foot dining-room table. I promised I’d tackle the job this week with all the extra time I’d have. I planned to file and trash. I’ve managed none of the above.

Who was I kidding? Have I begun to knock down Paper Mountains and de-clutter piles of junk? Not yet. I’m still having trouble resurrecting my hidden treasures in preparation for the birthday party.

This is a new week. What have I accomplished today? I read blogs and commented. That’s my full-time job now. Oh, I managed to make two pots of coffee and grabbed some lunch. I didn’t go out but came straight home after my last-minute rendezvous with the tardy dentist.

I haven’t even had time to catch up on any reading all day. I did manage to entertain Lady Gaga, my cat, when she insisted on my attention. We played peek-a-boo for which she has an extraordinary fondness. And she likes me. How could I refuse when she sprinted onto my lap and pressed her check against mine, inviting a hug?  I adore my little fur-ball so we sat and mused together for a while.

This buzz of freedom might not look any different than it did before both grandchildren were in school. Even if I don’t accomplish any more than a hill of beans with this extra time, maybe I won’t feel so whacked at the end of the day. I must reserve energy for more than going cross-eyed reading posts all day. Maybe I’ll accomplish something for a change: finish projects, read a book, write something interesting.

For the past seven years since I retired, the hours in my day are shorter than ever and it’s not because I have time to nap.