Monthly Archives: February 2014

Puzzled!

“We’re Puzzled!” was the title of the recent letter we received.  I have to say that so were Hubby and I a bit confounded by the letter we received!”Hubby is still a member of the Alumni or at least if his membership has lapsed.. no one told the Magazine department which sends out the Alumni Association Magazine and other materials each year.

The latest outreach from my Hubby’s Alma mater is just hilarious!  I guess it would be in bad form to actually mention the institution by name… but let’s just say it is located in a state where the sun shines almost eternally and the place had a well deserved reputation as a party school. The bar was set so low back in the day that students with a C average were welcomed with open arms! If the student had great skills in joint rolling, it definitely increased their acceptance rate at the state University. I do kid, but not too far off the mark here.

The letter goes on to inquire about the lack of membership by Hubby, the alumni of said state University.  The “puzzle” theme is played on throughout the entire front page text, as they extol the benefits of continuing to support the Alumni Association.  Lists are provided to the reader of all the great activities that are supported by their funds and former graduates are encouraged to “make a difference” while enjoying the many benefits that their member avails.

The URL for the institution is peppered throughout the letter as well and the PS: at the end encourages recipients to flip over the page and find a special crossword puzzle that will test their IQ.

The puzzle is titled “Help Bonzo( name of the University’s mascot)solve this crossword puzzle.” And the reader is tipped off to the fact in the next line that if they visit “alumni ___ .edu/puzzle they will find the answers and much, much more!

This puzzle is so in keeping with the past spirit of the campus circa the 1960’s to 1980’s party school era fame.  In fact it looks like Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong may have been on consult for this fine piece of work. It smacks (no pun intended here) of their brand of comedy during their comedy album days! Their work was hilarious. In 1971 self-titled debut album of Cheech & Chong, … Their self titled  album was nominated for Best Comedy Recording at the 14th Grammy Awards.

The level of knowledge need to complete the puzzle is reminiscent of an album cut in which Chong plays Bob, a contestant on Let’s Make A Dope Deal.

(For my younger readers or my slightly “memory challenged” classmates of my age bracket:  this was a game show that asks a stoner contestant named Bob to give a correct answer to the question “What is your name?” Bob is truly challenged and  becomes more confused and anxious as he is unable to answer.  Even with the encouragement of the host, asking him “Come on BOB, what is your name” he still fails to give the correct answer in the time allocated by the clock.)

Back to our puzzle:

Example  Number one across is three letter answer and the clue says” “Also known as the Student Alumni Association” did you guess that the answer is “SAA”?

Ding! Ding! Ding! You are correct! Let’s move on to number five across which asks “What is the name of the school mascot?” Hint: look at the top of this page and read over the title!  Yup! The answer is “BONZO.” Wow, man this is so cool… you have scored two answers already! Want to try for another one?

Successive questions 4 across and 16 down ask the puzzle solver to provide the names of the school colors. Did I mention that this letter is in color? The heading of the letter has a beautiful full color rendition of the University name and logo. Wow so now if the reader is fairly accurate at spelling RED and GOLD… there are two more answers in the bag!

Bonus questions are a bit trickier but if one truly thinks about this it is not too high a level of difficulty. Here is the clue for 12 across: On their 50th anniversary, alumni come back for their _______ reunion!  Hey if you guessed “Fiftieth” you would hear the BUZZER of SHAME!  Like I said a bit of thinking is required.  Here is a clue. Those of you whose grandparents were fairly healthy probably celebrated their 50th anniversary. Do you know the other name for this celebration? Hint: it is a precious metal!

It is a shame that Hallmark no longer publishes those sweet little date calendars! Inside the front cover is a list of “Gifts for Wedding Anniversaries” starting with Number One which is “paper” and browsing the list one can see that the gift for 50th anniversary is “GOLD”. Oops… I almost gave this answer away!

Another answer that requires a bit of outside research asks the solver to give the name of the magazine published by the Alumni Association. This is usually an easy one, unless the reader lives in a household where recycling is taken out on at least a monthly schedule. Our stacks of magazines are piled on the kitchen table for several weeks… maybe a bit longer. So the answer to this one was literally right under our nose!

I truly hope that this puzzle was sent out in jest and not a genuine effort to bring the level required into line with the perception of former graduates abilities! Granted after years of abuse, I am sure that many of the minds are not as sharp as they once perceived they were.

In fairness to this fine institution and it current reputation for scholarship… rumor has it that a “Midwestern” state university has recently captured that somewhat dubious title of “Party School”.

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Happy Valentine’s Day

I pulled into the driveway and blinked at the glare of the bright light coming from the open garage door. I glanced over to the front door of our home to see my Hubby and our two Norwegian Elkhound pups sitting in the glow of the front entry lights.

Hubby looks up from his smart phone, “Where have you been? You said you were about a minute away when we spoke on the phone and that was a long time ago!”

This was the not so perfect ending to a disastrous day. Most women’s expectations for Valentine’s Day are filled with lovely greeting cards, boxes of chocolates and red roses. Today was the stellar opposite.

On Thursday evening, I’d already been warned not to look for a card the next morning at the breakfast table.  Hubby came home complaining that evening; “There are just not any good cards this year!” He’d stopped at the grocery on his way home; “They had no selection at all!” He remarked that he saw the same guys in the aisle, when he’d circled back around a second time.  “The Hallmark section had the same stupid cards as the regular stationery aisle and none of us were having any luck.”

“Well gee, wait another day and you could have purchased at half price!” I voiced aloud the chagrin that more than one woman has experienced when the man of their dreams doesn’t exactly plan ahead for the biggest card and chocolate holiday of the year!

“And no one could deliver any flowers tomorrow either”. Hubby reported how shocked he’d been, when he’d phoned the local florist.  “They said that the soonest they could deliver an arrangement to our home was Saturday afternoon!”  Clearly other men in our locale had similar luck. The grocery where Hubby was shopping for a card must have been completely sold out of flowers suitable for a Valentine’s Day bouquet.

Valentine’s Day this year was clearly not going to be the swirls and curly accents atop premium truffles nestled in a satin ribbon wrapped box. Nope, not even the cello Red Heart overwrap on a box of Russell Stover’s was likely to appear on Friday morning with my name on it!

Lucky for my Hubby I wash my car frequently! The folks at the Pink Elephant Car Wash are extremely retail savvy and know their customers well. Women who patronize deluxe car wash businesses will undoubtedly browse and purchase from the wonderful selections of gifts and cards displayed in the lobby. On the rare occasion that men visit the car wash, they will be checking Fantasy Football scores on their I-Phones. Just in case the car wash gift center also stocks green pine tree shaped air fresheners and rotate through various “holiday” shapes too. This time of year they featured red hearts scented with vanilla or cinnamon.

Giving idle women opportunity and access to tempting goods is always great retail strategy. What better way to spend the time while waiting in the lobby? By the time the shiny clean and waxed cars with sparkling windows arrive at the other end, I have added to my stash on hand of Birthday Card. In fact I have loads of cute greetings for various holidays and just about any occasion, due to my penchant for a clean car! Hubby did thank me for the pretty card I left by his computer that morning. He finished off the box of 16 truffles by noon the next day too! Unfortunately my planning and execution, delivering on time only highlighted his lack and clearly did not score any points, despite the efforts I’d made.

To say the day had not gone well was the understatement of the year. In an attempt to make up for no card or flowers, Hubby had decided he’d take me to lunch. He was working from home today, so it would be convenient to do lunch. He had phoned our local favorite restaurant only to discover that they were completely booked. “Shocking that so early in the afternoon, on Valentine’s Day they would not have a table for two!”

We’d settled on a quick bowl of Udon soup and the Sushi special at our favorite local spot, Sushi Moto. I managed to coax the pups into the car and promised them an outing to the Off Leash Park if they were well behaved while we had our lunch.  I pushed the button on my Prius and nothing happened!

“What is wrong?”  Hubby has now joined the pups in the rear seat and is peering over at the dash which is now displaying a series of flashing warning lights.  He likes to ride in the back with the pups to reassure them during a car ride and keep them calm.

“This has never happened before” I explain. “It was just fine when I came home last night!”  I am now searching for the little tag that has the phone number of Toyota Care.  Hubby tries in vain to convince the pups to leave the car and get into his Volkswagen Jetta.  Nothing doing… they were promised a trip to the Doggie Park and were not going to be short changed!

I walked into the house to be able to hear the options being presented by the automatic voice answering system on the line that would provide me with “excellent service at Toyota Care today.”  Several selections later I finally was speaking with a real person.  After repeating back the VIN for my Prius, she assured me that someone would be calling me, “within the next hour” to schedule a local tow to the nearest Toyota dealership, where they would of course “provide me with excellent customer care.”

I relayed al of this to Hubby who finally picked up the 50 pounders and lugged them into his back seat. He was not happy to have lunch further delayed by the wait for a call from the local towing company. We agreed that in the essence of getting some food anytime soon, that he would drive over to Sushi Moto and order takeout. The pups were clearly not going to get out of his car willingly, so they went along for the ride.

By the time he returned with Styrofoam cups filled with hot noodles and plastic trays of salmon rolls, I had yet to hear from the folks at the “local” towing company.  But finally as I was slurping the last of my Udon, the phone rang and help was only a few blocks away.

In the midst of all of the car chaos, a DART bus appeared at the curb in front of our home, bearing our son Nick.  Nick is returning from his first of three gigs for Valentines’ Day this year. Nick is totally blind and so blissfully unaware of the presence of the paralyzed Prius parked in the garage.  My vehicle was not actually needed until his last engagement around 7:00pm. With an individual who is “on the spectrum” it is wise to sometimes not share details that will not impact them. Rather than introduce a new worry into his day, I decided not to burden him with the knowledge of the current motor malfunction until we’d determined a cause and an outcome for transporting the needed equipment later that evening.  His ride to the 2:00pm performance was on schedule and hopefully by the time he returned we’d be all set with either a functioning automobile or a loaner from the Toyota dealer, suitable in size to hold his keyboard and sound equipment.

As luck would have it the tow company’s truck arrived at the exact time as Nick’s driver for gig number two. Fortunately we were able to convince Nick that the best use of his time was to quickly get into the driver’s car and get onto his next engagement. We promised to fill him in upon his return home later that afternoon and assured him that this would not cause any problems for him at his last gig.

Toyota did turn around the car repair in record time. I returned home in less than two hours which was amazing for a Friday afternoon, going into Presidents Day holiday weekend! This was a good omen that the day was not a total loss after all.

The Elkhound Pups were still shortchanged on their outing and Hubby volunteered to walk them before dark. He mentioned a quick walk to our town’s center… coincidentally the location of a new local brewery and pub!  I had some errands left to do and while they were on their stroll I had a brilliant idea which might just salvage the day. The brewery only served their various ales, but no food permits were completed just yet. They graciously allowed patrons to bring in food to go along with their quaffs.  I phoned Hubby and when he didn’t answer, left a message that I could drive by our local Pagliacci’s Pizza which now featured “by the slice” servings.  “No longer do we need to wait to get our teeth into gooey cheese and crispy crusts to go with that Porter you are probably slurping down about now,” I said playfully.   I drove on and waited for a callback. After a few more minutes I redialed.

“Where are you?” I asked, wondering if he’d taken a different route that went into the dead zone of no cell signals.  “Did you get my message?  I am almost to the Pizza place.”

“No, I didn’t hear the phone and where are you anyway?  I am at the front door of the house. It’s locked! I don’t have my key.”

“I am literally just around the corner. I was headed to get your car filled with gas, but I can swing by and open the door. I will be there in just a second.”  I make a quick turn back into our neighborhood. As I slowdown in the front of the house, I spied my Hubby sitting on the porch, both pups at his feet.  I waved and hit the garage door button. Seeing the light come on as the door started rolling up, I drove off to fill Hubby’s almost empty tank and complete the last of my errands.

Turns out that Hubby had not actually seen me wave and was oblivious to the noise from the garage door opening. Whatever he was viewing on his Droid-RazorX, had completely captured his attention.

About 40 minutes later I returned to see Hubby still seated at the front door, oblivious to the gaping garage door and the bright lights piercing the darkness. From his seated position at the front door, he could not see the light beaming out from the garage and did not realize that the door had opened.

I was astonished and amazed! He knew from my phone call that I would be there in less than a minute, yet here he sat.  My first reaction was “Oh my gosh! I am so sorry that you are still stranded at the front door!”

Almost an hour had passed. I started to think aloud, never a good idea in this sort of situation… “Why,” I asked Hubby “Did you not call me back to ask where I was?” In a similar situation, I would have been frantic with worry, but he was remarkably calm as a cucumber!  “Were you not worried about me at all?”  This incited guilt and angry comments of denial ensued.  “Whose fault was it that he’d been stuck out front?”

Continuing on my collision course of discord, I pointed the obvious. He’d been so glued to his Droid that he hadn’t walked around to the rear patio and let himself into the house via that unlocked door. In fact he’d surely have noticed the gleaming lights from the garage door which was of course still wide open.

Yikes! This was a doomed day and I was pouring gasoline on the fire and fanning the flames!  Each time I opened my mouth to comment on the situation only increased the air supply to what was becoming a 3 alarm fire.

I took a breath, stopped talking and went into the kitchen to see what I could put together for a quick dinner. Hubby went to the rec room to watch his favorite Friday night program, which started right at 7:00pm. He was a bit anxious about missing the opening monologue, but I soon heard laughter floating up the stairs. After a bit he returned to the kitchen with a container of frozen Spinach Ravioli as a peace offering. He asked if I’d like help with preparation to complete the meal.  I was in the midst of making our favorite Dijon Vinaigrette recipe. I let him off the hook by saying I’d take it from there.

By now our son had returned from gig number three, slightly miffed that he and his performance partner had not been offered any of the special goodies served top residents during their performance at the deluxe residential facility for retirees. He may be blind but his nose is amazing at detecting all the wonderful aromas that swirl around in the air.

I let him know what we were having for our dinner. Vegetarian fare is not his favorite. He chose a leftover entrée containing sausage from the night before instead. He was still worried about his favorite part of any meal…dessert. I let him know that I had saved him a slice of the special cake I’d made earlier in the week. His smile lit up the entire kitchen.  “I love you Mom!”

I am sure glad that one of the men in my life felt kindly toward me on Valentine’s Day!

Readers… how did you fare this year?

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Girl Cars

Girl Cars vs. Boy Cars

“Girl cars always have great stuff.” This comment came from my youngest son while a passenger in my car after his simple request for a tissue was immediately fulfilled.

“What do you mean by Girl Cars?” I asked, trying to decipher his label. He is the owner and driver of a vehicle too, so I was intrigued by his comment. “Do you mean a particular color or model of car? Or just a car owned by female verses an auto owned and driven by a guy?”

“I mean when girls drive cars, their’s or even someone’s they borrow. Girls always have stuff that you might need while on the road.” He explained: “Girls always have Chap-stick and Kleenex. Girls have something to drink, like  water bottles in their cars.”

I laugh: “The Kleenex box actually has some fresh, unused tissues in it too, right?”

 The back seat of my Hubby’s car typically has so much tissue litter that one cannot see the floor! If we are going to use his vehicle to transport our two Elk hound pups, a major clean up of the back seat has to occur before they are allowed access.

“Well being a Mom myself I can attest to the fact that my car is usually well stocked with emergency items.”  I sigh about the fact that my kids are grown but the old habits still persist.

“Yeah, kind of like a Diaper Bag on wheels!” He snickered.

“These days I would call it a Mobile Emergency Kit.  My childcare days are long gone. Even the grandchildren are passengers these days! They are old enough to drive themselves.

“Not true! Your puppies are your new grand kids!” He chuckled pointing to a small bag of Maggie’s Yummy dog treats nestled in the center console of my Prius. To further drive home the point he opened the glove box and pulled out some of my “extra” plastic bags.

“Hey… Poop Happens!   A good dog owner must anticipate the need for picking up the waste that occurs on walks or at the Off Leash Park.” I am proud of the fact that I have never knowingly left dog shit lurking at the edge of a sidewalk like an organic I.E.D. for waiting to blow on some unsuspecting pedestrian’s foot wear.

“Guilty as charged!” I guess he is right. “The stock is still on hand, only the nature of the merchandise has changed”.

“But not just in Moms’ cars.” He clarifies “Most females have well stocked and clean cars too.”

“When Girl Cars get cleaned, their female owners actually use the vacuum devices at the Car Wash.”

Remembering the one time I actually saw the floor mats in my Hubby’s car in the dating phase of our relationship; “Yeah, guys mostly clean their cars to impress girls on first dates!”

“Or if they have to pick up a female relative up at the airport.” My son chuckles about his Dad trying to convince Grandma that a ride home on the Shuttle would be more convenient. “Yes, the Shuttle saved him major time… by not having to clean the car, not the 2 hour round trip to get her at SeaTac.”

My son continued to lavish praise; “Girls’ cars usually something to eat in the glove box besides a very old and crumbly package of saltines. There is almost always a water bottle in their cars.”

“The Water Bottle is actually full of potable liquid, not some cloudy murk that has probably passed the expiration date?” I laugh out loud. “I’ve seen seeing water in bottles that I would not even use to clean my windshield, let alone drink!  By the way, are you hungry? There is a bag of organic raw almonds in the glove box.”

I remember opening the passenger door on a City Utility work truck to a wave of water bottles and soda cans crashing onto the driveway. Granted this was after a road trip for Hubby’s work in the field.  “I certainly would not want the job of managing the Motor Pool fleet at the City!”

“At least the motor pool has electric vehicles.” I reminisce, “When was the last time you borrowed any guy’s car that had more than a quarter of a tank of gasoline?”

I recall the starving student days of our early marriage when we had little cash. “It was a luxury if we could fill the tank with more than five dollars worth of gasoline at the pump at any given time.”

I certainly have shaken off that practice. “Most women I know would rather spend an extra five minutes to completely fill the tank than go back every few days to partially do the job.”

I could totally relate to a recent conversation. A female friend stated; “I always have to build extra time into the schedule if using my Hubby’s car.”  Inevitably she’d need time for a stop at the gas station before traveling very far!

I have a much bigger list to go over before an outing involving the use of my  Hubby’s car! Well before the scheduled departure time,  I check not only the gas gauge but also tire pressures. I do that little “walk around ” one sees at the Car Rental places, before they turn you loose in their cars.  I glance at the little clear plastic sticker that indicates the date of the last oil change too! Thank God for those stickers! I am sure a woman must have invented these… otherwise how would we ever know? I do draw the line at popping the hood and pulling the oil stick.

I have  been known to stealth his car out of the drive way for a quick spin.  Better to hear those unusual noises, like the squeal of a loose belt or the screech of metal on metal from the brakes, before a trip begins for real!

All of this data suggests a few things that we women could do to “help out” our guys with cars. Gifts could be so simple. Here is my suggestion list for the coming birthdays and holidays.

1)      An Eddie Bauer car kit! These Olive Green canvas bags are totally geeked out with everything that one could ever possibly need in the event of a breakdown! I’ve seen Red Cross Emergency Medical kits that pale in comparison! Another product surely developed by a female! Maybe Eddie’s Mom?

2)      Gift Card from the local car wash! Bonus if they have “vacuum interior” as part of the deal.

3)      Gift Card from the Oil and Lube place! Love those little stickers!

4)      Gift Card from the guys favorite FAST-GAS Station!  (…and that would be the one on their way to work! Right next to the Drive-Thru Coffee kiosk with girls in Bikinis!)

5)      Flashlight / Key chain embossed with the TOWING COMPANY phone number. Bonus if you can get one that is approved by your Auto insurance company!

6)      If you are really feeling generous… spring for a membership to AAA! Remember that AAA covers the member, regardless of whose car they are traveling in… and it might be yours!

Happy Motoring!

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Shopping Lists

Our luncheon companion excused herself yet again.  “My husband is grocery shopping” she sighs rolling her eyes as she left the table with her smart phone held out in front of her face.

The remaining women chuckled and a lively debate started about the recent joke circulating on Face Book; a woman’s tale of her well meaning man, volunteering to do the grocery shopping but utilizing a list that was not current. The punch line as delivered as her hubby strolls out the door answering his wife’s’ query.  “Do you have the grocery list?”

“Oh yes” the husband affirms. He proudly displays a wadded slip of paper from his pocket, “I saved the one from last time.”

Our companion rejoins us, quizzically looking at our animated faces. “What is so funny?”

“Does your hubby have the right list?” We chuckle as we relate the joke in discussion.

“Oh this is even better than the last week’s list story!” She slides her phone across the table to me.  It shows a man’s arm, holding up an orange. He is clearly in a grocery produce department of the grocery store.

“Keep going!” She encourages me to scroll through the recent shots on her phone’s picture gallery.  There are several more photos, each of slightly different types of citrus.

“Now read his text.” She reaches back for her Droid and quickly opens the text screen for all of us to view.  Her hubby is clearly confused about the difference between Navel and Valencia oranges.

“You have to hand it to him, he is eager to get it right.” I dish out some praise for the hubby. “Smart phone photos and text technology has possibly saved many a modern marriage!” chimes in another woman.

A well coiffed silver haired woman in the group laughed aloud. “I wish my husband would get a smart phone!” “I have to decide, based on his verbal descriptions, which items to have him bring home.”

“If I can’t decipher his clues well enough, it’s my fault if he doesn’t bring home the right item.”

I’m proud to say my Hubby is pretty savvy on the grocery shopping trips. He does cook a good percentage of the time and is usually in charge of procuring his ingredients. A cute demo chef with a totally awesome recipe can alter his menu plan, but he is a guy after all.

Our biggest challenges happen when he raids the pantry for one of his dishes. He forgets to let me know that he just used up the last container of tomato paste, emptied the curry powder jar or some other ingredient that I had plans for I another meal or recipe.

We do have a magnetic grocery list pad and pencil too, stuck right on the front of the fridge. Sometimes it gets utilized. I am just as guilty on this omission as he. Actually, the dogs did just abscond with the pencil, which is now in splinters down in their dog run. No matter… there is usually something within reach to scratch down an item on the shopping list if we will just pause a moment and jot it down.

We have a distinct advantage in obtaining all the items we need for our household, if either of us in accompanied by our son, Nick. He may be blind but I will tell you he has a great recall of what is in the pantry. His inventory of the contents of the fridge and both freezers is equally amazing.  He is a bit OCD about making sure that we are ALWAYS in stock on any of the items he eats or uses in any way.

He knows the exact quantity of frozen orange juice cans on the bottom shelf of the freezer downstairs.  He can advise me of the count on the bagels he loves for his favorite breakfast item; smoked salmon and cream cheese on toasted bagels. Want to know how many slices of Tillamook cheddar or Deli style boneless sliced turkey are in the refrigerator’s Tupperware containers, just ask Nick.

Not only are the jars of his favorite sandwich sliced pickles inventoried before any given shopping trip, he usually knows how many slices are remaining in the currently open jar on the top shelf of the  Maytag Plus refrigerator in our kitchen.

We recently faced a perceived emergency on the supply of toilet paper at home. Nick keeps a pretty close count on the individually wrapped rolls we use in our household. He is the one who carries in the bulky packages of the bathroom tissue, distributes and organizes all the rolls in both bathroom cabinets.

He announced one evening “We are out of toilet paper in my bathroom!”

“Truly not a roll left?”  I seemed to remember purchasing this item recently so I ask” Did you look in our bathroom?”

“It is all gone Mom.”

I get up and trod down the stairs to the bathroom on the lower level of our home. This is primarily Nick’s domain. Unless we have guests, he is the main user of this bathroom.

“I see two rolls here which means you still have enough for a few days or maybe even the week, certainly enough to last until tomorrow morning. The store closes very soon so we need to wait to go shopping first thing.”

He reluctantly agrees that tomorrow will be soon enough to shop for replenishment. He cannot argue with the logical fact that the store is closing in 5 minutes.  It is a 15 minute drive, with good traffic, so there is no possible way we can obtain the desired big 40 count container this evening.

As I write this I have to share; I heard rustling behind me and have stopped typing to investigate.

Oh, oh! Someone didn’t get the door completely latched on the powder room just outside my office. I swivel around in my chair just in time to see our two Elk hound puppies absconding with not one or two, but three rolls of the individually wrapped toilet tissue that were stashed on the pretty wire rack that sits in that extra bathroom.

The game is on! Can I catch them before they destroy all three rolls? I manage to get between the dogs and the master bedroom door. If I could not have cut them off, they’d be under the California King bed, out of reach and free to shred all three rolls. Clever pups, they seem to know just how far I can reach under that bed!

“Bad Chew!” I say this sternly and offer several toys that are “Good Chew” items.  I retrieve the rolls, which are only slightly damaged and firmly close the powder room door. Click goes the latch; a” good sound!”

Back to the supply issue at home last week, it is tabled until the next morning.  We get to bed and all is well for the rest of the evening.

Next morning I am awakened by the pups growling at a sound. It is still early enough that I can’t see the alarm without turning on the light and waking my Hubby. He seems to sleep through all but the most violent canine disturbances.  I swear the slightest whimpers can catapult me out of the bed. Must be my mother’s ear or maybe it’s the fact that I have to clean up accidents that might happen if little puppy bladders get beyond their capacity, who knows?

I crack open the door of our bedroom. There is someone in the kitchen! Nick is already up and has begun assembling his breakfast items.  He is determined to get to the COSTCO as soon as possible.  Eating breakfast is all that stands in the way of his ability to restock the supply and feel the comfort of knowing his cupboard is full again.

Sighing, I throw back the covers and swing into morning mode. Our curly tailed Norwegian elk hound pups scamper out into the hall, down the stairs, to dash out into their well fenced dog run via their dogie door.  “Whack, whack” the vinyl flap slaps to and fro as they rebound right back to our bedroom. Our canine alarm clocks hop up onto the bed, waking Hubby with wet kisses and cold noses on any extremity that is poking out of the covers.

With an early start today at least my Hubby will be up and on schedule to catch the bus at his usual stop.  IF he dawdles a bit too long, there is one last park and ride he can hit before the Community Transit bus hits the interstate for the express lane to travel directly downtown.

Monday is “THE” day that Nick restocks his vitamin container. This will use up approximately half an hour, as he carefully and meticulously counts out each of his supplements and installs them in the Daily Dose container he uses every morning.  This allows me a block of time to get going on the Smoothies without dodging my blind son as he navigates to and from the cupboards and precariously close to my work space. It is truly amazing that he manages to not step on pups or run into counters, chairs or the occasional cupboard door that is ajar. We all do our best, pups included, to keep a clear path for Nick.

Finally breakfast is consumed, puppies are fed and Hubby is backing out the drive routed to his usual bus stop. Enough time has elapsed that we will be arriving just about the time that the early wholesale shoppers are admitted to our COSTCO warehouse.  We select a cart, Nick folds up his long red tipped cane and we travel toward the entrance.  Since the main purpose of this trip is obtaining more bathroom tissue, we go straight for the aisle where the household supplies are located.  Facial tissues are also on the list, so this big plastic bundle of 250 ct. boxes is tossed into our cart, along with the paper towels.

Oh rats! I do not see any big bundles of the individually wrapped single rolls of the Kimberly Clark bath tissue. I scan the aisle for COSTCO personnel but to no avail. During “early wholesale member” hours there is not the usual staffing in the warehouse.  I am reluctant to share this news with Nick just yet.  He is rarely persuaded to switch to another brand or package configuration. His need is not only to restock the toilet tissue in his cupboard. There are a certain number of rows of individual packages, stacked to a certain height, that fit just so in his cupboard.

“ Let’s walk down a few rows” I say,  hoping that the game of musical merchandise played by this big volume warehouse means the desired item has just been relocated to a new spot.  The TP gods are not smiling on us today. We locate the new home of all bath tissue products but do not see the desired brand. I finally locate an employee who informs me that this item is now only sold at the COSTCO “Office Supply” location. It seems most of the household type shoppers at this warehouse location did not purchase significant quantities of the individually wrapped products. It is all about the numbers!

Fortunately this other location is only 20 minutes from our home… in the other direction of course! Nick is happy to hear this news and we are back in the car motoring toward the location up north. I feel as though I am on a scavenger hunt, homing in on the final prize.

Nick is still fairly calm and this is good news. If he doesn’t hear an absolute “No” he is a pretty patient guy. Singing is one way to keep his brain occupied while on the road.  This morning we are in conversation about favorite childhood items he enjoyed long ago.  Many family members and friends took the time and effort to give Nick gifts that “made noise”.  These ranged from the well intended gifts of mugs that would play electronic music when lifted from the table surface to the talking Mattel toys like “the Farmer Says” or the “ABC Bee Says”.

Here is a helpful hint for those of you who have received those musical cups. Running them through the full cycle of the dishwasher usually disables them! The clue is the sticker on the bottom with instructions that say “hand wash only”. One can only hear the chirpy electronic version of Happy Birthday or Merry Christmas so many times without screaming. This is especially true in families that already have that quote filled by other behaviors from their special kids.

Nick is fluent in both Spanish and English. I turned his usual recitation of the entire alphabet via the “Bee Says” by asking him “Nick what would this toy sound like if it were a Spanish version?”

He started out on the very first item.” A is for manzana!  Oops! This doesn’t translate.” Nick was momentarily stumped. “Okay, let’s try A for agua” he said beaming with pride.  We spent most of the rest of the trip figuring out what words would fit the alphabet using only Spanish.  He even included the extra letters, like “ll is for llama” that would be found in the Spanish version. This was actually lots of fun and detracted him for worry about the bathroom tissue for the remainder of the trip.

The good news is that our shopping trip ended well. Cupboards are restocked with the necessary paper goods again. If the future tsunami threat ever occurs, our home’s paper supply could probably stop that wave in it tracks and save our community on the Puget Sound.

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