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Archive for the ‘Won’t you be my neighbor?’ Category

To say today has been a whirlwind would be an understatement. I was up with the chickens this morning to shoot a very special birthday party for a very special 1-year-old.  The party started at 10am, but I wanted to arrive half an hour early to get shots of all the fabulous party details before the chaos that is 15 toddlers ensued.  This is after I spent half an hour attempting to install a new shower head (afterall, I didn’t want to be the “smelly kid” at the party). 

I am usually pretty handy. I can upholster furniture. I even own a caulk gun (and know how to use it, thankyouverymuch!).  However, the simple task of swapping out a shower head almost led to my demise this weekend. In 24hrs, I have been twice to Home Depot AND twice to Black Hawk Hardware.  I won’t go into the boring details about the history and progression of the shower head, but, trust me, mine must have been one of the firsts. 

At 5pm, as I was leaving Black Hawk Hardware dejected and with my head hung low, I heard the voice of what sounded to be a sweet angel. Her soft, high-pitched voice was music to my crestfallen soul as she cried out, “Ma’am, would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?”  I looked up to see a cute face full of anticipation.  A cute face that I, for one, could not tell no (even though the thought did cross my mind as I really was craving Yoforia instead).  As soon as I uttered the word “Yes” a flock of four girls scurried to help me with my order. Though they offered suggestions and each told me the merits of their favorite, I have eyes for only one type of Girl Scout cookies. Hello, my delicious Samoas.  Come to mama.

 Today’s act of kindness was a definite win/win.  I’m thrilled that the money I spent on these cookies goes back to such an amazing organization.  And, with that first Samoan bite, I was able to spend 30 seconds in bliss (without any  annoying thoughts involving shower heads).

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I am, without a doubt, a creature of habit. Case in point would be how I spend most of my Sunday evenings. My ideal Sunday evening? Takeout from Ginbu 401, sweatpants, and Desperate Housewives (and sometimes Extreme Home Makeover…if I’m in the mood for a good cry).  Early last fall, I was really on a roll with my Sunday night ritual. My regularity at Ginbu was almost embarrassing, but not embarrassing enough to call in an order somewhere else. 

I’ll never forget the Sunday evening I pulled into Ginbu and on their teeny tiny patio was a disheveled couple who appeared to be in their early to mid 40s. Both were sitting in Rascal scooters and both had a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. The three of us made eye contact as I pulled up to the restaurant so I made sure to say good evening to them as I got out of my car. They reciprocated and then the man pointed to the assisted living center across the street and said, “Don’t tell anyone, but we escaped. Hehehe!” As a person who completely understands the concept of Sometimes You Just Need A Beer,  I joined in with their giggles and continued inside to pick up my order. 

When I came back out, they both introduced themselves and we had a really nice 5-minute chat.  Those two were feisty and I, boy, do I love me some feist. I had driven by the assisted living facility for years and had even occasionally noticed people sitting out on the huge porch watching the cars go by. However, being from rural Tennessee, this kind of activity never struck me as odd or sad. In fact, I, myself, spent a good portion of my childhood in the doorway of my Dad’s grocery store watching the cars go by.  After meeting this couple, it really made the assisted living center and the people who lived there “real” to me.  They get cabin fever and cravings for, ahem, not so healthy items just like the rest of us!

Today I baked a batch of cookies and took it over to the assisted living center. I didn’t ask, but I really hope the couple I met are still there so they could partake in the wonderful deliciousness that is my aunt’s chocolate chip cookie recipe.  In hindsight, I should have made a pit stop at the Teeter for some Breyer’s vanilla bean ice cream because that is the ultimate way to ingest these no-fail mood enhancers.  The lady at the front desk, however, was simply grateful for the cookies. Maybe when the weather gets warmer I can do a cookie drop #2, complete with a la mode.  After all, it never hurts to get in good with the administration! 😉

Isn’t it lovely, Mom and Dad?!?!

 

   

 

 

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There are very few things I love more than books. You can curl up with them. You can get lost in them. You can put your nose in one. Well, you know.

I’ve always been a fan of the library. The summer reading programs were always a favorite activity of mine and I loved the concept of “renting” a book for free. The library and I have had some fond memories. That’s why it was devastating when the Charlotte Mecklenburg library system and I started off on the worst of wrong feet. At the end of my senior year of college, I had checked out a business marketing book from the library to use as a reference for one of my capstone papers. As it turned out, the book I had checked out had been published in 1976 and the information it contained was obsolete and worthless for what I was trying to do. 

Like most library books, this book was covered in a clear, plastic jacket. I guess at some point during the two weeks of it being in my possession, I had used it as a coaster. I did notice a faint water ring on the back of the jacket as I threw it in my car to return.  Meh, if necessary, they can change the jacket. No biggie. Or so I thought. Then I met the librarian equivalent of Hitler. 

Evil Librarian: “There is a water stain on this book.”
Me: “Yeah, I’m really sorry about that. I must have placed a cup on it.”
EL:  “This book is damaged. I cannot accept it back.”
Me: “I’m sorry. What?”
EL: “This book is damaged. The library cannot accept damaged books. I’m afraid you are going to have to purchase the book.”
Me: “The book itself isn’t damaged. Only the plastic jacket…which I’m pretty sure is the point of plastic jackets.”
EL: “I’m sorry. That is our policy.”
Me (thinking that purchasing the book would amount to about $1.25 since the information it contained was archaic): “Fine. How much is it?”
EL: “That will be $42.61.”
Me: “That is RIDICULOUS and I’m not paying that amount! This book is older than I am and the information it contains is no longer relevent. There is no way it is worth $42.61!”
EL: “Ma’am, you must pay what the library paid for it in 1976 and that is $42.61. If you do not then you will no longer be welcome in the library.”
Me: “Not welcome at the library?!?! As a taxpayer, I OWN THE LIBRARY!!”
EL: “I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave now.”

And that is when I may or may not have gently tossed the book in question toward the evil librarian and stormed out (before she could call security).  I didn’t go back to the library for almost 5 years (and I still haven’t gone back to that particular branch).  The $42.61 did not magically disappear from my account and, after 5 years, I did begrudgingly pay it. I then proceeded to use the Charlotte Meck library to it’s fullest…if only to get my money’s worth.

Today, I LOVE the Charlotte Meck library! Did you know that it’s essentially like Netflix for books? It’s true! You can go online, queue up a stack of books, and they deliver them to the library branch of your choice. So. Convenient. Unfortunately, due to poor management and budgeting (Hmm…I wonder if Evil Librarian has anything to do with this? I may have to investigate.), the library is in the midst of a financial crisis. The hours and programs have already been cut back dramatically and more cuts could be on the way. 

Today’s act of kindness will be donating books from my own library to the Charlotte Meck library system. Even if the library opts not to lend out my books (due to their apparent high standards and all), they can sell them at their annual book drive.  Happy reading!

 

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Ahh…Wednesdays.  Hump Day. Or in my world, Trash Day.

I am not a fan of trash day.  Sure, there are worse chores (such as doing dishes by hand or folding laundry), but, man, do I hate rolling out that trash bin. The mere act of touching the handle makes me squeamish. I have an irrational fear of some spider hiding in the bin’s nooks  and crannies, just waiting for my hand to be placed within biting distance.  And don’t even get me started about trash juice (a completely rational fear). I rarely long for a live-in boyfriend/husband, but on trash day the thought often crosses my mind. If/When it ever happens, that will be the first chore transferred from my to-do list.

I live in a townhouse that is part of an 8 unit complex. Each unit is responsible for our own trash bin, but we share the 3 recycling bins. Even though I always recycle, I never roll out the recycling bin(s). I assume my male neighbors take turns rolling them in and out. Today is for you male neighbors. I will take my chances with the arachnids and see to it the recycling bins are parked promptly on the curb (and wheeled back in at the end of the day!).

 

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