Sunday, February 25, 2018


I’m in the habit of doing a lot of dumb things, but this past week, I hit two home runs in the major-league ball park of stupidity.

First of all, for the second time in as many snowstorms, the town’s plow viciously attacked my mailbox and left it lying in a heap on the side of the road. The first time, it still had mail in it. The second time, it was empty – which means either the mail hadn’t been delivered yet…or I’ll find my electric bill hanging somewhere on a tree branch during the spring thaw. 

The first time, I managed to nail the mailbox back onto its wooden post. It took about a half-hour and some nearly frostbitten fingers, but I reattached it. This second time, however, for some reason I couldn’t hit a nail even if I’d used a sledgehammer. 

After an hour of kneeling on the frozen ground with my head inside my mailbox (I have a huge, oversized mailbox that fits my huge, oversize head) as I attempted to hammer some long nails into the base, all I succeeded in doing was bending three nails and whacking my thumb.

“I give up!” I finally cried out loud, flinging the hammer.

I live in the middle of nowhere and my mailbox is the only one on the road for a half-mile, so I was pretty sure it was directly targeted by the town’s plow in some fiendish form of a mailbox demolition derby.

Anyway, there I was, still kneeling in front of the mailbox (mainly because I couldn’t get up at that point, my legs were so stiff) swearing at the box as it teetered precariously on the platform with a bunch of bent nails banged halfway into it, when I heard a voice behind me ask, “Are you okay?”

Considering that my nearest neighbor is a coyote, I wasn’t certain whether I should be afraid…or admit that my brain had frozen to the point where I was hallucinating. Hesitantly, I peered over my shoulder to see a very handsome man standing there.

Well, if this is a hallucination, at least it’s a good one, I thought.

“Um, I’ve spent the past hour trying to nail my mailbox back onto this post,” I said in a tone that sounded more whiny than I’d intended. “And all I’ve managed to do is bend a bunch of nails and whack my thumb. So I’m giving up!”

“Here,” he said, flashing a smile worthy of the best toothpaste commercial, “let me do that for you.”  He bent to pick up the hammer I’d tossed, and within five minutes, had pounded at least four nails into the box.

He grabbed the mailbox and shook it. “There – that’s sturdy now. You should be all set.”

“Till the plow comes by again,” I said, frowning. Then, before he walked away and disappeared from my life as swiftly as he’d appeared, I thanked him and, on an impulse, hugged him.

“Any time,” he said, smiling and returning the hug.

As I watched him walk off, I found myself actually wishing the plow would come by again and wipe out my mailbox.

That same night, I decided to tackle my income taxes – a task I find more odious than cleaning out the shower drain in the bathroom.  I had everything I needed stored in a big manila envelope, on which I’d written “2017 Tax Info” in large letters on the front. Seeing I’m self-employed and have an office in my home, I had quite a collection of receipts, 1099 forms and documents stuffed into the envelope.

After about two hours of painstakingly filling out information on my computer tax-program, I decided I’d had enough for one night and would continue the torture at another time.  I hadn’t read my newspapers all week, so I sat down with a cup of tea and read all of them. Then I took them out to my recycling container in the garage.

Two nights ago, I finally convinced myself to finish doing my taxes. My search for the manila envelope that contained all of my tax information, however, turned up nothing. It was gone. Poof!  Vanished into thin air.

That’s when I realized where it HAD to be. When I’d read the newspapers the night I’d been working on my taxes, I’d stacked them on top of the manila envelope on my desk. So when I threw out the papers, I’d obviously picked up the envelope along with them and tossed it out, too.

Panic overcame me as I thought about all of the personal information in that envelope. I mean, it contained everything but my bra size – and for all I knew, it might have contained that, too, on one of the receipts that also had office supplies on it (because I buy my bras and most of my office supplies at Wal-Mart).

Unfortunately, I’d put out the recycling container for pick-up nearly a week before, so I knew the envelope was long gone. The question, however, was where?

So early the next morning, I called the recycling company and asked what happens to paper in the recycling containers after it’s picked up. I had visions of my envelope sitting on top of a big pile in a landfill somewhere, calling out, “Hey!  Criminals looking for a new identity!  Come grab me!  I contain the entire life’s history of the dumb woman who accidentally tossed me out!”

“The paper goes onto a conveyer belt,” the woman at the recycling company told me. “And then anything that’s trash or not paper is picked out of it.”

“By human hands or by a machine?” I asked.

“By humans,” she said.

I was hoping she wouldn’t say that.

“Then someone could grab my envelope and keep it, especially since it says TAX INFO in big letters on the front?” I asked.

“Oh, that’s not at all likely,” she said. “The conveyer belt is very fast. It wouldn’t be easy for someone to read what it says on the envelope as it goes zooming by. And, you figure, it also will be mixed in with a lot of newspapers and other paper.”

“And where does it go after that?” I was afraid to ask. I silently prayed she would say a giant shredder.

“The paper gets sorted by grades and is then compressed into bales. Then it goes to companies that turn it into other paper products.” She paused as if trying to think of some way to make me feel better about my big goof. “Just think,” she said brightly, “your envelope could end up being something really nice – like wallpaper!”

I groaned as visions of someone’s wallpaper having my social-security number plastered all over it ran through my mind. And with my luck, it would be lining the walls in a prison recreation room.

So I guess all I can do now is wait and see what happens.

 I’m just hoping I won’t receive a bill next month from a hotel in Tahiti where I supposedly spent two weeks in a luxury suite.

But there might be hope.  After all, about 10 years ago I accidentally tossed my entire checkbook into the trash and nothing ever happened…at least not yet.

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Saturday, February 17, 2018


One of my friends called to tell me she was in a store the other day and there was a sign on the wall that said: “Unattended children will be given a cup of black coffee and a free puppy!”

Someone obviously has a sense of humor.

Her call made me think about a little boy about three years old I’d seen in a store a few days before. His mother was pushing a full shopping cart and he was walking behind her, dawdling. Every few seconds, the mother would turn around and tell him to walk faster, but he seemed to fall even farther behind.

Finally the mother shook her head, sighed, grabbed him by the hand and said, “You are the slowest person on earth today!”

To which the little boy replied, “Yeah, I’m getting even worse than Grandma.”

I couldn’t help it, I burst out laughing. The mother rolled her eyes and laughed, too.

Kids really do come out with some pretty cute stuff. When I was about three, I said something “cute” that my mother always referred to as her most embarrassing moment. Believe me, she never – and I do mean never – let me live it down.

She, my aunt and I had gone shopping in downtown Manchester and stopped in Woolworth’s for a snack at the lunch counter. The minute we set foot in the store, however, my mother said she had to go to the ladies’ room. My aunt and I stayed on the main floor while my mother ran up the long staircase to the second-floor restrooms.

I, with my eyes riveted on the stairs, patiently waited for my mother to return. When I finally spotted her descending the stairs, I was so excited, I shouted in my loudest voice, “Mommy! Do you feel better now? Did you make a nice big pee-pee?”

My mother froze as all heads turned to look up at her. It was as if she were the guest of honor at a party, making her grand entrance. My mother’s face turned a neon crimson color as she lowered her head and made her way to the bottom of the stairs. When she finally reached the main floor, everyone cheered and applauded.

I don’t think my mother ever went into Woolworth’s again.

And then there was the time, many years ago, when I was babysitting my friend’s little boy, Billy, age four.  We were in a supermarket when a very pregnant woman walked by us. Well, back in those days, parents weren’t eager to discuss things like pregnancy with their kids until they were about old enough to start shaving, so Billy whispered to me, “My mommy told me that’s what happens if you swallow watermelon seeds by accident.”

 I tried not to laugh because I figured it was up to his parents to decide when to have the “talk” with him.

As luck would have it, when we were waiting in the checkout line, the pregnant woman came up and stood right behind us.

Immediately, Billy pointed at her stomach and loudly announced, “I know what you did!  You should be more careful next time!”

At that moment, I finally understood how my mother had felt in Woolworth’s.

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Monday, February 12, 2018


Ever since I became a widow, I have been amazed at how some people’s perception of me has changed so dramatically.

For some reason, men think I must be terribly lonely, hate sleeping alone and am desperate for male companionship. And a lot of women, including a couple of my friends, think I’m going to lust after their husbands because I no longer have one of my own.

One incident, right after I was widowed, where the husband of one of my old high-school friends told her he didn’t want her to hang around with me any more because I might put “single” ideas into her head, shocked  me so much, I immediately called my cousin, who’s been a widow for years, to tell her about it. I fully expected her to gasp in horror.

“Oh, that doesn’t surprise me,” she said matter-of-factly. “It’s happened to me more than once.  When my husband passed away, I apparently transformed overnight into some man-hungry husband stealer in everyone’s eyes. So, until you get a new man in your life, expect some of your married friends to treat you as if you have the plague.”

I laughed at the absurdity of her words. I mean, how, I wondered, could anyone seriously think of me as a potential husband snatcher?

“That’s crazy!” I said. “I’m not 21! I’m  old enough to be a great-grandmother! My dog is more of a femme fatale than I am!”

Maybe if I resembled someone like Cher, who’s even older than I am, I could understand it, but the only thing I have in common with Cher is we’re both female.

And let’s face it, when I was looking at myself in the mirror the other night, I realized that if my body were a map, the parts that used to be up near Maine are now somewhere down around Georgia, and they’re rapidly heading toward Florida.  No, make that Cuba.

So there definitely is no threat that I’ll attract anyone’s husband – not unless the guy has a severe case of cataracts – or he's a cosmetic surgeon.

On one of my Facebook posts, I happened to mention my cousin’s statement about how some people think of widows as desperate, love-starved husband stealers. 

My longtime friend, Carole, responded with, “Heck, if you want my husband, you can have him!

Now that's what I call a true friend...I think.

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018


I stopped making New Year’s resolutions about four years ago, after I finally realized that the only resolution I actually could keep was the one where I vowed never to make any more resolutions.

But this year, I decided to break that resolution and actually make a few new ones...out of sheer desperation.  

Unfortunately, I just got around to making them only yesterday, just a little bit late.

My first resolution is to cut back, way back, on my consumption of Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate. 

My problem began a few months ago when I heard that dark chocolate actually had health benefits, especially for the heart. So, reasoning that eating dark chocolate would be good for me, I bought a small bar of it.

Well, at first bite, dark chocolate didn’t taste that great to me. It was kind of bitter compared to milk chocolate, and it wasn’t as creamy. But within a week, I was hooked on the stuff. Maybe it was because of its caffeine content, which is greater than in regular chocolate. All I know is I began craving dark chocolate as if it were a glass of fresh lemonade and I was lost in the Sahara Desert. Soon, I was eating two bars a day, then three.

But my chocolate habit hit an all-time high a couple weeks ago. I was in Ocean State Job Lot in Concord and saw these HUGE, nearly half-pound Hershey Special Dark Chocolate bars for only $1.50 each. I couldn’t believe my eyes!  There had to be a catch, I thought. After all, I’d just spent 90 cents on a puny little chocolate bar – the kind I used to buy for a nickel when I was a kid.

I checked the expiration dates on the giant bars. They were good until the end of the year.

“Great!” I thought. “I’ll buy a bunch of them!  At this price, I can’t go wrong, and I’ll have a nice stash of them that will last me until 2019!”

So I grabbed an armload of the candy bars and rushed over to the checkout.

“I’m stocking up for the year!” I told the clerk.

Well, it pains and embarrasses me to confess this, but the candy bars lasted only about a week.  No kidding, I practically inhaled them. I acted like someone who'd just learned that a gigantic meteor was about to strike the planet and wipe out everyone...and I didn't want the chocolate to go to waste.  I then began to sprout zits in weird places, like just inside my right nostril and behind my knee. I also gained five pounds (I don’t know if it was from some newly acquired body fat or from just the total weight of all of the candy bars I ate). Still, I was craving dark chocolate even more than before.

I rushed back to the Concord Job Lot to stock up on more of the Hershey bars.  When I was informed they were all sold out, I drove straight to the Hooksett store.

“Really?” the clerk responded, looking surprised when I asked him about the candy bars. “The Concord store has huge Hershey bars for only $1.50?  How come we never got any in stock over here? Heck, I’d buy some for myself!”

I groaned.

“Hey, but we have some giant Reese’s peanut-butter cups,” he said, trying to make me feel better. “They’re about as big in diameter as a DVD and weigh a ton.”

“Noooo!” I whined. “I need my dark chocolate!  It’s healthier for me!”

As I uttered the words, I could feel another zit popping out somewhere between my eyebrows.

So that was when I decided to make my first New Year’s resolution for 2018…
no more chocolate – no dark chocolate, no milk chocolate, not even any white chocolate.  As of today, I’m quitting, cold turkey. My skin and my stretchy jeans that now have been stretched to within a hair of their life, will thank me for it.

My second resolution is to stop buying anti-aging creams and wrinkle removers. The time has come for me to realize that the only way I’m ever going to take years off my life and make myself look young again is if someone invents a time machine that actually works...and I’m close enough to dive into it.

I have so many anti-aging products stuffed into my bathroom cabinet right now, the wood on the doors actually looks new again. My face, however, still is sporting more wrinkles than an unmade bed. And my neck is so saggy, it’s a wonder I wasn’t shot during turkey-hunting season. But I have decided to sincerely try to accept the fact that wrinkles and sagging skin are just a natural part of aging (unless, that is, I win Powerball and can afford cosmetic surgery).

And my final resolution is to become braver about driving at night. It seems that the older I get, the less I want to drive after dark, which can be a problem during the winter months, seeing it gets dark right about the time I decide to crawl out of bed.  

My biggest fear is driving on the main road near my house. It has more curves than Marilyn Monroe’s body and no breakdown lane or anywhere to pull over if my car ever breaks down. And more times than I can count, deer practically have hurled themselves into the road right in front of my car at night, as if attempting to commit deer-icide.

As a result, the minute it gets dark out while I’m driving, I grip the steering wheel so tightly, my hands go numb. I also slow down to about 25 mph. This usually results in the car behind me pulling up so close (probably in an attempt to nudge me along) it looks as if the driver is sitting in my back seat.

But I think I may have devised the perfect way to cancel out my resolutions and solve all my problems in just one shot. If Job Lot decides to reorder more of those giant chocolate bars, they should sell them only at night. That way, I’ll have all the incentive I need to drive after dark. And, after I buy and eat a bunch of the chocolate bars, I’ll gain enough weight to fill out all of my skin’s wrinkles and sagginess, so there will be no need for me to buy any more anti-aging products.

Simple, right?

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