Friday, August 31, 2018

The high pitched sounds

Allison and Ty had a date night and asked Blaine to watch Eli. Usually they have friends of theirs take him for the evening, and then they return the favor when their friends go out. It just didn’t work out this time.

Eli is Izzy crazy, has been since he first met her. Izzy is kid crazy. It seemed like a good idea to bring the two of them together. Oh, the running, the jumping, the high-pitched sounds. The two of them had a ball. So did Blaine and I as we watched them tire one another out. It’s the first time I’ve seen Izzy flop down exhausted.

There were a few dramatic crocodile tears when it was time for Blaine to take Eli home and get him ready for bed. Eli wanted Izzy to go with them and have a sleepover. Once convinced his grandpa couldn’t be persuaded, he dropped to his knees and wrapped his little arms around her neck and body, hugging her like one of them was going off to war. She stood patiently, her tail thumping against the back of the couch.

Blaine handled it like the experienced parent he is, combining calm authority and reason. I would have resorted to a handful of Oreos dropped in a trail leading out to the car.

Blaine just called. John and Kim canceled this week’s tailgate because rain and thunderstorms are forecasted for that time of day.
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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Then there was a trip to the vet

Overnight, Mica had to take the little white dog to the vet. Looks like he picked up a bacteria from something he ate from the vending machine that is the back yard. I visited him on my lunch hour. He seemed a little tired but was still happy and active. He raced me to the couch and flopped over for a belly rub--all part of our routine greeting.

Meanwhile at a groomer across town, Izzy was getting her first professional bath. Eve texted a photo of her after so I could see how shiny and sleek her coat is. I’m taking care of her over the weekend and will see her refreshed ‘do then.

Speaking of the weekend, Blaine asked if I could go to the tailgate on Saturday. After eight months of hearing about these things, I wouldn’t miss it. Izzy will be fine for the duration of the tailgate but I won’t be able to stay to watch the game. I suggested we drive separately so Blaine can stay. There’s a new coach this season and an insane amount of anticipation and excitement among fans. Blaine should enjoy it with everyone else.

He bristled a bit at the suggestion we drive separately. For some reason he doesn’t like meeting places. He agreed to consider it.

Henry received good news today. The project proposal we worked on was finally green lighted. We met this afternoon to talk about promotion and whatnot. I’m going to be swamped for a while, but it’s for Henry so it won’t feel so burdensome.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

And the good luck continues

On the way to work this morning I was rear ended by a high school student. There was little speed involved and no visible damage to my car, and I’m hoping that means there’s no damage at all because he backed up and took off before I could get out of my car.

The rest of the commute was annoying. I came upon a delivery truck that was stopped and straddling both lanes. Smoke was pouring out of it. Traffic had backed way up. I was able to turn off before the point of no turn around. Traffic, though, was heavy and everyone was hell-bent on getting their way. I was never so glad to make it to work.

The workday was annoying too. Probably best to leave it at that.

I wasn’t annoyed to have dinner with Blaine, Paul and Eve tonight, but I was annoyed that the plan was to go to a sports bar. I’m not sure why. I’ve certainly gotten used to them this year. I suppose after the day I’d had I wanted something quieter and more comfortable.

Because I used vacation time to leave work early to go to a hair appointment that I had rescheduled from last Saturday, I was able to get to the sports bar first. In what felt like an act of defiance I requested a booth. I couldn’t deal with a high top table tonight. I had been seated for a bit when Blaine came in. Seeing him quieted all that had been causing prickliness in me all day. He smiled when he saw me, kissed me when he sat down.

“Good day?” he asked.

“It is now.”

He nodded toward the glass in front of me. “The beer?”

I smiled and shook my head. I pointed at him. Whatever was in my expression held his attention. A conversation I had with Eve in New York came back to me. My social life has become an out-of-body experience.

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Monday, August 27, 2018

Mower guy

I'm too tired to function. Tonight I'm going to get to bed early. Just have to return a call to Peggy who left a voicemail saying she needs a favor.

The mower guy cut the grass yesterday. It looks like hell, but it's short enough to keep my neighbors from rioting.

Mica's mower guy said he'll mow for me and can start on Friday. He's to come by tomorrow and text me an estimate. My fingers are crossed that he really will add me to his client list but I figure with the way things look right now (think abandoned property) there's a 50-50 chance he'll change his mind.

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Sunday, August 26, 2018


Last week, the night before I left for New York, I got a call from my late cousin’s wife, Vicki. She is the guardian of my cousin April who has Down Syndrome. Vicki had organized a gathering to celebrate April’s 60th birthday, which is today, and wanted to invite me.

There wasn’t time to do any shopping while we were in New York so this morning was the first chance I had to pick up a present. I can’t say it was my most thoughtful effort, but I knew April would like anything from Bath and Body Works and anything that included a meal at a restaurant (accomplished by a gift card), so that’s what I pulled together. 

While in New York I called Blaine in the evenings after settling in for the night. During one of the calls I told him about the party and said he would be welcome if he wanted to go. And so today in a little white clapboard church in the country, Blaine met those I consider to be my immediate family.

We entered the church through a side door. We had just started down the stairs to the basement social hall when Sadie--

OK, a brief family tree might help here:

My cousin married Vicki. They had two kids, Jenny and Cody.

Jenny married Andrew and they have two boys, Will (preteen and eldest of the grandkids) and Wyatt.

Cody married Tessa and they have three girls, Sadie, Lainey and Olivia.

All right, so Sadie saw me come in. She stopped on a dime, gave me a quick wave and shouted to the far end of the room, “Mom, Marcia’s boyfriend is here!”

I looked up at Blaine. “Still want to go in?”

“I do.” He leaned down. “This could be fun.”

The little girls swarmed, as they sometimes do. Sadie wanted to tell me about their recent trip to KC to see the Cubs play the Royals (“We sent her a picture of Rizzo,” she explained to Blaine, “because that’s her favorite player.”). Lainey had new blue nail polish to show off. Olivia had things to say about her first week in kindergarten. While that bombardment was happening, Cody and Tessa came over. I interrupted the girls long enough to make introductions.

When we could get away, I took Blaine over to meet April. She was sitting at the head of one of the tables. I bent down to give her a hug and wish her a happy birthday. She isn’t very verbal but she has her moments, not all of them always welcome. I told her I had brought a friend that I wanted her to meet, and I introduced her to Blaine. He stepped forward and squatted down so he was at her height when he said hello. I melted a little bit at the thoughtfulness. He wished her a happy birthday. She was delighted by that, and by him. Frankly, she’s a tad man crazy, always has been. She held out her hand for a handshake, and he took it. “Excuse me,” she said in a sort of startling bark, her typical way of alerting us that she has something to say that we need to pay attention to. “You and her,” she gestured toward me. “Are you a couple?”

“Oh good grief,” I said, using one of her favorite phrases. She laughed her high octave mischievous laugh.

“Yes, we are,” Blaine answered confidentially.

Now she motioned for him to come closer but didn’t wait for him to do so. She stage whispered, “I love her,” she stabbed the air in my direction. Aww, I thought until she commanded, “Marry her.”

My first thought was Oh geez followed by Maybe I should have made her my wingman long ago.

“You just want to go to a wedding,” I interrupted. “You should move to Las Vegas. You could go to one of the chapels and watch people get married all day.”

She tilted her head back to look at me and smiled. “Where’s Vicki. Tell her that.”

“We’ll go find her.”

April let go of Blaine’s hand but opened her arms. Jenny had been standing off to the side, listening, and she stepped forward to remind April that hugging was only for family. Blaine leaned in anyway and gave her a quick hug, then stood up. April gave Jenny a cheeky look and pointed at Blaine. “He is family.”

Jenny glanced at me and laughed, then turned to Blaine, “Well, welcome to the family! Thanksgiving is at our house this year.”

Blaine and I went up to get a piece of cake. I skipped the cake when I saw there were two creamy jello concoctions. I filled a dessert plate with both. “I’ve turned that corner,” I explained, “where jello salads are the highlight of gatherings at a church.”

We ended up sitting down at another table. It was filled with April’s cousins from her mom’s side of the family. I got to know them a little bit when April’s mom was in the hospital for the final time. That’s too long of a story to tell. In a nutshell, I’d helped get April settled in a group home after her mom went into the hospital, and I looked after both of them as best I could for about a year. I kept all of the other nieces and nephews as informed as I could, and they’ve always been appreciative. They took Blaine through the whole story and gave me far more credit than I deserved.

In about the middle of it, my brother arrived, having just gotten off work. I introduced him to Blaine. After getting a plate of food, my brother came back and sat at the table with us. There was enough conversation for it to be pleasant.

We didn’t stay much longer because I was exhausted. I hadn’t had more than four hours sleep a night for four nights. It was catching up with me quickly.

Although meeting the family holds no significance in this case, it was still a relief to get it out of the way.
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Saturday, August 25, 2018

And then I arrived home

The funny thing about the trip Eve and I took to NYC is that everything was perfect. More than perfect. Flights landed ahead of schedule. We did everything we wanted to and it was all fantastic. Strange things, all good, happened. We laughed about how we had slipped into a happy little world for a few days.

And then I arrived home.

I noticed my lawn hadn't been mowed. It was past due when I left but we'd had a couple of days of rain so I expected that the mowing service was behind. A voicemail at home explained, sort of, the problem. The person I hired subcontracted with a couple of people who didn't follow through. As a result, he's behind and he's dropping customers effective immediately. Yada, yada.

I sent a text tonight. He called. It's a mess. He's going to try to mow again but it may be another three or four days. By then he's going to have to bail it. In the meantime all I can do is try to find someone willing to take on another customer late in the season. 

I called Mica to vent. She sent a text to the guy who mows for her to see if he can take me on as a customer. I hope he'll get back to her tomorrow. If he can't do it I'm not sure how I'll find someone. I mean when I hired my current guy it was from a small ad in the newspaper (that's how long I've been a "valued" customer). Now where does one go to find someone starting out who will have time to add a customer? I don't have a working mower so I can't do it myself. Not even sure I could buy one at this point in the summer.

This sort of thing really stresses me out.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Over or under the bus

Before I picked Eve up this morning I picked up a cup of coffee and a bagel breakfast sandwich for Blaine. Last night he received bad news about a friend's health (not someone I know). I thought he may not have slept well and would skip breakfast (he often does). I could do something about one of those things, so...

When Eve got into my car, she sniffed. "Were you drinking coffee?"

As if.

Upon hearing my explanation, she told me my love language is acts of service. I hadn't heard of this so she pulled it up on her phone and read the descriptions for the five. It's probably correct, but I gravitate toward four of the five. "I'll bombard you until you feel better, damn it!"

"Don't make me come over there and hug you," she threatened.

"I'll tell you I love you and force a gift wrapped tchotchke into your hand, by God."

The 90-minute drive breezed by. The full-day meeting did not. It was ridiculous that we were there, but the group was understanding and was appreciative of the information we could provide. Over the lunch hour Eve emailed her boss and I emailed mine (and his assistant) with questions we hadn't been able to answer. We offered what we could after lunch. 

On the way back I wondered out loud if we had been thrown under a bus. "I don't think so," Eve said.

"Tied to the top?" I asked.

"Yes. With a low-clearance overpass ahead of us."

"I feel better." 

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Ahh, Bach

My boss waved me into his office this morning. “Do you and Eve get along pretty well?”

“We do, yes,” I answered, trying not to smile.

“Well enough that you wouldn’t mind spending several hours in a car together?”

“Yes, we’d be fine.”

And that’s how it came to be that we were selected to attend an out-of-town meeting tomorrow.  The coworker who died was scheduled to go with another person who has since left. No one realized their attendance was expected until yesterday. No one seems to care that Eve and I combined know very little about the topic.

“We’ll have to ‘Ahh, Bach’ it,’” I told her.

“What does that mean?”

“That episode of MASH where Radar wants to impress a new nurse who loves classical music, and the guys tell him he can fake the depth of his knowledge by thoughtfully rubbing his chin and saying, ‘Ahh, Bach.’”

“How do you remember these things?”

“I don’t clog up my brain with junk like math.”
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Monday, August 20, 2018

Henry's coffee klatch

A quickie to catch up.

Yesterday, Sunday, my brother and I went to a family reunion of our Mom's side of the family. He has been attending for about 10 years. I started going around five years ago. For many years I was too uncomfortable to go. I didn't want to attend a family reunion where I not only didn't know anyone but I didn't really know those I'd be representing. I have many memories of my mom but I can't tell you much of anything about who she was. Also, I worried I would reflect poorly on her. (I went through a rough patch for awhile.)

When I did get up the courage to go, I was glad I did. After meeting everyone I'm certain my personality comes from Mom. It would have been amazing to have grown up surrounded by her family.

This year's reunion was much smaller than usual, in part due to two deaths over the last year and a half. It's hard to say how long the reunions will continue. I suspect they'll stop once Mom's generation is gone.

That was yesterday. Today was an odd day in that I received three requests for help from people I never work with. One wanted me to teach him how to use layers in Photoshop Elements, another needed a new portrait taken and cropped a certain way, and the third wanted to know if I could find some information that had once been on the website. Since it was before I had started, I didn't think so but after some searching I found part of what he needed.

And then Henry. He called late in the day to "discuss a problem on the website," which amounted to changing a link. After that he caught me up on what's new with his kids. He also asked how Eve was doing, so I told him about our upcoming trip to New York. It was only a couple of weeks ago that he reminded me there are places other than Chicago that I can visit, so he was particularly happy to hear about this trip. "I'll want to hear all about it," he said. We're going to have to establish a coffee klatch soon so we can regularly swap personal stories. Henry's the best.
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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Between semi-sweet and semi dry

Mica and I had a pedicure this morning. We found a new place we like, one where we don’t feel our feet are being ridiculed in another language (although they probably are). I wanted pretty toes and extra moisturized legs so I could wear a skirt and sandals tonight.

Blaine and I went out with Kim and John, or rather we made arrangements to meet at a winery where there’s live music on Saturday nights. Blaine suggested to me that we go a little early for some alone time.

The drive led us out of town, down quiet highways bordered by cornfields. It was just far enough to be relaxing. We skipped going inside and instead walked around the main house to the back where the trails began. There are two that meander through the property. Both start at the same place but soon diverge, one going toward the vines and the other through the grounds where events are held. We followed the latter.

The path passes a gazebo surrounded by trellised rose bushes and other landscaping that make it a popular spot for weddings, I imagine. After awhile the path dips downhill toward an area of trees where there is a rabbit warren of nooks. Years ago, soon after the winery opened, there was a small renaissance festival held there. Blaine was surprised that I had gone and asked if I liked that sort of thing.

“After the one here I went to a proper one in Iowa and then the big one that’s in Kansas City just be sure that I don’t get them. Not my thing.”

He smiled. “Now that thoroughness sounds like you.”

The rest of the walk was through open spaces but went away from everything else. There was a nice view of farmland, and birds became more vocal. It took us about an hour to wind back to the main house. We had stopped along the way a few times to take in the view, the quiet or just to talk about something. Being with him is so easy.

As we approached the main house, Blaine sent a text to Kim to let her know where we were. They had arrived a few minutes earlier and had grabbed a table on the back porch. Kim told us they had spotted Blaine’s SUV in the parking lot and when they didn’t see us inside they assumed we had gone for a walk. “We always did that when we were dating,” John said.

All of us decided to do the wine tasting to start. Six samples (equivalent of one glass) from the winery’s long list of wines, meads and ciders. I stuck to the whites. I selected one semi-dry and the rest were semi-sweet. I was gratified to find that I do have a limit on sweet. I was more gratified to find a semi-dry I liked. “This could be my gateway wine,” I told Blaine. But my favorite was a semi-sweet, almost on the semi-dry border. To my surprise Blaine liked it too, as did John and Kim. This one might solve my problem of what to bring to all-purpose occasions. Not that I have many of those, but I do like to be prepared. At the end of the night I bought a couple of bottles. Blaine offered to keep them for me since he has a proper wine cooler and I only drink wine when I’m with him.

The music started as we were finishing the tasting. We ordered a bottle for the table along with a basket of bread, meats and cheeses. It was a bit hard to talk over the music, but the singer took frequent breaks.

Again, I enjoy Kim and John a lot. John continues to be a surprise. When I met him on St. Patrick’s Day my impression was he was a sports-oriented guy (a lot of tailgate talk that night) and maybe not as interested in general conversation. I couldn’t have been more wrong. He seems to get interested in any topic, and he likes to discuss things in terms of the larger picture, the greater impact. Blaine is like that too. It’s always satisfying.

Kim and John walked down to the lawn to dance a few times. Blaine asked if I wanted to give it a go but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I just cannot get my feet to do anything they're supposed to. Blaine has tried to help, and I’d like to think that even though I’m a disaster there is still some enjoyment to be had when dancing in the privacy of his home, but I can’t say I’ve improved at all and certainly not enough to be seen in public. Nothing is harder for me than feeling embarrassed in public, so the idea of dancing is almost panic inducing.  I don’t turn red but my face goes warm when I’m very embarrassed. I felt it in my cheeks when I turned him down. “I’m sorry.” It was heartfelt. “I’d like to be able to dance with you.”

He scooted his chair up against mine and slid his hand under mine. “We’ll get there.”

On the way home, Blaine opened the moonroof and let the back windows down enough to allow a breeze to cut through. He left the air conditioner on too. Perfect on a summer night.

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Friday, August 17, 2018


After work I stopped at the hardware store for sink-fixing supplies. I need to replace the stopper in the bathroom sink. I haven’t done this before but YouTube makes it look doable. I thought I knew what I needed but after standing in front of half an aisle of possibilities I realized I needed to do some research. I may have to ask for help, but then again maybe I won’t.

Mica and I went to Greg’s for dinner. He was behind the counter doing something when we walked in. His glance up turned into a smile and a hello. “Grab your booth,” he said. “I’ll get you a couple of Diet Cokes.” When he brought them over, he asked, “You’ll still come in when I switch to Pepsi, right?”

“Nope,” I said.

“Not a chance,” Mica answered.

We thought he was kidding. He thought we were kidding. Turns out everyone was telling the truth. “Tell you what,” he said, “I’ll keep a stash of Diet Coke in back just for you two.” Bluebirds of love circled Mica’s head.

One of Greg's business partners was there. We weren’t introduced but he did come over to the table to say hello.

I’m glad they offer a large menu. Looks like this is going to go on for some time.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Have my attention

May I have your attention, please. May I have your attention, please. A tornado warning has been issued for this area. A tornado warning has been issued for this area. Please take all appropriate safety actions at this time.

That notification repeated over the automated emergency alert system in our building for over an hour this afternoon. It was a malfunction but by the time someone figured out how to turn it off we were all praying for the sweet silence that an E-4 twister might bring.

Jacob, one of my favorite coworkers (there are quite a few), got wind (via the breeze Susannah) that Eve and I are going to New York. He was there last month with his family and shared some information that caused us to rethink the plan we had so carefully mapped out for our free day. We’re up to three plans now. I suspect we’re at a point where we’ll figure it out as we go.

Eve had to leave early for an overnight work trip. Paul stopped in before she left to pick up some things she didn’t want to take with her or leave in the office. She was out of her office when he arrived, so I talked to him for a bit. They’re going to go out of town a couple of times over the next few months, and I’ll take care of Izzy. “Are you sure this isn’t too much?” he asked. I thought it was nice of him to check. I told him no, not too much.

I told Blaine about it tonight when he came over after work. “Do you have the option of saying no when they ask?” he asked, surprising me.

“Sure, but before they got her I promised I would dogsit when they needed it as long as it didn’t interfere with taking care of [the little white dog], so I always say yes.” Blaine moved his head, a nod but not necessarily one indicating agreement. “Is it a problem?” I asked. He tilted his head, shrugged. “An aggravation?” I guessed.

“How can I move up in that priority chain?”

I didn’t expect that. I stumbled over “Oh” and “I didn’t..” and “realize” and “think.” I finally had to stop, sweep all that away and try again for a sentence. “It didn’t dawn on me until now that our  weekends are entwined.”

“Does that bother you?”

“The opposite.” 

He smiled. His arm had been across the back of the couch and he let his hand drop so his fingertips could mess with the back of my hair. Weekends, I thought, weren’t the only things to be entwined if he kept it up. He said he had been kicking around the idea that we might do something special that weekend.

“Go somewhere?” I asked, intrigued.

“Hmm mmm.”


“Oh a quick trip to that beach town you’ve mentioned.”

For half a second I was thinking Izzy who? That beach town is in Michigan. “You’re just saying that because you know we aren’t going anywhere, right?” I nudged him in the ribs when he laughed. His real idea was closer to home and not near water but it was a lovely idea all the same.

“I think you like me a little bit,” I allowed.

“I think I do,” he agreed.

He has definitely moved above Izzy in the priority chain.
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Wednesday, August 15, 2018


In this day and age of selfies and social media, why do people freeze up and turn away as soon as someone shows up with a camera? I need them to not do that.

We had a group of people in the office today, and I was asked to take pictures inside one of the meetings and then at the catered lunch. It was the lunch where I ran into the trouble. Still, I snapped a few sneaky candids that will work. For my trouble, I was given a fruit cup and cupcake to go. I’m not complaining. I love fresh fruit. And cupcakes.

I ate them in Eve’s office. We discussed how we’re going to spend our one free day in New York. We have something that works on paper, just barely. Later, Eve came across the hall. “You know what we forgot? Time to eat and go to the bathroom.”

“Details.” I waved it away.

After work I went to Mica’s. We took the little white dog to dog park. He’d been down in the dumps all day because Shadow had gone home. They went from being wary of one another to playing like old friends. I always feel dumb going to dog park right after work when I’m still dressed business casual. As we were leaving, Julia (Henry’s wife) was parking. She had their dog and their daughter’s dog. We chatted for a short time while I fell a little in love with two goofy yellow dogs.

When I got into the car, Mica asked how long it would be before I was dogsitting for them. "I don't see that happening, but I'd do it if they asked." No friend's dog gets kenneled if I can help it.

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Sensitive pallet

Last night Izzy allowed me one-third of the bed to start. Later on, after kinks had developed in my neck and shoulders, she jumped down for a few hours. She rejoined me toward morning, nudging her pointy nose in my ticklish spots until I moved over enough to please her. I went back to bed after taking her for an early morning walk. She came in once but only deposited her ball on the bed to ensure I would feel guilty upon waking (instead, I was amused).

Eve and Paul arrived home midafternoon. I stayed long enough to let them know Izzy had figured out that her entire head will fit through a gap between one section of privacy fence and ground. A little digging and she’ll be out.

Eve and Paul came over to Blaine’s for dinner. Blaine has been anxious to show off the roof over the deck. It’s rather endearing to see how pleased he is about it. Tonight he turned on the ceiling fans. While they didn’t cool, they added a pleasant breeze that made being outside more comfortable.

As we ate, Paul and Blaine talked about how to add to the privacy fence. “I know where I can get an old pallet,” Paul said. I glanced at him to see if he was serious but couldn’t tell. “We could glue a couple of pieces together to get the size we need.” I glanced at Eve who was clearly coming unglued at the idea of using wood from a pallet.

“Too bad you didn’t keep any of that lattice you used for the loft screen,” I said, ever helpful. “It would stand up to the moisture better.”  

“That’s a good point,” Paul said too seriously.

“No,” Eve told him, “it’s a terrible point.” She slapped my arm.

“Don’t worry,” Blaine reassured her, “we’ll come up with something. We’ll take care of it while you two are in New York.” Paul broke into a big smile.

“And I’ll take care of you two when I’m back from New York.” She had a second thought and looked at me. “You can deal with Blaine.”

“OK,” I said more brightly than I’d intended.

“I don’t know about you,” Blaine said to Paul, “but I’m looking forward to being dealt with.”

“It might be worth using a pallet just to see what happens,” Paul said, and they laughed, not unlike Eve and I do once we get going.
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Friday, August 10, 2018

Didn't work

I’m with Izzy tonight. We were planning to have a lazy night in our ugly, comfy clothes but then Blaine called with an offer to bring dinner over. Izzy immediately shook until her coat was fluffed and beautiful so I decided I better put on something without a drawstring or Cubs logo if I wanted to stand a chance with Blaine.

Didn’t work.

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Thursday, August 9, 2018


An IM from Eve about 10:30 this morning: What are you working on over there that has your full attention?

My reply: Henry needs something written by end of day.

Eve: Henry would be lost without you.

Me: He would!

Eve: You make his work better!

Me: I do!

Eve: You are the wind beneath his wings!

Me: Uh...

Eve: Bette Midler is going to be in “Hello Dolly.” In NYC.

Me: She’ll be good in it.

Eve: I’d like to get away from everything for a couple of days. That would be an ideal trip.

Me: If you can get tickets, go! Why not?

Eve: Would you go?

Me: To NYC? Absofreakinlutely!

And just like that, Eve and I are going to New York.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Color comes back

Eve was back at work today. The stream of people stopping at her office to welcome her back was so steady it was nearly 10:30 before I had a chance to pop over. I tried not to stay long because she was trying to get caught up. She remarked that she can’t concentrate long enough to accomplish anything. It’s a shame grief can’t be distributed among those willing to take on some of it.

Just before noon I received an email from Henry saying he had “several matters to discuss” and asking when I was available. We talked after lunch for a couple of hours, mostly about a document he needs ASAP. We outlined it today and will write and polish it tomorrow.

When I saw Mica at noon, I told her what a relief it was to have both Eve and Henry back. It really is like color has come back to my world.

Mica and I had lunch at Greg’s, as we’ve come to refer to his restaurant although it has a proper name. She was already there when I arrived and Greg was talking to her. When he saw me he took a step away. “I’ll get you a Diet Coke.” I like this guy more every time.

Because I have no trouble asking strangers nosy questions, we learned more about his professional background, what part of town he lives in and what part of town he’s from. Also, Mica said when she walked in, he greeted her by name and told her he recognized her from her Facebook profile picture. So it continues.
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Tuesday, August 7, 2018


Someone at work brought cucumbers from their garden to share. I thought I’d pick out one so I can try a new salad recipe. The smallest one in the bag was 16-inches long. What the heck? I was going to skip it but then decided to bring one home anyway.

Blaine came over to replace the pane of glass. While he worked on that, I sliced the cucumber into enough slices to make two salads and keep enough to put on sandwiches for a couple of days. I’m cucumbered out and I’ve yet to eat any (the salads need time to blend).

Unless something changes, I’m going to dogsit Izzy this weekend. I asked Blaine if he wanted to hang out with us Saturday night. “Try to keep me away,” he answered.

“No, I don’t think I will try, not even a little.”


After a moment, I whispered, “Want to watch a little Masterpiece Theater?”

“Nice try.”
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Monday, August 6, 2018

A new concept

I decided to add a dorm-size refrigerator to my office. Mica helped me haul it and move it in tonight. I’ve gone back and forth on getting one for over a year. There is a full-size refrigerator in the break room. It’s generally disgusting, as many workplace refrigerators are, but it has other issues too, some mechanical (temperature fluctuations) and some human (lunch stealers). I keep losing bottles of Diet Coke to thieves, and last week when three went missing, I’d had enough.

As thanks, I treated Mica to dinner at a new restaurant we discovered a few weeks ago. I did not have to twist her arm.

She and the owner have a flirtation going. It began on our first visit. He was there talking to customers and stopped by our table to ask if we had questions about the menu. Very quickly all of his attention was on Mica. He ended up taking care of our table. When her meal took longer than he thought it should have, he offered her a dessert on the house. She didn’t let on that she noticed his attention, but I noticed she started drinking her pop unusually fast, which brought him back frequently.

We went back for lunch last week. Again, he waved the server off and took care of our table. We learned his name is Greg, he’s a handful of years younger than Mica, this restaurant is a new “concept” for him and he’s still experimenting with the menu and refining it based on what people order and the feedback customers offer.

Tonight he wasn’t out front when we arrived. I asked Mica if she wanted to go to McDonalds instead. It was a good thing she said no because he came out a little while later. He entered the dining room from behind her, so only I saw how he glanced around then did a double take on her. He came over and talked and flirted. Had there been a bar, I would have excused myself, but this is a little place and there wasn’t anywhere to go.

He’s definitely her type, both physically and in personality, plus Mica loves to cook and the two of them could geek out about seasonings and the bitterness of different greens for hours and hours.

I’m anxious to see if this will go anywhere. Lucky for me the food is good since I suspect I’ll be trying out a lot of the menu before all this is sorted.

In other news, Blaine ordered a new pane of glass for the door. It will be ready tomorrow, and he’s going to pick it up for me.

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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Shattered glass

My kitchen is small and has three doorways--from the living room, the outside landing and an enclosed back porch. The refrigerator is in the corner nearest the door to the back porch. That door is an old wooden thing with a square window in the middle of it. It’s a useless door--no lock, not a great seal anymore--but it serves its purpose and it has a window that allows light in provides a view of the back yard. That window is half the size it was this morning.

I pulled hard to open the freezer door of the refrigerator. It slipped out of my hand and swung wide, the handle hitting the door to the porch and breaking the heck out of the window.

Once I swept up the glass, I covered the gaping hole using cardboard and blue painting tape. It’s charming.

I measured the opening so I would know what size of pane to order, but I didn’t trust myself that it was accurate. My brother usually helps me out with such things. I called but he wasn’t home. I called Mica next. The trouble was it appears that the glass slips into a groove but I can’t tell how deep the groove is. After we had Googled for awhile, Mica asked why I didn’t ask Blaine to help.


I sent a text. He called. “Did you cut yourself?” he checked.

“Nah, it isn’t as bad as that. I’m not without hope yet,” I answered. There was a pause before a small laugh.

He remeasured, and I entered the measurements in a note on my phone so I’d have them with me tomorrow when I used my lunch hour to go to a glass place that’s near my house. Blaine offered take care of it, saying it’s closer to his office than mine. “OK,” I said appreciatively, leaving the but I really can do it myself inside my head.

We went to a DIY store to pick up what Blaine will need to install the glass. While we were there I picked up a new blade for the bow saw and a package of furnace filters. Although it hadn’t been my intention that he do anything with either item, he swapped out the saw blade and changed the furnace filter. He spotted my yard tools and checked over the hedge shears and loppers. He took the shears home to sharpen the blades.

I rather love that he knows his way around glass replacement and blade sharpening. It's also pretty nice that he wants to help me. I'm getting in deeper and deeper.

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Saturday, August 4, 2018

Last game of the season

Blaine and I went to a baseball game tonight, the last one of the season for the city’s minor league team. They play in a ballpark designed in the style of Wrigley Field, Fenway Park--the old, beautiful ones. It is a wonderful place to spend a summer night.

Sitting there in the third inning, sharing a bag of popcorn, Blaine wondered aloud why we hadn’t made a point to go to a few games this summer. Too hot for too long, I offered. Same reason we hadn’t gone on any of the trail walks we had talked about. Those, we agreed, can still happen.

The batter hit a line drive toward third that was stopped and thrown to first for the final out of the inning. From somewhere in the upper deck a lone voice shouted, “Lollygagger!” I smiled. I love “Bull Durham.”

Attendance was fairly light, a nice thing on a hot, still evening. People in our section were spread out. The seats directly in front of us were empty, and we had no one on either side of us. By the bottom of the third inning people had started to walk out to get fresh drinks. For a little while we were an island of two in our section, which greatly improved our chances of catching a hot dog shot into the stands by the “der wiener schlinger” had it come around to the first-base side.

The last of the day’s light was pinkish and fading fast. The park lights were brightening the field. It was the perfect moment in the transition when all the colors in the ballpark were saturated.  “I love night games,” I sighed and looked around. “Isn’t it beautiful?” Blaine didn’t get a chance to answer because I straightened suddenly and grabbed his leg, a total reflex. “He’s stealing.” A split second later the runner was off. He slid safely into second. “Damn,” I said under my breath. I pulled my hand back, realizing then where it had landed.

“You know what I like about you?” Blaine asked.

“That I get handsy when I’m excited?” That hadn’t come out quite as I intended. He laughed.

“And that you pay attention to the game. You aren’t here for the beer or to take selfies the whole time. Let’s plan on coming to a lot of games next year.”

“That is a plan,” I agreed. “You know what I like about you?”

He leaned and said into my ear, “That I get handsy when I’m excited?”

That was so not typical Blaine. I laughed and forgot where I had been headed, so I said, “The list is too long.” It really is.
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Friday, August 3, 2018

About this week

As I left for work Monday morning I pulled the cell phone out of my purse and saw I had missed two calls from Eve, one made late Sunday night and the other only a few minutes before. I called her back, and she broke the sad news that her mom had died in the night. It wasn’t expected so the shock was especially strong. The funeral was this morning.

A lot of what went on this week was related to Eve, and I wasn’t comfortable writing about it or pretending it wasn’t happening so I let things go silent here.

An unrelated thing that happened this week was that Eli turned 4. He explained the significance this way: “I’m not a baby anymore. I’m a little boy.”

To celebrate, Allison and Ty had all of the grandparents over for dinner (chicken nuggets, chocolate cupcakes and blue Kool-Aid). It was good to be included.
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