Rubber Bands and Chewing Gum

Bill and I flew back to Denver on Southwest Airlines yesterday. I really like Southwest Airlines. Unlike Frontier, you are allowed two suitcases plus a carry-on bag at no cost. You also can make changes to your flight plans without them requiring you to give them your first-born child. Still, the process to attain a seat assignment is challenging.

If you’ve flown Southwest, you know that you are able to confirm your flight exactly 24 hours in advance of your flight. At that time — and not before that time — you will get your designated place in line. The closer you are to the front of the line, the better your chances of getting a good seat. Of course, you can pay cash money and get a seat assignment, but what’s the fun in that?

Our flight was scheduled to leave yesterday morning at 11:35. So Sunday morning at 11:34, Bill had entered all of our information and had his finger poised just above the button confirming our tickets. He watched the clock on his computer tick down, and the second — THE VERY SECOND — it said 11:35, he pressed the button. We were given the B41 and B42 spots.

HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN?

Anyhoo, we made it to the airport in plenty of time, because we are the opposite of our kids and want to allow time for any kind of delay. We, of course, had no delays. However, somewhere in the neighborhood of 10:30, the Southwest people made an announcement that our plane was going to be delayed by an hour. You had to have the hearing of a superhero to understand what the Quiet Talker was saying over the intercom, but I could understand enough to know that it had to do with the mechanics of the plane. And then, about 15 minutes later, they announced: never mind, the plane (which was in the air on its way from Denver to Phoenix) seems to be fine and we are going to leave on time after all. Hmmmm. Did the pilot have a Swiss Army knife that he used to repair whatever had made them nervous 15 minutes ago? Maybe some duct tape? Chewing gum and a rubber band? I’ll never know, but we made it home safely.

Bill and I are heap big Uber riders. It’s nice to not have to burden our friends or family by asking them to take us to the airport. Because who can say no? I changed most of their diapers. So Uber is the answer. We have had interesting Uber drivers in the past, but the one who drove us to the airport in Phoenix yesterday was one of the more interesting drivers I’ve met.

When in AZ, I always ask the drivers if they live in the East Valley, because Phoenix is SPREAD OUT. Many do not, but he said he did. He lived about 10 miles south of us in a community called Queen Creek. But he went on to tell us that he only drives Uber twice a day for a total of two trips. His office is in one of the West Valley cities. So he will pick up a customer — often going to or from the airport — on his way to and from work. That way he can write off part of his mileage as a business expense, and use the HOV lane to boot!

I asked him how he determines the destination of his passengers since they don’t have that information until they accept the rider. He said that Uber drivers are allowed to designate their destination twice a day, thereby making it more convenient when they are starting out from home and returning later in the day. So he just puts in his office address in the morning and his home address in the evening. He doesn’t always luck out and get a airport passenger, but he always gets someone reasonably on his route.

Now we’re home and today I will move onto Thanksgiving preparations.

The End

Every once in a while — more often than I would hope — some person or group comes forth with a date certain that the world is going to end. They generally have worked out the date based on the writings of a long-dead philosopher or some numerology statistic or from something gleaned from the Bible.

I hate when I hear those predictions, and I always have. Once a year, the Catholic Church gets us ready for Advent by scaring the hell out of us via a Gospel from Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John that reminds us that the world will end some day. Be prepared, they tell us. Like the fig tree. Like the women with the oil lamps.

I’ve never seen a fig tree and I know I would be one of the women who doesn’t have enough oil for the lamp. Dang.

When I was a little girl, I dreaded that particular Sunday. I recall clearly that I would do one of two things. 1) I would FORCE myself to not listen to either the Gospel or the homilist’s subsequent and inevitable message about end times; or 2) listen to the Gospel and the homily and experience what I now know to be panic attacks. I’m serious. My heart would pound and my breathing would quicken and I would want to cry but wouldn’t. Instead, I would sit closer to my mom.

…..the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. – Mark 13: 24-25

This fear followed me well into adulthood. In fact, I was married to Bill when one of the predictions was made. I recall admitting to him that end-of-time predictions scared the hell out of me. I will never forget what he told me.

But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. – Mark 13:32

That quote, of course, is what Jesus told his friends when he was pointing out to them that humans are only on this earth for a short time, comparatively speaking. But Bill paraphrased Jesus, reminding me that only God knows when the world will end. And God isn’t letting anyone — even his own son — in on the secret.

When you’re a little boy or girl, the end of the world seems impossible and incredibly scary. As you age, the idea of end times — like death — becomes a little less scary because you recognize that you’re not going to get out of the world alive.

So these days, instead of hyperventilating, I am trying to think of ways to make sure that when my days on earth are over, I have a place in heaven. I need to be more generous and less cranky. I want to be kind and less judgmental. I vow to pray more and better. I’m going to deserve heaven.

And I might go find myself a fig tree to keep an eye on.

Saturday Smile: Cry Me a River

This past week was a good one. I got to spend time with ALL of my siblings, if not necessarily at the same time. Austin and Lilly always make me smile. Yesterday we hired a new maid to help keep our AZ home clean. Meet Hazel….

I got to eat at two of my favorite AZ food establishments: Portillo’s…..

…..and Oregano’s…..

But Jen told me a story yesterday afternoon that made me laugh out loud, and I chuckled most of the afternoon when I would think about it.

The Denver Bronco’s awesome defensive linebacker Von Miller is known for many things. Quarterbacks know him for his tough sacks. Fans know him for his infectious grin. And everyone who knows anything about him knows that he talks trash on the playing field. First-class, get-under-your-opponents’-skin trash. The Broncos play the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, and their QB Philip Rivers is known for being vocal on the field. A local sportscaster asked Von this question: Philip Rivers is known for talking trash on the playing field. Do you think this will bother you and get in your head?…..

 

Von gave his characteristic grin and answered, “When Philip Rivers talks trash, he points his finger at me and says, ‘Ha! First down, sucker.’

I guess that’s a step up from nanny nanny boo boo, but it isn’t going to put a dent in Mr. Miller’s game.

Have a good weekend, and go Broncos!

Friday Book Whimsy: Closed Casket

I vowed I wasn’t going to read any more of the books that continue the story of Agatha Christie’s famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. I was enormously disappointed in author Sophie Hannah’s first effort, The Monogram Murders, which I reviewed in 2016. Still, I am such an enormous fan of the Poirot mysteries that I finally caved and read the second in the series — Closed Casket.

Once again, the book features Hercule Poirot along with his sidekick, a Scotland Yard detective Edward Catchpool. Rather than writing it as a sequel — fans will recall that Christie famously killed off the detective in her final installment called Curtain — the series takes place prior to Christies’ books — a prequel of sorts.

In this novel, Poirot and Catchpool are invited to the home of a famous children’s book writer named Lady Athelinda Playford, and neither can figure out why they were included. Perhaps she expects a murder to take place? At least that’s what Poirot speculates.

At dinner, things become a bit clearer. The rich woman announces that she has changed her will to exclude her two grown children, a daughter and a son. This comes as a unfortunate surprise to the two children. They are further shocked to learn that she is leaving her fortune to her secretary. Joseph Scotcher has worked for Lady Playford for a number of years. What is particularly confusing about the change in beneficiary is that Mr. Scotcher has been diagnosed with Bright’s disease and has only weeks to live.

Why oh why would she leave money to a person who she will almost certainly outlive? Before the day is over, he is found dead in the parlor by Scotcher’s fiance who insists she witnesses the daughter beating him to death. However, it is impossible for her to be in two places at once, isn’t it?

Hannah’s second effort was decidedly better than her first. Nevertheless, the bar is set pretty high. The two detectives seem to stumble and bumble more than Poirot ever did under Christie’s pen. Poirot misses clues that even I got.

Still, it’s nice to have my old friend Poirot back, even if he isn’t in his finest form.

Here is a link to the book.

Thursday Thoughts

Oh, The Weather Outside
We have had lovely weather for the period of time that we have been in AZ. We managed to miss a Colorado snowstorm which is cause for our celebration. There were the predictable posts on Facebook that include photos of snow in their yards and captions indicating the posters’ appreciation of the beauty of snow. Nope. I’m happy that they’re happy, but I find absolutely nothing redeeming about snow. It’s cold. It’s messy. It is difficult to shovel. If I want pretty, I go to my brother’s house and watch a sunset over the desert. But the temperatures the past few days have been highs in the 60s. Arizonans are wearing Uggs. I’m not kidding.

Double Trouble
I’ve said it a million times, but it’s a true story. When you own a home, it’s always something, and when you own two homes, it’s always something times two. Waa waa waa. First world problems, right? But Bill has spent much of his time here the past two weeks in fixing this or that. The door from our garage to our back yard has rotted because of the heavy monsoon rains. This creates gaps in the door which potentially leads to scorpions making their way into our garage. Therefore, IT MUST BE FIXEDThanks to Bill being Bill, by time we leave, our door will be solid. Another issue that arose is that our outdoor grill won’t light, even using a match. Gas is not getting to the burners. That fix might need to wait until we return in December. In the meantime, I bought some charcoal and lighter fluid, and lit the coals the old-fashioned way. I have said it many times: I love lighting charcoal and drinking an ice-cold martini while waiting for the coals to turn to hot ash. And the smell of steak on a charcoal grill is heaven itself. It simply makes me happy. Even if I have to wear Uggs while cooking my steak…..

We All Scream For Ice Cream
There is a fro yo chain in the valley called Golden Spoon. They either opened one up not far from our house over the summer, or it was already opened and we simply didn’t know about it. It’s called Golden Spoon. It’s very near Mark and Maggie’s new house, and her grands talked Jen into taking them one day. It was love at first taste, and she talked Bill into going one night. I didn’t go because I was in the throes of my cold. However, I wasn’t dead, so I had them bring me back a cup of frozen deliciousness. Bill is hooked. He particularly likes that veterans get a 50% discount. I like that too, because now he always pays the bill…..

And the Winner Is….
We enjoyed watching the CMA Awards show last night, and were very excited that Keith Urban won Entertainer of the Year. We were particularly excited because he actually entertained us in July. Woo hoo.

Ciao.

 

One Unicorn is One Too Many

About 1:30 yesterday afternoon, I dropped Jen off at her daughter Maggie’s house so she could spend some time with her grands. Austin was still at school, but 4-year-old Lilly was busily cutting out stickers at the kitchen table when we walked into the house. She smiled in greeting, but kept up her important work of dividing stickers into little piles.

We sat and chatted for a bit, and then I started making movements to go home. I wanted to write a blog post for today, and I didn’t have a single notion of what to write about.

“What should I write my blog about tomorrow, Lilly?” I asked. She barely looked up from her cutting, but said without hesitation, “Unicorns.”

Here’s the thing: I appreciated her input, especially since it required so little forethought. Unicorns were top of mind. However, it happens that — interestingly — I have already written about unicorns. Who’d have thought?…..

I woke up yesterday morning feeling more myself than I have since I first came down with this terrible cold on Friday. One nostral was completely opened up, making me feel like an American Ninja Warrior. Without the bikini. Or the muscles.

“Wanna go shopping?” I asked Jen.

For many years Jen and I had a tradition of going shopping on Veterans’ Day. Each year we would maintain that we would start our Christmas shopping; however, inevitably we bought exactly zero Christmas presents but many things for ourselves. Lunch and fancy coffee were always included in our holiday fun. We actually half-heartedly planned on going shopping on Monday with Bec, but none of us quite felt up to the task. It seemed much more fun to sit in Bec’s lovely family room with a glass of wine and talk about life. We were never really very good shoppers anyway.

But given my surge of health from a clear nasal cavity and a whole day in front of us with nothing to do, we decided to drive to Chandler Fashion Mall where they have a Nordstrom’s. Our mission: to buy me a pair of jeans.

Buying jeans is second only to buying a swimsuit in the depression category. I haven’t put on a pair of jeans and thought “I look goooooood” in, well, ever really. But Jen insisted that Nordstrom’s sells a brand of jeans that are flattering (as long as your expectations aren’t that you will look like Princess Kate in jeans)…..

and — more important — are very comfortable. That’s code for stretch and hidden panels.

It was very surprised that she was correct. I’m giving a big Nana’s Whimsies endorsement (unpaid) to Wit and Wisdom brand jeans at Nordstrom’s. I won’t comment on the flattering part, but I will confirm that they are extremely comfortable and don’t look like Old Lady Jeans without looking like jeans that aren’t designed for Old Ladies. If you know what I mean.

To show you just how much the Gloor sisters dislike shopping, Jen and I drove 30 minutes to get to the nearest Nordstrom’s. We went in and found the jeans with the great Nordstrom’s customer service for which they are justifiably known. I tried them on, and bought a pair of blue and a pair of black. We walked out perhaps 30 minutes later and were done.

Well, not exactly true. After a quick stop at Lululemon where we quickly discarded the idea of paying a hundred bucks for a pair of yoga pants, and another stop to have a latte, we were done.

And true to form, we didn’t buy a single Christmas gift.

Oh, For the Love of All That Is Good

We arrived back in AZ Tuesday last, a week ago. What with not having what Bill has taken to calling the jamulator (meaning the cannula inserter which absence resulted in him having to jam needles into his legs by hand) and me promptly getting a cold, it hasn’t been exactly a relaxing experience.

Still, when I heard that snow was falling on the cities of Colorado’s front range, I will admit to sighing a bit in relief that we didn’t have to shovel said snow. That task was left for Maggie Faith, who has agreed to be responsible for snow removal in our absence. I assure you she will be duly compensated. Despite her small stature, she is strong. As stated by Shakespeare: though she be but little, she is fierce…..

Back to my cold, which I’m sure you’re all waiting with baited breath about which to be enlightened. I get one cold a year or so. While a cold will knock Bill off his feet, I’m generally liable to not let a little bit of snot stop me. Oh, for the love of all that is good, it’s just a cold, I will say.

Except this one has been the Cold From Hell. Perhaps God is providing a bit of lesson on humility, reminding me that anytime my sentence starts with Oh, for the love of all that is good, I should stop right there. The last time I had a cold this bad was just before, during, and following my 50th birthday. That was 15 years ago, my friends. I caught that particular cold on an airplane upon which we were returning from a Thanksgiving trip to London and my seat was directly in front of a man with a cold who coughed and sneezed on me for eight hours. No hard feelings, Mister. Not much you can do when you’re stuck in a tin can with a cold.

That year my family gave me a birthday party featuring a turducken. I was sick as hell. Included with my dreadful cold was a delightful case of pink eye. We took this photo of my sibs and my dad and me, and you might notice that my left eye is practically fully closed…..

You might also notice that it’s the bluest photo I’ve ever seen. There’s so much denim that it looks like it’s 1995 and we’re all getting ready to go to a Britney Spears concert. (Except they wouldn’t have let me in with my pink eye. Even my family shoved me to the back of the couch.)

At any rate, my cold has finally improved, and I’m going to make it even better because as I write this post on Monday, I am preparing to leave to meet my sisters at Pho Chandler which serves up some of the best hot noodles and spicy broth you’ve ever tasted…..

 

Take that, Cold!