Thursday, November 30, 2006

First Storm of the Winter....

The day started out so innocently...
It was a little gray, cloudy, but nothing out of the ordinary. But I should have remembered--that just when you think you know Texan weather, you find out that you don't know jack.
It started sprinkling around mid-morning. I thought "no big deal" to myself and continued on my way. But then it all went to hell in a handbasket soon after. When the rain had first started I didn't really worry about it because I have four-wheel-drive and the Jeep is sturdy enough to handle the Apocalypse. I will confess that I'm waaaay too arrogant when it comes to road conditions, which is really quite foolish of me because of an incident which occurred last year--
There had been an ice storm in the night and the early-morning roads were treacherous, covered in invisible patches of "black ice". My Road Nurse Company had scheduled all of us very tightly and had made it crystal clear that they would "frown upon" any Road Nurse who refused to drive due to the weather conditions. I lived near another die-hard Road Nurse buddy of mine and both of us had assured our company that "nothing" would keep us off the road. But then....both of us, each at different times during the same day, hit the exact same iced-over overpass... and had launched into out-of-control spin-outs in our vehicles. Fortunately for our foolish selves, the Good Lord was looking after us. Because in both of our separate events, our vehicles spun into a complete 380, spiraling crazily forward and then sideways, then hurtling completely off the Interstate, miraculously avoiding collisions with other vehicles, then subsequently plunging down the steep roadside embankment--- finally slowing and then coming to a rest in a ditch---unbelievably with both vehicles and drivers intact and unharmed. Even though we later laughed about the whole thing when our boss called us "Stunt Nurses", we were both nonetheless shaken by the experience.
(And although they're faint, you can still see the skid-marks on that spot of the Interstate....)
Anyway, by the time I arrived at the first ranch this morning the rain had saturated everything. To my misfortune, I slipped into a deep mud-patch after getting out of the Jeep. I got so much mud on my shoes that my patient's wife made me take them off before entering the house.
On my way to the next ranch the rain turned to sleet---and then to snow. And sure enough, the overpasses started to freeze over. Still raw from my spin-out experience last year, I knew when to admit defeat. So I turned around and drove carefully back to my office. By the time I arrived, the Jeep was covered in a mixture of snow and sleet.
As the weather deteriorated, I hunkered down with Lu-Lu and the office secretary to wait out the afternoon in our warm office, staring at the computer screen for periodic updates on the weather radar. We found out that Podunk is square in the path of an arctic front which is in the process of crippling roads and airports all over the midwest and southern plains. It has progressed quickly and has already caused snowstorms.
During the afternoon, I got a text-message from my sister which read: "It's sleeting here in Dallas."
Around 2pm, Jane-Anne finally made it back to the office in one piece. But one of our other LVN's called to say that she was stuck out in farm country to the south, too afraid of the road conditions to continue onwards. We advised her not to return to the office--and told her instead to simply drive home since she was fairly close to her own town. Then we called our two other branch offices to make sure that the rest of our company's Road Nurses got themselves safely off the road.
But I am worried SICK about Belinda. Because Belinda and two other girls had set off early this morning on a four-hour drive to another state---a state which currently has a blizzard warning in effect. The reason they had to make the trip was to attend a "New Employee Orientation" at the headquarters of Belinda's new Road Nurse Company.
And Belinda just found out that she is pregnant-- and she hasn't been feeling very well....
I had text-messaged Belinda's cell phone about 3:30 pm this afternoon, saying: "I'm worried about you guys on the road." I never got a reply.
Finally, at 4:30 pm, we all left the office with a resolve to call each other in the morning to compare driving conditions. Because although I live across the street from the office and could easily drive to work no matter what the roads are like, everybody else lives quite a distance outside Podunk. They may not be able to drive in safety in the morning if the roads are frozen.
When I got home, the storm had worstened and I was treated to my first-ever glimpse of my apartment building dusted with snow:
And now I guess I'm going to continue to try and get ahold of Belinda. Lord, I hope she is alright. The weather is supposed to get even worse tonight. And I'm also concerned about driving conditions tomorrow morning. I have TONS of patient visits tomorrow---especially since I've got to make up the ones that I missed today. And I've got two patients who absolutely have to be seen. They are post-op from surgical procedures, one with an amputated toe and one with an open wound on his elbow. Both of them will need their bandages changed.
So I'm going to retire to the living room television to knit while I'm watching the weather updates--- while continuing to try and reach Belinda....
* * *

Monday, November 27, 2006

La Madeleine's has spoken......

"...little shell of cake, so generously sensual beneath the piety of its stern pleating..."
(Marcel Proust, * referring to madeleines) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well... I'll be. * I guess it pays to speak up. This is the actual e-mail I received today from La Madeleine's in response to my mentioning to them that I found it odd that they don't serve any madeleines at their restaurants (see previous posting of 11/24/06):

* * Dear Bohemian Road Nurse,

* Thank you for your feedback. We wanted you to know that we now offer Lemon la Madeleine’s and hope you will give them a try. ------- * --------Merci

* Janet Jennings Guest Relations ------------ * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * -----------------------------------------------------------Hot diggity! I am TOTALLY looking forward to trying some of those things when I return to Dallas at Christmas time!

* Hey, if any of you guys in Dallas go into La Madeleine's, tell 'em Bohemian Road Nurse sent ya! * In fact, I'm so dang thrilled that they sent me an e-mail, I'm going to order a whole BOX of madeleines when I go in there. I may even take advantage of their online ordering to keep myself in madeleines all year round! * ' (And merci buccups to you, too, Miss Jennings, hee hee!) * Heck, I may even try to learn how to make my own madeleines---and become the madeleine fool of Podunk. I'll need a madeleine pan, though. My sister is going to flip out when she hears that La Madeleine's actually sent me an e-mail. My sister is the only person I've ever known in my entire life who "just happens to have" a madeleine pan.

Anyhoo, click below if you'd like a link to madeleine info and some neat recipes:

All About Madeleines

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Flying Dutchman of I-635 (or Diggity Dawg Does Dallas)

Good bye hard life -- don't cry,
Would you let it ride?
You can't see the mornin',
but I can see the light,
Ride, ride, ride, let it ride...
While you've been out runnin'
I've been waitin' half the night,
Ride, ride, ride, let it ride.....
("Let It Ride" by Bachman, Turner Overdrive)
Christmas is coming, guys.... Has everybody been good? (You know Santa's making a list and checking it twice!) Speaking of Christmas, did anybody go to the Walmart Day-After-Thanksgiving-Sale? I was going to go, I truly was, but then I wimped out at the last minute. And I think it was because I got spoiled while visiting my sister in Dallas. Because she took me to the Biggest Walmart in the Entire World--and I mean, it was the most awesome Walmart I've ever seen in my entire life. I'll probably never be impressed by any other Walmart again. But speaking of big, EVERYTHING in Dallas is bigger---no, HUGER---than I'm used to here in Podunk. Dallas was actually where I went for my first job out of nursing school--I worked at Baylor--and I thought it was a Big City then. But oh, how it's grown. In fact, it's gotten so big---and I've gotten so used to Podunk---that I was completely in awe of the place the whole time I was there. Two days just wasn't enough to do everything there is to do in Dallas. And, drat, I forgot my dang digital camera and had to take pics with a $3.75 disposable camera. Which at first I thought was a great deal, but later realized wasn't such a great deal---because the stupid flash wouldn't work for crap on the thing. In fact, it was almost worthless for indoor pictures. But here's an outside shot of the Walmart---and it is so large that it won't even FIT into one picture. (That's the drive-thru pharmacy cut off on the right edge of the picture.) It's so big that I bet the whole town of Podunk would fit inside it. I'm not kidding---that place is huge. It has a "Home Decor" section, a "Starbucks-style" coffee bar, and it sells absolutely EVERYTHING under the sun. My sister told me that you can even buy $500.00 bottles of wine in their liquor section!

But I just can't imagine a wine snob buying a $500.00 bottle of wine there---because what on earth would they say when someone complimented them on it? "Oh, my, this is lovely wine, dah-ling," someone would say at their cocktail party, sipping out of a fancy Lenox goblet. "It has a good bouquet. Where did you get it?" And the hosts would have to lie like big dogs. Because they sure as hell wouldn't want to reply with the truth, saying "Oh, it's a nice '06 vintage we picked up for a song at Walmart-- and that bouquet you smell is probably a leftover wafting from the Scented Candle Section, which is right next to the Wine Section." (You see my point?) Anyway, they had a really huge Christmas tree in there under the American and Texan flags.

You know, Walmart aside, I was overwhelmed with the sheer size and modernity of ....well, everything in Dallas. I felt like a complete bumpkin country mouse there. And there's eighty zillion restaurants. You could eat at a different restaurant every day for ten years and never repeat the same place. My sister and I had lunch at a lovely place called La Madeleine's which contains a bistro-style restaurant, a French bakery, and a selection of gourmet coffees. I will go on record here to say that La Madeleine's makes the most delicious fruit tarts I've ever eaten in my entire life--- but it bugged me that you couldn't buy any of those wonderful little French pastries called madeleines in there. Dang it, you'd think they'd sell madeleines in there since they're called La Madeleine's, right? (When I mentioned this culinary failing to my well-mannered sister, she hissed in a stern whisper: "Don't you DARE ask them why they don't sell any damn madeleines. I've got a madeleine pan at the house and if you've absolutely GOT to have a damn madeleine I can make you some damn madeleines.")

I think she was a little touchy because one of my favorite things to do to her is to play one of my favorite games called "Embarass My Sister to Death In Public". (It's very similar to my other game, "Embarass My Mother To Death In Public".)

I will confess here that I simply cannot resist playing this game because my mother and sister are so very prim and proper. I know, I know---I'm utterly EVIL for doing such a bad thing, but I just can't help it! Because they're so prim and proper that they're simply TOO TEMPTING to resist. Their perfect manners and delicate countenances practically BEG for embarassment and mortification. I mean, they are two very beautiful ladies who never have a hair out of place, never do anything unladylike, and are utterly charming at all times....and whenever we're in public I find myself looking around for whoopee cushions or Groucho Marx spectacles---because it's just too delicious to see them turn three shades of pale and try to slink away un-noticed and pretend not to be related to me. I always follow and say things like: "She's trying to pretend she's not related to me--but she's my sister, everybody!"

(It's like a sickness with me.....I've been doing it for years.)

But .... surprise, surprise... when we were at Walmart and I started my predictable antics, my newly-confident sister slayed me with one simple statement. "Go ahead and try your shenanigans. It won't bother me in the least---because I'm immune to you."

But I wasn't worried. What? Immune to me? Bah! And so I tried everything on her---all my best ammunition, all my best routines. I tried the Country Bumpkin Routine where I talk in a Gomer Pyle voice and holler out things out like "Whar in the tarnation are them thar douche thangs?" but it didn't even phase her. She simply pointed her finger and replied evenly: "Over there in the Personal Hygiene Section."

So I tried the Rapper Video Routine where I strut up and down the aisles dancing and posturing like a rapper, saying things like "Yo! Yo! Yo! Hey homey-sistah--where's the Bling Section?" I glanced at her to see if she was mortified but she calmly turned to the shopper next to her and said: "The poor dear--we brought her out to shop for feminine hygiene items today, but she's got to be back at the Insane Asylum by 5:00 pm."

Her unexpected composure caused me to panic--and so I got desperate and started doing free-form clowning for all I was worth, all up and down the next few aisles, thinking that I'd fix her little red wagon for SURE---but it went wrong, so very, very wrong.....because I degenerated to such new lows that I actually embarassed MYSELF by resorting to scrubbing my armpits with a long-handled shower brush in the Bath & Body Section.

And it was then that I realized the terrible truth.....I simply didn't want to believe the horrible fact....(you don't think?!?).....and, reluctantly, I was forced to suddenly come to my senses, stopping dead in my tracks, completely horrified in the blinding flash of a moment of clarity...a moment which revealed the ugly truth to me.... that my sister has finally....and at long last.... truly become IMMUNE to me!


(I was going to try scrubbing my er...personal area, but couldn't bring myself---I simply didn't have the guts---and I knew, sadly, that it was the End of an Era....)

(Oh, the humility!.... But, sigh, I guess we all have to grow up some time...)

(I just hope she doesn't blab about this to my mother--because if my mother ever becomes immune to me then I'll truly be lost....)

Anyhoo, after our visit to La Madeleine's and the Biggest Walmart in the Entire World, my sister took me to an even MORE wonderful place.....which is The Woolie Ewe yarn store, YEAH!

When I saw that place, I thought Yarn Heaven, thy name is Woolie Ewe. Because I definitely thought I'd died and gone to Yarn Heaven, I really did. They had EVERYTHING in the world a knitter could want. Every shelf in there was draped, covered, and surrounded by all the most wonderful yarns, knitting books, yarns, needles, yarns, gadgets, yarns....and did I say, YARNS? All I could do was drool. Because it has literally been years since I was able to go to a real knitting store and pet the yarns.

I would have liked to go to a bunch of other knitting stores but we simply didn't have the time, and The Woolie Ewe is fairly near to my sister's neighborhood. I bought myself a sampler of some very luscious yarns, including some Schaefer "Miss Priss" in a couple of colors, some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, and some Plymouth metallic-flecked Mira Mira. I also grabbed some Addi Turbo's while I was there. There was a nice social group in there, sitting around a table knitting and talking--but alas, I was far too shy to say anything. (Yes, it's true---I'm extremely shy in public when acting respectable and not hollering in a Gomer Pyle voice about douches to my sister in Walmart--go figure.)

(And...well, also, I... er.....certainly didn't want to get myself thrown out of The Woolie Ewe in utter disgrace for something as ridiculous as playing the "Embarass My Sister To Death In Public" game in there, that's for dang sure. Believe me when I say that I was on my BEST BEHAVIOR in there...)

There is all kinds of wondrous shopping in my sister's lovely neighborhood. She lives in a story-book house in Carrollton where she does all her own landscaping and flower gardening. She's amazing, like my mother. (I don't know why they put up with me.)

And see that tree? Two years ago my teenaged niece hid an Easter Egg up in that tree during our family's Annual Adult Easter Egg Hunt. Yes, she actually hid an Easter Egg up there. Does she think I'm agile or something? I spotted the egg and claimed it for myself---but I made her climb up there and get it for my Easter Basket. Because although I can usually rise to any occasion, and have been known to hop many a ranch fence during my visits to patients, I am not quite up to tree-climbing with an Easter Basket on my arm during an Easter Egg Hunt....

Anyway, my sister and I had the greatest time ever during my trip to Dallas. My niece came home from Texas Women's University for the weekend and we watched movies and hung out. My sister didn't make me any madeleines but she did make me some homemade currant scones, which we had with our tea that Sunday morning as she showed me some of her artwork. She's an oil painter, like my mother, and also does needlepoint. Here's her staircase wall where she has some of hers (and my mother's) oil paintings and needlepoint, hanging near the picture of my grandfather wearing his cowboy hat:

As much as I love Dallas, it has really grown in size and hustle-bustle since I was there last. It's more cosmopolitan than ever before, and waaaay more sophisticated. Truly a great place for this little country girl to go shop and see the sights. There's really only one bad thing about Dallas and that is, of course....... THE TRAFFIC.

My GOD, but Dallas traffic is truly horrible. It is lunacy in motion. Because those people are insane. They WILL NOT LET YOU CHANGE LANES there. Really! They won't let you. If the other cars on the road even SUSPECT that you are going to change lanes, they will all speed up and box you in, preventing you from changing lanes. And if this happens to you while on Interstate 635 (which is configured in a big circle around Dallas) you could find yourself circling Dallas for all eternity. SERIOUSLY! You could end up becoming the dang Flying Dutchman of Interstate 635, and I am not kidding here.

Thus, you have to make a decision about where you're going to turn at least 5 miles away from where you actually want to turn--just so you can have time to do the required lane-changing. But I got stubborn. And mad. Those crazy Dallas drivers thought that they would frighten me, eh? Hell NO! They underestimated this little Road Nurse, OH, YES-SIR-EE-BOB!

Because, as they say here in Podunk, it ain't my first rodeo, ya get me? I practically LIVE on The Road!

So whenever I wanted to change lanes, I pulled out some of my good ole Dukes of Hazard techniques. I flipped on my turn signal, grimaced at the drivers near me, yelled something hideously wicked in my loudest hick voice, and then GUNNED THE ACCELERATOR, by God. And I'd subsequently barrel my way across the 6-lane highway like a bat out of hell. I changed lanes, dammit!

I don't know whether it was my redneck-style, bold, in-your-face driving that showed the Dallas drivers that I meant business or else my yelling and cursing in a totally hick, Daisy-May accent. But whatever it was, it worked. So just in case it actually WAS the stuff I was yelling-- and you would like to use such epithets for yourself the next time you're on Interstate 635 in Dallas-- here's some examples of Tried and True Hick Things to Yell on the Road at Insane Dallas Drivers (they worked for me and so I'm sure they'll work for you) (And be sure to yell them in your best hick accent--see my "Podunk Travel Guide" with the section on Hick Dialect and Terminology):

Example One: "YEE-HAH ya lilly-livered road hogs! Stick THAT up yer BMW!"


Example Three: "HOLD YER HORSES, greenhorns--cuz this Jeep's gonna CLOCK THE BARRELS!! So get the hell out of my way or be STOMPED TO DEATH!"

Example Four: "HOT DIGGITY DAWG, ya yeller-belly, egg-suckin' yard dog--it's TEN POINTS if I hit a PORSCHE!"

In defense of my violent nature here, you have to remember that I'm sooooo not used to traffic the likes of Dallas's. (Yes, I know that I didn't need the extra 's' on the end of 'Dallas' but that's the way I pronounce it and so I just can't resist spelling it that way.)

(I also pronounce the word "Crème Brûlée" incorrectly, pronouncing it instead using the hick dialect inflection of "creme BREW-lee" , a hideous sound which causes my sister to cringe in excrutiating pain every time she hears it.)

Anyhoo, I mean I'm used to the kinder, gentler traffic in Podunk where things go so slowly that I can gossip on the cell phone with Belinda, write Post-Its, ogle the paramedics hanging out in front of the Paramedics Barracks, eat hamburgers, wheedle doctors on the cell phone, argue with patients on the cell phone, and text-message...all while driving.

But all I could do in Dallas was grasp the steering wheel with both hands in a death-grip while staring in unabashed fear at the crowded highway in front of me--- while praying out loud to all that is holy that I'd make it off I-635 in one piece and alive. In fact, to prove my point, let me use illustrations. Here's a picture of the average Dallas death-trap road:

And here is a picture of the worst road-hazard that good ole Podunk traffic has to offer: See what I mean? Anyway, Dallas hazards aside, I made it back in time to make another Road Trip in the opposite direction to my mother's house for a wonderful Thanksgiving there. We had a houseful including myself, my sister and niece again, my nephew, and some family friends. It always cracks me up to watch my sister and mother in action in the kitchen because they are both "set in their ways" in regard to kitchen stuff. When I walked into the kitchen I could instantly see that there were "too many cooks" and so I wisely sat off to the side, knitting with my new yarn from the Woolie Ewe. The free-floating anxiety level in there was quite high and I think it was due to some sort of squabble over The Turkey. It seems that one of them wanted to use a Butterball Turkey but the other one wanted to use an "offbrand Turkey". I don't know who eventually won the squabble--- and I have no earthly idea which kind of turkey we actually ended up eating---but the dinner was fabulous and I brought home a week's worth of delicious leftovers. What cracked me up was that, at various times, I noticed my sister giving me "the look" behind my mother's back--which I, of course, have to "reply to" with a "look" of my own. And it drives my poor mother to distraction because she never really catches us in the act of "looking", but she definitely "suspects" that something's going on. So every fifteen minutes or so, just to prove that we're not fooling her, my mother will defiantly say something to the effect of "I know y'all are talkin' about me behind my back but I don't care!" But what my poor mother doesn't realize is that it just wouldn't be very much fun to have a family get-together if my sister and I couldn't give each other "the look" behind her back. I mean, what is being part of a pair of naughty sisters if you can't give each other "the look" behind your own mother's back? And my sister and I have raised the level of our facial expressions to a veritable art form--and I defy any professional mime to do it better. Our subtle, yet meaningful, looks can signify an entire host of maternal issue complaints--anything from "She's doing it again!" to "My God, she put the dog on a dang diet because the vet said that his body fat ratio was too high!" But my mother actually got off lightly at Thanksgiving---because at least my sister and I didn't play our truly favorite game. Which is where it all began, in childhood, when my sister and I were around 7 and 8 years old--- and we developed a serious vice playing that age-old game called "See-Food". Although I know that lots of children play "See-Food", I am proud to say that my sister and I raised the integrity of this game to Olympic Sport levels--and we were definitely Gold Medalists. The object of the game was twofold--that of causing your sister to observe your open mouth with chewed-up food in it, and that of NOT getting caught by one's parents. We two idgits shamelessly played this stupid game until we were well out of childhood. But then, alas, it all came to an ugly end. I had gone home during a college vacation one year and my sister and I happened to be playing the game during our evening meal---and, unbelievably, our deceptive skills slipped and my mother actually CAUGHT US in the act. We thought for a minute that both of us were doomed, but all my mother did was stare dumbfoundedly for a minute or two, the realization dawning upon her shocked face slowly ---and then she simply put down her napkin, turned to my father, and stated "So THAT'S what they've been doing all these years!" (I don't know whether the word "dumbfoundedly" exists or not, but somehow it just fits, you know?) I was telling my boss Lu-Lu about the whole "See-Food" thing thing and she confessed to an equally ingenious game that she and HER sister use to play behind their mother's back, the one called the "We're Not Really Sayin' Ugly Words" game (her telling of which caused me to practically PEE MY PANTS laughing.) Lu-Lu, like many of us here in Podunk, grew up in a strict Baptist home where "cussing" was totally forbidden. So she and her mischevious sister would titillate themselves (behind their mother's back, of course) by reciting, back and forth to each other, parts of "ugly-word" syllables--- and then laugh like hyenas as they sassily rationalized to themselves that they "hadn't actually said ugly words". The game goes like this: Lu-Lu says: "Duh..." Then Lu-Lu's sister says: "..amn" Lu-Lu says: "Sh..." Then Lu-Lu's sister says: "" Lu-Lu says: "Pee..." Then Lu-Lu's sister says: "..nis" Lu-Lu says: "Fuh...." (You get the picture?) If their mother had caught them doing this, they'd have both gotten whuppin's. But they never got caught, Lu-Lu said with satisfaction. (But then she ruefully added that she had gotten her just desserts because the game had "completely ruined cussing" for her forever --- because to this day she still can't enunciate a cuss word in its entirety at one time, and instead is only able to blurt out something like "Duh....AMN!" or "Shuh....IT" instead. "I'm cuss-word-challenged!" she wailed sadly. (And I'm dang glad that she cleared that up for us because we all thought she had a speech impediment or something.) (I guess you'd have to be two sisters who grew up in a strict Baptist home to see where games like "See-Food" and "We're Not Really Sayin' Ugly Words" would be considered funny as hell...) Where was I? Oh yes, Thanksgiving. How in the Sam Hill did I get onto the topic of all these stupid childhood games? Ahh well....perhaps it's simply my way of expressing (mourning?) the passing of my lost youth?... that my dadgum sister is immune to me, sigh. Anyway, my trip to Dallas and Thanksgiving at my mother's was great. And I get to look forward to doing it all over again at Christmas. And I will eat like a Queen for a week on those Thanksgiving leftovers. And, so, I returned to my beloved Podunk, my Jeep's trunk overflowing with a bounty of turkey leftovers, yarns from The Woolie Ewe, a red tea-kettle and colander from The Biggest Walmart in The Entire World... and now I can settle in for the business of Getting Ready For Christmas. * I knew I was truly home today when I went out onto my balcony... and I could hear the faint sounds of the cattle auctioneer in the distance---and I suddenly remembered that there's a Cattle Auction today up by the Fire House. Home Sweet Home......
* * * * *

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Note from The Message Goat.....

"Ahem? Ahem, ladies & gentlemen: This is your Message Goat speaking. (Yes, I know I've been missing in action lately, but I haven't gone anywhere--I hang out in the pastures frolicking with Nanny Goat and the Kids until Road Nurse needs me.) Road Nurse asked me to tell you that she wanted to be here tonight to speak with you but she is so utterly and completely backed up in things that she's unable to write a complete post right now. In order to allow the employees to have Thursday and Friday off, Road Nurse's company is trying to to cram five days of paperwork and patient visits into three days; thus, they are busier than "a long-tailed cat burying poop in a room full of rocking chairs".... But Road Nurse will return in a day or two after she makes another Road Trip to her mother's town for Thanksgiving. (That makes two Road Trips in a week--the Jeep has been busy!) But when she returns she said she'll tell you about her trip to The Big City, her visit to the yarn store (an experience which she likened to "having died and gone to Yarn Heaven"), and her near-death experience in the fabled death-defying Dallas Traffic..... (I have it on good authority that upon Road Nurse's return to Podunk from her experiences in Dallas Traffic, she quickly performed three very important tasks... First she stopped by her church in order to formally get down on her knees and Thank The Good Lord for having spared her life from the horror of a bad end on the dreaded Mix-Master of Interstate 635 somewhere near Plano. Then she scheduled the Jeep for a "check-up" and front-end alignment so that it would stop pouting after having had to suddenly, and without warning, jump over a piece of Maytag washing machine debris which for some INSANE reason was lying in the middle lane of westbound Interstate 635---after which Road Nurse was reported to have screamed "That'll teach 'em to mess with a Road Nurse who has quick reflexes and four-wheel-drive!" And then she bee-lined it to her Beauty Parlor for a touch-up coloring job on the 18 white hairs that sprouted from her head after her experience on said Interstate 635.) (She also said something about having "peed her pants in fear" but I think she was just being overly dramatic---you know how Road Nurse is....) (Okay, I'll just also mention here that Road Nurse is also reported to have said the following after her near-death experience on the Mix-Master--- but you didn't hear it from me-- "Dammit---I know I said I wanted to go to Yarn Heaven but I didn't mean THIS SOON!.....") Anyway, Road Nurse also said that she's got lots of pictures to show you, like one of her very own Paint Pony (alas, not a real paint pony, but a beautiful facsimile), the huge Christmas Tree at The Biggest Walmart in The Entire World, the infamous spot on Interstate 635 where Road Nurse almost met her Maker too early, Road Nurse's beautiful sister's lovely house in Dallas, and the lovely Red Tea-Kettle she bought on the advice of Lesley. (Road Nurse said to tell Lesley that the Red Tea-Kettle GOES PERFECTLY!!) Road Nurse also plans on taking pictures of "A Road Nurse Thanksgiving" and sharing them with her readers... who she says she loves very much and wishes a very Happy Thanksgiving! That is all--the Road Nurse will be back shortly..... (Dark meat with Giblet Gravy RULES!)
* * * * *

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Rip-Roarin' Road Nurse Weekend....

Well I've been sorta worried,
About Santa Claus this year
Cause we live way down south,
And it didn't snow down here,
But I'm telling you not to worry,
Cause I just got the word,
Everybody listen closely,
And I'll tell you what I heard,
Santa's comin' in a pickup....
* * *
(Alan Jackson, "Santa's Gonna Come in a Pick-Up Truck")
* *
Look! The leaves in ranch country are starting to turn beautiful fall colors. Cool, huh?
* *
Hey, I'm excited as HECK because my sister has invited me to Dallas. I'm goin' to the Big City, yee-hah! She has promised to take me to knitting supply stores and....Joy!....a Dallas-sized Walmart! I'm really looking forward to haunting the yarn stores in the "big city", and I certainly hope I don't betray my bumpkin self with my hick accent. And thus, since I won't be here next weekend and the following week is Thanksgiving, I decided to use this past weekend to get caught up on my unpacking--- which I still haven't finished from my recent move. (Sigh...I know it's been a month---but remember, they only gave me two days off to move and I've been the on-call nurse for two of the last 6 weekends...) Anyway, I came straight home after work on Friday after telling everybody I was going to be "completely unavailable" for the duration of the weekend. I told everybody that I wouldn't answer my phone till Monday--- I VOWED that nothing would disturb me while I carried out my weekend plans. And then I locked my front door and happily settled in to unpack and organize to my heart's content. I wanted nothing more than to wallow in a full two days' worth of "piddling around" doing nothing but unpacking boxes, putting up shelves, hanging pictures, organizing cupboards, etc. etc. In the past month I have been able to get a few things done, in select areas of the apartment, like this little wall in the kitchen---
But I must admit that most of the apartment still looks like this room: And although I told all my friends that I wouldn't be answering the telephone all weekend, I wasn't going to be totally alone---because of course I did my usual which is to leave all the TV's on in the background tuned to some good ole movies, for "background noise". There's nothing I love better than piddling around my apartment with some good ole movies to keep me company. What is a "good ole movie"? Well, there's certain things that make a movie "a good ole movie". And I know, because I am a Movie Hound. And I'm kind of picky about what makes a movie a good ole movie. I categorize movies into several categories, i.e. "trash movies", "okay movies", and "good ole movies". And one thing about the state of moviedom these days is that it's getting harder and harder to find good ole movies. But they do exist. Criteria for a Good Ole Movie: I'm old fashioned. I love the kind of movies where there's "Wholesome Good Guys",

...and "Dastardly Bad Guys" (or "Dastardly Bad Ladies" if you will....)

...and also a complicated, "Rip-Roaring Good Story".

(Pay no attention to that infernal clock. I know it's in the wrong place---I only stuck it there to keep it out of the way while I worked on other areas of the apartment. It will be moved to a hallway shortly.) Too many crappy movies these days remind me of video games--- where all the characters look alike and are wearing designer clothes while they either shoot each other a zillion times, blow up buildings, crash cars or trains, and/or perform acrobatic martial arts---and you're left wondering what in the hell the whole point of it was because the story line was so dumb and unbelievable that it was complete crap. Give me a good ole movie where the Wholesome Good Guys in light-colored clothing are trying to Do Something Noble while the Dastardly Bad Guys in dark clothing are trying to Take Over the World and kill the Wholesome Good Guys--- and there's such an extremely intelligent, complicated story line that you become riveted to your chair, staring at the screen, while shouting comments like: "No, it's not like that at all, Han Solo! Princess Leia is really Luke's SISTER, for God's sakes!" It's also great if the good ole movie's Wholesome Good Guys have Loveable Sidekicks who do funny stuff and help them thwart the Dastardly Bad Guys: I love to cheer on and root for the Wholesome Good Guy (or Wholesome Chickens, as in the case of the movie "Chicken Run"). And what's even better is if there's a CHOICE of Wholesome Good Guys to root for...and (Like Han Solo instead of Luke Skywalker, for instance.)

(Okay, I admit it---I like Han Solo because I have "issues" and....uh....tend to like the "bad boys"---but let's not go into my psychological problems right now...) (No, I didn't put a picture of him here because I was too busy slobbering over the TV screen whenever his scenes played, drat...)

Anyway, so there I was watching movies while I unpacked the apartment this weekend. But I should have known that I wouldn't get a completely phone-free weekend. Because the cell phone started ringing Friday night, shortly after I tore into my first box. Of course it was Belinda, who wanted to finish telling me the saga of how she finally quit her Road Nurse Company. She's been trying to get up the courage to quit ever since I quit the same company last summer. And let me tell you, I wasn't surprised that Belinda ignored my desire to be free-from-the-cell-phone for two days. Belinda will call me ANYWHERE at ANY TIME. It doesn't matter where I am or what I am doing, Belinda will call me on the cell phone.

I have answered cell phone calls from Belinda while shopping in Walmart, while sitting in traffic, while dropping off clothes at the cleaners, while sitting nekkid in a doctor's examing room, while peeing in the bathroom, while taking a patient's temperature, while picking cow pies out of the tread of my Road Nurse shoes on a ranch, while running for my life from a Ranch Dog, while ordering an ice cream cone at the Dairy Queen Drive-Thru Window, while waiting to deposit my paycheck at the bank's Drive-Thru Window, and even once while I was herding cows with Bonnie (remember the Rickenbocker Ranch!?!....)

But the good thing about Belinda is that she completely understands today's Cell Phone Etiquette, which is much less strict than the regular phone etiquette of the olden days when we didn't have cell phones.

Remember the days when there were no cell phones? In those days, when someone called you, you HAD to listen to them for a "decent" length of time. Phoning someone was such a social occasion that you just couldn't bring yourself to be rude and tell the caller that you couldn't talk right then. Getting off the phone used to be such a tricky issue. I used to have a whole list of plausible get-off-the-phone excuses that I could use to help me get off the phone, things like "I've gotta go---I'm bleaching my roots right now and it's been 23 minutes" or "I've gotta go---there's somebody at the door and I think it's the UPS Man". But it was a hassle because you'd always have to remember your lies in case you ever saw that person and they looked at your roots or asked you what you got from UPS. You never wanted to hurt someone's feelings.

But cell phones have changed all that. These days you don't have to worry about it anymore, because either party can get off the phone INSTANTLY without offending the caller or callee, not only because the get-off-the-phone-excuses are better, but because they're REALLY TRUE. And also, since everybody carries their cell phone with them at all times, a caller can simply call the person back 45 minutes later whenever they finish whatever they're doing. Because nobody could ever get their feelings hurt over the following get-off-the-phone-excuses:

"I've got to go--- I'm in the McDonald's Drive-Thru and it's my turn to order."

"I've got to go--- my call-waiting just beeped and it's my boss."

"I've got to go--- I'm done peeing and there's three people waiting in the toilet line."

"I've got to go----I'm almost at my Interstate Exit and I need both hands to steer."

"I've got to go--- there's a cop behind me."

Anyway, Belinda started calling me on Friday night and I had to answer it. I was in the middle of unpacking a huge box while slobbering over a gorgeous Han Solo on the television screen, wishing he'd fly me away somewhere in the Millenium Falcon space ship. "What are you up to?" I asked her, noting that I heard the clink of margarita glasses in the background. That meant she was drowning her sorrows at the Mexican Restaurant. "Okay, I did it. I finally did it. I quit that damn company," she reported, taking a big swig of her margarita. "Remember I told you yesterday that I was going to give my two-week notice today? Well I did, but they wouldn't allow me to work the rest of the two weeks. They told me to just go ahead and clean out my desk and leave at 4pm."


"You know they always do that when Road Nurses quit," I told her. "They don't want you to spend the next two weeks blabbing about how you're leaving to go work for Company X in case those patients who really like you decide to switch companies in order to follow you to the new Road Nurse Company." "I know, I know," she said, taking another gulp. "But I think they're jerks for doing that. I think they ought to have to pay me for that two weeks. I have SOOOOOO had it with their crap."

And even though she had already told me all the reasons she was quitting the company, she told me all over again--- the whole story again about the things that made her angry enough to finally quit the company. "First they announced that they were going to "crack down" on what they call "excessive absenteeism". But the only time I've called in sick myself was when my child was in the hospital. I mean, I couldn't help my child being hospitalized for an allergic reaction, for God's sakes!"


"I know, but you know how they are," I told her for the one zillionth time since I've known her. "You know very well that they're so cold blooded that they wouldn't care if your entire family was lined up in matching coffins at the funeral home and the preacher was in the middle of the Eulogy---they'd STILL expect you to miss the funeral and come into work, come hell or high water."

Belinda continued her ranting. I think she was frothing at the mouth. (Or it might have been the salt from the margarita.)

"And THEN the boss called me into her office and formally wrote me up for those absences. You have no idea how much I wanted to tell that....that HORSE'S PATOOT to stuff her Absence Report right up her....her PATOOT!" "Why didn't you?" I asked her. "I would have." "I believe you would have," she replied. "In fact, everybody over there STILL remembers the day you quit, when you told them---if I remember correctly---that they were all a bunch of 'goddang, slave-driving yay-hoos who were all destined to go to Medicare Hell'".


"But it's the truth," I replied. "They ARE a bunch of goddang slave-driving yay-hoos. Remember that time I was half-nekkid in a gown at the doctor's office and the boss called me on the cell phone to remind me to tell the doctor that we needed three more patients to meet our monthly quota?"


"Yes, I remember," she sighed. "She called me for the same dang thing when I was at my child's bedside in the hospital."


"There you go, then," I stated with a degree of finality, hoping that she was finished ranting. Because I was getting interested in the TV screen--because Han Solo was about to kiss Princess Leia... and I wanted to imagine that I was Princess Leia, only I wouldn't be coy like she was--- I would throw myself into Han's arms and tell him that I'd be his loving Princess Road Nurse forever, and that we could just leave silly ole Luke Skywalker and the rest of the yay-hoos behind on the Death Star, and we could fly away together in the Millenium Falcon to a nice little planet where there was a nice little Space-House with a Two-Spaceship-Garage, and I could go shopping for groceries at an Interstellar Walmart down the street, and me and Han could go bowling every Friday night with the gang....

Where was I? Oh yes, listening to Belinda. I thought she was finished but she wasn't. Because then she told me the clincher.

"The absolute last straw was that....that MEMO!" she declared in a controlled whisper.


"What memo?" I asked impatiently.


"THE memo. They put it in our paycheck envelopes and made us open them during Case Conference--and we absolutely couldn't believe what the memo said...."


"Yes?" I urged, holding my breath in anticipation.... "So what on earth did it say?"


"Well first it listed a whole bunch of budget cuts they were making and how they wanted us to cut costs. They said that we would no longer receive free employee insurance and that we'd have to pay for it in the future. Then they said we shouldn't call 'Information' for phone numbers we couldn't find, and that we'd have to look up the numbers on the internet instead. Then they said they weren't going to pay for our uniforms to be cleaned and pressed anymore. None of this stuff was all that bad, you know? But then... right at the end of the memo... they said the last and worst thing.....which is that our office has been going through too much toilet tissue and that they want people to cut down on the amount of TOILET PAPER they use!!!"

Although this is pretty unbelievable, it was absolutely true. And I cracked up laughing when I heard it, as did the rest of the town once the story was leaked. In fact, once all the other local Road Nurse Companies heard this news about my old company's attempted cost-cutting measures via limiting the employees' toilet tissue--- that company's management instantly became a virtual laughing-stock. HAH! Because whoever heard of the NERVE? An employer trying to tell a bunch of nurses exactly how much toilet paper to use?!

"What a bunch of goons!" I giggled. "You should have told them that you could go home to take a you-know-what but then they'd probably write you up for the absence!"


"Actually, Bonnie DID made a crack," she said, chuckling at the memory. "Bonnie piped up and asked them why they didn't just simply 'issue each Road Nurse a roll of toilet paper like they do the prisoners in the County Jail?'--and the boss almost had an apoplectic fit, calling us all 'uncooperative smart-alecks'. But Bonnie had a point, don't you think?"

Anyway, after talking to Belinda a little more and getting a great laugh about the Toilet Tissue Memo, I returned to my unpacking and movies, thinking that I'd for sure be able to get some peace and quiet now that she'd finally quit the old Road Nurse Company. Before she got off the phone she told me that she would start at a new Road Nurse company on Tuesday. We made plans to go to lunch together to celebrate her new job on Monday or Tuesday---anywhere except the Sonic, because Belinda says that she doesn't want me to knock any more pieces off their debit-card shelves. I told her that it was a one-time fluke, but we're going to avoid the Sonic all the same....

(Switching Road Nurse Companies doesn't make a dang bit of difference to either of our schedules as she'll still be working on the same dang Road that I'm working, in the same dang area that I'm working, doing the same dang thing that I'm doing....)

Saturday dawned pretty cold and I had to turn on the heater again. But I never stopped my relentless unpacking and movie-watching. I continued. I wanted to figure out where to hang my Toulouse-Lautrec pictures. I "practice-hung" them all over the apartment and couldn't figure out where they looked the best. That's probably because I don't have anything else that goes with Moulin-Rouge style, but that is besides the point. I love those dang pictures. I figure it's as close as I'm going to get to Paris any time soon.....

Oh, I forgot to mention a few other things that a good ole movie has got to have.

Besides having a Beautiful Heroine for the Wholesome Good Guy to kiss (and it's okay if that person is a fairy, like Tinkerbell or somebody), there has also got to be a Kindly Wise Man or Woman somewhere in the movie--someone older and kind of spiritual (like Obi-Wan-Kenobi or Glenda the Good Witch, for example)---who gives heartwarming and encouraging speeches to the Wholesome Good Guy and the Beautiful Heroine, to give them courage for their Quest. Which is another important ingredient---every good ole movie has got to have its "Quest"--which is the whole reason for what everybody in the movie is doing. You know, some sort of "terribly dangerous and difficult journey, filled with overwhelming obstacles and terrors" which the Wholesome Good Guy and the Beautiful Heroine must undertake in order to Save Everybody.


(And the Dastardly Bad Guy chases them all through the Quest--which, if it's a really good story, will have you spell-bound for the entire time, biting your nails, dropping your popcorn at the scary parts, and cheering out loud when the Wholesome Good Guy finally kills the Dastardly Bad Guy and Saves Everybody.)


(I'm going to admit here that when I saw the movie "Chicken Run" in a movie theater for the first time, I actually clapped my hands, stomped my feet, and cheered out loud when the Wholesome Good Chickens finally flew over the fence of the chicken farm in their home-made flying machine.)

(Okay, and I'm also going to admit that I had to dab my tear-filled eyes with a Kleenex after that because I had gotten so choked up about the whole thing---what with all that emotional worrying for two hours about just how those poor chickens were ever going to get free of the Evil Chicken Farm Owners and all---but I'm emotional like that about Happy Endings, okay?...)

(Most of the children in the movie theater looked at me like I was purely crazy when I did that---and I think I overheard some smart-aleck little creep saying something about "stupid idiots who cry at cartoons".)

(Okay, I am crazy but that's besides the point.)

(I wish the chickens on the chicken farms here in Greater Podunk could build a flying machine and fly out of their chicken farm pens.)

(But then, sigh.....there probably wouldn't even be a Greater Podunk if there were no Chicken Industry, would there?--Oh well.....)

Anyhoo, speaking of good ole movies, I got to see the "real" Ruby Slippers this weekend, hot dang!

I know I'm probably boring you to tears, but I've just got to mention one thing. It's that there's one particular little thing I like about "The Wizard of Oz" ---- which is a little-noticed scene that probably nobody but me ever really notices. And maybe I notice it simply because I've watched this movie about 1,439 times. But have you ever noticed the "Egg Hatching Scene"? It's a scene in the part where they're singing "Ding Dong The Witch is Dead", dancing around Munchkin Land, and everybody's joyful because Dorothy's house landed on the Wicked Witch.

It's a scene where some of the Munchkins are dancing up some stairs and there's a sweet little nest holding eggs---and then the eggs HATCH into cute little babies! You don't believe me? You've got to watch carefully for this scene because it's quick. Here's the scene---see the eggs?

And then here's the eggs hatching, Tah-Dah! See the little Munchkin babies coming out? I LOVE this scene. (Sorry, the picture's a little blurred):

Anyway, the whole dang good ole movie must be wrapped up at the end with The Happy Ending, which is even better if there is a Moral to the Story. Like at the end of the movie "Hook", when Robin Williams saves his children from Captain Hook, brings them back from Never Never Land, and promises to be a Good Father forever.

The only thing I don't like about "Hook" is their choice of Julia Roberts for the fairy Tinkerbell. She just doesn't strike me as very Tinkerbell-ish. She's too Pretty-Woman-ish or too Sleeping-With-the-Enemy-ish. I really think they should have picked somebody else---like Darryl Hannah or Winona Ryder or somebody---to play Tinkerbell, somebody more flighty or air-brained----well, more Tinkerbell-ish):

Right after the good ole movie "Hook" my cell phone rang again. This time it was my boss, Lu-Lu. She was moving into a new house over the weekend and had run out of gas while towing a trailer holding her new washer & dryer.

"Lu-Lu, you have GOT to be kidding me," I said in disbelief. "No Road Nurse in the history of the mankind has EVER run out of gas." "I did, I did!" she wailed into the cell phone. "And you've GOT to save me! You've got to come and bring me some gas!" I was dumbstruck. I simply could not fathom that she had run out of gas. "A Road Nurse running out of gas is simply NOT POSSIBLE!" I exclaimed. "It'''s just plain shameful, that's what it is! It's like a mail-man getting lost on the way to the Post Office. It's like the Walmart clerk not knowing where the Customer Service Desk is. It's like a doctor not having a stethoscope...." *

"Dr. Jenkins loses his damn stethoscope ALL THE TIME!" she hollered. "I know, because he used to steal mine all the time when I worked at the hospital. Now will you pleeeeeeeese just bring me some damn gasoline???" And just then, something else occurred to her.... "Oh my GOD....don't TELL anybody about this!" she whispered, stricken with fear and dread. "Nobody can EVER find out that I ran out of gas --- because it would positively RUIN ME in Road Nurse Legend and Lore!!!!" I could understand her dilemma. Lu-Lu is very scatterbrained and has definitely pulled some pretty crazy stunts, but running out of gas would be extremely embarassing to a well-known Road Nurse. And a well-known Road Nurse running out of gas during this particular week would be even more damaging to a reputation--- especially since everybody we know is busy enjoying the discomfort of our competitor's chagrin over the gossip about their Toilet Tissue Memo---and our own Road Nurse Company most certainly wouldn't want a story about our boss running out of gas overshadowing that company's honored place under the Ridicule Spotlight... And she was also right about Road Nurse Legend and Lore. Lu-Lu has definitely earned her place in the Road Nurse Hall of Fame through all of her adventures on the Road and also her sheer hard work and determination--and I'd certainly hate to see her hard-won reputation go down in flames over this little episode.

But I was still irked with her because I was trying to get my apartment organized and I certainly hadn't planned on gallavanting all over God's Creation to carry gasoline. But I told her I'd bring her the gas. (Actually, it's not entirely true that no Road Nurse in the history of mankind has ever run out of gas. There's an old story, whispered about around Road Nurse campfires, about a famous Texan Road Nurse in the 50's named Delilah-Dallas--- who once ran out of gas on her way home after a day of seeing patients in Ranch Country. As the story is told, she was also making a bootlegging run to a dry county and was carrying a bunch of moonshine in her vehicle's trunk. And it is said that when the ever-resourceful Delilah-Dallas ran out of gas, she simply poured some of the moonshine booze into her fuel tank and continued on her way--and that she was forever called "Smokey" after that. I don't know if this story is true or not, but those who tell the story swear it's the God's Honest Truth...) Where was I? Oh yes, talking to Lu-Lu on the cell phone....

"I'll come save you, but would you please tell me how in the hell you didn't know that you were running out of gas?" I griped, still peeved at having to leave my movies and unpacking. "It's cuz I'm in my boyfriend's Chevy pick-up truck," she explained breathlessly. "And his fuel guage is broken---and it ALWAYS says it's on empty. So of course I didn't pay any attention to it." This was partially believable but incomplete---so I just had to ask.....

"How long has it been since you filled your tank up?" "I don't know," she replied. "Maybe two days ago...." "Lord Jesus, Lu-Lu!" I screamed. "Any nincompoop knows that pick-up trucks are Gas Hogs! You're a damn Road Nurse, Lu-Lu----which means that you're supposed to know the precise gas mileage, dollar per dollar, on every known vehicle in God's Creation, ESPECIALLY FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE!" So I lectured awhile, all about how 4-wheel drive pick-up trucks are gas hogs and can suck up a huge tank of gas in no time flat, and how she should have filled up at least every other day, etc. etc., nag nag nag...but I finally wound down and told her I was going to shut up and bring her the gas. She was silent, so I thought I'd really made an impression on her. "I'm sorry, I had you on hold just now," she said, coming back onto the line. She'd had me on hold for my entire lecture! "I was talking to my mother," she chirped. "And hey, I'm thirsty. Could you get me a Pepsi while you're at the gas station?"

So I put on my favorite Deer Hunting Season sweat pants (they're Camouflage print and were on sale for $11.95 at Walmart), drove over to the gas station, and bought one of those "Emergency Gasoline Containers" they sell. It cost $6.95 and only held one measly gallon of gas. And I bet I spilled two gallons on me trying to fill the stupid thing up. Have you ever seen one of them? They're flat boxes--and you have to unfold them, stretch out the plastic bag on the inside, fill the thing with gasoline, and then attach the pour spout.

After I got the gas, I drove to where Lu-Lu was stranded, a spot about 14 miles out of town. She was sitting in the truck's cab, blasting an Alan Jackson CD on the stereo. "Santas Gonna Come in a Pick-Up Truck!" she sang as I climbed out of the Jeep, bringing the Emergency Gas Container and a cloud of gas fumes with me.


"This Santa is going to fling that CD across the road like a Frisbee if you don't help me with this dadgum gasoline!" I told her. "And God help us if anybody sees us here--- we'll be the laughing-stock of Greater Podunk!" *

"Oh, don't get your panties in a wad," she laughed, snapping her fingers to the beat of the tune. "Nobody's going to see us, Worry Wart."


"Whatever you do, just don't light a damn match," I moaned, feeling faint from the gas fumes. *

Together, we up-ended the flimsy gasoline container into the pick-up truck's tank, spilling even more of it all over both of us. About 348 vehicles passed us on the road while we were doing this---but neither of us looked up. We kept our heads down, hoping that nobody would recognize us and ruin our reputations in Road Nurse Legend and Lore for running out of gas. "This ought to be enough to get you to the gas station," I said when we finished. "But I'll bet that this one piddly little gallon won't last 15 minutes in this giant pick-up truck. It'll probably snort it all up as soon as you turn the ignition on. So just drive like hell to the nearest gas station, and whatever you do--- don't run the air conditioner!" She took off with a wave and I followed her all the way to the gas station to make sure she made it in one piece. Then....I FINALLY went home to return to my unpacking and phone-free weekend.

When I got home I peeled off my gasoline-soaked clothing, cursing Lu-Lu's ding-battiness, and threw the items into the washing machine. And since I was going to do a load of laundry, I decided to throw the rest of my stuff--my dirty Road Nurse uniforms--into the load....

And to my utter mortification, when the load of wash was finished and I opened the washing machine lid to take everything out for the dryer---EVERYTHING smelled like gasoline. AAAARGHHHHHH!!!!! I washed everything again. Opened the washing machine lid. Sniffed. Gasoline smell. I washed everything again. Opened the washing machine lid. Sniffed. Gasoline smell. I ranted and raved to myself awhile, all alone in the apartment, cursing the cosmos and cell phones in general....

But then I finally did something smart. I looked on the internet. And sure enough, there were lots of helpful websites instructing on "laundry remedies". And so, after reading the information on several such sites, I opted to try ALL the remedies at once (not wanting to waste any more time doing endless loads of laundry)---and so I dumped EVERYTHING that had been suggested into my next washing cycle: a box of Arm & Hammor Baking Soda, a bottle of gourmet rice vinegar, some Pine-Sol, and a bottle of Johnson's & Johnson's Baby Oil. And guess what? It worked.

And then..... at last.... and finally.... I was able to continue my unpacking and organizing of the apartment. And I ultimately decided to put the Toulouse-Lautrec prints over the stove.

I have no idea why I put them there except they just seem to "go". And so there they'll stay.

(What would really be great is if I could find a teapot that matches Moulin-Rouge theme while I'm shopping in Dallas......)

(I wonder if there IS such a thing as a Moulin-Rouge themed tea-pot?)

(Never mind, I don't care. What I really want to see in Dallas is the yarn stores, anyway.....)

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