Sunday, November 17, 2013

Trippin a Fuse

"Well, I thought I had a hot flash." I tell my gyno and wait for his usual reaction.

"See," he waggles a finger at me, "I told you it would happen."

Yeah, predictable but wrong. Of course my attitude took a drastic shift from snotty to nice, but hot flashes? "Nah, I refuse to get hot flashes." He shakes his head but I have more to say. "I was in the bathroom when the temperature skyrocketed and I wanted to hurt my husband."

"That," he says, head bobbing, "is definitely a hot flash."

My gyno is a nice man. He has silver hair. He has a wife who quilts and his instruments are warm. Warm is good. Ankle cocked across his knee, he leans back in his chair and peers at me. He looks amused. Swathed mummy style in a paper gown I sit on the table and wait a beat. "You would think so," I roll my eyes, "but Rob put flood lights in the bathroom fixture." I splay my fingers. "Five floodlights."

Eyes bright, he guffaws.

I win, sort of. I've got Rob and Rob has a strange and marvelous mind. Where he gets his ideas is a mystery to me. Floodlights indeed.

Friday, September 27, 2013

It Was A Dark and Stormy Night

"It was a dark and stormy night." I mouth as I pound away on my laptop. Wait. This is familiar. I
delete the line and try again. "It was ... It was ... "

Crap, the words don't flow so I force myself into the zone. I'm a writer. I'm ...

"It was a dark and stormy night. It was ... " Jesus. Must the neighbors mow their lawn right now?

"It was a dark and stormy ... " Damn, will Rob ever fix the leaky toilet or must I do everything? I frown at the keyboard, bite my lip, try to focus.

"It was ... " Ah buggers. So much for chapter twenty seven. Now Rob and J.T. are back from fishing and I won't accomplish a thing. Camped out in the recliner, I sigh, then hear them back the boat into the side yard, where metal grates metal, and a hissing geyser of grey steam trumpets past the window. "Son of a ..." I shoot to my feet and send the front door crashing back on it's hinges.

@#$*  %!@##* it Rob. You just hit my *^#@K!^$ air conditioner. Midway to a stroke I become aware of two things. One, there's a wide eyed woman, dressed in a bathing suit, holding an inflatable killer whale, sitting in the back of a pick up truck, in front of my house. And two, our eleven year old neighbor, J.T.'s baby blues are saucer wide.

I give the kid a look and roll my eyes. "Next time you two fish, maybe you could drive."

He grins and runs off to inspect the damage.

Not ready to view the twisted remains of my air conditioner, I stand in the drive, arms tight across my chest doing my gol damndest to curtail my swearing.

Rob climbs out of the cab. "Did I hit the air conditioner?" I narrow my eyes and he grimaces.

"Oh my God, I'm so sorry, I ... "

Confused, I turn toward the voice and spot the woman, minus the killer whale, headed my way. I guess she came to swim in Mary's pool.

"This is all my fault. I really wasn't in a hurry but Mary said Rob never has trouble when he parks the boat."

I choke. Our next door neighbor Mary should know better. "Not true. This is Rob's fault. No one else's." She opens her mouth to argue and I jam a finger in the air. "Not only is this his fault but he's torn down the internet wire, twice. And my garage door. Have you seen my garage door?"

She starts to smile. "I feel really bad."

"Don't," I laugh, "Rob's fault."

Three hours, and several hundred degrees of Florida steamy heat, later the air conditioner guy steps out of his van. The same repairman from last week. I swear if I see him one more time I'll adopt him.

As the boys tromp off to examine the wreckage I get back to work.

"It was a dark and stormy ..."

Friday, September 13, 2013

Lighten Up!: The Guys at Work

Lighten Up!: The Guys at Work: (post copyright 2013, Dawn Weber) Jesus had his disciples, the President consults the Cabinet, and my husband has The Guys At Work. ...

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Ignominious Maximus

   "Ah man, you fell off the step stool, I thought you fell off the ladder." 

   Unimpressed, J.T. folds his arms over his little chest and stares at me. "I heard you scream."

   He's trying not to smile so I narrow my eyes.

   He blows a raspberry. "Last time I fell off my bike, I did three complete back flips and two cart wheels."


   "BMX." He throws his hands in the air and slants a look at Rob before turning his attention back to me. "You need to man up."

   "Man up? I did not fall off the step stool, I slipped off the counter, flipped in the air and landed on the handle of the step stool. That's three feet high and I smacked my head on the towel rack." Dubious, he trots into my bathroom to check. "Okay fine," I yell, "thirty-two inches, that's the standard height of a counter." I think, but J.T. at eleven has strong opinions, which I try to thwart when possible.

   "That's not very high." He says, returning to the living room and taking a seat on the couch. "I fell sixty-two feet out of my neighbors tree and I was fine."

   "Does your mother know where you are?"

   He gives me a look. "No really, the tree was sixty-five feet tall and I was at the top." I rub the goose egg on my nether region and roll my eyes. "Like I said," he smirks, "you need to man up."

   "Uh huh." Annoyed and a little sore, I head back to the bathroom, climb onto the counter, and tackle the trim work around the mirror. Why waste a pan of fresh paint. Finished, I climb back down and rub my fanny. The goose egg has doubled in size. I pour a glass of wine, settle into the recliner with a large bag of frozen peas, and google bruises. I ignore the pain. Until it drives me to the floor. The bump is now the size of a softball but I'm sure it'll stop swelling soon.

   "That's impressive," says the E.R. doc. I've seen a lot of compartmental contusions but never in that precise location." He takes out a pen. "Mind if I mark your skin?"

   "Go right ahead." Now that someone else is worried, I feel better.
   "The line of demarcation is quite something." He strokes his chin and leans against the counter. "Give me a moment, I want to consult with a specialist."

   Great. Belly down on the exam table, I adjust the back side of my gown and prop my chin on my hands. Five minutes later the doc is back with a prescription for pain killers and instructions to see a specialist on monday if the swelling continues.

   "I have a flight on Sunday."

   "Absolutely not."

   He looks ready to argue so I say. "That won't hurt my feelings, I'm a flight attendant." He grins.

   By Monday, the bruise has eclipsed the pen marks by five or six inches and spreads from my inner thigh, over my glutes, and out to my hip. The swelling has stopped but I can barely move, let alone sit down. I make the call.

   "Where did you say the bruise was?"

   I inhale. "On my Ass."

   The receptionist laughs. "Okay then, I can squeeze you in at 11:30."

   "Well," says the specialist, "you'll be out of work for three or four weeks and I suggest physical therapy."

   "For my butt?" I'm flabbergasted. "I came in because I'm worried about flying and blood clots."

   To his credit, he doesn't laugh. "You could fly, blood clots aren't the issue and I suspect, judging from the location, you shouldn't have too many issues, but you can't do your job. A little heat, a little massage and you'll heal quicker."

   "Amazing." The P.T. doc rotates my leg, presses on tendons and shakes his head. "That's quite the contusion but your joints are fine." 

   Back home, I'm hobbling to the door when J.T. rides up on his bicycle. "So what did the Doc say?"

   "He said I'll live."

   "Going to work tomorrow?"

   "Nope." I say, then realize my mistake as J.T. grins, slips past me into the house and grabs the remote. "Cool. Lets watch Spongebob."

   Great, now I really have to man up.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Don't Cry Over Spilt Milk

   A Betsy screech is alarming, but at six am it’s downright diabolical. I wait for my nerve endings to settle before I give her my best trust me smile. “I thought I’d clean the hall closet because …”
   “My closets are clean and …”
   “I thought I saw a spider.” I trot out her biggest fear and hide a feral grin as she backs into her room.
   “Good idea,” she says, “I’ll help you after I’ve taken a shower.”
   By help she means supervise.
   On borrowed time I scan the junk and sigh. How will I ever get through an entire house of crap, on the sly, let alone this closet? By the time the water shuts off in her bathroom, I have run up and down the stairs, and out to the garbage cans in the alley and back no less than fourteen times. My legs are numb and the muscles in my right arm quiver when I lift the old 1940’s Singer. Portable my ass.
   “What are you doing with my sewing machine?”
   Betsy’s hands are planted on her hips as water drips off her shower cap and onto her blue paisley robe. “Shit.” I drop the machine and slap a hand over my heart. “You scared the crap out of me.”
   “Watch your language young lady.”
   “Yes ma’am.” For a minute I think she’s going to get all hot and bothered with the call-me-Betsy routine but she tightens her robe and flicks a glance to the sewing machine, then back to me.”
   “Tensions off,” I duck my chin and head for the stairs, “I thought I’d have it fixed.”
   “You always were a good girl.” She says to my retreating back and I wonder if Hell ever has a good season.

Chasing Betsy

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Boarding School

 "Lillian, you will take your spoiled daughter to that damned boarding school in Los Angeles or I will ship her so far away you will only see her once a year. I will not lose another child."
   "You haven't lost a child Henry, Virginia is a married woman."
   I'm sure father would have found favor with Ginny's marriage if she hadn't up and eloped with a military man. He's always carrying on that he would be better off without her nonsense, but why should I have to pay for my older sister's disobedience? 
   Father's tone has a sharp edge and, when he paces out of view, I inch my nose around the top rung of the bannister to study mother's expression. Her mouth pinches into a tight vee but she stays silent. She doesn't defend me and when father doesn't come back she bows her head.

Betsy's POV memories     
Chasing Betsy - fiction   

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Never Say Die.

“Sign it,” I whisper, handing Pops a pen, “If you want to.” Pain burns behind my eyes and answering tears track down Pops cheeks. I try to contort my mouth into a sympathetic smile but it’s impossible. This situation is impossible and even though Pops can’t escape the reality of his situation he shouldn’t have an order of cremation shoved under his nose. What was Betsy thinking making me do this?
What was I thinking when I agreed? “You don’t have to do this.”

From my WIP, Chasing Betsy. Fiction.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

This is My Last Trip to the House of Crazy.

Mom & Betsy
So it's been awhile, and I can't quite get back into the blogging groove so I've decided to post short snippets from Chasing Betsy.

Chasing Betsy has legs, or so I was told by a lovely agent at a recent workshop. She also mentioned punctuation problems. Lots and lots of renegade commas, and ... okay, okay, stop nodding, I promise to take an English for Dummies course, but in the meantime, it's just bits of truth twisted into fiction.

Be brutal, if Rob can't make me cry, neither can you. Big hugs for even looking.

                                               CHASING BETSY


This is my last trip to the house of crazy. I can't bring myself to use the front door, which annoys my grandmother and entertains me. I wouldn't come home but Pops is ill and I need to be with him. Standing alone, in the dark alley behind the house, it hits me. This might be the last time I’ll ever see my grandfather, Pops, the only family member who loves me, who gets me. I wait a minute and then fumble along the fence until my fingers slide over the latch and what feels like a padlock. I’ve been locked out. Well crap, what did I expect? Four years is a long time.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fishing Buddies

Rob has a new friend, a shadow of sorts, and an avid fisherman. He's eleven.

I'm dressed, but when I hear the knock on the door, I shrug a bra on under my t-shirt. "Hi J.T."

"Is your husband home?"

"Sure." I hide a smile and open the door. "Come on in."

When I head to the back room to write, the conversation swirls around sharks and night fishing, when I emerge, two hours later, J.T. is jumping up and down and reading off stats from the stock market. 

Rob grins at me and turns to J.T. "Okay, what's the average?"

J.T. adds up the prices and rattles off a figure. "I'm right aren't I?"

"You sure are." Rob says and the two hi five. 

I'm a little surprised the talk has turned from sharks to the stock market but what do I know about little boys? Nothing. But when the two decide to clean up the pond, I know pizza is in order. I return just as they finish working. Hawaiian for Rob and I, cheese for J.T.

"Got any Thousand Island dressing?"

"I'm sure I do." Amused, I stick my head in the fridge. Never mind that Rob and J.T aren't the same age or part of the same family. The two are soul brothers.  J.T. shadows Rob for five hours, and turns down a offer to fish with his best friend, in the hopes that Rob will take him shark fishing, at night.

Not happening.

He'll have to settle for fishing in the morning, before the afternoon showers, before the lightning storms. It's one thing to entertain someone else's kid, it's quite another to turn him into a crispy critter.

"So what are you doing later?' He asks when I walk him towards the front door.

"Maybe a bike ride." I say.

"You ride bikes?' He's perplexed that old folks like us can still wheel around the neighborhood, but he's too polite to say what he thinks. "So," he shakes his head and looks up at Rob, "I'll wake up early and see you at seven?"

"If the weather's good." Says Rob waving him off.

"Cute kid."

Rob laughs. "He's not shy. I just hope he doesn't sleep through his alarm again."

"I bet you weren't shy either." I say, picturing Rob as a pre-teen.

He cocks his head. "You know, I remember a friend's mom asking what I'd like to drink with lunch and when I said tonic she gave me a funny look, smiled and said. 'I'll bet your parent's drink vodka tonics or maybe gin and tonics.' Thinking about it now, I realize they must have had a good laugh."

Kids, no matter how old they are, are pretty damned wonderful.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lock and Launch

"Morning Honey." Rob ambles into my room and yawns.

My heart lifts at the sight of him then slams to my gut as the adjoining door snicks shut behind him. "Dammit Rob,"I yelp, "you just locked yourself out of your room."

He gives me a sleepy perplexed look. "I did?"

"Yeah." We've got an early flight to work and I'm not happy but I rein in the attitude and shoot a look at the clock. "Call the front desk and get someone to open the door."

"Okay," he says as he sets down the phone, "they'll be right up." Unfazed, he wraps a towel around his naked glory and saunters into the hallway. The airport van leaves in twenty minutes. Annoyed, I roll my eyes and yank a brush through my hair. Two seconds later Rob is back. "Well I have a key card but I forgot I set the security bar."

"Jesus Rob," I moan, "what if you pay attention?"

"Don't worry," he grins, "They're sending a guy to pop the lock."

Yeah and how long will that take? I snatch up my uniform pants, yank them over my hips and thrust a thumb at my bathroom. "Take a shower Rob or you'll miss pick-up."

"Good idea. You'll answer the door when they knock?"

My jaw hurts. I like mornings but on my own terms so I wake early, drink coffee, stretch out the kinks and enjoy the silence. I'm not happy.

Rob clicks on CNN and my shoulders hitch a little higher. "Now Rob."

He disappears into the bathroom so I click off the TV and pour water into the coffee maker but I can't get the foil wrapper off the filter. I give up and slam the rest of my belongings into the roller-board. I'm at the door when the shower shuts off. "I'll let the crew know you might miss the van Rob, just do your best."

I blow past a man bearing bolt cutters and breeze into the hotel lobby moments before pick-up. I'm telling the story to our fellow flight attendant when a hand settles on my shoulder. "Now this is a funny conversation to overhear."

"Yep," I look at our new Captain, introduce myself and roll my eyes, "my husband."

"It was funnier when I didn't know that."

I grin.

Our luggage is already loaded when Rob trots up to the crowded van so he hauls his roller-board in and plants it on his lap. "Yeah," he says, "lets go to work." He hands me a bit of cut metal and laughs. "I'm a gold member so they didn't charge me for the lock."

As the van stops at another hotel I eye the available space. "Better put your bag in the back Rob so the next guy can find a seat."

He hauls his bag to the front door but it doesn't open.

"Locked out again." Shouts the Captain. The van fills with laughter as Rob returns to his seat and wedges the roller-board between his knees.

Houston, I sigh, we have a launch.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Eggs and Exes

Humidity sinks down the back of my neck and presses my shirt to damp skin but some things are more important than air conditioning, like making nice with my mother-in-law.

Which is a trial.

So I take a shallow breath of fetid air, toss two pair of navy blue polyester pull-on pants into the red texas clay at the side of the clapboard house, and grind my heel into the fabric.

"Ya got the laundry?" Asks Bubba shuffling onto the porch and scratching his belly. "Mom's making dinner."

Oh Joy. I remember the last time Anne cooked. Canned chili, which is fine, but I watched her add eggs and lard to the pot and my tolerance for new and interesting food shot to an all-time low. I wonder if I should pack an orange.

"Hey," Bubba watches me lift the pants and shake the excess dirt into the drive. "You don't like Mom's gift?"

I study the sturdy elastic waist and shake my head. "Not exactly."

He snickers and I laugh. For six months we've gone to Anne's house for Sunday dinner and for six months I've tried to wear out the knees of these pants but polyester is impervious to damage. Annoyed, I toss them into the laundry and load the basket into the back seat of the pickup. "I'll drive."

"I don't think so," Bubba grips the keys and climbs into the cab, "you'll ruin the tires running over curbs."

I set my chin and ignore him, which is easy, because blue bonnets, poppies and buffalo grass undulate along the side of the road. Sun blazing across my cheeks I prop bare feet on the dash and drift asleep.

Before Bubba can set the break, Anne lowers the tail gate and hauls out the laundry. "Like the pants?"

"They're perfect for work." I say, but instead of calling me on a lie she grins and jerks her chin toward the house. "We've been paintin. Think you can climb up there and finish that bit below the eaves?"

I peer at the house. An eight by four is suspended across a pair of ten penny nails. "Not exactly." I say.

"Well, maybe after dinner. We're having chili." She plants her hands on ample hips and studies me out of the corner of her eye. "Hungry?"

Well shit. I study my options and decide death is preferable to dinner. "Tell you what," I say, "You save me an extra yeast roll and some of the beef steak tomatoes from the garden and I'll finish painting."

"Well that's nice." She says but when she turns to Bubba, and gives him a broad wink, I know I've been played.

Damned Texans.