That sinking feeling …

… we both have it, that empty feeling in the pit of your stomach when you’ve just received your current Amazon order and there are no more shipments on the way: no sweet little email telling you your item has shipped, no tracking number, no delivery schedule. You’ve got to admire Jeff Bezos – he’s infiltrated himself into the fabric of society and my fingers are just itching to order something.

Recent orders include: tweezers, wood glue, mascara, Lapsang Souchong tea bags, hangers, calligraphy pens, glue dots, two French press coffee makers in different patterns and a ceramic egg holder – all absolutely essential and all required tomorrow. The two coffee makers mean we can each have the morning coffee we like at the same time and not get the pots confused … only in America! And the list goes on. Today, for the first time, we ordered from Whole Foods. Oh my goodness, our lives will never be the same again. We’ve always loved Whole Foods and used to shop there every Saturday when I was working. Today, all our favorites arrived outside the door before I’d even washed up our breakfast plates.

I know we are being sucked in by the instant gratification that online shopping provides and Cedric says at least three times a week: “My grandfather would not have believed this,” but you gotta hand it to Amazon – they are a Class Act and long may they continue to spread joy and happiness one order confirmation email at a time. And in 100 years, Amazon will be delivering to Mars.

Be kind – it will come back one day

I’ve mentioned before that one of my favorite quotes, which I have on a couple of T-shirts, is: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” Kindness flows in both directions, as we found out recently.
Tell someone in Atlanta that you’re going to renew your driver’s license and it elicits the same look you’d get in England when you tell someone you’re waiting for the gas man … a look of sympathy. It was time for our license renewals and in the U.S. (for my two overseas readers), you must appear in person if you are over the age of 65 to take an eye test. But, we had the best time ever at the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). Seriously! Granted, it’s a sparkly new building, built in the last 10 years or so, which makes for a better environment for customers and employees. The previous one is still known as “the shack” by the DMV employees. We walked in and were greeted by an employee with a big smile; she directed us to the kiosk to get our numbers and we sat down. I didn’t even have time to get out my knitting when my number was called by desk #17, way down at one end. Cedric was called immediately afterwards, to desk #1 – as far as he could be from my desk. I completed my application. The employee was terrific, polite and efficient. When I asked if my picture was OK, she replied, “It looks like you …” which I guess is her standard answer. I then heard peals of laughter and the sounds of a party taking place at the other end of the DMV. Wow, someone is having a good time, I thought … yep, it was Cedric! When he approached desk #1, the employee looked at him and said, “I know you. You were my favorite customer at Ace Hardware more than 10 years ago. You were always so nice to me and I enjoyed serving you.” It was a family reunion. Tia even remembered our dog, Hunnie, who always accompanied Cedric. When I walked over to join them, Tia remembered me, too. The joy was infectious. Other customers and employees joined in and listened to Tia telling stories about Cedric and Hunnie. Everyone was smiling. We were in and out of the DMV in less than 25 minutes. Tia made our day and I think we made hers.
p.s. – ouch, I see it’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog but I’m sure you all want to know the next installment of Cedric’s phone saga … he figured out he can use my Kindle wire to charge his phone, so the flip phone lives to see another day.

Don’t hold your breath …

Cedric has a flip phone. It’s yonks old but still works. The charging cable has disintegrated so off to the phone shop we will go as soon as it needs charging up. Will he upgrade to a fancy model? We’ll see. Right now, he often flips open the lid and swipes up and down and back and forth on the inch-wide screen simulating a smartphone. All bets are off, but I’ll keep you posted.

Spooky, spooky

Big brother is watching you; the walls have ears; laptops can both watch and hear … we had proof today. We’ve all read sad stories where a husband or wife dies and the remaining spouse can’t access accounts, important information or even photos on an iPhone. In one of our favorite movies, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” Judi Dench is on the phone with the cable company and the customer care agent insists on talking to the account holder. “You can’t, he’s dead,” Judi says. It’s funny but actually, it’s not. We are pretty organized with our paperwork but I hadn’t given Cedric a list of my phone and computer passwords, so we sat down with a sheet of paper and I said, “OK, I’m switching off now and I’ll restart and show you how I get into my laptop.” HA HA SAID MY LAPTOP, I’LL SHOW THEM.

The screen invited me to enter my password like it does several times a day when I switch off or leave my laptop. I wrote out my password on the sheet and then typed it in. I got that rude wiggle which indicates it doesn’t like it. Hmmm, I must have typed too fast. I tried again. Another wiggle. I typed a third time really really slowly. More really fast wiggles and an invitation to reset my password. I followed the instructions but when you actually think about a password, it’s almost impossible to remember how many and where you had the numerals and uppercase letters you are forced to include. I finally reset my password and went back to square one. NOTHING … except I’m sure I heard a little giggle in the background. Round and round I went and the password hint reverted to the original – but I’d reset it three times by now with three new hints.

I called Apple. To cut a long story short, and two techies and 90 minutes later, I had a new password. The senior techie was impressed that I was in the middle of showing my husband how to access everything on a “just in case basis” but he couldn’t understand why my laptop had gone rogue at that exact moment. But don’t try and convince me my laptop wasn’t listening to our conversation.

Not all sneezes are equal

I took Savannah out for her evening perambulation. There’s a lovely walking path that meanders nowhere … it just stops at the top of the rise and you can look down the valley and up the other side. I saw a deer in the valley – meh, I’ve seen them on the path much nearer and that’s way more scary. On the way back, I went to the mail room. The mail for the 524 apartments goes to a central mail room where we have a box. The mail room is on one side of the central square and the building in which we live is on another side. It’s a large square with huge oak trees in the middle and a fountain – just want to give you a sense of scale. We are talking a LONG way from the mail room door and our apartment. Cedric was sitting on the balcony – the 4th floor balcony. So we are talking vertical distance as well as horizontal here.

I came out of the mail room and heard a gigantic explosion. I immediately recognized it. It was followed by another, and then one more. I took my phone out of my pocket and dialed Cedric. When he answered, I said, “Bless you, bless you, bless you!”

Yes, I recognized his sneeze. It’s a unique sneeze. The intake of breath is equally as loud as the exhalation. I’ve never heard anyone sneeze quite so loud in any country. In fact, long ago when we were living in London, we used to go to Holland Park regularly. It was only a five-minute walk from where we lived and Londoners do love their parks. It’s a tradition to buy an ice cream in the park and sit on a bench and quickly lick the soft serve before it drips all over your knees. The benches round the central flower bed were packed with Londoners soaking up the sun. And the pigeons were strutting around and enjoying the ice cream dripping on the ground and squabbling over bits of cone. Suddenly, Cedric inhaled and I knew what was coming: one of his enormous sneezes. Every pigeon squawked and alighted into the air. When everyone realized what had disturbed London pigeons that are used to noisy London traffic and crowds, the place erupted in laughter. That’s when I knew Cedric had a sneeze like no other.


The elevator doors opened to reveal my husband in a passionate embrace with a gorgeous blonde. And they didn’t even release each other when I started whooping – shame on them! Cedric had gone up ahead of me while I parked my Jeep. He was in the elevator lobby when his favorite blonde gal came out of her apartment. Tammy is gorgeous, there’s no getting away from it. And she has such an amazing personality that everyone loves her. She takes care of her special-needs son, works full-time and has a kind word to say to everyone. But the hugs she dispenses to my husband are bigger and more expansive than to anyone else – and I’m delighted. It’s a mutual admiration society – they gaze at each other with love and she makes him feel special. She is dating a new beau and Cedric teases her endlessly. Today, he asked her when the wedding would be – she smiled and said, “Soon, I hope. And you will walk me down the aisle.” And you know what, he will – and with honor.

Often, we are surrounded by angels – some are blonde and gorgeous. Heaven will be a sight for sore eyes.

More than the sum of its parts

We’ve all done it – forgotten to remove the Kleenex, or other brand of paper tissue, (I use Puffs myself) from a pocket or sleeve and into the washing machine it goes. Out of the machine come shreds, more shreds and even more shreds. If you could piece them together, you’d have a bedsheet-size Kleenex quilt. How does this happen? And is it just me being dramatic? I’ve read about school projects that study whether Kansas is in fact as flat as a pancake, or if the five-second rule applies scientifically. Could someone direct scholarly attention to measuring the surface area of a washed and dried Kleenex compared to one that comes out of the box. I’d just like to know. Meanwhile, I’m putting a huge sign above the washing machine to remind me to check every pocket every time.