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Day #327: Age is Relative

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The Story:

Why I’m actually an 80-year-old trapped in a 30-year-old body:

  1. The highlight of my day today was going to the grocery store.
  2. I needed my afternoon nap before feeling ‘up to’ going out of the house.
  3. When it rains all day my knees hurt.
  4. I price check my hair dye at every retailer for days before actually buying it.
  5. My preferred drink is ginger ale.
  6. If given the choice, I would cross-stitch all day, or until my fingers bled- whichever came first.
  7. I was worn out after carrying a bag of ornamental rocks from my car to the house.
  8. I insist on being ‘escorted’ when crossing the street.
  9. I get tired around 8:30pm just about every night.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Ever have one of those days where you feel decades older than your biological age? Today was one of those days for me, for one reason or another. It might have been the rainy, gloomy weather, it might have been the time change and losing an hour or it could be that I started up a new pattern for my cross-stitching but whatever the reason, I totally feel like I’m about fifty years older than I really am. I’m ok with that though…

Love & Squirrels.

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Day #297: Save It For A Rainy Day

The Story:

“Uh, guys?”

The group of ten or so used car salesmen who were huddled around the receptionist’s desk failed to hear their newest salesman as they swapped war stories and drank tepid coffee from sad 8oz Styrofoam cups usually reserved for customers. Thanks to the torrential downpour that had swept through in the last hour, it was doubtful there would be any more customers to offer the cheap brew to for the rest of the evening. People generally don’t like to shop for a car in the pouring rain.

“Hey everyone, it’s Jessica Simpson!” the new guy, Darnell, shouted, trying a new tactic to get the group’s attention.

Darnell took the abrupt silence in the expansive showroom as confirmation his tactic had worked. With every senior salesman’s attention now directed wholly on Darnell, a sudden reticence seeped into his veins as if the rain from outside had somehow found its way from the beveled roof into his bloodstream. “Um, ha that was a joke guys… just trying to get your attention because-“ he had lost them again, the minute he intimated Jessica Simpson was not in fact on the property the entire group returned to their interrupted conversations and coffee, turning their back on Darnell in an almost synchronized movement.

Jessica Simpson... what every used car salesman dreams of... apparently

He would have to try something else- something a little more dramatic. An idea popped into his head and without giving his common sense time to reject it, Darnell sprang into action. Pushing his way through, Darnell squeezed in past two of the salesmen at the back of the circle and jumped up onto the receptionist desk. Now, standing several feet over everyone Darnell once again attempted to command the room. “Guys, I’ve been trying to tell you, there are customers out on the lot… they’ve been circling the beamers and look serious. Someone needs to get out there!”

Ten pairs of eyes immediately swung from Darnell and strained to see beyond the rain-smeared glass of the showroom out into the lot. Sure enough, a middle-aged couple was peering into one of the 700 class BMWs, seeming oblivious to the weather and their completely drenched condition. “Well, I’ll be damned…” one of older salesman cursed, Darnell couldn’t tell who. Assuming his duty was done, it was after all, the senior sales team members’ responsibility to decide who would serve the next customer, Darnell hopped down from the desk and was about to return to his desk where he had been instructed to review the sales training manual when a hand on his shoulder stopped him from taking more than few steps.

Darnell had only made it to page 10...

“And where do you think you’re going?” a snarky voice said from over Darnell’s shoulder. Bruce Daxter, a senior sales team member and a man who epitomized the ‘used car salesman’ persona smiled crookedly at Darnell and chewed absently on the toothpick desperately trying to escape in the corner of his mouth.

“Well, Mr. Daxter, sir, I was just going back to my desk…” Darnell began to answer before Bruce held up his catchers’ mitt of a hand to stop him.

“Oh no son, you’re up,” Bruce said in his syrupy voice and pointed past the group of snickering salesmen to the couple in the rain who were still looking at the 700 class.

“But, I thought the senior team was up, I mean… you really think I’m ready?” Darnell felt like an icy hand had seized the back of his neck long enough for a phantom punt-kicker to take a shot at his bowels. Shaking off the panic as best he could, Darnell swelled with a quiet pride, the team obviously thought he was ready. Nodding to Bruce, Darnell cocked his chin in the air and strode towards the glass doors that led to the lot. Pushing the doors open with a shove, he snapped open the large umbrella he had thought to grab at the last minute and rushed into the downpour.

Watching the rookie run into the rain towards the couple, Bruce rejoined his colleagues and getting a few pats on the back laughingly said, “Did he really think one of the senior sales members was going to go out in that?!?  What a joke!” The group all shared a long laugh at Darnell’s expense before returning to their previous conversation.

The minute Darnell’s shoes hit the flooded pavement he knew he had been tricked. The guys probably set him up from the start, paying some buddies of theirs to walk around in the rain so they could get a kick out of watching the new guy get drenched for no reason. Arriving at the side of the couple, Darnell attempted pleasantries and held out the umbrella so the two ‘customers’ could benefit from its temporary shelter. “So…” Darnell almost had to shout over the sporadic drumbeat of the rain on the umbrella overhead, “…what brings you folks out on this beautiful day? I’m guessing it’s our killer deals, right? Just couldn’t wait another day, am I right?” he felt completely ridiculous but refused to let these people see that.

“Well hello there!” the gentleman said, managing to come off dignified despite the desperate condition of his clothes and sodden hair, “I don’t believe I know you, son. Are you new here?” Darnell explained that it was still his first week, but despite his apparently lack of experience he was sure he could get the gentleman the best possible deal on the classy 700 he noticed the pair were still hovering over. The gentleman allowed Darnell to go through his entire pitch, from start to finish and appeared completely enraptured with each word.

"...and um, it's shiny! Super shiny! And uh... fast... did I mention it was shiny?

When Darnell realized these folks might actually be legitimate customers, he offered to escort them inside out of the rain to continue the conversation, “After all, I have the specs of this model at the click of a mouse if we need more visual assistance” he assured them as he gestured towards the warm light of the showroom. Taking him up on the offer, the three of them picked their way carefully through the lake-sized puddles and finally into the warm and dry showroom. Leaving the two at the door for a second to return the umbrella to its stand, Darnell returned to find the entire sales staff staring gaped-mouthed at the two visitors. Confused by the lack in manners of his co-workers, Darnell quickly interceded and offered them both some coffee.

“Thank you, son. That won’t be necessary. I don’t believe I’ve properly introduced myself. I’m Earl Beckett… as in Beckett Autos, and this is my lovely wife Dorothy Beckett. I must tell you, Darnell. We are both very much impressed with you. Running into the rain, just to assist us when every other member of the sales team huddled comfortably inside, no doubt laughing at what they would consider your green enthusiasm. We were having a bit of fun, I’m afraid, you see Dorothy and I get a kick from going to each of our dealerships when it rains to see who among our ‘valued’ sales team is willing to soil their suit for the sake of the sale. Sometimes no one comes, and we leave unhelped, but on a few rare occasions someone like you shows the real grit I’m looking for from my staff. When that happens, I like to reward that person, just like I’m going to reward you tonight, Darnell,” pausing to pull something from his jacket pocket, Earl Beckett the most successful used cars dealership owners in the country took the item he had removed and handed it to Darnell.

“Go ahead son, open it,” Earl urged after a few seconds, seeing the young man was going to need a bit of encouragement.

Darnell tried to breathe normally as he peeled the somewhat damp slip of rectangular paper open. What he saw immediately eradicated any ability for normal inhalation. “Mr. Beckett, sir… I don’t… I don’t know what to say!” Darnell almost whispered.

“Well you can start out by telling me your last name Darnell,” Earl Beckett said good-naturedly as he took out a pen and taking the check for $50,000 waited with a smile for Darnell to give him his full name.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Well that went on a lot longer than I anticipated. This story sprung from a ½ second observation as we drove to our diner for dinner this evening. Staring out the car widow through the rain I noticed that beyond the empty Lexus car lot, ten or so suited salesmen were all huddled around one reception area. The idea popped into my head to ‘punk’ one of them by showing up in the rain to look at a car-therefore extracting at least one of them from the comfy digs of the showroom into the rainy misery beyond. Yeah, somehow I got over 1300 words from that…

Love & Squirrels.

 

 

Day #182: Countdown to Destruction… Sooner or Later

The Story:

The threat was less than 12 hours away and the professionals had spent all day and night at their posts. With shirt sleeves pushed up to the elbow they consulted the brightly colored charts and graphs like possessed mediums hovering over swirling crystal balls. Vowing to neither sleep nor eat until the danger had passed, or at the very least their public was adequately prepared, these brave souls gobbled up data as it poured in and regurgitated the information in manageable bits to their hungry followers.

Less than six hours now, and the threat still loomed. Dedication had been supplanted by a sort of mania as the professionals took their warning to the streets, all but shouting that the inevitable was coming and those left unprepared would only have themselves to blame. Like the most frantic of doomsday preachers on their street corner soapbox, they began slinging fear-infused statistics and percentages at the public, all but pleading with them to take shelter now before it was too late.

The predicted hour of impact. The community waited with anticipation for the onslaught they knew was mere minutes away. Speaking in hushed tones, they repeated the statistics they heard and compared war stories from years past. Would this be the same? Would they survive? Were their homes and businesses adequately buffered?

Two hours after the predicted hour of impact, anticipation had grown itchy. Surely the delayed arrival was an indication of the monster allowing itself time to stew and develop into a more concentrated cocktail of destruction.

Five hours after the predicted hour of impact and the population had lost interest. Going back to their daily lives of monotony, there was a definitive air of disappointment swirling through office parks and school yards. They had been promised catastrophe and were secretly saddened to have been stood up after so much build up. The professionals were the last to give up, pledging to ‘keep an eye’ on any developments should the populous need to be herded inside at a moment’s notice.

Eight hours and into the evening, the citizens knew they had been had, once again by over-eager ‘professionals’, it’s not even a real science, they would say. Sarcasm and mockery soon filled the void left by the disaster that never arrived. Optimists laughed at the professional’s eagerness to ‘create something out of nothing’, cynics chortled at what they knew was just another attempt to scare the people into a false frenzy as a way to boost attention and ratings.

12 hours and still- no disaster, no monster, no destruction. But we did get a few sprinkles here and there, so… there’s that.

Still front page news... really?

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Don’t you love how amped up meteorologists get whenever there is even the slightest chance of inclement weather? Down here in good ol Flo-rid-a they practically wet themselves anytime the radar produces the conditions to slap the state with a little bit o rain or, gasp wind! 100% chance of rain! Flood Watch! Sandbag instructions and materials at your local shelters! Dangerous winds expected! Stay indoors! AHHHHH!!!!! They get so excited, it’s kinda funny (especially when they vow not to leave their weather stations until the threat has passed, like really, it’s ok if you go home and shower dude, we won’t judge). I know our brothers and sisters down south are getting some nasty stuff, but up here in the metro, we, for the most part got a whole bunch of nothing. Ok, I take that back, it did sprinkle a little about an hour ago, either that or the neighbor’s sprinkler system is acting up again… hard to tell.

Love & Squirrels.

P.S. Tomorrow marks the 6 month milestone of this crazy journey, so I would just like to say a big MUCHOS GRACIAS! to everyone who’s read even one of my silly stories. Your comments and support mean so much to me and have honestly propelled me through each day (especially the ones where I really didn’t feel like writing). So, how do YOU think I should celebrate? Let me know in a comment, please and thanks. 

Day #160: Colette in Crisis

The Story:

Cramped into the tiny space, Colette adjusted her aching knees, trying futilely to find a comfortable position. How long had she been in here? Time seemed to stretch out and away from her like ripples of heat rising off blacktop when viewed from a distance. She knew one thing though, if she didn’t get out of here and soon, she was going to lose it.

As if being imprisoned in this metal deathtrap wasn’t enough she was surrounded by thousands of people, going about their business of enjoying their freedom, completely ignorant to her plight. Colette had tried to call out to them, signal them somehow to solicit help but all her efforts were short-lived and complete failures. No one looked, no one saw. They just zoomed past, completely absorbed in whatever errand forced them on towards innumerable destinations. Colette tried to shut it all out, pretend that she was under the covers in her bed, safe and warm with cold feet being the worst of her troubles. She could almost feel the soft pile of her worn cotton sheets against her cheek before a back spasm catapulted her back to her desperate reality. At least she was able to maneuver her arm enough to rub the arch of her back and somewhat alleviate the pain- thank God for small miracles, and all that.

The metal box that was her prison was noticeably growing hotter with each passing minute- or hour; the two were interchangeable at this point. Having stripped down to just her cotton camisole, Colette leaned closer to the vent that allowed in a little air from the outside world. Swallowing the urge to spew at the stink of putrid air that greeted her nostrils, Colette steeled herself and after a few seconds was able to take in the cooler air, the smell of rot and wet city was almost pleasant now.

Suddenly, Colette was keenly aware that she was no longer alone. Had her captor returned? The thought sat on her brain like an olive skewered to the top of a muffuletta. If they had come back, would she be released or would her tortured be continued in some new unimaginable fashion? The possibilities instantly overloaded her already fatigued mind. A shadow by the door, the handle began to move… Colette could only wait.

“Hey honey, sorry that took so long. For some reason they didn’t have the order I phoned in, so I had to reorder everything, and of course there was a line…anyway, let’s get outta here so we can chow down on some barbeque, what do you say?” Colette’s mother smiled at her as she climbed into the driver’s seat after depositing their takeout in the backseat. After abandoning her in this Volvo-shaped tomb for at least 20 minutes, her mother’s ‘cheery’ demeanor paired with the drool-inducing smell of barbeque that now filled the car was obviously some kind of ploy to win the girl’s trust. Colette just shrugged- best to remain noncommittal in these delicate situations. No doubt her diabolical birth-giver intended to regain Colette’s trust only to dash it against the pavement later in another subversive fashion not slightly removed from outright torture. Cruel woman.

Driving out of the restaurant’s parking lot and into traffic, Colette’s mother whistled along to some vile tune being disgorged from the Volvo’s speakers allowing Colette time to reflect on what horrors might await her once they arrived home, green beans from the can? cleaning out Sniggles’ litter box? emptying the dishwasher?!? Colette shuddered at the possibilities.

Stop being so dramatic, you'll stunt your growth.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      A curse upon cars, the lot of them! After spending my entire evening inside one, trapped as it were- I can honestly say that if I were picked up in my sleep tonight and moved to a locale where there were no cars, or at least fewer of the dumb things I would hug my abductor and never leave such a wondrous place.  Ok, I’m being a little dramatic, but after riding/driving around on Orlando streets during a four-hour thunderstorm, surrounded by the soft-headed sock-puppets that are Orlando drivers I was so wound up by the time I got home I felt like I had just endured some kind of trauma. While I wasn’t trapped and actually elected to ride along/drive tonight, being stuck in a car from 5pm to 9pm and only going approximately 10 miles in any direction took its toll. The story is how I imagine a very dramatic pre-teen cataloging her ‘imprisonment’ in such a situation as her mother runs some errands about town.

That's a great idea... if you're suicidal (Orlando drivers can barely spell bicycle, let alone notice one as they careen down the road 20 miles over the speed limit... just sayin)

TWO:    One of our stops was at 4Rivers Smokehouse in Winter Park, have to keep mama happy while she’s riding shotgun- a bottle of Cheerwine and some fried pickles are definitely one way to do that. Nom… nom… nom… nom….burp!

Love & Squirrels.

Day #104: Make It Rain

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The Story:

Wendy had a dress; a lovely white dress. Wendy had a lovely white dress… that could make it rain. The first few times she wore the beautiful garment she thought the sudden downpour was just an unhappy coincidence. After the fifth time getting soaked to the bone, she decided to put her theory to the test. Wendy wore her white dress every day for two weeks. And every day for two weeks the skies would open and the rain would fall, only ceasing when Wendy arrived home and removed the dress.

This strange phenomenon was a most unwelcome one for Wendy and placed her in quite the pickle, as I shall explain.

You see, Wendy was preparing to devote her life to the church, due to receive her veil in just six months’ time. Being a chaste and modest creature, Wendy was mortified to learn (quite a bit after the fact) that each time she wore her lovely white dress which inevitably signaled the heavens to open, Wendy’s dress went from a lovely and girlishly-innocent frock to a clingy and sheer slip that was little more than an advertisement of Wendy’s undergarments. Finally noticing this shocking transformation Wendy tried desperately to cover her exposed knickers (which in Wendy’s case translated to ‘granny panties’) and she ran home she vowed never to wear the abhorrent dress again.

What is everyone looking at? Do I have something in my teeth?

This might have been the end of our story had Wendy but chosen to dispose of the dress instead of toss it into the back of her closet. She might have gone on, happily studying for the nunnery, never to think of her white dress again had she just destroyed the dress. But life is never that easy, is it? Short answer: no, it isn’t.

As it happened, while Wendy was desperately trying to forget her public display of panties, Wendy’s region of the world was experiencing one of the worst droughts in over 100 years. The earth was scorched. Severely dehydrated animals from the wooded areas around the city began to wander into town on scalded paws in a desperate search for water. Brush fires began erupting all over the landscape and citizens were warned to conserve every ounce of water they could. Meteorologists and environmental scientists could only scratch their heads at the alarming lack of precipitation and began looking worriedly at the crystal blue skies in what should have been their rainy season.

All the while, Wendy poured herself into her studies and prayer book, in an attempt to stay preoccupied. After a few weeks of the unbearably hot and dry weather, Wendy stopped leaving her home- everywhere she went there were reminders of the lack of rain. It was on the tip of every tongue, it was in all the headlines, it was a news feed running constantly on the perimeter of Wendy’s life. The growing guilt she tried unsuccessfully to ignore, slowly began to overwhelm her. Knowing she had the power to help but paralyzed by the embarrassment she would have to endure as a result… Wendy chose to ignore the situation entirely.  And so, she plodded on, hoping that rain would come. Knowing it wouldn’t.

The day of her veiling marked the 90th consecutive day without rain. The city was a dusty shadow of its former glistening glory. Every surface and building had a film to it, every citizen she encountered on the way to the church looked sun-bleached and brittle, as if even the moisture in their bodies had dried up. Sweating profusely in her woolen habit, Wendy tried to turn a blind eye, convinced that once she was in her rightful place within the church walls all would be right again.

Arriving at the church, Wendy gasped in horror at what she saw. The once pristine and emerald-green lawns were now brown and dead. The bubbling fountain in tribute to St. Francis was caked in weeks-old dried mud and a large crack had ruptured the sculpture of the peaceful Saint right through his face and torso. The roses, once the pride of the church now were withered sticks with nothing but mean looking thorns to alert observers that they had in fact, been roses once.

The bishop of that holy place hobbled from the cooler shadows to greet the soon-to-be newest member of his flock. Attempting a look of joy and jubilation, he only managed to convey just how frail he was- the skin of his hands felt like sandpaper in Wendy’s. The man was in desperate need of water, and Wendy told him so as meekly as she could manage despite her growing panic at the man’s faltering health. The bishop curved his blistered and cracked lips into a smile and informed Wendy that he was reserving his day’s water ration for her, as a gift.

Tears of outrage and humility sprung to Wendy’s eyes. How could she have been so selfish? How could she have been so prideful to put her own modesty ahead of the well-being of every other life in her city and perhaps, her country?Realizing her decision had already been made; Wendy pressed a kiss to the cheek of the bishop and asked his forgiveness, hoping that in his wisdom he would understand what she now had to do.

Running as fast as she could through the barren streets, Wendy all but crashed through her front door in her haste to do what was required of her. Sprinting to her bedroom closet, Wendy searched feverishly until she found the crumpled ball that was her lovely white dress. Undressing quickly, she threw the dress over her head and zipped up the back. Not even taking the time to put on shoes, Wendy threw her front door open and ran into the street. Casting her head to the heavens and her arms out to her sides, she waited for the deluge she knew would come.

Nothing happened.

Wendy opened one eye and looked at the sky. Not a cloud in sight. Dropping her arms, Wendy felt as if she may collapse in disappointment and frustration. How could this be happening? Now, when she needed it the most and had accepted her fate, the rain refused to come- she couldn’t understand it. Feeling small and helpless, Wendy fell to her knees and wept. But the tears would not come either; she was too dehydrated to even weep.

And then she felt it- a cool sensation on the back of her hand. She stared at the moisture in confusion and checked her eyes to see if she had, in fact, produced a tear. Feeling her bone-dry face, Wendy began to wonder if she had imagined the entire thing when another drop fell on her arm. And then another… and another.

It was raining.

The rain was a quiet cleansing rain, falling only in quantities that allowed the parched earth to soak it in but not be overrun by it. It was the most beautiful thing Wendy had ever seen. Laying down in the street, she began to laugh in complete abandon as her neighbors poured out of their homes and frolicked in the blessed rain. No one cared that her dress was now completely see-through; not even Wendy.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      It never fails. The forecast could be for sunshine all day but if I decide to wear my white pants, then you can almost guarantee that it will rain in Orlando (or wherever I happen to be while wearing said pants). I wore them today, and as you may intuit, it rained… a lot. Oh well, I guess it could be worse, at least I wasn’t wearing a white top… I thought about what it would be like to have a magical rain-inducing garment. Would I sacrifice my own modesty for the betterment of the community if called upon to ‘make it rain’? I’d like to think so. Perhaps it’s time to invest in some nicer undergarments.

Makin it rain...straight up gangsta

Love & Squirrels.