Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Standing in Line

1. The kitchen section of the department store was full of men that mid-December afternoon. One father and his two teenage boys wandered aimlessly. The father scolded the boys for arguing and pushing, “I told you boys to stop that! Let’s hurry up and find something for you mother and get the heck out of here!” The two boys continued to jostle each other, yell at each other and tease each other with utensils. One boy had a whisk in his hand and kept following the other boy and poking him with it. After a few minutes, the second boy could take the abuse no longer. A few aisles over, I, and for that matter the entire kitchen section, heard him yell out, “G*d da**it! Quit sticking that whisk up my *ss or I’m gonna take you out with this rolling pin-right here, right now!”

When I went to pay, the two boys and their father were behind me in line. The father spoke to the boys. “Now when we get home I want you both to wrap this stuff for your mother. And I want you to wash that whisk before you wrap it….your mother doesn’t ever need to know where that whisk has been.”

The two boys shrugged their shoulders. One finally spoke, “Well….I guess it is Christmas.”

2. I don’t know how many people were standing in line at the 12 checkout stands, but it was a lot. I don’t know how fast those lines were moving, but it was somewhere in the neighborhood of pretty darn slow. I don’t know how many cheerful people were waiting in those lines with me, but it seemed like zero.

I wanted to make the neighbors some cookies and I needed some butter. I stood in line surrounded by the cranky, huffing people, holding my 3 boxes of butter.

One man a few people back yelled, “Hey buddy, can’t you count! You got 16 items buddy! That’s more than 15! 16….more than 15……”

The woman behind me muttered to her friend as they perused a tabloid, “Those crazy Kardashians. I’ll tell you what those girls need: Jesus. Those girls need a little Jesus in their lives.”

The woman behind her kept checking her watch and sighing loudly. “I hate this time of year. It just brings out the stupid in people. How hard can it be to make this line move a little faster?” She then gasped and turned to the Jesus woman. “Dangit! I forgot the Velveeta for my dip. Could you hold my spot while I run and get some?”

The Jesus woman turned white and stammered. “Um…..I don’t know….that’s probably not going to work, honey.”

The Velveeta woman turned red and seethed. “For God’s sake, you’ve got to be kidding me.” She stayed in line.

When it was my turn to check out I plopped my butter on the moving belt. The angry counting man was still angry. The Jesus woman was still a bit pale. The Velveeta woman was still cheeseless. Things were a bit tense in that checkout line.

The checker scanned my butter. I told her I needed butter for my neighbor’s cookies. We both looked up at the little screen to see the total.

She looked at me to see if I had noticed what was on the screen. I looked at her to see if she noticed what was on the screen. We both started laughing. The Jesus woman wondered what was so funny and leaned forward to see the screen. She started laughing. The counting man in line a few people back yelled out, “Hey, what’s going on up there?” The checker turned the screen for those in line to see. Then the Velveeta lady and the counting man were then laughing as well.

The screen read:


As the checker handed me my receipt she said, “I sure hope your neighbors enjoy their “BUTT” cookies!” And all the relaxed, smiling people in line laughed at me and my butter as we left the store.

3. “Honey, quit beating that man with your naked baby!”

The 4 year old was standing in line at the UPS store with her dad holding a naked, plastic baby doll by the leg.

“But, why daddy? My baby is mad at that man. She wants him to move so we can be first in line. This line is too slow daddy.”

The elderly man who had been beaten by the baby turned around and kneeled down to speak to the little girl. “Your baby must be very cold.” he said. “Maybe you should wrap her up in your coat so that she stays warm. She seems like such a nice baby.”

The 4 year old turned to her daddy. “It’s ok daddy. My baby said that man can be first in line. She found out he was nice.”

The dad smiled at the girl and patted her on the shoulder. The girl snuggled the naked baby inside her coat. When she was done she looked at the line of people behind her and then up to her dad. “Hey,daddy. That man was nice to me and my baby. There’s a lot of people waiting daddy. Maybe, daddy…maybe ALL of these people are nice.”

Check This Out

Soft Ginger Cookies (Neighbor’s Cookies)

¾ cup butter or shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
¼ cup molasses
2 ¼ cups flour
1 tsp soda
2 tsp ginger
¾ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
A shake or two of nutmeg

Beat butter for 30 seconds. Gradually add in sugar. Add egg and molasses and beat well. In separate bowl, stir dry ingredients together. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, mixing well. Shape into balls. (Roughly 1 ½ inches round). Roll in granulated sugar. Put on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let stand 2 minutes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Urgent Care

The nice lady sitting up straight behind the desk was tapping away on her keyboard and looking at her monitor. I sat slumped on the other side of the desk, the boy beside me, waiting to pay yet another co-pay. The nice lady paused and muttered, “Hmmm…..” Then she looked up and half questioned me, “Well, I see that this is the boy’s first time visiting Urgent Care?”

I’m pretty sure the laughter that came out of me disturbed the walking pneumonia lady 3 seats away.

“Oh no…..there’s some mistake. The boy has been here many times before. He’s a regular customer.”

I was pleased to see that my favorite chair was available in the Urgent Care waiting room that Thursday morning. I had a good view of Regis and Kelly on the TV. I wasn’t near the drafty, constantly in motion, door. On my right hand side was the table that always had the best real magazines. The in-house promotional medical magazines were always kept on the table across the room, near the drafty door. I picked up a copy of a 2008 Redbook and tried to decide if I would read the “Easter Fun for All Ages!” article or take the quiz on page 142 that would tell me if my marriage was “Heavenly Blissful, Rock Solid, Truthfully Terrible or Ignorantly Even”.

The pneumonia lady made it hard to concentrate on my reading. She kept hacking and quietly moaning. The impatient father in the corner kept looking at his watch and sighing. He kept telling 4 year old Kayla that someone would look at her ear soon, very soon. The teenager in the football jersey sitting across from me couldn’t fit his foot in a shoe. His foot was purple and swollen. He texted the entire time he waited. His mom absentmindedly kept running her hand along his shoulders and asking, “How does it feel now, sweetie?” The middle aged woman in the corner sat hunched and held her back with one hand. She told her husband, “That is the LAST time I am ever going to do THAT! Mark my words!”

We all turned our heads as the hairy, sweaty workman in overalls walked in. He held his right arm funny and walked a bit sideways. In his left hand he held a brown paper bag. He walked up to the nice lady behind the desk. “May I help you?” she asked him.

“Yeah. I was working over at the Burger King installing their new playground. I slipped and fell and impaled myself on this. I ripped it out of myself and put it in this bag. I figured the doctor would need to see it.”

He opened the bag to show the nice lady. The nice lady’s eyes grew wide. “Oh dear. Wow! Now THAT must not have felt very good at all. How unusual. I’ve never seen anything like that.”

The entire waiting room craned their heads toward the man in overalls, desperate to see what was in that paper bag.

At that moment a nurse came into the waiting room and called the boy’s name.

I was pleased to see that the boy and I were ushered to my favorite Urgent Care room. It had walls, not curtains. It had the most interesting paintings on the walls, not just pictures of kittens and strawberries. It also had the cool inner ear and nose diagram poster. The room next door only had the proper coughing and sneezing technique poster. And just as I had hoped, the 2009 College Basketball Preview Sports Illustrated was hidden behind the Spanish language influenza flyers in the magazine rack-right where I had left it last time.

When the doctor finally arrived, she exclaimed to the boy, “I have never, ever heard of such a thing. I can honestly say that you are my first tetherball injury. I had no idea it was such a violent game!”

The doctor turned to me. “Do you know the way to the X-ray room?" Which really meant, "The boy will need many, many, very expensive X-rays that will give him cancer when he is 47.”

I said to the doctor, “Yes, I know the way.” Which really meant, “Are you kidding me? Not only do I know how to get to X-ray, I also know two shortcuts in those back “restricted” hallways. And this time I’m gonna beat my record of 1 minute and 23 seconds. Last time the boy and I got behind that lady with the walker and we lost 12 precious seconds.”

While waiting for the boy to be X-rayed, I visited the secret bathroom only the employees knew about. It still had that fabulous vanilla melon scented soap. I chatted with Serena M. who checked the boy in. She’d finally had her baby. His pictures were adorable. And I flipped through the January 2010 People magazine. They always had the most current magazines in X-ray.

The boy left Urgent Care with his arm in a sling and his lower arm in a brace, instructions to take a lot of pills and a sheet of physical therapy exercises. On our way out, we walked past Ray, the security guard. “Oh dear, BOY! You can’t possibly be back here again? Weren’t you just here a month or two ago…or was that your sister? Please tell me what you have done to yourself this time.”

The boy told his story.

“I was playing tetherball at recess with a tall kid. He swung the ball really high above my head. I jumped up to hit the ball. I missed the ball and instead the rope wrapped quickly, all around my arm, really tight. When I came down, I found my entire body dangling, held up by the rope that was wound around my arm. I have a bunch of super nasty red marks and a ton of ugly bruising. My forearm is sprained and the doctor said I tore the rotator cuff in my shoulder. It all hurts a lot.”

Security guard Ray shook his head in disbelief. He patted the boy on the head and told me to say hello to the teenager. “It’s been a few months since she’s been in, hasn’t it? She's probably due.”

Check This OutA co-worker of the husband shared this interesting homemade cookie a few days ago. He sandwiched peanut butter between two Ritz crackers and covered the whole thing in chocolate. I haven’t had time to look up a recipe, but you definitely should. It was reeaallly gooood.