Gatsby in a pandemic

When the pandemic is over, I’m just going to warn you: I’m going to be dressed up pretty fancy. And not just, like, the first day after. At the rate I’m going, I should have a solid six months’ worth of jazzy outfits ready to head out on the town whether I’m in them or not.

Why so? For some reason, I’ve started shopping for clothes.

To be clear, I have absolutely nowhere to go, unless you consider heading down to the basement an outing. But I’m shopping nonetheless. And, considering I’m a party of one, I’m having an incredible time.

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The new value of things

Yesterday, I assigned myself the job of washing the floors by hand. It’s something I’ve done about twice in my life, always telling myself I should do it, but then opting instead for my handy-dandy Swiffer. But yesterday, I decided, no, I was going to do things right, so poured Murphy’s Oil Soap into a bucket, strapped on some knee pads and got to work. Soon, my job had graduated to wiping down floor boards and, eventually, it ended only because I ran out of Murphy’s Oil Soap.

I haven’t been social distancing for so long that I think this story is overly interesting, except that it does reflect a pattern in my life that has only surfaced since we’ve found ourselves in a global pandemic.

Being at home all the time has made me want to take extra-special care of our house and just about everything in it.

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Time for May-O! May-yay-yay-yay-O!

“I eat so much mayonnaise they were going to send me to the Mayo Clinic.” — Tom Robbins

Goal: To conduct a highly scientific taste test involving three different brands of mayonnaise, including Hellmann’s, Duke’s and Kewpie. Miracle Whip will not be considered since, by its own admission, Miracle Whip is a mayo combined with “tangy dressing.” Also, Miracle Whip is terrible.

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Apology to the king of condiments

Dear Ketchup,

Well, let’s just be frank (but not with beans). I owe you an apology, and that is the reason why I’m writing. I have taken you badly for granted. I’m not proud of it and, simply, I have no excuse.

Except, I guess I actually do have a few. Let me tell you things from my perspective.

In the condiment world, I considered you the Taylor Swift of sauces: always there whether we wanted you to be or not, sweet but not very deep, OK for a cookout, but not for a dinner party. I even resented the small amount of work you required. When you came in a glass bottle, your reluctance annoyed me, and it didn’t take me long before I was stabbing a knife in there insisting you come out. Now that you come in plastic, you still require shaking and, I’ll be honest, I’m a little afraid of your watery bit ruining my bun.

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Our newspaper, our mirror

Over the past few months, I’ve had the honor of having this column picked up by the newspaper here in Somerset.

While this has been a thrill in and of itself, it’s been enhanced by the people — friends, neighbors, acquaintances, people whom I’ve never met but who work with my husband — who have texted or stopped to tell me they’ve enjoyed reading about my tiny escapades.

It’s reminded me of what a great joy it is to be published in a place where I live. And with everyone reading the same thing, it’s also reminded me of how much a local newspaper ties a community together.

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Morning waffles and my dad

A few Saturdays ago, my little brother Matthew sent me a photo of a sheet of golden waffles lying on a cooling rack.

I love getting these random photos from my brother because they never need an explanation and he never offers one; instead, it’s just understood that I’ll get the meaning behind them because we know each other so well.

This photo was no exception. He’d sent it not to brag about what he’d made for breakfast, but because Matthew knew that I would know he’d made them with my dad’s old waffle iron, the one that was responsible for making nearly every Saturday morning a celebration growing up.

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More adventures with rodents

Last week, I disposed of a dead possum that my dog had been eating, which graduated me to the status of bona fide Kentucky girl. But 2020 wasn’t finished making my world collide with rodents. Instead, it was just getting started.

I realized this a few days ago when I saw mouse droppings under our kitchen sink. This had happened before, and I had dealt with it by getting my husband William to set a trap near the droppings. Then, with just a bit of an exhale, I would promptly call it a day and wait for a snap.

So, he did this for me again. And, again, I exhaled and considered the matter closed.

But the next morning, I saw I’d been gifted with more mouse droppings. And the culprits had taken something too: every last molecule of peanut butter my husband had used to entice them to the traps.

“So that’s how we’re playing it,” I said quite loudly, assuming the mice could hear and understand me. “We’ll see about that.”

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Officially a Kentucky girl

It took 15 years, but I officially became a Kentucky girl last week. This was so deigned by my friend Candice, who is from a holler in Pike County, so I trust her judgment completely.

My graduation started at midnight last Wednesday. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time outside in our yard in the middle of the night on account of our poor little dog, Fitz, who’s been having some health problems that have resulted in potty issues.

So, when he didn’t come in when I called, I went out searching for him, afraid coyotes might be lurking around. I saw Fitz in the distance busying himself by our giant weeping willow. As I got closer, I discovered he was busy because he was eating something. Eating something big.

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Zeroing in on Zoom

The other day, my friend Jessica posted a meme that said: “Why do I feel compelled to wave at the end of Zoom calls? I have literally never walked out of a meeting room waving.”

I responded I could relate to the meme, that I both wave at the beginning and end of Zooms, and I make that wave very waggy, with lots of wrist action, to indicate how approachable and friendly I am.

Jessica responded with this gem: “Oh yeah. It is never some ‘thank you for being here today’ queenly wave. It is like I am trying to wave down an ice cream truck.”

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Bring on the beach

Whew. Is it me or is everyone in Kentucky at the beach?

I don’t know when this started and I don’t know how it happened, but suddenly my Facebook feed is positively packed with photos featuring salt water. So, I sit and stare at them, looking at everyone sporting swimsuits, knee-deep in wavy water, their cheeks sunburned, their smiles wide and toothy.

You know their day started with something fruity and blended. Then it progressed to making important decisions about which sunblock brand to use and which giant towel to dry off with. It ended with watching a peachy sun get swallowed into the ocean, exhaling pink and purple as it fell.

Thinking about this, I look around at my messy desk in my landlocked life and pet the giant lump of envy sitting beside me.

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