I don’t know if it’s because most middle and above class women get their nails professionally done nowadays, but I’ve been having trouble finding emery boards. It’s not that I don’t eventually find them—but they used to be everywhere. At checkout counters. Even in the nail care section.

Maybe I’m too poor and/or afraid of infection to get my nails done in a salon, but I have my standards, and I can’t stand it if I see my nails in a weird shape. If my thumb starts to look like a trapezoid and I reach into my pocketbook and don’t pull out an emery board, I’m not happy. Or if the emery board has lost its grit, I curse that checkout counter with its array of lip balms.

The best emery boards—the ones that kept their abrasive finish forever—were always the advertisement giveaway ones. I still have one from my North Carolina gynecologist’s office. See, there are physicians who treat the whole person.

Even if you weren’t a good enough citizen to follow the campaign, it always paid to go vote to get the candidate emery boards. They were the best. A good emery board could get a Democrat elected in a rural small town or Roe v Wade overturned in Manhattan.

When is the best time to use an emery board? I worked in a place that had weekly safety meetings, and this one lady used the half hour to manicure her nails. While not on the level of, to quote Elvis Costello, “filing her nails while they’re dragging the lake,” I thought that was pretty rude. But I did admire her efficient use of time. I try to leave an emery board within easy reach of a long red light, or do a nail or two when I have a few random minutes. This avoids looking down on my hands and feeling inferior to those middle and above class women happily choosing among the lip balm.

That’s all I’m going to say. As I type this, my right index finger is looking a little dodecagonal.


Plan B

This evening, my daughter and I went to the store to buy bagels, and she showed me this decorative spatula. I started crying and put it in the cart. I told her I hadn’t been able to post on my blog for almost two months, but that I’d take a picture of this and write. I finally was able to see what’s been happening through the haze.

After a stressful clinical, I finished my phlebotomy course. A few days later, I was offered a job (not in phlebotomy—maybe part-time someday?) that is right for me that has good benefits, bought a house with an iffy closing date which I need to move into before the closing on this house. Our family dealt with all the issues of the house I’m living in now (the homeplace owned by us siblings) going on the market and being sold. My new job is interesting but stressful since I don’t know what I’m doing yet. When I look at my finances, I see that things will be very tight, which is wonderful because a few days ago, before I decided to apply for early retirement benefits from my last NC job, they looked impossible. In the middle of all this, I flew out to South Dakota for my brother’s wedding and had a fun weekend.

Plan A was security, security, security. Which I found was a f**king lie.

Plan B is real life. Which I’m finding I’m pretty good at.

The spatula will hang in the entrance of my new home, welcoming all to my “Plan B”. It will have a special, sacred, dedicated place.

Then, as real life gets real, I might find I need to take it down from time to time to help me scrape by.

The glasses I bought after ruining these:


were fashionably great. And technological improvements allowed even thinner lenses, which, to someone like me with extreme nearsightedness, is always a plus.

Or is it?

It seemed that the reading and computer area was off. I went back, but was assured that the lenses were perfectly aligned to the progressive areas for distance, the arms-length computer focus, and reading.

Even after needing to take off my glasses altogether in order to complete a job application questionnaire that I’m sure they filed as Magoo, Mr., I thought it could be my imagination that the glasses I have two prescriptions back work better.

Maybe my eyes have changed to the point that I need glasses specifically for reading and computer use, I thought. I went back to the optician’s office. But my intuition told me to bring the old glasses.

Before committing to buying computer/reading glasses, I asked the optician to examine my old and new glasses and see if he could figure out why the older ones seem easier for computer and reading. I’m glad the guy was honest and gave up a potential sale. In stating that the old lenses are thicker, we both came to the conclusion that perhaps the lenses being farther from my eyes could be the problem. He adjusted my new glasses so that the lenses are closer to my eyes. I said if it didn’t help I would call and give the go-ahead for the reading/computer glasses order.

No need to. These are now perfect! And all the areas I need to see are well taken care of by what’s sitting fashionably in its new spot on my nose.

You don’t appreciate me, so I’m packing my bags for Hawaii. I’ll be gone by the morning. It’s just all that watching of crappy TV, ridiculous YouTube videos, shopping for stuff you don’t need, cleaning what’s already clean…

I’ll give you ample time to think about this. I’ll be back in November. I hope you value me more by then.


One Hour

Really enjoying the snow, because it’s more than pretty scenery.

Last night, I went online and found out that the big sledding hill in a park a half-hour from my house is still going strong after all these years.

So this morning, I look again for my childhood sled. Nowhere to be found. I call Target, and am told they have sledding stuff on clearance in Sporting Goods! I was happy they still had some, but on clearance after a snowstorm?

I ask my daughter if she wants to go to the big sleigh riding (what we always called sledding) hill from my childhood, and she does. While she gets ready, I waste no time shooting down to Target. I’m in Sporting Goods, looking near the bikes where the large merchandise is. I ask a team member, and he takes me to the right section. Guess what? “Sleds” come in boxes now. There are three different types of inflatable “sleds”.

I buy two different models (at half price!) and an electric air pump. Our inflated sleds just fit in the back seat.

When we get to the park, the parking lot is full, so they direct us to another lot. For some reason, I miss its entrance, and end up in a third parking lot. As we trek along, following a few people lugging various forms of sleds (none like my runner sled from my childhood), we wonder how far we are from the hill. When a ranger pulls up, he says we are heading to a place I never even knew about– the unsupervised snowboarding hill. He says it’s just as good as the main hill. My daughter likes the unsupervised aspect, and to be honest, so do I. I work well without supervision; ask any of the places to which I’ve applied for a job. And sleigh riding shouldn’t involve regimentation. Soon we pass a couple of guys on their way back who assure us that this hill is better than the other one.

Well, it is. Not crowded. The rides are faster compared to what I remember and what I see of the main hill on YouTube. They are also longer, which you only appreciate on the way down, although my HDL (good) cholesterol is peaking after all those walks back uphill.

We had a blast!

After this storm, I did what it takes to say that I REALLY enjoyed the snow.

I just look at my calendar and go to work when it tells me to.

I feel guilty about all those times I told cashiers to have a nice weekend, because for some of them (like me working seven days in a row right now) the week never ends.

I don’t hate this; it’s just different from going to work M-F, 8 to 5 with an hour lunch. My life has more flexibility for doctor’s appointments, calling businesses, etc. And, although the pay is very low, at least I’m making some money to reduce the bleeding from my savings until I can complete my phlebotomy course and start some real bleeding!

I don’t know how I made it to age 59 without having a job primarily working with the public, but here I am. I’ve been working as a seasonal cashier at a chain department store.

All those complaints I’ve heard over the years about working with the public? I don’t get it.

I love working with the public!

All my problems have been working with the private. If you have a problem with someone at work, there they are again—after lunch, after the weekend, after your vacation….

But have a problem with the public, and poof! They’re gone—all their stuff has left the conveyor, gone into bags, and out the door they go.

I’ve been working there for three weeks, including today, Black Friday, and have had virtually no problems with the public. They’ve been patient and helpful as I learned my job. They’ve been entertaining. If someone is kind of boring (less likely here in Jersey), the next person may be fascinating.

I love the public! I’m thinking of joining my damn self!