“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!”  This was Dad in the emergency room, large hands out in front of him as if to push away a charging bull. “No one asked me if I was okay with a girl doctor.”

I smacked him on the head with a magazine I’d taken from the waiting room.

Chauvinist Statement3“I’m just saying,” he continued digging his hole. “They oughta have you sign a paper or something. You know. Giving them permission.”

This was the exasperating dad of my adulthood.

– This Dad provoked me by telling his friends not to worry about their spills because his maid (me) would clean it all up.

– This Dad fed a week’s worth of the meals I cooked for him to the dog.

– This “dieting” Dad left wrappers from Big Mac’s and Sonic burgers on the counter for me to pick up.

– This Dad had plopped himself in his rocking chair after Mom died, giving up on…well…everything, letting his home literally fall down around him.

More often than not, our visits ended with me stomping from his house and driving away, leaving him in his filth until the next Saturday visit.

My childhood dad was tall and lean, his skin a mahogany brown from the tips of his fingers to just above his elbows, where the sleeve of his t-shirt rested, his shoulders and chest as pale as a ghost.

– That Dad hauled hay bale after hay bale, stacking them to dizzying heights.

– That Dad survived having the zipper of his jeans [and the body parts behind it] twisted into a piece of churning farm equipment and then managed to sire six more kids.

– That Dad lay at the edge of my bed at night with a chipped ashtray on his stomach.  One hand under his head, the other held a smoldering cigarette.  His soothing voice relayed made up stories about Stinky and Slim, a skunk and a scarecrow, who got into all kinds of mischief but were saved by Stinky doing the right thing.

– That Dad taught me that girl’s can grow up to be anything they want.

Now, eighty-five year-old Dad and I were in the emergency room because he’d slipped off the “step” he’d made for his tractor.  Earning his family title of World’s Laziest Man, he’d tied one end of a rope to a plastic egg crate and the other to the base of the steering wheel. That way he could haul it up or drop it down as the need arose.

The crate/step had failed to work properly owing to several factors; he wasn’t twenty-five years old any more, there was an inch of ice on the ground, and he no longer tipped the scale at 150 pounds but weighed in at close to 300.

Dad Spreadeagled1I’m not proud to share this with you, but when I stood over This Dad spread-eagled on the ground, it took every ounce of compassion I had to not get in my car and drive away.

He crawled on his hands and knees up the handicap ramp he’d had built — he wasn’t handicapped, he just didn’t like to walk up steps — and propped himself against the back door. I sat down next to him and we argued, in the freezing cold, over the benefits of calling/not calling 911.  I was a proponent and, as usual, he held the opposite view.

“There’s no sense making someone go to all the trouble to drive out here from town when we can drive in.”

I pulled my car beside the ramp and he crawled back down. Using upper body strength I assumed he no longer possessed, he pulled himself to a standing position. He hopped a bit to turn around and dropped himself blindly, barely landing on the edge of the car seat. Unable or unwilling to expend any more energy, it was my job to turn his body and lift his feet into the wheel well. Sweating and cursing, I ran around to the driver’s side and jumped in.

Two seconds after I shifted into drive he shouted, “Wait a minute!”

I slammed on the brakes  “What? What’s wrong?”

“I’m hungry. Could you get a sandwich from the fridge for me?”

I put the car in park and ran inside. Dozens of leftover containers crowded the shelves, shoved helter-skelter on top of my well-packaged healthy meals.  The first three containers I opened reeked, the mysterious items covered in mold.  I finally came across a half-eaten club sandwich that looked edible and delivered it back to the car.

This time I made it to the end of the driveway before he asked, through a mouthful of food, “You got any salt? This is kinda bland.”

I plunged the accelerator to the floor and we fishtailed out of the drive. By the time we reached the hospital in town, I’d managed to find a bit of sympathy.

In fact, I survived the waiting room without stabbing him with the pocketknife he’d removed to carve his thumbnail. I tolerated the two days time it took for him to explain to the insurance clerk that he had no idea why his mama had spelled his name Lewis when every other Catholic spelled it Louis.

I’d made it through the x-ray process where he coached the confused young man pushing his wheelchair that there are two kinds of jobs in the world; dirty dirt and clean dirt, and you’d go far in life if you stuck with the clean dirt.

Broken Bone JPEGWe were back in the exam room when a woman in a lab coat walked in, looked at the x-ray and told him his ankle was broken.

He said that maybe he’d just wait and see what the doctor had to say.

Then she said she was the doctor and next thing I know, I’ve smacked him on the head with a magazine.

Dad finally agreed to let her set the break but asked, “Is this going to hurt much?”

“More than it needs to,” she replied. “More than it needs to.”


I sat in my car surveying Billy Bob’s rural compound.  A crash involving a battered Barbie car, a hula-hoop and a rusted barrel lay in the weeds. rusted equipmentIn front of me were half a dozen crumbling carcasses of gigantic earth moving equipment.  To my right was a graveyard of broken household items; a shattered mirror, a decomposing sofa, a fry pan missing its handle, and more. So much more.

My older brother, Mike, sat in the back seat as our younger brother, Rick, climbed the rickety stairs and knocked on the door.

Mike and I stared in silent horror as a massive, furry white head emerged from beneath the steps.  The body of a gargantuan moth-eaten dog followed the head.

“Psst.” I whisper shouted. “Hey, Rick!”

He turned around and I pointed to the creature waiting for him at the bottom of the stairs.  Mike and I rolled up our windows. Rick walked down and patted the beast on the head.  “Good dog,” he said and sauntered up the steps to the back, where he continued his knocking. Old Camper 2

While we waited, the door of a vintage camper swung open. I cringed, certain Billy Bob would vault out, roaring chain saw in hand. Instead, a rooster and two hens jumped down from the grimy vehicle and crossed over to the grass to peck at insects, of which I am certain there were many.

After several more knocks on the door to the house, it opened.  A beautiful eighteen-year-old girl, with a killer body encased in spandex, stepped onto the porch.

Mike and I started to get out of the car.

A grimace on the girl’s face caused me to re-evalute my move and her age. Now she was a well worn thirty-five year old woman. “Get back in there!”

We did as we were told.

“It’s down the road. We have to drive,” Girl/Woman said.  She walked over to a camouflage ATV, pushed off a six-pack worth of empty beer cans and hopped on.

We followed her past the chicken coup RV and into some deep weeds.

How do I get myself in these situations?  You could read last week’s post, Unicorns, Mountain Lions and Brush Hogs, or you could just assume that, as the Mayor of Crazie Town, I’m doing my duty and trying to purchase a mower.

Remaining on the ATV, Girl/Woman pointed to a group of trees. Rick and Mike exited the vehicle and whacked their way to the brush hog for sale.

“Any way you could get it out so we could look at it?” Mike asked.

“Nope.”  She punched a thumb toward the house. “He don’t want to get up.”

We stretched a rope between my car and the equipment.

“You better not do nothing to hurt it.” She threw a worried look over her shoulder.

We dragged the piece of machinery into a clear patch and Rick began his expert negotiating tactics.  “It’s not quite what we’re looking for, but we’ll give you $400.”

“No way,” Girl/Woman snarled. “And you’d better put it back where you found it before you leave.”

Mike and Rick gave it a second look and decided it was worth the asking price.  I counted out $500 and handed it over.

Her fingers flashed through the bills and she nodded. Girl/Woman jumped off the ATV, a smile lighting up her face, turning her back into the beautiful eighteen-year-old girl.   “How ya gonna get it in your trailer?  I can bench press three-hundred pounds, so I could help.”

Mike’s plan was for them to tilt the brush cutter on its side, I’d “slide the trailer” under it and they’d flip it on.  Girl/Woman was correct in her bench press statement and with her help, this endeavor went fine.

Unfortunately, Girl/Woman had laid the $500 on the ground to help lift and when she returned to the pile, $20 was missing.  We kicked around in the tall grass searching when Mike joked, “Maybe one of the dogs ate it.”

“Max,” Girl/Woman hollered.  The raggedy behemoth turned his head her way, a luscious $20 bill hanging from his mouth.

We took off before a replacement twenty could be demanded.  As we drove back to our family farm, Mike and I concocted our stories of Girl/Woman’s life.  A stripper who’d made it good, and likely to tell Billy Bob that she’d only been able to get $400 for the equipment.  Rick was appalled by our assumption and insisted she was probably a schoolteacher.

In any event, I made it out of there with my life and ready to work on my next Crazie Town situation: How to remove a frog from the fresh water tank of my camper, whom I discovered last week, peering up at me from inside the intake valve.Frog


A couple of years ago, when my aunt died, she left me a fairly worthless piece of farmland about sixty miles from my home.  I know the land is worthless because my Grandpa said so in his will.  A third of the original farmstead [the rich flat land] went to my father, the other two thirds [the rocky, cedar-tree-infested land] went jointly to my two aunts.  That’s the part that I inherited with my brothers and sister.  Basically, I own one/nth of one/half of some acreage.

We hired a local farmer (Little Steve, son to Big Steve – a friend of my dad’s and the only farmer we knew) to plant the fields he could.  The rest is rocky, hilly and covered in trees.

In the plus column, at the highest point, you can see for more miles.  I’ve spotted dozens of deer and turkeys and coyotes. In the early spring we even had one little lonely duck on our sad tiny pond and after I parked my vintage camper out there and spent the night, I heard a mountain lion.

In a fit of Crazie, and against the advice of every attorney I talked to (more than six, less than twelve) we all decided to keep the land.  Why? you might ask along with my husband who asks constantly. Maybe because it is two-thirds of the farm I grew up on and although as a kid I never once wanted to do a single farmer thing on it, now I can’t wait to get my hands dirty.

Unicorn Besides, I had a vision. Simply remove all the invasive cedar trees and we’d be left with unicorns dancing in the starlight or possibly just rolling hills covered in prairie grass and wildflowers.

We worked and slaved (for one weekend) and then paid someone to bulldoze acres of the prolific cedars.  After two days we ran out of money he finished. But I was determined to keep going.  I had a vision after all.

I started out with a hand saw and then graduated to a reciprocating saw, which required the purchase of a generator, extension cords, gas cans.

Teresa with sawI borrowed my nephew’s chain saw (don’t tell Husband) and cut down every cedar I could reach.

Overwhelmed with nightmares of cedar trees, I learned from Little Steve to hone in on the female of the species, easily distinguished by the thousands of blue berries covering her branches.

In the process of tidying up the land, I uncovered spectacular deciduous trees; walnuts, red buds and pears.  Next to the hundred year-old-dump — a dry creek filled with rusted tin cans, stoves and old tires — I discovered a hundred-year-old oak tree with a seven-foot circumference.

From Little Steve, I also learned that baby cedar trees pop up wherever there is open grass so the cleared area would need to be mowed. Rather than pay someone, I thought it would be more fun (?) to buy my own tractor and a brush hog — that’s a mower to you city folk.

From a friend of a friend of my brother, Rick, I looked at a 1949 Ford 8N tractor.  The owner was kind enough to deliver it.  Sure there were a few issues, like I had to disconnect the cable after every use or the battery would run down and the steering was so loose I could turn the wheel a foot in either direction with no reaction.  But it was a tractor and it was destined to be mine.

In Crazie Town, the women/girls stayed in the house and cooked while the men/boys ran the equipment, so in all my years on the farm, I never once drove a tractor.  I gleaned a little bit of farm knowledge so I could probably tell the difference between a plow and a harrow, but I couldn’t, for the life of me, tell you what a harrow is used for.

But, now, I had the possibility of my own tractor and I was in farmer heaven.  I puttered around learning how the gears worked.  I drove the tractor fifty yards one direction, changed gears and drove fifty yards in the other direction.  Number one lesson learned: don’t drive over rough terrain in third gear with the throttle full out.  Until I could get my foot on the clutch long enough to downshift, I bounced around on the seat like a piece of popcorn in a hot pan.

After that harrowing (hey, maybe that’s what a harrow is for?) experience, I coasted up to the owner who was trying very hard not to laugh. I paid him and with a shaky hand I waved goodbye and he drove away.  I turned off the tractor and…it never started again.  I left it where it landed and drove the sixty miles home, composing a story in which I could tell Husband about the tractor without actually mentioning that I’d probably just purchased a very expensive lawn ornament.

The new plan was to meet my brother, Rick, the next day to see what we could do to get  the !@#$#@! thing running. But the next day it rained and then it rained…and rained…and rained.  It was over six weeks later before Rick and I could get out to the farm and see what repairs we could make.  This is the condition of the fuel filter when we arrived.Fuel Filter

It appears to have been eaten by some rats cute little field mice.

With the help of Rick and his wife, Shelly, we took a trip to the Tractor Supply store, where (as every woman has experienced) the salesclerk would only talk with my brother.  He informed Rick that my vehicle was so small that bona fide tractor parts don’t fit.  He sent us to the lawnmower department which I found quite insulting, but less expensive.

Once we installed the fuel filter — right side up — the tractor roared to life.  Hurray!

However, it is just a moving lawn ornament until I can buy the brush hog to do the mowing.

Stay tuned as I find myself in Billy Bob’s Death Compound.

Dental Denial

shutterstock_96127685 copy“Hmmmm” the dental assistant diagnosed as she cleaned my teeth.

She slid from the room and returned with the dentist. Without a word, my mouth was pried open and mirrors and tapping tools inserted.

“Hmmmm,” the doctor confirmed.

“Wha?” I said through the fingers and stainless steel tools. “Wha’s wron?”

“You have a cracked tooth.  Doesn’t it hurt?”

“Nuh unh.”

“How about now?”


“This will only take a minute and there won’t be any pain.”

Twenty years ago, notwithstanding that my teeth were well on their way to hillbilly choppers, Husband agreed to marry me, on the condition I visit his dentist every six months without fail.

“Why didn’t you just brush your teeth after meals?” he asked with the innocence of a well-raised child.

For one, I grew up in a house with nine people and one bathroom.  I was lucky to get to pee once a day.

DonutsWhile my brothers and sister participated in the mandatory afternoon nap, Little Miss Goody-Two-Shoes (my sibling nickname) clambered up to the top shelf in the kitchen to steal the sweet treat we received for taking a nap. On my tiptoes, I stretched up to the one surviving bowl from my mother’s wedding china and I dipped my hand in. Sometimes I pulled out a Tootsie Pop, my nose twitching as I caught the cherry scent. Other times a sleeve of ‘Nilla Wafers.

Like a starving chimpanzee, I stuffed the delectable treat into my mouth while I scrambled down. Upon awakening from my nap I received a second goodie.

My poor teeth got hit from both sides of the gene pool. My sweet tooth developed in my mother’s womb, requiring her to consume a Baby Ruth candy bar every day of her pregnancy. Dad’s sweet tooth was legendary.  One Easter, an all out war was declared when my sister’s treasured chocolate bunny appeared with one less ear.  While the seven of us kids (yes, for those of you keeping track, good catch!  There are eight kids, but the baby in the group had yet to be born) tried to rip each other limb from limb, Dad sat in the corner with a Cheshire-cat grin.

But, Dad was far from safe on my sweet sweeps through the house.  I found and pillaged boxes of candy from his closet, sodas hidden in his lunch box and gum from the glove compartment of his car.  Somewhere around my tenth birthday I tore the house apart and found nothing.  I enlisted my younger brother Larry who, I was certain if the stash was found, I could easily swipe his share. We came up empty handed and thereafter Dad’s stash was safe from Miss Goody-Two-Shoes.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I found his genius hiding place: the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator.  No kid in our family would EVER look there.

girl with open mouthWhen my toothaches became unbearable, Mom drove me to the wrong side of town to take me to a “dentist.” He’d pry my mouth open and I swear, try to see if his entire grizzled head would fit inside. “Hmmmm”, he’d diagnose with the stub of his recently smoked cigar firmly clamped between his not-so-pearly whites.

“When I grow up,” I swore, “I’m never going to the dentist again!”

It’s amazing what someone you love can convince you to do. I’ve fulfilled Husband’s request, visiting the dentist regularly for countless root canals and more fillings.  Somewhere in the tenth or twelfth year of our marriage, my teeth came to be in great shape.

Well, good shape.

Okay, let’s just say I still have all my teeth.

But I ramble digress.

Here I am, upside down in the fully reclined dentist’s chair pleading for a postponement of treatment. With the fingers and tools finally removed, I began my defense.  “But, a person can’t just DO something like this on the spur of the moment.”

“Sure we can.” The son of Husband’s previous dentist assured me.

“But, I can’t do it right now – I need to mentally prepare.”

“I’m going to give you a shot to numb you up and it will all be over before you know it.”

“Bhu…” The smell of metal and latex gloves smothered me.

“Now, this may sting a little.”

Blinding, white-hot pain shot through my jaw.  I gripped the arms of the chair and felt a tear run down my cheek.  The instrument of torture was removed but before I could catch my breath in it went again.  My back arched, my eyes bulged and I shouted. “HOLY THIT THAT HURTH!”

The doctor tsk-tsked and removed the agony-causing needle from my mouth.

“What the hell?” I demanded.  “You said that was going to hurt a little.” I wiped at a line of drool already escaping from my almost paralyzed mouth. That hurt A LOH.  A HEHH OF A HOT!

He smiled a patronizing smile and moved to the next patient where, over the sound of the Muzak version of Chain of Fools, I heard him diagnose, “Hmmmm.”

The dental assistant returned and said “When would like to schedule your next appointment?”

“How abou when Hehh fwezzes over???”


shutterstock_105365543 copyLast summer, in a fit of Crazie, I booked a beach house in the Outer Banks with way too many fifteen family members – another nine were in a house down the block.

What could possibly go wrong with that many loud, loving, abominable, affectionate Crazie Town residents in one place?

Number one concern was bedroom placement. Maybe the bedroom off the kitchen should go to the early risers, or maybe it should go to the person who had the most trouble negotiating three flights of stairs, but then again, that person didn’t want any special treatment, so maybe it should go to ???

How do you plan who gets what bedroom for fifteen people and not just people – Crazie Town people? I believe democratic rules work best so the majority agreed to the First Come – First Served statute.

A few weeks after we booked the house, my younger brother, Rick, asked me what flight I was on. Because I’m a gullible sap, I told him. He used that information to book his flight to arrive before mine.

Our son Fineas’ family, driving down from Connecticut, planned to leave at four in the morning in order to be the first ones there.

My nephew Ben bailed on sharing a car with his parents from the airport so that he and his wife, Kate, could arrive first.

This is just the way my family works. We love each other with all our hearts and would give you the shirt off our backs, but there comes a time when First Come First Served wins out.

Vacation day arrived and we piled into the house, alternately shouting curse words and caring remarks to each other. We crowded onto the deck and fought for the best chairs. While we all talked at once with no one listening caught up on each other’s lives, we discovered the house next door was an exact duplicate of ours and also filled with a large family.
shutterstock_105365543 copy Mirror images of ourselves – only perfect.

While we walked around in torn t-shirts and worn out shorts, The Perfects glided from their pool to their house in starched white shirts, sleeves appropriately rolled up two folds. Waves of aftershave and perfume floated our way.

shutterstock_170330840 copyshutterstock_135088358 copyOut on the beach, our sandcastles were six inches tall, made from red solo cups; The Perfects’ reached to the sky with turrets and moats.

We sweated, grumbled and yelled at each other as we set up our Wal-Mart special tarp. Twenty feet away, two uniformed teenagers set up The Perfects’ canvas rental chairs and brightly colored umbrellas.

Our pool was filled with $1.54 plastic rafts while The Perfects’ pool held elaborate floating chairs, complete with cup holders.

Most disturbing to the woman in our group, The Perfects’ older sister paraded out in a white designer two-piece swimsuit. And, although she certainly was a couple sizes larger than a six, she looked amazing. I suppose that comes from not buying your swimsuit from the clearance rack at Target, but I could be wrong.

My family does actually have a few social skills, taught to us by our Evil Grandmother Nellie so as the week progressed we pulled ourselves together and pointed out that someone (not me of course), might find your red beacon of a nose funny; we said in the kindest possible way, “excuse me but that was my drink you just kicked over, you stupid idiot”; and we toned down our loud guffaws to a more seemly quiet chuckle.

Then, BAM! my nephews, Josh and Jordan, started a water balloon fight.  shutterstock_188671901 copy

For the next hour, five little nieces pounded up and down the deck stairs, squealing in delight while the drenched adults shouted out military strategies. When the battle was over it looked like a clown college had thrown up. Our deck, covered in colorful fragments of shattered balloons and laughing residents of Crazie Town.

Next year – fair warning – we are planning our vacation for the Adirondacks. Please accept my apologies in advance if you end up in the house next to us.

Image 6-1-15 at 3.53 PM


Husband and I came to this marriage not only with kids in tow, but with a dog each.  Mine, a large not-so-bright rescue and his, a smart-as-a-whip beagle. After many years, we lost them both in a few weeks time, one from cancer and one died in her sleep.

A few weeks later, we visited Wayside Waifs to pick out our first dog as a married couple. We walked by dozens of lovable mutts, but it wasn’t until we passed a kennel with twelve puppies that we both paused.  A volunteer put us in an enclosed area and shuttled the dogs in.  While the other puppies nipped at my jeans and bit my fingers, a little puff of black waddled over and climbed into my lap. She plopped down, settled her tiny head onto my ankle, and expelled a loud sigh.

My husband made a case to take home one of the animated puppies attempting to cover his face in kisses. I pulled an exuberant pair off him and placed the serene black ball of fur in his hands. Sporting a pair of small, rounded un-dog-like ears we quickly dubbed her Lola Bear and walked out the door with our new best friend.

Image 6-1-15 at 3.53 PMTold she would never grow beyond forty pounds, I bought a compact flat basket for her bed and lined it with an old sweater of mine. After nine hours of whining, she agreed to sleep when we added a radio playing country western songs.

Lola quickly outgrew her little basket and the one after that.  She topped out a seventy pounds.

I’m sure there must have been struggles while house training her, but I don’t remember them. Like any dog, she probably chewed up a shoe or two and tried to run away, but those errors in judgment have been erased from my memory.

IMG_0836IMG_0838I think of her as the gentle giant that followed me from room to room where she’d settle on the floor next to me, expelling her colossal sigh. When I woke up in the morning, before my feet hit the floor, I’d hear the thump-thump of her club-like tail beating on the floorboards.
Eventually, Lola struggled with arthritis, a torn ligament and hip dysplasia. As a well-trained human, I gathered what I needed for the day and settled into one room of the house. All day I sipped on luke warm tea rather than move to the kitchen so Lola  could avoid the pain of following me there.

Husband and I met with the vet to discuss euthanasia. He said it was time and explained how lucky animals are that we have the power to put them out of their misery.  We weren’t ready then and took her home.  That “power” the vet discussed became a curse, haunting me as I looked into Lola’s brown eyes, begging her to tell me if she was ready to go. I laid on the floor with her describing what a great dog she’d been. She thumped her tail a few times, but when I began to cry she got up and walked away, not agreeing to any melancholy.

Lola’s been gone a few months now, but Husband and I still pause at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for her to lead the way to our bedroom where she’ll flop down and expel her inimitable sigh.



I decided to take a break from clearing cedar trees around The Ugly Duckling and spend a day at home, sewing curtains for her naked windows.

I’d purchased the fabric on-line two years ago at the very apex of my mid-life crisis, but had never paused long enough to turn it into something. Also, there’d been the problem of not owning a sewing machine.

IMG_1146But, smart me, the only thing I chose from my aunt’s estate was her ancient Sears Kenmore Model 1755.



And, even though I haven’t sewn anything more than a button in twenty-five years, it would be like riding a bike. The first step would be figuring out how to make curtains.

I sat in front of the computer and pulled up a blog on how to sew lined curtains, (which was surprisingly helpful.) I carefully measured the fabric – twice, folded down and ironed the hem and then sat down at the prehistoric machine. I plugged in the Sears Kenmore Model 1755 and no sparks erupted so I pushed on the pedal. The needle jumped up and down at breakneck speed while visions of professional-grade draperies danced in my head.

I positioned one of the two spools of thread I’ve used over the past twenty plus years to sew on buttons, wrapped it around the bobbin and pressed the pedal. No bobbin winding.  I pressed again and again until a little puff of smoke appeared and the pungent smell of burned rubber filled the room. I removed the bobbin gear and took it to my garage workstation.

IMG_1142I oiled and cranked and oiled and cursed, but it would not budge. After an hour I threw the part on the floor gently released the problem to the Universe.

By now, it was getting to be afternoon and if I was going to finish the curtains by the end of the day, things were going to have to go perfectly. So, the Universe told me to stop screwing around and go get a new sewing machine. I hopped in the car, rushed to Sears and bought their cheapest machine.IMG_1143I raced home, opened it up, put the spool of thread on the machine and ran the thread over to the bobbin winder. Nothing. No spinning, no whirring. Nothing. I ripped open paused and read the stupid directions, unthreaded what I’d done and tried it the right way.  Success! Bobbin spinning like a top.

Then it stopped. I stared at the bobbin for a full minute trying to wrap my head around what the freaking problem was now.

Evidently, in only a short twenty-plus years of button sewing, a person can use up one hundred yards of thread.  IMG_1144


Cursing a blue streak (just the way my friends Bob and Kerry taught me), I stomped back to the car. I pulled my smart phone from my purse and asked Siri to tell me the closest fabric store.

“I found one place close to you,” she said.  “Would you like to go there?”

“YES!” I shouted.

“I’m sorry, I can’t understand that. Please try again.”


“Where would you like to go?” she asked.

Screeching out of my driveway, I headed to a hobby store a few miles away. I turned into an empty parking lot.  Closed.

I jumped the curb on my way back to the street.  Then feeling it was my last resort, drove to Hell on Earth, Super Target.  Not wanting to waste a minute wandering around the massive warehouse, I hiked over to customer service (the opposite side of the building where I parked) and demanded to know where the thread would be.

“Ummm, do we sell thread?” Becca, the customer service representative asked me.

“That,” I said through clenched teeth, “is what I’m asking you.”

“Oh.”  She picked up her walkie talkie and asked the black box if they sold thread.

“Pssht. Fssht,” it replied.

Becca looked up at me and said, “All the way to the back wall, Aisle D33.”

I arrived at Aisle D33 to find it filled to overflowing with all the colors of the rainbow – for towels.

Trekking back to the customer service desk, I scowled smiled politely and said “Hi. I’m the woman looking for the thread. You said Aisle D33, but that has bathroom towels on it.”

“Really?” She caught the gaze of another employee and asked, “Where do we keep the thread?”

“Next to the irons, I think?”

Becca looked at me and smiled.

“But,” I spluttered, hands waving in the air. “Where are the irons?”

She repeated my question to the little black box.

“Pwall.  Ticka Abe,” it replied.

Becca translated. “Aisle E38.”

Aisle 39 - Irons

Aisle 39 – Irons

I found the irons on Aisle 39, but no thread.

I found the sewing items on Aisle 38

Who sews with thread anymore anyway?

Who sews with thread anymore anyway?


But, still no thread.

As of today, the Ugly Duckling’s curtain fabric sits in a pile, to be completed along with the replacement glass for the broken wasp-den window and, the three cabinet doors that are missing and, the exterior paint job and…

The good news is, according to Wikipedia (which is always correct) I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing for a Midlife Crisis.

  • acquisition of unusual or expensive items such as motorbikes, boats, clothing, sports cars, jewelry, gadgets, tattoos, piercings, etc. – Hmmm, no mention of large ugly vintage campers. Wikipedia made a mistake.