Saturday, March 12, 2011

Snippets from the week

I had a good time with my cats this week. Especially on Saturday. I usually take a nap on Saturday afternoons about 3 o'clock. I keep an exact and very regular schedule. I am not obsessive. I am not obsessive. Anyway, back to the schedule, the afternoon nap is a sweet time. The sun pours into the bedroom, illuminating it brightly but in golden tones. If it is warm and I have the windows open, the birds tweet loudly and I hear the shrubs shaking in the gentle breeze. Ahhh. I snuggle up under the quilt atop the covers. After a second or so, Bert lumbers onto the bed, and settles by my feet near the window. He has the best of both worlds, mom by his side and the birds to keep a watch on. Luke springs up a moment later and settles under the cover next to me, or on top of my hip. We fall asleep.

Today at 2:45 Bert sat on the table as I typed the weekly prophecy newsletter. He meowed. A few minutes went by. He put out his paw in a plead. "Nap, Mom?" A few minutes went by. He meowed louder. I typed. He stared at me. If you ever have been stared at by a cat, you know what I mean. Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. THE STARE. A few more minutes went by. I looked up at him when it was nearly 3:00, and he opened his mouth and tilted his head, and he did a silent meow.

From Animal Forum: "Last, but hardly least, is the silent meow. Your cat will look up at you and tilt his head ever so slightly, open his mouth, and a slight almost hiccup like noise will come out. This is the highest form of "please" a cat can offer." I cannot resist the silent meow. It is so cute. When Bert did it, I could only say: "Bert, you had me at meow."

This week the on-site oil change guy came to school. It is a hugely convenient way to get your oil changed. He will change it in the parking lot while you work and return your keys to you and you pay him, and it's DONE! My Ford Explorer is almost 20 years old and has 210,000 miles on it. While I was paying, I said to the guy, "You must have had to avert your eyes from all the impending disasters you saw under the hood." Pause. "Um, well, you certainly have gotten your money's worth out of the car."

I had received the blessing of a gas card three weeks ago, even before the gas prices went so high. I used it one time and there was money left over on it. I always have trouble though at the place the card was from and don't usually voluntarily go to that convenience store even though it's at the corner half a mile from my house. We had a bit of trouble the last time I went there as the clerk wasn't sure how to enter a gift card, even though the card had "THE STORE NAME" right on it.

So this time I went inside and told this other clerk I had this card and she said OK and she clicked on the pump. I pumped, and I came in to pay. I handed the card. A long time passed. She fumbled with numbers and I heard persistent beeps. Not good. She said 'try this machine' and had me run it thru like a debit. She looked at her  register's window and said, with finality and dismissiveness, "The machine says it is expired." She handed the card back to me. I read to her the back of the card. "THIS CARD NEVER EXPIRES." I handed it back. She tried it again. She said, "This card is no good. The machine won't take it." I was getting nervous now because I owed $60 and I had not budgeted it from my checkbook. I showed her my receipt from last week when I first used the card, and noted that it was good, and at this very store, no less. Thus began a long conversation. A very long conversation. A number of remedies were tried, including calling the service number on the back of the card, which the person at the other end must have been out enjoying the good day because they never picked up.

The line of grizzled guys behind me loaded up on beer and Skoal got really long. They shifted their feet from one to the other as their beer warmed. She told me to step aside while took other customers to shorten the line. I was forgotten for a while. Another clerk came over and asked why there was a huge box of eggs on the floor. [Note: the box said on every side "KEEP REFRIGERATED".] The clerk snapped that she should put it in the cooler then. When the clerk picked up the box it momentarily stuck to the floor. Mental note: do not buy perishables from this store.

At one point I said I needed to go and that it was not my problem that the machines were not taking a good card. "You can't go until I clear my register!" she snapped. I said that we were at an impasse because the card was bought with good money someone had plunked down, and I was not handing over one red cent except the card. Finally she called her manager at another store. I turned around and sighed and closed my eyes and prayed. The guy behind me said as I opened my eyes, "Surely it can't be that bad." I said simply, "Lord, help me."

At that moment I heard the clerk breathlessly accusing me of all sorts of things with this card. A pause, then a whisper. "Oh, I didn't know that." A click and then a whir of the receipt coming out.

Throwing the receipt at me, she said, "Sorry," she said. "You can go." CODE 18, OPERATOR ERROR!

So at school there was a magic show. From Pre-Kindergarten to fifth grade, several hundred kids sat in the gym waiting for it to begin. I was sitting with a kindergartener. He confidently informed me that magic was fake, and the tricks were just fakes to fool the eyes. His sister knew they were fake, too. But he knew it was fake even more. Pause. Looks at magician. Looks back at me. "Wait a minute. Is the GUY fake?"

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