Tag Archives: coffee

How to Render Your Husband Speechless, Again

Originally posted in WWN101 in 2012 this salacious tale seems worth repeating at this stage of our . . . . . our what? Confusion? Clarity? Travels? Decision to settle? Whatever.

After returning from the doctor’s office himself said to me, “The nurse told the doctor, ‘They’ve been right down to Key West and back. I wish I could do that,’ so I said to her you should change places with my wife.”

He sees this as proof enough that we should continue to travel, not settle down.

Of course she’d like to take a road trip to Key West. She’s working full time in wet Washington State.

I’ll bet he didn’t qualify the dream with the drawbacks. Would you give up your home, family and friends and emigrate to another country to satisfy your travel lust?  Would you give up free health care?  Could you survive in a tin box with your other half for years without coming to blows or calling a divorce lawyer?  Would you mind looking like a ragamuffin because your best clothes (probably moldy now) are in storage?

I appreciate the fact that I’ve seen 47 of the 50 states, something most Americans will never do. Of course I feel privileged to have seen most of the top National Parks.

And I hope himself has read this far before he’s blown a gasket and called me an ungrateful cow.

Just to confirm how right he is and how wrong I am – always worth a victory lap in his book – we had a memorable moment with Courtney in the course of our travels. As we approached a gaily decked out espresso hut the NASCAR bunting made me smile at the thought of our day at the Daytona 500.

Jimmy’s big day at the Daytona 500

Better still, after hearing, “I’ll be with you guys in a second,” a dark-haired leggy lovely appeared, dressed – I use that term loosely – in skimpy – that’s being generous – stop-light-yellow shorts and a NASCAR-emblazoned yellow top that had more fabric in the sleeves than the whole of the rest of the outfit.

As my mouth dropped open, she smiled brightly. “What can I get you guys?” I dared not look at Jimmy’s expression. Rather than place our order, what came out of my mouth was, “I like your outfit.”

“Oh, thanks. We were losing business to the bikini baristas so we thought we needed to make a change, but to something tasteful.” I really daren’t look at Jimmy then.  Her navel piercing and cleavage were particularly eye catching. I managed some sort of coffee order for myself, Jimmy stuttered out his tea order and whaddayaknow! the tea bags were on the bottom shelf.  Did I mention that her shorts were very brief?

“I like you guys’ accents. Where are you from?” I gave the concise Baltimore/England answer. “Awesome! Are you guys traveling?” I explained we’d been all around the country. “Awesome! Do you have family here?” I informed her that my brother lived up the road. “Awesome!” And a brother in Tennessee. “Cool!”  And children and grandchildren in England. And a brother-in-law in Wales.  “That is so cool!” And a daughter in Sydney. “That is an awesome excuse to travel.”

Score several points to Jimmy. Although I have to tell you he wasn’t counting points right at that moment.

“What’s with the NASCAR theme?” I asked.

“There’s a racetrack down the road. We thought it would bring in some business.”  Jimmy remained mute despite the motor racing reference, usually a favorite topic.

“Have you ever been to a NASCAR race?” I enquired, as the only one of her two customers capable of conversation.

“No. I’m from a little town called Elma. I’ve never traveled.”

“We went to the Daytona 500 in February.”

“AWESOME!” Well, I just had to agree with her. Had he been capable of the power of speech Jimmy would have agreed with anybody about anything right then.

You can stop looking for a picture of Courtney now. Sorry guys, there isn’t one.

More excitingly, Courtney had a cousin, equally skimpily dressed. We encountered her after our trailer wheel caught fire:

“Yer wus a fur!”

“What?” Jimmy bellowed.

“Yer wus a fur!”

“OUR WHEEL’S ON FIRE!!” I shrieked.

Read more of this post . . . 

 

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Airport Gestapo #3

 . . . . previously I had apparently managed to annoy a member of Heathrow airport security sufficiently to put me on their radar.

OK! I’m coming. I’m coming. Don’t you think you’re being a little heavy-handed? Photo credit: Wikipedia

Another Gestapo-type, though smiling this time, faced me. These women are so tall – the better to look down on me I suppose. She was accompanied by her one man hit squad. He was head and shoulders above Jimmy and smiling too, a smile at odds with his shaven head and biceps straining the short sleeves of his shirt. A radio the size of a brick looked as lethal as one the way he held it up at shoulder height.

“Just step this way.” My feet were rooted to the ground. “Please follow me,” Ms. Gestapo encouraged and I reluctantly obeyed. “Just step in here if you would,” she insisted and reached for a door marked in large letters DO NOT ENTER, SECURITY PERSONNEL ONLY. “Please,” and she gestured into the room. My feet, mired in a thick soup of reticence, moved very slowly towards the door.

“Are you together?” the eerily smiling hit man asked Jimmy who was standing back a pace watching me be led away to my doom.

“Yes.” Jimmy is mostly given to telling the truth but in this instance didn’t have sufficient time to think of an alternative before he was coerced to join me in the little cell.

“Can you step in please?” the hit man said persuasively as though he were the patient parent of recalcitrant children being told to go sit in the corner. We were both verbally dragged the last few feet into a tiny room with only one chair.

The pair of secret police had foreign accents but they spoke so few words so succinctly their accent was difficult to place – some country in Eastern Europe? I’m well past the age for human trafficking surely. And what will they do with Jimmy? There had been two very pretty young girls behind me in the security queue – one blond, one brunette. And plenty of fit young men. Why us?

“Please sit.” As we hadn’t the faintest idea what was going on or who at this point was being asked to sit we both remained standing, mute and bewildered.

“Wait here, sir,” and the hit man gestured at the wall just inside the door after he’d made a production of closing it firmly, a creepy sycophantic grin plastered on his face.

So it was me they were asking to sit. There didn’t appear to be any restraints on the chair or electrical leads dangling from it so was just aiming my bottom at the seat when I was told, “Leave your bag over there,” with a gesture to the opposite wall.

Damn the bag! I blame the bag. I wouldn’t be in this mess if it weren’t for the bag.

Then with no wasted pleasantries I was told, “Stand over here in this circle and hold your arms up like this,” and Ms. Gestapo demonstrated the classic Hands up! posture.

Oh God, they’re going to shoot me. Why would they want to shoot me for peevish behavior? Isn’t that a little extreme for 21st century Britain or have we walked through a door into the dark ages?

“Now turn around slowly.” Shoot me in the back? Ms. G. pointed to arrows in a circle on a mat on the floor where I stood. As I turned on the spot with Hands up! she operated a computer terminal while the hit man stood braced against the door preventing our escape. I completed my captive’s pirouette as she concentrated on the computer screen.

“Thank you. All done. You may take your bag,” and we were escorted from the room.

I smiled sheepishly at Jimmy, completely at a loss for a witticism to lighten the mood and slow my palpitations. He said not a word, but he didn’t need to. His expression said it all.

Five minutes later over coffees and a bit giggly with relief, I said to Jimmy, “You know what just happened, don’t you? I’ve had a virtual strip search.”

“Well it serves you right.” I don’t know how he’d resisted saying it until now.

If you think that was enough of an ordeal for one journey you’d be wrong.

. . . . . to be continued.

Coffee Society

After experiencing pained but patient expressions on harassed staff’s faces, I ask you, “Why can’t I just order a cup of coffee?”

My previous choices while travelling around Europe had been simply coffee or tea. (Although in some of the more remote villages the patron had to leave the beer pumps unattended, dust off a chipped mug and go in search of hot water.)

Taking care to study long menus of coffee in different joints, with much muttering and consternation, I thought I’d finally got it all worked it out.  Depending on what coffee shop I was in, Starbucks et al, I would casually ask for brewed or drip coffee or an Americano.

After a quick glance at the menu at a local café I asked for two small Americanos.

“12 oz or 8 oz?” In other words, small or very small? You can’t possibly want a tiny little 8 oz. cup of coffee.

“8 oz.”

“Single or double?”

What? Oh, right. A double shot would make us tea-drinking coffee novices hyperactive for the rest of the day. “Single.”

“With room?” Oh, I know that one. I should have asked for Americanos with room. Otherwise the cup is filled to the brim with coffee and no room for milk – no, cream, they call it cream, even if it is milk.

“Yes.”

“For here or carry out?”

“Here.”

There, that wasn’t so hard was it for two small plain coffees? But then we had to puzzle over whole milk, skim milk, half & half or soy milk. The land of too much choice was still baffling us.

Starbucks at the mall was a favorite haunt for its amusement value. With a prime location at the entrance of the mall it was always busy, busy, loud and chaotic with three baristas taking orders and three more baristas churning out the orders at the back. I learned to order an 8 oz. brewed in a 12 oz. cup topped up with hot water, as it was always too strong, with room and a cup of ice water to quench my thirst after I’d drunk the coffee which always left a bad taste in my mouth. I would bellow my order over the head of the customer in front who was chanting out their long order to another barista, then hear my order hollered to the back of the shop. A third patron was doing the same. Nothing seemed to be written down. Everyone shouted.

Then one would step to the next counter to wait, and the real fun began. I never identified the body because bags of ground coffee, mugs, coffee pots and other coffee paraphernalia were piled high between me and her but orders began to appear on the counter accompanied by the most wonderful sing-song voice, “I have a tall peppermint frappuccino. I have a grande cappuccino light. I have a tall mocha caramel frappuccino with extra cream. Here’s a cinnamon dolce latte with extra syrup. I have an iced white mocha. I have a venti extra maple extra whipped blended frappuccino and I’m still working on two grande non-fat lattes. Here’s a double-top sugar-free cinnamon dolce frappucinno with hazelnut syrup. I have an espresso macchiato.” And on it went in a high-pitched syrupy voice that sliced through the crowd like a knife through a low-fat double-top strawberry & crème extra whipped sugar-free dolce frappuccino with caramel and chocolate chip syrup, while surely my little black coffee and water got lost in the madness, but no, “I have a small brewed with room and ice water,” and there it was! My order! I felt almost American again immersed in coffee shop society.

But shouldn’t I now get a bit more adventurous?

Wheels on Fire!

“Yer wus a fur!”

“What?” Jimmy bellowed.

“Yer wus a fur!”

“OUR WHEEL’S ON FIRE!!” I shrieked.

We’d just picked up our travel trailer from its 6,000 mile brake and wheel bearing service and were winging our way north on I5 to a campsite when a car with two girls pulled up level with us, shouting and pointing.

Jimmy reacted very quickly, carved up two lanes of rush hour traffic and pulled onto the hard shoulder. A following wind brought the frightening stench of burning rubber to us when we stopped. Thick black smoke was pouring out of the wheel as it sat at a forlorn angle.

It was exactly five o’clock and the garage we’d just left closed at five.

Jimmy hurriedly dialed Walter, the garage owner and we waited a few tense moments until he picked up. We then waited a very apprehensive half an hour for him to drive the 10 miles (checking to see if his liability insurance was current?) to turn up in an ancient battered minivan.

I was not heartened.

Walter suggested he remove the smoking wheel so we could limp back to his garage towing our dual axle trailer on three wheels keeping to the back roads with him following. We’d spend the night on his not picturesque forecourt and then limp a bit further in the morning, presumably to a garage that wouldn’t forget to put the cotter pin on to secure the brake drum.

Jimmy and I exchanged that special look we have perfected, a pinched expression that says Oh sh*t!

“I’m not sure about this,” I muttered.

“Me neither.”  Jimmy looked beyond pained.

Walter joined in, “I’ve seen it done loads of times.”

Not with our trailer, buster, I thought but left Jimmy and Walt to iron out the details.

Back in the car, fretting in relative safety, I felt the whole rig shaking as ol’ Walt battered the wheel and chassis. Jimmy appeared at my window. “Walter’s swearing a lot.  I thought I’d get out of the way.”

Apparently after he got the wheel off he was trying to wedge some planks of wood between the chassis and the leaf spring to keep the brake drum from dragging on the road. I daren’t get out and look as we’d several miles to lurch along propped up on scaffolding and didn’t want the image of potential disaster ruining my blinkered thoughts.

Jimmy drove down the hard shoulder ve-e-e-ry slo-o-o-wly, exited the Interstate, crossed over and headed south again on the worst piece of road in Washington State.

We’d been so impressed with the kindness of people in Washington and the courtesy of its drivers so everyone we encountered that day as we bumped along with our hazard lights flashing must have been from out of state. They blared their horns at us, gestured rudely and screeched past as we negotiated potholes trying to keep the low slung underbelly of the trailer off the road.

“This will give you something to write about,” Jimmy quipped in an attempt to distract us both from the anxiety we were feeling.

“I like to write about things that strike me as funny. I’m not finding anything remotely humorous about this.”

“Well, no. I’m nipping my bum a bit.”

Indeed. I was so tense I could have cracked walnuts with several parts of my anatomy. My stomach seemed impaled on my backbone.

As my eyes bored holes in the windshield willing us forward safely, I heard CLANG!! TINKLE! Tinkle, tinkle, clink, clink, clink. I’d imagined we’d broken our back like a freighter in heavy seas and spewed the whole contents of the trailer across the road – plates, glasses, cutlery, saucepans all sounding like they’d been dropped from a great height. But we were still rolling along so I gripped the armrest for its comforting reassurance and waited for the calamity to unfold.

Passing an Overturned RV & Car
No, this isn’t us. It wasn’t this bad! (Photo credit: calaggie)

Jimmy pulled off the road, opened the door and jumped out all in one swift movement. I closed my eyes and pretended I wasn’t there.

The brake drum had fallen off the axle and rolled across the road into the path of oncoming traffic weaving its way into a ditch. The ever incompetent Walter, who hadn’t secured the brake drum for a second time, retrieved it and put it in his jalopy along with the previously stowed reeking wheel.

Ten miles and ten minutes due north on the interstate highway became an agonizing eternity of twisting country roads to return south – and east and west – to the garage.

At the end of the journey, we unwound our adrenaline flooded bodies from the car and took a look at Walt’s handiwork. The front axle of the twin axles on our trailer – minus the bulky brake drum – was a mere inch off the road.

It wasn’t all bad news though. The next morning when we were cast adrift – trailer-less and homeless as new brakes, brake drum, calipers and seals were fitted, not by the witless Walter – we paid Courtney’s cousin, Chrystal (How to Render your Husband Speechless, Again) a visit at the NASCAR decked espresso hut.

Chrystal wore a whole dress, but it barely covered her bum and was unzipped in front to her waist, her exuberant breasts launching themselves into the steamy coffee scented atmosphere.

DSCN3065
Not Chrystal! Too many clothes! DSCN3065 (Photo credit: &y)

Jimmy approached the drive-through window, having prepared to acquit himself in a manner befitting a Grandad. He did quite well with the coffee order though I couldn’t see his face or keep track of his eyes.

She was the one who lost her cool. “I just love you guys’ accents. Where are you from?” and as she chattered and gushed, encouraging Jimmy to keep talking, she unthinkingly put the coffee grounds back into my coffee.

In a fit of giggles, she dumped out the murky mess and started the long process of brewing coffee all over again, much to Jimmy’s delight.

Daytona 500
Florida, not Washington, but keeping with the NASCAR theme!

Sorry fellas. No pictures of Chrystal. Thoughtless of me.

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