Tag Archives: disapproving spouses

Oh Pooh!

I’m going to tell you something which you may feel is just a little bit too much information so you may skip this if you are squeamish. There are certain jobs on RVs that involve tanks: filling – that one is okay, and emptying – not so much.

There are two tanks that require emptying on an RV, unlike at home where you pull a plug or flush and don’t give it another thought. One tank fills with what is referred to as grey water, which is water from the sinks and bath or shower. The other tank fills with black water and I’ll leave you to figure that one out.

I looked exactly like this until himself distracted me.

Whilst emptying the black tank, it was my duty to strike a ballerina pose, balancing on one foot and trapping the door to the septic tank in the ground on to our outlet hose with a delicately pointed toe. Being a princess I certainly I didn’t want to touch it with my hand. It was all going swimmingly (try not to think about that literally) until Jimmy and I began to chat, I used my arms to gesture and lost my balance.

Two options came to mind, neither of them choice. I could keep my foot on the trap and fall onto my hands in the channel where our and other people’s sewage overflow runs. Or I could let go of the trap with my foot to catch my balance and let the hose fly mid flow.

A similar scenario from many years ago flashed through my mind. In a cottage far, far away the septic tank chap with his truck turned up, unreeled the big hose from the (already partly full) truck, inserted the hose into the septic tank, much like we were doing, but as it was his job to “collect” sewage made the mistake of pushing the wrong button on the truck – blow instead of suck. The wildly snaking hose deposited “it” everywhere – up the walls, in the trees, over the roof, coating the windows and flowing under the door to pool ankle-deep in a downstairs apartment.

So as an alternative I screamed, ‘CATCH ME!’ shrieked, ‘QUICK!!!’ and began frantically windmilling my arms backwards as I tilted ever forwards for an agonizing two seconds before an hysterical Jimmy took a baby step forwards to save me. I was less amused than he, so hung on to him and made him stand downwind with me and my still prettily-pointed foot as punishment for his mirth and less than lightning reactions.

Bad Seat Karma

Back at Heathrow in the departure lounge after two weeks on my own in England and smelling like a tart’s boudoir after a visit to the perfume shop I settled down to watch the overhead screens for my flight.

Like the flibbertigibbet I am when tense, my eyes flitted from screen to book to screen to magazine to screen to newspaper to screen and took in nothing other than the fact that the departure gate hadn’t been announced for my 10 hour flight with only 20 minutes left until departure time. Had I missed something? Had the aircraft come and gone without me? Wishing my absent minder to share in my panic though there was nothing he could do to help me I decided to text him. Good journey to H’row. Watching screens for gate. Paying attn. Wont miss flight. XX.  He’ll know that’s not true and wonder what is wrong.

By perusing best sellers, window shopping, drinking cappuccinos, reading sensational headlines on tabloids before returning them to the shelf dog-eared, trips to the loo and trying on bracelets I’d ambled right down to gate 25. When my gate number popped up on the overhead screen for boarding – gate 1a – it was completely at the other end of the terminal building.

My minder would be cross with me if he knew. He would remind me of the time I missed my flight from New York to Baltimore because I was playing video games or the time all the cars on the Seattle ferry were honking at him because he had to wait behind the wheel of our car, engine running, while I stood at the rail of the ferry watching the approach of the fetching Seattle skyline oblivious to his ire (until I got back in the car that is). He would have made me stay put near my gate. Oh well.

I huffed and puffed the length of the terminal building carrying in my heavy backpack a large bottle of water, five magazines, three books and a newspaper for the flight knowing I would probably watch two films, drink the airline’s wine and fall asleep instead. Flustered, I sprinted straight through the now nearly empty gate to board . . . . a bus.

What? Where am I? The bus station? Mustn’t procrastinate when I’m on my own and pay better attention. Ah yes, the aircraft had been abandoned halfway across the tarmac and we were to be bussed out to it. Looking around for familiar faces on the bus to reassure myself I was in the right place, a few unfamiliar weary faces glanced back at me. I realised that as I’d checked in online, not queued at check-in, I wouldn’t recognise my fellow passengers. I could be about to jet off anywhere in the world if I’d bounded through the wrong gate and the ground staff happened to glaze over just at the point when I handed over the scrap of paper that I’d printed off as my boarding card. I made a mental note to check our destination as I boarded the plane, like some addled old dear.

Taking my pick of seats at the back of the bus, I chose an empty side-facing bench that would seat three(ish). A plump florid blond collapsed beside me and scooted across as far as she possibly could to leave a narrow gap between us. As the bus filled to capacity with standing room only I could see no further than the belly in front of my face. A voice speaking Arabic or Farsi made me look up to see a dark-eyed beauty homing in on the tiny space beside me. She began to rotate and I hoped she was looking for another seat but like a dog in his bed, she circled twice then began to reverse her ample bottom towards the gap between me and the blond.

Blondie and I exchanged looks of wide-eyed dismay. Either I hadn’t appreciated the size of Sultry Beauty’s aft section or how small the proposed seating area was but as Sultry Beauty’s left bum cheek made contact with my right shoulder I lost sight of Blondie. The large cheek slid down my arm, slithered over my hip, and on impacting the seat squeezed me into a bolt upright position, forcing the air from my lungs and crushing my ribs against the metal armrest.

Afraid to move a muscle for fear of disrupting numerous pressure points and squirting myself out of my seat and across the bus, I prayed that this was my bad seat karma for the journey knowing I could be this unlucky for the next ten hours on the plane. I was breathing shallowly, with eyes bulging when the bus driver eventually braked and eek, eek, eeked to a halt. As I was thrown from side to side my left ribcage was bruised on the arm rest while alternately my whole right side was cushioned in billowing flesh.

The dilemma then was whether to attempt to get up first and extricate myself like a toilet plunger stuck to the floor or stay put. I was wedged under the armrest on one side and a longitudinal section of my thigh on the other side was trapped under Sultry’s voluminous thigh with a pinching sensation as though a row of bulldog clips had been attached. My leg was going numb but rather than leave a strip of flesh behind, I awaited developments. I didn’t need to wait for long. My wide beamed travelling companion bounded to her feet with surprising ease. I gawped at her agility as I fell over across the seat upon release from the body trap and exchanged looks of bemused relief with Blondie, the remaining seat hostage, as Sultry Beauty was swallowed up by the crowd.

The outsome? Seattle flight. Aisle seat. Three seats to myself. Hooray!

The “Wrong” Side

Homesick for my adopted country, England, I spent two weeks basking in glorious sunshine having left himself behind in his adopted country to contend with yet more torrential downpours. A daily occurrence on the Puget Sound he told me on the phone. Oh golly.

I was not allowed to pick up a rental car from Heathrow Airport on arrival after a night flight as my minder/usual travelling companion feared I would either circle London endlessly on the M25 or fall asleep at the wheel. Unable to defend myself I hopped on the tube.

After a day’s R & R from jet lag, I collected a teeny rental car and was completely flummoxed by a) a manual gearbox, b) a clutch, c) having to drive on the left again, d) sitting my bum so close to the road and e) an empty gas tank. I hadn’t touched a petrol/gas/diesel pump in over two years and the hand I usually had spare from not having to change gears had become accustomed to holding a cup of coffee.

Firing up disused neural pathways along with the engine, I successfully exited the rental car parking lot using an eleven point turn while pumping the clutch as though inflating an air bed. Had I been a fool to refuse the collision damage waiver to save a few pennies?

With intense concentration, I avoided all the other road users without a blast from their horns or angry hand gestures, sidled into a nearby petrol station on the correct side of the pump (ha!), filled the tank and drove up to the kiosk to pay. I felt I had achieved a major feat. Smiling triumphantly, debit card in hand, I was asked “Which pump?”


“Pump number?”

“Oh. I don’t know.” Deflated and much to the chagrin of the drivers in the queue of cars behind me, I squeezed out of the car having neatly pulled up an arm’s length from the kiosk so I could reach the window. I winced at the looks of pure hostility of the DRIVERS IN A HURRY. Three was my number and I slunk back to the car.

It’s shocking how I’d allowed myself to coast into blond tag-along mode. Having slowly and happily let my independence slip away over the years, I had to give myself a mental slap and take responsibility for myself for at least two weeks. Once that was accomplished, I enjoyed being responsible only for myself. Meals when I was hungry instead of at mealtime, trashy TV at full volume, junk food with no looks of disapproval, shopping more than was good for my wallet and a curious feeling of liberation when stepping out of the door without telling anyone where I was going or when I’d be back.

Driving on the wrong side soon became the right side even though it was the left side. And driving on the right when I returned to the States would then feel wrong even though it was right.

Not me but this is how I felt. I fell down into the rental car and climbed up out it, more used to climbing up into our SUV and falling out of it!

The Pink Notebook and Cushions

Some things just aren’t worth trying to explain to our other halves.

We had access to an office suite with two online computers at the apartment complex where we started our stay in the United States. It was a small room so quite difficult to tune out other people’s conversations. I was surfing mindlessly when I overheard the following conversation between a young woman and her other half:

“When we finish here we need to go to Office Depot or Staples or somewhere so I can buy a pink notebook and some pink pens.”


“So I can start planning my sister’s wedding.”

“You need a special notebook for that?”



“I just do.”


“They’ll help me with my planning.”


“I don’t know.”

“I don’t get it.”

It was still amicable at that point but he clearly was showing no signs of comprehension of her needs and she was at a loss to explain. I couldn’t stand it any longer so butted in, “It’s a girl thing. You’re not meant to understand.” Startled to be interrupted, they both turned to me then laughed fortunately instead of telling me to mind my own business.

“Ah, I get it now,” he grinned. “So while you go to the store,” he said to her, “I’ll stay at home and drink beer.”

“Yes, and that’s a guy thing,” I laughed and we all went back to our computers.

Jimmy and I demonstrated this same relationship yin and yang when buying cushions for our new apartment from a heap marked 75% off.

“Why do you want them?”

“The sofa doesn’t look right without them.”

“It looks fine to me and they just get in the way.”

“This isn’t your area of expertise. Go and look at some wine while I choose them,” but he was afraid to leave me alone with a pile of wildly discounted cushions. “I’ll have two rust-colored ones and one gold one.”

“Why do you need three?”

I didn’t bother to try to explain that two cushions wouldn’t look right, that sometimes an odd number is better, that the rust cushions would link to the pattern on the gold cushion and the gold color would link to the sofa. He’s a man and cushions are just redundant. For redundant the thesaurus suggests uncalled-for. Jimmy would agree.

“They’re only five dollars.” I mean really, how much more explanation do you need? So he resigned himself to doing his man thing, checked the cushions for flaws and then carried them out of the shop.

They disintegrated within weeks but himself had the good grace not to pursue the cushion issue further.

But I say cushions are versatile and attractive additions to any home. Wouldn’t you agree?

Don’t they look nice all on their own?

Who Loves Trader Joe’s?


Sign at our favourite organic, slightly wacky grocery store, Trader Joe’s:

“High quality products,

Ridiculously low prices,

But talk is cheap,

Shop and compare.”

Message on their environmentally friendly brown paper bags:

“Join the shopping adventure and save with abandon!”

Each week TJ’s promote a different coffee and food product by giving out free samples. Always in the same corner of the store, it is of course my first stop before I shop.  This week it was delicious German spice cookies, pfeffernusse, little mountains of delight – soft spiced cake on the inside, crisp on the outside and slathered with icing sugar – stocked only at Christmastime.  Each bite into the cookie resulted in an eruption of sugar all over my face so that by the time I got to the till, Jimmy was giving me one of his looks.  “You’re like a little kid,” he said shaking his head like a long-suffering parent and tapping his mouth where I needed to wipe.  Moving to the till to pay and anxious to free up one hand of cookie or coffee, I stuffed the last of the cookie in and the checkout girl looked at me and tapped her chin, so I quickly wiped that.

‘Did I get it all?’ I asked her, and she shook her head no.  Looking down I had an avalanche of icing sugar all down the front of my black coat.

“I can’t take you anywhere,” himself hissed. Exasperation oozed from him. In all my years I’ve never caused such despair.

Still, he loves Trader Joe’s too so we will go back. Separate carts next time? Or would different days be better?