29 July 2006

Running on Empty

Too many occasions of being empty recently. Trip to Carolina Mom’s in The Swede’s 8 cylinder, petrol-guzzling SUV brought pump sticker shock to this 6 cylinder, higher mpg girl. Over $50 US to fill the tankage each time – ouch! – and price has gone up since. My ’95 Mazda keeps-on-goin’-with-no-car-payment model receives daily affirmations and praise, but when I have to heave it into the crush yard, these freakin’ prices have me wanting more choice and less cashola for hybrids.

The perky little beverage fridge recently purchased at CostCo is now sadly empty of the case of wee 8 ounce Coca-Cola bottles, chilled to perfection and the right refreshment skosh after watering the potted plants in the scorching late Atlanta afternoons. Having seen some SPECT scans of brains on caffeine, I momentarily swore off the stuff. But those bottles and that cold taste take me back to my Grandma’s house in Buckroe Beach, when the bottles were bigger (and you could return ‘em for cash) and she put ‘em in these black and gold lamay koozies to mind the sweat potential on her cherry furniture and piano. I’d set one down next to the typewriter in her attic office, where I’d write a missive asking yet again for a sleepover (as if my folks didn’t expect it every time). I’ve learned since that Grandma didn’t have a lot of patience for little kids – her profession of teaching calculus at Hampton University was the right audience age for her liking – but she won an academy award for putting up with my antics. Or was it more the Nobel prize for toleration? Her house and the former institute, now university are still there, tho' Fort Monroe nearby has been decommissioned and will soon be full of park goers or snob residents, depending on how the wonks lobby (and empty of Army staffers).

Empties have been rattling in my car as well. No, no alcoholic binges in the present. Just the aluminum bones from the drained cans of sparkling water, which I’m trying to fake my body into believing is my new soda. It’s fizzy! It sparkles! But my grumpy, caffeine-addled brain ain’t buying it.

But the big empty peeve? My HP OfficeJet LX, circa 1993, is out of ink. I’ve gone practically paperless – I read & review everything on my laptop, and print occasional directions and errant expense reports. I haven’t bought a new ink cartridge for the printer in – oh, mebbe 3 years? Well, damn if they don’t make the suckers any more. I can find after market knock offs and refill kits for about $50 US. But a new printer costs about that, and now the printers are so cheap and it’s all about refilling the empties. Where the hell was my ingenuity not to get in on THAT racket?

So, fill ‘er up. Load the gas tank: cha-ching. Trip down memory lane with the case of coke bottles. Bribe the brain to let go of the sugar buzz. Acquiesce and buy the new printer. But when I slip, I do have a place to fill up. My new wow can be found at QuikTrip, where for 59 cents you can get a 32 ounce drink with your choice of ice – crushed or cubed. Heaven! The crushed is almost as good as the “rabbit pellet” ice I loved at the cafeteria at the HQ building at Kennedy Space Center. One of these days, I’m gonna get me one of those rabbit pellet ice makers installed where I live, and I will be able to fill up my cup any damn time I please. Yeah, I’ll lose my teeth faster, but my cup will always be full.

05 July 2006

Yankey Doodle Damdandy!

Summertime in the South. Despite the drought conditions, the potted hydrangeas are faring well enough.

So, my pop is a Yankee Doodle Dandee. He’s been visiting of late, and in honor of his happy to you day (and, oh yeah, the American Independence holiday), The Swede and I hosted a cookout. How many blokes DOES it take to mitigate the unintended hickory chip fire on the chargoal grill?

A small crowd, albeit most enthusiastic enough to stay for the fireworks in the distance at the municipal park. Despite the rainout for the finale, which my father watched as a lightning magnet under his golf umbrella.

In the midst of heading abed, the phone rang. Carolina Mom sounded sleepy, scared, and disoriented. Righteously so. Two trees had fallen on her home, and she was awakened by the cacophonous noise and the sights and smells of the electric box on her house dancing an Irish jig. Good news: no loss of life, hers or the sweet girls Duchess and Druscilla (of the feline variation). Bad: much house action. Heading there to lend labor, TLC, etc.

The occasion for this post draws me to the date, and a folk band. The Fifth of July, and Eddie from Ohio. They are on the evergreen list of things that don’t suck, with wondrous harmonies, fantastic live performances, and clever lyrics. Known entities since my teenage years. To wit, I share the following "Fifth of July" song lyrics:

One if by land,
Two if by sea,
Three if by phone or facsimile.
Four if by plane,
Five if by boat,
Six if bilingual,
Seven by goat.
Eight by ten glossies of me ….

Happy to you day, wherever you are, be you Yankee Doodle Dandee or otherwise.