Routine is Important: Just ask my Mother

As we age, we’re told to mix up our routine. Keep our brain challenged and break out of our day-to-day pattern. It’s healthy for us, or so we’re told.

And to some degree, I think there’s some merit to the medical studies that espouse such recommendations, but I think there’s also something to be said for sticking to a routine.

Routine is important. Just ask my mother. Disturb her before she has her first cup of coffee and visits the loo in the morning and she’s not a happy camper. God forbid, if you should bother her before her favorite television show, “The Price is Right”, is over. Not a pleasant experience to have with her.

Every morning, my cat and I dance. She whines. I feed her. She jumps up on my desk, starts chewing on my paper work and walking across my computer key board. Then she wants to go outside. Of course, she can’t simply walk out when I open my patio door. She has to walk around the perimeter of the living room first, then around the overstuffed lazy boy rocker and finally she’s ready to exit. I have to patiently wait while she does this little two-step of hers, and then I can close the door and go back to whatever I was doing.

There are days that I’d like to choke the little twit as she slowly prances by me and looks up as if to say, “Humans are so clueless.”

Maybe Boo’s trying to teach me patience, or maybe this little tango is something that keeps her safe and she depends on it. I don’t know. I’m no cat whisperer, and I certainly haven’t a clue as to what makes a cat tick.

I do know, though, there are days in my life when everything is crazy and life is one crisis after another. Having a routine and sticking to it keeps me secure: Taking daily walks. Going to exercise class on Wednesdays. Seeing my yoga buddies on Fridays. Reading a good book and falling asleep on a rainy afternoon with our other cat, Molly, spread-eagle on my belly. All routines I relish and enjoy.

And when the sump pump breaks, the IRS notifies me that I owe them $5,500, the inspector says my house has termites and my doctor tells me that I have pneumonia; I remember to get up, wash my face, put on a little lipstick and face the day, ‘cuz that’s what Mom taught me to do.

I’m not so much into the lipstick, like my Mom, but I definitely understand and appreciate the need for a consistent schedule to keep me going. There are days when I need the safety and comfort of knowing that I have certain things planned. So, when life comes along and messes with those plans, I still have the comfort of knowing that my daily regimen is still intact and it can be restarted with the dawning of a new day.

I keenly remembered how my special needs kids depended on a routine. They vociferously complained about it on a regular basis, but change it on them once in a blue moon, and they let you know they weren’t pleased. For many of them, their day to day home life was chaotic and their only source of reliability and sanity was my classroom and the safety of its expectations and schedule.

As I slowly age, I realize that I need to keep my mind challenged and continue to learn new skills and stretch my imagination, but I also realize that there are days that I need to feel stable and safe and having some structure and routine in my life is ok and actually beneficial to me in a number of ways, both physically and emotionally. So, I give myself permission to throw caution to the wind, and on those days I need to have a miniature snicker’s bar after I eat lunch, I go for it and sometimes even have two!

In the meantime, I need to feed Boo Boo, again, and wait at the patio door while she sashays around the border of our living room furniture. Have a great week, People, and I’ll catch ya the next time, looking at life from my shoes!

A Hoarder’s Paradise from Hell!

Garage sale, moving sale, yard sale…they’re all a hoarder’s paradise and most definitely an interesting study of mankind. And the Princess and I, having nothing better to do with our limited time one Saturday, decided that it was time we tried throwing one ourselves.

After all, why not join the hordes of others and hang-out my outgrown biker undies for the world to see? I’m not ashamed of the fact that I’ve put on a few pounds since my mountain biking days. I’ve earned this midriff fluff that I’m sportin’ these days.

So, that’s exactly what the Princess and I did last month – joined the multitudes; gathered everything from clothing and books, to sporting equipment and household goods, and put the whole kit and caboodle out for the world to rummage through.

And rummage, they did!

We meticulously sorted everything – making sure we didn’t confuse anyone by placing a coffee maker next to a pair of biker shorts – and ten minutes before the scheduled 9 a.m. start time, we innocently opened the gates of hell to a stampede of garage-sale-savvy-shoppers, who picked through our meticulously placed items, like frenzied piranhas.

Cazzo (Ot-so)!

The Princess, naively thinking that she’d read the morning newspaper and leisurely enjoy her cup of coffee, choked on her first gulp of hot Joe and spilled it down the front of her shirt as one of the frenetic shoppers elbowed past her and stepped onto her Croc-covered toes. Meanwhile, I stood-by – totally frozen in place – and watched in horror as people magically appeared and ruffled through (what moments before) had been our meticulously organized belongings.

Talk about the trauma of coming out! I’ve changed clothing in our car, many times, while the Princess has been driving on the freeway, but never in my days of freeway strip teasing, have I felt so naked and tossed about.

Geesch!

I never realized how crazy people can get over a pair of well-worn hiking shoes and some padded biker underwear. It’s enough to make you swear-off drinking for a while – or if you’ve never taken it up, START!

The first wave of descenders disappeared as quickly as they showed up, apparently not interested in our high-end merchandise of Barbara Streisand CD’s and Harry Potter books, and I settled into reading the first paragraph of the new Karin Slaughter book, when a new trickle of fellow hoarders dropped by to look over what we had spread out for the world to pick-through. Only this time, we actually had a real customer…or so we thought.

“So,” he began. “What do you want for this book and hat? I’ll give you a buck-fifty for the two of them,” he bargained.

“Hm,” I responded. “The hat is brand new, and as I’m sure you’re aware, is worth over $25.00.”

“I’ll give both to you for $3.00,” I continued. “How does that sound?”

“Well,” he answered. “Sounds to me like you’re gonna be keeping a lot of your stuff today,” he gruffly responded.

“Have a nice day,” he added, and out the gate he marched.

Un-hun.

At that point, there were other potential bargain hunters within our midst, and I looked at the Princess with raised eyebrows and telepathically asked her, “Are we supposed to be paying THEM to take our stuff, or what? I’m not quite sure how this works.”

The Princess, living with me long enough to read my mind, gave me one of her dumb-founded looks and just shrugged her shoulders while mouthing, “Don’t ask me!”

OK.

We got another book buyer interested in our leather-bound, illustrated edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s, “The Hobbit” with matching slipcase. This isn’t one of my books and I had no idea how much to ask for it. In light of my last negotiation, I figured a buck would be a fair asking price.

“Uh,” guy number two started. “What ‘cha want for this Hobbit edition? Your Harry Potter books, ya know, are going for 25 cents these days?” he coyly added on. “Just thought you should know.”

“Well,” I started out, keenly aware of gentleman number one’s rejection. “How’s a buck sound?”

“Sounds fair to me,” he said. He then quickly handed me the dollar and proceeded to tell me the story of how he and his wife met in her English class over thirty years ago; and the first failed assignment he had with her was an assignment on “The Hobbit”.

“Yep,” he continued. “Gonna give this book to my grandchild for her birthday present this week.”

“Well, what a lovely story and family tradition,” I told him.

“God bless you,” I continued. “Glad to hear that our book will be going to a loving family. Have a great weekend.”

“Yep,” he winked at me. “This book just made my day. You two have a good weekend, too.”

And with that, he got into his truck and high-tailed it down Woodside Avenue.

Now all the while “The Hobbit dude” and I had been talking, the Princess (like the proverbial rancher who closed the barn door after the horse got out) decided to use her smartphone to research the actual price of said “Hobbit book”.

“Well,” the Princess began. “I’m really glad you blessed the dude and he politely thanked you, ‘cuz you know how much MY hobbit book was worth?” she asked, while crossing her arms in front of her chest.

“Just guess,” she continued. “Take a wild guess, Lucie.”

“Uh,” I clumsily began. “I haven’t a clue.”

“But,” I continued while raising my voice. “If it’s more than five bucks, I told you to price your stuff! So, it’s not my fault.”

“No Sir-ee!” I persisted. “It’s definitely not my fault.”

“Yah, Babe, you’re right,” she jovially responded. “No biggie, Hun. Karma will bite him in the butt someday and 60 bucks ain’t gonna break us or make us. This is just another day in our storied lives; just another day in Lucie’s Shoes,” she said while winking at me.

And, of course, People, she was right.

Hopefully, this was our FIRST and LAST garage sale. The next time we need to down-size, I think a donation to some well-deserving organization is in order.

In the meantime, be kind to one another, and I’ll catch ya the next time, looking at “Life in Lucie’s Shoes”!

 

 

Lucie Tells the Princess to Take a Hike!

Sometimes people just need a break from each other – not saying that these people are grumpy or need an attitude adjustment or anything – just saying that there are times in a relationship that certain individuals need a little breather from each other’s less than endearing habits.

Hiking in our local Redwoods is something that I find exhilarating and absolutely spiritual and a perfect anecdote to a loved-one’s quirky habits. The beauty and grandeur of these lofty denizens is something that one has to personally experience themselves to truly appreciate their majestic presence. There are times, when in their presence, I feel the overwhelming need to hug one; so, I do – often at the embarrassment of my hiking companions.

Persuading the Princess to forego the morning paper and instead head-out into our local hills for a short hike on the weekend, most often requires an act of God; and even then, He or She doesn’t always inspire her Royal Highness to spend a Sunday morning away from savoring a cup of freshly-brewed coffee and the funnies.

But the Almighty doesn’t know how to whine.

I, however, am the Queen of Whiners and really needed to hug a Redwood that Sunday.

So, I finally convinced her highness that a hike into Wunderlick, one of our local parks, would be just the thing for our relationship.

We’re quietly walking up the oak and madrone-lined hillside, totally absorbed in the solitude and ambiance of the mountains, looking for the beneficiary of my hug; when the Princess interrupted my reverie and said, “Ya know, Hun, I didn’t get a chance to have my morning cup of coffee.”

“Yes,” I patiently answered. “I’m well aware of this fact and very appreciative that you decided to come with me. Isn’t this just a glorious Sunday morning?”

“Un-Hun,” she mumbled and continued to hike in silence, until once again she broke my spiritual connection with my beloved Redwoods and snapped, “Ya know, Lucie, I didn’t get a chance to eat any breakfast this morning, either!”

“Is that so?” I responded. “I grabbed a breakfast bar for myself before we left. Did you bring one with you this morning?”

“No,” she hastily answered. “We only have Kind bars and I don’t consider them to be breakfast.”

“OK,” I mumbled between clenched teeth. “Can your highness maybe give me 10 more minutes of hiking? Just 10 more minutes, please?” I asked.

The Princess, rolling her eyes, answered, “Fine. Guess 10 minutes ain’t gonna kill me.”

We walked-on when Miss Grumpy Cat (a.k.a. the Princess), miraculously became little Miss Merry Sunshine and chirped, “I keep tellin’ ya, Hun, we gotta get out and hike more often. Look at how beautiful it is here, Sweetheart! It’s right where we live, for Pete’s sake. We have no excuse for not getting out more,” she continued, as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth.

I, Ms. Sweetheart herself, stopped dead in my tracks, eye-balled the endearing Minion-being and squeaked, “Seriously?! Seriously?! You tell me that we need to get out and hike more, and this is from a woman who I had to get on hands and knees and beg to leave her funnies behind this morning?”

I then took-in the deepest of cleansing breaths, and said, “You’re right, Hun. You’re absolutely right.”

By that point, the Princess had acquired the cheesiest of Cheshire grins and declared, “Guess both of us are a little hungry this morning, eh, Hun? I’m thinking maybe a certain tree hugger needs to munch on her Kind bar, before she gets her knickers in a knot.”

Cazzo!

I think, People, this tree-hugging, knicker-knotting, hungry-hiker needed more than a Kind bar. Maybe a little vacation from a certain, red-headed Minion was in order. What do you think?

Until the next adventure, keep a Kind bar in your backpack and your hiking britches un-twisted, and I’ll catch ya the next time, looking at life from my shoes.

 

 

Obama Messes with Ma’s Routine

There are certain things that are as regular as rain in my Mother’s life; and you don’t mess with her routine or she gets a little grumpy. Morning coffee, visiting “the facilities” after morning coffee, playing her weekly card games with the gang; driving to the Dollar Store, and watching her favorite morning show, “The Price is Right”, are set in stone for her.

This morning, President Obama messed with one of Mom’s routines; and as luck would have it, I was the fortunate offspring to make the phone call to her just after Mr. Obama’s untimely faux pas.

“I missed the last 5 minutes of ‘The Price is Right’ this morning and I’m pissed off,” she said when I asked her how she was doing. “I didn’t see who got the car or boat,” she continued. “Obama interrupted the show and I missed the last few minutes of it. Damn it! The man is always 5 to 10 minutes late when he gives a speech, and this morning he had to be early. Boy, he pissed me off!”

“Hm…,” I responded. “How inconsiderate of the guy. What was he talking about?”

“How the hell do I know?” she shot back. “I like the man and all, but I don’t always listen to him – especially when he interrupts my shows. All I DON’T know is who won the car or boat today!”

“Well,” I answered. “Glad to know that ya got your priorities straight.”

“So,” I continued, deciding to strike while the iron was hot. “Ya know who you’re voting for in November?”

“Cazzo,” she answered. “I’m 87 years old, Lucie. Who the hell knows if I’ll even be around this November? I just picked up my car from the garage this morning for the 3rd time this month, and I think my car and ME are both are on our way out. Best I felt was today and yesterday,” she continued. “Must be I’m ready to kick the bucket. They say you feel your best when you’re on your last legs.”

“Well, that’s a sobering thought,” I remarked before she quickly continued.

“And who the hell knows who I’m voting for?” she answered. “They’re both stoonods, idiots, as far as I’m concerned, and Trump seems like a bigger stoonod than the other one, but I’m not so sure I’m ready for a woman to run the country. I’m not gonna worry ‘bout it. I could be dead by then. Who knows? I gotta let you go, Lucie. I’ve still got put-on some lipstick and iron my shorts before I go play cards. I ironed my dungarees this morning, but totally forgot to iron my shorts. Sometimes I’m a stoonod myself. I’ll talk to you tomorrow, honey. Love you.”

“Love you, too, Ma,” I said and the next thing I heard was the phone click off.

Sometimes life throws us these little challenges to keep us on our toes, People. We can either put on a little lipstick and show up, or crawl back into bed and start over again tomorrow – totally your call.

In the meantime, be kind to one another and I’ll catch ya the next time, looking at life from my shoes.

 

 

Lucie Runs Outta Luck!

I have major sleep issues.

For people that know me, that little fact is really nothing to write home about.

I haven’t slept in years.

Doing my Monday morning errands this week, though, I ran into some people who I think may have been a little sleep deprived themselves; either that or badly in need of a Monday morning attitude adjustment.

I thought a trip to the library that day would be a good plan of action in light of the fact that I just read an article in “Scientific America” that talked about how your brain has a built-in garbage disposal that gets rid of toxic proteins and that much of this “cleanup activity” takes place during sleep.

In light of the fact that I’m not sleeping too well these days, and probably have a lot of garbage floating around in my brain, I thought a library visit would be a healthy choice of action for me after my morning adaptive P.E. class.

Concerned about my next “garbage pickup date” and needing to challenge my brain as much as possible, I checked out one of Janet Evanovich’s summer reads and headed back to the parking garage to pick up my car and continue my errands for the day.

As I was walking to my car, humming one of my favorite songs (I kid you not!) – “If I Only Had a Brain” from “The Wizard of Oz”- I was unpleasantly greeted with the repeated beeping of someone’s car horn, when I noticed a gentleman in a Toyota sedan erratically backing into the front end of some lady’s Mercedes as she was driving down the lane.

Immediately realizing that the offending horn-tooter was the woman in the Mercedes, I saw that she was in the right of way and was laying on her horn because (I assumed) she didn’t want the front end of her car mangled.

The Toyota dude apparently saw it differently, because the next thing I heard him yell was a not-too-friendly, “F-yourself! And go around me!”

Uh-Hun.

The dude backs up into her (on a one way lane!) and HE swears at her.

OK.

I figured it was a good time for me to get the hell outta Dodge and go to the Target Dept. Store for errand number 2 of the day.

 

I get to Target and spend 15 minutes looking for a type of protein bar called “Kind”. They used to be healthy for you, so Target always had them in the aisle with the other healthy, protein bars. Guess they’re not so healthy for you anymore. According to one of the clerks, there’s some class action lawsuit against the company for not disclosing the fat calories in their almonds or some such nonsense, so they have to put them in another aisle.

Hm…

They had a sale on them – buy 4 boxes and get a $5.00 Target gift card. I figured the “Kind Co.” thought if they were going to secretively get you fat with their almonds, they’d best give you some incentive to do so.

Alrighty. I’m game. I like bargains just like the next guy. I’m not getting too much sleep these days and thought the added protein would help get rid of some of that extra brain garbage that I’ve been carrying around and help me sleep.

With the help of a store clerk, I found the Kind bars in the cookie aisle and finished my shopping. I headed for the check-out area, when I noticed unusually long lines at each of the registers. Accustomed to using the express line most of the time, but wanting my $5.00 gift card for my “Kind bars”, I opted to stand in one of the long lines, so I’d have access to a human cashier.

I quickly analyzed each customer’s basket of items and decided that aisle number 5 looked the fastest to me.

Yeah…

Well, Erma Bombeck here couldn’t have picked a slower lane if she wanted to! After all the other aisles got crammed with a bazillion customers, I discovered that aisle number 5 was being serviced by a handicap clerk with access to only one hand.

“OK. No big deal,” I said to myself.

“I’m a retired special ed teacher and I’m happy to give up a little time to accommodate his handicap.”

Uh-Hun.

Well, of course the customer in the front bought over 25 items and lucky me – two of the 25 items didn’t have price tags – so they had to call customer service.

“No big deal,” I said to myself. Ruth, our chair Yoga instructor, recently taught us some stress relieving exercises that you can do for situations just like this.

“I’ll do one of them,” I told myself.

Uh-Hun.

Well, apparently, before I could start my “de-stressing,” I was smiling too much at the little girl in the shopping cart in front of me because the next thing I heard was this little munchkin say,

“Mommy, this lady’s smiling at me. I don’t want her to smile at me.”

Evidently, this smiling, over-weight, gray-haired, old woman standing with 4 boxes of “Kind Bars” and 2 different types of cat food, must have seemed dangerous to this munchkin. So, not wanting to send this child into therapy sessions well into her old age, I decided to try to win her over and said,

“Hi Sweetheart. You helping Mommy shop today?”

The Mother, hearing my question; abruptly turned around, eye-balled my smilin’, clueless self from head to toe and snapped, “Haley, you don’t have to look at that lady or answer her if you don’t want to.”

Un-Hun.

I totally understand teaching kids “stranger danger”, and I can appreciate how stressful it is for parents these days keeping their kids safe, but ya think maybe we’ve gone a tad too far when we start treating everyone like they’re dangerous pedophiles and nut cases?

Geesch!

There used to be a time when people bonded while standing in unusually long lines and chatted about the weather or one of the headlines in the current Rag (magazines) on the check-out stands. Now-a-days, people go into a yoga pose or just impatiently breathe heavy and check out their Smart Phones. What’s happened to socializing with another human being?

I don’t know who I felt sorrier for that day – the Mother, who frowned at me with disapproval – or the little munchkin, who also scowled at me like I was something “bad”? Maybe I felt sorry for both of them.

And maybe, just maybe, I’m feeling sorry for society, as well.

After patiently waiting in line for 15 minutes, behind Snagglepuss and the kid-version of Grumpy Cat, I finally got rung up and then told that I had 3 of the 4 type of Kind bars that were eligible for the $5.00 gift card and that if I wanted the promotion, I had to go back and get the other kind or I was “outta luck”…

Cazzo!

By this point, I wasn’t smilin’ too much and was thinkin’ maybe I could understand Mr. Toyota Dude from the parking garage this morning.

Have a good one, People! And remember: we’re all carrying around a lot of garbage these days – some of us more so than others. Be kind to one another and I’ll catch ya the next time, looking at life from my shoes.

Ya Gotta Eat a Little Dirt Once in Awhile

In some parts of the country, the weather Gods haven’t figured out that it’s spring, yet.

As of this writing, my Mom (who lives in upstate NY) is still in her long underwear on a daily basis and I’m 3,000 miles away trying to figure out how my Buddha belly is gonna look in last year’s bikini.

(Yeah, right. And for those of you that think I ever owned a bikini, what medication are you currently taking? I’d like some myself!)

My Mom starts climbing the walls when the weather gets bad and she can’t get out, so I thought I’d best give her a call to see how she was doing.

She usually plays cards with the ladies today and I decided to give her a call to see if she was gonna bundle up and venture out or hang out in her hamster cage for the day.

She answered right away and I asked her what she was doing.

Rarely at a loss for something to say, she started talking immediately.

“I’m eating strawberries, Lucie. Your brother, Anthony, told me that they’re healthy for me. Got something called oxidants or some such thing in them that are supposed to be good for you. Guess they clean your blood and keep your blood pressure down to prevent heart attacks. Sounds like some kind of laundry detergent to me, but what ta hell do I know?” she sarcastically asked.

“Well, Ma, I think you mean antioxidants. Berries are loaded with antioxidants and yes, they’re good for your heart and have been known to reduce blood pressure and inflammation,” I told her.

“And,” I continued.

“They’re rich in potassium, Mom. I’m glad you’re eating them, but I thought you didn’t like berries?” I asked.

“Cazzo,” she responded.

“I hate berries! Your Aunt Carmie eats them with her cereal every day and has been trying to get me to eat them now for years. I can’t stand them,” she empathically let me know.

“I sliced them up and put on a bunch of sugar and then remembered that I had some Cool Whip left over from Easter and slapped on some Cool Whip. They’re not too bad with the sugar and Cool Whip. I don’t know how your Aunt eats them plain, though. Makes me gag,” she informed me.

Yep.

W e l l,” I slowly said in a high pitched voice.

“Sounds to me like you’ve negated the health benefits of the berries with all that additional sugar that you added, but what ta hell do I know? I’m sick all the time and eat my berries nude.”

“Cazzo, Lucie. You gotta eat a little dirt once in a while. You kids eat too healthy and aren’t getting enough natural germs in your system and then get sick all the time. When I was a kid, I was really sickly as a baby and our neighbor told Nonnie to give me a raw egg to help me get stronger. Nonnie did and I got better. You damn kids don’t know how to eat right today. The old timers knew how to eat,” she rattled on without taking a breath.

“Hey,” she continued without letting me get a word in edgewise.

“Aren’t you supposed to be packing for your trip this weekend?” she queried.

“Yeah,” I answered.

“But I thought I’d call you before I started packing and see how you were doing with this crazy weather, lately,” I continued.

“And any way, I don’t know what the hell to pack. The weather’s crazy out here, too. Don’t know if I need my long underwear and boots or bikini and flip flops!” I chuckled, cracking myself up.

“Figurati (fee-GUH-rah-tee, loosely translated: don’t worry about it), Lucie!” she responded, totally ignoring my humor.

“Pack a duffle bag with a pair of undies, socks and a toothbrush, and you’re good to go,” she continued.

“Madonna!”

“You always pack too much shit,” she bluntly informed me.

Yep.

Mom knows best.

I thought I’d pack the flip flops and buy my underwear and a tooth brush on the road. My Doctor said I’ve been carrying around too much weight, lately, anyway.

Remember to be kind to each other today, People, and take the time every day to laugh.

Catch ya next go round, looking at life from my shoes!

 

Each Man for Himself!

Years ago, when the Princess and I first met each other, we prudently decided that 10 years of therapy between the two of us was more than sufficient for two people to plan a simple tenting expedition to the local Santa Cruz Mts.

After all, she’d been on a catered backpacking trip to Yosemite in her youth, and I was a former Brownie from the local Girl Scout troop of the Adirondack Mts. in upstate NY.

An inexperienced backpacker and a naïve Girl Scout – we were the perfect pair for camping in the Redwoods of Northern Ca. – or so we thought.

Preparation for food and camping equipment was carefully planned and packed into my Isuzu Rodeo, and a short time later we found ourselves quietly standing in a secluded canyon of dripping redwoods, babbling creeks and various chaparral ecosystems; listening to a pileated red-crested woodpecker chopping away at a dead tree nearby, presumably foraging for carpenter ants for its evening meal.

One minute we were sweating like pigs in a bacon factory, hustling to pack my SUV and get ahead of Friday’s ghastly commute; and the next minute we were staring in total awe – jaws dropped, chilled to the bones – as a blanket of fog slowly immersed the forest of majestic, towering redwoods.

How could we live so close to such a paradise and be so blind to its beauty in our day to day lives?

I didn’t know.

Being the more pragmatic of the two, though, I knew that if we wanted to get our site set-up and dinner started while we still had some daylight, that we’d better stop gazing at nature and start hustling with some practicalities of the tasks at hand.

Yep.

Apparently, I took too long appreciating nature and somehow lost the Princess to the ever-enticing Woody, the Woodpecker, because she was nowhere in sight.

“No biggey,” I told myself. “The tent poles had bungee cords and I’d put it up without assistance before. I could easily do this myself.”

So, I did just that.

I set up the tent, lickety-split, and made everything cozy with sleeping bags, pillows, blankets and a lantern.

Shortly after I set up and prepped the tent, I spotted the Princess lollygagging in the woods nearby and decided that Girl Scout or no Girl Scout, I needed help preparing our dinner that night if we were going to eat before sunset.

So, I shouted to her and asked that she give me a hand.

Yeah.

Well, the Princess being the Princess, she decided that prepping for a simple meal of hamburgers and potato salad was not exactly a herculean feat requiring any expert preparation and brusquely shot back, “What’s the big deal? Slap together some hamburger meat, throw it on the fire and we’re good to go!”

She then stared at me in disbelief, shook her head and asked, “What are you getting your panties all up in a knot over?”

“Just look at how beautiful this is!” she continued, throwing her head back and stretching her arms toward the redwood-crowned-horizon, like Stuart, of the famous Minions cartoon characters.

Yep.

Deciding that a fire was best started sooner than later, to deal with the chill of the blanket of fog enveloping us, my knotted-up panties and I headed into the nearby forest searching for dry kindling in woods that were slowly becoming saturated from the fog and dripping trees.

And, of course, there wasn’t a dry twig to be found.

I wasn’t worried, though.

Girl Scouts are always prepared.

I went into my car, whipped out my little camping stove, set it up under the raised, hatchback door of my Rodeo’s cargo area; and began the arduous task of prepping our simple meal; while continuing to make my case to the Princess for her assistance.

Once again, the Princess informed me that I needed to lighten up and chill-ax.

Uh-Hun.

At that point, I’d had enough chill-axing to last the whole weekend, and decided that it was too soon in our relationship to tell her to “f – herself” and that an each man for himself survival strategy may be the more therapeutic way to go.

So, I carefully made a meal for one, took myself and my hamburger into the tent to get out of the dampness of the night and settled in for an evening of reading and chill-laxing; when I heard the unmistakable sound of the tent zipper opening and the elfin head of the Princess suddenly poked in.

“Hey,” she said, smiling at me.

“I smelled the hamburgers cooking a while ago. Where’s mine?” she innocently continued.

Acutely aware of the fact that it was ME who set up the tent, ME who prepped the inside of the tent, ME who attempted to light a fire for us, and ME who prepped our meal; I decided that a simple constrained statement of, “Tonight’s dinner is an each man for himself kind of meal. Help yourself, Sweetie. If you can see your way around out there, the meat’s in the cooler in the outside storage unit.”

I then proceeded to zip-up my sleeping bag and continued my reading.

After what seemed like forever and a day, the red-headed Minion fumbled around outside, threw some sort of sustenance together and crawled into the tent – wet, tired and looking not too friendly.

Observing that she was not too keen on bed-time conversation, I decided to call it a day, and settled in for the night.

I figured tomorrow would bring with it a new day and hopefully a new attitude by all.

Uh-Hun.

The next day the Princess woke up bright and early, crawled out of the warmth of her sleeping bag, unzipped the tent, rummaged outside for some breakfast goodies, and brought them back to the tent; where she carefully preceded to lay out a verifiable breakfast feast for one, on top of her bag.

Smelling the buns and the sweet, earthy smell of freshly brewed coffee, I woke up and sleepily said, “Smells great, Sweetie. Where’s mine?”

Looking at me like only the Princess can when she’s being the Princess; she smiled and tauntingly said, “Sorry, Hun. It’s an each man for himself kinda meal.”

And on that note, we looked at each other and slowly burst into unbridled laughter!

Be kind to one another today, People, and I’ll catch you the next time, looking at life from my shoes.