Project 366: Day 308 The Odd Couple

I take my coffee black, I eat ice cream by the pint, and my beer of choice is Guinness. Folks are not surprised to find me enjoying any of the things I mentioned. I go hand in hand with black coffee, ice cream pints, and Guinness.

Tonight we had dinner with our neighbors. When I was offered a Guinness I accepted it, and I looked around for a koozie. I chuckled to myself when I coupled my Guinness with this particular koozie. I don’t know that the two have met each other prior to tonight. One might call them an odd couple. (No offense intended, Mr. Jimmie Johnson.) Read more

To Be or Not To Be

She felt sick. Her stomach was in knots and her head was pounding. Yes, she knew she was overwhelmed with the number of tasks she had to tackle this week. And, she knew she had a tendency to stress herself out over nothing. But this? This was different. This was real; or, so she thought. Her gut thought so, too.

She made it through the day, with the ‘something’ continuing to hoover in her mind. After putting the boys to bed, she sat with him and tried to lose herself in television. It wasn’t working. She rested her head on him, wondering if she should say something. As he put his arm around her, she closed her eyes and decided to keep quiet. At least for the night.

She heard his alarm beeping. It was the secondary alarm. The two had overslept their own alarm. She fumbled to check the time. Oversleeping was not a common occurrence for her. She wanted to stay in bed. Her gut wanted her to stay in bed. But, she had to get the boys up and ready for school. Focus. She told herself. Focus.

Today was picture day at her oldest son’s school. When the teacher greeted him at the door, she asked “Are you ready to have your picture taken?” He nodded and replied, “I brought my best smile.”

As she drove away, she was smiling. She had such good kids. She knew she’d be OK. Maybe she was just overwhelmed with the tasks at hand. She decided to spend the entire day focusing on completing as many tasks as possible. With the deadline just two days away, there was little time left to lolly-gag and procrastinate. She shook her head, while visualizing an Etch-a-Sketch. If only it were as easy to clear the mind with a simple shake, as it is when one shakes an Etch-a-Sketch to clear the screen.

When she got home, she jumped into the first project. After about an hour, she couldn’t take it anymore. She decided to call her neighbor. Her hands were shaking as she dialed the number. Holding her breath, she waited for her neighbor to answer the phone. “Hi. We’re not home right now…” She hung up, and threw herself back into the tasks.

The phone rang. “How are you?” Her neighbor asked. She was glad her neighbor checked caller ID. In fact, she had counted on it. “Well,” she said. “Don’t freak out, OK?”

“What do you mean?” Her neighbor asked curiously. “What happened?”

“Do you have any pregnancy tests?” She blurted.

“Ha ha! Are you kidding me?!” Her neighbor asked, while laughing.

“Wait. Am I kidding on which part?” She responded.

She waited as her neighbor walked to the bathroom to rummage through the drawers. She told her neighbor how she had a feeling. Though she wasn’t officially ‘late’, she didn’t feel like mother nature would be calling any time soon.

“No, I don’t have any left over tests. I’m sorry.”

She sighed. “That’s OK. I may pick one up when I pick up my oldest from school.”

“I’ll go get you one. You just say the word.”

She had such a great neighbor.

After hanging up the phone, she felt a bit better. Just saying the word pregnancy out loud took some of the anxiety away. At the age of 41, a pregnancy was not something she was trying to make happen. In fact, when the moments arrive, steps are taken to prevent pregnancy. There is always a chance one might slip through the gates, though.

It was time to pick up her oldest from school. Her day had gotten better, having said the word and actually having tackled some of the tasks. However, the uncertainty remained, as did many tasks. And, when her oldest got in the car, she got cold feet and decided not to make a run to the store. ‘Maybe‘, she thought. ‘Maybe, I’ll pick one up after I pick up my youngest.

5:00 came around quickly. She loaded up her oldest, and headed out to pick up her youngest. Driving back home, she asked the boys if they wanted to run an errand with her. She smiled inside, knowing good and well, she didn’t usually ask permission to run errands. Anxiety reigned, and her boys said no.

“Well, I am going to drop you off at our neighbor’s house, because I have to run an errand.”

“What are you going to get?” One of the boys asked.

She hemmed. She hawed. “I’m going to get a test.”

“What kind of test?”

She hemmed again. She hawed again. “I’m going to get a pregnancy test.”

“What’s a pregnancy test?”

“It’s a test women take to find out if they are going to have a baby.”

“When can I have a baby in my tummy?”

“You can’t have a baby in your tummy.” My oldest said. “You’re not a girl.”

“Mommy. Why can’t I have a baby?”

“Because you don’t have a vagina or uterus, and you don’t have any ovaries.” She said. She figured she might as well just let it all out.

“What’s a vagina or uterus?”

“It’s the stuff that helps make babies.” She said.

“Yeah. It’s like a machine.” Her oldest said.

She pulled into her neighbor’s driveway. Her neighbor greeted her with a grin. She told her neighbor she’d be back soon. And, she headed for the store. Once in the store, she raced to the pharmacy section, assuming she’d find the tests. No dice. No tests, either. She went down the cosmetic aisle. No dice. No tests. She went down the baby aisle. Dice and tests! She grabbed a two’fer, just in case.

As she headed for the check-out, she turned suddenly and darted for the ice cream aisle. A smile came across her face. She might as well enjoy herself, regardless of the news.

“So. What do you have planned for tonight?” The friendly checkout clerk asked.

“What? Why are you asking me that? I am buying a pregnancy test and ice cream. What do you think I have planned? I am stressed, Mister. The list of tasks remains long, and now I may find out I am pregnant. Do you know how old I am? I am 41 yrs old. I know better. Yet, some little guy may have slipped through the cracks and made a baby. A baby. I wear socks with sandals, do I look like someone who is actively trying to get pregnant?! Do I?! What do you mean what do I have planned for tonight? I sure as heck did not plan for this!” She thought.

She smiled at the clerk and said “Oh, nothing.”

Back at her neighbor’s house, her neighbor asked, “Did you take it yet?”

“No.” She said. “I’ll wait until the boys are eating dinner.”

“Well, you had better call me, or I will hunt you down.”

The moment of truth arrived. She locked herself in the bathroom, while the boys enjoyed their PB&Js and Curious George. She sat. She pee’d. She waited.

She glanced at the stick, wondering if she’d see one line or two. She slowly unlocked the door, and walked to the kitchen. She stood silent for a moment. Then she opened the fridge and popped the top off a bottle of Guinness beer. She raised the bottle to the one line, her two boys, her loving husband and her two dogs. This was her family. She was happy. And, she was not pregnant.

‘Oh, crap.’ She thought, as she remembered she still had a ton of tasks to tackle.

.::|::.

Guinness is Good for You

My friend and I enjoying our very first Guinness at the Guinness brewery in Dublin, Ireland.

Today I was going to write about creating the perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich. However, because it is St. Patrick’s Day, it is a great time to write about and celebrate my love for Guinness. I know, I can hear your moans of disappointment. I’ll write about the perfect PB&J another time. Promise. Now, please understand, I rarely drink these days, because I have found that for me, anti-depressant meds and alcohol don’t mix well. If I enjoy one beer, chances are great that I will become quite sleepy within an hour and I will have a headache come sunrise. Still, my love for Guinness is as strong as it was the day I tried my first one.

Years ago, while traveling abroad, my friend met several people. She became quite close with two guys from Hemel-Hempstead, a town in Hertfordshire, England. Interested in visiting the guys again, she invited me on a trip to England in May 1997. It was my first trip across the big pond, and we had a wonderful time. While in England, we checked into the cost of flights to Ireland. The price was right, so we decided to spend a couple of nights in Dublin, staying at a Hostel.

When one goes to Dublin, it should be a rule to tour the Guinness Brewery. As an incentive, you are given a free half pint of Guinness after the tour. And, it was after the tour that I sipped my very first Guinness. The picture above was taken during this life-changing moment. The fact that someone next to us was wearing a team shirt documenting the month and year of this momentousness event was priceless. I enjoyed the half pint so much that I went up to the bar to see if I could buy another one. I was embarrassed to find out one could not buy pints or half pints, though I realized it was safer to limit the Guinness consumption. Plus, one need only walk a couple of blocks to find a local pub serving fresh Guinness.

My friend and I did not go pub hopping that afternoon, but it was the start of our love affair for Guinness. And during the rest of our trip, I took many pictures of glasses filled with freshly poured Guinness, topped with a shamrock drawn in the thick foam head. Nearly 13yrs later, my love affair with Guinness continues. If I am going to have a beer, my first choice is always Guinness, and I keep Guinness in the fridge just in case. Perhaps tonight, during our Wednesday night routine of PB&Js and a movie, I will enjoy a Guinness. Who knows, my traveling friend may enjoy a Guinness today, too. Are you afraid of the dark? Have a pint of Guinness. “Try it. You’ll like it.”