My Angel Drives A Convertible

Putt…Putt..Putt.  

He’s coming up behind me…again. 

My angel in the teal blue vintage convertible.

I can taste my sweat dripping from my head, because my mouth has opened in a smile, while I race ahead of my angel on my bicycle, Clarence gaining on me fast.

I don’t know his name, but I call him Clarence, after the imperfect angel from the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”..he is funny..and seems flawed. Every morning at 9 a.m., while I am racing my bike to the angel garden at the convent, he appears seemingly out of the clear blue sky, maneuvers slowly around me, waves and smiles..sometimes heckles..”Shouldn’t you be peddling that thing??”  

Clarence is a vision in his very shiny, very old convertible.  The morning sun bouncing off his white hair and shiny head. He putt-putts ahead of me to the convent where he stops and parks in the same spot every morning, at the edge of the forest.  By the time I catch up to him he is silent, his hands folded in prayer, his head bowed onto his fancy steering wheel, his lips moving in fervent quiet prayer.  I so badly want to interrupt and say, “who are you?”..but I can’t bring myself to do it.  

I find Clarence highly suspicious for Guardian Angel.  

My town is a very small town.   When your neighbor moves away it usually means they moved two streets over. The roots have grown roots around here..no one leaves.  Everybody knows everyone.  I don’t know Clarence…and he is hard to miss in his fancy convertible. I have never seen him anywhere but coming up behind me as we race to the angels.

Yesterday, I stopped and watched Clarence from a distance..”are you real?” I wondered.  I realized just a few feet to my left, a sister shrouded in her habit was sitting  silently on a garden bench..I was a little startled that she saw me spying on Clarence.  The church bells rang at that moment, and she stood up, smiled a greeting,  and looked towards Clarence, who was starting to putt..putt on his way.

I think they’re in cohoots.

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When Love Springs A Leak

plumber

I think everyone knows that I love Joe. My family and friends have always known..and now, thanks to the World -Wide web, bored researchers in the Antarctica know too.  A great guy, a good man, a hard worker, a loving father…a man I want to kill in a plumbing crisis.

Like the one we are having right now, like this instant, in the middle of the night , a plumber is here sawing into my ceiling.

We sprung a leak.

I arrived home to my son doing a preemptive strike at the front door..”there’s water coming through the ceiling…try not to piss Dad off”. Normally, I would have corrected his language..but the boy knows his Dad.  Thanks son..now out of my way so I can go throw some wood on the fire.

We don’t do this little misadventures in home ownership very well. It is our marital Achilles heel..and since we are coming up on our Silver Anniversary, I would say there is no hope for improvement. 

“WHAT’S GOING ON?!” I yelled at the frantic figure of Joe racing around the living room.  He calmly (not) responded “WHAT DO YOU THINK?  WE HAVE A LEAK!”  He declared our week ruined, our weekend plans ruined, everything ruined..and we hadn’t even called the plumber yet. “CALL THE FREAKING PLUMBER!..WHY ARE RUNNING AROUND? CALL THE PLUMBER NOOOOW..GIVE ME THE PHONE!!”  Oh. yeah, we are a well oiled team here. A plumber was contacted..two hours later in a house with no water, no plumber.  Three desperate calls later, (including one to a guy who’s name I had scratched on a scrap piece of paper a year ago because I thought he was cute – he was no longer a plumber I found, but a cop. I told him to stand by, because I might kill my husband before the night was through) and my runner-up plumber Darryl promised to arrive sometime in the next four hours. It was already past my bedtime when we called.

We continued to pour kerosene all over the crisis until Darryl arrived.  Sweet Darryl. Super Darryl. Darryl who is firing up a blow torch as I type in the middle of the night..soldering my pipes back together…restoring order to our dysfunctional evening. 

I think I saw Joe smile a minute ago.

I’m going to make myself scarce when the bill appears..got some serious toilet flushing to do. 

 

 

 

 

Angels, And Bears, And Pigs, Oh, My!

I know what you’re thinking..sweet Jesus, not another Angel Garden post.  I heard you muttering..”doesn’t this Broad do anything but hang out at a convent, talking to deer and angel statues?”  Bear with me..and spoiler alert..it wasn’t a bear.  There was a pig..but I’m getting ahead of myself.

This weekend, my husband left, you may remember him as Joe ..but this weekend I felt like Dwayne Schneider had left the building. (Remember Schneider, the building Super on the sitcom “One Day At A Time”?  Yep, I always have a cheesy 70’s song or sitcom playing in the background of all my thoughts- I am open to analysis, because I have no idea why this happens..All. The. Time.)snyder

Anyway, so it is written, everything must break when the maintenance man leaves town. The shower broke, the bicycle broke, the INTERNET broke.  That last one had me frantically trying to fix my bike, so I could escape the wailing of my teenagers whose entire world had suddenly stopped twirling..it was like they had been told their entire family had been sucked into a black hole over night..although I’m not clear that that would not have been more preferable. 

I pedaled like the wind, away from my wireless-less home , it’s all down hill to the Angel Garden at the convent..the wind in my ears blocking out sound, even riding the brakes is going to fast..it is exhilarating..a timeless feeling..a kid on her bike tasting freedom.

I stopped at a path in the woods, a path I had zoomed by many times, but always looked to lonely to explore.  My walks in the woods are always with Joe and two Labs, I have not ventured alone yet..until last night. Call me crazy, but I took the path..don’t know why..perhaps I was subconsciously choosing death over returning to my un-wired home and  suicidal teens…

There was noise..lots of animal noise as I trekked deeper in, the sun setting , creating that woods on fire effect. I thought back to recent years where a stray black bear had wandered way off course and wound up in our neck of the woods..a rare occurrence..but from the sound of the crashing through the trees, this city girl was convinced a black bear was going to be belching up my Nike’s later.

I was just starting to regret this dark woods thing, when a deer walked onto the path..who I immediately named “Grace” for her clumsy, noisy reveal.  Grace stopped and stared me down, and down, and down.  I think we were playing a game, and I wished I knew what this meant..do deer attack? Should I look away?  I ultimately decided that Grace was fearless..an emotion I could use a few pointers in..thanks Grace..I’ll go ponder that in Sr. Hannah’s Angel Garden.deer named grace

A quick trip to the garden, and a browse through the notebook that visitors leave their messages of thanks, joy, and angst.  A beautiful drawing caught my attention..I shared it with the harp playing angel.angel holding notebook 

A sweet cherub blew me a kiss.angel blowing kiss

A pig angel.  Wait…a pig angel? angel pig 

Hopping back on the bike, I started the uphill ride home.  As exciting as the ride downhill to the convent is, is as grueling and exhausting the ride home is. I pant and talk out loud to myself.  “You can do it..push..push..power legs, power legs.  I look like a lunatic. But, something happened today, for the first time, I didn’t have to get off and walk..today, I made it up the hill for the first time..slowly, wobbly, and in bad form..but I did it.  

I made it up that damn hill…and I fixed the broken shower.  I have no idea why the internet is suddenly working..my 13 year old assures me it was terrorism, but all is well now. Yay us.

Schneider just sent me a text..almost home..thank goodness..two burned out spotlights need changing.  Hurry up, man!

 

 

 

ABS Of Flab

Aside

beau coach

Have you tried to do a sit-up lately?  Go ahead..I’ll wait here, sipping my morning Joe and crunching happily on this low-carb, kinda peanut-buttery thing I call breakfast these days. 

Oh, you’re back..great!  How’d it go for you? Sucked, didn’t it? In the event that it didn’t suck like Grandma’s Hoover..please go away..I don’t want to talk to you today. 

This week , I embarked on the 30 Day ABS Challenge.  I’ve lost some weight recently, jogged a little 5K and have recently unearthed my old bicycle for some happy little jaunts around town.  I have enjoyed kind comments from folks on my changing physique .but  have also noticed a recurring theme in their remarks, that goes something like this..”Girl..you better start doing some sit-ups..”  and..”You’re getting older, that jelly belly ain’t going anywhere, girl.”  

Oh, yeah?  Nothing motivates me more than telling me I can’t do something.  

Enter the ABS Challenge. 

Then the Squats Challenge.

Oh, why not..let’s do the Push-Ups Challenge while we’re being delusional. 

Thirty days of Sit-ups, Crunches, Planks, Leg Raises, Squats and Push-ups that increase in number daily..and a husband by my side who I appointed my coach.

Big mistake. 

Have you met Joe?  The guy who entered a weight loss contest, worked out four hours a day and won some money? The newly anointed 50 year old man who just ran a 1/2 marathon without really training?  Mister “If You Are Going To Do A Job, Do It Right ” guy.

So now I am Richard Gere..a.k.a. “Mayonnaise”  and he is Lou Gossett Jr, demanding my D.O.R.  every night while I scream in pain, eeking out my final sit-up. He sets his stopwatch for my plank, while my arms quiver and I complain and curse my weak and  flabby existence, and he cheerily exclaims “Honey, Rome wasn’t built in a day!”  Shut-up. Takes me back to the Labor and Delivery Room where I wanted to punch his happy, pain-free face. 

Don’t get me started on the Squats.  Let’s just say..I need to start sitting on the toilet about two hours before I actually need it, if I am going to hit my mark.  Squats are miserable, brutal torture.  Go ahead, do 50..get back to me tomorrow.

Did I mention that I do all this with 200 lbs of Labrador Retriever  suffocating me with kisses, chewing on my shoes?  I love their go-time spirit, from  snoring couch potatoes to Joe’s assistant personal trainers in two seconds flat. This morning, Beau called for a one on one, Joe is going away for a few days, and he has been promoted to  head trainer..he looks concerned.

Sucking Wind With The Angels

convent bike

Go, go..you can do it…what makes the bike easier to pedal..high gear or low gear?  Pant, pant..coming through.. middle aged woman racing to an early morning meeting with the angels today

They called me Sunday to set up an appointment, felt I needed to talk after a weekend of overflowing emotions. 

With little time to spare, I told the angels I could squeeze them in between school drop-off and leaving for work. 

Ride your bike , they insisted.  Hmm..faster than walking for sure..but those hills, oy vey..if y’all insist..I’m almost 50, and those hills..oh, o.k…

I arrived at their garden ,out of breath and embarrassed that I had to walk my bike up the final hill..with trembling legs i propped the bike, and dropped to a bench in Sister Hannah’s Angel Garden.

Nearby, a sister was kneeling in a garden, hands folded in prayer, her veils lifting gently in the breeze, the resident convent cat, also in black and white, purring around her hem.  She did not acknowledge my presence, did not lift her head from her folded hands..but I felt like she had my back.

Still sucking wind, I told the angels that my life at 50 is a tsunami of joy and sadness, gratitude and selfishness, contentment and agitation. I see how it’s going to be now.

Everyone is a preacher now…telling us we make our “choices” and I’m pretty sure “Thou Shalt Accept Every Piece Of Shit Thrown Your Way”  is the eleventh commandment..

I’m calling shenanigans on all of it.

Life is hard, unpredictable and sometimes just unbelievably sad. The angels wanted to know if I had come to complain..and did I know I had to be to work in an hour..get to the point.

OK. it’s.my friends..please help them..do you only listen to the nuns?  I thought this garden was for sinners too?

The angels responded quickly.and did I detect sarcasm?  Of course..they were my angels, after all. 

“Wasn’t that you talking to your friend in aisle 3?”

Yes, that was me..the friend who has lost her husband and is raising her two young boys alone now.

“Go on”  

She spoke of  the small victories since her husband’s death, and she made me laugh, like she always does, when she and the boys finally figured out where the light bulbs had been stashed and changed their first light bulb without their Dad. She is such a good, strong mother..she always makes me smile. 

“Moving on..Wasn’t that you changing your friend’s bandages”

Yep..while nursing a broken heart from yet another husband gone too soon, she broke her shoulder.  I went to check on her . She has such an inner strength, a beautiful woman..every time I talk with her I want to be a better person, a more awake human. 

They got me..freakin’ angels..everyone’s a shrink.

Still behind me, I thought I saw a smile under the praying nun’s wimple. 

“Sometimes,” the angels said, “you have to get off and push the bike, you won’t have the strength to do otherwise..you will get there, a little slower..but you and the bike will arrive home eventually.  Get moving, dummy.”