Eiden: The first week is always the hardest
After arriving in Florida, we stayed with our kids for a few days while setting up the camper. We’d told them early on that this year we’d be closer to them, and they seemed excited, but they didn’t know how close we’d be. Surprise! We cut out half the distance from last year. When they realized, they weren’t smiling quite so wide.
Not having time to grocery shop, the first night in the RV found us eating what I’d brought: peanut butter on Ritz, and what I’d left: a can of chili. Gar developed a pained expression viewing the spread and mentioned McDonald’s, but I said, “Shut it, whiner.” The next morning when I offered Pop Tarts, he flat refused and stomped his foot for effect, so Waffle House it was.
While Gar was cleaning outside, I worked inside. At one point he said there was a large plastic bin on top of the dumpster and did we want it for all his fishing paraphernalia? I said certainly, so he bleached and rinsed it. I said I hoped nobody was watching or they say, “Geez Marge, we got dumpster divers.” He nodded, “Ya, they’ll be saying ‘The newbies are doozers.’”
I walked down to the office to pay our rent and on my way back, a woman came out of her place carrying trash to the dumpster about 50 yards away. It was on the path I was taking so I asked, “Want me to take it, I’m going that way.” She replied, “No, I got it and besides, I need the exercise.” When I got to the camper, I told Gar about the conversation and said, “A woman who feels 50 yards is exercise is a woman I could go shopping with.”
We use a UPS store for our postal service and one morning I got our mail and was on my way out of the building when a cute older gentleman was coming up the sidewalk near me. I asked if he was coming in and he said he was. I said, “I’ll hold the door for you but you’ll owe me a quarter.” Without a pause, he grinned and said, “Well, now, how ‘bout you hold the door and I hold you.” I got to the truck and smugly told Gar, “Watch it mister, I got options.” He wasn’t worried a bit. He knew much that the older gentleman did not.
One morning as we drove up the lane to our kids’ house, a guy, dressed in what appeared to be service clothing, complete with reflector tape on his jacket, was standing next to some surveying equipment a little way off the road. He was nonchalantly speaking into his phone but his pants were down around his knees and he was wearing boxers. I was surprised, stunned, shocked and dismayed! Looking over at Gar, I squawked, “What the heck?” Gar calmly shrugged and said maybe he had fire ants or a snake in his pants. I, at high volume, pointed out that the guy didn’t seem frantic and Gar, unperturbed, agreed. After driving along for a moment, I asked Gar, “I can’t believe it. Doesn’t that just strike you as crazy!” Gar shook his head and looking out the window, quietly murmured, “Not this year.” I’m hoping he meant last year, as in 2020, and not the current year, as in now, this very moment, trapped in a tiny home with you-know-who.
We were invited to the kids’ house for dinner, and as I prepped vegetables, Wendy scolded 2-year-old Ryder about something he did. The conversation was par for moms and toddlers…
Mom-Why did you do that?
Mom-Yes, you did.
Ryder-Oh, I did?
Mom-Yes, I know you did. But why?
Ryder-I know I did.
Mom-Yes, I know too. I’m asking why?
Ryder-Me too. I’m asking why?
Mom-Oh brother, this isn’t working.
Ryder-No, ‘dis’ isn’t working.
Seven-year-old Lyds and I played Memory, a matching game, and since she’s sweet, if she remembered where a card was, she’d excitedly say, “Oh Grammy, turn over this one!” We’d played for only a few minutes when I turned over a card we’d not seen yet, but Lyds said, “Oh! The mate to that one is right here, turn this one over!” I did and sure enough, she was right. Puzzled that she knew, since it didn’t appear dog-eared, I asked how she noticed that card? She said, “Oh, see that tiny brown dot? That’s where I throwed up on it once.”
Trena Eiden [email protected]