Fiasco

Friday, I wore my first pair of tights of the season. The air is chilly and the foliage afire. I really hate the cold, but how can anybody hate autumn? Unquestionably the most beautiful of the four, it is the only season I missed while living in North Carolina.

It puts me in the mood for Fall snacks. Nick and I made pumpkin-raisin cookies the other night for him to take into work, and now I cannot be stopped. I love the spicy sent of Worcestershire sauce baking in a cozy kitchen. After a housework-productive but otherwise lazy morning, I decided I would venture out to find ingredients for Chex Mix.

Now, you must understand my love affair with Chex Mix. I have loved it longer than I’ve loved almost anything. Crunchy, savory goodness in every bite. How could one not fall headlong in love? I told Nick I would drive into Madison to buy my supplies because the local grocery store gets a little snarfy with my wallet.

So I venture out. I don’t know if it’s that I’ve accepted that I won’t have children, or too many years living in peace, but the screaming kids, yelling parents, and bickering spouses drove me bonkers. So completely oblivious to anyone around them in the cramped aisles! Oh, and CONTROL YOUR CHILDREN, THEY’RE MAKING A MESS OF THE DORITOS. I did not realize it was a code that every irritating person in the world converged upon their nearest grocery store on Saturday afternoon. I know now.

In the past, I’ve always made the Chex Mix (hereafter CM) juice from scratch, but I’ve become slothful in my old, late-twenties age. I prefer the packets now (with extra Worcestershire sauce of course). Do you think I could find a packet? NO. Of course not. How can I really pay attention with out-of-control children running so erratically that I feared running one of them over with my cart! I could not find a store associate to ask, and the crowd (AND NOISE) had me feeling all twitchy-like. If Nick had been with me, he would have fist-pumped me saying, “cats are the way to go.”

So I check out after the lady in front of me had the cashier scan about 50 coupons, all of which turned out to be expired. I was feeling testy as my turn came. The little machine asked me if I wanted cash back. Well, I did…but the hell if I’d ask for it. I didn’t want anything more to do with that place. Just give me my bags and live me the **bleep** alone.

I stalked to the end of the parking lot with my things, cooling down none at all. I stashed everything in the back and jammed my key into the ignition. Merging onto the highway upon which I usually love to speed in my cute little red car, I went the speed limit exactly. Not even five over. I would have been more considerate had there been traffic behind me, but I was free to be as poky as I please. I was totally and utterly spent. The NOISE! Does it ever turn off?? Sophie barely even meows!

The light turns green and I am rationalizing that I have all the ingredients at home to make the CM “juice” from scratch. An intersection later and I’m pissy (yes, I said pissy) all over again because no, I don’t have everything. I used the rest of the butter the other day to make PUMPKIN-RAISIN COOKIES. I slam my palm against the wheel and color the inside of my Mazda with a little noise of my own.

I am resigned to stopping at the small-town grocery store now. It’s the only option I have left—that, or abandon the project all together, which would have had my banging my head against a concrete wall that I put myself through all that chaos for nothing. I have another term that describes it better, but the world need not know that I can swear like a sailor when my ire is good and gotten.

So, I whip into the small, poorly designed parking lot and slam my door outside the little and expensive local store. The automatic door slithers open with the softest hiss…and inside? Muted conversation, the soothing hum of the lights. In short, sanity. I walk down the cereal aisle for kicks and giggles and right away, right where they should be, should always be, was a bevy of flavor packets. TONS of them. I think I stuffed 10 of ’em in my basket. Off to get the butter/shortening substitute, I pass the cheese curds.

Hmm. Yes. After my afternoon, I could stand a little sqeaky cheese. I throw a bag in my basket before grabbing the Smart Balance. Rounding my way back to the registers, with a much more sprightly, Laura-like outlook, I pass the spirits section. Hmm. Yes. Some of that too. I grab a sixer of John Adams Cherry Wheat.

I check out, having an altogether delightful conversation with the cashier. Humming happily, I walk to my car. Serenely pulling from the lot, I navigate home. Of course the store I initially sought to avoid should be the saving grace of my excursion. Life is nothing if not ironic.

Home. The quiet place. The place I love. Nick helps me carry in groceries as I tell my story, my dander ascending all over again. I saw sympathy in his eyes, sympathy and relief that he did not have to endure the wretches of that Madison store along with me. We both just really like quiet.

Swallowing some cheese and tossing back some beer, the tension began to release, and I began mixing my ingredients.

The spicy scent of Worcestershire sauce does smell so heavenly upon the crisp autumn air!

Epitome of Leisure (or Laziness)

Apparently sitting before her food dish to eat is just too much work.

Sophie has taken to lounging while she eats. She stretches on her side, pulls her food dish to her with one paw, and dips that paw in so that the little food pellets fall before her face.

If she were Egyptian, she’d have a shirtless servant feeding her grapes.

I should be bothered at the laziness, but I am more impressed that she’s figured out how to eat with even less effort. She’s an efficient little fuzzball.

Reminded

The past few months have been tummy-turning—but I’ll talk more about that when/if I know more. Hopefully I will after today.

Stress makes a person a little uptight, prone to bad moods, easy to snap. On Sunday, trying to wrap up my capital budgeting assignment for Finance, Sophie was climbing into my lap, licking my face, kneading my shoulder, purring, chasing my pencil…I let out a sigh of frustration.

Nick called from the other room, “Now, Dear…isn’t Sophie the cat you always wanted? You said you wanted a cat of this breed because they are people cats…” It’s true. I wanted a cat who didn’t pretend that I didn’t exist. I put down my pencil and picked up the fluffy ball weaving between my legs. Her purr motor revved as she contentedly leaned against my chest.

Yes, quirks (she brings up dirty laundry from the basement and steals my writing utensils), personality, and all, Sophie is the cat I have always wanted. And her backside is adorable: