Grandma Says..

Observations and views from a different set of eyes

Happy Days Are Here Again

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Why is Cranky dancing?  Why is she jumping for joy?  What’s the reason for her grin spreading ear to ear?

No, the Government Shutdown isn’t over.  No, she didn’t win the Lottery.  No, she didn’t wake up and find that she’s a best-selling author overnight.

No, my friends, none of the above are the reason that I now wake up looking forward to each day with a new, rejuvenated desire to greet the morning.  I’m just slap happy that the summer has ended…the humidity is gone and the sun is no longer burning up every living thing.

Our fall usually starts around October 15th…the calendars say September, but here in Florida we don’t get any relief from the sweltering heat until October.  We don’t get the pretty fall leaves, we don’t get pumpkin patches sprouting up by the roadside and the logs aren’t crackling in the fireplace.

What we get is beautiful mornings in the 70’s and the highs in the mid 80’s during the day (and the mid 80’s feel like the mid 80’s…not the low 100’s).  We get to go to the beach and be able to walk on the sand without peeling the skin off our feet.  We get to open our cars and not be blasted with the stored up heat it’s accumulated.

This week has been right on the mark.  The humidity dropped, the skies are clear and the roads are still relatively easy to ride (most of our Northern folk don’t come down here until November.)  So, I’m a very happy camper!

I am removing the “countdown” calendar from my site and hope that it will be a nice long winter for us here in Florida.  Heck, the coldest I’ve seen it get here in dead winter is the 30’s…bring it on I say!

So, I hope that everyone is enjoying their fall….I know I am!  Well, I have to dance on out of here now.  I hear some gardening that I’ve been dying to do all summer calling me!

Love,

Cranky

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Galloping Gators!

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The other evening, as my canine and I were heading for the lake (a small pond, actually, but everyone calls it “THE LAKE”) when a kindly old gent stopped us.

“Better be careful,” he bellowed from across the street (most of the old timers here bellow at me…I think they believe that the ear pods I wear are hearing aids) and he cast a furtive glance in the direction we were heading.  “John told me that there’s a gator roaming around up the street.  I wouldn’t go down that way, if I were you.”

“Thanks!” I waved and headed off towards the lake.  Since I had no idea who this man was and being totally clueless of who the heck “John” was, I decided to follow our normal route. Gators or not, my pup needed exercise and a place to squat.

There are actually two gators who call our little “lake” home and they differ vastly in size.  I call the smaller one (approximately four feet) “Goober” and I have labeled the bigger eight foot mammer jammer “Godzilla.” They seem to tolerate these names well as they haven’t hissed at me or lunged in an effort to grab me in a death roll.

My pup and I have greeted these mini dinosaurs many times in the past months and in return, they totally ignore us.  They don’t seem to find my chicken legs that I walk on tempting and my sixty-five pound puppy is a little too large for their tastes.

Of course, I’m not stupid.  I’ve lived in Florida long enough that I know to keep a watchful eye out when near the water so that lurking rascally reptiles don’t catch me unaware and decide that they want to have me for dinner.  Actually, it’s not the alligators to blame when they attack a human, 99.9% of the time the humans have brought it on themselves.

They think it’s cute to feed them, allowing the gators to get comfortable with Homo sapiens bearing gifts.  So you really can’t blame them when they see you and believe you’re bringing them goodies…and for deciding on Plan B (a big chunk of you) for a new culinary experience.

Bravely, I popped my ear buds back in and my pup and I proceeded to begin our walk around the water while I kept a keen eye on the banks of the lake.  It wasn’t long before I spotted “Goober” lazing on the center island of the lake.

alligator_6  Now, Goober and Godzilla don’t hang out together, so extra vigilance (all due to the town crier’s warning regarding galloping gators) was maintained as we proceeded around the bend.

I felt something brush against the back of my legs and I didn’t hesitate for a second.  I just knew that Godzilla had snuck up behind me and barely missed taking a chunk out of my butt. I did what any smart, self-respecting Floridian would do when they become an object of desire to a gator…I screamed and ran like hell, pulling my poor, confused pup along with me.  I didn’t look back until I felt that I had left Godzilla behind in the dust of my tracks.

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As I turned to see how far I had outrun the voracious monster, I found a silent and empty street behind me.  The banks of the lake were empty, no bikers or walking dead were cruising the street and no grinning gator was in sight.  Confused, I spent a few moments peeking over the edge of the lake and only found a couple of ducks…I swear they were laughing at me.  Raising my eyes, I caught sight of Godzilla on the other side of the lake, drifting along without a care in the world.

I spent another few minutes resting while my heart rate slowed, my breath returned and my puppy fearlessly took a pee.  A few residents, hearing my previous blood curdling scream poked their heads out of their doors.  Mortified, I just waved and hustled down the street to avoid questions about my less than courageous behavior.

Once again, the soft brush against my legs returned…but this time I turned before repeating my embarrassing waddle and found the source of this terrifying threat was my dog’s fluffy tail wagging against my legs.

Mystery solved.  Feeling like a complete idiot, who could no longer claim that “gators don’t scare this tough old broad”, my puppy and I finally finished our walk and arrived home all in one piece.

I think that the next time “John” sends a message down the neighborhood pipeline…I’ll heed his advice and take a different route…a road where I know no-one witnessed my cowardly escape from the imaginary jaws of death.

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Cranky

P.S.  Here are a few mythbusters for you, just in case you get a visit from Goober or Godzilla in your neighborhood.

1.  Alligators can’t run as fast as a quarterhorse…top speed for an adult gator has been clocked at ten miles per hour.  They can only maintain the speed for short bursts.

2.  Most people believe that you need to maintain a ZIG-ZAG pattern when running away from an agressive gator.  WRONG!  They can’t see straight ahead so just high tail it out of there in a straight line and you’ll be okay.

And, just a reminder from an old lady who has lived in Florida for 25 years.  Don’t feed or swim with the gators.  It’s not healthy for them or for you!

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A House Is Not Always A Home

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The heat here in Florida has been stifling…so Danny and I decided to take a ride by the beach.  I love these little excursions as I get to look at all the McMansions sitting along the road.

We play a little game called “Which one is Steve’s house” in which we drive down the road that Stephen King has a winter house and guess which one the King of Horror lives in. Of course, Mr. King gives no clues: there are no vampires looking out the windows, there aren’t rabid dogs running to greet us and there isn’t a clown in sight. So, based on what we know about his house (which is close to nothing) we try to guess which one he roosts in during the northern winter months.

Here’s the one I think it is…

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Why do I think this is the one?  It’s simple, its got enough room for Tabitha to write on one floor while he writes on another and it’s empty (since summer is here, I’m sure he’s enjoying Maine’s cooler temps.)  The Armed Security sign kept us from peeking around and I didn’t want to spend the day getting bonded out for trespassing, so I’ll just keep my conviction that this is where he lives.

We left his road and proceeded to drive down the scenic route that takes us past homes that are hard to imaging living in, such as this one…

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Okay, guys and gals, although we all dream of living the life of the Great Gatsby, would you really feel at home in this huge, huge house?  I know I wouldn’t want to clean it and I’d probably spend half my day searching for Danny in this bad boy.  I probably don’t have enough friends to fill the entryway, never mind the living room.

We did find a touch of Florida at one of the homes in the driveway of this one…

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No, not the luxury car..the golf cart is the new “in” way to travel around the beaches as long as the batteries don’t run out.

At the end of this long, long ride around the shores of the Gulf Of Mexico, I am reminded once again why I love Florida.  The beautiful sea and skies make for a stunning view from any place along the shore.

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And for us that can’t afford one of those McMansions (which we jealously refer to them as) we always have access to the public beaches and you can frolic to your heart’s delight (as long as you follow the rules on this..)

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You’ve all seen these..the signs that say don’t do anything but enjoy yourself while you’re doing it!  Anyway, we poor folk do love our beaches here and as you can see, the weekend is a great time to head to the Intercoastal Waterway as seen here…

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Well, too soon our ride was over and we headed back to our simple little house.  I sat down and thought about all those beautiful houses, but wondered if they were really a home.  I can’t imagine myself living in one since I need a sense of closeness around me…my family, my friends and my dog would be swallowed hole in one of these houses.  So, even though they are great to look at, I’ll kick my feet up here and be glad for the simple things in life.

So, my friends, when you look at the pictures, you can decide for yourself whether these houses look like a home for you.  Me?  I’ll stay where I am, thank you very much.

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Be It Ever So Simple

There’s No Place Like Home

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.  Oh, and by the way, I can’t leave without proof that the photographer of all the pictures, except the cartoon and the last photo, was ME!  Only I could get a picture of me in the sideview mirror…don’t worry…this is why I write and don’t take pictures!

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Happy Sunday!

Cranky

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I’m Melting…I’m Melting!

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Yeah, I’m melting and I deserve it.  Remind me to keep my big mouth shut!

A few  weeks ago, I happened to mention to Danny this year’s summer season didn’t seem quite as hot and humid as other years.  We were getting a lot of rain and thunderstorms which kept the temperatures down and the humidity away during most of the day.  I was in heaven.  I hate the heat and humidity.

So, once I shot off my big mouth, Mother Nature whipped out her sizzling stick and now, it’s hot here…so hot!  I got up this morning and it was 83 degrees at 4:30 a.m and the weatherman predicts the “feel like” temps to be in the three digit range.  No breeze, no relief from the humidity, no hope of cooler temperatures until October.  No wonder I’m melting!

Danny is impervious to the heat…or so he’d like me to think!  He spends a lot of time out in the yard, sweating and sucking down lemonade while he performs lawn maintenance for hours.  I watch him from the window with the air conditioning blowing out it’s life sustaining air and wonder how he tolerates the high temps without passing out.  He claims that it’s not that hot and that I’m just a wimp!

He thinks that I don’t notice that he’s standing in a pool of sweat as he’s peeling off the fourth tee shirt of the day.   Not that hot, my butt!

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If you want to know how hot it is here in Florida, turn your oven on for an hour or so at 500 degrees then open the door.  Feel that blast of heat?  Well, that’s how it feels when you open your door here.  You get in your car and the steering wheel chuckles as it sears your hands; forget your shoes and walk barefoot on the driveway and you’ll find yourself doing the Funky Chicken in two seconds flat.

Now, I realize that I have no right to gripe.  I’ve seen temperatures rise across the country equal to the boiling heat here but somehow, I don’t care.  I’m hot, I’m grouchy and I’m ready for fall.  And, those people don’t seem to mind the summer since their winters are so cruel.

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But, here in Florida, our winters are what we look forward to all summer long.  I’ve lived here long enough to qualify as a Damn Yankee (one who stays and stays and stays) and the coldest temps I’ve ever seen during the winter are in the 30’s and 40’s, and that’s just in the morning.  Afternoons usually reach the 70’s and that ain’t bad, folks.

On the other side of the coin, due to the extreme sweltering and my refusal to step foot outside until we’re totally out of food, I’ve had no distractions from my writing and have been quite productive over the last week.  If you’re curious what I’ve been up to, take a slide over to “A Dream Come True” and get an update.  Also, I have cut down on my smoking because I have to smoke outside, so I’m saving some bucks during this long hot summer.

But, I’ve had enough.  I want those cool breezes they promised me when I moved to Florida.  I want the water in my pool to be less than 98 degrees when I plunge in and I want to work in the yard without having 911 preset on my cell phone.

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Of course, I’d also like to look as slim and beautiful as the woman in the picture, but that ain’t gonna happen soon either!

So, to cheer myself up, I’m adding the counter widget to this site so I can count down the days until October 15th, which is when by some mysterious weather switch, the humidity starts to leave and the air outside becomes breathable again.  This way, with an end in sight, perhaps I can tolerate the heat a little better and not be so Cranky!  Yeah, right…like that’s gonna happen.

Anyway, I hope you’re all finding a cool spot to sit and enjoy your summer!  As for me, I’M MELTING!

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Love,

Cranky!

25 Comments »

Not Another Rainy Day!

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No, please!  I can’t take it!  Say it ain’t true.  I cannot withstand another day cooped up with Danny.

We’ve been getting a lot of rain here in Florida; we need it..I can dig that.  I can handle a rainy day, in fact, I love them.  They inspire me; they fascinate me with their beauty; they give me an excuse to stay on my laptop and get creative.

Oh, but Danny takes a rainy day personal.  He feels trapped as he is the type of male that must be outside to be feel productive; I think it’s that “King Of The Jungle” feeling that he gets when he’s working out in the yard.  So, when he can’t prowl around outside, he paces through the house and complains..a lot..all day..all night.

Yesterday was a nightmare.  Our morning coffee-time, when I usually listen to Danny’s plans for the yard, turned into an hour spent with a man wearing a pout and complaining about the rain.  I tried to cheer him up.

“Look at that rain coming down.” He groused.

“Well, I’ve never seen it go up!” I quipped.  Hmm..dead silence, not even a chuckle?

A short minute later:

“It’s gonna rain outside all day, dammit!”

“Well, it’s better than raining inside!” Okay…that one was kind of weak but I don’t think I deserved the “drop dead” look I received.

By afternoon, I gave up trying to write as he decided his new hobby was to interrupt whatever I was doing.  I would get up from the table and he would ask where I was going.  I thought the warm, comforting smells from baking would calm him down; but no luck.  “What are you burning?” was the thanks I got for the pineapple upside down cake.  And it’s not burnt…just a little well done on the edges.

By late afternoon, every nerve in my body was screaming!  If I heard one more complaint about the rain, I was not going to be held responsible for my actions.  I watch a lot of crime shows and I’m pretty sure they’d never find the body.  But, if they did, I’ll just get an all woman jury that has spent a day buried in a house with a man that had nothing to do.  They wouldn’t have the heart to convict me.

It was now evening and time to prepare dinner.  Another round of kibbitzing while I prepared his favorite dish; chicken gizzards.  I save this dish just for these occassions, since the look and smell of those disgusting chicken body parts makes me gag.  But, I weather through it if it will put a smile on his mug.

“Remember, don’t put anything in the flour except salt and pepper.” Oh yeah, I need reminding since I’m still a novice..twelve years of making them must not be enough to eliminate the salt and pepper warning.

“You’re making white gravy to go with them right?”  I assured him that I was slapping some oil, flour and milk together for him to dip his stupid gizzards in.

I, myself, do not let chicken intestines or gravy that is nothing more than a liquid glue pass my lips.  So, I got to eat leftover salisbury steak while he popped gizzards into his mouth.  It was the only quiet time of the day, so I guess it was worth the floury mess in the kitchen.  After he finished, he asked for a piece of the fresh baked cake but had to add “if it’s not burnt too bad to eat.”

Oh, yeah, I would walk out of court a free woman.

So, I’m praying that either the rain stops today or that Danny takes the hint when I hand him his car keys and say “It’s time to go…somewhere…anywhere…someplace other than here!”  Because, I just don’t think I could take another Rainy Day with Danny.

Authors note:  Now I might be Cranky, but for those of you who don’t know me, I would never harm a hair on Danny’s grey head.  Really…honest…pinky swear!

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Oh, What A Night!

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I love storms!  They make me gasp, they hypnotize me with their brilliant streaks of lightning and the deafening peals of thunder. I’ve seen some great storms in my twenty-five years in Florida but, last night, I was in my glory!

Around seven p.m., the thunderclouds rolled in with a vengeance.  I was in the dining room working on the laptop (so what else is new?) and glanced up to see that first glorious strike of lightning light up the sky.  I looked out on the lanai (depending on where you live, think porch, patio or that little patch of cement you park a chair on outside your door) and there was Danny, stuffing his face with a piece of chocolate pie.

Now, when you hear thunder in Florida, you are wise to start looking for shelter (no, not under that metal car port) and sit back and enjoy the show.  These types of storms usually move through rather quickly and you don’t want to miss the special effects that Mother Nature has whipped up for you.

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Last night’s show was spectacular and lasted a good hour; it was a continuous symphony of deep, rolling thunder followed by cracks of lightening so loud you couldn’t help but give a little jump.  I sat in awe and watched with delight as the storm flexed it’s muscles time after time.  I watched Danny carry in his empty paper plate (hey, I’m a writer and I reduce chores down to the bone, so paper is good) and his fork.

He looked at me and said, “Guess I shouldn’t be using a metal fork while the lightning is so close to the house, huh?”

“Yeah, the lightning is going to aim straight for that fork, Dan.  Don’t worry about that aluminum chair you’re sitting in.”

So, taking the hint, he headed for the safety of the bedroom and I stayed till the end of the show.  Eventually, the lights stopped flickering, the skies started clearing and the thunder became a distant memory.

Now, some of you might remember that we have a small puppy and I worried that Buddy might be like out last dog, D.O.G.  At the first faraway murmur of thunder, D.O.G. would start breaking down the patio doors to take cover in the house.  You risked serious injury if you got in that dog’s way.  Don’t try to remove the dog from the house until the sun has once again graced the skies.  D.O.G. was pure chickens*** when it came to thunder and lightning.

After Danny scooted off to the safety of our bed, I felt safe enough to take a peek out the patio doors, worried that Buddy might be cowering in fear and shaking with terror.  I spotted him in his bed, SOUND ASLEEP!

When I softly said his name, he peeked up at me as if to say “What????  There was a storm?”  Love that dog!

This morning, all is still and quiet has covered our little town again.  But, Mother Nature did leave a little gift for those of us who survived the night and lived to see the sunrise.

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It’s a beautiful morning, but, oh what a night!

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Da Ants In My Pants

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A few weeks ago, Danny and I took a good look at our lawn and found that there wasn’t a patch of green grass to be found.  We worried that the neighbors would start complaining about tumbleweed from our yard drifting across their green, lush, and cushy lawns.  We decided to turn our no man’s land of a front lawn into a wonderland of green.

Oh boy, I thought!  A great project for two old farts to take on in the summer heat of Florida.  For those of you who have not experienced the humidity in Florida, I can only describe it as life sucking heat that vacuums all energy from your body on impact.  But, not one to back down in the face of a challenge (and hating to be called a wimp) I was determined to work by my man’s side and accomplish this great feat of landscaping.

Our project involved getting the sprinklers system that has been on the fritz for the past three years fixed and raking up the straw that crunched when we walked on it. Then, we would lay down new sod and bingo…we would have our new lawn!  Easy Peasy!

We decided to split up the duties; I would arrange for the sprinkler repairs and schedule the sod delivery.  Danny insisted on doing the lawn preparation (I fought him tooth and nail on this for at least ten seconds).  He knows my tolerance for the heat and I believe he didn’t want me doing the more physically demanding work as I might pass out and he would have to perform mouth to mouth resuscitation (but that’s just a guess).

The sprinkler repairman came Friday and spent an hour getting half of the little buggers to spit out a respectable amount of water; he had another appointment and rumor has it that he will return tomorrow (after a five-day wait to finish the job). Can I pick them or what?  The sod was also delivered on Friday and we were ready to lay that sod.  I wore my lightest pair of shorts and a lightweight tank top and reported for sod laying duty.

Danny suggested that I don a pair of work gloves to which I responded “I don’t need no stinkin gloves.”  I proceeded to pick up those squares of sod and carried them (with a slight wobble) to their designated spot.  I was on a roll; I was one sod laying grandma making tracks across that lawn.

And, then it happened.  I looked down and shrieked when I saw the army of red ants parading up and down my arms.  Evidently, sliding both your arms underneath the square of sod proved easier to lift the sod, but left your arms an open invitation to the red ants lying in wait.

Now, everyone here in Florida will tell you that red ants have a plan when they attack.  They have a general who leads the army up the extremity and when he feels the time is right, yells “Attack” and all the ants bite you at the same time.  So, you don’t get a warning nibble or a chance to brush them off before you wind up with a multitude of welts.

I did the “Red Ant” shuffle, dancing around in panic as I brushed the millions (okay, hundreds) of ants off my arms.  What I didn’t know was that the ants had launched an attack on other regions of my body.  My legs were being chewed and some insidious little suckers even got around to biting my butt.  I ran into the shower, stripped and washed those little suckers down the drain.  As I dried off, I looked down and thought “This is not good!”  Welts covered my arms, my legs and my upper chest.  Even my butt had been bombed.

I put a long sleeved shirt on and jeans and decided that I might want to wear those “stinkin” work gloves after all.  I walked out to continue laying out the sod and did manage to get two squares down before I started to rip my skin off.  I felt like a thousand sparks were lit all over my body and I scratched until I was a red mess.  I started feeling dizzy and Danny marched me back in the house and ordered me to stop scratching.  Yeah, like that was gonna happen!

The next morning, after a restless night trying not to scratch myself bloody, I got up to find that the welts had now turned into nasty looking red bumps which sported a white top filled with ant venom.  Yuck!

Now, the bad news is that I have spent the past three days slathering on anti-itch cream and antibiotics.  The good news is I’m doing so in the comfort of the air-conditioned living room while Danny and his nephew are outside finishing up the lawn.

The moral of this story?  If you’re allergic to red ant bites, stay away from the sod. On the other hand, if you hate manual labor and soul sucking humidity, a few bites can get you out of the heat and get you a bit of sympathy too.  Hmmm…:)  Maybe da ants in your pants might be your salvation!

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