Thursday, June 21, 2012

You grill, girl!

I checked off an item off my husband’s bucket list this past Sunday. I, Meredith Leigh Knight, grilled hamburgers for the first time. It was quite empowering.

As I told my son, “At least now if I’m stranded in the woods with a gas grill and some steaks, we won’t starve.”

I’m not sure why I’ve never done it before. It just seemed to be an item that falls under my husband’s responsibility. I have a lot of these items. Unfortunately, the list is in my head, so my husband isn’t always aware of them. I would write them down, but it’s quite lengthy, and besides, he should instinctively know what they are.
On this particular day, we were entertaining company at the lake, and for the sake of time, my husband dropped me and my friend off at the cabin to get dinner started and allow the kids a little more tubing time.

“What about the grill?” I asked.

“Light it,” he said.

“How?” I said.
Thus, began a long explanation over which way to turn the nozzles during which time I zoned out and wished I had a pencil on the boat to jot it down.

Instead, I looked at my friend, who had never grilled before either, and said, “Got that?”

She assured me that she, in fact, did.

We soon approached the grill, spatula in hand, because how else do you approach a grill?

“Now what did he say to do?” my friend asked.

Fortunately, the instructions were printed on it. We followed them to a tee, even the part that said if you push the self-igniting button, and it doesn’t light, then wait five minutes before pushing again. After a few intervals, we realized the sucker was not going to self-ignite.

That’s when my friend picked up the gas can. It was empty.

“I think there’s another one in the shed,” I said, and since that naturally fell under my husband’s list of obligations, she and I happily went inside and chatted and ate crab dip.

Little while later, with the threat of rain on the horizon, the men and children got off the boat, tired and very hungry.

“Where are the hamburgers?” my husband asked.

“Oh, we are out of gas,” I said.

He looked perturbed and then changed the tank, as my friend and I poured ourselves some sweet tea and worked on solving the world’s problems.
“Put the burgers on while I put the boat up,” he said.

That’s when it hit me. He was serious. I was going to have to grill – for company. My friend and I put the patties on and turned up the gas and got ready to go back into the air conditioning.

“Don’t leave the grill!” Both of our husbands shouted in unison.

We looked at each other in shock. Who knew?

As we manned the grill, it soon became apparent that we’d have to flip the burgers. My primary concern during this exercise was preventing my hair from catching on fire.

“You do the ones in the back,” my friend said.
“But your arms are longer!” I protested, and then added, “My mama always said the burned part is the best.”
“Move them off the flame,” my friend’s husband said, concerned about his meal.

That’s when she and I realized that both men were enjoying a refreshing beverage, grinning with amusement, as we grilled.
“Wait a minute; I thought you were too busy to grill!”

Apparently, they weren’t that busy. Turns out the kids were watching, too. Fortunately, for all parties involved, my friend and I had the last laugh. Our burgers turned out perfect. Perhaps the best I’ve ever eaten. Along with that came a sense of pride. We are women. Hear us roar. Watch us grill.

I think next time I’m going to try chicken.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Don't barter with me

I recently held a yard sale, against my will.

As much as I enjoy shopping at them, I loathe having them. Is there anything worse than waking up to a driveway full of people meticulously inspecting your belongings and then asking, “Will you take less for this?”

This happened on a recent Saturday morning.

My response?
“But I’m only asking 50 cents.”

Their response? They threw down the item and gave me a snobby look.

I wanted to yell, “I’m throwing these away as soon as it hits noon!”

Instead, I yelled, “Here just take it. It’s free.”

Have you ever tried giving things away at yard sales? It’s impossible.

“What’s wrong with it?” the lady asked.

“Nothing. I just don’t want it. It still has the tags. Look!” I said thrusting the item under her nose.

She sniffed and inspected the item, which happened to be a perfectly decent purse. She looked inside each section, turned it inside out, and then held it at arm’s length as if it were contaminated.

“Why are you giving it away?” she asked suspiciously.

“It was a gift. OK, if it makes you feel better, then I’ll take 25 cents for it. It’s never been used.”

The lady looked at her husband and nodded her head toward me and said, “Give her a quarter.”

The man griped about the fact that she never has any money, as he pretended to dig around in his pocket. The woman reminded him of some purchases he’d made and exactly how much they cost. The man then reminded her that she had a dozen purses at home.

At which time, in order to stop a potential domestic dispute, I yelled, “Just take it! Really. You can have it. I don’t want it. I was just going to throw it out anyway.”

The woman looked smug, tucked the bag under her arm, gave her husband a nod as if to say get-in-the-car-before-this-sucker-changes-her-mind, and they hightailed it out of there.

“Darn, I should have kept that one,” I said, a case of deep sellers remorse sinking in.

“Don’t feel bad,” my husband said. “We’ve already made $5.”

“We did? How? That was our first customer.”
“Oh, I cleaned out all of your purses that you plan to sell and found $5.”

“It wasn’t all in change, either, Mama,” said my son. “There were some dollar bills in there, too.”

My attitude suddenly brighten. At least my precious purses were going to a good home. Well, sort of, and if we made enough money, I could more than likely justify the purchase of a new one. Hmmmm รข ¦

The next customer pulled up and grabbed a bright yellow bag that I really loved and asked.

“What’s wrong with this one?”

“Nothing,” I said. “It’s just too small for me.”

My family looked at me as if I were crazy. The bag was huge.

“Will you take less for it?”

I couldn’t take anymore.

“Ask him,” I said, pointing to my husband, who had the idea for the sale.

I took the $5 and grabbed my keys.

“I’m going to get breakfast now. I will bring you back some chicken biscuits.”

When I returned, we were $2 richer, and my daughter had found two purses that she liked. She had also gone to the yard sale next door and bought a telescope, and my son had purchased a gun holster for his air soft gun. Being the curious person that I am, I ventured up the hill and, within 5 minutes, returned $90 lighter, with a beautiful wicker furniture set that I can’t imagine anyone getting rid of.

“Noooooo!” my husband shouted, visions of a clutter-free home shattered.

“I tried to see if he’d take less for it,” my son said. “But Mom wouldn’t let me.”

“They’re our neighbors!” I said. “I’m not bartering with them.”

We spent the rest of the sale rocking in our new chairs enjoying the beautiful sunny weather. We didn’t have any more customers, but we watched the kids play. We petted the dog and took it easy. I didn’t have to worry about cleaning the house or running from errand to errand. Instead, we watched some cardinals learn to fly as they left the nest and chatted about the super moon that would be on display that night and marveled at my daughter’s luck in finding a telescope.

And, I decided that perhaps there is some value in yard sales after all.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Aging delightfully

Some women worry what their husbands think as they start to age. I am not one of them.

Why? Because I know exactly what he is thinking, and, believe me, he is delighted.

“Now you see how I feel!” I heard recently after I tried to cram a month’s worth of exercise into one day as part of a “take the stairs” contest that was being held at work. Instead of working my way up, so to speak, I decided to go down 22 flights of stairs not once, not twice, not three times but four, yes, four times. That’s 88 flights of stairs.

And it hurt. In fact, it hurt so darn bad that I woke up the next day and seriously considered calling in sick to work. I probably would have, too, if the phone had been within reach of the bed. Instead, I spent five minutes cursing, 10 minutes trying to stretch and massage my calves, and about 15 praying. I figured that was a good, healthy balance.

I hobbled into work, and thanked God for elevators as I pushed the button. I believe they really are a gift from above. I realized it must be bad when a co-worker suggested I use Bengay, and I actually thought that sounded like a good idea.

Sadly, that’s not the only sign that I might not be as young as my mind thinks I am. Earlier in the week, I got a new computer that required the screen to be pushed farther back on my desk. It was then that I realized something was wrong with the font. I don’t care what the size said, I couldn’t read it. Obviously, it was broken. There was no way I needed large print.

I squinted and strained until desperation and a deadline required me to ask a co-worker whom I knew had larger font how to change mine.

I whispered the request into her ear.

Her response?

Peels of laughter and a hearty, “Welcome to the club!”

Then, to my horror, she then turned to a much younger co-worker and said, “You changed my font. Can you please change Leigh’s? She can’t see the screen.”

In my mind I heard her add, “She’s getting old.”

I mumbled some lame excuse as to why it was the computer’s fault and not mine. I am not to the reading glasses stage, just for the record. However, I do recall when my husband finally broke down and started using them.

He may have been wondering what I was thinking about his first sign of aging (though I don’t think men wonder such things), but the truth was I felt pure delight. To me, it meant I no longer had to read his menus.

That being said, I have no plans to submit gracefully to the inevitable aging process. With or without glasses and Bengay, I plan to go down kicking and screaming.

I’m not sure who said this quote, but the sentiment sums up my view: Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming, “Wow, what a wild ride!”

Though, I can’t say I’m ever going to do 88 flights of stairs in one day again. After all, with age comes wisdom.