Flying Port-a-Potty

flying port-a-pottiesI get to travel quite a bit with my husband and it’s always an adventure. Sometimes the adventure is the destination. And sometimes it’s the journey. Like using the bathroom on the flight. It’s amazing enough that a big hunk of metal can fly with 200 plus people inside it, but to put six port-a-potties on it too, that’s impressive.

Not impressive is the size, which make a bathroom in an RV seem roomie. Which is why I normally hold out for the airport bathrooms rather than the flying port-a-potties. That is until recently when I was rushing from the plane to the ladies room and tossed over my shoulder to my husband “Wait right here for me.”

Too late, I realized the man behind me was not my husband but a stranger that was giving me the thumbs up.  Rather than going back to explain, I gave a woman $40 for her hat hoping to sneak past him.  It might have worked too, but with my head down I ran smack right into him.  Panicking, I grabbed a hold of the nearest stranger, forcefully dragging them past him as I crooned “There you are darling.” in a British accent.

By sheer coincidence I had latched onto my husband, who was flattered that a mysterious foreign woman was trying to seduce him.

Flying solo opens up other problems with flying, such as sitting next to a complainer.

“We’re packed in here like sardines.” whined the woman next to me.

Which, of course, isn’t true.  If we were, we would all be laying down spooning each other, which would be much more comfortable.

“Air! I need air!” she hollered, opening all the air vents above our heads so we could breath the jet fuel and dehydrate our eyeballs at the same time.

“It’ll get better once we’re airborne.” I said, trying to reassure her. “I fly quite a bit. You’ll be fine.”

She look at me like a stuffed animal that could suddenly speak: Shocked that I could talk and not sure whether to be intrigued or throw me to the floor and stomp on me.

“If you fly all the time, you know people don’t like to be bothered by chatty strangers.” she snapped.

The awkwardness was short lived as the flight attendant came into view.

“Stewardess. Excuse me! Stewardess! I can’t sit here. My tukhus doesn’t fit in this high chair size seat.”

Without dropping his greeter smile, the male flight attendant responded  “I believe we have a few extra seats in Expanded Comfort.” Which is code for wide load.  “It’s just a $25 upgrade.”

“Twenty-five dollars! That’s ridiculous.” she said with a frown then looked at me. “You go. Then we’ll both have more room.”

I really don’t like to lie, but sometimes in the heat of the moment things just come out of my mouth.

“Actually” I began cheerfully. “I wanted to talk with you about an amazing new line of beauty products I’m selling.  Are you familiar with pyramid marketing?”

She bolted for the wide load seats and I got to enjoy that extra room she mentioned.  It was a pretty sweet flight.  I even took a $200 order for beauty products from the lady behind me that overheard our earlier conversation.  Which began my short lived career as a pyramid marketeer. But that’s another story.

Fear of Hypochondriacs

hypochondriacI have a neighbor that’s a hypochondriac. She’s like a magnet when it comes to germs.  If anyone in the neighborhood has a cold, flu, chicken pox or a hangnail, she will have it too.  She has the most remarkable story about catching pneumonia from her grandmother in Cleveland – over the phone!

Anyway, when I came back from a rafting trip in the Grand Canyon and couldn’t get my energy back, I dropped by to see if she had any thoughts on what was wrong with me.

“Okay, tell me your symptoms.” she instructed, pulling up and a stack of outdated medical books, because you can’t believe everything you read on the internet.

“I just feel exhausted.”

“That’s good.” she nodded encouragingly. “And?”

“My throat feels a little constricted. And my head, it’s like it’s waterlogged.” I continued.

“That’s not normal for you?” she inquired.

“No. Not like this.  It’s like a head cold.  Sort of-”

“I’ve got it!” she said cutting me off.  “You were bitten by a snake.”

I laughed thinking she was joking.  She stared intently at me, causing me to question whether I really had been bitten by a snake.  I sheepishly shook my head. “I wasn’t bitten by a snake. Sorry.”

She shrugged her eyebrows and went back to WEBMD.  “Is there anything else you haven’t told me?”

“I, uh…”

“Do you have a rash? A cough? Blood in your urine?” she fired off. “Tingling in your fingers, ringing in your ears or unexplained teeth marks?”

She continued the medical interrogation another half hour until I was dizzy from shaking my head.

“Do you have a fear of coconuts, beards or flesh?”

“Flesh?” I asked.  “Is that a thing?”

“Yes.” she said. “Flesh is a thing. It covers our bodies.  The medical term is epidermis.”

“I, I know what it is.  I just didn’t know people had a fear of – of flesh.”

She whipped her glasses off, her eyes boring into mine again.  I’m not sure why she was wearing an antique head mirror, but the reflection of my eye in the clown-like mirror scared me as much as her look.  “It’s called Selaphobia. It’s very serious.”

I nodded obediently.  She held my gaze several more moments, then deliberately and dismissively closed her computer.

“You may have colorectal cancer. You’re going to need a rectal exam.”

Terror showed in my oversized eye of the clown mirror.

“You should see a doctor.” she continued.

Nodding rapidly in agreement, I jumped to my feet. “I – I – I – I, I’ll do that.” I said with a Bugs Bunny like stammer and bolted from her house.

I successfully avoided her for three weeks until I ran into her at CVS. She was getting burn cream for a third degree burn she caught from a fire fighter at a fundraiser. She inquired as to my health.

“How was the exam?” she asked raising her eyebrows and gesturing behind her with her thumb.

Horrified she was about to get personal in front of a line of strangers, I quickly explained it had been Valley Fever and I was back to normal.

“Coccidioides.” she said thoughtfully. “Just as I suspected. I thought that required a blood test. Did they-?”

Panicking at her line of questioning, I quickly glanced at my wrist, pretending there was a watch on it and threw my purchases on an open shelf.

“Is it that late?  I’ll have to do this later..” I said beating a quick exit.

“I noticed your husband was growing a beard.” she hollered after me, unfazed  by the growing distance between us. “Are you going to be okay with that? You should consider Cognitive Behavior Therapy!”

Repair your air conditioner before someone gets hurt.

A/C art by Bob Comeans
Drawing by Bob Comeans

Summers in Georgia are punctuated with such high humidity you could literally drown from taking a deep breath.  Sometimes there’s so much water in the air people wear raincoats just to walk to their neighbor’s house – when it’s not raining!  In fact, did you know, that if you kill someone during peak heat and humidity in Georgia and can prove that your air conditioner was broken at the time of the crime, it’s knocked down to a misdemeanor? At least that’s what my friend’s daughter’s boyfriend’s older brother said. He’s a web designer for a legal advice website, so I think he would know.  When the air conditioner broke in my house, I had to choose between committing murder and getting it fixed.

In case you don’t know, I’m the kind of person that likes to research products before I buy.  (At least high dollar appliances like air conditioners, dishwashers and escalators.)  It didn’t take me long to determine that, based on the age of the system, the size of my house and the fact that it was blowing hot air, I needed to have it fixed.
It’s always a good idea to let the A/C servicemen know you have some knowledge of HVAC systems, so they don’t try to take advantage of you.

“It’s blowing hot air.” I explained when the technician arrived. “I notice when I set it on sixty-eight, it blows hot air but when I put it on eighty-six it’s not as hot.”

He must have been surprised at my knowledge of the physics involved, as it took him several seconds to catch up to my advanced assessment.

“It could be a freon leak.” he offered lamely.

“I doubt that.” I said confidently, since I had checked every vent and hadn’t seen leaking around any of them. “It’s the thermomastat.” I explained. “It thinks it’s sixty-eight when it’s eighty-six.”

“I’ll just have a look at the outside unit and we’ll go from there.” he said, like the other technicians before him.

After getting six estimates, my husband insisted we follow the advice of all the technicians and replace the old system.

Again, you want to do your research to be sure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck.  The first company that came back, well, the only one that came back, suggested replacing with the same size system.  But I knew what that meant, it was only going to last ten or fifteen years and then we would have to replace it again.

“We want the six thousand watt unit.” I proclaimed.

“You mean six tons?” he asked.

“Yes, six ton watts.”

“Six tons is way too big for your house, lady.  It’ll sound like a freight train blowing through here.” he said.

I knew he was just trying to get me to buy the smaller one because they’re easier to install and they make more money on them.

“Look, if a 2.5 ton is $6,500 and a 3 ton is $7,200, the more expensive one is actually less expensive.”

He tried to pretend he didn’t know what I was saying, but I stood firm in my decision.

“And, we want the matching six ton furnace that comes with it.” I told him before he could try to down sell me on that one too.

“Furnaces are measured in B-T-Us.” he said ,trying to intimidate me with more technical jargon.

“Look, I want the six hundred thousand ton a/c with a matching furnace butt, or I’m going to kill someone!” I demanded.

Well, as you can imagine that was all that needed to be said.  He was on the phone getting his guys right on it “loco loco.”

True, it’s a little louder than the older unit, but at least it cools the entire house to exactly sixty-eight degrees every six disclaimer