Thursday, November 17, 2011

Living in Ellen’s Shadow

Jeannie Watt

Why, oh why, do I sign up to blog the day after Ellen? I have searched my memory for anything even close to an interesting court appearance and the only thing I can think of is the time I fainted in the grocery store, woke up with my head in the assistant manager’s lap mere nanoseconds before the kid pushing the carts in from outside ran over my shins.

I’ve mentioned that before, right? It sticks with me as one of my more memorable and unique experiences and I’ll no doubt repeat that story over and over well into senility. (That’s it, child, come sit beside me while I tell you about what happened to me at the grocery back in the winter of ‘89…) But other than that, no rolling stops--except for the one my shins were involved in. No court dates. Nothing.

I’ve only gotten one ticket in my life—for parking in the invisible red zone in Ely, Nevada. Now the curb wasn’t actually painted red at the time, but when I pointed this out, the officer explained that I should have known it was a red zone. Why? Well, because everyone in town knew it was a red zone. Okay. I paid the ticket, but had I read Ellen’s blog first, I would have gone to court. Can you imagine the characters I would have met in a place where it’s assumed that you know about the invisible red zone and get a ticket when you don’t?

I  have books to give away and we have a new Kindle drawing, so I need some comments. To be in the drawing for the Kindle and for an autographed copy of my December release The Baby Truce (two separate drawings, by the way) please complete this sentence:

The story I’m most likely to tell into old age is about the time when: ________________.

You can tease us or flesh it out. Your choice. Does this make anyone but me think of the Newlywed Game?

40 comments:

linda s said...

Thirty year stories we call them in our family. So many to choose from.
While we were visiting a developing country we hired a car and driver for the week and he drove us to the sites we wnted to see. AS we were driving through acres of rice paddies, they driver explained that money could by anything in his country. In fact, he could get DH's wife killed and disposed of for twenty dollars. (That was me in the back set) Often referenced by dh in phrases - Oh, if I just had twenty dollars right now...

Snookie said...

Jeannie, yikes, fainting and then being run over by grocery carts... and Linda OMG, I can just here your guide saying that.

Hmmm, which story do you want to hear... there are too many to relate here :) How about when we were in china. Traffic in China is atrocious, there are 5 lanes where there are only three, no one stops at red lights to make right turns, they just turn never mind who's crossing the street in the crosswalks. some of the streets had horse and carriage, cars, tour buses, bicyclists, pedestrians all using the same lanes. One day we were touring the Emperor's summer palace and the group decided to walk back. I'd broken my toe about 8 months before and one of the boys had bad asthma, so we decided to catch a taxi back (about 2 miles from where we were staying). I was chaperoning my son and another boy. Two girls asked if they could stay with me on the tours (they rather stay with the aunty :) then their own chaperone. Anyhow, so we flag this taxi down. It's smaller than a Honda element but squarish like it. We start piling in and find out the back seats are overturned 5 gallon buckets (no seat belts, the buckets weren't even fastened down). I got the front seat which was a normal seat. A tour bus pulled up behind us and just kept getting closer and closer. The kids were panicking but videoing with their cell phones. Our driver is going full speed ahead and there's a girl on a bicycle with a baby on her back stopped in the middle of the lane. The driver kept barelling down never slowing and just whipped around her into the other lane with traffic all around. Talk about a hair raising heart in your throat ride! I'm glad it was only 2 miles. Not sure we would have made it in one piece if it was longer. Life is expendable in china... or so it seems by the way they drive, there unsafe working conditions...

Snookie said...

oops, that was longer than i expected... and I also meant to type hear not here :)

Ellen Hartman said...

Hi Jeannie,

How this worked was, I wanted to blog with you so I signed up for the day before you. Then I forgot to ask if you wanted to collaborate until it was too late. (see: Procrastination, flaws in previous post.) So it's your fault we ended up back to back because you're so much fun to blog with!

I like your sentence. This is going to be a good day. Snookie terrified me and Linda's story made me laugh out loud.

The story I know I'll tell is my old age is the time when my date to my first-ever semi-formal dance walked me out to the car where his sister was waiting to drive us, opened the back door to let me get in, and then closed the door and got in the front with his sister.

I spent the whole ride to the dance alone in the back, trying to figure out if it was less embarrassing to sit on one side or in the middle.

At our high school reunion last year, the guy told me that as the youngest of six, he was so focused on the fact that he could finally ride "shot gun" in the front that it never occurred to him he was being rude. We had a nice laugh over it. :-)

The story I WANT to tell in my old age is the one when my friend, Jeannie, won the Rita and accepted it wearing her fake fur vest. (I thought of this yesterday.)

Make it happen, friend!

Ellen Hartman said...

P.S. I think you should let us auction off our stories today. I'd pay good money for the rights to that red zone parking ticket story. It's perfect book fodder!

Also, did the shopping carts actually go OVER your shins? Eeek. And why did you faint in the first place?

Chelle Sandell said...

Ouuuuuuch. I'd definitely use that as my legacy story, Jeannie. My oldest hates when I break out the "I fell off the roof while trying to get your rocket down" story. I'm not allowed within 10 feet of a ladder or a lawnmower. I actually found a way to break both legs while mowing. ;) But I always stand in my baby brother's shadow when mom talks about how he crashed the family car into a light pole while staring at a car full of girls.

Jeannie Watt said...

This is going to be a good day. At 4:28 a.m. PST I was laughing in bed as I read the stories, except for Snookie's which scared me.

Snookie--the length is fine. You paint an excellent picture. I felt like I was there being terrified along with you. What an experience.

Linda--The $20 story is priceless. I can only imagine what you were thinking right after he said that.

Okay, Chelle--now that's a teaser...you broke both legs mowing a lawn? And fell of the roof to boot. Dear heavens, woman. Details. (I lied about teasing.)

Jeannie Watt said...

Ellen--I'm dying for the prom going you. And then to find out why he did it is frosting on the cake.

This did work out well. And it wouldn't have mattered if you'd contacted me. I would have put off answering (see other procrastination note in your post). We'll get together for real next time. Some how.

I fainted due to low blood sugar. Never happened before and never happened again. I also hit my head on the gumball machine as I went over. Quite the day. Then my vice principal showed up (I did this on my lunch hour) and made me go to the emergency room. Many $$$ because I skipped lunch. I've made it a point to eat heartily whenever possible after that.

Fur vest. Rita. Line in the sand. Hmmm. First step--Rita. I'll work on that.

Jeannie Watt said...

Oh and Linda S.--I love the term thirty year stories. That's going into my keeper phrase file.

Marcy said...

The stories that my kids most often ask for are the ones about our old tom cat who died last year. He was a character...even for a cat. He caught a bird on our second floor balcony, trapped a squirrel in the backyard while he was on a leash, and even scared my sister out of our house. No matter how often I tell the stories, the kids laugh every time.

JV said...

The story I’m most likely to tell into old age is about the time when: I had the experience from h-e-double hockey sticks at a nationally known sandwich shop. I won't mention the name because I've had several positive experiences there since that time. However, for a long time, I wouldn't darken the door because of not just one or two but SEVERAL bad experiences in different franchise locations.

The ultimate bad experience -- the one I'll never forget -- occurred when my DD was small. At that time in her life, we could only eat at fast food places that gave out toys. (Okay, we could have eaten other places, but we indulged the child. What can I say? See yesterday's list of flaws.)

Anyway, we went in, and DD and DH sat down while I got in line to order our food. When I first stepped up to the line, we were the only ones in the store, but my "sandwich artist" had her back to me, muttering to her co-worker in the back. Before she turned around to face me, she muttered, "Just a minute," presumably interrupting her conversation with the woman in the back so she could wait on me.

I started to order, and her response, in a very surly voice, was, "Didn't I just ask you to wait a minute?" Ooops! I apologized, even though I thought her very rude, and waited for her signal to order.

Then, while looking down and putting on her gloves, she said, "I have a splitting headache. Do you have any aspirin?" Again, I foolishly assumed she was speaking to her co-worker, who'd come into the front of the store in the interim. When I said nothing, patiently waiting for her co-worker to respond, she looked at me and said, "I asked if you have any aspirin."

This rather took me aback, as I'd never been solicited for drugs (including legal, OTC ones) by a server in a restaurant before. Nevertheless, I answered, "Well, yes, but they're back there in my purse," and I pointed to our table. (I had brought only my debit card up with me to pay.)

In the meantime, several people had come in and gotten in line behind me. I can only imagine what they were thinking as my sandwich artist said, "Well, could you go back and get me some?"

I like to think of myself as a fairly laid-back, agreeable sort, and I know what a splitting headache feels like. So, despite my annoyance, I went back to the table, got her two aspirin, and returned -- only to find her waiting on the others who'd come in behind me. Hmmmm. Again, I'm fairly even-tempered, but I was beginning to be rather displeased with this restaurant experience.

When I got back to the front of the line, I gave her the aspirin and ordered, only to find out that they were out of the kids meal toys and would substitute a cookie. Well, my DD never has liked cookies with few exceptions, so I knew she wouldn't be pleased. Plus, my sandwich artist took this opportunity to launch a diatribe about her employer and how he never had the advertised toys and was a lousy person in general.

For years after that experience, I refused to darken the doors of any of the restaurants in that franchise. And, yes, Jeannie, I will also be telling that story for the rest of my life.

Tammy Yenalavitch said...

The way I feel today, I do not expect to remember any stories when I am old. Make that older - I am already old!

msullivan said...

Wow, Jeannie, fainting in the grocery store! Ouch. ouch, ouch!

The story I'll be telling into my old age is about the time when I was a teenager rushing off to work early on a Saturday morning and running to catch a bus.

In those days, I had to wear a dress to work. For the first time ever, I decided to wear stockings with elastic tops rather than pantyhose. I hated pantyhose. I had really skinny legs, though.

I reached the bus stop at the same time as the bus. The bus driver opened the door and both stockings fell down over my knee-high boots. I felt me face turn bright red and pulled up the stockings, but refused to get on the bus. When I finally got to work I bought pantyhose and threw the stockings in the garbage.

I've never worn that type of stocking since, no matter how much my thighs have grown!

Almost as bad was the time I was walking down the street and my maternity pantyhose started to slip below my big belly and I had to put my hands in my winter coat pockets to hold them up until I reached my destination.

Kristina Mathews said...

Since it's almost Thanksgiving, I will tell the story of the first Thanksgiving I spent with my college boyfriend's family.

After dinner, the men all got up from the table and did the dishes.

I was in shock. I was in awe. I already knew I was going to marry that man, this just sealed the deal.

JV said...

Kristina,

I'll bet it did! Wow! I'm in awe of the men in that family.

I'm glad you could recognize your "keeper" right away!

Jeannie Watt said...

Marcy--Your cat sounds like a real character. You're so fortunate to have had a pet that was such a source of fond memories. Some cats are cats. Others are, well, special.

Jeannie Watt said...

JV--I'm glad your more recent experiences at the sandwich place have been better, and I'm sure that sandwich artist is no longer working for the company, but...wow. I mean, just, wow. I hate those frozen moments where I play nice and later I think of what I should have done or said. However, I think you were a class act in the face of blatant rudeness and lack of professionalism.

Jeannie Watt said...

Lol, Tammy. I know that feeling. Like, if I can't find my shoes now, what does the future hold?

Jeannie Watt said...

Mary--you should have put a spew alert on your post. I hate pantyhose and tights and thigh-highs, but I've never had them gang up on me. Too, too funny.

Jeannie Watt said...

Kristina--I, too, am in awe. Where did you find this family of most excellent men? Some woman/women raised them right.

EllenToo said...

The only incident that I can even remotely remember that might barely fit in this post is the time I had stayed after school to catch up on some grading, etc and ended up having to call the principal to come unlock the doors to let me out around nine o'clock. Somehow the custodians who were supposed to work until 8:00 and only after checking all the rooms to make sure everyone was gone had left early and failed to check the rooms. And yes the doors to the outside of the building were suppose to open from the inside when the panic bar was pushed. But nothing went right that night and I was locked inside. Fortunately I was able to get to a telephone (this was before cell phones) and call the principal who only lives a few blocks away from the school. Of course this story spread and I had to put up with a whole lot of teasing!!!!!

Virginia said...

The story I’m most likely to tell into old age is about the time when I was a kid and my brother was alway building things and he always used me to try them out, I was the youngest at the time. He built this go cart one time and decided to put seat belts in it out of wire. Mind you it didn't have brakes either. Well he wired me in the thing and push me off this big hill and the stupid thing flip and I went head over hills down that hill. I think he was trying to kill me and I haven't been right since. Oh the things we do as kids.

Julia Broadbooks said...

When my husband and I were dating, he was in the military and I was studying overseas. I'm old enough that this predates personal email and cell phones and we intended - all planned by snail mail - to meet in a city where he was going while on leave. A city neither of us had ever been to. I can still remember wandering the streets of the busy city, hoping to find my hotel and then go looking for him.

And then I saw him across the plaza, like he'd been waiting for me.

Chelle Sandell said...

My broken legs were the result of mowing my mom's yard as a favor. I'd stopped for a water break and was stepping up onto the deck. Unfortunately there was a hole where she'd pulled up a rose bush and it was covered with high grass. One leg cracked when my foot slipped into the hole and the other leg went when I tried to catch my footing. I passed out only to come to with my oldest, who was 4 at the time, standing over me. He was eating cereal out of the box, which was a no-no. But I calmly asked him to get me the phone so I could call my mom. I ended up having to drag myself to the front yard because I refused to call an ambulance. Ahhh. Good times. At least I don't have to mow anymore. Ha.

Chelle Sandell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PatriciaW said...

...I dropped my cell phone in the toilet. No, that's a pretty short story with an unhappy ending.

...something involving one of my kids? Nope. Those are their stories to tell.

...the only story I can think of right now which is my twice-aborted attempt to go kayaking with my work team and all the ways I tried to avoid the trip to begin with.

Kristi said...

The story I’m most likely to tell into old age is about the time when...my cat and the next door neighbor's dog tried to start an international security incident.

When Pope John Paul visited St. Louis in 1999, my (now) hubby and I lived across the street from the cathedral in a townhouse apartment that had its own front door that opened to the street. I had to call in sick because they had the streets all blocked off by police barricades and snipers on the roof because the pope and about a million priests and bishops and VP Al Gore were going to be driving past my front door on their way to mass.

The front of our apartment had a a sliding patio door (which we treated like a big picture window). Our cat loved to watch the world go by from that window/door. Our next door neighbor had a small fluffy white dog (a terrier-like puff ball) who loved to come bark at our cat. The dog would yip and our cat would pound him in the face (really the glass) with a paw.

We were allowed to sit just outside our front door, right up by the building and watch the procession (seriously, I've got great photos). So, Al Gore had just passed by in one of two identical armored limousines and the Pope Mobile had rounded the corner of the block to drive to the church.

It was then that the white puffball noticed our cat and began barking. And our cat retaliated by pounding on the glass from the inside. We immediately attracted the attention of lord knows how many men in dark suits with little wireless earpieces and gun holsters.

Luckily, the snipers let us separate the animals without taking anyone out permanently.

Kaelee said...

Fainting ~ Well I used to faint on a regular basis in grade one during music because I stood so still and had a low iron count. My older brother and sister were often called upon to escort me the two blocks to home. They just loved the break.

Then I fainted the first day at summer camp during the singing of the national anthem which put a real damper on things as they wouldn't let me go on any of the long hikes. I lived in the mountains and was more used to running up and down them than all the city kids. Then I ended up with scarlet fever shortly after I came home from my week at camp.

But my best and most famous faint came at a restaurant. We were with my husband's nephew and I said to my husband, I've got to get out of here. I stood up and ran for the door but didn't make it. I fainted right in the entrance way. I came out of the faint to find out that the staff and phoned for an ambulance which I had them cancel and my poor nephew was standing there holding my purse which I had left behind in my attempt to get fresh air. My husband was trying to keep everyone calm and pay the bill. He kept telling them that I just got too hot and that I would be okay after I cooled down. That's me~ I'm just too hot.

Jeannie Watt said...

Ellen Too--Great story. (Getting trapped in a school is one of my nightmare scenarios.) I can't imagine being locked into any building--especially without a cell phone. I imagine your colleagues did have a lot of fun with that.

Jeannie Watt said...

Virgina--wired into a cart by your brother and pushed down a hill? Sounds like standard sibling behavior, lol. So glad you came out of the incident with no major injuries. The wire part slays me.

Jeannie Watt said...

Julia--Your story is a movie moment. I can so see it in my head. Excellent!

Jeannie Watt said...

Chelle--it hurts to read your story. Yowza. And lol about eating cereal out of the box. I'm glad you stopped in and shared the details--painful as they were.

Hey Patricia--I would instantly try to be absent for anything involving a kayak. Those things look...unstable, I guess. Cell phone in the toilet--that is a short story with an unhappy ending. I've read about opening them up and drying them out, but that would never work for me because I'd keep turning it on to test it.

Joan Kilby said...

I've enjoyed reading everyone's stories! Jeannie, I fainted once, too, i a line up for a restaurant when I was in my early 20s. When I came to my boyfriend was completely panicked - not because he was concerned for my health but because he was worried I'd fainted because I was pregnant. I think he was getting ready to flee the country and change his name. Needless to say the guy was not a keeper!

Jeannie Watt said...

Kristi--That's quite a story. How cool that you got to see everything up close and personal--including the dark suited guys with the earbuds. You probably could have done without that, but the story wouldn't have been nearly as memorable.

Kaelee--I always knew you were hot. That's too bad about not getting to do the hikes, which would have been one of the better parts of camp and sorry to hear that you battled scarlet fever. My dad had scarlet fever as a boy. You know, when I started to faint in the grocery store, I ran for the door. That's why I was in perfect cart-smacking position. I wonder if that's some kind of a fainting reflex action.

Jeannie Watt said...

Hi Joan--No, that guy was not a keeper, lol. At least he stayed until you came to. You know, it's kind of surprising no one faints in those RWA hotel elevators. They're stuffy and crowded and that seems like a perfect fainting environment.

Mary Brady said...

LOL, Jeannie, great day of stories. Thanks for posing the query.

marybelle said...

The story I’m most likely to tell into old age is about the time when: I was learning to drive & crashed right through the front fence. When I telephoned up the fence guy - for want of a better word - he said I was his second that day. A woman the other side of town had destroyed her fence by driving through it. Good day to be in the business of repairing fences. Not such a good day for women drivers or fences.

Jackie S. said...

The story I am most likely to tell....in old age....well, when I tell it, you will see I am already in old age! My husband and I were married on Bride & Groom TV show in New York City a very long time ago!!!

Anonymous said...

....how much I loved visiting London, Paris and Venice with my mother. Carol

Dragan said...

Great post.I wonder to read this article.Keep it up...

Gift Ideas

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...