Archive for June 2012

Key West:The Bucket Springs a Leak or Two   2 comments

I had all the bases covered, or so I thought.

The Mars were taken care of:

  • Marcos had reservations at the kennel.
  • My friend and neighbor, Alison was going to stop in at The House of Mars each day to feed Marcel and Marceau and
  • I, V Margaret had everything booked – plane tickets, airport parking, rental car, and hotel.

I was finally checking off #1 on my bucket list of places to visit –  Key West. I wasn’t going there directly, though. My itinerary called for me to fly to Orlando, pick up my rental, then drive to Sebring to spend the weekend with my friend, Selena who’d moved there from NY.

Itching to Get There

  If I had to pick a location I’d say the itching began somewhere over Virginia. Without looking up from my book, I  absent-mindedly scratched my left leg, the same as I did on the right side of my face, along my jaw bone. It wasn’t until the index and middle finger of my right hand cried out for attention that I noticed the tiny blister-like rash on the insides of each finger.  I had weeded my garden the previous day, and the location of the finger rash jibed with my method of pulling weeds. N-o-o-o-o-o-o, it couldn’t be, not on my vacation – in the sun – in shorts, in a bathing suit  – n-o-o-o-o-o. Not poison ivy!

I decided to ignore it, and luckily, picking up a rental car in Orlando provides lots of distraction. If you’ve ever rented a car at Orlando you’ll know what a huge process that is – more rental counters than I’ve ever seen, housing rental companies I’d never heard of. And the lines! They were almost as long as the check in lines at Kennedy. Once you’ve signed the papers, you’re on your own finding your car among all the others parked in the two levels of “The garage across the way.” Armed with only a level letter and a parking space number, and the assurance – “your keys are in the car” I found my black Mazda 3 and was soon on  my way. The intense concentration brought on by the scarcity of roadside lights punctuated by distant strikes of lightning and intermittent rainfall kept the itching of my face at bay. I was proud of myself, I made the trip in ninety-five minutes and didn’t get lost once – unless you count passing Selena’s street – twice, and her house once. But like I said – it was dark.

Picture This. No Don’t.

Saturday, after a day at the pool,  where Selena  pointed out that I had a rash on my face) I got the camera out of my suitcase. I had actually remembered to bring it; not always the case! I wanted to take a picture of Angela, Selena’s wide-eyed tortoise-shell cat. She is a slim beauty and I wanted to shame Marceau with it. At eighteen pounds, and holding, he makes three of the dainty Angela.

I pushed the power button as I tiptoed over to the lanai where she was lounging on her very own chaise longue. Nothing happened, the lens remained collapsed within the camera.  I pressed it again .Still  nothing. This wasn’t happening! I’d just bought this camera in April. It had been working fine. I’d charged it for the first time just before my past blog entry, right after the shot I’d included of the driveway from hell. Based on the fresh charge I’d decided not to bring the charging cord since with the cellphone charger and the lap top power cord I had all the cables I wanted to pack.

Okay Picture it Now

I’m not sure which is worse, forgetting the camera of making a bad decision. One that resulted in no photos to post from my bucket list vacation. But look at it this way, you get to use your imagination.

Are you  ready?

  • Three nights of  fabulous sunsets along the waterfront in Old Town section of  Key West where it’s  a must for all tourists to gather and applaud the fiery orange orb as it drops into the ocean.

The bizarre characters who gather in the last rays to entertain for donations –

  • zebra-striped-leotard wearing man with the matching bathing cap who swallowed fire;
  • the hula-hooping juggler making his way along a makeshift tight rope;
  • the golden retriever in surfer shorts  who collected dollar bills and placed them in a bucket while his seedy-looking owner, a  Jimmy Buffett wannabe sang of margaritas and cheeseburgers.

I’m not sure I would have taken any pictures of any of them  but at least I’d have had the choice if the    #&%*^?! camera worked.

And on my last  day when I visited Ernest Hemingway’s House I’d have shown you t he slew of six-toed cats who mugged for the other people’s cameras  and Hemingway’s above-the-garage writing studio. I could have kept a photo of it by my laptop for inspiration.  But no, I had to settle for watching other people take my photos with cameras that actually worked.

Full Force

Lest you think I’d actually managed to ignore my poison ivy into submission, let me mention that by Sunday evening, the right side of my face resembled that of an acne-stricken  fourteen year old in the dermatologist’s waiting room. But at least there were no blisters. No, those came out on Monday  morning  on the  insides of my the afore-mentioned fingers, twins, resembling two huge red grapes, facing each . Did you ever try hold a fork  with two grapes separating your fingers? I became a very clumsy lefty, keeping my right hand out of sight lest waiters and shop clerks thought I had a flesh-eating condition.

While I was Gone

The first thing I did the morning after returning home was to see if I’d kept the receipt for the camera. I had. The second was to see if it needed charging. It did. The third thing was to find out if it worked. It did.  So here I was all charged up and nowhere to go. And in my backyard were the flowers that had bloomed with no audience

Oh well.  I can’t share Key West with you but I can share what happened at home while I was gone:

Lilies loomed.

Roses rose.

Red Hot Pokers poked.

Astilbes feathered.

Veronica hung out with Daisy.

And just what you’ve been waiting for:

My Fingers Armed themselves for a return  to the scene of the crime.

What Kind of Avatar Do You Drive?   4 comments

No, you haven’t missed it.  None of the auto dealers have come up with a model called Avatar. But now that I think of it, it wouldn’t be a bad idea.

There are two definitions for avatar:

The classic one: n.The incarnation of a Hindu deity, especially Vishnu, in human or animal form.

And the Gamer one:

n. a personalized graphic file or rendering that represents a computer user.

A gamer chooses  an avatar of this type when she enters the kill-or-be-killed world of Xbox or  Play Station. Other gamers recognize her by this guise and she in turn recognizes them by the avatar they have fashioned.

Now where was I going with this ?  Oh yes – Kevin.

Back in April, the doors in The House of Mars needed some spring tweaking. The shed door wouldn’t close all the way; the door under my sink would close all the way, but wouldn’t stay shut; and the basement door needed some winter strips replaced. I made an appointment with Kevin  the Carpenter to come take a look.

Kevin is one of the few people I know who is fearless in the face of The Driveway from Hell. Most people park on the road and walk up.

Not Kevin. He has no qualms about tackling the ascent, not only that, but he takes it on, backwards.   It’s a spectacle to behold, one that engages all your senses; the whirlwind of scraping gravel, the cloud of burning rubber, the squealing tires. No it’s not a speedy ascent, but eventually the hefty pick-up claws its way to the top, the ever-present extended ladder strapped to its side, holding on for dear life. But when  a Subaru Outback appeared at the top of the driveway, front first, I went outside to investigate. The door opened and it was Kevin, after all

“I was expecting your truck,” I told him.

“Yeah, nobody knows me without my truck,” he answered.

I didn’t know but I’d soon be echoing his words.

When I first traded in Truckito for my present car, I lost my identity, my avatar. I drove through the neighborhood giving my usual wave to neighbors in their yards but no one waved back. I was no longer the white pick-up truck.

Once the weather got warmer and I was able to roll down my window, there was a delayed reaction before anyone returned my greeting. To a person, they all exclaimed “Oh, I didn’t recognize you without your truck.” Little by little I am taking on a new avatar, a little grey station wagon.

Similar to gamers, some people  choose a type of avatar, er car, that represents a certain style or image they have of themselves. Take my brother, Jim. It is my belief that Jim heard a car honking while in utero and fell madly in love. Jim grew up living for the day when he would get his first car. It was a hand-me-down from my dad, but he saved his money and by the time he graduated from college he made a down payment on a

In 1978 the Charger was giving up the ghost. Jim was married by now so he took on what was in his eyes a more mature avatar

They lived happily ever after until 1986, he and the Camaro that is.  Jim had been divorced for about five years by then. Being a divorced father meant that when the Camaro  came to the end of its road,  he had to make a more economic choice

If I had a dollar for every time he called it an econo-box and two dollars for every time he complained that “This car just isn’t me”, I still wouldn’t be rich, but I’m sure you get my point. Jim was not satisfied with this avatar.

Not every driver sees her car as her particular avatar, but all of us have preconceived notions when we see a certain type of car. C’mon yes you do.

Who do you expect to be driving this?


or Him?

The man I used to be married developed an algorithm all his own for determining who he least wanted to be driving behind in  a no passing  situation. I guess you could say it was a detailed avatar.

A Buick – be concerned.

A Buick with an old man behind the wheel – be very concerned

A Buick with an old man behind the wheel, wearing a  brimmed hat – sigh and grit your teeth

A  Buick with an old man behind the wheel, wearing a brimmed  hat, with a cigar in his mouth – take  the  next right and figure out an alternate route.

So, what do you drive, and why? Comments are always welcome. And you can be anonymous, your avatar will never tell.

Posted June 12, 2012 by virginiafair in Cars

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