A lot of it is based on manners, and if your parent(s) didn’t teach you any you are at a loss in the world. Back in the day I had to balance a dictionary on my head, take violin, ballet and piano and call family friends aunts and uncles. Not all at the same time.

Please and thank you always, thank you notes were also a must. Shake hands, allow hugs. Also cheek kisses from older women (one I loved as a grandma) with lots of lipstick.

Client service is not included here but I’m good at that, at least I was before retirement. Customer service is included.

Manners. Greet the customer, treat him/her with respect. If a supermarket clerk asks me how bad the rain or snow is outside, I answer. They’re trying to be friendly as they hear thunder and watch the skies open up. “Is there anything I can help you with?” Unless it’s an over-eager bra saleswoman bursting into your dressing room while you’re naked, that’s a good thing.

Leave your personal problems at home. Whether a flower store or a desk that is designed to make people who pay your salary feel safe and sound, go the extra mile and make things happen.

Late last night our brand new smoke/carbon monoxide detector (installed yesterday by professionals) started chirping. No-one would help me. I was asked if my husband was home to fix it. No. “Well then you’ll just have to get up there and start pressing some buttons.” We pay this person’s salary.

This hiree then said she would not lift a finger to help me, except to put in a work order for the next day. I had a massive headache for listening to these sharp sounds for four hours and my dog’s ears had to be hurting. I checked this morning and she never bothered to put in a work order!

My husband makes more in a day than she does in a month. We pay her salary. Yet she slings out nasty comments and cannot even greet me when I see her. That is callous, rude and unprofessional.

A new system was installed again this morning and as of now it is chirp-free. Yea! There have been over 100 employees/contractors here during our tenure. Let’s say there were 100. Ninety-nine would vouch for me and my husband and dog Zoe, likewise on our end. There’s just one bad apple.

More rules. Be professional and do your job. Greet people as if you are happy to see them. If there is an issue, correct it or know who can do so and contact them if the situation warrants. I can tell you right now that I do not feel safe with that person late at night as if Zoe and I were to be attacked, robbed, raped it could be right in front of the windows where she could see, she’d never bother calling 911.

Laziness is not an option. You may not wish to work wherever you are working to get through school or have a first job but you must know that getting the job done is your priority. Recommendations go a long way for getting into a four-year school, military, anything. If you treat all your customers like you’re above them and they are dirt when they pay your salary, you’re going to have a problem finishing your education AND getting a job afterward.

Attitude matters as well as manners. Also, lying to customers and promising to do something you’ve no intention of doing and think you’re sly and beating the game, does not work and will come back and bite you in the behind. So will smugness and haughty behavior. In the end I don’t really care if you dress for work better than I dress to take out the dog. I’m retired.

If you want a job somewhere, present yourself well, get hired and do your job the best you can. I’ve been friends with old-fashioned elevator operators, janitors, restaurant staff (one just stopped me at the butcher counter the other day after their restaurant closed two years ago), butchers, drycleaners, folks at our new hardware store.

Our old elevator operator, Tony, ran a hand elevator in a significant building in which I worked. He’s probably retired now but last I heard they put in electronic elevators and moved Tony to Security where I hope he made a lot more for his pension!

These were gorgeous wood elevators with a brass wheel for control and he hit the floor on the mark every time for the six years I worked there. It was like it was my magic elevator, he knew my floor and he always started the morning with “bella ragazza,” beautiful girl in Italian. Now that is customer service. Ciao, Dee




Beauty Sleep

and hair/fur. I let our dog Zoe dry out, no hair dryers, for at least 24 hours before trying to comb her out with Dee’s Chamber of Horrors. It’s just a zip-top bag with every kind of brush/comb she’ll need. She looks gorgeous, for a mutt! Lifted to our bed every night this THW (the hipless wonder) then she goes on the rug underneath at my pillow to make sure I cannot escape….

Now I am advised to wash and place in my hair product while wet and keep combing it until it is dry, and I would have to stay awake all night to do so. It gets frizzy, freaky and flat by the hour and it’s after 4 a.m. If I keep using the round brush to “style” I will have no hair left at all!

Just as Zoe’s fur grows in different patterns over the years I get it. I cannot understand my own hair as it changes by day and weather, neither she nor my husband should not have any haircut for Zoe or me that involves “styling.”

Think about it, if it takes, shampoo, conditioner, gel, and 24 hours to day au naturel just so I don’t need to use a hair dryer it’s not worth it. What will I do with those useless days I’m spent air-drying my hair so it looks terrible?

Zoe just wants to be clean and stands by the tub. 24 hours later she’s ready to be combed out and hates that part. I hate waiting because my hair gets frizzy and now never dries.

Let’s work something out, here. Zoe can take my spot on the bed, I’ll curl up on her big bed. Little bed giving herder access to all views is way too small. Or I can just sleep on the sofa.

Within 3 minutes she’ll come in the “office” and sit by my chair. Wrong. Five feet away on the newly-washed white bed and pillow where she can make sure I never make a move without her knowledge.

Sometimes I envy smart dogs because if I want to come back as one once I die, I’d make it Zoe and lie around and sleep all day, chase a mouse or squirrel while on a walk, eat stellar food and get lifted onto the bed to sleep once again. But I would have to be Zoe with me, as my husband would alway forget to get the pet-sitter or feed or walk her unless it is “routine,” for a herder. Plus, I would not wish to meet his new wife. So we both stay, for now, to spoil Zoe.

“Beulah, peel me a grape!” Shhhhh. Don’t tell Zoe about grapes. I’ve raised fruititarians (cat Zoe loved grapefruit) and meatitarians, my dear husband and I love them all. Cheers!Dee

Spiders, Choices and Lamb

As my health has been frail of late, I met someone to help me summer-clean. It was a two-person chore. My husband’s master shower looks magnificent now as does our bathroom. Mine and the dog’s. My choice, only place I can place a hose to wash her as the coupling works and it allows both of us room to move. No, we do not bathe together. I use the hose to wash her and sometimes use it to wash my hair.

Dog Zoe has two beds, one small with a human travel pillow that looks down the hall and to our front door. She is a herder and does not want anyone to leave without her knowledge.

The other is a big bed that I move to the living room when we’re watching a movie or to the bottom of our bed for when we’re asleep and my husband accidentally touches her with his feet, so she jumps down. She has no hips so cannot jump up.

Before we had the late spring cleaning I moved both beds and pillow (the big bed has a bolster on three sides, so that’s another pillow) outside. The next weekend I told my husband that I was I was at my desk and saw five spiders outside, weaving webs.

We had not been out there for some time, a grill issue. We bought spider killer and he was out there for a while and killed about 1,000. He ruined my clean windows but I was worried that spider babies had gotten into Zoe’s beds and pillow out there.

I washed the small bed, pillow and pillowcase at home on warm wash and a hot dryer. She was pleased to see it back as we live in a neighborhood of widow’s walks atop Victorian homes and this is her command post.

There is a laundry with large machines a couple of blocks away, next to the new hardware store that used to be a great cycling shop. I brought her bed in to be washed in hot and not dried. Today when I came in, it was wet and messed up inside.

Ms. B was there, as was Ms. A who assisted with spring cleaning and manages the place I love to go to for large items like a comforter or my husband’s winter jacket with 27 pockets, that’s a story already on the site. Ms. B offered to have Zoe’s bed dried and deliver it to me. We took it out of the bags and laid it in the living room for Zoe’s comfy bed, now free of spiders.

We’re now on a spider list with management as I now hear spiders have been quite a problem this year. Ms. B would not accept any recompense and will be here next week to help out. I did give her Lamb Robert to feed her family, and a few plums.

The choice issue is for dog Zoe. She has a small piece of area rug in the living room where she does tricks for treats for neighbor grandkids, carpet in our bedroom, under bed access for beauty sleep at sunrise. When I put her small bed and pillow together she was there. Big bed, took a bit of time but she wanted it in the living room.

Where did she end up after all this spider infestation and washing nonsense? The few yards of carpet on the living room floor. Even with the sofa and two clean beds right near me (herder = close) she chose the area rug. At least for now we have a new grill, a friend who wants our old grill, a great husband and dog, and spider-free dog beds and balcony.

It’s Zoe’s three-minute rule. Mommy takes me out and gives me food and water. If she’s gone for at least three minutes I must take stakeout position to make sure she does not leave me. Believe me, I’ve done this for 12 years. Think about dog Doug in the movie “Up” you are my master, I love you. Cheers and good night, Dee


Hire The Duck!

I don’t think my husband has ever eaten duck.This was great but we got 1/2 leg of lamb, the hip part, already boneless as that’s all my butchers had and I opened it up like a bad book (skills need tuning). I placed it in a glass Pyrex vessel for nearly three hours in the marinade.

My husband assembled our new grill, same one we had for ten years but cleaner and he went out for propane (we’re not allowed to use charcoal). We cooked it and it was uneven so I’d already washed the Pyrex and we turned off the grill and took it to a pre-heated oven. He also bought and had delivered an instant read thermometer, nearly the kind Alton Brown uses, but at 1/3 the price. We cut off segments of lamb as they reached 130 degrees and let them rest.

After dinner the newest instant-read was clean and joined its two competitors, one digital, one analog, in a drawer. Play nice! Hey, stop touching him. I trust that the large Mommy candy thermometer will step in as needed. Mom, I’m not being haved! Thanks K for your brilliant save.

The lamb was great, I have to soak and scrub the grill grates and place them in the dishwasher, and put a clean “dog towel” over the top (I have tons) probably with bungee cords for the wind to keep the top clean.

Last weekend my husband elbowed me in the gut, in his sleep, big bruise. I think he was probably turning over and used me as a pillow. Often he mumbles in REM sleep (so does our dog as she chases squirrels) and I get a word every now and then and have no idea what he is saying.

He is only “home” three nights, two days per week so rests up for the next work week. Don’t worry, I have 24/7 security from multiple sources. The other night’s dream aloud was a plaintive, clear cry, “hire the duck!”

Neither he nor I have a clue what dream that came from or what it means but it had to be interesting and we laughed about it.

So what do I do with chilled medium-rare lamb? Gotta go. Car leaves in an hour and I need to take the dog and feed both her and husband. Dee

The Art of Deflection

I told a story this morning. It was before any sexual harassment laws were discussed, passed or signed into law. I knew that any elected official would get off scot-free and that I would be fired if I brought a complaint.

Once a particularly nasty married elected official said he wished I’d worn knee socks under my classy Scottish kilt instead of opaque stockings, for obvious reasons.

I replied “How’s Anne? I hear she’s been elected head of the Bird, Tree and Garden Club. Congratulations! You must be so proud. And Betsy, how is art school? When we last met she wondered about her decision. I thought of her over the weekend at the Kandinsky exhibit.”

All of a sudden he feels like a fool but I let him keep his dignity by keeping mine intact. That is deflection, not lying. I met his family.

A white lie is permitted, heaven forbid, when a wife asks her husband “do I look fat in this?” “No, honey, you’re beautiful.” She looks fat because she’s gained 15 lbs. after your kid was born a month ago. Give her a break. You don’t want her to stop breast-feeding your namesake as then both of them, then you, will suffer.

There are egregious mistakes and little teeny atta girls we need. Like wearing Crocs is OK, you don’t need stilettos. It is a ship, after all and you need rubber soles. Just go get a couple of nice suits. Here’s to men who really fall in love and stay with their wives, like mine. Dee

Fifteen Years & Vehicles

This is not about cars. OK. On our first date nearly 15 years ago he picked me up in his old Honda Accord. I had owned one before. He opened my door, took my hand and the rest was history. Ten years later my husband and I sold the car to a colleague with a young family.

When there was a going-away party for us ten years after we met, I asked the owner if I could go out and say goodbye to the car that brought us together. As I looked in the window there was a baby seat in back and it was not the same but at least that going-away gift was not in vain.

For fifteen years my husband has brought me flowers, at first in vases and then loose. Of course the loose ones I had to arrange and place in a vase were delivered always while I had dinner on the stove.

Now I buy him flowers and the florists laugh. We have three arrangements this week, a pre-made floral bouquet for the dining table, a refreshed arrangement with millet and greens, two new mums and one hydrangea. In the guest (my and dog Zoe’s) bath we have a few yellow daisies and echinacia flowers.

Flowers and meals are vehicles for love and devotion. I took Zoe out at six, fed her and lifted her back up to the bed as J got back actually early last night from work, about 9:30 and wanted pasta.

When he came home last weekend he mentioned something I never thought about. He buys crazy ice creams for me like chocolate therapy. He loves cherry garcia. I can’t make a milkshake with anything with hard stuff like chocolate chips or nuts in it.

He told me that I only use a bit of plain vanilla ice cream as a vehicle for something else whether it be a milkshake with milk and chocolate sauce or a bowl with berries or my homemade blueberry sauce. He is correct. I hate to say that as it’ll go to his head!

Another vehicle arrived yesterday afternoon, a new grill. It is a flavor vehicle for his truly. First we have to clean off the balcony and I need to have Zoe’s beds washed. J annihilated about 1,000 spiders last week and I need to vacuum and toss the bag immediately, scrub the concrete and clean the windows.

A friend wants our old grill so I’ll clean it up (it’s ten years old) and deliver it and we’ll get propane and set up the new one. I got on the “spider duty” list for monthly outside only as I do not want pesticides indoors. I’ve found out that this year spiders are a serious issue. It is good that we get to share our old grill with a friend who doesn’t have one.

Speaking of vehicles the elevator is another and is down for days due to diagnostics. Being trapped in there with our recycling (luckily I had just dropped the dog at home after a walk) for an hour with the service company (OTIS) wanting me to solve their problem rather than sending a truck out was heinous on their part as they knew it was very shortly after hours and they would have to pay overtime. I was paying overtime, for me, being stuck, with my husband on a plane home and he’d requested a specific frozen pizza I was en route to purchase.

What to eat? I don’t know. It’s warm out and husband/dog are still asleep and we have to set up the balcony, grill et al I’m thinking pot roast. I’ve these great pappardelle egg noodles that go great with stews. Tomorrow I’m thinking Lamb Robert (Google it) as the marinade is fantastic. Get one part of the leg of lamb or the other or both together. Bone and butterfly it (or have your butcher do so). Marinate and place on the grill. Forget about placing it in a hot turned-off oven. Just cook to temp (the super-fast instant read thermometers have gone down in price from $100 and my husband ordered one that should arrive today).

Oh, the above dish is one of my brother’s favorites, Lamb Robert (RO-bear) that I haven’t made him for years. I also have not seen him for years since Mom died but we’ve a vehicle to do that as well. No, my old SUV is not going there. He calls the lamb dish “Sheep Bob,” always a jokester. Dee


Good Things

We started on bad footing. The tot lot was closed for construction, and there was a lot of rebar sticking up in there. Kids had climbed the fence and were playing, a few boys who thought danger was fun. I kicked them out. I was the Mad Lady for a while.

Later I came out with my dog and college students had broken beer bottles all around the benches by the tot lot. It was 6 a.m. and I was walking my dog but had to go home and get a broom and dust pan and bag for the trash. After an hour we finished our walk and I got in touch with our Council Person. His staffer merely informed me that leaving Chani on a leash on a bench in our park was a violation to which she would inform Animal Control, and that cleaning up a case of beer shards so that little kids would not be cut didn’t make letting my dog sit up and stay while I helped the kids and moms be safe was no excuse for my illegal actions. That started years of torment for our neighborhood. Three Animal Control trucks caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in irrigation damage going after eight widows and their Bichons and Poodles, miniature Dachshunds and Yorkies. Oh, heavens, what damage those ladies and their dogs can wreak.

Now I would still kick the kids out of rebar park for their safety but my husband asked me years ago if we had a kid, could they go blow stuff up. He is a physicist and software engineer. I said of course, honey, just 1/2 mile from the house and downwind. Have a hose and a fire extinguisher.

These kids ended up teaching me, and I and dog Chani taught them.What amazed me is that all but two neighbors got along. Unfortunately she ran the park, to our detriment and her husband seemed nice but played along. I believe she did not wish to have children, parents, dogs or their owners or even people walking in what she thought was “her”park. Well, we paid the taxes. Our park.

The kiddo park re-opened. Kids were fine. The older ones were branching out with their new fast toys. One day they went to see a neighbor I’d had dealings with. Not good. Police told me she was on meth and selling it and I knew she was up at three in the morning washing her car and singing loudly. She woke me up.

I picked up her dog one morning in the park and delivered him home on my dog’s leash, whereupon she screamed at me and told me never to touch her dog again. The coyotes were organized there, ready to take down a dog, and he was right in their territory. I knew he was in danger and that my dog would follow me, so placed her leash over his neck. I put my dog’s life in danger for his and was berated for doing so.

A few weeks later a few young boys came out of her place with a new toy, a Razr. I asked the boys to come into the conference room, a shared lawn, and told them if I ever saw them near her place again I would be in contact with their parents, and never to accept gifts.

A couple of years later two brothers, they’re probably in or have graduated from college now, came by and asked what kind of dog to get. I lent them an AKC breed book. The first thing they did when they got Sparky (their father’s military nickname, he must have been a radio man) a Jack Russell Terrier was to bring him to meet me. I was thrilled. They also returned my book! It’s gone again…….

When Chani died I went out to the park and got hugs and condolences from all the people there. I didn’t tell the tot lot folks, yet. It was too raw. It was so sudden and I usually dealt with the kids, not the parents so much. It was awkward and I’d like parents to tell the kids.

The boys were outside the bushes. The younger brother, Sparky’s co-owner was called in. He was so brave. I told him Chani was gone. J was about seven at the time. I thought of his dad’s military training when he asked me to tell him exactly what had happened to end in Chani’s death.

While putting it as delicately as was possible, I told him. He cried. As we were about to emerge from the bushes he looked as if he had been crying. I said that before he joins his big brother and friends, I was going to yell at him, so he would cry. I yelled “never do that again!” Whatever “that” was, was nothing. He could never do a bad thing in my or Chani’s book and would love our Zoe even though they’ve never met, are miles away and he’s probably now on Wall Street and driving a Ferrari.

Oh, the brothers introduced this old gal to Google. I’d never heard of it and was still on dial-up until I met my husband.

We have good memories.When our nephew was seven, he wanted to play a game on my husband’s iPhone. He would burst into our bedroom at six a.m. and not ask to play the game, he’d ask “is it fully charged?” I’d say yes and he ran out. Darn, I wish he got dressed and took the dog out.

No wonder he wants to be an engineer. Cheers from Dee