At least it's been less than a year since the last one! NO COMPLAINTS.
You have no idea how many times I've sat down at my computer, blog post ideas ready at hand, only to be distracted by international newsworthy events, or Bubble Saga. But I'm in the mood, I've finally shut down facebook and all of its evil, evil games, evil evil updates, and evil, evil "friends" (not you, though), and I've started with enough time that I'm not pushing the "publish" button at 5am (which of course, has never EVER happened...you ingrates).
So. On to me. Hey! Remember back when you used to love me? And you'd show your love in cookies? Or rather I'd respectfully request you display your supposed love for me with cookies and you'd come up with the worst excuse of all time and not produce said cookies? Remember those good times? Those empty, loveless, hate-filled times? Yeah, me too. Ethel is always on the ball, I have to say. This past Christmas she prepared dozens of sugar cookies for me, including raw ones I could stick in my oven later so my cookie-levels would remain high. I appreciated that. What I didn't appreciate, was the rest of you losers failing to love me during the Season of Holy Loving Each Other, dammit!
OK, what else? Oh, we moved. Not that you knew where we lived before, but we're in a different place now. You know, in case you're stalking me or something. We like it here very much. We have more room to put our mountains of crap, and a bigger yard for me to never go out in because it's as hot as the surface of the sun right now. And far, far more areas for the Idiot Cat to puke up furballs. It's quite the game every morning to see where she's left it this time! The little minx!
Did I mention I have cancer? And that cookies are the only cure? And that you're hateful for not trying to make me well again? OK, just making sure.
Speaking of cookies, I think I've made it clear that Ethel delights in making me mounds of sugar cookies every Christmas. This is why she gets everything when I die. But back to the cookies. One December Fred and Ethel had a party and a small group of us got on the topic of cookies (I may have had a part in steering that conversation). *Just a side note. Never give me a captive audience.* I jokingly demanded that Ethel not only make me monster-sized sugar cookies that year, but I wanted my name on every fricking one.
Did I mention Ethel loves to humor me? Thank you, Ethel. I hope you're all taking notes, because THAT'S WHAT LOVE/THE CURE FOR CANCER LOOKS LIKE, PEOPLE.
So I also remembered another story from our trip to Maine two years ago! If you need a refresher on that, it's the post right before this one. See, not posting for a year was intentional until I could remember all the stories. One of the towns we drive through on our way to the cottage is Thomaston, the former location of the Maine State Prison. Not particularly exciting in and of itself, but the unique and wonderful thing about the State Prison and its prisoners is the State Prison Shop/Showroom. The State Prison has since been torn down and moved elsewhere in the state, but the shop has stayed where it always was (attached to the front of the former prison, and now attached to nothing). I love the program the Maine State Prison (MSP) has created for the inmates there. They teach them woodworking and then sell what they make. And we're not talking crap here, we're talking some pretty impressive things these guys can learn to make. The prisoners get a small percentage of the sale of what they make, enabling them to earn a small salary to help pay off debts/child support/etc., and they learn a new profession that will hopefully help them on the outside. Those on good behavior even help out in the shop itself. Several years back I bought something and a prisoner was at the register ringing people up. He had a guard standing two inches behind him with his hand on his gun, but he was still in charge of the register. The last couple times we went, the guards themselves ran the register and the inmates helped stock shelves, wrap up purchases, and even carry heavy objects out to your car for you. So obviously they're not too worried about them wandering off.
This last time I went with all three screamers/children but no Husband because he was relaxing back at the cottage. SweetPea was a mere 10 months old and needed to be strapped in a stroller lest I lose my mind. The front of the showroom building has approximately 174,594 narrow concrete steps leading up to the front door. This is cumbersome if you choose to bring the child + stroller rather than tying them to a lamppost and leaving. Upon finally thrusting the four (five if you count the stroller) of us into the front door, I happened upon the inmate team standing in the check-out area, who had apparently been watching my attempt at entry with some degree of amusement. One pointed out, "There's a handicapped ramp right on the side there if it'll be easier to leave that way." I thought that information, while not timely, was helpful indeed and I thanked him for the tip, vowing to myself to look for a ramp to the side of the stairs that was apparently invisible to me previously. After making our purchases we headed back to the front door and I fought my way out of the swinging door onto the small landing, only to note that there was no ramp to be seen. I looked back to see the absolutely baffled look on the inmates' faces as I stood there, contemplating fighting my way back through the door to ask exactly where this ramp was, or just sucking it up and carrying the stroller down the stairs again. Rather than embarrass myself further, I chose the latter. It was only then that I saw the ramp, as described, on the right side of the building. A side where I never even noticed there was a door, let alone a ramp. Needless to say, I felt slightly stupid. Mind you, this is not your average situation where you feel stupid in front of another average Joe like yourself. Everyone's stupid sometimes. But I was frantically stupid in front of prisoners. You know, the guys who are IN JAIL BECAUSE THEY WERE TOO STUPID. These men, with pasts full of illegal stupidity, thought I was stupid. Are you sensing the gravity of the situation here? The absolute unparalleled mortification I felt? Good, I hope so. And you thought my vacation was full of wonder and delight. That'll show you.