Obsess with me.

So this is what happened.

Every year my littlest sister has a Christmas Eve Eve party. And it’s wonderfully great fun because we all get to see one another again and still get home to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at home. If you’ve not tried it, try it.

Anyway. This Christmas Eve Eve arrived with frigid winds blowing out of the north, freezing everything and causing widespread power outages. (Why Canada can’t keep it’s weather to itself is beyond me and probably should be addressed) My littlest sister’s new home was one of many affected with darkness and arctic cold so we moved the party to her son and daughter-in-law’s new house.

After we arrived and thawed out, I learned that my nephew had taught himself to bake bread the hard way, with sourdough starter. As we talked he told me about the process and offered to give me some of his starter the next day if I was interested and we were staying in the area. But, at the time, I wasn’t and we weren’t.


The next morning as I drove us home in the dark and LoLa and Miss Carol slept, I found myself thinking about it. The bread had been delicious and I thought how cool it would be to be able to make bread out of just flour and water so I decided I’d like to give it a try. I texted my nephew and he graciously sent me a beautiful book called Tartine Bread.

*cue the darkly obsessive music*

I like to think that all things begin innocently enough and my journey into the sourdough wormhole was no different. I read the book and I started a starter and I nurtured it and thought that after a week it was good enough to bake a loaf.

*klaxon buzzer*

And it was awful. So I tried again.

*klaxon buzzer*

And again.

*klaxon buzzer*

And that’s when the real trouble began. I started reading other recipes, other blogs, anything and everything about sourdough bread and starter. I scoured YouTube videos for hints and help in my now burgeoning obsession.

And I finally prevailed. I baked a loaf.


I also realized that I’d accidentally caused an unintentional effect, that I’d triggered something sleeping dormant in me. I stared in horror as my sourdough obsession seeped into other aspects of my life.

Like- making sure that the bills in my wallet are all facing the same way and in ascending order

Like- not being able to wear a blue shirt because it’s Wednesday

Like- needing my socks to be paired together and arranged in order of purchase date.

I’m not sure where it will end.

Miss Carol smiles wanly and tries to support me, but I can tell that she secretly wishes we’d never gone to this year’s Christmas Eve Eve party.

Steers to you.

While driving the big truck in close quarters or backing 53 feet of trailer into tight spots requires no small amount of skill, cruising at highway speed on the interstates is mostly just holding the steering wheel and not falling asleep.

So I have a LOT of time to look around and notice things. Unfortunately, there is very little on most interstates to see.

Fortunately, there are plenty of cars and people.

Sadly, if you pass me on the passenger side of my truck, I can’t see very much. But if you pass me on the driver’s side I can see a great deal.

And what I’ve seen is that there’s a lot going on in American cars on American highways. You might be surprised.

But one of the biggest things I’ve noticed, and this is in no way scientific, nor is it all-inclusive, is the different ways men and women sit and hold the steering wheel of their cars while driving.

For the most part, women tend to hold the bottom half of the steering wheel, sitting primly in the drivers seat looking like they’re at a job interview or in a meeting or something.

Men, on the other hand, tend to grip the upper half of the wheel and slouch in the seat sprawled as if sitting on the couch at home watching sports on TV, or, they hang their left hand on the wheel while leaning on the center console.

Again, this is far from scientific, or even 100%, but it appears to be such a majority in most of the cars passing me as to be almost stereotypical.

So if you read this and think, gosh, that’s me, or if reading it makes you feel stereotyped, you might want to take a walk on the wild side and see how the other half lives. Or, rather, drives.

In other words, men, you sit up tall and erect with your hands clutching the bottom of the steering wheel, and ladies, try sprawling in the seat, leaning on the center console with one hand hooked over the top of the wheel.

And ladies? If you do try the manly way of driving, could you please unbutton the top three or four buttons of your blouse or shirt before you pass me on the driver’s side?

Thank you.

I’m #1

As a trucker, I get this all the time. The one finger salute that my fellow motorists give me to let me know that I’m doing a good job.

And that they love me.

They love that it took me a bit to shift up through 10 gears and get 40 tons rolling.

They love that I’m only going 5mph over the speed limit when they want to go 10 or 15 or 20mph over.

They love that I can’t necessarily get out of their way fast enough.

And they definitely seem to love being stuck behind my truck in traffic.

So as they accelerate past, honking their horns to get my attention, they’ll let me know they appreciate the work I’m doing.

And while I certainly appreciate it, a part of me wishes they’d stop.

It’s kind of embarrassing.

She’s got a ticket to ride.

So this is what happened.

LoLa, our full-figured little chiweeny, used to love bounding up and down on and off of furniture and our bed and we thought nothing of our pudgy little football of a dog jumping on and off of whatever she chose.

Until a fateful day in late December.

What we didn’t know, what we came to find out is that dachshunds, especially chubby little dachshunds, are prone to back injuries.

And fat little LoLa was no exception.

So it was just lucky that on that day in December when little LoLa’s final leap ended in her little spine compressing and rupturing one of her little discs that Miss Carol was home because according to Miss Carol, her screams of pain were terrible to hear.

And, additionally lucky, with help from some friends Miss Carol was able to get LoLa to the emergency vet where they operated on her spine and removed(?) the ruptured disc.

So the pain was gone, but so were her hind legs. Miss Carol took LoLa to days and weeks of post surgery rehab, and even though there has been some little bit of progress, LoLa still pees and poops wherever and whenever and slithers around on the floor dragging her little hind legs behind her.

Because it was depressing to see her patheticness and because her dragged little legs were chafing, we decided to buy her some wheels.

Now she motors around bumping into things and getting stuck and when she pees and poops she leaves it in a long trail behind her.

Life is fun.

My ship has come in.

Miss Carol and me were at our tiny-trailer-home and I had to go to Home Depot to get a few important something or others and after I walked LoLa around in the parking lot for an hour, visiting all the parking lot islands so she’d pee and poop before we went into the store, we finally went in.

In the entryway area Home Depot had staged some racks of little, teeny, tiny plants that Miss Carol told me later are called succulents.

Why, I don’t know.

And they were cute and teeny tiny and I thought that maybe a couple would look nice on my recently installed hanging bookshelves in our tiny-trailer-home.

So I stopped and I looked. And I looked for awhile while LoLa tried to drag away the shopping cart she was hooked to, but nothing really grabbed me. None of the little succulents whispered to me- take me home with you.

I was ready to give up and move on and get the important something or others I’d originally come for when LoLa somehow got her leash tangled in the shopping cart wheels and when I bent to untangle her I saw on one of the bottom trays a forlorn looking, bedraggled little plant laying on it’s side all by itself.

I got LoLa untangled and reached in to see what the little plant was.

When I saw the tag, my breath caught in my throat and my heart started to pound. I looked around me to see if anyone was watching me and then I took the tag out of the soil and stuffed it in my pocket.

I glanced around me again and decided to hell with the important something or others. I needed to get my plant paid for and out of the store before anyone caught on to what I’d found.

So- walking briskly- trying not to run, with LoLa scurrying to keep up, I made my way to the checkout. The self-checkouts were full so I had to go to a cashier. Fortunately for me, the barcode was on the bottom of the pot and not on the tag in my pocket.

The cashier picked up my half-dead, under-watered plant, scanned the bottom, and managed to get it back into the moving cart as LoLa pulled it away.

Cute dog, she said.

Thanks, I said, grabbing the cart.

$3.24. Will that be all?, she said.

Yes, please, I said, not wanting to seem over-eager.

So I paid and gathered up LoLa and my little plant and ran out to my pickup and hurried home.

When I got home, Miss Carol looked at me and asked where the important something or others were and I told her not to worry about those right now- LOOK AT WHAT I FOUND INSTEAD!

Miss Carol looked at my sad little plant and shrugged.

But then I yanked the tag out of my pocket and pushed it into the soil and held it out to her again.

Smiling at my little plant, I told her it was only $3.24 and to get ready ’cause pretty soon it was gonna be rainin’ dollar bills!

And Miss Carol said- are you insane?

I’m your Santy.

So this is what happened.

Me and my beard took the big truck to PPCY (Pinners Point Container Yard) to drop an empty container. PPCY is where the lonely empties go when the shipping companies don’t want them or need them on their ships.

So I pulled in, got the empty inspected, got my paperwork, and was told which row to go to.

And while I sat waiting, one of the spotter trucks pulled up next to me. She was young and cute and smiling.

The spotters do the selecting and directing for the massive overhead forklifts that handle the containers coming off of, and being put on, our trucks.

I slid my window down and she said- Hi!

And then she said- You should be a Santa Claus!

And then she said- Not only do you have the beard, you have the crinkly eyes! And she smiled cutely.

So I thought briefly, very briefly, about dressing up as a Santa and enduring dozens of little kids.

So instead, staring down at her boobs-

I said- You’re right! Let me practice!

I said- HO HO HO, little girl! Would you like to sit on Santy’s lap? HO HO HO!

I said- Santy would really loooove you on his lap little girl! HO HO HO!

She looked up at me for a minute more, her smile gone, and said- hmmmm, maybe not so much.

And rolled up her window and drove away.

Beard McBeardly

I never thought about growing a beard. It’s not that I like or dislike beards, it just never occurred to me.

For most of my life I’ve had some kind of facial hair whether it be a mustache, or a little chin thingy thing, or a Van Dyke, or simply the unshaved 5 o’clock shadow kinda hair on my face.

But then Covid19 burrowed into our lives and changed things. All of the sudden, just like that, trucking became an even lonelier profession than it had been. Companies that I delivered imports to, or picked up exports from, shut and locked their doors. Truckers were not allowed inside. Instead of a gate guard to chat with during a check-in process, phone numbers were posted and instructions were issued from afar.

I would be told where to dock my truck and to leave my paperwork inside the trailer. I would back up to a closed dock door and when I was loaded or unloaded, I’d get a phone call or text message telling me I could leave.

The Ports of Virginia became so automated that any interaction between truckers was impractical and unnecessary.

So I got lazy and stopped shaving. I mean, why bother?

And so, lo and behold, my beard grew.

And grew.

And grew.

At one point, Miss Carol and me were eating dinner and she looked at me and said- Are you ever going to trim that?

And I said- I dunno.

Much later on, Miss Carol asked- are you going to keep that thing all summer long?

And I said- I dunno.

Mostly because I didn’t know and for the most part, still don’t.

Having a beard is a strangely pleasant experience. And I think I like that it’s changed my whole look to the point where I’ll tell friends that I grew it just so Miss Carol can feel like she’s sleeping with someone different.


Over the weekend Miss Carol and me went to a Pig Pickin’. It’s an annual event to raise money for the all-volunteer rescue squads at where we live.

I’ve always figured it’s money well-spent ’cause you never know when you might need ’em.

Anyway, we’d had our fill of beers and pig and were headed to the exit gate when Miss Carol saw someone she hadn’t seen in a long while.

Sam!, she screeched and rushed to hug this old guy.

Miss Carol does this a lot. She’s always running into people she wants to talk to. And talk to. And talk to.

So I stood politely by, sipping my last and warmest beer wondering when we could leave, and then Miss Carol said that Sam looked great and asked how old he was now.

92, he said.

My head whipped around so fast I almost broke my neck.


I looked at Sam with new respect and wonderment. There he stood, slightly stooped with age, kinda grinning in that way old people do, looking old, but clasped in his gnarled hand was a stack of plastic cups from the beer truck.

I’m guessing he’d made five or six trips already.

Miss Carol hugged Sam again and asked how he did it.

Just keep movin’, he said, grinning his old guy grin.

Miss Carol hugged him again and I shook his hand and we moved on and left the party.

But much later, after Miss Carol had gone to bed, I found myself thinking about Sam and my perspective on life. For the last couple of years I’d resigned myself to the reality of me not getting any younger and the darker reality of being on the last lap of life.

It doesn’t really worry me, it’s just something I’d come to accept.

But then seeing Sam, it made me think- could I possibly go to another 30 years of Pig Pickin’s and beer drinking?

Maybe, just maybe.

I mean, a girl can hope, right?

LoLa refresh.

When I got back the other day I took LoLa out to get the mail and so she could pee and poop.

Halfway down the driveway, LoLa stopped and sat.

Jesus Christ it’s hot, she said.

I tried not to laugh.

LoLa hates it when I laugh at her, but her voice coming out of something so little and chubby is just funny. She sounds like I imagine a Madge or a Marge would sound- kinda like she’d spent a lifetime drinking whiskey sours and chain-smoking Marlboros.

LoLa, I said, it’s not that hot and we’ve only walked about a hundred feet, and besides, you’re a Chiweeny- you’re part Mexican, you’re supposed to love the heat.

She cocked her head and looked up at me, squinting against the glare.

I’m also mostly Dachshund, which is German for I hate this fucking humidity, she said.

I stifled a smile.

I don’t think it means that, I said.

In my case it might, she said, tell me again why you brought me out into this hellhole?

LoLa, you’ve been cooped up in the house all day and I just thought you’d need to pee and poop, I said, and we need to get the mail.

LoLa looked down the driveway.

Soooooo, she said, you brought me out of my air conditioned comfort for mail I don’t care about and can’t read and to do things I don’t need to do right now.

And I had to admit it, she had a point.

Go it alone dickhead, she said, and then take me back upstairs.


There was a time, not too long ago, when I had me my Me Only Room.

It was mine, all mine; it was a place I could go to, to read, to write, to listen to music, to watch porn, to do whatever. I’d put up the NO GIRLS ALLOWED chain across the stairs and retire to my sanctum sanctorum.

Life was bliss.

Then Miss Carol and me visited her sister. And Miss Carol rode her sister’s Peloton. And Miss Carol decided she just had to have her own Peloton. She gushed it’s wonderfulness all the way home.

And I said- but where would we put it in our little house?

Miss Carol paused for half a breath and said- upstairs.

And I said- but that’s my Me Only Room.

Miss Carol shrugged You don’t use it THAT much, she said.

So it happened.

I went upstairs just recently to see what Miss Carol had wrought and it looks like a gym and smells like a sweaty Miss Carol.

I turned, and shoulders slumping, trudged back down the stairs, never to retun.

But cry not for me, because now that Miss Carol has transformed my Me Only Room into her She Only Gym I have-

My Me Only Chair.
Life is once again sunny and bright.