Friday Five

1. This week we had a few days of August weather with temperatures around 95-98. Southerners are thinking, we’ve had that going on since mid-April, what of it? But it caught me by surprise. I haven’t put the air conditioners in the windows yet. Actually my friend hasn’t come over to put the air conditioners in the windows yet. More on that in a bit.

In the meantime this brief heat wave reminded me of a small but unpleasant reason why I’m not fond of commuting in the summer. By the time I walk about 1/2 mile to the train station and then wait on the underground platform , I am, if

Note to guy: try this hat.

I may be dainty about it, perspiring. And so are all of my fellow commuters. Once I get on the train, the a/c is welcome relief, but I’m still sticky. (Props to Londoners who don’t have a/c on the train either.) One morning I found myself sitting between an oversize woman and a man who kept nodding off. The man was leaning, leaning, leaning until his head was on my shoulder. I did the polite shrug and the tactful bump. His head would loll over to the other side, but then he’d be right back again. I scootched closer and closer to the woman  until our arms were touching. Let me rephrase: my bare, sweaty, sticky, sun lotion-covered, gummy, clammy skin was stuck to the  bare, sweaty, sticky, sun lotion-covered, gummy, clammy skin of a woman I don’t know. Do I sound all Carrie Bradshaw if I say, Eww? So the dilemma: let a guy snooze on my shoulder or exchange sweat molecules with a woman I don’t know. Standing seemed to be the only option.


2. Can you ask for help when you need it? I always have to remind myself. I don’t want to be the girl who cried wolf, calling in the calvary to open a jar of pickles. I’m lucky to have friends willing to pitch in whenever I’ve asked. Some of them even assisted with the move to my current place in a fifth floor walk-up. Now if that’s not friendship, I don’t know what is. But I do feel bad asking them to give their time to my unpleasant task.

Sometimes I think I can tackle a project by myself and then realize half way in that I need another set of hands. This is what I call Home Depot Goggles. You’ve heard of beer goggles? This is the home improvement equivalent. Everything looks e-a-s-y while you’re at Home Depot. It’ll only take 15 minutes, the instructions say. Eight hours later after you’ve tried planing the top of the closet door yourself with dust flying everywhere, you finally give up and call your friend to come help, which is what you should have done in the first place.

The same applies to installation projects. Last year while I was putting the big air conditioner in the living room window, I nearly lost it. By nearly lost it, I mean it almost fell out the window and crashed five flights to the sidewalk below. I caught it with my pinky finger. By caught it with my pinky finger, I mean, my pinky was stuck in the little vent holes and that’s what saved the air conditioner. I’m lucky I didn’t break my finger. More on breaking appendages in a moment. With regard to asking for help, sucked it up and asked my friend to come this weekend to install the air conditioner.


3. Sooner or later there may come a day when you might need more help than just carrying heavy ceramic tiles up five flights of stairs or bringing the broken tube television down to the curb, and it’s nice to know how to accept assistance graciously without getting belligerent. My mom is in this situation now. Last weekend she fell and broke both ankles. One foot required immediate surgery. She’ll be off that foot for about 12 weeks. The other is much less severe; she’ll probably be off that foot for 2 weeks.  It sounds like  the accident must have been incredibly dramatic, right? She fell going from the house to the garage which has two steps down. She’s not accident prone. It was just one of those crazy things. The past few days have been a bevy of phone calls to friends/doctors/insurance companies and visits to and from hospital/nurse/physical therapy. (Don’t even get me started on the insurance. The surgeon gave her a wheelchair. The insurance company says it’s not authorized.) At least she has a lot of help (there’s that word again) and she’ll have to rely on that help consistently for months.


4. So after all of the hubbub dies down, I have a feeling my mom is going to become really bored. There are only so many sudoku puzzles one can do. Does anyone have suggestions for how to keep yourself entertained? Any ideas are welcome.


5. Naturally the whole situation above freaked me out for many obvious reasons. Not the least of which is how you could be going along with your life, making your plans, and then – boom – it’s all different. I guess it’s common to feel this way –  running all kinds of calamities around in my mind. What if a bus mowed me down on the way to work? What if I got struck by lightning during this storm? I don’t plan on living in a bubble, afraid of every little thing. In fact I’ve been working hard in recent years not to be fearful. Once I started taking notice of these feelings and when they cropped up, I realized how fear is so pervasive. It’s a slow process to change my thought patterns. So this could be a setback.  I think these fearful feelings are a test of sorts to remind me to continue to stay positive. I’m working on it!



  1. That hat. That hat! I love that hat. Having declared my love for the hat, I will now say, “Eeew.” Yes, standing was the only option. Again, “Eeew.”

    A friend once told me ‘fear’ stood for: False evidence appearing real.

    My heart goes out to you, your Mom, etc. Good to know she has help. We all need help every now and again. If I think of anything clever to help prevent boredom from creeping in, I’ll let you know.


    1. That’s a great acronym for F.E.A.R. So true.

      The hat is fantastic, and I also found a nice little prop for those who want to sleep but don’t have a seat on the train. I need to dig that out for a future post!


  2. I live in Shanghai where the humidity is incredible. In the summer, the slightest activity makes me sweat. If I have to go somewhere and look nice I bring my dress shirt with me on a hanger and put it on immediately before entering.


    1. Paul, All the more reason to stay home, if you ask me.
      Are the subways and platforms climate controlled in Shanghai?


  3. Oh, Jackie. I always remember the old days of spending summers in NYC with my grandmother in the days before AC on the subway (oh, yeah) and we’d make the pilgrimage to Alexander’s on the Express Bus when we were feeling decadent (cause THEY had AC) and even now, I still remember the days of living in Brooklyn and the platforms were still hot as hades but then you’d see the train coming and you’d see full car, full car, empty car, full car, and you KNEW not to get on that empty car because it clearly didn’t have it’s AC working…

    So, so sorry to hear of your mom’s challenge right now. Thinking of you both as she recovers and gets over this hump.

    Hope Reggie is staying cool…


    1. Spoken like a true local!
      There are only two reasons why a train car would be empty at rush hour. Do you remember the other one? 😉


    1. Reggie would not enjoy the thunder. He’s taken to hiding under the bed during storms. It sounds like your pups are old pros at handling all of the big storms out your way.


    1. Turn those lemons into lemonade! A blog would be a fun and cathartic use of time. My mom says, “It’s only been a week and I’m sick of The Price Is Right!” 🙂


  4. Sorry to hear about your mom. I also think starting a blog is a great idea, or she could write her memoirs.

    We had the same heat wave and it was waaaay too early. Glad it’s spring again here. Scary about the air conditioner!


    1. I’m happy to say that the air conditioner is now installed. I watched while my friend put it in the window. 🙂

      I’m ready for the next heat wave.


  5. My fear is that something bad happens to me when Willie is away on a long trip, and the animals are left at home alone. Whenever he’s out of the phone reach for more than a couple of days, I check in with a friend once a day. If she doesn’t hear from me, she’s got instructions to come and rescue Rosie & Lucy! I’m not really that worried about myself – guess I don’t want to imagine what the “bad thing” could be.


    1. I know! I have the same worry, especially if I’m away from home myself. I have a little card in my wallet from the ASPCA that says I have a pet home alone with friends’ phone numbers to call.


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