Ten Things I have Learned in the Past Several Weeks. Not necessarily in order of importance.
1) Floss your teeth, you dunderhead. Sometimes you go to the dentist and come out with lovely smooth teeth, none the worse for the wear. And then there are times when you walk out of there, one hundred dollars poorer, feeling like the nice hygienist – whom you really enjoy – has taken out all her frustrations on your mouth because it couldn’t possibly be your fault that your gums feel like a porcupine moved into your mouth. If you’re reading this, Daniele…ummm…thank you for never scolding me.
2) If you need to renew your driver’s license, and they clip off that corner of your old license and you have to fly on a TSA-controlled airline (as opposed to a crop duster, for example) be sure that you have a secondary, un-clipped-off form of photo identification. They’ll like you a lot better that way. Not to mention the fact that the customs officials at the Canadian border will, too.
3) In addition, when going to get said driver’s license, and you’re feeling a wee bit depressed about the fact that your high school Senior Prophesies did not come true (in other words, you are not the opera singer that you fondly imagined you would be), rest assured that none of it matters in light of the fact that the next police officer to pull you over will be completely overcome by your photo and forget to even look at your age, due to the bad hair day you are having in the zero degree temperatures because you put comfort over beauty and wore your hat.
A brave rose in December in Washington State.
4) If you plan on going to the theater – no, not the movie theater, but The Theater – and you get all dressed up and drive over an hour to get there in the rain (I was in Seattle), and your daughters are decked out in all their Nutcracker Suite Finery (whatever that may be), be sure you have tickets for that actual day. Ticket punchers tend to frown on (or laugh, as the case may be) wrong-day tickets.
5) Always stash in your carry-on an extra shirt and pair of pants and under clothes for your four-year old because, even though she hasn’t spilled her cup for months, she WILL and she’ll be forced to sit in wet clothes all the way from approximately Cheyenne, Wyoming to Seattle, Washington, through baggage pick-up and out to the car. Thank goodness she had ice in her cup…so the actual liquid-to-ice ratio was very small. There are some good things about airlines trying to save money. The mini-pack of mini-pretzels was tasty, too.
6) When purchasing several items (that you can’t easily get in America) from The Great Canadian Superstore in Vancouver, B.C., don’t be surprised when the clerk (as well as the approximately 13 customers behind you in line) looks at you like you’re a three-headed platypus because of the fact that you have A) 3 boxes of cookies B) 13 different kinds of candy (Coffee Crisp, anyone?) C) 2 bottles of Rose Water and D) 15 baby octopus. Likewise, be sure to write a letter of admiration for Pierre, the valet at the Hilton, when you drive up and confess to him that, though you have already checked out, you accidentally left your frozen octopus in the hotel room’s mini-fridge and he doesn’t bat an eye but takes you all the way to the 17th floor, chatting amiably about New Year’s Eve and skiing. Nor does he question the fact that, because you accidentally broke one of your two bottles of rose water and it instantly froze onto the octopus’ packaging, the entire package now smells pleasantly of roses. Just take the package with a modest smile and thank him for his help.
7) Don’t give the cat-sitter your house key AND your garage-door opener unless you want to sit out in the rain waiting for your husband to get back and let you in the door.
An apple tree in Washington...sans leaves...but still tenaciously clinging to its fruit.
8 ) Don’t leave home without your camera’s back-up battery AND your charger. Not unless you have a father who used to be a photographer and doesn’t really want his Nikon D60 anymore. Which worked out quite well for all of us. We got an excellent camera and he now has more space in his office.
9) Don’t forget your umbrella. This is Seattle, you dunderhead.
10) Believe your child when, at 32,000 feet up in the air, they say they need to throw up. It makes life better for everyone.