Tag Archives: errands

It’s okay, I’m retired

After all those years of working and seriously scheduling every minute of my days, it’s in my DNA, and I have a hard time not making every minute count, especially when running errands.

Terry seldom runs errands with me, but today he had no pressing plans so he asked to come along to carry my bags and help unload the car. I was okay with that because I too had time and didn’t have to rush around from place to place. Terry tends to spend more time reading labels and looking at obscure items. I like to zip up and down the aisles, getting what I want but also taking a quick detour if I suddenly remember something that I want. He often has trouble keeping up with me.

We did well with the Target stop and while heading to our next stop we talked nonstop, so much so that I forgot that I had another stop and drove on autopilot, making a turn onto the street to take me home rather than going straight to the grocery store. I realized the mistake as I made the turn, too late to correct.

Terry said he was wondering if I knew what I was doing but figured I had decided to swing by home and drop off the Target purchases before getting groceries. No, I just wasn’t thinking. I went one block and made a u-turn.

“Good thing I’m retired,” I exclaimed on the way back to the intersection to make the correct turn. “I’ve got plenty of time to make wrong turns.”


I need staff

I am younger than the Pope or either of the Presidential candidates. How do they manage to do so much and keep going like energizer bunnies? I continually  ask this question. My husband’s answer:  They have staff. Well, I need staff.

I get tired. My body gets tired and my brain gets tired. My early morning extrovert personality begins to wane after 2 p.m. I turn inward and quiet. If I had to do a debate at 8 p.m., I would be curled up in a chair, just listening until I fell asleep. The other party would win, hands down.

Cooking, cleaning, household chores, shopping, errands, laundry. They all take their toll. I can do one or two of these each day, but please don’t ask me to do all of them in one day along with my volunteer activities. Yesterday came close.

I got up at 6 a.m. and did laundry. I ran an errand before going to Columbia Elementary and doing my storytelling. Once I got home I started cleaning the patio (which needs its own staff). Another couple of loads of laundry. I fixed dinner. We watched the news, a couple of recorded programs, and I read my newest book. By 9 p.m. I was asleep. Soundly. This morning I started all over again, but I have no where to go so that makes life a bit simpler. I did more laundry and finished cleaning the patio. I also ran a short order cafe for the cats. That’s another staffer I need–cat wrangler.

It’s not even 2 p.m, and my body and brain are looking for easier tasks. I would like to sit and read a book, but I need to put everything back on the patio now that it’s clean. Getting the patio clean has made me dirty so my clothes need washing (this is where I could use a laundress), and my hair needs washing. Fortunately, Terry is vacuuming the house and porch. He also made pancakes for breakfast. I will get dinner ready later.

In addition to the patio boy and cat wrangler,  I need a driver to run the errands. A housekeeper for the inner workings of our home. A laundress for the 15 or so loads of laundry each week. A cook to prepare our meals and set them before us and clean up afterwards. Terry is good at cleaning up, but he would like a break, too. A gardner to keep the yards tidy. Small staff, that’s all. Then I could perhaps have the energy and brain power to debate at 8 p.m.

Easter Monday

The plan had been to run errands today as it’s my only day this week that does not have an activity on the calendar. Then I remembered that it is also the last day of Easter break. I don’t know how your school district does it, but the schools in this area take the week BEFORE Easter as spring  break, with the Monday after Easter as a day off, too. All those people who spent the week before Easter either away on a trip or doing other activities will today be out, running errands, just like I had planned so as to be ready to head back to school tomorrow.

This all became clear to me while I was blowdrying my hair early this morning. The more I thought about the crowds in places I would be going–car wash, bank, Target, school supply store–I decided to wait until tomorrow morning and get out very early before I head to Good News Club at 2 p.m. I will spend today, the last day of Easter break, doing laundry, working in the backyard, and reading a book I just started and can hardly put down, “Invisible City” by Julia Dahl.

The reason I must GO into the bank, and not just an ATM, is that I need 21 one dollar bills for my school lunches for the month of April. You cannot get those at an ATM. Nor can you get them from your smart phone. I love transferring money, paying my bills, and even depositing checks with my iPhone. But they’ve yet to figure out a way for me to get cold currency from the device.

As for school lunches, I’ve looked at the menus for April and I like each day’s offering except for one, pepperoni pizza, which I cannot eat due to the cheese. There is no hamburger on the April menu, either, which pleases me. You may remember, that was the item I found most disagreeable when I started eating the school lunch as school chaplain. The FRESNO BEE writer who did the piece about me in January checked into the hamburger story with the food services manager and he told her it was coming back but would be improved.  It disappeared from the menus for a couple of months, making an appearance in March, supposedly improved. It was better, but still not great.

The return from Easter break heralds the beginning of the end of the school year. It is the last 10-week quarter and much of it will be taken up with standardized testing, special performances, and award ceremonies. There are four more Good News Club meetings and eight more weeks of school chaplaincy stories.  Then I too will be finished for the year and ready to start summer vacation. We have the month of July filled with plans, but the rest of the summer is still wide open.

Back at it

After our quick trip to the beach, we are back at our so-called routine. I say so-called because every day seems to call for a different schedule. Terry had to get back and edit photographs he had taken earlier in the week at a non-profit’s breakfast. He got a few delivered today, got his hair cut, and then came home and vacuumed the house.

In the meantime, I had to get some groceries (there’s nothing to eat), and make a trip to Target (we are out of toothpaste). In between those errands I was texting with a local radio personality to meet so as to do a recording for a show he will present next week about our city’s downtown mall which will celebrate 50 years next month. He wanted to talk to people who were around when the mall was built. That would be me. We decided on a time to meet and I took off for downtown right after I finished the Target shopping trip. It was fun to reminisce about what I remembered from my childhood. We also discussed the current state of the mall and the plans to tear it out and put the street back.

After I got home I started the first of three loads of laundry while I prepped for a new recipe–Greek lasagna. I found the recipe on a blog, but I don’t remember whose. I had to make a vegetable sauce (garlic, onion, carrots, celery, red pepper, and tomatoes). The recipe called for ziti pasta. I used rigatoni. After the sauce and pasta are cooked, the second sauce is made–a creamy cheese sauce that includes eggs and is poured over the top. The three parts are layered into a pan and baked for 45 minutes. Fortunately, Terry finished the vacuuming in time to take care of the last load of laundry as I was up to my eyeballs in pasta prep.

We were both pleased with the Greek lasagna. Although the recipe had called for ground beef (have no idea how you would fit it in the pan), I just used the vegetables. The recipe, although I halved it, made a full pan and we will have leftovers for a few days. I’m thinking it may taste even better when reheated.

Stranded at home

That title isn’t as bad as it sounds. Actually, it’s been kind of nice. So, why have I been stranded since last Saturday? Grandchildren and cars.

We took the grandkids to swim at their Nana’s house last Saturday. Coming back down the hill (the in-laws live in a foothill housing development about 45 miles away), my car began flashing check engine and cruise control on the instrument panel. Fortunately, or not so fortunately, depending on your view, I had this happen three years ago, coming back to Fresno from San Francisco, by myself, on a long stretch of open road. I pulled over, then, and called the mechanic who told me that I could keep driving but bring the car in the next day, which I did.

Because I knew it was not serious, but rather an emission’s control valve that was dirty and stuck open, we kept driving on home and even used the car a couple of times during the week because Terry’s 1991 Mazda was in the shop having the heater/AC fan fixed. Being so old, it takes awhile to get the parts for his car’s repairs. This time it took three days. Now that Terry has his car back, I will take mine in on Monday to be fixed.

Expensive month for us, what with these car repairs. So, I guess it’s a good thing I was stuck at home and unable to go out and spend money! The grandkids were here Sunday and Monday so I was busy taking care of them. My girlfriends picked me up and squired me around for our first day of no-school. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were spent cleaning (and making chile sauce), doing laundry, gardening. On Friday I pulled out my historical novel, Allied Arts Girls, edited, researched, and started another chapter that will detail one of the meetings in May, 1960, when the girls had a fashion show/garden party/installation dinner. I also baked a batch of cookies which I shared with my neighbor who came over to return some bandages I had loaned to her for an emergency the week before.

Would my week have looked different had there not been the car problems? Probably. I could have jumped in the car and gone any where I wanted, like to the bookstore to get a new journal, to the drug store to pick up a prescription, to Target to get items on a growing list, to Whole Foods to pick up a chicken for dinner. Terry did a couple of these things on his way home with his newly repaired and smogged car.

That’s something we have to do here in California due to our extreme air pollution. Every two years, when our car registration comes due, the cars must be smogged before we can buy the tags for the year. It’s all done through a computerized system between the smog shops and the Department of Motor Vehicles. But, I digress.

Now that Terry’s car is back, I could go out today and run some of those errands, but I don’t like going out on Saturdays as it’s always crowded with people who have only the weekends to get their errands done. I will have plenty of time next week. I’ve realized nothing has to be done immediately.

Another thing I like about staying home, I don’t put on any makeup and I dress very casually. Nor do I worry too much about my hair, but with my super short cut, I really have little to make my hair ready to go out. Tomorrow I will wash my hair, put on my makeup, dress nicely, and attend church, ending the week of being stranded at home.

Let the week begin

This will be a jam-packed full week of lots of things going on. I’m meeting new people, taking care of old photos, running the usual errands, seeing my amazing hairdresser for a refresher, and attending a conference on how to make our city better (and, Lord, does it need that). An old acquaintance has passed on to glory and her memorial service will be held midweek. She was well-known for her organ playing so I know there will be wonderful music at the service. The weather forecast promises 80 degree days, and I’m holding the weatherman to that promise. I am so ready for warm weather.

This morning I am heading out for my first project of the week–to find mats and frames for some very old photos from the church archives. You may remember that last year our church celebrated its 130th anniversary. This year we have a new minister who is very interested in getting the old photos on exhibit in his refurbished office. I am delighted that he is so interested in things like this because he is young (40) and comes from Chicago, not a local boy.

My first set of photos will be the four church buildings, the first which dates back to 1883. The first two buildings, made of wood, burned early on. The third one, built downtown and used until 1955, was made of brick. The current sanctuary, built in the late 1950s, has been remodeled in the last few years but we have no large photo showing the updated look so I am framing a photo from the 1990s that shows the lighted cross on the building. Many people show up on Sundays to tell us that they saw the lighted the cross one evening and decided to find the church.

The summer of the car

This was the summer that the car cost more than anything else in my life.  Let me enumerate:

June–body shop to have bumper replaced.  Although the insurance picked up the cost, I still had to pay $200 deductible.

July–new tires.  It’s an all-wheel drive vehicle so that meant all 5 tires must be replaced, at once.  $700

August–air conditioner repair.  The previous repair was not really what was necessary for cool air so the whole dashboard had to be taken out and the parts ordered.  We don’t need AC in San Francisco, but we surely need it in Fresno’s hot temperatures.  $1100

July and August–parking at the tiny apartment.  There is a garage in the basement of the building where we can drive in and go directly to our apartment, and the manager of the lot is a very nice man who takes good care of us.  We are able to come and go very easily with monthly parking.  $375 a month

The question, of course, is:  do I need a car in San Francisco?  I don’t think so.  I can take public transportation.  I can join City CarShare or ZipCar.  I have a Clipper Card now that allows me to take advantage of all the city’s public transportation.  I walk to the grocery store and use the cart my coworkers gave me as a going-away gift.

So, why am I hanging on to the car?  I need it for the trips to San Mateo to see our granddaughter.  Our daughter, who does not have a car, uses it to run errands.  I use it for errands and to haul things.  And, Terry and I are still coming back to Fresno, a three and half hour trip each way.  Our house, our friends, our doctors, are all here and we aren’t quite ready to dump them.

As summer wraps up, and we consider being more permanent in San Francisco, which means I will hopefully have a job there, I will rethink the car and come to a decision.  Oh, and I didn’t even mention Terry’s car, which stays in Fresno!

Good morning San Francisco, just not this morning

Good morning San Francisco

Originally uploaded by dkzody

We were in San Fran last weekend, but today, another Saturday, we are in Fresno, doing chores and running errands. There is a house and yard here that clamors for our attention. Oh, and groceries, too. The larder was getting bare so I grocery shopped. A little laundry to round out the weekend.

One grocery store

My main grocery store

Remember my rant about Sephora? Well, I made it to Macy’s today and got my fix.

The concealer is being discontinued.

Unfortunately, Lancome is going to quit making my concealer so the counter clerk suggested stocking up. Is this a marketing ruse to get me to buy more? Probably, and it worked. All companies that make products I like send out spies to find out what I am using. Then they send word back, “Stop production.” It’s a conspiracy, I tell you.

The weather here is so beautiful and so I must attend to my yard, no excuses. When it’s looking better, I will post some photos.

The yard last summer.

Saturday habits

They are there, almost every Saturday morning, sitting around the round tables at Whole Foods where I dash in to do my weekly grocery shopping.  They are retired education people:  teachers, principals, coordinators, and their spouses who may have also been in those fields.  It’s not always the same group every Saturday; they seem to rotate.  I see them as I’m headed back to my car with loaded bags which I brought and donated the bag refund money to the Community Food Bank, a nice benefit that Whole Foods offers.  Part of my Saturday routine.

Back to these retired people.  I wonder if they have some sort of weekday job or activity that causes them to come on Saturdays.  My Saturdays are so hectic.  Laundry, grocery shopping, errands, cooking, updating grades.  Oooh, this week my grades were all done before I left school so I have three days of freedom.  However, the season of recommendation letters is starting.  I have one to do today.  I really don’t have time to meet, greet, and eat with friends on Saturdays unless I make plans way in advance.  I cannot be spontaneous on Saturdays.

When these people worked in education, were they too busy on Saturdays?  Is that why they are there, at Whole Foods, huddled around tables, enjoying one another’s company?  They didn’t have that opportunity during all those years of chores, errands, school work?

Maybe next year, at this time, I can update you, dear Reader, on my Saturday habits.  I have a hunch I will still be very busy with all those Saturday chores with which I have filled my years.  It’s a habit.


My husband’s veins flow with coffee.  Strong, black, bold flavored coffee.  Espresso is his beverage of choice and he makes his own, at home.  Occasionally, when we travel, he will stop and buy coffee, usually at a local cofffehouse, if possible.  Otherwise, he goes to Starbucks for his liquid refreshment.  The new apartment has a Starbucks right across the street which makes him happy.  I like it too because I enjoy their pastries.  Coffee is not high on my priority list.

In a regular week, hubby goes to Starbucks to buy ground coffee by the half pound.  He uses their bold flavor like Yukon Gold for breakfast; espresso grind for later in the day.  He makes these trips during the day, when he runs other errands, while I am at school.  I, on the other hand, run all my errands on Saturdays.  Never the twain shall meet.  Except when we are both on holiday, like today.

After Target and PetSmart, we pulled into Starbucks so Terry could pick up espresso.  As I often do at Starbucks, I sat in the car until I noticed a banner in the window advertising their rewards card.  Rewards card?  Never heard of one for this place.  (I have them for other businesses)

I run in and intrude in the middle of the transaction with questions about the card.  It seems that you must go online to get the card and it mainly rewards those who buy DRINKS.  So many drinks and you get free stuff and discounts, etc.  The delightfully young, female, attractive, barrista looks at my husband and says, “I’ve never seen you buy a drink.”  And then she pointedly looks at me and says, “And I’ve never seen you before.”

“You didn’t know I existed, did you?” I come back at the delightfully young, female, did I mention attractive, barrista.

“Nope, but I figured there was someone because he’s so nice and well cared for.”

Aww.  She won me over too.