The ABC’s of expecting the unexpected

“Life is a like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.”
Yes, indeed, my neck of the woods is a testament to that statement in more ways than one.
And in addition, if I were to follow the rules set out in “The ABC’s of Ageing Gracefully,” I would be encouraged, in times of unexpected change or surprise endings, to “quit whining, yield gracefully, upset convention, and eat more chocolate.”
Since losing my bank and credit cards and $50 down the toilet a few weeks ago, I admit I did upset convention by eating way too many chocolates in a bid to settle my whining so that I might yield gracefully to the unplanned elements of the day.
It tasted good, but it came back to bite me with a two-week setback in my weight management plan to lose the “two cougars in a gunny sack” that have replaced my apple bottom since I turned 50 seven months ago.
And the “ABC” rule that encourages me to “Go Grey” was met at the roots a few days ago when my credit card company called to inquire about a suspicious charge noted on my account.
I very rarely use my credit card so the call was not unwarranted. And although in most fragments of life I am logical and rational, that particular moment on the phone was not one of them.
I was standing there poking in one last chocolate, and listening to the droning voice at the other end inform me about the potential for fraud, when a bouquet of grey hairs sprouted from my moustache, crown, and eyebrow.
I pictured the sewer rat whose fishing net had snagged the charge card that had been sucked into the bowels under the city. He now was wearing Gucci sunglasses, sipping 1943 Dom Perignon, and salivating at the large wheel of Parmesan cheese he’d just imported from Italy on the underground market.
Lucky for me my imagination doesn’t always ring true. The charge was a once-a-year North American travel insurance payment charge.
“Yield gracefully.” Is that the same thing as “expect the unexpected?” Either way, it would seem I’m being tested.
The day before Mother’s Day, as I was heading out the door for a brisk walk, Daughters #1 and #3 were headed to the barn with strict instructions for me not to come in.
“No problem,” I replied, believing full well their secret plan was to assemble the Adirondack chair they had bought their loving mother for her leisure space by the creek.
Ninety minutes later, the girls and dogs emerged in a gunshot of energy as I was gingerly piling charcoal in the barbecue.
“Dot needs a drink of water,” shouted one of the cohorts. Thinking it was a ploy to get me inside so that I wouldn’t see my new chair until it was sitting by the creek, I waved an affirmative and headed for the house as a thrill of anticipation quickened my stride.
“No, Mom, Dot needs a drink of water,” re-shouted the cohort again. I raised an eyebrow and again motioned in the direction of the house to reiterate my intention on fulfilling that request.
“No, Mom, Dot needs a drink of water.”
Okay, surprise or not, by this time I was about to reveal the snakes in my hair and change both my children into stone, at which time I would thank them for the chair and retire creek side.
And when I turned around, there it was.
“Surprise!” Yield gracefully.
Dot was a shadow of her former self. For the last hour and a half, my kids had been dog groomers—not chair builders—and had shaved the dog.
And as if the forces of the Universe hadn’t poked enough fun at me in that moment, I hadn’t but parked in the driveway two days later when Daughter #3 shot out of the house and across the yard—summoning me in a flurry of excitement to the barn.
Had the guilt finally hit home? Had she finally assembled the Adirondack chair?
She opened the barn door and a big Cheshire cat grin lit up her face. I could envision the chair in all its beauty.
I stepped inside the barn in full anticipation. And there it was: a very large, deceased groundhog lying prone on a garbage bag in the middle of the barn floor.
“Where did you get that!?” I stammered.
“Dot killed it. It was hiding in the barn,” she replied.
The word “Lovely” sputtered out of my mouth, along with a string of mumbo jumbo jargon to accompany my eyes rolling back in my head.
“I laid out the garbage bag and told Dot to bring it here and drop it. I didn’t know what to do with it after that,” Daughter #3 said, blatantly proud of herself and her canine cohort.
“Uh huh,” I muttered as my mind wandered off to my happy place.
I need a holiday.

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