Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ode to The Produce Stand Man

Note: I lied. There is no ode anywhere in this post. I just like the way the title sounded, and I'm not really a poet. But if you happen to write one, please let me know.

Back in May, I noticed a new structure in the local mud-pit beside my favorite cheap gas station (descriptively named the "Alabama Pit Stop"). The gas station itself is a piece of wonder - it's built from wood that looks like it might have originally been planks of the Mayflower, the owner speaks English in a perfumed haze that drugs you enough to make you think you understand it, and his car is always parked RIGHT IN FRONT of the door, blocking the best spots. But he's got the cheapest gas. And more shiny knick-knacks than you want to look at, except that you can't help it because they're all piled up with the energy pills by the register. And for a while, he had a gambling operation going on inside. He had one of those machines that you drop coins into and hope they land just right on the shelf that goes back and forth so that money will fall off of it. I live in such a hotbed of excitement that I saw lines form for this machine at least twice. And the lines only had about 2 people in them. But still - that's half the population of this side of town. The machine disappeared about 8 months ago, and a new rack of Zippo lighters appeared.

Anyway, back in May, some elderly farmer-type rolled a produce stand into a corner of the parking-lot/mud-slide and opened for business. He had watermelons, tomatoes and apples in May. Which I didn't question, because they tasted awesome - and they were only a 1/2 mile from my house. At the time, the nearest farmer's market was about 40 minutes away. The best friend thought it a little odd, but I assured myself - and her - that he must have a greenhouse somewhere, because now! I had fresh produce on my way home from work! And I started to make plans. Apple pies! Tomato sauce! Watermelon pickles! There was just one problem...

Produce Stand Man was hardly ever open. I get home from work anywhere between 4 and 7 PM, and I only saw him at his stand about once every week. On Saturdays, he was there all day. Well, he was inside the stand. He was usually asleep. The very first time I visited was on a Saturday, around 2 PM. He was asleep. I stood and looked over everything for a minute, but all I really wanted was a basket of tomatoes. I cleared my throat, but the sound of his fan must have covered that. I didn't REALLY want to wake him. He's a farmer, so he must be up before dawn every day, busting his butt to get me the fresh stuff, right? After looking at The Professor waiting in the car a couple of times, I slipped the $2 for the basket of tomatoes underneath his arm so it wouldn't blow away and then hopped back in the car.

I happened to look out of our back window as we started to pull out of the parking lot. When I closed the car door, his internal alarm system must have translated the sound into a get-away car alarm, because he hopped out of the back of his stand, waving his arms around and yelling. And I immediately felt guilty for making this man think he was getting robbed. How do you say "look in the puddle of drool" under your chin before you jump to conclusions" nicely?

I showed him the money, he apologized for thinking a "lovely young thing" like me could be a criminal, and I went on my way. I would go back to visit every couple of weeks. Sometimes he was asleep. Sometimes the entire stand was full of produce with no farmer around to take the money, so I had to decide between not getting any, and trying to find somewhere to put the money for what I had taken without it getting blown across the road. Occasionally, he was actually in the stand AND awake. Sometimes he gave me a free bell pepper, or a couple of free tomatoes, or an apple.

And then all of a sudden, as I was driving home last week, I saw that his ENTIRE produce stand was gone. He took all those lovely vegetables away with him. I felt cheated. I mean, couldn't he at least have put up a "closing soon" sign so that I would now that our time together was almost over? Couldn't he have let me down easy? I'd have appreciated some semblance of an excuse. I bet he found a better mud-pit/parking-lot to deal from, and now he's selling to some other red-head. Typical man to get swayed be every redhead that crosses his path.

Or maybe he decided that being a senile narcoleptic wasn't conducive to making money from a fresh produce stand?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I still don't know if I'm married or not

Today, The Professor and I went down to the court house. The lady I spoke with on the phone the other day told me that the easiest fix to all of this would be to get married at the court house. The lady I spoke with at the court house today told me that having another wedding was impossible. Apparently, until I prove that the guy who married us wasn't capable of doing so - and then get some kind of legal paperwork to prove it - I can't get another marriage license. So she told me that she couldn't tell me anything else, that that's some mysterious state department's job. And she gave me the phone number for the state's switchboard. And then she was very upset when I asked another question. And she got rude. I wanted to tell her that I wasn't accusing HER of anything, that I was simply trying to find out what she knew. But I just thanked her and went on my way. The Professor started the car and then handed me his phone and told me to make the call. Apparently, in his well-ordered world, we would call the state, talk to someone who knew something about anything, and get an answer. And he didn't want to be driving home when we found out we'd just need to go back to the courthouse. So I called the operator. And she told me I needed to talk to the state department, and transferred me. A somewhat-rude person there told me that I needed to talk to the Attorney General's office. And transferred me. An unbelievably rude person there told me who I needed to speak with, and transferred me. I got his voice mail, which included the information that he received a lot of phone calls and answered them in the order received, but it might be a while before he could call me back. Need I even say that he hasn't called me back? Charter still hasn't fixed my cable problems. It's 8 PM. The Heat Index is over 100. I think it's time to move to the kitchen to make a little rum-and-ice drink.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

To keep myself from getting bored - and because I know all three and half of you care - let's have an update, shall we? I'm about 60 miles south of that last reading. Here's the new data.

2007.08.07 1553 UTC (That's 10:53 here)

Temperature: 93.9 F (We're just gonna go ahead and call this 94, k?)
Dew Point:
73.0 F (well, at least there's something that's not getting higher)
Relative Humidity: 51 % (I'd thank the god of humidity for this low number...but...)
Heat Index: 103.3 F (instead I'm going to thank the god of air conditioners)
Wind: calm (I'm beginning to think that the wind done gone....)

I need a Mint Julip!! Hold everything but the ice.

2007.08.07 1253 UTC (That's 7:53 AM here)

82.9 F (Anything above 75 before 8 AM should be against the laws of nature, and therefore impossible)
Dew Point:
73.0 F (That's not sweat! That's DEW.)
Relative Humidity: 72% (Let's not discuss the fact that by 3 PM, you'll need gills to breather outside)
Wind: calm (Could everyone step outside and blow in the direction of Alabama? Thank you)

Monday, August 06, 2007

This time, I'm definitely registering for a food dehydrator

How'd your weekend go? Mine started off with the remnants of strep throat and lots of cooking for my stepson. Then I had to help out with some motorcycle repairs. With lots of sweat. I don't do repairs, and I don't like sweat. Then last night I found out I'm probably not married. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/05/fashion/05marry.html?_r=2&ref=fashion&oref=slogin&oref=slogin Yes, Alabama was mentioned. So I'm living in sin. Going to bed seems a little naughtier than it was a week ago. I've taken to referring to the Professor as my "non-husband". He calls me his "unwedded wife". He wants to have a whole new wedding reception. I told him we aren't paying for that, and if he treats me right, I might take him out for Chinese afterwards. He wants to get re-married on our "anniversary", so that he only has one date to remember. I told him he can't ride his motorcycle until we're legally married. I do NOT want to go to court with my stepson's mom over this little roadblock on our path of sunshine and roses. We're probably going to the courthouse this week. I told him to check the dates though. He's been married in August twice before. Maybe we should wait for September?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Produce Aisle

Depending on your point of view, I'm either a mean, horrible stepmother or a wonderful, caring stepmother because I went to the grocery store to get some fresh vegetables for my stepson today. The "wonderful, caring" point of view would be because I went to buy corn and broccoli - two vegetables I hate but that my stepson will eat. The "mean, horrible" because I bought something that is healthy that I will force him to eat over the next few days. Life is all about perspective, people. So as I'm calculating the cost of fresh corn versus frozen in the produce section, two people that can only be described as a "little old cute couple" meandered in my direction. They walked around me to the onions, then as I picked up some potatoes, they circled round to the fresh bell peppers. They were adorable, arguing over what should would taste better on their grill. I was with the gentleman - give me mushrooms, heavily laced with butter, over some boring carrots any day. As I rounded a corner to decide what kind of greens to pick for my weekend salads, the lady came up to me. With absolutely no preamable, she asked how old I was. "um...29", I replied, completely at a loss as to how that would solve their mushroom/carrot dilemma. She looked down at my cart - which had a package of baby carrots and not a mushroom in sight - and said "You know, I was a redhead when I was younger." They walked away with carrots AND mushrooms. And I still have no clue whether I helped with a marital produce dispute or not.