Meg Livergood Gerrish
Number of posts: 14
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By Meg Livergood Gerrish:
What does wrapping paper go for these days? Not the flimsy stuff from the discount shop, but the good stuff that doesn’t rip when you look at it. Five, nine, twelve bucks for a roll of paper that maybe covers a board game and a book? And that doesn’t include the matchy-matchy ribbon or tags. Or the cute, stick-on package accessories, which aren’t cheap, I can tell you.
Back in the day, in the two week window before Christmas, you couldn’t drag me out of the shop known for greeting cards, but which also offers maybe the most deluxe, readily available wrapping paper sets around. I’ll bet half our Christmas shopping budget was spent on the wrappings. I wanted my children to experience awe when they came into the living room on Christmas morning. And they did! The vision of a sparkling tree amidst an abundance of beautifully wrapped gifts took their breath away. Mine, too.
I live in a big city. Plenty of shopping options. Access to anything we need. Access to internet shopping if I’m feeling too poorly to drag around through hot parking lots (it’s a health thing, not part of this story). I usually choose small stores before big box or supermarkets because it’s just easier than having to walk eighty miles (even if it is indoors and air-conditioned) to pick up toilet paper. I don’t shop for entertainment, but I like being entertained when I shop. I enjoy personal service. I like seeing, sometimes buying, the unique or interesting items from hither and yon that appear on the shelves. I like handing money to the owner or to the long-time store employee as the owner visits with customers and straightens items on the shelves.
Which brings me to Walmart.
During the past week, two stories in Like The Dew collided smack into me and dredged up family history that I could never forget, would not want to forget, but had compartmentalized to take advantage of life’s forward motion.
Alex Kearns shared wrenching heartbreak about her sister’s unexpected death (My Sister, My Self). Her personal loss triggered for me feelings about the loss of my own sister, Trisha, who also died unexpectedly and who, like Ms Kearns’ sister, was also was a person with schizophrenia. Lots of feelings arise in me when the subject is schizophrenia, my personal shame chief among them.
You know what I got tired of throwing away? Beauty creams.
I’m a girl. I like to look nice. And nothing is nice about irritated skin, the kind of skin that I possess. Fussy. Flaky. Downright petulant when blusher and eye shadow are applied.
For decades I’ve used everything recommended by doctors to make my skin behave. I’ve used everything hawked in television ads, the ones with models and moms who all glow with gorgeous skin. I’ve used everything from expensive salves to cheap grocery store gunk. Nothing purchased for the purpose has held my sad skin intact.
What we loved most about our new home was that nothing had ever been done to it. And by that I mean, it had been a remodeling virgin for over 50 years. Once the original owners moved in, they were done.
When we took ownership in the late 1990s it was apparent that the house had never received a fresh coat of paint, not inside or out. There were no ceiling fans, and just one small window air conditioning unit in a bathroom. That’s right, a bathroom. The house had never been wired for cable and there was only a single telephone outlet of the actual wire-it, non-modular sort.
We began drifting from plastic when, even after a thorough scrubbing, our new Tupperware bowl held tight to a spaghetti sauce stain. Something about being reminded of past meals put me off of using plastic in the kitchen so we threw out the new bowl. The remaining plastic storage containers disappeared through attrition. I refused all invitations to Tupperware parties. I walked down the Rubbermaid aisle with blinders on, except when peeking to pick up a new laundry basket.
For the most part, unless a Lego logo was attached, plastic rarely entered our world.
Like everyone else in the country, we’ve been finding ways to trim our monthly expenses. Can’t do much about our mortgage, ditto the health insurance and property taxes. We made adjustments to our auto insurance – nothing to leave us dangerously exposed, but since the business and personal cars are owned free-and-clear, we looked at what exactly we were covering and brought the premiums down.
That was fun. Okay, what we think is fun on a cool, weekend afternoon might be quite different from what you would enjoy. But trying to find the hummingbird is fun. We can hear it (I can hear it, anyway, Tom’s carpenter-damaged ears not quite so attuned as in days gone by), but just can’t find the darned thing. If the wind would slow, the leaves would settle and maybe…
I’m a fried shrimp fan. My husband Tom generally doesn’t order it in a restaurant, but when we buy frozen raw shrimp on sale at the market, he becomes a fan very quickly. And he has a quick recipe for a delicious Fried Shrimp dinner. Goes like this: Thaw between 12 to 16 oz of large raw shrimp (for two people…too much? Not enough…?) and peel if necessary, leaving the tail on. Pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Set aside. Pour about two cups of Japanese Panko Bread Crumbs into a medium bowl and mix in a healthy sprinkling of seasoned salt. Set aside. Place about 1/4-inch of peanut or corn oil into a cast iron or heavy skillet and begin heating over medium high. Please don’t leave the stove unattended. Mix two large eggs, 1 cup grated Parmesan, a splash of Tabasco and a healthy pinch of seasoned (or ordinary table) salt […]
Maybe Chardonnay from France should be fermented in oak barrels, is what we came away thinking at the end of this bottle. Old oak, to be sure, but setting aside issues of some Chablis, maybe wine from France that is fermented in stainless steel doesn’t receive the same loving caress received by other French wines. Maybe French wine from stainless strays too far from tradition. Maybe it’s trying to be something it isn’t, something (egads) new world.
This was a fight, but only because we weren’t paying attention. I wish we had taken a video of the struggle to remove the wax sealer because our frustration was comic. The bottle makes such a beautiful presentation, and somehow we just thought the wax would peel away. But no. It definitely did not. We chip, chip, chipped at it, cluttering the tabletop, while entertaining Auggie The Doggy who chased flying chunklets of wax around the room.
While setting up our first color television with remote control, my husband made an irrevocable, tactical error. He mumbled, “I don’t really like television.”
It was more of a reaction to the money just spent than declaring an actual aversion to television. But he uttered those words while adjusting the rabbit ears, so although we shared equal dibs on what to watch, I would forever control the remote …
We moved into our home fifteen years ago. It was a plain, concrete box on a flat piece of rock. Nothing special. Well made, but utterly ordinary. Over the years (mostly) Tom (with a few ideas from me) turned it into something special. Unique. Textured and full of dimension. That’s like this wine. Just grapes, after all. Turned into something special, unique, textured and full of dimension.
The way our home is arranged required both satellite and cable to provide a television signal to the main house and garage apartment. A configuration problem. Very basic cable in the apartment (guests would just have to make do), satellite service in the house. And don’t get started on the evils of television. We enjoy it around here. Reality television? No. Game shows? No. Punditry? No. Almost anything else? Sure, why not? Go ‘phins!
But while drinking this wine we decided to cut all the cords. Why? Because we were drowning in television.