Friday, June 30, 2006

Friday Fantasy - Revised

Look at what was delivered to my door this morning! This exotic feline beastie must have been separated from his "Pride". Hope he doesn't bite (too hard). Isn't he gorgeous? Doesn't he make you just want to... help me out here.

(Geez, I hope he is house broken.)


Revised: There must be so little imagination out there in the blogosphere. I was picturing a whip or crop and hoops for him to jump through. You know, running him through his paces a bit while the crowd cheered and ohhhed and ahhhed. Maybe he would turn on me and get a bit out of hand. Growl, snarl, hiss, bite, scratch, that sort of thing. Merow! Egads, the only comment I got was to wash him. How boring. We could always do that after we, you know...

Sorry boys and girls. No winners. Try again next week on Friday Fantasy.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bookfield, New Roommate

Robbie called us late on Friday evening to let us know that another Parchment ‘gal’ would be joining us as a roommate. He assured us that she was ‘really nice’ and we would meet her on Sunday. We certainly had the extra room for her in our lodgings with our three beds.

At that Sunday meeting I had had my biggest week of the summer. I was asked to stand and ‘share’ (read: testify) how that had happened to my fellow Parchmenters. I said, “Really, really hard work.” Robbie looked disappointed with that brief and essentially meaningless response. But, it was better than the real answer which was really that it was just good old country territory, with gullible and blindly religious rural folks. You know prime territory; the unacceptable answer when all territory is alike. I knew no one wanted to hear that and that I would have caught hell for saying so.

Mary and I met Chris, our new roomie, at some point during the meeting. Rumors had it that she had ‘boyfriend troubles’ at her last territory. I didn’t doubt it for a moment when I thought about what happened to me. It was easy to find trouble of that kind out here, especially with these oversexed Parchment guys. This move would take her away from the problem. All I could think was that if our territory was considered a safe haven from boy troubles, we were in all trouble. There would be no place to send me but home if I complained about the incident with Chip.

She was very pretty, brown wavy hair, big blue eyes, curvaceous and a little taller then me. No doubt she would find trouble out here, looking like that. She seemed warm and nice, and I was looking forward to having someone to really talk to, after my apparent rift with Mary.

At that meeting another sales manager shared with us ‘girls’ that many sellers were asking double the recommended price for the books. I didn’t think I could do that for ethical reasons, but the monetary temptation was too great not to. Mary said that she was already doing it. I was astounded! How could she? She was religious, how did that practice square with her personal morals? In all practicality though, what if customers sold to at the lower price spoke with those who paid the higher price? That thought terrified me.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Koi Pond News - Eastern Painted Turtle

Yesterday around noon, I glanced out at my koi pond as I often do, and saw the most amazing thing. A turtle! At first I thought, ‘not another snapping turtle’. But on closer inspection it turned out to be an Eastern Painted Turtle basking in the sunshine by floating on the surface of the water. How lovely; a welcome resident at last!

Eastern Painted Turtles are truly water turtles, living solely in the water and only leaving it to lay their eggs. She (I am assuming here) was about 6-8 inches, while full size is about that. Her carapace was blackish, but I could not see if her yellow plastron was painted or not. But she did have the telltale yellow and red stripes on her head and neck. She will have already bred in spring and might be here to lay her eggs.

Babies (usually around 10 or less) hatch and dig their way out in 10 weeks. Unfortunately, my fish would have a party with them just as they did with the snapping turtle hatchlings, unless my dogs dug them up first. I’m going to have to think about that. If there are any I will rescue them as I did with the snapping turtle hatchlings unless I think of something better.

Eastern Painted Turtle hatchlings

Turtles eat aquatic plants, berries, tadpoles, worms, leeches, insects, frogs, snails, small fish, and carrion.

Their predators include raccoons, crows, snapping turtles, herons, hawks, large fish, snakes, bullfrogs and foxes. We do have all of those.

They hibernate in the mud at the bottom of ponds in the winter.

I think that she finally arrived because I got rid of the snapping turtle female. I am hoping that she stays and invites her friends. They really are beautiful to see and a wonderful addition to my pond. Unfortunately they are shy and dive back into the water as soon as they sense danger. So I haven’t been able to take a picture and I haven’t seen her again. But, I will keep my eyes open, you can just bet on that.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Small Town News - Dunkin' Donuts

In the southern portion of our town there is a fork in the road. Looking north towards town, the right fork becomes Main Street and the left veers one block away from the center of town towards the firehouse. There is a property in crotch of the fork that has antique and new Irish and Indonesian wooden furniture for sale. The proprietor travels to both places at least annually to purchase his goods. It is a lovely shop with quality merchandise, as well as unusual finds, and we have purchased things there. The Irish furniture is traditional; china cabinets, dining room tables, chairs, etcetera. the Indonesian stuff is exotic and unusual; mahogany trunks inlaid with mother of pearl, hand carved chairs, whole prayer rooms and walls. He also had a set of Indonesian musical instruments. His house is on the left across the street. On the right side of the street is a baseball field. Everywhere else is residential. Behind his shop, towards town, is the Congregational Church.

Apparently Dunkin’ Donuts was eyeing the spot for a foothold in our area. They had met with Planning and Zoning and the local proprietor to discuss moving into the fork. What happened depends on who you ask. The proprietor indicated that he turned them down because he didn’t want a drive through business in front of his house. The P&Z indicated that they turned them down because they don’t allow strip malls in our town and Dunkin’ Donuts also wanted to pair their store with Baskin Robbins and another shop.

The Dunkin' Donuts in Barcelona Spain

The proprietor is still looking to sell his store. But at least as long as he is alive we should be able to get something nice there at the fork.

Dunkin’ Donuts has settled on another location in the next town, so we dodged this bullet this time. But those ominous gleaming eyes are focusing evermore on our little town...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Voyage

“Sue, how would you like to go on a voyage with four guys and Sean to Philadelphia?” asked Scott at our yacht club's annual commissioning ceremony.

Pretty Boys Club

Wow. The fantasy images swam in my head. Four studs. Um, hmm. Count me in. shirtless, ripped, toned, hot, tanned, oh yeah. Best offer I had had in days! Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzp! Back to reality.

All of the guys would be in their 60’s and between the five of them there was at least 250 years of boating experience. Sean was by far the hottest of them. One was retired from a submarine manufacturer, 3 were retired Navy, and one was a former marine architect.


The boat was a brand new (year old) Fountain 33 foot outboard with twin 275 horsepower engines (pictured below). The plan was to motor down there and back.

“No thanks, Scott.” I replied. It would be way too crowded on a 33 foot boat with six adults and Sean needed some “guy” time. But I pressed Sean into some 'promises' before he could depart and he kept every last one.

The departure date came and all went down the dock to pack the boat. Clothing, provisions, everything needed for a voyage of a few days was loaded and they set off.

Quentin Elias @ Oh La La Paris

They only made it about ten miles from the dock when the boat had electrical problems and had to be towed back in for repairs. But the boat has since been repaired and another voyage is planned to Portland, Maine. Sean and two other guys are going. I think I will pass. This way I can get more 'promises' out of Sean.

The light house at Portland, Maine

Friday, June 23, 2006

Friday Fantasy - New Pool Boy

Photo source 15 Minutes

I just hired this pool boy. He's finished cleaning the leaves out of the pool and adjusting the chemicals. What should I have him do next? Did I mention that he prefers to work in the nude?


And the winner is: David: "I'm coming over right now. I'll bring some lemonade."

Gathering + beverage + pool boy = great Friday fantasy. David, thanks for 'sharing'!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Bookfield, Turkey Farm - Part 2

Further down the road I came to a large poultry farm. The houses for birds were low, long, and white with silver roofs. They were kind of like long green houses. Clucking did not come from these structures, a weird noise did. I realized that it must be turkeys, not chickens. I had visited a chicken farm already in Athens. I pulled in to the driveway for a white, well kept farm house and knocked on the door. The man who answered was huge; tall and wide, just like a heavy weight weightlifter or pro football line man. He had to have been around 6 feet 8 inches tall and 400 hundred pounds. He had a look of innocence on his face, especially around his eyes. I decided he was safe and gave my approach.

“Hah there Mr. Jones, mah name is Su-san Fair-vieew. A’ve been calling on all of the church folks in the neighborhood. Y’all do go to some local church, don’t cha?

His jaw dropped and he let me in. He was like putty in my hands. He watched my demo and order process and bought an FBL. Easiest sale I ever made. Then he asked if I would like to see the turkeys and I replied, yes.

We walked out into the sunshine towards one of the bird houses. We went in. The house was brightly lit, plus there were windows in the sides. The floor was dusted with hay. The birds were all white, the same age with their heads about up to my kneecaps. I was surrounded by a gentle gobbling noise; a very strange sensation. As we walked through them, they scurried away from our feet, not unlike a school of fish parting for a diver.

He told me some facts about the farm and turkeys, such as feeding, breeding, etcetera. It was all new to me. He said that the birds were so stupid that they could drown in the rain, if not gotten under cover. I thanked him for a very educational and fun time, and he mentioned that his parents’ house was just down the street apiece and that for sure they would buy some books.

So, I rode away. His parents’ house was about a mile away and I stopped. They were really very nice, asked me in and bought books. They served me a soda and looked at each other sheepishly. I couldn’t think of any reason for that look. Finally, the woman spoke.

“Here you are honey, just a little bit of a thing, working hard out here in all this heat, sweating up a storm and all you have for transportation is that bicycle. We are impressed with your will to work hard to earn money. We would like to make you a proposition” she started.

“Really, what?”

“Our son was also impressed and wishes you to marry him and move to the farm.”

I tried not to spit up my soda. My god, he would squish me flatter than a pancake, was my first thought, not to be spoken however. Somehow I politely thanked them but declined their offer. Ah well, at least I made some sales.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Snapping Turtle Time

Our first mid June on our new property, I glanced outside at my koi pond and noticed something moving on top of the deer netting I had installed to protect the fish from herons. Panic struck when I realized it was a huge snapping turtle.

The turtle was rearing its beak and slashing at the fish, which were idly swimming up thinking they were being fed. I ran outside yelling to Sean, "“Get a garbage can there'’s a snapping turtle on the fish pond!"

It was huge. The carapace was a foot and a half long and the animal was over a yard long. It was in the middle of the pond, stuck in the netting. I pulled the netting in towards the side and the turtle along with it. I grabbed the turtle by the tail as its powerful back claws scraped against my hand and it tried to free itself. But, I held on. I untangled it from the net with my other hand and Sean's help. It was heavy. Quickly it went into the garbage can head first as it gaped threateningly and it just fit into the bottom when fully retracted into its shell. We stared at it a good long while and discussed what to do with it. We had both seen one the size of a garbage can lid before while canoing in a stream in the Finger Lakes region of New York State.

Bigger than this one...

We decided to set it free in the cove down the hill from us since that is probably where it came from. So, we put the can in the Jeep, drove down the hill, sang Born Free, and let her go on her way from the boat ramp. She swam off slowly. End of story, or so we thought.

But smaller than this one.

A few weeks later, her eggs hatched. Many baby snapping turtles appeared from the sand around the pond. I guess she had been laying eggs there for years. Many of the babies headed for the pond and I worried for the fish. You really don'’t want a snapping turtle in your fish pond because they will eat all of the fish. But I should have feared for the baby turtles. The bigger fish were playing with them. Some of my fish are a good 2 feet long and can ingest a whole baby turtle, but they will not swallow them, just spit them out. Eventually the baby turtle will drown and some did.

They are cute when they are small.

So, we had to rescue the baby turtles. I got a big plastic container and filled it with the little devils and took them down to where we had released their mum earlier, sang another chorus of Born Free and off they went.

She returned every year after that to lay eggs and every year I begged Sean to release her in a different cove. But he did not want to upset the balance of nature so year after year we did the same thing; big turtle rescue, little turtle rescue.

Our shepherd mix dog would bark at her upon her arrival. At first I thought, why is my dog barking at a rock? Wait, that's no rock! Good girl Jenny!

Then one year, Sean was out of town the day the snapping turtle mom arrived. The dog alerted me that she was in the yard and I went out and captured her, tossed her in my Jeep and drove her straight away to a cove on the other side of the hill. That confused the hell out of her. I said a final farewell as I released her. We have not seen her since. I wonder how she'’s doing.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Thank You for Two New Links!

Last week I found out about two new blogs that have linked to Fair View and I will now thank them appropriately.

The first one is Someone in a Tree. It is written by David, a native New Yorker, who is also a Hot Nude Yoga instructor and thespian in his spare time. It is intelligent, thoughtful and fun to read. I visit every day. Here is his picture:

He is the one on the left. This photo is photo shopped to preserve his modesty. If you insist on seeing the full Monty the link was posted during the month of May on his site. Happy hunting!

The second blog is Bob’s Yer Uncle. Bob is currently blogging from London, England and also enjoys the theater and running. I have not read his whole blog yet, since it has been around since 2003 when he was writing in NYC, but the writing is humorous and downright witty. I loved the post about the gymnast falling into the tiger cage and getting bummed! That’s a winner.

Another post mentions the musical version of Schindler’s List being called, “Schindler!” Too much. Humorous little gems are scattered about in the posts glittering and waiting to be found by the reader. Here is Bob after a marathon in Edinburgh. I am honored to be a part of Bob’s family.

Thanks to David and Bob!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Small Town News - Subway Sandwich Shop

In our local small New England river town, we have some hot issues. First, let me describe our town. It is a tremendously heterogeneous combination of blue collar folks, and a good amount of post baby boom young families, wealthy bedroom community homes and ex-patriot artists, writers, professionals looking for a better life style from the big city.

We are lucky that we are not on a main thoroughfare, such as US Route 1, but we are on a minor thoroughfare. So we are not yet full of Mac Donalds, Dunkin Donuts, Dairy Queens, etc., nor do we have ‘big box’ stores such as Home Depot, nor do we have shopping malls. We are still a relatively cute little town, albeit a tad run down. Some local businesses have a hard time making a go of it here while others flourish. The only chain businesses that we have in town are banks and gas stations.

That all started to change last year when a Subway Sandwich Shop tried to move into town. Many folks in town felt that Subway would diminish our town’s attractiveness. Also, we had been free from fast-food chains up until then. So the public loudly opposed their entry at the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) public hearing simply because they are a chain, but the P&Z turned them down officially for traffic reasons, including inadequate parking.

However, Sean, worked as an architect for the guy who was selling a portion of his building to Subway, and knew that the parking situation was fine and the real problem was customers from the restaurant across the street parking in the future Subway’s lot. Sean helped the appellant’s lawyer prepare an appeal on this very point and they won in the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) completely overturning the P&Z’s decision to bar Subway from our town. So the Subway Sandwich Shop was built in our town (and I blame Sean for it). But, the important thing is that he proved that the ZBA can overturn a P&Z decision setting a precedent in our town.

So we got this:

Which is far better than this:

However, ominously the eyes of all of the chains now pointed at our little river town gleaming with renewed interest.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bookfield, Turkey Farm - Part 1

One day I headed out for the distant reaches of my territory. After all of the familiar roads I came to a highway with two lanes in either direction that was not restricted to bicycle traffic. There were hardly any cars on the road and it seemed to lead to where there may be more rural dwellings. The side of the road had a gravel ditch that was lined with tall grass and wildflowers. Beyond that were fields of soy beans as far as I could see. The asphalt was newly paved and smooth. Its black top was almost shiny in the hot sun and I tried to aim my wheels for the white line. I pictured that my wheels would be cooler on that line, like bare feet would stay cool by walking on it. It also gave me a distraction as I pedaled monotonously yard after yard, mile after mile.

Ahead there was a long straight part of the road with the road somewhat rose up from the land on either side. I put my head down to lower wind resistance and pedaled seriously ahead, all on the white line. From behind I heard the deep blare of a diesel truck horn. I glanced over my left shoulder and saw a semi truck approaching. It gleamed silvery white and seemed as if made of liquid viewed through the hot air rising off the road. The four lane highway was plenty big enough for both of us, so I stayed on my line and maintained my speed. The truck roared up behind me more quickly than I had anticipated. He was moving well over the speed limit. In a frightening moment I realized that the semi was in the same lane as me instead of the open inside lane. Sometimes cars would clock my speed and yell it out to me as they went by. But it didn’t seem that was the case this time. I carefully edged my bike to the smooth shoulder of the road. Shit, I thought as he got closer, was he going to run me down? The truck blew by with the sound of a tornado. I hung tightly onto my handlebars, tensed my body and squeezed my eyes shut. I could feel the suction seem to lift my bike from the road as the truck passed and bits of road dirt were swept up and hit my face.

There was a flash and suddenly there was no sound at all, just darkness. Peace and calm surrounded me on all sides like a blanket. I felt nothing. My eyes were open but suddenly I was aware of only a bright white light everywhere. The whiteness seemed to tinge with pale blue. I was lying on my back staring straight up into the sky. The searing white sunlight made the world a pale and unreal place. A monarch butterfly flapped its gentle golden brown wings without sound as it flitted above me and alit onto a near by Queen Anne’s Lace flower. The stem of the flower bent under the butterfly’s weight and came into my view. I breathed in the peace and beauty of this small part of nature. I heard the buzzing of bees on the golden yellow asters and black eyed susans. I lifted my hand and the butterfly moved to touch my finger, and then sailed off to the sky, lost in the white light.

It took several moments for me to remember the truck. I had been on my bike last I could remember. It was a struggle shaking off a feeling of weightlessness and to feel the weight of my body. I lifted my head, and then sat up slowly. I was lying in the bottom of the ditch by the road. The flowers on the ditch’s sides had framed the sky from where I laid. My bicycle was at my feet, on its side in the ditch. I could not feel any pain anywhere, but I stood slowly and cautiously. There was a small scratch on my elbow, but otherwise I was unharmed. My bike was not damaged either. The truck was nowhere to be seen.

The monarch returned as if to check on me, but seeing that I was alright, it flew off. I felt washed clean by this experience, as if baptized in the white light. It was as if I had died, and was reborn into a new life. My past sorrows no longer existed, but neither did the future. Nothing needed to exist in the future; there was only the now, the vast and beautiful now. The wild flowers, the bright white sky, the bees and butterflies were the whole world at that moment. I felt dizzy with the ecstasy of mere existence and sat back down in the ditch, surrounded by flowers and exalted in breathing in the fragrant air of the now. If that had truly been the last moment of my life, I felt reassured that it would have been alright to die. At the same time, I was absolved of the sin of almost dying, but then living.

The heat of the sun made a trickle of sweat roll down the side of my face. It was time to move on. I stood again and lifted my bike with one hand. I climbed from the ditch. Once on the road I looked back down. I saw only a gravel ditch choked with weeds. I smiled because although the place seemed ordinary I knew that it was not. It was the first place I had seen in this new existence. It was my Garden of Eden. To go forward I knew that I had to leave it behind. I plucked a black eyed susans and tucked its stem into my pants pocket. That’s the deal in life, I thought.

I swung my leg backwards over the seat while depressing the other pedal and glided the bike to a consistent roll. I rode on into the heated air over the asphalt, my tire making a sticking noise as the tread made contact with the tar. My body seemed magically drawn forward in time and space with every fragment of time separately representing the now.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

How I Stay Fit With Low Stamina

Yes, that’s right; as a result of my brain hemorrhage I have low physical and mental stamina. My brain is freshest in the morning, so that’s when I post, and I can only be physically active for a short time. In other words, I could not go out for an all day hike. But, that’s really no different from most folks, since we don’t all have all day to devote to our workouts anyhow. Do we?

I swim laps a couple of times a week. I have always loved swimming. It started in high school when I learned to synchronized swim and fell in love with that sport. When I met Sean, he taught me to race swim and told me that I was a natural. Now, I swim laps at our local YMCA. Recently, Sean has shown me that I can swim laps with fins on my feet either prone, on my back or sides. You just fly across the pool with fins on and crash into the opposite end. It is just like running in that it gets your heart rate up and you feel the burn in your leg muscles. We plan on doing some open water swims with fins this summer in local ponds and reservoirs. I am stoked!

I walk at least 30 minutes a day when I don’t swim. I used to run for exercise and fun, but then got shin splints/stress fracture and had to stop. I tried to go back to running too many times to say, but always the shin pain returned. Since my brain episode it has been years since I last ran. But, last Sunday, I drove down to the padded track at the high school and walked the curves and ran the straights on the track. I managed 1.5 miles before I had to quit. My shins didn’t hurt, but the running was just too jarring. It was such a bummer. I only felt good during two of the straights that I sprinted.

Yesterday, I took my iPod, clipped it to my shorts, turned on my favorite Salsa music (Marc Anthony) and just moved to it during my walk. In no time I was speed walking. Speed walking. Why didn’t I think of it before? Your body never leaves the ground, so no impact, and you burn the same amount of calories as if doing a slow run. You just look goofy as hell. You have to kind of move your whole body to do it. You sway your arms and shoulders, move your hips, it is just like dancing! Running be damned: I’m a speed walker now!

My goal is to do something to stay fit everyday. I am not quite where I want to be yet, but I am getting there.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

We Appologize for Our Technical Difficulties

Fair View has been experiencing technical difficulties since last Wednesday with the internet and some hardware. The trouble seems to have started because of a storm and power failure. Our IT team, Sean, is working on it around the clock with the phone company and relevant vendors, and we may need to 'gasp' outsource some IT as well. We appologize for the resulting spottiness of posts. We should be back to normal sometime next week. (I am posting this on a temporary fix only.) In the mean time, please read the last post Bookfield, The Pack. It really is one of the better written chapters in my book. Also, for those of you so inclined, here is some eye candy to illustrate how I have felt without my internet connection:

Photo courtesy of Pete

Friday, June 09, 2006

Bookfield, The Pack

I was on my way to fresh territory one day. The neighborhood I was passing through consisted of scattered suburban-type homes mixed with the occasional older shanties or farmhouses. I was pedaling down the street in a leisurely way when suddenly I heard barking. I quickly surveyed the nearby yards and spotted four medium to large dogs coming from behind me and starting to give chase. I pedaled faster, and started to fish for the small rocks I kept in my pockets. Looking back again I saw that all of the dogs were mixed breed, without collars or tags, and because of their number I despaired of repelling them with rocks or out-running them. They were a pack of wild dogs.

I was going about as fast as I could, but they were gaining on me quickly. I had to think fast since the leader was only a few feet back. Across the street and ahead of me I saw my salvation: a white ranch house with a fenced-in yard. The chain link fence looked high enough to protect me from the dogs, and if need be I could jump right from the bike over the fence. The lead dog seemed seconds away from my leg. I made a final effort pedaling at top speed and swerved across the road suddenly towards the fence, hoping to take the dogs off-guard. When my bike was across the oncoming lane I heard a loud clunk behind my rear tire. I was going too fast to look back right away and it was all I could do to keep from plowing into the fence. But, I sensed the absence of my pursuers. I jumped off the bike, landing hard and turned to look. The lead dog had been struck by a large white motor camper. It had all happened in an instant. The camper never braked or stopped, and sped away at what seemed to be at least 60 miles per hour.

The dog lay stretched out in the middle of the road. The three other pack members circled and sniffed his body, whined and ran off across a field. The dog’s body twitched involuntarily. I approached, first checking for oncoming traffic, but the road seemed deserted in both directions. The dog looked like a brown hound, probably about 70 pounds. I could see no injuries to the body. The eyes were wide open, but glazed. He was not breathing. Thick dark red blood oozed from the nose and ears and formed a plate sized puddle on the hot asphalt under the dog’s head.

I felt frozen by the dog’s death gaze. Emotion welled up in me. “Better you than me.” was my initial thought. I never saw that camper coming. It could have been me; it was so close. Too close. It could have been me, killed instantly. Yet, that camper saved me from sure attack by the dogs. But here lay this dog, looking somehow perfect in death and I felt a profound sorrow. I noted the velvety softness of his ears, the pinky roundness of his toes, each perfectly framed by short reddish brown fur. He was completely still now. I took his forelegs in my left hand, and rear legs in my right and carried his body to the drainage ditch on the opposite side of the road from my bike. I tossed him in. My hands looked clean, but I felt the need to wash them. I looked up from the ditch and for the first time noticed a graying two story farmhouse. On the front porch sat a little girl about five years old. She was holding one of the surviving pack dogs and sobbing audibly.

I crossed the street and picked up my bike. All that remained on the road was the thick puddle of blood. A car was coming. One of the tires drove right through the middle of the puddle, leaving a bloody tire tread print every couple of feet or so down the road. I opened the gate and walked my bike through the fence and up the concrete walk to the white ranch house. A woman came out of the screen door to greet me.

“That was great! That pack of dogs has been terrorizing the neighborhood. When can you kill the rest of them?”

I ignored her comment. I abandoned my approach spiel. “May I come in and wash my hands?” I asked.

“Sure. Come right in. The bathroom’s on the left. Let me get you a soda.”

I washed my hands in silent thought. I drank the soda and remember nothing else of my visit with that lady. I don’t think she bought a book. I remember riding away from the area and never wanting to come that way again, although I knew I would have to. I tried to focus on the bright sunshine on the trees down the road.

Word got around about the dog I killed. I became a local hero, of sorts. It helped my book sales somewhat, but I did not enjoy the notoriety.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bookfield, Chip's Apartment

After one sales meeting, Mary and I were to go to the apartment that Chip, Bill, and other Parchmenters were renting, before going back to Athens. Don’t ask me why. Mary and I never had any say in these matters and we were totally dependent on others for transportation since neither of us drove. When it came time to leave for the apartment, I was to ride in Chip’s car, and Mary was to go in another car with Bill. I wanted to stay with Mary, but that car was conveniently full.

Chip and I drove off in his white Mustang. We made it back to the modern apartment complex before anyone else. All of the buildings had gray clapboard wood exteriors where the siding slants down at an angle. We parked and went inside. The inside was modern, carpeted and empty of furniture. I was pretty sure that every one would be arriving shortly as they had left right behind us. I still had my wet bathing suit on under my shorts and wanted to put my dry undies on. Chip told me I could change upstairs. I went up the carpeted stairs. The whole place had wall to wall white deep pile carpeting, and everything was new looking. When I reached the bedroom I was surprised because there were no beds. The guys were just camped out on the floor. Some had sleeping bags, but others just had a pillow and blanket to lie on. I tarried, looking at the sleeping arrangements. Mary and I had it far better than this. It looked like six guys were staying here.

Just then Chip came upstairs, “You’re not undressed yet?” he said, sounding somewhat disappointed. He was wearing only his white brief underwear. “I thought you and I would have a little time together alone before everyone else gets here.”

With that he was all over me. He pushed me onto the sheet that, I guess, he slept on, and held me down. I fought to get back up but there was no way; he was so strong. After the last time on the island, he was more prepared for the struggle. I didn’t think anyone would hear or come if I screamed, so I just kept repeating loudly, “No! Chip, no!”

He was unstoppable and determined. I feared that he would succeed in raping me this time. I wasn’t sure that I had it in me to punch him, or even if I could. He started to try to get my shorts off. He unsnapped the top and yanked the zipper down. He put his fingers into the waistband and pulled. Those wet, tight, white denim shorts would not budge. He pulled harder. The shorts would not budge. Suddenly it dawned on me; those shorts would not come off without my cooperation, or so I hoped. They were tight enough that it took some doing for me to get them on and off even when they were dry. I spread my legs to assure that they would not come down. This move however, seemed to urge Chip on. I became fairly comfortable that I was not going to have forced sex. I told Chip to give up. But he continued to try. Eventually his fingers in my waistband began to tickle, and though I tried to suppress it, I giggled and squirmed. My continued, “Nos!” could not have seemed very convincing then.

After about a half hour of this Chip stood up and said angrily, “Okay. I believe you. You’re not interested. I’m going to take a shower.”

I lay there exhausted by the struggle. I was little bit traumatized, and thinking what to do. Chip said that he believed me. Maybe he was no longer a threat to me. The others should come along soon and then I would be safe.

Chip called to me from the shower.
Could I hand him a towel, he left it on the floor of the bed room. Big mistake, I brought it to him in the shower. I held out the towel to him, and he grabbed both of my hands so quickly that I lost my footing on the wet tiles and began to fall onto the edge of the tub. The towel fell to the floor. He grasped my arms and caught me, preventing me from hitting the tub and set me upright again. But he did not let go of me. I was so off balance that I could not try to get free. He took my arms and circled his body so that I was behind him but still outside the tub. He put my hands on his large wet erection and moved them forcefully up and down, until he ejaculated. Then he let me go. He said something like I owed him at least that. I felt nauseous as I went to the sink to rinse my hands off.

I ran out of the apartment only to see the car that Bill and Mary were in drive up. They came up the walk smiling and chatty. I went back inside with them as if nothing had happened. They had arrived a full hour after us. They claimed to have gotten lost. One of the other sales managers, Terry, leered at me and asked if we had good time waiting for them. Our arrival before the others was a set up, and all the guys knew about it. They had delayed their arrival so that Chip could try to nail me. I was shocked and stunned. Terry came up behind me, put his arms around my chest feeling me up and down with his forearms and whispered in my ear that he wanted me too.

I bolted from the apartment and ran. Tears streamed down my face. I ran to the entrance of the apartment complex. Again, I had no money, no ride, and no options. No cars were coming, so I couldn’t have hitched out of there. If I left, would Mary worry? I needed to think, but was overwhelmed with emotions, and could not. I decided to hide in a safe place until I could collect myself. I found the laundry room in the complex and it was empty. I sat in a chair in the back sobbing. The thought of telling anyone never even occurred to me. It would be my say so against Chip’s, and he was my boss, and the result would be that I would be sent home. It was out of the question.

I returned to the apartment after an hour or so, when it was already dark outside. I would probably be safe there with so many people. No one asked if I was okay, or even where I had gone. At least Terry and Chip seemed to stay clear of me. To make things worse, it had been decided in my absence that we were to stay the night and sell in Chip’s territory the next day. The night was thankfully uneventful. I slept downstairs, as far away from everyone as I could.

The next morning, I was reminded that we were not allowed to sell books wearing shorts. I had not packed anything else since I did not figure on staying over. I had to wear a pair of Chip’s jeans, cinched around my waist and with the cuffs rolled up to sell books the next day. How humiliating. I can’t think how I must have looked, rather like a railroad tramp I suppose, but it couldn’t be nearly as bad as I felt after the night before. But I survived that day too, and returning to my territory was very sweet, indeed.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Grand Cayman - Finale

Sean spent his last day of diving doing two wall dives off of Tortuga Divers’ boat. Both were over 100 feet deep and outside the reef, so I decided not to go. Information: you cannot dive within 24 hours of a flight, so this was actually two days before we were to leave Grand Cayman. My plan was to snorkel in the lagoon at Cayman Kai.

I never tire of the underwater world. This time I saw two banded butterfly fish.

Plus I snapped pictures to remember the lagoon by.

I finally made it out to the reef edge and saw the group of blue tangs that Sean had spoken of.

The next day, we visited the 65 acre Queen Elizabeth Botanic Gardens. The gardens showcased the different environs and endemic plants of the island: mahogany forest, cactus/agave thickets, native palms, grassy meadows, buttonwood swamps, ponds, and epiphytic orchids and bromeliads.

There were spectacular bougainvilleas in all hues in the floral color garden at the entrance plus the famed Cayman Parrot.

There was a pond and although no fish could be seen, and there were water lilies as well as other native plants.

We also saw the endangered blue iguana, native only to Grand Cayman Island. A captive breeding a reintroduction program is run from the garden and while not open to the public, blue iguanas are on display.

All in all the garden was very pleasant to walk around and tidy.

We left Grand Cayman reluctantly and back home our car was buried under a foot of snow and was difficult to find. We were inadequately dressed to dig it out but managed somehow.

Best. Valentines. Day. Vacation. Ever!

Remembering Grand Cayman fondly. Photo: Found the One

Check out Found the One - the photos are hot.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Meeting the Love of My Life - Part 2

In many ways, that was the best job I had, the one where I met Sean, as far as colleagues that I liked. There were twelve of us ‘girls’ in the lab, and we were pretty tight. There were construction workers outside building the new wing, and one of them was totally hot.

Where's the YMCA?

He used to work with his shirt off all the time. One of the wilder gals, Buffy, got up on a lab bench in front of the window and started to bump and grind for him. Yeah, she was a piece of work.

We also had a boss that everyone detested, Helga, our lab director. We likened her to the Fuhrer. It takes an evil boss to galvanize a work place. She used to tell us that we should not laugh in the lab and not to play our music too loud. One day we were in the small break room, eating our lunch, and Buffy told us that the Helga asked her what she was doing in the dark asbestos microscope lab, and Buffy said, “What does she think I was doing, playing with myself?” Of course Helga was standing at the door and heard everything.

The spy I sent was my coach on a league softball team. His name was Bud. He loved that I had a dirty mind. I used to have a thing for Tom Selleck, and Bud said that Tom liked cock, to which I replied that then he and I had something in common. Bud got a kick out of that.

I later found out that when I sent Bud to find out if the Sean was available, Bud actually just went and asked Sean, “Sue wants to know if you are available?” Stealthy huh? Last time I hire him as a spy. One of the gals on our team called him coach, and Bud didn’t like that and told her to call him anything but coach. So she called him dick-head.

To finish the original story, Elvira was kidnapped, or would that be mannequin-napped on Halloween, never to be seen again. We never did find out who was responsible. Everyone was hush-hush about it.

Helga followed the Sean and me on the tour and asked the Sean what was he doing with one of HER lab people. I wanted to say something to her about it, but Sean advised me not to. You had to just laugh.

The wildest bunch was the smoke stack testers. They used to go out to the van and smoke weed. I went out there once and to their surprise joined them, and thus changed from being a potential rat to cool.

Yeah, those were great times, but of course the job’s pay was shit. I also got close to every one because I was the Safety Officer. Someone got a splinter, and I pulled it out, a construction guy cut himself on some drop-in ceiling metal frame and I sent him to the ER, I ran fire extinguisher practice outside,
and one of the gals got pregnant and confided in me so that I could direct her as to what tests were safe for her and the baby. The people there were just too nice. I have learned to treasure good times, as they are few.

Where is Sue? She is late for practice. Found the One.