“The Gathering”

That’s what my sister-in-law called it and then she said it sounded eerie. Guess it could be the title of a horror movie. Instead, our friends aka family who now live in Hawaii had come to the mainland and instead of trying to go around to visit everyone, they’d designated a time for us all to get together at Golden Corral.

First off, let me say that it was a new experience for me. I don’t frequent eateries much at all, anyway, and when I do, I like for it to be somewhere I can get something I wouldn’t have at home. I decided I’d eat a good breakfast because I didn’t see anything on the online menu that appealed to my taste buds. That was probably a big mistake.

I’d looked up the directions on Google Maps and the way that was charted was one hour, 22 minutes. I re-routed it the way I’d go if I hadn’t looked and it was one hour, 19 minutes and a (more or less) straight shot.

Par for the course, I left the house a few minutes later than I’d planned. However, I arrived at the “restaurant” just about on time.

When I went in, there was my “adopted” sister letting everyone know where the crowd was. One of the couples from church came in right behind me.

The sign over the cash registers said that lunch was $8.79. However, I was charged over $11. Looking over the whole array of food, I elected to have a salad. There was very little in the way of variety—not at all what I’d expected from the list online. I took two different kinds of lettuce, some pepperoncini, a few jalapenos and some bean salad. The strawberries looked good so I picked out five of them. That was the sum total of what I got for my $11.24. Thankfully, the company made up for what the food lacked.

There was quite a crowd and I got to visit with a lot of the people I know. My sister-in-law wanted to go somewhere quieter to talk. She said she’d meet me in her vehicle but when I started to leave the private room we were in, it had started pouring rain.

It had rained off and on all the way there so I figured it wouldn’t last long. I went to the entrance and there she sat on a bench. I sat down and we had our conversation there.

She’s wanted me to go to her place for a long time (she’s lived there seven years) so I accepted when she said she’d take me there, give me the tour and bring me back. When the rain stopped, we went to her van and set out with her under the wheel.

I wished I’d taken my camera. I’m not good at all with the camera on my phone. She lives in a duplex in a gated community. There’s row after row of identical-looking units. They’re nice but it would drive me nuts to live in a place like that. On the way there, she had been asking why I am where I am. Well, I like it. I like my neighbors (when they’re around) and I like my surroundings. It’s affordable (and I can tell you, the tiny place she lives in would be ‘way out of my reach financially).

She tried to give me FOOD. I have food. I finally accepted the offer of some chips which she put in a bag for me to bring home.

I did manage one picture on the way out. These are the gates that close at a certain time every night. She has a thing that looks like a garage door opener she can use if she’s out carousing past curfew.

The Gates

On the ride back, she said that I’ll have to come spend a weekend with her. I told her I can’t leave Twinkle that long. Well, I could bring Twinkle with me. Yeah, right. She has no idea what she’s saying.

After she let me out at my car, I drove back to Earth Fare. It’s across the parking lot from Golden Corral and I can drop a bundle there in a heartbeat. I didn’t spend much time gathering up things but that didn’t translate into not spending much money. What I got, though, was cheaper than the university supermarket so that mitigated the circumstances somewhat.

Free FoodFrom there, I went to Fresh Market. It was right on my way home and I had three coupons for free shopping bags and two for $5 off on a $25 order. I knew I wouldn’t be spending that much there. It’s more expensive than Earth Fare. They did have some nice figs, 3 8-ozzie containers for $10 (I got one) and Ciruli Brothers champagne mangoes 2/$3. When I checked out, I was in a hurry so I gathered up everything and left after giving the $5 off coupons to the cashier to share with someone who qualified.

On my way to the car, I thought the amount couldn’t be right. The bags were free, yes, but the total of the others should be several dollars more than I was charged.

Studying the sales slip, I could see right away what had happened. The coupons for the bags had been swiped but the bags hadn’t. Most computer systems would have picked that up but theirs didn’t. Putting my stuff in the car, I made my way back into the store.

The cashier was checking a lady out so I waited. When she was free, I explained that the total was incorrect. I owed more money. She thought I was saying I’d been overcharged. I said no. I’d been UNDERcharged and I needed to pay $3 more. Well, I had to pay tax on the bags. No, that’s not what I was saying. The coupons had deducted from the total which was wrong.

She took it to another cashier (I got the idea that the lady outranked her) and showed her the sales slip. We were shouting back and forth over three aisles. I was saying I owed more money. They were saying it had rung up correctly. Take a look at the slip on the left and tell me who was right and who was wrong. There was no convincing them I needed to pay more so I gave up and left. I have two overpriced Ciruli Brothers mangoes I got for nothing besides the three free bags.

There was no adventure at ALDI other than my thinking I’d gotten seven avocados and there were only six. I made it to Walmart and was disappointed there were no Dole Banana Dippers. I picked up my thyroid med prescription and came on home.

Unloading, I put the perishables away, drank 16 ozzies of water and took my NAC then headed out for the business meeting scheduled for 6 TT. I’d be a few minutes late but that was okay. They rarely to never start on time. Thinking about the chips, I thought I might stop at the little Mexican food truck thingy and get some guac to go with them but it appeared to be closed. The salad wasn’t doing a whole lot to fuel my energy.

The church was well represented. I found a seat and settled in for the duration. Business meetings are never brief and the agenda didn’t bode well for bucking the trend.

There was some relatively minor business discussed at length and then the pastor launched into what was to be a major matter. For ever since I can remember while being a member in that church, either building on the existing property or buying and building have been talked about but nothing has ever happened. We meet in what I understand was once a boarding house and it isn’t very nice. Thousands have been put into it to try to fix it up but no one can find the time or money to even finish that. The foundation is crumbling and the place shakes if the kids get too rowdy upstairs. It needs, to put it mildly, a new one.

Seems some property is available that I’ve seen before but we all piled into cars, vans and trucks to go see it again. I hadn’t been there for a few years so I didn’t know all it encompassed. When we got back, ideas were bandied about for a long time and my head started aching from too little nourishment.

The pastor asked for pros and cons. When it got to me, I was probably a bit over-dramatic considering the way I felt. I just said, “For a long time, I’ve had a dream that we would have a new church and this is the best location I’ve seen.” The pastor pronounced it profound. I could have made it even more profound by adding what I’ve thought for years—“I want to see it finished before I die.” As it was, that’s all I had to say.

One gigantic headache and two burning eyes later, we were adjourned and I pulled into the driveway at 9:01. It had been a long day. Someone had been at the house early that morning and fed the critters. I was in for the night.

Today has been the opposite. I haven’t done a whole lot. Thunder and lightning woke me and rain was pouring down—again. I called the hospital and paid $450.32 with my 10% discount for prompt payment. The critters have been fed. The mail was picked up. There was a nice thank you note from my niece that I read and threw away. It’s so sad to waste money on such as that when an email would do just as well. I guess I could keep it and let my children dispose of it after I’m gone.

The Computer Owner called for a quick conversation that turned into almost 40 minutes. While she was talking, I did other things including gathering up and starting a load of laundry. The conversation turned to the organ (a few people have told me they’re sad I’ve quit but lots more are probably glad). She screwed up her courage and said she wants to learn to play so she can play for church. I told her to go for it. Request a key to the church so she can go in and practice. There are books in the bench. Then she broached the subject of my teaching her. I’ve tried teaching before and I’m not cut out for it. We’d both be basket cases before it was over.

I stressed to her that, for congregational singing, it’s important for the people playing instruments to adhere to the time, tempo and note values of the music. That way, everyone is together. She accused me of being a perfectionist. Well, my mother drilled into me that music should be played the way it’s written unless it’s being performed rather than an accompaniment.

Well, she figured it would be six months or a year before she’d be ready to play for church. I told her it could be longer than that. She’d need to practice, practice, practice. Playing an organ is not at all like playing the piano.

She asked about Genese and I told her I really didn’t know what was going on with her. I hadn’t heard anything lately. I see where she plays games on Facebook (though none of them are Wordscraper) and she posts now and then but that’s it. She wanted to know if it would be okay for her to pray over the phone and I said yes. She said a nice prayer and we hung up.

My sister was concerned when she didn’t find a blog post for last night. I think I’ve more than made up for the lack.

5 Responses to “The Gathering”

  1. Mary Jane July 1, 2014 at 6:37 am #

    I got written thank you notes from the nieces, too. I feel that they are somehow more special and personal than an e-mail, although I would be OK with an e-mail thank you. I know if it were up to you there would be no postal service needed at all!

    • Tommie July 1, 2014 at 8:39 am #

      In my “perfect” world, there would be postal service but it would be reserved for occasions such as formal invitations, sympathy and package delivery of goods. I try to go paperless for my bills but AT&T and my credit card still send me promotional Stuff via snail mail. They do comply with my request to be billed paperless.

  2. Lila July 1, 2014 at 7:06 am #

    Hard for me to keep up with who has died and who hasn’t. Is your sister-in-law’s husband no longer living?

    • Tommie July 1, 2014 at 8:40 am #

      He died suddenly many years ago.

  3. Tommie July 1, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    I forgot I sampled a few olives (and bought more) from the olive bar at Earth Fare.

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