Bugger off, 2020!

I can’t believe we have almost made it to the end of this cataclysmic year. And what a year, right? One which will make the history books for so many reasons….none which I choose to discuss on this blog as it’s been bad enough just living through it. No one will be sorry to see 2020’s arse hit the door.

So how is everyone? What a strange Christmas season it is – really tough going Christmas shopping this year when you’re trying to stay away from people. And what about putting up a tree and decorations? Many of us will not have company over the holidays, (Gump doesn’t count) so it’s hard to get motivated and decorate, it’s a lot of work. At Debtwood, Gump climbed all over the roof and hung pretty lights to get us somewhat in a holiday mood. I half-arsed the decorations inside the house, and put up a miniature tree for good measure. It’s not as though anyone is going to see it besides us. It’s so weird seeing a shrunken tree, so small there’s no room to put presents under it…..if there were any, that is……

Perhaps 2020 has contributed to my mental state, because I’m really having awful memory issues, and a lot of my friends are re-posting the same. I think it has something to do with Pandemic brain, which I consider a real condition. For those of you who have already received two Christmas cards from me, you know to what I refer….seriously……even though I keep a list of who I send a card to, I still managed to double up on some people….how bloody embarrassing😊 I also spent two days looking for my hot water bottle – yes, I use a hot water bottle because my feet are always freezing, and Gump likes the window open at night, even in sub-arctic conditions (he’s going through manopause). And then there’s the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons…which is a national organization here in the USA) -Once you reach old fart status, you join the AARP for a small fee, which supposedly gives you discounts on things like adult diapers, toupees, fiber supplements, vitamins, blue hair dye and funeral plans….just kidding….I have no clue what it’s purpose is yet, because I keep losing the bloody membership cards….I know we have had two lots already, but can I find them? If this is a club for memory-challenged older persons like myself, they should send the damn cards with some kind of locator device which would help me find where I keep putting them for safekeeping. I wonder what else I have stashed away in the never-to-be-remembered ‘safe’ place…..Jimmy Hoffa?

But, tis the season for giving, receiving, and misplacing. As efficient as Amazon is, we keep getting packages sent to us with no paperwork included. We know it’s a gift from someone, and have to assume it’s Santa as there’s often nothing else to go on. For example – the other day, we received two small wire bird feeders, with nothing else in the box. We racked our brains, who could have sent them? We asked our family, but it was a mystery. Hopefully we would be able to figure it out by Christmas. But then the inevitable thought penetrated my brain….had I ordered them and promptly forgotten all about it? Most likely, I’ve done it before…..Mystery solved-call me Perry Mason. Most years, we are lucky enough to receive edible gifts. These come in the form of cookies, cakes, even bagels (yum) – all delicious treats which make us feel special. But this year, someone really outdid themselves, because a HUGE box was delivered, one that was quite heavy. Fortunately, this package did have paperwork. The gift was from a dear vegan friend of ours. Guess what he sent? 25lbs of fresh peanuts! They looked scrummy, and after tasting them, we were not disappointed. Gump was in his Christmas element upon seeing them, as he had already annihilated the big tin of Wally World popcorn I’d bought and was looking for his next victim. He went into a diatribe about how these were really good quality raw peanuts, and how we could roast them, salt them, etc. I told him that was great, but we would need to give some away, as there was no way we’d be able to eat them all before they became old – although we assumed as they were still in shells, the peanuts should have a longer shelf life than if they were naked. Gump filled a large bowl and scarfed down a ton of them, his only complaint being they were a little bland. We gave some to friends who also enjoyed them, and then Gump roasted a massive tray of them to try as well. When we next spoke to our vegan friend, we thanked him for the lovely gift and told him we were really enjoying the nuts, though we were shocked how many he had sent. There was a pause on his end of the line, and then he explained the woodpeckers would be all over them, and asked if we had received the bird feeders which were to go with the peanuts? Yeah – he’d sent us 25lbs of raw untreated peanuts to fill the bird feeders we had already received, and brainy Gump and me had never put the two together….we were eating the sodding birdfood….see….we’re senile!

Gump Selfie

Gump is feeling his age. Aches and pains, bumps and bruises. Everyday we commiserate with one another about a new health issue or concern. Last night, we were sitting on the couch and he was rubbing his knee. I asked him what was wrong and he explained he had a lump below his knee. I made him show it to me, and sure enough, there it was, as big as a grape.

“Is this new?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “It’s from way back when I used to do Karate. It’s just bigger than it used to be.

I studied his leg. “I bet it hasn’t grown,” I said. “I bet it’s more likely your legs aren’t as muscular and big as they used to be as you haven’t been able to go to the gym. Your legs are shrinking, and that’s why the lump appears to be larger.” Gump mulled it over for a moment, and then agreed I might have a valid point there.

“Just think,” I said. “If your body is really shrinking, everything else will start looking bigger….”

His face lit up with happiness, even more than it had when he ate the peanuts……and I knew exactly where his mind had gone, somewhere way below his neck.

“Actually,” I continued. “I was talking about your nose.”

Scout the wonder dog is almost one year old. And I know I have lost the plot, because I have been thinking about what we should get her for her birthday. Seriously, this bloody pandemic needs to be over with because I am becoming completely barmy. I can’t believe we’ve had Her Royal Dogness for eleven months. She is every bit as exhausting as she was in the beginning, the only difference is she understands more commands and her bowel movements are larger.

Baby Scout

Speaking of bowel movements, I hate picking up deposits at the dog park, but I do it, because who needs crap on their shoes, and it is one of the dog park’s rules. I just wish some of the other dog owners were as mindful – it’s a poo minefield out there, people. Sometimes, the park is not very busy, and it can get sooo boring watching your dog sniff every blade of grass. When I take Scout the wonder dog by myself, I usually bring something I can listen to as I walk around the park. The only issue is that by the time I carry my phone, something to drink, a tennis ball to throw, my car keys, a plastic poo bag, and anything else I might need, I’m pretty weighed down. I can’t take my purse as it would be like hauling a wheel-less suitcase around the place, with nowhere to set it down (poo minefield, remember?) I digress….well the other day I took Scout to the park. It was sunny, but bloody cold, and consequently I had on several layers of clothing. But layers make it extremely difficult to navigate pockets, and as I was following frolicking Scout around, listening to an audio-book on my iPod, my phone suddenly rang in one of my gazillion pockets. I yanked out my earbuds and rummaged frantically through my layers of clothing, searching for the damned phone at the precise moment my dear dog decided to evacuate several days worth of dinner. My spare hand automatically reached for the plastic bag which was NOT in my pocket, while I answered the phone and kept one eye on the location of the newly minted poo. (It’s very difficult to find it once you look away) – I started speaking to my caller on the phone and walked over to the poo bag dispenser, cringing at the thought of scooping warm issue into my hand with only a thin layer of plastic separating my skin from the ick. Scout skipped away, happy and weighing less, and I immediately forgot where she had left her ‘present’ (see memory issues mentioned above). While still on the phone, I scoured the grass in the area I thought it would be, making my circle ever smaller, determined to be a responsible pet owner and pick up the nasty mess. But I had on sunglasses (prescription as I’m blind) and they were so darkly tinted, I couldn’t differentiate between the grass and anything else. I popped them off, which helped, but I still couldn’t see very clearly and therefore had to bend over and squint. As I chatted away on the phone, I thought I spotted the telltale mound, but I just needed to get a little closer. Aha! There it was! Delighted with my success, I bent over to scoop up the steaming pile, and my earbud flopped off my shoulder and landed right in the middle of the poo. I had one hand holding the phone, in my other hand I held a palm full of warm poo bag, and now I was bent over with an earbud sitting in excrement. Shit – literally…..It was quite the event straightening up while trying to avoid letting the earbud touch my clothing. Did I put down the poo bag or the phone? No, of course I didn’t. Instead I endeavored to juggle the entire situation in the most difficult way possible. Thank God for the wet wipes in the car- it took a lot of work getting that earphone clean….

Here is a short rant because I’m pissed……On December the 9th – I stood in line at the Jenks Post Office with about twenty other people, all of us patiently waiting our turns to send packages, hopefully in time to arrive for Christmas. I had decided to send mine in the pre-printed post office boxes, the one which are standard flat rates, tracked, insured, and judging by the exorbitant pricing, made from gold. Oh well, it is Christmas, and owing to Covid, all gifts must be mailed, unless they are being sent directly from Father Amazon Christmas. I parted with my cash (almost forty bucks) and asked when they might arrive, one was for my granddaughter’s birthday ten days later. The nice lady said in normal times, the parcels would be about three days (hence the bloody price) but with it being Christmas-time, the post office were allowed to charge me a lot of money with no guarantees. Okay she didn’t say that last part, but she should have. The lady assured me the packages would most likely take a bit longer, but would be there in time for the birthday. So after many days, I called to ask my son if the parcels had arrived. They had not. This was concerning, there are many items I would not like to replace in this package. So, I pulled up the tracking on the website…I mailed my parcels on the 9th, they ARRIVED at out main post office (12 miles away) on the 16th, and by the 17th (that day), they had yet to leave the state. This really pissed me off.

Me, the other day…..

Now I have empathy for hard workers, I understand all the courier services are swamped this time of year, but I thought this was out of order. So what did I do? I drove back to the post office, and this time the line was even longer than before. I knew I had absolutely no recourse. I knew it didn’t matter what I thought, it was tough – but I had to tell them it sucked. Don’t misunderstand me, I had no intention of being a rude, complaining hag, though secretly that’s what I wanted to do. But I truly felt like those packages were overlooked, and that’s why it took forever for them to leave the neighbourhood. So I stood in the queue. When it was my turn, I asked the same lady who had ‘helped’ me eight days earlier, if I had any recourse. After all I had paid a lot of money for my packages to arrive quicker than regular mail. I showed her the printout I had, showing as of that day, the 17th, eight days later, my parcels were still in Oklahoma. She smiled, but her eyes told me she had better things to do than listen to me as she looked past me to the next customer. She said there were never any guarantees for timely arrivals – after all, it was December. I replied that wasn’t going to help me now my granddaughter would not get her birthday present – and then I left. The lady was not rude to me, but she was also not interested. So, Amazon and their free shipping just got more of my business going forward. Rant over.

I’ve been on a clearing out binge. I’ve accumulated so many birthday cards/letters, items from my parents, artwork from my grand-kids, old work papers and newspaper cuttings over the years, five large plastic tubs full of it. There was so much there, I had forgotten what it all was – almost fifty years of memories. I needed a break from writing at the computer – I’d done something to my right eye which had made it red, irritated and a bit blurry – so it was the ideal time to sort stuff out. What a roller coaster of emotions it turned out to be. It made me so very sad, reading letters from the days when my mum and dad were still alive. At first I was tearful, but after a while, it was like rolling back the clock and re-visiting people and places I had almost forgotten about. I spent an entire week going through everything, scanning papers and discarding them, sorting the treasures I couldn’t bear to part with. Now, when I kick the bucket, my kids will not have the burden of clearing all this out, inadvertently throwing away something they might treasure themselves. Wow – what a time of reflection it was. I couldn’t help but think about how fast the years have gone. I am astounded how my life has passed in a blur. Looking at all that memorabilia, I felt ancient. But then I thought about it, looked at the mountains of memories before my eyes and had to take a step back – how fortunate am I to have had these sixty-one years, when some don’t make it past twenty? I have lived through an age which has been full of many inventions, especially in the field of technology. Also times when such atrocities have occurred, times which will live on in the history books of the future. I am one of the lucky ones – even though I am married to Gump.

2020 can just bugger off. I am not sad to see it hit the road. This was a year of such promise, the budding start of my new career as a writer. I had my first book published in June, and was so excited about having a book launch, speaking to book clubs and various other new horizons. That all changed because of Covid. Poor old Gump lost his job, as did other family members, and that has been a huge transition with surprisingly few casualties. But no complaints here (other than my earlier rant), as our situation is small potatoes to what others have had to deal with. So, for my last post of 2020, I send out my love and best wishes to you all. I hope that this time next year, the pandemic will be in our rear window. That we will all be gathering with or families once more, and life will be more normal. Happy Holidays everyone, and Happy New Year!

Jude

P.S. If you’re hungry, I’ve got nuts 😊

20 Responses

  1. Denise Campbell nee Bayton

    As usual interesting, funny and a joy to read. Well done sis.xx

  2. Lisa

    Jude,
    I absolutely LOVE LOVE reading your blogs!!! You crack me up – and also make me appreciate the memories I have from the old cards, letters, newspaper clippings, etc.
    I too am so ready for 2020 to be over and for life to return to some sort of normalcy.
    Happy Holidays to you, Gump & Scout!!
    Love, Lisa

    • jude bayton

      You are always so good to comment on my blogs – thank you, Lisa. I am so glad you laugh at them – we all need so much of that nowadays! Thanks for reading so faithfully 🙂

  3. Reluctant Writer

    Hey, Jude:
    But you did meet a lot of ornery buggers at the dog park in 2020 that think you, Gump and Girl Scout are just about the coolest thing this side of a bag of nuts!
    So take a sad song and make it better and don’t carry the world upon your shoulders…..na, na, na-na-na.
    Love,
    Reluctant Writer

    • jude bayton

      You, Anne and Maggie, are the best! Who knew by going to that damn park every day that we’d find your family. Best thing that’s happened in ages!

      • CHRIS SLAGLE

        Gave you new book (1st book)?, to the wife for Christmas.
        She took it to the beach this last week.
        I think she knocked it out overnight🤣
        She told me it read well, had good characters, and good story line.
        Reminded her of similar books she’d read in younger years.

        • jude bayton

          Thank you for gifting her my book! I am glad she liked it. I read books like that back in the day too – so I am pleased it reminded her! Best wishes!

    • jude bayton

      Aw – thanks Pattie! We miss you too. BTW, the birthday boy was SO surprised when he saw your part on his video – he was thrilled to bits! Have a Merry Christmas in your pretty part of the world xx

  4. Lynne Imeson

    Hia little sister, you have totally summed up this year in your blog. You must have a magic mirror because much of what you’ve said is what’s happened to me, apart from the nuts and the dog poo! Having said that, living with mr Crohns Imeson, poo and it’s smell flows freely through this house. Even a dog would gag!!! There is no spray on this planet that can disguise the odour that eminates from Imo’s nether regions and not enough gas masks either. Perhaps it could be trapped inside a large bomb and dropped on our mail depots. They are obviously in cahoots with each other! As for motivation, that’s now a dirty word in this house. It all flew out of the window as the depression flew in. Can’t concentrate on anything, no energy and not interested in eating anything but chocolate. Haven’t tried bird food but there’s no accounting for taste. Who knew the plague would return to haunt us once again and also, that so many arseholes in the world think they are immune. Rules! What rules? They don’t apply to me. I wear a Trump t shirt ! Anyway, keep writing the blogs, great reading. love you, Lynne xxxx

  5. Karen Bayton

    Well said Debs, what a pants year this has been! Let’s hope we see some progress with vaccinations so life can begin to return to some sort of normal – where we can travel freely again, we can bin the masks, we can meet family & friends, we can hug them too, we can enjoy meals out, trips to the cinema etc etc etc – & then I woke up!!!!! Merry Mistletoes to you both! Xxxxx

    • jude bayton

      It will be wonderful to feel human again! Miss all of you over there – stay safe through the holidays!

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