Remember Me?

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Seven months and I haven’t written a blog. SEVEN MONTHS!!!! I could supply you with a list of extremely valid reasons, but I can’t be arsed. I’m like that now I’m sixty-three and have turned into a harpy. Seriously. I don’t know where the other Jude went, but whoever this replacement is, she doesn’t have to dress up for Halloween anymore.

If you don’t believe me, ask Gump. He’s started to look scared all the time.

I rather like this new power, it makes me feel like I am the ruler in this kingdom of nowhere. I am the Queen, Gump is my goofy consort and Scout, the Wonderdog is my familiar. Except that she’s not. The little bitch (she is a female dog) is now a healthy sixty pounds, and both of us need to go on a diet. For those who do not remember (and why should you?) before I was so powerful and mean, I argued with Gump for 3 long years to get a dog. I won (eventually) and got her. Three months later/Covid time, Gump retired, stayed home all the time, and stole the love of my dog.

I still have not forgiven him. All the hard work I put into training her. Getting up every night like I had a new baby at home. Getting her housebroken, the list goes on and on. All my efforts resulted in a very smart/obedient (slightly chunky) and apparently unfaithful dog, who loves Gump more than me. It’s like Gump and I are divorced. I’m the mum who got full custody, who does the laundry/cooking/drop-offs/chores/parent-teacher meetings, and Gump’s the sodding Disneyland dad, who has Scout’s eternal love because he takes her into Lowe’s and Home Depot shopping, and to Atwood’s where she gets a free dog treat. Wish I was so easily satisfied.

Traitor….Just one little push……

It will all change when I buy a home in Scotland. Maybe I’ll even get a bloody Corgi or a Westie…Ha!

All joking aside, this is my new plan. Whenever I am pissed off, get irritated watching Gump and my dog bonding, am craving fish and chips, or asking myself the eternal question of why Americans have to put cheese on EVERYTHING…I tell Gump I’m buying a home in Scotland. There I could be near my family, and more importantly, be away from the twosome.

As I write this, I have just come up with a name for the duo. They did it with Brad & Angelina (Brangelina) Jennifer Lopez & Ben Affleck (Bennifer) – Gump and Scout, well they are GOUT – how cool is that because they are both so painful at times! Oh, you have no idea how clever I think I am right now. You try coming up with a ‘couple’ name at 6.09 on a Sunday morning. It’s perfect! Gout it is!

…Back to Scotland. Many people think I’m daft when I talk about getting a place back in the UK. Some actually laugh out loud (even the dog grins) because I am not rich. It does take lots of moolah to live on one continent, never mind two. But hey, no one thought I’d manage to emigrate to the USA…twice…either. They also didn’t anticipate my having an unsuccessful career and marrying a man who would steal the love of my dog (neither did I). But anything is possible people, it just takes a mighty plan.

I LOVE plans. I make them constantly. Lists in my head, lists in notebooks (I have a slight problem with buying lots of notebooks) and enough spreadsheets to wallpaper an entire house. Plans make me happy. Plans make me feel like I am progressing in the right direction. And lately, they stop me from forgetting what I am supposed to be doing as I have CRS disease (Can’t remember shit) – Plans are like chocolate. They are yummy and satisfying and are part of why I get up every morning.

So, that’s where I am today, folks. Grumpy, chubby, pissy, and constantly in list mode.

Even though I’m having a good old moan, I am still extremely grateful. We have a home, we have food (too much judging by my waistband) we can pay our bills. The people we love are well and happy, and we are so very privileged. But if I didn’t whine and complain, there would be nothing for you to read here, right?

You should see our house, Debtwood. Gump decided to completely renovate the garage. Aren’t I lucky to have such a go-getter? No lazing around drinking beer, watching Nascar and perusing the latest BassPro catalogue at Debtwood, no sirree- not Gump. He prefers emptying the contents of an entire garage and distributing said contents in any room of the house where they can be squeezed. I shit you not, people. I have boxes of crap in the living room, bedrooms, and back porch. The house looks like a local auto parts/hardware store. All I need are a few plants outside and people will really think this is somewhere to buy fertiliser and auto engine oil.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all about being a supportive spousal unit, especially when it comes to making improvements. But as I have told many of you before, Gump was a geologist by trade and is mentally still a geologist. Everything he does is in geologic time, so very sloooowww…..think how fast a glacier moves, and then slow it down a bit more and you’re in Gumpdrive. So yeah, after a year of crap everywhere, I slip into harpy mode daily.

We just took a short trip to Louisiana and Gump’s 50th high school reunion. Whenever we travel long distances, which happens a lot, I end up doing twice as much of the driving as him. Gump drives just like he renovates garages, very slowly.

Don’t get me wrong, he is a great driver. If it’s raining/snowing I would have him behind the wheel 100 per cent. But interstates, busy cities, anywhere where there is a lot of traffic and people in a hurry, puts him in some kind of zombie state, like he has some kind of phobia and he slows down.

Look – I’m from an island where it takes less time to drive from one end of the country to the other than it takes to drive through the state of Florida. So even after all these years, I want to get there NOW. I don’t want to spend 6 hours in a car if I can spend 5. Consequently, we spent most of the drive arguing, because Gump wanted to take the scenic route as it was spring and he wanted to see all the flowers and add an extra hour onto the trip.

I tried being noble. It was his weekend, his reunion, so I caved and agreed. But the agony of it…the torture! It was too much. I complained the entire way because it was taking FOREVER. Two-lane roads where we kept getting stuck behind everyone…that kind of ‘scenery’…yes the spring flowers were lovely as we drove. Tons of Bluebonnets everywhere. But on the way back, on the big, fast, roomy interstate, there were flowers everywhere as well.

We reached our destination right before a Gulf storm. Everything was good. A good night’s sleep was had by both of us and we were friends again.

Next day – First stop – Crawfish boil- I’ve never seen a crawfish up close. My takeaway? What part of a giant red cockroach makes it a fish/seafood?

Ugh! Disgusting. No offence, Louisiana folk, but none of you have any right to give the British any crap about little bits of kidney cooked in a steak and kidney pie…not after that massacre, I saw. OMG – I watched all the body dismemberment going on with utter horror. It was like a bad movie. Everyone had red stuff around their mouths, some even pulled off limbs using plastic gloves. As much as I hate to say it, I’d eat haggis over that any day. I myself opted for a Coke.

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When we left the bloodbath and headed back to the hotel, my feet started stinging like crazy. I hopped about. “Gump, what the hell is biting me?” He was a local, after all.

“Just fire ants,” he said nonchalantly. JUST fire ants???? Let me tell you that one week later, I’ve still got nasty red blisters on my feet from those little bastards.

On the big night of the reunion, there were a TON of people. Honestly, I marvelled at how many were there, and also still living in the area. Gump was in fine spirits, and he had a great time. I was a lot nicer to him as he wasn’t driving, plus my bites had calmed down. I’d also eaten a very bad Chik Fil et, en route to the event because I was worried there would be more creepy crawlies for dinner.

After the evening was over, I reflected upon my evening and considered that it was pretty wild so many of Gump’s classmates were pushing seventy and looking fit as a fiddle. Maybe eating bugs is good for you after all? Nah…still can’t do it.

Gump’s been going fishing whenever he can. I’m all for it – why not, life is short so you should enjoy what you can. I don’t cry as I wave him off at five in the morning when it’s still dark o’clock. I’m only too happy getting up with him and packing him food made with love (PBJ’s). Damn straight. Whatever it takes to ensure he’s really going, so I can have a lovely, quiet day. No Gump mess, no Gout flaunting, no sci-fi and an evening with me holding the remote for a change. BONUS! His buddy, MY dog goes into mope mode because he’s gone. She’s pretty high maintenance, kind of like her side-kick. But just like Gump, she can be managed with treats.

I’ve just wrapped up my 6th book in the Secret set that I write (Victorian mysteries). It’s taken much longer than usual, due to life circumstances and many other issues, that’s partly why I’ve been so radio silent. I’m going to start sending out a newsletter which will focus on my writing life, and I would like to send it to those of you who have subscribed to this website. It won’t be anything too annoying, just me doing a bit of blah blah blah and pretending I’m a cool writer (no beret at this juncture, however)….

I need to be more diligent about that part of the publishing world, so I’m going to get busy. Besides, if you read about what writing project I’m working on, you can figure out if you’re secretly one of the characters in the book…HAH!!!!!!

Seriously, I do so appreciate all the support everyone has given me along the way. This will be my third year as a…ahem….author…and boy do I wish I had started many, many decades ago. It’s bizarre to think that back in the day when I started writing bits and bobs, there were no computers….I’m technically a Flintstone.

Gump is getting his garden ready. He’s grown lettuce and spinach so far, and a healthy crop of weeds. We’ve been engaged in a major dispute over mowing. I like to mow the grass short and have it look tidy. He likes to leave it longer and more ‘natural’. In some ways, it is because he doesn’t want to mow as often (even though I do most of the mowing) but the truth is this. We have loads of shade out here at Debtwood, and the grass is a bit tricky. By summer, it is struggling, even with plenty of water. So Gump has spent a small fortune on bags of seed this year (like $130 a bag) and he is obsessed about it growing. It does look pretty, nice and green, but it also looks scruffy. The battle continues. If Gump was as passionate about me as he is grass, Scout, and tomato growing, I would be a very spoiled woman.

We really do disagree on many things, yet somehow we rub along. He’s an easy-going guy who probably thinks he bit off more than he could chew hooking up with yours truly, though he’s a handful himself. Gump thinks of us living together as an episode of Green Acres (some of you remember that show) – take a Brit from London and move her into a somewhat rural spot with snakes, racoons, coyotes, possums, turtles, spiders and demonic birds of prey, then sit back and watch the show. That’s it in a nutshell. He takes great delight in watching my reactions to living here, and then I take even greater delight in punishing him for doing that. It works.

And finally, this is the year the UK will get its new king. How strange that there will be a coronation after so many years. I can only imagine how packed London will be. But the pomp and ceremony will be off the scale. There’s nothing like being in the capital and seeing the tradition still ongoing after centuries. It is really something else, and it does make me proud. I wish I had my little place over there now, I’d love to be a part of the celebration.

Well, that’s it – I’m spent. If I keep writing, it will be my shopping list. Thanks, dear readers for stopping by and reading. I shan’t leave it so long to get in touch next time.

Jude

22 Responses

    • jude bayton

      I don’t know. I’m thinking yours is pretty damn cool. Lovely home, lovely guy, all well-deserved to for a special lady!
      Thanks for always bein there, MJ. xx

  1. Deb Taylor nee Hicks

    Hi Deb, OMG you’ve just described me and my life except that, unlike you, I haven’t mastered anything technical (what can I say, I’m still a seventies girl at heart and in brain except I do have problem remembering… what were we talking about 🤪). I envy you achieving the status of author and a very good one; I so enjoyed the ONE book of yours I’ve read and intended (still do) to get the lot. I’ve a very demanding family and spend most days spinning about going nowhere like a blue arsed fly having been sprayed with killer! No excuses though, I bloody will get them all, leave my mob at home (apparently THEY can trace your whereabouts with those things), find a beauty spot and ‘read for England’. Fight the good fight, keep a stiff upper lip, keep calm and carry on! 🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧. Looking forward to you having a place in Scotland, I’ll definitely visit you there. Och aye the noo. Lots of love xxx

    • jude bayton

      We’ve always walked a similar path. I wish I lived nearer as I would love hanging out with you. Thank you for reading any of the books and the blog too! I am so far behind in my reading it’s a joke, and I’m supposed to read constantly.
      If I get that place in Scotland, you’ll be expected to visit, pronto!
      See you on my next trip home for sure. Miss you xx

  2. Karen Bayton

    That’s spooky Debs, I was only thinking yesterday that I hadn’t read your blog for ages & wondered what had happened! Glad your back to it, always makes me chuckle reading of your adventures! Wish you could be here for the Coronation celebrations! I’m going to be putting the bunting up soon – I’ll probably be the only one doing so in our street but I love it & if it annoys the shit out of the nationalists then I’m all for it!!!! 👑🇬🇧👑🇬🇧👑🇬🇧

    • jude bayton

      I must have got your vibes! I just came up for air after finishing the last book and out of the blue felt I had to do a blog – so it’s all your fault!!!
      I love that you are such a rebel with your bunting. I wish I was there with you guys celebrating. Hopefully, it won’t be too long until I can come back.
      THanks for reading the blog, and also for commenting, as it lets me know if people get a kick out of it.
      Hugs to you xx

  3. winona cross

    Jude, you should teach a lesson on writing entertaining newsletters for CROW. I laugh, I visualize, I get a bit jealous. I am dead serious.

    About crawfish. When I accepted a nurse manager position in Lake Charles (1990), I had never seen a crawfish. The Children’s Miracle Network had a crawfish boil fund raiser. Good grief, Sweet Baby Jesus, that was something. Someone showed me how to eat them. Over the next 19 years I learned how to like them. But, I’m really a chicken and sausage gumbo kind of girl.

    I almost wet my pants reading about GOUT.

    I’m excited to read the next secret book. When is it going to be out there?

    Would love to see you.

    • jude bayton

      You are too nice! Living with Gump gives me loads of content…everything I write is true. We were in Lake Charles for his reunion! Small world.
      The next book will be out in late May. I’ll be posting about it soon. Thanks for all the support you’ve given me Nona. I would love to meet up someday. Maybe the next time I’m headed to Texas, I’ll meet you for lunch in Durant! Thanks so much for reading and commenting – Jude

  4. Chris Slagle

    Pinch me. Peel me. Suck my head!
    Louisiana Crawfish

    Oooeeee! It’s larapin goood…

    😄

    Keep writing. Helps pay bills.
    Maybe someday you’ll get on Oprah!

    Hi to John…

    By the way…I’m 10 percent Scottish.

    • jude bayton

      I’ll tell him hello from you – Not surprised about the Scottish part – you’ve a look of it about you, and French too I shouldn’t wonder.
      Good to hear from you, and thank a bunch for reading/commenting.

    • jude bayton

      Well, thanks so much for reading! If you got a grin, then it was worthwhile! Cheers, and have a great week!

  5. Gale

    Oh I do so understand the GOUT thing, I have a “Robree” here at Rowley Holler. Love your blog and so glad to see it again! Include me in your newsletter distribution. It’s a great reminder of EOMC days of the “Hunk of the Month” and Spam. ❤️

    • jude bayton

      Thanks, Gale – I’ll add you to the subscriber list.

  6. Greer Fites

    I love reading this, even from just a few blocks away!
    You aren’t asking for advice, but mine is Get A Cat!!!! They are the best – companionship, warmth, and would no doubt be devoted to you.

    • jude bayton

      Thanks, Greer.
      I’ve suggested that, but Gump wouldn’t go for it. Scout would love the company!

  7. Bunny A.

    I love your blog, so glad to see you back on. Congrats on your writing success.

  8. Janet Taffner Snyder

    What a hoot, girl !! Your life sounds a lot more fun than most. Never stop being funny. Love reading your words. So much talent and I can tell everyone that I knew you you were discovered. 😁. Janet from SFEC days

    • jude bayton

      H Janet. Thanks for reading the blog! Never a dull moment living with Gump!
      I miss those old SFEC days – what a terrific bunch of people. Friends for life 🙂

  9. Sue McMurphy

    I almost said, “I could have written that.” Meaning that my life resembles yours in almost all the hilarious, quirky ways you have enumerated. However, I could not have written about it in such an entertaining way. Ya gotta learn to laugh at yourself, right? In the meantime, I try to only open my garage door after dark. I’m afraid if my neat and tidy neighbors get a load of all our junk, they will vote us out of the HOA.
    Thanks for the blog post. Write on!

    • jude bayton

      Agree on laughing at yourself…it’s the only way! We need to do another lunch sometime and have a good chat! Thanks for reading the blog and the kind comments, Sue.