My Blood Pressure Spiked!

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Wow! It is already the second day of 2014 and I have not done a thing. On New Year’s Day, Peg and I crashed. The party the day before wore us out. Ever since we married eight years ago we have traditionally celebrated New Year’s Eve. The first few years we attended the Prestwick Country Club party by hosting a table of friends. More recently, Peg decided she wanted a smaller more intimate group of friends to spend time with.

The party gives me a chance to practice my culinary skill, which is very limited, combined with Peg’s hosting skill which is considerable.  We invited three couples for dinner at five. The day began in a relaxed manner, but the stress level increased exponentially as the minutes marched forward. Peg began by monopolizing the kitchen with her hors d’oeuvres, patience Joe.  The weather saved me. It snowed that morning so I disappeared to shovel the drive and the walks. I returned to begin the main dish by  assembling the components for the veal paprikas I planned to make. We are lucky enough to have a fifteen foot countertop for cooking, but I had only one square foot of it. My blood pressured spiked, and my patience wore thin, I forgot two ingredients which I made a special trip to shop for days earlier. Another escape, this time to the Jewel Food Store for two items, a green pepper, and a 14.7 ounce can of diced tomatoes. There must have been more people like me because the parking lot was at capacity. Shoppers in cars jammed the lanes waiting for people  to come out and make a space. I backed out and found a space at the far corner. An inconsiderate jerk of a shopper had abandoned his cart in the space I parked in, so I pushed it back to the store while walking at record pace through the snow. I beat the cars still waiting in the lane for a space, patience Joe.

Inside the store was worse than the parking lot. Outside it was only parked cars and jerks waiting to find premium parking spaces. Inside it was different. Nervous ladies all rushing through the aisles filling baskets with party goodies. I encountered several aisle jams stalled by shoppers staring at the goods while trying to decide which kind of potato chip, wine, or olive to take off the shelf. Once more I back out, this time with the cart. Several times shoppers blind-sided me while rushing down an aisle and crossing lanes without looking. Smile, and say you’re sorry Joe, they are only stressed out like you are. On a normal day, close encounters of this sort would result in a lasting friendship, today friendship did not occur to me nor to those with whom I nearly collided.

Once at the checkout lanes, the crowd seemed even worse. People in line spilled into the aisles unseen. I passed through the waiting carts and aligned myself in what I thought was the end of the line. As luck would have it, the checkout lady was slower than cold molasses. Finally, the line moved one person, and I jockeyed into place but an old woman who came from nowhere and holding a fruit-tort blocked me. She smiled and politely inferred that I was cutting, and the line formed in the aisle behind her, patience Joe.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The Door Bell Rings

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A good thing just happened to me. A very nice young man with a very heavy black beard, a bright red jacket and a black knit cap just rang the door-bell. I answered, and he very politely asked if I wanted my snow shoveled.  “How much,” I asked? He pondered a moment and looked around, “twenty-five,” he answered. “How about twenty?”  He nodded in agreement. “Do you have a shovel,” I asked. He nodded yes again.

Parked out on the street stood a sleek-looking Nissan. He ran to the car and knocked on the window. His partner came out and the two of them are shoveling furiously. In the short time it has taken me to write this, they have completed half of the job. Thank you Lord!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

By the time I checked out and drove home from the Jewel, Peggy decided to clear some counter space for me. My tension eased, and the meal prep began.

By four-thirty I finished the paprikas and the double recipe of spaetzle. I transferred the veal dish to a hot-pot and kept the spaetzle dumplings warm in a covered pot.  I looked out the window and realized it had snowed again. Peggy asked for help with something she was doing, and I freaked again, patience Joe. I did what she asked without grumbling, patience Joe. I rushed to the garage for my snow shovels. The drive and walks were clean by 4:55.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++The Door Bell Rings Again

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The snow-shovelers just rang the bell. They  finished. My God, what youthful energy they have. I would still be screwing around getting dressed and with starting the snow blower but they finished! I handed him twenty-six bucks. The two of them deserve it. Peg handed him a small bag of mini-Snickers bars left over from Halloween which I had secretly stashed.

Since it is still snowing, I’ll have another chance to show my aging-energy later this afternoon.

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We had a perfectly delightful evening with our friends eating and drinking and making merry. Harriet brought a lasagna to supplement my Paprikas, Mary brought shrimp appetizers, and Donna brought a scrumptious plate of cherry slices and a quart of ice cream, and Al brought enough wine to keep us happy the whole night long. The crowd left by nine o’clock. Peggy and I cleaned up and we were in bed by 11:00 p.m. by mid-night we were fast asleep.

Happy New Year everyone.

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