Rain, rain go away.

Northern Virginia has been getting doused for what seems like months and we are all dripping mad.

However, the sun briefly came out this past Sunday morning so I drug my soggy self over to the neighborhood swimming hole.  There, a sharp woman named Sharon leads a wacky weekend water class for seniors and glamourous “young” gals like myself.  ( < :

Arriving at the pool a few minutes late all I can see from deck is over a dozen female heads bobbing up and down.  I slip gingerly into the refreshing water amidst the bevy of bathing beauties.

From the bank above, shapely Sharon is barking her weekly figure-forming commands:



Now, side step to the right…2,3,4– and hit it  back to the left!”

You get the pathetic picture.

Meanwhile the tanned teen guards watch from their towers with apparent pity if not disgust.

Just as I begin wondering if the torture will ever end, I catch the scent of bacon sizzling from the pool-side snack bar and vow to treat myself once our session finally ends.

I will have earned it.

But first…Shapley Sharon decides we weary women need to race.

“Great!” I curse under my breath.

Next the bossy broad tosses about 16 of those colorful, cheap, Styrofoam water noodles into the pool, all the while explaining to us barely fit  fools that we are about to experience a challenge–a “healthy competition”.

“Everyone, pair off.  Snap to it ladies!  Shake a leg!”

So the not-so-serious swimmer next to me inquires,

“Would you mind being my partner?”

“Sure, why not?”  I reply.

(What else could I say?)

Next we are instructed to put a nasty noodle under each arm, line ourselves up back to back in pairs against the far  wall, and prepare to charge.

Imagine seven pairs of wobbly, wet women in a rough row, set to race across the practically pristine pool, reeking of chlorine.

Now, I don’t have the strongest of upper body strength, but when it comes to leg work, I could give a racehorse a run for her money.  Overconfident, I am ready to take off like a Derby winner, dragging my partner through the sloshing water as she idly floats on her back.

I silently plunge into the zone, concentrating on what I call my “edge”, confident that with my competitive streak and hoarsely strong calves, I and this complete stranger will take this match.

Suddenly Sharon shrieks:


To get to the point–we lost the first lap–BIG time.  Admittedly, I caught us up when it was her turn to drag me, by helping out with my gold medal -winning whip- kick.  I think in the end we came in a respectable third place amidst the seven pitiful pairs.

Embarrassed if not enraged, I consoled myself.  “You simply could not get any traction, Nan.   You need to buy some good water shoes before next week’s class.  That should do the trick.”

As class ended and I practiced treading water with no hands to build even more strength in my gams, I caught sight of my loser of a partner exiting the pool, trudging up the steps in shallow water.  I felt my eyes grow larger.  The waddling woman with what could be described as a major “pear-shaped” figure must’ve weighed close to 300 pounds!

Who knew?  She definitely carried most of her weight under the water.

“No wonder!” I marveled, vowing in the future to ignore this “pleasantly plump” person in the pool.

Pulling out of the parking lot, I noticed the wet woman lumbering towards the snack bar, considerably faster than she had drug me across the sparkling pool earlier in the day…




Colored clocks with hours around the world

Colored clocks with hours around the world

So the other “day” I wake up early in Stockholm.  Husband and son asleep in the suite, I punch my stupid smart phone and realize it is 6:17 in the morning.

Let the vacation begin.

“Phew”…I whisper to myself.  “The hotel’s club opens at 6:30 a.m. so I can just slip into some sight-seeing garb and grab a coffee and Danish in the lounge”.

Once ready I head up to the 13th floor by elevator, I mean “lift”.   Arriving at the ever-so-exclusive club I realize the door is locked and no one is home.  Rejected, I descend to the lobby on LEVEL G.

Leaving the lift I am floored by the number of partiers at the bustling bar.  I think to myself, “Well I guess these people are all from America or beyond so it is still happy hours for them?”

I take a seat near the luggage room and gaze around the hotel to pass the time.  The sleepy attendant behind the check-in desk looks at me, puzzled.  So I look back at him like a sane person might do.

Then I glance behind his head and see an old fashioned clock.  NO, I see lots of such clocks, each set with a different time.  Surely you have seen these time pieces in your travels around the world?

So now I must figure out which time zone I might be in.

Oh there!  Northern Europe!!  And it tells me it is about a *half hour past midnight.


This not only explains the rockus cocktail party going on behind me but the fact that my not-so-smart phone is still giving me Eastern Daylight Time in the United States.

Chagrined, I head back to Room #522 where my husband and son still slumber.  I gingerly slip back into my pajamas, stumble into bed, and hide my head under a pillow.

Troubling dreams ensue.

*NOTE: In June/July it stays light in Northern Europe 21/7.   Plus, I might have had a touch of “Jet Leg” as my silly son used to refer to the effect time change imposes on the human body.



You might call me a “trip-a-holic”.  Boise in February, Palm Beach in April, Peru in late May then Scandanavia and Russia last week.  At the risk of sounding decadent, let me tell you…I NEEDED these vacations.

“Vacations from what?”  My frivolous friend Faye* in Florida wants to know.

“Well”… I respond, trying not to sound conceited or the least bit agitated.

“A break from all these darn plugs.  Do you realize what I endure every morning here in this huge, hideous house?”

Not patient enough to wait for her response I begin my tirade:

Every single morning I drag myself out of bed, unplug my Walkman and Kindle, fumble around trying to plug in the lousy laptop, and head down to the kitchen.  There I plug in the coffee pot and while waiting for it to decide what to brew, wander over to the den to punch in the TV control.  All the while reminiscing to myself about the old days when one could punch a single button under the Magnavox screen and the set would light up to reveal 4 or 5 good, solid channels.

Instead, I first brilliantly make sure the tube is plugged in.  Next I press POWER on the remote, followed by TV and more often than not get a response on the wide screen that instructs “Press MENU button if you’d like to watch TV and if not press EXIT.”  Call me an idiot…but if I had already pushed POWER and TV would anyone not assume I wanted to watch something on the television??


About now I glance at my wrist and realize as I anxiously two-step around the house that the battery is low on my FITBIT.  Where, I ask myself, is the DONGLE?  If you are reading this and own a teeny-tiny little DONGLE and know where it is…I am more than impressed.  But what I really need is the 4 and an 8th inch black cord which connects my f—ing FITBIT battery to my computer.

Are you getting a charge out of this?

Despite my frantic activity, at this point I feel a chill.  “What I really need is a warm, mesmerizing fire” I convince myself.

Now…where could the remote control for the gas fire logs be?   “Oh!  It is right here next to the TV control and the SONIS music gadget.  Great.  But which is which and where are my glasses?”

It is now nearly 7 a.m., I am exhausted, but want to catch Matt Lauer reading the morning’s breaking news.   I decide to phone my friend Willie* who works at NBC in New York and might give me the back story of what’s really going on in the journalistic world.

“Uh oh!”  My cell phone is blinking! Battery is low (2% power remaining) so I must either dismiss the warning and lose connection midway through conversation with Willie*, or plug the damn thing into an empty socket (not always easy to find even here in our faux chateau) and wait to call him later.

Old and restless…I choose to retire to the powder room.  As I relieve myself, I can finally relax…breathing in the refreshingly soothing scent of a GLADE  “ Cashmere Woods”  customizable

“ PLUG -IN”.

*names altered to protect the guilty.