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Fourth of July wake-up calls

Oy vey. What a week.

Harry and I worked on our pool deck. After 28 years, it was beyond shabby chic.I painted all the brown wood white, we tore off old carpeting, laid new Caribbean blue carpeting and added white lattice.I bought cool new, (but cheap because I'm on a fixed income now,) chairs in tropical blues and greens. When I couldn't find a white table without a glass top, I painted the old one a bright lime green. On a roll, I painted some of my old chairs the same green and bought a bright blue for another.Harry was beginning to get afraid."Geez. I better not sit around too long or you'll paint me too!"Not that Harry knows how to sit long enough for me to get the chance. The guy is a tornado. I'm more like a warm, gentle breeze. Working together on any project is like mixing oil and water. But I have learned over the years that Harry thinks his way is the only way (when it comes to any kind of construction/building/renovating) and if I don't want to see Mount Vesuvius erupt again, I just give in. Also, he doesn't quite understand why I don't know what to do or why I can't read his mind and know what tool he needs or how to assist him without being told what to do.So fairly early into the project, it didn't take long before Mount Vesuvius blew."Don't you dare get freaky on me, Mister!" I warned with a menacing eye.Wow! Who knew I could cork up a volcano that quickly! From then on, it was smooth sailing. And it only took 43 years of marriage to finally figure it out.My sister and family bought us an adorable palm tree that lights up, and I now call it my backyard retirement tropical island oasis.Getting ready for our Fourth of July picnic, Harry set out to track down where some hornets were hiding out nearby to get rid of them before a lot of people were around.He opened up the outside phone box and discovered several nests woven in and around all the cords.I wondered if that was why there was so much crackling noise on our phone.He waited until it was completely dark, dressed himself from head to toe in a hazmat suit (work coveralls, boots and head coverings) and sprayed away. (After he ruined the first can of spray by removing something he wasn't supposed to, which rendered the can useless.)He was not attacked. I think he was kind of disappointed that it was so anticlimactic.On a roll, our printer ran out of color ink. When I went to replace the cartridge, Mr. Let Me Do It Because You Can't arrived on the scene. He told me to remove this tape thing, which I did. When the printer wouldn't work, he made me move so he could figure it out. Which he did. I wasn't supposed to remove the tapelike thing. Ha! In your face, Mr. Know It All!Fourth of July morning, I was busy preparing food for our picnic. I had made a shortcake to serve with a mix of fresh blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. I wanted Rita's vanilla custard to top off the dessert. So shortly after lunch, I got in the car to make a fast trip to Rita's. It was almost my last trip.It had just rained. The roads were wet. I thought I'd better turn my cellphone on in case the president of the United States of America called me to wish me a happy Fourth of July. Yeah, that's how stupid it was to think I needed to turn it on. I only glanced at my phone for a nanosecond to see if it was on, and when I looked back up, the bushes on the side of the road were coming at me fast. First instinct? Of course, slam on the brakes! Yes, I know. Wrong thing to do. As the car spun around in a circle and I felt it start to flip, all I could think was, "Well, Linda, you really did it this time."Miraculously, the car righted itself before flipping and we came to a standstill. The rear end was in the bushes and my front tires were on the road. I had a hell of a bump on my head but I realized I was still alive and all in one piece. After thanking God for saving me and shaking like a leaf, I managed to drive away.I immediately noticed a strong skunk smell. I think I may have dropped in on Mr. Skunk unexpectantly and scared the bejesus out of him, too.Yes, I still went to Rita's. When a woman is on a dessert mission, a little near-death experience is nothing.When I got out of the car, I walked around it checking for any damage. Hmm. Maybe I wouldn't even have to tell Harry about it, I thought. But I knew he'd have questions about the caked mud in the hub of the wheels and the leaves sticking out of all the crevices and plastered to the sides. I was pretty sure he wouldn't believe me if I told him I decided to do a little off-roading before Rita's.So after all that, can you imagine the look on my face when I asked for vanilla custard and the girl had the audacity to tell me that Rita's no longer has custard?I asked the $64 million dollar question, "Why?""Because of the egg shortage," she said.There was an egg shortage? Since when?Man, I thought, I gotta start reading the newspaper and watching the news. Since retiring, I REALLY retired from life. Later my brother-in-law, George, told me about farmers killing all their chickens and burning their barns because of the deadly avian flu."Here? In America?" I stupidly asked.So, OK. I had a couple of wake-up calls on the Fourth of July.The next night, July 5, I was sitting in a friend's backyard. We had just enjoyed a wonderful picnic dinner and were getting ready to enjoy the fireworks display they had purchased. Terrie started it with playing "The Star-Spangled Banner." It was followed by music like "God Bless America," "This Land is My Land," and "I'm Proud to be an American."I felt truly blessed. I am alive. I'm married to the best guy in the world (even though he thinks he knows more than me sometimes). I am surrounded by loving family and friends. I live in the best country in the world, (even though we're eggless right now.)Thank you, God.I never did get that call from the president though. Just saying.