The Story of Darci and Carrie: Long Weekend, Day 1

The Story of Darci and Carrie: Long Weekend, Day 1

They had planned the brief vacation months ago, sitting down with their work schedules, appointment books, and calendars. It had taken them more than an hour to coordinate their schedules, but the pay-off was worth it—a glorious and well-deserved four-day weekend.

It had been a beautiful day that Wednesday, cold but sunny and the sky clear blue. Unbeknown to Carrie, Darci had taken an additional day off from work so that she could surprise her with a nice romantic evening to kick off the long weekend.

She got up that morning barely able to contain her excitement. She floated on air as she pretended to get ready for work, going over in her head all the things she wanted to do as soon as she was alone. Carrie, however, was in yet another one of her foul moods. Those moods were easy to spot: muttered curses under her breath, slammed kitchen cabinets, stomping through the house, cups banged on the counter.

“What’s wrong?” Darci asked as Carrie charged like a bull from one task to another.


Yeah, well, everyone knows when a woman says nothing is wrong, something is definitely wrong and you are usually the cause or, at the very least, responsible for fixing it.

Darci was used to taking the blame for Carrie’s irritation and taking on the responsibility of making it right—if there was a right.

She took a deep breath and asked the question Carrie was waiting to hear, “Have I done something wrong?”

“What do you think?” she spits through clenched teeth.

“I think I must’ve done something to piss you off.” Again.

Carrie jammed papers into her work bag. “You know, I’ve never seen someone so freaking lazy, expecting me to do everything around here.”

“What?” She took a long look around the tiny house. She could see nothing out of place, nothing dirty or dusty. “What is it I haven’t done?”

“You’re a smart woman. Figure it out!”

Darci’s mouth hung open and her eyes followed Carrie’s angry exit from the room. Her mind raced. What was it that she hadn’t done? She had swept and mopped all the floors and dusted every surface yesterday after work. The day before that she’d scrubbed the bathroom and the kitchen. Sunday, she’d straightened the bedroom closet and inside the drawers of two dressers and changed the sheets on their bed.

The only thing inside that house that hadn’t been done was the laundry and Carrie oversaw that chore. According to her, Darci didn’t have a clue how to do laundry. Clothes had to be sorted and washed according to the weight of the fabric rather than by color or type. This, as per her logic, ensured that each piece came out of the dryer perfectly dried without being overly dried. Carrie saw it as a waste of time and energy to put something back in the dryer for a few minutes because it was still damp. Once dried, she’d pull one piece at a time from the dryer then turn the dryer back on to make sure nothing wrinkled while she hung it on a hanger or folded it. Every movement meticulously choreographed to not expend any unnecessary effort or energy.

Carrie’s method, of course, had its flaws. When those flaws resulted in Darci’s white panties or pastel-yellow slacks being splatter painted in red, blue, and / or black splotches, Carrie thought it was funny. Darci had always tried to take her partner’s gaffes in stride and would assure her that it was no big deal even as her heart sank to the pit of her stomach when her favorite slacks or blouses were thrown away. She’d been angry and hurt and wanted to shout, I told you so, but didn’t—wouldn’t—because she hadn’t wanted to make Carrie feel bad for making a mistake. It was just a small mistake. And it was just clothing, right? It wasn’t as if it couldn’t be easily replaced.

Too bad the same couldn’t be said for Carrie. Darci had apparently made a mistake and now she was being punished for it. The only problem was that she had no clue what mistake she had made this time.

She continued with her normal morning routine. It really was a routine—she did the same thing, in the same order, taking about the same amount of time. Darci began this habit of not deviating so that she didn’t forget to do something; so that she didn’t anger Carrie. This morning was no different, was it? She went over it all in her head. Had she skipped a step? Had Carrie asked her to do something that she had forgotten about?

She had gotten out of bed the moment the first alarm went off. The second alarm was in half an hour, for when Carrie would awaken. She went to the thermostat and kicked up the heat so that the house was warm when Carrie got out of bed. She’d made a pot of coffee and fixed herself a cup, put Carrie’s mug, two sweetener packets, and a teaspoon beside the coffee maker. She’d taken her shower and slipped on a robe. Drying her hair had to wait until after Carrie was awake because the sound of the hairdryer disturbed her sleep. She had packed her work bag then transferred meat for dinner (tonight there would be a couple of ribeye steaks she planned to grill) to the refrigerator to thaw. She’d washed her coffee mug and placed it upside down on the drying mat. She brushed her teeth then walked the half-acre length of gravel driveway to get the morning newspaper. She’d checked the bird-feeder and added another cup of seed, then swept the front porch and shook out the doormat. By the time she had made it back into the warm house, Carrie was awake and she had dried her hair while Carrie was in the shower. Then she’d sat at the kitchen table to apply her makeup. That was where Carrie found her that morning.

So, what had she forgotten? It was the exact same thing, in exactly same order that she had done every morning for several months.

She finished her makeup and headed to the bedroom. She selected dark blue slacks, white long sleeve shirt, and a pale blue pullover sweater and hung them on the outside of the closet door. She began her daily task of making the bed when Carrie came barreling into the room.

“Well, it’s about damn time,” she said.

“What is?”

Carrie huffed and pointed at the bed. “That,” she said.

She was still confused. “What? Making the bed? I always make the bed after I do my makeup.”

But she hadn’t really heard her. Instead, Carrie went on about how lazy she was and how she had left the bed unmade, expecting her to do it like she expected her to do everything else around the house like the sweeping, mopping, and dishes.

“Really? When was the last time you mopped the floor?” Darci asked.

“Which floor?”

“Pick one.”

Darci waited for an answer that wouldn’t come. She hadn’t swept or mopped the floor since Darci moved in and they both knew that.

“Doesn’t matter. The point is, you didn’t make the bed this morning,” she says instead of answering.

“I am making the bed.”

“No. You make the bed right after I get up.”

“Since when?”

“You’re always to make the bed right after I get up.”

“So, what I am hearing is that you want me to change when I make the bed,” she said, using keywords and phrases she learned from her friend who was a licensed counselor.


She couldn’t help it. She let anger, frustration, and sarcasm wrap themselves around her words. “Then all you had to do was ask instead of creating a scene.”

Carrie huffed, puffed, and muttered the rest of the morning before finally leaving the house. Darci stood in the living room window and watched her drive off, tires spinning gravel as she went. She didn’t so much as breath until the car turned right out of the driveway and disappeared.

She put her dress clothes away and grabbed jeans and a sweatshirt and prepared to transform the kitchen and living room into visual romance even though her heart was no longer in it. Her excitement and joy were gone. She had awakened that morning with her heart overflowing with love and the desire to express that love. But, now? Now, what she really wanted to do was douse the house in gasoline and set it ablaze. She wouldn’t, but that didn’t stop her from thinking about it.

That evening, Darci had everything timed perfectly. Carrie would arrive home at 5:30 to be greeted with roses. At 5:35, Darci would pour two glasses of fine red wine. At 5:40, the baked potatoes with all the fixings, fresh garden salad, and two medium-rare ribeye steaks would be served on a table with a white lace tablecloth, red cloth napkins, and a red tapered candle in the center. After dinner, she would send Carrie to the living room while she cleaned the kitchen. She would then join her in the living room where they would watch a romantic comedy or two before retiring to the bedroom where there were more candles to be lit and soft music to be played.

But 5:30 came and went. So did 6:30, 7:30, and 8:00. She called Carrie’s cell phone every half hour leaving the same message each time. “Hi, honey, it’s me. Where are you? I’m getting worried. Call me.” All her calls and messages went unanswered. At 8:30, she put the uneaten dinner away, blew out all the candles, and erased even the hint of a romantic evening.

She climbed into bed at 11:00, alone and heartbroken.

The Story of Darci and Carrie: The Cold

The Story of Darci and Carrie: The Cold

She remembers. She doesn’t always want to, but she remembers the sadness, disappointment, and pain when she realized, in retrospect, love came with conditions and rules . . . so many rules. For her, the rules were steadfast, solid, unwavering. For her partner, they changed as frequently as the directions of the wind.

It was November and it was bone-chilling cold with threats of freezing rain. Darci and Carrie, her partner of six months, headed to bed. Carrie stopped off in the hallway and dropped the thermostat so that the heater would warm the house to a numbing fifty-eight degrees Fahrenheit during the night. It was a routine that Darci was familiar with and had come to accept as one of many of Carrie’s quirks. But, she was willing to accommodate the love of her life. If Carrie was comfortable with the icy temperature during the night, then Darci would bend and adjust.

When Carrie wandered into the bathroom to brush her teeth, Darci dug out a pair of sweatpants and an over-sized t-shirt from the chest of drawers near the foot of the bed and began changing.

“What are you doing?” Carrie asked, as she came back into the room.

“Getting ready for bed.”

“No.” Carrie’s eyes bore red-hot holes into her skin. She looked for all the world as if Darci had suddenly lost her mind.

“No what?” she asked.

Waving a finger at the clothing, “You are not wearing that to bed.”

It had been their custom to sleep in the nude, cuddled up next to one another. Inevitably, during the night they would drift apart in the king-size bed and the cold would crawl beneath the plush comforter. Darci would wake during the night so cold she could see her breath the moonlit room. She would curl into a tight fetal position, trying not to move because the sheets were like touching frozen glass.

“But I’m cold.” Darci’s voice sounded small even to her.

Carrie shook her head. “Not in my house.”

It was Carrie’s house. It was also her bed, her blankets, and her rules. They were all Carrie’s rules and benefitted only Carrie.

“Can we at least get an electric blanket with dual controls so that you can have your side of the bed as cold as you want it and I can have mine warm?”

“No. I will not have an electric blanket. I don’t like them,” she declared, climbing between the covers.

It didn’t make sense. Her reasoning never made sense.

“Can I put another blanket on the bed? It would make it easier for me to sleep.”


She was getting desperate. “Can I put another blanket on just my side of the bed?” She sounded like a child pleading with a parent. She hated that sound.


And Carrie’s word was final.

Reluctantly, Darci put the sweatpants and t-shirt back into the drawers and naked, climbed into the icy bed.

She had no idea how long she had lain there before finally falling asleep. She awoke to her body shivering and teeth chattering. She pulled the covers up over her head, tucked her knees tightly into her stomach, and tried not to think about how cold she was, but she couldn’t stop shaking.

Darci felt the bed move and then the violent jerking of the covers. She held tightly to the top of the covers to keep them over her and listened to Carrie stomping toward the walk-in closet. She peeked over the blanket and could just make out Carrie’s nude body as she dug around on a shelf. Whatever she was doing had nothing to do with her, so she closed her eyes and tried to sleep.

A sudden weight landed hard on her feet and Darci bolted into a sitting position. She grappled for the comforter that had slipped away and found a thick, heavy blanket laying across her legs. “What the hell is this?”

“What does it look like?” Obviously angry, Carrie got back into bed, bouncing onto her side facing away from Darci, and jerked the covers over her head.

She sat there, heartbroken and shivering but afraid to move. Her mind raced, looking for the right response to having had a blanket thrown at her from across the room. Should she graciously accept it as a gift and spread it over her side of the bed, or should she ignore it and pretend to not be cold? What was the right answer?

If she accepted the blanket, Carrie would be pissed at herself for having given in and broken her own rules. If she didn’t accept the blanket, Carrie would be pissed that Darci was not appreciative of her efforts at making her comfortable. Either way, that anger was going to be taken out on her, so it didn’t matter.

Darci laid down, leaving the blanket where it had landed. She played the whole scene over and over in her mind trying to see Carrie’s point of view. It only left her with more questions and a foreboding sense of not being able to do anything right.





Public Service Announcement – SCAM ALERT

Public Service Announcement – SCAM ALERT


(I’m no dummy, I’ve done my research and I take nothing at face value.)

If you get an e-mail from some variation of this (mine was an invoice from PayPal saying I had purchased something from WayFair, LLC (I’ve never purchased anything from them – more on that in a minute), <> DO NOT PANIC. It’s a fraudulent e-mail.

First Red Flag is the second reply address and the fact that PayPal’s “No Reply” address does not look like this. It’s bogusly attached to some company in India. A quick e-mail to netted me the error e-mail that says “Error 550 – No Such User Here“.

Second Red Flag – The invoice had an amount (mine was $61.19) but it did not have a description of what was purchased even though there was a space for that. If you have ever ordered anything and purchased through PayPal, there is ALWAYS a description or seller info for the item purchased. The odd part of this e-mail invoice was that it was a Wayfair invoice that was supposedly sent to me from PayPal. That doesn’t happen. You would get two notifications – one from WayFair AND a statement from PayPal.

Third MAJOR Red Flag – There is a hyperlink on the invoice that says “If you did not initiate this transaction, we recommend that you go to: Manage/Cancel Transaction“. If you click on this, it will send you a sign-in page they want you to think is for PayPal. PayPal’s sign-in address is paypal (dot) com / signin. The FRAUDULANT sign-in looks like this (I’m not going to include all of it for safety reasons, but you’ll get the idea:

paypal857update757 (DOT) form627 (DOT) selaformenow (DOT) com / (etc).

It looks physically EXACTLY like PayPal’s sign-in screen. Once you put your e-mail address or User ID and Password and click sign-in (they NOW have your sign-in info for PayPal, so CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD), it will take you to a screen where it looks like PayPal is trying to verify that you are who you are. It will ask for VERY private and personal information such as name, address, date of birth, gender, phone number, social security number, bank account info or credit card info. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT fill out any information on this screen. PayPal does NOT verify accounts this way. They will not ask for your SSN, Credit Card #, etc to verify who you are when you are checking activity/purchases on your account. EVER!

Warning over!


A Writer’s Soul

A Writer’s Soul

As small children we were taught to look, but not to touch; to feel, but only just a little; to smell, but not to breathe in too deeply; to listen, but not to comprehend fully; to learn, but not to believe in our hearts; to understand, but not to conceive of more; to turn our consciousness inward, but not to examine consciousness itself. We were suppose to know without thinking.

We long to feel like the fascinated, wide-eyed child in a storm that does not yet know or understand at what she is looking. Deafening thunderclaps drown out the silence in our souls. Brilliant, piercing flashing of wild blinding light illuminates our small world. An untamed wind in its cruel dance of power rattles all that stands up to it. Yet, we long for the fresh, crisp smell of the air, clean, renewed, revitalized, and reborn in the aftermath of the storm. It is that sense of sheer beautiful magic – that innocence and beauty – that begs to be spoken or written.

This is the truth which unites us, sparks within us a beauty that is eternal and unlimited by even birth and death. It is the way to knowing and beholding the eternal, indestructible, essential center of our being. It is the truth which we have sought lifetime after lifetime.

Now we are told to define truth.

Truth is not what they taught you in school. Truth is not what your parents taught you growing up. Truth is not religious dogma derived from hypocrisy, myth, fear, or shattered dreams. Truth cannot be found in a book that you have been told to read. Math and Science have struggled to define truth, but cannot because they are not in and of themselves truth – they cannot define a soul . . . where it comes from, how it works, or its purpose for being.Truth is an essence of life . . . right here, right now. It is an understanding that you reach on a deeply personal level. It transcends reason, logic, and even common sense. It is an overwhelming surge of emotion that bubbles up uncontrollably from the depths of your soul to cause you to be exuberant or sad, strong or weak, bold or trembling. It compels you to softly caress another, share a quiet thought, or share the experience that made you stronger.

So, where do we find this truth that is inside each of us? Many people find, define, and share this truth through the written word. E. A. Robinson once said, “[It is a] language that tells us, through a more or less emotional reaction, something that can not be said.” Children know this truth. This is why they want to hear their favorite bedtime stories over and over again.

I find this truth through writing. This is how my soul expresses my deepest secrets and wildest desires. It is a consequence of my inability to keep contained the beauty and, at times, the horror that my soul sees and touches. It encompasses a great many emotions, feelings, and desires that can run throughout the great length of the spectrum. For the writer, it is a catharsis to one’s ailing heart as much as it can be a conduit between two otherwise perfect strangers. Writing can pin down a dream, capture a moment or a memory, or sort through feelings and emotions. The words tell you what you didn’t know that you knew or that which you didn’t really want to know. It is pure energy – a catalyst – as reader takes that little something special with them when the writing is over.

So, back to the question . . . what is truth? It is what defines the soul. I came across a poem some thirty-odd years ago by Dale Wimbrow. When you want to know what truth is, when you want to know how to define your soul, and when you want to see what really matters most, just remember these words . . .

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what THAT man has to say.
For it isn’t your father or mother or wife
Whose judgement upon you must pass;
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

Dale Wimbrow

The Anatomy of Wine

The Anatomy of Wine

Wine has an anatomy. Yep, it does. Its effects are a cleverly disguised system just like the skeletal and muscular system of humans, but we know it’s there. Sometimes our friends can see it before we can. Often those friends take great delight in pointing it out to those of us that cannot see it. Yes, it is those friends that because we love them, we allow them to live thinking that they know something that we do not.

Wine has a very carefully structured algorithm. Each new formulation relies on the previous layer to sustain its very existence.

Layer 1 – Glass 1
The cold liquid oozes so gently down the throat. Each deliberate sip is savored, enjoyed, and relished. It warms, delights, and entices the drinker. Slowly, the person begins to relax, allowing the wine to disperse. It continues to warm and calm. It is a pleasant feeling – like lying on a carpet of newly mown grass in the warmth of a spring morning watching pure white clouds float lazily by. All is right in the world. Nothing will ever be wrong again. It’s pure liquid gold.

Layer 2 – Glass 2
While swallowing the chilled contents, a person can become easily amused at the number of fingerprints and lip prints left on the outside of the glass. She is warmed all over by its robust flavor and begins removing her socks and shoes in the hopes of cooling herself down a bit. When that doesn’t work, she resorts to rapidly waving her hand in front of her face that is now flushed and puffy. It’s amazing at what interesting thoughts one can have in this state. Of course, with every thought comes the need to share it out loud with those who really don’t care.

Layer 3 – Glass 3
The glass of white stuff is gone in 3 easy gulps. There is no feeling in her nose or her upper lip. Her face is beet red and her eyes are starting to glass over. Standing still is difficult as the room tilts from side to side and no one else can understand her need to make it stop. Walking is awkward. Door jambs come out of nowhere each time she makes a dash to the bathroom. In the bathroom she makes a mental note to put the toilet seat down and to check for toilet paper before getting down to business . . . next time. After she wipes the drips from the floor along her path to where the extra rolls are stored, she washes her hands in the sink. New mental note – put cell phone on the counter before washing hands.

Layer 4 – Glass #? What number is it?
Who’s going to drive to town for another bottle of wine? Where’s her nose? She used to have a nose. Can no one understand the humor in laughing with a mouthful of wine? The distance the wine traveled after leaving her nose MUST be some sort of world record. Let’s measure it.

Layer 5 – Who’s counting anyway?
Was it 5 or 6 glasses? How many glasses can you get out of a liter of wine? Let’s get another one to find out. Who invited all the cute people? How many cute people does it take to make a party? Let’s have a party. Who’s got the wine?

Layer 6 – The Morning After
Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Call the EMTs. Someone took a baseball bat to my head. If anyone ever buys another bottle of that nasty stuff, I’m pouring it down the drain.