My vehicle was packed and ready to go one day before a trip to Florida to visit Mom. The next morning at precisely 5 AM, I stepped onto the front deck and locked the door behind me. It was 25 degrees and much too cold to think about anything else other than cranking up the Ford Explorer and turning on the heater.
But had I shut off the coffee pot? And where was my faithful morning cup of coffee? Back inside again, where a full cup steeped beside a coffee pot that — yes, had been turned off.
Outside, a second time. Locked the door. As the screen slammed shut I remembered the kitchen’s full trash bag. Certainly did NOT want to leave THAT festering for several weeks while I played in Florida. I set the steaming coffee cup on the hand rail and once again unlocked the door. Quickly now, I yanked the handle-tied trash bag out of the trash bin. Halfway across the kitchen I noticed dark goop dripping on the floor from a torn corner of the bag. Gravity always seems to do that to the yuckiest contents of a trash bag. Smelled like canned sardine juice and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce. I grabbed a second trash bag and my all-in-one mop. Then I sealed the old bag in the new one with a loose knot and speed-mopped the floor.
I locked the front door for a third time and retrieved my coffee cup from the hand rail. It was stone cold. Okay, I thought. Settle down. I was getting nowhere. I set the trash bag-inabag down and unlocked the door, carefully carrying the coffee cup across the wet floor. I nuked the coffee in the microwave on high for 1 minute.
Outside once again, locking the door behind me. I actually made it to my Ford Explorer with the trash bag and very hot cup of coffee, managing to open the door without spilling anything. In the predawn, the driver side door light was comforting as I tossed the trash bag on the roof and climbed in. I placed the coffee cup in a travel cup holder.
Chug, chug, chug, RRRRRrrrrrrr. The engine started.
Ah, there’s nothing quite like a responsive vehicle in sub-freezing weather an hour before sunrise. But — had I forgotten to turn on the dishwasher? I already knew the answer. I turned off the ignition.
Back inside again. A couple of pushed buttons later, the dishwasher surged to life for a second or two before I yanked open the door and stuck in the coffee pot and basket as an afterthought. Good thinking. Clean dishes would await me when I returned home from my vacation.
All was right with the world. No matter what else. I locked the front door for the final time. Look out Florida, here I come!
In the driver’s seat again. The engine started immediately, purring like the Cheshire Cat sucking on its hookah. I slipped the transmission into drive and cruised slowly up the gravel driveway, sipping my first cup of coffee. It was ice cold. Again. No matter. Still tasted good. I parked next to the trash cans at the top of the hill and stepped out of the cab, reaching towards the roof rack. The kitchen trash bag was gone, having fallen off the roof somewhere along the private gravel drive. For the second time I steered the Ford down the pitch black driveway. Dimly at first, the 13-gallon white trash bag took shape in my headlights. Out of the truck. Into the truck, this time placing the trash bag in the passenger seat. Started around the circular driveway near the front door porch ramp. Why the hell not? I turned off the engine, grabbed the keys and my cold coffee, rushed back inside and nuked it for another minute. Heading back out again up the gravel driveway. The digital dash clock read 6:02 AM.
One hour into my trip and I hadn’t even cleared my driveway!
I laughed, tossing the trash in a garbage can at the top of the hill just as the first wash of dawn silhouetted an eastern stand of shivering pines. I climbed back in the truck and quietly sipped my hot coffee. Look out Florida, here I come — AGAIN! One hundred miles south I wondered if I had turned off my computer. Didn’t matter. And what was that nasty odor?
Geeze — canned sardine juice and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce.