Overheard In January 2015


I was at Costco last week. It seems that I am always there even though I only shop there once or twice a month. I overheard the following and could not help but write it down:

“Every day when I get home I take the garbage out. But now, that is impossible. What will happen to the garbage?”

Now I want to know. What will happen to the garbage?


When my husband and I have a date night planned we will eat very inexpensive lunches together all week so that we can really splurge on our date night. It is actually fun. He makes the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We also like to eat at a certain fast food restaurant where we can get a Iarge unsweetened iced tea for a $1. I own stock in that fast food restaurant so I do not think it is appropriate to mention it here. Anyway my husband was running incredibly late for work after we stopped at the joint for lunch and I noticed after he went to work that he had left his iced tea on the night stand and I knew he would be so sad when he realized it.

In fact, an hour later he got to work and I received the following text:


Later that night he was still lamenting his loss and we had the following conversation:

“I didn’t drink my iced tea in unison,” I told him.

“You mean in solidarity,” he corrected.

“No. I mean in unison,” I stubbornly insisted.

“You can’t not do something in unison. You have to be doing something to do it in unison,” he was getting frustrated.

“I was doing something at the same time as you. Not drinking an iced tea… In unison,” I said.

“You can’t say that,” he laughed.

“I just did.”


I was in the alcohol section of the grocery store. A little girl of about four years old was skipping down the aisle behind her mother.

“Today is the funnest day!” She giggled.

“I thought you said Christmas was the funnest day,” the mom said.

“Well… every new day is fun,” the little girl said in a flabbergasted way. I wish I had that little girl’s spirit.


I was at a little grocery store. I was buying milk.

The young cashier held up the milk carton and laughed. He said, “I had a dream last night that I was craving milk. In my dream I started chugging it from the carton and it started spilling everywhere. And then I woke up.”

“Did you ever get any milk?”

“Oh yeah. I got up in the middle of the night and drank some. It was so good.”


My son said to me earlier this week, “Since there is extra small and extra large is there extra medium?”

“No,” I told him. “I never thought of that. It would be a good idea.”

“Yes. But since it could go either way there should be a small S on one side of the M and a small L on the other side and whichever it is should be in italics.” I think he might be on to something. I would love that.


I heard a preteen girl say to her father in a haughty voice, “Well then, you don’t sleep with the dead dog.”

And he did not correct her!

And now I want to know about the dead dog. And the bed.


I was at a park and I overheard a little girl say to her father, “Papa, I need you to smell something.”

He ignored her.

“Come on. I dare you. I dare you.”

Finally, he was worn down. He smelled what she was taunting him with. It was her hoodie. He looked up at her in confusion after smelling it.

She was waiting for that reaction. “Ha ha! It doesn’t smell like anything!”

I was amazed the dad actually smelled the hoodie. Any time anyone asks me to smell anything, I hold my breath and pretend to smell their item. You never know. Someone might be sleeping with their dead dog. Or not taking out the trash. Or drinking a gluttonous amount of milk. The possibilities make me shudder. Did you overhear anything good this month? Please share!

Oh Grandma


It has now been two years since my grandmother’s passing. I was not sure that I would be writing a post about her today, but then I pictured my mother on this day. Having woken up with a heart so still and so swollen with anguish, what else could I write about but her?

The very last time I saw my grandmother, I knew it would be the last time. There was something in her aura. Or the air. Or perhaps it was just a foreboding one feels when they are around an elderly relative. Either way, I tried to pepper her with questions I had been wanting to know all of these years. To get answers in the little time that we had together.

And I thought I would retain that conversation forever. I never ever forget a conversation. Where I put the checkbook, yes. A friend’s birthday, sigh. But a conversation is burned forever into my memory. Which makes it all the more tragic and suspicious to admit that my last conversation with my grandmother is becoming fuzzy. Blurring away with tears and time and perhaps grief is smothering its edges to make the pain less prominently sharp.

Whatever the reason, I wanted to recount some of those things we spoke about on that last day. Not all of her words, but I wanted to share the wisdom of some of her responses to me. The ones I have kept inside until now. Slumbering under a blanket of denial…

When I asked her about a particular person and whether she had spoken to that person in a while, she sighed but very strongly stated, “I don’t have time for people like that.” Honestly, this spoke to my heart. After her death that year I reevaluated my life and my own relationships.

My grandmother always ordered dessert at a restaurant. Always. Sometimes before the meal. Dessert was Grandma. Grandma was dessert. And on that last day when she turned it down after lunch, I knew something was wrong. The turned down dessert caused my eyes to widen and my pulse to beat faster. I ordered it anyway and insisted she have a bite. She ate it without her usual gumption. Grandma’s personality was the extras. She was over the top. Or the top. She was the cherry. The whipped cream. The hot fudge. Her turning down dessert felt like the universe had flipped upside down. And I knew in that moment of vanilla sorrow that the pain was just beginning.

But perhaps the hardest thing for me to recall is when she wearily and out of the blue said, “You know, you might feel sorry for me because I am old, but I feel sorry for you. For all of the things you are going to have to go through. For all of the things you will have to see and face and endure.”

I think about what she said in that moment a lot.

A lot.

For in her words was a truth that is rarely spoken.

By the time a person reaches old age, they have lost so much. She, herself, lost her husband while she was fairly young. She lost her oldest son a few years before she passed away. So much was taken away from her. The thought of having to suffer through what she did makes me swallow giant tears of dread and fear in the back of my throat.

Two months later I would experience the loss of her. Adding it to my small dam of loss that one builds around their life’s river trying to fabricate their lake of happiness in their soul. The pain was great, but I know there will be more to come. So very much more pain. Is it something to feel sorry for? That is the question. The dangerous and depressing quicksand of pondering too deeply. Of course it is, but I hope there is light to look forward to, too.

I think back on that last day with my grandmother. Of her words. The heavy sorrowful words of wisdom. And it makes my heart sink with the weight of hopelessness. But then, on the edge of that foggy memory, a ray of sunlight appears. And with it comes the trinkling sound of my grandmother’s quick laughter. It cuts through the clouds of gloom with the lightning crackle of humor.

And I begin to remember one more thing about that day.

The shadow of the memory is so faint that only the outline of it appears in my mind. My husband driving my grandmother and myself through our small town, the car hitting a piece of debris in the road. My husband turning to Grandma and apologetically stating, “Sorry for the bump.”

My grandma quickly chortled one of her witty followups, “Did you say hump or bump?”

To which I blushed and laughed.

Our laughter blurred together filling the car with the bells of joy. When it became quiet again, she mischievously continued, “Just making sure you weren’t making me an offer.”

And we laughed some more.

“Oh Grandma,” I gleefully murmured.

Oh… Grandma.

Overheard In November 2014


I was at the grocery store picking up my weekly stash. And by stash I mean shaved lunch meats. I have now taken to spoiling the kids with shaved ham and turkey from the deli and no sandwich can now be made with anything else. I don’t blame them. Shaved meat is the best.

Where was I?

Oh, yes. Well, there was a man in front of me waiting for his sliced cheeses and it was a few days after Halloween. Next to him was another woman also in front of me (apparently I am slow on the draw) who was also waiting for some deli items. In her cart, a three year old little girl anxiously twisted in the uncomfortable metal seat.

The man smiled at her. “I bet I know what you were for Halloween,” he proclaimed.

The little girl shyly ducked her head.

“Were you Elsa?”

The little girl would not look up. Her mother answered for her. “Yes! She was!”

“I thought so,” said the man. “That is who my daughter was for Halloween, too.”

The woman working behind the counter at the deli piped up, “My granddaughter was Elsa, too.”

The man waited for the mother and daughter to leave before he told the woman the following story:

“My brother and his neighbors live on a cul-de-sac that gets tons of trick or treaters. They decided to play a drinking game. Every time they would see an Elsa, they would take a drink. He told me they had to quit after fifteen minutes because they were getting so drunk. Everyone was dressed up as Elsa.”

And now I want Halloween to happen all over again so I can play this game..


I was at the grocery store on a different day. Pretty much, if I am not at home, I am either waiting for the kids somewhere or at the grocery store. I only overheard one sentence of a conversation but it was very intriguing:

“Timothy asked me to pour his ashes in the propane tank.”


My husband and I were walking up to our favorite Cuban restaurant, outside an elderly couple was having a mild argument as they sat and sipped their coffee.

“You are always rewarding her bad behavior,” the woman said as her voice rose a little higher.

I thought in my head at that moment, I really, really did: So does my husband.

And right then, my husband turned to me and said, “sounds like me with you.”

We laughed over that and then went to eat breakfast.

Sometimes the truth doesn’t hurt.


I was at the grocery store. Again. Always.

I was loading my groceries onto the conveyor belt. An old woman in her mid-to-late eighties was ahead of me in line. Ninny Threadgoode could have been her twin. She was a frail little thing dressed in a gorgeous embroidered sweater (which I later complimented her on).

She peered over at me and asked, “Is that a baby in your cart?”

I looked to see what she could be talking about. It was my purse.

I smiled at her and said, “No. It is just my gigantic purse.”

She made a comment about needing to get her eyes checked.

On her side of the conveyor belt, loose fruits and vegetables rolled along with the movement. I had never seen anyone not put their fruits and vegetables in separate bags. She noticed me staring at her fruit.

“I have to buy organic,” she said. “It is the only thing that sits right with me. I always have been allergic to California.”

I liked that last line. I liked what she did next even better. Her and the checker were obviously acquainted from previous purchases. They began talking about how their lives were going. She told him that she was still dancing. And then she shuffled her feet and twirled her arms in a quick little jingle of movements. She swayed in place when she was done and I worried she might topple over, but she just grinned widely said good bye to all and made her merry way out of the store. I hope to be exactly like her, not when I am older, but right now.


“I swear I saw a black widow in my room the other night,” a young girl said to her grandparents over her panini.

She continued, “but then I realized it was just a daddy long legs.”

The grandfather scoffed, “They don’t look anything alike.”

“Yea. I know. Black Widows are thicker.”

“Did I ever tell you about the time I went with Steve over to Norman’s house?” The grandfather asked.

“Well, we were all sitting around the table watching Norman cook. He was going all out. And we were just watching. Just then Steve jabbed me and pointed to the curtains above Norman’s head. There, crawling down the curtain, was the biggest spider I had ever seen. It was one of those tarantulas. Well, neither one of us wanted to tell Norman. We didn’t want him feeling bad since he was cooking such a large meal. So, we just watched the spider climbing down the curtain getting closer and closer to Norman’s head.”

Here is where I need to pause this story. Aaaarrrrggghhhhhh! What? What etiquette book did they get that rule from? Please, if I am ever cooking a meal and a tarantula is about to crawl on.to.my.head., you may interrupt my cooking to let me know. I will not mind. I promise. This is a new edit to the etiquette book I am sure everyone will concur with.

Let’s continue:

“Norman’s wife noticed Steve and I just staring with our mouths open at the curtain. When she looked up, she saw the spider and started laughing. ‘Oh, that’s just Henry,’ she said. ‘He’s our pet. We let him loose around the house and he takes care of all of the flies.’ Can you believe that? They just had a pet tarantula wandering their house. I actually held him once. He was very tame. He didn’t even bite.”

Did you overhear anything good in November? Do you have a pet spider? Would you tell someone if a giant spider was about to crawl onto their head?

If you missed last month’s “Overheard In”, you can find it here.

Overheard in August 2014

I am an eavesdropper. A shusher of current company. A nosey woman who wants to know about every single character in the world or at least the interesting things that they say. But I do not want them to tell me. I want to hear their world myself. Even a secret snippet of it:


I was out shopping and I got to talking with a dressing room attendant. He was a smiling, lanky young man with a cheerful soul so often found mixed with the mischievous. His spirit animal would have been a monkey and I happily watched him working for a bit. He was in high school. I did not go to a high school that contained a lot of vanity. No “Heathers” or “Mean Girls” scenarios. Just down to Earth kids, so when I sat there and witnessed this exchange I was both equal parts intrigued and equal parts sad:

A young man came to the dressing room with a singular top to try on. He had a stiff stocky build and shaggy hair. His spirit animal on first glance would be an ox. However, he had an air of disdain radiating from his curled lip not typically found in that animal.

“Do you want to try that on?” Chirped the friendly young man.

The ox nodded once.

“Okay! Hey! Do you go to So and So High School?” Questioned the nice young man.

Another reluctant nod.

“I thought so! You hang out with Queen A and King B, right?”

This time the nod was accompanied by a tight lip, followed by a sneer. This was getting much too personal for the ox. He didn’t like the monkey being that familiar with him.

The monkey could sense the change, but did not alter his attitude. “Okay! Well, just let me know if you need anything.”

I did not see the stiff and popular young man leave, I only witnessed the nice young man rehanging up the top and putting it away. It made me really question, what makes someone popular? Why is it sometimes not the right person? And would I ever want to go back to high school? The answer to the first two questions are unknown to me, but the last question, I know the answer to and it is a definitive shaking of my head.


We are not done with the dressing room attendant. Right now he is our young hero. Sweet and optimistic. I wonder how you will feel about him as we watch him a bit longer:

The young man turned to my son, “What school are you going to? Are you back to school shopping?”

When my son told him the name of the middle school and that, yes, he was back to school shopping, the boy said, “I have not started shopping. I get my first paycheck this Friday. I am so excited!” And “I went to that school! What teachers did you get?”

I congratulated the happy boy on his first job and my son rattled off the two names of his main teachers.

The boy said, “Oh! I think I had Mrs. Teacher. Is she really old?”

I started to respond, “no,” but then caught myself and laughed, “Well, no, she is not old, but she might be to you. She is in her mid-forties.”

The young man chucked, “Yea, that is getting up there. Forty is definitely getting up there,” he nonchalantly stated to the almost forty year old mom.

“But I am only sixteen, so anything over thirty is old to me.”

Did you know monkeys threw daggers?

Yea, me neither. But they do. Right to your heart. Made of funny words, of course. And only at people over thirty.


Do you remember Predict-A-Pen? Well, when my son had his birthday party to celebrate turning eleven, he had a few friends over. One of the friends found my Predict-A-Pen (and my social security number, the break-up letter from my fourteen year old boyfriend, my diamond earring I lost ten years ago and my brain). I overheard him asking it a few questions:

“Will we meet any foxy ladies in junior high school?”

Not for a million dollars.

“Will we meet any foxy blondes?”

If you’re lucky.

“Will we meet any foxy brunettes?”

Dude. No way.

“Will any of us marry a foxy lady?”

It’s unclear. Ask again.


I love Predict-A-Pen.


I was at the local grocery store checking out with my staples to make dinner when the young cashier looked at me and smiled. “You look like Taylor Dfvrvsasuioooo,” she said. Well, she did not really say that last name, but I could not hear what she said or who she thought I looked like.

As the line was long, I just said, “thank you.”

Then she tried to reassure me, “Only you look better, because you are not scowling.”

I again thanked her, but I was beginning to wonder if she was really giving me a compliment.

I left the grocery store and went home. I approached my family sitting at the breakfast table. “A girl at the grocery store said I looked like someone only not scowling. Who could that be?”

My husband and daughter began to ponder the question. Who do I look like, only not scowling? My son looked me up and down, his forehead furrowed with thought, then he beamed as the answer came to him, “I know! Professor McGonagall!”

The kid might want to practice his compliments if he wants to meet any foxy ladies in the future.

*I think the girl must have said Taylor Momsen, although it could have been Professor McGonagall, my hearing might be going and my wand was sticking out of my purse.


On Monday, I was at a local restaurant waiting for my to-go lunch order. I overheard a manager speaking to an employee as they huddled together over a packet of rumpled papers.

“This new menu goes up on Wednesday.”

The manager gave the papers over to the employee and started to walk away. “I will just look them over on Wednesday,” he stated.

The employee looked up, “So it will be fresh in your mind?”

The manager chuckled, “No. I am just hoping I will be less drunk on Wednesday than I am today.”

“Is it left over from Friday?” the employee, who was working on Monday, asked.

The manager shook his head, no. “Every day is Friday to me,” he responded.

If you went into that restaurant on Wednesday to eat off of that new menu and your order was messed up… It is because it was Friday.

Have you overheard anything good this month? Anything worth sharing?

*If you missed it, here is a link to last month’s Overheard in July 2014.