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Monday, June 14, 2010

Gemstones for Grumpy

There is something about me that would still find discontent living with a princess and working in a diamond mine.

That and the fact that I’m at the stage of life when my mood jumps from irritable to "dinner party for twelve" crazy and back again without pausing to register a change in barometric pressure, gave my husband the inspiration to buy me a set of hot pink summer lounging pajamas emblazoned with Grumpy the Dwarf the last time he was at Wal-Mart on a quest for the perfect window fan.

Grumpy is staring out from the shirtfront as if someone just lined the bed of his pickup truck with dotted Swiss and edged it in tinsel and pom pom fringe. Imagine that same dwarf with hot flashes, swollen ankles, and hair like raw spaghetti, and you’ll have some idea why the Captain is sending up distress signals.

“Other wives get Victoria’s Secret. I get Wal-Mart separates.” I’m sitting on the deck at Raelynn’s house guzzling lemonade and hatching red blotches. My goal is to join the blotches together to give the impression of a sunburn. There’s no vacation in the checkbook this year and I want people to think I’ve been to the beach.

“At least he paid full price.” Raelynn has a bargain finder instinct that’s better than a Global Positioning System set on Sale. She sometimes gets heartstopper deals at the Good Will store, and one time snatched a formal gown out of the jaws of white trash, but she never goes cut rate on gifts. She says real friends deserve retail price.

I don’t agree. If I thought a rash would get me a sympathy discount, I’d manage a wheat allergy that would wipe out the store. I emptied out a restaurant once, but that turned out to be the flu instead of food poisoning. There’s a fine line between bargain hunting and contagious diseases.

“Full price came to $12.00.” I stretched one leg, pointing my toe to check for progress. Looked like freckles up my shin was the best I could do toward achieving a full body glow. “Plus tax.”

“Didn’t he get you that opal necklace you wanted for your birthday?”

“Yeah,” I peered at a likely spot on my arm, then flicked away a lady bug. “I broke the chain.”

“And the opal earrings to match for your anniversary?”

“The posts hurt my ears. I thought I’d get some on French hooks.”

Raelynn looked at me like I’d just snatched the last Prada bag off the clearance shelf. Men give her presents every week of her life, but she’d trade every trinket for a man who fills her sails like the Captain does mine. “Girl, it might say Grumpy across your chest, but it says Dopey in your eyes.”

I grinned and gathered up my towel, empty glass, and trashy magazines.

“Where you going?” Raelynn raised an eyebrow with an arch that was better manicured than the one in St Louis.

I padded into her empty house to put my glass in the dishwasher.

“Home,” I called back over my shoulder. “To show off how nice Grumpy looks in opals.”

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