Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 31, 2012

CATHIE SHAFFER: Hitting the highlights

Cathie Shaffer
The Independent

ASHLAND — Impossible as it seems, another Christmas has come and gone and a new year is here. Now I’m not one for those annual family newsletters, but I do like to keep my friends and relatives enlightened as to the high points of my existence. So:

Adopting a new kitten as company for the older cat was a great idea. Letting the grandgirl who came to stay bring in a second kitten might not have been such a good one, especially since the babies are inseparable — and what one doesn’t think of, the other one does, and my dog Maggie uses her herding instincts to try to keep them in control.

Yes, I now know the true meaning of the word “bedlam.”

Shortly after that I finally gave up on my 1996 Lumina — nicknamed Old Blue — and traded it in on another blue Chevy which has been nicknamed Big Blue. Old Blue served well, but after replacing the engine, I wasn’t about to replace the transmission on a 16-year-old car.

However, my beloved beige sedan still lives. It needs a little TLC but I’ve handed it over to my oldest grandgirl for basic transportation. It seems only fitting since they both turned 18 this year.

Much to my daughter’s dismay, I got rid of the old bathroom scales. A year or two ago, I bought one of those fancy digital ones that keeps track of your weight and shows fat percentage in a replacement situation. The old scales were highly unreliable, showing your weight as 5 to 7 pounds less than it was.

Which was why it was my daughter’s delight. Every time she needed a little emotional nourishing, she’d step on that scales and decide things weren’t so bad after all.

Yeah, I know, I’m a horrible mother.

I have proudly continued the family tradition of never getting gifts shipped on time. I mention this because tonight after work, I’m packing up the gifts to go to my “up north” family and sending them. I’m blaming the delay on basically being housebound after surgery earlier this month, but they’ll know better. They have had umpty years of experience with me, remember.

Since the grandgirl moved in, my house is cleaner. The kitchen is swept and neat, the dishes are always done – and I can’t find anything anymore. Well, except the dishes that drift over from my daughter’s next door. And quit honestly, I kind like eating my cereal out of a different bowl once in a while, so it’s all okay.

Did I mention that my new car has remote start? That’s right. This detester of cold weather can sit in her house, start the engine on Big Blue and get into a warm car. Which makes me marvel once again at modern engineering which not only keeps me from having to freeze on the first 10 minutes of my drive but also lets me listen to six CDs in rotation and charge my cell phone as I go.

I did a little traveling during the past 12 months. One of the memorable trips was to visit my niece in Louisiana. Now I’m not saying I was tired at two in the morning, but if middle grandgirl,my traveling companion, hadn’t yelled “Deer!”, the nice rental car would have had a Bambi’s mom size dent.

Yeah, I know ... only I could miss seeing a full-grown deer on a deserted Louisiana back road.

I have one more holiday event to host and then it’s time to take down the tree and all the decorations. I’ve already developed a system for getting done quickly: I’m going to take the dog for a long ride, let the cats go wild and hope the grandgirl gets home before I do so her OCD-type behavior kicks it and it’s all cleaned up and gone before I roll back into the driveway.