Let’s Get Personal

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Today, I drove to the mall to pick up an order I’d placed at a major department store. It was a shop-online-but-pick-up-at-the-store-to-avoid-the-exorbitant-shipping-fees, quick trip. The item I ordered was a personal item. Let’s just leave it at that for the moment.

I really like this mall. It’s close to home so I can make it happen fast. It’s upscale, clean, has all the major stores and a handful of smaller independent shops. Very chic, as malls in the upper Midwest go.

Well, the weather here is like minus-forever-degrees-Fahrenheit and we’ve had so much 2-22-14 walk 056snow, unless you’re driving a Mack truck, you’re driving blind through a tunnel of white… because the snow plows have nowhere to pile the snow. So, we’re like burrowing bunnies, in prohibitively cold weather, with the north wind driving the temperature even lower (I’ll stop now… I kind of like complaining about the weather… wait! Did I mention it is steal-your-breath-beautiful?!)

I’d never ordered online from this store before, so first I had to figure out where in the heck “parcel pickup” was… Turns out, it was in back of the hardware department. This is only funny because hardware is in no way related to the “personal item” I ordered… and the only tool I’ve ever bought in my life is a hammer…

hammerI walked through hardware (feeling no temptation whatever to buy anything :), and into the parcel pick-up area only to find myself standing in a half-sheltered, open area. The wind whistled in, men were lined up five deep, and I realized this is where people come to pick up refrigerators and heavy equipment and 362” TV screens; things of that nature.

This couldn’t be the right place to pick up my “personal item”.

So, I backtracked, happy to step inside out of the wind into the warm, and made my way to grizzled geeserthe tool counter. The clerk was waiting on a guy who’d driven something like 272 miles from the back country. Grizzled hair, long streaky white beard, creased skin, ancient eyes and big as a mountain in his beaver skin coat, I couldn’t possibly guess his age. In no apparent hurry, he engaged the clerk in conversation while he wrote a check (who writes checks anymore?) and then rewrote it because he made an error. And then, I kid you not, had to write it a third time, all the while explaining he’d never gone to school.

I had to kick down my impatience. After all, he’d gotten there first, and there would be no rushing him. He talked about the drive, the cold, his lack of education, and finally as the clerk handed him his receipt, coupons and online survey request (reams and reams of narrow, curling paper) the old man took the receipts in his ham of a fist, stuffed them into his wallet and said, “I’ll just have the wife look at these. She’ll figure it all out.”

Then he turned and looked at me directly for the first time. “You’ve been mighty patient twinkle eyethere, little lady.” He tipped his black and red checkered wool cap and I swear he twinkled. No, I mean I saw his eyes gleam like a Disney character just before he waddled away, bent under the weight of that massive beaver coat.

I asked the clerk where I go to pick up small items. You just know he sent me back to that cold open area… where instead of a clerk, there’s a computer with an extremely loud voice that repeats everything you enter into it.

Seven men were ahead of me. When it was my turn, I entered my information, and took a step back as the computer volume blasted me, repeating the information I’d entered.

Yay, now all seven men knew my name and most of my address… come on store! What are you thinking???!!

Moments later, three clerks appeared on the scene. Two men and a woman, each wearing overhauls, insulated vests, fingerless gloves and back harnesses to help them lift behemoth objects. They looked at the overhead screen display showing all eight of our names in full… (good thing I don’t have paranoia or security concerns…) and then, as if they were a seasoned choir, chorused, “what is your order?”

I tell you, I almost turned and ran.

Seven male customers, two male clerks, and a woman clerk stared at me waiting to hear what I ordered.

I ask you… what was the point of standing out the in the cold and entering my order information into the computer that then announced my name and most of my address out loud to be overheard by anyone in the vicinity, if the computer didn’t know what my order was?

I tried a low tone, hoping to keep my order private. “It’s a personal item.”

The two male clerks looked at each other and tried not to smirk. The woman grinned and said, “Honey, it’s all personal.” She waved the guys off and then asked again, “Okay, what’s the item?”

Seven men leaned forward.

I whispered, “Clothing.”

She rolled her eyes. “Sure honey, but what kind of clothing? We stack the merchandise by like item. Gotta know what I’m looking for.”

By now, I didn’t know whether to laugh or run. Is there no such thing as privacy anymore? It just seemed so ludicrous that I was standing outside, in a heavy equipment area, waiting to pick up a personal clothing item.

I eyed the seven men who had the decency to act like they weren’t listening… um hmmmm… right.

Here’s the thing. I really wanted my personal item, and it’s not always that easy to find, which is why I ordered it online. When I find something that works, something I like—I mean something I really like, then I get that same thing over and over.

Now, if you’ve ever been bra shopping, then you know almost every woman will tell 3 brasyou that finding the right bra is a true challenge. It’s so difficult, Oprah did several television specials about how to find the right bra. So, when you do find the perfect fit, it’s frustratig that so often the manufacturer stops making it by the time you need a new one. This particular bra is perfect. It’s black, low cut, works with most necklines—even the really low ones. Gives me the right amount of lift and I can wear it to work out in, or out to dinner. I LOVE THIS BRA!

So, I gave up all hope of any modicum of privacy and said, “It’s a BRA.”

Seven men plus two male clerks… and every single one of them zeroed in on my order as if I’d said, “Solid gold bricks from Ft. Knox.”

Honestly, lingerie… it’s more powerful than any tool in any hardware section of any store, SupermanXrayLoisTop460and apparently far more fascinating than anything those seven men ordered because as my package was delivered into my hands (plain brown wrapper LOL) all seven of them stared at it as if they were Superman with x-ray vision.

Wishing you soft breezes, unstoppable love, and privacy when you need it!

Love,
Rebecca E. Grant
Love is Unstoppable
www.rebeccaegrant.com

NAKED HOPE: Contemporary Romance
CRADLE OF LIES: Romantic Suspense
LIBERTY STARR: Contemporary Cowboy Romance
ARIANA SINGS: One Woman’s Journey to Find Her Voice nonfiction, spirituality

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Grateful

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GRATEFUL

Every year in the middle of winter, my car battery decides to take a vacation. Now really…. I hate to think that a car battery is smarter than I am… Or that it is responsible for delivering sage (if subliminal) advice […take a vacation…] … But as the infamous they say, “truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.”

So, the weather here is unspeakably cold. I live in the upper fake winterMidwest… Minnesota, to be precise… And for the last 20 years, our winters have been relatively mild… Mild that is, compared to what they had been for the past 100 years, (or however long historians have been tracking weather). And so I fell in love with winter and smiled tolerantly at people who thought of Minnesota winters as prohibitive…

Until three years ago.

Now, we’ve had three years in a row with truly wretched weather that reminds me of my childhood, with snowfalls that never seem to end, snow drifts so high, if you fall into one, it’s like falling into a grain elevator… you’ll never get out… And thirty days or more where the temperature never gets above (or sometimes even close to) zero F. Then maybe a day or two where we’ll see 7F or even 13F… before the temp nosedives back down to subzero for another 28-30 days.

No joke. (Although the photo above IS a fake… it’s not QUITE that bad here.)

It’s February 7th. We have at least two more solid months of this.

In twenty years’ time, I’d forgotten how bitterly cold minus forever (as I’ve been calling the temperature, lately) is… And how limiting.

My gym seriously had to hire a parking lot attendant… Because the only way to get exercise is to “gym it”. No one is hardy enough to grin and bear exercising/playing outdoors. The traffic to the gym exceeds capacity… 😦

Okay, enough explanation that sounds suspiciously like whining…

So this morning, my car battery made that sickening sound just before everything goes ker-plunk… dead… Right?

Got a jump…

Drove the four miles to the Honda dealer… Yep, it’s that close 🙂

Car guy smiles broadly at me, and then frowns into his computer screen…

“Young Lady (bless him for that) did you know this is the third February in a row that you’ve come in here with the same issue… And every time, we replace your battery for free because it’s under warranty.. Which starts the warranty period over…”

He raised an eyebrow at me.

That’s right… HE (actually) RAISED AN EYEBROW AT ME!

I couldn’t help it… the idea of battery police just set me off. I started to laugh.

It rumbled up from my toes, passed through my ankles, my calves, rolled around in my knees for just a second or two and then continued up, tickling my belly, my throat… until it would not be denied.

“You got me,” I said, trying to catch my breath. “You’ve outed me and my diabolical battery scheme. Every year I put myself through the inconvenience of draining my battery and begging for a jump on the coldest day of the year so far… just so I can get a new one. Because that is so much easier than paying $90 at the appropriate time… before it dies on me, possibly leaving me stranded… In minus forever degrees.”

Really, the words slid out before I knew what I was saying.

Instantly I felt bad. I never want to be caustic and/or sarcastic (in this case it was definitely AND) just because it think someone is being unbelievably… obtuse. Note: I’m frequently obtuse 🙂

He hesitated.

I felt WORSE!

But then he broke into another grin—bigger than the one when he first greeted me, and said, “well, if it means we get to see you, by all means, keep it up.” Yep… he winked at me. Twice, just in case I didn’t catch it the first time.

I blushed, yep… I did. Felt the flush all the way up from my toes.

So now, here I am, waiting while they replace my battery… And restart the warranty.

I have a Honda Accord. The sporty model. I love it—mostly because it’s fast. But this car (except for the battery in the dead of winter once a year) is so dependable, I never have to bring it in for anything.

Grateful.

Yep.

I am so grateful for this car.

Did I remember that when I was having to beg for a jump?

Um… no.

I guess that’s something my brand new battery-under-warranty and I can work on.

Naked Hope on K-dart's hutchPS: a dear, dear friend of mine who has an amazingly playful spirit, sent me this photo as a way of telling me she’d bought my book, NAKED HOPE. Look at where she’s placed it! On her dust-free, beloved hutch. (Dust-free? Does anyone have a dust-free hutch?)

Just look at her fabulous sense of color!! She’s a talented artist and I think her artist’s eye is so apparent in this photo. And my book looks pretty darn good too, yes ? 🙂

How do you spell g-r-a-t-e-f-u-l? This photo says it all.

So to all of you… thank you!

Wishing you unstoppable love and soft breezes,

Rebecca E. Grant
Love is Unstoppable
http://www.rebeccaegrant.com

NAKED HOPE: Contemporary Romance
CRADLE OF LIES: Romantic Suspense
LIBERTY STARR: Contemporary Cowboy Romance
ARIANA SINGS: One Woman’s Journey to Find Her Voice nonfiction, spirituality

CRADLE OF LIES releases in 20 days!

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It’s a thrill to announce that CRADLE OF LIES, my contemporary cowboy romantic suspense releases April 1!

Stay tuned for information about giveaways, reviews, interviews and guest bloggers. Meanwhile, enjoy the fabulous cover.

Want a sneak preview? Here’s a link to the first chapter. Or visit my website.

Forced to spend the first sixteen years of his life witnessing some of the most epic murders ever committed, what kind of a life can Cord hope for?

cradleoflies.final.lacey (2)When Cord Archer first meets Mattie Rayne, her incandescent smile heats him like the summer sun, bleaching him clean. Nothing else matters except making her his. Before he can do that, his conscience compels him to explain why he entered an institution at age sixteen and spent five years learning to read, write and function in mainstream society.

Upon learning that Cord is the son of a notorious psychopathic serial-killer, Mattie realizes what a monumental effort it took for him to survive, much less make it all the way back from crazy. Knowing this only makes her love him more.

Just when it would seem Cord is finally about to know love, two phenomenally staggering events irrevocably change the course of his life. First, a sociopath becomes fixated on him. Next, his daddy escapes from prison with the sole intent of tracking him down.

Now, anyone in Cord’s life is at risk because the only thing deadlier than a psychopath is the random unpredictability of a sociopath. God help the man who has to contend with both.

Available April 1 through Red Sage Publications or your favorite online bookseller.

www.rebeccaegrant.com