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My Secret Talent

Tomorrow I start my new job.  I spent the day traveling across the country, so I could be where I need to be first thing tomorrow morning.

I’ve had a few people comment that I don’t seem very excited.

It’s true, I’m not.  I’m not unexcited (that’s not a word, is it?).  I’m just kinda… well, okay, let’s see where this is going.

I suppose part of my apparent apathy can be explained by the fact that I pretty much know what to expect.  The work itself is not going to be all that much different.

Another big factor is the fact that I left a good job, where I was reasonably happy.  This is the first time I’ve made a job change when it wasn’t blatantly obvious that the change was going to be better for me.

I remember when I was preparing myself for my second interview at my last job.  Tarzan and I had not been married very long.  I commented to him that “I really want this job.”

He responded that he’d never heard me say that about a job before.

It’s true, I’ve changed jobs… kinda a lot?  In the four years we’d been together up until that time,  I’d changed jobs twice, which is a lot by most people’s standards, including my own.  I remember him being worried that I had changed jobs too often when I was interviewing for that job.  I wasn’t the least bit concerned.  I was certain I was doing the right thing that time.  And I was right.

This time just isn’t so cut and dry.  I know I’ll come out okay.  I expect it to be better than just “okay”.  I just gotta warm up to everything.

I’ve tried to figure out what my dream job would be.  In my wildest dreams (well, with the caveat that in my wildest dreams, my dream job is an actual job, and not something like “professional cookie dough taster”) maybe it would be cool to be a private investigator?  Catch cheating husbands (and wives) kind of stuff.  I can’t really come up with anything that’s feasible to switch to, not this late and life, and not while paying the mortgage.

But I do have a secret talent.  I really REALLY kick ass at crossword puzzles.

Well, you know.  The ones in the magazine racks at the checkout line.  The ones labeled “EZ”, “FUN” and “BIG PRINT”.  Not, like, The New York Times ones.

The lady next to me on my second flight had a book of EZ CROSSWORDS.  It was painful to me to see that she had incorrectly answered a clue in the upper right corner, and that had caused her to take a few other clues the wrong direction.  It was mucking up her whole puzzle.

Now, some people like help with crossword puzzles and some people do not.  (I learned this the hard way.) So, I thought I’d ease into it by asking innocently,  “Do you… have any particular method to working on crossword puzzles?”

“Oh, no, not really.  I just start out with the ones I know and kind of go from there.”

“Ah, I see.  I used to do a lot of crossword puzzles when I was a kid.”

“Really?”  this perked her interest, “I haven’t ever seen a child do a puzzle like this.  How wonderful!  I used to be a teacher!  How old were you when you starting doing them?”

I didn’t know.  All I know is I know all the answers in those EZ books.  I once took one to one of Tarzan’s family get togethers, and you would have thought I was doing parlor tricks… the Daltons were quite impressed.

I pointed to the offending answer in her puzzle, “I think that should be ALEE.”

She screwed her face up.  I don’t think she believed me, but she erased her wrong answer.  “How would you spell that?”

I told her.

“What’s that even mean?” she referred back to the clue:  toward shelter.

“It’s some nautical term,” I told her.

She finished that corner of the puzzle.  “Do you know this one?”

She pointed to the clue:  a man in a cast.

“I think it’s ACTOR.”

She slapped her forehead, “I was thinking like, a leg in a cast!”

I nodded, “It’s all in how you look at it.”

“You’re really smart!”

So.  I wonder how you get going in a career solving crossword puzzles?  Professionally.  Only the EZ ones.  The others are above my pay grade, I’m sure.

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Addicted To A Real Bad Thing

I need caffeine in the morning.  Yes, I know no one “needs” caffeine.  I know I *can* do without it.  But I don’t wanna.

Years ago, when I was about 50 pounds heavier, I would get up in the middle of the night, go to the refrigerator, and chug a cold can of Coca-Cola, and go right back to bed.  I suppose it wasn’t really the caffeine I was after, but rather the sugar.  I don’t know how many I would drink on an average day back then, but if I had to guess I think maybe 3-4.  Compared to some people’s soda addictions, I guess that wasn’t terrible.

Over the years, I’ve cut way back.  But I’ve never been able to completely kick the soda-in-the-morning habit.  When Rubies and I were setting up our roommate agreement, I’m pretty sure the first rule was:  Don’t drink the last cold Coke.  (Also, don’t let us run out of toilet paper.)

Sometime in 2014, I came across the Mountain Dew Kickstart line of soda.  I can’t remember what flavor anymore, but it was before they introduced my beloved Limeade. It may have been orange, but that seems wrong, because generally, I hate all things flavored orange (that’s another story, related to years of having to swallow many children’s aspirin on a daily basis most of my childhood).  Maybe it was fruit punch, but I’ve never been a huge fan of that either (I think they put orange flavoring in fruit punch… ick.)

I liked it, though, because it didn’t have the aftertaste I usually noticed in artificially sweetened beverages, and a 16-ounce can only had 80 calories.  I didn’t like it as much as Coke, but it worked in a pinch.  I would grab one now and then when I was at a gas station, but I wasn’t going out of my way to get them.

Then one morning, I noticed a new flavor!  Limeade.  Prior to this, I was neutral to Mountain Dew.  I liked it fine, I might have one if it was offered or if nothing else was available, but it certainly wasn’t my go-to.  But I thought I might like it better than whatever flavor I’d been drinking up to this point.

I was addicted within weeks.  And they were expensive!  And you couldn’t buy them by the carton, only individually – even at Wal-Mart!  They were kind of a pain in the ass to come by, actually.

Certain gas stations had them periodically for 99¢.  The cashiers at the local Moto-Mart began referring to me as “The Kickstart Lady”.  I would come in every weekend and buy up the following week’s supply, making sure I had one for at least every morning I’d be home.  I told myself that, if the time came that I couldn’t find them for 99¢, I wouldn’t buy them.

Early mornings, when I was heading to the airport at 4 a.m., I’d scrounge the bottom of my purse for enough change, hands shaking like a crack addict, almost shouting out in joy when I realized I had the $1.89 I’d need to finance my fix.  That’s more than the 99¢ budget I’d put myself on, but holy hell, it was 4 a.m.!  I’d already been up since 3 a.m.!  I deserved it!  And it was only 80 calories!

Earlier this year, I started noticing the Limeade flavor being harder and harder to come by.  If I found it, I would buy the store out, even if I had a full week’s stock in the fridge already.  Something was wrong, I could sense it!

I told Rubies I was having trouble finding it.

She seemed concerned.  Gently, she interposed, “I don’t know, Ginger.  Maybe this will be a good thing for you.”

For the last two weeks, I’ve been completely unable to find it.  I was at a U-Gas when the Pepsi delivery man was there, so I asked him, “Hey, what’s up with the Limeade Kickstart?”

“What’s that?  Limeade what?”

“The one in the green can.”

“Hmmm.  The only one we have in a green can is, like watermelon.”

“NO NO NO!  The one that’s flavored like Mountain Dew.  The one in the deep delicious-looking green can!”

“Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.  No, they replaced that with Mango-Lime.”

So, my spidey-senses were right…

And according to this, it was discontinued in the United States in March 2017.  Now, you can only get in Australia.

I thought about ordering it from Australia, surely there’s a way to do that.  But that would be ridiculous.

It WOULD be ridiculous, right?  I definitely shouldn’t do that.  Right?  Right?

With that, I will leave you with my favorite Dan Seals song, which happens to be about a different sort of addiction: