A simple question with a long answer.  A one-act screenplay based on a true story

A kitchen, every surface covered with diced, sliced, or whole veggies, some still steaming and fragrant from the grill, some still raw. 

Michael, Karen’s husband of 35 years, enters through the kitchen door, stage left. Dressed in colorful cycling gear, helmet in hand, he glistens in sweat, face red, dirt streaked on one calf, hair matted to his head. He looks tired but jubilant.

Karen stands at the kitchen sink, center stage. The afternoon sun shines through the spotless windows behind her, giving her hair a golden glow, her dewy complexion complimented by the soft pink flush of exertion. Trim and tan, she wipes a loose strand of silky blonde hair from her smooth forehead with the back of her youthful hand as she leans over to kiss her husband.* 

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When simple solutions are – literally – right under your nose.

“We live on our front porch in the nice weather.” That’s what my husband Michael and I say, which is a bit of an exaggeration. But we do spend a lot of time there. It’s a great place to read the Sunday paper, sip our morning coffee, eat lunch on a weekend, or watch a thunderstorm. My favorite seat is the porch swing, which we hung last year after it sat in a box for 30 years.

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Gifts of an introverted Pied Piper.

I’m the crotchety old lady who lives at the end of my street, peeking though her curtains and complaining when people disturb her.

Hmmm. Not quite right.

I’m the reclusive older neighbor who stays in for days at a time and only sneaks away for brief errands when no one is watching.

Nope. Not that either.

I’m the introverted 58 year old gardener in the brick house who relishes her solitude. 

OK. That’s better.

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How not to glaze a window.

When we bought our second old house 11 years ago, it needed some serious TLC. The least of our problems was the broken window glass in the basement stairwell door, which I “temporarily” fixed with blue painters tape. Last week, I decided to do the job right.

I’d done a lot of old-house renovations over 30+ years. Replacing a window would be no biggie, I thought. 


Here’s how it went:

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Coming unzipped.

Last week, my husband Michael and I were putting fresh sheets on the bed.  He held up his pillowcase liner in one hand, a broken zipper head in the other hand, caught my eye, and we both doubled over in laughter.  I leaned over, supporting my upper body on the bed because I was laughing too hard to stand up.  Michael did the same, breaking out in a coughing fit like he does when he laughs uncontrollably.

I guess you had to be there.

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My inner youth has a thrill at the liquor store.

When I look in the mirror lately, there’s a curious older woman looking back.  She has grey hair at the roots, some wrinkles, and two age spots on her cheek.  Oh yeah that’s me, I have to remind myself.  

Years ago, before the older woman showed up, when I was well into my 40s, I got carded at a grocery store.  Among the apples, eggs and a family pack of chicken pieces was beer for my husband. It was a day I didn’t have much makeup on, my hair pulled back in a ponytail. I even remember the red shirt I wore.

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Is that a dog?

Years ago, we had new neighbors move in to the upstairs apartment in the house next door.  One Saturday afternoon shortly after the couple had moved in, I saw them out with their dog on the grassy median strip dividing our residential street. The couple was talking with some other neighbors, so I went out to say hi.

After meeting the friendly guy and his girlfriend, with no introductions to their scruffy dog sniffing at my feet, a question formulated in my head:

“Is that a male or female dog?”   

(Because, really, how can you tell without being, y’know, obvious?)

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Not even remotely in control.

I wake up feeling refreshed, so I practically jump out of bed when Michael’s alarm goes off.  I have big plans for the day – Christmas decorating, a little baking, starting my shopping.

As soon as Michael leaves for work, I go into the living room to turn on the stereo.  Since we got our new receiver, I’ve kept it tuned to NPR, but now Michael’s favorite blues station comes on.  

I hunt down my glasses, get on my knees and peer at the receiver.  WTF!?

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