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Dear Kara,

Thanks for inviting me to Drag Queen Meat Bingo yesterday. It was one of many commitments I had for the day, but it was BY FAR the most fun.

I will be honest: I thought the “meat” part of the event was going to be the eye candy that one typically finds at drag events. Like Ru Paul’s Pit Crew.

But no, it was meat as in bacon, ribs, three chickens in a sack, etc.

Though it was slow to get going, the roof deck at Sasha’s Wine Bar was lovely. We were supposed to be able to see contestants in the Great Forest Park Balloon Race.

We saw two.

You don’t see one? Let me help.
Yes, it was underwhelming.

Bingo seemed to really pick up after Dieta Pepsi saw her old boss from the mortgage company where she used to work.

Odd for him, great for us.

Then you won a prize drawing.

The prizes? Hostess cupcakes and a Fireball shot.

As we were both committed to being sober, you had to get a designated chugger.

Look at this absolute legend.

The very next round was your round. Criss-cross applesauce = five pounds of pork steak.

Thank you for donating it to the cause: The family gathering at my house coming up in three weeks.

This platter of piggy barely fit in my freezer!

Add this run of yours to us winning Pajama Pawty trivia last week, and I’d say we are lucky together.

So thanks for inviting me. Looking forward to next time!

Love,
Your sister

*So does Arby’s.

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Dear Dr. P:

It’s been a dozen years since I’ve been in a for-credit course. I really don’t know what I’m doing in your Explosives in Industry course. Or what I’m doing in the Explosives Technology graduate certificate program in general.

My background is journalism/mass communications and performing arts.

So why am I here?

I genuinely don’t know.

I guess it just seemed cool to learn about explosives.

And I guess I wanted to do something completely different.

Even though this certificate program is billed as being for non-engineers, there’s still a steep learning curve.

I mean. What is going on there? Those acronyms mean nothing to me!

However, I did enjoy your video tour of the experimental mine.

Also, EXPERIMENTAL MINE?! That’s DOPE!

Anyway, I’m Tracy Flick, so I will figure out what I don’t know. I plan to get an A in the class.

I’m on the right track.

Looking forward to learning more.

Sincerely,
Beth

*Always time for a Monty Python reference.

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Dear Lacey,

At least I think that’s your name. Hard to remember when lightheaded from blood loss.

I hope you remember me. I was strapped to your machine for a hour Friday.

When you originally asked if I wanted to donate two pints of blood, I said, “Sure.”

You said it would take no longer than 30 minutes.

But then the machine started “acting up.”

Not something anyone in my position wants to hear.

Finally, I was free to go.

Maybe a few more minutes with you would have been good, though. Maybe with my donation arm up over my head. Maybe with a little more pressure applied to my new wound.

I got to my car, and suddenly I looked like I had been in a knife fight.

You’ve heard of a shy colon? Apparently, I have an extroverted vein.

Back in the blood mobile, you and everyone else sprung into action.

I kept saying I was ok, though.

No one believed me. I got loads of attention, some apple juice and a snack.

I even got an offer of drycleaning.

You should see the other guy!

No need. Hydrogen peroxide worked wonders.

And today I’m barely bruised.

You know what else I am? Happy I successfully donated blood when the need is critical.

Maybe I’ll see you again in two months.

Your patient,
Bloody Mary Beth

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Dear Coronavirus:

Why are you still here? I hate you so much. I’ve managed to avoid you for more than two years (safety first!), but you finally got me.

How? I don’t know. You tell me!

Having an incubation period of 2-14 days makes tracking source difficult.

All I know is that I got my second booster Friday. By Sunday, I had a sore throat. I took two tests from two different companies. Both negative.

See? Negative.

On Monday, I felt like crap: headache, body pain. I was already scheduled to go to a new doctor to establish care.

Me: I got the second booster Friday and feel terrible today.
Her: That’s the booster. I wouldn’t have recommended you get the second one so soon.
Me: They recommended after six months.
Her: Yeah, but you don’t have comorbidities.
Me: Right.

The cough started Tuesday.

The runny nose started yesterday.

I decided to take another test.

Uh oh.

And then another from a different brand.

I was furious and mortified.

I spent my weekend living my best life as the infection vector I apparently am: garden tour and antiques fair with neighbors, dinner with a colleague, handyman direction on wall patches, “Stranger Things” with my sister, card games with neighbors.

So I had to issue various and sundry mea culpas.

It’s possible I was exposed to you on my flight home from Savannah: Two hours on the runway (weather delay), an hour at the gate (more fuel), an hour in the air. I was one of only three people wearing a mask (because, of course, you no longer exist 🙄).

I don’t know.

I do know that I had another busy week/weekend planned, including lunch for about 15 family members at my place. But now, thanks to you, I will spend the next 5-10 days on my own with just Leo Richardson to keep me company.

Leo, who also is not feeling well.

Leo, the cat who (likely) got COVID.

Gee, I wonder how he could have caught COVID. (Note: I am not kissing the cat. He was sleeping on my shoulder, and I turned my head for the pic.)

So thanks SO MUCH for your continued presence in all of our lives.

(Sarcasm is my love language.)

Your new BFF,
Typhoid Mary
‘Rona Beth

*Manic Street Preachers’ ninth studio album. Worth a listen.

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Dear UPS,

You SUCK. Truly and completely.

Scenario:

Gideon left his glasses at a friend’s house. Friend and friend’s mom sent them back via UPS. They never arrived. Tracking number came up as “invalid” on phone searches. A computer search turned it up in Alpharetta. Where? I don’t know. This is all the information I had:

Left at the front desk WHERE in Alpharetta? Friend and mom shipped from Brookhaven to Gideon in Savannah! (Note: Brookhaven is 20 miles away from Alpharetta, and both are more than 270 miles from Savannah.)

So I filed a claim.

A month went by with no answer.

I emailed you.

This is what you said:

Shan K., I can ASSURE you it was not delivered to the address.

I wrote back. (I TRIED to call, but was hung up on TWICE.)

Then Ana Z got involved.

  1. The delivery address was correct. I confirmed that with friend and friend’s mom and THE ACTUAL RECEIPT.
  2. They sent it from Brookhaven. The package ended up in Alpharetta.
  3. There are EIGHT UPS stores in Alpharetta.

I called ALL EIGHT stores looking for a Richard who was working there in March. The LAST store I called was the only one with a Richard. He happened to be working when I called.

Oh, yeah. It’s right here.

He confirmed that the address was correct. And then CHARGED me to have it resent.

Why? Because the package was sent originally from a different store. UPS stores are franchises. So Alpharetta is not responsible for Brookhaven.

So to recap:

  1. The first driver was lazy as hell. (Mailing address was accurate.)
  2. The claims process is a joke. (No updates/information.)
  3. Your customer service is beyond laughable. (Didn’t actually do anything and gave conflicting information.)
  4. I’m out $11.68 and time out of my life to deal with this hassle. (Evidence of your sucktitude.)
I paid the ransom money, and it arrived Friday.

YOU should have tracked down this package for me. I should not have had to call EIGHT stores to find one with an employee named Richard. And I want my $11.68 back.

Never again, UPS.

Sincerely,
A Former Customer

*Sorry, Stevie.

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Dear Leo,

I’m so glad you came into my life. You bring me so much joy.

Your personality is distinct. You are nosy, noisy and aggressively cuddly.

Who are you? Gladys Kravitz?

And weird. You are SO weird.

To look at, for one.

Look at this alien foot!
Your back = brain surface
Where are your whiskers?!

But also, the way you sleep is unlike any other cat I’ve ever known.

Who sleeps like that?
Cats don’t sleep on their backs!

And you always have to have your paws on my face.

Or be ON me somehow.

You look annoyed even when you are sleeping peacefully.

Here you look annoyed, but you have a right to be: I’m harassing you with a gift from Charlotte and Nate.

I love it when your tongue gets stuck.

I know you hate this collar, but it’s better than the cone of shame. I can’t have you licking your surgically enhanced paw.*

Despite the fact that you are a bizarre creature (or probably BECAUSE of it), I’m so happy to share my life with you.

Love,
Your human

*Leo came to me declawed. The person who did it needs a refresher course as he/she left part of his dewclaw. It got infected. He’s had surgery and is fine now.

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Dear Sue,

You win.

Your water fitness class almost made me tap out. That would have been a first.

I don’t know if it is because it has been a while since I went to a class (<cough> six months <cough>) or whether it is because you are hard core.

Either way, I had jelly legs at the end of the class.

So thank you.

This pool is great for families (see water slides) but not so great for fitness courses in the deep end. I actually accidentally touched another participant because of the proximity. EEEK.

Not your fault.

I laughed when you shouted, “We always like men in here” to the man picking out a water noodle. To be fair, he did suggest he could be a shark among the mermaids (yuck).

And I appreciate that you gave the chatty ladies hell. (No, lady with pink hair, I don’t want to hear another word about your elbow, thankyouverymuch.)

Anyway, as that great sage Arnold Schwarzenegger said: “I’ll be back.”

Sincerely,
Beth

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Dear Lamar,

It’s clear your ex didn’t treat you as well as I treated my ex. However, please do not bring your baggage into this relationship. Please save your drama for times I can do something about it. Like when we are at the dealership for regular service.

I’m not happy that you refused to start the other day. It seemed like it was your battery or starter. In case it was the former, I haunted the nearest intersection until I found someone with jumper cables.

While I was searching for a person with jumper cables, an asshat parked next to me. Why would you do this?
This looks like some strange R2-D2 proboscis.

When that didn’t work, I was forced to tow you to the dealership. Jeff, the service guy, is getting used to that kind of call from me.

As it turns out, it WAS your battery, but I probably shouldn’t have even tried the jump.

“It was an Interstate battery,” Jeff sniffed, all condescension. “We’ll get you a good one.”

He did, and you and I were back together.

It would be great if you could behave, though.

Love,
Your new girl

*An underrated early Adam and the Ants track

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Dear State of Missouri Government:

LAWD have mercy. Y’all make being street legal SO DIFFICULT. Worse BY FAR than Georgia, and I didn’t think that was possible.

My suggestion for a new Missouri slogan: More backwards than Georgia.

Let’s recap:

I bought a car. In Ohio. The finance company owns the title. (So I thought, because that’s what the dealership said.)

Your tag office wanted me to have the finance company fill out a special form, have it notarized and sent back to me so I could take it to you.

Your tag office also wanted me to get a property tax waiver.

Your tag office sent me here:

It came pre-highlighted!

But they needed the form from the finance company too.

I spent two weeks trying to get a human being at the finance company to help me. No luck.

Then one day I come home from work, and there’s a FEDEX envelope on my welcome mat.

It’s from the dealership. It’s my official car title. Sitting RIGHT THERE in front of my door for the world to take.

Good LORD!

So I make an appointment and go back to the highlighted office.

Nope.

That’s the COUNTY office. I need St. Louis CITY. Downtown.

The County office gave me a helpful slip with the info.

Fine.

I take all my paperwork and go to City Hall.

It’s not Room 110.

It’s Room 115.

Room 115. Let’s take a closer look at that sign.
I can assure you that there are no cards anywhere. There also isn’t a suggestion box.

Once I got the waiver, I went to Room 111 to get the actual tag.

My view while waiting for service.

Then I waited again to get my Missouri driver’s license. Y’all charged me $28 for the privilege. And took two hours of my life.

Good news: It’s over. Lamar and I are legal.

(Lamar is my “new” whip. 😉 He and I are getting along just fine. But I did cry when the junkyard came to get my old girl.)

But I now see exactly why so many people here drive around with temporary tags.

Please add that suggestion box. I’ve got thoughts.

Your exasperated new neighbor,
Beth

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Y’all.

My 2021 was A YEAR. You know: You read about it.

As my new/old mom said, “It has not gone smoothly for you.”

No.

It went out with a bang, too.

Remember I had to have my car towed?

Well. Jeff, my service advisor, shared bad news with me the Monday after Christmas.

It’s dead. As in “needs a new motor” dead. “More than $6,000 to get it going” dead.

And the “new” engine has 123K miles on it.

My car is a 2008 VW Eos with 185K miles on it. It’s worth a third of the repair cost.

So. The new year will feature a new car.

But I’ve spent all my money on moving and a house. As you all know.

I don’t want a car payment and higher insurance.

My university is closed between Christmas and New Year’s Day, so I had time to investigate.

I found a newer version of my car for a very reasonable price.

Hello there!

The only hitch? It’s in Ohio. Sasha at the dealership said it would take four weeks to ship it.

No, no, no.

I’m writing this on a plane to Columbus. I’ll meet my car by noon, and we will bond on the nearly seven-hour drive back to St. Louis.

Wish me luck!
Beth

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