The Fickle Finger of Fate

So last week, I did two things I hadn’t done in at least a year.

One, was go to the dentist. Since I already was going to be tortured in the dental chair, I decided to go all the way and weigh myself before I went. I was feeling skinnier than normal and my weight was… not awful. Definitely above pre-COVID weight, but not as bad as it could have been.

“It’s going to be a blood bath,” I announced to the new Dental Hygientist about to embark into the task of cleaning my teeth. I wore a black t-shirt for the occasion. I liked the old Dental Hygienist (Mimi) but she had an unfortunate habit of asking you pressing questions while her hands were in your mouth.

When the new hygienist checked my charts, it had actually been 2 years since my last visit to the dentist.

“Do you want numbing cream?” she asked.

Definitely! I started thinking I should’ve tried to locate that stray Xanax in my bathroom medicine cabinet, to deal with the mounting anxiety I was feeling. Even with the numbing cream, the scraping on my teeth and below the gums was painful, so she moved onto a gel, squirted in between my teeth with a needle. This helped somewhat to relieve the pain, but she wasn’t even able to finish cleaning my teeth, so I have to return for an encore visit.

It was fortuitous that I’d weighed myself that morning, because that night, after a big meal at my Book Club, my stomach started rumbling and I couldn’t sleep. A stomach bug that Wyatt had gotten and then Christopher and Courtney contracted, finally bit me. I was supposed to babysit Liam on Friday, but texted Courtney at 3 a.m. telling her I was sick. And I had to cancel a Kentucky Derby Party I’d planned for Saturday afternoon.

Babysitting Liam before the s**t hit the fan.

The red roses, giant bottle of Makers Mark and rows of polished silver serving trays taunted me, with the Run for the Roses party that was no longer to be. I hadn’t gotten the bug as bad as Courtney (who had thrown up all night and couldn’t even get out of bed), but I was worried about being contagious and spreading it to my guests. I’d also made food for the party- Pickled Black Eyed Pea Dip and Sugar Cookies in the shape of red roses- and I was worried the stomach bug might be transferred via the food, which is how those Noravirus get spread on Cruise Ships. I didn’t want my first party back to be a Super Spreader event.

Since I’d weighed myself, I knew exactly how much weight I lost when I next stepped on the scale Saturday morning. I’d only lost a lousy one and a half pounds! I felt better Saturday morning and immediately regretted cancelling the party.

Do you think I did the right thing?

I asked Zeke.

“It’s a little late now,” he said.

My sisters, Kelley and Elise, assured me I had done the right thing and they beat it out of Miami- Elise to Melbourne, Kelley to the Keys- with news of the cancellation. It worked out for Elise because she was able to spend time with her youngest son James, on his way home from college in Nashville. I did feel bad for Kelley, as she’d taken much time to Cricket (it’s like sewing, but with paper) all the horses in the Kentucky Derby- silk colors, names and all. A major procrastinator who thrives on pressure, she was so proud of herself for having had finished the horses two days early.

I dressed up in a hat and pearls and drug myself downstairs for the Kentucky Derby’s main race. I made myself a Mint Julep, reasoning mint and sugar was good for my tummy troubles and bourbon was medicinal; it tasted just fine. People who were supposed to attend the party sent photos in their hats and it made me sad. A year of avoiding people, places and things to prevent getting COVID 19 and I got felled by a silly stomach bug. It was going to be my first party (most people were vaccinated) back since the whole Pandemic hit.

Kelley and I were scheduled to leave for Cassadaga, a town full of psychics near Orlando, on Sunday. My Book Club wanted to go, but before planning the trip, I wanted to vet the psychic who had been recommended by a friend and check out the B & B where we would stay. I wasn’t sure if Kelley would cancel our trip, out of fear of contracting the stomach bug. She didn’t, but she did come into my house and immediately wash her hands and offer her bigger and more aerated car to drive in.

We had the B & B to ourselves, which was lovely and we sat out on the balcony overlooking moss-covered trees and a sweet gazebo, sipping wine we’d brought from home and snacking on cheese and Trader Joe’s crackers. The psychic Lou Gates we were going to see is a medium who sees spirits and can put you in touch with people who have passed away. His own spirit guide is a 6’3″ guy named Jeff, with long black hair, which kind of cracked me up. I asked Kelley whom she would like to talk to and she said our great aunt Josie, since she was the most recent family member to enter the club of the Dearly Departed and could give us the 411 on the rest of the family.

I said I’d like to talk to Nanny, my Italian grandmother who died suddenly the year before my Dad. While she drove me crazy in real life, I missed her (surprisingly) a lot after she passed away. I also had moved into her house in the Gables, with all her stuff. Now, that I’m a grandmother, I have experienced the unconditional love a grandparent feels for their grandchildren- especially the first born (which I am).

Neither of us said our Dad, the larger-than-life (but small in stature) figure who passed away 19 years ago, but wouldn’t you know, that’s who appeared at our readings. Just like my Dad to crash a party he wasn’t invited to. And perhaps fate was guiding my stomach bug and subsequent cancellation of the Kentucky Derby Party, as one of the potential guests ended up (unbeknowest to them) having COVID.

Dr. Lou Gates told me that when I walked in, he felt immediately that I was ungrounded, but that was a good thing. That my life had been in service to others and I had no more Life Lessons to learn. That when I’m 64, the spirits are going to give me a credit card (virtual, I’m assuming) and I can charge away and do exactly what I want with my life. That I shouldn’t start anything now that I didn’t want to still be doing at the age of 64. He also said said I shouldn’t be in Florida (I told him that wasn’t negotiable given children/grandchildren living here), that I should be no farther south than Gainesville. He saw me in Oregon, Washington State or Italy. And that, by the time I was 64, I would no longer be in this house.

Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m 64?

The Beatles

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

Leave a Reply