Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


Pearl Drops


“Let me see ’em.”

I timidly put my hands out.

“No, turn ’em over.  Let me see those nails,” she growled.

I slowly turned them over.

“Oh.My.God.  Look at all that dirt.  What have you been doin’?!? I’ll be right back.”

“Aw, grandma! Do we have to?”

Up she shot from the brown naugahyde chair.  A few minutes later she came back with a bowl of warm water and Palmolive, a file, some clippers, a new toothbrush, nail polish, – usually red – and her Pearl Drops.

She sat down and arranged all her tools, moved the pink marble ashtray closer because we were going to be here a while,  and patted her knee, “Come on.” Cigarette smoke swirled from the tip of the Virginia Slim she held between her lips.

I climbed up on her lap for the ritual.

“Go on, put your hands in the water.”  Then she would begin. She’d dig, and scrape, clip, file and shape. She’d use her Smoker’s Pearl Drops and that brand new super firm toothbrush to polish the tips to make them sparkling white.  Then she’d coat my little nails in some garish shade she had.  She always had nail polish.  What seemed like hundreds of bottles and lipstick to match.

She’d hold my hands up and show them to me.  “Now, doesn’t that look better?  Why don’t you take better care of your hands?  They’re gorgeous.  You could be a hand model!”

I’d walk away admiring them but Grandma Lipstick’s manicures never lasted very long. I had to be back at it, digging in the dirt, playing rough, chipping up that bright red nail polish.

To this day I don’t paint my nails.  I still use them as multi-tools.  What’s the use?  But I still like to polish them up every now and then with Pearl Drops if I can find it anywhere.


British Family Vacation

Back during the summer I went on a rant about how I was having one problem after another and had a moment of…less than Ruth-likeness. I was burned out.

I took a much needed break. While TheBrit’s family was here I didn’t think about work, I didn’t think about bills, and I didn’t think about home and equipment repairs. In fact, the push mower and the power washer are still sitting in the shed – unrepaired(is that a word?).  They aren’t going anywhere and it’s turned fallwinter…ish here.

Not a one of them even noticed the window with the peeling paint.  Or if they did, they didn’t mention it.


We just had a fabulous time.  TheBrit and I were both concerned about having that many people in our house for that amount of time.  We worried for nothing.

The pool wasn’t quite ready when they got here.  They found something else to entertain themselves for a few days.  When it was ready it was lovely and our niece wore us all out swimming.


I think they had a really nice time.  Casa de Ruth e Brit was a huge success.  It got rave reviews from his sister:

Best family holiday EVER!!


When we first suggested that TheBrit’s family come here we thought it would only be his mother, his sister, and his niece. His step-dad(who he really looks at as his dad) and his brother-in-law were going to stay behind. Originally it was thought that TopBrit’s health would prevent him from taking such a long journey and B-I-L-Brit has an aversion to flying.

Just before we booked the flights(months in advance), however, TopBrit and B-I-L-Brit  decided they would make the trip as well.  TopBrit worked really hard on getting his diabetic legs in tip-top shape and B-I-L-Brit bit the bullet, so to speak, and faced his fear.

Truly it seemed foolish for them not to as this was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime.  They didn’t think they’d ever make the trip again.  They’ve decided otherwise now.  BritSis’ bunch is planning another trip in 2017.

Before they left his step-dad said that he’d had the time of his life.  He’d always dreamed of visiting the U.S. but didn’t, at his age and health, think it possible.

He’s not a terribly emotional man.  He doesn’t do mush.  But when we left them at the airport he had tears rolling down his cheeks.  I was fine until I saw that.  Then I teared up and had a little cry, myself.  It was hard to let them go.

I am so very glad that his health allowed him to make the trip and that he had such a lovely time.  Shortly after they arrived home TheBrit’s mum and TopBrit told us they were planning to come again next summer(2015).

Unfortunately TopBrit won’t be making that trip.  On Christmas Eve he had a massive heart attack and passed away.  His wry smile and his quick whit will be missed.


Rest in peace, TopBrit.  Rest in peace.

*This has been sitting in my draft folder for several months.  This seemed like a good time to finish it. TheBrit and I will be travelling to England within the next few weeks.