STORYTIME

CABIN WITH A BALCONY

CHAPTER 2, DAY 2 TUESDAY

As the rays of the morning sun flickered over my face, I awoke with my friend, Anxiety.  At first I did not know why.  Suddenly I remembered that Betty Lou had not been here last night.  I had tried to stay awake the night before, but could not.  I quickly sat up and looked around.  There she was, sleeping soundly.  With a sigh of anxiety-loss, I got up and went to the bathroom.  I decided to go ahead and shower.  I made sure I had on the “patch”, took a much-needed aspirin, and emerged.

Betty Lou was sitting up and smiling with the look that I must have had when I got back last night.  “What? What?  Tell me!” I demanded.

Over breakfast in the ship’s dining room I heard most of the rest of the story.  It seems that when Betty Lou was sitting alone at the dance Mr. Sinister came over, brought her a drink “on the house”, and asked her to go for a walk, as he was off duty soon.  Well, you know Betty Lou.

“So…what happened next?”  I personally felt she was lucky she had not had to walk the plank into the ocean.

“Well,” she said, “We walked around the deck, stopping sometimes to look at the stars…”  My eyebrows were, I believe, into my hairline at this point.  Only my jaw was still in place.

“Stop!  What caused the big switcheroo?  First he is not allowed to talk to guests, and the next he is buying you drinks and dragging you off for a walk!”  I’m sure I must have sounded a lot like a wild woman, or a loudly screaming Eagle.

“O.K. Here’s the deal.  He said that he didn’t think it was right that he could not personally talk with the guests, and that he has given notice to leave his position.  See?  I told you me may be having a bad day.  He says I have made him realize the life he is missing, and that he would like us to have a real relationship.”  Oh my.

“He said all that at once?!  Why didn’t he say something to you in the Blue Room when he came to our table?  And does Mr. Sinister have a name??”

“Well, he said all that over the course of the evening.  His name is Robert AND his middle name is ‘Lou’ , too.  Isn’t that sweet?  He said he got cold feet when he came up to us because he thinks you don’t like him.”

“Oh, Betty Lou.  He thinks right.  I don’t like him, and I hope this whatever-it-is goes away so you can finally see the guy that I see.  Does he also have a last name?”

“Oh yes, Goulet.  And Judy Lane, don’t worry.  I know you will learn to like him when you get to know him better.  He is really sweet, kind, sensitive and thoughtful.”

“Wait, Goulet.  Robert Goulet?  Good grief, Betty Lou.  Does he sing, too?”

“What do you mean by that?  He’s French.  That’s a French name!”

“Well, unless I am wrong, my grandmother used to play some of his recordings.”

“Well, Judy Lane, I am sure it is simply a coincidence.  I think it is a fine name, and sounds sooooo good with mine.”

I was entertained for a moment or two while Betty Lou repeated her name over and over with “Goulet” last.

“Don’t you think it sounds marvelous?”  Betty Lou asked, starry-eyed.

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FINANCE HIGH-DANCE

HELLO ALL,

IT HAS BEEN SOME TIME SINCE WE LAST DISCUSSED money.  No one really wants to talk about it, anyway.

Sometimes it is a necessary evil, and sometimes it is a delightful experience.   At this time of year it is a necessary evil, plus in our last FINANCE HIGH-DANCE post we talked about doing ourselves a personal financial statement.  Hopefully you have completed one in preparation for your future financial planning.  If you have put it off like a New Year’s Resolution, let me help you get it started by telling you about an ideal template you can use.  It is free at pdffiller.com, and you can download it, fax it, e-mail it or fill online.  Tell yourself you cannot give this up for Lent, and promise yourself you will have it done before April 16, just so you have a goal.

Once you actually begin to put in your numbers you will see it is not as bad as you thought.  Remember, just put in what it asks.  You will see the logic when you finish; and you will actually know your financial worth!  If you are in doubt about any entry you can find out your answers through any number of avenues, but if all else fails, send me your questions.  I am not an expert by any means, but I have years of experience and background to support my recommendations.

Now, once you get that done, your next challenge will be to mark your calendar for updates.  It is your call as to when, because you may or may not need to run to the nearest bank for a home, car, or personal loan right away.  If you have plans to do something soon I would go ahead and update monthly, if not, quarterly will suffice.

Next, I would recommend that you go on a free site to check your credit score.  Ideally, everyone would like over 800, but I discovered that no matter how well you keep your payments up-to-date your score is affected by how many credit cards you have.  My score is less than hubby’s; I pay all the bills, credit cards paid off end of each billing month, etc., but I am the one who goes for that extra credit card when I am about to save 20 % on a purchase (you gals know exactly what I mean).  So, do as I say and not as I do, and do not collect credit cards.  Your score will be better.  And ALWAYS pay cards off monthly…that interest rate will devour you and make that debt hole deeper and deeper.  Just have a plan to pay it off, too.  Anyway, you want to know your score if and when you march in to the bank for that loan.  Have you seen the commercial where the couple are at the bank?  The lady knew her credit score, and was less than ladylike in her strong arm approach (flinging feet up on the banker’s desk) with her banker, but the point is well-made that we can do this.  I recommend you be polite and knowledgeable while keeping your feet on the floor:)

OK; that is enough rambling for today.  Work on your personal financial statement, check your credit score, and I will be back to you before April 16 with any suggestions I have.  Remember, we have to get to a point where we want to grow our monies for lots of reasons…children’s college, family vacations and the delightful, yet dreaded retirement…to mention a few.

CABIN WITH A BALCONY (Day One, Page 2) w/correction

Later, as our “sinister” waiter returned, Betty Lou, in her sweetest Southern accent asked “How long have you been working on the ship?”  He slid his sinister-looking eyes to hers and replied “We are not allowed to discuss personal matters with guests..would you like another drink?”

Here’s where I slide MY sinister-looking eyes to him and replied, “no, I believe we have had enough!”  To which he dropped his eyes, made a slight bow, and said “I will bring your check.”

“Wow!   I thought bartenders were supposed  to be friendly!”  This from Betty Lou.

“Well, for one he isn’t a bartender, he is a waiter, but his tip will reflect his attitude in my book!”

Betty Lou, always the peacemaker said “Well, maybe he is having a bad day.  Do you really think they are not allowed to talk personally with the passengers?”

“I don’t know, but there surely is a better response for questions like yours without being rude.  Let’s  go.”

As we left the lounge, I felt his eyes boring through us.  Wow, some waiters take offense when tips are low.

We spent the rest of the day lying in the sun until time to prepare for dinner.  Dinner was all  it could be, with wine or champagne offered.  Betty Lou was afraid if we accepted any alcohol it would be charged  to our cabin.  I tried to explain to  her that they do not know which room we are in, but to no avail.  I had wine, Betty Lou had diet coke. We met several fellow  travelers and sat with a lovely, older couple.  Mae, I believe her  name was, chatted the whole dinner through, leaving no challenge for  us to carry the table conversation.  Yay.  Fred, her husband, looked like he felt the same  way.

I yawned as we left the dining room and told Betty Lou I was going to turn in..  “No, we have to provide any and all opportunities to meet someone!  They are dancing in the Blue Room.  Let’s go in there just for a little bit!”

As we stepped  into the Blue Room, it was a beautiful sight.  Those little lights that go around a ballroom were accompanied by “Once, Twice, Three Time a Lady” being played by a wonderful band.  The crooner was not Lionel Ritchie, but..ah romance.  Both of us tried to look around, but those little lights don’t show much. (Which can be an advantage sometimes).  We sat down at a tiny table, and who should appear but Mr. Sinister, himself.  He saw us and started to turn away, but changed his mind and asked if we wanted a drink.  “No, thank you” we replied in unison.  He made that slight bow again and left.  “What are we going to do now?”  asked Betty Lou, “You have made us look stupid!”

“I beg your pardon?  Did I not also hear you say no thank you?”

“Yes, but I only said that because I know how you feel about him.  Anyway, what are we going to do now?”

At that moment a very nice gentleman leaned over my shoulder.  “Would you care to dance?”  As I  looked up at his Bruce-Willis-when-he-was-younger face, my heart did a flip-flop.  “k”, I said as I rose and took his arm.  I looked back and saw Betty Lou with both arms out, palms up, raised  eyebrows as if to say what the hell?  I could not be responsible for myself at that moment, and certainly not responsible for Betty Lou.

I did look over another time and saw that she had a drink, which was good.  Later, she tapped me on the arm and said “bye”.  I figured she was turning in.  Poor Betty Lou.

When I finally went to my cabin,  floating along the hallway with a smile on my face, I couldn’t wait to tell Betty Lou all about “Bull”.  But I  couldn’t tell her anything.  She was not there.