If you don’t like it, change it

Courtesy Notice

This is a courtesy notice from the City of Petoskey, Michigan, to inform you that your grass has exceeded the maximum height of 8 inches established by City Ordinance Section 11-1996. Please comply within 7 days to avoid a $50 fine.


James R. Lipman (no relation)
Petoskey City Manager


It was late on a rainy Monday when Miranda came home from the bars. On her way in she noticed a catalog soaking wet on her porch–  Nordstrom Summer Collection, great clothes, very expensive, very depressing. She had avoided her mailbox for days, knowing that there would be many bills and only one unemployment check to cover them.

She dropped the stack of mail on the dining room table, ate two stacks of Oreo cookies, and flipped through the envelopes.  That’s when she spotted the one marked “City of Petoskey”.  She stumbled toward the stairs, fell off her shoes, and slowly climbed her way to drunken oblivion.

The next day, fighting a migraine, she slipped on dark glasses, grabbed a ruler from the kitchen drawer, and indignantly marched out to the front yard.  It was 11:00 a.m. and her neighbor, 80-year-old Eunice Balthasar, was already hard at work in her yellow kitchen apron, tending to her plants, whistling a happy tune.  Miranda’s grass was up to her knees.

“This is an outrage, man’s work!” she cried.  The sight of her tall grass and weeds took her back to the days when a lawn and landscape crew tended to the work while she sipped lemonade on the porch swing with Harry.  But those days were gone and she didn’t have 50-bucks to pay the city.  She hated asking for help.  Calling Drew to rescue her (again) was out of the question.

An hour later, sweated through her cut-off shorts and Michigan State t-shirt, the grass was mowed and Miranda felt a small sense of accomplishment in spite of it all.  She returned the old mower to the shed, picked up the Black and Decker weed eater her dad gave her for Christmas– Model ST1000, the one that  claims to make ”maintenance trimming a breeze”.   

Miranda plugged in the cord, walked toward the fence that bordered the south side of her property, and flipped the switch.   No sound.  She was, after all, an experienced trouble shooter from her days aboard the old boat.  A  simple lawn tool was not going to get the best of her.   She unplugged the unit and turned the ST1000 upside down to take a look.  She pushed on the string cartridge, heard a click, and with the velocity of a whirling dervish, the twine released itself, encasing her with an angry snap. 

Mrs. Balthasar turned away from her work to see Miranda wildly flinging her arms this way and that, only making her confinement worse. She called across the yard, “Need a hand, Miranda? I’ve threaded plenty of weed eaters in my day.   I’ll just grab my pruning sheers so we can cut you out of that mess.”

Miranda, still flailing, was fuming. Her life had taken a dreadful turn for the worse (though she couldn’t imagine why), and now she was a prisoner of her own making, a Black and Decker captive, a fool in her own front yard. 

Then she remembered a list of wise sayings that Drew had taped to his refrigerator.  There was one that said, “If you don’t like it, change it.”  And that gave Miranda an idea… 

“No thanks, Mrs. Balthasar. I won’t be needing any advice or help with weed eaters ever again.  In fact, this is the last time you will see me out here mowing, trimming, or otherwise.”  Mrs. Balthasar cocked her head, wondering if she heard right.

“From now on I will be devoting my time to something worthwhile, something I’m actually very good at.  I’m going out to find a rich husband who will pay a man to take care of my yard so I won’t have to.”

Calling Drew on that fateful day would have made all the difference.


To be Continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

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21 Responses to If you don’t like it, change it

  1. .endtransmission. says:

    You’re kidding, right? She’s going in search of another meal ticket?!? The only thing I would ask Miranda at this point is, “How has that worked out for you so far?”

    Your writing is driving me crazy. To clarify, it’s evoking an emotional reaction. Great writers can do this. Does that mean I have to consider you a great writer now?

    Yes. Yes, I do.

    • Linda says:

      Well, e.t… It’s not working out very well so far, is it. You will recall, however, that she really did love Harry (his wealth was just the icing on the cake), and when she married Brian Parker Hall at age 18 she was a clueless teenager!

      I think you expect way too much from a girl who is really just beginning to find herself. Miranda is finally seeing that there is a difference between pleasure and joy… that a bigger yacht and lots of houses will never make her happy.

      Glad my story is driving you crazy. Calm down and keep reading. : )

    • Joan says:

      This arlicte went ahead and made my day.

  2. Jan says:

    She sounds like my (then) 5 yr. old granddaughter, when told her parents would not be gifting her with a Louis Vuiton purse for Christmas. She said, “Well then I’ll just have to marry a man rich enough to buy me the purse *and* the matching key fob!”

    • Linda says:

      The key fob was a great touch. Was she really just five at the time? Miranda likes to believe she is surrounded by others of her kind. : )

      • Jan says:

        Yes, she was just 5. She had been watching some kind of “reality” show, about Brittany Spears or someone like that. She said she needed the key fob for the key to her “fabulous” car that she was going to have, but did not need the matching check book, because she was only going to use credit cards!

  3. Theresa says:

    This is probably going to sound odd. I know that deciding to go out and find a rich man as if one would find one by looking in the yellow pages under “rich men to marry” is not wise. In spite of that, there is something about Miranda. I like her courage. It can be seen through out her story from the very first post.

    You know, we all don’t say things like “I’m just going to go out and get me a rich man…at least not out loud, but I believe we are all a lot more like Miranda than we might admit…at least us women are. How many of us went off to college “man shopping”, or went off to the bars “man shopping”, or to the grocery store “man shopping”…………..or to church “man shopping”? Some might say “Well, “man shopping” at church or school might be okay.”, but it’s not when we oversimplify. I did some really stupid things…. I think we all have .


    • Linda says:

      Wow… Theresa! That’s really putting it all out there!

      Miranda was so plagued by insecurity that her decision to find a husband was just a matter of time. Finding another wealthy man seemed like it would solve all her problems. But as time will tell, it only created a bigger one. Miranda desperately missed Drew.

  4. Larry Who says:

    “As God is my witness they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.” (Scarlett O’Hara, “Gone With the Wind,” 1939)

    Hmm! Miranda must have a little bit of Scarlett’s blood in her because she has that “never say die” attitude. This is what makes people turn pages.

    Okay, I’m ready. Let’s turn the page.

    • Linda says:

      That’s hilarious, Larry. I’ve never seen “Gone With the Wind,” but I can’t wait to watch it now. ; )

  5. Debbie says:

    Miranda needs help, doggone it. Things do get complicated when we are trying to meet all our needs ourselves. Hugging my pillow and tissues as Miranda goes off in search of a rich husband. My stomach is knotting. Don’t take too long, okay? ;)
    love and prayers!

  6. Poor Miranda. I feel so sorry for her. I really wish she had called Drew, but I fear the “something worse” that is coming is even worse than any of us reading this story can imagine. Now I want to read the last page again! I just want to see a happy ending. Peace, Linda

    • Linda says:

      Stop feeling sorry for her! She’s thinking like an idiot! One bad weekend and she’s thrown away every ounce of accomplishment and self-esteem she’s built since her break-up with Harry. But that’s what alcoholics do…

      One clue: When the story ends, Miranda is still in a cage… not the one she saw at the Castle that night, and not the Black and Decker mess in here front yard. The last cage is the worst.

  7. Kris says:

    Wow! I think any woman who can fix a weed eater or a boat motor doesn’t need a man…but I guess she doesn’t know that yet. Well at least she didn’t let the city of Petosky get the best of her!

    • Linda says:

      Hi Kris… Thanks for checking out my blog. : )

      Yes, it’s good to be handy. But having a man around for all the right reasons would be even better!

  8. Ferd says:

    Fortunately for Miranda, there are plenty of guys out there that need to play the rescuer role. Not a marriage made in heaven, though.
    I feel anxious for poor Miranda. I will keep hoping that she eventually figures it out.

  9. Lyzbeth says:

    Wonderful exaaonptiln of facts available here.

  10. Markus says:

    Thanks for such a cool post. I really want to see how MEEP can deal with maelltic particles. Is it possible to send me MEEP codes for this simulation?Thanks in advance,Khai

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