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Real Reality From Our House: Dirty money cuts through the smell

By Tracy Herz

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It's Saturday morning in the Christmas shopping season, and I'm still in bed at 9 a.m. Nothing serious, just NIGHT SWEATS have me up pacing the floors and turning the heat down to 60 degrees.

It's also an inability to get up and face the dishes.

But since I have an ESPRESSO MAKER at my bedside for those 5:30 a.m. school mornings, I'll be up in a few minutes.

("Don't run the trucks in the hall. Don't touch the banister. Don't touch the remote.")

So I throw on my zebra bathrobe and my Tod's ballet slippers and head to Tudor's Biscuit World.

Tod's ballet slippers are not designed for a woman who wears size-10 shoes, whose feet have spread due to consecutive pregnancies and old age. But if I see anyone I know, I will just say, "Good morning! Look at my Tod's ballet slippers!" And hope they don't notice my nightgown and bathrobe.

But this is Milton, so the chances of seeing anyone I really know are fairly remote.

I am not worried about being stopped by the fuzz in my nightgown. The cops see me getting the papers in my nightgown every day and hauling out the trash, so they couldn't care less -- not a biggie.

But the minute I get into the car, I smell something.

No, it's not JUST dirty tennis clothes and old diapers and petrified Happy Meals with burger patties you can throw like a discus. It's something else.

It's money.

My husband likes to have a certain amount of cash squirreled away for himself alone, which he hides and "accidentally forgets" to mention to me or deposit in the bank. But I am an excellent detective, and my nose is without equal. I can even smell checks in the mail -- before they arrive.

He's tried hiding cash in the house, but I sniff it out -- "Hand it over, honey."

So now he's thinking that since I have to hold my nose every time I get in one of our cars I won't be thinking he's come up with a new hiding place.

I am ordering biscuits for breakfast and pancakes for lunch because the dishes won't be done until dinner because we had guests last evening. I am sitting in the Tudor's line, smelling the money, wondering if the Tudor's people are going to notice the nightgown, but the car is so dirty, I don't know where to start looking.

Is it in the ashtray, behind the pennies? Is it under all the turnpike receipts? Is it under the caked-in juice spills and sippy cups in the drink holders? Under the seats? Is it in the vehicle registration envelope? No, no, no, no and no.

But it's in there, I know it, and I am going to find it.

Suddenly, I look down in the compartment on the door where CDs and dirty Kleenex and dirty paper towels are kept and see a folded bank envelope. It's not bulging, but it's not empty either. This tells me immediately that there are $100 bills in the envelope.

I seize it and count it. Excellent.

Finders keepers, losers weepers!

Everyone at the bank knows me, so I always drive up to the business window where I can chat with the Chase Bank girls, who seem to know everything that happens in our house. ("Is it true, Mrs. Herz, that you collapsed in the yard this summer over your husband's cats?")

So I chat with the girls unless I am on the phone giving orders to someone, in which case I do not have time to talk.

I tell them what happened, and they think it's fabulous too! They all gathered around and said, "Well, we're just going to put this money where it belongs, now aren't we?"

Reach Tracy Herz at tracyherz@gmail.com.


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