Posted in Around the House, Everywhere But Home, Family Time, Friend Time, Parenting, Saving Money

Feast of Tabernacles

You know how we thought the Feast of Tabernacles last year was weird? Yeah, this year is weirder.

If you are new to this blog and do not know: we are an interfaith household. My husband’s family belong to the United Church of God. More info on the Feast of Tabernacles can be found here.

David is headed off to Utah with church friends from all over. I dropped him off at the Tyler airport today after spending all day with him yesterday trying, and failing, to get his phone fixed before he left. We ended up getting him a new one instead, as T-Mobile doesn’t recognize Sprint’s care plan after their merger.

David waited til the last minute to tell us what he was planning, then the pandemic threw a wrench in things as well, with some locations deciding to limit visitors all together. So Utah was super last minute, which meant getting him a reasonably priced airline ticket was going to cause some issues. He ended up on three different planes with one eight hour layover in Dallas and one twelve hour layover in Phoenix.

He was totally calm about all of this. It was me wracked with worry. What if he missed a flight? What if the Phoenix Airport wouldn’t let him spend the night inside? What if he forgot to pick up his luggage in Phoenix and ended up in Utah without it?

My anxiety levels were already crazy, but sending my 19-year-old off on his own for the first time drove me over the edge. Hence the All Crochet All Weekend confabulation.

He got there just fine. His friends eventually picked him up at the airport. He’s great, he says.

Meanwhile, the other four of us are at home this week. Nick and Greg are going to watch videos livestreamed from other locations. They can do it in the morning with a Florida site or in the afternoon with the Utah site David is at. (Ree and I? We are doing school work or writing or practicing instruments. We’re fine.)

Posted in Everywhere But Home, Lifelong learning, My Own Personal Weirdness

What Changes Will I Make Post-Pandemic?

Before all this happened, I didn’t really think of my life as boring. I had my monthly family events (one for each extended family), weekly church, weekly writing groups, biweekly writing groups, PTA board meetings and events, kids marching band events and band concerts, and weekly dates with my husband. I feel like I normally have a really full, busy life. Then I started reading post after post from other people about what they missed in their lives: regular live music events (not involving their children), daily or weekly visits to restaurants or bars with friends, art shows, ballet, opera, races, festivals, farmers markets, fancy charity events, parties, etc. I realized that my life really hasn’t changed that much since we started socially isolating and “wow, my life is so boring.”

Some changes I’d like to make:

  1. Start attending live music events
  2. Start going to my friends art shows
  3. Find some friends that can go out on the nights I have free (this is tricky – there’s only one night I’m free, really)
  4. Start dragging my family out to community festivals on the weekend – there must be some that go on on Sunday afternoons, right?
  5. Start arranging the family visitation calendar so I can start going to the extra events my church puts on (there’s usually at least one a week)
  6. Join a musical group – I’d like to find a singing group because the RA & fibro make it hard to always be able to play instruments.
Posted in Around the House, Everywhere But Home, Exercise

Coronavirus, Day Sixteen

Today’s adventures included a trip to the post office and a walk around the neighborhood.

Because I’m a writer at home, I normally have very few co-workers. I joined a few groups of writers, editors and publishers just to have some socialization, as you do. One of them is a group that also enjoys planners, stickers, and all the stuff that goes with them. We have a few miscellaneous boxes that have been sent around a bajillion times, full of those kinds of supplies. When you get the box, you take whatever you want out of it and then put in whatever you think an appropriate amount of other stuff into it. It’s supposed to be at your house for like three days, max. I got mine on Friday morning, the same day we got a shelter in place mandate from our city. With that and the local postal service having recently stated that we had postal employees with Coronavirus, I really wasn’t sure that it would be open for mailing. I chose my stuff, nonetheless, and put more stuff into the box.

Yesterday I was going to go to the post office, but all thoughts of that flew out the window when I found out that my sister was hospitalized. Then I managed to tear the top off the box when moving it to the front hallway. But today I got out of the house and went to the post office. I prepared myself with hand sanitizer and clorox wipes, waited until a few cars drove off from the parking lot, and then went in. There were two workers and one other customer. The customer had a mask on. The workers were wearing gloves. I wiped down the counter where I was doing the reboxing, just to ensure that if anything touched the counter, it would be safe-ish. Nearly everything fit into the new, smaller box. During my packing, one of the postal employees explained to a lady that they weren’t wearing masks because no one could understand them with them on. A few people walked by while I was packing. Another one wearing a mask. One that laughed at him and also at my clorox wipes. I waited off to the side until they were done. Got my box mailed, almost made it out before encountering another human up close, but didn’t quite make it out. At least she had a mask and gloves and hand sanitizer as well. Went back to the car, did some more sanitizer and wiped down the stuff I was returning to the car. Drove home, changed clothes, washed up again, re-wiped my phone with sanitizer, since I’d used it during my time in the post office to look up the address. Managed to get this far without touching my face. Washed it, just in case.

Later this afternoon, went on a walk with my midkid. If you lived on one of the few blocks we walked, you sure got a treat! Ree danced the entire way, practicallly. He’s so funny! We did have one not-so-great moment, though. A car drove up exactly like David’s, so we walked up closer to it than we would have a strangers. We realized too late that we didn’t know the driver. He yelled at us out the window. It was not pleasant. Went inside, cleaned up again. Some days it feels like all we do is wipe ourselves and our stuff down.

Posted in Around the House, Computers and Internet, Everywhere But Home, Lifelong learning

Spring Break Summary

Yesterday Spring Break ended. It wasn’t that exciting. Nick and I were minorly sick the first weekend, then Ree had his wisdom teeth out that Monday.

I saw the Endodontist on Tuesday and they told me I needed a tooth removed and sent me back to my regular dentist to have that done. I got a new shelf for my desk area that I found on deep discount at Michael’s when I looked for planner stuff. I got it all set up the way I liked.


Wednesday was the writer’s group at the library, which sadly I skipped because we were trying to get everything done so we could leave on time the next morning for College Station. We got Greg a laptop computer so he could start typing most of his assignments, which we’d discussed with his 504 committee the week before.

We drove down to College Station on Thursday. By then the coronavirus crazies had started. Nick tried to go to the grocery and they had announcements the entire time about what you could and could not buy. A fight broke out in the parking lot, and he came home without toilet paper. The rest of us just stayed at the house and watched movies.

Movie watching and dog snuggling
We also played games!

On Saturday, Steph and I were supposed to attend a Marbling Workshop at the Bookbindery. It ended up canceled. I went out with my dad and bought him a new computer so he could teach classes online for the next week or so until all this social distancing stops. His old computer was ancient, y’all. This was completely necessary.

Today I spent the morning fixing up the computer for my dad and transferring files and all that goodness. It took forever. Setting up two computers in two weeks. What was I thinking?! Eventually we drove back home. Bluebonnets have started showing up in fields now that weren’t there when we drove down. Could it be Spring?

Posted in Around the House, Everywhere But Home, health, My Own Personal Weirdness, Writing

Pneumonia and other disasters

My youngest has pneumonia — they diagnosed it on Monday. My family of five had four dentist appointments and one doctor’s visit scheduled this week even before that happened. We’ve been to the doctor every afternoon this week besides that. I still made it to a critique group on Tuesday and led a lesson on the Snowflake Method at the public library group on Wednesday. My eldest son sat with the smallest so I could go. Other than that it’s been pills and breathing treatments and trips to the pharmacy over and over. In one five-minute window, while sitting in the doctor’s office and overseeing a breathing treatment, I spoke to one other doctor’s office about how the scan from last week showed that my thyroid was “super enlarged”, the dentist about my husband’s recovery from minor dental surgery, and the endodontist to schedule an appointment for my abscessed gums, all while texting with the flute teacher about her own bout of pneumonia and the French horn teacher to say that we really couldn’t make it this week. Today I had to reschedule two other appointments because of bad schedules at the places I was going (how do they manage to schedule people onto days the doctor won’t be there?). All this to say that there has been no writing this week, other than the four-page document I wrote about the Snowflake Method. *sigh*

Posted in Everywhere But Home, Family Time, Music

One Crazy Night!

One crazy night! Started off at Greg’s school for dinner from a taco truck and then headed over to Ree’s school for Parent Marcher Night and then headed back to Greg’s school to finish out Meet the Teacher with him and Nick. At one point I was talking to a teacher and completely forgot the word “Mom.” Oh my goodness. Finished out the night with a sno-cone. Mmmm….

 

Posted in Everywhere But Home, I Am Traveling, My Own Personal Weirdness, Parenting, The Past Comes Back to Haunt Me, Writing

Hello again!

I have let this blog flounder for far too long and today is my first day back at it.  We have had a wacky, crazy year. I’m not even sure that I should try to summarize it, but find myself wanting to. Let’s start where I left off… oh my. Okay. That’s a rough place to start.

December 5th, 2018 my mom left the nursing home to go home for my dad’s birthday. She lasted at home until December 7th, when she had to be rushed to the emergency room. I went down on the 9th because it was clear that she was on her way out of this world. She passed away on December 12th. I spent the month in College Station or Wisconsin. We had two funerals for her, one in each of her hometowns. They were lovely, both of them attended by family and friends and filled with beautiful reminiscences of her full, mostly happy life. (Please note that this is short, not because I am being in any way flippant about it, but because I’m crying too much to say more.)

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In January we tried to be humans. We had our annual board game extravaganza on January 1st at my dad’s Tyler house so he wouldn’t have to be alone yet and could be a little distracted from all the sadness. April is with him all the time, but we come and go and try to bring a little joy to them with our visits.

February and March went by kind of in a blur. We visited College Station every couple or three weeks and spent half of spring break with my dad and sister. David and Nick were each gone a week in April and then it was birthdays and Easter all at once. We celebrated in the Tyler house, trying to avoid sadness, but failing. Easter was one of my mom’s favorite times of the year.

In May everything ramped up. The six month anniversary of my mom’s death was literally Mother’s Day. How’s that for irony for you? April and Dad ignored the day completely, while Nick, the kids, and I went to Scarborough Faire for the day (something I’ve been wanting to take the kids to for years. They were, naturally, underwhelmed because we’d waited too long).  All the end-of-year “lasts” were heightened because it was David’s last high school everything. We had a graduation party for him the day before graduation, we all attended graduation night outside at the stadium, and then the very next day he left for his band’s spring trip. And because we’re crazy, we had a family BBQ the following Monday with Nick’s family.

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June was even crazier, though. Nick and David left the first weekend, Nick for work in the Czech Republic and David for Tennessee for working a pre-teen camp. Then I left for China the same day Nick came back from his trip (and no, we didn’t even get to see each other at the airport). Greg spent weekdays at his Nana & Pa’s house while the other two boys came and went. David had college orientation for a few days in there. Nick and all the kids went to the Houston Aquarium for Father’s Day while I spent Father’s Day with my dad in Tianjin. Then kids all spent the last few days I was gone working the pre-teen camp at Camp Piney Woods while Nick was in Tennessee for work. We all were supposed to get home Wednesday, June 26th, but my flight got delayed by several hours and I ended up getting home at 4 in the morning on the 27th. Then on the 29th, Greg and David got in a van with other church kids and left for Teen Camp at Camp Pinecrest in Missouri. (I will most likely blog about my China trip in some upcoming posts.)

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Today is first day I’ve felt human and somewhat put together in a really long time. I’m getting back onto somewhat of a schedule. I’ll be spending weekday mornings at the gym and afternoons writing. Ree has this whole month free, so we’ll be starting parent-led driving lessons for him this week as well, probably in the mornings after I’m back from the gym. 🙂 Greg will be in day camps most of this month and who knows what David will be up to? I sure don’t! He was looking for a job last time I checked, but no one would hire him because he was out of town so much this summer (he has one more camp he’s working at the end of the month).

So there you have it. We are crazy and we know it. 🙂 See you tomorrow.

 

Posted in Everywhere But Home, Writing

Visiting the local writing guild

Last night I visited the local writing group. I have been very confused about which group is the most local to me, as one is Association and one is  Guild and one is in a town 45 minutes from me and one is here, but both are listed as “local.” In any case, personal confusion aside, I finally made my way to one of these meetings after several times of not being able to make it when I planned due to tornadoes and other random mishaps.

This was the monthly business meeting. The people there were very nice, there was a guest speaker who talked about her local magazine, and there were snacks. I saw a few people who had come to another local writing event earlier in the month. We were told that if we chose to join, we could get added to a critique group, should we wish. Being the spontaneous sort, I paid my dues and joined on the spot. There’s another meeting next week that I won’t be able to attend due to scheduling issues, but I’m putting all the meetings from here on out on the calendar so I don’t miss any more. 🙂

Posted in Around the House, Everywhere But Home

The Saga of the Missing Dogs

OH my goodness, y’all. So we got home last night and as we were walking through the door our petsitter’s mama called and told us that she didn’t know when the dogs got out, but the neighbors called animal control on us, the dogs were gone, and here’s where to find the sheet of paper about that that was left for us. Oh, and the neighbors apparently washed one of the dogs, who knows why. So we rushed outside, found both dogs mysteriously still in the yard, one squeaky clean and the other as dirty as when we’d left, and started searching for holes along the fence line.

Our fence is up against a creek/wilderness area on two sides, so we started there. No holes. Finally came back up to the front. There was a huge hole on the inside by one of the gates. The place where they’d dug out before, but we had filled in with boards, dirt, and two big heavy paving stones. Both the front and back stone were missing, as was the dirt inside the fence. The neighbor had put some more boards and some weird cement pieces in the hole and pushed some empty planters against the fence to try to ward off dogs leaving.

I went back inside to read the form animal control left. It had our street address (street name spelled wrong), but no other family info on it, just crossed out sections that didn’t apply to us and some notes about 2 dogs being out, no food or water for them for 24 hours, no people responding to the animal control officer, and “inappropriate” fencing.

I went out to the neighbors’ house, Greg in hand, and thanked them for taking care of one of the dogs. “One of the dogs? You mean there are two out there?” Umm…yes. We’ve had Lily for a year and 3/4 now. They told me that only Rose had escaped…not “Random Dog X,” but her real actual name. I’m still wondering about that. They said that she had been over three times and they kept putting her back in the yard, but she kept getting out and coming over.

We fed the dogs, loved on them, and then sent them to bed in their little house for the night. When we got up in the morning, they were still here, as usual.

When it got light outside I searched around a bit and found both dogs rabies tags and their name/phone number tags on the ground near the hole in the ground; the metal looked worn-through like they had just fallen apart naturally, which was odd since they were all acquired at different times. I started looking at the hole. It doesn’t go out under the fence. The outside area where they would have crawled out is totally untouched, ground still fresh and weedy. Yes, they dug on the inside of the fence, but they didn’t get out there. Looking around in daylight I can see that on the neighbors’ side of the yard, there are gaps in the fence again. This is not something WE can just pay to have fixed. It is firmly on their side of the property line and fencing companies won’t mess with it because it isn’t on our property. The owner at the time (12 years ago now, just before Greg was born) had that done on purpose because he was mad at us for not wanting to replace the fence (it was 4 years old at that point and in good condition) when he wanted to. In any case… now the fence is NOT in good condition. The kids living there now have been repairing it slowly, so slowly. But the dogs can jump into their yard and their dogs can (and have) jumped into our yard as well. When their dogs come over, I shove them back through the hole and try to prop the fence piece back in with a stone that has fallen through the fence (one of the other old neighbors – there have been many- took out all the grass on that side of the yard and filled it up with large stones, which over the years have fallen out under the fence and landed in my yard).

In any case, I went to Wal-mart this morning and tried to get new tags made for the dogs and soil and paving stones to replace the curiously missing ones. They have transformed the ENTIRE GARDENING AREA into CHRISTMAS LAND. There were a few bags of soil, some shovels, and some grill covers left. No paving stones. I got some soil, came home and dumped it into the hole, stomped on it, and called it a day for that job. I also bought two “journal decorations” which had key chains on them (they were out of anything actually called “key chains” because they had a sale, apparently), wrote the dogs names on them in permanent marker, covered that with nail polish, and attached them to the dogs. One is shaped like a bouquet of roses. 🙂

So then I called Animal Control. They asked my name and phone number and I told them it wasn’t on the form so they couldn’t look me up that way, so they looked up my misspelled address instead. I explained that we’d been out of town, the pet sitter had been awesome and had been texting me and sending photos of the dogs and walking them and that we were home now and working on fixing the Mysterious Hole of Mystery. They told me that there wasn’t really anything they could do on their end; it was all up to my Animal Control Officer, but they would text him and let him know I had called. They couldn’t tell me whether or not he would call me or text me or come by to check on me or the dogs. No idea. He could do whatever he thought was best, which so far has been nothing.

Friday we go back for their annual check-up (it was due now anyways – we always have one this time of year because we used to board Rose during the feast, but boarding 4 pets was way too expensive) and will get new rabies tags and actual dog tags again then. Whew!

Posted in Everywhere But Home, I Am Traveling, Writing

Beach vacation = writing time

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Every year at this time, my little family takes a break from work and school and goes on a church-sanctioned trip somewhere that we get to choose. Some years we go to the beach (my preference), sometimes to the mountains (my husband’s), and sometimes we stay close to home due to circumstances beyond our control. This is another beach year, our third time at our present destination. Our eldest is a senior in high school and this is the place all his summer camp friends were gathering, so since it is our last time with all our kids to go with us, we let him choose.

So how does all this equal writing? Well, the spouse and kids leave me every day for a couple hours and do the church thing over across the bridge on the other side of the resort. I stay here, in our 7th-floor condo overlooking the ocean, and write, mostly by hand with a fountain pen into a cheetah print notebook someone sent me last year as part of a Halloween craft swap. I have been doing writing exercises from various favorite writing books and writing a few poems and just generally shaking out the cobwebs from my brain.

When the family comes back, we go out for walks along the beach, swim in the ocean, laze by the pool reading books, snark about the internet, and sometimes meet up with others and have escapades.  We do not really worry about time or location this trip. Since it is our third time here, we have done all the things worth doing and gone on the dolphin watching trips, and shopped in all the little boutiques that are still open in the off-season. We are just relaxing this trip.

And that has been helping the writing flow…