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Friday, September 30, 2011

Meet the Family ~

It looks like some new friends have found my blog, so I thought I would take a few minutes and introduce the family, so to speak. 

Walker is my sweetie.  Weve known each other for nearly thirty years, but weve been together as a couple for about eight.   I have two older sisters, an older brother, and a younger brother.  My younger brother moved in with Walker and me in February, when he and his wife decided to separate.  Their divorce became final this month.  Bro has two boys, Cubby and Squeak, who spend a couple nights a week here with us.  My older brother is also getting divorced this month.  He had two kids from his first marriage, a little girl, Diva, from his second marriage, and no kids from his third marriage.  He is currently engaged to Number Four.  She seems to be a sweet lady. 
Divas parents split up before she was born, and Diva spent a lot of time with me back then.  I had a normal day shift job at that time and my mom was a couple blocks away from me, so really, it was no problem to take care of her between my mom and me.  Diva was a good baby.   I lived in a tiny house with a tiny yard but we had everything we needed.  There was a little park with a playground and a wading pool a block away.  Id put Baby Diva in her stroller and off wed go.  I miss those days. 

Walker came back into my life when Diva was about eighteen months old.  She was not thrilled to have him around.  Lucky for me, that only lasted a couple months.  Once she decided he was a good guy, they became fast friends.  They have a standing Saturday morning breakfast date, just the two of them.   Due to some medical issues, Walker and I wont be having kids of our own.  Diva is pretty much it for us.  Were very lucky that her parents are so generous with her time, and that so far, Diva still likes hanging out with us.   I try to make the most of every day we spend together.

My oldest sister, Michelle, lives on the other side of Minnesota and we dont get to see her very often.  She has two boys, too.  Theyre older 17 and 14.  I mostly communicate with them via Facebook, which is pretty much the only reason I do Facebook at all.  My other sister has puppies instead of kids.  We used to take care of them during the day until my cat, Ernie, starting having problems.  The older dog, Baizie, pretty much leaves Ernie alone but the younger one, Lily, thinks of Ernie as an interactive puppy toy.  Ernie wears herself out defending her turf.  Then Lily developed food allergies, so when shes at our house we have to put Ernies food up out of her reach.  Which means its out of Ernies reach.  Not so good.  So now we run to my sisters house and take the dogs out when my sister is working late.  I miss havingthe girls over every day.   I miss seeing my sister, too.
My mom lives in our neighborhood, on the next block.  She’s retired now, but she keeps pretty busy.   Some days I get out of bed to find her at my dining room table, putting together a jig saw puzzle.  Some days she’s at my computer, surfing the internet.  She likes to travel with us, but physically she sometimes has a hard time getting around.  She’s as independent as they come, though, and rarely asks for help around her house or her yard.  Walker goes over on snowy days, intending to blow out her driveway, only to find it done already.   She’s one tough chick.

My dad passed away over seven years ago.  He lived in New Mexico and we went years between visits.  I didn't think his passing would leave such a big hole in my life.  Walker's family lives in the area, too, and he has a pretty large network of extended family.  Every now and again we make noise about moving somewhere else, but I don't think we'll be going anywhere soon.  There are too many people counting on us.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Apparently, I Am No Longer Cool

The problem started when Cubbys momma invitethe family to Cubbys cross country meet.  Cubby is in his first year of middle school, so of course when out in public he prefers to pretend he hatched from a pod and therefore has no pesky family members around to embarrass him.  We knew hed prefer not to have a herd of us rellies standing on the tape line waving, snapping photos, and chanting his name.  We went anyway. 
I was not prepared for how little the kids looked lining up at the starting line.  To me, they may as well have been in kindergarten.  It was chilly out and the kids were in shorts.  I wanted to take them all home and feed them cocoa with marshmallows and warm chocolate chip cookies.    The race started, and just about that time the sky opened up.  By the time they rounded back to finish the first of two laps, they were soaked and red faced and miserable looking.  Oh, my heart just broke.  Theres a disabled kid on the team who runs with a guide.  How awesome is that?  And the volunteer guide?  What a great guy.  Uh oh, last straw here come the weepies!

My Tamoxifen has been turning me into a giant pile of hormones lately.  I've been on the stuff since Christmas Eve, but according to my doctor, the side effects will come and go the whole time I'm on the medication.  I am not used to turning into a weepy puddle of mush at the drop of a hat and I've not yet figured out how to control these little bursts. 

Now I know Cubs would be mortified if anyone saw his auntie having a breakdown under the oak trees, so I did my best to distract myself from the sight of all these poor, soggy children running up the hill.  But then here came my Cubby.  I have to say, running is not his strongest skill at this point.  But I also have to say, that kid does not give up.  He was completely drenched, he looked like he was in pain, and clearly he was miserable, but he kept going and finished both laps.  And all while totally ignoring his parents, his brother, two aunts, a grandma, and an uncle cheering him on.  I have never been more proud.
I knew he was disappointed in his performance and I wanted to tell him how great I thought he was, but I knew I would never be able to vocalize those feelings without turning into a total basket case, which would probably send the kid straight to therapy.  Instead, I sent this email:

Hi Cubby ~
I just want to tell you how proud I am of you.  You know those races are hard and you run them anyway ~ lots of people would give up without even trying.  But not you. You gave it 100 percent.  That shows great strength of character.  You are growing into a fine young man.  I am very, very proud of you.

It backfired. 

Cubby now lives in fear that I will somehow – gasp! – hug him.  He walks sideways around the house so he can keep an eye on me at all times.  If I get within eight feet of him, he bolts.  So much for offering solace. Sigh. At least Squeak still thinks I'm awesome.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rocks in the Road

I'm not sure when it started, but sometime over the summer Diva and I decided that on her first school break we were hitting the road.  Our destination?  The world famous Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.  The mall is so big, and just far enough away, that when we go, we make a weekend of it.  We book a motel with a pool for Diva the Fish, and we just play.  Walker takes her on all the rides, we eat yummy cherry milkshakes at Johnny Rockets, we sample just about everything at Sephora, we adopt a new friend from Build-A-Bear, and we shop til we drop while a very patient Walker carries our bags to the car.  It's so much fun.

But of course, there are rocks in our road.  Diva is on the volleyball team at her school. That's not a problem, we worked our plans around her schedule.  Then the organizers changed the schedule.  So we changed our plans.  Then, because apparently I am spewing bad karma into the universe, they changed the schedule AGAIN!  She now has all her games and tournaments on Saturdays.  Which, you know, would be part of the weekend.  Sigh. So much for making a weekend of it.

Diva is in fourth grade.  Even if she shows incredible prowess on the volleyball court it's highly unlikely that she'll be awarded a college scholarship or anything.  Yet, she's part of a team, and I feel like we'd be sending the wrong message if we let her skip out of her game to play at the Mall. So, despite the continual schedule changes, we've revised our plans once again.  We'll be at the Mall on Friday, stay overnight in Bloomington, and get up before the sun to get that kid back to school before her Saturday morning game.  The things you do for your kids.  Or, you know, someone else's kids that you periodically borrow.  Sigh.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn in the Valley

This time of year, the Mississippi Valley lights up with fall color.  The sky becomes a brilliant blue, the perfect backdrop to the blazing trees.  It's breathtaking, and it brings tourists down the Great River Road in search of quaint river towns, bluffs covered in fall color, and Midwest hospitality.

Then the leaves drop and the snows come,  bringing hunters to the area from all over the country.  The little farm towns in this area are surrounded by miles of woods and prairie, making the area a great destination for deer hunters, turkey hunters, duck hunters, pheasant hunters, and coyote hunters.

Not everyone loves the tourists.

I got into a debate on Facebook over the influx of tourists.  I really don't care to debate on Facebook, or anywhere else, but I kind of got sucked into the conversation and decided to defend my position instead of ignoring the drama like I usually do.  Personally, I don't see what the hang up is.  Tourists come to the area, they spend big bucks, and they leave.  End of story.  Like it or not, there are local businesses who depend on the hunters and the nature seekers.  Sure, the hunters tend to get a little rowdy.  They come into the taverns after a day in the woods to drink and relax.  But then, so do the locals.  So what's the difference?

Autumn is my favorite season.  I love the cool nights.  I leave my windows open and snuggle to sleep under a down comforter.  I love the colors, the scent of wood smoke, the sound of leaves crunching underfoot.  I love the break between tending the garden and shoveling snow.  This time of year, we rarely even need to mow the lawn.  It's nice having the extra time on weekends.

I love making casseroles and fresh bread for dinner.  In the summer, we tend not to use the oven as it heats the house too much.  I love watching football.  I love Halloween. In fact, the only thing about fall that I don't love is that it's followed by a long, cold, gray winter.

If living in this beautiful area means I have to deal with tourists during my favorite season, I say, bring 'em on!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Holy crow, I am exhausted!  For the past few days we've been cleaning and sprucing and spit shining the house and the yard, anticipating the appraisal for the refinance on my mortgage.  We've been getting up early and staying up late to get everything done.  It's hard to keep the house from looking cluttered with Bro in transition and the kids going back and forth from here to their mom's house. Add to that all the other stuff that's been happening - helping at my mom's flea market booth, traveling to get my new car, working OT at the office, tracking down paperwork and delivering it to the mortgage lender - I am just plain worn out.  This has been one heck of a busy month.

Bro and Walker really came through and helped a lot, so even though I really wanted to crawl into bed as soon as I got home from work I ran to the grocery store on my dinner break and when I got home I tossed together a batch of my buffalo chicken dip (cream cheese, hot wing sauce, shredded cheddar, ranch dressing, bleu cheese, and shredded chicken.  I cheated and got the canned stuff).  It needs to be baked until the cheese melts but I'll do that later, when the boys are looking for a snack.  They both love the stuff and really, it's not enough to show my appreciation.

The appraisal finally happened yesterday, but we won't know how it comes out for a couple days.  With any luck, I'll be reporting a new loan - with a full two point drop in the interest rate - at my third quarter check in next week.  That's pretty much the last step in my personal economic recovery plan.  I'm making progress on my personal goals this year.  Wahoo!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Moving On

Little Bro is moving out.  Not immediately, but soon.  He's got an accepted offer on a house two towns over, where my nephews live.  I hate to let him go but it's time.  His kids need a solid routine and Bro needs closure after his divorce.  On the plus side, I now have two kid rooms to decorate.  Bro hates painting and really doesn't enjoy putting rooms together, so it's a win/win.  I get to indulge myself shopping and decorating while Bro gets finished rooms for his boys.

Cubby's room is easy: he wants Minnesota Vikings decor.  Anything officially licensed by the NFL is pricey, but I found some deals on Amazon. So far I ordered a poster, a throw blanket, and a "Vikings Fan Cave" sign.  A while back Walker and I picked up a couple wooden chairs with upholstered seats at a neighbor's rummage sale - $5 for two chairs, major score - and I'm going to paint one up in purple and gold.  I need to hit the fabric store for the seat material.  I was thinking of going solid on the fabric and doing some cool tiger stripe with the paint but.....not so sure now.  I'm thinking less is more when it comes to a boy room.  Diva would love a wild chair but then, Diva has her own style. I need to learn to think like an almost twelve year old boy. 

Now Squeak's room will be more challenging.  He loves animals and his room already has a jungle animal wall paper border.  The border is pretty cool, not baby cartoon animals but realistic tigers and leopards and elephants and zebras.  The walls are done in a really nice faux painting technique that looks like marble in shades of tan.  The part I'm having trouble with is finding jungle decor that isn't too cartoony but also not too.....mature.  I don't want  leopard print sheets.  I'm thinking maybe a solid color comforter and maybe some animal posters or something.  Maybe a couple palm trees with some bright birds from the craft store wired in.  Squeak's room will take some research.  I can't wait!

I didn't want Miss Diva to feel left out, so I offered to "grow up" her room after the boys move out.  She liked the idea, but she was conflicted;  she doesn't want to get rid of her baby stuff.  We're going to take a look around and see if we can incorporate some new touches with what she already has.  Her room was put together when she was three years old.  I was surprised she doesn't want to start over.  Then again, she hasn't had much stability in her life to date.  Maybe her room at my house is her safety zone.  Nobody else in her world has stayed in the same place for six years.  I'm proud of her for giving up her room to her cousins over the last few months.  She hasn't logged a single complaint.  I think she's earned a few treats.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Me & My Shadow

 Pretty much any time I look down, this is what I see:

That's my Ernie,  always at my feet.  I give her meds several times a day, plus I do her feedings, and I make sure she's getting brushed well now that shedding season is here again.  So, you know, she's pretty much my shadow, all day, every day.

Which is why I was so shocked when I looked at this photo of her sleeping on the sofa:


To me, it looks like someone let her air out.  I know she's lost weight, but.....oh my!  The poor little thing.  So far, she's doing okay on her new meds.  Not great, but better than the vet expected.  I am very grateful because there are no more treatment options.   If her meds quit working, it will be time to let her go.  I am so going to be a basket case.

Monday, September 19, 2011

What is Wrong with This Picture?

   I don't know about y'all, but I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have to 
"Beware of Dog" if they actually built a fence here.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Try, Try Again

Walker rode along with me to pick up my new car, a round trip that took a little over two hours.  Along the way I told him about the other night when I found myself holding my breath in fear while I was walking.  I don't really like to talk to Walker about my diet wars, since he's never had a fat day in his life and he usually just tells me something rather lame like, "Eat more fruit!"  This time around, though, he really listened and when I finished talking he offered a suggestion that I think is worth exploring.  He told me to leave the numbers out of it. I didn't know what he was talking about so he explained:  I know how to eat healthy. I know how to exercise.  He thinks the scale is what's stressing me out, that seeing the numbers drop is the root of it.  He suggested that I ditch the scale and just focus on making the best choices every day, with the meals as well as the exercise.  Such a simple idea, of course I have to try it. 

In about a month I have another follow up at the cancer center.  Between now and then I'm going to try to do as Walker suggested, and see what happens.  I'm going to stay away from junky food and make sure I do something active every day, whether it's an exercise tape or a bike ride or raking the yard.  If I'm still stressing at my appointment I'll discuss it with my doctor. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

My New Ride

Out with the old....

And in with the new ~

Quite a change, huh?  The photo of the Sebring, to me, doesn't look like a twelve year old car that has rarely seen the inside of a garage.  In person, the car was a little beat up. Of course, it was sitting outside during two major hail storms and a tornado.  Not to mention the two hundred-year floods, when the streets overflowed and the water came up to the doors and leaked inside.  The Sebring was starting to nickle and dime me, too.  We had it in the shop at least once a month last winter.  Once it was in the shop twice in one week, for different issues. The real problem with the Sebring was that my family just doesn't fit into it anymore.  The backseat area is pretty small, and my mom had trouble getting in and out of the front seat.  Walker fessed up, too, that he felt cramped riding in it.  So I guess it was time.  I did feel a little blue, signing it over and walking away.  Someday, I'll have another convertible. For now, though, it's kinda fun tooling around in my new Journey.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I'm supposed to be in bed.  I have to get up early to go get my new car.  I just got home from the office, though, and I know from experience that I need at least an hour to wind down or sleep just will not come.

It's 45* outside right now.  The boys brought in my plants from the patio:  a couple miniature citrus trees and a pretty good sized ficus tree that my neighbor gave me after his mom died.  He doesn't do well caring for plants, so I'm trying to give it a good home.  It's a beautiful tree and it loved my patio.  I hope the cold spell passes and the tree can enjoy a few more warm days outdoors.

The cool weather makes it less sad to trade in my convertible. I know I'll be missing it next spring, when the first warm days arrive and I can't take the top down and soak up some sun.  Ah, well.  Someday I'll get another one.

Something happened today that I'm having a hard time figuring out. I'm not sure I can articulate it, but I'm going to try.  I have had a goal of trying to lose some weight for a while now.  I keep getting sidetracked, which I think is 90% mental at this point.  Somewhere in my head I have the idea that weight loss equals illness, even though I *know* that is not necessarily the case.  So I decided to slow down my goals to five pounds at a time, with a break in between. Kind of ease my way into a new mindset.  I went for a walk today and while I was walking, I started to feel kind of lightheaded.  I started thinking I should turn around and go home when I realized I was holding my breath.  I let it out and talked myself through few breaths:  slowly, deep breath, let it out, slowly, good, now do it again....The woozy feeling went away and I realized I was now feeling fear.  I guess I held my breath the way some people do when when they try to prepare for something bad that they know is coming.  Like a shot at the doctor's office, or that big drop on the roller coaster at the theme park.  Only nothing bad was coming. At least, not that I can see.

About that time I realized that one year ago today I had surgery to remove four tumors in my breast.  I keep thinking I have moved past this whole cancer thing but then I have one of these moments and I realize that something is wonky in my subconscious.  The million dollar question - or maybe the five pound question, LOL - is what do I do about it?  I really want to get healthy but I keep getting in my own way.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


What a weekend!  Where do I start?  Let' see.....well, Friday I took the night off work so Walker and I could go car shopping.  I bought my last two cars in Minnesota, and while I haven't had any major issues with either car the laws in Minnesota favor sellers rather than buyers if there is a dispute.  So I decided to start my search on the other side of the river this time around.  I met a dealer who tracked down the exact car I was looking for, right down to the color.  While I'm a little sad to see my convertible go, that car is twelve years old and it doesn't work well for my life right now.  My mom has a hard time getting in and out of it, and the kids I haul around aren't fitting too well in the small back seat these days. It's time, I think, to try something new. I pick my new car up on Thursday.

The car place was about an hours' drive from home, so by the time we got back Diva was home from school and Bro was home from work.  We picked up a pizza to celebrate Bro's big news:  he bought a house!  There are some contingencies that need to be met, so it will be awhile before he moves out, but he seems pretty excited to be getting on with his life.  I get to help my nephews decorate their rooms.  I'm looking forward to that, to having a project to work with them on and to helping make the rooms feel like home for them.

Diva's dad had some big news, too.  He's getting married.  Again.  This will be number four.  Sigh. Diva seems to like this one a lot more than her last step mother.  I was hoping my big brother would stay single for a while, maybe figure out why he's so.....matrimonally challenged, but to each his own, I guess.  I wish them happiness.

On Saturday my mom rented a booth at the local flea market and I got up before dawn to help her set it up.  The problem with working nights is, when I take a night off and go to bed at a normal time, my body doesn't want to shut down. I went to bed Friday night at eleven, a good six hours earlier than normal.  I fell right to sleep, too, but then, around 1:30, I woke up bright eyed and totally refreshed.  My body must have thought I was just having a nap.  Anyway, I wasn't able to get back to sleep so by the time the flea market was over and we packed up our stuff, I was pretty dang tired.  I went back to bed after we unloaded all the stuff. 

The flea market was a lot of fun.  We found some blue jeans and hand painted sneakers for Diva, and I picked up a pile of jigsaw puzzles for five bucks.  My family goes through puzzles pretty quickly, so when I find a deal on them  I snap them up.  We already made the one we thought would be the most difficult:  a pile of pink ballet shoes. It was pretty challenging but my mom and I had it together in less than a day.

On Sunday Walker and I took Diva out to breakfast, then we came home and watch the September 11th coverage on the news.  They were showing the footage from that day, starting when they still thought it was an accident after the plane hit the first tower.  I didn't know this, but Walker had never seen the footage.  I'm not sure how that is possible, unless he lived under a rock before I came along, but his shock at seeing the second plane hit the second tower brought back a lot of the emotion from that day.  It was like seeing it for the first time all over again. Of course, he really was seeing it for the first time.  I guess it's true that a picture is worth a thousand words. He knew what happened but seeing it was horrifying.

Which brings me to my final thought:  it's a little late, but then, I guess it's never too late to express gratitude.  I am grateful for our service men and women, and their families.  I'm grateful for the police and firefighters, and the medical professionals who put aside everything else when a crisis looms. I'm proud to be an American, proud to fly my flag, proud of the resilience of our people.  May we never forget the horror of that day, and may we continue to work for peace.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

When it Rains.....

Nope, not another storm.  At least, not a weather storm.  Remember the post where I paid off my big medical bill?  Well, they had some book keeping issues, apparently, and they put the payment through THREE times.  It was a very large payment, and of course it overdrew my checking account.  Which was even more of a hassle than it normally would be, because I am smack in the middle of refinancing my house.  Sigh.  Who puts a payment through THREE TIMES? 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How the Adventure Began ~

My last entry started me thinking about how I started on my journey through the blog-o-sphere.  It was seven years ago, and I was fairly new to the internet.  Yeah, I know.  I work in the IT field and I just started surfing the web about seven years ago.  What can I say?

Anyway: Walker and I were planning a trip to Alaska, which really means that I was planning a trip and Walker was waiting for me to tell him what to pack.  We were to fly into Anchorage and drive ourselves on a self-guided tour up through the interior and back down to some coastal areas before circling back to Anchorage for the flight home.  We had three days scheduled for Fairbanks, and I wanted to find out what the locals did for fun, so I typed something along the lines of "fairbanks locals dining recreation" into my search engine.  And up popped  Susan.

Susan Stevenson is a very talented photographer who lived in Fairbanks at that time.  Her online journal was the first I had ever seen, and I was immediately hooked.  I had been to Alaska once before, when my mom and I spent two life changing weeks driving around the state.  Susan's photographs brought all that back, and more.  The particular entry that came up was about a dinner Susan and her husband Steve shared for their anniversary.  I think it was their anniversary......anyway, they went to an Italian restaurant called Gambardella's.  When we got to Fairbanks, we went, too, and, well, wow.  It was the best dinner of the trip. Of course, many of our meals consisted of Easy Mac made in the microwave of our various motel rooms but still.  It was wonderful. 

A couple days later we were driving down the Richardson Highway when we made a pit stop at Rika's Roadhouse.  There, sitting at a picnic table with a friend, was none other than Susan Stevenson.  I grabbed Walkers arm and started bouncing in my seat.  As we pulled into the parking lot I begged Walker to go say hello to her while I ran to the restroom but he just looked at me like I was nuts.  I tried to explain to him who Susan was, what a blog was, but he wasn't getting it, and putting off the restroom was....not an option.  When I came back, Susan and her friend were gone. 

When we got home I read Susan's entry for that day - no mention of crazy tourists bouncing in their van yelling her name, LOL -  and it turns out she wasn't having a great day.  I really, really wish I had at least said "something" to her as I dashed by.  Maybe she would have waited, and it might have made the day better to meet someone who reads her pages and appreciates her words. 

Now, Susan reads my words, and the first time I read her comment to me I yelled for Walker while I bounced in my chair.  I was so excited.  The very person who's journal started me on this wonderful cyber adventure had stopped by.  You'd have thought George Clooney was on my doorstep by the way I was carrying on. Susan, I owe you one.  And, while I know how precious your time with your kids is, I would gladly make the trip to Madison to visit with you, should you every find yourself with a free day. 

Welcome, Friends!

I had some questions in my comments yesterday. First, where am I? Well, we live on the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin.  It's chilly here now, about 46* as I write this, but that tree that's turning red is, so far, the only one on the block.  And yes, Ernie is my kitty. She is 22 years old and declining a bit, but she's still got some fight in her, so we're working it out. She's at my feet pretty much all the time when I'm home. She's my baby.  I do not want to think about what will happen when I have to let her go.

Now, my new friend Dawn is wondering how I found her blog. I had to backtrack a bit to answer that. It looks like I followed a couple links, starting with a comment on Donna's blog, Just Me.  From there I went to Midlife Mom, another blog I had not visited before.  And that is where I found a link to  Grandma Dawn.

I love reading blogs.  I love "meeting" people that I would likely never have the opportunity to get to know in my day to day life.  I love reading blogs written from places I have been, so I can revisit, in a way, my memories, and I love reading about places I have never been, so I can learn new things.  What seems like an ordinary day to the writer is fascinating to me.  I wish I had more time to explore the blog-o-sphere.  I wish I could have you all over for lunch.  I wish I had the means to visit all the wonderful places I read about in my cyber friends' pages.  Most of all, I love the community spirit and the comments that readers take the time to leave.  Thank you for visiting, and I hope to see you all again soon ~

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I woke up Saturday morning to another violent storm. Seriously, I thought I was dreaming about the day before. This time, Walker was home, and he was up when the storm hit. Just as I woke up he came flying into the bedroom to shut the windows. Unfortunately, the curtains were already dripping wet. We had to take them down and run them through the washer. The second storm took a couple big branches from the locust tree in the front yard, but we didn't have it as bad as the neighbors. They had a pretty good sized maple tree that just snapped off. The whole tree. The trunk broke at the base. Take a walk around the block and just about every yard has a pile of branches at the curb. Sometimes, there are whole trees, cut up and waiting for the city to come by with the wood chipper.

Unfortunately, that's about as exciting as the weekend got. I did my cleaning and sorted out a couple closets. I ended up listing some clothing on eBay, and I sent some broken necklaces into a gold buyer. Diva and I make cookies, and I went to a couple of open houses with Bro. He's not quite ready to buy, but he's getting close. I was hoping he could be into his own place and have a routine established for his kids before school started, but that didn't happen. Still, it would be nice if he could be settled before winter.

Miss Ernie went on a hunger strike. I about went nuts trying to tempt her to eat something, anything. She's always had periods where she wasn't interested in food, but now she has absolutely no body fat. I freak out when she goes without eating. Bro took the boys fishing on Saturday, so Sunday they fried up a mess of perch. Ernie was treated to some fresh fish, which she more or less inhaled. She's eaten like a little piggy since then. Hope the boys will keep fishing.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Summer Storm

Thursday morning, driving home from the office at four a.m., the thermostat in my car read 84*.  The air was thick with humidity.  I was pretty sure I'd have to turn the AC on when I got home but Bro was up, getting ready for work, and had the Weather Channel on.  The forecast called for rain, early, and after the showers passed the temps were supposed to drop drastically.  I left the AC off and the windows open and went to bed.

That was a mistake.

The storm came through about seven, whipping up winds, darkening the sky to dusk.  The clouds were a weird, mustard yellow color in the darkness.  I have not seen this before, and I do not mind telling you it scared me.  I was the only one home at that point, and when it first woke me I didn't understand what I was hearing.  I thought something was wrong with Ernie, because I heard crashing noises in the kitchen.  I thought she had stumbled into a chair or something, knocked it over maybe.  But no:  the noises I heard were things from my kitchen counter blowing onto the floor and into the wall. Dishes from the counter, a bowl of garden tomatoes, a canister that we use to collect pop tops for the kids to donate to the Ronald McDonald house. Blown across the room.  I was stumbling around (no glasses) shutting windows, mopping up puddles, trying not to slip on the wet linoleum.  The bedrooms were worse:  soaked curtains, soaked bedding, soaked clothes in the kids' laundry basket.  Three feet from the window, which was only open about three inches, everything was soaked.  I grabbed towels and kept wiping. The whole time I'm making a mental list of what to grab if the tornado sirens went off and I had to go to the basement:  Ernie, medication, shoes, cat food, cell phone, a blanket......

The wind got worse, and outside the windows I could see things blowing by:  tree branches, garden plants, newspapers, garbage cans.....I heard a loud crack, and moments later I smelled the smoke.  Across the street a tree had come down in some power lines and caught fire. I called Walker on his cell to tell him to stay at work, we were fine, it wasn't safe to drive in this, but he was already on his way.  He was about a block from home when I got him, out in the storm clearing tree branches from the street so he could drive through. 

When the windows were closed and the water was mopped up as much as it was going to be, I headed back to bed.  I didn't sleep well, but I had to try, as I still had to work that night.  The fire department got the tree cut off the power lines but we were without electricity until long after I left for work.  I took a shower by candlelight but there wasn't much I could do with my wet hair.  I didn't attempt make up, either.  I probably should have taken it to work and put it on when I got there, but I didn't think of it.  We ended up having McDonald's for dinner, and I shared my cheeseburger with Ernie. I know it's not good for her but she was pretty freaked out by the storm, the sirens, the smoke.  When her belly was full, she fell right to sleep.

After all the drama, I still had a ten hour shift to work.  Bro called me to tell me the power was back on, so I thought everything would be back to normal when I got home. Guess I forgot who my roommates are.  The battery powered candles were still burning, the clocks have not been reset, the windows were still shut and it's hotter than Hades in the house. Ernie had not been fed since her McDonald's and she was pretty vocal about it.  Sigh.  Guess my work is still not done.

And how was your day, LOL?