Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Another one of those days

 Lucky me! I started feeling the unmistakable signs of a UTI yesterday afternoon right before I left work. Talk about a miserable night! I went to the doctor this morning and had my self-diagnosis confirmed, and a prescription was called in for me. Hopefully I'll have some relief soon. In the meantime I have a massive headache, so along with the antibiotic I took some ibuprofen. In the next few minutes I'll be headed back to bed for a good long nap--if Marco will cooperate and stay quiet for a couple of hours, that is. 

Of course, I had to call in sick to work today. I'm sure the two most catty, backbiting, gossipy women who work in the office with me are having to help fill in, and I'm equally sure they're both complaining and trash-talking me. They do with everyone else, after all. Oh well. As long as I'm on good terms with the principal (and I am) then that's all that really matters. I almost never call in sick, and he knows that, but I still got a note from the doctor to excuse the absence.

To add to all this fun, last night we realized that the water coming out of our pipes is light brown! After getting in touch with a couple of neighbors, I found out that such was the case in the whole neighborhood. I called the after-hours emergency number at the water department last night, and then the regular number this morning. The woman I spoke with today told me that they're aware of the problem and would be coming out to fix it. In the meantime, we're using bottled water for drinking. Who knows what's coming out of the tap right now! 

What a day it's been, and it's not even noon yet!

Sunday, October 10, 2021

It's already Sunday

 I finally gave in to my compulsion to own a food dehydrator and ordered one from the bad "A" place (sorry, Maddie) after being unable to find one to buy in person here in town. It took three days to get here and when it finally arrived and I unpacked it, the handle on the door was completely broken off. Shame on Mr. Bezos and his minions! Now I have to return the stupid thing and wait up to a week for my refund. Sigh. So disappointing! I already had a big bundle of bananas and apples I had planned to dry for healthy snacks next week. That won't be happening any time soon, now, and to be honest once I saw how much counter space a dehydrator will take up I'm not sure I want to try to reorder at this point. All the wind went out of my sails when I saw that broken handle.

One thing that did arrive safely was a little red-haired girlie that was a gift from Fresca. She and Marco were instant best friends, and she's brought a little cheer to the house this week. She  hasn't shared her name with me yet, but Marco seems to know it. For the moment, they're keeping their secret.

The girlie was watching me make an apple pie the evening after she arrived. She says that Autumn is her favorite season!

My friend Martina works for a veterinarian. She was upset on our behalf about the puppy situation last month, and yesterday she sent me this via text:

A sweet, 5 month old spaniel mix that was an owner surrender and needs a good home. Martina is having this lucky puppy thoroughly vetted and vaccinated, and she asked me if I'd be interested in setting up a meeting with George. She knows I have a soft spot for spaniels, and this one has lovely, shiny, soft black fur and a nice temperament.

Although we're (once again) sorely tempted, this puppy is a male and we think George would do better with a female. Also, late May or early June would be the absolute best time to adopt a new dog, when I'll have the long summer break at home to help everyone acclimate. I'm afraid we're going to probably pass on this cutie. Martina assures me that they can find him a great home either way, and that we can have a little time to think about it. At least there's a zero percent chance that Martina would flake out on us! She's as trustworthy as they come, especially where animals are concerned. This dog is lucky he landed with someone like her to see to his welfare.

Well, today is the last of my week off. It hasn't been all I hoped for, but the break from the office has been very welcome. The four-day Thanksgiving weekend is still over 6 weeks away, but there's book club and Halloween and Gregg's birthday between now and then to look forward to. Going back is easier with stuff to look forward to.

Enjoy your Sunday, friends.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Family stuff

Yesterday was a tough day for me. Emotional and depressing.

I went to visit my parents for the first time in almost two years. The first year was mainly because of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions, but then last October we had a huge falling out. We've spoken since then, but the prospect of actually seeing them or going to their house was just too much for all these months. It's caused me a lot of stress and worry and depression, and I even briefly considered cutting all ties with them when things hit their lowest point. Even after they both apologized for hateful and hurtful things they had said to me, I didn't feel comfortable around them for a long time. I still don't, sometimes. Setting boundaries and protecting my own mental and emotional health has been so hard. I've felt really guilty about it all no matter how much I try to reason with myself that I'm doing the best I can. 

The main reason I finally decided to woman up and go visit them is because my dad's health is really bad. Really, really bad. My dad's basic personality is sweet and gentle, although rapidly declining health, myriad medications, and some mental health conditions have led to a few outbursts. Overall, he's still my dad though, and he wanted to see me. My mom and my relationship with her is much more complicated, and that's been the bigger source of stress for me. I was nervous about seeing her for the first time in so long but I decided it was time. 

Well, when I walked in the door my mom came and put her arms around me and started to cry. She held on to me for a long time and sobbed softly against my shoulder. It broke my heart. Just shredded my heart to pieces. 

My dad was glad to see me, too, and I'm really glad I got to see him. His physical condition is somewhat shocking. If he suddenly up and died today, I wouldn't be surprised-- that's how grim things are. What did surprise me is how much my mom's physical and mental health have declined in the past two years, too. They're both in pretty bad shape.

We had a nice enough visit despite how sad I felt the whole time. Mom cooked a roast and we had lunch together. Dad kept up a cheerful demeaner and made a few jokes. I admired the new fence they had installed outside and the neat, well-kept flower beds in front of the house. Then I told a lie and said that I had to be back in Florence at 3pm for an appointment to have my teeth cleaned. I'd promised myself that I'd find a graceful way to leave after two or three hours if I needed to, and I did. I intend to visit again relatively soon, though, and I told them so.

I didn't cry until I was in the car and on the road back home. 

Me and my dad, circa 1982 or so.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Tuesday ramble

The search for a crabapple tree was a total bust. Although there were two or three vendors selling good-size fruit trees at the festival, the only apples were standard size varieties, not crabs. One Asian family had the best selection of trees, but (and this shocked me) they had never even heard of crabapples! It made me wonder if they were just running the stall for someone else. They obviously didn't know much about trees in general. Their little son was adorable, though, and kept trying to help me (aka sell me something). After making calls to several local nurseries, it looks as though we'll have to order a crabapple tree online if we're going to get one. I'm surprised by that.

It was still fun to look around the Fall Festival, though. I had a corn dog and fresh lemonade for lunch, then bought a big bag of fresh apples straight from the North Carolina mountains to bring home. King Luscious, Rome, Granny SmithIt , Fuji, and Golden Delicious were the varieties I picked. I'm planning to make pie tomorrow, but I like them just as well fresh and eaten in thin slices. 

Speaking of apples, I've been on the hunt for a food dehydrator. No one around here seems to carry them in store so it looks like I may have to use Amazon to get one. I would love to start making apple and banana chips for healthy snacks among other things. 

Yesterday I began building a raised bed for next year's garden in my back yard with the border stones that were here when we moved in. There's still some work to do, but I'm excited with how it's turning out so far. You can see the bananas in this picture, and don't they still look good? That's because we keep trimming off all the yellow leaves! They'll be gone before too much longer. 

This afternoon I had lunch with two friends and that was really nice. I had a yummy grilled chicken Greek salad with pita bread and tzatziki on the side.

It was so good to see Marian and Paulette! We passed a pleasant hour, talking over our lunches.

Now I'm back at home, spending the afternoon with George and Marco. I'm making homemade soup for the first time this fall for our dinner tonight, and the house smells wonderful! It's not all that cool outside, but it is overcast, so soup seems appropriate. It's fun to cook and do things around the house on a weekday when one would normally be at work! I'm enjoying this little break.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Intercession, Fall Festival, Trees

This is the first day of our school district's "fall intersession" which means I'm off work until October 12th! Hooray! It was definitely worth going back to school a couple of weeks early this summer to get some time off now. October is one of the best months of the year in eastern South Carolina. The weather is usually perfect--warm days, cool nights, low humidity, bright blue skies. Autumn color in the trees is just starting to show, and won't reach its peak until mid November. The first frost is likely still a month away.

The annual Fall Plant and Flower Festival is at the Pee Dee State Farmer's Market this weekend! After I finish up this blog post and take a shower, I'm going out to have a look at some of the trees and perennial plants offered for sale. It's a good time of year to plant, and we want to find a small tree for our front yard. The little dogwood that's currently there is succumbing to some sort of disease, and 3/4 of the branches are totally dead. I haven't had the heart to chop it down yet, so I'm hoping that buying a replacement will be the motivation I need to go through with it. Cutting down trees, even for the best of reasons, makes me sad. 

The new tree won't be a dogwood, but we're not sure yet what to choose. We're thinking of a crabapple, one of the larger varieties that will grow into a good size (but still smallish) tree. They're pretty during spring flowering, summer fruiting, and in fall when the leaves turn colors, and better yet the birds and deer will appreciate the new food source. We're trying to make our small property as attractive to wildlife as possible so a crabapple seems like a solid choice. 

If nothing interesting is available at the market today, Gregg and I will probably take a day trip to a tree nursery on Monday to look around. I have several projects for the house I want to do next week, too, stuff it's hard to get around to after work and on weekends when basic maintenance and chores have to take priority. Also on the agenda is lunch with a couple of my retired (lucky) friends, Paulette and Marian. I haven't seen Marian in a minute now, so it's going to be good to catch up with her! 

I'll leave you now with a few pictures that were shared of the Fall Festival on the market's Facebook page. I should have some of my own later this afternoon!

Enjoy the day, friends.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

So long, September (don't let the door hit you on the way out!)


It's the last day of September and I, for one, am happy to see the end of it. It's wasn't a total bust as months go (I've definitely had worse!) but overall it was just one irritating thing after another. Here's a quick recap of some stuff that happened in September:

  1. We finally, after two months of phone calls, text messages, and threats of small claims court, got our fence repaired. Remember the neighbor's landscapers who felled a tree that broke our fence? That happened back in July and it's taken this long to get it done. I was not a happy camper.
  2. I screwed up a deposit at an ATM early in the month and it's taken all month, and several calls to the bank's customer service, to resolve. Oh, the pain. 
  3. The puppy that we hoped to adopt ended up getting offered to us again when the person fostering her decided they didn't want a new puppy after all. We were upset by the way we were treated, and decided to decline. It's a good thing, too, because today that person finally got around to taking her to the vet and the puppy has parvo
  4. Gregg's referral to a dermatologist for some mysterious itchy skin that his regular doctor couldn't diagnose yielded no answers. What it did yield, however, was a diagnosis of another spot of basal cell carcinoma on his face. He has to have it removed next month and he's dreading it. This makes the third one he's had in the last few years. Too much sun exposure on his fair skin in his youth, I suppose. 
  5. Gregg's old work truck broke down again after we just spent over $1300 to replace the clutch. We were so stressed out at the prospect of spending even more money! Lucky for us, it was a faulty part and the repair place honored the warranty and did the next repair for free. But we had a week of sharing one car and aggravation over it all, and that was no fun. 
  6. You all read about Marco's Great Outdoor Adventure last week. Enough said about that. 
There were other things, but I'll stop there. That's enough complaining! I've decided that October will be better. It's going to get off to a great start tomorrow afternoon--next week we're on fall break, and going back to school so early this summer will finally be paying off! After tomorrow I don't go back until October 11. I'm really, really, really grateful and looking forward to it!

Thursday, September 23, 2021

I've had better weeks.

Sunday afternoon was a day to remember. Marco got away from us, flew up into a tree, and refused to come back. We were scared that he was gone for good!

The way it happened was like this. Gregg was on the back porch working on some projects with Marco riding around on his shoulder. After a while, he forgot he was on there, and without thinking walked out the door to the backyard. Mistake. Marco immediately took off and ended up in a big tree on the edge of our yard. We spent an hour and a half trying to coax him down, to no avail. We offered him his favorite treat (walnuts), we called his pal Georgie to come out to stand with us under the tree, we pretended to start walking back to the house while cheerfully calling for him to come with us, we demanded he come down, we shouted. We even threw a rope over the branch underneath him and shook it to try to scare him down. Nothing worked. The little bastard crawled around on his branch, chewing on leaves and occasionally responding to us with "Hey baby!" "Whatcha doin'?" "Woooo!", and, infuriatingly, "C'mere! C'mere Marco!" I swear he even laughed a couple of times. It started to get dark and he seemed to be perfectly fine with the idea of sleeping up in the tree with his newfound freedom. 

Finally, out of sheer desperation I took a chance on a pretty extreme solution. I went and got the hose, turned the water all the way to the "on" position, set the flow setting on the nozzle to "jet", and I blasted his ass out of the tree with a mighty gush of water. He fluttered down to the ground at our feet, dripping and stunned, and we grabbed him up and took him inside. I couldn't believe it had actually worked. So Marco is still with us, safe and sound, and having learned nothing.

                                          The next day, stealing a sip of my wine.

The rest of this week so far hasn't been much better. Gregg had to visit a dermatologist recently and he found out he has another basal cell carcinoma on his face that must be removed. It's right beside his nose whereas the previous two were on his forehead. All those years of sun exposure on his fair skin are catching up with him. He's been pretty bummed about it. 

Work continues to be busy and stressful with Covid still spreading like crazy around here. Another friend of ours got sick this past week and felt like he had a horrible case of flu even though he's vaccinated and very careful. In fact, it's the friend that helped us get our vaccines relatively early on. He works in a hospital so I guess he's exposed to Covid more than most. At least since he was vaxxed he didn't get sick enough to end up in the hospital himself, though. Just last weekend, an unvaccinated young mother who teaches in the school district next to mine died from it. Her reason for not getting the shot was that she was breastfeeding her youngest child and was afraid it might hurt him. Now he and his three siblings are motherless and her family is begging the community to get the vaccine so no other family will have to go through the pain they're experiencing.  This teacher was healthy and active (she coached volleyball) and was only 28 years old. When are people going to wake up and take this virus seriously? How many more people need to die first? 

Speaking of illness, you might notice I'm posting this at an odd time of day for me. I'm at home taking a sick day. Last night out of nowhere I started feeling like I had the worst heartburn of my life. I was walking around, trying to get my stomach to settle down, and all of sudden I started throwing up violently. It was really strange and upsetting. I feel better today except for a bad headache, but decided to stay home just in case I have a stomach bug. I hope that's all it is. This Delta variant is known to have some unusual symptoms sometimes.

What a week so far, and it's only Thursday!

Sunday, September 19, 2021

How it went..

It didn't. 

The young woman who manages the pet store where Gregg works has been fostering the puppy. She's flakey and unreliable. After confirming with her last week that Sunday would be a good day to introduce the dogs, she quit returning Gregg's texts yesterday.

We think she went to Charleston for the weekend to see her boyfriend, who's been showing interest in adopting the puppy. 

Here's a Facebook post he shared the other day.

I can't think of any other reason for her to disappear over the weekend and stop returning texts. I'm sure she'll have excuses when Gregg sees her at work again. 


I suppose it wasn't really meant to be this time. I'm disappointed, but it's okay. I'll get over it.