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.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

The family pack

Thanks for all the nice comments on the last post. It's been a busy week and I've had very little time for blogging over the last few days. When I posted those puppy pictures neither of us had met her in person, but we have now and oh my goodness! What a sweet little baby! She has the softest fur, and she already shows signs of being a very smart dog. We've decided we want her, but there's a problem. George.

George has never been around any other dogs except Ginger. Of course, he adored her and they had a tight bond, but he was a youngster and she was a steady, responsible adult dog when he came to live with us. This situation is different. George can't see an unleashed dog or a cat approaching him without going nuts--barking and growling and lunging at them. He's very excitable and has a high prey drive, and this puppy is little. We'll have to be very careful about introducing them and I hope we can navigate it successfully. Honestly, I have my doubts.

We're going to try to have them meet up this Sunday at the park (neutral ground) and walk them together to see if we can help him make friends with her. I really think that if George can get over the initial meeting and can calm down enough to sniff her and get to know her that she'll be the ideal second dog for us.  I'm afraid to get my hopes up though. I don't want to be disappointed, and when I picked the puppy up for the first time and felt her soft, soft fur (so much like Ginger's!) and saw her serious little face, I was on the verge of falling in love with her. That would be a mistake at this point so I'm trying not to think about it too much just in case it doesn't work out. 

The good thing is that everyone who sees the puppy immediately wants her. She has no shortage of offers to take her if we decide we can't, so I'm confident she'll get a good home either way. The manager of the pet store is keeping her at the moment and takes her to work every day. She's getting well socialized to other animals, other dogs, strange people, and new experiences. After Sunday we should know whether or not we can keep her, so please wish us luck! It's all up to Prince George at the moment. Of course, he comes first and I won't make him miserable for the sake of a new puppy. So, we'll see........please wish us luck!

If you've had any experience introducing new dogs or puppies to a resident adult dog (especially a difficult adult dog) I'd be very grateful for any tips or ideas. 

"How dare you?!" -George

Sunday, September 12, 2021

In search of a home...

This little girl is in need of a family.  We're very tempted, but trying not to rush into anything. Lots of serious discussions will be going on this week!


Saturday, September 11, 2021

A lovely afternoon

A friend from book club came over to visit this afternoon. This was only the second time she'd ever been to my home, the first being Christmastime two years ago when I hosted the holiday book club meeting. Paulette is a widow in her early 70s that I really like and admire. She's a retired nurse practitioner from Philadelphia who spent many years working for Planned Parenthood. She attended the Women's March on Washington in 2016 which I really admired at the time. She's one of the kindest people you'd ever want to meet, and I always enjoy seeing her. I invited her over for a glass of wine and some conversation on the back porch, and she seemed happy to accept!

 I was a bit nervous about inviting her over. I love to entertain but do it so seldom, and have people over so rarely, that I freak out and try to make everything perfect. Even a casual invitation to a friend to come by stresses me out for days beforehand. I want the whole house to be spotless, and the food and drink I serve to be beautiful and delicious, no matter how simple the get together might be. The upside to all that craziness is that if I invite friends over semi-regularly, the house stays relatively clean all the time. Today I worked for about four hours getting ready: cleaning and mopping the kitchen, scrubbing both bathrooms, cleaning and mopping the screened porch, arranging a vase of grocery store flowers. I was pleased with my efforts. The house looked good, and the cheeses and crackers and fruit and wine I had to serve were delicious. I think my friend enjoyed herself and the conversation. I hope so! 

A photo of the banana flower I took the other day after a rain shower. Today I noticed that the little yellow parts in the center are growing tiny banana fruits! Paulette and I sipped wine and nibbled cheese on the porch and watched hummingbirds hovering around the banana plants and this flower. It was a lovely afternoon.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Morning Misadventures

Do you ever have mornings where everything seems to go just right? Where you wake up feeling rested, your morning routine goes smoothly, and it seems like your day is getting off to a great start?

That was me this morning. Gregg leaves super early on Thursdays to receive a fish shipment at the pet store, so I had the house all to myself. I drank a leisurely cup or two of coffee while reading blogs, ate a bowl of cereal, and fed George and Marco. I took a nice long shower and put on one of my favorite outfits. I packed myself a nice, healthy lunch to take along, and still had a few extra minutes to tidy up the house a little before leaving. I was even having a good hair day! I felt so nice and put-together for once. On top of things. A professional woman going out to seize the day!

Just as I was about to head out the door, I grabbed a travel mug and poured myself the last cup of coffee to take along to the office. It would be a pity to let good coffee go to waste, right? Right. Feeling on top of the world, I went out to the garage, opened my car door, and sat down in the driver's seat......

......and the lid of the travel mug I was holding came off in my hand and the entire 12 ounces of blazing hot coffee dropped into my lap, bounced, and ended up at my feet. Coffee went everywhere. Everywhere. It splashed my face, left arm, the steering wheel, the windshield, the dashboard, and drenched my clothes. I was too stunned to move for few seconds.*  And then (sorry Weaver!) I cursed and swore like a sailor! It was like a coffee bomb had gone off in my car! When I called the principal to tell him I'd be late, coffee was dripping from the tip of my nose. It was almost surreal. So much for my morning getting off to a lovely start!

I ended up thirty minutes late to work, smelling faintly of dark brew. 

*I was lucky in that I only had some stinging on my bare arm that got the brunt of the deluge. No serious burns.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Last of the garden

 This morning I finally pickled the last bagful of jalapeños from my garden. I had picked them a week ago just before we tore down the garden for the year, and they'd been sitting in the refrigerator since. I'm glad they won't go to waste. I've already dried more than I can probably use.

We ate the last tomato (a Brandywine, my favorite) with supper a couple of nights ago. I didn't get a picture of that. What a sad thought that we won't have another for at least 9 months!

Here are the pretty little pomegranate fruits growing on the dwarf ornamental tree. Since they're not for eating, I may make them into clove studded pomanders for hanging on the Christmas tree. Maybe.

Our big pomegranate tree that's supposed to have edible fruit only ended up with one single fruit this year. It had a lot of flowers but they apparently failed to get pollinated, or something. I still haven't picked the one. How do you know when they're ready?

One other thing of note is happening in the last of the summer plants. One of the banana trees has the beginning of a flower!

Saturday, September 4, 2021

At least August is over

September is very, very welcome this year. I can't tell you how happy I am to see the back of August. It was a particularly bad one, and then it felt like it dragged on and on and on. I didn't have it in me to post very much.

Everything seems to be all pandemic, all the time again. The delta variant of this virus is running rampant in this state and our local community. At my school, the principal, his family, the bookkeeper, her family, about a third of the teachers, and dozens of students have gotten sick. And every time a student tests positive several others who have desks near him/her have to go home and quarantine for 10 days. That really pisses parents off, as some kids are on their third quarantine after just a month of school! The nurses get cussed out at least once a day. They're so overworked and worn out that I'm surprised they're still showing up, honestly. Anti-mask parents have been protesting at the district office and at the schools while we do the best we can to keep ourselves and our students safe. Two parents acted so crazy in the office this week (one of whom was a big redneck dad with what looked like prison tats on his neck and arms who took the mask I tried to hand him, threw it to the floor, folded his big meaty arms, and glared at me threateningly) that I felt the need to call for the school resource office to come down there and lend me the support of his presence. People have lost their damn minds. 

And you know what's scary? Most of the staff that have gotten sick in the last two weeks are fully vaccinated. Granted, they're not in the hospital and they're not deadly ill, but they feel like they've caught a bad case of flu. It's beginning to feel like a matter of when, not if, I get sick myself. My friend Karen from book club caught this delta variant despite being vaccinated. She tested positive last weekend after running high fevers for a couple of days. Things are so bad in this area that we're canceling book club meetings for the next couple of months out of an abundance of caution. A couple of days last week South Carolina surpassed Florida for per-capita new infections and deaths. Florida! One of the hotspots of the country!

Meanwhile, over half the people in this community act as if nothing is happening. They're off traveling over this Labor Day weekend, and the town next to mine, Darlington, is hosting their annual big drag race weekend which will bring over 40,000 people to the area. The beaches are packed. Most of the people participating in this stuff are anti maskers and anti vaxxers, of course. They don't give a damn about anyone but themselves. Last week, my husband came close to quitting his job over the fact that most of his coworkers refuse to wear masks and the owner of the business won't do anything about it. Honestly, we were both so fed up with the state of things last week that we both wanted to quit our jobs. 

Here's hoping that September will mean the return to virtual school, at least for a while, and I can work from home again. Everyone in the district think it's a matter of time. At least the weather's nice. We've started off the month with a small dip in temperature and a big dip in the humidity, and those are very welcome developments. Also, it's a much needed three day holiday weekend. I'll try not to think about what all the holiday travel is going to mean for our numbers in the next couple of weeks.

Stay safe, friends.