Thursday, November 24, 2022

I couldn't believe my eyes

woke up early this Thanksgiving morning, poured a cup of coffee, and stood looking out of the front windows. And what to my wondering eyes should appear....but a wild turkey running down our street! And no, I wasn't day drinking (yet) but I did do a double and then triple take!

I'd heard a couple of reports of a half tame female turkey hanging around the next neighborhood over, but never expected it (her?) to show up over here....and certainly not on Thanksgiving!

She was still hanging around an hour or so later, so I drove around the block and made a video of her from my car window for proof that it happened.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2022


 It's the eve of Thanksgiving and I'm grateful for so many things at the moment.

  • It looks as if Gregg will keep his regular income for the next couple of months in exchange for going up to the store a few times a week to maintain the aquatic systems and to help the manager care for the animals. The late owner's brother is in town meeting with attorneys to sell the pet stores and settle his affairs. A number of potential buyers have stepped forward, but appraisers will have to come in and put a monetary value on the stores before they can be sold. This process could take up to two or three months, and in the meantime the brother will be cutting Gregg and the manager (as well as the managers of the other two stores) checks every two weeks for their regular salary. What a relief that is! It buys us some time to prepare for whatever might happen next.
  •  I'm feeling much better. I'd caught a mild cold a couple of weeks ago that led to some chest congestion, and although I didn't feel bad, when I went for my (already long scheduled) follow up appointment with the allergist, my lung function had gotten really bad again. He thought my right lung sounded like an infection was setting in so back on antibiotics I went. He also prescribed another round of prednisone. Prednisone always makes me feel so much better that I wish I could take it more often but of course it has bad side effects. 
  • Dare I say this? Let me just whisper it, lest the Universe should decide to smite me upon my return to work next week for my hubris: work has been going better and my boss has been much calmer and easier to be around. Everyone was happy, given that we had a two day work week, and things felt more relaxed and almost fun than they have all year. We had a giant Thankgiving staff potluck in the library yesterday, and with almost 50 people bringing dishes, it was a feast. I couldn't even come close to sampling everything. There were two cooked turkeys, lots of homemade fried chicken, dressing, casseroles, hot dips, meatballs, puff pastry appetizers, a huge crockpot of savory collard greens (those were one of the biggest hits of the meal), deviled eggs, rolls and biscuits, fruit salad, watergate salad, and I don't know what-all. The dessert table was also full: fruit pies and pound cakes and brownies and cookies, tortes and banana pudding and hot cherry crumble (in a crockpot). Two teachers got together to make an autumn punch out of sparkling cider and pomegranate juice and sliced fruits. There was so much left over that all of the staff was asked to please take food home for their families, and we all did. I also brought back my contribution, which was virtually untouched, much to my disappointment.

Nobody wanted the healthy option! :)

  • George is doing much better. I'm SO grateful for that--it's been a real worry. We're pretty well convinced now that he doesn't have a torn ligament in his knee, just some arthritis. He's still favoring that leg a little, sometimes, but he rarely limps and wants to be active. I'm still giving him a (lower) dose of the NSAIDs once a day, along with fish oil at night, to try to keep that knee as loose and pain free as possible. We're also slowly building him back up to twice daily walks, and he seems much happier for it. So are the rest of us! Those walks have been sorely missed by us all.
  • Last thing I'm thankful for: this girl.

She's brought so much fun and energy and lightness to our home this year. She's wildly playful, smart, and very affectionate. It's been a joy having a young dog again. And this is the start of her first holiday season with us!

Tonight, Thanksgiving eve, is special in our home because it was the night before Thanksgiving 2007 when a stray puppy showed up at door and became our beloved Ginger. Since it was her homecoming day, it became a personal family holiday and that hasn't changed since she died. Now we have Poppy, who shares so many of Ginger's good qualities that I think she's going to be a worthy successor to her. 

Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow if you celebrate, my friends!

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Morning sun

It seems I have a "Thanksgiving cactus" instead of a "Christmas cactus" like I originally thought. 

Whatever you call it, it's nice to have flowers blooming in the house to brighten these dark November days. The colors glow in the morning sun from a south-facing window. 

Monday, November 14, 2022


Right before bed last night, I looked at my phone which had been in my purse all afternoon. I had a mysterious text from the last manager of Gregg's pet store (who moved to Charleston a few months ago) saying to please call her, it was an emergency. I couldn't imagine what in the world she needed, and I told Gregg to check his phone to see if she had tried to contact him. Lo and behold, he had two missed calls from her as well as three missed calls from the current manager. This was all highly unusual, and so of course he immediately called the current manager back to see what was going on.

That's when we had a terrible shock. The owner of the pet stores, John, had simply dropped dead over the weekend. We were absolutely stunned. 

John was the third owner of the stores that Gregg has seen in his 20+ years as the "fish guy" at the Florence store. He was mid 50s, divorced, no kids. He apparently had a girlfriend who lives an hour or two away, and a brother in Louisiana. As far as we know, that's all the family he had. 

This morning we got a little extra information but not much. John felt bad and called himself an ambulance and died as soon as he got to the hospital. There's some speculation that it may have been an aneurism that killed him, but we don't know for sure.

Now we have no idea what's going to happen. Gregg is meeting with the manager this morning (and Jessie, the old manager who's driving up from Charleston to help) to try to figure out what to do about the live animals for the moment. Of course, the stores won't (can't) open under the circumstances. We have no idea how this is going to be handled, but what a mess. Hopefully John had some sort of will and an executor named in case of an event like this, but Gregg thinks it's unlikely given the sort of guy John was. What a mess!

And of course, we're worried that Gregg's job there (which is half his income) is now a thing of the past. He got in touch this morning with one of their vendors (based in Atlanta) who said she knows someone who might be interested in buying the stores, but who knows when or if that will ever happen. So many things are simply up in the air at this point.

If this is truly the end of the stores (and that's more likely than not) Gregg will have some tough decisions to make. He just turned 64 last week--old enough to draw Social Security, but not old enough to collect his full benefit from it. Thank goodness that he'll still be able to earn money from his aquarium maintenance jobs (up to a point) while drawing SS if that's what he chooses to do, and that well may be his best option. There are, of course, other local pet stores that would probably be thrilled to have him as an employee, but I'm not sure he wants to start over somewhere else at his age. Also, it's hard to look for a new job when you have a small business on the side that needs to be accommodated, time-wise. At the very least, I suppose he can draw unemployment while he decides what to do. 

I know he's really sad that all the years he's invested in this job is probably going to end this way, and sad about what happened to John, too. What an awful situation.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Staying in

Saturday night has rolled around again. I have no plans for the weekend other than staying in and resting.

I seem to be coming down with something. My school is filled with flu, Covid, and strep at the moment along with plenty of simple colds. I had a flu shot last month, and the latest Covid booster two weeks ago, so I'm hoping that this is just something simple like a cold. God forbid it turns out to be strep throat, which is the dominant illness there right now. I don't think so, though. So far, it's just sneezing, a mild cough, and some congestion in my chest along with some mild body aches. No fever (or not beyond a very mild one) so that's an encouraging sign. I'm feeling far from top form, though, that's for sure.

It's been a day of mostly sitting around watching tv and napping. I'm just beginning the final season of Lucifer (Netflix) which was recommended to me by a friend months ago and that I finally got around to starting recently. It's been the perfect show for me the last few weeks because it's funny and fun to watch and isn't very mentally taxing. Great distraction viewing during election season and a welcome break from the news. Also, Tom Ellis is a bit of eye candy, and that never hurts. :)

He looks great in a three-piece suit...or out of it.

Gregg and I finished the latest season of The Sinner, also on Netflix, last night. It was okay, although none of the subsequent three seasons have been quite as good as the first. I also decided to try Derry Girls and that's turned out to be good for a laugh here and there. At the moment, comedy and more lighthearted shows are my preference as an escape from stress. And who wants to watch dark, dramatic shows when they're sick? Not me.

So that's my weekend in a nutshell. TV, soup, ginger ale, and rest. One good thing so far about this cold (or whatever it is) is that since my asthma is now being treated, I haven't started wheezing or getting short of breath. The past few years I've dreaded even the mildest colds because I'd have so many breathing problems as a result. Fingers crossed that it stays this way!

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Random daily life stuff

 It's a most welcome day off for me. Today is, of course, Election Day, and schools are always closed on this day. As a matter of fact, the school where I work is my polling place. Gregg and I went early this morning, before he had to leave for work. I was grateful to be able walk in the gym, cast my vote (with no wait), and then head back home for the rest of the day.

Work hasn't gotten any better, unless you're judging by how well I seem to be managing to keep my head down and power through.So far this has been a loooong year. For the first time in my six years at the school, I have a mild dread in the pit of my stomach on Sunday afternoons. Spring can't come soon enough; that's when contracts and work agreements start coming out and jobs start opening up. With 24 schools in our district, surely an opportunity to transfer to something better will come along soon! 

George's leg/knee is still a real worry. He still limps some half the time, despite almost six weeks of reduced activity and the NSAIDs he gets every morning. Arthritis in his left knee seems to be his biggest issue, and we're probably going to have to try to manage it for the rest of his life. He's gotten somewhat depressed because we haven't been taking him for his twice-daily half mile walk. Hopefully the vet will soon let us gradually get him back to walking more. We've just been making sure that if it's a ligament tear, it has some time to heal, but if it's just arthritis, then gentle exercise will be good for him. 

Poor George; we've been sneaking around with Poppy, taking her on walks. Not too often, and mostly when he's in a back room napping and so won't notice, but still. I hate going without him and I feel guilty. But as bad as I feel for making him rest for all these weeks, I can't deny an 11-month-old puppy the chance for exercise. She's got so much pent-up energy she's like a small package of dynamite!

Okay, well "small" might be the wrong word for Poppy! She was 50 pounds when I last took her to the vet. She's getting to be a big (and tall) girl. Although I'm a little sad that she's not really a puppy anymore, I'm pleased as can be about the dog she's becoming. She's turning out to be very intelligent, friendly (to humans and dogs alike), and playful, with the beginnings of a sense of humor that I didn't know was possible in dogs until Ginger came along. She's sweet, too. Very cuddly, especially late at night and early in the morning when she's sleepy. Poppy is already very much a part of our family.

Her only fault so far (and it's only really kind of a fault) is that she's stubborn and protective, and she'll bark like hell at people coming and going at neighbors' houses. She's also not fond of strangers (like the pest control guy that comes quarterly) who enter our home. She'll snarl and bark and put all the fur up along her spine, and no amount of scolding will make her stop. I always end up banishing her to the back yard if I have to let strangers into the house. But she's loving and loyal to all our friends and family, so at least there's that! Ginger was also protective, but she was smart enough to discern which people might actually pose a risk and which wouldn't. Since Poppy is so smart I expect she'll gain some discernment with maturity. She's still very much a puppy in some ways.

One last item of note: Gregg took down the last really large aquarium in our house. It was a 125 gallon that's been in our den since we moved in here 4 years ago. ** He decided he wanted to sell it while the tank was still in good shape, and he wants to concentrate on something a little bit smaller and less time (and space) consuming. He sold it for a very, very good price to a secretary at one of the medical offices where he gets paid to maintain their aquariums. He's known this woman for years, and she's been wanting a nice, large tank of her own. He only charged her $400 for the tank, stand, lights, filters, and several buckets of nice substrate. A real bargain.

The aquarium, cleaned and ready to go, right before the new owner came to pick it up.

Of course, we had to totally rearrange the den after the aquarium was gone. So far, I like what we've done in there, and today we're going furniture shopping for new barstools to go in this room! That's going to be Gregg's birthday gift--his birthday is tomorrow--and I'll post photos of the room once we're finished redoing it. I'm a little sad to see the tank go, but excited about rearranging and redecorating.

* Knocking on wood as I type this. When your boss almost certainly has a personality disorder, and you manage to stay in their (mostly) good graces, it's best to stay humble about it. All that could, and might, change tomorrow!

**Today is the 4-year anniversary of us buying this house! That's so hard to believe. Time really does fly.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Halloween recap

Yesterday was the most fun I've had at Halloween in ages!

To begin with, we pulled a few seasonal decorations out of storage a couple of weeks ago. 

This past weekend I had to go to the drug store to pick up some prescriptions, and while I was there I bought some extra candy and small toys to hand out (glow in the dark bouncing eyeballs, anyone?!). I also picked up a few other things I'd been needing, including razor blades. I didn't think about how that looked until I got home--buying candy and razors right before Halloween! I wonder what the cashier thought.

Here are the treats spread out on the table for sorting. I wanted make loaded treat bags for the kids I knew who were coming. 

Guess who I got to see?! Little P.!

I also got to see Carsen, who is 4 and a half years old, now. She's growing like a weed.

Here's my favorite photo of the night: Prophet, Carsen, two little girls (who are nieces of the nice young couple across the street) and an extra girl whose parents are friends with Marla. Look how cute these kids all were!

The kids all had sooo much fun! Here's a little clip of them acting all jubilant after one house gave them candy. It reminded me of being a little kid on Halloween, myself.

Speaking of little kids.....the Batman had a blue tongue! All the neighbors were super generous, and most had good candy.

So many of our neighbors were extra generous with treats, and everyone seemed to have a really good time.

At the end of the night, George and Poppy were sorry to see everyone leave. They had a great Halloween (with lots of doggie treats) too!