Categories
COVID 19 holidays home decor Life marriage Pets

Staying Calm in the Chaos

I am a bonafide nester. From childhood I have liked to have my things in proper order, in their proper places. I frequently went through the large box I kept on my side of the closet (I shared a room with two younger sisters) to reorganize and purge things I no longer wanted or needed. I kept my side of the room neat and organized, careful to own and curate the only space in the house I could call my own.

I carried that principle into adulthood. When I moved into my first apartment during college I was careful to stake out my personal space in the shared apartment, even down to a shelf in the refrigerator. I wanted my things in their place.

I was blessed to be married for 41 years to a man who didn’t mind me keeping things in their proper places. I didn’t mind him having his things in the house, but they were to be kept in the spaces I designated for them, and he did a really good job of complying with that. His work shed out back? A completely different story. It was his domain, and I didn’t give input on it. I rarely even went out there.

Those pieces of furniture are my bookcase desk and secretary. Toys and toy baskets surround them. How about that floor?
It’s vinyl plank.

I said all that to say this. My house is driving me crazy right now. I have been blessed by being able to have new flooring installed, but the process is testing my patience. Every piece of furniture, all my books, knick-knacks, and decor items have been shuffled all over the house. Closet floors have been cleared and the contents stacked in the middle of the rooms. It only took a few days to get the large areas done, but now I am waiting on the closets, bathrooms, laundry room, and trim work to be done.

Coco’s comfy chair sits in front of the wood stove hearth and the sofa is on the wrong wall. At least I can sit somewhere, though. Books are stacked all around the wood stove!

In the middle of the job my contractor contracted Covid. He’s been unable to work for two weeks. After one week of sleeping on the sofa I finally cleared off my bed and put sheets on it and can at least sleep in my bed now. The sofa and coffee table are in good places, and the TV has been reconnected. I can get to my clothes and my food and appliances. I moved my laptop and printer onto the dining room table, which is pushed up against the bar in the kitchen. I can still write and do eBay.

The view into the guest room where I’ve been sleeping for a couple of years now. Once the master bedroom is finished I’ll paint and buy a new bed and move back in!

So why am I complaining? I’m trying not to. I have waited years for new flooring and I am finally getting it. What has been completed is absolutely beautiful. Patience, I say to myself, patience. Anything worthwhile takes time. This is October, though, and I usually decorate the house for Halloween. I can’t do it right now, but I did add some things to the flower arrangement on my dining table to get into the spirit. And I decorated my porch like I always do.

My tiny dining room with the pantry door leaning against the wall and the table pushed against the bar, not to mention more toys
in various places. Those plates randomly placed on the wall in the back? That’s a whole other story. They belong to my collection of state souvenir plates which can’t seem to stay on the wall!

This too, shall pass. And I’ll take pictures of the results to show you. In the meantime, drink a pumpkin spice latte for me. I’m doing the Whole 30 program and haven’t had one yet.

Stella is cool with it as long as I am here with her. ❤
My flower arrangement turned memorial turned Halloween.
It’s the little things. . .

What throws you into a tizzy? Please share!

XOXO

Categories
glamping

Glamping and Melting

I just returned from a camping trip I shouldn’t have gone on. (Yes, this former English teacher just ended a sentence with a preposition. I’m not ashamed.) Why would I say such a thing? What happened? Was there a camping catastrophe, a glamping goof, a trailer trauma? Nope, none of those. It was just too darn hot!

This campout was at a beautiful new campground in Oklahoma called the Do Drop Inn RV Resort at Lake Texoma. It isn’t actually on the lake, but it’s close enough to provide easy access. Maybe I should have taken advantage of the lake to cool off, but I didn’t, unfortunately.

You may be unaware that little vintage trailers like mine are not insulated. The only thing between you and the great outdoors is a layer of plywood and a thin layer of metal called the skin. I guess no one thought to insulate these little trailers. Maybe it would have made it too comfortable–more like being at home than camping. I don’t know, but my little trailer heats up like a tin box in the bright summer sun.

Miss Millie resting in the bright sun.
Even if she was hot inside, I still love her!

Don’t you have air conditioning? You bet I do. The last vacation I took without air conditioning was when I was a kid on a family vacation and I had no choice. That’s the summer I brought my Donny Osmond album to play at my cousin Donna’s house and it warped before we got there. You Gen X’s and Millenials probably don’t have a clue what I’m talking about. When vinyl gets too hot, it warps or bends, making the record almost impossible to play. (Search “warped record album” images and you’ll see.)

I still have it! Notice my Color Street thumbnail
matches his pants!

The problem is that the little portable unit that I have nestled under my dinette table in my camper just can’t keep up when the temps go above 90 degrees. I was comfortable at night but as the day heated up it got more and more uncomfortable. The first full day of camping I went thrift shopping and returned around 4:00 pm. I tried to rest but it was so uncomfortable in my camper that I quickly dressed for dinner (Denim & Diamonds was the theme) and headed to the clubhouse two hours early to escape the heat.

This is my honkin’ A/C unit. The louver at the top opens and blows cold air, but it doesn’t keep up very well. Everything behind it stays scorching hot!

Although I enjoyed getting to see my camping friends, a few I hadn’t seen for over a year, I found this entire campout less enjoyable than others. It was just too hot to sit around outside a campfire or around someone’s camper, or even out on the deck and visit. Everything had to be done inside. Of course, that is also the case when it rains, but at least I’m not sweating. I could have hung out in the pool but I would have gotten sunburned since there was no shade there at all.

Me in my “denim and diamonds.” That expression on my face?
Who knows?

So what is the solution? Not going camping in September is the simplest solution. Maybe I could get someone to take the skin off my trailer and add insulation. Or maybe I could invent a giant popup canopy to park under. Or maybe I will pull that portable a/c unit out and install a window unit in one wall. I know one thing: camping in a vintage trailer in the bright summer sun ain’t for me any more. I’d just as soon be at home in the a/c looking at all the pictures of the campout on Facebook.

What about you? Do you enjoy summer camping, or like me, do you prefer cooler weather?

XOXO

Categories
Being a Grandparent school

School on my mind

Today I dropped my beautiful grandson off at his elementary school for the first time ever. My heart swelled as he instructed me where to stop and let him out and as I watched him walk with the other children to the front doors of the school. His backpack secure on his back, wearing new Nike shoes and a new outfit from Gap, he seemed ready to take on the world.

Yesterday I asked him what his favorite part of school was. He replied, “I don’t know.” “So you like everything?” I asked. “Yes!” You can’t get better than that. I hope that positive attitude stays with him. I pray it does. I pray he always has today’s confidence and spirit. As a former teacher, I pray he carries that love of learning and being with friends throughout his life.

Today was my precious granddaughter’s first day of school, her first day of kindergarten. She doesn’t attend the same school as my grandson does, and I wasn’t able to be there, but her mom and dad and little sister dropped her off this morning. I wasn’t needed anyway. I did receive photos of her wearing the new outfit I bought her that said “Ready to rock kindergarten.” She posed proudly with her new lunch box and backpack, and later I saw a photo of her sitting in her classroom talking with her teacher. I pray today will be a good one for her, and that she will love school like her cousin does.

I hope soon to be able to pick her up from school, or maybe even to drop her off. These sweet and beautiful children make this grandma proud. I just wish their Pop was here to see them, but I suppose he is watching from Heaven and is as proud of them as their Coco is.

I will be like Mary, the mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) Time flies, and I don’t want to miss a thing.

Speaking of school, my heart goes out to all the teachers, administrators, school staff, parents, and students. You are doing the best you can in very difficult circumstances: the threat of Covid 19, increasing regulations, and increasing pressure from all sides. May this school year be as free as possible from high stress and overwhelming frustration, and full of satisfaction and success. You deserve it!

XOXO

Categories
Uncategorized

More from 4th Grade

Fourth grade was more than crafts and Valentines. One of my favorite memories is hearing my reading teacher Mrs. Reed read about Brer Rabbit. Brer Rabbit was one of the characters in Uncle Remus’s tales written by Joel Chandler Harris near the end of the 19th century. Many stories about Brer Rabbit were brought to America by African slaves as African folklore, according to Encyclopedia.com.

The dialogue in these stories were written in old Southern African-American dialect, and Mrs. Reed had the uncanny ability to read it as if she were Uncle Remus himself. Here’s a sample from the Tar Baby story:

Brer Rabbit come prancin’ ‘long twel he spy de Tar-Baby, en den he fotch up on his behime legs like he wuz ‘stonished. De Tar Baby, she sot dar, she did, en Brer Fox, he lay low. “`Mawnin’!’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee – `nice wedder dis mawnin’,’ sezee. “Tar-Baby ain’t sayin’ nuthin’, en Brer Fox he lay low.”(source).

Of course, back then, in 1968-69, there was no political correctness, wokeness, or discussion of racial bias. Racial segregation in schools had only just ended. The tales of Brer Rabbit were pure entertainment and no one protested otherwise.

I don’t advocate or disparage the stories; I just loved to hear otherwise proper and prim Mrs. Reed impersonating a fictional character in the dialect it was written in. Please forgive me if this offends you because it is certainly not my intent. It’s just a fond memory of an actual event in my young life.

Copies of the Tales of Uncle Remus and the movie “Song of the South” can still be obtained on Amazon or Ebay, so if you are curious, check them out, along with the book Little Black Sambo, where the tigers chase each other so fast around a tree they turn into butter!

Ah, childhood. . .

What’s your favorite fourth grade memory?

XOXO

“Zip a dee doo dah, zip a dee ay, my oh my, what a beautiful day. . .” (from Song of the South)

Categories
Life marriage

How to Stay Married

It seems that people have asked me how I managed to stay married to the same person since we celebrated our 20th anniversary. That was 21 years ago. When I mentioned to my class of high school seniors that I had been married for over 30 years, one of them piped up: “To the same man?” Yep. It’s rare these days.

Sadly, my husband Jimmy passed away shortly after our 41st anniversary in January. How did we manage to stay together that long? Especially when Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases began to steal him away from me? I have some words of wisdom, I dare say. I think I’m qualified after staying married for 41 years. So here goes.

After you kiss and embrace at the wedding altar, keep embracing.

  1. Embrace commitment. Marriage isn’t all dress-up, cake, dancing, gifts,and honeymoon. After your one day in the spotlight life settles down with jobs, bills, laundry, and morning breath. And sometimes babies.

2. Embrace your differences. What you once thought was a cute quirk now annoys the heck out of you. Get over it. Do you really believe that nothing you do could possibly annoy your partner? Choose your battles. Does it make sense to argue over whether the toilet lid stays up or down? Does it really matter in the whole scheme of things? Imagine life without that person. Can’t you live with socks on the floor?

3. Embrace their family. When you get married, you marry the whole package: parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, children. They are now your family as well. You might as well accept it and stop complaining about having to visit them, buy them gifts, etc. They will be the ones who stand by you during hardship or tragedy, and believe me, there will be hardship or tragedy.

4. Embrace teamwork. It’s not all about you and it’s not all about your spouse. I once heard someone say that a marriage is 50-50, but it’s not. It should be 100-100 with each partner giving their all to the other. That isn’t a welcome thought in today’s what’s-in-it-for-me mentality, but I promise that if you give you will receive. I’m not advocating that you put up with abuse because that is a different matter entirely, but if you are willing to go above and beyond for your spouse, it is likely that they will do the same for you. Marriage is hard work and it takes both people to manage it.

5. Embrace not being happy all the time. Your goal shouldn’t be to find someone that will make you happy. This isn’t a Hallmark movie and marriage isn’t a fairy tale. Marriage is spending your life with someone else, and life isn’t a fairy tale or movie. Living involves ups and downs, heartache and disappointment, wins and losses. Being in a marriage means you have someone to share all of life’s hardships as well as the happiness. And happiness, by the way, is something that comes from within yourself, not from someone else.

6. Embrace challenges. There will be many. Jobs will be lost, cars will break down, appliances will shell out, friends and relatives will die. Kids will stretch your patience and finances to the limit. Plumbing will rupture, bank accounts will deplete, the house will need repairs. It’s life. It will happen. It happens to everyone. Look around you. People survive these challenges and you will, too. Not only that, but it is the trials of life that will strengthen your marriage. Stick it out during rough patches. As you get older you will reap the benefits.

7. Embrace being a couple. But find time to be apart sometimes. It is true that absence can make the heart grow fonder. My husband always encouraged me to spend time with my friends, to attend professional events, and to go camping. And I always encouraged him to go hunting, motorcycle riding, or to concerts with his friends. Small and occasional breaks from your spouse are good. They keep you interested and interesting and hopefully anxious to get back home and share your adventures with them.

8. Embrace growth. There is a line we often hear in movies or TV shows that is supposed to explain why a character wants to end a marriage: “we have grown apart.” What a load of baloney. Yes, people do grow, but people can also share their individual growth so they can grow as a couple. My husband was a warehouse worker when I graduated from college and became a teacher. Some might say that I “outgrew” him intellectually or socially. I never entertained that thought and our marriage grew stronger as we shared our lives and built our home and family together.

If you can adopt these principles or habits, or whatever you want to call them, you may find yourself celebrating a milestone anniversary someday. Isn’t facing a long life together better than facing a life alone? Embrace that thought!

XOXO