Excitement and Anxiety All Wrapped Up in One Package

Have you ever been so excited for something to happen while simultaneously hand-wringingly worried about the same event? I’ve been so in need of a spirits booster. My digestive system isn’t being all that cooperative these days, and I’ve felt like a useless, grumpy old biddy.

Part of my grumpiness stemmed from thinking I wouldn’t get to make my annual drive to Illinois to stay with the grandkids while their parents took a much needed vacation to a sunny beach. I really look forward to the one week a year when I get to hang out with the three Illinois grandkids, and when that was threatened I figured my days of being useful were probably over. (Okay, I get dramatic sometimes, so sue me.)

Then yesterday evening my daughter and I were brainstorming back and forth and we wondered if the kids could fly to Florida and hang out with us during their spring break week while their parents flew to Mexico. The more we talked the more our plan came together, and this morning we booked flights for the three who are ages 16, 14, and 6.

I jumped up and down and whooped a couple of times (take that, grumpy old useless biddy) and then realized I’d now be a nervous wreck until the kids were safely in Florida. See, I do have a purpose! Worrier-in-Chief. Fortunately, I have only a week to wait on their arrival, and I have plenty to do between now and then.

(The photo below was taken at Christmas. Cannot wait to hug these three!)

Peace, people!

Home and Miserable

My trip has come to an end. Thank goodness! I loved seeing my son in Dallas and his family, and my niece and her children in Austin. I enjoyed seeing Michelle Obama and Rachael Ray at “The Drum” on Thursday night. It was a great trip.

But, (you knew there was going to be a but, right?) I was so sick the whole time. Don’t worry, I wasn’t infectious. I’m having stomach issues similar to what I experienced almost a year ago, and even though I started on antibiotics two days before departing I was plenty miserable most of the time.

The drive was awful. Usually I enjoy odd sights along the way, but this trip I was too focused on finding the next clean rest stop to pay attention to oddities. Oh, and I was as annoying as a guest can be. The words “I can’t eat that,” came out of my mouth more times in a week than they have in my entire life. I’ve never been a picky eater, but literally everything causes me gastric distress right now.

I have an appointment with my doctor tomorrow. This has to come to an end. One has to be firm with one’s stomach, right?

Peace, people.

My Great-Hedgehog

Bandit is the beloved pet of our oldest grandchild, Dominique, so I suppose that makes Bandit my great-hedgehog.

Above, Dominique with Bandit.

Aren’t they adorable?

Bandit even allowed me to cuddle her. I’m kind of smitten by this prickly baby.

I had to say goodbye to the Texas bunch today, and I’ve stopped for the night in Meridian, Mississippi. I’m about halfway home. My body sure doesn’t travel as well as it once did!

Peace, people!

Lazy in Dallas

I didn’t post anything yesterday morning because I was hanging out with my son and grandson going to estate sales around Dallas. None of us bought a thing, but we had fun looking at stuff we didn’t need or want.

After a light lunch some of us napped. I’m not saying I was one of the nappers, but about two hours of my life passed without my knowledge, so chances are I was.

We had a pleasantly low key evening watching television. The guys watched the movie, “Tag” in one room, while my daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and I watched the British series, “Safe,” until my eyes would no longer stay open.

Not sure what’s in store for today, but whatever it is will be just right. Tomorrow I’ll start driving home to Doright Manor.

Peace, people

It’s Pronounced “Byuda”

I made it to Buda, Texas, yesterday afternoon after wandering on back roads because my car’s gps and I had an argument. It wanted to take me on toll roads and I wanted to avoid them, so we compromised. As a result I was an hour later arriving in Buda than I’d planned. Oh, and Siri on my iPhone doesn’t do well with the name “Buda” and kept telling me there was no town called Butor in Texas. I might have yelled at her a time or two. Yes, the war between woman and machines has begun.

I hadn’t slept much on Tuesday night, so I tried to take a nap when I got into my hotel room. No luck. I think in spite of being super tired I was too excited about seeing my niece and her kids. We went to dinner last night, and I enjoyed talking with them so much. It’s hard to fathom that they’re both high schoolers. When I get tired, I get a little weird, so I’m sure I talked way too much. Today I vow to do better. It helps that I slept last night.

Today my niece and I are just going to hang out, then we’ll drive into Austin for our evening with Michelle Obama. Of course my fantasies involve her pointing us out in the crowd and having us come to the stage for a quick hug. I’ll settle for a wave, though.

I’d better hit publish so I can get this day started. Can’t keep Michelle waiting.

Peace, people.

A Mixed Bag, and That ISN’T Cocaine!

(Note: I wrote this on Tuesday evening. Hopefully by the time it publishes on Wednesday I’ll be well rested and powder free.)

The sleep fairy was a fickle critter last night. Studly Doright was out of town, and I stayed up past my bedtime packing for my own trip to Texas. My thoughts were racing and every little noise made me jump. One would’ve thought I was on a drug-fueled high, except that I don’t do anything stronger than caffeine these days, and that only sparingly.

Maybe I got in three hours of rest between the hours of two and five before I gave up the fight and decided to shower and get on the road. Since my night vision really stinks I waited until sunrise before saying goodbye to the cats and turning out the lights at Doright Manor.

For the first couple of hours I made good time, then weariness began setting in. I made frequent stops, and I’m fairly sure I have now officially patronized every rest area between Tallahassee, Florida, and Lafayette, Louisiana, where I stopped for the night at a Drury Inn. Look at this cool sculpture that adorns the wall of a welcome center in Mississippi:

At a gas station in Mississippi I purchased a product I’ve heard about my whole life, but had never tried–BC Powder. I’d wanted Bayer aspirin, because the hypochondriac in me decided I might be having a heart attack. I get weird when I’m tired. The clerk suggested BC instead, and I bought it and a bottle of water to wash it down.

Having never used BC Powder, I was unprepared for it to be just that, a powder. Go figure, right? As soon as I was back in the car I opened the package and white stuff went everywhere. It was on my shirt, my pants, the car seat. After cleaning up the mess, I gingerly opened a second packet and with some measure of control managed to shake it onto my tongue where I could then send it into my system with the water.

Now, only after I’d washed it down did I notice that caffeine is a key ingredient in BC Powder. Great. I’ll likely be awake most of tonight, as well. Oh, and when I had a chance to look in the mirror in my hotel room I realized I had BC Powder on my face. No wonder the hotel desk clerk kept giving me odd looks. I promise, it’s not cocaine!

Peace, people.

Packing Isn’t My Bag

Early Monday morning I rolled over in bed to watch Studly Doright pack for an overnight business trip. The act took him exactly three and a half minutes. I timed him.

On Monday around 3 p.m. I began packing for a week long road trip to Texas. As of nine p.m., I’m still at it. Now, keep in mind this isn’t a business trip. Most days I’ll just wear jeans and a blouse; although, I am packing a dress and heels for the evening that my niece and I go to see Michelle Obama in Austin.

So why does it take me so long to pack?

  1. I get distracted easily. I had to watch the Ellen Degeneres Show, and then I needed a snack.
  2. The characters in the book I’m currently reading are in a rough spot, so I had to stop and read them out of it.
  3. My favorite jeans needed to be washed.
  4. My niece texted me to say I needed a clear bag for the Michelle Obama event, so I had to go shopping.
  5. My regular wallet was too big to fit in the clear bag, so I also had to buy a new (cheap) wallet.
  6. I got hungry. Again.
  7. My cats’ litter boxes had to be cleaned.
  8. The car I’m driving to Texas was filthy. I drove to the car wash and cleaned it inside and out.
  9. The cats needed to go out on the back porch.
  10. Then the cats needed to come back in.
  11. Out.
  12. In.
  13. Facebook.
  14. Write a blog post.

I know I’ll get the job done eventually. Maybe after “The Voice” is over.

Peace, people!

Cat-astrophe

Let me preface my post with this thought: I love my cats. I might need to end with that thought, as well, since reminders are critical at this point.

Studly Doright and I share our home with two felines. Scout Elizabeth*, who is 15 years old, and Patches Elizabeth* who is approximately eight. They are polar opposites. Scout is friendly and brave. Patches is afraid of her own shadow and anti-social. They’re both well-behaved, but they cannot stand each other.

(Scout is the black cat, below, and Patches is the one with patches. Studly named her. I wanted to call her Indy.)

We’ve left the cats alone at Doright Manor many times. Our housekeeper, Rosa, comes over to check on them if we’re away for more than three days. She’ll clean their litter boxes and give them treats, and remind them that there are still humans who care about them.

Over the Christmas holiday we were away for a week, so I’d asked Rosa to check on the cats twice–once mid-week and again on her regular day to clean. We’ve used this plan successfully multiple times. Unfortunately this time Rosa had a family emergency, and the cats went without a visitor all week.

We came home to a minor disaster area. The cats’ litter boxes were full and they’d done their business in some weird places: behind the couch, next to Studly’s recliner, in the smack dab middle of the dining room floor. I think they thought we were gone for good. It kind of broke my heart that they felt they’d been abandoned.

I’ve spent the week since we’ve been home acting as a combination forensics scientist, scullery maid, and pet whisperer–inspecting for bodily fluids, airing out the house, scrubbing rugs, and reassuring cats. Both Studly and I came down with head colds over the holiday which turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand we couldn’t smell the messes, but on the other hand the lack of olfactory input made it difficult to locate them.

Fortunately about 2/3 of the flooring in our home is easy-to-clean tile. And the weather has been unseasonably warm allowing us to open all the windows for several days straight. I hope I’ve found every bit of poo and pee, but my sense of smell is still compromised, so who knows!?

On an added note, we’ve got company coming next weekend. Maybe we’ll play a new game I just made up: “Do You Smell What I Can’t Smell?” Or “Poo, Poo, Help Find the Poo?!” Better yet, maybe I’ll just watch their faces as they enter Doright Manor. That should tell me everything I need to know.

I love my cats.

Peace, people.

*All my cats throughout history have had the middle name Elizabeth. Even the males. I don’t know why.

In Praise of Patience

Late Thursday evening Studly Doright and I returned home to Doright Manor here in the panhandle of Florida. We’d left Port Byron, Illinois, on Wednesday morning after celebrating our middle granddaughter’s birthday with a family breakfast at a restaurant of her choice in Moline. I wish I’d thought to take a photo that morning, but this is our lovely 14-year-old McKayla.

Studly and I departed from Moline and started towards home, only he didn’t take the exit our gps indicated. When I questioned him he just said, “Patience.”

After nearly three hours of patience we ended up in Champaign, Illinois, to have brunch downtown at Sam’s Cafe. We both love Sam’s, where the pancakes are the best and the French toast is out of this world. The old diner on Walnut Street is nothing much to look at, but oh, how we’ve missed it. I’d come down with a cold on Tuesday night, but that French toast tasted like it might cure all my ailments.

We left Sam’s and finally took a southbound road out of Champaign. I figured that since we’d dawdled for the first three hours of the day that Studly would be in a mood to make up some ground. I was wrong. Somewhere south of Marion, IL, he took an exit that had us traveling a winding road through Vienna down to Metropolis where we stopped for a burger at Fat Edd’s Roadhouse before checking in at Harrah’s casino and hotel. I was baffled. It was just barely 5 p.m. We never stop before 7 p.m. when traveling like this. When I asked Studly if he’d been abducted by aliens and reprogrammed to wander aimlessly he just said, “Patience.”

We didn’t go into the casino. Instead we watched tv and snuggled into the first truly comfortable bed we’d had all week. I took cold medicine and slept like a rock for much of the night. As soon as we were back in the car on Thursday morning Studly turned in the opposite direction our gps indicated. I didn’t bother asking what he was doing. “Patience” seemed to be the only answer I’d get anyway.

I should have anticipated that his intended destination was food related. When we lived in Illinois, Studly’s job took him to the Metropolis area often, and there he discovered Rube’s Cafe. Rube’s serves biscuits and gravy made exactly like Studly’s mother makes them, and he’s been dreaming about them since we moved from Illinois six years ago. I had a bacon and cheese omelet while Studly feasted on biscuits and gravy. I believe there was a tear in his eye as we drove away.

The remainder of the trip was fairly straightforward; although, I did plot us a route that avoided major metropolitan areas. We used the gps sparingly, and I navigated us on peaceful backroads through Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

I seriously enjoy reading maps, and the activity kept me alert all day. Our route added an hour to the original route’s estimated arrival time, but we avoided the stress of the holiday traffic crush, and perhaps some major delays around Nashville in Tennessee, and Birmingham and Montgomery in Alabama.

I’ll take this over the interstate any day:

There’s a lot to be said in favor of patience.

Peace, people.