Back in the Future

Poor Studly Doright has a herniated disk. For the past three weeks the pain this has inflicted has prevented him from sleeping more than thirty minutes at a time. Walking takes his breath away and sitting isn’t much better. He has an appointment scheduled with a highly respected neurologist next Monday, but calls the doctor’s office three times a day to check for last minute cancellations.

I was away for a week visiting our daughter in Illinois. During my absence Studly tested every flat surface in the house in order to try and get some rest. There were pillows and blankets everywhere including on the kitchen counter and the dining table. He tried out all of the guest rooms and both sofas. While I felt awful about leaving him, he swears it was a good thing I was gone because he’d likely have driven me crazy.

Now, somewhere in my journey to and from Illinois I tweaked my back. I’m not sure if it was done while lifting the five-year-old grandchild for a hug or while hoisting my suitcase in and out of the car. Regardless, my lower back isn’t happy with me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suffering nearly as much as Studly is, but I’m not too spry right now either.

This afternoon as Studly limped pitifully down the hall towards our bedroom I followed slowly with a load of folded clothes to put away, one hand supporting my lower back. We alternated grunts of pain.




Between exclamations I told Studly this was a look at our future: A little old man and his little old wife moving like little old snails.

He wasn’t amused. I guess snail humor isn’t his thing.

Peace, people.

On the Road

On Saturday I began the drive home to Tallahassee after spending a little over a week with my daughter and her family in Port Byron, IL. What a week!

I arrived on Saturday afternoon, unpacked and took a deep breath, because every day to come had some planned adventure:

Sunday afternoon we attended 15-year-old grandson, Garrett’s performance in a play at Riverdale High School where he played two parts with gusto. I was so proud of him.

On Monday I had lunch with the youngest grandchild, Harper D, who is a sassy kindergarten student at Riverdale Elementary School, and I remembered why I never aspired to teach five year olds. They’re cute, but exhausting.

Tuesday was wine night with my daughter and some of her friends. Yay!

On Wednesday evening I got to watch our middle granddaughter, McKayla (13), at her gymnastics class. She is pretty fierce in her pursuit of perfection. What a dynamo!

Thursday evening involved a concert for pre-K and kindergarten students at the elementary school. I talked McKayla into accompanying Harper and me, and we had a rambunctious evening. Harper volunteered me to play the role of a hopping bunny during one of the songs. I’m 61. My hop was a bit on the floppy side.

On Friday I took Garrett and Harper to see Black Panther, after which Harper (5) summed the film up with “Basically, there were two kings who wanted different things, but only one could win. Right?”

I couldn’t argue with her logic.

Then on Saturday morning I got to watch McKayla perform in a music competition, first playing flute in the band and later singing in her school’s choir. She was so lovely and poised. That’s our raven-haired McKayla, below, in the white top and black skirt.

Saturday evening our daughter, her husband, his parents, and I participated in a trivia contest for a local charity. We didn’t win; although, we held our own for most of the evening. It was way too much fun, and I might’ve had too much Guinness. Oops!

Then early on Sunday I started home. As I write this I’m in a hotel room just south of Nashville, Tennessee. The weather channel is promising thunderstorms for my drive home. I’d appreciate good vibes sent my way for the remainder of my trip. Hopefully I’ll be safely home at Doright Manor early tomorrow evening. I need to rest!

Peace, people!

In Today’s News…

I slept an (almost) uninterrupted twelve hours on Saturday night. Only my cats and my bladder kept me from reaching a state of perfection, but perfect people are so boring.

Studly Doright and I arrived home from our Thanksgiving/birthday celebration late yesterday evening. We’d flown from Amarillo to Orlando, and should have been safely back at Doright Manor around 5 p.m., but staggering holiday traffic and the resulting accidents on I-75 convinced us to travel backroads.

We stopped at a German bakery/delicatessen in Yalaha, Florida, for lunch and then meandered along two lane roads for much of the afternoon. After a couple of hours of aimless driving we declared ourselves lost, so we found a Walmart and purchased a gps.

The cats, Scout and Patches, welcomed us home around eight p.m. with meows and kisses. After quick showers we all snuggled into our bed and went immediately to sleep. There really is no place like home.

Driving Home

I successfully picked up Studly Doright’s new pickup truck in Houston on Friday night. My flight into Houston Intercontinental was delayed, but not late enough that I could escape evening rush hour traffic. Fortunately Studly had arranged for a gentleman from the dealership to meet me at the airport, so I didn’t have to rely on Lyft or Uber.

The salesman, Tim, was an interesting guy and the thirty minute drive to the dealership in Tomball went quickly. I was in the truck within another 30 minutes and headed home. So much for seeing the big city, but my plan was to get as far east on Interstate 10 as possible so I could make it home on Saturday evening. The best laid plans of mice and women—Bwahaha!

Gamely I shifted gears in stop and go traffic. To my credit, I only killed the engine once, but I over revved a bit and probably upshifted when I should’ve downshifted a couple of times, but before long I was back in the groove of driving a manual transmission vehicle.

By the time I reached the outskirts of Houston, though, I was worn out. I saw the sign for Buccees huge service station/store in Bay Town and pulled in for a rest. Normally I’d spend some time wandering around and ogling the place, but I made a beeline for the bathroom, then grabbed a water and a barbecue brisket sandwich.

Oddly enough, there’s no place to sit and enjoy a meal in Buccees, a store roughly the size of Rhode Island, so I ate standing up next to a couple who were heading back to Houston after a trip to New Orleans. We had a nice visit and we wished each other safe travels which prompted the husband to tell me that there’d been a bad accident on the eastbound side of I-10 and traffic was backed up for several miles.

That, combined with my tiredness prompted me to go back in the store to enquire about nearby hotels. A very few minutes later I was ensconced in a nice room with a glass of wine. I reasoned that I’d get up extra early on Saturday and make up for my relatively early end to the evening. Again, bwahaha!

According to my Fitbit app I slept a total of two hours and 44 minutes on Friday night. Around 5:30 a.m., I gave up on sleeping. I showered hoping to shock myself awake, and for awhile I felt okay. Sirius/XM radio helped and I sang along with the 60’s and 70’s channels or listened to NPR for many miles.

I also drank a lot of caffeinated drinks. And subsequently had to stop frequently to empty myself of caffeinated drinks. I wasn’t making much forward progress, and my need to sleep was gaining ground.

Studly called my cell phone around 2:30 and after listening to my sad tale, told me to stop fighting the need to sleep and get a room, so a mere five hours from Doright Manor I exited the interstate and checked into a Holiday Inn.

Now I’d only packed for one night’s stay so I had to go to a nearby mall to purchase a clean T-shirt and undies. My jeans and socks would have to suffice for one more day.

I would love to say I slept like a baby on Saturday night, and I did–a very colicky baby. Again I got up around 5 a.m. and this time emerged into a gray world and a steady rain. I did make better time and was home by two that afternoon. I kissed Studly and handed his new truck keys over. He tucked me into bed and then I didn’t hear another peep until he joined me around nine.

I know for sure I’m not cut out to be a long haul truck driver, so I’m crossing that career off my list. The pickup was fun to drive, though, and I’m glad I made the trip.

If I Couldn’t Go Home

Where would I go if I couldn’t go home? Would I find the means to travel the world, a vagabond with no tether?

Might I show up in postcards mailed from exotic destinations, wish you here, but secretly glad you stayed behind?

I’m afraid I’d live in a marginal world, on the edge of respectability, begging scraps from passing cars.

If I couldn’t go home, I would never build a new one. I lack the proper tools, but perhaps I’d find a better one.

Mom, There’s Plenty of Room for Me

Patches let me know she wanted to join me on my trip to Houston in a not so subtle way this morning. Even after I reminded her that she detests car trips and would hate a two hour flight even more, she persisted in laying claim to my overnight bag.

Studly Doright promised to take good care of her and sister, Scout. Patches, though, thinks Studly is shady and never trusts his advances. She’s a smart kitty.

Peace, people!

Last Minute Adventure

Studly Doright has several hobbies: golf, motorcycles, and trading vehicles, among others. Several months ago he sold his pickup truck and bought a sports sedan. I knew, though, that it wouldn’t be long before the call of the wild—namely the need for another pickup—sounded in his ears. I even made a prediction that he’d have a new pickup before this year ended.

So, a couple of nights ago when Studly turned to me and asked, “If I bought a new pickup would you fly to Houston and drive it home?” I wasn’t the least bit surprised. Until I realized he’d asked me to go pick the truck up.

“Sure!” I said, happy to have a new adventure. We bought a plane ticket and I’ll leave on Friday afternoon.

Now, I have feelings of trepidation. The truck has a manual transmission, and while I have owned several vehicles with a stick shift, it’s been awhile. Also, I’ll be driving in Houston, the fourth largest city in the country. Great place to renew my acquaintance with a manual transmission vehicle.

In addition, I’m going to have to find a way to the car dealership from the airport. Uber? Lyft? I’ve never downloaded the apps and I’m not sure how they work. I guess I’ll have to learn quickly.

Did I mention I adore adventures, and that there’s an excellent outlet mall near Gulfport, Mississippi that’s calling my name? Wish me luck, good weather, and a few dollars to spend at the mall.

Peace, people!

Panama City Beach

Before sending the Texas grandkids on a plane home we had one last hurrah at tourist-y Panama City Beach.

We strolled out on the pier and watched the ocean do its beautiful thing.

I asked a stranger to take a photo of the three of us:

We visited Ron Jon surf shop:

Then we had lunch at Dick's Last Resort where the wait staff is rude on purpose. These hats made great souvenirs and Jackson wore his until we got to the airport.

But they'll still take a photo of you if you ask politely:

After lunch we played a laser game that revealed my extreme lack of ninja skills. We shot zombies in a 3D shooting game that revealed my extreme lack of zombie hunting skills. Finally we ate ice cream at which I excelled. No photos, so you'll just have to take my word for all of the above.

All too soon it was time to send the kids home. Notice Jackson's travel pillow. It's all he really wanted as we shopped today.

Their dad texted to let me know they arrived safely in Dallas at almost the same time I arrived home to Doright Manor. I'll sleep well tonight–and late in the morning.

Peace, people!

Last Day

Today I'm driving the Texas grandkids to the airport in Panama City, Florida, for their flight home to Dallas, Texas. Neither of have them have ever flown unaccompanied, and there are some jitters. Not on their parts, mind you, but underneath this calm exterior I'm going a little nuts.

We've had a good time these past two weeks spoiling these kiddos. Doright Manor will be awfully quiet once they leave.

Color Me Tired

My two Texas grandkids and I headed towards Florida yesterday morning in hopes of stopping for the night in time to swim and enjoy our hotel's happy hour. Unfortunately, due to a terrible accident on Interstate 20, we sat in stalled traffic for over an hour.

This was me last night after we finally got into our hotel room. Too many hours behind the wheel of my car have rendered me cranky and exhausted. And we missed our hotel's happy hour by five minutes. Damn it.

Tomorrow we'll push on to Doright Manor.