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When It Rains, It Pours

No, this has nothing to do with the weather, although this summer we’re getting our fair share of rain. No, this post is about family and life and how easily serenity erupts into chaos.

For the last few months, I’ve been peacefully writing away, working on 3 upcoming romantic comedies, until last month, when our youngest son injured his back.

Shortly before the injury, he’d made an offer of purchase on a farm with a possession date of August 15, which gave him lots of time to pack and prepare. Then he hurt his back, and while chaos erupted with doctor appointments, etc, we knew he would need extra help moving, painting, repairs, etc. So we set aside the month of August to help him out.

Family Farm

The farm where I grew up (not the farm my son bought).

Then my in-laws received a call from a senior’s facility. My father-in-law is 95, my mother-in-law is 86, and since 2012 they have rejected 5 apartments in this facility. With a little extra prodding and pushing, they finally made the decision to move in. It’s a good place. They’ll have round-the-clock assistance if needed, and basically everything else like cooking and housekeeping and laundry is taken care of for them.

I think I want to move there too…

With a possession date of August 1, we started to pack up their household, thankful that they would be settled before our son’s move.

But then my mother got booked in for her knee operation. Date: August 7th. Okay, with good planning, we could have the in-laws moved and settled by then. Except my mother-in-law kept procrastinating about calling the movers. I guess she thought that if she ignored it long enough, they wouldn’t have to move.

Needless to say, by the time I said that I would call the movers, the earliest date I could get was August 7th.

While my husband goes one way that day, I’ll be going another. In the meantime, we’re packing boxes for my in-laws, running my mom to last minute doctor, hair, etc appointments, and helping our son get ready for his move.

That old saying “when it rains, it pours” is true. So this may be my last post until mid-September. I’m just saying, if I’m missing in action, you’ll know where I am.

Now tell me, what fun things do you have planned for your summer holiday/vacation? Please share. I want to hear all about the fun things you all are doing! 🙂

Home Sweet Home

Or is it? I mean, is it sweet when the door rots? The pool leaks? The ac unit screams because your vaulted ceilings are killing it? How about when the ants band together on rainy days and head indoors for a spell? The roof shingles split because there’s no shade and the Florida sun is brutal?

you can almost here them...

I think I’m ready for a condo. Some place on the water would be nice, second floor, so I don’t have to worry about floods. Keep it roomy but not too roomy–less space means less cleaning. Pest control, lawn maintenance, building repairs are all taken care of by someone with patience and a smile. (Love them.) The dues can be hazardous but shoot, by the time you consider your maintenance and repair expenses, the headaches and stress, I think condo living might come out ahead!

I could write and relax. I’d pull into my driveway without my husband noticing all the things that need to be done. It would be like living on constant vacation! The family could relax on the weekends with no grass to cut, chlorine to adjust, weeds to pull…

Oh, right. The weeds. I wouldn’t have my garden. There’d be no space. I could join a community garden but then I’d have to drive. (Ugh, the traffic.) With no compost pile to support, my sense of “green living” would dull. I’d feel guilty wasting all those kitchen scraps. Think of the naturally-fertilized dirt I’d lose!

lettuce for lunch

Hmph. (Can you tell I’ve had a rough weekend?)

Glancing around, I fight the urge to run. Perhaps I should reconsider. Responsibility isn’t all bad. Annoying, but at least I have room to roam when I feel like running. Space to spread out, plant some veggies, a welcome mat for the dog…

Maybe obligations aren’t so bad. I’m whining, I know. I mean, I do so enjoy strolling to the garden for a pluck of fresh leaves for lunch. Sitting on the back patio, taking in the kids and their friends swimming and laughing. My husband does look good on a tractor. 😉

Take a deep breath, Dianne. Everything’s okay. How about you? What do you do when your weekend is lost to chores?

Holiday in Florida

As a fun-filled holiday tradition, our family heads to Disney for their Very Merry Christmas Party. Fireworks, rollercoasters and this year, the new Fantasy Land.  (Yes, that’s make-believe snow you see, falling from the sky.)

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We go with about ten other families and make a long weekend of the festivities, corralling the troops within a span of “cabins.” Trailers in fact, but as with everything Disney does, the transformation is pretty decent.

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The kids take over the street, throwing a football, playing cornpoke (??) and generally run non-stop. Saturday is our famous kickball game out on the field behind our cabins, serving up big fun for adults and kids alike.  At night, it’s pot luck and this year, one of the families brought a projector and makeshift outdoor screen.  We sat around our campfire and watched Elf, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas…

It was fun.  And better yet, it was warm.  But not because I’m worried about freezing at the park.  Nope.  I have three beds of green tomatoes hanging out back in my garden and last year, we had a hard freeze this time of year. Wiped me out completely.

Hello, Sunshine! 🙂  It’s good to be home, decorate the tree and pick plump, juicy red ones. 

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How about you?  What are you doing this time of year?

Vacation Update

Okay, we survived vacation.  Hip, hip, hooray!  Though my son was lucky to make it home alive, what with his sassy tone and grumpy disposition at being awakened to leave at the crack fo dawn for our return departure.  Sheesh, there’s no pleasing kids these days!  Grumpy to rise, bored the second a minute passes without fun-filled action and distraction.  I couldn’t have entertained them better if I tried.  We went tubing and fishing, hiking and horse-back riding–we even stopped at Stone Mountain Ga on the way up for a break in the drive.

A beautiful place that is, especially when you arrive post thunderstorm and the park is cleared of clouds and people upon your arrival.  LOVE that.  While there we treated ourselves to a few Southern gourmet delights like fried okra and catfish, collards and corn bread, chicken and dumplings and of course no meal would be complete without a pint or two of sweet tea!  Mmm…that was some good food.  Bad for you, but mighty tasty!

We also visited the Chattanooga Aquarium for a change of scenery.  Very cool place that I’d highly recommend visiting if you’re in the area.  Not only neat marine life-like these upside down jellyfish, but it’s located on the river and the weekend we visited, their infamous River Bend concert series was gearing up to begin a week-long celebration of music and fun.

Next up was a stop at Ruby Falls.  Deep in the limestone below Chattanooga, lights lit up the falls to our delight.  It was a half hour in and a half hour out (which I wished I knew ahead of time–comfort value and all) traveling caverns lined with stalactites, stalagmites, helictites and more.  All sounded Greek to me, but it sure did look interesting.  We also included a brief jaunt through Rock City, much to my kids’ delight.  This is the one place they did not want to leave!

My friend relayed a story from when she visited with her family as a child.  Seems while walking through one of the more narrow passageways in the rock garden, her father became stuck.  Yes, stuck, much to her mother’s horror and embarrassment.  For an hour he couldn’t move forward or back.  She doesn’t recall how he ultimately freed himself (probably blocked it out, repression and all), but he did.

This is the scene of the crime, affectionately referred to by the park as “Fat Man’s Squeeze.”  Needless to say, I passed through with extra caution, not entirely trusting my feminine curves to the clutches of these vicious rocks.

“Are We There Yet?”

Yep.  You guessed it.  it’s that time of year again and I’m taking the kids on summer vacation, this one sans husband.  We have another planned with him.  Look out Florida Keys, here we come! 

But that’s later.  This week the kids and I head to my girlfriend’s cabin in the mountains, good ole Tennessee.  We’ll stop at Stone Mountain along the way to break up the trip, listening to Gone with the Wind on audio.  Woohoo — can’t wait!  Gorgeous mountain woods, babbling brooks, quiet wooded paths…

I look forward to the R & R.  The kids?  Not so much.

No problem.  My friend has horses.  Kids love horses, right?  Well if you call running into tree branches a good time, then sure–this one’s for you.  But not us.  Last summer, my daughter (the older child, mind you) refused to ride alone on a horse so being the agreeable mother that I am, I allowed her to ride in front of me on my horse.  Easy does it, big fella.  We’re all friends here. 

All was well until we came upon a large tree branch hanging in our path.  No problem, right?  My son ducked.  We’ll duck.

Wrong.  My daughter acted like she never saw a tree branch in her life and froze.  Panicked–screamed as she grabbed hold of said branch and whisked herself right off the horse.  In an attempt to ease her to the ground–as opposed to dump–I too grabbed hold of the branch currently in my way but with the horse still in motion, the dang thing took half the skin off my forearm!  Grrrr…

Needless to say, this year we’ll be saying hello to the horses, but we won’t be mounting them.  Maybe the river is a better idea.  Wading through shallow water, floating around in tubes…  Yes, I can feel it now–ahhhhhhh. 

“This water is too cold!”

“I lost my tube!”

How about a nice hike?  We can trek up to the falls and back.  The adventurous type myself, I like to jump from a high, down into the pool of crystal cool mountain water.  Makes me feel young again.  The kids?  You guessed it.  Not so much. 

Hmph.  Maybe this vacationing with the kids stuff isn’t such a great idea.  Perhaps that’s why they invented summer camp? 

Just a thought!  How about you?  Care to share any family vacation stories?  I could use the “pep talk: right about now!  Knowing I’m not the only one should help. 🙂

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