Tomorrow is my birthday . . . and I’m not sure I want to celebrate this particular birthday . . . because it’s my first birthday without my Mom . . . and it’s the first “holiday” since she died . . . and, well, not celebrating your birthday with your Mom just seems horribly wrong . . . and sad . . but I know if I don’t celebrate, she’ll come after me and send a lightning bolt from the blue to make me change my mind.
So I’m celebrating . . . we’re having a family dinner of sorts at our favorite pizza place with as many family members that can be there . . . with restrictions and work schedules it’ll be about half the family . . . but there will be pizza so that makes it a little better . . .
And I kinda want to make myself a birthday cake . . . just like what Mom would have made me when I was growing up. Devil’s Food Cake with Peanut Butter Icing . . . cake is out of a box, so that’s not a problem . . . icing, however, is a totally different story. It was homemade by Mom . . . and I don’t have the recipe . . . because it doesn’t exist . . . the icing was a “happy accident” and she never expected it to work so she didn’t write it down. It was all in her head . . . and since she did it every year for my birthday, there was no need to write it down. I asked for it a few times and she said “Oh, just put some peanut butter in a tub of vanilla frosting and it’ll be okay” . . . well . . . it wasn’t . . . and I thought I had a lot of time to bug her for her recipe . . . yea, that strategy never works for me . . . you’d think I’d learn that by now . . .
Anywho . . . I found a recipe that might be similar to hers . . . but I’m afraid to try it . . . not because it’s complicated or I need fancy ingredients or anything . . . but because of THE STAPLETON CURSE . . . see, there’s a family legend that anytime Mom made a cake for a special occasion (birthday, first communion, baptism, baby shower, graduation) there would be a problem with the cake . . . something was misspelled, the cake cracked in the middle, the icing melted . . . but if she made a cake for no special reason (because it’s a Tuesday) the cake was PERFECT . . . it was a family joke . . . but we all learned not to tempt fate . . . so I’m afraid if I make a cake for my birthday, it’ll be horrible . . .
Which brings me to another issue . . . I live in almost the middle of nowhere Ohio . . . we’re in the middle of a heatwave . . . I don’t really want to fire up the oven and actually BAKE a cake . . . it’ll make the kitchen hot . . . it’ll make the AC run more than it already is . . . and I’m cold most of the time anyway because yea the dogs are spoiled . . . and that leads me to this . . .
Dear Mom . . . thank you for always baking me a cake for my birthday . . . in July . . . during a heatwave . . . and never complaining that it was too hot to turn on the oven . . . because when I was growing up we didn’t have Central Air . . . we didn’t even have a window AC unit until I was in high school . . . or maybe it was after I moved out . . . anyway . . . thank you for standing in a hot kitchen, baking me a cake, and “inventing” peanut butter icing to keep the icing on my cake from melting into a puddle on the cake pan . . . Love and hugs, Pammie
It all hit home today when I had to take Millie to the vet for her annual “hey it’s spring so now we have allergies to deal with!” visit. Millie’s her usual “moving through life at the speed of sound” with the added joy of licking and scratching her belly. I’m thinking it’s her usual grass allergy stuff and we’ll get a shot of an antibiotic and a steroid with pills to take for a week or so to get everything under control. Well, nope, not this time . . . it’s not really an allergy . . . it’s something like a staph infection. According to Lovely Vet, “her skin isn’t doing as good a job of dealing with certain types of bacteria.” Well poop . . . do I need to be worried about this? According to Lovely Vet “as they age, a dog’s immune system changes” . . .
Wait . . . what . . . but . . . oh yea . . . she’s going to be 11 in a couple of months . . . I guess that puts her in the Senior Citizen category . . . but she’s still living proof that “well, I don’t know, but I’ve been told . . . you never slow down, you never grow old” . . .
Because you think I’m a weak little female that can’t possible take care of a yard all by herself . . .
Dude . . . I appreciate the offer . . . I really do . . .
but I’ve been doing this by myself for over 6 years now . . .
The grass in the front yard is a hot damn mess because IT’S RAINED FOR 8 STRAIGHT DAYS . . . and I can’t mow grass when it’s wet . . .
Not because I’m a helpless little girl that needs a man to help me . . .
See . . . I don’t “scalp” my yard when I mow it . . .
and I’ve learned how to use the bagger on the mulch mower so I don’t have to rake the yard when it’s a jungle and there are large clumps of grass all over the place . . .
and I’ve learned now to use the leaf blower so that I can clean the sidewalks without having to use an actual broom to . . .
and I know where the divots are in the yard where the tree roots from where the old elm trees used to be . . .
and I know where the termite station is and I (rarely) mow over it and shatter it into a gazillion pieces . . .
and more importantly . . . and the reason why I’m so upset TODAY OF ALL DAYS . . . I know where the hens and chicken plants my dear departed Mother gave to me several years ago . . . AND I DON’T MOW OVER THEM . . .
Y’all . . . I realize it’s a small thing . . . and I should (SHOULD) smile sweetly and say “thank you” to someone doing me a kindness during a time of grief . . . because he’s a guy and he only know how to “help” during a time of grief . . . but I can’t let this go . . . I won’t say anything because I don’t know how to do that without being pissy . . . but those damn plants came from my Mom . . . and today was her funeral . . . so I’m gonna just be petty and sulk.
My biggest supporter. My biggest champion. The first person I wanted when the troopers came to tell me about Prince Charming’s accident. The person I could always count on to step up and tell me when I was wrong. She (figuratively) kicked my butt more than once when she thought I needed it . . . even if I didn’t want to hear it. But she also sang my praises from the roof tops to anyone who would listen for all of my successes.
She came from a massively dysfunctional family and had a very unhappy childhood. She swore that she would not make the same mistakes her parents had made and was going to find a man that loved and cherished her and wouldn’t settle for anything less than someone who would appreciate all the gloriousness that she was. She met the love of her life on a blind date, got engaged a month later, married him three months after that and they lived happily ever after for just shy of 62 years when he passed away.
Family was always first and she and my Dad instilled that into all of us kids from an early age. She always told us girls that you “have a man in your life because you want a man in your life, not because you need a man in your life.” She and Dad taught us girls how to stand on our own two feet and how to do things to take care of ourselves. Not just “girly” things like housework and cooking but how to change a flat tire and change the oil in your car and yard work. Oh heavens did they ever teach us about yardwork.
She taught my brother that he needed to do stuff for himself because he didn’t need some woman to take care of him. She made him take a typing class in high school so he could type his own papers when he went to college. He learned to cook and clean, too. His wife is very thankful to my Mom for all of that.
She raised six kids . . . and buried two. She loved being a mom and a grandma . . . and hounded each of her grandkids to give her great-grandkids because “I’m not getting any younger and I might not be here much longer!” . . . to which the grandkids always said “Grandma!! I’m only (insert very young age here) and I’m not out of college yet/not married yet/not ready for kids!” Which always made her smile . . . she was thankful the kids were strong enough to know what they wanted and wouldn’t give in to a grumpy Grandma just because she said so . . . .
I love her with all my heart . . . and it took me until I was an adult to appreciate all the sassiness that was my glorious Mom . . . our Saturday Night Adventures after my Dad died were stuff of family legend. The time the guy paid for our meal at Steak N Shake because we were so much fun to watch. The time she almost “stole” batteries from the Dollar Tree because they were under her purse in the cart and she forgot to pay for them.
She gave me the courage to face life without my beloved Prince Charming and I helped her learn how learn how to live with my Dad.
I lost my buddy on Monday afternoon. She had been in a relatively minor car accident on April 30. We thought she was going to be okay. The doctors thought she was going to be okay. She had some underlying medical issues that weren’t serious before the accident but became more complicated after the accident. The trauma was just too much for her little body to recover from.
We haven’t really come to terms with the fact that she’s gone . . . making funeral arrangements today was surreal . . . how can she be gone? Is this all a horrible dream that I’ll wake up from?
This wonderful lady taught me many lessons in her lifetime . . . but she forgot to teach me how to live without her.
This afternoon I saw Rocky sitting like this by the front door . . .
Me: “Whatcha doin’, Big Guy?”
Rocky: “Can we go see Emily today, Mom?”
Me: “No, baby, we can’t do that today.”
Rocky: “But, Mom, it’s Emily’s birthday and I have to go to the office to give her birthday kisses!! If I don’t see her, she’ll think I don’t love her anymore! I haven’t seen her in ages, Mom. We gotta ggggooooooo!”
Me: “Honey, we can’t go see her today because of the virus I told you about that’s keeping Mommy home from work.”
Rocky: “Darn it, ‘Rona . . . spoiling all my fun . . . ”
Me: “I promise that we’ll go see Emily as soon as it’s over and you can give her as many kisses as you want.”
Rocky: “Okay. I’m waiting right here til it’s time to go.”
A little background . . . Rocky is IN LOVE with Emily, the vet tech that takes care of him every time he goes to the vet’s office. She’s an absolute angel and treats him like a king. I think that she’s the only vet tech that has ever taken care of him in the 10 years that we’ve been going to this particular vet office. Last year I was sure that he “faked” illnesses just so he could go see Emily just about every other month. Emily was the only one that Rocky would let touch his ear when he got into the fight with the groundhog last year.
Today really is Emily’s birthday . . . and the above picture and “conversation” is what I posted on FB to wish Emily a happy birthday . . .
But seriously though . . . even though we’re getting plenty of exercise and outdoor time while I’m doing the “work from home” thing . . . I think that sometimes he’s waiting at the front door just so we can go visit Emily . . .
Looks like we have a dodgy neighbor across the street . . .
Young kid . . . late 20’s . . . can’t keep his pants up where they belong . . . old car with rims and wheels that are probably worth more than the car . . .
He moved in maybe six months or so ago . . . don’t really know because the girl that originally rented the place kind of has a revolving door of “gentleman callers” staying at the house with her . . .
I started noticing the guy around the first of the year when I noticed that the neighbors on either side of her have signs that say “do not block the driveway” . . .
That happened after I noticed there were at least six cars parked in front of her house, my house, the neighbors across the street’s houses and they were all running into (and running out of) the house across the street . . . and they were all there for less than 5 minutes . . . and the revolving door of “visitors” continued for at least an hour . . .
So we neighbors kept track of the shenanigans going on across the street . . . and called the landlord from time to time to let him know what we were seeing . . . and the landlord chose not to believe us . . . and believed his tenant’s story that there was nothing going on and the “old lady hates us!” . . .
On Monday, I saw what appeared to be a shady illegal transaction and decided that it was time to involve the local police department . . . so now the local drug squad is “aware” of the situation . . . and the landlord and his tenant are also aware that “neighbors” are concerned about the “activities” at the house . . .
Which lead to today’s “shenanigans” . . . a shouting match between my next door neighbor and the girl tenant . . . and the girl tenant threatened my neighbor with “a harassment lawsuit” . . . for sitting on her porch while the guy tenant was working on his car . . . I heard the commotion while I was watching “The Young and The Restless” and had to go outside to see who dared interrupt my soap opera . . .
Girl tenant didn’t like me laughing at her shenanigans . . . guy tenant didn’t like me laughing at the girl tenant . . . and neither one of them liked my neighbor asking “WTF? Get off my property” as they were threatening a harassment lawsuit . . .
Yea . . . it’s gonna be an interesting summer . . .
I work from home four days a week now. The library provided me a laptop and a wifi hotspot to use for my WFH space.
I “re-purposed” Prince Charming’s “HAM Shack” to be my new office. It broke my heart to dismantle all his ham radio equipment but I feel at peace here. Even though I’m in the basement (and it’s chilly and dark in the basement), it’s a comforting place that will probably be my new “craft” space when this coronavirus crisis is over. The big monitor is the monitor that Prince Charming used with his ham radio stuff and I’ll probably use it with my laptop too!
There are still a lot of unknowns about this situation and stuff that I have to get used to but (so far) it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.
Three weeks . . . I’ve been doing the “stay at home” thing for three weeks . . .
The dogs are loving having me home . . . they’re getting lots of attention and treats . . . and daily walks unless the weather is “yucky” . . .
The laundry is all caught up . . . washed, dried, folded AND put away . . . I have no idea who I am anymore!!
I’m catching up on my soaps . . . and my entire afternoon revolves around Governor DeWine’s 2 pm press conference . . .
I have time to cook . . . and I’m re-discovering my love of cooking . . . and I’m so thankful for my cookbook collection . . . just wish the “cooking” part didn’t involve the “go to the grocery” part . . .
I’m well . . . the family is well . . . although several members of the family are now faced with unemployment and are tangled up in the horrible red-tape and bureaucratic nightmare that the horribly overburdened Ohio unemployment system has become because of this crisis . . .
Today the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and it’s going to be 75 degrees. Even during a world wide pandemic, life is good . . .
I live in Ohio . . . I work at the local Public Library . . . the library has been closed since March 18 . . . that makes today Day 17 of the Quarantine.
I work in the business office and am considered an “essential” employee and am lucky enough to work from home . . . I have a laptop, a mobile hotspot device and set up a work space in the basement in Prince Charming’s Ham Radio area (he called it his Ham Shack). It’s a little chilly so I bought an “office cardigan” and a little space heater to keep me warm in my new work space. Except for the whole “world health crisis” thing, life is pretty good . . .
With the trouble I have with my low level anxiety, I’m surprised that this hasn’t thrown me off the deep end. I’m not having any problems with stress or worry . . . I guess the whole “I’ve already faced my worst nightmare” thing has prepared me nicely for this new reality . . .
That being said . . . I do worry about my Mom’s health . . . she’s 85 and has some underlying health issues . . . I’m concerned about BIL #1’s health . . . he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a couple of years ago . . . I’m worried about Baby Sister as she struggles with anxiety and is not doing well facing this crisis . . . but I’m confident we will get through this . . . we’re tough cookies.
I’m enjoying having time at home with the dogs. Millie is THRILLED that I’m home all the time because that means more cookies. Rocky is not thrilled. I’m home all the time which means that Millie is spending a lot more time out of her crate and BOTHERING him as he’s trying to nap.
There’s a zillion things I SHOULD be doing . . . cleaning . . . organizing . . . reading . . . working on my cross stitch projects . . . finding new recipes in my cookbooks . . . and I’m not doing any of that . . .
I’m walking the dogs and enjoying watching spring arrive in my little part of Ohio. I’m watching stupid TV shows and catching up on my soaps. I’m reading a lot of silly stuff on the internet . . . and some very serious stuff. My world stops at 2 pm every day for the Governor’s daily press conference . . . we call it “Wine With DeWine”!
Yes, the coronavirus stuff is serious. It’s scary. It’s a strange and scary new world we live in. But there are a few silver linings in those ugly black storm clouds.