Making Lists and Wondering… What the Hell

May 16

I’ve been making a lot of lists.  Movies to watch, tv shows to watch, dystopian books I’ve read, tasks to do, tasks done.  I’ve worked on budgets for us, for K’s parents, for the rentals.  I’ve walked the dogs with K, perused random things on the internet, and read too many news stories.  We’ve planted flowers after doing the whole social distance shopping thing to pick up the flowers.  I’m restless.  I know you are too.  We’ve watched the birds, purchased more than our share of oranges and jelly to feed the beautiful migratory Orioles, purchased bags of seed in that same social distancing way we shop for everything now.

Photo by TJ Parker

The girlie is standing on our deck right now shaking.  She’s staring at the back door and shaking.  K is making sausages for breakfast.  Riley is shaking.  It makes no sense.  I think she’s expecting disaster to strike.  For the smoke alarm to go off or some other big sound she knows she will hate.  It’s happened a couple of times before, the smoke alarm going off.  She knows this.  She does not trust sausage or the oven.  She is preemptively shaking.  I am too.

Aren’t we all?  What the hell is up?

I like to keep track of things.  I count.  I love when Goodreads tells me I’m “on track!” to complete my yearly reading challenge.  11 of 30 books read so far this year.  I just finished a good one last night.  I have a list at IMDb of movies that have yet to come out or have already come out that I want to see.  I have lists of movies I’ve seen.  I time the coffee when it’s steeping.  If I forget to put the timer on I count.  I’m slightly obsessive.  Who knew?  It doesn’t really surprise me, though I just noticed it recently.  

Things are quieter.  Not in my head, no, not there.  But quieter.  We were walking last night and actually commented on how it was so quiet.  Not as much car noise.  Not as many cars.  People were out walking as well, but in hushed tones. Crossing the street to keep the 6 feet rule intact.   I feel like we’re all hushed and waiting.  Sometimes holding our breath, hoping the big bad runs past us and doesn’t see us there, hiding behind that bush.  Everything is a movie scene in my mind.  

The weather is turning.  Finally getting warm.  It took long enough.  Of course we’re also in the middle of storm season so it’s warmer, but stormy a lot.  We’re taking advantage of some sun right now and enjoying our deck.  Dogs on dog beds or the chaise lounge.  They love it out here too.  We have a playset in our yard.  The grandkids have used it quite a bit over the years we’ve lived here.  We added an extra slide and a mini climbing wall.  Sebastian helped K build the climbing wall.  There are places for two swings.  One side has a swing on it and the other just has chains hanging down.  We had a baby swing there for years, but they are all too big for that now.  We took it down and gave it away meaning to get another swing seat for that side.  We haven’t done it yet.  We may never.  The grandkids haven’t been here in months now.  Not since before we left for the West Coast, before all of this really took off.  It makes me a little sad looking at those chains.  No seat.  Maybe no reason to put one on it.  We even started talking about taking down the entire thing.  We’re waiting.  Waiting to see what happens.

Maybe we’ll go for a ride today.  Get out and away from the house.  Go somewhere else to walk.  Look at other birds.  Stand in a different quiet place.

I’m struggling to have enthusiasm about much of anything lately.  It’s a problem.  I try to occupy my time, my thoughts, myself.  We buy plants, we shop online, I do the laundry and the dishes, K cooks, I have even cooked a little, K works, we watch TV and movies, we listen to music, we watch online streaming events, we make plans we hope we can keep, and we mourn the loss of activities we were going to do but that are now canceled.

We were going to camp in May and June.  Now we aren’t.  We were going to go to the pool with the kiddos a lot, we bought a pass, now we aren’t.  We were going to go to Ebertfest in April, we didn’t.  Dommy was going to go to Circus Camp at the end of June, he isn’t.  We were going to go to music in the park, we won’t.  We were going to enjoy the 4th of July parade and fireworks, we won’t.  

We’ve had quite a few mini disasters since returning home from the West Coast in March.  Our fridge went out and we had to have it replaced.  Our kitchen sink drain got plugged, some ancient, before we owned the house problem that reared its head and required a plummer, twice.  Our basement flooded because I didn’t put the washer drain plug back in properly and then ran a tub clean cycle, with bleach.  Many towels were used, fans were turned on, we took everything out under the stairs, the dehumidifier went into high alert.  One of the jugs of water we have in the basement for emergency supply leaked, after the flood was cleaned up mind you, separate incident, and got the stair carpet wet again.  We had to take all the stuff under the stairs from out again.  Fan plugged in and turning, again.  Drying things out.  At least the jug didn’t have as much water as the washer did when it leaked out.  A bit of a silver lining.  

A beetle just tried to commit suicide, accidental of course, in my cup of coffee.  It was wandering around the rim of it, then just plunged in.  I watched it struggle for a moment or two.  Flailing about, head under, legs going as fast as they could go, getting nowhere.  I took my cup and poured it into the grass to save the little thing.  It worked.  It started moving and I’m sure has wandered off by now.  I hope it’s learned its lesson.  Probably not.

May 18… 

It stormed last night.  It’s always so beautiful after a storm.  Deep blue sky, calm, hardly any wind.  Clear clean air.  We had so much rain in the last 24 hours.  Our rain gauge is nearly full.  Crazy amounts of water.  So much so we had ponds form in places in our backyard.  The streets flooded around here, where they are prone to.  The occasional car going by splashing it’s way through.  We could hear it, nearby.  

When it rains like that we get a pond on our patio we have to squeegee.  It’s butted up against the house and pools near a basement window.  We’ve never had it actually get deep enough to pour in the window, but it gets at least 2-3 inches deep.  We had to squeegee yesterday. Weston also wouldn’t go out to pee.  We had to leash him and take him to the front of the house so he could pee under the eave on the house.  We did this twice, trying to take him out.  We also leashed him and tried to take him in the backyard.  He had none of it.  Though he did pee on the house that one time.  Fun times.  It gives us anxiety for him when he won’t go out.  We know he has to go, he won’t go, he’s restless.  It makes us restless.

Our driveway is so slippery where the sump pump releases it’s stream of water.  It travels down that side of the driveway toward the road.  Not ideal, but changing it would require a major job and a lot of money.  We’re just not up for that.  Maybe someday.  But man… K fell down last night (onto a knee) trying to take Weston out to pee.  Umbrella in one hand, Weston in the other.  Slippery driveway.  Recipe for disaster.  She is sore today.  I nearly fell down taking out the garbage and recycling bins last night as well.  I didn’t, but I twisted in a way that I shouldn’t have.  I’m sore today.

We got a call yesterday morning about 8:30 that Mary’s dog, Wicket, had gotten out of the yard and was missing. The gate had blown open in the storm.  We went over immediately and started looking.  I was cruising up and down the streets in the big white van.  I’m sure I looked creepy.  I kept rolling down the window asking people walking by if they’d seen a little white dog.  No one had.  One guy said to me, now I know why you’ve been slowly cruising around the neighborhood.  Mary had said to me, laughing, I didn’t look creepy at all driving around in the big white van.  She was right.  I looked creepy.  K was walking looking for him.  We did this for an hour or so.  Finally Mary got a call from a neighbor two blocks over saying they had him.  Had had him since 1:30AM.  He kept setting off their security lights. Poor guy.  It was raining.  He hates the rain.  They said when they opened their door to see what it was setting off their lights he just ran in their house.  He’s old, crotchety, and doesn’t really care, so in he went.  Mary’s phone had been acting up and the woman had called her more than once.  Finally she got through and Mary and K walked over to get him.  When he got back to Mary’s he just ran in the house like nothing had happened.  Dogs.  I want to be them.

And another thing… our Jeep is acting up.  We went for a social distance drive.  Just us, a couple of bags of popcorn, some water, some binoculars, my camera.  We drove to some county parks.  They were too crowded to get out and actually walk anywhere, which was a bummer.  But we got out of the house, enjoyed each other’s company.  Listened to some music.  All was well until we got back into town.  Suddenly the Jeep is going wacko.  A message came on saying I had to put it in gear (it was in drive), it started shifting gears on it’s own, the battery light came on, and then it died at a stop sign.  I managed to get it started and we managed to get home.  We’re taking it to Bloomington today, if we can make it, to get it checked over, repaired, and serviced.  Saturday, after this occurred we rode the scooter over to the warehouse and picked up the van, so we have transport.  K will follow me in the van to Bloomington.  I hope we make it.  

You know how I said things keep happening… I wasn’t kidding or exaggerating.  K said to me this morning that it would be nice to have a day where nothing happened.  I agree.  Today we attempt to drive 50 miles to Bloomington in a Jeep that doesn’t want to work.  We’re hoping to make it, to not have to call AAA.  This is where I would put a fingers crossed emoji.

I have to check my lists today… see what’s to be done.  I just cleaned the bathrooms, changed the laundry over, and started the dishwasher.  K is working, in a meeting right now.  I can hear it.  Sort of.  She has the door closed.

It’s quiet in here right now.  No sound but the ceiling fan and the sump pump going off just now.  Quiet.  No one out, no one walking by, no one driving by.  Just me in this chair, Weston asleep against my leg, the hushed sounds of K’s work meeting. 

Time to get up, brush my teeth, and put on some clean clothes.  If we have to call AAA I don’t want to frighten them.  

What the hell?

Ramblings From a Cafe

I’m sitting in a café in Brookfield, Wisconsin. A three and a half/four-hour drive from home, it really didn’t take that long to get here. It’s windy outside, and there’s blue sky.

How did I get here?

K had a meeting today, corporate headquarters, etc., etc. She’s being a suit, and actually had to put one on. She doesn’t do that very often anymore since she works from home and doesn’t have to travel as much as she used to. I like her in a suit. She looks snappy, and business-y. I don’t think that’s a word. No matter. She looks it. When I met her she had to wear suits all the time. She didn’t work at home, had an office, etc., etc. Every day she had to get up and put some sort of suit on. So my association of her in suits is a pretty good one. It makes me think of how she was, how we were, when we met.

I’m sentimental.

I found this café not far from where our hotel was, and close to her offices, where I will have to pick her up later today. The coffee is good. The soup and half a sandwich I just had were OK. Maybe I’ll try a cupcake in a bit, since they are supposed to be known for that. I like their coffee cups. They’re cool.

cup

I got into the blog this morning trying to work out some things, posts I haven’t posted yet that are saved as drafts and need a little tweaking, the layout, the name. I’m struggling with the name. I think it’s time to rebrand myself. Come up with something else to call this bit of rambling I do. I’m over the Think Tank. Only, I can’t seem to light on another title. I’m at odds with myself.

I’ll figure it out.

There was a guy in here a little while ago.  Talk about not judging a book by its cover.  He stepped up the counter just as I glanced up.  He had overalls and looked a little unkempt.  I assumed he was on hard times.  He started to order and I went back to my business.  I looked outside a few minutes later and realized he was putting his stuff into a sporty little red car.  A nice one.  I think this is what happens to K and I.  We walk into places in our worn looking big boy shorts and t-shirts and people sometimes act a certain way toward us.  As in, once or twice we were in car dealerships looking at new cars and no one came up to us.  Hilarious.  As Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman, “big mistake, huge.”  I just did that to the guy in this coffee shop.  We are constantly profiling people based on how they look, what we think we know of them just by how they look.  Crazy.  Not cool.  Apparently great lessons happen at the cafes near Milwaukee.  LOL

I’m listening to a playlist I made called Places.  Everything on the playlist has a place of some sort in the title… the name of a state or as in the song I’m listening to now, Shelter, just a place.  I made it randomly one day and hadn’t really listened to it.  It was an experiment in playlist making.  Surprisingly, so far it’s been a good one.

K and I were talking last night as we watched TV in the hotel room.  I commented to her that I wondered how many hotel rooms we’d been in together since we met.  We didn’t think we could count them all, there have been many them.  We’ve been lucky enough to have visited a lot of places.  Meaning we’ve been in a lot of hotel rooms.  From the worst of them, which was probably a place called the First Lady in Keystone, South Dakota, when we decided spontaneously and at the last-minute,  to spend the night there, near Mt. Rushmore, to the best of them, which would probably be a tie between the Inn at the Market in Seattle, and a hotel I can’t remember the name of in Cambridge, MA that had a view of the river of downtown Boston.  We’ve rented condos and houses and apartments and cabins as well.  We love to travel.  It’s all in having an adventure together.  Being somewhere new or seeing someplace we’ve been before in a new way.  I love our life.

It’s clouding up outside, and getting a bit crowded in here.  I wonder when my honey will be done.  She thought some time between four and five.  I’m waiting for the ETA text.  LOL

Until then I’m just soaking up the atmosphere, enjoying the coffee, listening to some good music, and killing time.  Then we drive home…

Random Thoughts on a Wednesday

I was just wondering, uh… now I forget.

It’s a rainy day in Central Illinois.  It’s been rainy for a few days now.  Unusual in our experience here.  It reminds us of Oregon.  Day after day of rain and rain and rain.  It’s sort of nice actually.

After The Rain
After The Rain (Photo credit: Tj Parker Photography)

Leaves are falling, and all over the ground.  We’ve already picked up a few bags of them.  The first of many.  And yes, we’ve already talked to our lawn guy about maybe handling the leaves in the front yard, assuring him we planned on taking care of the leaves in the backyard.  I’m sure he was relieved.  I’m kidding.  He’s a professional, don’t try this at home.  We are very relieved.  Last year we had around 100 bags of leaves.  100.  That’s a lot of raking.  I’m not sad even just a little bit about having someone help us out with that task.  We do, however, need to take care of what is becoming a wet mess in the backyard.  It’s supposed to dry up the next day or two and then there will be some raking in our future.  I’m psychic like that.

It is beautiful out there though, if you ignore the rain and just look at the changing colors.  Really getting gorgeous now.  Maybe this weekend we can get out there and take some photos.  Go to Homer or some such place.  Take the cameras.  Take the dogs.  Have a day trip.  It might be a fun thing to do after we, on Friday, take our trailer in for the season.  Yes, Lily is going to the barn.  Not actually a barn, this is a figurative barn with heat and loads of other trailers parked in it.  She’ll be nice and tucked away for the winter.  We’ll be sad to see her go, but glad she’s being well looked after.  We have a big fondness for our travel trailer.  It could border on unnatural.

My honey is making a meatloaf.  Right now she’s mixing it up.  We’re taking it to the kid’s house tonight.  Meatloaf, sweet potatoes, peas.  Yum.  I’m hungry right now, I didn’t each lunch, so almost anything would sound good.  My honey’s meatloaf though, it’s tasty.

The dogs are happy.  We just got a new box of Greenies.  They are fans of the Greenie.  We spoil them, that’s a good thing.  They totally deserve to be spoiled.

I can’t believe we leave for Florida next week.  Crazy.  Seems like we were planning this so long ago and now it’s here.  Family reunion time.  K’s family.  It will be great to see everyone.  We’re going to Orlando.  Dog/house sitter arranged, car rentals arranged, rooms arranged.  We’ll be packing shorts, probably our last chance to wear them this year.  We’ve been wearing jeans for a week now at home, too cold and wet now for shorts in Illinois.

Ramble.  Ramble.

It’s Thursday now….

We just got back from a regular six month appointment with my oncologist.  I used to see him every three months (for two years now, since getting into the whole post treatment phase) with accompanying blood work, then every six months though I still had blood draws every three months.  Today he told me that he’s going to work it so that I see him once a year, and I’ll see my regular doc for a physical once a year.  He wants to coordinate so that I’m seeing one of them every six months, with blood work.  Meaning I’m now only going to get blood work every six months.  I will see him again in March, then a physical with my regular doc in September, and then him again in March, and on and on.  This is big news for me.  Great news for me.  He said my blood work was fantastic.  He said I was doing really well.  I feel high right now.  Leukemia, and the threat of it, has been a part of my life since June 1, 2010, the day I went into the hospital for the first time.  I’m much better now about leading a normal life and trying not to worry about it, but it’s still there sometimes, the fear, lurking.  Every time I get another step or two away from it I feel freer somehow.  Less encumbered by thoughts of it.  More like my self, the self before it every happened to me.  It’s a good day.

Our life is amazing.  Simple, lovely, wonderful, and joyously alive.  Every bit of it.  Every small tiny bit.