Posts Tagged family

Desert Mirage

I am currently in Las Vegas, because I am an idiot, or a masochist, or both.  There is just no good reason for a person with Summer SAD to “vacation” in Las Vegas in June, but that’s what I did.

My husband had to come here for business, and because he is always extremely busy with his start-up, I decided to come on out with him. He’d be too busy working to spend time with me, but the drive to Vegas and back would give me more time to hang out and talk to him than I get in the average week, so it seemed well worth it.

Until it was 106 fucking degrees in the fucking shade and the fucking hotel room won’t cool the fuck off.

I used to spend parts of my summers in Vegas. My grandparents lived here when I was a child. Mornings would start early to get some good play time in before it got too hot.  My grandfather would walk me to the local playground so I could play for a little while before the metal slide got literally too hot to use safely. Then we might walk over to 7 Eleven for a Slurpee. If I didn’t get a Slurpee, there would probably be coins left on the ledge outside the house for me to get something from an ice cream truck later in the day. They sold the house when I was 8 years old and left Vegas for a cheaper town in the middle of nowhere Nevada to retire. I drove by the house yesterday. My grandmother would be horrified to see the condition that the current owners have it in. The huge sagebrush field that I explored is now completely littered with 2 story suburban cookie cutter tract homes. Overall, it felt surreal to be there. I had planned to call my father while parked out front, but decided I didn’t really like it there, so I meandered on my way.

I stopped at a store to look for a new purse (my current one is falling apart) but had no luck with that either. Upon exit of the store into the overbearing heat, I headed back to the car when I sign across the parking lot caught my eye.

Rita’s Ice Custard Happiness

Ooh, ice custard. Do I want that?
Of course you want that. It’s happiness.
Well, yeah, but should I have it?
What “should”? It’s happiness. Go get some happiness.
It probably isn’t any good. It’s probably too expensive.
It’s Happiness, it says so right in the name, plus The Beatles say Rita is lovely.
I don’t think it is the same Rita.
Whatever, come on, people are always accusing you of being too negative. Go get some happiness. Be a person that deserves happiness.
Fuck you.
HAPPINESS
Serious, fuck you. Alright, fine, I’ll go get some fucking happiness.

So I drag my heat exhausted ass across the hot black top toward Rita’s Ice Custard Happiness. So. Hot. I have to walk around the building when I get there, the sign was on the back of this little section of strip mall that is floating out on the street side of the parking lot. I pass the Subway that is next door, and get to the front of Rita’s Ice Custard Happiness and am greeted by a “Coming Soon” sign.

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Indy

Indy and the Kid and London

16.5 years ago we brought home a puppy from the German Shepherd Rescue. She was my husband’s first dog ever. We got her before our daughter could walk, and she helped to raise our daughter. Indy was a very sweet and a little neurotic. She was family, and we loved her very much.

This week we had to say goodbye to her. She was damn old for a dog of her size, and she lived a very good life, but I still am very sad. Our daughter, who doesn’t remember a day without her, until now, is totally devastated.

Indy and the Kid

The house feels so different without her. I miss her. She was such a good dog.

Hearth

I’m so fucking busy this week, I don’t even feel like I have enough time to grieve. It’s just a tight ball of pain and loss and sadness sitting like a rock in my gut, and I just need to keep on keeping on.

Really, it isn’t even about the time to grieve, it is about having the space to grieve. It is about having the space to just be left the fuck alone, collapsed on the floor sobbing and snotting until I am a desiccated lump. Maybe next week.

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Dumb Phone Update

So, it has been quite a while since you have heard from me. I’ve got a lot going on, but I’ve been having a difficult time typing any of it out.

Anyhow, here is a quick one, partly because somebody asked recently what happened with the experiment where I gave up my smart phone for a month. I am into my tenth month without a smart phone. Some people see that as a success, but most of my very techie friends see it as a massive fail. People who knew me prior to the experiment, and haven’t seen me since, probably find the idea of me sitting there without a phone near constantly in my hands, a surprising thing. I have so little to use my opposable thumbs for now.

In many ways it is great, however there have been drawbacks, and I am about to embark on a very busy several months that might be helped by a smart phone, so I’ve been looking again. As I explained before, I really want certain things in a phone. What I most want is a 5 row physical QWERTY keyboard, with defined keys, in a wide format, and I want the phone to work. Also, I want the plan to not be offensively expensive, and I want the provider to only piss me off mildly. I am asking way too much.

Anyhow, I am researching phones, and one of the friends who has been most frustrated by my more restricted communication availability happens to have an iPhone that is on a plan, but isn’t in use. It is just sitting there. The phone was offered to me, and I turned it down, because I don’t get along well with touch screens, so I need (first world problems) want something with a physical keyboard.

A few days later, I realized that was asinine. I should at least give it a try. So, I am currently borrowing an iPhone. Only two people have the number, the friend whose phone it is, and my kid.

The kid texted me to find out if I needed anything from the store. I tried and tried and tried to reply to her, and it wasn’t going well. Finally I sent her 3 messages. She responded by calling me.

Here are the three messages:

  1. Ing xanod dupe on thhos thigh
  2. Oh gps cannot atop laiidnff
  3. Halo

You can submit what you think I am trying to type in comments. It’s like the crappiest contest ever. Maybe I’ll text the winner.

She texts, “Turn on auto-correct and then type. That would be fun.”

I replied, “Aiyocotrdcy I’d on”

“Perfect.” She responds.

I did a screen cap of this exchange, and I would post that, but this is an original iPhone which did not allow the sending of photos via MMS, and I haven’t been able to set up my own email through the phone because I cannot get my password typed into it correctly.

It’s awesome, right?

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A Turkey of a Holiday

This year for Thanksgiving, I am thankful that I was sick.

Okay, that is a lie.

I mean, I was sick, that is true, but I was really pissed off about it.

Actually, even that isn’t true. I was so sick I wasn’t pissed off about anything. I was just blah. I was really blah, and as bummed as I could muster the energy to be, about being sick for Thanksgiving.

The week started out with a surprise sudden visit from my father, who sent me an email late Friday night while I was in Vegas (Vegas Baybee!) to say he needed to come down for business and would be arriving on Monday.

Hmm, maybe I should start back even farther. On Wednesday of the week prior to Thanksgiving I got the husband from the airport when he returned from China. On Wednesday night we had dinner with a friend. On Thursday morning we drove to Vegas. On Thursday night we hung out with friends in Vegas and ditto on Friday (more on that later). There may have been a lot of eating and booze consumption. On Saturday we expected to leave after lunch to head home. We did, but that ended up being almost 4 PM. Why were we heading back on Saturday instead of Sunday? Because we had a party to attend on Saturday night.

We drove into town, went home, ate a quick dinner and spoke to the teen monster, and said hello to all the animals, and then got cleaned up a bit, dressed and headed out to a party. We left when the police helicopter showed up. Don’t ask, I don’t know.

On Sunday we had somebody over for dinner (braised pork in a apple Zinfandel reduction). Then on Monday I picked up my father & co. at the airport and ate too much for dinner and dessert and stayed up late talking. Indy woke me several times in the night. It is always a crapshoot (sometimes literally) as to whether she sleeps through the whole nights, wakes me up once to go out, or wakes me up every hour for one reason or another.

My point is, that while I should probably not have been surprised to come down sick after all that, I was too out of it to notice that I was sick upon waking Tuesday morning. It wasn’t until I was about 50 miles into a 200 mile round trip with my father (decided to drive him to his business thing) that I realized I had a fever and all my skin hurt and my neck hurt.

By the time business was over (during which I napped in the backseat of my car) and we made it back home, my hair hurt, all my muscles hurt, my joints hurt, and my bones hurt. My stomach felt mildly gross, and I was too hot and too cold. I fell into bed and stayed there for many hours, until my stomach advanced to feeling incredibly gross, at which point I had to sometimes leave bed.

Around 24 hours later, I felt really, really bad, which was way better than I’d felt the day before. I decided I’d be fine to go pick up the teen monster instead of asking somebody else to do me the favor of picking her up (I’d already had somebody else take her). Clearly, I was still feverish and delusional, because I was in no shape to go pick her up.

I finally made dinner on Saturday night because it was the last night the people I originally invited for Thanksgiving could do it. I still didn’t really feel very good, so I had to scale back on a lot of things. I washed my hands A LOT, and tried really hard to be extra careful about everything, and used gloves a lot of the time too, but really, I worried that I was serving Plague Feast.

Anyhow – Menu (not overly traditional)

Caviar (with little toasts and creme fraiche)
Spicy Marinated Mushrooms, Garlic Stuff Olives, and Castelvetrano Olives (one my absolute favorites, even though my husband insists on telling the same lame joke every time I serve them. Frighteningly, some guests believe his joke.)
Salmon (with cream cheese, sesame toast rounds, capers, onions and lemons)
Cheese Plate
Sourdough Bread and Garlic Butter
Zucchini and Yellow Squash Salad
Cranberry Orange Sauce
New York Steak Cubes seasoned in salt, paprika and coffee, then wrapped in bacon
Turkey (prepared with a dry rub and the cooked on the BBQ grill with a Turkey Cannon filled with beer and garlic and oranges)
Rutabagas, Turnips, Parsnips, and Butternut Squash roasted in duck fat

I also made Egg Nog (and spiced rum) Ice Cream with Ginger Snap Cookies in it.

After I immediately made Turkey and Wild Rice Soup to send home with one of the guests. Mmmmnn, plague soup. Although he reported back that it was quite possibly the best soup he’d ever had, ever, and failed to come down with the plague. Maybe I just lightly seasoned it with plague. Kind of like eating perfectly prepared fugu, with just enough toxin there to feel it and remind you of life, without enough to kill you.

Anyhow, I did nothing at all on Monday, and did very little on Tuesday, and just tried to recover. I am finally feeling not too bad. Now I will post this, and finish making dinner, which is currently on the stove (and in the oven, and in the rice cooker).

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Playing Catch Up – Part I

So, a lot has been happening, and none of that has been blogging.

I moved. I don’t live in Minnesota any longer. We moved back to Los Angeles.

It has been pure hell, but all in all, it is a very good thing. I am glad we made the decision that we did. I’m glad we moved. It’s just that moving sucks.

We knew for a while. My husband gave a month’s notice at work, but they didn’t want him to share the news right away, and while they can’t enforce that, we decided to give them some breathing room, and we kept it quiet for a reasonable amount of time. By the time it became more public, I was simply too busy to blog about it.

Leaving Minnesota was difficult. It was emotionally difficult and physically difficult. I wanted to move back to California, but in the two and a half years we spent in Minnesota, we’d made some good friends. I’d also put a lot of time and heart into working with ACT V. Friends that I made, I can keep. That is what the internet is for. It’s very difficult to continue fostering for an organization I was very happy to be volunteering for, from 2000 miles away.

Speaking of 2000 miles…

ROAD TRIP.

Ugh.

Big. FAT. UGH!

2 cars + 4 humans + 2 cats + 2 dogs + 2000 miles = STRESS

To start things off, when we took the cars in for an oil change and a quick checkup, the mechanic discovered stuff wrong with one of them. Stuff that should be fixed before the road trip, and stuff that cost a bunch of dollars, because it always costs a bunch of dollars when the mechanic says “Well, we found…”

This got us on our road trip later than originally planned.

That, and our own insanity, but that’s another issue.

Seriously, we left our rental house at 11:30 PM. I know, I know, logically it seems like it would make more sense to just sleep there one more night, but it we just needed to go, or we’d find more reasons to linger the next morning.

So, we left our former home a total mess (because we knew that a wonderful friend had our back on dealing with the MN end), and we drove by the house of one of the ACT V people to deposit a final donation of blankets and detergent on their doorstep (much to the suspicion of some neighbors that saw us).

Then we headed out of town…

In a snow storm.

I’m not kidding. It snowed on us on the way out of Minnesota. We pushed ourselves to the point of exhaustion and got our butts to Iowa, so that we had left the state. There we stayed at Microtel Inn in Clear Lake that didn’t charge us any extra fees for the pets, and had a very nice and accommodating staff. Unfortunately it was also snowing and hailing on us in Clear Lake as we tried to unload the cars and get our butts into the room. In order to have enough space in the cars (because we needed room for 4 people, 2 traumatized cats, 1 large kitty litter, 1 cranky old dog, 1 puppy, food for all the critters, and a disturbing amount of wine, not for road trip consumption), we’d purchased a giant duffel bag to keep luggage in.

It turns out it takes about an hour to get 4 people, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and all the stuff the 8 of them need for one stupid night, settled into a motel room.

Did I mention the snowing and hailing? Oh, well also there was horrible biting, bitter, nasty, COLD wind. It was late April. We were dressed (and packed) for early spring. My husband got himself a minor case of frost bite on his fingers unloading the car that first night. Good times.

The next morning I set out our plan for the day by finding a motel that would take the pets and plotting our route. I’d been planning originally on aiming for 500 miles a day, but decided that day to stretch and reserve us a room just over 600 miles away, because of our late start and our race to get to California before we got charged extra by the movers for not being able to meet them on time to get our ginormous amount of stuff back.

So, we were aiming for Sterling, CO and Best Western Sundowner, which charged us an extra $20 to let our pets stay there ($12 for one animal, $20 for two or more), but had a larger room for the price than our other options, and after the first night, I knew we’d do better with a little extra space.

We got on the road planning to be in our room by about 10:30 PM. Unfortunately, it was an extremely windy day, and we hadn’t really perfected our strapping the giant duffel bag to the top of the car technique yet. It took all day to get that technique down. In total, about 3 hours was spent in various parking lots, rest areas (BTW, Iowa has the nicest rest areas I have ever seen.), and wide shoulders, working on that technique. This meant we got to the motel about 1:30 AM.

Watson at one of the rest area stops in Iowa.

Remember the one hour to get everybody settled in the room thing? It takes even longer when you are on the second floor of a Best Western that doesn’t have an elevator. WTF? Also, their free wireless internet sucked frozen possum testicles, or as I like to call them, possnutsicles. I needed internet in order to send a very detailed email to a friend, including floorplans of our house that I’d edited to map out the placement of all of our furniture. The movers had made amazingly good (not good for us) time getting the load to CA, and the path of least resistance for dealing with that, was to have a friend manage the unloading of the stuff. Between the battling with the internet, the super slow connection, and the occasionally drifting off between keystrokes, I finally hit send and got to sleep at 5:30 AM. Then up early to battle the internet again in order to find the right stopping place for the night. By the time we were ready to head out, I was 31 flavors of cranky.

Now we’ll pause for a message from our sponsors. Actually, we’ll pause so I can sleep. You’ll have to wait for another day to find out more about our road trip.

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