Monday, September 10, 2018

Up, Up, And Away

The last time I was on an airplane was 1994, when we did a military transfer. Larry drove the car cross country, while I got on the plane with 3-year-old Theo and 1-year-old Anna for a 5-hour flight. Larry actually came on the plane with us, to get us settled. Imagine that - his being able to accompany us to our seats. It was a different world, for sure.

And then we sat on the tarmac for an extra hour, because they had to switch out an engine. I remember asking the guy sitting behind us, "Is that, uh, normal?" And he just shook his head and said, "Everything's gone to hell since they deregulated the industry."

THAT was reassuring.

The 24 years since then? Well, more kids came along and any trip we took was within driving distance and who the heck was going to pay for all those plane tickets, anyway? So, yeah, no flying for me. The kids eventually all flew, as they got older and went to camps or college or whatever. At this point, it's only Susie who's unfamiliar with the miracle of human flight.

SO. What could make more sense than for me and Susie to get on an airplane tomorrow and fly, oh, 10 HOURS, all the way to Tel Aviv? That's a good way to introduce someone to the miracle of flight, right? Especially someone who refuses to even get on an escalator? What could go wrong?

I guess we're about to find out. Being that I'm such a rookie, Larry's been putting me through TSA dress rehearsals, as it were, showing me how to pack things (knitting!) and which things I need to pull out at the checkpoint. Luckily, I experienced a bit of the TSA magic a couple of weeks ago, when I accompanied my daughter's friend (the one who came to the beach with us) to her gate for her flight back home. So I think I can do this. I think I can, I think I can...

Susie wasn't too sure about this whole scheme of visiting Theo and Anna overseas, I must say.  But then I showed her a picture of the amazing Israeli breakfast the hostel serves its guests every morning. And Theo keeps sending her pictures of lunch. That girl's very food-oriented, is what I'm saying. Just...keep your fingers crossed that this flight (2 flights, really) goes smoothly. Because I don't know what I'll do if she freaks out. Also, I'm not sure I won't freak out myself.

24 years is a really long time.

And yes, we're staying in hostels again. Because I like feeling like Grandma Moses while I'm vacationing. Also, I spent all my money on those plane tickets.

Anywhoo, I won't blog while I'm away, but I'll take my usual copious (and cryptic) notes. And I WILL be posting photos and comments to this blog's Facebook page, so follow/like that page if you want to stay updated. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to spend the rest of the night on Duolingo, trying to revive the Hebrew that has been lying dormant in my brain for over 3 decades. That should work, right?

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Back In The Saddle

Hello! I was shaken out of my knitting slump this week by the arrival of 2 boxes of (you guessed it) yarn:

It's like Christmas in my mailbox!

Knitcrate had a special offer where a new member could get 2 boxes for the price of one, and hey, what makes more sense than ordering new yarn just when you are considering giving up knitting altogether?

So the boxes arrived on Friday and I opened them and then left them sitting out while I left the house to talk to some neighbors, which means they were plainly visible when Larry came home from work over 2 hours early.

You know how often he comes home from work early? NEVER.

I'll give him credit, though: he didn't say anything. I think Larry's just glad I have a room to put all my yarn in now, is all. And, to prove I needed it, I used the worsted yarn to start a pair of fingerless mitts  and I think that's cured my knitting lethargy:

Colors aren't true here, for some
complicated photography reason

I've got socks going, too, as always. So, yeah, I guess I got back on that horse and things have returned to normal. Whew! I really didn't want to have to find a new hobby.

It's summer, in case you didn't know, and - instead of our region's normal heat and humidity - this year we've had EVEN MORE heat and humidity. When it's not super-hot and humid, it's raining. Or, it's super-hot and humid AND raining. It feels as though we're living in a rain forest. I stick my head out the door and expect to see monkeys swinging by on trees and parrots flying around.

Do monkeys live in rain forests? Must check.

So, to say our yard has been neglected would be a generous understatement. I can't recall just how long ago I said, "I'll wait until we get a not-devastatingly-humid day to pull those weeds," but "those weeds" have now grown big enough to make our house look abandoned and maybe just a little haunted. So this morning I bathed myself in bug repellent and pulled out the gardening gloves:

What were the odds, people?

The first five gloves I pulled out were all left-handed. Or right-handed, I can't tell. I almost gave up right there, but instead I persevered - because I'm an adult and also because I didn't want our neighbors calling the HOA on us - and managed to find an entire pair. I went outside and weeded for 20 minutes, by the end of which I was covered in sweat and dirt and bug bites, because the evil mosquitoes we have here are out all day and they bite right through clothing.

See? I tried.

The garden on our back deck looks similarly neglected, but I waded out there, too, and brought in the harvest:

Yeah, I don't know what's up with that cucumber, either.

There's also some basil growing, but I was too sick of summer to deal with it. Instead, I drove a couple of friends to a yarn store that was having a 20% off sale, where - you guessed it - I bought MORE YARN.

Winter is coming...

I know, it's a sickness.

And, yes, there ARE other people around here, but I'm ignoring them. Actually, our household is now smaller than it has been in over 20 years: only Susie and Rachel are living with us at this point. It feels really weird. And Rachel just picked up a job at Best Buy (following in her brother's footsteps), so - what with that and school and Civil Air Patrol - I don't know how much we'll even be seeing her.

That leaves just Susie, who got dragged along to the yarn store today (we promised her ice cream) and then (back home) ended up listening to Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me with me while I lay on the couch, fending off a migraine. She's essentially an only child now, poor girl, but she doesn't seem to mind (because, hey, there's that ice cream).

Make sure to look for my next book: The Grandparent Method - An Essential Child Rearing Guide for Older Parents. 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Exciting And New

Ignore that title. The theme song from "The Loveboat" popped into my head and I had to share.

What am I doing? Oh, nothing much, just missing my college kid and working 3 part-time gigs (how did this happen?) and cooking meals for whoever happens to be living in my house on any given day and trying to put the upstairs back together, which is hard to do because one kid (Brian) moved out and dumped the stuff he didn't want on my bed and then another kid (Susie) moved into that kid's room and dumped the stuff she didn't want on my bed and then I tried to move all my yarn from my bedroom into Susie's old room and OMG it looks as if the entire upstairs threw up on itself.

It's been hot here.

Yeah, that was my week. And now I'll be working at the yoga center all weekend - I sit at the desk and smile at people and try not to charge the wrong amount on their credit cards when they sign up for a class. True story - I charged someone $2000 once. He wasn't very zen about it, either, I'll tell you that.

(It just occurred to me that the owner of the yoga center reads this blog. Don't worry, we fixed it!)

And the elderly client I drive places had 2 doctor appointments this week and she still needs to go to the grocery store tomorrow to stock up on Lean Cuisine. In case you didn't know, the entire Lean Cuisine business model is dependent on senior citizen women who live alone. And with the aging of our general population, I'm thinking buying stock in that particular company might be a really smart move.

Is that insider trading, my telling you that? I'm not sure.

That's 2 jobs. The third job I have is relatively new - I'm working as an editor for an online editing company. It's not bad, insofar as I work as much or as little as I want and when and where I want; but it does make me feel a bit like the editor version of an Uber driver: I make less than I think I'm making (after taxes and such), and I never know who is getting in my car, as it were.

But, hey, FLEXIBLE. You can't beat that when you still have kids at home who need rides and meals and such. Did I mention the 2 orthodontist appointments we have this week?

And then there was the monthly board meeting for our HOA tonight, which I had to host and therefore clean up my house for. Susie helped a lot with that, luckily, or I think I would have cried.

I did cry over my knitting this week. I was making a perfectly lovely lace scarf in lace-weight yarn (think really skinny, like thread, okay?) and I messed up and went to fix it, because I'M PRETTY GOOD AT KNITTING, if I do say so myself, only I messed it up more and now I just have a tangled alpaca mess of broken purple dreams.

This is what disillusionment looks like, people.

It serves me right, really - I KNOW that lace-weight yarn can turn on you like that. Only...I thought this time would be different, you know? Apparently I'm nothing but a yarn-struck fool.

So I considered giving it up. ALL OF IT - the laceweight and the bulky, the sock yarn and the worsted. Only, I couldn't figure out what I would do instead. I mean, what do people DO who don't knit? How do they wait at the DMV for a new driver's license? How do they survive the pre-Christmas rush at the post office? How do they fight off feelings of existential angst without using a pair of sticks and some woolly fiber? 

Beats me.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

If Life Could Just Slow Down A Sec...

Oh, hi! Yeah, it's me. I got back from the beach 4 days ago and it's been crazy ever since. Got home, unpacked, grocery-shopped, cooked dinner (oh, yes, I did, because there were 7 hungry people in the house), unpacked some more, did laundry, took a walk - I felt as if I had run a marathon by the time I fell into bed Saturday night. Did I mention I had gotten up at 5:30 that morning so we could clean the beach house and head home early enough to beat the traffic?

Chicken bought pre-cooked, because
I have my limits, people.

I don't know why people say vacations are relaxing.

BUT we had great weather and many days on the beach and ice cream cones whenever we wanted, so I would call the trip an overall success. Here - have some seashells:

This is supposed to look artistic.

For reasons beyond my comprehension, the owners of our beach house rental saw fit to hang the following sign directly above the master bath toilet:

Um, okay...

Here's my failed attempt at capturing the morning sun shining on the waves:

But all this - beach and ice cream and travel - was eclipsed, I'm afraid, by the fact that Brian, he of the awesome tech skills generously shared with his confused parents, left home yesterday. He's at college now, in fact, living in a dorm and being an artsy design major. He allowed his dad to take a zillion pictures of him putting spiffy new linens on his dorm room bed, and Brian himself even sent me a few photos of the amazing food ("Tastes awesome!") at the spiffy new dining hall on campus.

Really, college? You couldn't even let him miss my cooking?

He's gone, and I swear to God, it's (again) as though 18 years of my life walked out that door with him. Remember the tornado costume? The dumb accidents? Oh, and look - here I am worrying about Brian turning into a teenager! How...quaint. Because now I get to worry about his turning into a college student.

He was up late packing the night before he left, so I decided it would be a good idea to walk into his room and impart my wisdom about drugs and alcohol and sex. Oh, yes, I did. And yeah, that went as well as could be expected, given my eloquence at such things. I ended with, "Look, just don't be stupid, all right? And if you realize you're being stupid, remember, you can stop being stupid at any time."

I should write a parenting book: How To Talk So Your Kids Will Squirm. I think I have the technique down by now.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Just Beachy

Just a quick note to say I'm leaving for a week at the beach.

Knitting's all packed!

That's right, the beach. And get this - we're NOT CAMPING. Yes, we actually learned from our stupid experience 2 years ago, when we said, "Hey, why not camp near the beach? Wouldn't that be great?"

Never again, people, never again.

So we spent more money than we should and rented a little house in the center of a cute little beach town that Susie and I visited last year with a friend and, yes, now it looks as though it will rain most of the week, but I don't really care. Because, as I've mentioned, we're NOT CAMPING.

There's a washer/dryer, too, so I won't have to trek to the laundromat every 3 days. And have I mentioned the ice cream place across the street?

So we spent the entire day packing and I'm bringing way too much stuff and we surprised the girls by having their friend who moved away 2 years ago show up at the airport to join us for our week of not-camping fun.

It's been busy, is what I'm saying. I'm looking forward to finally getting in the car and not trying to organize things. I'm DONE.

Don't worry, I packed clothes, too. And my
 somewhat warped version of summer beach reading...

I'm leaving the laptop at home. So I'll see you on the other side, folks. I mean, if the seagulls don't get me...