2/27/2021

Lawn Thoughts

It's warm(ish) and rainy today -- pretty typical for the starting of spring around these parts. And as such, a homeowner's thoughts turn to lawn care.

For the last several years, we've been hiring a local landscaping company to do our lawn mowing and other such tasks. Hubby is allergic and resents the time it took out of his weekends and I was on board with hiring it out, because I'm all for not forcing people to do things that make them uber grumpy. Especially if I'm the one who has to deal with said uber grumpiness.

This year, as we're the proud owner of a newly minted teenager who now appreciates having dollars to his name, we've been kicking around getting a new mower and letting him have at it. 

(Secretly, I will probably also do some as I have always enjoyed mowing the lawn. It's the best thinking time activity that exists, IMO.)

Anyway, one of the things that pushed us into hiring out the mowing to begin with, is the absolute hatred hubby has for small engine maintenance. So this go-round, he's looking at electric mowers. (I realize these also have small engines, but the oil and gas and blah blah is not an issue.)

He keeps talking about how much cheaper the corded mowers are and...I grew up with a corded mower. I have not-fun memories of whipping that super long, bright orange cord around, trying to avoid mowing over it, again, and incurring the wrath of my father. Again. (Because apparently it's a pain to fix and/or replace those super long exterior extension cords. Who knew?)

I remember the great joy when we upgraded to a gas mower. Free, at last, from the bright orange cord! 

So I'm pushing for battery powered/rechargeable if we go the electric route.

But I'm also snickering that everything goes round and round again.

2/19/2021

This, That, and T'other

I spent the bulk of last week (Thursday - Wednesday) at a writing retreat with some writer friends. It was lovely, but I don't think I'll do more than the 4-day weekend length in the future. I'm too much of a homebody to be away from the family for a full week. Maybe that's pathetic, but so be it. Now, if everyone were along? I'd be game for a vacay.

I did manage to write an entire book (a short one, anyway) whilst away, so that's a win.

And I missed all the ice and snow (thankfully) so the drive wasn't bad either there or back again.

We got yet more ice and almost snow after I got back. It's now at least trying to melt off the roads. Given that I'm taking dad for his second vax tomorrow, I'd like the roads to be passable not horrid. I'm hoping another 24 hours should do that trick.

I'm on the family edition season of the Amazing Race (season 8 I think?) and...meh. I mean I'm only finished the first episode, so maybe it'll get better. But the little kids are obnoxious, the older kids who backtalk their moms aren't much better, and the sibling teams are basically annoying. I'm going to give it a couple more episodes while I exercise but...I might end up activating Brother Maynard. Because just no.

Got the official word that we're a go for holding the 50th anniversary party for hubs' parents this summer. I'm not sure if I'm pleased or annoyed by that. I mean it's good for them to get a party since they want one, but I'm still unsure when that became my job to plan and pay for. (I mean I guess ultimately I can explain why it's us or it doesn't happen, but that doesn't make it less annoying.)

Sister starts weekly chemo today. 3 weeks on, 1 week off. This is "maintenance" dosing so hopefully better than the other was, but blergh. Cancer sucks.

I feel like I had more to talk about when I titled this post, but now the thoughts have flown.

2/08/2021

On Catches of the 22 Variety

I head up the Awana at our church. I know I've mentioned this a time or seven before. Generally, I don't mind it. But sometimes it leaves me wanting to bang my head against something super hard until I'm unconscious.

At the start of the school year, we figured a plan that was basically "drive through" to help the kiddos have some sort of normal. It isn't perfect, by any stretch, but it worked well enough. Certainly better than the virtual option that we tried to manage last spring when everyone initially started freaking out about impending doom.

Well, in January--and a little before--there was a marked drop off of the older kids (middle and high school). I get it -- it sucks not to be able to see your friends and interact.

So the children's minister and I put our heads together and came up with options to get those grades back to even closer to normal. There are still some social distancing guidelines in place and so forth, so it's not perfect, but it's improvement.

Yesterday was our first day back to the new regime with those grades. And I thought it went well - my  middle schooler was certainly elated to have time with his friends beyond waving in the hallway. The high school leader said all was well with them.

And then I got an email from the helper in the middle school age class.

Now, to be fair, she's a public school teacher, so she seems definitely to have drunk more deeply from the well of Koolaid. But oh my word. It was a list of infractions that would have made Delores Umbridge proud.

So I chatted briefly with the children's minister, whose MO tends to be "APPEASE AT ALL COSTS!" and I'm ...not really that way. But I was like well, we can make sure they play games outside and sit at tables. That seemed like a reasonable accommodation, given that Delores was asking for way more and also given that socially distanced chairs got moved into pods and if you don't have tables, that's going to keep happening.

So I emailed the leader and he...is displeased.

He basically said no, he wouldn't be doing any of that and why didn't she address it to his face. And that last one, well that's a valid statement because OMG we're grownups. Or we're supposed to be.

So now I'm mulling what the right answer is. Delores said if it doesn't change then she and her son won't be attending and...I mean okay? That's her right to choose that. And maybe that's the right decision--though I do think he needs to at least agree to keep the chairs distanced. Does it probably  matter from a science standpoint? No. The air is circulating so really if you're sitting next to someone vs six feet away, meh. But also it doesn't hurt anyone to do and make it seem as though you take their concerns seriously.

Blergh. There are days I really dislike having to interact with people. Most of those are days that end in y.

2/03/2021

On Birthdays

 Youngest is 9 today. 

I have every bit as much trouble wrapping my brain around that number as I do the official teenagerdom of eldest. It honestly feels like yesterday we were bringing them home from the hospital.

And every time I think that, I laugh to myself, because such sentiment would have garnered a hearty eye roll from me should my mother have expressed it. 

Ah, how tempus doth fugit when you're not paying attention.

Or even when you are.

Hubby had to go into the office for a bit today, but as all the boys want to do, really, is play Xbox, I figure it's working out okay. I'll probably drag them off here eventually--even on birthdays I don't think it's unreasonable to unplug a little--but where I had thought we'd try to do some school, I guess I'll amend my plans.

Just because I always ended up at school on my birthday growing up doesn't mean they should have to. Or something.

Of course, if they start fighting with each other then there's going to be school But they know that, so they'll probably find a way to get along.

Last night, hubby asked where I thought I'd like us to retire to. Because neither of us is particularly keen to hang in this area forever and ever amen. I honestly don't know how to answer it though, as it seems a really long way away. But the reality is, it could be as little as 12 years hence? And we know how fast the last 13 years flew by. So I'll set the unused portion of the brain a-mulling and see what bubbles up. Despite how short 12 years can be, there's still time. And miles to go before we get there.

2/02/2021

Like Pulling Teeth

 Eldest had 4 teeth pulled this morning.

Adult ones.

His mouth is just too small. Or his teeth are too big. Whichever way you look at it, it's jammed up like the Springfield Mixing Bowl in a pre-covid rush hour.

So the teeth had to come out.

He's doing okay, although still numb right now, which makes everything that much harder and messier. So far we're staying ahead of the pain and swelling.

I have to stand on a chair to help him change his gauze, because he's just that much taller than me. (Or he can sit, obviously, but he says it's easier standing, so I'm trying to accommodate him.)

Youngest has piped up, loudly, "Gosh, I'm glad I didn't have to have that done."

Ah, siblings. 

1/30/2021

Trying for something lighter

 I realize it's been a bit of a downer round these parts of late. Apologies abound. I can't promise it'll change, but I can try to intersperse a bit of levity.

Season 2 of Blown Away released on Netflix. This is worth watching, IMO - it's a glass blowing competition and, as I've always found glass blowing fascinating, I enjoy it quite a lot. Of course, I could do without the artistes who are there to make meaningful art. Just blow glass into something pretty, dang it.

I'm on the episode where the guest judge is the winner from season 1 and...I may skip ahead a bit with Brother Maynard. She drove me crazy in season 1 and I was so bummed that she won with her bizarre feminist manifesto in glass vs. the other competitor whose glass was pretty and easy to understand. I can't grok her at all.

I guess I don't know art. But I feel like I know it when I see it.

Anyway, in Blown Away, they call the episode winner "Best in Blow" and Hubby and I can't help but mutter sotto voce "That's what she said."

Yes, yes, we're juvenile. So be it.

I've also been enjoying Forged in Fire (a metal forging competition) on Netflix.

And I'm still working my way through the old seasons of The Amazing Race while on the elliptical. I'm on season 7, I believe - the first with Rob and Amber of Survivor fame. I never have watched Survivor (although if I run out of TAR I might give it a go.) I kind of like them, although I have vague recollections that they were meant to be considered villains. Whatever, they don't bicker - actually treat each other well - and they play the game. So they're fun to watch.

I do look up spoilers, because that doesn't bother me at all, and they didn't win, so that's a bummer. But I do like the couple who does, so all's well that ends well, I guess.

I also like to look up the couples and see if they're still together. Most are not. By and large, I feel that's a good thing. Rob and Amber are married and have 4 kids and it made me ridiculously happy to see that.

Youngest turns 9 this coming week. Hard to wrap the brains around that number. We went out and got him a geared mountain bike all his own as his main gift. He's a bike fiend. Having gears opens up the whole world as we've enough hills in the neighborhood that it's been limiting to have a kid bike.

And all of that is a tad more cheery, yes? So I'll end on a high point.

1/27/2021

Is it going to get easier again? Ever?

 Y'all.

Sister met with the oncologist on Monday. The conversation was good, I think (I was on the phone to help take notes/listen so she didn't miss anything.) He wants her to try a PARP inhibitor as a maintenance type thing for a while. Of course, said medication isn't technically approved for her type of cancer, so he has to do a little dance with the insurance company to get them to allow it.

I suspect he'll succeed, he's well known and respected and I think has the backup to show this is a reasonable thing to try. Plus, I'm sure the drug company would enjoy collecting data points to see if they could get it approved for even more types of cancer.

Sister is...putting up barriers. The other option is taxol weekly. That's one of the three chemo drugs she had been taking. And they'd do a lower dose. But she still had allergic symptoms with it, so it would mean more steroids and more time and...she just says "the devil you know."

But I'm like, exactly - let's try something else and see if it's better. You can save that as a backup.

Then she starts saying maybe she just won't do more treatment. And this isn't really treatment so much as "trying to keep it stable and not growing" (it's not aggressive, at least.)

And...I can't fight her cancer for her.

If she's giving up, then I guess she's giving up. 

But I think it's stupid.

On top of this, dad is sliding into a much deeper depression than he had been in. It's not hugely unexpected, I guess, but I can't fix it. I don't even know how to help. 

He's trying to get on the list for a Covid vaccine, but the department of health round here is bass akward. And honestly, between the USPS and how badly mismanaged the covid vaccinations are going I don't understand why ANYONE thinks having the government in charge is a positive plan. Like at all.

And youngest...I'm not sure his meds are right. We had upped the dose, but it really isn't different. And he's not growing so that's a concern. And...

it's all just a lot.

And I'm getting tired of trying to carry it.