Saturday, March 17, 2018

The teen being a teen

I've often said our younger daughter is an old soul, a 35-yr-old trapped in the body of a teenager. She has always been very mature and typically serious, ready to leave behind high school for college right after 9th grade. But then I get a text like this, reminding me she's like every other teenaged girl on the planet.

When we were staying at this really cute boutique hotel across the street from Clemson, the teen went downstairs to work out. She was told by the front desk that she could have a pass to the campus rec center to use their equipment since it was a short walk up the block. So the teen struck out and found the place. That's when I received the above text. It seems she was verrrrrry impressed with what she saw! I was relating this to a friend with a teen daughter and she said, "Run her over to the science buildings, stat!" Or maybe the library, for a dose of reality about the college guys?

Our next stops on the southeast college tour will be in Athens and Auburn over the long Easter weekend. The teen says all of her top college choices must have a football team, not because she adores the sport but rather than it means there will be some great tailgating every fall semester. It's all about priorities, y'all.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Spring Break College Touring

It was a quick trip, leaving Saturday after the SAT and arriving home Tuesday night, but it was very fruitful. The 17 yr old has now confirmed her initial preference for a mid-sized state school over a small private school option. 

All of the campuses we visited were lovely in their own way. There were lots of buildings made of red brick with white columns since we were in the south. Historic domes, homes and bell towers with carillons ringing were some of the architectural and musical highlights of the tour.

The admissions staff were welcoming and the tour guides were entertaining everywhere we went. You just can't beat southern hospitality.

We barely escaped this Monday morning, where the grad student lives...

To sit in a lot of this...

But things like this totally made up for it.

A lovely bonus was that we got to have two meals on Sunday with the grad student daughter at Wake Forest, in-between driving and touring. In the rain. And damp, chilly wind. But we were troopers and forged ahead. I had checked the forecast and armed up with some nice new bumbershoots in our checked bag, so we were all set to stay as dry as possible on our campus treks.

Traveling with the vegan teenager means we have to scour cities in advance to find the "right" place to eat that offers the no meat, no dairy options for her. 

There is no deviating from this. Ever. Though she lets me eat like a "heathen" at places with drive-thru windows where they serve yummy things like spicy breaded chicken breasts on a biscuit drizzled with honey. And a Diet Dr. Pepper to wash it down. Gotta watch those calories. She even lets me go inside sometimes when she needs to take a bathroom break. The teenager is just too good to me.

We ended our last night with a trip to the local Publix grocery store in Clemson, South Carolina, where I was ogling the bakery goods while she was gathering up some oranges and kombucha for breakfast the next day.

The college touring continues at the end of this month with a trip to Atlanta so we can hit a couple more places on her must-see list for fall college app consideration. Grab the checkbook, daddy-o, because it looks like we'll definitely be paying out-of-state tuition when the second chickadee fledges the nest in August 2019.

Friday, March 9, 2018

I loathe leaf season

If I didn't have OCD tendencies, I don't think the leaves would bother me much. But great balls of fire, the spring oak leaf drop is enough to make me lose my mind. I'm working on the pool and patio area at least three times per day, using the leaf blower and pool tools to try and combat the sheer volume of last year's oak leaves making way for the spring bud. Emptying the skimmer that's full to overflowing with leaves, in addition to the Polaris bag that looks like an overstuffed leaf sausage, wielding the net and working up a sweat is my glamorous life these days.

Less than a week ago, this whole fountain area was mostly devoid of leaves because my yard guys were here and dealt with them. This is what has accumulated over the past five days.

The wind blows and leaves flutter from the branches to the ground like snow. Leaf blizzards, y'all. Because of the OCD and my inability to tolerate messy clutter, that means I'm out dealing with the leaves that have collected in both the pool and fountain morning, noon and (almost) night. These wretched leaves are doing their best to clog the pool's skimmer and fountain's pump, attempting to make me throw more cash at our very own money pit since these things would probably burn up and break down without my hawk-eyed vigilance and dogged refusal to concede victory to the mess-making leaves.

Once I've survived this year's leaf season, I imagine I'll invest in some sort of pool netting to cover it next year in order to keep my sanity.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Git along little doggies... to the groomer

Highlight of my week... the dogs getting their spring clips. So what if they look like the love child of a sheared sheep and large rat. I've vacuumed the floor in the family room almost every day this week because Ollie and Pepper get leaves and mulch from the yard caught in their fur and scatter it all over the house. Since yesterday was the first of March and we're moving out of the season for colder temps, I decided to save myself some housecleaning time and get the dogs a fresh haircut.

You can see in the pics that our spoiled rotten varmints are enjoying the treats (some frou frou organic dog bone thingy I only buy every blue moon even though they love them) I gave them after they got home from the groomer. I take them to this specialty dog boutique place that has the cute but really overpriced stuff because it's closet to our house and I can usually get them in at the last minute when I just can't stand the doggy stench another day. And the grooming prices are actually very reasonable. But now that they have their shorter coats, I'll be able to wash them at home, so it will save me money in the long run. 

With some nice weather the second half of the week, mother and I have been chatting on the patio in the late afternoon while the dogs get some exercise in the yard. You can see her old pugzillas in the pic above. Pugs on the Patio. That sounds like a great title for a kiddie lit book. But the content... licking each others genitals and eating dried bird poop off the slate, then throwing up later that evening. Plus mother hollering at them to stop while threatening a beat down. I'm not sure how I'd spin that to make it PC enough for the elementary crowd.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Word Up Wednesday

Geez Louise, the weather around here sure has been yucky lately, what with the bouncing back and forth between the AC and heat, along with the clouds and rain. Right now we're getting a little thunder and lightning, too.

The weather kinda matches my mood this week since I've had a nasty head cold. And I swear I'm gonna quit turning on the TV for fear of the latest tragedies I'll see on the news. School kids being murdered on campus by fellow students suffering from mental illness and cops being gunned down while on the job. And then evangelist Billy Graham died today. What a beacon of light that man was to the world. I've seen some of his old recorded crusades and you can't miss the feelings of hope and goodwill pouring forth from his sermons, but one of his final videos I've included below is his wonderful message about breaking free from the bonds of evil through Jesus' salvation on the cross where he died for the sins of the world. It truly is "good news" for every generation. 

I've had this old Baptist standard circling around in my head since I heard he passed, "When We all Get to Heaven." What a comfort to the Graham family that Billy is at home with the Lord where he's reunited with family and friends who have gone before. He was a genuinely godly man, and Lord knows we need more like him in our suffering world today!

In other news from the homefront, the junior attended her school's military ball Saturday night. The gown was a pretty rosy coral shade and she loved that it had rhinestone embellished pockets. It's the little things, sometimes.

Despite the icky weather, we've had some pretty flowers blooming along the fence lately. We'd usually see these in late March or early April when we lived in England, so it reminded me of our time abroad when they recently made an appearance. See that bright orange cord in the pic? That's the connection running from the road out to mother's apartment on the back forty that the TV and internet cable company has yet to bury.

Since I've been ill, I've been laid up watching movies the past week while I sniffled and snorted and blew my nose a thousand times a day. I really enjoyed this blast from the past, "Urban Cowboy". My mother had the 8 track tape when I was in middle school and so I know all of the soundtrack by heart. John Travolta was a real looker back in the day. I bet the Texas ladies of my generation will agree there aint nothing like a cowboy in a pair of well-fitting Wranglers, amiright?! And the prison rodeos in Huntsville - I guess they went the way of the gaudy western belts with your name emblazoned on the back of them. I don't think of myself as old, but by golly I feel it when I look back and recall enjoying a movie and its music from 1980.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Puppy Love

Our Cairns, Ollie and Pepper, have the typical love/hate relationship. She tries to be the alpha, but since he has been with us for 6 yrs, he's not letting her have her way. She's always angling to stand on his head and sit on him, but he's not giving up the title of top dog in the household to 10-month-old baby dog she-devil.

However, the longer she lives with us, the more leeway he allows her with what has always been his. The co-sleep baby bed next to our king has been Ollie's sleeping space for over two years now. However, she's starting to make inroads there on a couple occasions now for some little naps during the day and he's allowing it. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Backyard Casualties

Yesterday afternoon, I let the dogs out to do their usual race around the yard to run birds and squirrels away from the feeders before snuffling in the grass and taking care of business. When I went to the back door to holler them up with the promise of a treat, Pepper raced up with a bird in her mouth. This bird, to be exact.

After I did a little shrieking and dancing in place with some hand wringing thrown in, I hollered at her to drop it and she did. She doesn't like it when I raise my voice and thus immediately responds. So I was able to scoop her up and shove her into the house. In the pic above, you can see her watching out the window, seemingly sad her little prize was taken from her. When I turned my back to look around for something to cover it, Ollie dashed in and grabbed the bird before I could stop him. Not as easily cowed by a raised voice, he gleefully dashed off to prance around the yard with the poor dead bird in his mouth before I was able to shame him into letting it go and get him in the house with Pepper.

Then I had to perform retrieval and burial duties because the husband and daughter weren't home. Thanks to the brand new pooper scooper rake and bin I haven't even used yet, I got the dead bird double bagged in Walmart's finest for disposal. 

Once that was completed, I let the dogs out once more to finish their potty patrol, only to be horrified when Ollie dashed over to the wall of cabana windows where there was another dead bird. So here we go again, him prancing around the yard with his prize while I'm chasing after, telling him to drop it. Thank the Lord Ollie's easily lured by a treat, which got him to let go and follow me back into the house. Then it was round two of the scooping and double bagging.

In hindsight, I just don't think the dogs were fast enough to kill that first bird unless it was ill. The second bird Ollie snagged in front of the cabana was probably a victim of a run-in with the windows. I had the windows cleaned last month and so I bet poor birdie flew right into it and broke his little feathered neck. Now if we could just get some of the more pesky yard squirrels that constantly raid the bird feeder to do the same thing as these birds, I'd be pleased to see the tree rodent population weeded out a bit .