Mother’s Day 2022

As mentioned previously I had a splendid Mother’s Day. 

Rock Star came up on Saturday because we went to the Garth Brooks concert. It was so much better than the concert we went to in October of 2019. That one was good; make no mistake. But the weather was miserable.This was the beginning of his stadium tour. It was outside in October. Which could have gone either way. The weather had been quite nice actually up until the time of the actual concert. We dealt with freezing rain and temperatures in the 30s. My feet were frozen. And since this concert was being filmed for the special that aired in December of that year we had to do a lot of stopping and starting and repeating.

This time though the weather was perfect. There were no cameras for filming so the concert flowed. He didn’t come on until 8:30, I believe, but he proceeded to entertain us for 2 and a half hours. He made his entrance hanging off a piece of stage equipment. He joked. He sang. 

I have to tell you, if you’ve never seen him in concert, the man is an amazing performer. He plays all of his big hits. At one point he was talking about a band member and how this band member had taught him to play the guitar, taught him three cords. He played those three cords and the crowd went wild. It was “Friends In Low Places”. He even sang the third verse. 

He has a way of making every crowd feel like they’re the best he’s ever experienced. And seemed genuinely shocked when he would play the real old songs and the crowd would burst into song along with him. He also loves reading the signs and singing the songs the fans are begging him to sing.

I said he played for 2 1/2 hours. I’m pretty sure a solid hour of that was the encore. He came back on and sang a few songs before starting the cover of “Shallow.” Up pops Trisha Yearwood to join him. She ended up singing one of her songs, “She’s In Love With the Boy,” as well, and then sang backup on a few more songs for her husband.

Then he did a second encore! The second encore was pretty much all sing alongs. It wasn’t his stuff but they were all well known songs, like “Piano Man”. We’d all sing with him and it was usually just one verse and a chorus before he’d go on to the next one. He did that with his first encore, too, where he was signing the songs the fans had written on poster board.

Anyway, it was amazing. It was probably the best concert I’ve ever been to. I’m so glad I got to share the experience with my daughter, my mom, the mobster, and Sweet J.

Earlier that day I treated myself because it was Mother’s Day weekend. I bought myself a new pair of Hokas and a new computer. It’s still not set up, primarily because it didn’t come with Windows and I’m trying to decide if I want to spend the money to lease it. I’ll also have to remember what my password was to my blog.

We had biscuits and gravy in the morning on Mother’s Day. My brother came over later and made beef stroganoff for us, with a little help from me. My daughter gave me flowers and some really great pictures of the two of us. She made picture frames, too. My son couldn’t wait for me to open my gift so he had set up in my bedroom when I got back from the concert. He bought me a gold plated rose.

I don’t know if any of you remember The Rose of Death story I told about my 20 year anniversary gift from Jerry Lee. The cliff notes version for those of you who have never read it or have perhaps forgotten it is this: For our 20th anniversary Jerry Lee bought me a platinum plated rose mounted on a wooden stand. He paid over $100 for this. I was not a fan. It might not have been so bad except when I was opening the package I saw something about a family tree with little picture fames for the family so I thought that was what I was getting. And also, really? 20 years together and your gift is a platinum dipped rose? I was very disappointed. It would have been a perfectly fine gift for my birthday or Christmas or even Mother’s Day.

Back to present day. My mom told me he had showed her what he bought. She said he was so proud of it. “I finally have money so I can buy her something really nice!” he told her. She said she debated telling me about it because she knew how I had felt about the platinum dipped one years ago. Even Rock Star later admitted that when I brought it out she was inwardly dying. She, too, knew the story about the Rose of Death.

I love the rose my son bought me. It hits a lot differently when it’s your kid buying you something. I love that he wanted to buy me something really special. I love that he put time and thought into it. And I love that he was so proud of his gift. I love that he thinks I’m worth it.

Along with the rose he gave me a handwritten note. Basically it thanked me for being there and supporting him through the rough time he has had the past year or so.

How was your Mother’s Day?

In Other News, Part 2

I do actually have reason to dance in the rain. I am excelling at work.

Last week we had our remote workers come in for the week, which was awesome. It was my first time meeting these people in person. We had lunches together. We had meetings. We got together after hours three of the days. It was a lot of fun, although I was exhausted by the end of it.

Anyway, my boss had one on one talks with each of us during the week. It’s not a new thing. She tries to do this on a regular basis. But during this particular meeting she let me know I was doing a fantastic job. She continues to be amazed at how well I manage my work and get it all done (see the previous post about working those extra hours). They apparently interviewed a lot of people for this position and I was the hand-picked favorite. She’s giving me a new responsibility and because of that increased responsibility she is making me an Analyst II within the next 6 months. And with that comes another raise. She also told me to plan on taking the CAMS classes around 2023, 2024 and get ready to take the test to be certified.

I cannot tell you how psyched I am about all of this. Seriously. CAMS is a big deal. It’s a certified anti money laundering specialist. My boss told me a few months ago that once I was CAMS certified I could write my own ticket. This is definitely something I want to do and I’ve talked about it with both my mom and the mobster. It’s a big time goal with an even bigger payoff.

The caveat is my boss won’t send anyone to the classes until they’re an Analyst II. I’ve also heard that there are certain qualifications you have to have before you can even sign up. Extra training and classes and such. So, being promoted to an Analyst II was a big step in reaching my goal. I thought it was going to be at least another year before I was bumped up and then who knew how much longer until I was finally sent to classes?

Now I have a date and a timeline. I’m getting *another* raise sometime in the next 6 months. It won’t be long before I can write my own ticket. I can go pretty much anywhere I would like and I can ask for a whole lot more money once I’m CAMS certified.

I’m dancing, folks.

In Other News

This was written about 2 weeks ago. I’ve got another update for you.

I’m really beginning to hate that phrase: Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning how to dance in the rain. And yet I persevere.

While the love of my life happily treks back to Virginia I’m doing my best to dance in the rain. My daughter will graduate from nursing school in December. I am so excited for her. She seems to really be excelling in school. Her instructors love her. One of them asked her to be a student instructor for her class next semester. So she has a paying gig along with the many references that have been offered by various clinical instructors.

I finally have good news on the Picasso front. If you remember back in December he was having a meltdown. He had quit his job at the grocery store, tried Chick-Fil-A and quickly quit that job, and he had run out of medication.

He is doing fantastic right now. I got the prescription refilled, he saw our nurse practitioner and he finally got his referral to a psychiatrist who has since put him on two different medications.

That’s not even the best part. He suddenly decided he was going to get his driver’s license and was going to join the carpenter’s union. I think within a day of announcing his plans he had made an appointment to get his license. He scared the shit out of the driving instructor but she passed him. He’s had his license about two months now.

Once the hard copy of his license was mailed to him he went down to the carpenter’s union and signed up. He’s done everything he needed to do and he’s actually working a job now. He’s been on it for a week and a half. His very first full time job. He makes his lunch the night before and gets up at 5 in the morning to drive an hour to the job site. He’s such a big boy now!

It’s odd to think that next year at tax time I will only be claiming one child, and that this is the last year I’ll be able to claim head of household. As of 2023 I believe both kids will be off my payroll. Quite frankly, I’m hoping to be on theirs. LOL

I’m really hoping Picasso inquires about insurance soon. It’s not so much that I will suddenly have a huge payday (I do still carry Rock Star). It’s more that I’m sure his insurance will be cheaper and will undoubtedly be better than what I can offer him.

My mom just got back from Florida a month ago. She has a birthday coming up on May 13th.

My kittens are growing. They can’t share the little basket on the cat tower anymore. Or, if they do try it one of them usually leaves pretty quickly because they don’t have enough room. They are little stinkers. Holly loves her wet food. She cries and cries in the morning until she gets her way. She thinks every time I walk near the kitchen it’s time to be fed. Noël is a lot more chill and not nearly as food motivated.

I got them a bubbling water fountain because cats are supposed to drink more water when it’s moving. Milo may be drinking out of it, too. Really all three of them can share. It’s not like it’s a cats only drinking fountain.

I am working from home two to three days a week. Milo loves it. He’s my little shadow. I try to remember to bring his little pop up house into the office so he can sleep.

Work has been crazy lately. It hasn’t helped that I haven’t been able to focus until just recently. The past week I’m sure I worked more than 8 hours Monday-Thursday but I know for certain I worked until 8:30 on Friday evening, taking about a 30 minute break to eat dinner and then logged on again on Sunday and worked another four hours. Fortunately, that had me pretty well caught up with all of the end of month stuff.

I just got my raise and it was actually decent. I mean, it wasn’t another almost 50% but it was decent.

I began this year with four weeks of vacation and 2 banked holidays. It’s almost May and I’ve only taken my 2 banked holidays, although I do have the day after Thanksgiving reserved to be taken off. Still, 3 weeks and 4 days of vacation left. I’m not sure what to do with it.

I’ve always wanted to go see Multnomah Falls in Oregon. Apparently there is hiking and an additional waterfall or two. I’d probably end up as one of those lost hikers that ends up dead.

You know, the funny thing about travel is I don’t find it to be something I want to do all by myself. I mean, I guess I could take a fucking cruise on my own but how much fun would that be? Sitting at a table full of people that are coupled up and where I know no one. Lounging about on the deck and sipping cocktails by myself wouldn’t be so bad, but I don’t think I’d leave the ship. I’m not very adventurous on my own. I love going to the movies by myself. I could even go out to eat by myself. But a vacation? Uh. no. There is not a single vacation I could envision going on by myself with the possible exception of the beach. Maybe I’ll end up just taking a road trip one week. Find some tourist-y things to do in a few cities and enjoy my own company. Or I can just sit on my ass at home for 3 different weeks. We’ll see. The year isn’t over yet although I’m sure my boss is probably going to be pulling her hair out in another month or two.

If anyone has vacation ideas I’m all ears.

My Mom and Her Watch

Two years or so ago I bought myself a Galaxy watch. I needed something that would count steps for me. I was going to go with the simpler Galaxy Fit, I think, that just counted the steps but Target only had the complete watch in stock and I really needed one so I went ahead and bought it.

I hated it! Oh, it had some features that were nice. I liked being able to see texts on my watch. I think I could use my finger to write. And keeping count of my steps was interesting. But overall, I am not a watch wearer. I am especially not a watch wearer when the watch is so damn big and bulky.

My mom wanted to get a FitBit but didn’t want to pay FitBit prices. Anyway, long story short I gave her my watch. And now she’s mad at it.

It keeps telling her to take a walk. She does not like that at all. She said, and I quote, “I don’t need a goddamn watch telling me to get up and take a walk. I’ll take a walk when I feel like it.”

In her defense she does indeed take many walks, especially now that she’s down in Florida where the weather is a bit better than what we’re experiencing up here in northern Indiana.

I talked to her the other day. She told she kept checking my blog to see if I had printed the story about her being mad at her watch. She upped the ante. As she put it: I’m still irritated by it. Who does it think it is? How dare a watch tell me, a human being, what to do?

I don’t think she understands that some people actually pay a lot of money to have their watch tell them what to do.

P.S. On the bright side, Mom, when Rock Star comes down for Spring Break you can get ask her how to make it stop. Apparently you can turn it off.

Random Rant Number Who the Hell Knows

This is a series of rants and wonderments about totally nothing. For instance….

What do those people who use u for you, ur for you’re/your, and b4 for before do with all of their extra time? Honestly, it’s the single u that gets me. Spell it out, people! 

And what in the hell is going on with “Sis”?

Sis, he’s not the man for you. Move on.

Listen to me, Sis; dry those tears and get on with your life.

I don’t know who needs to hear this but, Sis….

WTF? Now, that’s not me taking a short cut. That’s me being polite and not spelling out fuck. 😉  Back to my outrage…

It’s not just memes either. You see people calling others “Sis” on message boards, too.

Hey, Sis, I gotta tell it to you straight, he’s never going to change,.

Come on, Sis, you’re fooling yourself.

He’s never going to change, Sis.

How did this come to be a thing? I’m not your sis. My own brothers don’t walk around saying, “Sis, he screwed up,” or whatever platitude they’re supposed to be spewing.

Maybe if I could pull it off I wouldn’t hate it so much but walking around saying, “Hey, Sis, let me tell you something,” feels as unnatural to me as referring to everyone I encounter as “Sweetie” or “Darlin’”. Those are typical names I reserve for those that are close to me. I must have used it a lot on Rock Star when she was young because I remember her asking a friend of mine about her “little darlin’”.

I can also solidly get behind the whole, “Oh, honey!” when someone is believing some bullshit but that’s as far as I go. Sis is a no go for me.

Hey, Sis, I know you don’t want to hear this but this whole “Sis” thing is stupid. Knock it off.

Wait! Are they referring to being sisters in solidarity? That might make sense but I still don’t like it. I’m going to stick with, “Oh, honey! Wake up and smell the coffee,” or some other wise advice.

I’m mad at my optometrist. It’s not his fault really but I’m still mad. For the last two years I have amazed the eye doctors with my lack of need for reading glasses. Apparently that placed me in like 2% of the population that didn’t need reading glasses at my age.

The trade off was that my near-sighted prescription wasn’t as strong as it could be. If I could still see okay he wouldn’t increase the prescription.

Well, it happened. This last visit about six months ago or so I had my first increase in probably 10-15 years. I cannot remember the last time my prescription increased. 

He warned me that increasing my ability to see things far away might jeopardize my ability to see things close up. And boy, he was not kidding. It is a struggle all the time.

I’ve got the mobster telling me I look like a sexy librarian while I struggle to see *anything* after around 7 pm at night.

That’s right. My contacts are starting to wear on me. I can’t see far away. I can’t see close up. I actually take my contacts out so I can read. Then I can’t do anything else. With a -5.5 prescription I’m pretty much blind without my contacts.

Last night we came home and decided to do a 3D puzzle. It was a small, 39 piece crystal 3D puzzle of Olaf that the mobster bought me for Christmas.

We cracked open a bottle of wine (also a Christmas gift- from my son) and I joked that this should take about 5 minutes to put together. It took over an hour! And this was after Picasso stepped in and helped us.

Turns out they have step-by-step directions. I know what you’re thinking- excellent! This should be a piece of cake.

It is not a piece of cake. They’re written on this tiny piece of paper. Very tiny. Maybe the size of a cell phone. And keep in mind, there were 39 steps so that’s a lot of information on a very small piece of paper. Turns out the parts are labeled with a number as well. Also, teeny tiny. Practically invisible when you consider it’s a clear number etched on a clear piece of plastic. Try reading that after 7 pm while you’re drinking and you can’t see a damn thing. I actually had a damn magnifying glass out trying to read the numbers.

Good news. The mobster enjoyed it so much he wants to do a Level 3 3D puzzle. The one we did last night, that took over an hour, was a Level 1.

Also, does anyone ever wonder how much of the lotion and shower gel from Bath & Body Works actually gets used? I was thinking about that today in the shower. I’m still using the big bottle of Body Sugar shower gel I bought probably close to a year ago. I know I have bottles and bottles of shower gel in a bin somewhere. I remember stocking up on it when Bath & Body Works had their semi-annual clearance sale. I’m sure I still have some of it; I hope it doesn’t go bad.

Same with lotion. It tends to be a popular gift. Here- here’s some lotion. Merry Christmas or Happy Birthday! I’m not a big lotion user (I should, but I’m not) so a bottle will last me a very long time. In fact, I could probably channel my mother and say I have enough to last me the rest of my life.

That’s all I’ve got. Rant over.

Be Here, Be Still… In Virtual Reality

Ah, nothing says embracing your word (phrase) of the year and living in the moment like a day out at a virtual reality arcade. Arena? Building? I don’t know the correct terminology.

Last year when my son changed his last name I planned on taking him and a few of his friends out for a day of fun. One of the things he wanted to do was this virtual reality game. He had gone earlier with another friend and loved it. Anyway, it was closed on the day we were going so we didn’t get to do it and I just haven’t ever gone back.

Fast forward to this weekend. The mobster has been begging me to buy him an Occulus (jokingly, of course…. I think….). Two of his sons have one and they’ve had so much fun playing it. Picasso bought himself one a few months back as well. He saw that we have several virtual reality places in town and really wanted to go. I really didn’t have much interest. I was going to go with my son because it was something we could do together. Despite my many campaigns to let him know how much I think he would enjoy a pedicure Picasso has remained steadfast in his belief that he would not enjoy such a thing. So I was willing to bend a little to have that time with him.

Then the mobster got me right in the heart. “You always said you’d try anything once.” Ouch!

Okay. Off we went. Me, reluctantly. The mobster and Picasso excitedly.

It was So. Much. Fun! I have to get my daughter and her boyfriend up here and have the five of us go one day. 

We did the zero latency game. Basically, you wear this life vest along with your goggles and headset. They give you a gun. You’re in a large room and you wander through this room. There were tasks you had to perform along the way. Thankfully you could never get kicked out of the game because I ended up dying four times.

If you’ve never done a virtual reality game I have to tell you it is so real. You know it’s not but your mind plays tricks. At one point we were supposed to go up this ramp that was outside a building. It was just like being outside and staring down God only knows how many stories as you stay close to the wall and get from one point to another.

I couldn’t do it. I was like, “Nope. Game’s over. I’m not moving.” The game master was instructing those of us who were big babies, letting us know that another worker was right around the corner and he’d take our hand. I finally came to the realization that all I had to do was lift my goggles. That’s what I did. Pushed those suckers up and walked right through that little bit of the game. Look up, my ass! Just take the damn goggles off!

As far as shooting zombies went I did not come in last. That honor went to the only other female in our group. Picasso was the overall winner and the mobster came in second. He actually had more kills than Picasso but Picasso had more head shots and a slightly greater overall score.

The game lasted 30 minutes but I swear, it didn’t feel anywhere that long.

We also played two rounds in the Omni Arena. Those are only 10 minutes but thank God for that! After the first one I think I had an episode of exercise induced asthma! I could not stop coughing.

This game says it’s on a treadmill but I think that’s a bit of a misnomer. They’re more like mini trampolines that don’t bounce. They aren’t moving. You are. You wear slippers over your shoes and they have little round monitors, like the ones you would wear for tracking time at a race, that they put into these slippers.

Our first game, of course, was battling zombies. The weapons changed so quickly I’m sure there were times I was trying to take someone’s head off with a pistol. I kept running into things (virtually, of course) and then I’d have to fight through a swarth of zombies that had me pinned in.

My pants kept falling down which was distracting. Well, they didn’t fall all the way down. They were just beginning to slide down. Still distracting.

We let the other group go ahead of us before we did our second game because we were all tired. In this game you’re constantly running and you have to run on that circle to make your character move. No movement, no game.

We ended up spending almost 4 hours out with an ice cream break in between games. We were exhausted by the end of the night.

What can I say? The mobster is almost always right and he was definitely right in this case. I had a blast and am looking forward to going back. I’m still not going outside the side of that building, though.

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2022

Hello everyone! Happy New Year! How is everyone doing? I hope I still have a few followers out there.

Again I apologize for the lack of posting. As I said before my computer is no longer letting me post. I don’t know why. I can read my site; I just can’t copy and post, or write a post directly from the website. So I have to write the post, copy it, email it to myself, retrieve it off my phone email, copy it, paste it into the blog on my phone, edit it for spacing errors, and then edit the rest of the post. It’s time consuming and I simply haven’t been in the mood lately to take those additional 10 minutes or so to get it posted.

On the bright side, I do have around 5 posts waiting to be posted, not counting this one.

Christmas came and went. There are all kinds of things I could say about the holiday but I’m not going to. Let’s just say the holidays continue to be disappointing and I am desperately trying to overhaul them for my own peace of mind.

I was all set to write about the wonderful weekend our family had in Indianapolis but that came and went and now it seems anticlimactic. 

To sum up: My mom has been lamenting not being able to get everyone together at the holidays. My niece got married 2 1/2 years ago so she’ll never be spending another holiday with us. My nephew is kind of a package deal with her. He’s not going to come up without her so we’ll never spend another holiday with him either. I finally sent out a text asking if anyone was interested in getting together for a dinner this year, and mentioning perhaps being able to extend it to a weekend next year. We ended up booking a house in Indianapolis for the 14 of us for the weekend. It was my mom, my 2 kids, Rock Star’s boyfriend, the mobster, my brother and his wife, plus their two kids, Queen B’s boyfriend, and then my niece, her husband, and my other nephew. We spent most of the time inside and together. Almost everyone took part in putting a Christmas puzzle together. Lots of football was watched on Saturday as my brother and mom were hoping Notre Dame would make it into the championship play off bowl. Didn’t happen. We ended up going to downtown Indy Saturday evening for a Christmas bizarre, which ended up not being that great. We ordered pizza Friday night, had breakfast casseroles Saturday morning, a big Mexican buffet Saturday night, and biscuits and gravy on Sunday morning. There were snacks and lots of alcohol and plenty of games. I made 2 pans of Scotheroos and 3 batches of sugar cookies. All in all it was a pretty good weekend; we left with everyone looking forward to doing it again. There was even talk of doing an extended weekend because as it was we really only had one day together.

I’m not sure that’s going to happen anymore. Neither my mom nor myself is really feeling up to planning yet another family adventure. But it was nice while it lasted.

The mobster survived his first holiday season in Indiana. I think I mentioned he went back to Virginia over Thanksgiving. He was here in Indiana over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but left Wednesday after and was back in Virginia through the 2nd. He misses his kids. I understand and sympathize, of course, but this raises my anxiety and leads me to think he’s going to sell his new route and move back. Ah, the perils of being in love with a man who is a genuinely good father. Harley had it so much easier. Jerry Lee was willing to walk away from his kids in order to be with her. I’m definitely not saying that’s the better man because it isn’t and I wouldn’t want to be with someone who could discard his own flesh and blood. But it does make it easier.

The biggest thing that’s happened in my life recently is kittens! I got two of them shortly after our trip to Indianapolis. I got them from a shelter and they came already named. I have a little black one that I seriously wanted to call Snowball, but alas, her name was Noël. Her sister is Holly. She’s a little gray calico. I’m not sure what the technical term for her coloring is but she’s not a solid gray cat. There are patches of cream throughout her coat.They are both adorable and highly active. It’s been a slow road getting them used to Milo and quite honestly, Holly has come a lot further than Noel. She still bats at him when he walks too close or too fast. Holly, on the other hand, likes to rub up against him and swish her tail along his body. I’m not sure Milo appreciates that.

My mom is down in Florida once again. She’ll be there through most of March. She always gives me a date she’ll be returning and then comes back 2-3 days sooner.

My daughter has one year left in nursing school. She finally conceded that trying to do three nursing classes in summer school was just not feasible so she’ll be returning for her fall semester.

My son is a mess. Ran out of his medication (which isn’t doing a bang up job anyway) and didn’t bother to say anything. I guess he felt the Prozac Fairy would drop off another bottle eventually. He quit his job at the grocery store. I understand there was a personality conflict between him and the manager. It didn’t help that he was the only person left in the department. So he applied at Chick-Fil-A. He lasted at that job for four days. When I told him that playing video games and working a solid 15 hours a week was not a life plan he got very upset and let me know he wasn’t quitting because he was lazy; he was quitting because that job made him want to kill himself. He then spent the next hour sobbing. Needless to say, I felt like shit and I’m still left wondering how much of this is truly a mental health issue and how much is him manipulating me. We’re still waiting for a referral to a psychiatrist in the hopes that proper medication will help. It’s been at least 6 months now and they said when they contacted us it could be 6-8 months.

There is also a sleep issue. He claims that he rarely gets much sleep. He tries to go to sleep but he just lies awake. I’m hoping our family practitioner can prescribe something to help him sleep, although the idea of him and sleeping pills scares me, too.

Also, for those who might be worried, he does not appear to be suicidal now. Once the stress of the job was over he was pretty much back to his old self. Aside from his reluctance to shower everything seems fine.

Honestly, with the addition of the kittens I thought he was coming out of his shell more. The litter box is in his room right now so his door is always cracked open at least a little bit so they can get in there. In the beginning we were told to keep them in one room. His room was that room so he spent lots of time with them and seems to really enjoy them.

I guess it’s true what they say: A mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child. Mental healthcare in this country sucks!

I’m slowly coming to realize that yet another saying is true as well: Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.

There have been very brief moments where everything seemed to gel: My money situation was good, my kids were both good, the mobster and I were doing great. Now it seems more and more like one or two areas will be good and then another one falls apart. Get a new job making almost double what you’re making now. And then…. Picasso’s medication stops working. It’s a series of those situations. It seems to always be raining so learning to dance in the rain is the only thing you can do.

Speaking of dancing in the rain… our bank revised their vacation policy. As of January 1, 2022 I now get an extra week and a day of vacation time. All salaried employees get 3 weeks per year. I was going to have to work another 2, possibly 3 years before that happened. If my boss went in front of the board and lobbied for me to get my 3 weeks at 7 years instead of 7 years, 11 months and 21 days I would have received it in 2024. If not, it would have been 2025.

We also got an extra personal day and the threshold for 4 weeks of vacation has been lowered from 20 years to 15 years.

I’m still ruminating over making New Year’s resolutions or coming up with a word or phrase for the year. I’ve been toying with, “Be Here; Be Still.”  At its core it’s about not letting my mind race to all sorts of disastrous situations. Possibly it could also be about accepting what I have instead of dwelling on what I don’t. And it’s also about being in the moment instead of spending so much time on my phone, playing games and reading. I am not a big Facebook user but I do usually spend a fair amount of time scrolling through the stories on Chump Nation, as well as checking out posts from friends and family. 

Facebook is really my only social media vice. I don’t have a TikTok account. I have a Twitter account but I’ve never tweeted and I don’t ever check out my feed. The amount of time I spend on Instagram can be measured in minutes for the entire year. And as I said, even with Facebook I rarely post anymore. 

The mobster and I bought poster board and Sharpies so we can do a vision board. We’re hoping to spell out our financial and physical goals, as well as changes we’d like to make. I’ll let you know how that goes.

One resolution I will make and will do my best to keep is to post more often. I’m hoping to be able to get a new laptop in the next several months but until then I will simply have to suck it up and do all that copying, pasting, and transferring.

Here’s to a brilliant 2022!

Back row: Rock Star’s boyfriend (holding Milo), Rock Star, my mom (holding Holly), and Picasso (holding Noël). Front row: Me and the mobster

Checking In, Part 3

What else have we been up to? Let’s start with the trip back! I probably should have led with that but what fun is that? I’ll take you up to the present and then take you all the way back two weeks.

I got there Friday night. He picked me up. We stopped to grab something to eat along the way home. It was Dairy Queen. It was on the way and it was fast, plus since my plane didn’t get in until after 9:30 it wasn’t like we had a huge selection of choices. He had promised his parents we would stop by on our way home. We didn’t get to their house until after 11. We didn’t get back to his house until around 1 and then of course, he wanted to show off his Air BnB and all the hard work he has done.

It looks gorgeous! He’s done a great job. But the tour meant we didn’t get to bed until around 2 am, which wouldn’t have been a horrible thing but we were meeting his son and his wife, plus his parents he’d invited the night before, for breakfast at 8:30 the next morning (or more appropriately- later that morning). I would like it to be known that I was ready the following morning. He was still in bed at 8:15. We rushed over to the restaurant and had a leisurely breakfast and visit. His son and I are united in our unhappiness over our lack of coverage in the mobster’s father’s Christmas newsletter. T’s new boyfriend got a full mention and a picture in it last year! I’ve been around for four years and my name was not mentioned once! C apparently wasn’t happy with his coverage either. I think he might have been given a single line and he’s been in the family since birth! So it’s nice we can bond over that.

We met up with one of our Pokemon friends so I could do a lucky trade (not that means much to anyone who doesn’t play Pokemon Go) and then headed back to the house so that the mobster could pack. Yes, in all of his zeal to finish up the Air BnB he neglected to pack anything. Thankfully he was only planning on taking clothes until he finds a place and can move everything up. No sense in paying storage fees when he’s got a perfectly good house. Long story short by the time he was finally packed and everything was put into the car and truck (oh yes, he bought his truck back so he drove that while I drove his car) and we had gassed up and were ready to be on the road it was around 4 pm. 

Let me tell you how the original plan was going to work. First, we were both going to be in the same car. We were going to leave sometime in the morning- not super early but probably no later than 11 or 12. We were going to stop along the way at various places and spin new PokeStops and play some- Lover’s Leap, Charleston. I even had hope that if the restaurant at Chateau Morrissette was open again we could have brunch there. It was going to be a leisurely trip. We might stop and actually eat at a sit down restaurant instead of grabbing fast food. And we would spend the night in Chillicothe, having one last night in our home away from home. We would wake up and have brunch at The Pour House. I would have a mimosa. We would go to the park and play Pokemon Go for a little bit. And then we leave again around noon or so and make various stops along the way so that we could play Pokemon Go, because we’re Pokemon Go geeks and that’s what we do. We would stop in Dayton, Van Wert, and Fort Wayne, and finally get into town sometime between 6 and 8 probably.

As you can tell from the previous paragraph this plan did not go well. We drove separate vehicles. We left way later than we intended. We didn’t go by way of Lover’s Leap, which meant we weren’t going to be near the winery. We took the way that was about 30 minutes longer but didn’t include going over a mountain. We stopped at a McDonald’s to get food but the line was so damn long and slow that we ended up going across the street to the Wendy’s which only had one car in front of it. That was a lie though because they were just as slow! We finally got to Charleston right as it was turning dark and we quickly realized it was not a great part of town. Plus, it was very busy! There was a huge, bustling hospital not too far from where we were. We had planned on parking and then walking around to play Pokemon. That was not going to happen. One of us drove, while the other person spun, and all total we spent maybe 20 minutes there before heading back to the truck. I was tired. He was tired. Plus, in the dark with all the bouncing he couldn’t see out of his mirrors real well so we opted to stop for the night as soon as we could. We didn’t make it to Chillicothe. Instead we diverted to Ripley which was another city we had spent time in. The best part was it was only 30 minutes away.

We got to the hotel. They only had king suites available. I didn’t care at that point. We ordered pizza and breadsticks from Dominoes, watched some TV, and went to bed. We were both exhausted.

The following morning we ate breakfast at the hotel and went out to play some Pokemon Go in a new town (while we had been to Ripley before we hadn’t been there since the mobster introduced me to the game). I had already checked to see if Chillicothe was too far out of the way for us and as it turned out it only added about 20 minutes to the trip. So, we drove to Chillicothe, played in our favorite park for a while, met a very nice couple who had just three Great Dane puppies (they were super cute!), and hung out at High Five Cakes bakery for a bit while enjoying the treats there. We were on schedule to be taking off at the targeted time when the mobster got a message about a booking for the Air BnB. That resulted in us not leaving for about another hour. We did not stop in Dayton. We did not stop in Van Wert. We did not stop in Fort Wayne. I’m positive we did stop to eat somewhere but I couldn’t tell you where.

Oh yeah, and on our drive from Chillicothe I had to abruptly pull off the road and find someplace to go to the bathroom because I got intense stomach cramps about 20 minutes into the trip. One too many fiddlesticks, I think. It was almost the bike trail all over again and I wasn’t having it!

We finally pulled into my driveway around 10:30 that night.

It was not the trip we envisioned but it got the job done.

My mom left the next morning to go visit my niece in Kentucky and our cousin in Virginia. That meant we did a lot of eating out or bringing food home. I’m not much of a cooker. I know I did make one casserole that they both wanted.

His first weekend up here I took him to the Farmer’s Market. He was as delighted as I knew he would be. He loved it! We bought a ton of fresh produce, amongst other things. I introduced him to the diner there as well.

Later that day we visited a few wineries. I took him to Lemon Creek first, which is one that my mom and I had been to before. After that we went to The Round Barn and that’s where we stayed for the next several hours. It’s a beautiful venue. We ended up doing lawn seating. For some reason they only offer one pre-designated flight and it includes a beer sample. We each tried a flight and a glass of the cranberry wine. The flight samples were huge although we both dumped out the beer after tasting it. I also ordered chili cheese nachos and a lobster roll for us to share. Later on he went back and got me a frozen vodka lemonade and he had the frozen wine slushie. We hung out in the sweltering heat and watched all the bridal parties come and go. Wineries seem to be the new place to go for your bachelorette party. And everyone is dressed up. I keep forgetting to put a dress on before going.

I don’t remember what we did on Sunday. Saturday took a lot out of me. Wait! I know we went down to Plymouth so he could face off his products in two stores. I also know that during the week between my mom leaving and coming back he spent a lot of time cleaning out the closet room to make room for a dresser and to get my home office up and running, and cleaning out the shed to make more room for all the things I now have placed in bins out there. I have winter clothes I will probably never wear again because they’re out in a shed and I’m not going outside in negative degree weather to dig through a bin to get clothes to wear.

My mom got back on Wednesday and the following night we went to a baseball game. I had some fantastic Philly cheesesteak nachos while I was there. Friday they both came downtown to meet me for lunch. Our city has Playtime on the Plaza or something like that where a band comes and plays from 11:45 until 1:15, and food trucks are on site. Unfortunately the only truck selling food was only selling fries so we ended up going to one of my favorite Mexican places instead. We sat out on the patio though so we could still hear the music.

And now we’re back to the beginning with him dragging me to a park in my jammies after promising me coffee. It’s been a whirlwind. I’m not sick of him and I don’t think he’s sick of me. He’s quite excited about everything that’s going on in my town. Like I said earlier, golf lessons and cross country skiing seem to be in my future. We’ve both sloughed off on our eating and exercising but the trails at that park, along with all the different paths we can explore, have us both excited to strap on our shoes

Checking In, Part 2

Life with the mobster so far has been bliss, aside from the fact that I think he’s going to kill me. Seriously. Just the other morning we were out to grab a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. That’s his most favorite place in the world. We had not gone since he arrived in town so we were woefully overdue for a visit. I jump in the car in my jammie pants and a long sleeve shirt I had just bought because it was a little chilly out in the morning, especially compared to the 150% humidity we had just experienced earlier in the week. I only slightly exaggerate on that statistic. Anyway… we hop in the car, go through the drive-thru and then he says to me, “Where’s the nearest park?” I’m thinking, “Oh that will be nice. We’ll drink our coffee and have our donuts in the park.” That is not what happened.

We drove to a beautiful park that I don’t recall ever going to. It was huge! Trails all over the place. We got out of the car and began walking the trails. Folks, I will remind you. I was in my jammie pants. They were obviously jammie pants. A long sleeve shirt. No bra. I was a walking advertisement for one of those People of Wal-Mart memes. I think we walked a mile. And we encountered numerous people, most of whom we spoke to! By the end of the hike I needed to arrange for golf lessons and buy cross country skis. ‘Cause we’re going to start doing all of that.

We then went to the Farmer’s Market (for the second time), bought way too much stuff, had breakfast, took our wares home and put them away, drove to Ironhand Winery and bought a bottle of East Race Red for the three of us to share (it was cheaper than all three of us buying a single glass) plus an appetizer, picked Picasso up from work, dropped him off, then drove up into Michigan to go to Gravity, another winery. We had samples there and ordered food from the food truck. We stayed until closing time, and then drove back to Indiana and went to McKinley Tap where we had another drink, ate some more food, and then played two rounds of darts. That was Saturday!

Sunday we took the dogs for a walk and then as we finished up he asked me if I wanted to take a bike ride. No! We were planning on going down to the Blueberry Festival and would be walking around for the next four hours or so! I had to stop the insanity.

Again, I bought way too much. Of course, every year I buy my dogs gourmet dog treats from one of the booths. I also bought some other little things. I also ate way too much. We had the most delicious steak tips with mashed potatoes and mushrooms, and then we each had a grilled pork chop. They wrap it in aluminum foil and give you a napkin. It’s amazing! I ended up having a pineapple whip after the fireworks and didn’t eat a single blueberry donut so that’s something to be proud of.

The fireworks were outstanding! They always have an amazing show. Honestly, this is a small town. It’s a mostly rural county. But they have the best fireworks I have ever seen. Mid show they have what would normally be most town’s grand finale. And they do it several times with all sorts of fireworks going off at once. At this year’s grand finale the fireworks created a canopy of color in the sky and the show ended with a loud boom and the hillside on fire. And I do mean on fire. Flames were shooting up from the hillside. I have watched this display every year since 2017 (minus last year when Covid canceled the festival) and every year I know I’m watching it with an expression of awe. The mobster filmed some of it but I’m not sure how well it looks on the small screen. In person though it’s wondrous. Absolutely marvelous. If you’re ever around Plymouth, IN on Labor Day weekend I highly recommend the fireworks at the Blueberry Festival.

Last part of my check in rolls out tomorrow!

Checking In

I meant to publish this at the beginning of the month when I was actually in D.C. but I had some problems with the internet. I wouldn’t mention this except I do mention timelines a little bit so it may be a little confusing. Just imagine you’re reading this at the beginning of September, instead of the end.

My, my, my…. time flies when you’re having fun! It’s been two weeks now since the mobster has made his big move. So far, so good. He doesn’t seem to be sick of me yet. He starts running his new business this Thursday which is why he’s back there and I’m sitting in an Air BnB in Washington D.C., waiting for my son and his friend to wake the hell up so we can get on with our day!

This was my graduation gift to him. We didn’t do anything else. No party. No graduation announcements. He chose not to walk. Hell, he almost didn’t graduate! He had an English final to take by 11 am on a certain date and that day came and went without Mr. Chill Guy bothering to take the final. Must have slipped his mind.

Yes, yes, yes. There was something I was supposed to do today. Can’t, for the life of me, think of what it was. Water the grass? Nah. Feed the dogs? No, that’s not it. Oh yes! I needed to take an English final so I could graduate. Hmmm…. bummer. Oh well! Maybe next year!

I swear to God, when I pressed him about it, all shocked and outraged as a mother with PTSD from arguing with her kid about school since freakin’ 2nd grade might be, he looked at me, not a worry in his eyes and said, “Whatever will be, will be.”

Are you fucking kidding me? You don’t get it, son. This is not about you not graduating. This is about me not being able to take another year of fighting you on the importance of graduating from high school.

I’m dead serious. I have been fighting this kid on the school issue since he was in 2nd grade, rolling around on the floor having a meltdown because “school is boring!” Of course, when I talked to the teacher, who in turn talked to the gifted and talented specialist, he then complained that he didn’t know why he was being punished for being smart by having to do more work. He had seen the other kids, the ones that struggled with school, be rewarded with getting to play video games when they completed their work. Why couldn’t he get that deal? Second. Grade.

He did well in school through eighth grade and then came high school which was a nightmare. He went from being an A/B student to being an A/B/C/D/F student, depending upon the class and the teacher. Sometimes he was pretty much a one A and the rest Ds and Fs student. Except for that one grading period where he got straight As, of course.

I went from, “I’ll support your decision to not go on to college but don’t shut any doors; you might change your mind later,” and “Do your best whether you’re going to continue on with school or not. I know you’re capable of this,” to “Just get a fucking D and pass the class!” And again, he had problems with that stance. I apparently had given up on him. Jesus Christ! I had to explain to him that I hadn’t given up on him but I had certainly given up fighting him. As you can probably tell it has been a blissful four years. Not!

Thankfully, the counselor called me the next morning, also freaking out about this (See? She didn’t want to have to deal with him for another year either!). She let me know that another student also hadn’t taken the final and the teacher was willing to unlock the test so that both of these lovely students who obviously didn’t understand the importance of taking the final in order to receive credit for the class so that they could graduate could, in fact, graduate.

The funny part of this is the final in his English class consisted of two questions- both essay questions. Question 1- Describe your high school experience. Question 2- What advice would you give incoming freshmen? I think the teacher asked for a couple of paragraphs and the boy wrote a book. It basically boiled down to: High school was the worst experience of my life and depressed me beyond belief, and high school is an absolute waste of time and no one should bother with it unless they’re planning on going on to college. He pretty much advocated for homeschooling. Thankfully, he passed.

So here we are. We’re in a lovely basement apartment in the middle of D.C. I passed out around 11 our first night here and all I can tell you is that both boys were asleep when I woke up to take out my contacts at 3 am.

The next day we walked all over the nation’s capital. My phone registered over 26,000 steps. We’re still recovering today. I got up around 9:30 this morning and both boys slept until after 2 pm.

This was supposed to be about the mobster and his big move, though. Sorry. Seem to have gotten off on a tangent.

This seems to be as good a place as any to stop. This check in got way too long so I’m going to break it up a bit.