Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Big Day

After a fitful sleep I awoke the day of the wedding and quickly got ready to be at the hotel by 10 am, per the instructions of the bride. I was delivered on time and could see the room from the van. Her dress was hanging in the window. The room was filled with bridesmaids in various stages of being made ready. Hair was being done elsewhere and make-up was being applied in her room. It was a little bit of chaos. My daughter-in-law was acting as the bride's personal assistant and was dealing with all the last minute details.

Me? My role was a sounding board for anything the bride wanted to vent. You know you can always holler at your mom. That is the one person who loves you more than anyone and will forgive anything. The photographer was right in the midst of it all grabbing candid shots. I could usually catch him when he tried to get me. I am a little worried about the times I missed him, though.

I had to lace up the back of the dress. I watched a video while I was having my pedicure and it looked simple enough. Between the picture taker stopping me and the bride asking if I knew what I was doing, things began to feel a little complicated. I toyed with the idea of placing my foot in the small of her back to tighten it, but decided against it. Mothers and daughters, you know ......... After I was all done she had the matron of honor reassure her that my work was correct. The bridal party left for pictures and I was suddenly without anything to do. Thought about a nap, but I had to get dressed myself.

My daughter-in-law treated me to a professional make-up. I was slightly disappointed, since I did not look any younger when I was done. I stuffed myself into the fake Spanks I had purchased. This was a very undignified procedure, but once on, they did not come off for the next eight hours! My dress fit perfectly and I ditched the hose. One of the bridesmaids put leg make-up on my legs!

After more pictures with the families and more standing around, it was finally time for the actual ceremony. My son escorted me to my seat and shortly after that my granddaughters came down the aisle holding the roses designated for all those loved ones who had gone on to heaven. I had one of my Dad's rings on my finger and missed his presence as I sat waiting for my baby daughter to enter on the arms of her daddy and her son.

The processional song was "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You". Tears welled in my eyes as I watched her Dad hand her to the groom. I was doing okay until my new son-in-law choked up saying his vows. I gave up and just let the tears fall. I couldn't help but wonder about the make-up my daughter-in-law paid for. Fifty bucks! Running down my cheeks.

The reception was so much fun. My little girl can plan and execute a wedding! The DJ was great and Adrienne and Gavin had a dance that was choreographed by his dance teacher. My sweet boy has got some moves! Not to be outdone, granddaughter Zara danced her little heart out all night long. I danced with granddaughters and grandson. It just occurred to me that I never got a dance with the father of the bride!

Rumor has it that someone said the man I married so long ago looked like a millionaire. Must have been the haircut and head massage, or the tuxedo. I suppose I can now call him He Who Looks Like A Millionaire. Or not.

It was a magical night and I can't wait to see the pictures.

This is just a taste. The granddaughters. Jada, Maya, Layla and her best friend, Allie. That is Zara in the middle.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Day Two and Day Three

Day Two dawned bright and early with a cranky old dog demanding to go out. I crawled out of the bed (unwillingly) with the old guy in my arms. I had hoped the others would wait a bit, but Toni and Cujo decided to go out with Oscar. Wall-E, the gentleman, stayed in the bed with He Who sleeps.

As I struggled with Toni and the tangling of the leashes, I figured it was the least I could do, since He Who drives did all the driving. So, I opened the door and nearly fell out. The steps did not come out as they were supposed to. It was still dark out and I was in my night gown. I was hoping no one would be out and about as I waited for the canine peeing to commence. I did not turn on any lights and am quite sure my re-entrance to the RV was interesting, if not spectacular. I am short with short limbs. I am old with old joints.

I did not think it would be possible to go back to sleep, but I did. After showering and drinking a minimal amount of coffee, the Bride collected her parents for lunch. Lunch ended and the father of the bride was deposited back at the camper to tend dogs and nap while the mother of the bride ran errands with the bride. Ate a sandwich upon my return and fell into bed.

Little did I know that the next day would be even more hectic!! The mani/pedi event was on the schedule, then lunch with some of the bridesmaids, including my beautiful granddaughter and her mom, my beautiful daughter.

Layla, my granddaughter, had her very first pedicure and informed her mom that this would need to be a regular thing. The man taking care of Layla's beautiful feet took one look at my calloused and grass stained toes and heels and proclaimed that he would definitely NOT be doing my pedicure. I guess he does not like a good challenge!

Freshly skinned and painted we hit the sushi bar with gusto. Well, not Layla. She picked daintily at her food and I ate what she didn't ........ me being one not to waste. I polished off a basket of soy beans like a starving cow. Could be that the bride did not allow me more than a few sips of coffee before she spirited me away.

The men had haircuts and head massages, then met at my son's house to prepare the food for the rehearsal dinner. My son and daughter-in-law graciously offered their home for the event. A big tent graced the back yard and tables and chairs were rented to host the 60 or so in attendance. It was a Mexican themed dinner, so there was lots of chopping and dicing of meat and veggies.

I met the best of the best men (there were two) and he is single! I don't know why this man is single, because he would be quite a catch. He was a trooper, let me tell you. He worked all day in the kitchen and even washed all the dishes. I love a man with dishpan hands! Such a shame I don't have any more daughters. I do like to pick my own sons-in-law. My first one is the best! I didn't pick Chad, but must say that my daughter did a great job!

The massive amounts of food proved to be way too much, but the kids will have plenty of food for the week! The dinner was a huge success and we left for our temporary home pleasantly full and ready for bed. He Who loves me even handled the dogs so I could simply fall into bed. Too bad sleep evaded me ........

Monday, September 28, 2015

Day One

I opened the door to my backyard and let the dogs out this morning. No collars, no leashes, no worries. I fed and watered them and went back to bed. What a luxury!!

Home sweet home after a whirlwind trip to be with our children and celebrate the wedding. It all started out so well. I was so prepared. After packing in a suitcase for the past two years and sitting on ready to go for my Dad, you would think that going in the motor home would be a breeze. I had three days to load and load I did.

I had a system. Start in the back and work forward. Make the bed and load the bathroom, all the while filling the closets. Yes, this one has three!! I did not forget anything for the dogs or He Who depends on me for his wardrobe. All the dresses for the wedding went in first.

So sure I had thought of everything, I was confidant that the trip would be a breeze. I awoke very early, showered and loaded all the last minute toiletries along with my furry babies. Oscar was pleased to go, walking right up to the steps and waiting to be lifted up the steps, Cujo wasn't so sure how this would work, but he followed us in along with Wall-E. I had left Toni Louise until last. She is sneaky, this lone female dog of ours. She is the escape artist of the pack. So, imagine my horror when He Who, I sometimes wonder about, opens the door and lets Toni out into the parking lot, assuming she will follow the example of her siblings and simply get in the motor home.

She ran, our willful canine did run. First she meandered through the tent area. She saw us and would even stop, letting us get close before running again. I picked up a brown leaf and dangled it in front of me calling "treat, treat" while He Who drives was giving chase by car. She is a sly one.

Finally we were on the road. I was on the couch with the canine contingent, since Toni thought it would be fun to ride on the dash in front of the driver. Oscar was happy to lie on my feet propped on the couch and Wall-E lay beside my legs. Now, Wall-E is usually our carsick baby. He has learned not to look out the windows, being a savvy guy. Cujo was just happy to be in my lap. He was so excited to look out the window at the traffic go by. He stood on his hind legs and watched excitedly for a long time before settling in on my lap.

Cujo felt unusually hot to me. He is always like a little furnace, but I kept touching the other dogs to determine if he was too hot. I was listening to an audio book with my head back and my eyes closed. My feet up on the couch, legs crossed at the ankles when suddenly my lowers legs felt very warm .......... and wet. Cujo threw up on me.

Wall-E, savvy dog that he is, tip-toed out of range, carefully avoiding any fall-out. Toni Louise, escape artist and decidedly socially clumsy wagged her long tail through the incident and splashed a sleeping Oscar with Cujo's stomach contents. This also helped spread the obnoxious odor. I knew better than to bring my calamity to the attention of the driver. No worries about him smelling anything or even hearing me through the din of the radio. I disengaged myself and grabbed the roll of paper towels and began cleaning.

I packed too many bath towels, thank goodness. I was able to clean it all up and lay a towel on top of the affected area of the couch. I fixed myself a big mug of iced tea and settled in the passenger seat where there was a cup holder. The bottom of the mug tapered to fit in the hole, but was still pretty top heavy. Cujo staggered to my side and demanded to be picked up. I settled him in my lap and Oscar stayed on the couch along with Wall-E, but Toni Louise jumped into my lap and knocked the tea onto me.

So, in the third set of clothes for the day, I was resigned to sitting on the couch with the dogs and no beverage. My mind was busy cataloging everything I had packed when it occurred to me that I had forgotten my purse. We were almost to Iowa on I-35. My purse had all the cash we intended to spend in it. I have no idea why I decided to share this with the driver, but I did.

He takes the exit we were approaching. "What are you doing?" I say. He was going to turn around and go back after over 4 hours into the trip! We had our credit cards, it wasn't the end of the world. I doubt I would need ID if I decided to order a glass of wine. The only need for my ID would be in the event of an accident and I had decided that after the morning I had, it would not be likely.

The rest of the trip was long and punctuated with road repairs and many potty breaks. The hooking of the leashes was a trick with Toni. She would dance excitedly, while the others stood patiently to be hooked up. As soon as she was hooked up, she would set out to tangle all the leads together. Soon as I fixed that she would wind herself around my legs. This made every stop longer than it needed to be. The rain started as we entered the state of Minnesota, slowing us down again.

At 5:30 or so my phone rang. It was the campground that had our reservations. I was scolded for being there yet. Really. She did not want to park us after dark. This park does not handle travelers off the road. Reservation only. After determining that we were only an hour away she told me she would come out and open the gate for us upon our arrival and then "see what we could do".

There was plenty of light left for parking when we got there and I went in and took care of the bill while my driver waited with the dogs. I suppose they were not accustomed to parking big rigs with drivers that actually know how to back in, so the lengthy process they expected took only minutes. The sites were nice enough, if a little tight. I was sorely disappointed to pay nearly $50 a night and have no internet at my site, but .........

This when I discovered I had forgotten our food I had planned to cook for our supper. We didn't tow a vehicle, with all the kids being close by. But we were sort of stranded and at the mercy of the kids. The bride and groom brought food, along with our grandson, the boy of Wall-E.

Boy and dog were equally ecstatic to see one another. Lots of tail wagging and smiles ensued. I mean the dog ....... the dog was grinning at the boy. I swear to you, that silly white dog with the goofy ears was so happy to see that child. Never have I seen such a bond exist. When Gavin is there, we no longer exist as far as the dog is concerned. He loves that child as much as the child loves him.

And so Day One of the big adventure was. TV did not work that night and no internet ..... we had to talk to each other, meaning I had to repeat everything I said twice! Day Two to follow.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Ready To Go!

Time to put my happy face on and head north! I know my Daddy will be smiling down at us this weekend as we celebrate the marriage of Adrienne and Chad.

The dresses are done and I only need to load in our clothes and toiletries. Just one day till we take off, then I can plant my derriere in the co-pilots seat and read and sleep to my heart's content. Conversation is not the strong point of He Who drives.

Since he got the hearing aide stuck in his ear and had to go to the ER to have it removed, he has conveniently "lost" the device, the better to not hear his wife speak. He prefers to crank up the music and let his mind drift as he drives. I actually enjoy snoozing on and off. That being said, Winter draws near and I assure one and all that I will find the hearing device. Oh, yes, I will.

The park is mowed and groomed and we will be leaving it in very capable hands. DJ and Andrea will be the temporary hosts and I promise that I will not give the park a second thought!

Only big job will be the washing of the canine contingent tomorrow. We did nail clipping tonight and one can handle just so much trauma. Actually, I didn't even attempt Wall-E. He gave me the stink-eye while watching me clip the others. I am hoping to launch the attack after he falls asleep. I can usually get 2 or 3 done before he tries to bite the hand that feeds him.

The ankle swelling has subsided and the itching is almost gone. The shoe fits!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Killer Wasp

I have remained uninspired of late. Nothing seems worth writing about. My mind is either in over- drive or just plain numb.

Grieving is a strange process. I still find myself picking up the phone to call my Dad. I talk to Mama instead and sometimes we cry, but mostly we remember all the good things my Dad did. It is good for us, I think. I mean, you do have to cry and laugh and it is easier to do that with someone sharing your pain.

I have been staying busy, it helps to be really tired when you fall into bed. All the preparation for next week's wedding has been done and all I need to do is pack it all into the motor home.

Friday proved to be a cloudy day and I decided to get my mowing out of the way. Rushing along, planning my next move as I went along, I spied a birdhouse on the ground. I stopped the mower, as I prepared to go to the next patch of my assigned mowing. On my way to turn off the water ( I had started the sprinklers as I mowed), I mindlessly stooped and picked up the house to replace it on the stump I had placed it on in the Spring.

Big mistake. Wasps had taken a liking to it and set up housekeeping inside. I disturbed them and was soon engulfed in an angry swarm. Flapping my arms, like a mad woman, and running in circles, I thought I had escaped when I felt the sharp sting on the top of my foot. I swiped at the wasp and he fell to the ground dead ..........

I looked around to see if my unfortunate event had any witnesses and then went inside to put the after sting stuff on my bite. Could not find it, so I used some of the stuff one uses for arthritis. It worked! The burning pain was gone, so I continued with my mowing. I even weeded in the playground and painted two benches. I felt fine.

After several hours of working outside I went inside and tried to remove my shoe. My ankle was really swollen. I prodded at it and discovered that it really hurt. The swelling continued throughout the afternoon and I sat with it propped up and iced. By bedtime I was hobbling around with a cane.

I was sure that by Saturday morning I would be fine. It was just a stupid wasp, right? But upon awakening to find both hands scratching at my ankle, I found the swelling to be more, not less. And the itching was insane. I smeared the area with Caladryl and soldiered on. I hobbled out to make coffee and then iced the foot again. That was the last productive thing I did.

I took some Benadryl and slept the afternoon away with ice on my ankle. I could barely walk. Funny thing is, that the actual bite was on the top of my foot, but felt like I had been injected directly in the joint.

So, here I am, again with the Benadryl and ice, sitting in front of the TV trying to stay alert. The swelling appears to have subsided, but my toes are stiff and unbending today. Just as long as I can get my shoes on for the wedding, it's all good.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Quick Cake

I have been so busy this past week I have not had time to voice any thoughts. Busy work helps. Makes me tired and easy to fall asleep.

That's not to say I haven't been thinking of my Dad. It has been hard not to. Every thing I see and do makes me think of him. I know he would not have wanted any of his family to be sad.

Getting ready for a wedding has helped me. A happy celebration. The entire family together in one place will be quite the accomplishment! The sewing is done and now the packing will begin. We will be taking the dogs with us in our new (to us) motor home. Thought about taking along Martha, the boy cat, but I don't think that would be a good idea. Martha is not accustomed to confinement. He loves to roam. We have our favorite kampers to watch things while we are gone and they will let him in and out to eat.

Speaking of eating ......... We close early on Sundays and eat a little early. So, we were sitting here thinking about snacking, while watching TV. I offered to bake a cake, but neither one of us wanted to wait 30 minutes while it baked, then have to wait for it to cool off.

I trolled through the pantry to see what I could see. Nothing appealing and cake was sounding better and better. I had several cake mixes just staring at me. Yellow, white, chocolate and lemon. I even had two tubs of icing ...... cream cheese and raspberry. Yes, raspberry. It was on sale after Easter.

So, I decide on chocolate and raspberry. I carefully split the cake mix in half, then mixed half with the other ingredients (also halved), and heated the waffle iron. It made three waffles in my iron ( a small round one). Took just minutes to "bake" the waffle cakes and we ate them hot with the raspberry icing. It was actually very good.

Now I am off to bed, having satisfied my sweet tooth. Feel free to steal my waffle iron trick for a quick snack.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Remembering Daddy

My Dad passed away August 31st as I was driving through the traffic in Atlanta. He tried to wait for me to get there, but he just couldn't make it. I am thankful that he was surrounded by the love of my extended family as he passed on. My step-sister, Glenda was holding his hand and told me that he was very peaceful as he just stopped breathing and slipped away quietly.

That was how my Dad was. He never wanted to be a bother to anyone. He was always the one taking care of others. This last week has passed by in a haze. It seemed to pass by so quickly and yet, everything seemed to be in slow motion. 

When asked for some stories about Daddy that we might want included in his eulogy, my mind went completely blank as others told theirs. I was driving home and remembering all the little quirky things that made me smile when I thought of him. Had he been there in the car with me, he would have read every billboard and road sign aloud, some of them in a song. I find myself doing that sometimes. 

Twenty years in the Navy, he never learned to swim. He always refused to get in my pool, even though I would tease him and offer to get him some water wings. He would sit there by the pool to keep me company and read a book. He passed his love of reading on to both of his daughters. 

A wonderful father, he was first and foremost an exceptional husband. Loyal to a fault, he gave my mother a wonderful life. He was attentive to her every need and her passing left him quite lonely. He decided to sell his home and move to the Veterans home in Gulf Port, Mississippi. Although the quarters were quite small, he managed to organize everything he wanted to keep. He was quite particular about keeping everything in order.

He made friends easily and would tell me about them in our weekly calls. Nearly all of them eventually required help and Daddy was right there to help, just as he was with my mother. After the third guy he had befriended died, I told him to stop making friends, he was reducing the population!

He visited me often here at the campground. Everybody in town knew my Daddy, even if they didn't know me. He was just so likable. During one of his visits, he told me that he was thinking of moving into the campground and nothing would have made me happier; but he also told me that he was corresponding with a special lady.

Daddy never moved here, but he did leave the Veterans home after he courted  and married that special lady. She is still quite special to me. They had 10 wonderful years together. So happy, they still held hands and were constantly proclaiming their love to one another.

Daddy was always optimistic and when he was given his diagnosis, he accepted whatever treatment was available to him. He was determined to be with us as long as he could. The biggest obstacle was having others take care of him. This was out of character for him. 

I long to pick up the phone to call him just one more time. I guess everyone feels that way when they lose a loved one. I take comfort in knowing that we said all the things we wanted to say to each other during all of my last visits.