Friday, October 31, 2014

October 31, 2014

Our First Cool Front of the Season
October 31, 2014

Our city library - one of the early voting spots
This was a good day.  It went by quickly.  On my way to the office this morning I went by our city library and voted early for next Tuesday's election.  It was good to get that out of the way.  There was no line when I arrived and I was able to be in and out quickly.  I arrived at the office about the regular time and Ron left a few minutes later to go on an assortment of errands and a job or two.  He had to get a hair cut, and important things like that. 

While Ron was gone, our oldest grandson arrived to spend the day.  He and I had not had a time to chat in too long.  We had so much to catch up on!  He is such a bright, interesting young man.  I did get him to help me with a variety of projects today.  We had a good time working together.  He is growing up so fast!  He was talking very fast today and I had to have him repeat often.  We were just so far behind on conversations, he had to try to get them all in by talking fast.

One of the things I love about this grandson is his honesty.  He is a normal kid.  There are times his siblings drive him nuts.  I may ask about one and he may roll his eyes, but he is also quick to give them praise and credit for their talents and abilities.  I have always thought this grandson is a good artist.  The second oldest girl in the family also loves to draw.   (Actually all the kids do.)  I asked him about the style in which she draws cartoon mice.  She draws them rapidly and each one has such an amazing expression in both facial feature and body position.  If she does a color book page, she will add at least one little mouse peeking out from behind something in the picture.  Anyway, he was quick to praise her art work and style and said he didn't know where she came up with the idea. 

Notice in the photo I took of the library this morning when I voted, the sky is lovely - blue and clear except for some high wispy clouds.  I knew that a cool front was due in this afternoon, so as a customer was leaving early in the afternoon I started to ask if it had cooled off, but she was out the door in a hurry.  About that time I looked out the door and a huge gust of wind blew down the street taking a cloud of dust with it.  The trees were blowing and it was an amazing site.  Within ten minutes, the wind was gone and the front was through the area.   We had a little rain but not much. Within another hour or so, the humidity had dropped, the sun was shining and  it was a beautiful afternoon.  Strange.

I did not get as much accomplished today as I had hoped, but got a few important things done.  Customers were in and out all day.  Ron returned in the afternoon.  I picked up some lunch for our grandson and me after my lunch got left in the hot car for several hours.  Late afternoon the temperature was 80, like yesterday evening, but was a lot less humid.

After work I went by Mom's.  I don't know if you readers recall that last spring I took a bunch of photos of Roseate Spoonbills that spent the winter near Mom's house.  They have been back for about a week or two, but the mosquitoes are so bad I have not tried to get photos of them yet.  As I said at the beginning: It was a good day.  Hope yours was, too. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

October 30, 2014

Where is Autumn?
October 30, 2014

This evening I texted my sister and asked how it could almost be November when at 8:00 this evening it was 80 degrees.  She said the prediction for her house in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area is for 36 degrees tomorrow night.  Texas is a big state and weather can be totally different from one end of it to the other end.  Amazing.  If they have 36 tomorrow night they may be skipping autumn, also.  When I was there about 10 days ago, there was little or no sign or fall on the trees.
New growth in trees makes it seem like spring, not fall.
The mosquitoes continue to love snacking on me and I hurry from the car to the office and the car to the stores, etc.  Before the big rain last week, the city spraying had greatly deminished the mosquitoes but now they are worse than ever.

Today, I did some laundry before going to the office so I did not get there until almost 11:00.  Ron left shortly after that on a job and was gone almost the entire remaining part of the work day.  I was busy with customers early in that time, but it was slower this afternoon.  I was trying to get some photos sent to Stephen on line and it took a while to locate them.  Then I started my list of things I need to take when we go to the wedding.  I think it will be a long list.

After work I had several errands to run.  I went by Mom's house and then by an office supply store.  They had sent me a rewards card and it would expire tomorrow so I went to use it.  I got some things for the children at the rehearsal dinner to enjoy.  Then I went to Michael's Arts and Crafts and got a few more things for the same project with the children.  Following that I went to a couple more stores.  All the stores were very busy but very short handed.  I think most stores are trying to get by with as little staff as possible and as a business owner, I understand that, but I sure hate the long lines.

Finally I decided since it was 8:00 and I had not eaten lunch today at work, I would stop and get some supper.  If your hearing is great you may not notice how many questions you are asked at a fast food restaurant when you place an order.  At Chick-fil-A, I about have the questions memorized so that I can give the clerk the answers before I am asked since I usually don't hear the questions the first time.  I got the same clerk I have had several times recently and he talks very rapidly.

This is how the conversation usually goes:
Him: Could I help you?
Me: Could I have a Number one, please?
Him: Would you like to Super Size that?
Me: Yes, please, and I would like the special offer of the 3 free chicken strips.  (I usually give Ron half of the order when I get home, plus they usually give you 3 free chicken strips if you super size it - oops, they call it Value size.  I take the strips to work for my lunch the next day.)
Him: What would you like to drink?
Me: Dr. Pepper
Him: Do you want ice in that?
Me: Yes, lots of ice.
Him: Do you want anything else?
Me: Yes, I would like a hand wipe, and Bar-B-Que sauce, please.
Him: How many of the sauce?
Me: 3 would be fine.
Him: What is your name (so they can call me when it is ready)?
Me: Linda, but I won't hear you call me so you better know what I look like.
Him: Here is the drink.  I will get the hand wipes.
Me: Thank you.

At least that is the way it went tonight with me guessing those were the questions he was asking since the place was very noisy and very busy.  When the order was ready, they had it on a tray, not "to go".  I told him I was sorry that I had not heard that question and he just laughed and bagged it for me.  When Stephen was growing up his favorite place was Whataburger and often when I picked him up from school I would stop and get his supper.  He would tell me he wanted a #3, no tomatoes, no pickles.  Nothing else.  I would relay that.  Then they would ask would you like jalapenos with that? I would tell them , "No, that is all."  Would you like a fried pie with that?  No, that is all thank you.  Sometimes I would place the order and say a #3, no jalapenos, no fried pie, no whatasize, and they wouldn't know what to say next.

Anyway, I avoid the drive up.  I can't understand the person 95% of the time.  It is quicker for me to go inside.  By the time I got home, it had been a very long day and I relaxed and chatted with my sister via text messages for a bit.  Mom is getting better and took a long walk today with two helpers.  One helping and one bringing the wheel chair in case she needed it and to let her take a break 1/2 way through.

One funny thing happened on my round of errands.  I have mentioned that first I stopped at Mom's.  As I got out of the car I heard a man's voice like he was standing beside me.  I looked around and there was no one close - only two men at the end of the street unloading supplies from a pick-up truck.  I went in the house and took care of some things and when I returned to the front yard, it happened again - clear and loud, a man's voice saying something about, " We will do it at 4:00".  The men down the street were gone and I saw no one out on the street.  Finally it dawned on me, Mom lives about a mile from the football stadium and there was a lot of activity there as I left the office.  The loud speaker carries very well - too well.  And I could hear everything being said.  When the weather is just right - still and quiet, you can sit on her front deck and listen to the football game or the animals at the zoo about 2 miles away.  Early in the mornings you may hear the lions roaring or the chimps chattering.  When you can only hear in one ear, you have no sense of what direction sound comes from.  I could not tell if those sounds came from the direction of the stadium or from Mom's backyard.  Glad I figured it out.  It was a little disconcerting. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 29, 2014

October Abounds With Birthdays
 in Our Family
October 29, 2014

Stephen's soon to be bride has a birthday today.  She is wrapping up a month of a lot of family birthdays.  Another daughter-in-law had a birthday this month, as well as my mother-in-law, my husband, a grandchild, and a nephew, a few more extended family members.  I feel like we have celebrated all month.  Toss into that two wedding showers and you can only imagine the looks of my checkbook.  I was out of town for two of the birthdays and missed out on celebrating.

This morning Ron had an early doctor's appointment and that meant that I had to open the office.  I was awake very early but read for a while before getting up.  Then as I pulled out of the driveway to head to the office I was greeted by this beautiful sight.  I just had to pull over and grab my camera.  Those sunbeams were lovely.  What a great start to my day.

At the office, I stayed very busy all morning while Ron was gone and then once he got there, things slowed down.  He went back out to take care of some things for his mother and was gone a couple of hours.  Then I went to the post office to mail a birthday gift to today's birthday young lady - a little late to arrive on time, but I told her she would just have to learn that I am bad about getting things into the mail.  I had meant to take care of this before I left Dallas last week, but as you recall, my plans were turned upside down.  I am sure our son treated her royally today.

While I was out, I decided to see about my shoes for the wedding and was fortunate to find a lovely pair on sale at SAS.  Even with my aching foot they felt good.  Back at the office Ron was about to finish with the Yellow Page salesman.  I dread that chore every year, but the young man that came today had also come last year and he is very nice.  We have a lot in common.  His mother is deaf and has been all her life I think.  He loves the Lord and is very active in his church.  He and Ron had a good visit before I arrived and we continued the visit for longer than he had probably allotted in his schedule.

I did get a fair amount of work done in my office today.  I had gotten concerned about the orders I had placed Monday for things for the rehearsal dinner.  I can't just pick up the phone and call about them so I emailed one, but after not hearing for a couple of hours, Ron tried calling a couple of times.  He only got voice mails.  Eventually I got an email that said that order was on the way.  Then I tried an online chat at Amazon to see about the order I had placed there.

The Amazon order took a lot more of my patience.  In years past I have been very pleased with Amazon, but my last couple of experiences have been disappointing.  I had paid for two day shipping.  When I checked on line, it showed the order had not even shipped late today (Wednesday) after my order being placed on Monday.  It took about 20 minutes of chatting to come up with a frustrating answer.  When I placed the order, it said "in stock".  The lady today told me it wasn't in stock at that time but I guess arrived late today.  I questioned why I paid for 2 day shipping if it wasn't even there.  She said because when it got there, it would be shipped and I would have it in two days from when it was shipped.

The chat lady at Amazon said it should be shipped tonight and should arrive Friday.  I told her I would go on line in the morning and see if it shipped.  She promised to also do the same thing and if it had not, she would expedite the items.  She was helpful and polite and I was polite, but sure was frustrated that it had said "in stock" when it wasn't.  It seems they have huge warehouses and it may have been in one far away from here.  They move things from warehouse to warehouse to ship things from the closest warehouse. Just please don't tell me 2 days when it will be 4.

Oh, it looks like Mom will be dismissed from the rehab center next Wednesday morning!  Yea!  I know she is much more eager than all of us put together!  She is ready to be out of there!  As I have said before, my sister who has done the most care during this spell is so good at it.  She questioned some things today and they saw they messed up and said they were going to change procedures so it would not happen again.  It was not a major thing, but I think they should hire my sister to help them get their act together!  She is good!

That chat with the lady from Amazon ran well past closing time at the office and when we were getting ready to go, Ron suggested going to Luby's for supper.  I gladly accepted.  I went by Mom's and then met him there.  We both must have been hungry because we sure cleaned our plates.  I had shown him on line this afternoon that the International Space Station was going right overhead tonight at 7:23 so we hurried home and were able to watch it.  Here is my photo of it.  Trust me, that is what it is.  I was just amazed my camera would pick it up.  It is just a bright dot going rapidly across the sky.  We hurried back in before the mosquitoes drained us of all our blood. 


October 28, 2014

Great News!  Mom is 
Getting Better Every Day!
October 28, 2014
Mom and my two sisters, Debbie on the left 
and Janet on the right

Mom has had some real challenges the last six weeks or so, but is now on the fast track toward dismissal from the rehab/skilled nursing facility!  She had a fractured vertebrae, a fractured rib, pneumonia, and two procedures on the vertebrae while spending 10 days in the hospital in Grapevine.  Then once she was at the rehab facility, learning how to do things without stressing her back, she developed an intestinal infection that was probably brought on by all the antibiotics she took in the hospital.

Now, she is getting ready to be released probably the middle of next week to go to my sister's house and stay for a little while.  She will be there at least until after our son's wedding about 10 days from now.  Many friends have been praying for her and we all thank you for those prayers.  Her get up and go, got up and went for a few days during that time, but it is back and she is working hard to regain the strength that was zapped the last couple of weeks being on a liquid diet.  She is 91 years old - make that 91 years young!  

Each person is different.   So many of my friends have lost their moms to various illnesses.  Some are still living, but their minds are not what they used to be.  Our mom has been so blessed to be active in mind and body all these years.  She doesn't really know how to deal with the "take time to get well" episodes.  I wish we could all be that way.  Her dad was that way and lived to be 96.  I think Mom may surpass her dad.

We each need to make each day count for the Lord and for our families, since none of us know how long we have.  I have friends who have died way too young but have put lots of time into their children and grandchildren, telling them about God and His love for them.  My mom was a great mom when we were growing up and when I went to my 50th high school reunion this summer, many classmates asked about my mom.  For some, our house was a happier place than their home, or they just felt accepted at our place.  Mom continued that with her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and now a great-grandchild.  Her grandchildren think she is the best!  They are right.

Now for my day.  It was another of those that didn't go as planned.  I seem to have too many of those.  When we were at Stephen's apartment, one of the first things he did was point out a piece to his exercise equipment that was beside his bed, on the floor.  He said, "Don't stub your toe on that."  During the night when I got up, I remembered his warning.  When I was getting dressed for church Sunday morning, I didn't.  I just barely hit the side of my little toe on the piece.  It hurt, but not too much.  It turned all shades of blue and purple over the next few days, but was not too bad.

Each day this week (now 10 days since I stubbed it) it has gotten worse.  The side of the foot is sore and swollen, so I broke down and went to the doctor.  (I think I should not use the word broke in this story.)  They took 4 x-rays.  When the radiologist says she will take 2 and then decides to do another, and then another, all from different angles, I am not encouraged.  The one who reads the x-rays was not in so I will wait for word from them about it.

Pray I am not in a cast for the wedding!!!!!  Ron was on crutches and in a cast for the wedding of our oldest son.  Not fun.  Normally they don't do much for broken toes, but this pain and swelling is a little further back in the foot than just the toe.  The bruising is gone but the swelling and tenderness are increasing.  At this point I can't go try on shoes for the wedding.  I don't want to wear my tennis shoes with the lovely dress I bought for the wedding.  Maybe jeweled or decorated flip flops will do.
I had gone to our office late in the morning and Ron suggested I go on to the doctor's office.  I got there and they asked me to come back in the afternoon at 1:00.  In the meantime I went to the post office to mail a package and then to the office to eat my lunch.  I returned to the doctor's office  just before 1:00 and was seen at 3:30.  Then by the time x-rays were done, it was 4:30 when I returned to the office.  So much for my plans of accomplishing a lot at the office!

Our doctor (the GP) is relocating to Houston!  We will miss him very much.  He is the first doctor I saw when I went deaf.  It was the first time I had been to him and naturally, we formed a bond.  He immediately knew what was wrong.  The local specialist he sent me to, did not.  So, we are really sorry to see him go, but hope that he does well in his new location.

The doctor filling in for him - not the new replacement, but just temporary, was very hard to understand.  He had a very strong accent and talked very rapidly.  Often, I had to ask him to repeat things and played "fill in the blank" a lot.  I am glad he won't be the replacement, but we just have to see who the new one is and if it is someone we can work with.  Dr. Bhondi, the one moving away, was easy to work with.

After work I went to the mall, the office supply store, and then looked for shoes a couple of places, but didn't try any on.  It was 7:00 before I got home to fix my supper.  Ron had eaten with his mom as he usually does on Tuesday evenings.  I find I am needing more sleep these days, although I don't sleep well.  (A friend on Facebook today made a comment about tossing and turning at night should count as exercise.  That would work for me!)  I am dreading the time change this weekend.

Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014

Putting Out Fires
October 27, 2014

The readers of this blog come from all over the world.  There are phrases we say in America, that may not mean the same in other countries.  There are several variations on this one: Putting Out Fires, Stamping Out Fires, Stompin' Out Fires.  They all mean (when applied to a work day) that you couldn't get around to doing the normal work day things for having to handle one crisis situation after another.  Ron uses those phrases often.  I don't - until today.

After being out of the office for just over a week and having our son's wedding date speeding at us like a freight train (another of those phrases that may lose something in the translation) I had one of those days.  Since I got home from my trip, I can't find my vibrating alarm clock.  I know it was in the bottom of a bag or sack.  I saw it a few days before I left Dallas, but have never unpacked it while in Dallas, instead letting our son be responsible for waking me after he had his shower each morning.

Now that I am home, it is Ron's job - until I find my alarm clock.  Being deaf when I sleep and take off the Cochlear Sound Processor, I need the vibrations to wake me.  The sound does nothing for me.  Ron did not wake me before he left for work this morning, and I slept later than I should have.  I texted him to see what time he had to leave the office for a promised job and he said 10:00.  Yikes!  I needed to get moving.  (Fire #1)

I spent the morning on office work, catching up with a stack of mail - more bills than checks; more junk mail than useful things; more magazines than we have time to read.  Ron left on his job.  I waited on customers, paid bills, sorted receipts that had stacked up in my purse - some being for the office and some being mine.  The ones that were mine were then divided into my normal purchases and wedding expenses.

Next I gathered papers that needed to be filed.  I paid more bills and answered emails.  In the emails I found that during one of my trips out of town earlier in the month, I had overlooked one bill.  I hate that this particular company sends their invoices only by email.  It is too easy for me to overlook them when I am out of town or very busy and not checking email as much.  There was enough time to send a check - if them mail was dependable, but we all know it isn't.  (Fire #2)  Later in the afternoon I had to ask Ron to call that company and pay the bill by credit card.  I don't do well on the phone with the Cochlear Implant.

After lunch I needed to place two orders for things for the wedding rehearsal dinner.  I should have done it last week, but I was not it a place with secure internet, so I had waited.  I filled out all the stuff to place the first order.  I gave my information.  It was rejected.  I called Ron into my office and he said to try again.  I did.  It was rejected.  He tried again (I am not sure why) and it was rejected (I also didn't know why).  So he placed the order using his credit card and it went through.  What???  They are different accounts, but why was mine rejected?

Later that afternoon the credit card company called and said they had blocked my card for a suspicious purchase.  It was my rejected purchase.  The payment was being processed in Canada, so they refused it.  Ron explained that it was an intended purchase but they didn't care.  In fact, not knowing he was on the phone with them, I placed the second order.  It went through, but when I told him I had just placed an order, and he relayed that information to them, they said that it would also be refused because she had blocked the account. (Fire #3)

During the lengthy discussion, he asked if my card was near the limit.  She said no, I had several thousand dollars available.  He asked how it was available if she had blocked the card.  Duh...  She finally unblocked the card.  Time to get a new card!  I have been with them for 20 years and usually this week every year I go to Houston for the International Quilt Festival and buy from shops from around the world and never have had a problem.  Oh, well.  So glad Ron took care of it for me.  He told me when he got off the phone, that I would never have been able to understand the lady.  He had struggled to understand her.

It was just that kind of day.  All in all, I did still get a lot done.  I have a few things to do tomorrow still to catch up, but I was able to prepare a packet of things to send off and made a trip to the post office and hit it at a slow time and the things are now in the mail.  I need to send a box tomorrow and another item.  Going to the post office isn't one of my favorite chores, but I did see a favorite friend from church while at the post office today.

I had shown Ron a video on the internet of some things I wanted him to make for the rehearsal dinner decorations, and he got some of them done tonight.  Great job!  We both worked on things for the wedding rehearsal dinner decorations.  We talked to Stephen and later I talked to Vickey.  Both conversations were helpful and brightened my day.

For the first time in a while, I cooked supper!  I made chicken and rice, broccoli, and baked a pineapple upside down cake.  It was perfect!  Yummy!  I did a little sewing and a little reading.  I do love to cook and especially to bake, but I just have not had time to do so lately. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

October 26, 2014

Back to Church!
October 26, 2014

It is very rare that I miss four Sunday services in a row at our church.  Two of those Sundays we attended church services in other cities, but it had been so long since I had been at our church.  I hope for each of you, four Sundays without being in church would feel like a long time! 

Most of the members of our Sunday School class had been at the gathering last night, so I had seen them.  There is an elderly couple who usually sit behind us in church and the lady quickly told me she had missed me recently and she wanted an update on how my mom is doing.  Several others commented on having not seen me in a while. 

Somehow, the little radio I use in church did not get back in my Sunday tote bag, so during the service was very difficult to hear the sermon and what I did hear, was excellent.  The pastor has been dealing with some tough issues lately and doing it very well.

My youngest granddaughter was delighted to see me when I picked her up in the nursery as is my habit when I am there.  I had seen her a few times this month, but other family members had been picking her up after the service.  All the grandchildren were as glad to see me as I was to see them (and their parents). 

We went to Wendy's for lunch.  Barbara missed out since she had to take our oldest grandson to a Boy Scout event in Harlingen.  Ron and I enjoyed the time with Jeff and his other 6 children.  I had been out of town for a couple of birthdays this month.  One was our oldest granddaughter and the other was her mom.  Today I had the gift I had bought for our granddaughter.  She opened it at lunch.
 Sometimes you know you made the right choice on a gift.  The blur shows her jumping out of her chair to run and give me a hug.

The gift was a silver necklace of a mother horse and her colt.  She just started riding lessons this past week and loves the lessons and the horse she rides.

After our lunch and visit, we came home and Ron took a nap while I worked on a quilt and some laundry.

Early in the evening I put some chicken on to cook and then had a nice LONG phone call with daughter-in-law Vickey.  She had been to a Writers' and Speakers' Conference for three days and was so excited about all that she had heard and learned.  She will be used by God as she follows the leads she has gotten this weekend.  We are so very proud of her for stepping out to do some new things in her life. 

I returned to the quilt work and got some done before bedtime.  It was a very good day.

October 25, 2014

Sleepy Saturday
October 25, 2014

This morning my husband tried to wake me up several times.  He says after 5 times, he gave up and decided I needed the sleep.  My housekeeper usually comes between 7:30 and 8:00.  This morning she rang the bell at 6:30 and Ron's alarm clock had just gone off.  He wondered who could be at the door at 6:30 a.m.  It was the housekeeper.  She had misread her clock.  He told her that it was not a problem and that she could go ahead and work.  It was 8:00 before I woke in a panic thinking I had not gotten up in time to let the housekeeper in to work.

This morning the housekeeper's sister also came at 7:30 and they both worked.  Naturally that means they got a lot done and I really appreciated it.  I did a little work in the kitchen and filled bird feeders in the backyard.  It took the birds less than one minute to find that I was home and had filled the feeders.

After they left, I started doing laundry and got two loads done.  I fixed lunch and Ron and I ate and talked.  Then we both worked in the yard for a while.  He worked a lot longer and a lot harder than I did. We have a weeping willow tree out by the water that had a very large section hanging over the resaca and he took that portion off before the whole thing fell into the water.  Then he had to haul the huge section out and cut it up.  That took a lot of work and a lot of time. 
The portion of the tree Ron removed is in the water.
For a while I helped work the "come along" winch, and we got it out a little at a time.  After the main portion was on the bank, I left the rest of the work to him.  Of course it had to be cut up and hauled to the brush pile.  I worked trimming the hibiscus plants that were taking over the backyard and the plant by the back door that was trying to block my path.

I left to run a couple of errands.  I picked up a pie at Luby's and went by Mom's house.  Once I got home I worked in the house for a while on some laundry and unpacking.  There is still unpacking to be done.

In the evening Ron and I went to a dinner with friends.  It is always good to be with friends and especially after I had been out of town for so much of the last month.  One of the ladies in our class had a knee replacement done while I was gone and she is healing well.  I was sorry I had not done any visiting while she was healing, but I just ran out of hours in town.

The gathering was a covered dish supper, visiting, and singing.  Most of the singing was old hymn favorites.  There were a  few patriotic songs thrown in.  Several of the people in the group were new to most of us and it was nice to see them enjoy a casual gathering with good friends who love the Lord.
All ages were included from the young and silly, to the old and slow.
Exhaustion has caught up with me.  Soon after we got home, I told Ron I just had to get some sleep.  I was asleep by 10:00 and was glad to get some rest.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

October 24, 2014

Home Again, Home Again!
October 24, 2014

Hibiscus plants taking over the backyard!

As tired as I had been when I got to our son David's house Thursday night, I woke up at 3:30 and could not go back to sleep.  I dozed off and on, but it was a very restless night.  It was about 10:00 when I left David's and stopped to pick up some breakfast on my way out of town.  The GPS got me where I needed to be with only one little problem and that was not the fault of the GPS.  The exit I needed to get onto the freeway to come home, was blocked for repairs and the detour included 4, four way stops which took a lot of time, but soon I was on my way.  I got very sleepy again and struggled much of the way to stay alert.  I ate to stay awake.  I am surprised I didn't gain 10 pounds on the trip home.

A couple of times I had to stop to walk around the car to wake up.  I stopped for food and gas and walks and arrived home with no real problems (only being sleepy) about 3:30.  That is longer than the trip should have taken, but I needed those extra stops.  I unloaded the car and cleaned it out, but I need to take it to the car wash very soon.

We met our friends for supper and it was good to catch up and visit with them.  Our friend Dennis had to leave a little early and Ron left to go home and mow the backyard that was knee deep in grass.  Pat and I stayed for a while to visit.  Then I went by Mom's house and left her car and picked mine up that had been sitting in front of her house for a month.  Ron had taken it to get the a/c fixed while I was gone.  I watered a few plants and got the mail and headed home.

Ron and I spent a long time catching up on what we had each accomplished during the week.  He had a couple of doctor appointments while I was gone and had to deal with the flooding rains.  Our two oldest granddaughters started horse ridding lessons while I was gone.  I will have to go watch soon.  Boots, blue jeans and cowgirl shirts and hats and they look lovely on the horses.  The oldest has such perfect posture and looks beautiful sitting up on the horse (I have seen photos).  They are excited about the new adventure.

We have a busy days ahead starting Saturday night with a dinner with a large group of friends.  Thankfully Ron ordered a pie at Luby's for me to take since I don't have much in the house in the way of food.  It will be good to catch up with these friends.  I think I have missed the last four Sundays at our church.  I am eager to go back!!!

I must say that it is always nice to be home, but coming into town yesterday, I have to say that Brownsville was the most beautiful spot along the whole drive from Dallas.  EVERYTHING is green and after the lightening in this week's rain, it is a vibrant green.  Everything is lush and blooming.  There is so much work that needs to be done in the yard, but the mosquitoes are vicious and blood thirsty!  They attack the minute I open the door.  It is good to be home.

 This plant on the left is taking over the walkway into the backyard.  I will have to take the clippers out there with me the next time I go and cut a path.   

Thank you, God for the rains.  Our area was so thirsty.  There is so much beauty in this part of South Texas.  Yes, it is hot in the summer, but the beauty of the vegetation  is wonderful. 

Again, I kept falling asleep writing my blog, so I gave up and went to bed.

October 23, 2014

Thursday Plans Turned Upside Down
October 23, 2014

When Stephen woke me up Thursday morning, he had already started loading my luggage into my car for the 45 minute trip to my sister's house where I planned to spend the next week.  I had picked up cinnamon rolls for us the evening before when I worked on my blog at Panera Breads.  We had those for breakfast and then I told him I would load the last few things before I went.  I was going to wait until about 10:00 when the traffic died down a little.

My mom had been in isolation at the rehab center/nursing home for about ten days because of an infection she was battling.  I had only gone over Monday evening and had followed the isolation rules that the staff had in place - which had been somewhat relaxed from earlier.  Just before I was going to leave the apartment I got a text from my sister who is currently caring for Mom and she said Mom had called and asked her to text me and tell me not to come to the rehab center because she was feeling lousy and didn't want me exposed any more than I already had been.  She has been so concerned that I might catch it before the wedding which is in slightly over two weeks.

Now what?  I had done all I could do alone, at Stephen's apartment.  I had done almost all of the needed wedding things and the others Stephen could handle.  I had a business at home that needed me.  I had been out of town 4 times in the last 4 weeks: once I was gone to Keller to help while Mom was in the hospital, and was away from home for 8 days; Ron and I had gone to the island for 2 nights; we had gone to Houston for 2 days to see the audiologist for my Cochlear Implant; and I had already been away for 7 days this time.  I had been using Mom's car for these trips and had put almost 4,000 miles on it.  I was gone 3 of the last 4 Saturdays, and the grass in my backyard was now knee high following all the rains.  If I couldn't see Mom, it was time to go home.  The car was loaded, thanks to Stephen.  There was gas in the car after my trip out to do errands the previous evening.

While sitting on the couch trying to make a decision about what to do: go or stay, I had a major nose bleed.  That bathroom I had cleaned so perfectly the day before got a second major cleaning.  

Since Stephen had already gone to work I had to go to the store and leave his keys with him.  I ran that errand and just before noon headed south.  I thought.  That crazy GPS in my phone!  Stephen programed it for me just before I left his store and I was so delighted that I was able to follow that little blue lline and my blue arrow was staying right on it.  Then I looked more closely and saw it had me on IH-45 to Houston, instead of the highway to Austin.  It was sending me to HOUSTON!  Thankfully I remembered seeing Loop 12 when we had been on the correct road, so when I came to Loop 12 on the WRONG highway, I got off and took it to the RIGHT highway.

I could not get in touch with Ron since during the flooding rains he endured without my help the previous day, his phone had fallen in the water. I called my daughter-in-law Barbara and asked her to get in touch with him and relay the message.  I was heading home.  I love to travel, but it is nice to have time to do the laundry in between the trips.

Once on the right highway, things went fine until the usual place for slow traffic in Austin.  Thankfully I had just bought my lunch at Pok-e-Jo's in Round Rock and had something to eat as we inched along through the area around the University of Texas.  

After getting gas for the car at Buc-ee's in New Braunfels I was getting to San Antonio right at rush hour time, but the traffic was not bad at all until I was almost to David's house.  When I had left Dallas, I had not known if I would try to make it all the way home, or stop for the night at our son David's house in San Antonio.  Having gotten such a late start, I knew it was not wise for me to try to go the whole distance.  It was late afternoon before I heard back from David about their plans to be sure if it was alright for me to spend the night with no advance warning.

It turned out he had a meeting and Diana and the kids were at a football game so I was thankful that I had a key to let myself in.  I read while I waited for David and then he and I went to supper.  As Dave and I were leaving for supper, the neighbor across the street called to him.  He asked if she needed help on something.  She did.  What she needed was for someone to take these beautiful roses.  She is a florist and had these left over and didn't want them to go to waste.  They looked beautiful on the dining table when Diana and the kids got home.  Note to self: if I ever shop for another house, see if there is a flower shop owner living across the street.

As we left for supper, I received a long text on my phone.  It was from my sister who was caring for Mom.  I was worried about what it would say.  To my surprise, it said the nursing director had come to tell them that the most recent tests showed Mom was free of the infection and all isolation could be lifted and all the medications for the infection stopped.  That is why Mom felt so lousy that morning - the medications.  So if I had stayed, I could have seen her that evening.  But since she now just needs to regain her strength after 10 days of a clear liquid diet, Debbie (my sister) can take care of things.

I had picked up cherry cobbler so we got some Blue Bell Ice Cream on the way home from supper and had that for the kids when they got home.  I worked on a blog but kept falling asleep typing so I gave up and then as tired as I was, I didn't sleep much that night.

The two pet lizards are growing rapidly!  They are so big now.  The smaller one (below) had at least doubled in size since I had been there a few weeks ago.  This would not be my choice of pet, but they are well loved and well cared for at David's house.

One thing I forgot to mention is that I really have trouble hearing clerks.  This is true of ones at the grocery store, the gas station, the banks, and Panera Breads.  I don't know what the problem is, but they seem to mostly be young and most are soft spoken.  They all had to repeat and repeat things for me. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

October 22, 2014

Boxing Up the Books and
Blogging at the Bakery
October 22, 2014

Our buffet serving table for our Blueberry Breakfast
Wednesday morning Stephen was up early and while he was in the shower, I made blueberry muffins for our breakfast.  We again made a dining table from boxes.  This time it was flattened boxes on top of the folded up cot Stephen had been using for sleeping.  We keep changing our dining "furniture" because we keep packing. 

After breakfast, Stephen showed me what things I could pack up without him being there and then he left for work.  I packed up about 15 boxes over the course of the day - mostly books.  (That was in addition to the boxes I had packed the previous day.)  I emptied 3 bookcases of books, and a cabinet that held some of his CDs.  I packed up several breakables and some table lamps.  Thankfully he had been bringing packing materials home from the store where he works, for weeks.  Many things they receive in shipments are fragile so he was well stocked with their "trash".  Instead of putting all of that in the dumpster, he brought it to the apartment.  It was so nice to select sheets of bubble wrap and other packing supplies as I filled box after box. 

When I had done all I thought I could do, I started some cleaning, since of course he wants to leave the apartment clean in order to get his cleaning deposit back.  I got the bathroom sparkling.  It was not bad, but I got it to where he should just need to wipe a few spots when he moves out.

Shortly after noon, I had a text from my sister who lives in the area saying she was on her way to spend a week with her granddaughter.  What fun!  Our other sister was with Mom at the nursing home and I said I would move my things over to my sister's house and stay there, starting either Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

It was about 3:00 before I took a break and thought about getting some lunch.  There was a Kentucky Fried Chicken place just about 4 blocks away so I drove over there and picked up some lunch and returned to the apartment to eat.  While I ate I read some in a mystery that I am currently reading.  It is pretty good and I sure hate to put it down.

Following the lunch, I folded laundry.  Stephen had done all the laundry before we arrived, but had not had time to fold it.  I got it all folded, sorted, and then stacked it on the bed for him to put away when he got home.  He was going to be very late.

About 5:00 I left and went back to Panera Bread and used their free wi-fi to write another blog entry.  It was getting dark when I packed up my things and drove down the street looking for a Walgreen's Drugstore, to get a few items.  I didn't find one, but I found a grocery store and picked up some fruit before returning to KFC for more chicken for supper.  I got gas in the car and then returned to the apartment, to do a little more packing and sorting.

I managed to pack all my things so that if Stephen was not too late, I could go over to Keller to my sister's house that evening, but he was very late.  We talked and moved things around.  I was amazed that through all the packing of my luggage all week, the packing of boxes, and all the other activities, my elbow gave me no problems.  The trips up and down the stairs to get to his apartment got to me a few times. 

It really was a very quiet day for me, being alone most of the day and having no TV or radio on, or any other noises, except for Stephen's parrot, Charlie.  The day had been very productive!

October 21, 2014

Tuesday Turns into Blogging Day
at the Bakery
October 21, 2014

While staying with our son Stephen, in Dallas, I didn't have access to internet service at his apartment, so Tuesday morning we went to a bakery in his area called Panera Bread.  They have wonderful cinnamon rolls and I was able buy a huge cinnamon roll and a soda and sit there and use their free wi-fi for several hours at a time. 

Stephen and I went to the bakery about 8:00 and had breakfast together.  He got me on line with my laptop computer and then he left to go to work while I started catching up on blog postings.  It was a very nice place to work and relax.  It was quiet, clean, and filled with delicious smells, tempting me as I worked. 

They did have one request and that was that during their busy time from 11:00 to 2:00, customers limit their wi-fi usage to 30 minutes.  So I worked on two blogs in the morning and then put my laptop away and packed up and left just before 11:00.  I appreciate being able to use the internet in a place like that.

I returned to Stephen's apartment and started packing  boxes of glasses, vases, and other breakables.  I worked for several hours, filling several boxes to be moved.  I had previously worked on cleaning the kitchen so we could decide what to pack. 

About 2:30 I returned to Panera Bread (the bakery) and set up my computer and ordered my lunch.  While I was working during the afternoon, two young women came up and asked if they  could take some photographs of me working, for an advertising project they were working on.  They took their photos and then I finished my third blog for the day as I tried to catch up.  I left at five.

I returned to the apartment and while I waited for Stephen to return, I did a little more packing.  Stephen picked up some pizza for our supper and we turned some boxes into our supper table.  Later

Stephen loaded up the packed boxes and we went to the house where they will be living and unloaded the boxes.  A gift had arrived for them and they took time to enjoy opening it together.  They had decided to work on the kitchen and I washed some of the dishes that had been packed away for a while, as they decided where to put things.  We had a good evening working together and they got a lot done.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October 20, 2014

Monday Errands and
A Trip to See Mom
October 20, 2014

Ron had gone home Sunday evening after the bridal shower so it was just Stephen and me at the apartment.  We decided we wanted to sleep a little late Monday morning, so we slept until 8:30.   Stephen does some of the buying for the store where he works, and needed to make a trip to the World Trade Market of Dallas, so I was delighted to go with him.  As I did the last time I went with him, I was able to get some things for us to sell at our office.  Then I picked up a few more items.  He took care of the things he needed to and  from there, we went to pick up some lunch at Whataburger.  That is Stephen's favorite place, but not Kristina's so he was glad to go with me.

I forgot to mention, at the Trade Market, there is one section with all sorts of decorative items and I was able to find some things for the Rehearsal Dinner.  I also made Stephen promise to take me again if I ever get rich.  They have some wonderful, unique items there.

We went by the apartment to change into more comfortable clothes.  As a buyer, he dresses up a little and so did I.  Our next stop was the bakery that will be making the Groom's cake for the Wedding Reception.  I had made a down payment for the cake, but wanted to pay off the rest of it.  It was nice to talk to one of the cake decorators about the design.  She is excited about doing the cake.

We went by the place where the Rehearsal Dinner will be and checked on a few details.  We have lots of ideas - just limited by time and money.  Oh, well.  We set one table as it will be that evening and we were pleased with the outcome.  We went to a couple of other stores in that shopping center and I got some fabric to use at the dinner.

Later in the evening, I drove to South Lake where Mom is.  My sister Debbie had arrived to stay for a few days.  We had a nice visit and Mom was doing better than over the weekend.  Stephen had programmed my phone GPS to get me there and told me a couple of pieces of information that really helped.  BUT...  (They is usually a "but")  He didn't tell me how to program it for my return trip.  My sister tried to help, but it didn't work.  So I set out.  I got back to Dallas with no problems.  BUT I had no idea where I was in Dallas.  Well, that is not entirely true.  I could see the lights of downtown and kept heading that way.  I went through the heart of downtown.  Then I headed the direction I thought I should be, but eventually called Stephen.  I was only about 2 miles from the apartment by then. 

Next I had one of those "deaf person" problems.  Stephen was still out at Kristina's making room in the garage for some of his boxes.  I had locked the door.  In Texas, all apartments must have a "keyless" deadbolt so that the tenant can lock themselves safely in and the manager can not use the master key and come in.  Normally that lock is on top, then the regular deadbolt, followed by the door knob at the bottom.  So I locked the door knob and the lock above it, leaving the top one unlocked so Stephen could get in with his key when he got home. 

I was talking on the phone to Vickey and had another call.  It was Stephen asking me to let him in the apartment.  I did, and he explained that I locked the wrong lock.  On this apartment, the keyless deadbolt is in the middle, not on the top.  If I had not been talking to Vickey, I would not have heard my phone.  If I had  not been talking to Vickey, I might have taken my sound processor off and never heard Stephen phoning or knocking.  He said he was thinking about sleeping in his car all night.  If you have normal hearing, thank God for it right now, please.

We talked for a while after he got home and both went to bed exhausted.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 19, 2014

Sunday Shower and Church
October 19, 2014

We were up early Sunday morning to go to the early service at church.  The senior pastor was bringing the message and it was good.  Usually when we go with Stephen, we go to the contemporary service where the associate pastor preaches.  That is the man who will be doing the wedding ceremony.  But we did get to hear the younger pastor, as he taught the Bible Study class that Stephen and Kristina are in.  Both pastors taught from the same passage of scripture but on different aspects of it.  Excellent teaching. 

We went to lunch with Stephen and Kristina at a place called Bubba's.  They serve Southern style cooking and it was very good.  We enjoyed our lunch and our time together.  After we ate, we went outside and sat at one of the tables for a long time.  We looked at their engagement photos and were as pleased as they were with the  outcome of the session.

Kristina went home to get ready for the shower and we went to Stephen's apartment so  Ron could get things together for his trip home.  We relaxed for a while before getting ready for the shower.  The shower was given by some church friends and the setting could not have been more inviting.

Everyone visited for a while and then we ate a Southern style supper.  Yummy!  Supper was around their lovely pool and the weather couldn't have been nicer.  The temperature was perfect.  Ron and I sat at a table with Dr. and Mrs. Cooper who led the archaeological dig that Stephen went on in Israel a couple of years ago.  Among other things, we compared grandchildren photos and stories.

Later we all went indoors where the gifts were opened.  You could tell that the guys aren't really comfortable with Bridal Showers.  But they sure did enjoy the food!  Actually I think they enjoyed finding out what goes on at one.
The gifts were beautiful, useful, and very thoughtful.  They have some good friends.  We loaded the gifts into Stephen's car and then took Ron to the bus station for his trip home.  I am staying for a while.  After we dropped Ron off, we went to Kristina's house to deliver the gifts.  We stayed a while and then I went outside in the lovely night air that was not filled with mosquitoes and talked on the phone for a bit while they had some alone time to chat about the wonderful gifts and the week ahead.
It was late when we got back to Stephen's apartment but we still stayed up and talked a while.  We were planning the shopping we needed to do the next day.

October 18, 2014

Saturday Shower and a Birthday
October 18, 2014
Saturday morning we got up early and dressed for the bridal shower for our soon  to be daughter-in-law.  We made a couple of quick stops on our way and arrived at the home for the shower right on time.  The home was lovely and there were fresh flowers and flowering plants throughout the house.

The shower was also a brunch and the table was lovely and the food was delicious.  The hostesses were so kind.  I have been able to make a new friend, besides the bride's mother, through these events, and it is the bride's mother's best friend.  The lady is named Linda Lee just like me, and she is deaf in one ear,  We do have a lot in common including a love for the Lord and for the bride's family.

Most of the guests were young and knew each other and had fun visiting.  Some are going to be bridesmaids and so there was a lot of fun chatter going on.  They had a great time.  I had a lot of trouble hearing in that type of setting.  As I have mentioned before I tend to head for the kitchen to visit one-on-one with whoever is in the kitchen, hearing 90% of what is said, instead of being in a room filled with people talking where I may hear 20%. 
Bride on the left and her maid of honor on the right
The invitation to the shower was addressed to both of us and we found out it was so Ron could keep the bride's step-dad company.  We really enjoy this great man and so they had a good time chatting and laughing about being at a bridal shower.  The practice would come in handy since they got to do it again the next evening.
Serious discussion
I must confess, I knew Saturday would be Ron's birthday, but when I woke up I forgot.  As we drove on to Dallas, he began to receive text messages wishing him a Happy Birthday.  He spent the day joking about, "What more could a man want for his birthday than to go to a bridal shower and shopping for a dress?" (the dress was for me).
A unique gift
Following the shower, Ron and I went to two malls and seven stores before I found the dress I will wear to the wedding.  At that store, there were actually two that would do and Ron wanted me to buy both of them, but I just couldn't do that.  I don't have places to wear them.  One was in teal and the other purple - my two favorite colors to wear - and it was a little hard to select especially since there was a big price difference and of course I wanted the more expensive one.  In the end, it won out.  So I will be the one in purple at the wedding.
The bride's mom, the bride and me
Poor Ron.  I didn't even do his birthday shopping,  I did know he wanted a new pair of Crocs and we found a Crocs store at one of the malls, so I let him pick out two pairs.  He teased the bride that they were for the wedding and I must say, she has a look she can give him that lets him know "That's not funny."  They are so funny together.

The shopping took all afternoon and before long it was time for Stephen to get off work and we met the groom and bride-to-be, and her parents for a birthday dinner for Ron at Olive Garden.  It was a very good, productive, festive day and I think we were all exhausted. 

October 17,2014

Heading to Dallas
October 17,2014

Friday evening on our way to Dallas
The blog postings are way over due.  It is actually Tuesday, October 21 and I am trying to play catch up.  There are several reasons for the delay.  First, I have been VERY busy.  Second, I am staying  with our son and his apartment doesn't have internet service, so this morning I am at a wonder little restaurant called Panera Bread, having breakfast and using their free internet service.  It is hard to beat fantastic food and free internet.  They  do ask that between 11:00 and 2:00 you limit usage to 30 minutes since that is their busy time, so  I will see how much I can get done in the next couple of hours before they start serving lunch.

Friday morning I had packing to do, and then late in the morning I went to the office to write up a deposit for the shop and to take care of last minute items there.  Next I got my hair cut before going home to finish packing.  Ron came about 12:30 and we left about 1:30 to head to Dallas for a weekend of bridal showers and time with our son and daught-in-law to be.

Traffic was a little heavy being a Friday afternoon but the weather was fine and we had a good trip, stopping for a very late lunch in Robstown and a delicious supper in Round Rock at our favorite Pok e Joe Bar-B-Q restaurant. 

Sadly, Ron's hearing is not what it used  to be and I also think that all the time I was struggling to hear in the past, I talked louder than I do now, so now that I am speaking in a more normal volume, he is having trouble hearing me.  If I take my Cochlear sound processor off, I immediately start talking louder and sometimes he will ask me to speak more softly, but if I have it on, and have it turned up to hear him over road noise, apparently, I speak more softly and he struggles.  We chatted most of the trip and I would not even venture to guess how many times the phrase, "What did you say?" was uttered and who said it most often.

 We arrived at our destination for the evening at a small motel in Temple,  In the past I have been able to get on line there and I had hoped to do a blog entry that evening, but for some reason, I could not get on and we were both tired, so I gave up. 

When we stay in other places, if the bed is even halfway comfortable, I sleep soundly since I hear no noises during the night when my Cochlear sound processor is off.  This motel is right on the expressway and I think the noises bothered Ron some.  There are a few (not many) advantages to being deaf.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October 16, 2014

Checking Things Off My List
October 16, 2014

One of the things on my "to do list" today was to see my daughter-in-law and the grandchildren.  
I only got to see Barb and the girls, but that is pretty good.

This morning I spent time at the house before leaving with a "to do list" of things I needed to accomplish today.  Before leaving the house, I did laundry and cleaning.  I organized the rehearsal dinner items and found one of the tablecloths that was hiding from me.  Items were counted and recounted.  Then it was time to do a little shopping.  My mother-in-law had something she needed for me to get and I had a couple of shower gifts to get.  Those took a little time, but actually were marked off the list easily.  Next I went to the office supply store for ink for my printer to be sure I had enough to print the rehearsal dinner invitations.  A couple of other stops were on the list and I got one of them done before picking up lunch on the way to the office a little ahead of schedule.

The main things I needed to do at the office got done.  In fact, I think only a couple of items on the "to do list" are not done and for the length of the list, that is not bad at all.  At the office I had to pay all the bills for the next two weeks and take care of a variety of things that I normally do and Ron doesn't know how to do.  I will be staying in the area where Mom is for the next two weeks.  The first few days, I will be attending some wedding showers for our son and his fiance and then helping our son pack up things in his apartment, to do a little painting before he moves out, and doing a little cleaning.  We will be running errands to try to tie up loose ends on the preparations for the rehearsal dinner.  Then early next week I will go to my sister's house and stay there to be close to Mom for a while as my sister cares for her adorable little granddaughter for a week.  By the time I get home, it will be just a week until we need to leave for the wedding.  It is finally almost here.  It has seemed to take forever, but now the days are seeming to fly by at super sonic speed!

The last time I stayed up there and left Ron at home, he wore his coveralls to church.  I am afraid to leave him again.  Would someone check on him while I am away???  He tried to tell me there was a good reason for the coveralls...

In the afternoon at the office I worked on all that paper work and then composed and printed the rehearsal invitations.  They are ready to be mailed out as soon as I address the envelopes.  That was a MAJOR thing to get off the "to do list" since I won't have my printer with me while I am gone. 

After work I met my daughter-in-law at Mom's house and we worked on selecting what Mom will wear to the wedding.  She plans to be there "with bells on."  Well, maybe not bells, but we are praying that she will be feeling well enough to be there for the wedding.  It will mean so much to Stephen for her to be there, and she doesn't want to miss it.

When I picked up my lunch, I had picked up supper and Barb picked up supper for her and her girls.  We ate and visited.  Then while Barb and I worked on clothing, one of the girls watered the plants on the decks and the other two set up the bowling pins down the hall.  That is one of the kids favorite activities at Mom's house.  Those plastic bowling pins are on their second generation of kids.

Once I got home it was time to start packing.  That is what I did... START packing.  I still have much to do.  I did the last load of laundry and worked in the kitchen for a bit.  I guess I better close this and finish packing.  We did talk to the groom-to-be this evening and he is eager to have a little help this weekend.