Sunday, August 11, 2019

An Electrifying Week Of Thankfuls

Sometimes, thankfuls just write themselves.

We have spent most of the summer staying at my dad's lake house in Branson, which is about 2 hours from our house. My daughter is working there this summer, waiting tables at Big Cedar Lodge, my husband works remotely most of the time anyway, and I only have my photo studio job on Wednesday afternoons in the summer and no school, so it's worked out really well for us. My dad is in and out and our three cats are with us and it has been a delightful summer.

This past Wednesday morning, I drove back home to work at the studio that afternoon. My husband has been driving back home on Wednesdays as well, and we would go back to the lake on Thursdays, but this week, he stayed at the lake house, waiting for the air conditioner repairman.

I got home from work around 7:00 and made a big bowl of buttery popcorn for my supper, took it upstairs to my bedroom, and settled into the recliner to eat my popcorn and watch The Office on Netflix. A band of thunderstorms moved into the area about that time, big ones, with lots of rain and lightning and wind. The storm intensified, and the gap between the lightning and the thunder was narrow. Suddenly, there was a flash and an explosion right around me, and I looked toward the window in time to see sparks showering down: the house had been struck by lightning. 

It was at this point that I discovered that I SUCK in an emergency, because I panicked and began running around like a squirrel while the storm raged on and our security alarm screamed. I slipped on my flip flops, grabbed my laptop and phone, ran to the security system keypad and punched in numbers, only a few of which were actually our code. The alarm company called and I told them what happened and that the alarm wouldn't turn off. I was told a technician would call me (I did finally hit the right buttons and get it turned off). They asked me if the house was on fire, and I said I didn't know but I didn't smell or see smoke. I called my husband to tell him what happened, then I picked up my purse and keys and ran out the front door, stopping immediately when lightning crashed really close. I ran back in the house, then back out again, in then out, in then out, not knowing if I should risk staying inside when the house could be on fire or running to the car where I might be struck by lightning on my way. I eventually took the plunge and ran to the car. The alarm tech called me and patched me through to the fire dispatcher, and a few minutes later, a fire truck pulled up in front of my house.

By this time, the thunderstorm had moved past us and it was only raining lightly. I looked like a crazed, wet squirrel by now. The firefighters walked around the house, noting that the chimney cap was flopped over like it was hinged (it isn't), so it appears that's what took the hit from the lightning, then we went inside. They had a thermal imaging camera to look for fire and what looked like a piece of pvc pipe with some red and blue tape on it that they used to test rooms to see if there was power in the room. There was no electricity in my bedroom, my son's room, the dining room, and the living room, but they were able to restore it at the breaker box, telling me that if there were damage to the wiring, the breakers would not stay on (I was sure hoping they were right!). They went up in my attic to check for fire up there, then proclaimed the house safe. I called the alarm tech back and he arranged to have someone come first thing in the morning. I called my husband and filled him in on everything, and then I sat back in the recliner in my bedroom and tried to get my heart rate back down to normal.

Here are my thankfuls:

1. There was no fire. That's worth a lifetime of thankfuls right there, but I've got more.

2. Ron at Federal Protection. He was completely calm when I was completely freaking out, and I don't know when I would have had enough sense on my own to call the fire department myself without him.

3. The crew from Joplin Fire Department Station #1. They were kind and professional and pretended not to notice the upstairs was a mess.

4. I didn't pee myself when the lightning struck, and the chimney was practically right above my head where I had been sitting when it struck.

5. The cats were at the lake house and not at home with me. They would have freaked and hidden somewhere in the house between the lightning strike and the wailing of the alarm, and I would have freaked out trying to find them. 

6. My neighbors across the street, who came over just as the firefighters were leaving. They had heard the strike but didn't realize it actually hit the house. 

7. My neighbor up the street, who offered to let me stay with her if I needed to.

8. My daddy, who called me not long after everything had settled down, completely coincidentally, as he had no idea what had happened, and when he found out, he offered to drive down if I needed him (he lives an hour away, he's almost 85, and it was dark outside by then). 

9. My facebook friends, who offered sympathy and kind words when I posted what happened, and especially to the one who made me laugh by asking me if I now had superpowers. 

10. Our insurance company, because (small town bonus) the local office is run by people we know, and I just had to tell them what happened and they set the wheels turning to get our claim handled immediately. Now the fun starts of finding everything in the house that got zapped.

How was your week? Was it as electrifying as mine?

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Sunday, August 4, 2019

It's More Important Than Ever To Find Thankfuls

Some weeks are easier than others when it comes to finding thankfuls. My heart is heavy. Too many shootings, too many innocent lives lost. I've also got something weighing on me with regard to my job. But you know what? When life is rough, it's even more important to find thankfuls in your world. 

1. My husband and I took a mini vacay last weekend to Nashville. I am eternally grateful to my person, Terri, who always opens her home to me (and this time, to my husband as well) whenever I want to visit.

2. On our way to Nashville, we had a lovely picnic in a little park I found that overlooks the Mississippi and Ohio River confluence. The weather was delightful and there were no ants. Or bears. 

The Mighty Mississippi behind us, with
a barge obligingly heading down river
for atmosphere.

3. We are not used to driving in city traffic where we live, and I'm okay that I can drive all the way across town in less than 20 minutes even if I hit red lights all the way, but there's also not much to do in a small town, and we had SO MUCH FUN while in Nashville attending a free big band dance at Centennial Park. The music was great, we danced a little and we people-watched a lot. We also ate yummy sammiches that we picked up at Publix. I sure do enjoy going to a big city grocery store!

Hawaiian shaved ice. Like eating a flavored
snowball and sooooo yummy!

My poor husband had to put up with us all weekend.

4. I was really touched when my old friend Larry made a point of joining us for Sunday brunch because he wanted a chance to see me while I was in town. He's a good guy.

5. We ate at pretty much all my favorite restaurants. Party Fowl. San Antonio Taco. Five Points Pizza. Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream. My belly was so happy!

When the chef thinks you're 10 because you
don't want your hot chicken to touch your
cream cheese and apple stuffed french toast....

6. We stopped by the Tennessee Titans training camp for about an hour. We would have stayed longer, but it was (1) really hot and (2) not the Chiefs training camp. Really cool to watch the players go through the paces, hoping to make a spot on the team.

Marcus Mariota working with the
running backs.

7. I have mentioned before that I am working on my curls by following the Curly Girl Method (yes, it's a real thing). I am obsessed with products and techniques, and I got confirmation that it is, indeed, working when the 20-something checker at Walmart asked me if my curls were natural, then said they looked really good. Score!

8. I stepped on a fish hook in the kitchen at the lake house. This is a thankful because (a) it didn't embed into my foot like it could have and (b) it was my foot and not a kitty paw.

9. We may not have big band dances where I live, but we DO have Marian Days, an annual pilgrimage for Vietnamese Catholics in a neighboring town that brings in about 100,000 people to the town of 10,000 or so. They have giant food tents where you can get Vietnamese food, most of which I am too picky to eat, but I do love pho. I met my husband there for an early dinner, stopping at the bank first for some cash, which I tucked in my back pocket. We walked onto the festival grounds at Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix and headed straight to our favorite food tent, ordered bowls of pho and spring rolls. When the server brought our food, I reached into my back pocket for my money and...nothing. Empty pocket. I frantically check all my pockets, but no money, so my husband pulled cash out of his hidey hole in his wallet and paid for the meal while I fretted about how I could have lost $43. About halfway through our meal, I suddenly picked up my bowl of pho, and there was my money. I have a vague recollection of pulling it out of my pocket in anticipation of paying the server when she brought our food, then apparently sat my bowl right on the cash without even noticing it. Oopsie! 

My beautiful bowl of pho didn't taste quite as good
as usual when I lost my $43 cash from my pocket....

Well, I'll be! Hiding under my bowl the whole time!

10. Anyone remember the old cabinet I bought an auction and have been wrestling with refinishing? After a few weeks off for hot weather, I am at the painting stage. By this time next week, I hope to have a finished project!

There are decisions to be made. Prayers to be said. But I'm thankful. Always thankful.

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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Pad: A Six Sentence Story

"I'm going to die."
"No, no, you aren't, but tomorrow morning, you're going to wish you could die."
"I've thrown up everything in my stomach and I think the soles of my feet are all that's left to come up."
"Have you learned a lesson from all this?"
"Don't eat take out pad thai before a night of binge drinking?"
"That's right, sweetie, now try to get some sleep."

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "pad"

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Wave: A Six Sentence Story

When my mother was around 7, her parents moved from town to the old family farm; it was far enough away from town to be in a different school district, and worse, it was in a district with only a one-room school. As he was going to be starting high school that fall, my uncle would get to live in town with my grandfather's two maiden sisters, and my mother threw such a fit that she was allowed to stay there as well and continue to attend the town school with her friends. My grandparents both died when I was very young, so these great aunts were like grandparents to me and my brother, and we loved visiting them and never wanted to leave (why leave when you were thoroughly spoiled while you were there and never told "no"?). 

Their house had a long, gravel driveway with a strip of grass down the middle, and each time we had to leave, as the car backed out and headed down the road, my great aunts would step onto the driveway and wave to us, and I would turn and look out the car window, waving mournfully back to them until I couldn't see them anymore; occasionally, I would catch a glimpse of them as turned and walked back to the house, and each time I did, it made me painfully sad. 

I now have two kids who are away at school, one in college, one in medical school, and when they leave after a visit home, I follow them outside no matter what the weather, and I stand near the end of the driveway, and I wave to them. And I don't go back into the house until I can't see the car anymore, and I make sure I never turn and walk away until their car is completely out of sight.
My beloved great aunts, Daisy and Edith, ca. 1960

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "wave"

Saturday, July 20, 2019

It's Possible To Be Thankful For Hellishly Hot Weather

Ahhh, summer in the midwest: temperatures in the upper 90s with the heat index around 110 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. To make it even better, there has been a pretty strong breeze out of the south (hence, the reason for the humidity and the heat index). You know how that blast of hot air comes out of your oven and into your face when you open the oven door while you're baking something? That's what it feels like to walk outside right now. Don't get me wrong, though; I'm not complaining. I hate, hate, HAAAAAATE to be cold, so I shall devote this week's Ten Things of Thankful to why I'm cool with it being so hot:

Schooooools out for summer! 

My knock-off Yeti cup keeps my drinks reallllly cold, even outside. I filled my cup with ice and Diet Dr Pepper and left it in the car while I met a friend for lunch, returning to it an hour and a half later. It was 98 degrees when I got back in the car, and my drink was still icy cold and delicious!

I'm not cold when I get out of the shower.

I'm never late anywhere because I had to scrape the windshield before I could leave. I'm just late because I sometimes lack time management skills. 

I never leave my jacket anywhere because I don't NEED a jacket.

Cherries are in season and they are yummy.

Sonic has half price shakes after 8 pm in the summer. I never go get one, but knowing the possibility is there is good enough for me.

Flips flops are appropriate footwear everywhere.

Curly hair just gets bigger and curlier. Hello, 1980s!

If you get really, REALLY, hot in the house, you can always lie down on a cool, tile floor for some relief. If you're a cat, that is. If I were in that predicament, I would just go to the mall or a movie, because I have opposing thumbs and can drive and stuff....

Is it hot where you are? Are you thankful for that or are you one of those cold weather people? Either way, be thankful, then write those thankfuls down and join the Ten Things of Thankful hop!

Lewis, Nora and Finn, cooling off in the bathroom.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Escape: A Six Sentence Story

Elevated feet
Sitting in peaceful silence
Cat purring in my lap
A book nearby
Perhaps I will read
Except first, I think I will nap

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "escape"

Friday, July 12, 2019

I Said Yes to the Request and Other Thankfuls

"Ohana" means "family." And when a member of your family asks for help, you help. In this case, it's a member of my blog family and, through the miracle of genealogy research, also my cousin: Kristi, the reigning queen of the Ten Things of Thankful. She asked me if I would be interested in co-hosting the hop again. (I was a co-host for several years, starting in 2013.) So here I am, and here are my thankfuls!

Dual uses for objects. To you and me, it's a dishpan. To Lewis, it's a bed.

Lewis curled up and dead asleep in a dishpan.

All the car titles have been located! Three of them were AWOL, and my husband was in a panic, as we are wanting to sell two old, surplus vehicles (minivans, very old, should have sold YEARS ago, but instead, we let them set around and depreciate further, because that's how we roll). Guess who had custody of them? Mmmhmm, my husband. They were in his briefcase. If I had gotten my hands on them sooner, they would have been in a file folder marked "car titles", but where would the fun be in that?

Homemade chocolate chip cookies. Yes, it was still in the upper 80s at 9:00 last night when I baked them, and yes, the kitchen heated up pretty good, but come on, homemade chocolate chip cookies!

Mexican food, specifically, really tasty tamales. At one point during the meal, I inhaled a tiny, little crumb of masa and nearly died, but as you can see, I didn't. Double thankful there.

Summer vacation.

The Curly Girl Method is WORKING! My hair is healthier than its ever been (in spite of being dyed) and the curls are POPPIN'!

Taken about a month apart. Hair is actually the same
color in both photos, but the lighting is very different.

I don't care much for reality tv shows, but my husband enjoys them, and from the bits and pieces of episodes I have seen, I can say my life may be pretty dull, but by golly, at least I'm normal!

Podcasts. I listen to them at the gym and while driving long distances. Some of my favorites are This American Life, The Moth, and Snap Judgment. If you have any favorites, drop them in the comments.

Don't make me look like a loser co-host! Link up with me at the TToT! There are really no rules, and if you click on the link below and read the other entries, you will find out that some of us *cough cough Clark cough cough* play very fast and loose with the whole concept of Ten. Trust me.

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