Sunday, August 25, 2019

Here's To Not Getting Stabbed And Other Thankfuls

It's me, your Ten Things of Thankful co-host who has been AWOL for a couple of weeks. I mean well, but I'm having thankful issues right now (still). I know, I KNOW, the best way to stop feeling sorry for yourself is to find those silver linings, so dammit, here goes:

I am thankful for:

1. My new favorite podcast, "My Favorite Murder." 

2. My other favorite podcasts, "The Moth" and "This American Life."

3. "The Office" on Netflix. I only caught bits and pieces of the show when it was originally broadcast, so I started watching the entire series from beginning to end, and I'm 2/3 of the way through Season 8 (of 9 seasons).

4. Pudding cups. Portion control when you need a little something sweet, and no, eating two is NOT excessive, because they are really very small....

5. On that note, tapioca pudding. Does anyone else eat tapioca pudding anymore? They should. It's delicious.

6. Cap'n Crunch. Plain. Dry. Bowl optional.

7. Phone calls and texts from my kids.

8. Fresh, clean sheets on the bed. If we had a better chamber maid than we currently do, I would appreciate this to happen every single day. 

9. Cheese.

10. That cats don't have opposable thumbs. Today, Lewis bounded into my room and onto the ottoman and proudly dropped a utility knife next to my feet. He had cobwebs in his whiskers and eyebrows, which means he found the knife in the basement, carried it up two flights of stairs and down two long hallways to get it to me. I'm taking it as a sign that he loves me and wanted to show me his treasure and not that he wants to stab me, but time will tell.

Find the silver linings in your week. 

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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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