Friday, March 31, 2023

A is for Air Force

#AtoZChallenge 2023 badge A

I really waffled about entering the A to Z Challenge this year, but here I am.

That wasn't terribly enthusiastic. HERE I AAAAAAAM!!!

I didn't have it in me to do another year of Pinterest challenges, so I decided I'd just write about whatever. So here is my first whatever installment in the Challenge, two stories about me and the Air Force:

I grew up near Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base outside of Kansas City (which is ALWAYS in Missouri, not Kansas, unless otherwise stated - learn it). It closed in the late 1990s, but until then, it was an active military base, home to cargo and transport planes, plus some fighter jets. Sixty miles to the east of us was Whiteman Air Force Base, where both fighters and bombers were stationed (and now includes the Stealth B-2), plus it was host to the Minuteman ballistic missiles. It was the height of the Cold War.

The little 1950s tract home that I grew up in had a nice, fenced backyard. We had a back door that led to it from the kitchen. There was a step down from there onto the patio. When I was a toddler, my mom could watch me play from her seat at the formica dinette set, often while having coffee with a neighbor. It was the picture of early 1960s America, until the peace was shattered by me shrieking at the screen door and trying to get inside when I wasn't tall enough to reach the handle. My hands would be clamped over my ears as I screamed, and my mother always knew I wasn't hurt, hadn't gotten bitten by anything or fallen down.

I had seen a puffy cloud develop in the clear sky, and I knew that it would be followed by a horrific noise, otherwise known as a sonic boom. My dad even installed a door handle of my own on the screen door, made with an empty spool, so I could let myself in when I saw the poof.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

When I was a few years older, my next door neighbor and best friend was named Cherie. She was a grade ahead of me in school and had two brothers and a sister who were several years older than her, so I saw her as pretty knowledgeable. 

Cherie and I spent a lot of time playing outdoors, especially in the summer. We climbed trees and played on the swingset and set up pretend houses in the shade. With our proximity to the air bases, there were often planes flying high overhead (although the sonic booms had ceased, thank GOD). One time, as we were playing in our back yard, Cherie pointed to a plane that was flying high above us and looked something like this:

"See that box at the back of that plane?" she asked me, indicating the piece that joined the tail sections of the plane. "That's where they put the people going to Heaven."

Made sense to me, and some time later, when I was 7 and my grandmother passed away, I took some comfort in knowing how she would be transported to Heaven.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Thankful To Have Found A Friend

We had exactly one day of spring break (and it's the first time we've gotten ANY spring break, so I'm not complaining about having a day off, but gee, wouldn't a week be lovely?), and I made the most of it!

I blew out of school as soon as I could on Thursday afternoon and headed to Kansas City. Two of our student workers were getting married (yes, to each other) on Saturday in Manhattan, Kansas, about a two-hour drive from Kansas City. My daughter was going to visit a friend in Denver for HER spring break (she got a real one, even in law school, but I'm not bitter) and was flying out of KC before dawn on Friday morning, and THAT meant I got to stay in her apartment BY MYSELF all weekend (and load the cat into his kennel, carry him down 35 stairs, and take him home with me for the rest of the week).That in itself is enough to count for ten thankfuls in MY book.

And then things got better.

Better than eating out with my daughter the night before she left at an Irish pub that had amazing food? Better than feeling like I was staying alone in an Airbnb (a slightly messy one that came with a cat)? Better than spending all day Friday doing exactly what I wanted to do with no one to interfere? Better than attending a wedding of two people whom I adore? 


Because doing whatever I wanted to do involved stopping at a thrift store WHERE I HIT THE JACKPOT.

I posted this on Facebook and asked if anyone thought I should buy her, and the votes were overwhelmingly in favor of it. I asked the same question to my family in a group message and got a resounding "NO" from my husband. So, of course, I bought her.

 Saturday morning, we drove to Manhattan for the wedding.

Relax, she stayed in the car for that, but we did stop at a scenic overlook to admire the Flint Hills of Kansas, which are beautiful, even when the grass hasn't greened up yet.

Next, we stopped to get some cheese from Alma Creamery in Alma, Kansas.

I complain a lot about having to stop and pay tolls in Oklahoma and kick myself for not buying a Pike Pass every time. Kansas has a turnpike from Kansas City to Topeka, and if I would have purchased a Pike Pass, I could have used it on the Kansas turnpike as well, as they are reciprocal. Dammit. She thought the whole idea of a toll booth was stupid and antiquated.

Sunday morning, I did my VERY FAVORITE activity when visiting Kansas City, and that was attend church live and in person. My friend slept in and missed it.*

I drove her past it before we left town, though, just so she could see it.

We had a bit of a tussle about who was going to drive to Joplin. Since she had never driven there before, and since SHE HAS NO FEET OR ARMS, I won.

She was helpful in calming my daughter's cat on the trip. Well, that or terrifying him into silence.

And now we're home. For the record, my husband is less than thrilled with her existence, but I am DELIGHTED. 

Stay tuned.

*No, I didn't really let her sleep in the bed with me all night. She got in it after I left for church....

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Sunday, March 19, 2023

Drippy And Messy Thankfuls

This week's episode of the continuing adventures of Lewis the Tuxedo Cat had him bringing three more winter hats to my bedroom and pulling the scarf onto the floor in the downstairs hallway, emptying the basket. The question now would be is he bringing me gifts of hats or does he just want the basket empty? I returned everything to the basket Friday afternoon before we left town for the weekend, and all pieces are still in the basket now that we're back. And now we wait....

My thankfuls for this week's edition of Ten Things of Thankful:

Last Sunday, I had to take my dad to urgent care when skin on his forearm (which is very thin and delicate) tore from a bandage he put on it to cover a SEPARATE tear on his forearm. I'm thankful I was there for the weekend, because it was a pretty bad wound, and he couldn't get the bleeding to stop himself. His arm was also hot and the skin red. He got into the exam room quickly once we got there, and we left with both places wrapped in bandages and a prescription for an antibiotic.

Monday evening, my dad called me to say his arm wasn't getting any better and that he thought he'd better go back to urgent care the next day. I wanted him to go first thing in the morning, but he said he had to wait for the washing machine repair man to come first. The repairman did come and fix the machine (stuck in a cycle and not draining properly) and replaced the hoses on the back, and my dad then drove himself to urgent care around 3:00 in the afternoon on Tuesday.

I was at a training at work that evening when my dad called with the news they took one look at his arm at urgent care and took him next door to the ER, where he was told they were going to admit him in order to give him IV antibiotics. I'm thankful for having the best boss ever, because even though knew we were going to be short handed at work the next day, she gave me the day off to go be with him.

I drove to the hospital (two hours away) Wednesday morning and made a stop at the house before I went to the hospital because I needed to avail myself of the facilities (and the house is three blocks from the hospital). I REALLY needed to go and raced in the door, only to be met by a pool of water around the washing machine. I dashed to the bathroom, then put towels down to soak up the water, pulled the washer out from the wall, and found water was dribbling out from where the new hoses were connected to the machine. I was able to turn off the water at the wall where the other end of the hoses connected, got most of the water mopped up (found a penny while I was cleaning), then went to the hospital.

My dad's arm had changed considerably since I saw him Sunday afternoon. For starters, it was about twice the size of the other arm and his fingers were so swollen he could barely bend his fingers. He felt fine, thankfully, and the pain in his arm (that he hadn't told me about previously - ahem!) was improving, and he was receiving the IV antibiotics. He showed me pictures he took of his wound without a bandage on it while he was in the ER, and let me just say, "Ewww." 

The hospitalist came in while I was there (I wasn't planning on leaving until I saw him, so I'm thankful he came in not long after I arrived), and he said he felt the antibiotics should do the trick unless the culture came back showing it was antibiotic resistant, and they were going to keep him there until at least Friday to be sure. 

I went back to the house mid-afternoon and tightened the fittings on the washer, tentatively turned the water back on, and no leak! I turned the water back off, just in case, but it appears I may have fixed the problem (should I send the plumber a bill for this?). I picked up some extra clothes and toiletries for my dad and took them back to the hospital (and may or may not have smuggled in a Pepsi for him) before heading back to Joplin. 

The doctor wanted to keep him one extra day, but he did get released on Saturday. I'm thankful the hospital employees were able to wheel him back to the urgent care to pick up his car and didn't make a fuss about him driving himself home. He's now had a very long and very hot shower and gotten a good sleep in his own bed, and he reports his arm is normal sized again and no longer hot and red. Yay!

I'm very, very, VERY thankful for my son, who not only facetimed with us on Sunday when this whole fiasco started but also reassured us about the treatment course. It's sometimes hard to believe he is no longer the college student or the med school student but a physician and it sure can come in handy (so far, we haven't needed the services of the almost-lawyer, but her time will come!).

Here's to a less exciting upcoming week from which to gather thankfuls!

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Sunday, March 12, 2023

Hello, Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time just about got me, but here I am, in the nick of time for Ten Things of Thankful.

This week's thankfuls, in no particular order:

Peeps. Prefer bunnies over chickens, pink over any other color. Original Peep flavor only. It's a once-a-year treat (although I may actually eat them more than once during that time frame). I don't believe in Halloween Peeps (seriously?) or valentine Peeps (just no) or any other peep that isn't the aforesaid rabbit or chicken. The time is now.

Sleeping in my very own bed.

Sandbox weather.

Sending and receiving daily memes with my friend and former co-worker Manda.

Bread machines for making dough. I'll form and bake my own product, but it sure is nice to have the machine do the work of whipping up the dough!

Andie McDowell. She's simply stunning.

Lewis and his recent fetish of bringing items to my bedroom. While we were gone this weekend, he brought four hats and two socks to my room. He's going to be pretty disappointed when spring finally decides to stick around and all the winter hats and scarves and mittens get put away until fall.

Two hats and a sock

Three more hats and the other sock

The guilty party

Hugs and I love yous from my little nugs at school.

My teaching assistant, Baylee. She's a gem!

My husband. His birthday was Friday, and my biggest gift to him was not making him do some activity that I thought would be FUN and he didn't enjoy (case in point: this post from three years ago). 

Hope you adjust to the time change quickly! Join us next weekend and every weekend for the best blog hop ever!

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Sunday, March 5, 2023

Birthday Fun

I had such a fun weekend with my friends Nikki and Julie for a 60th birthday celebration for Julie! We left Thursday afternoon and got back Sunday evening, and we filled every moment of every day with lots of laughter, food, conversation, and shopping. I am dog tired now, so my Ten Things of Thankful is going to be a pictorial of my weekend:

We drove as far as Tulsa on Thursday evening and spent the night there, because Nikki wanted to visit the Center of the Universe. We headed there Friday morning, but not before searching for a place to get donuts, and thinking we had done just that, we pulled in:

It was 9 am and they were already out of donuts.

In the other half of the storefront, they sold
 coneys. It was too early for coneys

To the left of the coney restaurant was a medical
marijuana store that made deliveries....

And to the right of the donut shop was a massage
parlor. The doors and windows were completely
covered, and I feel it's pretty safe to say 
they weren't exactly offering traditional
massage therapy

Was the neighborhood safe? Not likely. Were we nervous? Nah, because the cops that were responding to some kind of call right behind this building would have heard us if we screamed....

Donut-less, we proceeded to the Center of the Universe.

Y'all, welcome to the Center of
the Universe. 

On to Oklahoma City, where we visited the American Pigeon Museum, a request from the birthday girl, Julie. It was my third time to visit, and since the live pigeons weren't there on Friday because it was too cold outside, we had to go back Saturday morning, making it my fourth visit. Two more and I get a jacket....

Julie petting an exotic pigeon. FYI
pigeons don't enjoy being petted,

I'm holding a Jacobin pigeon named
Lady Gaga. FYI they don't enjoy
being held any more than they
enjoy being petted.

Ate entirely too much.

French toast biscuit from Hunny Bunny Biscuit Co.

Visited the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

And shopped

Until we dropped.

It was a terrific 60th birthday celebration, and for that, I am truly thankful!

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