Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jam-Packed Last Few Weeks!

What have I been up to?  Here is a recap:

We left town on Friday June 8th to begin our trek to North Carolina for our combo business-vacation trip.  We spent the several days prior to our departure in the usual frenzy of preparations plus dealing with last minute vet visits and minor home equipment malfunction.  The vet visit was simply the Little Kids's annual exam/shots.  They were not overly happy about being crammed into the cat carriers; all three of them shrieked the entire way to the office.  Thankfully, it isn't that far away.  I was surprised at their weight.  I was expecting higher numbers, especially for Mr. Turkey Man Apollo.  But, they'd actually LOST a few ounces from last year.  Ares was 10.4, Apollo 9.6 and Athena 7.8.  Our vet wasn't concerned; he said they were a "perfect weight" for their size.  He also pointed out that they are likely still getting quite a bit of exercise (boy, are they).

The equipment in question was our pool pump motor. It crapped out on us so we had it replaced with a energy efficient one.  Problem was, said pump wouldn't run the water fall on its low setting.  Bottom line; it wasn't figured out by the time we left but it was by the time we got back!

We drove separate cars up to Ocala where we were staying with Mom B. for one night (and dropping Lucy off to spend the time with Grandma).  There must be something about driving our Ford Escape on I-75 to and from Ocala with both Mark and Lucy in the car as, similar to what happened last summer, the Ford was hit by a UFO.  It dropped down onto the hood (leaving a nice dent and gash in the paint), then, flew up onto the windshield cracking it and taking out one of the wipers. Obviously the most important thing is that no one was hurt.  The insurance agency was called that afternoon and we'll get the windshield replaced (for free as that is Florida law) but will have to decide what we want to do about the minor cosmetic flaws.  Since the Ford is almost 7 years old, we may elect to do nothing.  Heck, I couldn't hardly tell, anyway (funny how one's perspective changes over the years; before, I'd never be able to tolerate having a less than perfect car).

After enjoying a nice evening in Ocala, we left B&E Saturday for our drive to Pittsboro, NC.  How nice to leave one family house and arrive at another!  The drive was uneventful and we made it there in less than 10 hours.  Unfortunately my mom wasn't feeling that great when we arrived as she'd been bit by a tick was was recovering from tick disease.  Thankfully the antibiotics kicked in and she was doing much better the following day.

Over the course of the next 10 or so days, Mark met with several of his NC business clients while mom and I goofed around doing our usual mom and daughter thing of shopping, going out for lunch, drinking wine, and talking.  When the four of us were together, we played a lot of cards.  Note to self.  Don't allow Dad and Mark to be Euchre partners ever again.

Some of the other fun things we did while there were having dinner with Cailyn two nights, going to a Bulls game (they lost but it was still great to be back at the DBAP!), meeting up with Jon, Shannon and their girls for dinner that same night, and having a mini-family reunion at mom and dad's the day before Father's Day.  The family picture posted here 

was taken that afternoon by Analee.  It was her idea for all of us to coordinate with the various shades of blue.  I think the picture turned out great.  We even left a space for our  missing sisters, nephews and niece.    Unfortunately, the majority of the folks in said picture ended up with countless chigger bites.  Inexplicably, my mom and I were the only ones who didn't get one single bite; well,  I have a guess as to why; we put SO much body lotion, body sprays, hair spray, etc., on, we probably sent the chiggers screaming in the opposite direction.

Mark and I visited our rental property one morning.  In general, the place looks great although we were perplexed why the tenant took down three of the smoke detectors.  A bit of a hassle occurred later when we got a call from the property management people advising us that the tenant was locked out of the house.  Huh?  Turns out a) the guy who came to let us in was supposed to stay with us, not leave us with the key to lock up and take with us and that was the only key they had; b) Mark locked the door leading from the kitchen into the garage and c) the tenant is in the habit of leaving that unlocked and not taking her key with her.  So, she was locked out, her dog was locked in, and she wasn't very happy about it.  I'm guessing she'll not be leaving the house without a key in future.  What if the power goes off and the garage door won't open?  Anyway, the property management representative met me out in front of the DPAP to get the key.  They also told me they'd sent the tenant a letter advising her she needed to put the smoke detectors back up.

One evening we took a client of Mark's out to dinner.  His name is Terry and I've blogged about him before as he is 95% blind and surely an inspiration.  He chose a place called "The Melting Pot" which neither of us were terribly thrilled about going to because it was quite a distance and it seemed a bit hot out to eat a pot of melted cheese, but we decided the best thing to do was to humor him.  As it turned out, it was a very interesting evening.  First off, he misplaced his cigarettes and went wandering around in search of a place to buy some.  As he's fairly independent, he didn't want Mark going with him.  As the two of us sat there in the restaurant for well over 20 minutes waiting for him while eating all of the fondue he'd raved about, Mark finally decided he'd better go in search of him.  He found him in front of a nearby hotel waiting for an employee who'd agreed to go buy him the cigarettes. Now, here's the amusing thing.  Turns out the smokes were in the backseat of our car all along.  Goes to show that when a blind men tells you he left his cigarettes at home, you'd be wise to check and make sure.  Duh.

Anyway, between the time it took to drive to the restaurant, eat, and drive Terry back home, he was with us over 4 1/2 hours.  I don't think he stopped talking from the moment he got in the car until the moment he got out (and he talked another 1/2 hour when Mark went back the next day to give him his lost pack of cigarettes).  What does this mean?  He's LONELY.  And, although we were a bit tired of his chattering, it was a very small thing for us to do.

As for the restaurant, it was a big rip-off as far as I'm concerned.  The total bill was almost $150.

My mom and I met a few of my former neighbors for lunch at PF Chang's one afternoon.  This was a much better deal!  And, it was great to catch up on the old Ravenstone neighborhood gossip.  We'd driven by our old house a few days before.  It looked ok; maintained and all, but no personal touches.  Sorta sterile and lonely.  I'm really glad we got out of that neighborhood, though.  It looked even more run down than ever.  The neighbors will be coming to visit us here in Florida the first week of October.

Mark and I left NC last Tuesday morning to begin the drive back to FL.  Luckily, we had enough time to stop for two nights in Charleston and stay at our favorite place, The Vendue Inn PLUS eat at two of our favorite restaurants, Slightly North of Broad and Fulton Five.  Additionally, we FINALLY made it over to Ft. Sumter (it only took us five times in Charleston to get this done!)  We were blessed with great weather while in Charleston and thoroughly enjoyed our brief mini vacation.

Back on to Ocala last Thursday to spend another night with Mom B. and pick up Lucy.  We made it home early afternoon Friday to find that our cats were all in fine form (even if they had somewhat wrecked the place).  In addition to getting the house in order, sorting through mail, paying bills, going grocery shopping and all of that jazz, we got to deal with the lovely Tropical Storm Debby (she's just about got her butt out of Dodge but, man, what a lot of wind, rain and debris!)

Finally, yours truly had minor surgery today to remove a cyst-sac.  Yuck, I know.  But, better to do this then let it swell up again.  The procedure itself was not bad; the thinking about it was not so positive, though.  Now I'm ok if a little sore and tender but nothing that a nice stiff martini won't take care of.

So, now you are all caught up on me.

Mrs. B

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