An Unplanned Adventure

Friday is my grocery shopping day. So after working on my menus and shopping list, I got into my car to head to Aldi late this morning. Lucy and Tanner had borrowed the car yesterday, and I saw the gas tank was almost empty. Accordingly, I headed to a nearby grocery store with a gas station and filled the tank.

However, once I had done so, I couldn’t get the car to start. Now to be honest, the car has been starting kind of “rough” ever since our Tennessee-Georgia trip—but it HAS been starting. Until today in a grocery store parking lot in the blazing sun.

I texted my husband at work and he said he wouldn’t be able to get away immediately. So Lucy and Tanner drove the van over to the grocery store and the plan was to get them to help me push the car into a parking spot. Except that we couldn’t, because I couldn’t even shift the car into neutral.

I consulted my husband again, and as I’m sure you can imagine, he was thrilled. Lucy and Tanner had to drive the van back home, so my husband could ride there on his bicycle. Then all three of them came back to the grocery store. Walter had to call his mechanic friend to get instructions on how to bypass that normal gear-changing setup so he could get the car in neutral, and after that we were able to get it pushed into a regular parking spot.

What we could NOT do was get it started, even with jumper cables. Walter removed the battery and we dropped it off with his mechanic friend before even going home. And all this fun happened while he was in the middle of a major crisis at work.

After he left for his second job, I took a neighbor up on her offer to lend me her car and went to Walmart to pick up at least a few groceries, because I didn’t know when I’d have my own wheels again. Later, after supper, Walter took Lucy and Tanner with him to retrieve the car (he had to tow it behind the van).

So, the car is now back in the driveway. There were two options for what the problem is—the alternator or the battery. It’s not the alternator. I guess we’re getting a new battery. 2020 strikes again!

Wet

Well, here we are at the end of another month, with no indication that August will be any better than the months which preceded it. Yet there is still so much to be grateful for, and I remind myself of that every day.

Today my grocery-shopping trip to Aldi took place in the rain. Lots of rain. Every drop of rain in the summer here feels like a gift. Not to mention the fact that nature waters my garden for me!

The rain finally slacked off and my friend Robin came over for tea. It’s been a while since she was able to come two weeks in a row, so that was quite a treat.

I’ve been very slowly sorting and putting away some of my mom’s things that I brought back from Tennessee. It’s quite time consuming to incorporate her sewing notions into my own rather formidable stash. And of course, some things I will pass on to my daughters.

I made pizza for the men tonight. I still have to make two different pizzas, because we are trying a dairy-free diet for Jasper which means using the “fake” cheese on his pizza. He appreciates the effort, though, because otherwise he wouldn’t get pizza at all.

 

On the Road

Today is our 39th anniversary, but it doesn’t feel like it because it was a travel day. We will celebrate later!

Yesterday we spent the day with Walter’s mom and sister. Lots of games were played. We ended the day with a nice dinner and then headed back to our hotel to get some rest. We won’t be staying there again.

This morning we packed and loaded and got on the road by about 8:30. We are not the “leave before dawn” type of travelers. It was a mostly uneventful day on the road and we made good time.

Nearing home, it was close to supper time and I certainly did not want to have to cook anything, so I persuaded my husband to stop at an Indian restaurant I’d heard about. What I hadn’t heard was that it’s part of a truck stop and Greyhound station! But we had the restaurant to ourselves and the food was very good.

We stopped to pick up some food for breakfast tomorrow and still made it home shortly after 7:00. Now the car’s been unloaded and suitcases unpacked. The mail’s been gone through and I am so glad to be home! Lots of catching up to do . . .

Quote of the Day, on a billboard advertising a podiatry practice: “Soles Healed”

 

The Diaspora

It’s been a full couple of days. Sunday morning we got up early and I made breakfast before we headed off to join my dad at church. Lina met us there—but my dad did not. The five of us found a (socially distanced) pew and I texted Dad to let him know where we were. However, he never arrived.

I admit I was a little worried. Since we had gone to the early service, we had time to go back to the timeshare so Flynn could finish packing before we met everyone for lunch. We had arranged to meet at a Mexican restaurant. When we told them there were going to be 13 of us, they gave us our own room. Soon everyone was there—except my dad. I had texted and tried to call him. No answer.

By now several of us were concerned. Jon and Sheryl offered to drive over to his house and see if they could figure out what was going on. A few minutes after they left, Dad showed up. It turned out his car had broken down in the parking lot of his second church. He had actually been at his first church when we were there, but he sat in the lobby so we never saw him, because he leaves a little early in order to make it to his second church. And he hadn’t had his phone turned on. He had to bum a ride back to his house so he could drive his sister’s car to the restaurant.

So we all breathed a big sigh of relief and texted Jon and Sheryl to come back. It was a fun meal and I tried to enjoy every minute because as soon as it was over, all our kids except for Jasper left town. Spencer and Jade drove down to Atlanta to surprise a friend before continuing on to Texas today. Everybody else went to Memphis to help Mary and Jordan pack. This afternoon Lina and Mercy drove home to Texas. Flynn will be driving the U-haul truck to Colorado on Wednesday while Jordan drives his car. And Mary will stay to finish cleaning their Memphis place and to take care of some business in Nashville before following to Colorado.

Sunday evening Walter and I went over to visit with my dad for a couple of hours. This morning, though, it was all about work. The three of us and Jon and Sheryl all descended on my dad’s house to get some stuff done. Walter and Jasper worked outside. Jon and Sheryl tackled clearing out my dad’s TV room. And I ensconced myself in my mom’s chair in her sewing room and started going through box after box. So. Many. Boxes. So many random items squirreled away in random boxes with papers or sewing notions. I made some pretty good headway, but there is much, much more to do. Tomorrow will be just as busy.

We worked until about 6:00. My dad was invited out for supper, so Jon and Sheryl invited Walter and Jasper to go on a hike with them. I was not wearing suitable shoes, and I needed to go grocery shopping anyway, so I did that and then came back to our lodgings to write.

Quote of the Day:

The girl bagging my groceries in Kroger this afternoon, to the cashier: “Do you have any idea how excited I am that tomorrow’s Wednesday?”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her tomorrow’s actually Tuesday.

Parting Shot:

A book I found in my mother’s stuff today—just in case you wondered where I got my love of words from. And yes, I’m keeping it. Are you kidding me? An entire book of homophones!

In Tennessee

Wednesday we spent the entire day on the road driving the 700 miles from our Texas home to the Eastern Tennessee town where my dad lives. We are staying in a timeshare unit here thanks to the generosity of some of my dad’s friends.

Some highlights of the last couple of days:

On the road on Wednesday, we stopped for lunch at a rest stop where we were entertained by a crop duster banking and turning over our heads every couple of minutes as he worked on dusting nearby fields. And an adorable little bird who begged for food.

We stopped to drop some stuff off for Mary and Jordan at their mostly-packed up townhouse before continuing on our way.

After arriving, we had to do a late-night grocery run so we could make tea in the morning. I was surprised and thrilled to find that the nearest grocery store is open till 11:00 p.m.!

Thursday (yesterday) we took it very easy, sleeping in and recovering from the long road trip. In the afternoon, we drove down to my dad’s house to visit for a couple of hours.

On our way back to the timeshare, we stopped to buy stuff for supper and encountered my brother Jon and his wife Sheryl, who had also arrived on Wednesday, all the way from Hawaii. They are staying in a nearby timeshare, so they came over to visit in the evening and we were eventually joined by Mary and Flynn. Flynn flew into Nashville yesterday and Mary and Jordan picked him up on their way east. Lina and Mercy also arrived yesterday but we haven’t seen them yet. Flynn is staying here with us and the rest of the kids have an AirBnB in town.

As I write this, it is morning and we are getting ready to join my dad at his favorite diner for breakfast. The next two days will be very full.

What Day Is It Again?

Today felt like Saturday all day, even though I did the Friday things like go grocery shopping. However, my husband did his Saturday thing of going to his landscape job so he won’t have to go tomorrow when Lina is here. He had today off from his regular job.

Starting today, wearing masks is mandatory in many places here in Texas, which is having the desired effect of making people not want to go places, I think. Jasper and I did go to Walmart, where they have once again begun counting the customers entering and leaving the store. It was quite crowded though!

After that I took him to a sporting goods store to buy plastic BBs for his airsoft gun, and that place was a madhouse! So it’s hard to tell what’s going on, to be honest.

And it rained this afternoon! That was lovely. Rain in July is rare here, so I really appreciate it when we get it.

I did quite a lot of cooking today so that I won’t have so much to do tomorrow.

Over supper the topic of Wallace and Gromit came up, so afterward I found the DVDs and we watched “A Grand Day Out” for the first time in years. Enjoyed it!

I Seem to Have a Social Life this Week

Fridays are my grocery shopping days, which means I don’t look forward to them in quite the same way other people do. And of course grocery shopping is even less fun in a mask. And now Aldi doesn’t want you to take your own bags in the store anymore, so you have to haul your cart full of loose groceries out to your car and load everything into your trunk. (I still put it all into bags but I have to do it outdoors and today it was drizzling.)

By the time I got home and got all the food put away, it was time to put the kettle on in anticipation of my friend Robin’s visit. We sat on opposite sides of the room today due to the fact that a couple of her daughters may possibly have had some exposure to the virus.

In fact I haven’t felt well today and am really hoping I’m not coming down with something. (If it was THE virus, I think I’d know by now.) We watched the first part of The Two Towers tonight but I made another big mistake on my knitting so I’m pulling hundreds of stitches out. Apparently I’m one of those people who can’t chew gum and walk at the same time.

Juneteenth

First of all, happy Juneteenth everyone! I know it’s not widely celebrated in other states, but it’s more of a big deal here in Texas.

Today being Friday, I went grocery shopping and splurged on some half-price salmon which we will have for my birthday dinner this weekend. I also stocked up on gluten-free stuff for Jasper. I was actually quite surprised and delighted to find him some gluten-free donuts.

I worked on some art and writing projects, and made regular and gluten-free pizza for supper. I haven’t missed at all having to make two versions of various things—but of course I’m happy to do it if Jasper ends up feeling better.

Jasper ate supper early so he could go with a friend and demonstrate in support of racial equality. They went to a location where demonstrators have been gathering but no one joined them, so it was just the two of them with their signs being either cheered or insulted by the passersby.

I also got some work done in the garden and in fact I bought some worms and added them to see if they are as helpful as people say. And it looks like cucumbers are going to have to be featured in this weekend’s menus!

Humdrum Friday

Today being Friday, I went grocery shopping this morning. I noticed that quite a few items at Aldi are limited now, with signs telling you how many you can buy. Very sensible, and the shelves were relatively well stocked. They also had a guy stationed in the cart return area, sanitizing carts.

This afternoon Lucy and I ran some errands, including picking up Jasper’s new prescription at a drugstore that is not open to walk into, but you can go through a drive-through or get them to bring your prescription out to your car.

I made a fancier-than-normal supper, consisting of pork chops, cheese-stuffed zucchini boats, and fried plantains. The plantains were kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing because they had some really nice-looking plantains in Aldi this morning—and Lucy and Jasper really love them. And today when I was checking on my garden, I found my first cucumber ready to pick!

I’ve worked a little on one of the curricula I promised to publish, and am realizing it’s going to be more work than I thought to get it to where someone else can easily use it.

Parting Shot:

My new pink lilies are blooming.

An Excursion

Well, today I did something I haven’t done for weeks—darkened the door of Aldi to buy groceries. Much as I enjoy getting them delivered, sometimes I just want to see the shelves so I know what my options are. It felt weird driving up to that side of town again!

Most of the rest of the day was busy with grading and trying to track down missing papers. I am so close to being done!

I also worked in my garden for a while. Now 6 of my 8 okra plants have sprouted. They just took twice as long as predicted. And no sign of squash. I also received my final mint plant in the mail today. My mint pot now has four varieties: peppermint, spearmint, sweet mint, and chocolate mint. I have been picking enough leaves to have a cup of fresh mint tea almost every day.

One of the things I picked up at Aldi was a kit to make funnel cakes to celebrate the end of exams for Lucy and Tanner. Lucy made them for dessert after supper and they turned out pretty well: