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!

Back to Work

The first weekday after a trip is always so busy. All I wanted to do was write, but there was so much I had to do to get our household running again. And I had a private project that I didn’t want to put off.

So this morning involved working in my garden, and ripping out one of my cucumber plants. The other one is living on borrowed time, but I’ve got to say we have harvested a LOT of cucumbers this year and since I’ve already replanted I know there will be more. My okra forest is just about as tall as me now.

Then I drove up to Hobby Lobby and from thence to Aldi, where I bought enough food to keep us going until Friday. In the afternoon, I had to get some stuff ready to mail and then go to the bank and post office and Walmart. Running that many errands in one day is not my favorite thing, and it means I didn’t get much writing done—but it also means that maybe I’ll have some concentrated writing time tomorrow.

My poor husband is facing a difficult few weeks at work as they prepare for the new school year—whatever that will end up looking like. Regardless, he has more work to do than his reduced staff is able to handle. Some things may be left undone.

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!

Busy Weekend

While I was too busy to write, the summer solstice passed. I got to see at least a little of it on the live feed at Stonehenge. Sometimes I love technology!

Saturday morning I took off to visit a friend who had offered me some produce from her garden. She had moved from where she used to live so I was very grateful to have GPS to guide me. I’m sure I never would have found her rural property on a map!

She is also grieving the very recent loss of her mother, so we visited and caught up for a while. And I brought home a box full of garden goodness!

I stopped at Hobby Lobby on the way to pick up a few last supplies for my current art project. I had hoped to finish it over the weekend but that was kind of a hilarious miscalculation.

Lina arrived Saturday afternoon, and she and Jasper took their dad up to the fancy snow cone place for a Father’s Day treat. A little later we met up with Spencer and Jade at Brigitta’s Hungarian Restaurant for an early Father’s Day dinner (Brigitta’s isn’t open on Sundays).  The food there is so good and Mike and Brigitta are so kind and friendly. I had the cabbage lasagna and it was delicious and keto-friendly.

Back at the house we had a couple of Father’s Day gifts for Walter before Spencer and Jade left.

Sunday morning Jasper was gone before we got up as he has started helping on the tech team at church now. I made a nice breakfast for Walter and Lina and me. I like to have a nice breakfast on Sundays because it’s my only breakfast of the week.

After church I had a couple of things to get at Walmart before I could come home and have my much-needed Sunday afternoon nap. Lina made my birthday cake while I worked on the rest of the food for my birthday dinner. My actual birthday isn’t until Wednesday, but we celebrated on Sunday since Lina was in town.

This year I deviated from our family’s classic birthday dinner choices and went with seafood. We made grilled salmon, garlic shrimp scampi, garlic parmesan Brussels sprouts (yum!) and Greek salad. I had already made homemade ice cream to go with the cake. And I made a little keto mug cake for myself since I couldn’t eat the other one.

Every speck of seafood and Brussels sprouts was eaten! The meal was a huge splurge for us because seafood is so much more expensive than chicken, which is what we most commonly eat.

After the dinner we had a family Zoom call with the most attendees we’ve had in quite a while. Paisley put on quite a show for us until she got tired and cranky.

This morning I wrote a flurry of notes before inspecting my garden and confirming my suspicions that we’ve been invaded by powdery mildew. Tomorrow’s project is dealing with that. At least we had some glorious rain today and are expecting more tomorrow.

I also spent some time organizing my new jewelry box, a birthday gift from several of the kids. I don’t have anything of value (except sentimental) but it has been squirreled away in various little boxes and plastic containers, which means I often forget what I have!

For supper tonight I cooked the spaghetti squash my friend Cheryl gave me on Saturday. Jasper had never had spaghetti squash and was very skeptical—although also fascinated by it. I was glad to have the option since it is gluten free! And I heard no complaints once he had doused it in sauce and cheese. My husband also liked it.

And finally, I have started a new knitting project. After knitting several rows—and several thousand stitches in the round, I realized that despite my best efforts to avoid this calamity, my stitches were twisted. Meaning that I was knitting a moebius strip instead of a flat border. So guess who had to pull it all out and start over?,

Mail & A Birthday Tea

I thought I’d give you an update on my note-writing initiative. I am continuing to write at least one note every weekday. And a wonderful bonus that I honestly didn’t expect is that some of the recipients have written back! It is so delightful to get a real letter in the mail.

Today I had my friend Robin over to celebrate her birthday, which was on Saturday. I made us a couple of keto mug cakes to have with our tea. I very rarely make keto “goodies” so it was a big treat for both of us—and quite tasty too. It was so good to take some time out just to spend time with a friend.

This evening I had to make an emergency run to Walmart for milk, and it’s a good thing I went when I did, because while there I heard something I have never heard in a Walmart before—a voice announcing that the store would be closing in 30 minutes. I had totally forgotten that they are no longer open 24 hours a day. I wonder if anything will ever be open 24 hours again . . .

Shopping & Socializing

I didn’t have any time to work on masks at all for most of the day. This morning I did my “big” shopping at Aldi. We have another birthday dinner this weekend so I had to make sure to be ready. And when I got home I had sourdough pizza dough to make too.

I did have a moment of amusement in Aldi though. The lady behind me in line at the checkout preempted the cashier’s spiel by beating him to it. “Hello, welcome to Aldi,” she said. “How are you doing? Did you find everything you needed?” The cashier didn’t know what to say!

After lunch my friend Darlene came over for tea. We haven’t seen each other for months and months. She brought me a Christmas present and a birthday present! So as usual when we get together, I ended up just about talking her ears off. I think I must have a backlog of words inside me after all this isolation.

By the time Darlene left, it was too late to take Lucy to the post office as I had planned to do. So instead I went to Walmart in hopes of getting the rest of the supplies I need for tomorrow’s dinner. Walmart did not have two of the things I needed, so I came home and did some online searching. I found one thing at Kroger and another at Albertsons, so I drove up to the other side of town and went to those stores. I don’t often need to go to four separate grocery stores just to get the ingredients for one meal!

Since I was running all over town, Lucy made the pizza and served supper. It wasn’t until this evening that I finally could start working on masks again. I’ve made a good start on four more and hopefully should have them done by midday tomorrow. Except that I’ve got a LOT of cooking to do too!

Excited about seeing some out-of-town kids tomorrow . . .

When She Got There, the Cupboard was Bare

This morning I had to run a quick errand anyway, so I thought I’d swing by Walmart and see if there were any cool nerdy fat quarters that I could use to make masks in the future, should the need arise.

It had been awhile since I had ventured to the pitiful remains of the fabric department at Walmart, but I did remember a fairly bountiful selection of prepackaged fat quarters. Not anymore. There were no fat quarters, nerdy or otherwise. So I thought maybe I should get a little elastic, also for future use. Alas, there was no elastic of any kind or size. None. And I couldn’t even buy any online from JoAnn’s either!

I have enough fabric to last a lifetime, but I’m definitely going to be hoarding elastic for a while.

Today I’ve started going through papers and throwing away a lot of school-related stuff. So freeing!

Last night as I was cleaning up in the kitchen, I happened to notice that there were only two slices of bread left. Since I don’t eat bread, I don’t always keep track of it. It seems like we always have either too much or not enough! Fortunately I noticed in the evening so I could make sourdough bread dough and leave it to rise overnight. It baked up beautifully this morning and everyone enjoyed having it for lunch.

Since I had the sourdough out anyway, I also made sourdough biscuits for supper, to go with the roasted chicken. I am getting low on flour now . . .

And I feel I should admit that I have been defeated by squash seeds. I have planted squash seeds three times since the beginning of April, and not a single one has sprouted! So yesterday I accepted reality and bought a couple of squash plants. I only need two! They seem to be settling in pretty well. Meanwhile, some of my bean plants are already blooming!

Best part of the day? I received a package today, a Mother’s Day gift from Flynn and Tiffany. It is a photo cube covered with photos of Paisley! I love it. I need to find a place for it near my computer, because that’s where I sit the most.

Stormy Weather

Although I didn’t have a class today, I had plenty of grading to do and an online meeting to prepare for. I also went to Walmart to pick up a few things, including allergy meds because most members of this household are having a really bad allergy season.

We had a storm this morning, then lovely sunny weather. However, another storm is supposed to hit during the night. So maybe I should set an alarm that’s NOT plugged into an outlet, just in case we lose power.

I enjoyed our writers’ Zoom meeting this evening, but I have to admit I prefer seeing people in person! On the other hand, we actually had better attendance than we usually do.

Random Acts of Kindness

One thing I appreciate about our current situation as a society is how kind and helpful so many people have been, at least here in the wilds of East Texas. One example would be the homeopathic remedy my friend made to distribute for a very affordable cost.

I was on the receiving end of more unexpected kindness today. I had taken Jasper to Walmart to shop for some clothing items, and took the opportunity to buy a couple bags of soil for my container garden. The bags were very heavy and Jasper lifted them into the cart for me. However, I checked out right before he did so I headed for the car, thinking he would catch up with me by the time I needed to move those heavy bags into the trunk. Nope. I transferred a couple of lighter bags to the car, but realized I’d just have to wait until Jasper got there to move the soil.

A young Hispanic couple started walking past me with their cart full of groceries, and the husband stopped and asked me if I needed help. “Oh no,” I said. “I’m just waiting for my son to come lift these bags for me.”

“No problem,” he said. “I can do it.” He stepped forward and easily lifted the bags into the car for me. I was touched. There was no reason in the world for him to help me, but he did. I know there are a lot of terrible people in the world, but there are also so many good people too.

Today I had a Zoom session with the blond brothers. Next week is the end of the semester for them and I know I will miss them even while enjoying my increased freedom.

I had another chilly walk this evening and enjoyed it, knowing the weather is supposed to start warming up tomorrow.

Adventures in Walmart

So . . . ahem . . . I seem to have forgotten to post yesterday’s entry until about 30 seconds ago. Sorry about that.

I was out the door early this morning to be at our nearby Walmart when it opened. I think I was able to get everything on my list, including the last ham in the store and finally, a large bag of rice. Although I don’t eat rice myself anymore, my family loves it and I hated to think of running out. Many people in the store were wearing masks. Everyone I encountered was so friendly and polite.

Today was another day of work without any teaching, so I was able to get a lot of grading done. There is still plenty left! And of course I went out to check on my garden a few times, and to top off the water in my ollas. I now have 21 asparagus shoots, some of which are nearly a foot tall already. I am still waiting for my last few seeds to arrive and am so impatient to get everything planted. I do have a few lettuce sprouts coming up, and also some of my New Zealand spinach.

Lucy made Denny’s pancakes for supper. You may remember that she was a chef at Denny’s for the summer three years ago. She and Tanner are still doing their classes online.

Jasper and I went out to look at the super moon as it was rising this evening. I do love the moon so much and wish we could see it better as it rises. There are so many trees in our neighborhood that we can’t get a clear view of the moon until it is quite high in the sky.