On Being Displaced

Being displaced sucks.

Sure, I focus on the good things.  Living in the Residence Inn Marriot was fun, with halls to walk when it was cold outside, a mini gym, a saltwater pool and a hot tub.  Who doesn’t love a breakfast buffet laid out for you everyday, and the three times a week dinner brought in by local restaurants.   My physical activity offset my inability to control my meals, and I am sure my nutritionist was frustrated by my lack of responsiveness.

We were finally found a rental in Slippery Rock, Pa.  A college town.  A college rental, empty of students till the start of the next semester.  Or landlord, desperate for anybody to pay rent for a few short months, gave us a lease after requiring a hefty pet deposit and insurance against pet damage, also welcomed our Boston Terrier and two cats.  We are within walking distance of every restaurant the town has to offer.

The cats cause stress.  The cats were pretty good at my daughter’s home.  Some minor scratching my daughter assured me she could handle.  The last two days at the hotel the cats poked holes in the leatheret dining chairs.  To the cats’ delight, the rental furniture provided at the house include the same type of  dining chairs.  Now I wonder, how many of these chairs will I end up buying.

Most of our furniture survived.  We were able to get one cat-stand out of storage, nicely cleaned and oderfree.   The scratching posts are packed away someplace.  The cats favorite chair is in storage.  Fortunately, Brutus has his bed.

We have begun replacing the stuff destroyed in the fire.  But every day presents a new challenge.  Every day we have to  compromise  in how we do things, because our stuff is in storage.  The meat thermometer is in storage, but I remember cooking by knowing the weight of a meat and estimating the time for appropriate doneness.  Bless the Red Cross for providing us with blankets, because all our extra blankets are in storage.  I have very warm thoughts for the Red Cross while snuggling under my blanket.

We camp.  We have had many moves.  We know how to make do.  But it is so nice, to be in your own home, with your own stuff, doing things the way you like, without worry about how it affects others.




Driving Enhancement

While running errands with Hubby, driving from place to place, we realized our little Honda Matrix has an unadvertised feature.  Here is the conversation that revealed this feature:

Me: That was a rolling stop (though a stop sign).

Hubby:  Who knew we had the audible breaking enhancement. 

Me:  Other drivers have the audible breaking enhancement, if your window is rolled down.

Sometimes we think we are funny.



High school went past in a blur,

Dances, games, breakups, reunions,

You with a mass of curly dark hair,

Shaved by the Marine Corps,

Returned to me trained and muscled,

The father of my children,

My main cheerleader, my support,

In a blink children grown, grandchildren,

Golden years more like silver,

As we began, one to one.

Me and My Fitness Tracker

It was a shock to learn just how out of shape I was, after all, I could do everything I needed to do without aches, pains, nor shortness of breath.

I was on a diet, and not losing weigh, when I  ran across an old step counter and clamped it at my  waistline.   Even with a neighborhood walk with the dog, my steps were embarrassing low.  I could not believe it.  The evidence was clear.  I barely moved.

Our lucky Boston Terrier, Brutus, got longer walks, and while I built up my endurance, I  got afternoon naps.  Slowly my average step count climbed:  1000, 2000, 3000, to 4000 plus.

For Christmas,  I got a fitness trackerand my steps have increased to 6000 plus steps.  I have a ways to go to reach 10,000 steps.  Frigid weather might thwart my progress at another time, but not at this time.   I am possessed by purpose.

I need to keep walking. Living in a hotel has some advantages:  long weather protected hallways over four floors, a private gym with a variety of workout equipment, a heated saltwater pool, and a hot tub to soothe tight muscles.

Fearing going backwards when I am back in my home, I’ve already formulated a plan to walk in my basement, or a local store on days unsuitable for walking outside.  Plus, the local Y is only 10 minutes from our home.

I am already looking forward to getting back to my classes.  I am planning the purchase of hiking gear, and looking forward to hiking the parks near our home and while traveling with our RV.  I’m hoping I will have a partner for some of these activities, but if Hubby isn’t game, I will look for another partner.

I am worried about my knees holding up, but weightloss and fitness will help keep them working.

Panicked Pleas

When a parent gets a panicked call from an adult child begging for help you have a choice.

Some people don’t  believe they have any choice, but do whatever is necessary to provide aid and relief to their child.  It doesn’t matter if the child is four or forty, some parents will swoop in to save the day.

I don’t know what your experience is, but in mine, there are adult children who will use their parents as a loophole for accepting the consequences of their actions.  It doesn’t matter how often a parent bails their child out (and you can read that both literally and figuratively), there will come a time that the parent will be helpless to correct the situation.

For example, times:

  • when your child gets into a financial situation that you can’t possibly cover,
  • when an unexpected pregnancy occurs,
  • when they break their relationship,
  • when their relationship breaks because it was a bad choice to begin with,
  • when they lose their job because the car you were against from the beginning breaks down, resulting in another day of no pay,
  • drug or alcohol dependency
  • when all of these things happen at the same time.

Unfortunately,  I can’t give you any insight into the handling of these pleas for help.  I’m struggling to find a solution to this problem myself.  Each parent must come to a decision about what they are comfortable living with.

Some parents go the tough love route; the “you made your bed, now lie in it” approach.  Other parents devote not only their money, but their lives to taking care of the lives of their children, and by extension their grandchildren.

The majority of parents are struggling to find a happy medium,  that place of providing assistance where it is most needed, without taking over the responsibility for our child’s life.  That spot that protects our own emotional and financial wellbeing, while maintaining the true responsibility, and any lessons to be learned, strictly with the responsible person (your child).

It is difficult providing advice and emotional support to a child without rushing in to save them.  But hopefully, experience will teach our children those things we couldn’t teach.  Hopefully, our children will figure it out and become truly adult, because we will not be here to help forever, no matter how much we might want to be.


Follower Throwdown

Kids fight.  I fought with my siblings when I was a kid.  My children fought.  My grandchildren fight.

The internet has brought today’s children a thing to fight about that their parents and grandparents never fought about.  Followers.

At least two of the three grandchildren we stayed with have a blog or vlog (video blog).  The effort of combining their talents and working together on a vlog ended in screaming, stomping, and waving arms about.

“You’re just trying to steal my followers,”  he yelled at his sister.

“Who wants your stupid followers.  I have my own followers,”  she screamed back.

A short time later my grandson asked for Mom’s credit card number to upgrade his site with a goal of monetizing his vlog.  His plan is to become so successful vlogging that he can drop out of school and quit studying science and history.  According to the internet, a kid can drop out of school at age 14 and have several million dollars by the time he is 21 years old.

You gotta love a kid with a plan.

Mom refused to give him her credit card number.  Hopes dashed.  But why?  For only a small amount of money he would be set.  He did not believe the small fee would be recurring.   Clueless Mom didn’t understand.

Lucky there was a blogger with over a thousand followers there.  My followers gave me cred!  I am legit!  Yes, Mom is correct, you do have to pay every month.  And monetizing takes more than 45 followers.  The idea of dropping out of school to get rich blogging is strongly vetoed.  I suggested he make some money first, then talk about quitting school.  The poor kid can’t get anyone on his side.

He doesn’t know all the creative opportunities that await a young man with a high school diploma.  W doesn’t know you can get a degree in college in videograghy, or film.   He doesn’t know the thrill of using a professional camera, instead of his phone, to make video, nor the fun you can have with a green screen, not to mention the value of editing.  He doesn’t know the joys of film making, and the challenges of collaboration on a big project.

In addition, he doesn’t realize the value of science and history to such endeavors as broadcasting and film making.

He has a future ahead that he doesn’t know enough about to dream of.  What is clear, is that I’d better step up my game, before this very motivated young man steals my followers.





Back on Our Own

After a wonderful family Christmas,  Hubby and I got a reservation at a local Residence Inn to wait out the restoration of our fire damaged house.  As much as I  love my family, I also love having my own space, as do my granddaughters  who cheered to get the news that their rooms would again be only their own again.

We are thankful our daughter and her family welcomed us while we got our bearings while adjusting to our new circumstances.

Some old stuff had to be cleared out, to the benefit of the local Goodwill, to make room for our invasion.   Thank goodness for our good insurance coverage.  Never did I seriously think I would ever have to take advantage of my insurance, but I faithfully paid my premium every month for 46+ years.

We have also continuously had insurance coverage on our automobiles, all our personal belongings including a rider on valuable items, and our life.  Health insurance was affordable thanks to our employers, but there were times between jobs that we suffered the insecurity of our health being uninsured for as long as 6 months at a time.

Some people believe all this insurance is unnecessary.  Over our life together, Hubby and I have had a to dip into all but the life insurance.  I have a growing belief that the day we do cash in on our life insurance is coming, but we hope to put that day off for as long as possible.

I suppose if we were wealthy we could be self-insured, but we have never been wealthy.  We are now, thankfully, average middle-class people.  Insurance helped when we were a struggling young couple expecting a baby, or needing an unexpected minor surgery requiring a hospital stay.  As we have gotten older, medical expenses seem to be growing exponentially, even as preventive medicine has become a staple of medical care.

I have a bad feeling, we ain’t seen nothing yet.

What’s This


Roofing work ended in fire.  A mishap with a blow torch.  A quick thinking volunteer fire fighter, moonlighting on the roofing crew, sprang into action.  The hose we had put into the garage in preparation for the change in the weather three days earlier, was pulled from storage and hooked up to water.  Hubby ran to the basement to turn on the water to the tap.

At one point, they thought they had the fire out.  It flamed back up.  Meanwhile, I was on the phone with 911, giving them the address and getting police and fire to the house, and relaying messages to get out of the building.

I RAN OUT of the house, no coat, into the cold.  A neighbor loaned me a jacket.  Another brought us a pot of coffee.  The Red Cross came to our aid.  Our darling daughter has opened her home to us, our dog, and our two cats.

I guess time got away from me.   All of this happened on Monday.  Tuesday we met with the clean-up people, who took lots of picture.  Wednesday we met with the insurance adjuster.  Thursday we met with the arson inspector and the prime contractor.

The quick summary is that everything needs to be cleaned, most of the house needs to be gutted, and all this will take five or six months.  Because of this lengthy time period, we will allow the insurance company to move us into temporary housing, and allow our granddaughter back into her bedroom, but this will take a little time.

Until we are resettled, my daughter and I  will enjoy our favorite guilty pleasures (only the non flattening ones), including our two favorite soap operas General Hospital and The Walking Dead.

Note:  All Christmas gifts are fine.  I still have a little shopping.  I’m truly blessed by a wonderful family.  Merry Christmas. 

My Jolly Christmas


Christmas is here, with decoratios, presents, finery, and festivities.  What does every festive party have?  Piles of food with cakes, cookies, pies, and spiked eggnog.

The problem with all that jolly fun?  We end up rolly polly.

I’m  obsessed with food lately.  I am obsessed with desserts.  When we go out for a meal I absorb the dessert menu.  I study the pastry shelves at the grocery store.  During fellowship times, I  study the cookie and cake offerings.  Last night I drempt I ate an entire quarter of a chocolate cream pie topped with an inch of whipped cream.  Heavenly!

I log every bite of food.  My thanksgiving plate made people sad.  I admit to feeling less than jolly.  I felt left out.  I felt that way until I thought about it, an realized the holiday spirit isn’t about food.   The holiday spirit is about the people you are partying with.

It is spending time with family, and friends that make us jolly.   And pets.  Those critters that we have brought into our lives that give us unconditional love year round.

With bad knees and  a squeaky voice I will not be doing a lot of dancing with the Lord’s and Ladies,  nor singing with carolers.  I will be focused on those people that I  find myself near.  I will learn what their hopes are for the year ahead.

I will not be deterred  from my goals.  I will plan every meal.  I will log every bite.  I will go to the gym, and share a holiday walk with those I love.

I’m not just losing weight.  I am building a new lifestyle.   A lifestyle full of shared activities, even including shared meals, with the people in my life.  I’ll  be living April’s life 2.0, the new and improved version of my life.

There are still holiday traditions I enjoy.  I have more decorations around my home than in recent years.  I have sent out Christmas card.  I call family and friends.   We enjoy tree and light displays.  We watch our holiday movies, and enjoy holiday shows (The Nutcracker), and enjoy holiday music both secular and sacred.

I love watching my cat, Shadow, taking ornaments off the Christmas tree, or sitting curled in my lap in the Christmas tree glow.

Maybe my diet has opened my eyes to the true meaning of our jolly celebrations.

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