Friday, July 29, 2011

Jigger takes a trip (vacation...part one).

I do love vacation.  I know, I know - who doesn't love vacation?  The problem is, whenever I come back I have to spend two or three days coming down from the high.  Which mostly is spent wondering how I could convince my parents to just let me live in their motor home full time.  I'm guessing that's a no-go.  Plus, I really do see the writing on the wall - eventually it might get old.  Still, I'd be willing to try.  It's just that whole pesky income thing that holds me back.  Like I actually need an income.  People say you can't win the lottery if you don't play - well, I'm here to tell you that you also can't win if you DO play.  At least in my case.

Vacation included seven people - Mom, Dad, me and the Pennsylvania crew of my brother, nephew, niece and pretend-nephew.  Plus three dogs.  And a surprise entry.  So you know the planning was extensive as we were all staying together at a campground in North Myrtle Beach.  And you know how planning sort of overwhelms you - even when you are just plain ready to roll. 

Now, what do most smart, normal, sane people do the day before they leave?  Probably wrap up the little things - last minute packing, last minute grocery shopping, getting gas for the car - stuff like that.  I say 'probably' because what we did was, well, not that. 

Instead, after a brief phone call with my mother on the Friday before the Sunday we left - we decided the best way to spend an already busy Saturday was to drive north of Raleigh to deliverance and pick up a kitten.  A brand new kitten.  Who does that? 

Well, just look - and tell me, who wouldn't?

This is Jigger.  He's a three month old Flame Tip Siamese bundle of goodness.  Here's the thing.  There is no such activity as 'driving to look at....(insert item)'.  Sure, we pretended we were just going to look at Jigger, but he had us at the first purr.  As if to say "Oh, here you are!  I've been waiting for you to bring me home!"

So we did.

We drove him back to Raleigh to my house and then my mom drove him back to Pinehurst to their house. 

Wait a minute, you say?  Weren't you just getting ready to head out on vacation?  Oh fear not - this little guy didn't know it - but he was getting ready to be introduced to the motor home in a big way.  Yes, he has spent twelve of thirteen days of his new life living in the camper with his new best friends - the collies.

And the rest of us spent these days being reminded of what it's like to have a kitten.  You forget just how high they can jump (onto every flat surface and many that aren't quite so flat).  You forget just how cute they are when they sleep (if you can get them to stop moving enough to take a nap).  You forget how curious they are (as he cuddles into an eighty pound collie with all of his two or three pounds of weight).  You forget their climbing abilities (Curtains?  Check.  Human legs?  Check.). You forget that they don't know that it's the kitten food they are supposed to eat (as he samples anything he can get his paws on - often directly from some non-guarded plate).  You forget that they have to be, well, reminded to use the kitty litter (he'd actually sign in relief being placed in the box).

And then you remember just how sweet a tiny boy can be.  And how he was just what the doctor ordered to help heal a heart that was broken recently by another cat's passing.

Clearly Jigger is bonding just fine with his new family - and totally taken with his new surroundings.   Today he will arrive at his 'real' house to spend his first significant time out of the motor home.  Now, knowing how wide open he was in that small space - I can only imagine what he'll get into with all that new space to play in.

Oh - and his name.  "Jigger" is the name that was once used for sand wedges.  Keeping up with our golf themed pet names.  Even though none of us actually plays anything more than mini-golf.

Once we had settled into our campsite, the next thing on the docket was to go pick up the Pennsylvania group from the airport.  They were slated to arrive at noon on Monday.  Because we like to keep ourselves on a tight schedule - we opted to be up and out of the motor home by nine and off to Costco before heading to the airport.  The wrinkle in that plan was Costco not opening until 10am.

The other wrinkle is that we had eaten sparingly for breakfast - knowing that Costco would be a mecca of samples.  Except they didn't have any out so by the time we got done shopping we were about to tear into a twenty pound bag of anything in the snack aisle.  New rule:  There is nothing wrong with pizza at 10:30am.

The day then turned into one of those 'hurry up and wait' episodes.  First the flight from Philly to Charlotte was delayed as they had over fueled the plane.  Really?  How'd that work out?  Not so great - the flight was then delayed further as the fuel had to be balanced.  Still, should be okay.  Back we went to the motor home to wait it out.   

We prepped for the next departure time (this was a two car operation).  And then learned the flight still hadn't left Philly.  And when it finally did - there was a pretty big question as to whether the kids would make their connector in Charlotte.  But since they were in the air we really weren't sure. 

We kind of goofed around waiting for the text saying they were on their second flight.  We kind of planned to be on the road to the airport.  We got the text.  Saying they'd missed their connector.  Back to the relaxing.

We got a note saying they were on a new flight and in their actual seats.  We prepped again.  We got a note saying there was now a mechanical problem, so they'd be delayed.  Back to relaxing.  We got a note saying they were taxi-ing out.  Back to relaxing.  That should have been 'Back to prepping' because after all of this - they arrived at the airport well before we did.  Whoopsie.

So the noon arrival was now a 3pm arrival.  But, as I always say - any flight that lands safely is a good flight.  Even if it does cut into our beach time.

Vacation was officially underway.  To be documented on a giant dry erase board to include daily schedules and meals.  This was no shoddy operation.  We had an agenda for each day of the week and we kicked ass.

The dry erase board also included chore lists for each participant.  My dad almost got away with one here - for his name didn't quite appear in the chore list.  Until it became apparent that there would be one job requiring a keen eye and cat like reflexes:

Jigger watch.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Just Axe

I love that I just gave myself a minor scare.  Totally forgot I changed up the scheme on the blog yesterday.  Then opened it today and couldn't figure out what I was looking at.  Is that a sign of aging?  Or just forgetfulness?

You can tell when I'm really lacking on things to share when I start playing with the layout instead of doing any actual writing.  Hence the new scheme. 

I guess it's a good thing that I don't have any life lessons to share this week. 

July is dragging along.  Literally dragging.  Next week is a beach week - so obviously this week seems to be taking a month to get through.  Remember I have that problem that most five-year-olds have - the one where you get excited about something, so at night you can't sleep just thinking about it.  Yeah.  I'm there again - ready for a vacation and laying in bed at night willing the days to go by faster.  If I could figure out a way to make my actual vacation days go as slow as these ones, I'd really be in business.

We're having seven people at the beach this year.  An actual crowd.  A gaggle even.  Enough people to where it will take two cars to get us anywhere.  That's how you know you're big time - when you start traveling like an entourage. 

We'll be that annoying group that takes forever to get anywhere.  You remember what that's like - remember dorm living?  And trying to get a half dozen people out the door?  And how it took at least an hour to get everyone ready to go at the exact same time.  Sure - you could offer a go-time "7pm".  Oh wait, this is college I'm referring to, so that would be more like "10pm".  And at 10pm, two out of six people would be milling about, ready to roll.  Then at ten after, another would be ready.  Then one more at quarter past.  Then one of the first two would see what the fourth was wearing and need to go back to change her outfit.  Then the fifth would be ready - who is really the fourth ready because the first ready is back changing.  The first would come out all anew but the sixth person would still be missing.  All five would crowd into her room to offer moral support at which point persons three and four would disappear to reapply something or other.  Finally number six would be done and that group would be off to find three and four.  Well, you get the picture.  By the time anyone left the dorm it was nearing eleven thirty. 

Somewhere along the line I should have learned not to be the first one to be ready.  Maybe that should be my new goal habit.

I have developed the no-need-to-be-on-time habit.  This is from years of re-conditioning by my *ahem* tardy friends.  I'm now starting to keep them in categories.  If I'm meeting someone from Category O, I know that I should be on time - or even a little early.  If I'm meeting someone from Category L, I know that it's okay to dawdle a bit as there will be an explanatory phone call within minutes of our scheduled arrival time offering details of the revised time.  I realized that arriving on time and being annoyed for the Category L's was just stupid.  Better to take my time, not stress and still arrive before them. 

We'll also be that annoying group at the restaurant who can never seem to get it together.  The group that servers want to dash from.  Because no matter how many times we're asked, "Are you ready to order?," somebody won't be.  It's the trick of the numbers again.  When you get seven people together at a table - it's almost impossible to get a quick order.  Because you're first choice will go to the wayside when you hear what everyone else is getting.  Then you'll start worrying about having food envy and hem and haw over what the heck to get.  It'll turn into a near panic where you'd almost rather not order at all just so you know you didn't mess up and order the wrong thing. 

And then the server will have to list the side choices seven times because God forbid we all listen and memorize the list of three things the first time.

My mother plays this game well - she started collecting menus from our regular haunts.  This gives us days to plan our meals.  Well done.

We'll also be the group playing miniature golf in the pouring rain.  Each year we have the World Championship of Mini Golf tournament and each year it pours in the middle.  I'm not sure why.  It could be dry as a bone all week long.  All week.  Not a spit.  Except for the hour in which we are on the course.  You'd think we'd stop.  Especially if said rain involves lightening.  I mean, there's nothing smarter than standing around in a storm with a lightening rod in your hand.  I thank you for considering us a smart bunch.  The tournament runs much like the post office - rain, sleet, snow - we will find our winner.  And it generally won't be me.  Although I do talk a good game.

We'll be the group out deep sea fishing begging our stomachs not to betray us with weakness.  Last year, we were the group that refused our mother's call for Dramamine.  Then we were the group on the boat that didn't know you could bring things along like:  a cooler of beverages, sunscreen, bait or towels.  Then we were the group who had one member turning a suspicious shade of green towards the end of our trip.  This year we'll be the group which has taken their Dramamine and brought along a basket of essentials.  Play smarter, not harder.

In the meantime - I'm just the girl sitting here wondering how to make time go a little faster.  Rumor on the streets is that my mother is doing the same thing.  And up north, my nephew is working out how to get all his dude-stuff to the beach (what with those pesky airline rules against bringing more than four ounces of anything).

In the category of things I never saw coming - we had a bit of texting between the two of us as I'll be needing to pick up some Axe for him.  As if he could go a week without smelling good.  When I asked what scent - he said "Vice.  Or whatever you (meaning me) thinks smells good". 

I'm not really sure why he's trying to pick up 40 year old ladies...but there you have it.  Something to kill time with.

Friday, July 8, 2011

This may be very random.

I'm having on of 'those' weeks.  Not all over the place - just in the blog world.  It's a week when everyday, several times a day, I think, "Man, I got nothing."  No great tales to share.  No stupendous events to babble about.  No amazing lessons to be forwarded.

Granted - the last event was the loss of our cat - and I'm fine without another one of those.  Thank you all for your kind words - I'm happy to report that the folks seems to be doing well and, rumor on the streets is...they might be on the hunt for the next member of the family. 

Oh, wait - there's a story. 

Mom accidentally hopped on Marley's Cats website.  If you're in this area, you've probably heard of them.  They are one of the many rescue groups that hock their animals on the local news station during the lunchtime report. 

Yeah, so Mom looked on the site and saw the cutest little guy just begging her to submit an application.

Now you should know that being a pet in my parent's house is very, um, un-pet-like.  It is very much like living in a furry Shangri La with full access to just about anything.  I mean, they do have limits.  I'm just not sure if anyone knows what they are. 

This means when I go camping with them and I set up my pull out bed - I start out the night with plenty of relaxing space.  Until three seconds later when I am joined by a collie.  Collies are not small dogs.  Then three more seconds later, I am joined by another collie - who, upon seeing the first collie in bed, turned a little green with jealousy.  And therefore decides just getting in the bed isn't really enough - she also has show who the better snuggler is.  Did I mention the size of these dogs?  So, I generally spend the night squished between two big furry butts.  I should also mention that my parent's motor home is not small.  Which means there is actually plenty of floor space for said dogs.  But see...who would really say 'no' to such big teddy bears.  And even if you did say 'no,' - all you'd get is a tremendous feeling of guilt when the dog looks up with these sad, pitiful, "Did you want to hear about my last life?" eyes.

Right.  You get the picture.  If you want to be reincarnated, make sure it is to come back as an animal in my parent's house.  You will have full access to beds, couches, dog beds and laps (no matter what your size).  You will be given intricately designed meals courtesy of Chef Bo - and if you aren't so hungry at meal time, you will be given many other chances throughout the day for a snack.

So back to Marley's Cats. 

My folks are a shoe in to adopt a pet, right? 


My mom got denied like a teenager in a bar.  Their reason?  That if she couldn't adopt two kittens, she couldn't have one kitten.  This may be the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life.  My mom didn't want two kittens.  She wanted one kitten.  To keep the same combo of animals that they've had for years. 

But the rescue thought that two kittens was better because then the kittens would have each other to bond with.  Hello?  Have these people ever had pets?  The whole point is that they bond with their owners.  That's what makes them pets, I believe, and not just a pack that got sidetracked from the forest. 

Isn't the whole purpose of a rescue to place animals in wonderful homes?  From the minimal details I've already given you - do you not think this is a wonderful home?  Never mind that animals in this household get to explore the world by motor home travel.  I don't know a single kitten out there that wouldn't give up bonding with another kitten in order to gain a few stamps on his Passpurrrt.

No need to start mailing kittens to us.  One will turn up eventually (unless you have a Siamese type kitten at your house that you want to send to Eden, in that case, mail away).

So Dumb.

Moving on.  You'll all be thrilled to know that I got picked up by a guy at the grocery storelast weekend.  This was after my botched gym trip - where I didn't realize they closed at 1pm.  I realized I was the only person actually working out and for a glimmer of a second thought, "Man, I'm hard core."  Moment destroyed when they asked if I wouldn't mind leaving.

Since I was starving - I went next door to Lowe's to get two things:  Milk and a Cantaloupe.  Here's why you don't go to the store after the gym.  I went through the line with a ball of fresh Mozzarella, a pre-made sandwich, salad from the salad bar, a bag of apples, a bag of bananas, Oreos and a whole watermelon.  What single girl buys a whole watermelon?  I love watermelon.  But I haven't even made a dent in that thing.  In the meantime there is watermelon juice on every surface of my kitchen because I also can't control it.

And while at Lowe's - a young chap came up to me to see if he could get to know me better.  In the grocery store.  While I was covered in sweat.  And my hair was plastered to my head.  And there may have been an odor.  Could have been flattering, but he was wearing a Dallas Cowboys shirt.  And may have been just over the legal age.  Still - I do have his email.  I just haven't used it.

I'm in my summer lull right now.  I'm in that span of time prior to vacation - where I'm all excited about vacation and it can't get here fast enough but I don't have enough stuff going on to make time fly.  I'm not really even close enough to vacation to start packing (something happened to my need to pack months ahead of time).

No, I'm not going international this year - just down to the beach for a week with most of the family.  We've already got our reservation on the Deep Sea Fishing boat so I can once again demonstrate my prowess for catching anything and everything that is under four inches long. 

This year we are chartering a boat for some privacy.  It even has a fight chair.  Which is dandy because, oh, wait - I'll probably never use it.  OR, keep checking back because maybe this year I'll have a picture of myself hold something gigantic.  And I don't mean the side of the boat while I'm in the midst of sea sickness.

So while I wait for vacation, I've been watching the days drag by.  I generally mess up my Fourth of July plans because work is so crazed the days before that I think all I'm going to want to do is lay around and recover. 

But then by the second day of recovery, I'm bored out of my mind and realizing that I never checked in with any of my friends to see what they were up to.  And if they wanted me to be up to it with them.

That being said - I did get some things done.  Vacuumed.  Cleaned the kitchen fairly thoroughly.  Bought a pile of landscape timbers from Lowe's to outline the front mulch beds.  Cleaned out the back beds and planted some flowers (okay, yeah - I know it's already July and I'm only about two months behind on that one). 

The problem with most of these projects is that I totally overestimated how long it would take to do any of them.  I do this all the time with vacuuming - it may be how I avoid it.  I think, "Oh man, I gotta vacuum, but that's going to take I better wait for a holiday weekend."  Then I get to it and it takes under twenty minutes.

Same thing with the flower beds.  Planned time...three hours.  Actual time...less than one.
Same thing with the landscape timbering.  Planned time...six hours or so.  Actual time...under two.

So that's how I ended up with way too much free time and a bit of an addiction to Words with Friends. 

And also how I ended up with just about nothing to talk about in this blog.

You're welcome.