Weekend For The Dog

Remember when weekends used to be about driving your kid to sports and/or watching them do sports. Your whole weekend revolves around who was taking her and who was picking her up and how long she might be cleaning a horse, or tack, or both.

When your kid is gone you don’t change your weekends to be just what you want to do, that would be totally out of character. Instead you just shift your focus from your kid to your dog.

Now our dog is not a sporty girl. She will take a three mile walk, if that is what she feels like, but mostly she is a “I want to go places and been seen” kind of girl. So going in the car is her favorite weekend activity.

Yesterday, Russ and I had to go to Greensboro to buy 21 large shrubs to put in our scorched earth part of our yard. My Dad is helping me with this project and he dropped off a tractor and a number of large implements this week’s so I knew I had to get to sourcing these plants.

Shay was insistent on going on the trip. She rode in Russ’ lap while he drove all the way there. She wasn’t much interested in the various types of hollies or Laurels, but she did like getting there. She was just thankful they are going to be delivered and we didn’t dare think to put something in the car that might disturb her.

Today, when Russ mentioned to Shay that we were going to drive the Morris Minor downtown she ran to the garage door so she could get a good seat.

Once again she had to sit on Russ’ lap, on the left hand side of the car, but since it is a right hand drive she did disturb the driver. Shay loves the Morris because, with no air conditioning, she gets to hand her head out the window.

Russ needed to go to Bulldega so Shay and I stayed in the car waiting for him. The only thing she does not like about the Morris is people walking by always comment about what a cute car it is and never say what a cute dog she is. Her hurt feelings were quickly forgotten when Russ got back in the car. Getting to hang her head out the window two days in a row makes for a very good weekend for her. I am just thankful she doesn’t play a weekend sport.

College Cuisine

Last semester Carter had to eat in the college dining hall which was a real bummer for her. She had to cook when she was in Berlin and liked the need to explore the city that food shopping gave her. For her living space this year her number one desire was a full kitchen so she would not have to be on the meal plan. Thanks to her roommate having a good lottery number Carter got her wish.

Carter swore to me she was going cook most of her meals so I gladly outfitted her kitchen with good equipment. Yesterday she called me before she was going to food shopping at the Boston public market to discus what cut of meat she needed to make a roast. She and Olivia we craving beef.

A roast? This was not regular college cuisine. Carter had never made a roast before and I can’t remember her helping me make one at home. I talked her through the steps and encouraged her to make friends with her butcher and quiz them.

Not only did she get a nice piece of beef, but also some beautiful scallops. It is Boston after all and the seafood is plentiful. After the proteins were sourced she visited the green grocer for the veg. The fact that she was doing vegetables made my heart happy.

I just got a text from Carter showing me her finished roast. Wow! It looked perfect. She told me it was enough for her whole week. The idea that she has embraced leftovers is a big move since she would rarely eat leftovers at home.

Tonight was a surf and turf dinner. She cooked up a few scallops and added them to the beef and vegetable and sent me picture of her yummy dinner. This is way better than ramen or pizza. She told me that it tasted delicious. This is a college skill that will serve her all her life. Good Job Carter.

Melania Wrote Russ

Since I am the one who gets the mail at our house, I was the one who first saw the envelope with the return address of just her name, Melania Trump, endorsed largely across the top left hand corner of the envelope.

Since it is a federal offense to open someone else’s mail, I did not. I just got to imagining what she could have been writing to my husband…

Please Russ, save me from my life trapped here with this orange thing…

No, that was probably not it. Too familiar a greeting.

Dear Russ, you have been recommend to me as an expert in strategy. I need a plan…

No, she would not spell it out in a letter. Even she would know to send word to Russ through a third party.

Dear Russell, As your birthday is coming up in three days I would like to wish you a happy birthday and personally apologize for everything that happens in my house.

No, she would have way too many letters to write if she were personally apologizing to each American on their birthday.

Finally Russ got home. I told him about the envelope.

“Just burn it,” Russ said.

“No, let’s open it.” I responded.

Dear Russell, decisions made by the President impact countless lives across our nation, and throughout the world…

Immediately I knew what it was… a letter originally written by Michelle Obama that Melania found in her desk in the residence and so she copied it and sent it to the list Michelle had attached to it. That is the only explanation why she would dare think to write Russ and ask him for money for her husband’s re-election.

Historic Mess

As luck would have it the only thing on my calendar today that I could not change was a hair cut. This meant I was free to spend almost the whole day glued to one of the many TVs in my house all tuned to the the only thing on TV, the Kavanaugh nomination hearings.

As Russ was getting ready to leave for work he asked me what I was going to do while I watched. “I am going to deep clean the kitchen and scrub all the wood cabinets,” I responded.

“You really should paint something,” he said.


“Because that is what we did when we watched the Thomas/Hill hearings.”

I watched Dr. Ford with great intent as I squeezed out my rag of hot water and Murphy’s Oil soap. I felt she was more than credible. Her desire to get the FBI to do a more complete investigation even if it turned up exculpatory evidence, a word she did not know before today, was key. I was happy that people were mostly civil to her while she was there.

I scrubbed my stove with a tooth brush as I watch Judge Kavanaugh weep during his opening remarks. When he talked about his habit of keeping his calendar based on his father’s habit that started in 1978 for keeping a calendar, that acted as a diary, I kept waiting for him to give us the reason his father started doing that on such a specific year. Had his father been audited by the IRS before that and wish he had a calendar as proof of something? Why was Judge Kavanaugh so emotional about that calendar habit?

The best thing Kavanaugh said was that his ten year old daughter thought they should pray for Dr. Ford. That deserved weeping.

I felt sorry for the Judge for the loss of his reputation, but I feel that his continued fight against any Senator who suggested that if Kavanaugh asked for the FBI to do a through investigation he could lift the cloud of doubt that hung over him. But he didn’t. He stuck to his guns that the hearing was the investigation and that if he said he didn’t do it, that should suffice.

It didn’t for me. She was calm and willing to try and get to the truth. He was mad, and at one point rather than answering Senator Klobuhar’s question about drinking he just turned the question around on her and asked about her drinking. She was not the one being questioned and it showed a level of disrespect for a female Senator. Someone handed him a piece of paper right then and it probably told him he was being an ass. After a break he came back and apologized to Klobuhar. It was too late. His true stripes had been shown.

Lord knows what is going to happen tomorrow. I did my part to rid my life of the dirt around me, but I wish I could have been cleaning up politics instead.

Can I Drive A Truck?

I was at a meeting today at the Food Bank. One of the things we were talking about is how the Food Bank is dealing with the disaster relief from the hurricane. 22 of the 34 counties we serve have been declared federal disaster sites. This helps them get some relief, but also means that our Food Bank is going to have more need for many more months. I don’t remember the actual numbers, but after hurricane Floyd it was years, not months that the Food Bank was helping people affected.

Thankfully we have been able to secure warehouses in both Wilmington and New Bern to house and distribute extra food needed for the counties around them. The big issue is paying for it and trying to get the food there.

With the record employment numbers truck drivers are extra hard to come by right now. They are so busy delivering Amazon and Hello Fresh. Peter, the President of the Food Bank, told me he desperately needs more Class A and Class B truck drivers, but can’t find them. He told me of one man from Lexington, Kentucky drove to Raliegh to volunteer as a driver since he was a retired UPS driver. That kind of selflessness is so appreciated, if only he could stay more than a week.

I looked at Peter and said, “I have time, how hard is it to get a Class A license?” He responded by saying, “If you know of anyone who has one and can volunteer or wants a job.” He didn’t take me seriously about my learning to drive a truck.

So I came home and did my research. No wonder he snickered. It cost between $3,000-$7,000 and takes about four weeks to learn to drive a truck. Not worth it for me to do it. So now I am just going to spread the word that the Food Bank is looking for drivers. If you have a cousin who is retired, or you drove a truck in the Army. Whatever. We need help moving food to the ravaged areas.

Our current drivers have been working non-stop. Usually a driver on a Saturday might make four deliveries. This past Saturday they made 25, then turned around and worked on Sunday.

There have been lots of kind people coming out to volunteer to pack food at the Food Bank. Volunteers are vital to keep things moving. If you are interested in helping, the Food Bank is going to need amped up volunteers for at least a whole year. So don’t feel bad if you haven’t done anything for hurricane relief yet. There is time, and need, so much need.

Netflix Helpdesk

My Dad called today. He had signed up for Netflix but had an unsatisfactory talk with a customer service Rep about how to find the shows he was interested in. So he called me to be his personal Netflix consierge.

At first I was worried I was going to have to try and figure out how he could watch it on his TV. Thankfully he was trying to watch on his computer since he does not have a smart TV. So over the regular phone we began the conversation about how to find shows.

He was looking for British Comedies and really wanted to see To the Manor Born. Sadly it is not one offered on regular Netflix, but he could purchase it for some ridiculous price. I encouraged him to keep looking and just watch what came on his regular subscription.

“How do I know what they have?” He asked me.

Since I was looking at Netflix on my TV and he was looking at his on his computer I decided that we needed to FaceTime so I could help him with what he could see. So now I went from just trying to teach him about Netflix to teaching him about FaceTime video and Netflix.

After a few false tries we finally connected via video. The trouble came in my getting him to hold the phone up to his computer screen in such a way that I could see it.

“Move the phone to the right… no to the left, now back it up a little so I can see a wider amount all at once.”

I had to show him what the search magnifying glass was and had him type in the names of a few shows I knew were on Netflix. Eventually he was able to create a list of four shows as start of “My List.” It will give him something to begin watching and hopefully the algorithm will give him suggestions he likes.

He did quite well, but I found the whole thing funny since I had just come home from church where our communications director was teaching me how to set up a Google Group for a committee I am chairing. It was not as intuitive as I wished it could be and it took a little while for the two of us to get it going. After an hour I told her I was tiring of this subject and no longer could pay attention.

I am so thankful my father did not need help with a Google Group. I was able to be his Netflix help desk, but that is about as far as I am able to do, at least over FaceTime. Please lord, let Netflix put To the Manor Born in their line up, I think there are so many episodes of it they could keep him busy for a year.

Woo Hoo Carter

When Carter started her college search high on the list was a school where Greek life was unimportant. Although I had always sung my Pi Phi praises and Carter knew many of my sisters as still my closest friends, she wasn’t interested. So she chose Northeastern for it’s abroad and Co-op programs and the fact that it was in Boston.

After her first semester in Berlin she arrived in Boston in January to a very cold semester. She joined some organizations and had her fabulous roommate Olivia, but something was missing. She decided she wanted to rush this fall just to see what the sororities were like and meet new people.

Rush at Northeastern is not like Rush at a big southern University, but still, to a mother the cutting of girls after each party can be heart breaking. Since I was Membership chairman two years at my sorority I know what a numbers game the whole thing is, and we didn’t have computerized matching back then.

Last weekend Carter went to all nine houses the first day, she got invited back to the maximum number of six the second day. The thought of my introverted daughter going to nine parties and talking to that many people in a short period of time made me sweat. She reported liking them all and thinking she really wanted to join one. She had one house as her top choice last weekend.

This weekend she was invited back to four, the most she could go to on Saturday and her mind changed completely. She called me and was very emotional that she really liked a different one and was now confused. All good, I told her. You probably will like more than one and be happy at any of them.

Sunday was Pref day and she was invited back to two, the maximum, but it was her first and fourth choice. She had been cut by the one that was her early favorite. She more than ever wanted her first choice and was not sure she even wanted to join her fourth at all. I didn’t want to remind her that she didn’t want to join a sorority at all when she was looking at colleges.

I waited patiently all day for the time she would go and see if she were invited to join any sorority, but more importantly, the one she really, really wanted. At 5:30 I got a text, it was a card from her top choice, Tri Sigma.

Deep breath from this Mama. I am certain she is going to enjoy it and develop some life long friendships, just like I did with my Pi Beta Phi sisters at Dickinson.

Congratulations Carter. I guess I need to find some Purple and Pearl clothing for you for your birthday. Now don’t forget to keep studying too.

The Food Bank is The Emergency Feeding Plan

Most of you know my nineteen year affiliation with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. I really got to learn the workings of our Food Bank early on when hurricane’s Fran and Floyd did major damage in our state. Because back then so many people were displaced for so long the team at the Food Bank became experts on helping provide food to people who never before needed help for a very long time.

When Katrina hit the gulf coast it was the team from the Food Bank of CENC who were called into the Gulf to train their Food Banks how to manage feeding in these conditions.

The Food Bank is a non-profit agency, not a government one, but it is the Food Bank that the government depends on to manage and feed people in need. Government feeding programs like TEFAP, which stands for The Emergency Food Assistance Program are government funded programs but the food is distributed through the Food Bank. The government has no other way to directly supply food or feed people in need.

During this disaster called Florence many agencies, like the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Baptist Men come in and set up feeding sites where people are being housed while they are flooded out. The Food Bank of CENC works with over 860 different local agencies to get food out to the people who need it.

What we know is that after the flood waters recede and the shelters close people have to go back to their ruined homes and try and rebuild. It takes years. Most don’t have flood insurance. Most need help with basics, the most basic of which is to have food daily.

This disaster is one that will impact the work of the Food Bank for years.

There is no more dedicated staff than those men and women at the Food Bank. Thankfully we now have a new headquarters in Raliegh where we can handle double the numbers of volunteers, who keep coming to help pack food to be sent to our branches in Wilmington and New Bern. But those branches are small and already were working to capacity before the disaster with just regular help to those who are food insecure.

If you have been blessed by not having any damage during the storm and want to find a way to help people in hurricane damaged areas, please consider a gift to the Food Bank or CENC. It is a professionally run organization with the infrastructure and experience to best put your money to work. Every dollar donated to the food Bank of CENC is turned into 5 meals. It is so much better for you to donate money and let the Food Bank leverage that into more and the kind of food needed in these devastated areas.

Don’t think for a minute that the government has an emergency feeding agency. They rely on the Food Bank to be their agency. As Florence begins to disappear from the news, the Food Bank will quietly be there for the long haul. They need all our help.

Visit www.foodbankofcenc.org to make a donation, or call me if you would like to talk about how you can make a significant gift.

I Can Fix It Myself

How many times did I hear that when Carter was a toddler. It was the joy of being independent! I can’t imagine where she got it from.

We were lucky here in Durham that hurricane Florence did not get us too badly. I do know people who still had their basement flood, or lost big trees, but compared to down east where the flooding is still engulfing whole communities, we are nothing.

At our house part of the driveway apron washed away and then there is the roof leak that is causing me to redo five ceilings. There are some jobs I don’t try and do myself, like anything electrical or major plumbing work, although I am great at unclogging things.

While Russ has been inundated with work I decided that I could go ahead and fix some of the hurricane related issues at our house. Why should I use a professional when they are so needed by others?

Today I went to Home Depot and got high impact cement and large pond stones and I cemented the side of the driveway apron that got washed away and covered it the stones to make it look pretty.

Then on the inside of the house I had a section of the ceiling cut out by my painters after it had gotten too water logged and started to mold from the roof leak. The painters left a giant fan to help dry out the floor joists in the attic before we move forward. After they were dry I wanted to stop the air conditioning from all going up in the attic. Since quilting is my newest skill I quilted a new floor for the attic. Just like toddler Carter, “I can fix it myself.”

Movie Pass Sucks

via Movie Pass Sucks

Movie Pass Sucks

When Movie Pass first came out it seemed too good to be true. Pay $9.95 a month and you can go to see a movie everyday for free. That was too good. They were banking on people not going everyday. Like me. I only went once or twice a month.

Then they changed their plan, and the new plan was still fine with me, three movies a month. That was still was a savings. So I kept the service. Until today.

I was going to the movies with my friends Lynn and ELizabeth. It was the first time Lynn has been out of the house that was not the hospital so we were excited. I got to the theatre that is one Movie Pass services. I tried to check in for our movie, A Simple Favor, and the Movie Pass app said it was not showing at that theatre. Sorry app, you are wrong. I tried to do the chat on the app to get Movie Pass to approve my movie, but the Chat kept crashing.

As I was holding up the line and could not get anything to work I bought a ticket. I sent an email picture of my ticket and explanation to the Movie Pass email and they said, “No Dice.”

Well Movie Pass, “No Dice to you.” I canceled my subscription. When your site does not work in the two ways they have for me to use the service I have paid for you are cheating and stealing.

So Mitch Lowe, CEO of Movie Pass, good luck getting another job, you have failed miserably at Movie Pass.

Oh, the movie was great.

No Joking

When are old men going to learn to stop joking about sexual assault? Today we hit a new all time low when South Carolina Republican Representative Ralph Norman, who is running for re-election, opened a debate with his Democratic rival with very bad joke.

Did, ya’ll hear this late test late-breaking news from the Kavanaugh hearings? Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out that she was groped by Abraham Lincoln.”

Wow! Ageism and sexism in two little sentences. Not only is it never a good idea to joke about sexual assault, but to use a national treasure such as Justice Ginsburg is a new low and to open a debate with that… tone deaf is not even close enough to describe this guy.

I am wondering if RBG has a case against this guy? Certainly Abraham Lincoln might. It is time for him to rise from the dead and shake some sense into this guy and anyone who laughed at the joke, even nervously.

If we don’t stand up to people when they say stupid things how will they learn? Of course this “old boy network” who not just joke about sexual assault, but turn a blinds eye to it, need to get their butts kicked out of their roles in power.

It has happened in Hollywood and media circles and now it needs to happen in government. Just because we have a President who was recorded saying he can grab women and still was elected is no reason to ever let that happen again.

If you are a woman, have a mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, wife or girl friend and want them to know we are a nation that cares about their protection don’t vote for anyone, of any party, who does not take this issue seriously.

I Am Mean

My father, who has known me my entire life, says that I am, “one of the toughest people he knows.” Sometimes he says I am one of the “meanest people he knows.” He is not wrong. When I worked with him I was a lot meaner. I was tough on everyone.

As I have had aged, had less professional responsibility and fewer hormones I have softened, just a little. People who get to know me superficially have no idea how mean I can be. They probably never will because I have no reason to be tough on them. My normal default is funny, which might mask meanness. So to some people I appear to just be fun loving. I think I need some sort of sign warning people, “I may appear to be all laughs, but don’t test me.”

Today, someone who does not really know me said something inappropriate to me in public and my natural tough demeanor shot right back at her. I used a bad word, which was unfortunate and I am sorry for that, because I think it took away from my making the point that what she said was inappropriate and out of place.

Earlier in life I hardly put up with anything without corrective action, but as I have aged my fuse has gotten longer. If the explosion is bigger now it might be because it usually includes past sins and not just the current issue.

I wish I was not so mean and so blunt. On the other hand, sometimes people need to be told when they are out of place. At least those who witnessed my reaction know I am mean.

Asian Cucumbers

Making an asian slaw with chicken for Mah Jongg Lunch tomorrow. To spice it up I am adding these cucumbers to the mix. They will marinate overnight so might be a little pickled by lunch.

1 English cucumber sliced as thinly as you can

1/3 c. Rice wine vinegar

2 T. Soy sauce

1 T. Lime juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 inch of ginger, grated

2 T. Sugar

1/2 t. Sesame oil

Ground black pepper

Red pepper flakes

Mix everything together except the cucumber and them pour it over the cucumber in as small a container as will hold it all. Mix well, cove and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to over night.

Friends With Drones

Last year we got a new roof on the old section of our house. The roofers who had put the roof on the addition twenty two years ago came back and said their original work was still good and we only needed the front. So we let them replace the old roof with a new one. The old roof had not had a leak, but I didn’t want to wait for that reason to replace it.

Fast forward and a couple of months ago I noticed a wrinkle in the kitchen ceiling. Then some paint in the guest bathroom ceiling peeling. Then one day in the upstairs hall I heard dripping. I called the roofers. They came out and found a torn shingle and said that was it.

No…a week later it rained outside and so it rained inside. They came back. Three nail pops, That was it. No… more rain, another lose shingle. Russ and I kept saying it was something in the valley based on the attic evidence. Not where they looked.

So now we have the hurricane rain. Of course all weekend when the roofers are closed the water poured in five different rooms. Came back out this morning. When I showed the guys the wet rafters their response was, “Shit.” I’d say so. They couldn’t figure out it out because it was raining too much to climb on the roof.

They came back during the break in the rain and finally found a hole right where we said it was. New membrane. Please god, let this be the answer.

I wanted to get a good look at the roof, but did not want to go on the roof. I put a call out on Facebook for someone local with a drone. I had four volunteers right away. My friend Laurie called and said her husband Bryan could come right over. Nothing better than a man with a toy.

Bryan expertly flew the camera wielding device up above my house and took video and photos while I scoured every shingle from his iPhone screen. I have to say the roof looked good. Hopefully the latest fix is the last fix. I changed all the towels in the five rooms where water had come in the house so I can tell if any new drips appear.

Thanks to Laurie and Bryan and all the other volunteers. Using a drone to look at your house from a bird’s eye view is so helpful. No one should ever go up a ladder to their roof unless they are professional.

I hope all your homes survived this crazy rain. There has been so much flooding and the one thing I know, water always wins.

Signature Color

I am sick of rain, but I am not complaining since it is nothing compared to those who are dealing with flooding. So as not to write about the storm for yet another day I would rather laugh about something so ridiculous that I heard the other day while playing Mah Jongg.

A friend who wishes to remain unnamed for obvious reasons told us about someone she knows who has a “signature color.” On first blush, there is nothing too absurd about that. Don’t most of us have a color we like more than all the others? But that is not what this person means when she says she has a signature color. No, this woman not only loves her signature color, and uses in it all the things she does, both personally and works wise, but she claims this color as her own, like no one else can use the color.

When my unnamed friend told us this I practically fell off my chair. It sounded like something a third grader would do, claiming that only she could wear red and no one else.

This woman’s signature color is aqua, the universal color that looks good on everyone. I am thankful I don’t live near her because I would hate to be wearing that color at a party and have her come up and tell me, “You are wearing MY signature color.”

I am certain my comeback would be something like, “B#$@*, no one owns a color.”

If people are going to start claiming things like colors we are going to have more than a few fights. Colors, sunshine, chocolate chip cookies, these all belong to us all. There is no claiming them as yours and yours alone. Signature color, get a life.

For All The Craziness

Last week the lines at the grocery store were nuts. No one in Durham could buy a battery or a gallon of water. People who could afford it were stocking up in survivalist-like ways.

I was less crazy. I did fill my freezer with bags of ice and a couple of bags of water to create ice blocks in case we lost power. But I did not stock up on food. I figured I would have to eat what was in my freezer if we lost power, so why buy canned food I may never eat. I also filled my car up with gas, but I never waited in one gas line.

Was I foolish not to do more? Turns out, so far, that Durham was spared. Granted the rain and potential flooding could still be two or three days away, but I feel like my house on the top of the hill is relatively safe.

With all the hype for so many days in advance, by today I am just over the whole Florence thing. I am actually getting really bored. So much so I cleaned the grout in my bathroom today as if it is going to be photographed for a magazine, which it is not.

Russ went to Home Depot to get something and said that if we wanted to stock up on batteries, generators, rakes, paper towels, lanterns or water they are all restocked. I passed on it all. Actually I am hoping that the people who evacuated from down east will go to Home Depot and stock up before they go home, because from the looks of things on TV it may be a huge mess back at the beach.

The real worry now is the flooding along rivers. On the news they were showing the river levels and the expected flood levels. There was one for a river in Fayetteville that had a prediction of 65 feet of water over the regular river level. Now that is a disaster, and waiting for it to happen has got to be the worst. How does someone who does not live particularly near the river know where 65 feet worth of water will go?

Then there are the trees that will fall over because the ground is too wet to hold them up. So I know that we may have dodged a bullet here in Durham, but a large swath of North Carolina has not.

My Food Bank, the Food Bank of CENC has three branches in already hard hit areas, Wilmington, New Bern and Greenville and the Sandhills Branch may also end up being bad, as well as the Raleigh Headquarters. I can tell you from past disasters the Food Bank ends up helping people affected by hurricanes for months and months after the event is over. If you want to help people in need the Food Bank is a reliable agency with infrastructure and local experts already on the ground. $1 donated is turned into five meals through the Food Bank. To donate go online to www.foodbankcenc.org.

I may be bored with Florence, but I fear that we have not yet begun to know what our state is dealing with, and by the time we do, the news will be sick of this story and will have moved on.


I don’t want to write much about the weather and jinx ourselves, so I will let these two screen shots of the hurricane map do the talking for me. I’ll just say, Durham is a great place to be, today. Of course the weather is supposed to last for a few days so if we get five days of continuous rain things can change. Just know that right now, Russ, Shay and I are all good.

Maybe the fact that Russ is home is the key. Since he has never been here for a bad weather event, be it summer or winter, perhaps just his presence makes it not so bad. He was in Boston for the last two days. Yesterday when all the other airlines were canceling their flights into RDU Delta was holding strong. Russ took the 7:30 PM flight and got in at 9:45. He said the pilots did an excellent job of feathering the plane between wind gusts. I was just happy the smart car made it home from the airport.

In true fashion Russ went to the office today. He certainly had an easy commute since no one else was out. So it has been a non-event day and I hope it will be a non-event weekend.

My friend Lynn has been in the hospital for the last couple of days and while you are praying for Florence to go away and everyone to be safe from the storm, throw a little prayer in for Lynn to feel better and come home.

I hope to all my North and South Carolina peeps that you are comfortable, dry and have power!

Florence Hurry Up and Get Over With

Growing up summering at Pawleys Island we heard lots and lots of stories about Hurricane Hazel and the folk lore of the Grey Man, who somehow warned people on the island to leave due to the storm. See, back then there was no weather technology to track storms or even know they were coming. Hell, there weren’t even phones on Pawleys. Hazel did major damage to Pawleys and is still talked about today as an Island changing event.

Then there was hurricane Hugo in 1989 which did major damage to Pawleys. For years as you drove down Route 17 you could see trees that were snapped in half at about the 12 foot height and an occasional boat stuck high in the tree a mile inland. Technology had progressed since Hazel, so people knew to evacuate back then, but so many houses we lost, including my cousins Johnny and Flo.

And now here we are with hurricane Florence, nicknamed Flo. Technology had advanced to such a degree that we have so much information days and days ahead of the actual event. When I was in Massachusetts Monday they were calling this the storm of the century for North Carolina. I have heard that before with practically every storm. Now I am not down playing the seriousness, but I am hoping for the best.

The thing that gets me is how the news hypes everyone up . “Get your storm preparedness kits ready! This includes water for three days, batteries of every type, flash lights, power chargers, food, cash, full gas tanks.” The list goes on and on.

When I went to the grocery store on Tuesday, three days before the storm really is getting slightly close to us, people were buying crazy amounts of water. What in the world. Do none of these people have containers at home they can fill up with water from the tap? For as many storms as I have endured we have never lost our city water. Why don’t they say on the news that you need water if you are on a well?

After a week of preparations I am ready for this storm to come and go. I was wishing it would not come at all, but it looks like something is coming. The coast of North Carolina is already starting to flood. Please pray the damage is not too terrible and no lives are lost.

As for me, I have Shay, Russ is coming home tonight since Delta Airlines is still flying into RDU, we have food, water, batteries and flash lights. What I, going to do with them all I don’t know. If we lose power I don’t need much light. I will just go to sleep.

So stay safe all my North and South Carolina friends. If you aren’t ready now you were under a rock some where.

My Aunt Susan

My mother is the oldest sister of three girls. Her next sister down was Susan and they were only about a year and a half apart in age. Their youngest sister is Eddie and she is much younger that my mother and Susan. Together Susan and my mother were each other’s childhood memory keeper. Being so close in age they experienced their young life in unison.

Recently Susan had not been well and it was very distressing for my mother. Today when my mom called Hank, Susan’s husband, he shockingly told my mother that Susan passed away late last night. Although she had been sick, my mother had thought she would have time to see her one more time. But Susan had fallen and broke her hip on Sunday. If you aren’t well a broken hip is almost always the beginning of the end.

I am heart broken for my mother. She still has her youngest sister Eddie, but not the one who knew what life was like in my mother’s childhood years.

Susan was a sweet Aunt. She was always kind and as far as I can remember never raised her voice. She is the sister I look most like.

When I was a kid Susan and Hank lived in Greenwich village in a garden apartment owned by their Episcopal Church. It was so fun to go and visit them and go to Azuma, a kind of hippie gift shop in the village, that was near by.

I am sending out love to my Uncle Hank and their two sons, James and Steven. And extra love to my Aunt Eddie and especially my Mom and my sisters. Both my parents have lost their younger siblings who they were so close to. I count myself lucky to have both my parents, but know it is sad for them to lose their contemporaries.

One thing that brings me comfort is knowing that my Aunt Susan, who was a faithful believer, is in heaven with her mother, my sweet Grandmother, Mima. I know they will keep watch on my mother.

Mom’s Back To School

When I was in Massachusetts earlier in the week my friends told me to stay because of the impending hurricane. I didn’t even consider not coming home, not because I want to endure another storm, but because it is the start of the fall season for things I am involved with. So tonight I had the first Garden Club meeting of the year and I also had the first Mentor/mentee game for the bridge year.

Yes, I need to get things ready around the house for the coming monster storm. I had to do some grocery shopping since Russ had eaten down the leftovers. I also needed gas for my car, but those things took a back seat to the new “school year” of meetings. For me missing the start the new year puts me off on a bad foot, so much so I will head into the storm.

So now that I am home I am praying the storm is not the storm of a century the news is touting it to be. Mostly because Shay and I are riding it out alone. As is the trend, Russ will be on a business trip to Boston and will miss the storm. He has systematically missed every snow, ice and hurricane we have ever had at our house in North Carolina. Once, when Fran hit, I was with him in Italy so we missed it together, but other than that I have been here to face the music.

I am happy that Russ is working, so going off to Boston is a good thing. I think I can handle this alone. It is Shay that will be distraught that he is gone since she doesn’t like big weather anyway.

I am not letting the hurricane get in the way of the new year. Tomorrow we have Mah Jongg, then I have a church meeting. Hurricane Shmurricane.

Life Above the Clouds

After 12 days away from home I am ready to get home. I had a perfectly lovely last day today with Stori. We went over to Gloutser, MA to look for a place for breakfast and ended up at Lobsta Land, the same place we went for dinner last year. Monday is not a good day to go out since so many places are closed.

After breakfast we went back to her house to bid some bridge hands as practice before it was time for me to head to the airport. John, her husband came up from his office and told me I should just stay since I was heading home to a big hurricane. In some ways he’s right. Why should I go into the eye of the storm, but being away for so long I am ready to just face the storm and eat with it. I say that now, let’s see if I regret this decision come Friday.

As I drove away from Stori’s It started to rain, half way to Logan airport I got a text saying my flight was delayed an hour and a half. Seems like this might be the foreshadowing of my week.

Once I got to the terminal and got settled I was watching the storm outside the window and texting with Carter about a cold she felt was coming on. On the ground things were dark, and stormy. It made the time feel later than the 5:15 it was.

We finally boarded our flight and departed from Boston. As we climbed through the clouds the cabin was dark and I could hardly needlepoint. The plane shook as we cut a path through the angry clouds. Then, after a few minutes a small ray of light cut a small stripe through the interior of the cabin. The shaking subsided and I could start to see the tops of the clouds out my little porthole of a window.

A little more attitude and we were skiing on top of the thick white clouds. The light was illuminating the whole plane. We continued to assess and soon we were high above the clouds and the sun shone as brightly as a June morning. I felt like I had awoken to a new day. The sky up here is bright blue with white, link and grey clouds carpeting the earth below us.

I feel as if it is a welcoming sunshine to go home. Like Dorothy following the yellow brick road. I have been lucky with nice weather during my whole trip until today and that was hardly bad. I am praying this hurricane Florence makes a move east and saves North Carolina from nay devastation. If only I could raise the state of North Carolina above the clouds. It is beautiful, calm and peaceful up here.

Thank God For Good Friends

Since my job as Mom was done with Carter at school I had one day of activity to fill before going home tomorrow. Thankfully friends came to my rescue. Stori, my wonderful Walker’s friend, invited me to spend the night. Since I was coming to the north shore to see her I also called my college friend Janet and had lunch with her. I was thankful Janet was available because she is moving to Arizona and It is not a place I drive through regularly.

I woke up in Boston this morning and fall had clearly come to New England. When I left North Carolina eleven days go summer was in full swing. It has been hot, hot, hot in Maine and Massachusetts. I had packed all the right clothes for summer, shorts, sandles and t-shirts. But when the weather changed I was able to layer my clothes, but my feet were freezing. On my way to Manchester I stoped at a store and bought some closed toed shoes before going to meet Janet.

We had lunch at the same place we did last year when I came to visit. It was great to catch up, be it a very short visit. I also had a chance to see her daughter Sophia who just graduated from college in May. One of the bonuses of Carter going to college in Boston is that I thought it would give me a few years of being able to visit my Yankee friends. Now one of my dear ones won’t be a Yankee resident anymore. Of course our 40 friendship will still continue despite the change of location.

After I said goodbye to Janet I went off to Stori’s house. Stori and her husband John welcomed me and we settled in for an afternoon of Wimbledon tennis finals and needlepoint, at least for me and Stori. It was exactly what I needed. A nice afternoon of not going anywhere.

We watched the men’s final which went on and on. When one game took over twenty minutes I thought this match might take five hours. Thankfully the match was won in three sets and we went off for dinner.

Now we are back at their home, in our jammies, with a fire in the fireplace, watching a movie. This is exactly what I needed. Thank god for good friends who take me in and do all the things I like to do. It is so good that Carter came to Boston so I can see my friends.

One More Goodbye

When I left Carter at school last Sunday I did not have a moment of being sad, because I knew I was coming back through Boston and was going to see her again. Today I left Maine, with a bunch of bags of things I had picked up for Carter, blueberry soda, tomatoes, cheese curds… Arriving in Boston this weekend is a piece of cake compared to the crazy town that was move-in weekend. All the “No Parking”signs are down. There are no dead sofas discarded on the sidewalk. There are no crying mothers leaving their babies at college.

I was able to park in the lot across from Carter’s apartment. She came out to help me with the bags of things I brought her. “What is all this stuff?” Every college student needs capers.

I went back up to her apartment because I wanted to see it since her cute roommate Olivia had moved in. Olivia had been her roommate last semester so they already had a good living situation, but Olivia did not get to Boston until after I left last week. The girls had done a great job organizing all their stuff. Thank goodness they both like things to be clean.

Carter told me she was writing a paper and Olivia was at her job, so I checked into my hotel and took a shower before Carter walked down to meet me for dinner. We went to the Prudential Center and did a little shopping before Olivia got off work and we went to Oceanaire for dinner.

It was so nice to catch up with Olivia. The three of us had a lovely dinner and then grabbed a lyft back to my hotel first before the girls continued on to their place. Olivia asked me if I was coming back this semester and I said, “No.” I confirmed that I was not having breakfast with Carter and said goodbye to them as I got out of the car.

This goodbye is not as hard as putting her on the plane to Germany, but every time I say goodbye I know that my time with her is shorter and shorter. She is very happy at school this semester, loves her classes and professors. Especially likes her campus job as a mentor and TA. Loves her apartment and roommate. All these things are exciting and exactly what one wants for their child. I just wish my goodbye was not as I was getting out of the car without a hug. Growing up is hard on a Mother.

Practically a Local

I don’t know how this has happened, but I have come to my last full day in Maine. Warren and I have gone, gone, gone all week. Today was no different. Our MO has been to have one invitation each day and somehow we drag that out to a whole day out.

Today’s invitation was for lunch with my wonderful friend Wendie. Wendie and I first met in Washington, DC 34 years ago. She has met Warren on my previous visits so now they get along quite well.

Since coming to Maine involves too much eating Warren and I decided just to have a slice of toast this morning before walking the breakwater at Rockland. It is a my favorite place to walk because, not only is it beautiful and cool with a nice breeze across the water, but for some reason I never tire of walking the rocks. You have to pay very close attention to your steps so you don’t fall so I just don’t think about being tired. Since it is after Labor Day there we only seven or eight other people on the whole breakwater.

When we got to the lighthouse end Warren volunteered me to take a picture of a couple who were trying to take their own. After I got a few shots of them together they told us they will remember them forever since it was their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary trip. We wished them well and gave them some recommendations of places to go. They asked if we were local and Warren said yes, and that I was practically a local.

After our walk we were off to Camden to lunch with Wendie at the popular Long Grain, an asian fusion place. It is a fabulous little restaurant in a beautiful space with just nine tables set far apart from each other and food that you might find in San Francisco. We had a lot of catching up to do and after we had dragged our lunch out as long as possible our server politely asked if we could let someone else have our table.

Warren, Wendie and I were having such a good time that we just went around the corner to Zoot coffee where we got a drink and monopolized the front corner table in the window and continued our gab fest. While we were in the window we saw Warren’s friend Sue, who runs the community breakfast I worked at Monday and invited her to sit with us. After more laughs, Sue had to go back to work but not minutes later her husband stopped in and joined our table.

At about hour four of our lunch date we saw the parking enforcement guy and we realized we had parked in two hour parking. So we all ran out of the coffee shop, calling to the parking guy in a friendly way, that we were going to our cars. Warren ran ahead and jumped in the car in case we were about to get a ticket, but the parking guy was a jovial sort and just smiled and waved as he walked by our cars.

So another day where we left the house and were gone all day with only one thing to do. But what could be better than sitting around visiting with friends?

Our lunch was so good we just skipped dinner and went to Dorman’s for ice cream. I have to admit that it is a miracle that we only had one visit to Dorman’s the whole trip. I wish Russ was here to enjoy it too. Next year! We are about to play one last game, Russ will be glad he missed that.

It is hard to believe that tomorrow I go back to Boston. My week in Maine feels shorter every year. Thanks to my friends here and especially to Warren who hosts me and lets me turn his quiet life upside down with lots of going places. I’ve been coming for so many years I am practically a local.

Finally Lobster

When I come to visit Warren there is very little relaxing and lots of moving about. Today was no different than the previous days, except I finally got some lobster. Isn’t that the reason to come to Maine? Sorry Warren.

Yesterday while we were out trekking about we went by Bayside, one of our favorite areas. As we were driving around the village of tiny Victorian cottages Warren spotted a for sale sign on a darling white gothic cottage. It was late in the afternoon so there was no way to get a chance to look at, but we stopped in the real estate office and asked about it. It had gone on the market ten minutes before.

Today we went back to look at it. It has a great unobstructed view of the water and some beautiful original 1910 glass windows with the wavy glass. Other than that it is in need of a total redo. The lot makes a postage stamp seem big, the need to move the house and create a new foundation is just the beginning. It is a four month a year house at best. All that being said I still ran the numbers, drew a new floor plan and tried to make it work. I called Russ about it, but it just does not make sense. It was a fun thought.

So now that I am done looking at houses I am going to actually be on vacation for one more day. Tonight Warren and I went to my favorite lobster shack in Rockland called Claws. When Claws first opened we wondered who would want to go eat on Route one, and sit outside next to the gravel parking lot on picnic benches? Little did we know it made the best food anywhere.

Warren is not a lobster eater, but he is a good sport about going with me. I had the best lobster roll that was nothing but lobster, no mayo, no butter, just lemon and sweet as can be lobster. Claws also knows something about chowder. The seafood chowder is mostly seafood and a thick soup that has a flavor that is lacking in most chowders. I don’t think it even has potatoes in it.

So I may not be getting a Maine house this week, but I did finally get lobster. Poor Warren really wanted me to buy this house so I don’t have to spend so much time at his house. Maybe when Carter graduates.

Maine Friends

Somehow with only one thing on our social calendar today, a lunch with my friends Sheppy and Dick Vann, Warren and I were gone from the house from 9:45 AM until 6:30 PM. So much for coming to Maine to relax.

Our plan was to meet Sheppy and Dick in Liberty Maine, at a new place, 51 Main, owned by the guy who owns Liberty Graphics, our favorite shirt printer. Since Russ, Carter and I used to go to Family Camp at Medomak in Washington, Maine, near Liberty, I asked Warren if we could drive that way to lunch. You know the answer, especially since I was driving.

The first place I was looking for in Washington was the Washington General store. It was not a store that was there when we went to Camp, but friend Sean, who sailed the big boat at Camp and was the carpenter and his wife Amy had told us that they were buying this big yellow barn at the cross roads of the two streets in Washington to open this store.

Warren and I had no trouble finding the store, which was now an attractive red. As we pulled in the parking lot I saw Sean and his father walking away from the store. I jumped from the car and called out, “Hey Sean! I’m Dana Lange.” He came over and gave me a hug and showed us the store. It was fabulous! Warren and I were so impressed with it all we were sorry we were not staying to eat lunch there. Sadly, Amy was at home, but Sean told me that Holly, who owned the Camp was still at camp.

We made a visit to Medomak our next stop. I walked in the main building without knocking and called out to Holly who was upstairs with her daughter Eliana. It was a huge treat to see them. As we were talking another camp friend Chelsea pulled up and screamed when she saw me. I love when I make people scream and not because I scare them. It was too short a visit, but we had to get to lunch.

Sheppy and Dick were waiting inside the restaurant and both looked fantastic. It is their last day in Maine, so I was thrilled we were able to make this work. Sheppy treated us to our lunch since I got her breakfast when I saw her in Nashville in July. It was hardly a fair trade. After telling lots of school stories, Sheppy wanted to show us the only octagonal post office in America, which was very cute, then we went into Liberty Graphics to buy T-shirts.

After Dick and Sheppy departed Warren and I went into the best used tool store in the country, Liberty tools. I never buy anything, but I like looking at all the old planers and saws. Since we were all the way in Liberty, we decided a trip to Belfast was next.

Belfast is my ground zero for quilting. The Fiddlehead artisan store is where last August I decided I wanted to make a quilt. It is hard to believe that now one year later I have made 4 king sized quilts, one twin, two baby quilts, one table runner and 32 placemats. I couldn’t help but return to the scene of the crime. We also wanted to visit the Bella Book store, Home of the orange Julius cookie.

Sadly the store was no longer where it was last year. We went to another book store in town and inquired about it and they generously told us that Bella had moved next to the food co-op. We happily made our way down the hill and found it. The new location is so much cooler. The owner sold us the last of the orange Julius cookies with drinks and we sat in the store and talked with him all about the relocation and split a cookie. It was a charming afternoon.

As we headed south on Route one to get back to Warren’s we decided to drive through Bayside, the tiny Victorian village of cottages that were originally a turn of the century church camp, the place that Russ really loves. The story of what happened next will have to wait until tomorrow…

Better Times Ahead

There is no better place to ignore the Kavanaugh questioning than Maine. I have no TV, no radio, and no time to look at my IPad or phone. Warren kept me busy as can be today even though we only had one scheduled activity; a dinner with our friend July and Chip at six pm.

July and I went to high school together with Warren. Warren didn’t go to high school with us, but he was there. So this friendship goes back to 1976. Geez that is a long time! Friends like that drop everything when you text to say, “Can we get together?” So July planned a dinner for us to meet in a place called Hallowell, Maine.

I had never heard of Hallowell, which is right next to Augusta, the capital. I had also never been to Augusta, so Warren took this dinner invitation as an opportunity to school me on all things Augusta. This meant that our six PM dinner plans, a 42 mile drive away, involved a trip that had us leaving the coast at 9:45 AM.

First we had to go to drop the trash off at the dump. Then we got on route 17 headed toward the capital so we could make a stop at Elmer’s Barn, one of Warren’s favorite Antique spots. I use the word antiques liberally. Maybe it is because technically I could be considered an antique. But when I see empty cans of baking powder, that match ones I have in my cupboard, I don’t consider them antiques. And as such I am suspect of everything in a place. The room of floor lamps made me think of a flamboyance of flamingos rather than antiques.

After Elmer’s we finished the trek to the capital. It is no Boston. It is a small fish kind of place in a small pond. The capital dome is not even gold. One distinction that Augusta does hold is that it has one of the last remaining K-Marts. Now isn’t that something for the chamber of commerce to work with.

Warren and I stopped at the K-Mart so he could buy greeting cards from their very novel collection. My favorite section was the “better times ahead” cards. I wondered aloud if this was a new addition since Trump became president? For those who liked him they could think, “Now, we will have better times.” And for those who wonder how the hell we got this guy, they are saying, “Boy, do we need better times ahead.”

We went to lunch at a cute place called Otto’s on the Kennebec River. Sadly it is in the fairly dead downtown, where one of the few other open businesses was a formal dress and tuxedo shop that had two 1960’s era wedding dresses in a window on mannequins who were missing their hands. If you want to shop there you needed an appointment according to the dusty sign on the door. I think that last appointment was in 1972.

Our lunch was very leisurely thanks to the kitchen losing out ticket. It was fine with us since we had hours to go until we would meet our friends. After lunch we went to the very large and comprehensive Maine State Museum next door to the capital. I have to say it was worth every cent. My ticket cost $3 and Warren, as a senior citizen, got in for $2.

The Maine State Museum had fabulous exhibits about logging, and ship building and fishing, nature and so many other things Maine. The funniest part to me was the comparisons of two different eras of Maine kitchens. One in the 1800’s that had no light and we couldn’t see into it at all. I wondered if it was supposed to show you what living without electric lights was like. Warren liked the 1950’s kitchen because it had the most HoJo feel. I enjoyed all of the museum, except for the section on rocks and geology of Maine. Maine rocks are not that different from other rocks. It was a little embarrassing when Warren tooted at the Museum, but then again, the sign said he could.

When we had seen everything Maine we moved on to Hallowell. It literally is a four minute drive from the capital. The cute little town was all torn up from a Main Street water and sewer replacement. We visited another antique store which was more promising and Warren bought a pantry cupboard. From there we went to a fabulous old book store with a fine collection of rare books. We could have spent hours, but the owner wanted to close up. That was fine since I don’t need a first addition Little Women, but it was fun to see.

Finally it was time to meet our friends for the activity of the day! We got to the Slate restaurant before they did and settled into a table on the patio. Chip and July arrived and it was just like old times. The only problem with these get togethers is they are just too short. I think we need to plan a longer reunion. Maybe I will send a card from the “better times ahead” section.

Why is Vacation So Tiring?

I’m not sure if I am the only person this happens to, but if I have a very early morning appointment I have to get up for I don’t sleep well the night before. I tend to wake up every twenty minutes in fear that I am going to sleep through my alarm. Consequently, I don’t get any sleep and I am a mess.

Last night was my first night at my friend Warren’s. I was tired when I arrived, but I couldn’t be a rude guest and go straight to bed. After dinner and some time on the front porch I excused myself to write my blog, then I made the mistake of looking at Facebook, which led to me watching Megan McCain’s, President Obama’s and even President Bush’s eulogies of John McCain. I didn’t need to do that then, what I did need was to go to sleep because I had to be up at 4:15.

After my five hours of half sleep in twenty minute increments 4:15 finally came. Why would I have to get up on vacation at this hour? I was not going to catching a flight, or work on a lobster boat, no. I was going to serve breakfast at the Camden Baptist Church community breakfast. This is a volunteer job Warren does every Monday morning. I joined him last year and had a ball, so I was looking forward to doing it again. It’s just very early.

Warren gets there at five to do the prep work and it turned out it was a good thing my extra hands were there because none of the set up had been done the day before as they expected. So I rolled silverware, set up tables, chopped vegetables and made coffee. Then at 6:25 the first early bird crew came to eat. I was a waitress for the cooked to order breakfast, so I had to take orders, serve food and drinks and clear tables. It was fun and a good workout.

After the guests all departed and the whole kitchen was sanitized we departed for the HoJo home around ten in the morning. Just in time to get home, hit the wall and take a nap. I slept hard for one hour then Carter called waking me so I got up and restarted my day.

Warren and I went antiquing and then to Moody’s diner for dinner. Besides the seafood chowder the highlight was meeting Nancy Moody, whose parents had started the dinner in 1927.

After dinner it was home and time for games. Tonight it was Password. Warren broke out an addition from 1963 and the words were next to impossible. Maybe it I had more sleep I would have done better. I think my real vacation is starting tomorrow. I am taking a sleeping pill tonight to sleep hard and through the night. I need a vacation from my vacation.

My Work Is Done.

Three days of moving in is over for me. Today Carter and I went out for one last meal together then I took her to Trader Joe’s to stock her kitchen. Turns out the Trader Joe’s on Boylston is the smallest one in America. That being said, we were still able to find almost everything Carter could need. Everyone in the store couldn’t have been nicer. We had this opera student as our cashier. I did the bagging, as I like to do at any store. Since her cashier stand was no more than a one foot square box that had a shelf that pulled out for the bag, she had me stand right next to her. I had to work fast because there was no place to put items that were already rung up, other than in a bag.

With five full bags the opera singer asked a coworker to help us carry them up the escalator to the street. Carter waited with the bags while I went to the parking garage to get the car. For what I have paid to park my rental car these three days I could have rented a house at the beach for a week. When this Boston trip is over I am going to try and never have a rental car in Boston again. Uber or Lyft will be much cheaper.

I returned to Carter’s apartment to do a little help lining kitchen shelves, but it was really time for me to let her do everything on her own. Carter still had her storage boxes to unpack, clothes to put away and her kitchen to organize. I was just in the way. Since I am coming back to Boston next Saturday I will get to see the room finished then.

I happily drove my rental car out of the city to Maine for my annual pilgrimage to the mid coast to visit my friend Warren. I usually come in the summer, but this year September made more sense to tie it in with drop off. This way I won’t be home, missing Carter. Instead I am missing Russ.

On this busy day I did not get a chance to speak to my youngest sister Janet and wish her a happy birthday. I left a message, but want to give her a shout out that I love her and hope the next year is her best one yet. It’s been a busy day. It’s been a busy three days, but now I have vacation. Oh Happy Day

“Good Thing You Are Here, Because You Are Right”

Every inch of me hurts. In the last 24 hours Carter and I went to Target at 8:00 pm last night and bought two carts worth of stuff for her apartment. I broke the cart escalator in the store because I had a microwave on the shelf under the cart. The sign that said, “nothing under the cart on the escalator,” had fallen on the floor so the four employees it took to fix it were not mad at me. But Carter left the area and pretended not to know me.

After that Target run we started moving our full SUV of stuff into Carter’s second floor walk up apartment ourselves. Not wanting to wait to put together any of the four closets/shelving units /hanging racks that we bought, Carter got right to work with the Allen wrench. Finally at 10:30 I called it quits and we went to eat dinner.

Today was the real move in day. We rose early and drove 40 minutes out of town to the land of IKEA/Costco/Home Depot all right next to each other. We had heard that this day at IKEA was the busiest one all year so we planned on getting in early. Since Costco opened first we hit that up, filling a whole cart.

Then we zipped over to IKEA with the giant stream of other cars and got into it just as it was opening. Two carts later we were packing it in that giant SUV and toddling over to Home Depot. One more full cart and it was still just 11:30. We ate lunch outside the city, just so we didn’t have to pay for parking and headed back to school. It was not an official move-in day since Northeastern tries to not add to the mess that is September 1, lease change day for renters. That being said they still had hampers for moving and traffic cops everywhere.

Carter’s apartment is just across the street from the lot where we could park and unload our car. It took two hamper loads to get everything to her building and then countless trips up the stairs with armfuls of boxes and bags. Carter began assembling her rolling desk chair, but when it came time to do the arm she hit a stumbling block. I suggested a different way and she said the best thing ever to me, “Thank god you are here, because you are right.” Not words that I normally hear from my 19 year old.

I took over the chair assembly and she moved into the bathroom for a towel rack assembly. At one point she called out to me, “What are you working on?” “The fucking chair, how about you?” She replied, “The fucking towel rack.”

We kept unpacking and assembling everything we had, while we waited the delivery of the seven large boxes Carter had in storage. I carried three big loads of cardboard to the basement for recycling. By the time I climbed the back two flights for the third time I could feel my body beginning to fight back. I looked at my watch and I had done 22,000 steps and 31 flights of stairs and it was not yet 6pm.

Our cousin Andrea and her daughter Sarah arrived around seven and delivered a box I had sent to their house. At last we were going for a comfortable meal. We drove to Back Bay and Andrea found us two parking places on the street five blocks from the restaurant. We walked to dinner and after sitting for an hour my back stiffened up. I walked back ten years older than I had walked in. Sadly, we both had parking tickets. This September 1 thing in Boston is serious.

Carter’s roommate Olivia wanted to see the apartment since she was not moving in until Monday so after dinner Carter and I went back to the apartment so Carter could give her a FaceTime tour. Olivia was very happy with the progress and our choices. At last we are back at the hotel so I can recover.

Tomorrow it is just grocery shopping and then I am leaving Carter to finish unpacking and setting up making this space exactly as she wanted it. It only took seven full carts from four major retailers. I’m done.