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.

“Why?”

“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.