Going back to work after a long weekend always holds mixed emotions. On the one hand, I would enjoy just one more day of leisure, but on the other hand, it is only a four day work week!
The rain was falling for most of the day on Tuesday, after Memorial Day, and swimming was not going to be an option all week, so it seemed. Storms were raging with such ferocity, that we were being warned not to take cars across low level crossing, and to remain indoors when at all possible.
I received an email shortly after lunch on Tuesday, saying I had been picked to attend a 'meet and greet', at the radio station on the following Friday. Robert Ellis was going to be performing some of his tunes, and lunch would be provided by 'Pluckers'. Samantha was delighted to accept the invitation as she loves 'Pluckers'. (Sorry Robert, you came in second!) I replied to the email, as is my normal response to such a gift, and said I would be delighted to attend, despite the fact that a response is not supposedly necessary. I normally receive a nice email thanking me for my thanks, but I never take such things for granted. These opportunities are quite rare, and to meet, and greet artists, whom I would never normally get to see, let alone speak to, is quite exciting.
My routine suffered during the week following Memorial Day. As I was not able to achieve the pinnacle of my existence, e.g. 'spring clean' the house from top to bottom, on Monday and Tuesday, with a refresher on Saturday, I fought off the feelings of failure, which Dana found to be highly amusing. It did not matter than I had not vacuumed for two days. We were not here! My stairs were not walked upon, therefore they did not need to be swept! My kitchen had not been active, so there was no dirt 'trodden in'. Sometimes I am able to 'let it go', but other times, I am a mess! As I had visitors coming for dinner on Tuesday evening, I panicked a little, but as my caring husband pointed out, no one was going to 'run their finger' over the baseboards, let alone actually find any dust thereupon!
Walking was somewhat as dangerous as swimming. Ponchos were worn, after scanning the skies to see the colour of the clouds. Once they were merely grey, and not an angry purple, we set out on our way. The only day that was perhaps not going to be wet was Friday, the day of our visiting the radio station.
The first part of the week was somewhat satisfactory, as I received news, via a recording, that my student loan, although flagged, was not a problem, as there were solutions for its repayment. As my schooling had not been one that required additional fees, I was curious as to which loan the recording referred, but chose not to mess with the operator, as I did not have the time! My credit card, on the other hand, was not cause for concern, according to another recording, but my interest rates could be lowered. Lower than what? Once again, I chose to ignore the call, as it was a short week, and even scamming operators are entitled to a reprieve!
Feeling rather excited about the forthcoming trip to the radio
station, I planned my wardrobe, wondering whether to go 'dressed to kill', or simply dressed well. It was not going to be a hard decision as shoes would have to be 'closed in', and possibly of the 'boot' variety, due to the puddles, and despite the temperature.
However, once again, my plans were to take a u-turn, as Samantha received a call from Edward to say that his 93 year old grandmother was not going to see her 94th birthday. It was rather sad, and his father had indicated that her departure would be imminent. She was currently in a hospital, and although they had discharged her, it was highly unlikely that she would make it back to the nursing home. Edward was going home, and if at all possible, he would like his wife to join him. Arrangements were made for flights, and before the end of the work day, the old lady had, indeed, stuck to the doctor's prognosis.
Arriving at my house on Thursday evening, puppy in tow, Samantha gave me her schedule. "I wont be able to go with you to have 'Pluckers'", she stated. (Sorry Robert!) She asked if I would consider taking someone else, but I decided it was probably not a viable consideration, as I would have to 'pick up the slack' and take on her job for the next few days. As Jason was experiencing 'truck' problems, I was going to have the wear three hats for the foreseeable future. Having taken on all roles in the past, it did not pose nearly as a daunting thought as that of not being able to clean my baseboards!
The storms raged, and the puppy was anxious. Another few nights of broken sleep were projected, and I dozed off to sleep during a show of natural bright lights outside my bedroom window!
I got to the office rather early on that Friday, having prepared dinner and ironed a pile of laundry from the previous week. My weekend, which had been planned rather meticulously, due to my absence the previous week. Despite being in the land of 'slow and mellow', I have not quite managed to integrate with the level of flexibility I would like. Samantha called from Baltimore, Maryland, to say that she had completed the first leg of her trip, and they had a three hour lay over in the airport. Lunch was going to be eaten at the 'pub' that offered a traditional English 'fry up', and she was going to be the one to tell them where they were 'going wrong'. Although the menu mentioned 'sausages and baked beans', she doubted they would be of the variety she was used to in her idea of traditional fare. I ate my salad!
Walking was not so hazardous, although swimming was out of the question. It was warm, but not hot. The rain had departed for a while, and there appeared to be no storms nearby. I had emailed the radio station to see if they could pass the prize to another worthy person, and explained the situation, hoping that they would not cast me out of their ballot boxes for next time!
Samantha arrived safely in North Carolina, and Richard was in Crete with Steph and Ollie, enjoying a family holiday. I suddenly felt rather abandoned. This was rather strange, as my children have not lived with me for many years, but both were out of their normal habitat and there was an odd 'empty nest' sensation. However, we did have the dog!
Saturday was going to be very busy. I promised myself that I would not balk on my responsibilities, and set a course. Sprouts, Costco, Walmart, Dollar Tree and HEB. I had also thought it would be possible to pop into one of the clothes shop to see if I could find some suitable apparel for function I shall be attending in a few weeks. Up before the crack of dawn, I made coffee as Dana took the dog for his morning relief break, and then after we had consumed our caffeinated beverage, I set to work on my morning chores. Focus was definitely 'in' this morning, and I surprised myself at the veracity, and speed, in which I accomplished the tasks at hand! It was time to go out and see the world, or at least the small part of Austin I had hoped to conquer. Before I set out, I sent a message to a friend, who is experiencing the upset of a marriage separation, to see how she was faring on this fine day, and was just about to get into the car, when she replied. "Perhaps we could do lunch?" This sounded like a nice idea. "What time?" I replied, thinking that a later lunch would be better for me. Noon suited me better than half an hour before midday, as I would at least be able to achieve three out of the four stops I had to make! I raced along to sprouts, and as I had suggested that I could provide the repast, filled my basket with 'deli delights', before going to the check out and then returning to the main shop, as I had forgotten to buy my groceries! Waving at me, as it backed away, 'Veracity' was quickly becoming a word of the past!
Costco was not going to enjoy the pleasure of my company on this particular Saturday morning, as I did not have time to recall what it was that I wanted from the warehouse, let alone the time to spend parking, entering, fighting the crowds, and queuing for an extended length of time for the couple of items I may have wished to purchase, whilst everyone else in the store seemed to be stocking up for Christmas! I hurtled down the highway, in my jalopy, (which my mini has now become, heading towards its teenage years, and having reached its century, mile-wise, several miles back,) and found my way to the supermarket. "Stay focussed", I said to myself, although myself was not listening. The list I had made was on my phone (I do succumb to some modern day functions) and I 'bobbed and weaved' with some sort of conformity! Visiting the perishable section twice, I stocked up on lemons and limes, for desserts that I had decided I was not going to make for a couple of events during the week, and finally left, arriving home at eleven forty!
The first message advised me that my friend would not be arriving until half an hour after midday, as she had, herself, been delayed. This was rather convenient, as it would give me a chance to prepared a more sumptuous repast than previously considered. As those who have known me for a while will remember, if I am expecting two for dinner, I cater for twenty two! Everything was prepared, cooked and decorated by twenty past the hour, when I received the next message. "It will be nearer one, or one fifteen before I can get to you". I put my friend's welfare at the top of my list, as the little voice inside tempted me to become irritated. I would have had time to go to Costco, (although I was still unsure as to why I needed to visit the warehouse,) and the Dollar Tree, and HEB. However, I remained steadfast, and convinced self that it did not matter!!
Lunch was delightful, and I was able to spend a little bit of time by the swimming pool later in the afternoon. Sunday was equally as enjoyable, as I left Dana in the condo with the dog, and sat for a few hours, reading the book that refuses to end!
The work was relentless on Monday. After cleaning the house, and wiping down the baseboards, which were surprisingly dust free, or more to the point, not too dusty. The vacuum was like a dog that had found a new lease of life and purred into action as if it was delighted at being used again. Part one of the weekly house cleaning had been completed, and my mother's voice uttering how my house would never be clean, if my room was anything to go by, started to fade into a whisper! (Why after several decades of being 'out of her house' do I still hear this!) Jason's truck was now running better, if not properly, and he came into work at 8am. I had cleared the previous week's pile from his, and Samantha's desk. (Yes, I am a self confessed heroine!) Dana had managed to stack a new pile in both their 'in trays', and I was working through my daughter's pile as Jason arrived, causing me to breathe a huge sigh of relief! I had, of course, set myself a mammoth task for Tuesday evening, when I would be cooking for guests, again, and after swimming on Monday, visited HEB which had been struck from my visitation list on Saturday. As we had the dog to entertain for the rest of the week, eating out was not an option, no matter how late we left the office. Dinner was prepared for Monday, and Tuesday night we ate a new recipe. I had seen the recipe for the chicken dish the previous week, which simply read, "Follow the recipe for the cauliflower". I had not seen a recipe for a cauliflower and so spent time I did not have to waste, wasting it looking for the recipe!
The cheesecake was superb! (Self praise in my book, this week, is praise indeed!) Sponge cake base, two layers of cheese cake; one plain, one chocolate, butter icing around the side, so that when it was rolled in the three kind of chocolate chips, (plain, white and dark, crushed in the blender,) they would stick! It did taste as good as it looked!
I was delighted on Wednesday, still glowing in the success of Tuesday night's dinner, when I saw that I had won tickets to see the group Boston, on their 40th anniversary tour. Jerry had expressed a huge amount of enthusiasm when I asked if he would like me to enter the contest on his behalf. Deflated is such a perfect word to describe my mood when, after asking, "What are you doing on Saturday night?" he replied that he would be out of town! We commiserated together, but Dana, upon hearing I had won the tickets, offered to accompany me to the event!
Friday eventually rolled around, and after my swim at lunchtime, I headed back to the office to complete the last afternoon of the work week. My weekend had been mapped out, and going to the concert was not going to be fitting in very well with my plans. I started to muse on the fact that I had been to so many wonderful events in the past few months, and considering that I had won the tickets in favour of Jerry, I was not looking forward to having a structured evening. (Very blaze, I know, but hey ho!) Samantha advertised the tickets on her facebook page, and although there was a little interest, no one claimed the coveted prize.
Saturday morning was very structured. I had not only completed my housework but had also been to Walmart and Sprouts by the time Samantha and her friend Hannah appeared on my doorstep. My daughter had a very early start, and had left her in-laws home in North Carolina, before three in the morning, and was back on Texan soil before ten thirty. Edward had driven them home from the airport, and she had left virtually immediately to come to my house. We went to Costco! This time I knew exactly why I was at the warehouse, and bought my goodies! Hannah offered to accompany me to the concert, as she thought I was looking for a partner, but I explained that Dana had already offered. I suggested she and her husband take the tickets, but it appeared he was out of town for the weekend. "What about your mum?" said Samantha. Apparently, this was, as they say, 'just what the doctor ordered'!
We spent the afternoon by the pool; Samantha, Hannah and I! The girls left around four, and I continued to sit and read. Neighbour's came and went, and I continued to sit and read. Eventually, I made my way upstairs, and got ready to go and enjoy an evening with my husband. After dinner, we returned home and watched a delightful movie, before handing back the animal to his adoptive parents, when they finally appeared, together, after having taken care of some essentials.
Hannah and her mother a wonderful time. Apparently, mum had been musing over the fact that she had not been out in a while and not only was she going to spend an evening with her daughter, but they got to see a favourite band, on the rooftop of a theatre, where they could see the skyline of Austin, all lit up as the sun set and darkness prevailed. I was as excited for them as if I had gone myself! Much as I probably would have enjoyed the event, their enjoyment was as much of a blessing!
Sunday morning has come all too quickly. I plan to finish my book today! My week ahead is quite busy, with a couple of 'get togethers' planned. As the summer takes hold, we appear to have a little more energy. I feel as if I need a break today, however, having covered two weeks in one post! It is also 'birthday season'. There appear to be so many between now and mine! Happy birthday to my cousin, Lesley, who is celebrating today, and to my grandmother, who would, if she was still with us, have celebrated her 120th last Wednesday! A celebration indeed, it would have been! I am looking forward to the coming week, whatever it may bring, and I am sure that once I turn from looking over my shoulder, it will be next weekend, and time for ........... another story!