Having enjoyed Sunday without the dog, I was ready for a full week with no commitments, other than the usual work regime. I would be following protocol before work, and coming home and taking 'care of business' during non-working hours.
My life, when there are no 'out of the ordinary' commitments, is pleasantly humdrum, as I have mentioned, with regular morning routines, going to work, coming home, preparing dinner, and then, as all nice old ladies do, crocheting for an hour or two, before going to sleep! I have come to adore boredom!
I received an email on Monday morning, after I had brewed coffee and completed my entries for contests for the day, inviting me to see Andra Day perform live in the studios of the local radio station. I was allowed to bring a friend, and was asked to arrive around 11:30 am, to enjoy lunch, before the performance. Although this was a rather exciting proposal, Wednesday was perhaps not the most convenient day to take part in such a delight, but I was sure the radio station had their reasons for making it midweek, and I was not sure that they would alter their schedule because it was not suitable to one of their listeners! I chose to reply, 'thank you', and 'play it by ear'. (Pardon the pun!)
Dana and I left the office reasonably early on Monday evening, and he suggested that I 'take the night off', and took me to the diner, where I enjoyed a sandwich, and (in my opinion) the best tortilla soup in Austin! We were back home by seven, and I sat with a cup of tea by my side, crochet needle in hand, watching two presenters extolling the virtues of a certain watch company! Personally, I have never considered buying a gift for the office maintenance man's son upon his wedding day, but then I am obviously not as familiar with the office maintenance man's personal life, as is the presenter of the watches! I couldn't imagine the groom's face on the morning of his wedding, as he opens this package from me, as I do not know what the groom looks like! In fact, I have no idea if he is going to be a groom! I have no idea if he exists! However, if ever I become familiar with the intricate details of the office maintenance man's family life, and find out that his son is getting married, feel the need to buy a gift, and wonder what I should buy, it will be a problem solved. How relieved I will feel!
Having reorganised my housework schedule to accommodate cooking for six on a Tuesday evening, I set to on Tuesday morning, and baked a Swiss roll, to be filled, when cool, with fresh cream and raspberries, (my latest 'go to, easy-peasy' dessert,) before making large bowl of 'Mrs Sainsbury's'. 'Mrs Sainsbury's' is the name Samantha and I have given to a pasta dish ready meal that I used to purchase, from the supermarket, Sainsbury's, when I lived in England. Bolognaise (meat) sauce, with large pasta shells, and a white sauce, mixed together in various ways. (I cannot remember if the meat was mixed with the shells, and placed on the sauce, or if the sauce was mixed with the shells and placed on the meat, but it is enjoyed whichever way it is prepared!) I set the timer, placed the dish in the oven, and got ready to go to work!
I usually make a loaf of bread for Tuesday evening, but Samantha had been commissioned to bake a three tier anniversary cake for her neighbour's parents' golden wedding anniversary, and she had told me that she would be taking my mixer, so that she could make two cakes at a time! My plans were irrelevant! The dough was prepared to allow her plans to come to fruition, and I mentally calculated what should go into the oven and when, before going to work. As well as loaning my mixer, I had also prepared an additional 'Mrs. Sainsbury's' for my daughter, with enough to feed her for two days, thus allowing her to complete the cake without having to worry about dinner!
Sometime Tuesday afternoon, I heard Dana talking to his mechanic. "What time Wednesday morning?" he asked, as my ears transmitted the information to my brain, and my defense barriers started to rise. I had made the decision not to go to visit Joe, as we had been very busy, and I wanted to get into the office for an early start, before leaving to see Andra Day! "Eight fifteen sounds good!". My question was, "Sounds good to whom?"
The success of dinner and dessert gave me energy for Wednesday's extravaganza! I left home, drove Dana's car to Joe, enjoyed coffee with him and Gail, and then headed to the mechanic's workshop, which is along the same road as the 'coffee shop'. I was loaned a nice hybrid, and drove back to the office. After completing as much as possible, we headed north to the radio station, and arrived a little before 11:30am. There was no-where to park in the car-park, and although I was tempted to pull into the space where a young girl was standing, no doubt 'saving' it for a friend, I decided not to make a scene! "Wheels, not heels", I said, when she refused to move out of the way, and forced me to exit the complex, and park on the adjoining road. Of course, I was wearing my usual attire, including the high heels, which would not have been a problem, if the terrain upon which we had to walk, was flat, and the young lady standing in the parking spot had moved! Instead, as there is no pavement along the frontage road, I had to walk across grassy hills, and rocks, climbing up a rather hazardous wall to get to the front door! Having scaled the exterior of the building, we entered, exhausted! I asked to see the person responsible for my invitation, not to complain about the parking, (I should have arrived earlier,) but to thank her for transferring my previous invitation to this week, as I had been unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances. She was most gracious and told me that it worked out perfectly. (I doubt that she remembered, but she was most kind, nonetheless!) She assured me that this performance would be amazing! It was! We enjoyed lunch, outside on the patio, and then entered the cool studio, where Andra Day sang from her heart! I do not remember seeing an artist 'live' her songs, with such passion, or at least I have not seen it for a very long time. It was as if she was telling her story for the first time, and living every word as it was happening! I watched her face contort in agony, then beam with joy. The sound was both haunting and beautiful. I was delighted that I had been invited to witness this performance. Much as I enjoy the Country Western singers, and much as Jess Glynn and Bebe Rexha will forever be my 'bff's', this was one of those experiences that reach into the depths of one's soul!
The performance was a live recording, and we listened as the interviewer introduced Andra, and asked a few questions, in between his obligatory advertising of their 'sponsors'. We had seated ourselves in the third row, to the left of the stage, and had caused those at the end to stand and make way for us. It was not the easiest of maneuvers. Next to me was the lady whom had wanted to 'go last' to 'meet and greet' at Bebe's performance, and she was once again holding on to pictures, which she would ask the artist to sign. As the performance ended, we rose to leave and heard the interviewer say, "She is unable to pose for pictures, as she is on a tight schedule", and saw that he was talking to the young lady with the pictures. Samantha and I stared at each other, as we could not work out how she had managed to get to the front of the stage, when we were still shuffling, three rows back, to get to the aisle. She did not fly, so our only assumption could be that she slithered under the seats! Even those in the front row were not at the stage! Audra did pat me on the shoulder and thank me for coming! She thanked everyone for coming, and was most genuine. I thanked her for the performance, and with everyone giving thanks, we left the studios, to abseil down the brick wall, hike across the mountainous front lawn, to get to the car.
We left the office very late on Wednesday evening, even though we were in two cars, and I swam the day away before warming up the leftover 'Mrs Sainsbury's', which we ate before hearing how a watch would be the perfect gift for the kid who throws your daily newspaper into the next door neighbour's garden's pond! Perhaps we should readjust our television to open on a different channel!
I tried to convince Dana that we had discussed the plans for Thursday evening, despite him denying ever heard them! Our 'third Thursday of the month' evening was not going to be at our neighbour's unit, as it has been for the past few months, but we were going to 'grill' by the pool, and I had offered the use of my super-duper new grill (the 'big' contest win of last year). Its maiden voyage had been determined a couple of months ago, and my husband had been present during the discussion. I was aware, at the time, that he had 'tuned out', and was just nodding, and smiling, along with everyone else, and focused on something entirely different! "How", and "Why", and "When", were all explained, and he reluctantly let me help him roll the 'dalek' down the hill. (My neighbour calls it 'R2D2'.) Once at the gate to the pool, we stopped and waited for Gill to come with the canister of gas, and I returned to my unit to collect the salad and dessert (another Swiss roll, etc). By the time I had returned to the pool, Gill had not only connected the gas, but was grilling perfect hot dogs! She was enthusing over the grill, as were some other neighbour's who had arrived during my absence. It really was rather 'cool'. A couple of hours later, when cold, Dana wheeled the contraption back along the road, to our unit with ease, and admitted that he enjoyed the evening, and that loaning the grill to the 'greater cause' was not really a bad idea after all!
I spent a little time on Friday morning cleaning the grill, which was very easy, as the grid comes off easily, and there is a pan underneath that catches all the grease etc. I left the heavier parts outside to dry, and took off to the office.
Saturday was probably the most 'normal' day of the week. I have attempted to put 'hyperventilation' on the 'back burner', as it is not really a productive emotion! I have a very hectic week next week and the following week, with the office being 'undermanned', and there is the probability of me wearing several hats again, and I am trying not to 'over think' what will emerge. At some time during the next week, it will fall upon me to collect the car, which was more poorly than we had anticipated, and get ready for a trip to Oregon where I will attending the wedding of the son of my long time (sounds better than one of my oldest) friend, Lynda. No doubt the 'watch lady' would insist I take a timepiece for all of the groomsmen and bridesmaids, but I do not think they will arrive in time. Oh well! Perhaps I can just tell them the time, if they need to know! I do know that plans, no matter how 'best laid' are prone to alteration, so I will let you know the result of mine, in .............. another story!