Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"Baby Love"

When I was a little girl, I always wished that I had a sister (or even two); someone to play with, someone to share secrets, someone have adventures with, someone who could be my very best friend!   I never particularly wanted a brother because....well.....brothers were (shudder) BOYS and I didn't much care for the boys that I knew.  I didn't really know that many boys, but those I did  know were loud, messy, mean, and rough.  No, I definitely didn't want any of them living in my house with me!!  But a little sister, ahhhhhh, that was a totally different story. 

Whenever I asked my mom, if I could have a little sister, she always just said something along the lines of "No, I don't think so."   As I got a little older, she told me that she couldn't have any more children because she had a "female" problem and her doctor told her it was very unlikely that she would have anymore children.  [Ultimately I learned that mom had had an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy when I was around 2 years old and as a result, only one of her Fallopian tubes was still functional.  That reduced her chances of becoming pregnant by at least 50%.]  I was disappointed of course, but I accepted the idea that I would always be an only child.

Well, the several years went by and my mom focused her love of kids by becoming a Girl Scout Leader.  She was a great one, too!  She really enjoyed having a bunch of girls to do things with and for.  I was in her troop and kind of felt like some of those girls were my "sisters."  Because there wouldn't be any more kids in our family, Mom and I made do with having those girls in our lives.

At some point in the year that I turned 11 years old, mom sat me down one day and told me that evidently that doctor had been wrong because she was expecting a baby!  She and my Dad were obviously surprised, and I was not only surprised, I was ecstatic!

In those days, there was no way of determining whether it was a boy or girl, until the baby was born, so for months we talked about boys and girls names, how our lives would change when the baby came, having another child in our family, all the plusses and minuses of not longer being an only child.  I was so happy to know that this baby was coming, that I didn't even care (too much) if it was a boy or girl.   The pregnancy went well, though it seemed to me that it was taking forever!!  Finally about a month and a half after my 12th birthday, right on schedule, the baby decided it was time to be born, so on August 12 after twelve years of being an only child, I had a sibling, a cute, adorable, lovable, sweet, beautiful baby sister!!!  A sister!!!   OH, HAPPY DAY!!  My Little Sis came into our family and I fell in love with her the very first time I held her!

She had very blonde hair, and pretty blue eyes, and she was such a good baby!  She was just exactly the kind of sister I had always wanted.  I had a serious case of "Baby Love!!"


We don't get to see each other very often, which is really too bad. Our lives took us in different directions. I got married when she was only 7 years old. So we haven't ever lived the lives of little sisters who grew up together. We haven't even lived in the same state for about the last 30 years. 

But as you can see, life went on and my sweet little sis grew up, she became a Pharmacist, got married, had two great kids, got divorced (yay!), discovered she loved to travel. As a matter of fact she and her daughter (who is a dentist by the way) just came home from a cruise to Alaska! I hope she comes here for a visit again soon!!

Still here it is again, August 12, the birthday of my Little Sis, the little baby who came into my life years and years ago, and I am just as grateful for having such a great sister as I ever was!!
Happy Birthday, Debra Ann!!!

Friday, July 31, 2015

"When Irish Eyes Are Smiling"

Mikey celebrated his 70th Birthday this year.  Its a milestone and I thought it deserved a gift that was something to remember.  So I asked Ratchlet if she and T.A. and M-t-G would be interested in going with her dad to Ireland.  (As you all know, I.  DO. NOT. FLY, EVER! so I never even considered going with them.  Besides, I don't have even a little bit of Irish in my family.)    My darling daughter actually thought it was a great idea too.  She and T.A. had been to Ireland nearly 20 years ago, and was, therefore, at least a bit familiar with the country.  She graciously offered to make the arrangements and put together an itinerary that would take them to a variety of historical and ethnic sites and towns in Ireland. 

When we told Mikey about the gift he was really excited and happy.  His paternal grandparents both came from the same town in Ireland to the U.S. where they met.  So Mikey had always felt the family connection to Ireland and the idea of actually spending time exploring Dublin and some of the countryside and small towns was perfect.

Ratchlet and her dad talked  several times about what he would like to see and visit in Ireland.  They decided that they would go first to London because Maddie-the-Great is enamored of all things British, and she has wanted to go to London for some time.  (A lot of her interest was generated through British TV shows, like Dr. Who, and the recent Sherlock Holmes series among other things.) 

After spending four days in London, they would fly to Dublin and spend an additional six days in Ireland.  At they end of their time there, they would fly back to the U.S. from Dublin.

Well, anyone who wishes, can pat me on the back for a great idea!!!

The four of them left Austin on July 10 and returned on July 23.  From what I understand they had a great time.  In London they saw Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, the British Museum home of the Magna Carta), Westminster Cathedral, and several other famous sites.  London was absolutely amazing just as they had expected....but, at least for the Big Guy, Ireland was the best.  They went to Trinity College to see the Book of Kels , visited several castles, explored Dublin, and went to the town where his grandparents were from.  Mikey loved everything about it....he loved the history, the people, the country, the weather.  In fact he didn't really want to come home.  Mikey loved Ireland!! I think he would go right back if he could. 

I have been told that Mike, Ratchlet, and T.A. all took photographs of the trip.  So far I have seen exactly two photos!  I'm sure I'll see more of them when T.A. downloads his photos (I hope). 

When Mikey came home he talked about the things they saw, the places they went, the food they ate, the things they just didn't have time to see.  All things considered however, when Mikey started telling me about the trip, he was the perfect embodiment of "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling". 

So glad you had a great trip, Big Guy!!  Happy Birthday!!!!


Saturday, July 25, 2015

"Gun Love"

As you all know there has been a lot of on-going debate about gun control, and the need to do something to stop the horror of school shootings and the like.  Each time another of those incidents occurs the controversies arise again and most of us fall on one side or the other of the debate.  One of the main  (possibly the only) reasons why there has been no action on this vital necessity for the protection of our citizenry, is the forceful position of the lobbyists, members, and supporters of the National Rifle Association, and those people who have a seemingly innate and unstoppable case of "Gun Love."

Now I do not mean in any way to minimize the seriousness of the issue of the need for gun control in this country, however, it occurred to me that those who are in favor of any form of gun control, really need to recruit the individuals who drove the battle against smoking.  Those folks took hold of the issue and pushed and bullied, and convinced just about everyone that smoking is worst thing on the planet!  And their efforts worked!  Smoking has been reduced enormously in this country because of their anti-smoking fanaticism.  They have been doing this for over 35 YEARS.  They won't give up until cigarettes disappear and smoking only relates to bonfires!

 Just think what this same group could accomplish if they changed their focus to gun control! 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

"My Wish Came True"

The driver of the car that sideswiped my car on New Year's Eve, turned out to be a17-year-old girl who had never had an accident before.  I think my chasing her down to get her license plate probably scared her to pieces.  Thinking back on it, I admit it was a really dumb thing to do.  The policeman that responded to my call told me the same thing.  (ahem!)  What was really amazing about the whole thing is that she got away and headed straight home, where her mother convinced her to turn herself in!!  Which she did.  Not only that but she admitted her responsibility, so she got a ticket, but in spite of that her insurance company paid the total bill for the repair of my car!!  It sort of restored my belief that most people are good people! 

The Big Guy arrived here in mid-January and the movers arrived a couple of days later.  And of course, at that point we began to realize that we had way too much stuff for this house.  The new house was only about 200 sq. ft. smaller that the Austin house, but it has become pretty clear that the "missing" 200 sq. ft. must have all been storage space!!

Over the last several months we have encountered some repairs required, some replacements required, some things that cost a little bit, and some things that cost a lot!  We have donated a very large amount of our stuff to the local Care Center Thrift Shop, but we are still not finished getting everything unpacked and put away.  I know it will happen eventually....but it is a sloooooooow process.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that the move hasn't exactly been a smooth one, we are still living in Central Florida which is something I have wanted for over 50 years!  It took a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of indecision, a lot choices, and a lot of convincing, but the bottom line is after all this time, "My Wish Came True!" 

I never would have believed it!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

"Home Sweet Home"

Once we made the decision to move to Florida, the search for the right home began.  Luckily for us, one of my former classmates from Lake Wales, was a very experienced and excellent realtor.  With her help we began the search.  Mike and I went back to Lake Wales to look at some homes and explore the area.  We saw a house we liked that was actually less than 1/2 a mile from the house I lived in back in high school.  It was an older home with lots of character and  quirkiness.  It was a bit on the small side compared to the last several homes we had lived in, but it had a lovely pool and a guest cottage and it was very reasonably priced.  We placed a bid on the house and kept our fingers crossed!

Well, crossing our fingers didn't work.  On the same day we made our offer, the owner also received another bid for the same amount but their offer was a cash offer....which pushed us right out of the picture.  It was disappointing, but it was understandable.  So it was back to the drawing board.  After searching on-line some more we found another home that we liked.  After much discussion I went back to Florida to actually see the house and Mike stayed in Austin.  I really liked the home and Mike and I  decided to make an offer.  Surprisingly, the offer was accepted and then we had to put our Austin home on the market.

That didn't go as well.  It took about 3 months to find a buyer, a long and frustrating 3 months.  So for those 3 months we had 2 homes.  The Austin house was built in the early 90's and unfortunately many of those who viewed the house thought much of it was dated and in need of major updating.  The things people didn't like were fairly superficial, and in some cases downright ridiculous.  But eventually we received an offer.  It wasn't as good as we had hoped but we wanted to get on with it, so we accepted the offer.  Yay!

So the summer of 2014 was filled with all the paperwork for both houses, sorting through some of our possessions to begin to weed  out some of our stuff.  We closed on the Florida house in September, 2014.  I went back to Florida in the middle of October (for my 50th H.S. reunion).  Because we didn't want the Florida house to sit empty while we were waiting to sell the Austin house, I filled my car with as much of my stuff as possible and I stayed on after the reunion. 

For the next three months I lived in Florida and Mike lived in Texas.  We spent a lot of time on the phone!  Mike ultimately decided to retire in mid-January, 2015.  After we got the offer on the Austin house, we scheduled that closing for mid-January, 2015.

While I was in Florida waiting for Mike and the rest of our things to arrive in January, I got the worst case of flu I have ever had!!  I was so sick for over three weeks that I was totally incapacitated.  I wasn't able to get out of bed for more than a few minutes at a time.  I was hardly able to eat anything and lost about 7 pounds!  I mostly slept through those three weeks.  I wasn't able to drive back to Texas for Thanksgiving which was extremely disappointing.  My whole family was together for the holiday, except for me. 

I seemed to be recovering slowly but surely, when I had a relapse and was sick again for another 10 days!  Finally, Mike flew to Florida and took care of me for a few days and then we drove back to Austin about a week before Christmas.  It was a very weird experience all the way around.

After Christmas 2014, I loaded up my car again with as much stuff as I could get in and returned to Florida.  Mike would be there in about 2 weeks and then  we would be able to start getting our house in order and settled in as Florida residents!  I had a smooth trip with no delays and I arrived back here on New Year's Eve at about 7:00 pm.  Safe and Sound!  After 50 years, I was finally back to "Home Sweet Home!"  

As I was on the very last leg of my trip back to our new home, and I was only about a mile and a half from the house, I pulled into a turn lane to make a right turn onto the street leading to our house, when, seemingly out of nowhere, I was sideswiped,  pushed out of the lane on to the shoulder, and then the driver of the other car took off like a bat out of hell!!  Luckily I was not injured and my car was still drivable, but I was really angry and I took off after the car so I could get the license plate number.

Hardly a great start to 2015!!

(More tomorrow....)

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