Stuff I Did When I Wasn’t Here

Couple days off from writing, and I’m ready to get back to it!

Let’s see…what has happened that I can fill you in on. Oh, lots of goodies.

We decorated the Christmas tree, so I hate it less. Our new tradition, now that M isn’t spending all his time on an outdoor display and we can do things as a family, is for me to unwrap and hook all the ornaments while M and Zoe hang them on the tree. I love this because I get to hold every ornament, and all our ornaments come laden with memories. We’ve got the little Willis Tower from a trip to Chicago, and the glass seal from the aquarium in Seattle. A crab from a business trip I took to Newport, and a trout from a management retreat where I fished on the White River. There’s the globe filled with sand and sea shells from our honeymoon. The Clydesdale horse from our trip to the brewery to see the lights last year. Two of Zoe’s binkies have been repurposed as ornaments (thanks to Aunt Shelly for that idea!). We have a few National Corvette Museum ornaments from our trips to Bowling Green, and two gorgeous peacocks that clip on to branches from one of M’s business trips to Denmark. A red double-decker bus he brought back for Zoe when he was in London. The two cat ornaments we bought for Max and Tachi years ago made me cry all over again. This is not to mention the many sweet ornaments Zoe made over the years. Our tree is so full of memories that this year we barely had room for the inexpensive, plain glass balls that M and I bought for our very first tree twenty years ago. I insisted on hanging a few, though, as we’ve never had a tree without them. Looking at our tree, I have to admit, I don’t actually hate it at all. Let’s just forget that whole mini-light thing ever happened.

We toured the Daniel Boone property out in Defiance Friday night, on one of their four nightly Candlelight Walks. This was our second year, and it was once again magical. I highly recommend. Note: it changes slightly from year to year because volunteers come and go, so I’d say it’s worth it to go more than once. We loved it again Friday night, but were a little disappointed that the pub had been turned into an detached kitchen with a squabbling couple rather than a tavern with a cheerful barkeep sampling pine beer. That pine beer was awesome. And probably would have helped sooth the marital discord in the sketch.

We hit the Missouri Botanical Gardens Winter Wonderland display with model trains. Gorgeous set-up, as usual, and M put up with the plants because there were trains. Zoe and I thoroughly enjoyed looking at all of it, even the plants, and she’s obsessed with lithops now. Okay, we both are.

M flew his new drone both Saturday and Sunday. I have decided I’m not cut out for drone fun, or at least the type of drone he has which is closer to a model airplane that is highly susceptible to wind gusts. I was a ball of nerves watching him fly, even though he did quite well after the two initial crashes into trees. Zoe is happy to take the co-pilot role and I’ll stay home and pretend he’s not flying an expensive toy around high up in the sky. This is better for all of us.

For the second time, M left his glasses on top of his car and then drove away. The glasses fell off and were run over by a friendly neighbor who stopped when he saw me charging up the road in an attempt to save them and who felt just awful despite the fact that it was not his fault at all. We went to Sam’s, where the guy told us that they no longer sell Ray Ban frames, so we spent some time selecting new frames while lamenting the loss of the ones we liked so much. M needed a check-up and new glasses anyway, so I’m not too upset by this except that he’s got to go two weeks without his glasses which will be hard on his peepers. After finding new frames our favorite eye lady finished with her customer and offered to see if there were any of the Ray Bans left at another store, and then asked the guy who had been helping us if he had checked what was left of their initial order from Ray Ban. She dug around in a cabinet and produced a tray with about eight frames. The third pair were M’s, so I danced a little dance and we reserved them and he’ll go back Saturday for his check-up and all will be good in the eyeball world again. Zoe also has a new prescription, and since she’s done a great job taking care of her frames over the last year (they still look like new!) and she still likes them, we just ordered new lenses. Feel free to make the conclusion that my 12-year-old takes better care of her glasses than my 45-year-old.

I have two guys here today fixing crap that was wrong with the house when it was built. While it chaps my ass to pay to repair shoddy work that I already paid good money for (especially those projects we told the builder were incorrect as he was doing them and he drywalled over the problem anyway), I am excited to have it all finished. On the agenda today: remounting all four wall-hung toilets, raising the sump pump, and fixing (finally) the water leak around the water supply pipe that’s been there since before we moved in four years ago. This involves shutting off the water to the house, removing all my potties, and digging two holes (for the third time) in my front yard. The company repairing the crack in the foundation in the finished part is scheduled for December 19. I had people come out and give us bids and I signed contracts and scheduled the work and was so pleased to finally be moving forward on this, when a bathroom floor tile popped out. There are massive issues with that bathroom floor already, so the popped tile wasn’t exactly a surprise. There’s a huge dip and hump in the floor outside the shower that practically screams “water leak” or “moron who installed the tile left a tool under there” or quite possibly both, and the tile in the shower has been jacked up since before we moved in. The plumber who quoted the work being done today said the shower issue may also be a water leak from beneath, causing a puckering and discoloration of the grout. It’s ironic that the 60-year-old house we tore down because of structural issues still had all its 60-year-old bathroom tile firmly in place and in excellent shape the day it came down. Perhaps someday this will all be like the mini-lights and I shall laugh and laugh. Or perhaps not.

The guy just warned me he’s turning off the water, so I filled my kettle for some tea and a big plastic cup for drinking water and gave the thumbs up. Then, because I am stupid, I peeled and ate an orange, which as you know is sticky. Managed to dig the package of wipes from my work bag without gunking up the bag too badly. I am totally winning today.

Except, I did not win the Erma Bombeck Humor Writers Workshop Writer in Residence contest I submitted for. Beat out by two talented women who have been published in a variety of well-known places, including the New Yorker. At first I was pissed, because sometimes I feel like all the good prizes go to people who have already been published, who don’t need the help or exposure. And then I realized that the only thing stopping me from being one of those people who have already been published is myself, because I rarely submit my work. In other words, I need to get off my ass and actually do something. Because I’ll never be published if I don’t send my work out. Duh. (I’ve come to this realization before, but then somehow I seem to forget it all over again.)

Well, that’s quite an update, isn’t it? Aren’t you glad you asked?

#blog#daily life#family#M#personal essay#writing#zoe

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