Monday, August 29, 2011

It's a wrap.

Summer's over, baby.

Yeah, I know, Labor Day is still a week off but I'm telling you the craziness and activity and traveling of summer is ohh-verr. At least for the Pipe Lifers.

We've had a great few months. We've been able to visit Steve a handful of times as he has traveled around West Virginia for his job, and we have made some wonderful memories. Now? I'm tired. My body is tired, my house needs attention, the kids need to hunker down and get ready for school, and our budget needs some TLC.

I'm ready. The outdoor temps have been cooler and that makes me happy. The air conditioner has been taken out of the window (here's hoping we can swing central air next year) and I've been enjoying sleeping with the windows open at night. My veggie plants continue to produce (yay for fresh tomatoes!) and there's still a bit of color on a few of my annuals and perennials.

I've got some pictures to sort through and post here when I get around to it. Got some great ones from this past weekend when Rachel and I spent the night at a zoo with her Girl Scout troop. I'm hoping someone among the group of guys that went to the Bristol race (my dad, brother, Steve and Sam) will send me some of the boys' weekend. And now and then throughout the summer Rachel commandeered my camera or my phone and did little photo essays; I was always finding surprises when I reviewed the photo files ... I might post some of those, too.

Tonight the kids and I are sitting together in the living room watching TV, the dog is snoozing on her bed, and we're chatting about the weekend ... and the week ahead when they will start school. It almost feels a little weird. It's been so long since we just hung out at home and did nothing and my brain wasn't screaming at me to get ready for the next thing.

I'm exhaling ... and it feels good.

Home, sweet home. It's great to be here. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I've got some catching up to do.

And right now that seems like the understatement of the year.

The bebes and I returned this evening from another stint of visiting Steve in West Virginia. My brain and my body - as in, my bones and muscles and sleepy eyelids - are fried. I can hardly think straight, and I'm afraid not even a good night's sleep will help this time.

I just plain need to catch up and get through the next few days. And then catch up on some sleep. Then I'll be able to think.

Rachel has a doctor's appointment first thing in the morning to check up on a sore ear and throat.

After that I am going with my parents to an out-of-town funeral visitation for a long-time family friend.

But before any of that, there is unpacking and repacking to do; Sam is leaving with my dad tomorrow afternoon to go back to WV to pick up Steve and my brother and our camper and then head to Bristol, Tennessee, for this weekend's NASCAR race.

And Rachel and I need to pack for an overnighter this weekend with her Girl Scout troop at, of all places, a zoo.

And somewhere in all the running around I need to find time to buy some groceries, help the kids sort through their clothes to figure out what they need for school, call someone about getting this ridiculous smell out of our tap water (oh yeah, it's nasty and I have a feeling it's going to cost a lot of money), activate and maneuver my way around a new cell phone, clean out my truck (that's a whole different smell), pay a visit to the chiropractor, and heaven knows whatever else I just can't think of at the moment.

Life would be so much less interesting if we weren't so busy, right?

Say "right," mmkay?

'Cause that's what I'm gonna' keep reminding myself for the next few days.

In all seriousness, I sure do love this life of mine.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Jack's on crack."

Jack is the GPS unit I keep in my truck. He's my lifeline when I'm traveling, particularly to faraway places I've never been.

I am safely home now, but I was convinced while driving to West Virginia to see Steve last week that Jack might get me killed. Or worse - stuck somewhere in the hills of southern Ohio after dark.

About the third time Steve called to check on my progress during my trip down there I told him "Jack says I'll be there at 8:56, but I think Jack's on crack." Jack was telling me the speed limit was 55 mph (probably because I was technically on a state "highway"), but for the last hour or so of driving I couldn't go more than 35-45 mph because of all the hairpin turns and switchbacks in hill country.

I made it there, though, safe and sound. And after a lovely week of doing lots of nothing, I'm home. I wrote a few blog posts in my head on the way home; nine hours of driving alone will have ya' doing that. But in the couple of days since I've been back I haven't done much writing or much of anything else except spend time with the kids. Because by golly I actually started to miss them those last few days I was gone.

It was so nice to have some time to myself and very little responsibility, but there did come a time when I had my fill and I was ready to return to life at home and what little routine we've had here for the summer. One week away and I'd had enough. (Poor Steve - he hasn't been home since the 4th of July. I know he must be missing it so. Having us go there to visit him is great, but it's nothing like being home.)

Today we had a contractor here pouring a concrete patio off the front deck of the house. It's a perfect day to be working outside with temps in the low 70's and a nice breeze. Home improvements always get me excited about the next big thing and what else we can do to make our home more cozy and a place where we all love to be. This project is perfectly timed to help turn my attention back home, too ... because even though I was ready to come back from West Virginia, I am longing for the simplicity of the days I spent there. I want to be here, but the reminders of all the things left undone or half done while we played all summer are adding up.

The new patio won't be finished until tomorrow when it's sealed, but it's already inspiring me. I spent some time today cleaning up my gardens and trimming back plants that are past their prime, and now this evening I'm turning my attention indoors to face the music. It's time to start clearing some cobwebs.