Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Lost and found

The blond twin has a dwarf guinea pig named Prince Polo. Yesterday she was showing off Prince Polo and forgot to lock his cage properly. When she came home, Prince Polo was gone.

She was despondent. She really adored her rodent. We looked everywhere before going to bed. He was nowhere to be found in the morning. She put out some food. Later I added a water bowl. 

She was sitting at her makeup table getting ready for work when she screamed. I mean it was a gut-wrenching scream. I gasped, certain that she found Prince Polo's corpse.

Instead, Prince Polo was back in his cage. While she was sitting there, he ran up to her foot and tried running up her leg. She scooped him up and took him home. She was so incredibly happy to find her pet. It was the best possible ending to her 24 hour nightmare.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Just because

Going back to high school has not been easy for the girls. First, there was a Tik Tok challenge about creating a fighting streak, so students were fighting at least once a day. Second, there was an active shooter during a football game. It turned out to be a person trying to commit suicide by cop, but no one knew that at the time. There was a person shooting outside a football stadium full of students and parents. Third, there are so many anti-mask students creating problems.

It has been so stressful for all the students that the school brought in therapy dogs.

Today the girls stayed home. I just called the school to say that they were not going to be in school today.

It has all been so difficult. Sometimes you just need a day to hang out and do laundry. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021


Every year on this date, I remember every detail. I remember calling Uncle Dave to check our car seats. I remember driving to the hospital. I remember the first time we saw the babies. I remember the nurse asking their names. I remember holding them for the first time. I remember being so in awe that the babies were coming home with us. 

I know that today the girls are legally adults, but they will always, always be our babies. 

Monday, May 31, 2021

Chasing wild horses

We scheduled our wild horses tour on our first full day in the Outer Banks. We arrived at the tour company ready for fun. The vehicles were open air Hummers with a shade cover. 

Our tour guide had been on the job for a long time. He had such great stories that we were constantly entertained and educated.

There were signs everywhere telling people not to touch or feed the wild horses. Some were just warnings. Other signs gave more information, like the wild horses evolved over the years so their digestive systems could only eat the wild grass grown in the sand dunes. 

We were really glad we didn't rent the house in the middle of the wild horse preserve. It turned out that vehicle tires needed to be deflated and inflated every time you drove on the sand. There were vehicles in line at the entrance with people deflating tires. About a mile outside the preserve was an air station to inflate tires. It was fine for one trip, but doing it every day would not have been an enjoyable way to spend vacation.

The horses were a beautiful mix of wild and practical. The guide said that horses use house carports to stay out of the heat. People living/staying in the houses have strict guidelines about co-existing with the horses. As we drove around, we saw several people standing on a deck taking photos. 

As we left, there were two horses walking in the surf. They were just walking on the edge as if they owned the place, which they actually do.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

The best travel purchase

We decided to make the first day our longest driving day. It put us near Charlottesville, VA, so we could tour Monticello and the University of Virginia.

This plan meant that we'd be in the car for a long, long time. The shortest route was nearly twelve hours. 

Fourteen hours after we left our house, we pulled into our hotel. We only stopped for gas and bathroom breaks. We drove through to get our meals. Unfortunately, we didn't do a good job of coordinating those activities, which added to our driving time.

Before we left home, we signed up for a couple of streaming services. The girls spent the drive watching movies and sleeping. We were so happy to have had the streaming services to keep them busy. Fourteen hours in a car had the potential to be really miserable. Instead, it passed quietly.

We woke up the next morning, toured Monticello, had lunch at the University of Virginia, and drove to the Outer Banks. Our house was wonderful. We took the path to the ocean, which was more like a secret passage with signs, benches and hidden treasures. 

It was a world away from home and a terrific first vacation day.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

On the road again

Once we were all vaccinated, we decided to plan our summer vacation. We decided to drive to give us more flexibility and control. We were all vaccinated, but none of us wanted to get on a plane, rent a car, etc. 

We decided to head to the Outer Banks, NC. First, we've been talking about going there for years to see the wild horses. Second, the girls started watching a show with the same name and wanted to see it. 

The hardest part about vacation planning was deciding which house to rent. There were so many great places. We decided against a house right on the beach because it required a four-wheel drive vehicle. We decided to rent a house with a direct path to the beach.

Our stops to and from the Outer Banks mixed interests with college tours. We mapped out our route, packed the car and left Holly in great hands. 

It was great -- and strange -- to be on the road again. 

Sunday, May 9, 2021

RIP Mr. Rick

We first met Mr. Rick when the girls were very young. I think they were eight or nine years old when they started taking golf lessons with him. Every summer they would carry their golf clubs to the driving range for lessons. 

I always say that he taught them to drive. As soon as they could reach the peddles, he allowed them to drive the golf carts. He would take them out to play a few holes during a lesson. When they came back, one of the girls would be driving the golf cart. 

Mr. Rick often had them compete for the longest drive, closest to the hole put, etc. The winner would get candy. Once in a while he'd give them single dollar bills. I always told him that he was spoiling them. He said it was because he had so much fun with them. 

The blond twin decided not to play golf any more, so she stopped taking lessons. The brunette twin continued every summer. Every year about Christmas, we'd get an email about the next summer's lesson plan.

We moved from Christmas 2020 into 2021 without a Mr. Rick email. I told Daddy that I hoped he was ok and Covid-19 hadn't hit him.

When text came in March, I teared up. Mr. Rick was battling leukemia. He was diagnosed after the brunette twin last saw him in August. He said he was going to try to hold a few lessons this summer for a select group of his long-time students.

We immediately signed up. Mr. Rick was a constant summer presence. Even if he would only be able to hold a few lessons, we were in.

Today we found out that Mr. Rick lost his cancer battle. The brunette twin sobbed uncontrollably. The blond twin kept saying that she wanted to see him. It was heartbreaking. 

Sometimes people come into your life and become extended family. Mr. Rick was more than their golf coach. He was their doting life coach. We are so lucky that he came into our lives and we will miss him terrible. 

Better living through science

Through a scientific miracle, 200 million people in the United States have received a Covid-19 vaccine. All four of us are almost vaccinated + two weeks.

It is such a relief to be vaccinated. After more than a year there are signs on normalcy. I don't ever think that we're going back to February 2020. I do believe that Covid-19 has created some permanent changes.

Still, it is a relief that all four of us are almost vaccinated. 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Dusting off the pandemic

Now that Daddy and I are both vaccinated +two weeks, we decided to go out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary. It was the first time in more than a year that I even thought about dressing up. I pulled out my shoes and purse. I stared for a minute at my shoes. 

They were dusty. My purse was dusty too. My sweater shoulders were dusty. 

I cleaned everything and got dressed. I felt like a new person in my "leaving the house for a real date night" clothes. It was a long pandemic year. Now, spring was here and dinner out was a sign of things to come now that we see signs of normal returning.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Financial gurus

When the girls started working, we gave them back some of their expenses such as their spending money, their Dunkin/Starbucks drinks, their hair cuts and gas for their cars. 

We remind them every time they get paid that they have to put something into their savings accounts. It can be just $25, but it has to be something.

It has been interesting to watch them debate whether or not they really want a coffee drink. They never had these discussions when we were paying for their coffee. They are more careful about what they are doing and how much it costs. 

The girls are also watching their checking and savings accounts carefully. They panic if it goes below a set amount.

I hope we're instilling good financial habits that will last a lifetime. For now, it's just fun to watch them debate whether it's worth the money to go get a coffee drink.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

A studio apartment

We've done a lot of renovations on our 50+ year old house since we moved in more than 20 years ago. When we created a basement room for the girls a few years ago, we envisioned them hanging out with friends doing whatever teen girls do.

Instead, it's their studio apartment. The table we used for puzzle early in the pandemic is now their school/craft space. The couch is permanently in double-bed mode. The girls lounge on it during school, to play video games and to watch movies. They have snacks and drinks in the pantry.

Their friends said it looks like a page from an Ikea catalogue. I take this as a huge compliment. 

If they had a basement bathroom, they'd never have to come upstairs.

I often think about how much harder it would be not to have the basement space. The girls have their bedrooms, but it's really nice for them to have two spaces to call their own. During a time when we really don't leave the house much, the more options the better. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

18 inches and counting

Chicagoans are used to snow, so we don't panic when the forecast calls for 24 hours of snow. We make sure our vehicle gas tanks are full, pick-up a few groceries and get ready to shovel.

This February is really pushing our snow limits. In the past 24 hours, we've had 18 inches of snow. We now have about three feet of snow on the ground. It all fell in February.

Some day this will make for a great story. Today, though, I would be happy if this was the last snow of the season.