Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cold Turkey and Cabbage Soup!

Enough time has passed for me to recover a bit from Ann's visit, which was fantastic....though there was a lot of recovery required!  I worked frantically to get the house in order and some food in the fridge, and all worked out well with a little help.  I received a very good housecleaning deal (two cleaners for two hours for $79) from Living Social.  I had also received a coupon from them offering 25% off my next purchase, which made it too good to pass up.  The ladies we nice, efficient and did a great job, which made everything easier for me. I was so glad I did it.

The day before Ann was to arrive, Bloom had their annual Mother's Day party at 2PM.  So, I took time out for that.  The food looked great, the music was nice; but, by the time it was to begin, my mother couldn't stay up any longer.  She is to that stage where she spends a lot of time sleeping.  From time to time she will have a good day when she is awake and more alert, but they are becoming fewer. When they happen, we make the most of them.
Ann's plane was slightly late, but not much.  We went straight home and began the catch-up.  It was a fun evening of too much to catch up on at one time.  The next morning we went for a long walk on the beach.  It was the beach I usually frequent because the parking is easy and it in a good walk up to the Westin, which makes for a nice break.  We walked as far as we could go past the Westin and came back for lunch, which was leisurely and delicious.  We then walked back to the car.  As we were approaching the car, I felt in my bag for my keys....and NO KEYS!!  There really was no way to retrace our trail, so I used Ann's phone to call AAA as I was pretty sure I had an extra key in my purse, which was in the car.  As I was talking to the AAA lady, she asked where we were and I said, "Not only have I lost my keys, I don't know where we are!"  I couldn't remember the name of the beach, nor the name of the was either Bradley Beach Road or Singleton Road, but I wasn't sure which.  Then she asked the phone number on which we could be reached, so I asked Ann.....who said, "I don't know!"  By that time we are almost rolling on the ground and the lady on the phone seemed amused!  I give her credit for not haning up on us or thinking it was a prank call.  Instead she looked at her map and, while I couldn't give her names, I could tell her that it was the first left turn after the light at Folly Field Road.  When she said Bradley Beach Road to Dreissen Beach, I know they would come to our rescue.

We only had to wait about 15-20 for AAA and he did open the car; however, no spare key in my purse!  So, the plot thickens.  We walk to the restaurant on the corner and ask the hostess if she would call a cab for us.  After three tries, she did find one willing to take us back to my house.  While she's making the call, an owner or manager comes over to ask if he can help and we explain that the hostess is calling a cab for us....and he said, "Oh, had a little too much to drink???"  We both laughed and said, "Nooooo....we don't even need drink!"

Eventually we got home and after a short search found the spare key.  We called another cab to take us back to the car.  The good thing is that everyone was helpful, prompt, cheerful and supportive.  As the story developed, everyone along the way seemed to be amused by the right kind of way.  So, all's well that ends well (though I haven't had the key replaced yet...)

We hoped that would be the most excitement of that type for the rest of the visit.  We had thought of going to Charleston, but we decided to stay close.  Our activities for the week included the following:
  • Beaufort
  • Palmetto Bluff and Bluffton
  • Harbourtown and Coligny Beach area
  • Shopping
  • A movie - The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Drinking Liberally
Ann will have to remind me of anything I've left out, but we did lots of walking every day.  I'd just lost 5 pounds with the Cabbage Soup diet and only put one back on.....not for lack of eating an drinking!  It was the walking that kept the balance.  Lois and Tony encouraged our delinquency by sending some cash with Ann.  It came with explicit instructions "not to be spent on anything frivolous.....alcohol only!"  I had stockpiled wine and thought I had enough; but, three days in, I fell woefully short  So, we visited the local wine shop and followed instructions!  Reminiscing requires lots of wine...Thank you Lois and Tony for helping the cause!

I was also pleased for Ann to meet the Drinking Liberally crew, and for them to meet her.  Their response to learning that she was from Liverpool was, "Oh, we know Liverpool....the Beatles!"  She was made welcome and peppered with questions.  Many in the group had careers working for the government in DC and were surprised by our exploits in Saudi.  We also think we identified someone in the Witness Protection Program!!  He was there with his wife, and when I took photos (which you'll see below), he made a concerted effort to be out of them....even when we wanted one of him on his bike!!  He wasn't in the background - he was not in sight!!  Draw your own conclusions!

I'm sure I've left things out, but it was all lots of fun and like no time had passed since our last meeting.  We were both touched by Lois and Tony's thoughtfulness, just another reminder of those strong Aramco ties. We spent a lot of time reminiscing about good friends and good times.  It was a joyful week and one I won't forget soon.....just what I needed! Thank you, Ann, for was great!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Another little box of ashes....

I expected to be too busy to write before Ann's arrival, but today has been nothing like planned and I've lost another kitty!  Around 3AM this morning, Chloe had a seizure and a second one several hours later, with a lot of heavy, erratic breathing in between.  I had her at the vet's by 7:15AM and they thought they had her stabilized, but she had another seizure and died at that time.  It all happened so quickly that it's hard to take it in, and it has tapped that well of sadness I can manage to keep calm most of the time.  So, I'm taking the time to give her the love and remembrance she deserves

Cat owners know that each cat is unique, with some spark that sets one apart from another.....and wins a spot in your heart  Chloe was my hippie child, dancing to her own drummer...when you least expected.  She had hip dysplasia, which caused her to have a funny gait and to walk with her tail down.  But, as soon as she was within a few feet on me, up went the tail.  With it being a long, thin tail, she was often called Rat-tail Girl.....all with affection.  For no reason whatsoever, she would dart from the kitchen to the hall, stop suddenly and look around, and dart someplace else.  She would also do that on the bed, skating around like a water bug.  We usually commented that she was glad to be alive!

She maintained a kitten's face and skinny legs with small little feet.  Everything in between was fat and bulbous, which also gave her the contradictory name of Tinsy Little Girl.....or Tinsy Little Rat-tail Girl!!!  She was also known as the kitchen gestapo and developed this knack of herding Smokey away from me as I prepared the breakfast food.  She had it down to a science.....and Smokey knew it!

She loved being near Gabby and every night they would groom each other's head before going to bed.  It was a nightly ritual. The dining room table was part of her domain and she could survey her territory from there.  She intuitively knew when it was 7PM......treat time!  And she didn't hesitate to remind me if I was late with treats.  She loved to help with chores, especially changing the bed.  as soon as the bottom sheet was on, she would get smack in the middle of the bed, lie on her back and squirm.....she loved a clean bed!  She was truly a character in her own right. 

In no time flat, I've gone from 5 cats in the house to now only two.  Tonight I'm likely to have the whole bed to myself.....not that I ever complained about having it full of cats.  I have not even gotten accustomed to being without Gabby, and now I have to do the same with Chloe.  Until they are gone, you/I don't realize how much their presence fills the house and adds love and joy to life.  I can't tell you how much they will be missed.

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