Thursday, May 24, 2018

Like a Good Neighbor

A few months ago, some new people moved into the house adjacent to our back yard. When we moved here, 19 years ago, the house was owned by Neighbor Bob and his wife; Hugh had known Neighbor Bob since he was a young boy, so there was already a connection. Since Neighbor Bob passed away, the house has sold twice, and, in each case, we have had a pleasant relationship with the owners.

You know where this is going, right?

New Guy is an asshat.

Hugh's first interaction with him occurred a couple of weeks ago, when Hugh was in the backyard cleaning out the dog kennels. Earlier in the day, he had trimmed some dead limbs from the tree overhanging my garden and had thrown them into our burn pile, along with some other trimmings and grass clippings.

New Guy came out of his house and proceeded to call Hugh a "punk" for burning on a Sunday, and, during a fire ban. Hugh politely informed him that there was no fire ban currently in place for the town, nor was there any city ordinance against burning on a Sunday.

New Guy was incensed, and he made an aggressive move toward Hugh, who, in a less polite voice, told him to get off our property. New Guy ignored that directive, and, Hugh sprayed him with the hose that he was using to clean the kennel. New Guy left, cussing Hugh all the way back to his house.

Hugh reported to incident to his Chief of Police, mainly because he assumed New Guy would try to report it as well and he wanted his story to be the first that the Chief heard. The Chief thought the whole thing was ridiculous and told Hugh not to worry about it since New Guy had trespassed on our property, been asked to leave, and appeared aggressive.

Flash forward to earlier this week, when the Code Enforcement Officer visited Hugh at the hardware store to advise him that someone had anonymously reported that we were building a structure on our property without a permit. Hugh agreed that we are, indeed, building a structure on our property, but, that said structure does not meet the specs that would require him to buy a permit, and, given Hugh's experience in construction, he would know. The officer agreed with him.

Now, who do you suppose the anonymous reporter was?

I have no idea if New Guy is renting or if he has purchased that house, but I can tell you, if this is his idea of making friends, he's terribly misguided.

On the other hand, if making a complaint to local law enforcement is the first step in his Handbook for Making Friends and Influencing Neighbors, I can certainly reciprocate; the weeds in his front yard are a clear violation of the city weed code.

I can make that call; the only difference between us is, I'm not ashamed to use my name. It's the downright neighborly thing to do.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Dinner With Friends

Last night, Chris, Jana, Hugh, and I had an impromptu dinner date. Jana had texted me earlier in the day to see if we wanted to go out with them, but, Hugh is currently working on a project in the yard and he wanted to take advantage of the daylight, so, instead of going out to eat, I suggested that they come on over and grill up some steaks at our place.

I'm glad they did; we had a great time! It's been waayyy too long since we all hung out, but, it didn't take long at all to get caught up on each other's lives. We also spent some time reminiscing about all the fun times we have had throughout the years and bemoaning the fact that our babies are now grown-ass adults, with lives of their own.

I've mentioned before that Chris and Jana recently purchased a concession stand business, which, will be keeping them busy this summer, but, with any luck, we will be able to pull off at least one weekend at the lake together. After all, early morning mimosas with Jana are one of my favorite ways to start a summer day.

Photo circa 2015, because it's been a coon's age since we pulled our shit together for a lake trip :(

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Now Showing: Kenzie's Graduation Party

Yesterday's grad party for Kenzie and his friend, Matt, went as well as could be expected, given the fact that Mother Nature refused to cooperate.

Mama Jill, her family members, the boys, and I spent hours setting up the various decorations, including an awesome balloon arch that started and ended in giant wooden popcorn boxes that Papa Jill had crafted in his metal shop. Unfortunately, the day was so hot, the balloons started popping in the sunlight, making it less awesome and more raggedy. Then, in a final blow (literally) to the arch, a giant gust of wind twisted the PVC pipe to the point that the arch leaned over almost to the ground.

We improvised by removing the arch from the boxes, rolling the red carpet in between them, and calling it good.

The wind was also less than kind to the remaining decorations, but, everything that we set up on the covered deck fared fairly well, including the popcorn station and the boys gift tables.


The highlight of the evening was meant to be the movie that Mama Jill was projecting against the side of their old barn, but, between you and me, the corn hole games were more popular with the kids (at least until it was too dark to see the boards).

Anyhoodle, the party was a hit. It was well attended, including a lot of last year's graduates, which, gave me a chance to catch up with some of my favorite kids.

When Hugh and I finally left at around 10:30, the kids were just grabbing blankets and lawn chairs and settling in for the movie. Later today, we will head back over there to survey the damage and to load up the tables, pop-up tent, popcorn machine, tiki torches, and other things that we contributed to the effort. I am not looking forward to cleaning out that popcorn machine, but, manual labor is a small price to pay for an opportunity to make one more memory with friends and family.

That's what it's all about.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! Today marks the end of my first 4-day workweek but, while the week was abbreviated, the stress was doubled, so, I totally need this free day!

And, how am I going to spend it? Helping Mama Jill throw a graduation bash for Kenzie, of course! The party is scheduled for later this evening, and we've got lots of balloons to blow up, popcorn to pop, a red carpet to roll out, and about a zillion other small details to see to before the first guest arrives, so, this post will be brief.

Obviously, Favorite Thing #1 is the fact that I am not rushing off to Day Job right now, but, enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee, instead.

#2: Last night, Hugh picked up the lumber that will eventually (hopefully, sooner, rather than later) become our new backyard pergola. It's going to go where our fire pit currently sits, and, he's also planning to convert the fire pit to gas, which will be awesome; I'm looking forward to spending summer evenings out there.

#3: Speaking of summer, we recently had the storefront windows painted by a local artist. She did an amazing job of capturing the small-town feel of a summer day; she even did a shout-out to my bike, Lulu, which I thought was awesome.

And, that's it for today. Tune in tomorrow, when I regale you with about a million pictures of Kenzie's party! It's sure to be my favorite part of the day.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

And I Can't Even Blame It On a Hot Flash

I had to give a presentation to a room full of people from the State Department of Education today. Midway through the presentation, I started sweating like a whore in church on Sunday; pit stains were not the lasting impression that I had hoped to leave, but, there you have it.

As an aside, I think it might be time to research a more effective antiperspirant. Also, if I were gifted with a super power, I would choose the ability to actually make the earth open up under my feet, swallowing me, whole.

That is all.

Monday, May 14, 2018

How I Spent My Mother's Day Weekend

Friday afternoon, I swung by the nursery to pick up the plants that would ultimately end up in my garden. The weather was not looking too promising, but, I was hopeful that it would cooperate over the rest of the weekend, because, here in Colorado, if you miss the brief planting window, you're shit out of luck for any kind of harvest.

Unfortunately, the wind picked up early Saturday morning, which, put my gardening plans on hold because I really needed to roto-til fertilizer into the garden, and, with the gusts, I was concerned that the granular fertilizer would just blow away before it could be incorporated into the soil. So, while Hugh puttered around in the garage, I worked on crafting projects in the house, including these movie clappers that I made for Kenzie's graduation party...

...Mama Jill plans to use them as props for the photo booth, so I used chalkboard paint, making them easy to personalize for anyone who wants to use them.

I also caught up on some scrapbooking, as well as knocking out some decorations for the Rodeo Princess's upcoming shower...

Meanwhile, in Neighboring City, Katie was matriculating from college!

Due to the limited amount of seating at the stadium, we weren't able to score tickets to watch in person, but, we did attend the after-party that Katie's biological parents threw for her in Hooterville.

While we were there, I thanked them for sharing Katie with us for all these years; I've often said that we couldn't love her more if she was ours by blood, and, that stands true; we are really excited to see where she goes from here, but she'll always have us standing behind her.

On Sunday, the winds finally calmed down long enough for us to get out into the yard. Hugh and the Man-Cub worked all day long, cutting down and hauling off several dead tree limbs. Hugh also tilled the fertilizer into my garden and I was finally able to get all of my plants into the ground. I didn't plant nearly as many vegetables as I usually do; as I have mentioned in previous posts,I am planning to grow flowers that I can cut for arrangements in a large part of the garden space.

In addition to the flower seeds (foxglove, zinnia, delphinium, poppy, snapdragon, and larkspur), I put in cucumbers, three varieties of tomato (Roma, Yellow Pear, and Moby Grape), one tomatillo plant, jalapeno peppers, Brussels sprouts, beets, and basil. I'm hoping to find some healthy thyme plants later this week, as I have been disappointed in what I have been able to find so far.

I'm glad the garden is in, and I'm hoping it grows, but, I'm planning to be very Zen about the whole thing: if it grows, it grows, if it doesn't, it doesn't. It is what it is, and all that jazz (clearly, in this case Zen=Whatthefuckever, garden).

Since it was Mother's Day, my offspring also gifted me with Alex and Ani bracelets and new box prints for the guest bathroom (Queen B), and a pretty columbine plant for the flowerbed (the Man-Cub and Hugh). I also got dinner out as well as the chance to relax on the couch with a marathon viewing of The Office, which I really appreciated.

Today, I am back to the work grind, albeit a bit more relaxed than I was this time last week. I can live with that. I hope your Mother's Day was fabulous and that you were either incredibly spoiled by loved ones or that you completely spoiled the mothers in your life; every mother deserves to be spoiled at least one day out of the year!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

In the Lottery of Life...

...I'm a winner, for sure, because, although I haven't hit it big on Powerball or scratch tickets, I definitely won the lottery for Best Mom in the World.

If you've read here for any length of time, or, know me in real life, you know that my mom is the bomb-diggity. She's loving, supportive, encouraging, fun, understanding, and, up for any challenge I throw at her.

She's an awesome travel companion, and I've had so much fun with her, whether it was in Paris, where she rocked the cosmopolitan vibe...

...or Hawaii, where she channeled her inner silver screen bombshell...

...road trips with her have been an adventure.

You'll never find a more dedicated grandmother. She makes it a point to connect with each of her five grandchildren through regular text messages, visits, and phone calls. She's present at every game, banquet, award ceremony, graduation, and special event, and, she's always willing to lend a helping hand. In fact, I could not have done half of what I did for my kids without her help. Nor, would I have wanted to; we make a good team, my mom and I.

In my lifetime, I've been favorably compared to my mom; we look alike, we have similar temperaments, we enjoy a lot of the same pursuits. I consider that comparison the highest form of compliment.

My mom is the best, and, if I am half the mom she is, then my kids are almost as lucky as I am.

I may never hit the right combination of numbers* and, that's ok; I already won the most important lottery of all.

Happy Mothers Day, Mom! We love you to infinity and beyond, and we are so grateful for you!

*Although, if I do hit those numbers, a return to Paris is definitely in order, Mom!