Simple Sunday – Happy Father’s Day Husband!

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Fur Friday – Cat Camo

Finding just the right background to fade into – Cat-ouflage.

Chloe cleverly utilizes the colors and textures of our voluminous bathmat, carefully aligning herself with the multitone stripes.

Leia chooses the quiet, out of the way spaces of empty dining room chairs. She was so cat-ouflaged I almost couldn’t find her for this photoshoot. The eyes give her away.

James, neither stripe aligned nor tucked under furniture, instead decides upon behavioral cat-ouflage as he flattens himself out and plays dead. His fabric choice, while a bit faded, does hint at an attempt of blending with the tired dog bed.

If this were a competition, who would win? Do your cats cat-ouflage and if so, how well?

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Dave & Busters (with a side of nude Burt Reynolds)

To support Carter’s Boy Scout Troop, we purchased a coupon card from him, as did several of our neighbors (thanks, neighbors!). It was one of those cards full of discounts, most of which you will never use and you fully know this going into the purchase. One of the “deals” was a buy $20, get $20 to spend at the restaurant/arcade Dave & Busters. For others, perhaps this is a deal, but since we never go to such places (ok, we have been once – it was loud, overpriced, and I vowed never to go again) I stand by my quotation marks.

On Tuesday we went. It was loud, although not due to the number of people (we strategically went on a Tuesday mid-afternoon), but due to the crash of color and sound each video screamed out at the passersby. I snapped a couple pictures of the games that caught my eye and completely give away my age.

Husband and I did one loop of the game area and then stood there, uncertain what to do next. The boys did not need us. They each had their own game card and were completely sucked in to the arcade abyss.

That was when I noticed the sign.

“Would it make us seem old to hang out in the Billiards Room?” I asked Husband.

No one was there. It was glorious! Being frugal and still feeling the shock of the “deal” we used and then some to load up the boys’ game cards, we did not want to actually pay to play pool, but as luck would have it, there was a shuffle board along the far wall. All six pucks were quietly sitting there. Waiting for us.

And so we played. First we played using rules we apparently made up somewhere along our lifetimes ago and had convince ourselves were legit. Then we took the time to read the gameplay rules that were politely posted on the wall and played the correct way.

We ordered beer from the bar and the boys played on. Around the walls by the shuffle board there were large black and white framed photos of serious looking people playing pool. Eyes narrowed, cigars clamped in tight lips, laser focused attention to the long played out games of pool. I thought they should have such serious pictures posted but of people playing shuffle board. Hands poised for long seconds over the sanded board as the puck slides to its final destination on the board, lips slightly pursed, eyebrows furrowed.

One of the faces in the serious pool pictures looked familiar, but I could not place him. Husband told me it was a young Burt Reynolds, shocked I did not recognize him.

Burt Reynolds playing pool | Pool table, Sport pool, Pool halls
I have never been a Burt Reynolds fan, how was I to know?

Somehow our conversation turned to Reynolds’ Playgirl days and Husband, ever one for facts and research had this picture pulled up on his phone when a woman and her two young children walked into the Billiard room.

Burt Reynolds
Not Playgirl, but…

The woman nor her children noticed, but I found the whole thing to be hilarious.

Cody texted, wondering where we were but not really needing anything. Husband and I played another game, this time using our nondominant hand just because. We reluctantly observed that our quality of play did not seem to change much.

Eventually the boys’ money ran out and they tracked us down. We spent some time in the WIN store so they could spend their tickets and we were on our way.

Just missed Cody’s smile but caught Carter mid bite of that funky Styrofoam looking ice cream.

All in all, it was a good time. If it had not been for the free, unlimited shuffle board, I probably would have a different opinion, however.

Dave & Busters – still loud and overpriced, but that sounds like something a disgruntled old person would say, so I won’t.

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Cooler than Yesterday

Even in the summer, especially in the summer, Husband and I get up early and walk the dogs. We were more than half way through our two mile walk this morning and I was dragging. The sun was clawing its’ way up the eastern edge of the mountains; the air was still and heavy with heat.

Husband turned and smiled at me. “It’s going to be cooler than yesterday, only 115 today!” He meant it to encouraging I’m sure, but it was not.

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Simple Sunday – Get Back to the Nest, Little One!

Papa Quail was most displeased to find his little one out of the nest and away from the protection of the bush at the base of our mesquite trees.

Photo credit to Husband

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Fur Friday – Pay Attention to Me!

This is the look I get when I brush my teeth but James wants me to hold him instead.

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Where the Clutter Ends

Husband is the master of clutter.

In my life his clutter is a bit like the music one is subjected to while on hold waiting to talk to a representative of some random company or another, background noise that is highly annoying but on occasion you find yourself singing along with it because it rather rocks. Sometimes I want to sweep it all into a trash bag with one great swoop of my arm and fling it in the alley and at other times it gives me permission to clutter right along with him.

Carter seems to have received the clutter gene from Husband. His cluttering tends to consist more of a scattering of books than a concentrated pile of make-me-grumpy, but there is one exception. The end of our dining room table.

Because it looks nice and provides more room, we keep the leaf in our dining room table and always have three chairs on each side. We, of course, only use four of the chairs and have our designated spots; Cody and I are across from each other closest to the kitchen. Husband sits next to me with Carter across from him. The two empty places are next to Husband and Carter. Except they are never empty due to their respective clutter.

A couple days ago, fed up with Carter’s dining room table clutter, I told him he needed to tidy it up. He did and that section of the table, usually covered with books, cups, baseball cards, and trinkets was a beautifully empty. I was happy.

But apparently this newly uncovered space caused Carter some trouble. Last night during dinner he motioned to the table next to him where a couple items had already found there way and moved in.

“Without my clutter I don’t know where things start or end.” he lamented.

He went on to admit that during lunch the other day, he accidently sat in the wrong place, the beautifully empty space. Now this could be due to him almost always having his nose in a book and the subsequent lack of observational skills that comes with this, but it does hint at a possible unhealthy relationship with his clutter.

Carter’s clutter (L) apparently helps him identify his spot at the table.

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Cherries and Chips

One of the activities we will continue with from pandemic life is grocery store curbside pick-up. It is very convenient, especially since Husband does it all except write the list (and sometimes he even does that). However, things can go awry in this process.

This was the case last Saturday morning when Husband came home with a copious quantity of cherries instead of the two pounds we ordered. There were a couple other strange mix-ups with the order, but in the end we were credited and allowed to keep the SEVEN POUNDS of cherries, along with a party size box of individual snack bags of chips we had not ordered (Alas someone out there is drinking our missing Tecate beer and wishing they had chips. Now that I think about it, I hope they are not handing out cans of Tecate instead of bags of chips at their child’s birthday party!).

The boys were ecstatic over the chips as they are not something we usually have in our house (because I will eat them all). The box promptly went into the storage closet, designated for road trips and yet to be planned pool parties. But the cherries, so many! Now Carter is a solid cherry eater, cherries could be his breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I let him, but seven pounds…

I Googled cherry crumble, texted our neighbor asking if she had a cherry pitter I could borrow (she did), and went to baking. The crumble recipe only used four cups so I depitted, (or is that pitted?) four more cups to freeze for a later crumble. And still there were more. We have been eating them between meals and on our yogurt for breakfast.

With the cherries mostly taken care of, I suppose it is time to plan a pool party to address those chips!

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Simple Sunday – Litterbox Mafi

me: “One down, two to go!

This morning I was in the process of one of my least favorite tasks, the cleaning of the litter boxes. We have three cats and as such should have four boxes, one more than the cats you own, or that own you. I’ve heard these words of wisdom somewhere along the way and have always followed them until our orange cat, James, walked into our lives and we went from a 2 cat, 2 dog, 2 kid family to simply crazy cat people. It had been hard enough to find room for three large, covered boxes much less four. So it has remained at three.

James typically “helps” me with this job, closely supervising as I scoop, robustly paw waving through the cascade of litter flowing from bag to box as I refill, and happily swishing the sweep up litter piles caused by previous paw waving while eagerly attacking the broom bristles as I try to clean up. But this morning he was busy laying claim to the cat carrier I had brought in for his sister Leia’s vet check-up.

me: “One down, two to go!

I headed out of the laundry room and down the hall to the master bathroom to take care of the remaining litter boxes. The boys were milling around in the kitchen as teenage boys apparently do.

Cody: “You are like a hit man!” he said, acknowledging my comment. This made me smile as I considered how his comment elevated my humdrum job to something more, albeit a bit fringe, dark ally, and unconventional.

Carter: “Target eliminated.

I’m not exactly sure what to make of their comments, but I appreciate their sense of humor and how it will henceforth alter how I view this task.

By the way…

It appears from my last blog post that I have been absent since October. There is no one reason, but rather a lot of little reasons. This has been a tough time for me with work and life in general, but we are good. I am good. As a teacher this school year was by far the hardest and most emotionally and physically draining of any. Coming home from work, when I was not teaching virtually, and trying to help my boys navigate online learning was frustrating for everyone. Grades suffered, rebounded, and hovered around acceptable. We are calling that ok for this year. We have made it to summer!

Cody had a major operation to support his mobility caused by Cerebral Palsy in January, during the height of COVID here in Arizona. The timing was right for his body, but did not feel right in any other respect. Growth plates were destroyed to even a leg length discrepancy, hamstrings were released, leg bones were cut and rotated, an arch on his right foot was artificially created using bone grafting among other techniques. Eight weeks in a wheelchair followed by many more using a walker. Physical therapy has just dropped from three times a week to two. He is just now starting to put some weight on his right foot without the aid of a brace. All of this is wonderful and is going well. But all of this has added to the stress and lack of energy I have been feeling.

But I am good and I am moving forward with purpose and hope today instead of robotically lunging with starts and stops through the dreary of day as I have found myself doing. I hope you are well and for those of you who I “know” through blogging, know that I have been thinking of you, wondering how you are doing, and wishing you well.

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Uninvited Houseguest

Living within walking distance to a park is great. Living within walking distance to a park during a global pandemic, is amazing.

And so it was on Friday evening , that Cody and Carter were at the park hanging out with two friends. They eventually wandered back to our house, where they hung out in our backyard chatting.

Husband and I grabbed an adult beverage and sat out front where we were joined by Stephanie and Mike, our next door neighbors. The weather has cooled finally and our front desertscape yard with its adirondack chairs makes for a nice social, outdoor (and social distancing) setting. The dogs, barked their displeasure at being ignored inside, so we let Sasha out to join the gathering. Haley watched from the front window (she has anxiety issues as well as ultra protective instincts when it comes to the boys, so we are leery of having her around guests).

The boys came around front playing a form of murder mystery tag that, from my understanding, was loosely based upon a video game. Running around the cul-de-sac ensued. Sasha was a flash of flowing black fur in the darkening eve as she joined in. We enjoyed watching and talking.

At some point we were more focused on the talking and less on the watching which caused us to suddenly realize that Sasha was not out front with us anymore. The game stopped as we called and searched. We looked in the house, the backyard, Stephanie and Mike’s open garage. Nothing.

The boys and I went to the end of our road, calling. A car went by it’s headlights punctuating just how dark it had gotten. A black dog on a black road. My mind went to dark places and my voice revealed my increasing panic.

Meanwhile, Husband and the neighbors talked about where she would go. She is not a dog to leave us. She is not the most obedient dog, but she comes running when she hears her name repeated in high pitched, happy ways. Mike happened to comment that there was a doggie dog, partially boarded up with cardboard, leading from their garage into their house. Their dogs didn’t use it but their cats did. Husband stated that Sasha was rather cat like in her ability to sneak into small places.

Mike went to check their house. Sure enough, there was Sasha, hanging out in their living room with their two dogs as if she owned the place.

In her defense, she has been over to their house a handful of times for parties (pre-pandemic days). She has swam in their pool, lounged in their backyard, snacked in their kitchen, and slept on their couch. I imagine she considers their house as an extension of ours, just with a silly block wall in the way.

Sasha was put back into her rightful house and the evening went on, everyone very glad she was found and just fine, if a bit uninvited.

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