Hurricane Matthew – part 2

We have decided that we are going to leave town after all. Not because we’re worried about the weather, although an increasing number of people keep saying that we should be. But because we’ve been intending to go up and visit Mom and Dad and this is a really good weekend to do that! We used to have plans for Saturday — Family Day at work, Justin needed to go to the art museum for an exhibit for his Art History class, and a friend invited me to an Indian festival in town. But all those things got cancelled. I have off from work and Justin has very little homework due on Monday.

So we’re planning to head out there tomorrow and come back on Sunday.

As far as local news, this morning, the county decided that everybody east of I-95 should evacuate. We are west of the interstate. Less than a mile west, but we are west of it. This afternoon, our apartment complex sent out an email recommending that people leave. One of Justin’s classmates told him that her family was leaving around 1:45 this afternoon. He got an update from her recently (about 2 hours after they’d left) and they’re only 30 miles away. Hopefully traffic tomorrow morning will be clear.

It’s still calm and cloudy here. We kind of wish we’d be here to see what kind of weather does come through over the weekend. But we’re going to pack up and head to TN and check out how the weather is up there instead. I hope to get some hiking in this weekend! And getting to see Mom and Dad and the finished up house is going to be AWESOME!!

Quarterly update (part 3) — talking about the table and random other stuff

Okay, so what else has been going on?

  • Happy belated birthday to Amy, Mae, Tim, and Ethan! And happy birthday today to Isaac! We really had intended to send cards or something but my life is apparently insane and I can’t get anything done.
  • Congratulations to Dalton on those first steps! So exciting!
  • I’ve taken two classes now on how to use MS Access. I’m trying to learn a new way to keep track of all the information I manage at work and it’s being troublesome. It’s a whole new way of thinking about what I’m doing. I’m sure it’ll work out in the end, but it’s making me go around in circles while I try to figure it out.
  • I’ve donated platelets several times now. The last time went without a hitch and didn’t have any low-pressure problems. The time prior to that, however, was a failure because the pressure was so low I couldn’t even manage to get blood up to the machine to start.
  • On our way back from an appointment for Kay in Atlanta back in May, we stopped to help a woman and her daughter who were stuck on the side of the road with a shredded tire. We learned that we need to keep a better flashlight in the car, that we need a higher jack if we’re going to be able to help people who’ve lost their jack, and that we’d need a better tire iron to get those lug nuts off if they’ve lost that piece of equipment, too. Fortunately, a Georgia State Patrol trooper stopped and he had all those things and was able to get the women back on the road again. But we were able to help them stay calm and we learned some valuable lessons for ourselves in the process. One of these days, we’ll figure out which jack to pick up — hopefully before we actually need it again.
  • When Mom and Dad were here, the project that we decided to work on was a skinny little table/shelf that goes behind the sofa and has outlets on it, making it easy to access an outlet, even though the sofa is blocking that whole wall. I got the idea from a blog online that I’m too lazy right now to go find. And we kind of adjusted the idea as we went anyway. When they were here, Dad showed Justin how to run the electric by taking an extension cord and splicing in an outlet. And we cut the wood and stained it. After they left, I sanded the wood and Justin polyurethane it a couple times to give it a nice sheen. I don’t have any in-progress photos and the pictures I have of it in place aren’t super, either. But this is what I’ve got.
Behold! Our table shelf thing.
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Behold! Our table shelf thing.

It’s just a little wider than the outlets, of which we’ve got two. One of them is a standard outlet. The other has USB charging slots. We had to order that one from Amazon because no where in town carried them in the nickle color we wanted.

USB charging at the outlet!
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USB charging at the outlet!

But a gift card from work and an Amazon order later and we’ve got ourselves a really spiffy outlet.

The rope lights are only temporary.
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The rope lights are only temporary.

We would like to have installed actual lights into the table, but they were really expensive, so we held off on that idea for now. In the mean time, we’ve got a rope light that we’d put up the stairs at the other house that didn’t have a home yet, and that’s filling in the gap for now. It’s a subtle light, but nice.

Back-lights behind the sofa
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Back-lights behind the sofa

The outlet that’s down behind the sofa has one outlet that’s controlled from a switch at the door and one that’s on all the time. So the outlets are plugged into one and the lights are plugged into the other and it works perfectly!

The table isn’t actually put together all the way yet. The long piece was really torqued and we were having trouble figuring out how to actually install the support beams that we cut in order to give it some structural support. We’d really like to do it right with sunken screws and everything, but we don’t have the money right now to buy the kreg jig we’d like in order to do it right. So for now, it’s tucked back behind the sofa, hopefully getting a little more straight the longer it’s there, and when we’ve got the money for the tool, we’ll take it back down and do the supports. And then when we’ve got more money again, we’ll add a lamp or up-wash lights or something.

For now, though, we’re really happy with how it turned out. I’ve actually got my computer plugged into it right now. And it’s actually stained darker than we would normally go, but it almost perfectly matches the sofa, so I’m tickled at how that worked out.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for paying for all the lumber! And for all the help on figuring out how to put it together!

And that pretty much rounds out the news that I’ve got for the moment. More than what I’ve mentioned and I feel like I’m complaining about my life, which is actually pretty good, I’m just irritated at parts of it at the moment (55 days) and that’s putting a huge grumpy gray cloud over everything. So don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from me for a while again. I’m not exactly trying to be reclusive or anything. I’m just trying not to be a whiner at everybody. My life is good. I’m just cranky. But things will get better.

Clarification

Just a quick post-script to yesterday’s post.

I mentioned that after Kay leaves we’ll probably be alone in the house for “a VERY LONG TIME.” And I realized that the TN Fritz kids could misinterpret that, since we haven’t invited them over to stay for a week this year like we did last year.

To clarify, if we could have the kids here, even right now with so many other people in the house and the craziness that’s happening, we would. We absolutely would love to have them. Unfortunately, we have a very small apartment right now and having four people in it for the last two weeks has been challenging enough; I don’t think anyone would have had fun if we tried to cram in 3 rambunctious kids.

But even when it’s down to three people, I don’t think it would be wise to invite the kids over. Kay has a lot of anger toward the church and one heck of a potty mouth and I don’t want to expose kids to who love Jesus as much as my brother’s kids do to someone who’s that angry toward God. Plus, she’s not a very good example for kids and I don’t want them exposed to that. And I don’t want them exposed to how frustrated Justin and I get toward her. (I feel bad enough exposing adults to our frustration.)

When she leaves at the end of July (56 days), there would be time in between then and when school starts up again, but we won’t have any money. So we’d have the space again and the mental capacity to have the kids here, but we wouldn’t have any money to take them to the water park or anything fun. And, yeah, it’s not necessary to do expensive things, but it’s FUN and we’d rather be able to have a certain amount of money set aside for their visit to go places and buy things. This spring was much more expensive than expected, putting us seriously behind on our debt-freedom plan, and we don’t have that money set aside right now.

So, as much as we really would love to have the kids again this year, I don’t think it’s going to be possible. But it’s absolutely not because we don’t want to have them. We had an awesome time visiting with them last summer and we DEFINITELY want to do that again. It’s just an unusual spring/summer for us and we’re not going to be able to do it.

Now, we absolutely WILL NOT be inviting in another person to be a roommate again, possibly ever.

But that’s TOTALLY different from having kids who I love (and who I love to spoil) coming to visit. Someday, I want to have space enough for ALL the nieces and nephews to come and visit all at the same time and make like a big ol’ summer camp out of it or something. We’ll have them help feed the goats and ducks and collect eggs from the chickens and let them go wandering around in the woods and hang out in the hay loft and that kind of thing. We just have to figure out how to make it happen in the next handful of years before the kids get too old. And until we have the farm, they’ll just have to hang out in our little bitty apartment and go out for adventures at the beach and other places around here. And, very sadly, we won’t be able to make it happen this year.

But next year? Next summer is going to be awesome.

Quarterly update (part 1) – talking about Jessi’s graduation

It’s been a long time since I’ve written. There has been a lot going on and large chunks are things that I’m not especially pleased about. I figured “if you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all.” But it’s been long enough that maybe I can chat about things without sounding too whiny.

In mostly random order, but probably mostly from most recent to further back in time:

  • Tomorrow Justin’s grandma flies back to California. She’s been here since the 20th (two weeks) visiting for Jessi’s graduation from her grad program at SCAD. It’s been absolutely wonderful having her in town, even though we didn’t do much that was terribly interesting. I think she appreciated not having any responsibilities and just sitting around and reading and enjoying the moisture in the air compared to the desert. And we appreciated chatting and hanging out.
  • Wendy flies back to Vermont on Wednesday after her two weeks being here, but she’s been staying with Jessi downtown. I haven’t actually seen her much since she’s been spending time helping Jessi pack up and get through all the “You’re done with school! Now face reality!” things. She brought her Bichon, but I’ve hardly seen him at all.
  • Jessi flies out on Thursday to New York City to an internship at MSNBC for three months or so. It’s exciting and terrifying and we’re all very proud of her and hopeful that this excellent opportunity for her is a jumping off to a lot of great adventures.
  • After the three of them are out of town, we’re just left with Kay still here, but we’re counting down the days until she’s leaving and heading off on her own adventure. (57 days.) And then we’ll finally have the house back to ourselves again and I think that’s the way it’s going to stay for a VERY LONG TIME because I’ve learned a lot about myself during this time, most strongly of all that I NEED MY OWN SPACE. And I have very little patience for people who resent responsibilities. And who have very little concern for other people. And make excuses for absolutely everything. And I could rant on this vein for a while. 57 days, people. Fifty. Seven.
  • Jessi’s graduation was on Saturday in downtown Savannah at the Martin Luther King Jr. Arena. I tried to take pictures, but they didn’t turn out very clearly. But let me show you a few so you can get an idea of what this was like.
View from my seat at SCAD commencement 2015
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View from my seat at SCAD commencement 2015

This was the view from where we sat at commencement. The people on the floor there? Those are all the graduates. By my count, there are 20 people on each side of the aisle down there and there are 25 rows of seats. That’s 1000 studentsĀ graduating, give or take. They had two separate ceremonies after lunch for the actual walking across the stage part so that the parents of graduates only had to sit through half of that group. (The person talking on the screen is SCAD president, Paula Wallace.)

Can you identify this man?
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Can you identify this man?

This was the commencement speaker. Can you name that face? What about if I give him a prop to help?

Ladies and gentlemen: John Lasseter
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Ladies and gentlemen: John Lasseter

That’s right. The speaker at the commencement was none other than John Lasseter, creator of Pixar. Animating genius behind Toy Story, Cars, Wall-E, Big Hero 6 and many others. He almost made me cry.

At the end, just to show how SCAD likes to end things with style, this is how they closed the event and marched out of the arena.

Going out with a bang!
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Going out with a bang!

That’s confetti that’s been blown out of cannons at ceiling height. And a drum line at the front of the room. And in the middle of all that, there are AERIALISTS.

AEIRALISTS
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AERIALISTS

Yeah. Seriously. Aerialists. And dozens of white beach balls. Art school, ya’ll. Go figure.

I don’t have any pictures from the other half of the ceremony because my camera just couldn’t handle the level of light and how far away we were sitting to get anything remotely good. But Jessi made it across the stage with excellent poise and as soon as they get around to mailing it to her, she’ll hold her masters degree in Motion Media or something like that.

Now any of you who know me kinda well are looking at those pictures and noticing that there’s a HUGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN THAT SPACE. Yeah. Let me tell you, I started freaking out about going into that arena about a week before we got there. It wasn’t fun. We had to rush in with the crowd to try to get a good seat, which meant getting right into the press of things and I do not handle that well. Justin got in front of me to lead the way. When we got up the first set of stairs and into the actual building, we then had to make it through the smaller set of doors into the actual arena. And that was when I really started having trouble because I went from being outside to being in a dark, enclosed space with lots of people all around me, all talking loud, with loud music playing over it, and everybody’s pushing forward. I tried really hard to hold it together, looking up at the ceiling and breathing deeply and trying to visualize a happy place while also visualizing me successfully making it up the steps and to my seat, but I just couldn’t quite do it and the tears did start to fall. I probably got some weird looks from people, this blonde white chick staring at the ceiling and crying, but Justin got me through the crowd and to my seat, which was right next to the rail by a stairway (I love that railing with a love that I’ve never had for railings before) and I was able to sit there with my headphones on for a while, listening to podcasts on my phone until the commencement started.

The second event wasn’t quite as crowded and because I’d already gone through it once, it was easier to go in the second time. It still wasn’t great, but I managed it without completely melting down. When we got home much later in the evening, after going out for celebratory dinner with Jessi, I shut myself into the bedroom and listened to classical piano music and read for TWO HOURS before I could handle being around people again. Any people.

It was a rough day. But exciting.

I’ve hit about 1100 words so I think I’ll break this up into parts. I still haven’t talked about my mammogram or the table behind the sofa we made with Mom and Dad. I’m sure there’s other stuff, too. So I’ll break here and put up another one soon.