Monday, August 24, 2009

My Early Birthday Present

My birthday is not until next month, but after dropping off our daughter at college, my Hero took me shopping for an early birthday present. One item on my wish list was a kayak. I can now cross that wish off the list.

The store we purchased the kayak from was land locked, so we were not able to test "drive" the kayak before taking it home.

It is hurricane/rainy season currently. We have gotten loads of rain lately. So much, that we have small ponds and rivers in our yard. My Hero took the new kayak to the river in our side yard and took it for a spin...literally.

He is a seasoned kayaker. He once circumnavigated the island of Key West. Even with these credentials this kayak dumped him into the drink...twice. I am not as seasoned a kayaker, and decided this was not the one for me. We took it back to the land locked store the next day and did some more kayak shopping elsewhere. I was able to take a couple kayaks out into the water at one store (after signing a waiver, leaving a DNA sample, being finger printed, donating blood, reciting Hamlet's soliloquy, saying the alphabet backwards...) before deciding which one I wanted. I got this one, but in a khaki color.

Today we went kayaking in the harbor's iced tea colored waters (sweet tea of course...we are in the South). My Hero and I put in where there was once a Civil War era cattle dock. Cattle were sold to the Cubans then and the Cubans paid in gold. As I was paddling I scanned the sandy bottom for any gold that may have slipped through fingers all those years ago.

This is a new dock. The cattle dock no longer exists

I did not see any gold but I did see many fish, a large blue crab and a small skate. We paddled up and down the shore line for an hour and a half. A beautiful day on the water.

I love my Hero and I love my early birthday present!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Move In Day

Today was move in day for my college bound daughter. For a few weeks she has been going through her things, deciding what she wants and needs to have with her during her Freshman year. Her move in time was scheduled for 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.

We arrived at the university at 12:40. We pulled the truck into the line with other vehicles and inched our way up to a man standing with a clipboard. He asked for the student's name. He found my daughter on the list, wrote her name, room number, our arrival time and move in time table on a bright pink piece of paper that was to be displayed on the dashboard. We had 45 minutes to park the truck and shuttle all of my daughter's belongings into her room. There were upper class men with hand trucks and dollies helping students move (a clever way for them to check out all the new girls and get names and room numbers). We used their services (they could not accept tips). We were able to get all of my daughter's belongings moved in under the assigned time limit. The university had moving in down to a science.

We did not stay too long after moving in the belongings. I think my daughter was ready to settle herself in and start this new chapter of her life.

Thankfully there were no tears on either side as we said our goodbyes. Stiff upper lips all around.

That evening, as I was going to bed, I passed my daughter's bedroom. The door was open and the bed empty. It hit me again that she is now a college student and will be away from us more and more as she starts this new life chapter. I will miss having her here but am excited for her too.

I'll be starting a new chapter in my for three now.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"Urban Renewal by Disaster"

2004...August...Friday the 13th...4:27 p.m...150 mph Hurricane Charley makes landfall.

This all took place before we moved here. We have been through tropical storms and a hurricane before, but never a category 4 hurricane, thank God.

Four people lost their lives during the storm and ten more died later due to effects of its aftermath.

Charley left 3.2 billion dollars in damages throughout the county in its wake.

(I took this picture in February of 2002 when President Bush visited the Air Force Base where we were stationed. That was very exciting!)

President George W. Bush called the region a Federal Disaster Area. Florida Governor Jeb Bush visited the area many times after the storm.

Jeb Bush was back in town today at the 5-year, post-hurricane celebration. There has been much rebuilding and urban renewal around town since Hurricane Charley.

My husband and I went to the celebration. I wanted to be able to get close enough to get some pictures of Jeb. I did.

I was able to get some close shots of him as he was stopping to speak to some of the people gathered around him. He was very friendly and genuine. I heard him say that people are always telling him, "You look taller and thinner in person". (I must admit I thought that too). He stopped and talked to many, hugged a few, signed autographs and gave photo ops. I was hovering around him, snapping off shots (I felt a bit like Paparazzi and he probably felt I was a stalker). I shook his hand and told him thanks for his service and that I had loved his brother as president. He said thank you and I could see the sincere thanks in his eyes. I hovered around some more before asking him if I could have my picture taken with him, he obliged me.

This all took place before his official introduction and speech and the speeches given by local and other visiting dignitaries. The skies were a bit overcast by the time the introductions started. The Mayor spoke. He ran through a long list of introductions and thanks for all who helped during, after and since the hurricane. The Chair of the County Commission spoke, the Attorney General spoke, the Lt. Governor each spoke the clouds grew a little darker and the threat of rain grew greater. The Mayor got back on the mic and was beginning a lengthy introduction for Former Governor Bush when Jeb gave the "wrap it up" sign and walked up to the Mayor. The wind had picked up a bit by this time as well as a couple of drops of rain.

After taking the microphone Jeb joked saying, "Whenever the wind gets over 20 miles per hour, I start twitching." He did not speak long because of the looming storm. When he was done speaking he came to the edge of the stage and shook hands and finally jumped down from the stage into the crowd (kind of like a rock star) and continued to shake hands, give hugs and autographs between raindrops. My husband was able to shake his hand then.

The rain was not heavy and did not last long. Too bad Jeb could not have stayed longer and spoken a little more, but that is the way it is in Florida during hurricane season, you always keep an eye to the skies and let the wind blow you where it may.

(My husband's picture and my picture were in the next day's paper. We were in the crowd shots. The pictures were on the front page of the national section as well as on the front page of the local section)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Like Mother, Like Son...

My son said his right wrist was hurting him, especially when he bent it a certain way. I took a look at it and noticed it looked slightly different than his left wrist, a little swollen in one spot. I saw no outward sign of trauma, you know, no cut, scrape, bug bite or sting, so determined that it was an internal issue. (I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on T.V., I'm a mother, therefore I must have rudimentary medical and triage skills). I figured it was a strain of some sort that must have happened during the time my son was on the NJROTC drill team.

We made a trip to the doctor's. She said it looked like tendonitis to her but would not know for certain until an MRI was done. The MRI is scheduled for Wednesday, after school...yes, after school (It started today. This couldn't have manifested itself sooner, during summer break?) He then has a follow-up appointment with the doctor the next day, once again after school.

The doctor wants my son to wear the wrist brace all day but not at bedtime. He is also to take an anti-inflammatory twice a day as well as some cold and heat therapy.

After the doctor's appointment we headed to the local pharmacy and purchased the wrist brace. My son put his brace on in the car...we sure made a pretty picture...anyone looking into the car as we were driving by must have been wondering what happened to those poor people.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

More Bling

My in-laws came for a day visit earlier this week. They wanted to see the kids before they start school and treat us to lunch.

My father-in-law is creative. He makes art pieces out of yard materials (ie. seeds, palm fronds, etc.). He is making jewelry now too.

I recently found a fossilized shark's tooth and asked my father-in-law if he could make it into a necklace for me. He brought his jewelry making items with him on his day visit. We made a few necklaces. We had fun.

The Shark's Tooth Necklace...

Sea Glass Necklace...

Shell Necklace...

and finally the Rock Necklace...

We joked about my father-in-law opening a kiosk entitled "T.R.'s Piercing Pagoda" as his next creative venture.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

School Days

Where has the summer break gone?

Next week my son begins his high school junior year and 10 days later my daughter heads off as a college freshman, so I took them school shopping.

After many years of school shopping we have a stash of pens, pencils, highlighters, paper, folders and the like. This shopping trip was dedicated to clothing and shoes.

I am not a big fan of shopping, never have been. I am not a browser. I know what I need or want when I shop, so I get in and get out. Add two more shoppers of the same ilk, the kids, and you get an idea the school shopping was business and very little pleasure (except that iced latte from Starbucks and of course spending time with my kids).

Only 5 more years of school shopping to go!