Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Fire in the Driveway

My grandmother died last week.  It was majorly disappointing for me although not completely unexpected.  She was 97 years old.  So definitely not a spring chick but I haven't been home to the state of my birth since I got married so she'd never had an opportunity to meet my children.  Recently I called my dad up and asked when he was going to be there because we finally have the extra money and time to make these kind of trips happen.  He told me August and so just that week I'd bought tickets to take all my children down there.  I was planning on seeing her, some of my cousins on my mom's side, and my best friends from high school.  It was only a few hours after I bought the tickets that my dad called me to tell me that my grandmother had fallen and broken her femur.  We were on our way out of town to a camping family reunion but I asked him to keep me posted.  These kind of falls in older people can often spell the beginning of the end, in fact my grandmother Marvel died waiting for surgery just two days after breaking a hip but I was holding out hope.  It wasn't that big of a surprise though when my dad texted me the next day to tell me she had died in the middle of the night shortly after surgery.  And so began a frantic race in the mountains to decided what to do, did I drive from camping?  It was closer but I only had three stinky camping outfits.  Did I fly from the state we were in.  The tickets would be cheaper but I'd still only have three stinky camping outfits.  Ultimately I went with the most expensive choice but the most comfortable choice and exchanged my tickets for the next month for the twice as expensive tickets for that week.  

We got home Wednesday night from the camping trip and I immediately started loads of laundry.  Dr. J and the kids emptied the van, hung up the sleeping bags in the garage (which actually are still hanging everywhere), and put all the camping stuff away.  I started packing for the trip...but we were loads of laundry short.  We went to bed though and figured we could get the rest done the next day.  It was probably anxiety but the next day I woke at four am.  I got up finished up the laundry and packing the bags.  Dr. J got up and started signing death certificates and finished some certification he needed.  I decided since the goats were going to be alone for a couple days that I should grab a new bale of hay.  I hoped in the truck and headed to the feed store.  I had just delivered the bale to the coral area and was driving back to the driveway when our neighbor's daughter in law came running toward my truck.  She was yelling and as I got out of the truck I heard her say, "Call 911," I started dialing, my first thought being that either Barb or George had collapsed.  They both have really poor health, but then she yelled, "The RV is on fire."  

For the last probably nine months my neighbors son and daughter have lived in an RV next to the house.  They were there last fall, they were there all winter, they were there all spring.  To be honest I wasn't a huge fan.  There were perks to it.  Like I said before Barb and George are really getting on in years and it was nice knowing Pete was there to care for them and the yard.  He did a lot of projects I know wouldn't have otherwise gotten done.  There were things I was indifferent about.  They have two acres and if they want to part an RV on their property why should I mind.  I happen to have a trailer on mine.  Also I'm all about multi generational living.  My grandparents lived with us when we were kids and I honestly loved it.  If Dr. J's grandparents were willing I'd move them in with us in a second and I fully expect to house my mother or mother in law at some point in their lives.  There was one thing I hated about it though, Pete had the most annoying pets ever.  He had a dog that was constantly barking.  Last Christmas when my sister was here that dog got my sister's dog all worked up.  He'd bark at the kids when they were outside.  He'd bark at me whenever I was doing yard work. It got to the point where I felt like I was always yelling, "Shut up Bruster."  He was outside on a chain and he was just bark, bark, bark.  I get dogs bark and I even think that a dog that barks at people coming to a door is probably a great thing, but when I'm in my own yard trying to do yard work or my kids are trying to jump on the trampoline just shut up.  And for crying out loud when you get off leash don't chase the kids on my property.  They also had a kitten this winter, who became a cat who sat on my back patio all the time.  I didn't mind the sitting so much but it was constantly killing birds and leaving feathers everywhere.  Birds ick me out a little and finding their mutilated corpses every couple of weeks was not helping.  

I did not say a word about this though.  Bard and George are nice neighbors.  They are kind to me and my children and I realized their son had probably fallen on some hard times.  It must have bugged some other neighbors though because apparently someone complained and our HOA sent them a letter telling them that if they didn't remove the RV from the property they would start charging them $50 a day.  So after months of just sitting there they tried to move the RV.  When I left that morning to get the hay I saw them charging the battery.  I guess they just left it to run then in the driveway.  George thinks it got to hot after that, I wonder if it shorted out but by the time I returned half and hour later the thing was smoking.  

After calling 911, I ran in the house to tell J there was a fire and then my mind did a weird thing.  It suddenly occurred to me that when the fire trucks came we were going to be locked into our cul-de-sac.  We were due at the airport to catch a flight in just three hours.  "Babe," I yelled, "Throw the suitcases into the van."  And so suddenly the fact that I'd gotten up so early and packed our bags really came in handy.  The suitcases were just sitting there by the door.  J threw them in the van, I drove out of the cul-de-sac, then we both raced back.  J and Pete both tried to drag hoses over.  Neither was long enough.  By then flames were shooting out of the hood of the RV.  Liquid and fire was dripping out of t0e bottom.  A police officer arrived and ran over with fire extinguisher that was pretty useless by that time.  A fire captain and asked everyone to back up.  I stood there worried that the thing was going to explode.  A few of our neighbors came out and watched the thing burn.  The firetrucks finally arrived and put the fire out.  Then we walked our kids by to the van and left.  The firetrucks were still blocking the cul-de-sac and I was so glad I'd moved the van.  It was scary although luckily no one was hurt.  It was sad because all their belongings were in that RV although luckily neither of their pets were.  Also they had no insurance so there will be no replacing the belongings.  When I got back into town Barb told me they'd moved in with a daughter out of state and that Pete had finally secured work.  Which I'm definitely grateful for that.  I'm also grateful that with the exception of a little singing on the tree the fire didn't spread any further and especially grateful I'd never complained about them living on the property because if I had I'd certainly feel some responsibility for the circumstances that led them to this situation.  





Saturday, June 24, 2017

My Bucket List Concert and a Pleasant Surprise - U2 and 21 Pilots

This has been the year of concerts.  First J took the girls to a Meghan Trainor concert.  They loved it.  Then I bought tickets to take Captain E to a 21 Pilots concert.  Then I heard Faith Hill and Tim McGraw were coming to my town and I had to buy tickets for that.  Then I heard U2 was going on tour again and I even though it was just a week before the Faith Hill concert I was like, "Hello Bucket List" so we bought tickets for that.  

So here is what I have to say about all concerts in general...the bass is always too much.  I realize that the music needs to project but the best parts of the concert are usually when they put down most of the instruments and that is really a crying shame because the instrumentals are awesome, they are the reason to go to see a live show but they just drowned out the singing to the point of pain often the way the sound is set up.  Louder is not always better.  Also football stadiums are a terrible place to see a concert.  The acoustics are the worst.  So I'm a little sad to say U2 was not my favorite ever.  I'm glad I went.  I got to check that box.  I'm not going to lie as a "bleeding heart liberal" I love U2's politics.  I also loved all the song choices.  I started up a super nice conversation with the girl next to me, a Swedish transplant who has been going to U2 concerts for the last 20 years.  We had a great time up in the nosebleeds which were the only tickets available when I bought them at the exact moment they went on sale.  Go figure.  The question is would I do it again, and the answer is no.  While it was fun to relive the 90's and hit this with my honey it just was not good enough that I'd be willing to go through the hassle again to see them live, and boy was it an expensive hassle, more on that to come later.  On the other hand the 21 Pilots concert was a total pleasant surprise.

So before I bought these tickets all I knew about 21 Pilots was that they had a couple of songs on the radio.  I downloaded their CD before we went and we listened to it a couple of times but I really didn't know what to expect.  The line was filled with a bunch of teens and twenty somethings and their moms.  I mean tons and tons of moms.  The opening acts were Judah and the Lion, I knew nothing about them but they had this one song that just grew on me, and Jon Bellion, who is amazing. Then they came out and they just blew my mind.  There were magic tricks, costume changes, amazing graphics on the stage, there was a secondary stage that they appeared on right in front of us that was a huge screen and had the coolest stuff scrolling over it, for this concert I had pretty great seats.  They had their opening acts come out and they performed Tubthumping, No Diggity, Where is the Love, and Jump Around and all the moms and dads went crazy.  I kept looking around for Dr. J thinking he would Love This!  At one point they were playing standing ontop of the GA audience.  At another point one of the guys was rolling around the audience on a huge hamster ball.  The music was great, the visuals were amazing it was just an overall awesome show!  Super inventive and interactive.  It wasn't my bucket list show, it wasn't even something I even knew that I would like but it really was probably the best concert I've ever been to and I was so excited to take my kid to it.  

















Saturday, May 27, 2017

End of Year Dance Pictures

Summer is upon us and I couldn't be happier.  I know in two months I will be thrilled to see the back of the kids again but right now it is nice to have a break from school, the morning crazy, homework and activities.  The biggest activity we do in this house is dance.  We have three daughters.  They all dance.  It gets very busy, especially at the end of the year when performances and pictures are happening.  The silver lining on this though is I get these pictures to keep.  I realize as I was getting ready to put these on that I didn't ever download last years pics, so you get both.  

GG - Ballet, May 2016


Peach - Tap, May 2016


Peach - Ballet, May 2016


TT - Ballet, May 2016


GG - Ballet, May 2017


GG - Tap, May 2017


Peach - Ballet, May 2017


 Peach - Jazz, May 2017


TT - Ballet, May 2017


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Legoland

When we planned this trip on Disney.com we saw that the tickets to the park were cheaper if you bought them in a bulk package and one of those packages, the city package did three days at the Disney parks (where you could trade parks), a day at Legoland and a day at Sea World.  We are big Lego Fans in this house.  When the holidays come around I like to joke with Dr. J that I wish we had Lego stock, but seriously...I wish we had Lego stock.  I think at least half our Christmas budget went to Lego's this year, so it definitely made sense that we'd want to stop here.  Lego Land was one of our shorter days.  There hours weren't very late but considering we had to drive all the way down to Carlsbad California, and hour and a half away it was probably a blessing.  Lego Land was an interesting place.  Like I mentioned before my kids love Legos and my husband loves Legos so some of our favorite parts were just looking at the things built out of Legos.  They have a whole area with famous Landmarks, cities, and stories.  There are a bunch of Star Wars themed scenes, the White House, the Eiffel Tower, the Las Vegas Strip, New York, etc.  We loved looking at those.  The kids also really enjoyed putting together their own Lego guys.  It was probably my favorite souvenir of the whole trip.  I think you can build three for 9.99 but on the Legoland app their was a coupon for buy one get one free so they got to built six for 9.99 (definitely worth downloading).  We spent quit a bit of time searching through heads, bodies, and accessories.  The rides were only so, so though and here is where we get to my main problem with Legoland.  My 12 year old (who is the biggest Lego fan in our home) was almost to big and too old for most of the things here, but meanwhile my four year old was still too little to go on a lot of rides by herself (there were some, but there were a lot she needed someone bigger to go with her and some she was just plain to short to get on at all).  The perfect age for Legoland is probably 6-9.  Our kid spread made it so that there was a lot of time when one kid or another was being left out.  I'm definitely glad we got to go and if I was in the area again I'd certainly thing it was worth going to but I'd never make a trip just to go there.  Which is great to keep in mind.    

This was probably my favorite ride the kids went on.  You could press a button at the watching area to make a water cannon shoot your loved ones on the ride.  Good times had by the person on the ride and the watchers :)


G was barely short enough to get on this ride but Cheetah wanted her company.  What Cheetah wanted more was to go on this roller coaster with her dad but she was too short.  G was interested so she came with us to wait.





This city scenes were incredible.  There was so much to look at.  Whoever puts them together definitely has a sense of humor.  The people are placed in super funny ways often.  It almost felt like being in Where's Waldo book...in fact now that I think about it I'm pretty sure I saw a Waldo.















No surprise here my kids loved these giant star wars figures.  
The girls just hanging out.  


Captain E and Luke.  

The kids gave the baby over to the dark side here.



This was a pigtail braid day for me.  Even baby dumpling got to go on a ride.  

















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