Getting Back to Normal

I’m sitting here this morning, listening to a Bobwhite outside my bedroom window. Oh, how I enjoy the bird sounds of Spring! Of course, I enjoy birds and listening to their conversations all year round!

In my last post (I think) I mentioned CNN anchor, Jake Tapper, also a novelist who was asked about writing, “Where do you find the time?” To this he replied, “I write every day. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes. If you write 15 minutes a day for a week it adds up. Wherever I was I had a laptop and I worked on the book when I had free time. From April through August 2020 I had no commute. I worked from home. That was two hours I would normally have spent driving and parking. The 15 minutes a day rule really works, even if it turns out to be garbage, it takes you somewhere.” I paraphrased in my last post but this time I got the exact quote. Ever since I saw that interview, I have been trying to write for 15 minutes a day! That hasn’t worked out well now, has it? I’ve been trying to write this post all week!

I feel like things are slowly getting back to normal, somewhat anyway. Dad and I are fully vaccinated now. We have enjoyed lunch out several times and I got my hair cut at the salon. I’m so happy to not have that damn ponytail at the back of my head!

It’s pretty exhausting, getting back to our pre-pandemic routine. We just aren’t used to it after staying at home for so long. Sure, we went out for groceries now and then but that wasn’t often. And for the first 215 days of the pandemic, we never went anywhere! What I couldn’t find online and have shipped, my son or a friend would pick up for us. But, we got tired of staying home!

I’ve had appointments with a lymphedema therapist for the past few weeks. That’s exhausting enough, but it wasn’t half as exhausting as jumping through a couple dozen hoops and filling out about half a thousand forms to get financial aid because my insurance wouldn’t pay for it! I don’t have lymphedema, but it could very well turn into lymphedema if left untreated. The therapy is helping; it’s a gentle massage that helps move extra fluid from an area that is swollen. There’s much talking during this massage and it’s so relaxing that I wish she’d be quiet so I can go to sleep! I’ll keep going each week as long as my financial aid will allow.

After my appointment last week, Dad and I went to a Mexican restaurant for a very late lunch because we were starving to death. We were so tired because we’re not used to the long drives (country living, y’all – everything’s so far away) but our stomachs were conversing and planning a take-over! We stopped at a Mexican restaurant that we had eaten at many times before the pandemic. It wasn’t our favorite place but it sure as hell isn’t even on the list NOW. The food wasn’t that great and my refried beans were nearly WHITE! I’ve been eating at Mexican restaurants for many, many years and have never been served nearly WHITE refried beans! (Refried beans are typically made with pinto beans and they are not white!) I tasted their beans and they tasted like they should have but the color was off so I didn’t eat any more of them. Dad and I both got sick that evening, so something wasn’t right about their food! This week, we went to another old fave, Ruby Tuesday, and we weren’t very impressed with them either. The food was really good but there were flies everywhere and I knew why when I went to the Ladies Room. It smelled like pure sewage in there! The server told us they had a sewage problem. (No shit, Sherlock!) Seems to me, that if a food establishment is having sewage problems then they shouldn’t be open to the public, because after all, they are preparing food and people are there to enjoy a meal…not smell sewage!

2 weeks ago, I had a procedure done on my toe. Toe NAIL, I should say. Some of the nail had to be removed (and killed off) because of ingrown nail problems. I’m telling you, the shots in my toe were painful as fuck! It took 4 shots to numb my poor little BIG toe! After the procedure, I felt no more pain and haven’t since. I’m glad it’s over but it would have been nice to get it done months ago. Dad and I have avoided going to the doctor since March 2020. Thankfully, at our clinic they require masks and do a temp check on each person as they enter the door.

Saturday, we decided it was high time to get back to our pre-pandemic Saturday routine! We shopped for produce (and Dad’s wine) and hit the Dollar Tree. Afterward, we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Chico! We went about 2 weeks ago, and had a nice experience. They are very committed to keeping their patrons not only happy, but safe from Covid-19. There’s hand sanitizer as you enter, the tables are sanitized before people are being seated, paper menus are used, and you are asked to wear a mask until your drinks arrive at your table. I’m pleased with the tables/seating arrangements as they were never crowded together before and it’s no different now. I don’t feel someone’s breath on my neck and I don’t have to worry about someone bumping into me as I raise the fork to my mouth! It’s a very comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. We didn’t get sick after eating there, and there were no flies and no stink!

So, there’s my 15 minutes+ and I hope it’s not garbage! I’ll be busy for the next month or so getting ready for family to come. I have to clean and declutter – and it takes me a long time because of my mobility issues and pain. I may or may not have time for 15 minutes a day but I’ll sure try!

Until next time,

Aunt Debbie

Saturday Morning Ramblings

First of all, I just want to say I am SO behind on reading your blogs and I will try very hard to get caught up! I promise! There are so many of you who are producing great reads and I feel terrible for falling behind.

Dad and I decided to stay home this lovely Saturday. We normally go out on Saturdays for lunch but we went out twice this week already! The first time was after Dad’s periodontist appointment. I asked him if he was in pain and he said, “Not enough to keep me from eating. I’m hungry!” So we stopped at a little Mexican restaurant on the way home called, El Patron. We had eaten there before but it seems to get worse every time. The salsa was so full of cilantro that I couldn’t taste anything else. The enchiladas weren’t very tasty, and the service wasn’t very friendly or attentive. They have octopus dishes on the menu and I can’t help but wonder, where the hell are they getting octopus in SW Missouri? Is there an aquarium down the road that I’m not aware of? Ok, before you think I’m stupid, I know it has to be frozen!

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Is this the elusive octopus of SW Missouri? Photo Image Pixabay

Two days later, we were out getting groceries. Yay, Walmart. I despise that place. Anyway, we got groceries and then drove a few extra miles to have pizza at our favorite pizza restaurant. Our eyes were bigger than our bellies that day! Dad had a shrimp basket and I had cheese ravioli, which was delicious but then we decided to get a pizza to go – our regular 16″ House pizza, adding black olives – and an 8 piece hot wings appetizer TO GO! We had breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the entire next day! I’m about pizza’d out!

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Photo Image Pixabay

One of those days we were out and about, we spied 19 hawks while driving to and from. We used to see a lot of hawks, and sometimes eagles, but for some reason, we stopped seeing them. It was like they moved to another state or something! I mean, it wasn’t just for a season. It had been over a year before we started seeing them again. We were shocked and amazed at how many we saw in one day after such a long period of time.

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Red-tailed Hawk Photo Image Pixabay

We saw a few different raptors that day: a Broad-winged hawk, a few Red-shouldered hawks, but mostly Red-tailed and Cooper’s hawks. There were a few that we weren’t able to identify, because we were, after all, in a moving vehicle. I miss being able to go outside with my Field Guide to the Birds of Missouri, my binoculars, and camera. I guess I have to be satisfied with our “hawk hunting” when we go somewhere!

I suppose I’ve rambled enough for one day! I’m going to leave you with this: A bear doesn’t wear underwear OR use toilet paper and no one would ever mistake toilet paper for a bouncy castle! Hahaha! Have a wonderful weekend!

“Aurora”

Have you ever felt like a total dweeb because of your phone? Or some other electronic device? Perhaps you have an app that drives you nuts or makes you feel stupid?

I had an appointment yesterday and when it was over it was after 1 pm and Dad and I were famished. We were headed to a restaurant we had never eaten at before. I would have Googled it ahead of time, but my therapist had recommended it as my appointment was ending. It was called Texas Roadhouse.

I brought it up on Google maps on my phone and pressed “start” to activate Google’s voice assistance, whom I call “Aurora.” This voice doesn’t have a name at all, unlike Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa. She’s known only as Assistant. She has no identity. How sad is that? Anyway, I named her “Aurora.” By the end of this search for the restaurant, I was ready to punch “Aurora” in the face!

I proceeded as directed by “Aurora.” Now the exact instructions she gave may be off, but you’ll get the gist.

“Continue on US 160 and take the MO-13 S exit.” 

Done. Easy enough.

“Proceed to left turn lane and turn left onto S. Campbell Ave.”

Done. Ok. This isn’t too difficult. Yay!

“Make a U-turn at El Camino Alto.”

Crap. A U-turn? Why didn’t we just get off the freeway further down, I wondered. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about a U-turn. Ok. U-turn made.

“In 600 feet, turn right onto W. Cardinal.”

Wait. What? What street? Didn’t see any street called Cardinal. Obviously, I missed it.

“Make a U-turn at Republic Road.” What she really meant was, “Now you have to turn around and try again dummy.”

Ok. Aurora is directing me to turn around. Let’s try this again. Ok, back to the U-turn at El Camino Alto.

“In 600 feet, turn right onto W. Cardinal.” What she really meant was, “Let’s try this again, dumb ass.”

Crap. Where’s the road? There it is but I’m in the wrong lane. Too much traffic. Missed it again.

“Make a U-turn at Republic Road.” What she really meant was, “Are you freaking stupid? You missed it again!”

Here we go again. Got it. Back to that U-turn at El Camino Alto.

“In 600 feet, turn right onto W. Cardinal.” What she really meant was, “Don’t miss it this time you idiot!”

Yeah, yeah. Got it this time. CRAP. Argh!! This road is the freeway! Grrr…… What the heck is going on? Now that I’m back on the freeway, we see the sign for the restaurant. Ok. Now I have an idea where it is, maybe I can find it without “Aurora.” Tried my best to get over there, still kept getting in the wrong place. At this point, “Aurora” is telling to go here or go there, but I am ignoring her. I can hear her screaming at me, “ARE YOU DEAF? You gigantic dweeb!” Of course, she’s not really screaming at me or calling me names, but boy howdy, I bet she was thinking it!

I finally ended up back on the original road and U-turn. Let’s try this again. Before we got to the U-turn, we noticed there IS a road that we missed, but in our defense, it actually looked like a driveway to the Subway located there and the road sign was hard to see.

Ah-ha!!! Made the U-turn, made that right hand turn onto W. Cardinal and we were on our way. Good thing, because we were starving!! There’s the restaurant!! Yay! Pulled up and parked. We wondered why there were no cars in the lot…. Then we read the sign. Dammit! It’s one of those places that open only for dinner: 4 pm to 10 pm. Seriously? It was only 2 pm! Crap. All that work for nothing.

We were just going to go back to the area of town we were familiar with to find a place to eat when we noticed FD’s Grillhouse not too far from the Texas Roadhouse. Sounds like a plan!! It was actually open! Yay!

We both decided on a shrimp platter, mine with batter-fried shrimp and Dad’s with grilled shrimp. We both got a baked potato. I had cole slaw and Dad had broccoli. I was so parched I drank 3 glasses of iced tea! Dad had his Merlot. I hate wine. It stinks and tastes awful. I almost had a beer, but I was too thirsty.

When our meal came, it was just in the nick of time! I think my stomach was ready to eat itself. The food was great! The baked potato could have been much hotter but the shrimp was delicious!

I’m glad “Aurora” was no longer ‘with’ us. I don’t think I could stand her judgmental little thoughts (imagined by only me) throughout lunch. Whew! What a day!