How I Spent My Summer Vacation

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Do you hear that? No?

That’s because there’s no sound. Not a peep. Not a whine. Not a fuss.

Everyone has gone back to school and I hear nothing but the sound of my fingers on the keyboard.

It’s blissful.

Yesterday after all the kids were safely in their classes, a group of moms met at someone’s house to have brunch, pineapple mimosas and vodka lemonade. “Brunch” went from 930am until after noon.

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I laughed until I nearly cried as one mom told of how she had realized the night before that her son, who attends private school, had missed the first day of school when she received an email talking about how nice it was to see all the smiling faces back in the classroom. She didn’t tell him when she took him on the second day that he had missed the first day, and pantomimed to his teacher “He thinks today is the first day of school.”

Today I met another 3 moms for a fun, leisurely lunch. Life is good.

It’s been a bit since I last wrote, but I know you’ll forgive me once you hear of the craziness of the past few weeks.

First, a quick update.

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For those of you who have been following along, my husband lost his wallet following a late-night trip to the Dairy Queen on July 26. After his initial attempts to locate it came up empty, he eventually ordered a new ID and credit cards. Over the past 6 weeks he has occasionally asked, “Find my wallet yet?” as if I might have come across it and failed to mention it to him.

Last night, while he was out on a motorcycle ride around the block, I went into the garage to get down the hotdog buns from the top of the refrigerator for dinner. As I pulled the bag towards me, a small brown item appeared at the edge. I reached my hand up and grabbed it. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

As I held the wallet in my hand (and was disappointed to discover there was no cash inside) I began to formulate all the ways I could reveal this discovery to him.

I walked back into the house and held it out to show Zoe. I went into the living room where Parker and Nathan were inexplicably rolling around on the floor and silently held it up.

I said, “No one tells him I found this. You’ve got to give me a chance to mess with him first.”

I heard the rumble of the bike as he drove it up the driveway and into the garage. I was giddy with excitement and anticipation, and, knowing my terrible poker face, wondered how long I could keep a straight expression.

He walked into the kitchen and before I could say a word, Parker runs in and yells, “I know where your wallet is!”

My eyes got wide and I said, “Parker!”

Did that stop him? Nope.

“I found your wallet!” He said excitedly.

“Where?” Jeff asked casually. (Casually!)

“Parker! What are you doing?!”

“I found it on top of the fridge.”

I stood there, knife in hand (I was chopping fruit), mouth agape.

“I can’t believe you just did that.”

He giggled and ran out of the room.

Jeff walked over and I handed him the wallet.

“There’s no cash in it.”

“There wasn’t.”

“Sure.”

“I can’t believe he just ruined that. What a twerp. I was going to mess with you. Why do you seem so blasé about me finding this after all this time?”

“Eh. I always lose stuff, so I’m always finding stuff. It’s not that uncommon for me to find things months later.”

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Also, to update his sleeping issues, they have determined that he does have a slight case of sleep apnea which they feel is best treated by him using what he refuses to stop  calling a “C-pap smear” in spite of my repeated corrections.

 

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Summer ended with a trip for Zoe and Parker with two of their cousins and their Grandma Toni to Yellowstone. We haven’t been since we lived in Utah about 12 years ago, and Zoe and Parker have never been.

They left early on a Monday morning and I didn’t hear from them until around 8 that evening. My mother-in-law texted me, “Made it safe and sound. Got a warning about bears and don’t leave food out at night when we checked in. Then Zoe said THERE’S A BEAR! and now Parker is terrified. All is well.”

My response:

“Oh Zoe!! Poor guy. Spray water on him and tell him it’s bear repellant.”

I didn’t hear from them again until Friday, when I received a few photos in my email. I know a lot of parents might worry that, for example, their child might have actually been eaten by a bear, but when my kids are with their grandma I know she’s likely taking better care of them than I do.

I opened the picture attachment in the email and could see it was a photo of all of them riding horses. I zoomed in to the photo and began scanning from right to left. When I got to Parker on the far left side of the photo, I nearly choked on my own spit.

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If you zoom in on the picture, you can see that he has a bandana covering the majority of his face. I was unsure if he was going for the outlaw look or ninja. My money is on the very likely possibility that he was envisioning himself on a “WANTED” poster.

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After they got home from their trip they regaled us with stories of animals and thunderstorms, their trip to Silverwood and river rafting.

This morning I opened the envelope of rafting photos and was thoroughly entertained.

Here’s a fun little game- “Where’s Parker?” Sort of like “Where’s Waldo?” only Waldo always has the same bland expression on his face, while Parker does not.

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In this photo, Parker is peeking out from behind his cousin. image

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This expression in particular is one of my favorites

Then suddenly…

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Whoa. Check out the rafting guide. How did I not notice HIM earlier in the series of pictures?!

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I had envisioned the time the younger two were out of town in grand fashion; Lunch dates, masses, facials, mani-pedis, date night out. Oh, and writing a blog or two.

Unfortunately that plan got derailed by the carnival coming into town.

Technically, it wasn’t just the carnival coming into town, but the opening of the State Fair.

My husband owns a marketing company, and one of the things we do is provide registration kiosks for large local events. We not only provide the equipment, we set up, tear down and staff the event from start to finish.

I knew he was super stressed about the fair opening because, as with any and all events, particularly those with any ties to governmental regulations and bureaucracy, things don’t always go quite as planned, nor do they go at the expected and desired pace. We were down to the wire for opening day and a lot of things still needed to happen.

One of the things I admire about my husband is his ability to handle stress, and usually by the time I notice he’s under any, it’s at the levels that would make an average person buckle.

I sensed he was getting to that point, and I knew I had two choices: go about my week as if he weren’t under extreme duress or give up my pampered child-free time for the greater good of our business and my husband’s sanity. I chose the latter. It’s difficult to enjoy that stuff knowing you could be helping out your spouse.

I spent quite a bit of time helping with the setup before the event. The morning the fair was to open, we were up at 6am because the head honcho  had informed us the carnival was unhappy with the location of our front gate kiosks, and we had to move everything- canopy, tables,10 touchscreen computers, wires, cables- about 15 feet closer to the entrance.

After moving the registration booth, employees began to show up, many of whom had never worked for us before and had been brought in just to work this event. Jeff had said, “We’ll only stay for an hour or so, and then we will go.”

We didn’t get out of there until after 5pm.

We bought 2 dozen raspberry scones for the morning shift. We walked the entire length of the fair, moving from one gate to our booth to the back gate multiple times.

At about 1 we decided to take a break and eat some of the fair food that had been tempting us every time we passed by. I went for the Walla Walla onion burger and Jeff chose the BBQ beef sandwich. Halfway through we both looked at each other with regret.

That regret was not enough to prevent me from leaving that evening with an elephant ear. (From previous blogs you know I have a fondness for those.)

The good news is that I got all of the desire to eat fair food out of my system by the second day, when 10 minutes after the opening bell I consumed a peach cobbler from the scone stand and immediately spilled peach syrup and whipped cream down the front of my shirt.

The fair is by far the best place in the world to people watch. At one point I passed by a woman in a full dashiki and a moment later a man in head-to-toe studded motorcycle leathers.  I saw odd couples, the American obesity epidemic in full display, cowgirls, women in leopard dresses and heels, and rednecks in full camouflage (I was able to spot them because the fabric wasn’t made of overpriced unwinnable carnie games or giant Rasta bananas)

Speaking of giant Rasta bananas, I was able to navigate Parker through the fair this year without leaving with a replacement for the one he won last year that “mysteriously” disappeared.

We did, however, come home with yet another carnival goldfish, because, apparently, I have a sadistic streak.

( See http://kbjackson.com/the-carnival-goldfish-has-a-case-of-the-dropsies/)

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Part of my back-to-school ritual is to try and get my house organized following a summer of chaos.

I started cleaning out my refrigerator and, after wiping down all the surfaces, cleaning out the produce drawers (gross) and reorganizing what wasn’t expired, I made a discovery.

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I have an unreasonable amount of horseradish.

I have no idea why I have 3 jars of horseradish.

The only thing I ever consume with horseradish is prime rib, which I typically serve no more than 2-3 times a year.

It reminded me of the time I unpacked my canned foods following our move to Southern California when I came across a can of bean with bacon soup. I had no idea why I would have bean with bacon soup, seeing as how I couldn’t remember ever buying bean with bacon soup, much less eating it.

It was at that moment that I spotted the expiration date…

1994.

I wish I was joking.

That can of soup had survived 6 moves in 11 years.

It was the same age as my eldest daughter.

It almost seemed a travesty to throw it away, seeing as how it had been with us for longer than most people’s family pets. Almost.

So summer is gone; it feels like it passed quickly. Backpacks were filled and hanging by the front door Tuesday night, similar to stockings by the fire on Christmas Eve. The first day of school often feels like Christmas morning to  parents.

I found myself waking up yesterday morning with a desire to tell from the rooftops, “we made it!”

 

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I’m sure you can sense how cooperative Parker was in these photos.

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Nathan’s first day of school photo this year is very similar to his first day of school photo as last year. 645 is really early.

 

 

 

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