* * * * * * *

"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Checking In


I probably shouldn't write when I'm in a grumpy mood, but I feel like it, so there ya go!  I know all will be better in the morning.  Maybe it will even be better after I finish writing!

And, I guess it's not that I'm really in a bad mood.  It's just been a particularly long, emotionally exhausting past couple o' days.

My work week began last Thursday with a text message so alarming that I had to pull over to the side of the road (I was driving into town and my cellphone picks up reception at that certain point).  One of my oldest girlfriends was in distress and, wanting to escape it all, packed her three kids into the car that morning for a very spontaneous 6-hour drive up to the quiet of the north woods.  Another old girlfriend (we're a bit of a triad, we three) stepped up to the plate by offering her family's cabin in the woods.  Her brother-in-law had to be called to unlock it.  Then, he was off to work.  I called Mama Pea as soon as I had more information once I was in town at my office, and she dropped everything to begin cooking and baking in order to feed the four . . . knowing money was tight and it wouldn't be practical for them to eat out every meal.

The majority of that day for me was spent getting details of this Escape from the Big Shitty and planning and picking up groceries for meeting the family at a pre-determined intersection to take them to the cabin (where they'd never been before).  Too, it's an off-grid cabin, so they needed someone "in the know" to show them the ropes (the brother-in-law still being at work and she probably feeling more comfortable with me doing the showing than a fellow she hadn't seen in a couple of years).

Then, from late afternoon until 10:45 PM when I left for the 1-hour drive home, I was with them getting 'em settled, having dinner, playing games with the kids, showing the novelties of biffies (outhouses), etc.

On Friday, I got a few things done in the office but was with them for a good portion of the day, too.  We pulled together a beach cook-out and spent a lovely evening on the lake.  Mama and Papa Pea even joined us for an hour or two out there!

Earlier that day, I'd shown Son #2 how to sharpen his knife so that he could get ready to be the hotdog & marshmallow stick preparer that night.  Unfortunately, I apparently taught him well because we weren't at the beach 15 minutes before he'd cut himself pretty good.  Son #1 wasn't blameless, though.  While Son #2 was sharpening one of the stick ends, Son #1 threw a rock at him.  As Son #2 said, "And I flinched."  Flinch, knife slip, end of story!  Boys will be boys!  And, wouldn't you know:  NEITHER the mom nor I (Ms. Preparedness) had a BandAid!  We did have paper towels and a rubber band, though . . . which served just as well.

After the sun had set and we were beginning to watch the fireflies, the family and I planned out our entire Saturday (I'd put a sign up at work saying that "due to a family emergency", my hours would be limited for the weekend) and through brunch on Sunday.  The boys were excited about the opportunity to use the fishing poles they'd thought to toss into the car, and we'd all take in the amazing solstice pageant at the folk school that night.

I was tired that night after two days of unexpected action and changes of plan, and so my wake-up call of 4:00 AM Saturday morning didn't help things.  I still hadn't received my ordered bug net canopy for the bed, and the mosquitoes started their attack then.  Did you know that it's light enough to see a mosquito land on your arm so you can slap it dead at 4:00 AM?  I do.  I fought them until 4:45 when I finally GAVE up and GOT up.

And, now that I think about it, maybe it was this day's text message that had me so upset that I had to pull over.  Yep, now that I remember, it was, because I was driving the 1-ton.  I'd cleaned it that morning and checked and refilled fluids (wiper fluid, oil, and radiator water) so it would be ready for the scenic drive the five of us would take that day about an hour north of town.  The text message was from the girlfriend who owned the cabin.  The family was gone.  Poof!  They'd packed up and left early that morning.

There was a text from the Gotta Get Away From It All one, too, thanking me and saying that I am "a beautiful friend".  Wonderful compliment but I would have liked a little more conversation and information.  And explanation. 

So, Saturday was spent stressing about what imagined circumstances could have caused this normally entirely-on-the-ball woman to do that.  And trying to contact her.  And talking to Cabin Girlfriend about what was going on.  And the same with a very concerned Mama & Papa Pea who, of course, have known her her entire life.  We all finally heard from her in the late afternoon.  She'd just felt like she needed to get back.  Hmph.  After an escape of little over 24 hours?  Obviously, she's dealing with some stuff that . . . I don't know, is TOO HARD to deal with?  It's not like her.  And I'm worried.

After work that night (it certainly wasn't like I didn't need the time in the office vs. a day of fun - AND I did have customers although they didn't buy anything), I called brother-in-law to let him know that I'd like to pick up the keys to the cabin and just make sure everything was closed up properly, pick up Mama Pea's soup pot, etc., etc.  I guess I was hoping to find a note, too, to explain the abrupt departure, but I knew that I was hoping against hope.  And, I was.  No note other than a quick one to Cabin Girlfriend, thanking her.

I tried to de-stress Saturday night once I was home and succeeded to do so until I remembered, THANKFULLY, right before bed, that I'd promised to nanny for a couple hours Sunday morning!  And, I'd have to leave the house at 7:00 in order to be there in time.  So, another short night of sleep.  BUT, a GOOD night of sleep because my bed canopy had arrived in the mail that day, and I spent most of that evening putting it up!  I can't tell you HOW good it felt to crawl into it that night, knowing my sleep would NOT be interrupted nor abbreviated by flying, biting bugs!

So, Sunday, I was up and out early.  Spent a couple of wonderful, went-by-too-quickly hours with Ruti and then drove into town to meet her folks at the folk school where we had brunch.  There was to be a special 10-year anniversary presentation to her daddy after brunch, and I thought I'd stay around for that.  As I was milling around the back of the room waiting, I noticed the used-to-be-friend that the ex had the affair with sitting just two rows in front of me.  That was, amazingly enough, the first time I'd run into her.  And, suddenly, I lost my taste for the event.  So, I said goodbye to Ruti and her folks and slipped out.

After getting a couple glazed-over hours in at the office (dunno if I did any good, being there!), I headed to Mama & Papa Pea's for a quick dinner (thank you, Mom!) and Father's Day greeting.  I was super disappointed that Dad's present of the book, The Filter Bubble:  What the Internet is Hiding from You hadn't arrived in time.  Tracking showed that it had been in St. Paul on the 16th . . . but I still hadn't received it by the 19th?  What the!  He got a handmade card, too.  Five-year-old Ruti and I had been working on our respective Father's Day cards that morning when I asked her to tell me what time it was, and she said, "It's one-zero-two-eight."  10:28?!  Ack!  We were supposed to leave in 15 minutes and we had a mess of card-making supplies spread all over, teeth weren't brushed nor face washed nor hair brushed, AND jammies were still on!  So, I had to finish my card by myself in my office that afternoon without NEARLY the amount of crayons, colored pencils, and markers I'd had access to that morning!  ;) 

After dinner and one beer that went straight to my head - literally, my ears and cheeks were BRIGHT RED! - it was back to the office to close up and figure out a clever way to display / mount some of my business cards on the wall of canvases and gallery mounts I have at my realtor friend's building.  Then, down to his office to do that, a quick stop at the self-serve discount greenhouse for the second fuchsia I needed on my way out of town . . . and home!

Oh, and did I mention . . . I also found out this weekend that the ex is moving back to town.  He'll start his old job again in September.  Wow, five whole months living in Alaska.  Really?  Well, they do say that "that which does not kill us, makes us stronger", right?  ;)


  1. I don't know where to begin-that was exciting stuff with your friend but a 6 hour drive and -zoom-back home?? boy,some wilderness urgent care you got there- a paper towel and a rubber band----effective but hilarious.my boys are leaving this morning for the lake-a little disappointing to pay for a cabin only to have it rain for 2 days-well at least it is suppose to be a good fishing lake.

  2. Wow, how wonderful of you and Mama Pea to step right in to ensure everything went smoothly for the stressed friend and family! That is strange how her departure happened, but I think we know from our own experiences that people sometimes don't always think out reactions to stressful situations until later. One time I found myself in Key West, and another time a quiet B & B in Michigan LOL. I'm sure you will be filled in when she has time to process whatever she's going through, you're a good friend! You are keeping amazingly busy for living far from it all LOL!

  3. Well, if it helps, your post makes me feel so much better about my last week. I wish your friend would have done better about talking to you, especially after all you and your family and friends did for them. Hope the mosquito's back down...

  4. I hope your friend is ok. Sometimes stress can manifest itself in the strangest ways. You were good to help her out of course. All of you!!

    Here's to happy, bugfree nights!

  5. Judy, I now have a slew of BandAids in my purse. ;) And, don't worry about the guys & rain at the cabin: rain makes the fish bite!

    Birthday Girl, aka Erin, I think you are exactly right in this situation: "we don't always think out reactions to stressful situations until later". Matter of fact, that may have been exactly why she left so soon and abruptly: her departure from the Big Shitty for a quick vacation might not have made sense once she was up here! Plus, I'm thinking that the fact that it was Father's Day on Sunday might have caused her to zip back - I think she'd forgotten all about that!

    And, YES, amazingly busy for living far from it all! Ack! Matter of fact, My Girl called yesterday, twice, and I didn't pick up either time. I was DONE with talking and thinking about anything outside of Swamp River Ridge! I just needed a break, too! :)

    Ruth, glad I could help! ;) Mosquitoes - oh, my gawd are they horrendous this morning! But, how clever I felt this morning when I woke to 5 right on the OTHER side of my face of the bed canopy!

    Ms. Chicken Pot Pie, you got it: all we can do is what we can do and then hope for the best. :) And, she knows that we're all here for her at the drop of the next hat, too!

  6. What an emotional roller coaster ride for you all! I hate it when things come out of the blue like that. You are so wonderful to be up for any change - to be there for your friends. And I am so sorry to hear that the Idiot (ahem, the ex) is doing his weenie routine. Boy - what a wuss. I know it won't be easy, since it is a small town, but it is YOUR town. Work really hard on making him and his girlfriends invisible. It's mind over matter, m'dear.

  7. Wow, what a week. Jeez. You need a drink and a bed. It sounds like distressed friend probably isn't ready to share the details of her reasoning. She's got enough on her plate without trying to explain it all, would be my guess. It's lucky for her to have such good girlfriends in you and Cabin girl, and she can rest on the fact that, explanation or no, she can rely on you to be there in her times of trouble. You are a "wonderful friend," indeed!


If you are familiar with me and where I live, please respect my right to retain some anonymity by not referring to me by anything other than Chicken Mama nor mentioning city/town/villages by place names. Thanks!