Sunday, November 15, 2020

I'm still around!

Woot - grab a cuppa and let's get caught up!

This has been such a crazy fall! Well, the whole year has been, but the last couple months have made me feel like I need a clone!  Between work and babysitting and just being able to do what * I * want to do.... I feel guilty for doing one thing and not another, etc, etc, etc. 
Fall means a lot of shenanigans with Chuck - so you'll see him a few times in this post. 
Here he's all about embracing his inner "basic white girl" with a pumpkin spice donut and iced coffee. 
I got rid of all my old cheap foam headstones from my Halloween cemetery and made 13 new ones out of plywood, then repainted the rest to match them.   Above is the look BabyBoy gave me when I was shaking the spray paint can. 

When my mom's neighbor gave her that pack & play for us, I never thought we'd use it.  But we've used it A LOT!  It has been so convenient to toss him in it while doing stuff out in the yard. 
There was a fair food truck rally in town one night!  Note to self - go early so they haven't had a chance to run out of deep fried Oreos or funnel cakes! 
We went to the orchard with the family again.  BabyBoy just stared since his little world basically consists of just me, Spawn & the Spouse (aka Pupa) and seeing my Mom & sisters & a variety of others was overwhelming to him!  
He helped me set up the cemetery.  By stealing the zipties and crawling away as quickly as he could!

OMG - BabyBoy is 10 1/2 months old now.... he's been cruising along the couch, but as of yesterday, he's letting go and standing on his own!
And he's got 4 teeth!
This was the only pumpkin we got to carve this year.  Spawn is working 5 evenings a week (4 during the week until close - at 10pm!! - and one weekend day) I told her she needed at least Sunday off so * I * could have a day off!   It just shot down anything I wanted to do!  This is one of the lamest Halloweens I've had since I didn't get to do hardly anything that brings me joy.  No Tillson Street.  No Northville Skeletons.  Hardly any cemeteries explored - and I find that really relaxing.  No shopping. I didn't even get any blogging done!  That kind of ticks me off since I was signed up for the Countdown to Halloween linkup and failed miserably.  I did make it to part of the local 'haunt crawl' on the 30th, only because the Spouse felt sorry for me, being all mopey.  
BabyBoy's not impressed with raw pumpkin. 
Both of Sis1's horses were pretty much out of commission this summer. so I borrowed one of LT's for the Polly Ann Trail Ride that I've gone on the past few years.  We stood around for a bit, doing PR for the team, then went out on the trail for a while.  It was fun.  
Yes - that back horse really is BIG!  She's a mix of 2 different types of draft horse and is as gentle as a puppy.  Chris riding her has 3 young kids and I see lots of pics of them out playing in her pasture. 
These photos were taken by the photographer for the little local newspaper. 
Speaking of being out of commission - Sis 1's newest horse (she had him 3 years) crossed the Rainbow Bridge not long after I went on the trail ride.  He started losing weight last winter and her vet kept suggesting all these expensive supplements & nothing helped to put weight back on him.  So she found a different vet this summer and this one figured out he had the early stages of Cushing's Disease which affects the pituitary glands.  He responded well to the meds, until one day he was having a hard time staying up on his feet and she called the vet back out.  She did an exam and took an ultrasound of his belly and found the biggest tumor she'd ever seen - they don't know what it was attached to, but it was over 15 inches long and bigger around than a football.  He wasn't responding to pain meds, so there was only one humane thing to do.   He was only 16 years old.   Poor Kisses (the other horse) this is the 3rd pasture mate she's lost!  So she's currently at a boarding stable for the winter, so she can have company and Sis not worry about her for a while.
Bear Bones!
We went to Downtown Detroit in the rain for Spawn's birthday.  She wanted to have dinner down there and walk on the Riverwalk.  
I couldn't resist making a comment or 2 about how I didn't get anything special done for my birthday.  Yes - I was still bitter about that. 
Chewing on bones is normal, right?
Saw this cool truck sitting in a parking lot one evening.  On the fender over the front tire, it says US Navy Veteran.   They appropriately drive for USA Truck!

The weekend before Halloween, we had a girl's weekend in Nashville.  There was me, Spawn (and BabyBoy), Mom, Sis 1, Sis 2, niece Lulu & niece C.   We flew down and rented a van and an Air BnB for the weekend.   We clearly didn't plan any activities out, since we didn't go to the Grand Ol Opry or anything music related.  But we did go on a Jack Daniels Distillery Tour and none of us drink whiskey!  We took a trolley tour around downtown and saw Music Row that way.  And we did a ghost tour on the coldest, rainest night.  Started out with 11 people and ended up with me, Sis 1 and niece C since we felt sorry for the guide.  He wasn't a very good guide, anyway.
We found out as we were sitting in a little roadside BBQ joint that the president was going to be in town for a debate!  We were so afraid all the roads would be closed everywhere!  But other than a lot of police Downtown, he stayed out of our way - LOL!  And we drove by the Tennessee National Guard located at the airport and saw Air Force One - which was really cool!
Spawn held BabyBoy on her lap, so Chuck got to use the empty seat between us.  The flight attendant thought he was funny, so she took a pic and then showed the Captain (and a bunch of other passengers)!  He came back with a set of wings for both Chuck and BabyBoy and also took a pic!  

The first day there was ~very~ eventful and once we got back to the house & settled in with a beverage....I told my sisters I was NOT having a good time.  First, Spawn didn't comprehend we needed to be AT Sis 2's house at 6am.  We didn't leave ours until 6:15, and then had to stop for coffee.  Which she proceeded to dump all over her lap and the dashboard of my car.  So my car still smells like vanilla because it was mine that spilled.  We got checked in at the airline where they told us the plane was boarding in 4 minutes and then thru the TSA checkpoint pretty quickly.  As we were 1/4 of the way to the gate - at the far end, of course - I asked her where the car seat was....she left it at TSA!  So I had to go back and get it!  I had never stopped to tie my shoes after TSA, so I clumped back as fast as I could, carrying my carry-on with all my clothes & stuff, the bag I was using as a purse and the carseat.  And I hadn't eaten so I was weak from low blood sugar and had serious doubts I was even going to make it to the gate!  Thankfully I'd sent Spawn on ahead with the baby in the stroller to meet with everyone else and tell them I was on my way.  I don't think they actually held the plane for me, but they were in no hurry to close the doors.  Whew! 

Sis 2 and I left everyone at the airport in Nashville and Ubered to the van rental place.   They rent their vans to bands that are going on tour, so the 12 passenger van + tons of cargo space was a beast!     
I was nervous about driving it downtown since I wasn't sure where I could park it.  Well, I found out where NOT to park it, and got an $85 parking ticket in the process.  Then on the way back to the house after the trolley tour, I was watching this shady looking guy on the side of the road while sitting at a red light.  When the light turned green and I started up, he ran out in front of me!  I beeped the horn at him and he turned and threw something at the van and shattered the side window, right next to where Mom was sitting!  We were all shook up but OK otherwise!  I went around the block to where I'd seen a big bunch of police staged and talked to one of them, and he took my info and had dispatch call me to get my accident report.  Then I called the rental place, who replaced it first thing the next morning. 
So yeah - my first day in Tennessee was not fun at all. 

Oh, and apparently full coverage insurance doesn't cover any window except the windshield???  I'm still fighting with them about that.  Why should I pay another $600+ on top of the $70 per day I already paid??    Grr.  And the rental guy went on & on apologizing for the incident, saying Tennesseeans were actually really nice people, etc, etc. 

BabyBoy was so good on the plane!  He sat on Spawn's lap and looked out the window as we took off in Detroit, then fell asleep for most of the flight.  On the way back, I was holding him and he was out as soon as they pushed us out from the gate and slept until we touched down in Detroit!  It was a busy trip for him. 

On Halloween, we didn't take BabyBoy trick-or-treating, but we did take him around to family so they could see his little devil costume.  We thought it was funny, since last year at her baby shower, Spawn dressed like an angel with horns sticking out of her belly - so this was perfect!

We weren't sure what kind of turn out we'd get for trick or treating with the 'Rona going on.  We got about 25 kids.  Usually we get 35-45 so it wasn't too bad.  We just set a table up in the driveway, spread the candy out and the Spouse & I sat out there to watch the kids and enjoy the night.  It was cold, but it was the first time in a while we haven't had rain, snow or wind!   
The requisite daylight savings time meme....
Halloween was also my boss's last day of work.  I've worked under her for 20 years so this was a sad day.  3 of us pitched in and got her a silver semi truck charm for her Pandora bracelet.  
Gratuitious sunrise pic
I had to video him and take screen shots since he's never still!

Whew - almost up to date!

Last weekend I attended the Halloween Camp put on by a local search & rescue group that my team has worked & trained with many times. 
OMG - it was so much fun!  I'll totally do this again.
The scenario was that we were recruits for the Academy seen here on the banner - and our training was being accelerated due to Covid and an increase of violent & repetitive crimes.  We did a bunch of team-building and networking activities that were both educational and hilarious.  There were supposed to be 3 teams, but enough people couldn't make it at the last minute that we combined into 2 teams.  For each activity we won "creature cash" and there were also random cash everywhere all over the camp!  So whoever had the most cash at the end of the weekend, won.  

We did a fear-factor type food challenge relay race, we sat at the table in front of a covered plate and drew colored skeletons to find out what order we went in - and couldn't peek under the plate until the person before us was done and our skeleton color was drawn.  There was a giant garlic pickle, a mountain of gummy worms (glad I didn't get those!!), 6 smoked oysters & finally a caramel apple (I got that!)  

We had to race on boards....
we're holding ropes attached to the left and right boards....

There was an obstacle course for humans and one for the dogs & handlers - especially hilarious was the girl who had the biggest bloodhound ever & she had to put a shirt and socks on him!  But the baby socks wouldn't fit on his huge paws, so she tucked his ears into them!   I learned that a lot of the rules were very flexible.  Nobody said the socks had to be on his feet, only that he was wearing them!  And the board race above?  The other team had 4 people.  Nobody said ALL of us had to be on the boards at one time.   Noted. 

We had some down time after lunch and I hid for several of the area search dogs to find me.  I climbed about 8 feet up on top of a rack where canoes are stored (to encourage the dogs to look up while searching) and another time in a cabin on the top bunk. 

We played capture the flag, using water balloons filled with paint.  Then we played Jeopardy with topics related to maps, knots and incident command.  We had a land navigation course we had to do after dark, and at each point we found, we had to do an activity like start a fire, splint a teammate's arm, figure out how to put a dog in a sling, and create an improvised harness and "repel" between two trees. 

Then we got word of a missing girl and she was last seen at the maintenance man's workshop, so we had to go look for clues.  It was a relay race - the workshop was lit by strobe lights, and we had to use a red flashlight to find one of 8 items on the list. But we couldn't take the list in and could only grab one item, but if we saw another, we could tell the next person what & where it was. 

By then it was midnight and we had the option to take the dogs out on a night search, but the handlers all said no!
Dawson Chucky!

Sunday we had to be up & out of the camp by 8am and not return until 10am, so we all went out to breakfast.  When we were finally allowed back in the camp, there were a total of 3 missing people.  2 real people and 1 deceased.  One was the missing girl from Saturday night, another completely unrelated boy and the maintenance man.  So the dogs were all sent out in different sectors to search and we had to use proper radio protocol and techniques for a K9 search.   I went out as support for "Team Scarlett" and it's just fascinating watching an area search dog work.   They just run.  They're wearing a collar with a GPS unit on it and a cowbell so you can hear them out in the woods.  We were looking for the missing boy, so we thought.  So when we heard he was found, we called in and was told to head back to staging.   We ran into 2 of the people in charge and they gave us a ride, but instead of going to staging, they took us to another sector so Scarlett could give that a try.  
We had some mis-communication.  We had a scent article for Scarlett that we were told was the missing boy.  It ended up being the deceased maintenance man's.  And Scarlett found him!  If you look close, about halfway up the climbing structure, you'll see a dummy hanging, slightly left of center.  They planted real HR (human remains) in it.  It was creepy as hell looking up there and seeing that dummy, since they had a mask on it so he looked real! 

Then by the time all the sectors were covered, debriefing (my team won!!) & we helped clean up, it was well after 5pm.    
There was a cabin decorating contest, too.  So I grabbed some of my skeletons and threw together a skeletal K9 team!   I had the skeletons all buckled in the back seat of my car - too bad the windows are tinted so nobody else could see them!
I didn't think it was much, but it was more than anyone else did and I ended up winning $100 in creature cash for my team! 

So the cabins were pretty big - they were U shaped and had a total of 7 sets of bunk beds on each side and 2 more in the back.  There were only 3 of us in cabin 7/8.  I was one one side, Julie in the back and Melissa on the other side.  Melissa & Julie both had their dogs in there, Scarlett that I worked with and her almost identical brother Crash (I worked with him at a real call-out last spring).  
They both kept coming over to visit me.  
I'm not sure which this was - one had a collar on, one didn't!
Obviously both were adorable!

For being November in Michigan, we couldn't have asked for more perfect weather!  Sunshine and low 70s during the day, and 50s at night.  Considering on Monday the 2nd I went out to my car to leave for work and there was snow on it!
This is BabyBoy yesterday - Pupa was out blowing the leaves into the ditch before the rain & wind started last night.  He was only out there a few minutes, because it was cold, but he had a good time!  I put him down and he'd take off crawling like he was on a mission to get somewhere else!
I just love that little face!

Well, after some fighting with Blogger, I've finally got a post written!  I had saved my post and switched over to it on my phone to add a couple pictures in from there and saved again.  And do you think the last couple paragraphs I'd written had actually saved????   
Cussing did happen.  TWICE! 

I promise I won't be so long between posts again!


  1. the skeleton with the dunkin iced coffee had me cracking up haha!
    your little grandson is ADORABLE!

  2. I love your grandson's Halloween costume and that it fit his mom's shower costume. So cute. The Halloween camp you went to sounds like a lot of fun, and it's just nice to get away sometimes!



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