I arrived home in My Beloved South on Saturday afternoon after a very pleasant drive from up North where I'd been teaching summer camp, visiting with friends, and drinking way too much beer. I had a blast. How many people get to have a paid vacation? Essentially I head up to the rural community I used to live in, check out what's going on, have reunions with friends, work a bit and get paid for it. Amazing.
As always, staying with two of my best friends and their kids. And all the neighbor kids. Kids ranging in age from 16 to 3. To say that it is nearly always chaos is to put it mildly. It truly does make me appreciate my quiet little house with my, mostly, quiet little cats. However, it's a lot of fun. The kids are wonderful, and it's always fun with "Aunt Bluebird" arrives for the summer. Every year Mrs. Cardinal threatens to come home with me so she can have some peace and quiet.
Hanging out with Mrs. Cardinal at the pond at the end of the street. Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal live in a rural town of maybe 150 houses. It's really a village. And at the end of their street is a huge pond with a beach, a diving platform, slide, and all sorts of fun things. The people that own the pond pretty much let all the folks in the neighborhood use it, so we would go down there in the evening and hang out while the kids swam and chat and enjoy the evening. And drink beer.
Hanging out at the town tavern with the Cardinals. Drinking beer. Good thing it's a five minute walk from the house. I gained five pounds and I think most of it was beer. I drank more beer in two weeks than I drink the rest of the year all put together.
Going to Junior Cardinal's baseball tournament games which they won. There is nothing like watching a ballgame in a cute little town park in the Midwest in July. Amazingly enough the weather was absolutely perfect. We went to four games and every one was exciting.
Having some great third and fourth graders at camp that were adorable, and a lot of fun, but made me appreciate my 7th graders even more. I ended up teaching the children of some of my former co-workers and that was a lot of fun. I did three classes - Pioneers, All About Water, and Cotton and Plants. We had a ball. It was fun seeing all the other teachers that I see there every year. And getting all the cool gently used supplies (paper, pencils, crayons, markers, etc.) that they can't store over the winter until next year. My kids will reap the benefits.
The reunion of all the girls I went to college with up here. We graduated in 2001 and some are still not working in teaching and are hoping that someday, somehow, some of these teachers will start retiring so they can get a job. It's sad. It's also why we moved and I ended up in My Beloved South. We usually do this at a restaurant but this year opted for a cookout at Mrs. Cardinal's house so everyone can bring their kids and they could run around and play in the yard. It was a brilliant idea.
I went to a wedding of the daughter of two of my best friends. It was gorgeous. The reception was very Ohio State Buckeyes. So Buckeye in fact, that the guests were given little boxes with Buckeye candies in them, along with scarlett and gray M&M's. (The bride and groom met at OSU). For those of you who don't know what a buckeye candy is, it's a ball of peanut butter dipped in chocolate and looks like a real buckeye. Which is a nut off a tree. (I didn't know that either when I moved there years ago).
Eating Mr. Cardinal's cooking. We've often teased him that he should have his own cooking show, most of which is done on a grill and a fryer in the garage. We're talking huge steaks, fried potatoes, sweet corn, beer can chicken, and awesome burgers. No wonder I gained weight.
Sweet corn. Enough said.
Still and all, it was good to be home. I missed Mr. Bluebird. I missed the cats. I missed going to the gym. Mr. Bluebird managed to not kill any plants this year (due to very explicit emails that said, "water the plants today") but he neglected to do a few things.
Like mow the yard.
Sigh. I drove up and there were weeds about a foot tall in some places. I could have baled hay if I wanted to. So, one of the first things I did that Saturday evening was to mow it all because I couldn't stand it. He didn't realize it was that bad. That's what I get for marrying someone who acts more like the absent-minded professor than I'd like. He also didn't do laundry (I'm surprised he still had underwear) and didn't take any of the recyclables down to the garage.
On the plus side, the cats were well fed and happy and Morgan kitty had her medicine every day. Mr. Bluebird didn't starve to death. The mail was nicely stacked on the kitchen table.
It's good to be home.