Category Archives: Family

Time to Celebrate

From http://www.ajhomeontheroam.wordpress.com

April 20, 2015 (by Angela)

Jim and I a very proud of our children, our children through marriage (also known as our children’s spouses), and our grandchildren. There is a litany of things we could share that makes us proud of each member of our family. At this moment, however, there is a special celebration in the plans for the weekend of May 9th, which is also Mother’s Day weekend (It should be Mothers’ Day since more than one “mother” is honored – any way, I digress.)

We will have much to celebrate as our family gathers that weekend. Heck, to have so many of us together, traveling from several states, is a reason to celebrate alone. We tried to get all of us together last spring – one event for my side and one for Jim’s side. Unfortunately, Brett (son by marriage to daughter Amanda) was unable to attend due to a previous commitment with the U. S. military.

My side of the family gathering on St. Patrick's Day in 2014 (hence all the green)

My side of the family gathering on St. Patrick’s Day in 2014 (hence all the green) near Clarkesville, GA

Brett (who missed out on the last family gathering)

Brett (who missed  last family gathering)

Jim's "crew" as we celebrated Clarissa's  (Ctr in black and white) graduation from Shawnee Junior College in May 2014

Jim’s “crew” as we celebrated Clarissa’s (Ctr in black and white) graduation from Shawnee Junior College in May 2014

All going as planned next month, we will have all the” kids,” their spouses, and their children from my side of our joint family present together for the first time in years. This is a huge reason to celebrate!  Most of the ladies present will be mothers, so we’ll celebrate that. There are three birthdays in our combined families that week, and two of those having birthdays will be present, so we’ll celebrate birthdays. The biggest part of our celebration, unlike birthdays and Mother’s Day, will be for an event that doesn’t come around each year. It is something that for many may never happen, and it is something that can be celebrated because two young people have sacrificed and worked hard to achieve their goals.  Our son Nathaniel and his wife Rachel will graduate on May 9th, which is also Nathaniel’s birthday, from Armstrong Atlantic with hard-earned degrees. Nathaniel will receive his Doctorate in Physical Therapy, and Rachel will receive her Master’s in Education in Special Ed to go with her teaching degree in Art.

Rachel and Nathaniel with Jim and me - 2014

Rachel and Nathaniel with Jim and me – 2014

Thinking outside of the box, these two would like to be able to purchase a home in the town where Nathaniel has accepted his first career position in physical therapy, so they’ve set up an online account hoping family, friends, and anyone else who may feel led to do so will help them celebrate their achievements by facilitating the attainment of their next goal: to purchase a home.

Nathaniel and Rachel -  November 24, 2012

Nathaniel and Rachel – November 24, 2012

If you wish to help them celebrate goals achieved and move toward attainment of this new goal, you can click here and make a donation. No gift is too small and all will be very much appreciated.

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Welcome to a New Blogger: My Funny and Cynical Hubby

Blogger world, watch out! A new blogger is on the lose, and he is going to be fun to read.

Check out jimmysbriefcase@wordpress.com, and you’ll not be sorry!

Jimmy Johnson, my HH

Jimmy Johnson, my HH

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Stray Boots: A Fun Tour of Downtown “Music City”

If you read this blog, you know that I am a big fan of Groupon, Living Social and such sites, especially when looking for fun things to do with the HH. The past weekend, we used a high-tech scavenger hunt to get us out and about around town, which I purchased at a discount through Groupon.

Mural of Nashville in Nashville

Mural of Nashville in Nashville

Saturday was the perfect day weather wise to do the tour, so with our smart phones in hand, we drove the indicated starting point (or close to it) and found a parking spot. Since I drive an eco-friendly car, I was able to get a “free parking” pass for metered spots when I registered my car this year, so we parked, hung up the parking pass on the rearview mirror, and began the adventure.

Jim in front of Wild Horse Saloon on 2nd Avenue

Wild Horse Saloon

It was an interesting morning, and believe it or not, we learned quite a bit about Nashville that we did not already know and had immense fun while doing so. For example, Tootsie’s opens at 9:30 a.m., and the venue has three levels with live music on all levels all the time they are open. All of the walking gave us the exercise we needed without even realizing it. Since I was the “head” of our team simply because I set it up, I had to submit the answers and make the pictures, but here are a few shots from the day.

Here are pictures of my husband in front of several of the places we visited on the route. I will not spoil it for someone else, but there is an interesting challenge after the Wild Horse stop that folks who like to sing in the shower may enjoy. 🙂

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I HIGHLY recommend that you go to strayboots.com to check it out as I think they have tours in about 180 cities world wide.

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Life with a 50+-Year-Old “Kid” (Vol 4)

This past weekend, the HH was under the weather; he had what we sometimes call “the bathroom blues.” As a result, he did not feel like doing much or going anywhere.  He cancelled out of our couples night dinner and performance; I had to go alone since the tickets had already been purchased. Not being able to sleep well a couple of nights, he also got his nights and days turned around.

When he got up from his five-hour nap just before 8:00 p.m. yesterday, he was in his normal form, so I knew he was feeling better.  The ultimate tip to confirm my hubby was over the worst of the GI issues was when he tried to talk me into walking down the street at 10 p.m. last night to get the mail.  You see, he LOVES getting mail, and he LOVES being the one to pick up the mail and open it all – even the “junk” mail.  He felt too badly all weekend long to go pick up the mail, and now he was ready to open and read the mail.  The thing is, he didn’t want to get out and walk to the mailbox, so he was doing his best to convince me to do it for him.  I got the puppy dog eyes; I got the lower lip sticking out; I got the guilt trip. He tried everything in his play book to try to get me to go get the mail.

He failed.  There are some points on which I will not give, and asking me to go out late at night, even with the dog, into the cold when I was already warm, cozy, and almost ready for bed was not something I was going to do.

He went to bed at 4:09 a.m. this morning – remember I told you he has gotten his days and night confused.  When I got up this morning, the opened mail was sitting on the arm of my recliner.  Good call, Angela.  If the hubby was well enough to make a big issue of wanting the mail, he was well enough to walk and get it himself.

I teased him with the idea that he was sick like this to drop some weight quickly. Of course, he had no control over being ill, and no one would really choose this form of losing weight.  When he weighed this morning, he’d lost about 3 1/2 pounds since Saturday morning. He has an appointment with the weight loss folks today, and he is going to end up being the poster child for doing a good job.  I bet you money he does not confess to being sick all weekend. Instead he will bask in the praise. 🙂

I’m so glad his better. 🙂

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A Difficult Balancing Act

Many younger Baby Boomers, like my husband and I, struggle with an interesting balancing act. With our own retirement about 12 – 15 years out, we still have younger children finishing college degrees while we have parents who are in need of more help and care. How do we balance the needs of our parents and our children with our own needs? This is the juggle of time and money and energy we have going on now.

While all of our children are adults and technically responsible for themselves and their own families, if married, we try to help out as we can and as we know of needs. For the most part, at this moment, our parents and step-parents are in pretty good shape for their age and stage; the exception is my mother.

Diagnosed late with diabetes, she has diabetic retinopathy. Legally blind in one eye, and even corrected in the other eye she cannot see well, she no longer drives. She was not financially well prepared for retirement. Unfortunately, my mother has not done much to encourage a strong friend base in her senior years, and family is limited; there is only my brother, my husband, and I to help her.  We all live more than an hour away.

If it were not for the rural transportation bus program that began in her area a few years ago, I do not know what we would do.  She is able to use this program to go to the grocery, bank, pharmacy, some of her medical appoints, etc. More than the transportation, it gives her a reason to interact with others.  For the past year, she has had a woman come to her home for a few hours most weeks to help with light housekeeping and other needs.  Again, the biggest assistance this service provides is interaction with others. Mom no longer wants to go out to eat with family members; I can’t get her to come stay with us or go on trips for even brief periods.  She wants to stay in her home, and she does not even want to have a senior facility as a consideration for down the road.  Finances are not available to have a live-in caregiver, so I don’t know what the future will bring.

My husband and I, after each of us has an experience a serious health issue ourselves, want to travel and enjoy life while we are physically able, and we need to provide for our own retirement.  Neither he nor I want to become a burden to our children. Balancing the needs of our family members with our own needs is truly a balancing act that we practice more and more as time goes by.  Hopefully, we will find the right balance for all of us.

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Life with My 50+-Year-Old “Kid” (Vol. 2)

I’ve been debating between a couple of topics for today’s post, which is a follow up to last week’s post Life with My 50+-Year-Old “Kid”. These posts give insight into life with my husband. After much thought, I’ve decided the next thing I want to share is the adorable, and sometimes frustrating and at times embarrassing, habit my husband has of renaming almost everything.

Early in our time together, I began to see a pattern. In Clarksville, where we lived previously, Kraft Street came to be known as “Hooters’ By-Pass” because he associated one of the street’s intersecting near Hooters with the eatery.  I don’t guess you’d be surprised to know that the intersection was known as “Hooters’ Intersection.”  Yes, my husband has an obsession with Hooters, and I bet you can guess why.

While we lived in Clarksville, an overpass for the 101st Airborne was built over Wilma Rudolph Blvd to ease traffic congestion.  We had a conversation about this road construction one day while out and about, and ever after that, the overpass was dubbed the “Decongestion By-Pass.”

All roads that make a circle of sorts from I-24 at Exit 4 in Tennessee to I-24 at Exit 86 in Kentucky are, according to him, “Wilma Rudolph.”  Yes, the road named Wilma Rudolph runs from I-24 until it becomes College Street at the traffic light where Kraft Street intersects it.  Then, College St. becomes Second Avenue; Second Avenue becomes Providence, and finally, Providence becomes Ft Campbell Blvd, but all of that to my husband is “Wilma Rudolph.”

One day, the hubby was telling me something about a gas station, and he identified the gas station as the “Mapco on Wilma Rudolph.” I was extremely confused because at that time, and for many years to come, there wasn’t a Mapco on Wilma Rudolph.  After much frustration, I finally came to understand that he was talking about the Dodge Store on Ft. Campbell Blvd.  Duh!  Why couldn’t I understand that? (Cue sarcasm) Of course, the names and locations are so similar, it was easy for him to confuse, right?  One thing is for sure, if he had ever needed to tell me where to meet him in case of an emergency and did not want anyone else to know where that would be, the Mapco on Wilma Rudolph would have been the place.

He does not reserve his renaming for roads, intersections, and businesses.  As a general rule, we watch the nightly local news on WSMV (channel 4) in Nashville, and he has renamed many of the news professionals. Two of the female meteorologists have been renamed. One has been dubbed “Kay” because he thinks she favors my former Head of School, and the other is “The Vampire” because one night she had on an outfit with a high collar that made him think of her as a lovely female vampire. One reporter is simply “my (meaning the hubby’s) girlfriend” because he finds her very attractive, though he did say he’d have to behave around her, or she’d hurt him (she is a plus-size girl).

One day the HH was laughing his head off while watching the news, and I did not understand why.  He then pointed out to me that “The Vampire” was doing the weather from the Red Cross building while promoting a blood drive.  It just confirmed his renaming choice.

My husband even renames weather systems.  If you live in the United States, you most likely have experienced the extreme cold this winter has brought because of Arctic Clippers and another phenomenon known as a Polar Vortex.  According to my husband, the Polar Vortex is the “Arctic Complex.”

If you are unsure of the words to a song, don’t worry.  My dear hubby will give his teenage-boy version of most any song. For example, in the song “Winter Wonderland,” instead of “Parson Brown,” it is “parched and brown.” Many of the examples I could share would probably be to risqué to write here, so just use your imagination.

Finally, if my hubby can’t come up with the right name, or a new name for something, then it is the “thing.”  One night a couple of months ago, he told me that he needed “the thing to make the thing do the thing.”  That hit me as so funny that I laughed until I cried and nearly wet my pants because he was so serious about what he was telling me even though it did not make a lick of sense.

Yes, this is life with my HH.  It is never dull.

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Exciting College Football and a Great Italian Pizzeria

Wow!  What a day.

The HH and I had tickets to today’s Vanderbilt versus Wake Forest game, and it was a humdinger. We got a deal through LivingSocial.com – two tickets for less than the normal cost of one.  Not only were the tickets affordable, we had great seats located on the 40-yard line.  Since we left plenty early, we were able to get a free parking spot just a short walk away from the stadium.  Once in the stadium, a very generous couple gave us stadium seats they had rented but ended up not needing, so our butts stayed warm and comfy through the whole game.

Vanderbilt band playing 11.30.13

Vanderbilt band playing 11.30.13

The game itself was a nail bitter to the end.  We got to witness Vandy’s Matthews setting an SEC record for the most receptions in a single season. Toward the end of the game, Matthews made an amazing catch, even though he had double coverage, that led to the go-ahead score that won the game.

Red Zone Play at Vandy

Red Zone Play at Vandy 11.30.13

On the way home, we were looking for somewhere to eat because we had eaten breakfast about 9 a.m. and had not had anything to eat since; it was about 3:15 by the time we cleared the game traffic.  The HH was hungry for pizza, but the idea of Pizza Hut or Papa John’s and the like did not appeal to me.  We had turned off Interstate 40 at Exit 219 to go to Cracker Barrel when the HH saw a sign for “Sal’s Pizzeria.” I conceded that if it was a sit-down restaurant, we’d give it a try.  My, oh, my!  It was as if we had been transported back to the pizzerias in which we ate while in Italy.  The food was yummy, and the service was pleasant and attentive.  We will certainly go back, and the place also delivers in our area, so I think I see some Sal’s pizza delivery in our future.  I’m also glad we went to Sal’s because we supported a small, local business on Small Business Saturday.

Pizza from Sal's Pizzeria

Pizza from Sal’s Pizzeria

If you are ever traveling from Nashville east on I-40 and looking for a place to eat, take Exit 219 and look for Sal’s.  It will be the first exit east of Nashville International Airport (and actually close enough that you could eat at Sal’s before going to the airport).

I hope you and yours have had as wonderful of a Saturday as we have had!

Angela

P.S. Once home, we watched the second half of the Alabama versus Auburn game.  That was a wild ending that even topped the exciting end to the Vandy/Wake Forest game!

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Happy Thanksgiving

While this wish is late, I hope you and yours have had a Happy Thanksgiving Day.

My husband and I spent the day with his family in southern Illinois, and tomorrow he and I will drive to southern Middle Tennessee to share time and a meal with part of my family.

If you were able to spend time with your loved ones (family and/or friends), I hope the day was a joy.  If you were unable to be with those you love, I hope that you will soon be together again.

Have a blessed and happy day!

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Dating Your Spouse on a Budget

Hello World!

There is something to be said for dating your spouse; it is lots of fun, especially when one can do it within budget.

The HH and I, both 50+, had let “life happening” hinder our dating of each other, so after getting settled from our move, we have made a concerted effort to date each other again.  He is on the road so much, it has been up to me to make sure that we have had fun activities to share while staying within our budget.  I’m sure it will be no surprise to those of you who have been reading my blog that I have utilized sites such as Groupon, Living Social, and other similar deal sites to add variety and spice to our dates while at the same time saving money.

What have we done?  Here is a list of some of the activities we have enjoyed the last couple of months.

  • Lunch & a Movie (Groupon half-priced Asian lunch & Entertainment Book By One Get One (BOGO) movie ticket)
  • Bare Naked Ladies Concert at Fontanel (one of the few things we bought full price)
  • Dinner Murder Mystery Theater (BOGO free through Living Social)
  • HH’s first Indian cuisine experience in a nearby town (Groupon half-price)
  • Lunch at Fast Freddy’s Cafe (free dessert) and BOGO firing range package (Groupon)
  • Lunch & Hick Chicks Comedy Bus Tour of Nashville (Living Social BOGO tour with 1/2 price entree at Dick’s Last Resort)
  • Bowling games with shoe rental included (HalfOffDepot discounted bowling package)
  • Riding Music City Star to downtown Nashville to attend the Music City BBQ Competition and Festival with listening to live bands at the festival and along lower Broadway (Discounted train tickets and Living Social BOGO festival tickets)
  • Dinner at Bria Bistro Italino (Groupon half-priced meal)
  • Dinner at Fulin’s Asian (Groupon half-priced meal)
  • Hick Chicks Nashville Pub Crawl (Living Social BOGO)
  • Cell-Phone-Guided Scavenger Hunt (Groupon BOGO)
  • Laser Tag (Living social BOGO)
  • Lower-level tickets to the Titans/Chiefs NFL game (Score Big discount)

These are some of the things we have done this summer with a few that are planned between now and our trip to Europe next month. My husband and I have had a blast without breaking our budget.  Perhaps you should give it a try, too!

Have a blessed and happy day!

Angela

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For the Love of Our Fur Babies

Hello World!

How many of you have a child (or children) who just happen to have fur (or feathers or scales)?  We have an almost seven-year-old fur baby named Chewie. We think he is a lab/golden retriever/shiba inu mix, but since he is a rescue, we don’t know and don’t care; he is our baby.

Chewie with his tail held high

Chewie with his tail held high

Technically, he is our youngest son’s dog, but he has lived with us since we rescued him from an animal shelter when he was four months old. The only exception is the three and a half months Chewie lived with our youngest son and his wife in Savannah, Georgia, while we sold our house and moved.

If you have a pet as a part of your family, you know that you care for him or her as if he or she were one of your own children. This past Wednesday night, while I slept, Chewie began licking and biting his tail.  When I discovered what he had done the next morning, I began treating the sore with “hot spot” meds and, though I hated to do so, I put the “cone of shame” on him whenever I could not keep watch to make sure he was not continuing to lick/chew on his tail. Unfortunately, Chewie was able to get in a position where he could move his tail inside the cone, so it did nothing to help.  It was obvious what I had to do:  Take him to the vet.

Chewie's Sore Tail

Chewie’s Sore Tail

Friday afternoon, we drove all the way back to where we lived before – about an hour away – to visit his vet, as we had already decided to continue taking Chewie to his usual vet  – the one to whom we have taken Chewie since we first adopted him. Dr. Hill was glad we came in, but we do not know for sure what was the catalyst for his chewing.  The poor baby had to have part of his tail shaved in order to be treated.  We left with four different types of meds – two topical and two oral.

Luckily, the HH came home Friday night, so I have had him here to help me treat our baby; it takes two since Chewie is a big boy.  One of us has to hold him still and sooth him while the other cleans his wound and puts the powder antibiotic on his tail.  The one soothing is the “good guy” (aka HH), and the one treating Chewie is the “bad guy” (aka ME).  If looks could kill!  Chewie looks at me as if I have totally abused him after I have treated his sore tail; it makes me want to cry.  Like with our human children, sometimes we have to “hurt” our fur babies for their own good and well-being because we love them. At that moment, they, like our children, don’t understand. I know he will continue loving me anyway; he knows we love him.  Our family would feel incomplete without our fur baby. How about yours?

The HH Soothing Chewie After Tail Treatment

The HH Soothing Chewie After Tail Treatment

Have a blessed and happy day!

Angela

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