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Heartstring Triggers

Disclaimer: This article isn’t all sad, so don’t skip it because there’s some cute stuff midway through.

I read an article recently, and a line from it stuck with me:

Interestingly, Hawaiian researchers have even found that the pain after the death of a pet is usually much longer lasting than the pain we feel with the loss of a loved one.

https://www.healthyfoodhouse.com/losing-a-pet-hurts-more-than-people-think/

Y’all, I know that many of us can attest to this.

Last night, I dreamed of two of my lost fur babies – Aubie and Molly.

As I spent time petting both of them, I remember thinking, “This has to be a dream, but it’s so realistic.”

The dream seemed to go on for a long time, and I kept telling myself that I must be dreaming even though it very much felt like real life.

I also remember thinking that Pele must not have been ready to make the leap yet.

I know where this idea came from – the book Good Dog, by Dan Gemeinhart.

I had read it last summer, around the one year anniversary of Molly’s passing.

I had sobbed my way through the book, which chronicled the story of Brodie, a beloved dog who had passed away but was stuck in an in-between world.

The book had gone a long way toward healing my still-raw and very broken heart.

Waking up confirmed that yes, I had been dreaming.

Sigh.

Then, as I was tootling around the house, I went to put up something that had fallen in the laundry room, and I saw this . . .

What had fallen was one of the dog’s halters we bought to make walks a little easier. As I reached up to put it away, I saw the second one.

Sigh.

Then, I picked up an empty bag from Walmart. It had been sitting on one of those shelves you see above, and here’s what was inside . . .

I’m thinking that the collection of baggies was from the week the Mr. and I spent in California last summer. I tend to be anal about organizing things for my dog sitters.

I am not going to lie, y’all. This grieving thing isn’t easy, even if it’s for an “animal.”

Of course we all know that I consider my fur babies like my human ones.

I am so thankful for the memories we have of the ones we’ve lost. I can’t tell you how many times the Mr. and I sit outside on our porch and reminisce about them . . . how smart Aubie was, how brazen Molly was, how deceptively intelligent Pele was.

The other night, the Mr. and I recounted the season when Molly climbed up and over our fence. I’ve shared the videos here before, but just in case you missed them, here they are.

Here’s the view from the other side . . .

Oh goodness, but look at this gem I just found on YouTube . . .

And this one, which is one of my favorites . . .

Oh wait, look at this! Excuse my horrible back yard, which was a casualty of a four-dog household.

Look how sweet the babies were to each other.

Here’s when Molly, who loved her ball, had to face a choice . . .

And then there were the post-bath play sessions . . .

The next video was from 2015. It’s hard to believe; it seems like yesterday.

And then the last video of the babies that I uploaded to YouTube.

Sorry for the video dump. This post sort of evolved into a digital walk down memory lane – a good thing when you’re sad because random things triggered your heartstrings.

Thank you for continuing to pray for us as we continue adapting to the hole in our home and our hearts.

And Then There Was One

Once upon a time, there were four fur babies.

They made AuburnChick and her Mr. a little crazy but a lot happy.

Fast forward twelve and a half years, and the four have become one.

This has made AuburnChick and her Mr. very sad people.

The day they lost Pele, they left for a little getaway that had been six months in the planning.

They set aside their grief the best they could and made memories with their loved ones.

Oh, y’all, how I wish this was a story from a book. The reality, however, is very sorrowful and oh too real.

This story is one that is currently being written – slowly and painfully.

The Mr. and I returned from our trip Saturday evening. I started crying as we made the last few turns; the knowledge of what was ahead weighed heavily on my heart.

We knew that coming home would be tough.

Instead of two fur babies greeting us at the door, there was only one.

Granted, he was a cutie and beside himself with joy and relief.

While we had been able to delay our grief, he had been at home with a stranger (a sweet young lady but still new to him) and confused about where his big brother was. Our sitter texted me a picture of him and told me that he’d been keeping an eye on the front door.

Poor guy.

His audible greeting – something rare for him – let us know just how happy he was to see us.

I think we spent that first evening in a daze. The house was too quiet.

We were all in mourning; the weight of it so very, very heavy.

Gambit was unsure of the new dynamics.

Normally, his big brother would be vying for space on the bed. Instead, it was just Gambit. We both felt like a piece of ourselves was missing.

We slept twelve hours, and I’ll just go ahead and say that I felt no guilt about missing church. My body and mind desperately needed the rest. Besides that, I would have been a blubbering mess.

I can’t remember much of what we did on Sunday. I believe we went to Sam’s Club. I ran into a former student I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. I’m sure I seemed aloof, but the truth was that I was extremely emotional and barely able to focus. The priority was getting a few needed items and returning home to Gambit.

I don’t remember anything else about the day.

The week, in fact, ran pretty much the same way.

It might seem silly to people who aren’t animal lovers, but losing a beloved pet is hard on the heart.

Pele’s absence has left a huge void in our lives.

Everything in the house reminds me of him.

One of the first things I did was move one of his dog beds to the den. We had five of them in the house. Yes, for two dogs. I threw away one dog bed because Pele had either gotten sick on it or had a bit of an accident. That still left four.

Then, there was the crate, which was beside the TV. Pele loved his crate. It was his safe place – his spot when he wanted alone time away from Gambit, who was known to sneak snuggle.

I folded it up and put it away, not sure if we will need it in the future. I couldn’t deal with the dog bed. It had so much of Pele’s hair and smelled like him. Smell is such a powerful sense and brings back so many memories.

For two years, we’d had double of everything: water bowls, dog food dishes, and leashes. When I took Gambit to get his nails clipped this week, I teared up as I reached for his leash. I still can’t bring myself to do anything with the extra one. Maybe one day, but not yet.

Gambit was so excited to go for a car ride, and my heart broke a little. Pele loved to ride too. I was used to seeing two puppy faces in the rear view mirror. I only saw one that day.

I wound up taking Gambit to PetSmart for his nails even though the vet’s office was a little closer. I just can’t go there yet; the pain is so raw.

The Mr. and I still find ourselves talking about the “dogs” this and the “dogs” that. I’m not sure how we will move from using plural nouns to a singular one when referring to the one who’s left.

I’ve spent the week cleaning; it’s what I do when I’m in the middle of flux. As I walked from one room to another, I saw this . . .

The Roomba had already run more than once, so finding a tuft of Pele’s tail hair poured salt in the wound. I broke down and told the Mr. that the day my vacuum stops picking up Pele’s hair is the day I’m going to cry bucketloads. I’m afraid of losing all evidence that Pele was a member of our family for so long. I remember feeling this way with Molly too. The Mr. reminded me that we have a lot of pictures to remember him by.

And so I’m plodding through this muck that is life at the moment.

It’s slow going, and if I’m completely honest, I’m not too happy at the moment.

Watching my sweet Gambit struggle is hard. He’s too little for the two beds we have left.

I’m just glad that we have a buffer between losing Pele and school starting back up to get our bearings again.

I’ve been fond of saying that I’m finding joy in the journey, whatever that may be.

Well, I’m not joyful in the moment. To say otherwise would be a lie.

I do know, though, that God’s got me – that He’s ministering to me through family and friends – that He will continue to comfort me when I suddenly feel weepy.

No, I will not allow myself to wallow too long in the sad, but for now, I will embrace it for just a little while until the wound of my broken heart has healed a bit.

Just as Gambit, the last one left, likes to lift his nose in the wind, so I’ll trust that God will lift my spirits in His perfect time.

The Third Musketeer

Once upon a time (February 2007), there was a girl who wanted to get a second dog.

Knowing her father was anti-multiple-fur-babies, she approached Mama about how to convince Daddy that she should get one. Mama, being the tech wizard, suggested a PowerPoint.

Said girl made the PowerPoint, and Daddy’s heart was swayed. The family went to the local animal shelter and picked out the most adorable baby there was.

Leaving the animal shelter – in Rooster’s lap

Being the soccer extraordinaire that she was, Chicky named her puppy Pele. He came home to meet what he would believe was his mama and began his adventurous life.

First trip to PetSmart to get a collar and name tag.

Pele immediately latched on to Aubie. We had wondered how she would do with a baby fur pup since she’d been an only child up to this point.

They bonded immediately. She was patient with him as he followed her everywhere and slept wherever she slept.

It took a little while for Pele’s personality to come out. He had been returned to the animal shelter twice before we’d taken him home, so he was leery. We gave him lots of love, though, to build his trust.

And then the cuteness came out . . . along with his mischievous side.

Boy did he love that gorilla. I repeatedly sewed up holes that Pele lovingly inflicted upon it.

Six months later, the human mama (Your’s Truly) decided to add to the brood, and Molly joined the crew.

Pele wasn’t too sure about Molly the night she arrived. She flew into the house and went straight for him.

There were now the Three Musketeers, and boy were they a tight bunch.

Pele had softened the hearts of his human parents – so much so that dogs were now allowed on the couch and other places formerly forbidden.

Molly’s addition to the family ruined us completely; mischief was constantly afoot.

Much love and laughter was shared over the years. The Three Musketeers morphed into something akin to human progeny.

Aubie was the eldest and in charge of everyone. Pele was the easy-going middle child who preferred to slide through life without too much extra attention. He knew when to stand back when the others (Molly – ahem) were getting in trouble for what were probably his misdeeds.

Molly was the instigator – the one who came up with the insidious plans. Pele was her muscle. Aubie told on both of them.

Time marched on, and just like humans, the Three Musketeers got older.

At the tender age of 12 and a half, and after a suspected case of bone cancer, we bid farewell to Aubie.

Pele was absolutely heartbroken and mourned her loss for a long time. He’d refused to lay on her bed for weeks; her smell so confusing since she wasn’t there physically.

Four years later, Molly breathed her last after a fairly sudden downturn in her health. We never quite knew what befell her. I suspect she suffered a stroke that ebbed the life from her.

By then, Gambit had been a member of the family for five years. He and Pele tender footed around the house for days sensing my distress and utter devastation.

Fur babies are sensitive things, you know.

And life continued.

We had two blissful years. With the loss of two fur babies behind us, we took special care with the ones who remained and spent extra time doting on them.

We spoiled them rotten.

Life hadn’t been easy – especially after Hurricane Michael – but we pushed through, thankful for the distractions that our fur boys provided.

And then last week happened.

One week ago today, to be exact.

Pele’s health had been declining ever since Hurricane Michael last October. He and Gambit had evacuated with me; the long, middle-of-the-night ride to Auburn had done a number to Pele’s body. He was never quite the same, and it broke my heart to watch his strong, sleek body slowly whittle down. During the past three months, he began eating sporadically, even after I started preparing homemade, pet-friendly dishes.

When I took him to the vet in June, she assured me that this was normal for older dogs during summer months, but I knew something was amiss. My boy NEVER missed meals. He LIVED for food. The muscles in his back legs degenerated quickly over the past month, and his eating continued to be hit and miss.

And then the 18th . . . when Pele didn’t want to get up and potty. When I finally got him to go, things didn’t look right, and he returned to his bed.

I knew something was gravely wrong, and I told the Mr., with tears in my eyes, that it was time.

We spent the next hour and a half loving on our sweet boy, waiting for the vet’s office to open. We had a trip planned, and although I had a trusted dog sitter coming to the house, we were afraid that Pele wouldn’t make it until we returned. We didn’t want him to suffer, which was clearly already happening. Also, the thought of us not being here for him in his last moments would have wrecked us.

We took pictures with him. He was so tired that he didn’t really want to look at the camera.

The tears were flowing, let me tell you.

He had been a loyal companion for too long. We wanted to be there for him when it mattered most.

Rooster and his girl, who were visiting, said their goodbyes, and we headed out.

Dear, sweet Pele. He was so brave. He had always been a nervous wreck in the vet’s office, but he walked into the room and laid right down on the blanket they’d set out for him.

The vet examined him and told us that he was going into liver failure; his eyes were yellow – a clear sign of it. We’d also found a hard knot under his chin a couple of months back, and the vet had suspected cancer – the kind that she couldn’t remove. She hypothesized that it might have spread. She noted that his legs had lost even more muscle as well.

She told us we were doing the right thing.

Oh y’all, I don’t think a person who loves a fur baby as much as we loved Pele can ever prepare for this day.

During the next hour or so, we loved on that boy so much. We talked to him as the sedatives worked their way through his body.

We told him what a good boy he was, and that we loved him so much.

There was a moment, at the very end, when I saw a tear fall from his eye. Call it what you want, but it was a tear, and it still breaks my heart when I remember it. I don’t believe that he wanted to leave us, but he was tired. So tired.

And so we kissed on him and hugged him tight, and we cried and cried. I probably shed a thousand tears to his one.

As the Mr. and I knelt over his body, I put my hands on my sweet boy, bowed my head, and prayed for all of us. I thanked the Lord for blessing us with this precious baby, and I asked for comfort as we began the grieving process. I know that God surrounded us with angels during those moments of deep anguish.

Leaving him when it was over was the absolute hardest things I’ve done as a dog mom, and I sobbed the entire way home.

Loving is the easy part; letting go is the hardest.

We had raised him for twelve and a half years.

Think about that for a minute. That’s almost half as long as the Mr. and I have been married; half of Rooster’s life.

As a Christian, I can’t know for sure if God has a place in heaven for our fur babies. I pray that He does.

I picture the OG (original gang) – my Three Musketeers – back together again, happily reunited, in perfect health, and full of sweet joy.

My sweet, gentle giant lived a full life. When I remember him, I will always see his big smile.

To my Pele,

You were the absolute BEST dog there was. You were laid back from the start – the most calm of all of our babies. I will miss so many things about you:

  • Your dinner time reminders that usually began around 3:30.
  • Your grunt as you settled yourself onto your bed.
  • How you loved to roll around on your back in the yard and on your bed after an especially satisfying meal and the funny noises you made while you were rolling.
  • The sound of you rolling onto your back as you butted yourself up against the wall – your nails scraping along the way.
  • Your floppy ears – the softest and, probably, one of my favorite parts of you.
  • Your beautiful, exotic eyes that looked like you were wearing permanent eye liner.
  • Your woof-howl when someone dared to walk past the house – on YOUR sidewalk. Awoooooo, wooof, wooof
  • Your scratch at the door when you wanted to be let out and back in again.
  • Your stare at Daddy while he ate dinner – your wish for a bite too.
  • Your big snout at the edge of my table, looking for something to eat
  • The way you eased off of the dog bed after Gambit tried to sneakily snuggle with you.
  • Your nightly reminders that it was bedtime and the look you gave me asking when was I coming.
  • Your big body that was perfect for snuggling against. You were my real life teddy bear; you never minded when I hugged you close.
  • Your presence, which filled the house and has left a void since you departed.
  • Everything. Just everything.

Pele, we have no regrets. We loved you BIG. I know that you knew you were loved and appreciated, and I trust that you were comforted by that even to the very end.

I am thankful for every single second God allowed us to have with you. We knew, going into this, that our time would be limited, given that you were a large dog. God blessed us beyond compare.

We will NEVER forget you.

From a Distance

Today is day 4 post-Hurricane Michael, and I’m sitting in a friend’s pool house in Auburn, Alabama reflecting on the past two days.  I’ll go ahead and ask for forgiveness ahead of time because there is some rambling as my emotions are all over the place right now.

In some ways, I feel disconnected from the cleanup that is going on at home.  I’m keeping up with it via social media and daily check-ins with my friend, Megan, but it’s hard to sit back while others are living out the hard stuff.

With that said, the Mr. has mandated that I stay away.  He’s working with Emergency Management to coordinate relief efforts and the restoration of necessary services to make life livable again.

Meanwhile, I’m watching from a distance and doing my best to put one foot in front of the other despite wanting to crawl into bed and sleep until it’s over.

Yesterday afternoon, the dogs and I made the short trek from our hotel to this beautiful home after spending that morning in the hotel lobby watching guests come and go.

At one point, the manager came out and chatted with me.  I’m glad he did because it gave me the opportunity to personally thank him for waiving the no-pets rule and allowing us to stay.  If you’re looking for one of the most accommodating hotels in the Auburn-Opelika area, I highly recommend the Fairfield Inn at Tigertown.

My car, at that point, smelled like wet dog.  It had rained for a day and a half thanks to the storm that had traveled northeast.

The dogs have been good sports throughout this ordeal.  Pele has been super-stressed, but he has continued to trust me – even when stuffed in a car with a lot of other things.

Notice how much of that stuff belongs to the dogs and how little belongs to me?  Priorities, people!

The house we’re staying at is the same one the Mr. and I visited last year when we came to an Auburn game.

It is akin to a resort, I kid you not.  The amount of land is breathtaking.  The dogs took to the yard immediately.

I have been filled with an incredible amount of sadness and helplessness, so this time to regroup is appreciated.

I haven’t smiled a lot, but being outside in the beautiful weather helped a little.

The dogs and I are leaning on each other with all of the strange happenings.

We stayed outside, poolside, for a couple of hours.

I can’t lie, though.  I feel as though I’ve aged a few years.  Maybe that sounds bad to say given my surroundings, but it’s about as hard emotionally to be away as it would have been to be in town.

My heart longs to be with my people . . . actually doing something to help.

My hosts are some of the nicest people you will ever meet.  T, the wife, is as laid-back as they come.  She took us for a ride on whatever the vehicle is called (pictured below).

Gambit was pretty scared, at first, but he settled in as we went from one side of the property to the other.

This place could be used as a mental health getaway, I kid you not.  It’s just so peaceful.

After we got done riding around, we returned to the main house.  T encouraged me to take the dogs’ leashes off because she wanted the dogs to be as comfortable as possible (she’s really my kind of person), and boy, you should have seen Gambit.  He was totally in his element.  I think he was meant to be a country dog.

Pele has been cautious.  At twelve years old, he’s not keen on change, so he’s sticking close to me.

T took me with her to a shindig her sister-in-law was hosting.  Y’all, if you think my current surroundings are something else, you should have seen the house we went to.  It was an architectural delight that I wish I could have taken photos of but couldn’t because it would have been rude.  The house belongs in a magazine – French style with a courtyard and everything.

The Mr. called me during the get-together, and I held out hope that I’d be able to go home sooner rather than later.

I went to bed with homesickness in my heart but also gratitude for a comfortable place to stay.  I slept well, but I found myself getting up fairly early.

The dogs and I made our way downstairs into the wonderfully crisp air.  While I chatted with Chicky on the phone, the dogs kept watch on the robot pool cleaner thing.

Pele refused to eat breakfast.  I’m very worried about him, despite the smile on his face.  That’s a stressed-out smile.

Gambit, on the other hand, is embracing this for the adventure that it is.

He’s loving the extra time with me . . . time when I’d normally be working or distracted by other things.

My hosts graciously invited me to attend the Auburn game with them.  They have a block of seats for each game.  Fortunately, I’d thrown an Auburn shirt into my suitcase when I’d packed in a rush, so I was dressed appropriately.

On the way in, we saw the makings of a wedding . . .

A tailgate wedding . . .

A short walk later, we’d found our way to our seats.

Watching the eagle make its way to the field always takes my breath away.

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The entrance of the band is always fun to watch . . . so full of pageantry.

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I’ve got to tell you, though, that as much as I love these games, and as glad as I was that I was there, my heart was still so very, very heavy.  The band started playing America the Beautiful, and the crowd started singing it, and I started crying quietly, tears running down my face.

I thought of home and the beauty that was stripped away so viciously.

Then, I thought about how resilient my hometown folks are.  Already, debris is being cleaned up, a long process to be sure but one that is proceeding.

I thought about a devotion I’d recently read about God using dust to create beautiful things – how He created mankind from the dust of the earth.

America is beautiful not just because of its landscape but because of the people.

Watching how the people in my city and other cities around the country are coming to one another’s aid is so humbling.

I drew comfort from T, my friend, as she put her arm around me to console me,

I found kind, listening ears in the orthopedic surgeon I met today, a friend of L (T’s husband) as he asked about my home and what everyone is going through.  He was genuinely interested and actually shocked at how dire it is back home.

The game’s preparation continued, and again, I found myself emotional as the flag was unfurled.

I thought of my sweet boy, serving his country and yet still finding the time to text me regularly to check in.

The flyover was breathtaking.

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Y’all, I am a hot mess right now and don’t really know when to smile and when to cry.

I did get caught up in the game, the highs and the lows (lots of lows as our season really sucks this year).

The halftime show was sweet and ended with a tribute to those fighting cancer and those who have survived it.

The final score of the game was sad though.

After tailgating with T and L’s family, we headed back to their house and watched more football.

The Mr. called in the middle of one of the games.

His update was filled with bad news.  There’s still no water, and the sewer system isn’t close to being fixed because they haven’t gotten generators yet.  I told him about the sewage backup I’d seen in a photo in our neighborhood group on Facebook.  It’s backing up into numerous streets.

Sounds third-world, eh?

The Mr. doesn’t want me going home until both the water and sewer are restored.  We can deal without electricity, but the other two things are essential for decent living.

He told me that people are trying to leave our town – that’s how bad it is.

I’ve seen the long lines of people waiting for food, water, and other essential items.  The needs are great.

So, although I am desperate to get home and be with those I live next to and work with, I’m not.

I had told the Mr. that I needed him to be in charge – a rare admission for this go-getter, overachieving gal.

He’s doing that and with much gusto too.

He needs me where I can actually help him once he wraps his head around what he, personally, needs.  It’s funny how he can assess needs for the general public, but focusing on stuff in a more narrow scope is mentally draining.

Prayer Requests:

  • Decision making for those in charge – There are so very many small details that must be attended to before the big things can come into play
  • Wisdom – Something of this magnitude hasn’t been seen in our area before
  • Generators for the lifts needs for the sewer system
  • Protection from looters – Because bad people come out of the woodwork
  • Honest repair companies that won’t try to scam people – This is happening to people in my neighborhood!
  • Those who are living out the daily grind of cleanup, finding food and other basic necessities
  • Those of us who left and are watching from afar – It’s hard to be patient and let others do the work
  • Pele – I’m super worried about him.  He’s hardly eating at all, is drinking a lot, and is struggling physically with his back legs.  I took him to the vet the day we evacuated, and although she ran bloodwork and said he’s doing fine, I know that he’s not.  He’s trying to keep up, but he’s slowing down, and I don’t think my heart can take another loss.  I am praying that this is just stress and nothing else.

A Woman, Two Dogs, Sweet Tea, and a Couple Dozen Muffins

Confession Time . . .

I am a coward.

I ran away from Hurricane Michael in the middle of the night.

A mere couple of hours after penning my words of bravado, I caved to the fear.

The Mr. called me after the 11pm update with the news that the storm was now a Cat 4 with sustained winds of 135mph, and we made the decision that I should leave.

I quickly called Super Sis.  She and her hubby had fled to Alabama earlier in the day, and she had called to check on me. She was happy when I called her and told her I was on my way.

I ran around the house like a crazy woman, throwing clothes, shoes, makeup, and bathing essentials into a suitcase.

Y’all, have you ever had to pick up and run with nary a moment to plan?

I cannot tell you how hard it was to decide what to take.

I looked around my house and wondered what I could live without because if I can be honest with you, I knew that my home might not be the same when I returned.

Sobering thoughts.

I wound up grabbing a small jewelry box that I keep my rings in and threw in a couple of necklaces and my favorite bracelet.

I snatched my laptop from the table I keep it on, its charger, my phone charger, and my good camera.

As I passed my dining room table, I slipped my knitting bag over my arm and stuffed in my newest project.  I also swiped my recently finished cowl and shawl from the table – items I still hadn’t gotten around to photographing.

I passed the bar in my kitchen and took two or three books from a stack.

Before I could put anything in the car, I stuffed the dogs’ beds in the back so they would be comfortable during our journey.  I packed the rest of my stuff around them once I got them in the car.

Then, I put my newly purchased snacks and water in the car along with dog food and the dogs’ bowls.

It was a frantic thirty minutes.

Before I closed the door for the last time, I ran back in and grabbed the muffins I’d baked earlier and the gallon of sweet tea I’d purchased that afternoon.  A girl’s gotta eat, storm or no storm.

Leaving my house was so hard.  I felt like I was a two-timer.

I prayed over my house as I left.

Such a sad thing.

But y’all, I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself.  It was late, and I had many miles to cover.

The dogs had gotten used to riding in the car thanks to our weekly jaunts.  It’s funny how God prepares us for such things, eh?

Super Sis called to let me know that she’d reserved a hotel room for me a mile away from hers, and that the hotel was allowing pets because of the storm.  Praise God!

I’d been concerned about the roads being congested, but at that time of the night, my worry was in vain.  There was hardly any traffic.

I gassed up an hour into my trip, called the Mr. to let him know where I was, and continued my drive.

I listened to the Bible Binge podcast along the way to help keep me awake.  My mind was alert, but my eyes were so tired.  This girl doesn’t see well at night, so I drove carefully.

My ultimate destination was a small town outside of Auburn.  Turning off of a main highway onto one of the country roads made me perk up.  I grew up in Alabama, so the route was familiar.

I’d turned off the podcast and had begun listening to a Christian station.  When this song came on, I belted it out, touched by the words – so timely given the storm bearing down on my hometown.

So sad, y’all, but such a great reminder that God never lets go of us.

I finally got to the hotel – thankfully – because the dogs had gotten antsy.

Props to the Marriott folks for the kind lady who was manning the night desk.  She had been expecting me and was so patient as I couldn’t hardly think straight by then.  It was 3:30am, and I’d been awake since 9 the day before.

I’d been given the last room – a handicapped suite – so spacious for my big dogs and their big beds.

They were a little nervous about going into the elevator, but heck, this whole trip has been about firsts so there’s that.

The dogs were a bit out of sorts despite the smile on Gambit’s face.

It took them a long time to go to sleep.  Of course, I still haven’t slept; my heart is incredibly heavy for my husband, who’s still back home, and for my friends and students who stayed behind.

I’m keeping my eyes glued to the Weather Channel.  Between those updates and the ones I’m getting from the Mr., I just can’t sleep.

This storm is one of the strongest my area has ever seen, and some people predict that it could reach a Cat 5 status.  The last update had it intensifying even more.

Please continue to pray for that area.  I’m sitting here sick to my stomach as I type this.  I am incredibly worried.

I’m also glad that I’m where I am because I would have had to sit through that monster by myself.

Thanks you!

 

Weekend Miscellany

Miscellany – yes, that’s a word.  I looked it up just to be sure.

Let’s talk about random things from the weekend.

Saturday

I got in my walk and did #somuchgood

Here’s the photo without the Charity Miles info . . . because Gambit is so cute.

I received a package in the mail . . .

Megan showed hers off during our meeting last Thursday, and I think two or three of us ordered one on the spot.  I’ll let you know how it works!  I’m hopeful because being able to stand in proximity to some of my more spirited students, as opposed to standing in front of the board, will take my classroom management skills up a few notches!

I spent most of the day reading and finished this book . . .

It was excellent!  I gave it four stars on Goodreads.  The author has another book coming out in January.  I’ll probably pre-order it.

Sunday

I slept in, opting to skip church because of the loud music and my head. The dogs were not amused because they were waiting for breakfast.

After they ate, I went for a walk.  Then, I did some laminating.

For some reason, I was really tired, so I slept for an hour.  Unfortunately, I woke up to find a migraine brewing.

I also had a craving for a cherry slushy, so I loaded up the boys and took them along for the ride.

Aren’t their faces priceless?

Despite taking a pain pill, which I had been able to avoid the past few days, the headache lingered.

I decided to do some baking.  I used the same recipe as last week, but this time, I topped them with chocolate frosting, a suggestion from the recipe writer (she kindly responded to the question I asked on her Instagram post).

Untitled

The frosting is amazing!  It tastes like the kind I’ve always bought at the store.

The Mr. had been at work all day, not his usual schedule but that’s how it goes.  When he got home, he saw that I wasn’t feeling well and kindly ate leftovers.  Bless him.

Meanwhile, I wound up a skein of yarn for a new project.

Weekends sure do fly by, even when you’re not doing a whole lot.

Weekending with Auburnchick

It’s Tuesday, and I’m only now getting around to posting about last weekend.

Yep, school prep is in high gear.

Sigh.

Let’s begin with Friday.  Gambit had an appointment for a bath, but I accidentally slept through it and had to reschedule.

Oops.

Although I didn’t have to go in to work, I was so overwhelmed with an already-growing to-do list, so I spent the day on that.

Lesson planning is extremely time consuming.  We don’t start school until the 15th, which means that we’ll only have a three-day week with the kids, but the planning is still intense even for that short amount of time.  There are so many routines and class norms, even at a high school level, that a teacher has to establish.

I’ve got two preps this year, which many teachers would trade their loads for but which is overwhelming for me.

I’ll be starting out by explaining to each group of students what their respective classes entail.

That’s my Smartboard file, which I create for each week as a visual for the kids and myself.

I worked all afternoon and was tired when I finished.  It wasn’t pretty, y’all.

Yeah, I think I stayed in my pajamas all day.  I really cannot remember.  That could have been the evening we went to Chili’s.  If we did, I changed clothes.  I promise.

On Saturday, I took Gambit to his appointment, which I’d smartly rescheduled for 11am – plenty of time for me to wake up.

He smelled amazing when I picked him up a couple of hours later.

How bad would it be to say that I don’t remember what I did the rest of the day?

Y’all, the struggle is REAL.  I know that I didn’t work because I forced myself not to.  I’m still recovering from my concussion, so I know that I can’t push myself too hard.

Oh, and how could I forget about the mail.  Look what I got . . .

I found the case on Amazon, but there was a card inside from fakemeats.com.  I think this was the actual seller.

And, wouldn’t you know it, but I found two or three recipes that include jackfruit in them in this cookbook, which I purchased around Christmas.

I’ll be sure to post the results of anything that I try.

Sunday, the Mr. had to go in to work.  I’d already elected to stay home from church because loud stuff still makes my head hurt.  He wound up needing to take my car since he couldn’t get into his work vehicle, which forced me to not run errands.

Darn.

I did get out and go for a walk, my first since June and really, my first workout of any kind since hitting my head.

I had signed up for the Half-Giant Half Marathon, a Hogwarts Running Club event.  Sunday’s walk was going to be the first leg of it since I knew I couldn’t make it the full distance.

It was a little later in the morning than I would have preferred, and it was hot as all get out.

I was careful, though.  Although I could hear my pace being announced through my ear buds every half mile, I tried not to let it stress me out.  Yes, I was going slow, but I knew that I needed to reacquaint myself to the whole move-your-body thing.

I had originally told the Mr. that I would only walk a mile.

He should have known that I wouldn’t stick to that.

Truth be told, I should have only gone two miles.  I wasn’t feeling very good when I got home – probably the result of the heat and my head hurting.

It felt good, though, to get out.

You can only put Baby in the corner for so long.

I spent the rest of the day, after I showered, in my pajamas while I binged on my new favorite Amazon Prime show, Bosch, and finished up a knitting project (pictures to be posted eventually).

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