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Monthly Archives: February 2016

A Cold February

stock-photo-23163351-sick-woman-in-bed-blowing-noseNo, the weather hasn’t felt wintry this month, but it seems like I’ve been battling a cold for weeks.  At first I thought I was experiencing melancholy moments following my 50-somethingth birthday early this month. My kids weren’t home and it fell on a Tuesday. Yawn. But, I was warmly feted by friends near and far, and my middle daughter came home to celebrate with us on Valentine’s weekend. I was looking forward to a couple of fun trips scheduled for the near future which always makes me happy. But something just wasn’t right. My throat was ticklish deep inside and my energy level was low. No big deal. Then, last Friday I kept my appointment with my new cycling studio. I dragged myself out of my house, then up on the bike, adjusted the seat, buckled my shoes into the pedals, and nearly killed myself. I kept pedaling while blowing my nose in the provided towel, mopping sweat, crying a few tears, and, finally,  after 45 minutes or so, stumbling to the floor and out the door to my car. That definitely started the downward spiral. The following day I kept a date with my husband to travel to Taylor, Texas for the barbecue of his childhood, Louis Mueller’s. We try to visit annually and Saturday was the day. It sure smelled good, and Bill was a very happy camper. I was able to enjoy a bite or two, but bbq just wasn’t the same without a sense of smell. Not with a warped sense of taste, and the beginnings of a sour stomach due to sinus drainage. I soldiered on for a few hours of sightseeing but yesterday, I couldn’t get out of bed. I felt like I’d been run over by a truck. So, this morning I decided to take matters into my own hands and headed to the Minor Emergency Clinic in our neighborhood. Friends have told me they’ve visited the clinic and received great relief from ailments such as I was experiencing. So, I walked in, was warmly welcomed, and was quickly evaluated by a physician’s assistant. She totally got me, and said I needed a steroid injection. Red flags flew in my brain – an injection? Wasn’t that serious? Oh well, Doctor (or his/her assistant), knows best, I reasoned. A few minutes later, I was feeling better. OMG People! This stuff is awesome. I left the clinic and drove straight to the grocery store, planning to fill my pantry and fridge for the first time all month. Upon returning home, I cleaned my refrigerator, then filled it with all my new purchases. Then, I cleaned my closet, and packed for a trip that isn’t happening for awhile. I went to my computer next and booked my daughters’ spring break trips. I scheduled appointments that have been on a to-do list for weeks. I wrote long overdue thank-you notes. I even removed candle wax from a Christmas table runner that has been on top of my washer since December 24. I weeded through 25 or 50 catalogs that I’ve had stacked up beside my bed for months,thinking they might hold the perfect item for my house or wardrobe. I planned and cooked a healthy meal for dinner. It was a great day. Then my husband said, “Uh oh. My throat feels itchy.” Damn. At least I know where he can get some good stuff.

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Sense of Place

IMG_4749We’ve spent this week watching with amazement the destruction of a room of a small guesthouse in our backyard. We have entered the realm of remodeling once again. When you own a house for twenty years, and figure you might as well stay in it until your children tell you it’s time to move to assisted living, “God’s Waiting Room,” as a friend’s father refers to it, remodeling is inevitable. Each night after the workers have departed, my husband and I run outside and have a look. Before demolition began, we expected a group of 6 or 7 men with sledgehammers giddily busting down walls. We expected incessant noise, nails flying, clouds of dust rising. Instead, we’ve watched as the room has slowly disappeared. First, the deck was removed, board by board. Next, the ceiling, then the windows and roof. The cabinets and ceiling fans were carefully set aside. The electrical wiring was rolled up, gathered and taped, the water sources capped. Today, the fireplace and chimney were dismantled. The front door is there as always, but opens to nowhere. Watching this room disappear day by day is almost like saying goodbye to a friend, slowly taking his leave of this earth. I didn’t expect to feel the least bit sentimental about the room’s departure, but I can’t help but feel a tad sad as a little bit of it disappears everyday.

We bought our 3-bedroom ranch-style house in 1995 and were thrilled by the little guesthouse in the back. “A place for our parents,” we thought. No way; they never stayed down there. My parents preferred a hotel room, and Bill’s parents stayed in the house with us. Maybe it had something to do with the lack of heat and the a.c. units in the windows? Now that my girls have left the nest, there are plenty of comfy bedrooms for guests in our house. So, the guesthouse is transforming into an office/trophy room/man cave. As the house has come down, I can’t help but look back at my red guest book which I’ve asked visitors we’ve hosted over the years, friends we never even knew back in ’95, to sign. A close friend’s Belgian relatives stayed there, became our friends, and wrote, “In this charming little guest house…we found for life welcome, friendship and pleasure to be with you.” Their children came a year or two later and wrote, “Thank you for your welcoming and your kindness. Our stay was great and funny!” Other friends came throughout the years, to run the Rock-N-Roll marathons in November, to stay over New Year’s, and for Fiesta frivolity. My girls’ college friends came from time to time, writing after one memorable weekend, “We enjoyed the view and sat on the deck both nights recollecting childhood memories.” So sarcastic! Other friends placed relatives there during family weddings and big birthday and anniversary celebrations. One came with very young children in tow; the little boy said to his dad upon awakening, “Daddy, I dreamed a plane landed on the roof!” Did I mention we live very near the airport? My sister and her kids stayed once when their a.c. went out, waxing poetic, “It was so great having such a comfortable place to stay… while our house was in such disarray.”

The guesthouse has welcomed a dear pal from Dallas who comes back often for monthly gatherings of our Supper Club, which we established 28 years ago just after we graduated from law school. For a few weeks one summer, we housed her son who was interning at The Current in San Antonio. When we remodeled our kitchen nearly five years ago, my husband, daughter and I moved to the guesthouse and lived there for three and a half months, which is quite a feat considering there was no washer, dryer, oven or cooktop out there – and only a dorm-size refrigerator! A friend’s daughter’s eight bridesmaids somehow made room on the two couches, the queen bed, and, I’m guessing the floor, for the big wedding weekend. Another time, my daughter’s closest girlfriends had a weekend slumber party there before one departed with her husband for Australia for a two-year stint.  Last summer our niece, following her sophomore year at Trinity, made the guesthouse her home for a few weeks while she recuperated from a tonsillectomy.

The walls came down quickly, erasing all vestige of the gatherings of the past. Hopefully, they’ll come up again soon, bigger, better, with the promise of even more opportunities for fun, friends and family.

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