Sunday Coffee – Chaos and Celebrations

The last week and a half have been a bit nuts. Some good things, some less good, but lots of stuff happening both here and at home in SA. I needed a little catch-up post (one which has absolutely nothing to do with the Virus).

Family Reunion
Last weekend, my extended in-law family got together. Guests who were able to come included Jeremy (Jason’s older brother), Emmy (Jeremy’s wife, who I met in person for the first time), Tenille (Jason’s older sister), and Xarissa (Tenille’s daughter, my niece). Plus three additional doggos. There were walks, board games, lots of food, and general fun, but the big event was the kayaking. This part of WI is filled with lakes and rivers (hence the high humidity), and kayaking is a big thing. I last kayaked in 2012 because somehow I never did in the 2016-2017 year that we lived here. The boys last kayaked in 2016. Everyone was pretty experienced at this, even if our experience was a few years old. The river we went on was pretty shallow and had a low, lazy current. There was no reason for our trip to go chaotic, and yet…

(photo credit: Emmy)

Somehow, at least four of us got flipped over at one point or another. One kayak got caught in a tree. Two sets of keys were lost and found. One phone was lost and found. One wallet was lost but never found. What is normally an hour-long trip turned into three hours under full sun in 90-degree weather. Despite sunscreen and hats, quite a number of us got burns (though thankfully mild). Some of us (like me!) weren’t smart enough to wear swimsuits, and thus ended up soaked in all sorts of river water in normal clothes. Others of us (not me!) forgot that river rocks hurt and river shoes are a good thing. Despite all of that, it was quite a fun outing minus the few parts that involved escaping kayaks and lost items and cuts/bruises. We’ve never had quite so many Incidents. Perhaps we were just cursed that day!

After months and months of not really reading, I suddenly read a huge spurt of books in July. It helps that a bunch of them involved revisiting some of my favorite worlds, including:

  • Empire of Dreams (from the Girl of Fire and Thorns series)
  • Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (from the Hunger Games series)
  • Lantern Men (from the Ruth Galloway series)

I also managed to stumble onto quite a few holds that actually caught my attention, so I didn’t immediately cull them and return them to the library. Perhaps my six-month long reading slump is over!

Water Heater
Back at home in San Antonio, the water heater went out on July 11th. It was the original that came with the house 23 years ago, and it rusted through. Jason ordered a new one, but it wasn’t available to pick up, and Jason’s car is pretty small, so he set it for delivery. It was supposed to take 2-3 days, but at that point, he got a call saying it would arrive by August 21st. !!! So he opted to rent a truck and pick the thing up himself, now that it was in stock. He was able to do so on the 18th, so one week after he and Morrigan lost all hot water.

(photo credit: Jason)

That day, he drained our old water heater first, to remove it. (Meanwhile, Atticus escaped the house and trotted back five mins later with a newly-dead bird in his jaws. He was quite upset, with a lot of hissing, when Jason took the bird away from him!) When Jason tried to remove the old, empty water heater, a pipe that had connected it to the a/c unit above disintegrated. So he had to call out a plumber/HVAC specialist. The guy arrived and fixed up the pipe so that they could at least have water in the house, if not hot water yet. The next day he returned to install the actual heater. Only 1) it turns out that while the hardware store sells this style of water heater (the squat kind for a lower cabinet, which is now against code but our house is grandfathered in), it doesn’t sell drip pans wide enough for it. That’s a specialty item that must be ordered. And 2) the closet was built around the water heater, so in order to get it out and put the new one in, they had to remove part of the wall. UGH. Pan was acquired and water heater installed on Monday, leaving just the wall to rebuild and the cabinet door to put back on. Jason finished this on Tuesday. In the pic, you can see where there will need to be wall-patches and paint. Sigh.

We figured this would be best to do in Wisconsin, in a county that’s had fewer than 100 cases (as of then, anyway), than to wait to do this in San Antonio again! My FIL recommended Fantastic Sams in Rice Lake, where they do an excellent job with safety: no bags/purses, max three customers, wait outside until called in, masks for everyone, etc. Ambrose cut off 5-6 inches, to get the deader ends off and make care easier while staying long. Laurence got his trimmed slightly and thinned out so there’s less poof. I decided to go a little extreme. I went back to my favorite haircut ever – an undercut with an inverted bob that I had in the summer of 2016 – only I also got bangs.

It’s shorter than I expected (I’d wanted chin-length dry, not wet) but I really like it! I’m super happy that my curls/spirals are back. They went away in 2014/2015 due to protein structure changes when I began drinking alcohol, but I cut alcohol from my diet over a year ago and everything left after this cut is new growth. To give a comparison – here is my haircut from 2016 vs now. (Since I don’t have a direct side comparison, I’ve shown two pics from 2016 – partial side and back.) I haven’t straightened or curled my hair in either photo – just washed it and put mousse in and let it air dry as I always do. Both pictures were taken day-of cut after first wash. The difference is insane.

Car Refinance
In June, Jason and I began the process of refinancing his car, because it had a ridiculously high interest rate (nearly 8%!!). Our loan officer was not the best communicator, and his lack of communication caused a lot of delays in the process. Nearly six weeks after we began, the refinance finally went through on the 13th. The check was cut and sent to the previous bank. By the time our automated car payment went through on the 15th, the old loan hadn’t been paid off yet. We figured it was going to take a few days. So we checked the accounts on the 19th…and it turned out that somehow a BIG mistake was made. The payoff got applied to my car instead of Jason’s. They had about the same amount of loan on them, so maybe that’s how the mixup happened? Either way, suddenly we had no loans on my car, and two loans on Jason’s, including one with an exorbitant interest rate. Thankfully, Jason called the bank Monday and they immediately said they’d fix the problem, and it should show up correctly within 7-10 business days.

Yesterday, Ambrose turned 18. Two of my three boys are “officially” adults now. It was a very low-key celebration day. We had a birthday breakfast of sausage-egg-and-potato burritos. Ambrose discovered that in this household, the tradition is to find money in your breakfast. He got $1.80 in various change for his 18th birthday. He loved this and was laughing the whole time, and then opened up his gift from his grandparents: a shirt with a picture of a peanut on it, with the words, “Whoa! Stay back! I’ve got a people allergy.” Just last week he was talking about having a hard time making a birthday list, because he only wants “weird things like a shirt with peanuts on it.” It’s classic Ambrose, and he was delighted with the gift. And with the wrapping, which he turned into a “hat/mask.”

In the evening, we made shrimp alfredo, Caesar salad, green and yellow beans from the garden, and lemonade. There was an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen as well, and a few more gifts. Ambrose was in fine form all evening, doing all the Ambrose-things. It was a nice way to spend our last night in Wisconsin!

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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4 Responses to Sunday Coffee – Chaos and Celebrations

  1. Pingback: Quarantine Diaries – Week 20 | The Zen Leaf

  2. Pingback: July 2020 in Review | The Zen Leaf

  3. Ohhhh no, Amanda, I swear…. you always seem to have the worst luck with home repairs! That is so frustrating, but I’m glad Jason got it taken care of before you went home, it sounds like?
    Happy belated to Ambrose!


    • Amanda says:

      Nah, I think I’m pretty typical in most things – well, maybe the three houses in a row that exploded was out of the ordinary, though maybe our own fault for moving cross-country four times?? But mostly, I’m just pretty vocal about stuff haha. The blog works as a semi-journal as well as a book record, so I’ve just gotten used to putting all the little things up. I like telling stories, and this one will be hilarious to look back on – why build the closet around the water heater?? At least I didn’t have to be here for that one. I would have been FAR more stressed! And yeah, other than the parts of the wall that need to be mudded and repainted, he took care of it. We’ll wait on those wall bits until we decide to actually repaint that front hall. It all needs doing, but that’s not high on the priority list. I don’t care if it looks a bit shabby in the meantime. That’s the nice thing about owning a smaller, obviously-lived-in home now rather than the showhouse we lived in before. I like things to feel like HOME rather than look pretty. šŸ™‚


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