All Good Things

All good things must come to a close.  And, honestly, this one was not all that particularly good, but I'm still NOT ready.  However, like it or not, this week marks the official end of the O'Hara summer.  I will say that it has been one of my easiest summers yet.  Lots of vacation time and my youngest becoming increasingly independent.  (I don't even have to get his milk anymore!  And when I left for Columbia, instead of being sad, he was mad he didn't get to do something "fun."  I tried to explain exactly how "fun" is a work trip, but...)

And, speaking of Columbia, I got to the end of that stressful drive and found myself pulling into the wrong hotel.  So annoying!  Of course, I couldn't get any service to correct my gps mistake, and I have like NO sense of direction - unless I am in the mall looking for the restrooms.  (So there's that.). Fortunately, I found a McDonald's and accessed the wifi from my car.  15 more minutes on I-70...UGH!!!  GPS never really got it perfectly right, but I did manage to pull into the right hotel.

Naturally, it was raining, and there were like 50 cars under the car port, so I got pretty impatient to get in the check-in line.  I should have anticipated getting stuck behind some idiot out-of-stater who had no idea what to do, and apparently the idea of moving forward so I could find a parking spot did not come to mind for at least one minute that seemed like twenty.

Thank God I was able to whip around them after they had inched forward just enough for me to squeeze through.  I took the first spot I could find, and the one in front was vacated!  A lucky pull through...maybe things weren't going to be so bad.

That's what I thought...until I walked through the entry to a dark lobby.  It's funny, because...usually hotels don't even ever turn off the lights.  But I soon realized this one had lost power from a storm that had blown through 20 minutes ago (while I happened to be trying to find my way...another reason to be grateful).

Well, this would definitely alter my plans to eat the free food and exercise right away, but I can be flexible, right?  The lovely clerk pointed out that at the elevators were still working, and I was welcome to use them at my discretion.  I happen to like living on the edge, so I went straight to the car and got my things.

You know when you step out of the elevators of an inn and suites and look left, you can typically see straight through to the hallways?  Well...did you know there is such a thing as "fire doors" that, like me, you may never have noticed?  Apparently, it is protocol to close those in the case of a power outage and/or a storm, because I stepped out of that elevator into the pitch black.  Awesome!  The doors closed behind me as I realized my plight.  I felt the lights of the elevator evaporate.

Fortunately, you know that Kristen Shanna has learned how to talk herself out of panicking.  It only took me about 5 minutes to calmly locate the phone in my back pocket while trying not to drop anything.  (You may also know I am not one to travel lightly, and I prefer to make only one trip.). Thank God, Steve's crew  installed those handy-dandy flashlights on the iPhone however many years ago, because when I finally got mine turned on, I discovered the handles of those "fire doors" which were keeping me so safe!

Thankfully, my room was only two doors down.  I spent the undetermined time of the power outage, with a glass of dark malbec, gazing blankly at the people in the parking lot, the cars on the highway, and the very bright hotel across it illuminating my plight.  

That may have been the best hour of my week, and I kind of wish I could just press pause and stay there awhile.

Ahhh, but...motherly duties await me at home.

Aside from the crash, we've had a decent run.  The Royal's game was great!  We did not win, but our team held their own against the Yankees until the very end.  We got to see Aaron Judge and those other guys that are good.  They went into extra innings.  And we got to see Wade Davis and Greg Holland pitch for us again.  (I don't happen to be a fair weather friend. I prefer the antiquated characteristics, like team-focus and loyalty.)  It was a VERY happy moment for me, and it was a happy moment for Dillon.  We all had a good time, and we had it together.  

We didn't leave until midnight!!  And I, still requiring my quiet, wind-down time, did not go to sleep until 3:30 am.  I wish I could say I felt like I was 20 again, but yeah...I felt all of my 43 years.  I recovered by sleeping until noon, but I found I had screamed out my voice when I awoke.  I still don't sound normal. Oh well...normal was never my style.

Best moment of the game...Evan cheering.  He was really getting into it.  I have a feeling it has to do with me telling him he couldn't go to a game earlier in the summer, because he wouldn't be able to sit still through it.  Well, he showed me!  His "woooooo" was hilarious.  And then I found out the conversation between him and one of the "K Crew" cheerleaders.

CL: Who is your favorite player?

Evan: I don't really know any.

CL: Do you like Sluggerrr?

Evan: I don't know who that is.

What a baseball fan!!  I think she gave him a sucker or a tattoo.  Priceless.

You know what else is priceless?  This kid.  It is such a relief to see him healing.  His wounds were healed and nearly scab free by the end of week one.  He had a check-up with the ortho, and his right arm fracture has even started to show healing.  Thank you, Jesus!!!

Even the wounds under his splints have healed, and the doctor was happy enough with his progress that we can keep the splints as casts.  Huge relief!!  He even suggested we may get to catch a few games late in the fall-ball baseball season.  We are hopeful, but conservatively cautious.  His doctor is good, and we will trust and follow his recommendations obsessively.

But wait...if I needed any more signs of hope...and I do, I REALLY do...we have FINALLY managed to bring the Monarchs to successful breeding around the house.

We have long loved these little creatures, since Xander's Aunt Michelle gave her a butterfly hatching kit for a birthday long ago.  Xander was a butterfly for Halloween 3 years in a row.  We learned much through the annual Powell Gardens Butterfly Festival in August, and we have ever since attempted to aid this declining species.

Considering our suburban existence, I tried to cultivate a more contained version of the milkweed plants they eat.  We have failed miserably over the last 5 years.  This year, I warned Matt he'd better not pull out one wild milkweed plant...or else.  (Trust don't WANT to know what else.)

The strategy has proved successful.  He found this little guy on a tiny milkweed plant, in the middle of our apple trees, about a million miles away from the raspberry/wild milkweed gardens.  Naturally, I had to intervene to support his success.  I named him Fred. 

Given my sensitive nature, Matt has been supportive in every effort to contribute to Fred's success.  We watched, together, as Fred, daily, doubled in size.  When I left for Columbia on Thursday afternoon, Fred was sitting still on a stick.  We had a sneaking suspicion he would soon hang down into a j-shape and form into a chrysalis.  When I texted Friday morning mid-conference to check his status, Matt sent me this picture:

If you look closely, you can see one of the microscopic Fred's on the green vine behind the chrysalis.  <3

Fred did it!!

I was so proud!!!  And surprised at how fast my latest baby grew up. #mama

We now have a special un-mowed section of lawn on the side of our house, where a bunch of little, wild milkweed plants are growing.  I pulled up a few randomly placed plants, spotted caterpillars so microscopic it was hard to make out their stripes, and added them to Fred's chambers.  

They are all Fred's now.  After all, I wouldn't be able to differentiate between them, there are so many.  I can't wait to see how many butterflies we get to release. not fret.  I am competent to distinguish between male and female Monarch's, once they are butterflies.  Whether it is Fred or Fredricka, we will be happy to have contributed to the delicate and lovely Monarchs of the insect world.

My friends, my friends.  Life is so hard.  Sometimes I feel like I just can't take it anymore.  I feel stuck, and I want to give up.  But...there is beauty in all things.  And the life around us is so precious.  Please value it...even when it is hard or it means putting yourself aside and making a little extra effort.

Good Night.  Happy Week.  May summer be ever in our hearts, as we fight our way through another school year.  Let's go in peace.  Amen!

There's not a lot of question on the "mysterious plant" now.  Right?