Parenting is hard. The hardest job I have ever done. There are so many uncontrollable, outside forces that can impact your child(ren). As a mother, having to stand by and watch as your child is hurting and not be able to heal that hurt is almost unbearable. Cutler’s dad has been in ICU for the past week with a brain injury from a fall last weekend. He had emergency brain surgery last Saturday night and is making incredible progress. My focus for this past week has been Cutler and helping him to process these events and stay focused on school and his job. At times I have been very proud of his maturity in handling situations, other times there have been pushes of the limits and boundaries. All very expected in this situation. We will all make it through this!
The House Hunting Scene
Our original plans were to return to Mountain City on Friday to look at several more lots and a new house on the market. Also, we were hoping to meet with a contractor and show them our house plans to begin getting estimates to build. We were checking out local banks to begin working on establishing residency as well. As much as the two of us hate being apart, I felt I needed to stay here to be with Cutler this weekend. I did not want our progress to come to a halt either though, so my guy ventured out on a solo Mountain City trip to handle our planned business, and to hike, there will be lots and lots of hiking I am sure and some trombone playing for the cows. I am planning on going Monday morning to be there for the contractor meeting as long as all is well here.
Being apart during this has proven to be very difficult! He texts and leaves messages and I can hear his excitement about the land and house he is seeing, but feel so separated from it all here at home. We have two lots that he is very excited to show me! Can’t wait to get there and see it all for myself!
We did manage to fit a couple of hikes into our crazy week somehow. Our trails seem to get greener each time we walk. They have been wet and muddy this week, forecast is showing five days of beautiful sunshine though! Can’t wait! And what a surprise to step on the scale this morning and see I have somehow managed to lose a couple of pounds through all of this! The stress eating has been on high!
No big trips scheduled for our near future. Summer is approaching and my guy will be back and forth working and I will be getting us all settled in Mountain City. Our next big adventure is a week of graduation celebrations the end of May! My niece and (hopefully!) my son will be graduating from high school. Boys that hate school are just hard! We will be going to celebrate with my niece in Tennessee then that weekend we will have Cutler’s graduation and party. The craft game has been pretty strong around here preparing party decorations!
I will be traveling back and forth to Roanoke with Cutler so he can visit his Dad as much as possible. The progress he has made so quickly is quite amazing. Hoping he continues to improve and realizes just how lucky he is to have been given this second chance.
A broken phone camera has really hurt our selfie game this week! Who knew how much we depended on those things! This selfie showed up in my Facebook memories Friday. Our first publicly posted selfie from 2014! Neither of us have stopped smiling since! ❤
What a whirlwind we are still on! Our NYC trip was amazing and I have not been able to find 10 minutes to write a blog describing our experience since we arrived home! Time to stop for a few and catch everyone up. There are a lot of pictures to share so beware!
The week home after a vacation is typically bad. Not quite strong enough to explain my week, more on that at a later time for now I choose to reflect back on what a great trip last week was. Life can change so very quickly hold onto those good times and memories!
The House Hunting Scene
We came home from NYC on Monday, my guy had orchestra rehearsal on Tuesday, so first thing Wednesday morning we were up and headed to Mountain City until Friday. It was a wonderful trip. Everything we expected it to be.
The house is fine, lots of things to get used to though! For one, the oven is a Jenn-Air convection oven. So different from a regular oven. It has a bar that locks the oven for cleaning. I did not realize this until our second day there. The first night it took forever to cook our pork tenderloin. We were googling convection ovens and learning that they were supposed to cut cook times way down. Not the case for this raw tenderloin. Finally it was cooked enough to eat. On the menu for the next night was chicken. I preheated the oven and was very skeptical about how the performance would be. After a while the light went off which usually means the desired temperature has been reached. I opened the oven and nothing. It wasn’t even slightly warm. I start talking to myself which alerts my guy that we have issues he needs to solve. He jumps up and comes running. Now, remember I didn’t realize that the lock bar was for cleaning only. I assumed since the oven ran on air that it needed to be sealed to keep the air in and that was the purpose for the lock. So while my guy grumbled and started googling on his phone and looking for model numbers on the oven, I closed the door and did not lock it. I checked it in a few minutes and it was hot! I said, “Ohhh, I think when I lock it that it turns the stove off.” He looks through the owners manual he has found online and it indeed says to lock the oven when cleaning. Now, in my defense, it never says don’t lock it any other time. So, the first night our tenderloin only cooked when I didn’t have the lock on which was basically when i would open the door to check on it. After not locking the oven, our chicken did indeed cook much faster and was much juicier. I may end up liking this oven after all.
We also were able to finish one of our larger puzzles that would not fit on our small table.
We have had only a few hikes on our local trails recently with all of our travels. The other day we went out and the greenery and blooms of Spring are starting to show finally! Most of our hiking during this time was done in the concrete jungle of NYC. My Fitbit showed 25,000 steps each day for 2 days!!! No wonder my legs and feet were hurting!
At the Mountain City house our quest was to hike up to the top of the big hill at the end of the cow pasture. We were both excited to get started on it Friday morning. Once we crossed over into the pasture, the horse ran up to meet us and followed us along our trail for a little bit. We walked across the pasture which had a gradual incline. It was rough! My legs were still tired and sore from all that walking in NYC! I looked up at that big, huge, mountainous hill lurking at the end of the path and quickly surrendered. I told my guy to have at it! I would be waiting down here at the bottom with my new friend, the horse. Off he went with a little jump in his step. I sat down in the field for a few to rest. I then noticed there was a smaller hill to the side of the pasture that lead up to the same level. I began up the hill with the horse following behind me. During one of my breaks I notice the cows are all up at the top of the hill to the right. Then my guy spots me from the top and yells down, “Hello.” This spooks the cows and sends them running down the hill. Well, friends of ours had commented how funny cows were when they ran, and they really are, so I was excited and grabbed my phone to try and get a video. Before I could click record though, I realized the cows were running right at me. Then they all stopped standing in a semi circle in front of me. Staring, glaring, not taking there eyes off of me. Now, I’m wearing my bright red hoodie, and I always thought the don’t wear red was an old wive’s tale, but just in case I start looking through the crowd to see if I can spot a bull. I look up the hill where my guy was, but he was off walking again and oblivious to my dilemma. So, I’m considering what my plan of action should be, and the cows are still staring, not moving. Finally, I hear my guy again and yell up to him alerting him to the fact that I’m surrounded. He yells at me to take off my hoodie. So I slowly begin emptying out my pockets, keeping my eyes on the cows at all time. Then the horse, who is still behind me snorts really loud. The cows look away from me and slowly begin walking off. The horse herds them all down the hill and across the creek. The horse is my new hero! He saved me!
Our trip to New York City was outstanding! We packed so much activity (and walking) (and food) into a short period of time! Upon arriving Thursday morning we headed to Times Square. We had tickets to see Phantom of the Opera Thursday night. I loved the Broadway area. It was one of my favorite areas that we visited. The show was incredible. I definitely have caught the bug and cannot wait for my next show. I entered ticket lotteries all week to try to grab more tickets, but no luck! After the show we walked down to Time Square again to see it during the night. So big and bright!
Friday we set out to check as many things off of my “Gotta see in NYC list” as we possibly could! We started in Lower Manhattan. A friend of ours had given us a list of highlights of each area of the city and we followed her recommendations. Our first stop was Ground Zero. Very emotional to be there. My mind kept going back to what it must have been like on 9/11 to be there. Across the street is a firehouse with a bronze wall depicting scenes from that day and a list of firefighter’s who lost their lives. You hear the numbers on the news and it sounds bad, but something about seeing the names and pictures of each one, the magnitude of it just kind of hits you. We ventured on through the financial district next checking out Wall Street. I recently made my first stock purchase and was impressed to see my money at work! We saw the Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty from afar and even the Ghostbusters firehouse. That evening we went to a big band jazz show at Birdland. After the show we walked around and checked a few more stops off our must see list: Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Empire State Building (which I actually only wanted to see from afar, and we did later, so I was disappointed to walk up to the door and not be able to see the top of the building. I’m not a huge fan of heights so I was fine with not going to the top, and my guy was completely fine with not paying the $74 to get us both to the top. Helpful hint: if you need a phone charge, head to Macy’s! We ended our night with a trip to Junior’s Cheesecake for a delicious dessert!
Saturday we slept in just a little before heading out for more site seeing. We then headed to the High Line and enjoyed the views along the trail. Central Park was the next have to see place. We opted for one of the carriage rides through the park and it was very enjoyable! It was one of the prettiest and first warm day of the year so the park was full of people. So much to see! We walked through the city through Rockefeller Center and down 5th Avenue and even popped into Trump Tower. We were in search of ice cream and were quite disappointed to learn it was closed. We had played with the idea of going to another jazz club later that night, but quickly opted for an early night at the hotel instead. It was much needed,
Sunday was a much slower day! We had plans to meet some friends on the Upper West Side for lunch. We went to the Museum of Natural History before lunch and began our walk through. Lunch was great and the family we shared it with were awesome! They used to live in the neighborhood and were very familiar with the area. They talked about seeing John Kennedy, Jr rollerblading through Central Park and Bruce Springsteen performing for a music award show from the museum. After lunch we headed back to finish our tour of the museum. Loved seeing those dinosaurs! At this point, we were done! We headed back to our hotel for a nap before having dinner at our hotel restaurant.
We had planned a boat tour for Monday morning before we left, but high winds and cold changed our plans. Instead we headed to a different area of the city to see Julliard and The Met before heading to the airport to fly home. The main highlight of our trip was most definitely the food! I had several must try foods on my list and managed to check almost most of them off! Bagels, hot dogs from a street vendor, New York Style Pizza, New York Cheesecake, danish from Carlo’s Bakery and dumplings. Yum! ! The bagels had to be the most favorite. I will most definitely be going back to visit NYC again. Much simpler trip next time: Broadway show and a good dinner followed up with a bagel the next morning.
One of my favortie selfies of the trip is from the bus from our hotel to the city. Yay for public transportation!
Things are beginning to look up this week! It is impossible to describe how busy we are everyday it seems! We were talking during a hike the other day about how quickly the first month of my retirement has passed. I make a list (I’m a huge list maker!) of things to do each week and have yet to see the list completed! It took me 3 days to post my son’s senior pics on Facebook! I normally would have had that done in 1 day top if not the night we took them! Priorities seem to be changing as well! All for the good! Scrolling through my Facebook news feed is no longer the first thing I think of doing when I sit down at the computer. And the break from the never-ending drama has been welcomed!
We have done much better with our not eating out strategy! I cooked several nights this week, our only opportunities to eat out were during our traveling day on Thursday, and we tried eating sensibly, and then of course we had to visit our favorite place in town on Saturday to celebrate National Beer Day! He celebrated with a beer, I chose Dreamsicle mini bundt cake instead! It was yummy-licious! I’m down 5 pounds for the week. Hoping to get as close as possible to losing 5 more before we leave Thursday!
The House Hunting Scene
We were back in Mountain City, TN this week and have rented our house there. We met with the sweet lady who had recently lost her mother that I wrote about last week. She was a joy! And full of stories about the house and land (she had grown up in the house and the family owns a 30 acre farm. We are excited to hike up to the top of that cow pasture in the picture below. We feel very good about this arrangement and are just trying to find time to start staying there a little! Having a son without a car has completely cramped my spur of the moment trips this week. Car shopping has moved way up on the list of priorities and hopefully the problem will be solved tomorrow.
We also met with our realtor during our day trip and looked at a lot that was for sale. It had the beautiful mountain view that we are seeking, but would take quite a bit of dirt moving to make the lot flat enough for our house and yard. Which we only bring the expense and total cost up and up. While standing on the lot, we look over and see a house built very similarly to the house we have drawn out. A-frame with lots of windows to capture those views! And this house was for sale, so our realtor worked it out for us to see the house while we were there. We had to wait outside a few minutes while our realtor worked out his key code update issues, and we were able to walk the 12 acre lot and got very excited about seeing the house. It was out of our price range, but had it been a layout that we were happy with, we were prepared to jump. I was already sorting out my arguments for why it was worth raising our budget to move on this house. And then we go inside … and my heart dropped. It was nothing like the layout that we desire and was definitely designed more as a vacation rental type home instead of everyday living. Huge bummer! But we go on! Still looking at land and houses available every single day. We are confident that once we are stationed in the area our ability to go check things out will be much greater and raise our chances of finding something!
The house plans are almost complete. Plans are drawn to scale and I’m still working on adding in permanent fixtures (kitchen cabinets, bathrooms, etc.) Hopefully on one of our next trips to Mountain City we will be able to show them to a couple of contractors and get some estimated building costs for it.
Here are a couple of pics from the new rental home. The first is from the back porch. That’s the cow pasture that we will be hiking up on our first day staying there I presume! The second is from the living room window. No houses and/or neighbors in sight! YES! Oh, and the best news is … We live in a “holler!” #CountryLiving
We were able to do a couple of hikes this week. My guy took advantage of me being out of town for the Easter holiday and did a couple of solo hikes. We headed out on our bike trails a couple of afternoons. Our Tuesday afternoon hike was a long one on the Hot Tamale trail. He took it easy on me Wednesday since I had just had a mole removed and considered myself in recovery. Friday was a good hike on one of our favorite trails, The Hidden Hollow. I love seeing the pine cones, each one different and some so perfectly formed.
My son and I headed home to see the family in Tennessee for Easter. We left early Saturday morning and returned home Monday afternoon. It was a great trip, love catching up with all the kids, they are all so grown up and busy now! But not grown up enough to pass on dying eggs or an impromptu Easter Egg Hunt! You should have seen the hunt for that prize egg! We did my son’s senior pictures while we were there and family pictures of all the kids. All turned out beautifully! So very happy with them all. Stopped by to place a fresh flower arrangement on Dad’s grave. Mom’s old house used to be just down the road from the cemetery, I haven’t gotten used to not having to drive by it every trip yet. I always try to make a point to go by there whenever I’m in town. Our family is certainly changed without him.
We leave for NYC on Thursday morning! Hopefully all car stress will be handled and dealt with by then and we can peacefully enjoy our trip! Can’t wait! NYC here we come!
Wow! It’s a first! We went through the entire week with not even one selfie!?!? I told you we have been way too busy! Oh well, instead here is a favorite of mine from the past! I love his one because it shows his silly side. Few people get to see this side of him. I’m glad I’m one that does!
To say it has been A week is just an understatement! Words just can’t seem to do it proper justice! It all started going down hill early Sunday morning when we woke to discover the 2 1/2 inch wet and heavy snowfall we had received had caused us to lose power. So at 6 a.m. the wait began. Surely the power will come on soon. Time slowly ticked by with no change. I suddenly remembered the fridge & freezer we had full of food. We pulled out our coolers and iced everything down. We sat around a few hours, neither of us were able to do any work with no power and/or internet. Our phones were all we had. We hung out in the car charging them up before we finally ended up at Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the Cavs play. I had house plan books to keep me occupied. Then back home to grill the bag of fish and shrimp we had on ice before it thawed and went bad. It was a long night and waking up Monday morning to discover there was still no power didn’t help my mood. We had learned a power line one street over was down and causing the outage. It’s amazing to think that in today’s world with all of this technology that it can take 36 hours to complete a repair. To help my mood, my guy decided since we still couldn’t work that we should head out to another town and see what kind of new food place we could find. Food is our favorite past time activity. So off we went to Eden, N.C. We ate at the Downtown Deli, best part of our lunch was the ice cream! It was from a dairy we had never heard of, we were super excited thinking we had found something new, but after our investigation we discovered it was really only PET ice cream being distributed by the dairy. But the blueberry cream pie ice cream was to die for!
When we arrived home we were thrilled to find our power was back on! Thank you linemen for all of your hard work! 36 hours with power was enough! Still no internet, but we weren’t complaining! Picture number one is all of our coolers lined up in the kitchen floor! Picture two is our fish and shrimp cook off! And picture number three is the Downtown Deli in Eden, N.C.
Tuesday was a lost day as well with no internet and not really being able to work. We learned Tuesday that the rental house we found in Mountain City last week was not going to happen. More details about that in the House Hunting Scene. Tuesday night led us to our most favorite restaurant/bar in town for their tap takeover and free pint glasses (we have an entire collection now!). See how we let our emotions guide our eating!?!
Wednesday and Thursday were business as usual and much more positive. Work and then hiking and enjoying the 70 degree weather. We are still working through the kinks of us both being here trying to work. For instance, he can be very loud when he’s on these conference calls, so he has worked very hard on being a little bit quieter as not to distract me while I was working. I purchased new headphones for my work this week that have helped out tremendously and I was promoted to a higher level of work! I am loving my work and love covering so many different topics.
Friday started off the same way but made a turn rather quickly. Every Friday I have been going to the preschool to help with the billing process. While I was doing this my guy was tied up on a conference call with work deploying a new program for someone. On my way home I passed him driving down the road, as soon as I pulled into the driveway I checked my phone to see if he had texted where he was off to. Apparently our internet had been going in and out and he gave up and was on his way to the public library to finish his call. Upon checking my phone I saw I had a missed call from my son. I called him back to learn he had wrecked his car. He said he was fine and I could hear in his voice that he was fine, but I couldn’t be convinced until I saw him myself. Off I went to check on him! He was indeed fine. Someway, somehow he was absolutely fine. He had lost control and flipped his car upside down. He had a tiny cut on his hand from crawling out the window. It was a heart wrenching afternoon for this mama! Mommin’ really isn’t easy! So very grateful to see his car and be able to look over at him standing next to me in one piece with barely a scratch on him. The EMT’s checked him out thoroughly and said they were going to check his vitals just to be sure, at this point I was ready to slide him off the stretcher and lay myself down on it! I was pretty sure my vitals were in great need of being checked as well!
The House Hunting Scene
As I said above, we learned that we were not going to be able to rent the Cock-A-Doodle-Do house. My gut feeling tells me that the landlord found a more permanent tenant, he was not thrilled with our situation of being temporary. We were not thrilled with the dirty, stained carpet in the house and offered to have it replaced at our expense. I was flabbergasted when he refused! Anyway, we have chalked it up as a not meant to be kind of thing and we’re glad we found out now instead of later!
We learned this on Tuesday morning. Tuesday evening I was in town running errands when I received a Facebook notification of a message from someone I didn’t know. I had recently posted on a Mountain City Facebook Yard Sale page looking for furniture so I figured it was from that. Well, the message asked if we had found a house in the area yet. Perfect timing right?!? Wait, it gets better. I tell the lady that we had just found out our rental had fallen through so yes, we were looking for a house to rent. She tells me how her mother has recently passed away and her and her brother were considering renting out their mom’s house. Here’s where it gets good and becomes one of those right time, right place kind of things. She saw my add on the yard sale page (and she had to of scrolled back because it had been posted many days earlier) and had clicked on my profile and skimmed through my profile pictures. She saw one of me and Mom with the Mother’s Day frame that said, “I Love My Mom”. This gave her the nudge she needed to contact me about renting the house. And it’s a much better deal for us than the original house! And cows … it has cows right next door! Mooooo! She is such a very, sweet lady! We are meeting her next week to see the house in person and finalize the deal! So … Thanks Mom!
We will also meet with our realtor next week to look at a couple of land lots. We are looking into finding a contractor in the area to work with as well. We have almost finalized our house plans thanks to our afternoon at Buffalo Wild Wings last weekend!
Wednesday and Thursday were our only hiking days this week. Beautiful Spring days, in the 70’s! Much to my guy’s horror, I tripped and fell on Wednesday’s hike. My foot got stuck in a tree root and down she went. I recovered quickly and was fine. My biggest accomplishment was that I didn’t scream! Just very quietly down and right back up even though I did pick leaves out of my hair for the rest of the hike.
We took our quick day trip to Eden, N.C. earlier in the week and then a trip to Lynchburg, VA to hear the Liberty University Wind Ensemble play a concert. The concert was very entertaining with different types of dance music. It never fails when going to these types of events my guy always finds someone he knows! This time it was a couple of tuba players, one that he had taught before. He’s such a celebrity when we go out!
Our only selfie from this week is from the Liberty University concert.
We are definitely hoping for a better week next week! xoxoxoxo