My Week Long Staycation with My Best Friend, and Other Short Stories

Hi Friends!

First of all, I apologize for going AWOL for the last couple of weeks. I had the week off from work last week and celebrated mine, my grandmother’s and my best friend’s birthdays while I was off. I decided to take a vacation from everything, blogging included, to take full advantage of some downtime. I know that I owe you a Mediterranean Monday post too, and one will be coming next week now that I’m back on duty!

Now for a little life catch-up…

You all know how my 2018 has been going, and last week was proof that the saga continues. We’ve been living in Satan’s armpit here in the Midwest for the last month, with one small break for storms. And take a guess when those storms came…. That’s right, friends–on my week off! It started storming on Saturday afternoon and didn’t stop until early Friday morning. The grand finale was seven hours of no electricity on Thursday afternoon and evening.

And thus was the theme of the week. Rain, storms, more rain and storms, thieving squirrels and power outages. Yet in spite of this, we were lucky enough to get a couple of hours in the middle of the day each day with no rain, and even a little peek of sunshine from time-to-time, so I was able to get outside and get a healthy little summer glow. We also had a break in the weather long enough to have dinner outside on the patio at Saffron for my birthday on Monday.

The biggest plus is that I didn’t have to water my plants, and my rain barrel is completely full! The battle with the squirrels, however, wages on. They hadn’t bothered my tomato plants yet, but that changed last week. They stole every one of my Roma tomatoes, so I went to Menards and bought some bird netting to wrap around the plants. And while that prevented the squirrels from taking off with my tomatoes, it did not stop them from knocking them off the vine in their attempt.

I was secretly grateful that they hadn’t messed with my beloved Brandywine tomatoes, but after the netting was wrapped tightly around them, that’s when they turned their sights on them. I came outside later that day and one of my beautiful green Brandywine tomatoes, only halfway to maturity, was detached from the vine and hanging in the netting. The next day, tomato two of three met its demise, also found hanging in the netting in the same fashion as the first. So far they’ve decided not to try their luck on my last tomato, but only time will tell if they’ve given up or are just reevaluating their method of attack before coming back for more.

As much as the weather and the squirrels tried to suck the fun out of my week, I’m happy to report that they failed. In fact, last week was one of the best I’ve had in a while. It began with coffee on Monday morning, which led to me walking around Aldi in a distracted haze with a dumb smile on my face. I even drove off and left my Smoked Gouda behind in the shopping cart! My week had an unexpected and really great start, with an equally great and smile-inducing middle.

I’ll leave you with that touch of ambiguity and move on to the climax of the week–my best friend came to visit for a few days! We’ve been best friends for 18 years and our birthdays are only two days apart, so her annual visit has become a tradition for us in the years since my divorce and relocation to Southeast Missouri. She made it into town on Thursday evening, mid-power outage. Ameren estimated our power would be back on by 6:30, so we went and bought groceries for the weekend, only to come home at 6:40 to find no electricity and the updated time of restoration set for 9:00.

We had our cold items in an insulated bag, so I opened the refrigerator door (by this time sitting without running for four hours), shoved the bag in, and slammed it shut before too much cold air could escape. Since I have an electric stove, we had no way to cook the food we had just bought and ended up having to go out for dinner. Which was okay by me because it gave us an excuse to meet up with my friend Trevor for some Mexican food at El Sol…where they had both electricity and air conditioning!

As we were paying our bill at El Sol, I received a phone call from Ameren at 7:45 letting me know that my power was back on. Our food wouldn’t be spoiled, we would have air conditioning, and could “Netflix and Chill” for the evening. Or at least, that was the plan…

We came home, took the food out of the insulated bag and put it away right, then sat down in the living room and kicked on the TV. 90’s sitcoms have been my theme for the last few weeks (I just finished Full House while on vacation, and have since started Family Matters–childhood throwbacks!), so we landed on F.R.I.E.N.D.S., settled in with a glass of wine and hit play. About 10 minutes into the pilot episode, during yet another storm, the power went out. Then came back on. Went out again. Came back on. Then went out and stayed out. We’d had electricity for exactly an hour and were in the dark again.

We gave it up and went to bed at 9:00. The air conditioner and the refrigerator had both ran for an hour so we were relatively worry free. This outage, at least, only lasted for two hours, bringing the grand total of time without electricity on Thursday to seven hours.

On Friday we woke up to find the rain (finally) gone. The lingering humidity had us under a heat advisory for the next few days, with the daily heat index lingering around 105. Our birthday celebratory plans included hanging out on the deck at a winery that sits along the Mississippi River, so we changed things up a bit and opted for a table indoors, and the birthday fun went on as planned. After the winery, our friends came over to my place for cake and some patio drinking–after the sun disappeared beyond the trees and stopped trying to boil us alive. We were even able to light a fire in the firepit once it got close to dark.

I can’t say enough about my best friend, Amy. Her visit every year is something I look forward to for months. I go from being a completely chill, outdoorsy, semi-hippie-like female full of lame wise cracks, to a goofy, outspoken, gangsta rap-loving, carpool karaoke-ing wild child. She brings out a side of me that seldom surfaces at any other time. She is my person. My ride-or-die. The Thelma to my Louise. The yin to my yang. We are polar opposites, and yet somehow cut from the same cloth. It is rare in life to find someone who truly “gets” you, but I have that person in her.

Her visits always pass far too quickly. Before we knew it, Sunday morning rolled around and she had to go home; she back to her life and I back to mine.

Until next year…

Love,
Loren

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