A day late

Yesterday was Debby’s birthday, but she wasn’t having a good one. First, a trip back to Houston from Ohio, where she’d gone to be with the family of a friend who died, took twelve hours instead of six. Second, she is super sick (ETA: later found out she has pneumonia!).

Today Tom and I gave her a birthday dinner, and Tim and Lynne joined us, so Debby could have her traditional coconut cake. (I cheated and frosted half of it with chocolate.) One day the upheavals at Houndstooth Hall may actually be over, and everyone will be well again. No matter what, though, there are always things to celebrate!

(P.S. Debby’s fakin’ it; Tim blew out the candles to save Debby’s lungs and protect us all from germs.)

Lynne found the perfect T-shirt for her: “Southern Attitude: Extra Sweet, Extra Sassy.” That’s Debby!

Photo Friday, No. 581, part 2

Current Photo Friday theme: 2017

Photo Friday extended the 2017 theme another week. Might I just say that I like my tropical storm water much more at the end of the beach when I’m safely inside with Tom’s family cooking, playing games, and enjoying seeing how our nieces and nephews (including our godson!) are growing up so beautifully and with so much talent?

We kicked off the summer with Tropical Storm Cindy and ended it with Hurricane turned Tropical Storm Harvey. What a season.

(ETA: I accidentally skipped the “Rain” Photo Friday challenge on 12.15 and had to fix everything. That’s why you’re still seeing this same ol’ beach a week later.)

the restaurant at the end of the universe

Man, I miss this kid. Today is the day Aaron was born in 1993. I can’t believe he’s been gone more than five years. There are still times that I’m reading something or watching something and think, I bet Aaron would like this! I think of him with every One Republic song I hear. There was a funny comment I just read in Chris Weitz’s “The Young World” teenage dystopian fiction trilogy (Aaron loved all The Hunger Games books) about “Katniss,” and all I wanted to do was buy Aaron this whole series so he could read it and we could talk about it.

I believe it was my nephew Daniel who said something that made me read the Douglas Adams books that inspired this blog title. I never stop learning from him or being introduced to books, music, and other things I might otherwise not have found. I wanted this with his brother Aaron, too.

Most of all, I wanted Aaron to experience all the wonders that life has to offer.

We love you so much, Aaron. I’m sending out a happy birthday to the restaurant at the end of the universe where in my mind, I’m sharing birthday cake with you.

Providing clarity

I guess I’ve been unclear about what is going on with Houndstooth Hall and its residents, so I’ll paraphrase and add to some some answers I gave on Instagram.

We were only out of our house the first couple of weeks after the flood (that is when we stayed at Lynne’s with our dogs and Tim’s dogs). During that time, demo was done on the floors and walls, all our ruined furniture and appliances were put on the curb, and what we saved was put in storage. We have kept most of what was salvageable of our furniture in our house (Debby and Tim lost basically everything; we were not as badly flooded in the house). Dehumidifiers ran constantly in the house and apartments, and everything was sprayed with various products to reduce any chance of or eliminate any mold. We also had to have some repairs done to our gas line. We were busy during that time dealing with the paperwork and bureaucracy resulting from all the property and our two cars being flooded. Both cars have since been replaced. Debby’s truck was unaffected because it was higher up than our cars.

Tom, Debby, and I have been living in the house since mid-September on plywood floors, with no sheetrock or insulation on all the lower walls in the house. We did have to leave again for five days when the fence was replaced because the dogs couldn’t go outside, so we stayed at Lynne’s again.

Tim was living remotely–for the first week, where he was housesitting when the flood came, because his clients couldn’t fly back into the city. His car was not affected because that area didn’t flood. Then for several weeks he and his dogs lived in a house provided by a generous RPM volunteer which she was getting ready to put on the market. Then Pixie and Penny came to be with us for another couple of weeks while Tim and Pollock stayed at the Secret Unicorn Sanctuary. But he’s been back in Fox Den for a while, and Debby will hopefully be able to move into Fairy Cottage with her dogs this weekend.

Completely unrelated and prior to the flood, Lynne put her house on the market and it sold a couple of months after the flood. So she and her dogs have been staying with us until she moves into their next residence after Christmas.

Since it took our contractors about three months to repair the apartments, you can guess how long it may take before our house is completed–they will start on that next week, we hope. At that point, Tom, our dogs, and I will be living mostly in one half of what pre-flood was my home office with all our surviving furniture in the other half while in the rest of the house: our insulation and drywall is replaced, then new subflooring and flooring, then wood trim and doors replaced and painted, then the lower kitchen cabinets pulled and replaced and painted. Then we will be back in the other rooms of the house while the office is repaired and new subfloor and floor put down there.

So we have basically always resided here, it just isn’t very pretty with plywood floors and exposed walls, and we lost a lot of furniture and personal things. But we didn’t lose the house, and we didn’t have to be out of it for very long. The dogs LOVE having missing lower walls, as they have many secret passages into and out of rooms. As bad as it looks and as strange as it is to have most of our belongings in storage, at least we’ve been home.

It will be a home undecorated at Christmas, and that is fine.

Early birthday

Lynne’s birthday is not until Monday, but since we were all together on Friday, we decided to go out to dinner. The restaurant allowed me to bring the cake I baked and even held it in the cooler until we were ready to surprise her with it. Or we tried to surprise her, but it was an adult who shall remain nameless, not the nine-year-old, who blurted out the surprise. Said nine-year-old was too busy making me laugh.

Fortunately even without the surprise factor, the cake was a success.

Happy Thanksgiving!

As you may remember, this is my favorite holiday and the meal I most love to cook. This year we couldn’t really entertain since our house is still in post-flood stage. And even though Lynne has sold her house and most of it is packed away, she still hosted Tom, Debby, Tim, and me along with Jess, Laura, and her grandchildren Lila and Isaac.

I provided a hen and dressing along with cranberry sauce and gravy.

Debby cooked field peas, green beans, and a pan of brownies.

Lynne set out a feast: two kinds of sweet potato casseroles, a Cajun fried turkey, corn, potatoes au gratin, mashed potatoes, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. She also had pumpkin pie, apple pie, and chocolate chip cookies.

Wishing a happy Thanksgiving to all those in or from the US, and just a day of thanks for all my friends in other countries. I’m certainly grateful for my friends, family, and the many good things in my life. No silly flood can take that away.