Still Laughing

Buddie’s brain amazes me. As he said in his guest post: You can’t be married for 21 years without knowing your partner pretty well, but you can still learn new things.

This morning as we had a few quiet moments snuggled in bed before we began our Sunday, I learned his side of a story from our trip to Universal Studios. I’m still laughing at the different perspectives on the world.

Her perspective:

Monkey and I were finishing packing up the hotel room. The plan was to check out of the room, then head over to Universal to ride those last few rides all of us wanted to get in.

We had one inner tube left from the original four that we had for the Lazy River at the hotel.

Bob, bob, bobbing along.

Tube tower

I handed the tube to Buds, Yessa, and Buster and said, “Hey, you guys go give this away to someone in the lobby while Monkey and I finish up here. We’ll meet you down there to walk over to the park.”

Monkey and I quickly finished packing up the car, and headed to the lobby, chatting happily about our upcoming day at the amusement parks.

We walked into the lobby, and sitting on this blue couch:

The scene of the crime.

was Buds, squeezing the air out of the inner tube while Yessa and Buster looked around guiltily.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

Buds got that look on his face that says, “You asked me to do something I didn’t want to do.”

“There was no one to give it to.” he said, completely sincerely.

I scooped up the partially deflated tube, walked over to give it to another mom who said, “Thank you so much, you are so sweet.” Walked back over to my crew and off we went to the park.

His perspective:

I walked into the lobby. There was no one in line waiting to check into the hotel. There were people waiting in line to get tickets for the park, so they were obviously wanting to get out of the hotel.

I considered the employees at the check-in desk and envisioned myself asking them, “Hey, do you ever come float in the lazy river and would you like this inner tube to use?”

That didn’t seem right.

I looked around some more; the bartender, the guy playing a guitar…nope, nope, nope.

I asked Buster and Yessa if they wanted to give it to someone.

Nope.

Do I have a knife in my pocket? I asked myself.

Nope.

Okay, I can deflate it and hide it before Ginnie gets here.

Almost made it.

Then, this morning:

I asked Buds, “What would you have said when I asked you if you found someone to give it to?”

“I would have said, ‘I disposed of it in an environmentally responsible way.’ because I would have let all the air out, and you wouldn’t have wanted it to go the landfill with all that air in it, would you?!”

“And,” he continued, “I wouldn’t have put it in a plastic bag to throw it away, so that should have made you happy. In fact, the only thing that could have made you happier is if I had put it in one of your cloth bags and thrown it away in that.”

Oh my gosh, this man makes me cry with laughter. He gets me, he truly gets me.

This is what happens when the introvert and the extrovert are bonded for life.

Flanked by two extroverts…his worst nightmare.

New Doggie Great-Nephew Alert!

Jeremy and I have been colluding on Jeremy and Teresa getting a dog since they moved to Nash. I assured them that we would be puppy’s second home, ready, willing, and able.

And today the family expanded. T & J showed up this afternoon with a furry surprise for us.

Such sweet kisses.

We’re missing a flag to make this picture scream “AMERICA!”

Such a handsome boy.

I agree Duke, Buds does have delicious smelling breath.

He had very important secrets to tell me.

The new family.

Can’t wait to have decades of fun with this sweet boy.

So What Was Todd Up To?

Lest you think Todd has been resting on his laurels as Buddie moves forward on The New Hampshire Compulsion, Todd provided entertaining proof that is not the case.

While Buds was working his way through the first round of the CrossFit Open last weekend, Todd was completing a 50K run, setting a personal PR of 6 hours, 30 minutes. (AMAZING!)

You can see the fun he was getting up to here:

In case you’d like a reminder of what happened when Todd and Buds were together a few months ago and what The Compulsion entails:

Congrats, Todd!

They are both on track to knock the Compulsion out of the park.

Orlando- Day 1!

Editor’s note: this post contains video. View at the website for best results.

Huge thanks to Paula and Kelly for kindly sharing their photos (mostly Paula’s) to enhance blog posts. I’m not giving individual credit by photo because I’m already having trouble getting these blog posts written since life keeps moving on, but it is hugely, hugely appreciated!

The big trip had been discussed for months. It was our kids’ Christmas present. Kate and Betty’s birthday present.

Gina and crew had just stayed at the exact resort where we were headed the week before, so we knew specifics about rides and the hotel.

(I think sending Gina ahead to do recon on all our trips should become the new standard. I just told her about the trip to Germany last night. We’ll see what she thinks about being the advance team for that one.)

Anywho…our tribe was driving down from Atlanta, then K, P, K, and B would fly in that night. Our stay was at the Cabana Bay Resort on Universal Studios property in Orlando.

Having a suite with a kitchenette was important for me, Buds and Paula loved the idea of being on property, and Kel was the reason we began planning this whole adventure since she had a work conference on Monday-Tuesday of the time we’d be there.

We immediately loved the resort and the room. The 1950’s theme is done so wonderfully, so neatly, so tongue-in-cheek. (Whenever I’d call the front desk, they’d sign off with, “Have a swell day!”)

Our living room space

Our living room space

The kitchenette

The kitchenette

The bedroom

The bedroom

Shower room- there was a separate room with the toilet.

Shower room- there was a separate room with the toilet.

The bathroom area.

The bathroom area.

The screen between the bedroom and living room.

The screen between the bedroom and living room.

The little touches that made you feel you'd stepped back in time.

The little touches that made you feel you’d stepped back in time.

We had time before the dear ones arrived, so we tested out the pool.

Let’s get this vacation started!

There were two pools. The one closest to our section of the resort had a splendid water slide. The other pool had the lazy river, and that was the one we ended up using most frequently.

After the children had their fill of swimming, Buds and I headed out to get a feel for our location relative to the parks, to see how long it took to walk to the parks, great places to eat, etc.

The resort has a bowling alley.

You already know who we bumped into.

We didn’t ever eat here, but the cafeteria was like being in The Jetsons.

The Jack LaLanne gym was a big hit with Buds.

Jack’s trophies

Part of the gorgeous, retro lobby.

Our section by day.

Our section by night.

The park was about a 15 minute walk on adult legs.

After Buds and I got back to the room, Buster, Yessa, and I decided to wander up front in the hopes that our friends would be arriving soon. THEN vacation would really begin!

Their taxi was pulling up as we walked up the sidewalk. Oh, glorious day!

They’re here!

SO HAPPY TO BE TOGETHER AGAIN.

We carted all their stuff to the room, quick switch into swim suits, and over to the other pool to explore the lazy river.

Already talking our lips off.

For our family, in addition to loving the time we were going to get with some of our best buddies, we were so happy, amazed, and a little doubtful that Buds was actually going to take vacation during our Florida time. We knew he wanted to, but Buds taking two days off in row…that just doesn’t happen.

But it…mostly…did. And it was magical.

Off he sprints to join the crowd in the lazy river.

Kel starts reconnecting with our kids.

And he’s nearly as tall as her.

Four adults, 5 kids, everyone comfortable, relaxed, and ready to play. Great times ahead!

Zachary’s face balloon had a leak. We blew him back up the next day.

Perseverance Or Perseverate…Third Times A Charm.

If you spend much time around us at all, you know Buds is a CrossFitter.

And you know that he and Todd R. have a 10-year bet.

Buddie’s opportunity to complete his portion of the bet began last Thursday night when we watched Dave Castro announce the first workout of the CrossFit Open. Jump to 20 minutes in to see the announcement.

Buds, Uncle Z, and another co-worker made plans to go to the CrossFit box where another Juicer has found a home. CrossFit H Dub will be hosting “Friday Night Lights” for five weeks total for their athletes (and visiting athletes) who want to compete in the CF Open.

Buds and crew were settled in and warming up when I arrived as their paparazzi last Friday night. The two owners were so welcoming, and as we have always found them to be, all the CrossFitters were friendly, helpful, and cheering like crazy for each other.

The workout was:

The workout had a twenty-minute time cap, and Buds had been watching the leader board as men from 45-49 had been posting their scores. He knew he was going to need to finish.

Getting ready to begin after a pep talk.

Early round because he still has his shirt on.

Uncle Z going high.

Gettin’ ‘er done.

Later rounds…no shirt.

To make a long story short…too late already…he didn’t finish under the 20 minute time cap. He still had 12 of the burpee box jumps to go.

So, Sunday afternoon, Uncle Z (who also wanted to try for a better score) came over to our house and we set up the video workout room in the garage. Since they weren’t doing their workouts in a certified CrossFit box this time, we had to video tape it.

I’m grateful that it has been muted due to music copyright issues because the video is full of me screeching like the psycho cheerleader I turn into when my heart and soul are pulling for Buds. And there’s a rather funny/horrifying part at the end where he finishes the workout, under the time cap, and I don’t realize he’s finished it. Then, when I learn he’s done I screech about how I can’t believe he actually finished.

As you might imagine, this did not earn me very many CrossFit spouse points.

I’ll do better next time.

So, he basked in the glory of scoring well and beating the time cap. Then something made him doubt himself and as he was uploading the video to youtube, he began to count the reps for each section.

The sinking sound in his voice and the look on his face when he watched the round of 40 snatches and realized he’d only done 36…That is not a moment I hope to relive anytime soon.

This workout is a mental, physical, and emotional commitment. I could not fathom giving myself over to the pain of doing it for a third time.

It was never a question for Buds.

The next day at the gym in the basement where he works and where he works out with co-workers, he tackled this beast a third time, and shattered his previous attempts.

Uncle Z sent me this as soon as Buds was done:

Final time 18:31.

The CrossFit website is stinking of failure right now because I can’t get in to see what Buds’ current stand is, but last night he was 7th in the Great State of Tennessee and at about the 8th percentile for the entire world for his age group.

Each day I’m more inspired and grateful for the example Buds sets for our family.

And I need to send a joyous thanks to Uncle Z. He also improved his score significantly when he did the WOD the second time. Then, he was so supportive and shared in our sorrow when Buds discovered the “36 is not 40” issue. And when Buds did the whole thing for the third time, Z was there to cheer for him, and let me know as soon as possible when the deed was done with a successful outcome.

Four more weeks of effort, sweat, camaraderie, anguish, and glory.

By Theodore Roosevelt

These two. Absolutely love them.

Nearly An Atlanta Adventure

The plan was to play and learn in Atlanta for a couple days while Buds worked with his Atlanta co-workers. The plan changed when Buster spiked a fever our first day there.

Plan B was sending Buds off to work and enjoying time together in a cute little house, working, learning, reading, and getting well.

Plan B was a huge hit.

The house was perfectly located and a great size for us. I think it will become our “go-to” for Atlanta trips.

Awesome kitchen, except...

Awesome kitchen, except…

The microwave was above MY head. And I'm tall!

The microwave was above MY head. And I’m tall!

Cutest little pot in the world for heating our morning milk.

Cutest little pot in the world for heating our morning milk.

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Sunny living room.

Sunny living room.

Cozy Yessa bedroom, with stacked washer and dryer.

Cozy Yessa bedroom, with stacked washer and dryer.

Buster getting better.

Buster getting better.

Stairs to Monkey's attic space.

Stairs to Monkey’s attic space.

The best bedroom of them all.

The best bedroom of them all.

Buster and Yessa both commented on the Picasso print. So simple, so lovely.

Buster and Yessa both commented on the Picasso print. So simple, so lovely.

Buster felt well enough on one of the nights for Buds and me to keep the date we’d set up weeks before. In that way our very small world has, a Juice co-worker had gotten to be friends with Barton, one of our oldest friends. Barton’s wife was home with their sick children, but Mike and Bonny, Barton, and Buds and I had a raucous dinner filled with stories and laughter.

We did meet up for dinner with this guy. We all have a lot less hair than the wedding day, but still love being together.

We did meet up for dinner with this guy. We all have a lot less hair than the wedding day, but still love being together.

Wedding Day

Buster apologized several times for getting sick and “ruining” our time in Atlanta. Buds and I were actually grateful he timed getting sick so perfectly! By the time we started out on our drive to Orlando he was back to 90% better, which was a relief.

Upcoming…the Orlando Outing.

A Girl Scout Filled Day

A new homeschool troop was forming, and the girls were willing to give it a try. (Monkey with enthusiasm, Yessa semi-willingly since Monkey was going to do it.)

It’s a long drive, and we’re still learning everyone’s names, but the girls are making the most of this opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people, and grow as leaders.

They took part in their first cookie booths for this year and both said they’d be willing to do a booth again some day, which makes me consider the booth experience a stunning success.

Monkey and her co-Cadette prepare to sell all the cookies!

Monkey and her co-Cadette prepare to sell all the cookies!

She's ready!

She’s ready!

The girls had a long, two-hour shift, and for an hour of that Monkey was alone, except for me. They did a fantastic job, and worked hard on presenting Girl Scouts in a positive, productive way to all the folks who walked by on their way into Kroger.

And they sold a lot of cookies!

Getting a couple hours of reading in while waiting for his sisters.

Getting a couple hours of reading in while waiting for his sisters.

Earlier in the day, Monkey and her Sister Cadette completed their “Leader In Action” badge by preparing and leading the entire meeting for their troop’s Brownie Scouts. (As is typical for many homeschool troops, the girls belong to a multi-age troop with girls from ages 6 to 14, meeting together under one troop number, but breaking out by age for their meetings.)

FYI: Monkey is a Cadette level scout. Yessa is a Junior level scout.

Monkey and her co-Cadette did such a fantastic job presenting science activities and other fun lessons around the theme of “Wonders of Water” for the Brownies.

Meeting prep.

Meeting prep.

Thinking and planning

Thinking and planning

Presenting the lesson.

Presenting the lesson.

These Brownies are a hoot!

These Brownies are a hoot!

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More fun and games.

More fun and games.

Between the meeting and the cookie booth, we had a couple hours to play, so we headed to an fantastic park on this glorious day.

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Having children who still love a great playground, but who are also old enough to plan and lead; what fantastic ages they all are.

Smells Like Team Spirit

You can’t be married for 21 years without knowing your partner pretty well, but you can still learn new things. We’ve been spending a few days at Universal Orlando and I’ve realized Ginnie’s spirit animal is spirit itself.

Shortly after we checked in at Universal’s Cabana Bay, we were hanging out in the lobby and saw Lucy Ricardo. Perky, sassy, wisecracking Lucy Ricardo. Ginnie’s mouth immediately qwirked to her “porkchops and applesauce” grin and her energy level powered through the roof. Did she have to meet Lucy Ricardo? Hoo boy, she had to show Lucy who was perkier, sassier, wisecrackier. Pictures ensued.

Showdown

Showdown

Day two; she and Zoe met a couple who told them how to be part of Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras parade. You had to wait at a secret bench two hours before the parade started and you could be in the parade. Not just in the parade, but on a float tossing out beads to a pumped up crowd. You could be a literal team spirit dispenser.

Adoring fan

Adoring fan

Did this appeal? Hoo boy. She and our perky, sassy, redhead headed out early to shiver on a bench waiting for their chance at stardom. Reports came in. They were on a float wearing purple robes. The float featured a giant fire-breathing bird. Can’t miss it, except for the fact that the rest of the floats were equally crazy.

Behind the scenes, waiting for the parade to start

Behind the scenes, waiting for the parade to start

The rest of us barely made it to the show, but most importantly we did make it. The energy level was high. Glitter soared and beads flew. At last we saw the float. It showcased a maniacally cackling redhead Monkey (introvert #winning because the show was all atmosphere, she had something to do and people weren’t directly focused on her). And Ginnie, spirit glowing, happily hucking beads at the dispossessed and spirit-less.

Red distributes joy.

Red distributes joy.

Huckin' it

Huckin’ it to the back row

866 and Onward

This is my 866th post, which makes me deliciously happy.

Buster was reading through posts last night and laughing with great shudders of laughter.

Then he asked me, aghast, “Mom, have you done a post about Christmas yet?!”

Oops, not yet, Buster.

So many more posts to write, so many more adventures to have and love to spread.

Sometime in the next few weeks we’ll be switching this blog over to a private space that is password protected. Those of you who read it will have easy access, and there will be many more details to come.

But for today, for this random Monday as we prepare to head out for Girl Scouts and a cookie booth, today is just for fun.

A few random moments of joy:

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Buds, making the one-two success fist punch he does when he solves a coding problem, sitting in the dark under a picture of…Baby Buds.

She got sick far enough before our trip to Florida to be totally well at the right time! And her brother, too!

She got sick far enough before our trip to Florida to be totally well at the right time! And her brother, too!

Walking out our front door to see this goofball.

Walking out our front door to see this goofball.

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He doesn’t want to fish, but sitting in the boat feels fun.

These two, talking about things sisters talk about.

These two, talking about things sisters talk about.

A hockey date night with Buds and his co-workers.

A hockey date night with Buds and his co-workers.

I’m not sure why all the seats all around us are empty. We’re very friendly and harmless. At least I am.

And a blast from the past:

Four years ago. Buster's shirt was new then.

Four years ago. Buster’s shirt was new then.

Monkey giving Yessa an eye exam for some reason.

Buster still wears that shirt. We still have that brown sweater. Look at those sweet faces.

We didn’t even know that a move to Nash would soon be in our future.

Who knows what fantastic adventures await us now?!

866 more posts to come.

Floored!

We’re not fans of carpet in our family. Too many allergies, too many sensitive noses. For various reasons, we reached the end of our rope with the carpet in the basement and out it came.

Because Weston was putting in our new deck out back at the same time, it was the ideal time to take advantage of the lovely dumpster sitting in our driveway. There was plenty of room for the carpet, and the children and I got to work being destructive.

Plus, it was great to be able to pick Weston’s brain with a few questions. Use all available resources!

Obligatory “Before” post:

What the old carpet looked like.

What the old carpet looked like.

Tear it all out!

Tear it all out!

We made a big pile of carpet and padding in the garage, then tossed it into the dumpster.

This was after we’d removed 75% of the pile.

Looking pretty chipper.

Looking pretty chipper.

Filled up.

Filled up.

Hammer, chisel, the carpet strips don't stand a chance.

Hammer, chisel, the carpet strips don’t stand a chance.

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Can you tell how we learned there was tile before there was carpet?

Can you tell how we learned there was tile before there was carpet?

The big truck delivering the 64 boxes of laminate flooring.

And Wonderful Weston using his truck to make my life easier.

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Stripped, vacc'ed, and ready to go.

Stripped, vacc’ed, and ready to go.

The laying of the flooring was a process of; move furniture, pull out carpet, padding, and carpet strips, scrape up the glue, vacuum, vacuum, vacuum, move the furniture some more, vacuum again, lay out plastic, underlayment, and flooring, move the furniture again, vacuum again, lay out more plastic, underlayment, and flooring, repeat, repeat, repeat.

The flooring had to sit inside for 48 hours. This is what the children and I brought in from the garage.

The flooring had to sit inside for 48 hours. This is what the children and I brought in from the garage.

This is what Buds carried in for a pre-workout warm up.

This is what Buds carried in for a pre-workout warm up.

The leveler I poured by the door so it had time to dry before we got to this section.

The leveler I poured by the door so it had time to dry before we got to this section.

Part 1

Part 1

Part 2 Prepped

Part 2 Prepped

Part 2 laid.

Part 2 laid.

Part 2 continued.

Part 2 continued.

Furniture moved again.

Furniture moved again.

Getting close to the end.

Getting close to the end.

They needed to test the new flooring for snuggles.

They needed to test the new flooring for snuggles.

Friend J came down to help with the work on this day, and after hours of floor work, Buds said, “I’m hungry. Let’s go to Five Guys to celebrate our floor.”

So we did.

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And it was good.

Niece Teresa provided the tools that saved my life on this project. Her chop saw and air nailer made this so much easier than previous floors I’ve laid.

At various times I texted her to tell her how much I loved her, but how much more I loved her tools.

The floors were done enough to have friends over for a game night we’d been planning for weeks.

No trim, but it's clean!

No trim, but it’s clean!

It looks so clean and open.

It looks so clean and open.

Done and cleaned up enough to host friends for a party!

Done and cleaned up enough to host friends for a party!

All cat free, so Eddie can breathe!

All cat free, so Eddie can breathe!

Games, games, games.

Games, games, games.

Closet trim in!

Closet trim in!

I had to create a make-shift painting room in the closet since I was still sawing in the garage so I couldn’t paint out there.

Covers for the bases of the support poles in the basement.

Covers for the bases of the support poles in the basement.

The painting room.

The painting room.

And World’s Best Contractor Weston let me use his table saw to cut the side boards, which made all the difference. I haven’t used a table saw since high school shop class, but I came out of this project with all my fingers and my nose, so I did great!

Then, seemingly suddenly, it was done. The trim is all in. The chop saw has been sent home. The air nailer waits patiently in the garage to go home to its owner.

I scooted around on the floor and caulked trim while we watched “Trolls” for family movie night. There are still nail holes to fill and plenty of wall paint to touch up, but it looks great. It feels so bright and open, and no icky carpet to haunt me any more.

And all the lovely spaces we have down there to be together:

I asked them to pretend I wasn't taking a picture...they had to ham it up.

I asked them to pretend I wasn’t taking a picture…they had to ham it up.

They are putting together a server to host this blog.

They are putting together a server to host this blog.

Mario levels being crafted.

Mario levels being crafted.

Creating some new video game stages.

Creating some new video game stages.

The sewing space

The sewing space

The reading nook.

The reading nook.

Ready for some Virtual Reality.

Ready for some Virtual Reality.

The storage closet now serves as our server room.

The storage closet now serves as our server room.

Creating a world with K + B via skype.

Creating a world with K + B via skype.

It didn’t feel like that much work as we were in the midst of the project, but as I look back on it I’m so happy to have it complete. And I love that our children are exposed and part of work like this. I might not know how to do something, but thanks to the internet and help from friends and loved ones, we can figure it out.

On to the next project!!!