Tag Archives: Real Life

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The Concrete

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It all started Friday at noon. I lured my nephew and his big truck down to our house, then to Home Depot where we picked up a LOT of concrete mix.

Like, this much concrete mix.

The truck wasn’t quite that big, so we had to take it in two loads.

I say we, but honestly the hubby, his brother and dad, and my nephew did all of the heavy lifting. I’m a supervisor. If no one says, “be careful,” who knows what would happen?

While at the Home Depot, I went to reserve a concrete mixer. Because mixing that many bags of concrete by hand would be…silly.

Even my super-helpless, blonde, girl, exterior couldn’t get them to hold a mixer for me for the next day. Apparently it’s policy or something. Whatever. I didn’t like them anyway.

My nephew suggested Diamond Rental, which is literally across the highway. As we waited for the forklift to get to the front of the store to load the first pallet of concrete bags, I got on my phone and reserved a mixer from Diamond Rental for the next day. That was me earning my supervisor position. 🙂

On a side note, they should have had me talk to customer service, because it took almost an hour for a fork lift to get to the front of the store to help us. The hubby looked too competent. His helpless look is ineffective.

After loading up the truck and one SUV with stuff, we drove back and the boys made the pile in the garage.

The next morning dawned bright and early. My brother-in-law and I went to get the concrete mixer. I didn’t have to use my helpless face or anything. They were quick, professional, and polite. Gold star for Diamond Rental.

We did have to take down one side of our fence so we could get the thing in the back yard. It’s okay, I hate the chain link anyway. I did help push it. Sort of. I mean, until the hubby hogged the good holding spots and I left him on his own.

In normal construction fashion, we started an hour late. By the time we got the rebar bent and in place (again, “we” indicates pretty much everyone but me) we’d had the mixer for almost two hours.

I should note that the hubby’s family are all very solid guys. Big. Broad. Basically walls of brick. My nephew is a light weight, and watching him try to help bend rebar against someone 100lbs bigger was super entertaining. I’m sad I didn’t get any pictures. Or better yet, a video.

Notice I didn’t put any fake skeletons in the foundation…

When we fired up the mixer, the first thing I thought was, “How long is this thing going to be on? Our neighbors are going to hate us.” It sounded like, well, a dying machine.

Then after we put a bag of concrete mix and the water in, the drum stopped turning and it sounded worse.

That’s when Diamond Rental lost their gold star, and we found that the gears were stripped. These are deep gears. I’m wondering how the last person who used it did.

I left the boys to meander back and forth while I called to get a replacement. They didn’t have a truck to deliver, so the brother-in-law and I had to drop off the dead one and get another one. Diamond Rental got half of their star back, because they were super fast and once again quite helpful.

By the time we got back, Jon’s dad had spearheaded at least four wheelbarrow loads of concrete mixed with water and poured.

They were happy to see a working machine.

Pouring went pretty smoothly. Nothing interesting happened until they decided we were going to run out.

Supervisor to the rescue!

I took a picture of the bag we needed, jumped in another brother-in-law’s truck, and headed back to Home Depot.

I should note, I drive cars, not trucks. Not big, diesel, rumbling, trucks.

It was nice to be tall, and I feel okay about my barely-in-the-lines parking job.

The cashier at Home Depot was very nice. I held up my picture and said, “I need ten of these as fast as you can get them in my truck.” I smiled—not that you could tell under the mask. She smiled, charged me, called someone up, and the guy was waiting when I pulled in.

One look at me and all of his hopes and dreams of this being a “helping the customer” job shattered into a “I’m lifting these 80lb bags myself, aren’t I?” job.

Sorry, buddy, I can barely reach the bed of the truck.

So he loaded them for me, and as I was pulling away got a call from the hubby.

My first thought was that they were going to want more bags, and I was pretty sure the loader guy wasn’t going to help me this time. Lucky for me, they were just wondering what my ETA was.

After throwing a few rocks in to make up for the three more bags we could have used, we managed to finish!


Next: The Shed.

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A Little Getaway

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Last week was our anniversary. Another year has gone by and neither one of us has killed the other, and we still kind of like each other.

To celebrate, we decided to go up to Jackson, Wyoming. The hubby had never been, and it’s been a while for me.

We decided to do this last moment, and when we got there, we figured out why there were no hotel rooms left.

Us and our 40,000 new best friends had decided to come to Jackson the same week! I was lucky to get this horrible picture of me and the antler arch without anyone else in it.

We found 44 out of 50 United States licence plates, if that tells you anything.

Needless to say we kept our distance, wore masks (which are not the most fun for my asthma at high elevation), and were grateful we got a room in a nearby town.

We started at Jenny’s lake and hiked to Hidden Falls. The ferry operator said it was an “easy” hike to the falls. False. I’m pretty out of shape, but going uphill (steep for most of it) for a half a mile is not easy.

Still, it made for some spectacular views!

The next day we explored the other side of the Tetons. This time we rode a chair lift up to the top of the mountain 🙂 However, the chair lift operators didn’t tell us that we were in charge of putting the safety bar down in front of us, so we rode up without it…

I’m not afraid of heights, but even I was nervous. I almost bit the guy’s head off at the top after he yelled at me for not having my mast up…because my hands were sort of fused with anything I could get a hold of. When that got resolved I asked him about the safety bar and he looked at me like I was an idiot and said, “You’re in charge of that, not us.”

Honestly, those guys were the rudest people we met. Good thing the view was worth it! I mean, look at those mountains!

All in all we had a great time! The crowds were annoying, but what can you do?

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How Are You Handling Lockdown?

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The saying “Roll with the Punches” has been around for a long time. It refers to boxing, I think, but now means:

 “When things dont go your way and you adapt to the changes and keep moving ahead instead of flippin out.”  -Urban Dictionary-

Like the picture above, the saying is familiar, but the picture is all wrong. Sort of. I feel like this represents our lives right now.

Most of us have been confined to quarters. Some still go to work, others are working from home. I won’t say which of these is more “lucky” than the other, because it’s not that kind of a situation.

Am I right?

We just got the final say from the state that schools will be shut through the end of the school year.

No one is surprised.

Some people are freaking out.

Others are rolling with the punches.

And there have been a LOT of punches lately.

We’re all tired, bored, stressed out, freaking out, and hyper vigilant all at the same time. I can’t imagine being in the healthcare field right now. Gold stars to every one of you!

Honestly, my daily life hasn’t changed that much. I’m an author. I work from home. The hubby worked from home two days a week, now it’s five days a week. Not going out is annoying, and my extroverted side is crying at the moment, but it’s fine. We’re fine.

However, about a week ago, I went to get ice from the ice maker and…all I got was the sound of the motor. No ice came out.

I knew it had been making ice, so I checked.

The bucket in the door was empty.

There are only two of us. How can there be no ice???

Then I remembered…the hubby had started using a bigger cup, which he always fills with ice. By adding 16oz to the cup he drinks from all the time, he’d run us out of ice.

I might have freaked out a bit.

Because I wanted ice! It’s not that big of a deal, right?

The hubby and I don’t really fight, so it’s not like I got crazy or anything, but I did declare that he’d better stop using so much because I wanted ice too.

He laughed.

I glare at him every time he puts ice in that stupid cup.

He is, of course, taunting me.

He’s a good egg, so I know he’s being good about the whole ice debaucle of April 2020.

However, this got me thinking about how each of us wants to control some aspect of our life. One thing that can be right no matter what.

I’m trying to chill out about those things. Do my best and keep rolling.

Will I freak out again? Probably. Will I be tempted to rage at someone online? Certainly. Will I actually do it?


I waited six days (much longer than their estimate) for a pick-up order at the fabric store to be ready, then went I went to pick it up there were like twenty other people there for the same reason. We left. I’ll go back later.

I was tempted to call and complain. I really wanted too. However, I took a moment to think about the fact that there might only be two employees in the store, trying to fulfill who knows how many orders, having to work with the public and get exposed to who knows what.

It’s fine. I’m fine. I have other things I can do.

The next time I start to rage out, I hope I remember that we’re all in the same boat. It feels like it’s sinking at the moment, but we’ll be fine.

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Confessions of a (minor) Earthquake Survivor

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This has been the world for the past few weeks, then we had to up the ante here in Utah.

If you live near a fault, perhaps you’ve heard that there is a “big one” coming, meaning an earthquake. I’m located near Salt Lake City, Utah, and have been told my entire life that the “big one” is coming.

My father-in-law is a geologist, and loves to tell people all about how a twenty foot chasm will appear when the fault goes, and the mountains above it will slide down to fill the gap, causing even more shaking.

Trust me, don’t ask him unless you want to know a whole lot of stuff you probably don’t want to know.

Anyway, I’ve never been afraid of earthquakes. It’s always been tornadoes that scare the crap out of me. After seeing a few when I lived in Colorado, and even seeing the one that hit Salt Lake City a few decades ago, the stupid things give me nighmares.

Last Wednesday, right around 7:10am, we experienced a 5.7 earthquake with the epicenter about five miles from our house.

Last week was the first week in a month that I’ve gotten up on time, which is 7am for me. I’d been sick with a chest cold, but had finally gotten back to my normal routine.

So there I was, sitting on the toilet (besides being in the shower, there aren’t many less desirable places to be), when the room rattled once.

My mind flew into action.


I did distract from the pandemic…

Then the room really started to shake. I was surprised how loud it was. I watched the pictures on the wall, thinking I was glad most of them were Velcroed in place.

Then I started screaming. Well, more of yell, like “Ahhhh!”

The first panic thought was, “Is this the big one?”

The second thought was, “Well, this is the hubby’s fault.” Just a few days before he’d been laughing and saying the worst thing that could happen right now would be an earthquake that wiped out a good chunk of the valley, forcing the survivors to live in rescue camps where Covid19 would then run rampant.

The third thought was, “On the toilet? Really?”

About that time, it shook my husband awake. By the time he got out of bed and ran down the hall, the shaking had stopped.

The shaking lasted 30 to 45 seconds. Tops.

And what did I do?

I froze! I didn’t think about getting off the toilet, or diving for cover, or anything like that. Nope. I froze.

Once the shaking stopped I did ask myself if I should fill the bathtub with water, in case everything was broken, but the hubby ran downstairs and verified that all the pipes were fine.

This is the first earthquake over maybe a 3.5 that I’ve ever felt. My heart was racing the whole day, and I swear I felt every single aftershock. One was in the 4.0 -4,5 range, and it totally freaked me out. At least that time I grabbed my phone and ran for a doorway.

I haven’t dealt with a fear response like that in a long time, if ever! Elevated heart rate. Anxiety every time the furnace came on or a car drove by. The muscles in my body would not relax. I was wound as tight as a drum. Now I know how that feels!

It’s almost been a week, and the aftershocks are still going on. I felt one yesterday, and went into a mini-version of freaking out again.

If this is how it feels to have anxiety, I’m REALLY sorry for all those who have to deal with it. My brain knows I’m fine, but something, somewhere isn’t convinced.

They say people who get motion sickness often experience after-earthquake anxiety. I guess that’s me.

On top of the Covid19 madness going on around us, this wasn’t a thing any of us wanted to deal with. Especially as we called our neighbors and made sure everyone was okay, but we weren’t really supposed to go visit anyone because of social distancing.

Talk about strange times.

I do think I have a better idea of how people will respond in an emergency, so that’s good, right? That’s a writing thing.

So, if you’ve been freaking out lately, you’re not alone. Just take a few deep breaths, find something that makes you laugh, and then get to work.

Caveat: I don’t have kids, just the hubby and I, so there’s much less stress in this house than many around me. Good luck people! May the odds ever be in your favor!

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