Memory Monday ~ More Vacation Memories…

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday


Once again, it’s Monday, and time to join Judy @ Retired-Not-Tired for more memories.  This week we’re continuing our travels down the road entitled More Vacation Memories

Last week, I wrote about our family vacations with the children, and how we bought a camper, and camped for two weeks, every summer, while the children were young.  Some of my all-time favorite vacation memories are from those eight years of camping, but I have many other good vacation memories, as well.

One vacation habit Ed and I established, fairly early in our marriage, was scheduling our vacation during the week of our wedding anniversary.  This meant, for several years, we celebrated our anniversary while on vacation with three children–in a camper!  It was a ‘cozy’ celebration, but we didn’t mind.  Ed and I also established the tradition of eating Kentucky Fried Chicken on every anniversary, because that’s what we ate for our first meal as husband and wife.  So, no matter where we were, or what we were doing, we knew we’d be eating KFC on our anniversary night of the vacation!  Good memories!

June 2012, Alex, Anniversary, cookouts 060

a recent anniversary picnic [alone]on the beach – notice the KFC boxes on the table!

After our children grew up and left the nest, Ed and I went on a couple of vacations by ourselves.  At first, it was strange being by ourselves, after so many years of being surrounded by our children, but it was good to finally have time alone to reconnect with each other.  We quickly adapted:)

The most memorable vacation trip that Ed and I ever went on, by ourselves, was a trip to Charleston, South Carolina, in 2005.  I booked a room for us in the historical section of Charleston, and we had a wonderful time exploring all that Charleston has to offer–and it has a lot!  You could say that our Charleston trip was almost like our second honeymoon, but Ed and I never even took a first honeymoon!


me, at the hotel, before going sight-seeing in Charleston

Two or three years after the Charleston trip, Ed and I decided to go in together with our daughter and her family, and rent a condo at the beach together.  All of us had so much fun on that vacation, we vowed we’d vacation together again!  After that initial trip, a new tradition was born–vacationing with our grown children!

Anytime Ed and I rented a condo on the beach, we’d usually invite our children and families to come and join us. Often, our condo only had a couple of bedrooms and one bathroom, but we always made room for company. Our motto was “the more, the merrier!”

July 4, 2010 St.Simon's Is 021

a family picnic, during one of our trips

One particularly memorable trip was when ten of us slept in a condo that had only one bedroom!!!   Talk about ‘togetherness’, we had it going on!!!  Some were on beds, some were on a futon, and still others were on air mattresses…  Our oldest son swears that my son-in-law and I had a “snoring competition” going on all night!  I guess it’s a good thing were both sleeping in the room away from everybody else! Ha!


100_1013enjoying the condo pool…

Another time, Ed and I split the cost of a three bedroom, three bath condo, on Fernandina Beach, with our two oldest children and their families.  The condo was huge and beautiful.  Everybody had their own bedroom and bath, which was especially nice, since we had a baby and a three-year-old vacationing with us.  (It also meant we couldn’t hear each other snoring!)  The condo came with its own grill, and the men really enjoyed that, while the women and children enjoyed the pool!


just returning from a family vacation… and we all look tired!

The last time all of our family planned a vacation together was in 2010.  It’s our most unforgettable trip of all–but not for any reason you could imagine.

One July, our grown children, and their families, along with Ed and me, decided to rent a cabin in the mountains of Helen, Georgia, for three days.  Our youngest, Brad, hadn’t married Jennifer, yet, but they planned on coming on the family trip, as well.  It took forever to find a cabin that all eight of us could agree on, but we finally settled on one–and, best of all, according to some, was the fact that the bedrooms were far apart!

July 2010(Helen) 049

traveling on our last family vacation together…

On the evening before our trip, everyone was packed and ready to leave on the six-hour journey, the following morning.  Unfortunately, our telephone rang very early, on the morning of the trip, and it was bad news.  It was our son, Brad, telling us that Jennifer’s mother had passed away, unexpectedly, during the night.  We were all stunned with disbelief!  How could this be?  It was absolutely unbelievable that Jennifer’s mother’s heart had simply stopped beating, while she slept, and now she was gone!

Once the shock of the news sank in, our family had a decision to make. The cabin had already been paid for, and it was too late to get a refund.  Everyone had already taken time off from their jobs.  There wasn’t a thing we could do, if we stayed home and forfeited the money we’d spent.  So, after much discussion, the rest of us decided to refund their part of the cost to Brad and Jennifer, then go ahead and make the trip to Helen without them.  Needless to say, it wasn’t one of our better vacations, but we did the best we could under the circumstances.  We stayed in constant contact with Brad and Jennifer, the entire time we were gone, and came back early so we could attend Jennifer’s mother’s funeral.

Helen Trip 2010 155a father-son game of corn hole, in the mountains of Helen (our cabin’s in the background) 

Helen Trip 2010 128

relaxing beside the mountain stream

Seeing the picture above reminds me of something I’d nearly forgotten.  Some of us got an unexpected “bonus” from that trip to the mountains.  Our son and I came home with a bad case of ‘red bugs’, apparently, from sitting on those rocks beside that mountain stream!  Not a good souvenir to bring home!

We’ve all talked about planning another family vacation together, but, as of yet,  we haven’t done so. Our oldest son, our daughter, and their families have taken a couple of trips together, but Ed and I have stayed behind, so far. You see, these days, Ed and I are pretty much stuck at home, caring for ten chickens, twelve aging cats (and that’s not even counting ‘Trouble’), one very old, nearly blind and deaf, dog, and 167 goldfish who share the pond in our yard!   I guess, for now, it’s a good thing we have lots of vacation memories to sustain us 🙂



Published in: on January 12, 2015 at 10:47 am  Comments (8)  
Tags: , , ,

Friday Fragments…

Half-Past Kissin' Time


My poor neglected blog is really bothering me.  Lately, it seems there hasn’t been much time for it.  I keep thinking I’ll get around to it, but then I never do.  Today, I’m going to list a few fragments from the week, and link up with Mrs. 4-4-4-4 at Half-Past Kissin’ Time.

I’ve been confused all week–running a day behind.  Those long weekends tend to do that to me, or perhaps it’s my age creeping up on me 🙂  Whatever the problem is, it sure doesn’t seem like a Friday.

Our fall peas are now ready to be picked, so guess where I’ve been spending some of my mornings?  On Wednesday, I spent all day picking and shelling.  Yesterday, I headed back to the garden to finish picking what I wasn’t able to pick on Wednesday.  Considering it’s been very hot and dry, the peas have produced amazingly well.  Bugs got to the earliest of the peas, but Ed seems to have those under control, at the moment.

I’m SO ready to decorate for fall!  Anyone else feeling that way?  I hope to get my back-to-school tree decorated (with apples and teacher’s ornaments) over the weekend, if all goes well.  I have some new fall porch decorations I’m dying to put out, too.

Yesterday was a crazy day.  Our oldest son called me at 7:30 a.m., to ask me if I could babysit their youngest son.  His mother-in-law had just been taken to the hospital by ambulance, and his wife, Christina, needed to join her mother at the hospital, as quickly as she could.  I had just ten minutes to get my outside chores finished, and be ready to babysit!  I was still watering lettuce when they arrived.

I kept Chase all day, and kept his brother, Caden, from lunch, when he got out of Kindergarten, until late afternoon.  Granddaughter, Madison, joined us for a couple of hours through her lunch break from home school, too.  It turned out to be a busy day, since I was also trying to finish shelling and blanching peas from the garden.  I had a good helper though.  Chase enjoyed helping shell peas, and I just had to take a picture!


I’ve shelled and blanched 10 packages of peas in two days, with more to come!

Christina’s mama is very ill, and was actually moved to a larger hospital in the city. They’re still running tests to determine what the problem is.  She was in ICU as of last night.  I hope and pray she’ll be alright.

In other news, Ed is continuing to pick up fallen pears off the ground!  For some reason, they are rotting quickly, this year.  He’s probably picked around 2000 pears!  He stopped counting, a long time ago, at 1000.

We have several grape vines, and it’s been a great year for grapes, too!  There’s actually a pear tree, at Ed’s mom’s house, with grapes growing among the pears!  The grapevine made its way over to the tree, and attached itself.  I hope to get a picture of that soon, which I will share!

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have for now.  The chickens are waiting to be let out (so they can destroy the straw in my flowerbeds–again!), the cats are waiting to be fed, and the plants definitely need watering.

Until next time…Have a great weekend!



Published in: on September 5, 2014 at 8:04 am  Comments (7)  
Tags: , ,

Can I Request A Do-Over?

Have you ever experienced a weekend, and at the end of it, you felt like you needed a ‘do-over’?  That’s how I feel about this past weekend!  I definitely could use a ‘do-over’!

The weekend got off to a great start, on Friday.  I made crock pot bar-b-que, and two [of our three] grown children, and their families joined us for supper.  The girls furnished some side dishes to go along with the bar-b-que.  I had hoped that our youngest son and family, who live out-of-town, would, also, join us for supper.  They decided to wait and come to town on Saturday instead.

On Saturday morning, Ed was hoping to be able to burn off the field in front of us, along with one of the piles of discarded pines from last summer’s tree cutting.  Saturday turned out to be windy and cold, so Ed’s plans had to be put on hold.  Instead, he settled for pruning the pear trees, removing a couple of dead trees, and meeting with the carpenter about building a cover for our front porch.

Meanwhile, I continued the dreaded task of cleaning, sorting, and getting ready for the future ‘estate sale’ at my late mother-in-law’s house.  It’s never a good day when I have to continue this task, since it always leaves me feeling a bit sad and over-whelmed.  Unfortunately, nobody else seems willing to do this job, except for Ed and me.

It didn’t help my day when ‘Trouble’, the cat, seemed to be unusually lonely, and tried to come home with me when I left my MIL’s house. Trouble hopped on the front seat, ready to ride, and was a bit indignant when I left her behind.  (I’ve taken her home with me, on numerous occasions, but she always refuses to stay because of my other cats.)  Trouble is what makes me saddest, and concerns me the most, concerning my MIL’s empty house.

Our youngest son and his family arrived, after lunch, on Saturday. Later, the rest of the family came over to visit with them.  The baby, Evan, wasn’t in a good mood, so his smiles were few and far in between, and he fussed a little more than usual.  Some of the other grandchildren were a bit ‘whiny’, as well.  The day just wasn’t going smoothly.  Then, to top it all off, a disagreement broke out between two grown siblings and one spouse.  Unfortunately, the disagreement escalated and I became quite distraught by the end of the visit.  Needless to say, the day ended on a bit of a sour note, and this mother spent a restless Saturday night.  Sigh.

After Saturday’s fiasco, Sunday should have been a better day, right?  Nope.  This time, Ed accompanied me to his mother’s house, and turned the water on so we could wash some dishes and wipe out the cabinets.  What we quickly discovered was a busted pipe under the house!  Probably the result of last week’s hard freeze.  There wasn’t a lot we could do about a busted water pipe, on Sunday, so we quickly turned the water back off.  We cleaned things, the best we could, using several gallon jugs of water brought from our house.    I couldn’t help but think- these are that times which try men’s souls…

I’m tired.  I’m stressed, and I tell you, I could really use a weekend ‘do over’, in the worst way, but there’s no use crying over spilled milk, so let’s move on to The Monday Quiz.


Acting Balanced

1. Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day from the US!  Do you have a favorite MLK quote?
No, I don’t.
2. Wayne told Heather to get the questions up early because we’d be exhausted from our trip… she didn’t listen to his good advice, so MQAM is late – when was the last time you didn’t listen to good advice?
Gee, there have been so many times…  The one thing that’s  foremost in my mind is not listening to Ed when he wanted to cover the front porch, when it was first built!  Now, six years later, I’ve lived to regret that decision.  Now that we have no trees, the porch is in the sun, all day.  At night, it’s covered with dew, and is wet and slippery.  In the morning, it’s frozen and slippery, and that’s why we’re having to add a cover!
3. Since we talked about Movies last week, lets talk TV this week – what show or shows do you wish was still on TV that ended or was cancelled?

Ed and I enjoyed watching Under the Dome, over the summer.  The show’s drama and suspense was pretty good.  Although it was a bit on the ‘trashy’ side, I enjoyed watching The Client List, too.
4. What is your personal anthem or theme song?
 This isn’t normally my personal anthem, but, following the weekend I just endured, a certain little jingle is running through my head today.

Published in: on January 20, 2014 at 10:17 am  Comments (9)  

When It Rains, It Pours…

The month of July has been one of the worst months for our family in quite sometimes.  It reminds me of the month of January back in 1989, when both of my parents were in the hospital at the same time–daddy in ICU, and mama in the Psychiatric Unit.  I was driving back and forth 130 miles round trip, every day, to see about them, while my family was struggling without me at home…then I got the flu…then two of my children came down with the chicken pox…Get the picture?  Things just seemed to spiral out of control.  After months and months of pure hell, life eventually got normal again–but even then, it was a new normal. 

Our new normal included nursing home visits that left us feeling belittled and guilty because we put my parents there.  It included having to deal with their unoccupied house that was literally falling down.  It included finding money in our budget to pay for my parents personal expenses.  It included having to make time on all special occasions to make two one-hour trips to and from the nursing home–one to get my parents out, another to return them–after cooking all holiday meals, and hosting the events.

This horrible month began with our son Brad’s girlfriend finding out that she had pre-cancerous cells on her cervix, which later were found to be actual cancer, then her mom passed away, then our quick family vacation amidst the shock of the death, waiting for Jennifer’s surgery to be scheduled…While all of these things have been going on, my husband’s mother, who is 88, has been on a downhill slide. 

We have a lady who comes to stay with Ed’s mother  four mornings a week, and then Brad has been there during the evenings for the past 3 years, but lately all of those things have been disrupted.  The lady took a two-week vacation, then about the time she returned, Jennifer’s mother died, and Brad’s been spending most of his time over at her house.  In the midst of all of these changes, Ed’s mom’s mental and physical condition has declined.

Yesterday I got a call from the lady who stays with my mother-in-law, telling me that Ed’s mom was having some problems.  I went up to the house. The house smelled of urine, and my mother-in-law seemed confused and weak, and she kept having to go to the bathroom.  I called my husband at work.  After a trip to the ER, it was determined that she had a bad urinary tract infection.  We were hoping for a brief hospital stay for her, but that was not to be the case.  They sent her home.  She’s not eating, and can barely get around on her own.  She won’t take her medications like she should.

We now think that the time has come to begin looking for other living arrangements for Ed’s mother.  I always feared that this day would come, and we’ve dreaded it.  We’ve already been through this with my parents, and it was not an easy or a pleasant situation.  We’ve tried to put it off for as long as we can.

So with heavy hearts, we begin the search for a place for his mother to live.  My husband told her last night that he was going to begin to look into assisted living homes.  She did not argue, but she will.  She’s feisty, and I know she will probably put up a fight, and try to make him feel miserable in the end.  Misery loves company, and she is one miserable woman.

The saddest part of all is that my husband and I realize that one of us will be in her shoes one of these days, if we live that long…What a future to look forward to.  Can I just say that “old age sucks”?

Published in: on July 29, 2010 at 10:52 am  Comments (2)