(Gheez.. this turned out to be LONG... Just can't stop some people when they sit in front of a keyboard!)
I’ve been here at Rachel and Dan’s house (In Independence, MO) since Wednesday morning. They left for Jamaica early on Thursday, so guess who is in charge around here? Yep… me.
I’m looking after Miranda (age 1 ½), Kyle (age 18) Patrick (almost 15) and Millie, the 3 month old Boston Terrier Puppy. Patrick and Kyle are pretty self sufficient, so there isn’t much for me to do that involves them except just being here.
I got here a day early to give Miranda a chance to get to know me a little better. I haven’t really spent a lot of time with her one-on-one since they live about 3 hours (my driving speed, not everyone’s) away from Fulton. When I first got here, she didn’t want to have much to do with me and I have to admit, my worries were confirmed… this might NOT be fun for either her or me.
Rachel had a dental appointment shortly after I arrived, so I went along with her to watch Miranda in the waiting room… which would be our very first time “alone” together. And, yes, she cried when Rachel went back to the dental room and left her behind with her mystery grandma. It only lasted a few minutes though. Before long she and I were playing happily with the toys in the office and pulling out all the books to scatter them around on the floor. After about a half hour she wandered over to the hall where she’d last seen Rachel… she tipped her head and said “where Momma?”. I told her Momma’d be right back. We did that routine about three times, but it was no big deal.. no crying. So, that went relatively well, and I began to have hope for the week to come. By the way, that was the ONLY time she has cried for her momma.
Rachel showed me the dinner and bed time routine for Miranda.. and assured me that the boys would take care of themselves since they were in and out at all times with their schedule. Sounded fine to me.
I forgot to mention that I met Millie, the puppy for the first time that day also. She’s a cutie.. She is accustomed to spending all day in her kennel since that is what she does while Rachel and Dan work. The boys were to take care of feeding her twice a day, changing her puppy pads, and taking her outside a couple times a day.. oh, and playing with her in the evening. That turned out to be pretty theoretical and idealistic.. but Millie and I are getting along fine.
I was a little freaked out this morning when I woke up and found Millie’s cage door open and no Millie… I did a quick search of the house and didn’t see evidence of her partying it up during the night.. nor did I see Millie. I convinced myself not to worry, that one of the boys had her in their bed. Then about 6 am when I was in the office, I heard someone put her back in her cage… but by the time I went to look, they were gone and Millie was safely where she belonged. Later I asked Kyle about it, and he sheepishly admitted that he’d had her during the night… By his hesitant reply, I’m guessing that’s not “normal”… but oh well… at least Millie is safe. I had imagined at one point that the boys took her outside last night and forgot to bring her back in.. and that maybe she froze to death, ran off, got hit by a car…or got DOG-NAPPED. I tried for a few seconds to come up with how and when to break the news to Rachel and Dan…. But, what a relief, all is well.
That was not the first time I thought about NOT wanting to ruin Rachel and Dan’s vacation… On the way up here I was driving VERY carefully… I am a totally chicken freaked out driver… and hate passing trucks or sharing the highway with them in any way… and of course, the interstate which leads here is full of trucks. I thought how horrible it would be if I got in an accident and got hurt (or dead) and ruined their vacation… because if something happened to me, who would watch Miranda? Once I got here I was relieved to know that I was unlikely to “ruin their vacation”… (Although I could probably conjure up other possibilities if I’d let myself…)
Rachel and Dan left early yesterday morning… (wow, only yesterday? Seems like much longer than that) Anyhow, Miranda wasn’t awake when they left, so I’m sure she was surprised when I was the one to get her out of bed when she woke up. But, she seemed fine. That morning she asked me about three times, “where momma?” (she tips her head to the side when she asks). All three times, I said . “Momma’s in Jamaica. She’ll be back later.” Yeah, I know that Miranda doesn’t have a clue what or where Jamaica is, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I got her dressed, fed her her usual breakfast. Then, according to her routine, sat her in front of a “Dora” video. (She LOVES Dora… which is a cartoon character I’d never heard of before.. Dora, by the way is way less irritating than Barney… but still irritating.) After her half hour with Dora, I took her to her daycare and tried to remember all the checking in, dropping off routine that Rachel had shown me the day before… and did okay at it with a few reminders from the staff. Miranda was happy to be there and only once more asked “Where Momma” as she hugged me goodbye. When I went to pick her up that afternoon, she came running to me with a BIG hug, and that made me feel good. She was happy to see me!
So.. the title to this ramble is “Sore Legs and Pimples…” you are probably wondering by now where that came from.. The sore legs are MINE… well, so are the pimples.
My legs are sore from stair climbing! (I wonder if it counts as aerobics?) Rachel’s house has four levels.. there is probably a proper a name for it but I don’t know what it is… The main level where you walk in is the living room. There is half a level worth of steps up to the kitchen and Patrick and Miranda’s rooms. From there, there is another half level worth of steps up to Rachel and Dan’s room where I am sleeping.. and where I have all my “stuff”. The main living area (where everyone hangs out) and office where I use my computer is actually in the “basement”… a half level down from the living room… OR three sets of stairs down from “my” bedroom. (I’m not even counting the fourth set of stairs down to the FIFTH level where Kyle’s room is.. off the “basement” into the “sub-basement” It really doesn’t count for me since I have no reason to go down there. So… I said all that to explain why I have sore legs… I am not used to so much stair climbing to often throughout the day. It’s probably healthy… and my sore legs will probably get less sore as time goes on.. right?
Okay… pimples. (I'll spare you a picture.) I only have TWO.. but they are nasty looking critters.. they are on my nose. I guess I must be a bit stressed because it’s stress that usually cases them… because of a skin condition I have called Rosacea. Anyhow, they are UGLY.. I felt one of them starting up last night and decided that if I ignored it, it wouldn’t exist… a look in the mirror this morning told me I was wrong… not only did it exist, it brought along a bigger uglier friend. Oh well..
So what’s the stress coming from? Really, I don’t feel stressed, but a couple things might qualify… last night I thought I might have to drive in the rain… I HATE driving in the rain… or after dark…. (remember, I told you I was a fanatically CHICKEN driver?) I can’t see after dark, it feels like I’m driving blind… I CAN see in the rain (assuming it’s not dark) but I just don’t like driving in it.. (to be honest, not even little sprinkles… because little sprinkles can quickly become huge storms.. right?) So, yesterday, late afternoon, I looked outside and it looked ICKY… and like it might storm soon… I hurried to get Miranda, hoping to beat it. I knew I HAD to go get her… (Actually it never did rain. All it did was make me think it was going to.) The other little stressor was also related to driving.. but in the dark. Patrick told me that morning that he had band practice at his school and needed a ride at 6 and picked up at 8… I told him I’d take him, but the more I thought about it, the more I didn’t want to…. Not only would the pick up be after dark, but it might RAIN… and also.. what about Miranda.. she goes to bed at 7 or 7:30… I couldn’t leave her home and I sure didn’t want to keep her up that late and take her. I solved the problem by asking Kyle to do it and he agreed. BUT I still have the pimples. Oh well.
A very small stressor is trying to find the light switches to various parts of the house.. knowing where switches are is something we all take for granted.. until we are in a strange place and either need to turn one off or on.. and can’t figure out how. I think Rachel and Dan may have some “creative light wiring” too.. My switch confusion doesn’t stop with light switches… I was going to vacuum yesterday… plugged in the vac and couldn’t figure out how to turn it on. It wasn’t long before I saw it… a huge thing marked POWER that you step on at the bottom. Duh. I am still working on remembering how to take the tray off and on Miranda’s little high chair thing. I say “high chair thing” because it’s not “high” at all.. it’s low.. and it rocks and bounces and does all sorts of things… but it also has a tray across it to put food or toys on.. Yesterday morning, I finally managed to get the try on.. but couldn’t get it OFF.. I tried to pull her out the top without taking it off, but that wouldn’t work. I tried THAT several times…(It was getting late and I had to get her to day care before 9 or they wouldn’t take her)… Finally, I had a good talk with myself… in “The Road Less Traveled” it says.. “with enough time and focus, you can solve any problem” (paraphrased) So I sat down, looked under the tray and finally figured it out.. it is NOT hard.. it’s just knowing which plastic part to press.. However.. I had trouble getting it on and off again last night AND this morning. I guess I am just getting OLD…. Or maybe haven’t focused enough on implanting that routine into my brain.
So right now, I’m all alone… I have really enjoyed the cable internet connection and have been working a lot on my Family History website, mostly uploading old pictures. It’s so nice not to have to wait while each part of the process “loads”… I haven’t watched much TV because I’m more interested in working on the computer while I’m alone.. and when Miranda is here, DORA is on. And then there is also the remote control challenge. I mostly have them figured out well enough to do what I need to do.. (put Dora on)… but last night Patrick was playing a video game before he left for band practice.. and when Miranda and I tried to put Dora on.. all it would say or do was “component two” (the words floating around on the screen)… There was nothing about Component Two in the notes Rachel left me and I wasn’t about to start experimenting with the pile of remotes. Finally, Kyle came home and we got Dora going. That is all for the downstairs TV.. then there is the one in “my” bedroom.. I can turn it on, change channels, and even use the DVR to record or watch recorded shows… but I don’t know how to change the volume. That’s okay. Rachel was going to show me, but at the time I had brain (and remote control) overload. I told her to just put it on a good volume and that would be fine for me the whole time. And it has been..
Rachel and Dan will be home on Wednesday late at night.. I will certainly have more chapters in this saga. I will not necessarily take time to write them, but I might.
PS If you are interested in checking out my family history photo pages you can find them HERE. I still have a LOT more to add, many that need to be scanned, which is a learning process all in it's own (to get the best quailty) I have a good start though, and it's been fun.