20 days home & I’m packing again….yipee!

It’s always a little strange driving down my road after I’ve been gone on a long trip…this summer’s was 81 days.  I’ve lived down this gravel road in the country for most all of my adult life…since I was 21 (way tooooo long to stay in one spot!).  So, it’s definitely weird to pull onto this super familiar road & have it feel….foreign.  Then coming into the house, is always the same.  Danny’s usually at work, so it’s just the cats.  They stare at me, surprised I’m not dead because I’ve been gone so long.  Then I blankly look at all the mundane (I know this is a first world thought & I’m fortunate to have all these things that make life easier) things like the lawnmower, the dishwasher, the vacuum, the kitchen full of pots & pans, the bed…all of which you would think I’d have missed living outside all summer…I didn't.  The only thing I longingly embraced, was the shower.  There were too few of them in this Covid year.  The other surprising thing I noticed, was that I had forgotten all the Pandemic projects I’d completed while in lockdown.  When I drove in the driveway, I noticed bright red adirondack chairs in the front yard; the directional signs on the pole; the new cushions & welcome mat on the porch…& it went on & on even as I went into the house.  On my long boring drive back to Kansas, I told myself I’d clean out & get rid of bunch of stuff when I got back.  But I realized as soon as I walked in the door (& would continue to realize it as I went into my closets), that I’d gotten rid of & cleaned out stuff during the lockdown; there’s not really a lot more to remove!

But I soon began the chore (yes I love to pack, but unpacking is more of a pain…& you don’t get to go on an adventure when you’re done) of unpacking, cleaning gear, & cleaning out Camper.  One cat was immediately glad I was home; the other took a day or so to allow me to pet her!

I had missed the evenings when Danny & I share a beer & sit around talking.  His job is crazy busy & particularly awful this year, so we dont have that opportunity as much as we used to, even when I am home.  We used to go out to dinner frequently or to a brewery or two, but Covid has nixed those opportunities also.

But, then we got the good newswe get to go see Emma & Claire!!!  We will be driving downnot flying, not stopping to eat out or stay in a hotel on the way down.  Whatever we can do to make it safe to see our grand girls, Sara & Kevin.  It will have been almost 8 months since we last hugged them!  And, we have missed them so much every single day!  We went into travel mode as fast as possible, Danny getting a week in September off work, & me making his flight plans back.  As, of this writing, I’m hoping to stay a bit longer with the girls.  The rest of the plan hasn’t been made yet…guess I’ll just wing it!

Claire was super excited too.  She’s come up with all kinds of fun things for us to do & I’ve added to that list as well.  One of her ideas was a request to make her a “Rainbow Girl” costume.  This isn’t a character from a movie or show, Claire just made it up & gave me some guidelines.  Then she asked if Emma could have a Firework Girl Costume--two days after thinking how on earth I could make that, I visited with Claire & she revised it to “Sparkle Girl”….that I could do!

In between getting everything ready for Florida, I have seen a couple of friends for lunch, but have avoided any & all big crowds.  When we have eaten out, it’s almost always been outside with tables spaced at least 6’ apart.  We are doing everything we can to stay Covid-free to make this trip happen & to arrive healthy & welcomed.  I have been back on my bike & hitting the river trail frequently, always alone, hoping to try to stay in shape & get my mind & body back outside.

Here’s a glimpse at the costumes…I hope they fit because I know those girls have grown a lot in eight months!

Emma’s I sort of cheated on.  I’d forgotten my good friend Kathi, who owns a dance studio, gave me this extra costume she had left over last year.  The girls haven’t been up to the house in so long, I didn’t remember it was in my closet until Claire asked me to bring down two costumes they play dress up with when they do come here.  Then I saw it…& I thought it was perfect for Sparkle Girl & hoped that it might fit this sweet 2.5 year old.  I ordered some sequined slap bracelets for her wrist & ankles & made her a wand.

Then I found a book to add to the fun!

Claire had requested some clips for her hair (the 5 pieces of netting on the top of the hanger) & something for her boots (the two blue rainbow clips sitting on the neck of the costume) besides the costume.  Otherwise, the creativity door was wide open.

And Claire needed a matching book too (I love this series of books!)

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So, the dining room table is filled with all kinds of goodies & fun filled things ready to pack in Camper…new pjs, Crested Butte t-shirts, my ballon animal kit (requested by Claire…I’m so not very good at this yet), shrinky dinks, beads, ingredients to make salt dough ornaments, Hocus Pocus rolls & more.

I’m also baking lots of cookies & caramels --most will be shipped to California to Pete, Leia & Luke—but we’ll keep a few in the car for our trip down, then I’ll bake some tiny ones for the girls & Sara (Kevin’s not a sweet eater).

Last week in Crested Butte it snowed about 10”-12”…hearing that makes me know I can’t be out there camping—even with a nice day here & there, the nights are getting colder, the days are shorter, the hunters will soon arrive, the smoke this year has been bad, & soon those snows will be bigger & more frequent. Fall is usually the only month I really like to be here…crisp mornings with a cup of coffee on the porch, sunny days but not hot, cool evenings without as many bugs…maybe even a fire or two in the fire pit.  Not sure where I’ll be in October this year though. Neither Danny or I are looking forward to winter.  

We’re 5 days & counting until we can hug those precious girls…we’re both over the moon excited!

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