Tick . . . tock . . . tick . . . tock

Such is the sound of August – every year. School will be starting back up in a week and a half, and for the first time since I started teaching, I am mentally prepared to go back to school, probably because, well, I’ve been out of school since mid-March. While I always need a mental break after a hectic school year, this was a little too long. The school year ended with an abrupt karate chop, and it’s just not normal. I’m used to ending the year frazzled and exhausted, and while I was getting there in mid-March, I hadn’t yet hit the true craziness of the year.

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Goodbye, July?

I did a doubletake when I looked at the calendar this morning. July 28? Can that be accurate? It seems like five days ago when I was just getting back from Branson.

It feels like I fell down a rabbithole somewhere, and I guess I have. I started the tedious process of trying to get my materials ready for the school year. This year is a wee bit different, of course because I have no idea what the school year is going to look like.

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A quick trip to Branson, MO

The period from March 19 until now is the longest I have stayed home in a while (that’s right, Covid-19 – I’m looking at you!). I have gotten pretty used to hitting the road regularly with my husband’s band and photographing the concerts while I’m there. As of now, we have missed a good handful of gigs and more are getting canceled by the day. For the people in the music industry, this is a rough time. Those who depend on this income as their sole livelihood have had to scramble to enact Plan B.

My husband and I were going to celebrate our 1-year anniversary on the last weekend in June by going to Branson, MO, where we married, but my son’s graduation stopped that plan when it was rescheduled for that weekend. No biggie. We just pushed the vacation back a week. We needed to get out of the state of Iowa so badly! We were tired of this house, tired of this town, and – to be honest – tired of the endless cornfields and flat land of Iowa. It was time to travel.

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The calm AFTER the storm

I survived graduation weekend. I survived making 20# of taco meat at 6 a.m., hauling that and 3 gallons of queso along with all the other fixins’ for a meal over to the venue with the help of family. I realized too late that my folding picture board wasn’t as well designed as I thought it would, as the pictures would fall out of their corner pockets as soon as the board was folded up for transport. All were small little problems, however. The party was not very well attended due to people’s concerns about COVID (I’m guessing), so I have taco meat, queso, and Doritos sitting around my house for daaaaaayyyyyyyys.

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It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to!

I’m not usually one to host events, mainly because I have not had the life experiences which require them. However, this weekend is FINALLY going to be my son’s graduation, and we are partyin’ in style tomorrow.

This year is so weird. Nothing has been normal. My son lost out on his last year of trap shooting (something he excelled in), and graduation got pushed back over a month later to this Sunday. His original open house was supposed to be on May 10. Now here we are, over a month later, getting ready to finally celebrate the end of this chapter.

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A boom in the tablecloth market

I apologize for writing about tablecloths AGAIN. By now you’re probably thinking I have a bit of an issue. Well, perhaps I do. Back when I was selling tablecloths pretty regularly from my Etsy store, I so enjoyed the process of finding cloths, cleaning them to look like new, and then either keeping them or selling them.

For awhile, I had no luck finding them in antique stores, so I really didn’t buy any.

When I met my husband, we had a mutual love of all things retro, although our retro eras were a little bit apart; I loved stuff from the 40-60s and he loved things from the 80s – mainly 80s vinyl. But we do enjoy browsing through antique stores and seeing what treasures we can find.

Suddenly, I am finding great tablecloths left and right and I can feel that excitement that I used to feel whenever I ran across one with a great label or one with the original tags still attached. I went from not being able to find it anywhere to having to be selective about which tablecloths I do get because I’m finding them everywhere. Here are a few that I picked up on our last trip:

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Little things

My husband and I decided to get out of town again and visit Spencer, Iowa, home of Carey’s Electronics, which is in turn the home of a wicked vinyl collection in their upstairs store. My husband found some great treasures, and I made off with a couple of albums as well. The vinyl collection is fun and easy to look through because of the clear rating and labeling on each album. I found a near mint condition Dina Washington to add to my collection:

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Well, that just about killed me.

Install laminate flooring, they said. It’ll be easy, they said. Just click it together, they said.

Good god.

Perhaps for Stan the Handyman, installing laminate flooring would be a breeze. For me the English teacher and my hubby the graphic designer/drummer, well, that was a different story.

The morning after the bulk of the flooring was put in, I arose at 4 a.m. because my entire body was so sore (especially my back) that it felt that I had malaria. Ok, I will admit that I do not know what it feels like to have malaria . . . but I think it probably feels like that. The constant bending over, measuring, placing, crawling around on my knees and pounding in the boards got to my aging body. Plus, I only had a vague notion of what in the hell I was doing, so there’s that too.

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An adventure in home improvement

I think I have a curse when it comes to tackling home improvement projects.

It never seems to fail: I get a great idea, I get the gumption to tackle the project, and then something goes horribly, horribly wrong. I don’t have the right tools, sometimes. Or, more often, I do not have the brain needed to know what in the hell I am doing.

My husband and I decided to refloor my breezeway area – which for the entire time I’ve lived here has been an ugly brown indoor/outdoor carpet. However, it was durable and stood up to the muck and grime that inevitably got dragged into that area day after day, so I kept it.

We had recently made an effort to turn that area into more usable space. We purchased a small square table from a local furniture store and put it in there. However, the area was also inhabited by my husband’s numerous drum cases. He’s a drummer, hence the cases. And when he plays gigs as often as he does, it is preferable to have the cases in a location where you can just grab and go. Some of that stuff is darn heavy. The breezeway seemed like a great place to put that stuff.

But now we have tired of the brown “turf” carpeting and we wanted something that made the breezeway a place to hang out, if one desired. We went to Menards and picked out some Mohawk laminate plank flooring (Lexington Pine) and loaded up our cart with everything we needed, and we picked a day to get the project started.

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Antique store scores!

Yesterday my husband and I ventured out to Okoboji, Iowa, which is about 1.5 hours away from where we live. We had visited an antique store there a couple weeks ago, but because we had gotten there so late in the day, we did not get to visit all the antique stores that we saw. There is one store in particular that my husband fell in love with because of one simple reason: vinyl. Lots of vinyl. Even better, there was lots of mint-condition vinyl.

Actually, we both discovered stores that fed our little addictions because I discovered a honeypot of tablecloths in one of the stores. Even better, they were fairly priced. I had about 30 of them to look through, and I made off with 5 of them, including a Wilendur. It is has some faint yellow stains, but I am determined to get this baby looking like new by soaking and scrubbing until it gleams again. Once I saw the tag on this beauty (plus it was 50% off), I knew I had to have it.

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