Aug 25 9:47am – I had a long talk with Regina last night.  It seems our conversations are changing over time.  I now share more about what has been happening and what my plans are for the next few weeks or months.  It seems we talk less about the hurt and sadness.  I noticed this subtle change just last night.  Don’t get me wrong – it still hurts and our conversations are hard but I realize now that I am having to get on with some things. Last night it was mostly updates and observations.

It was a long – but good – day yesterday.  Each week gets me closer to retirement and I am able to keep chipping away at things and we all topped off Fri with a birthday party for Arwen.  But I get ahead…

1. Received notice that the travel insurance company that Regina and I had bought some insurance from back in Mar to cover our trip to Portland and Zak’s graduation in May will NOT cover our costs for the trip we were unable to take.  The company said that Regina’s “pre-condition” precludes them from being able to pay up.  It was not a large amount and I’m not going to pursue this, but I guess I do wonder, then, what was the point of the insurance that we had purchased?  We have always purchased cancellation insurance for all of the trips that we have taken over the years – stateside and international.  We always wanted a bit of backup per chance Regina couldn’t travel – as happened with this latest trip to Portland in May.  Regina’s pre-condition.  If only they knew.  Silly.

2. I enjoyed my first Dinner Done entree two nights ago.  And it was yummy!  It was the Shoyu Chicken Breasts – Perfect-for-the-grill chicken breasts marinated in a sweet and tangy blend of soy, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, diced onion and a blend of aromatic spices. Served over jasmine rice.  (So says the menu description at Dinner Done.)  It actually was very good – and I have four more times to try it out over the next few months.

3. All of my young friends have gone off to the wilds of college now.  I will miss them – being with them and talking to them and seeing them.  Seems like throwing lambs to the wolves in many ways.  Or jumping into a freezing ice-choked river.  Will see how they respond and react.  Glad I am not in their shoes.  But I miss them and love them.

4. Brian went home a few days ago. He has lots of healing and rehab ahead of him – only time will tell how all of this ends.  A very sad story, but I am glad – at least – that Brian is still with us.  His comrades are being buried right now in California and one, soon, at Arlington.

5. Schools are open again. Buses on the roads – which slow down the commute, of course. But it is different this year.  There isn’t any hubbub around the house – and I will admit, I miss it some.  There aren’t any stacks of notebooks on the kitchen table, no lists of things to get done, no calendar events on the calendar, no late night meetings with teachers and parents.  No trips to school with stuff in the trunk. I received some mail from Stafford County Schools a few days ago – a retirement newsletter for former teachers.

6. Zak and Kathy and the fam are here.  It is good to be with them – they have so much energy and hope and future out in front of them. They will be leaving the middle of next week for some more interviews and tryouts in middle America.  Lots of miles and lots of courage.  I truly hope that God and they can come to an understanding here in the next few weeks and get some plans firmed up.  It is hard, of course, to live out of a car for as long as they have been living.  Anyway, it is fun to have them around.  They are a blessing to people who hang out with them.

7. Friends and peers continue to leave to take new jobs from my office.  You may or may not know, but Congress de-funded our office so – literally – we will cease to exist on the books come Oct 1. Don’t worry, we will still be here a bit longer but we will be funded through another agency – not through appropriation.  It is all typical government stuff – don’t worry about it.  But, bottom line, we all are looking for new jobs and careers (I opted to retire!).  Anyway, I am losing some excellent coworkers but also good friends. Thankfully, they are all mostly getting good and satisfying replacement jobs – so that is good.  But we are getting cut down to the bare bones and without some wacky people to hang with and work with and plot with, days get harder and less comfortable.  Just a little more change in my life…

8. Soccer season is upon us (European football, that is) so I find relaxation and enjoyment in that. I won’t bore you with my sports interests – please don’t bore me with yours – so I won’t dwell on this particular personal interest…

9. I got hit by lightning a few weeks ago.  Blasted out my DirectTV and night lights and an UPS and one telephone.  Just now getting everything back up and running. I’ve never had that problem before.

10. And, yes, it was Arwen’s 2-year old birthday party last night at Smith Lake.  Perfect Aug evening for it out under a picnic canopy watching other kids play football and soccer.  Nice playground, too.  She is simply easy to get along with – smiles, giggles, screeches, fist fights with her mean ‘ol brothers, and snacking on her birthday brownies. What could be better than being 2-years old?  I’m glad we got to spend her birthday with her here in Virginia. I will admit, though, I’m not much good at this stuff without Regina. It is all new to me. I’ll never be a suitable replacement for her for the kids. Ever. I’m sorry, Arwen. But I’m glad you invited me to your party anyway.    

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