November 27, 2014

Be Careful What You Wish For...


Last month I wrote about how I was waiting for fall to arrive.  Well, it's officially here and I have a backyard full of leaves to prove it...

leaves everywhere...

you can't even see the decorative rocks

In the last six weeks the yard has gone from relatively leaf free to covered in leaves.  There are leaves on the patio, leaves on the terrace, leaves in the planter areas, more leaves on the walkway and the side yard too!

There have been a few rainy days recently and the leaves came toppling down from our giant Sawleaf Zelkova tree with the accompanying wind.  We planted the tree when we first moved here.  We had no idea just how big it would get...

my tools for the task
The weather today was perfect for the task of getting the leaves into the green waste can.  Ron and I got started mid-morning.  Ron's primary job is to use the leaf blower and make piles for me to put into the can.  With a rake and shovel I can get the job done quite easily.
Ron makes leaf piles for me to collect

The job has two phases.  The first phase is to make big piles out of the leaves on the patio, terrace and lawn.  The second phase is to make piles with whatever is left on the terrace, in the planter areas and the side yard.    

it's getting there...

After two hours laboring over the leaves we were ready for lunch.

But we weren't done just yet.  All of those leaves had to go somewhere.  One of my jobs is to also 'compact' the leaves in the can.  
compacting the leaves to make room for more
Even as a child, one of my favorite jobs was to climb into the can and squish down the leaves.  After three sessions of squashing the leaves, our green waste can was full to the brim.  We still had more leaves to collect.  Luckily, our neighbor's can was empty.

Now our yard is ready for the upcoming predicted weekend storms.  We also put away the umbrellas and glass table tops.
no more leaves, at least for now...

job security!

However, the tree is still covered with leaves so I know we'll be back out doing this all over again in another 4-5 weeks.  And so goes the cycle...  

November 19, 2014

Not Our Usual Weekend

Ron and I are still working full-time running our plastic business.  Weekends are our time to catch up, relax and enjoy life away from the shop. 

Sometimes, however, I go into the shop on a Saturday to work on the books.  Saturdays are a favorite day to be there because it's quiet.  The phones don't ring often and we rarely get foot traffic.  I tend to get a lot of work done in a short amount of time.

This past Saturday I had planned to go and get caught up on paperwork.  I was just about to leave when Ron notices a huge bump on our dog's front paw.  Apollo is getting old, he's 9 1/2, and his arthritis is getting quite noticeable.  He licks at his wrist and the licking causes small raw patches.

Usually it isn't a big deal.  We try to keep an eye on his licking but apparently he did a number on the area overnight while we slept.

poor guy...

 I immediately called the vet and made an appointment for the same day.  It was a good visit-except for the bill.  Apollo has lost 15 pounds.  He's gone from a high of 147 down to 132.  The staff love Apollo and he loves to get the extra attention.

The course of treatment was to make a small incision to let the blood ooze out, keep the area moistened to prevent it from scabbing up too quickly, warm compresses twice per day, antibiotics and a pain reliever for the arthritis.  We had a follow up appointment scheduled for a few days later on Tuesday.

Apollo caught the clamp

Another benefit of owning our business is that we can take Apollo to work with us.  A favorite game of his is when we place a clamp on his collar and he chases it trying to get it in his mouth.  He's gotten quite good at this game.

Tuesday afternoon came quickly and Ron took him in for his check up.  The technician said everything is looking good and to keep up what we're doing.  He goes back on Saturday for hopefully the last time in this round of visits.  He's a great dog and likely our last one.  We want to keep him as long as we can!

Here's a short video of Apollo playing Chase The Clamp!

He's just a big, happy boy!


November 11, 2014

Happy Veteran's Day!

Veteran's Day used to simply be a day off of school for my kiddos.  We would sometimes close the shop and go do something fun.  Or we'd be lazy and sleep in, relaxing at home for the rest of the day.  There were no veterans in my life or Ron's life.  My in-laws immigrated to the US when they were adults.  My dad never mentioned that he was a vet.  Nope, no one to honor for this small family.
What was I thinking?!

My whole perspective on Veteran's Day changed in 2009 when Alex joined the Air Force.  He signed up while in his last year of college.  With his degree he would automatically begin his career as an officer.

tears all around, kisses and hugs too

So on a sad day in September 2009, we said our good byes.  Alex drove himself to our shop before departing on his solo journey to Maxwell AFB in Alabama.  He brought all he would need for the trek across country. 

Now we were officially empty nesters...  But that's a whole other story.

Alex graduated BOT (basic officer training) a few months later in December.  Of course, we HAD to be there!  Alex had a whole support group when he received his first stripes as a 2nd Lieutenant.  His best friend, Brad, flew with us from California.  Ron's folks flew in too.  Jessica even flew in from Maryland to support him.
L-R: Rene', Brad, Jessica, Guenther, Alex, Erika, Ron
saying his oath
Oma and Opa putting his stripes on his shirt

Once Alex had completed his basic officer training it was on to his next assignment and more training.  His job in the Air Force is Air Battle Manager.  He needed additional training.  This required another move.  This time he was going to sunny Florida.  His home base was now Tyndall AFB on the Florida pan handle.  Poor guy had to work at a base located on the beach!

happy graduate

When he graduated ABM training it was once again in the middle of winter.  Again, we flew to be there for this special occasion.  This trip was not as uneventful as we had hoped.  Our lay over was in Atlanta and they were experiencing a rare ice storm.  Our luggage was misplaced.  We missed the formal dinner.  We were a day late but luckily made it to his graduation ceremony.

Alex has been on one deployment already.  He had a very nice first assignment.  He went to the island of Curacao to do surveillance missions.  

He is currently serving his second deployment in the desert, far, far away.  Hopefully he'll be home in time for Christmas this year. 

My view on Veteran's Day certainly has changed since Alex decided to give his life to serve the country we call home.  I will forever be in his debt.  I'm one proud Mom!
My Hero!