It's been a while, no? And while I suppose I could bore you with the usual Life is crazy busy! and I've had so much on my plate! spiel bloggers use when they haven't blogged in a while, that sort of thing scarcely justifies an entire blog post. Besides, post-holiday weekend, you've probably read those same lines fifty hundred times in the past few days. Bloggers can be so self-indulgent in that regard. (I eat it up, of course. But I assume my life is far less interesting than that of my favorite bloggers.)
Instead, let's look at pictures. A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog has precisely zero words and yet Mercer Mayer managed to teach me most of what I needed to know about life and friendship. (Though Mercer Mayer I am not. No comparison.) (The Little Critter books! Gah! Heart eyes emoji!) (I'm so off point + I have already used up my quota of parentheses!)
The second half of June had a decidedly carefree vibe. I spent a couple weeks coffee-shop hopping, exploring, and perusing Portland's local business scene. Content for the new blog flowed like water, and all was well with the world. I fell into a routine sans Husband and Kiddo. My tentative start date for work was July 7, so I had time to relax with little sense of impending overwhelm. This city lends itself to exploration and aimlessness quite nicely. I appreciate that, Portland. (Can I get a hear, hear for that bike with a basket? It's not fair to be that cute.)
Though my return to work has been the central focus as of late, the trail is never far from my mind. My Pacific Crest Trail adventure may need to be postponed while I focus on other grownup things, but the gears are still turning in the background. I must admit I was feeling quite conflicted about the whole issue in the days after receiving my job offer, but the timely arrival of my PCT membership packet (my donation to the organization had slipped my mind) brought everything back into focus. Hiking the PCT is just as important to me than getting into grad school. I won't let the opportunity slip away. For now, the date is tentative, that's all.
With work impending (broken record, right here), and a plethora of on-boarding requirements that must be met prior to my start date, I wasn't sure if I'd get the opportunity to see the boys before I began my formal training. Which would mean 5-6 weeks sans husband and kiddo. I'm rather fond of those two, and the pangs of I miss their faces! were occurring with some regularity. Then I got the news that my background check was held up (no felonies, just paper pushing) and I may not be able to start until late August (the hospital is changing computer systems and is therefore entering into a holding pattern regarding new hires). And if it did go through, it was going to be tight. That whole waiting around thing is for the birds.
After going back and forth with HR, I finally decided to head up to my in-laws' lake house for the 4th. Moments after committing, I got the call that all was well and my paperwork was approved. (How many lessons can one girl get about the merits of letting go?!) And so I boarded the cat, hopped in my car, and drove up. In one day! My mind is still blown that we live in a place where we can drive to The Lake in just one (long) day.
There were three whole days of fun, family, and water sporting. I absorbed as much goodness as I could and thoroughly enjoyed the men in my life. (Kiddo has grown! I'm sure of it! Also, the sun makes his blonde hair the blondest blonde one could ever imagine. I kissed that towhead at least 100 times a day while I was there.) My sister-in-law and her family (including the quirky + cute pretzel-holding pup shown above) also came up, which made things feel very complete.
Leaving is always bittersweet, of course, but my love tank had been refilled. (I even grossed myself out with that one. Love tank? Ew.) The next few weeks without them will be long, but this separation gives me the opportunity to adjust to a new way of life without worrying about schedules and activities and mom guilt. By the time they return, I should feel somewhat settled and have a better understanding of what my days will be like.
One evening Husband and I kept the romance alive by going on a Target (!) and Home Depot (!) date. (We held hands in the beer and hot dog aisles and he generously listened to me wax poetic about spider plants.) On the drive back, we passed the courthouse where we obtained our marriage license and both lamented about how we can't pass that building without thinking about the collective Us. It's a rather charming building, no? Next month is our 9th anniversary which is shockingly close to a decade and blows our minds completely. It feels like we've always been married but 9 years also seems like a veeeerrry long time. You know what I mean?
On Monday I made the trek back. Mario packed me a lunch (hashtag besthusbandever), so I was able to drive nearly straight through, making it home in roughly 10 hours. Breakfast in northwest Montana and dinner in Portland. In the same day. Mind blow all over again.
In case you were wondering (you weren't), my plant obsession has not weaned. In fact, I stopped by the quaintest of lakeside nurseries on my way home and picked up four more plants. Kiddo has also gained a couple more cacti since the bottom photo was taken and no longer has enough windowsill space. Now I'm brainstorming a window shelf that will allow all of his pets to comfortably reside in his bedroom. Mario is perhaps the most patient man alive. Help me.
I'm getting the hang of cooking for one. I think that may be a post in and of itself, as there was a bit of a learning curve after cooking for a family for so long, but freezing things pre-portioned has been key. And only buying enough veggies to last a couple days. As much as I like to think I can while in the midst of the produce section, I can not eat a carton of baby spinach before one slimy leaf ruins it for the rest of them. Weirdly enough, Costco has been my friend. I'm also realizing I have to relearn the long lost art of packing a lunch daily. And hopefully something beyond Cup Noodles. (Though delicious, my ankles quickly become cankles in the presence of that much sodium.)
// In the absence of Mario, Vista is my BFF. He watches me put on my makeup every morning and dutifully greets me at the door each day when I return home. I'm entirely thankful I'm obsessed with plants and not cats. Things could get ugly.
// Old recliners in the front yard make perfectly acceptable office spaces whereby a person can conduct serious business. In Montana, anyway. (My in-laws got new furniture and the old pieces were out front for a couple days until they could be hauled away. They should make more reclining lawn furniture, says me.)
// A Slushee saved me from burning to a crisp. (You can put that on the billboard, 7-Eleven.) My face was literally melting off my bones and unattractive sweating had ensued. I don't mind the heat... until I do. That day I did. Too many asphalt parking lots and black leather upholstery.
Speaking of hot...
iPhone selfies at awkward angles are a must while maintaining a relationship long-distance. Just look at that sexy, hairy cowboy. (Stud Muffin can grow that fabulous beard in a single afternoon. His 5 o'clock shadow arrives around 10a. A real man, right there.)
Now we are thoroughly reacquainted. Aren't you relieved? (Me, too.)