Trying my damnedest to stay cool — or at least not to perish from heat stroke. We had so much to do to get ready for the party (tomorrow), yet it was so hot and humid, it was oppressive. Enough so that it prohibited doing much of anything. We wanted to shampoo the carpets, but with the humidity, we knew they’d never dry. We wanted to paint the trim on the windows outside but, again, with the humidity, they’d never dry. We took things slow and easy and at least got all the gardens weeded and mulched. We shopped, hung out in air conditioned stores a couple of days, but more than anything, we slept in each and every day. It got to where we weren’t getting up much before 10:00. Of course, we were staying up later, too.

We found a great “Easy Up” 10 foot square gazebo to put up for the party. We erected it as sort of a dry run, and decided it gave us some good shade for our outdoor work, so we’d work, then seek shelter in the shade for our many “union breaks.” One day, without warning, the sky opened up and dropped rain by the bucketsful. It collapsed the gazebo, mangling the frame. *sigh* While trying to rescue the gazebo, during the storm, a mosquito stung me in the tear duct of my left eye! Within an hour, I looked like I’d gone 3 rounds with the heavyweight champ!

We found another gazebo, by Coleman, that’s a bit bigger, and was almost $30 cheaper. It’s still in the box, needless to say. We decided to put up our 4 person tent for the kids to hang out in as well. My 3 granddaughters will be here, along with my foster sister’s son, and two kids that belong to one of Lisa’s co-workers. I’m pleased that my father and his young wife and daughter will be joining us, too. We figure the kids will have a good time hanging out in the tent, and we’ve got age-appropriate games they can play inside, as well as a child’s horseshoe game and a kickball. We’re hoping that the gardens don’t suffer from the kickball.

We went down to Bath (about 90 miles south) to an antique store that we love, to find some old shutters. We got the idea to buy some shutters, link them together via hinges, and create a “privacy screen” on the patio where Joe’s air conditioner/window stick out. Not only will it make the patio look better, but it should provide Joe with some added privacy and prevent the hot, direct sunlight from getting into his room. We sanded them down and spray-painted them a pretty sage color. Then we bought some mature sunflowers and put them in a green and terra-cotta pot that’s shaped like a tulip, right in front of the shutters. They look great!

After the antique store, we stopped off to see my daughter at work for a few minutes and give her her birthday gift that was almost a month overdue. After that we swung by to see my father and his wife. It’s always a kick for me to see the genuine look of pleasure on his face when he realizes it’s me. A parent who actually likes me! From there we went to Wayland (it’s north of Bath, on the way home to Rochester) to see my Aunt Wanda, (my father’s sister) who has moved up to NY from Florida — too many hurricanes last year for them to want to stay there any longer. They bought a home from HUD, and other than the poison ivy growing on the front porch, it’s in excellent shape.

Another day we went to a place called “A Touch of Clay” where I’d won a $25 gift certificate from a local radio station, along with tickets for Clay Aiken at Darien Lake on July 30. We both looked at each other and said “UH OH” when we walked into the place…we knew we were leaving lighter in our bank account. Not bad, though, we left just over $100 lighter. We bought something for ourselves and something for Lisa’s sister for Christmas.

Other than that, we were ladies of leisure for two weeks. We putzed and futzed in the gardens and in the house, relaxed, rented some movies (Ladder 49, Miss Congeniality 2, and H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds–not the one with Tom Cruise, but with C. Thomas Howell as the lead character) and I got 414 rows of knitting done on my big project. The nice part about a two week vacation like that is that you don’t go back to work feeling cheated, you go back to work with a clear head, a rested body, and in high spirits. Of course, you also go back with that “I don’t WANT to go to work!” whine as well!

Tomorrow’s my birthday. My 50th. We’re having a party to celebrate it and our first anniversary. We’ve got about 35-40 people coming — not bad from an original invitation list of 60, given that it’s summertime and folks are on vacation or attending weddings or family reunions. My father and aunt and daughter will be here from my side of the family. Lisa didn’t send invites to her family, as they’re all in PA and they’d have to spend the night somewhere. We have gay friends, straight friends, neighbors and co-workers coming. It’ll be a good mix.

Joe’s tending bar. He’s bought a lot of liquor for this party. We believe his intention is to get himself set up with a “bar” of his own for personal use. There’s tequila, Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, Vodka, Rum, Vermouth, Sweet Vermouth, Peach Schnapps, Cherry Schnapps, Kahlua, Bailey’s, Jagermeister, Gin, Amaretto, Orange Liqueur/Cognac, as well as standard mixers. We’ve got beer (Labatts — we’re supporting Canada these days), Smirnoff Twisted, regular Smirnoff, pop, iced tea, and water as well. We don’t think anyone will dehydrate tomorrow.

We’ve got folks bringing a dish to pass. There’s “white chili,” Grand Marnier brownies, 3 bean salad, 27 bean salad, meatballs, mac and cheese, chips and dips, veggie trays, fruit trays, and a host of stuff that we hope goes over well because we’ve got noplace to store leftovers! LOL!

The forecast for tomorrow is “Mostly sunny and comfortable. Highs in the lower 80s. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph.” I’ll take it!

No time to contemplate the upcoming 50s or the waning hours of my 40s today. I have to mop the kitchen floor, mop my bathroom floor, vacuum and dust the family room, and set up the speaker switch for the stereo so that we have music tomorrow. We’re using our good 60 CD changer stereo for the party. We put in 70s “Singers and Songwriters” collection, 3 Queer as Folk CDs, some mixes that Joe did, Tina Turner, Queen’s greatest hits, Cher, Celine Dion, Neil Diamond, Matchbox 20, Colin Raye, Josh Gracin, Clay Aiken, Phil Collins, Barry Manilow, Creed, Heart, Hootie, Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, and a host of others. Should make for an interesting mix. We set the stereo on “all CDs”, “Shuffle” and it gives us just such a great mix of stuff that we just had to use it for the party, even given the ass-ache it was to get it out of the entertainment center and move it downstairs.

I’m going to post a link later in the week with pictures of our gardens and, I suppose, pictures from the party as well. Stay tuned…

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