Saturday, December 30, 2017

A Final Adventure for 2017

Back in February, I took Ben and Chan to Stephen's Gap, a cave I used to visit at least once a month throughout my teens.  I hauled everyone I knew at the time up there any chance I got.  But I never took Matt.  We decided today it was probably because he was adamant about not liking ledges and drops.  

About 25 years ago SCCI bought it and more recently blazed the trail and opened the area back up via a permit system.   I don't know what took me so long to go back and visit, but I am glad we did!  

I have a cold that I insist is the nasal version of Sundowning, that thing where dementia patients get worse as it gets dark out.  Last night, I was 90% sure I was going to not make it today, I could barely breathe.  But this morning I was up with the dawn and feeling fine.  Of course, it's dark now as I write this and I am snotted up once more.  Blah

Always take 2 light sources into a cave. 
Maybe not wear them simultaneously, but still...

6-foot elevation gain, beet red just looking at it. 

The top of his hair is purple, it just does NOT show in pics!

warmer in the cave than it was outside!

Alex was keeping Ben steady while he took a pic

at the top, the creek goes into a crevasse and then pops back out inside the cave!

the waterfall down at the bottom there is the one that can be seen from inside the cave, the water pours through the rock instead of over the lip

Friday, December 15, 2017

And Life Goes On

I had decided at some point, losing Jess would be a bookend in our life.  A thing we can forever put 'before' and 'after' around.  Instead, it's more of a turning of the page to a new chapter.  Life isn't neat enough to give you many definites, it's a messy and disorganized business.

Ben has turned 18.  In a move that would shock my own mother, I have managed to keep them all alive until adulthood.  I had my only hesitation of the year when he and Chan took off on the afternoon of his birthday to navigate the Interstate together.  He wasn't born until after 9 p.m.  That little voice threw out a what if.  Oh, little voice!  I wish I could smash you into a paste and spread you out in the summer sun until you were dry and crackled and eventually blew away.

We are getting the new roof put on, waiting for the materials to be delivered.  Estimates have ranged from 'OMG' to 'WTF'.  I had no idea a simple metal roof on a fairly small and uncomplicated house could run $12,000.  I'm talking galvalume, like on a barn.  Not hand polished bronze here.  They cut it AT the factory, they only have to slap it up there and screw it down.  DANG.  We had to get a loan for it, even going the cheapest route possible.  Well, not cheapest.  I did get the 50-year warranty stuff.  I don't want to even think about that roof again.  Other than "ooh, shiny!"

My father did a brief stint in the hospital after having a stroke.  He's checked out all clear, no damage or blockage or issues, no virus or anything they can detect that caused it after the fact.  Despite being 79 and never having taken the first round of medicine (other than for colds, no doubt) he's on a daily blood pressure medication as there was a spike in his BP just after and his, like mine, is usually quite low.

We have started a new family project, well, South Cumberland has started a new project headed up by everyone's favorite park ranger Park.  Matt took the kids and Alex up today for the groundbreaking.  I wanted to go, but Daddy was still in the hospital and I was on backup Butterbean duty.  You remember Butterbean-my Maltipoo nemesis brother?  I was the favorite for 40 years.  Then Daddy got Butterbean.  He has 900-to-1 photos of that dog over childhood photos of me.

Anyway, the project is one I have been yammering about for 3 years, it's the reconstruction of the old CCC cabins and building!  I've done a ton of research, I am really excited about the whole thing and hate I missed the FIRST DAY of the project.  But there are years of it ahead of us, I doubt it will be done soon.

The state elected a Democrat to Congress.  I'm still not even sure what to say beyond Yippee!

Ben's Christmas concert is Monday, then the next week Matt will have a few days off for the holiday, then it will be a new year. 

I've taken no photos, done no new hikes just the same old routes I have walked a hundred times if I've even bothered to leave the house at all.  It's all been routine-running the errands I have always run, taking Ben to music and picking him up, getting dog food, cat food, more toilet paper, time for another oil change.  I feel mired in it all, ready for something else.  Ready for a new chapter.