According to a posting I saw online, the El Arroyo restaurant in Austin, TX puts clever, catchy phrases on its sign board.  The sign changes frequently and it’s said that people drive by just to check out the sign.

In my continuing documentation of Wisconsin-based parents teaching their children to be Packer fans by dressing them in Packer regalia beginning at birth, I have yet another piece of evidence that this is Truth.  My nephew, Brandon, and his wife had a baby girl in April and Brandon recently posted this picture of her on Facebook.

Last night, Ted and I went to see Wonder Woman because:  (1)  Jeff’s family all liked it a lot; (2) it had very high ratings (92% on Rotten Tomatoes); and (3) we were in the mood for some fun and action.  Our expectations were low, but the movie was actually very good and we left feeling glad we had decided to see it.

Today, I’m experiencing the Unfairness of Life with laryngitis.  It caused me to miss having lunch with eight retired friends from the community college, an event to which all of us assign high priority because we have so much fun together.

As the day goes on and my energy level drops, I’m feeling worse.  Ted took a break and went to the recycle center.  He also picked up some AAA tour guides so we can start planning our fall trip to the southwestern U.S.  Then he made a final stop to buy a rose for me to make me feel better.

I’m sure he was putting into practice what Wonder Woman learned after 2 hours and 21 minutes of fighting battles:  Only love can save the world.  Go, Wonder Woman!  (And Ted!)

Ted and I have been very busy during the last six weeks, but we’ve got all of our tasks checked off the list.  Whew!

Indoor jobs:

checkmark 24 blackFix squeaky kitchen floor.

The squeaky boards are above the ductwork, so they expand and contract a lot.  The floor guy told us to sprinkle talcum powder over the cracks between boards, then walk on them for a week to work it in.  Success!

checkmark 24 blackReplace kitchen blinds.

The dual-light blinds have translucent fabric (top photo) and opaque fabric (lower part in bottom photo) and can be adjusted to control light.

checkmark 24 blackRe-upholster kitchen chairs.  To be picked up in three days and returned to us with new fabric.

checkmark 24 blackUpdate master bathroom and powder room.  Contract signed.  Work scheduled for September.
Outdoor jobs:
checkmark 24 blackBuy new solar lights.

New lights.  Check!

checkmark 24 blackClean and stabilize pool.

checkmark 24 blackBuy new pool umbrellas.

checkmark 24 blackWash lawn furniture.

Come on in!  Everything is clean and ready to swim or to sit in the shade of the new umbrellas.

checkmark 24 blackWash house and windows.

The siding is power washed and the windows are shiny clean.

checkmark 24 blackTrim trees, hedge, and shrubs.

No more overgrown shrubs.

checkmark 24 blackChip brush pile.

Ted ran the shrub trimmings through his chipper and changed the brush pile into mulch.

checkmark 24 blackBuy, plant, and mulch some shrubs and annuals.

New shrubs, perennials, and annuals are growing in the back yard.

checkmark 24 blackWash and seal concrete.

This was the hardest job to schedule and to complete.  In this rainy spring, it took six weeks to get three dry, calm days in a row to power wash and apply two coats of seal to our 2000+ sq. ft. of concrete.

checkmark 24 blackRelax.

Aaaahhhh.   Ready for summer fun.

For several years, Ted and I have talked about getting a cantilevered umbrella to shade the “house corner” of the pool area.  This year, we decided to go for it.

First, we went to the umbrella store.

The guys at the loading dock were doubtful, but we got a regular umbrella, the cantilevered umbrella, its stand, 200 lb. of sand, and both of us in the Prius.

The car was full, leaving just enough room for Ted to operate the gearshift.

“Assemble it where you want it” we were told, so we did.  This is what 200 lb. of sand looks like in the umbrella base.

The next step was to attach the base cover.  The directions wisely advised having two people to assemble the umbrella, so we worked on it together.  Then Ted posed while I took pictures.

Here’s the post that will anchor the umbrella.

The most awkward job:  getting the entire umbrella unit onto the anchor post.  Oof!  Eighty-eight pounds!

The last step:  relax under the shade thrown by the new umbrella.  The green umbrella on the right is the cantilevered one; the red one on the left is the other new one we bought.We put our two old umbrellas and an umbrella stand at the curb.  In less than ten minutes, they all had new owners.

Last week, Ted and I went out to lunch.  While we were eating, one of the waitresses went around the room and gave each woman a small box of candy.  Was the candy left over from Mother’s Day?  Of course it was, but every woman who received the little gift was smiling.

Three of our kids will be visiting us the last weekend in June, so I’ve been thinking about “family” over the past few days.  As a result, I’m also thinking about some things I’ve learned about families and relationships.

One of my perspectives of family came from a movie.  The two romantically involved main characters in My Big Fat Greek Wedding come from diametrically different family backgrounds.  At one point, the woman tells the man she is uncomfortable about her family and the way they behave.  The man responds by saying, “So your family’s weird.  Everybody’s family is weird.”  Hmmm.

I learned a way families get along from the TV series Everybody Loves Raymond.  Raymond’s mother is a stereotypical buttinski Mom.  (Wisconsin word for always putting her nose into everyone’s business.)  Mom does her usual interference routine at the wedding of her son, Robert, creating stress on the wedding day for several of the characters in the show, especially Robert.  In his role as the best man, Raymond makes a wedding toast to his brother and new sister-in-law.  In his toast, he refers to Mom’s actions of the day and mentions that “families edit.”  Family members know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and they “edit” the less than perfect moments of family life, focusing instead on the strengths of the family unit.

One of my most valuable insights into relationships came from my Grandma Lorenzen, and it applies to people in general, not only family units.  Grandma had a plaque above the stove in her kitchen that said:  “All are queer but me and thee, and sometimes me thinks even thee.”  (Note:  This was in the 1950s, when common usage of the word queer meant “odd.”)  I’ve always thought this was good to remember, and I guess Grandma thought so too.