Election Day of the Dead

Rich and I worked Election Day at the Bath House Cultural Center. We got up at 4:45 AM and did not get home till 10 PM. We had only 76 voters because it was a constitutional amendment election and no candidates were running. We were told to expect maybe 20 voters so I feel like we over-achieved. The day itself was enjoyable and fairly easy; the set up and take down were very hard, stressful, confusing and intimidating. I think we did okay but I was worried about making a mistake! But I am glad we did it and we all said we had the best location in Dallas County. Check out the fabulous art exhibit we got to take in!

A Surprise Visitor

Monday evening, Rich was talking on the phone with a friend and Bonnie texted me to ask “what are you doing tonight?” Prior to this, Sarah had told me that Emery flew by herself to Dallas to visit with her cousins on her dad’s side and I said I had heard nothing about this!

Anyway, I said we had no plans, what’s up? Bonnie said Emery’s flight back home had been delayed till 10:30 that night and her aunt and uncle needed to get back to Grapevine, where they live–could we get Emery from them and take her back to the airport later? I said sure, and then the more we talked, we decided that the odds were good the later flight would also be postponed or cancelled so Emery might as well spend the night with us and go home the next day.

I texted with her Aunt Hannah and we met at a Starbucks to get Emery. What a fun surprise! We had fun hanging out with her last night, caught up on our “Jeopardy” episodes we’d recorded while in Tyler, and watched “School of Rock,” which she loved.

This morning, Grandpa made pancakes and Emery went to Center of Hope with me and helped with turning in food orders, had two pieces of chocolate cake, then we came home a little early since it was not super busy today. She wanted to cook something with Grandpa for lunch so they decided on pasta with homemade Alfredo sauce, which turned out really well and we all enjoyed our lunch. After awhile I had to take her back to the airport, which ended up being a bit of a complicated mess but we made it through! First off, we are used to dropping people at the curb but I needed to go in with her and it took forever to find a parking spot. Then we had to walk a bit to get to the terminal. I was starting to get a little antsy about our time frame but trying not to overreact. Went to a kiosk to print out her boarding pass and it said “invalid.” I tried another kiosk with the same result. Went to ask a staff person what to do and he said we had to get in the “regular” line at the ticket counter, which was pretty long. Finally got to an agent and explained that Emery was flying unaccompanied and her mom had told me that I could get a pass to go with her through security and wait for her to board. The woman said yes, that was true but when she looked me up, I was not on the approved list, just David’s sister and mother. Thankfully the agent was really nice and added me in based on my driver’s license info. This took awhile. I asked about the time frame and she said luckily Emery’s flight was delayed about 2o minutes. ha

She gave Emery a little pouch on a string to wear around her neck with all of her info in it and printed me out a pass to get through security. She went over all the rules, like I had to check in with the gate agent when we got to Emery’s gate, stay with Emery till she boarded and then I could not leave until I was told by the gate agent that the plane was in the air. Also that the receiving parent in Amarillo had to be there 45 minutes early with an ID. The whole flight is only about 45 minutes. 🙂

Then the line in security was pretty long but we got through that and found the gate. There was no gate agent but one of the flight attendants was standing there so I talked with him and he said the plane wasn’t even there yet but we did need to check in with the gate agent when she got there. We went to get Emery a few snacks and came back; by then the plane had arrived and we checked in with the gate agent who looked at all of Emery’s paperwork and said she would take her to the plane first when they started boarding. We still had to hang out for awhile longer and then finally the agent came to get her and we said our goodbyes. I can hardly believe she was flying by herself and was very calm and mature about it!

I had to wait about 30 more minutes till the plane was in the air and then headed home, with a stop at the Apple Store to get a new charger for my laptop because I apparently left the only one I had at Sarah’s, along with my car keys! Apple was super busy and the “genius” was annoyed with me but I got what I needed and finally got back home around 6 PM after leaving before 2.

Our Little Backyard Oasis

I have been irritated with our backyard and pool area forever. Although we need updating and remodeling inside the house, I have been stuck on making the backyard a prettier and more inviting place since the kids spend so much time here in the summer. I finally called to get our decking replaced months ago; a guy came out and gave us a reasonable estimate, and then told us it would be 7-9 weeks before they could start. So much for having it done for this summer but at least it will be nice next year, right? As with most things that I undertake, the decking did not turn out exactly as I had imagined, but it is still much better than the broken, chipped concrete we had before. A few months ago we bought a dining table and chairs so people could eat by the pool without holding their food on their laps or setting it on the end tables in the seating area. Yesterday we put all the furniture and plants back on the deck and I am pretty happy with the way it looks. Of course my creative cropping is keeping out the horrible bamboo on the side, which still needs dealing with. I tried to find a landscaper to help us “reimagine” the backyard but no luck so far. Everyone is booked up these days! BUT I will be happy and thankful for this new and improved spot. Oh yeah, I still have some cute lights to hang on the fence. 🙂

Street Work and Pool Decking

Got home from our trip and couldn’t get down our side of the street! We had no idea we were going to get new paving. Parked across the street at our neighbor’s to unload and then had to leave the car around the corner for most of a week. Meanwhile we had scheduled our pool decking to be redone a few days later! Thankfully it all worked out…

Clean the Block Initiative

Local Democrats came out in force to help clean up a neighborhood in South Dallas with the Clean the Block Initiative. A young man named O’Neil took it upon himself to start this initiative with goals to educate people about code compliance, keep them out of trouble with the city and avoiding fines that they cannot pay, as well as getting rid of trash in various neighborhoods that are under-served. He’s forged a coalition with the city and is gathering volunteers to assist with his efforts. Our friend Kristy is the new Democratic Party Chair and put out a call for us to join in so a bunch of us showed up on a Saturday to clear out some trash. It was HOT HOT HOT but we got a ton of work done and felt really good about it! City Code Compliance was also there in case any of the neighbors had questions or concerns, the police assisted, and we had folks doing voter registration at the same time. A different area will be cleaned once a month so we hope to get back out there again (and maybe in the fall it will be a little cooler!). It was super to see lots of different people working together on a common task and I am very impressed with the young folks who are spearheading this project!