Family Trip to the Lake, My Next Crazy Situation, and…Spider!

Hi Friends!

There are two kinds of spiders in my area that creep me out: the Black Widow and the Brown Recluse. The latter of the two much more than the former, because the Black Widow tends to know its place here in Southeast Missouri–inside hollowed-out logs in the woods! The Brown Recluse, on the other hand, is a first-class trespasser that loves nothing more than dark basements and unused drains. They are resistant to pesticide sprays, and are especially active this time of year because we are right smack in the middle of their mating season…

I sat down on the toilet at work yesterday and a movement from the corner in front of me caught my eye. An eight-legged critter of the flesh-rotting-bite variety was scurrying directly towards my feet. I raised my legs into the air mid-pee, praying to myself that it wouldn’t continue its trek and begin climbing the toilet on which I was sitting. As it positioned itself below my right foot I contemplated bringing my shoe down onto it. Then a terrifying thought stopped me–I was wearing open sandals and one sudden move from the spider as my foot came down could end with her right inside my shoe.

Thankfully movement from my leg raised above startled her and she bolted back to the corner, freeing me from a state of distraught helplessness on my porcelain perch. After washing my hands I went on the hunt for bug spray. I found Lysol and two gallon-size jugs of weed killer, but zero cans of bug spray, and not so much as a fly swatter to smash it from a safe distance. All I could do is wait for a customer to leave, then have someone with closed shoes stop the eight-legged, six-eyed tiny beast from escaping and finding a new home in someone’s office chair or, even worse, under the toilet seat.

I somehow managed to swallow my lunch despite the knot in my stomach that didn’t untie itself until a couple of hours later. Welcome home, right?!

Now that I’ve written 350 words on a spider assault…

My sister graduated from high school Friday! I was 14 when she was born and now she’s all grown up…which puts into terrifying perspective just how quickly the last 15 years since my own high school graduation have passed. She’s 18, has just begun her first serious relationship, and is off to college in the fall. She’s also 5’7, blonde and built like a super model. We share a mom, but she is my stepdad’s daughter…my stepdad, who is 6’5 and skinny as a rail and she’s built just like him, the lucky duck! As hard as it is to believe that she’s legally an adult, I can’t wait to see where life will take her.

To celebrate her graduation, my mom planned a family trip to Branson for a few days, and rented a condo that would fit all eight of us that sat right on the edge of Table Rock Lake. But first, we had to get her graduated!

My sister is a 4-H junkie with a room full of ribbons and trophies from showing horses and training dogs, but when it comes to doing hair–she’s definitely not a girly-girl. She asked me if I could curl her hair for her, and I needed to curl my own as well, so I happily agreed to help make her beautiful for her graduation while getting in some sister bonding time. While waiting for our curls to cool so we could break them apart, we had to Snapchat our Shirley Temple look:

With such a large age difference we’ve never been in the same place in our lives. She’s closer in age to my kids than she is to me, and she and my youngest son are as thick as thieves. Now that she’s 18, while there’s still a pretty good gap in where we fall along the adult experience spectrum, we can talk a lot more about grown-up things than we used to. When she was a toddler and I was in high school, I felt more like her second mom than a big sister. Now, for the first time, I’m starting to feel a little more like a big sister than a second mom.



Since my boys, Ashlyn and I rode down in my car, we arrived to our lakeside condo with expansive water views first, and Ashlyn immediately staked claim to the bedroom with a patio door to the balcony and a massive window overlooking the lake. And since I was sharing a bed with her, I sure wasn’t going to argue with her room selection. If I could only wake up to this every day:

As much as I couldn’t wait to take the kayak out on the lake, by the time we unpacked, inflated Logan’s raft and my kayak, it was time to start getting ready for our dinner cruise. Mom bought tickets for us to go to the 8:00 cruise and show on the Branson Belle Riverboat.

We’d gone to bed late the night before, spent the day driving, and were in for a late night again…and I am not a night owl, unlike my mom. By 9:00 I was yawning, and it was nearly 11 before we made it back to the condo. Tired or not, the cruise provided beautiful views of the sunset (despite hair-and-dress-whipping winds), the food was good, and the show was well worth the late evening. During the hour long show they performed songs from 26 different movies in nine minutes, starting with Somewhere Over the Rainbow from Wizard of Oz. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love Judy Garland, so my night was made!

The next day was Sunday, my only full day on the trip since I had to work the next day (we have a branch in Branson where I worked on Monday, before making the four hour drive home that evening), and I was intent on spending as much of it as possible on the lake.

First thing in the morning I got my kayak out on the water. Whoever designed the inflatable kayak deserves a genius award! It’s heavy, sturdy, and glides through the water almost as well as a “real” kayak. I have a vessel for getting myself off of the beach and onto the water at long last–YES!!

I spent the morning on the lake, took a brief hiatus to go get some groceries and supplies for the condo with my mom and grandma before heading to the Titanic Museum (super cool, by the way), and then spent the evening back out on the water while my boys and sister swam, snorkeled and skipped rocks along the rocky shore.

I loved spending time with my family, but I would really love to go back there all by myself! I’m a total recluse (ironic, I know, given how this blog post began) and love having time completely to myself to rejuvenate and do my own thing. A week of hanging solo on the lake with my kayak, hiking shoes, and a book or two sounds like absolute heaven. It must be my introverted nature, because my idea of a vacation is being on a secluded beach somewhere, or a day-hike smack in the middle of the mountains in an area where I won’t see another soul all day.

I made it home late Monday evening, and reality swiftly returned on Tuesday. I came home from work for lunch and went to turn on the soaker hose to give my plants a drink. As I was turning on the water, I noticed a black cable laying in the yard. I followed it and found it stretched across the ground from the electric pole in my front yard to the retaining wall in the back. I’d returned home, and also returned to the never-ending rotten luck that has been my 2018.

My yard was in desperate need of a mowing, since it had rained for the three days prior to me leaving in addition to the four days I had been gone. And now I had a cable stretched across my yard that I couldn’t touch, preventing me from mowing. I called Ameren first, and someone came immediately, before I’d even left to go back to work, and told me it wasn’t an electric cable, but a utility cable likely belonging to Charter or AT&T.

Since I have Charter and not AT&T, I called them first. They said they would send someone out to look at it. By the time I came home at 4:30 they’d already been there and had a note on my door that the cable belonged to AT&T. So I called them up, and the immediate attention the situation had received from both Ameren and Charter, ended with Ameren and Charter. They said they would get a technician out there Thursday–two days later–while my yard continued to grow into a jungle as I waited for them. Certainly not much encouragement to ever switch to AT&T for my internet service…

I guess it could be worse–I could actually be an AT&T customer who had to go two days without service before the problem was addressed. Do you suppose it’s a good sign that I’m still somehow finding the silver linings in all of the weirdness that’s happened the last few months?



One thought on “Family Trip to the Lake, My Next Crazy Situation, and…Spider!

  1. Glad you girls loved the lake, we need a pontoon day on Lake Shelbyville this summer sometime, we have 2 marinas that do rentals!!!! 😆


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