Monday, September 15, 2014

Conclusion: I Must be Breathing

Dear John,
It's been a gray, cool, rainy day. I wore one of my cashmere sweaters to work, the light blue one that you bought for me in Cleveland when we were there for your brain surgery. I got several compliments on it.
I'm enjoying the cooler temperatures. The leaves aren't changing yet, but the soybeans are turning. The leaves won't be far behind. We're supposed to have lows in the 40s and highs in the upper 60s for the rest of this week. We'll go up into the 70s over the weekend, then come back down again.
I only had the heat on Saturday night, then I opened the windows because the heat was running so little that the house was stuffy. The windows are open about an inch at the top, but it smells so good inside. It will be a while before I put the flannel sheets on the bed. But the winter blanket is delightful to have, in addition to my four vibrating heating pads that sleep in various positions on and next to me.
The cool temperatures are making me want to start a new knitting project. I've been working on dish cloths, and I love that, but I'm ready for a new challenge. I need to look over my patterns while KnitPicks has this sale on. It's time for winter nesting. Thank you for enabling my knitting. We loved going to yarn shops together. You always encouraged me to buy yarn that I fell in love with - you said that it would be gone the next time I went, and I would find something to do with it. And you were right. You always wanted me to be me. Thank you for that.
I'm off to bed in a few minutes. I'm tired from the weekend and want to get to bed early tonight. I needed to go back to work to get some rest, after all that yardwork and housework. Everything looks so good! If you haven't been by to see it, try to come tonight. You know where I leave the key!
I'll leave the light on,

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Foisting Myself on You

Dear John,
I know - twice in one day. What was that I said about not foisting myself on you? I take it back.
I wanted to show you this photo. Justin started a Facebook group for Indiana Orthodox, and used this as the cover photo. You never got to see the church finished on the inside, and this is such a good photo. Brian's artistic skill is amazing, isn't it? The stars on the ceiling are in the position they were in Goshen on the night of the Nativity. It's beautiful in the daytime, like this. But it's absolutely breathtaking at night, when there is only candlelight. We've done well with our little pole barn, haven't we?
Oh, and please pray for my friend JoeJoe. He's going through a worse kind of grief than mine - the break-up of his marriage. I have the consolation of knowing that you didn't want to leave me. Our present separation isn't as total as it looks, and I have the hope of being with you again. He's living without any of that right now. And no, you don't know him, so stop wracking your brain. We met on Pinterest and he's become a dear friend. So please pray for him tonight, and for the next little while.
Love you, love you, love you,

The Demise of the Ninebark & the Garbage Disposal

Dear John,
Good morning!
Yes, it's Sunday morning. I didn't get a chance to talk to you until 10:30 last night, and you wouldn't have wanted to talk to me then. I've had some sleep and some recovery, so I have pronounced myself fit for human companionship.
Jim and Irene were here yesterday, and a great time was had by all. I met them at Lux CafĂ© for breakfast, then Jim came back here to work and Irene and I went to the farmers' market, then to Meijer for a new litter box. They needed fly swatters and couldn't find any in Springfield, so I took her to the hardware store here in town. With the sale barn and all, Topeka is fly central. We always have fly swatters here.

Coming soon to a flowerbed near you -
in case you've forgotten what a dwarf barberry is!
Jim built and hung a new gate to replace the one I'd made fifteen years ago. It matches the gate he made last year and is lovely. And he fixed the latch on last year's gate so it will be easier for me to open. While he was doing that, Irene and I weeded, deadheaded, and cut back all of the flower beds. And we got rid of those three ninebark bushes that were such a nuisance. Irene cut them down to the ground and we hauled them to the town compost heap. I still need to dig up the root balls. I think I'm going to replace them with dwarf barberries - THEY won't need to be cut back a foot every month. Jim hung the quilt I made for your mother over the table in my workroom - it looks like it was made for that spot.  Then we cleaned out the garage and rearranged the west side, and I took us all to El Zorito for dinner.
After dinner we had a brief funeral service for the garbage disposal. Its demise is too complex to detail here, but I'm glad it's gone. I'll spend Wednesday re-plumbing that side of the sink. Jim was a bit concerned about me doing it, but I did all of the plumbing under that sink so I'll be fine. I'll check with JJ and be sure I get what I need for the dishwasher connection, and I'll need new pipe dope since what I have is five years old. But it should be no problem. Until then, I won't use the right sink or the dishwasher. No problem there. I covered the hole so Hunter can't get his head stuck in it. So all is well. The disposal kept jamming because of corrosion, so I'm much better off without it. I hardly ever used it, anyway.
Then I fed the animals and got ready for bed, and the fibro hit. I don't mind talking to you when I'm hurting, but this was major akathesia, where you feel like jumping out of your skin and screaming. Since I love you, I wasn't about to foist myself on you in that condition. So I went to bed. I slept until 10:00 this morning and feel reasonably human now.
To sum up: Yesterday was wonderful. I had a great time and we got an amazing amount of work done. Everything except the end of my nose hurts and the house looks terrific. Jim and Irene are so encouraging, too. They remind me that it's okay if I can't keep things done by myself to the standard that we could together. Have I ever told you how much I love your family? I may have mentioned it a time or two. Thank you for making me related to such wonderful people.
Be sure to stop in when you come by to see the house! Adore you,

Friday, September 12, 2014

Keep on Trudging

Dear John,
It's 10:00 on Friday night. I'm in bed with the dog and the laptop, and the cats are arrayed in various window sills. It's 53 degrees and the windows are open just a few inches. Tomorrow night's low is 40. I think we've seen the end of summer.
I worked my Friday in the drive-up and mowed when I got home. It's getting harder to finish before dark. The grass was long today since it's rained almost every day this week. I mowed last Saturday and needed to mow Tuesday after work, but it was pouring rain so that didn't happen. When I got done today it was too dark to trim.
One of my widowfriends posted this today. It's her anniversary, as you probably know since I'm sure you men hang out together. This is very much what it's like here for us. We're in our widow's weeds trudging through the bleakest landscape imaginable, with nothing visible ahead of us. And no, I'm not unhappy today. This is just our reality. This is everyday life for us. We smile and laugh and enjoy our friends and families, and make the best of what we have here. But inside, this is what our lives are like.
I'm glad we widowfriends have each other. Other people can't possibly understand this. We are alone but not alone. And that is good. Please keep praying for all of us, and especially for her on this difficult day.
Trudging toward you,

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cool Nights & Winter Blankets

Dear John,
I had a busy half-work-day. The animals got me up at 7:00. I straightened the house, vacuumed, changed the sheets, did laundry, ran the dishwasher, and cleaned the bathrooms. Then I had breakfast, took a shower and a nap, and went to work from 12 to 5:15. A nice busy day.

The only thing missing is you . . .

Fall has made its appearance. It was gray and drizzly all day, and I don't think the temperature ever got out of the 50s. I'm sitting on the couch wearing a winter nightgown. Of course, it's me and the windows are open, but only a couple of inches at the top. The house smells wonderful. Two nights in the 40s have done for the petunias - it's time to clean out the window boxes.
Tonight will be good sleeping weather. This morning I put the winter blanket on the bed. I'll snuggle under it with the cool breeze coming in the window. Jethro will lie down beside me, Hunter on my side, Abby on my feet, and Maggie on my hip, and we'll sleep well. But we'd sleep better with you here. Look in on us tonight.
Come keep me warm,

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

On Youthening

Dear John,
It was Merlin who youthened instead of aged, wasn't it? And Mork, too, I suppose. I seem to be doing something similar.
A few days ago Jen said that I'm looking younger as my hair gets longer, and I agree with her. Today I was chatting with a customer my age, and he was floored to find out how old I am. He said he would have guessed ten years younger.
I know work makes me look good because I enjoy what I do. The longer hair seems to help - it may be breaking the age stereotype, or that my dark hair shows up more, or that the style is just more flattering. And losing thirty pounds doesn't hurt. I'm not sure what it is. But the consensus is that I don't look my age.
I remember when somebody was trying to sell me a very expensive system that was supposed to make you look twenty years younger. She ask me if I wanted that, and was shocked when I said no. I never wanted to look younger than you did. After all, nobody was ever going to mistake me for a trophy wife. I get aggravated now at commercials that ask if you would like to wake up looking younger - again, I say no. I've lived these years and earned my age, by golly, and I want credit for it. I like being this age. The only thing that was better about being younger was that you were here, and no facelift will bring you back.
So I'll wear my almost-59-years gladly. I'm proud to be a Boomer. I was born in the middle of the last century. I've seen a lot of history. If I look younger than I am, well and good. But youth isn't the aim of my life. As I said last night, I'm just another aging hippie in a turquoise bandanna.
The photo is just a glimpse of what we could be if you'd come back and get old with me!
Wishing you were here aging with me,

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Remarking on Something Remarkable

Dear John,
I think something remarkable may have happened today. And so I am remarking on it.
We were having a fairly slow day at work so I had some time to think. I don't remember my train of thought. But suddenly the idea came to me that my death would be a loss to the world. It seemed to me that I have value.
You want to Gibbs-slap me right now. Don't worry - if I ever say any of this to Jen, she will take care of that for you. It sounds obvious, in a way. Every life is unique and contributes to the whole. But this is the first time since your death that I've thought of myself as having value. I never worried about that before your death. I had value to you, and that was all that mattered to me. Feeling worthless appears to be one of the prevailing problems of widowhood; we've lost the person we gave our lives to. It's part of the identity crisis that we all go through.
Today I wasn't thinking about people who would miss me or skills I have. It wasn't that concrete. I was aware of myself as unique, as somebody who can't be replicated and will never walk the earth again. It was about the essence of me-ness. I know that I'm making no sense at all. It doesn't make sense to me, either - not the sense of logic and the real world. For once in my life, it isn't about logic. It's an awareness of myself as having an intrinsic, existential worth. I don't believe I've ever felt that way before.
This will require further pondering, which I hope produces clarification. Or, at least, something in understandable English. It's too nebulous now for language. I'll let you know if I can find words for this. Instead of my usual crawling around in the back of my head, I may need to visit my heart. It's much less tidy and less familiar to me. It may be my soul that I need to explore.
I will keep you posted on whatever-it-is. If you have any insights, please let me know. You know my number, so text me! You always have known me better than I know myself. Does he world really need one more aging hippie in a turquoise bandanna?
Not-quite-so-worthlessly yours,

Monday, September 8, 2014

And All the People Said, "Aahhhhhh!"

Dear John,
Hello from the land of low humidity! And when did I leave Indiana, you ask? Don't worry - I'm right here. We're into September now, storms came through, and the weather is lovely. We'll have two days of 70s and low humidity, one day of storms, then a week of 60s. The populace had breathed a collective sigh of relief.
The seasons are turning. It's dark when I get up now and almost dark when I go to bed. When we go back to Standard Time, I'll have to start leaving  a light on for the animals. I'm glad we have windows at work - it will be dark when I get there and when I leave. For now, I'm watching a beautiful sunset and listening to the crickets. I shouldn't have to mow many more times this year. The petunias are reaching their end and the sedum is nearing its peak.
All the forecasts are calling for a winter even more severe than the last. I'm still looking at curtains, and am leaning toward insulated ones. It's a relief to know that I won't have to shovel this year if I don't want to. I can walk to work - even in deep snow, I can get downtown much quicker than I can clear this driveway. As long as I have feet, I can get to work. Thank you for buying me good winter boots! I can wear those and some old jeans, and carry respectable clothes to put on when I get there. I won't miss trying to get to work in Goshen when the roads are bad.
Hunter just crawled into my lap and made typing extremely challenging. And I don't really have anything to say tonight anyway. But that never stopped us from talking, did it? So here I am to say nothing and enjoy doing it. Say nothing back to me!
Adore you,

Sunday, September 7, 2014


Dear John,
I'm wearing my Polamalu jersey and watching my Steelers beat your Browns - all that's missing is you. The Steelers were up 27-3 at the half and it wasn't really that close. Sadly, the Browns offense has shown up for the second half and just scored their second touchdown, to make it 27-17. So there's hope for you and I am a bit concerned.
I'm taking a fibro day. I got up for church, and was so exhausted that I sat down and cried. So I stayed home. I don't quite know how to manage this. My body seems to need one day a week to go down, stay home, and do nothing much. Some weeks I can do that on a day other than a Sunday, but sometimes I can't. This week my other day off was Thursday, and I had a doctor's appointment in South Bend. I try to do chores on the day that I work my half-day and on Sunday afternoon, but sometimes that isn't possible, especially during mowing season. I need and want to go to church, but sometimes I just can't do it.
I really can't complain. It's amazing, with the fibro, that I can work full-time at all. I'm getting by with my income as it is, but I can't manage with less that full-time pay and benefits. I suppose I just take it one week at a time and juggle things the best that I can, and continue to learn to pay no attention to what other people think. Even without you here to supervise me, I am respecting my limits. I can't afford the consequences of ignoring them. The animals are delighted to have me at home. I sat in the bed for Psalms, prayers, and Facebook this morning, and all four took a turn snuggling in my lap.
Notre Dame won 36-0 last night. It would have been 37 except that the last 6 points were a touchdown on an interception as the clock ran out, so there was no point-after. I won't know until I've seen them against another good team if they are that good, Michigan is that bad, or both. But the game was great fun to watch.
I'm having a lovely weekend - Kentucky-Ohio and Notre Dame-Michigan on Saturday, Pittsburgh-Cleveland and Colts-Broncos today. And Thursday night we'll have Pittsburgh-Baltimore, the hated Ravens who shouldn't exist. I will be happily overdosed by the time Jim and Irene get here next weekend. If you can arrange a visit, next weekend would be perfect. Your sister really misses you, especially now that your mom is gone. She and I are both only children now. And I hate to nag, but you never did text me your phone number. You can wait until after the game, if you're busy watching it. But you probably have much better things to do, don't you? I can watch for both of us. But the concept of Heaven without football seems to be a bit of an oxymoron.
Go, Steelers!

PS - In case you missed it, the Steelers just won 30-27. Your Browns tied it in the second half and didn't allow any Steeler points, until a field goal as the clock ran down at the end of the fourth quarter. I'm glad my Steelers won and sorry your Browns lost. They looked great in the second half, so you may have some hope this season. I know - with the Browns it's always a rebuilding year. But they have a new coach, so we'll see. And I'll cheer for them against everybody else! It was always so much fun to watch this game together, and I missed you today, but the game and the memories were great. I love you so very much!

PPS - You know I said I'd be watching more X-Files re-runs? I just watched "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'." We loved that one, and I still do. It's brilliant and funny. Again, the only thing missing was you. Remember, it's got to be the planet Venus. :)

PPPS - There's just no getting away from me today, is there? I'm watching the Colts and Broncos now. It's past my bedtime and I'm working tomorrow, so I don't know how long I'll hold out. I sat down expecting to cheer for the Colts, but I can't do it. I'm not exactly cheering for the Broncos, either. I'm really cheering for Payton Manning. I just can't help it. I wouldn't be sleeping now anyway, since I seem to have developed some kind of tummy ache. Too much football in one weekend, you ask? Impossible. There is no such thing as too much football. As I frequently told you, I'm so glad I married a man who liked sports. Anybody but you would have been a perennial football widower. The doors are open, if you can come by for the rest of the game! 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

We Were Right for the Fight Today

Dear John,
On, on, U of K. Okay, as a college fight song, it could have better lyrics. After all, the second song I learned as a child was the Georgia Tech fight song, all three verses. Now, THAT is a great fight song. Notre Dame's is good if you can turn off the parody of the lyrics that we all learned in high school and still plays in all of our heads. But UK is my alma mater, and that's my fight song, and I do have an attachment to it.
UK was right for the fight today. And the game was on ESPN, so I got to watch it. I worked this morning, came home and had lunch, washed windows, and have watched football ever since. I saw on the guide that UK was playing Ohio, and I though it was Ohio State, but it was Ohio University. UK won 20-3 and looked good.
The game was at Commonwealth Stadium. This is the first time since you died that I've been able to watch a game there. I enjoyed it this time - the good memories were louder than grief today. We went to every game for three years. And those were some ugly games in those years, too! Today looked much better. A couple of years ago they were talking about tearing the stadium down and replacing it, but they decided to renovate instead of replace, and I'm glad. They are adding on to the top of it - the elevation drawings look great. Construction is going on now; they expect it to be completed for the beginning of the 2015 season.
We did have our storms last night, some strong, but for some reason the dog wasn't particularly bothered by them. It's 70 degrees now, with much lower humidity than we've seen for a while. The windows are open, the cats are in the window sills, and the dog is outside. I'm sitting by an open window, watching Notre Dame-Michigan, and talking to you. This is as good as it can get until I get to you. Tomorrow your Browns are going to lose to my Steelers. I have free NFL whatever-they-call-it tomorrow on Direct TV, so I know I'll get to see the game. And I wish so much that you could be here! I could text the play-by-play to you like I used to when you were at work, if you'd just let me know what your number is. We don't even have to Skype - texting would be great. You know my number - text yours to me and I'll tell you all about the game. And everything else, probably! I hope you have unlimited texting.
Notre Dame is up 7-0 in the first quarter. I'm going to go put on pajamas and get out my knitting. Feel free to drop by - you know the game will be on here!
Love you even more than football,

Friday, September 5, 2014

Stormy Weather

Dear John,
I had a good Friday at work. I was in the lobby, which was unusually slow for a Friday. It was quite a change from last week. Tomorrow I'll be back at the drive-up.
It's been hot and humid all day. Everybody that came in was talking about how good the air conditioning felt. Going outside and getting into a black car that had been sitting in the sun since 7:15 was about as unpleasant as I expected it to be. I went to the pharmacy and grocery store after work, and at 5:45 it was still 93 by the bank thermometer. Tomorrow's high is supposed to be 73 so, as you can imagine, we're expecting strong storms tonight. We've had a couple roll through already, with high winds and heavy rain. The biggest line should get here around midnight. You can imagine my excitement. I will probably be working tomorrow on minimal sleep.
I had trouble sleeping last night because my hands hurt so bad. I really am trying to rest them, and it's quite a challenge. At least I don't have any rooms to paint this weekend! Hunter must have known last night that something was wrong. During the worst of it, he jumped up on the bed, walked up my legs, snuggled a bit, and lay down draped across my ribcage like he does so often. It was inexpressibly comforting last night. It relaxed me and I went right to sleep. Bless the furbabies! They take good care of me. Your little family is good at looking after each other.
I'm going to head off to bed early tonight. When the storms get here, I expect to have three cats arranged in the windowsills watching the lightening, and one German shepherd shivering in my lap. So I'll get as much sleep as I can before they start. I'll be up at 5:30, and that comes very early. Sleep good tonight, where there are no storms or frightened animals. Please pray for you family - for my hands to heal, for Jethro to not be afraid of the storm, and for the cats to continue to bear with their non-feline family members. We love you very, very much.
Kisses and cuddles,
Joan. And the furbabies.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How I Stumbled into Popularity

Dear John,
I've had a fun day off. I had an appointment with Joe (he's sending me to a urologist - no surprise there), and had some shopping to do while I was in Mishawaka. I needed new slacks because I've lost so much weight that my old black and navy pairs were falling off of me, and I haven't had good brown pants in years. So I went to Kohl's and Macy's and got three pairs of pants and one top, all on sale. Then I went to an accessory shop in the mall and got some headbands and hair clips, and had a lovely talk with the salesclerk who is a nursing student at St. Mary's.   
You know my weakness for peasant tops and long skirts - it dates from the first time they were popular in the 60s. They're back in style, which I like, but today I saw a lovely peasant top that they wanted $98 for. This is not in the spirit of the early peasant tops, is it? I laughed and kept walking.
I'm a leftover earth-mother hippie, and all of a sudden my style has become popular again. Turquoise is back, peasant tops and long skirts are everywhere. Hippie has segued into boho. I'm still selective because my style is simpler than most boho. But what is fashionable is giving me options that I'm not used to having. There are stores I can go into and feel at home. It's strange.
So I will continue to grow out my hair, wear denim and long skirts and peasant tops and bandannas and tie-dye, and laugh because what I've always been has become popular. I will enjoy the availability of suitable clothing as long as I can. When leather and miniskirts come back, I'll return to making my own clothes. Who knew that whatever-it-is-that-I-am would be stylish?
Bless you, you loved me as I am. You never needed to label me or bring me up-to-date or change me in any way. You loved me in peasant skirts and a turquoise bandana in college, and you still do. You never tried to make me look or act sophisticated. Of course, if that was what you'd wanted in a girl, you never would have been interested in me in the first place.
So go to sleep tonight knowing that I'm still the same old me. And I have some new clothes, and in a smaller size than I've worn in years. I will boldly go where I've always gone - as far as fashion goes, anyway. When I get there, you'll have no trouble recognizing me. I'll be the only one in Heaven in a turquoise bandanna.
Keep watching for me,

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Dear John,
I'm working on this sibling thing. And I have no idea what I'm doing because I was an only child. I could use some help here.
I have four furbabies with four very different personalities. I finally understand how mothers can love all of their children equally though in different ways. I don't have a favorite, I love them all the same amount, but they are so completely different. Each one has a special place in my heart.
I'm also feeling my way through the female-dominant thing that cats have. It was pretty simple when I only had one female. But now I - sorry, Jethro - has two females. This could get a bit tricky. When I come home I pay first attention to whoever comes and meets me first. That is usually Maggie. Then Abby won't speak to me for an hour or so because I petted Maggie first instead of her. Hunter, bless his heart, holds himself above all pettiness and welcomes any loving at any time. Jethro and Maggie get jealous of whoever I'm petting and try to push their way in. Tact is required.
In spite of all this rivalry, they love me and each other. I try to give equal time to all of them. At night I welcome all cuddlers to wherever they want to cuddle. I don't have enough hands to pet all of them at the same time. Maybe I should use my feet. I can almost hear them yelling, "Mom! He has my felt mouse again!"
Mostly, I just laugh at all the silliness. And I love watching them play together. They groom each other and take naps together. So I suppose I'm overthinking it. It's really fine. But don't hesitate to send along any suggestions.
Love you great bunches,

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Monday + Tuesday = Ouch

Dear John,
This will probably be short. I'm tired and it hurts to type. We really need to Skype.
Today was Tuesday after a Monday holiday, and at work the days are additive. Monday plus Tuesday equals insanity. You know the goal is for me to finish processing the night drop deposits before 9:30, and that is usually no problem. Today I finished it at 11:30, and had a line of other things waiting to be done. The morning went fast - when Emily came to relieve me for lunch I was surprised because I thought it was around 10:00. Things reverted to near-normal in the afternoon, to the great relief of all.
You know my fibro has always been primarily upper-body. That's good, because I haven't had any trouble walking and standing like lots of fibromites do. But my hands and arms have been quite painful since Friday. I worked the drive-up alone that day, mowed Saturday, and painted Monday, so I expected discomfort. I'm trying to find my limits in light of the hand-and-arm demands of this job. I've been taking Motrin, and I've needed stronger stuff to be able to sleep the last three nights.
So stop typing, you say? And you're right. I'll give my hands and your ears a simultaneous rest. Thanks for listening so patiently every night! And please pray for my aching hands and arms. Sleep well, and know we love you.
Adore you,

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Labor

Dear John,
You were AWOL this morning - I had to move the furniture all by myself. Shame on you.
I did what I'd planned and more. I got that second coat of paint on the workroom walls, rearranged the furniture, then rearranged most of the things on the shelves. Now that the china cabinet is in there, I can put the yarn behind cat-proof glass. It's easier to get to and it looks pretty. Then I swept and mopped. Four loads went to the basement. While I was on a roll, I cleaned the kitchen and the laundry room.
The workroom trim still needs to be painted - I may call Chuck and have him do it. I'll tackle lots of things, but it would be a good idea to have a professional painter do that. And I need to have somebody hang the new closet doors in there. I'll get Chuck to give me an estimate on painting the doors while he's here. I'm trying to be realistic about what I can do while I'm working full-time. I have less time but more money - it may be worth paying him to do that.
I'm attaching this photo of Maggie that I took tonight. I swear she grew three inches overnight. This morning she walked across the bed and I though she was Abby. I knew there was a growth spurt coming by how much she's been eating the last few days. But I didn't expect that much all at once! If you want to see her while she's still a kitten, you'd better hurry and get here. She's already lost her kitten fuzz and has real adult cat hair now. And I think she's going to be long-haired. Her coat is really beautiful.
All this growth is also tiring her out. She's slept almost all weekend. Except, of course, in the middle of last night. I woke up with her pouncing on me. She'd sit on my feet and pounce on my knees, or on my side and pounce on my arms. You get the idea. It's normal, healthy play for kittens as they learn how to be predators. And it's completely adorable. But slightly less adorable at 3:00 in the morning.
Speaking of which, it's bedtime for all mammals here. Jethro is already sound asleep at my feet. I'm back to work tomorrow so I'd better join him. Even though you weren't here to move the furniture, feel free to stop in and look at the results. As I was cleaning up after painting, I found myself looking forward to you coming home and seeing it. So, come home already!
I'll leave the light on,

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Vibrating Heating Pads

Dear John,
You were probably wise not to stop by for a visit last night. I paid for the previous forty-eight hours, working the drive-up alone on Friday and mowing on Saturday.
My hands were hurting when I went to bed, so I took some Motrin. The longer I lay in bed, the more things hurt. It was the usual fibromyalgia thing - I'd lie on one side for about fifteen minutes, and that side would hurt bad enough that I'd have to turn to the other side, and I ended up doing my imitation of  pig on a spit. Between pain meds and Benadryl, I finally got to sleep at 4:00 this morning. I'd given up on church at 3:30 and turned off the alarm. So once I finally did get to sleep, I slept until noon. I did get eight hours of sleep, but most of it was during the day.
Somewhere in there, Jethro gave up on me and went out to the living room. Hunter came in and slept almost all of that time draped across my left side. I especially love that when the fibro flares. The warmth he puts out helps ease the pain. I'm surprised that doctors don't recommend cats as therapy. They're little vibrating heating pads.
I took today as a rest day. I did a load of laundry, ran the dish washer, knitted, watched football, and called your sister. The animals approved the choice - I had at least one of them sleeping on me all day. They do love their mama.
It's 9:00 and I'm the last one awake. I want to put in a fairly full day tomorrow in my workroom, so I will join the sleeping mammals. Remember to come at 8:00 in the morning and help me move the furniture so I can paint!
Can't wait to see you,

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Rocking a Bandanna

Dear John,
I'm reverting to old habits. It's after 10:30 and I'm in bed with the laptop and the dog. I'll try to sum up this day in under a hundred pages.
I could sleep in this morning, so of course I was wide awake at 7:30. I went to the farmers' market and the co-op. Then I tried to get in and out of Walmart quickly because I had yogurt in the car. I'd forgotten to factor in the holiday weekend. I got the things on my list, stood in line for ten minutes, remembered eggs, stood in line for another ten minutes, and remembered that the fan in the bedroom was broken and I need a new one, then stood in line for another ten minutes. I got to the car and found a ream of paper under the bag of cat food. So I went back inside to pay for the paper, this time with yogurt AND milk in the car, and waited another five minutes. It was a cloudy day, so all the dairy products survived unharmed.
I finally got home and had a tomato sandwich. I sat down to watch the Notre Dame game and woke up in the second quarter. It was a great game. Golson is back at quarterback and looks terrific. I mowed this evening - barely finished before it was completely dark - then took a shower and am finally ready for bed. I just finished a bowl of Cheerios with fresh organic raspberries - heavenly.
I'm adding the photo for historical interest. While I was out today, three strangers came up and told me how nice I looked. So I had to record the event. Of course, I didn't have the Kitten-as-Accessory while I was out. Maybe I really know how to rock a bandanna. Very strange. You may print it as a pin-up poster if you like. Or you could just come and visit the original tonight!
I'll leave the light on for you,

Friday, August 29, 2014

Hello, Weekend! Goodby, Normal Family!

Dear John,
The weekend is here - three days off. I may need it to recover from today.
You know we always have two tellers in the drive-up on Friday. We were short today because of vacations, so I did it by myself except for the last hour. It was a wild ride but we all survived. There were lots of times I had a line out to the street, but the customers were patient and all was well. The day went by so fast! I still need to mow. But I dragged myself home, fed the animals, put on pajamas, and ate a piece of toast and a hunk of cheese for dinner. Now I'm in bed with Jethro glued to my side - there are fireworks in Ligonier for the Marshmallow Festival.
There's all kinds of stuff going on this weekend. Plymouth is having the Blueberry Festival. Remember the year that we went? It was not long after we'd moved to South Bend. I remember that it was fun, but very hot and humid. Weather will be an issue this weekend, too. We're supposed to have storms tomorrow and Monday. I may end up having to mow on Sunday.
My big holiday weekend plan is to try to finish setting up my workroom. I need to get the second coat of paint on the walls. And I think I know where I want all the furniture to go. I also need to sit down with the Country Curtains catalogue and pick out something for the office and workroom windows. I can afford to do that now.
Labor Day was never a big holiday for us. It was a busy weekend for restaurants, so you never had any time off. This year I'm looking forward to having time to get some things done around here. With the fall holiday season starting, maybe I can get some painting projects finished. Being busy around here helps me forget that normal families are out doing things together. My little family is far from normal. So we'll paint and clean and miss you. When I paint, you always move the furniture away from the walls in the morning and put it back in the evening. I will expect you around 8:00 Monday morning to move the bookcases. Don't forget!
Love you so much,

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Sensible Chicken

Dear John,
Today I was either sensible or a chicken - I'm not sure which.
I got up at 5:30 so I could get Tammy's birthday cake frosted. The cake didn't cool soon enough for me to do it last night. I looked at the weather forecast and decided that I needed to mow after work, since there is rain predicted every other day of the foreseeable future. After work I went outside, felt the heat and humidity, and decided I could live with grass a bit longer than usual. I came home, put on my pajamas, fed the animals and myself, and crashed.
It seems prudent - I have my eleven-hour Friday tomorrow and will probably be on my feet for the whole time. I need to get to the farmer's market Saturday morning and church on Sunday. The yard would look better mowed. But I also look better standing. I guess it was me or the grass, and I won.
Standing alone in the darkness . . .
A friend sent this photo to me today and it seems to sum things up. I'm standing alone here, so I have to decide between things like this. I can't clean the house and frost the cake and work and mow and take care of the animals all at one time. I have to prioritize. Lately I've been putting the outside work first because other people see it. The inside work got behind until I couldn't stand it, so yesterday I did inside work. Today and tomorrow the job work has to come first. Saturday I'll start juggling it all over again. I'm getting more accustomed to doing all of it myself. But I miss being teamed up with you. I don't think we were intended to live alone.
So come and get me, will you? What's keeping you? You never were as early for things as I was, but you're well over two years late here. It must be because you live outside of time. For those of us in the time-space continuum, you're disgracefully late. So get a move on, will you?
I'm waiting!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I'm Ready for Your Visit!

Dear John,
Have I told you lately that I love you, adore you, and worship the ground you walk on?
I worked my half-day today, then came home and gave the house a thorough deep-cleaning. Besides dusting and vacuuming and moving all the furniture, I cleaned off my desk, coffee table, kitchen counter, and work table. It looks great. This would be a good night for you to stop by. Then I baked Tammy's birthday cake for the party at work on Friday - red velvet with homemade buttercream frosting. After some thought, I put it on top of the fridge where the cats can't get to it.
The photo is just for fun. I felt like sending you something funny tonight. It's just me peering at you and saying hello. Isn't it great? It always makes me giggle.
I need to take a shower before bed, so I need to be off. I missed you today - I always cleaned the house for you, so you really should drop by tonight. I told the animals no more shedding but they have yet to comply. Come soon, before the hair accumulates again.
Love you so much,

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

On Patience

Dear John,
We had enough weather today to last us all week. There was sun and light rain and downpours and thunder and lightning and blue sky and almost-darkness. Nobody got bored and nearly everybody got wet. All of that weather gave the lobby and slow day and me a very busy one. It wasn't Friday-frantic, but steady with very few breaks. It was a smart move today to stay in your car and just drive up. My day went quickly. And Tammy brought pulled pork for all of us for lunch - very yummy, and nobody had to go outside to get food.
This job is so good for me. The financial stability is certainly welcome, but it's much more than that. It's healthy for me to have human contact after working alone in a basement office. I like the people I work with and enjoy my regular customers. As I learn a new field and get good at it, I'm regaining some of the self-confidence that went with you when you left.
There seems to be a symbolic value to this job as well. Because it is something I didn't do when you were here, it makes me feel like I've started a new chapter of my life. And that has a feeling of progress and growth to it. I had expected that to happen with a new job, I just expected that job to come much sooner than it did. But I had no idea how long widowbrain lasts - I wasn't ready for a new job until this one came along.
As usual, the Lord's timing is perfect. When I pinned this to my Widowhood board I was thinking about wanting to go home and join you. But it applies to much more than that, and this job is one of those things. I suppose it applies to absolutely everything.
So I'm grateful for this job. I'm grateful for everything in my life except your absence and, sometimes, life itself. But I will try to relax, breathe, and be patient. I will get there when I'm meant to get there.
On my way,

Monday, August 25, 2014

(Bitter)sweet Memories

Dear John,
Be glad you weren't here today. It was 92 and muggy. I watched a big band of storms coming on the radar, then watched them break up just as they got to us. We still need rain. It seems that all we're getting is humidity. I have yard work to do, but it will wait until the heat breaks. I won't go anywhere.
I saw Harold today. The big news is that he got his license to officiate volleyball. So I've been remembering all your years of umpiring and how much you loved it. You were so good at it. I was always proud of you, but never more than when you put on that uniform and worked a game. Umpiring is demanding mentally, physically, and emotionally, and you did so well in all of those areas. You made me proud to be the umpire's wife.
It was sad when you had to stop doing it because of your work hours, but I never for a minute thought it would be the end. I was sure that you'd go back to it when your job allowed, and certainly after you retired. It was sad  last year to give your gear away. But I was so happy that Harold found a new umpire that needed it. That is exactly what you would have wanted.
So there's nothing profound here tonight, just fond memories. I still struggle with baseball. I can watch little bits of it and that's all. It is so connected with you. Maybe one day I'll get back to it. But I'll still be the umpire's wife.
Love you so very much,

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Love Requited & Unrequited

Dear John,
I felt awful today and went to church anyway. I'm just tired from working Friday and Saturday, and I haven't had a day completely off in a while. Labor Day is a week from tomorrow and I'll have a three-day weekend. I'm so looking forward to it. After church I watered the flowers and weeded, then napped and knitted for the rest of the afternoon, and I feel much more human tonight.
The photo was part of this afternoon's nap. I lay down with Jethro at my feet, and Abby came along, crawled up on my side, and promptly purred herself to sleep. She's still in the cuddly stage and I'm enjoying every minute of it. When I come home she comes running. She follows me around, climbs all over me, and nuzzles and licks my face. Nap time today was delightful.
But there is also unrequited love among us. Abby is feeling a bit left out since Maggie came - she's been the reigning (and only) female, and now there's competition for the top of the pecking order. She's handling the insecurity by being more cuddly with me than she's been since she was a kitten. She's also seeking Jethro's attention, but his is given more sporadically. than mine. Tonight she lay down beside him and gave the most plaintive series of mews that I've ever heard. He looked at her, considered it, and went back to sleep. She tried again, then got up in utter dejection and went down the hall. I pointed out to him that he'd hurt her feelings, so he got up and followed her and did give her a bit of cuddling.
All of this would be easier if you were here, you know. There would  be twice as much attention to go around - more, because I wouldn't be working full time. You can assuage your guilt by coming for a visit. That would cheer us all immensely. And you would enjoy the feline and canine insanity!
Leaving the light on,

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Somewhere Between OMG and WTF

Dear John,
I'm sorry I didn't get to talk to you last night. The power went out at 6:45 and stayed out for almost two hours, so I went on to bed. I don't know what caused it. In most of the town it flickered and them came back on in three seconds, like it does when one substation goes out and we're switched to the other. But this time our neighborhood stayed out.
I generally don't mind being without power for a while, but the hottest weekend of the year is not a good time for it. I was relieved when it came back on - I was pondering having to do hair and makeup at work, and the possibility of repeating the living-in-a-wet-bathing-suit thing that I did when we lived in Durham and didn't have air conditioning.
But all is well today except that it's hot and humid. I have some yard work that needs to be done, but it will still be there when the weather cools off. It's been in the mid-80s today, which wouldn't be bad, but the humidity is around 80%. I know - not as bad as Durham in the summer. But few things are. I'm grateful for the air conditioning.
And so are the animals. Poor things, they wear fur coats all the time. They're so much happier and more active when the house is cool. All is well with them. Maggie is growing like a weed, long legs and long body, and loves to run laps all around the house. Abby grunts and growls at her, plays with her, then lies down the grooms her. Hunter watches all of it with benign dignity. Jethro alternates between sleeping with them and chasing them, appearing to enjoy both equally. My lap and bed are never empty.
Oh, we had a bit of excitement late Thursday night. I'd just gotten to sleep when I heard Abby hissing, growling, and throwing a ferocious fit. Jethro ran to join her and started barking. I found them at the living room window being tormented by the feral ginger cat who was in the flower box. Since I wanted to get to sleep before daybreak, I chased away the ginger cat and calmed everybody down. Maggie, who is most likely the latest progeny of the ginger, was nowhere to be seen.
There's never a dull moment with the five of us here. We'd be happy to make it six if you could come and join us. You really would love the cats. I know you love Jethro and me. You know how much we all love you.
Love you always and forever,

Thursday, August 21, 2014

WFFs: We Have Each Other

Dear John,
I had a good day at work - a little bit of thunder and some scattered rain - hot and muggy outside. Your family is glad for the air conditioning.
Last night I had somebody tell me that I need to go on a cruise or a mission trip (odd juxtaposition) to meet other widows and make new friends. I immediately said that I had wonderful widow-friends, thank you. And I do. I can't imagine life without the WFFs - my Widow Friends Forever are my rock, my support, my shelter in this storm. They're wonderful.The fact that we're scattered all around the world is a negligible inconvenience. Thing like this are the reason God invented cyberspace. And, since we're in so many different time zones, there's almost always somebody awake and on their computer. It's wonderful.
I wish we could all meet for a cup of tea. I remember the night I posted the photo of my dream house, and we spent our virtual evening sitting on the front porch chatting, eating cookies, and looking at each other's craft projects. We decided that we were all going to live there, and Becky named it "The Widow's Walk." We have no idea where it is or who owns it, but it's our photo and, in cyberspace, we all live there together.
If all of you men had anything to do with us finding each other, thank you so very much. Give them all a hug from us. And be sure to wish Phil a happy birthday. Those things probably don't matter to you now, but they're still very important to us since we live here in time and all. Look after each other, and know that we are doing the same down here. We are trudging together through this wilderness called widowhood. We will take care of each other.
I'll leave you with this photo of our mascot - WFFs traveling along together. Don't worry about us. We have each other.
Longing to be there with you,

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

On Being a Grown-Up

Dear John,
I'm curled up in bed with the laptop and the dog. It's been an odd day off - nothing like what I'd planned. But that isn't unusual. You'd think that someday I would learn not to plan these things.
I was going to go shopping in Goshen today and mow after work on Saturday. That was the plan until I woke up this morning and looked at the weather forecast. We're in for a week of near-90 and high humidity starting Friday. So I switched things around and mowed today. It was still humid enough to be fairly miserable. But it was doable, and it is done.
I got caught up on some sleep last night. The dog woke me up at 6:30 wanting to go out, then I went back to sleep and didn't wake up again until after 10:00. Since I usually can't sleep after sunrise, I know that I really needed it. And even after mowing, I feel much more human today. I also got laundry done and bills paid. And I spent almost an hour on the phone fixing an error in the internet bill that would have cost us twenty dollars a month.
Last night I had a phone-call check-up with our new Allstate agent, and tweaked the coverage a bit. Some changes had been made since the accident three years ago than I know neither of us wanted. Everything is changed back now, and it still cost $200 less than the last bill six months ago. The new agent is good - I like him. And I love the company for how well they handled things after that accident. They made a very loyal customer.
The photo is just for giggles. This is what happens when you have cats of different ages. Hunter is almost two, Abby is almost one, and Maggie is about two months. Maggie keeps initiating play. The others go along with it, but sometimes you can tell that they'd rather be left alone. I'm amazed by how well they get along, especially since I didn't do any of the things you're supposed to do when you introduce a new cat to the household. I didn't get a chance - not with Jethro finding them and bringing them home!
It's time to get us all to sleep. Jethro is curled up at my feet and sound asleep. We should all sleep well tonight. We'll be fine through this hot stretch - I already have the house closed and the air conditioning on, since it's been so humid lately. I'll be sensible, even without you here to ride herd on me!
Love you with all my heart,

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

There's Weight to Lose & Hair to Grow!

Dear John,

We had a normal day at work which was interrupted by a monsoon. It rained so hard that I could barely see across the street. There was thunder and lightening and downed trees and power outages. I came home to a frightened dog. The cats were unusually cuddly, probably because they had to deal with the aforesaid frightened dog. All is well now.
The photo is my way of reporting in. I told you last winter that I'd decided to grow my hair out, so this is my progress report. I think you'd like it. Lana is helping me keep it presentable while it grows out. I'm planning to let it grow way out, probably at least half-way down my back. That way I'll have plenty of hair to wear up. I always have had plenty of hair, and it's still thick enough that I could donate some to bald people. The gray is coarse, too, so there will be plenty of volume to wear up.
But, for now, it's behaving well at this length and I'm happy with it. There's very little gray away from my face. I'm graying like everybody else - from the front back. It's almost all brown on the back of my head. My gray is silver like Mama's was. I'm glad about that.
The other thing that shows in the photo is how much weight I've lost. I'm down thirty pounds and still losing. It turns out that severe clinical depression is a terrific weight-loss program. I didn't enjoy it at the time, but, on hindsight, I'm glad for it. I'm back to normal emotionally and am still thirty pounds lighter - you can't complain! I still have clothes to take up. I haven't started trying on my winter wardrobe yet, but I'm sure it will be fun.
I'm sorry you aren't here for all of this. You'd like my hair and love my weight loss. Until you get a hall pass, you can look at this photo. Feel free to show it to family and friends. But don't brag about me - there's more weight to lose and more hair to grow!
Adore you,

Monday, August 18, 2014

Unexpected Sentimentality

Dear John,
I had an unusually busy Monday at work. In the whole 9 1/2 hours, I had about 15 minute of down time. The day went quickly. I came home to animals who were delighted to see me. Everybody came running and made quite a fuss over me. I have no idea why, but I enjoyed it.
This afternoon I had one of those thoughts that come out of nowhere. Suddenly I wanted to go to Methodist Hospital to visit you. I do that fairly often. It was the last place we were happy, the last time we thought you'd be alright again. That month was an oasis and a delight that I love to remember. Sometimes my head tries to go back there again.
The CCU nurses were so nice - they let me be a nurse as well as a wife. I swore that I wouldn't answer any other call lights, then that busy day came when they wanted me to. They let me do all kinds of things for you, and that meant a lot to me. The doctors were nice, too - they let me take part in rounds on you. I know it helped them to have somebody that knew your medical history, but they didn't have to include me like that. And Jill was wonderful, taking me in during the Super Bowl. Nobody has ever done anything like that for me.
The cath lab because a home-away-from-home. You were there four times in ten days, and they felt so sorry for me that they kept giving me free meals. They even let me come into the lab at the end of your first cath - I'll never forget that. And God bless Jim! It was a delight to get to know him.
That hospital has so many great places to eat! I was there for so long that the cashiers started asking me if I wanted to charge my meals on my employee ID card. Of course, I'm more at home in a large teaching hospital than I am anywhere other than at home. It's no wonder people thought I worked there. And if we lived any closer to Indy, I would have. I'd give my eye teeth to work there. Sadly, a four-hour commute is a bit much.
I looked forward to bringing you back there for follow-up visits - showing you the old nursing uniforms downstairs, taking you to eat at Au Bon Pain and getting you a red velvet cupcake, showing you the photos of the hospital's history in the hallway between the parking garage and the hospital. I'm sorry you didn't get to do any of those things.
There a lots of things that I'm sorry we didn't get to do, like growing old together. And Methodist Hospital will always be special to me. Thank you for those wonderful memories. If you can get a hall pass, go by there and look at the historical display. It's well worth the trip. Then come here, meet Jethro's kitties, and cuddle with your wife.
Love you with all my heart,

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Peace, Love, & Animal Cuddles

Dear John,
I actually slept last night, except for that time the dog woke me up wanting out at 4 AM and my tummy started growling so I had a piece of bread and then the cats started rampaging up and down the hall. Except for that, I slept last night.
I woke up at 7:00 this morning and still felt like something had run over me, so my fibro and I stayed home and did next-to-nothing all day. I managed to empty the dishwasher, scrub the kitchen sink, and put dinner in the crock pot. Other than that, I - brace yourself - watched football, knitted, and napped with the animals. I feel better tonight and do hope to wake up flareless in the morning.
The photos are what you missed this afternoon. Jethro was asleep in my lap and Maggie was on the back of the couch. She woke up, stretched, came down, and lay down beside him. Jethro put his left leg over her and she put her front paws on his right leg, and they both slept that way for almost an hour. Occasionally he'd lick her and she'd purr and stretch and enjoy it.
They are so adorable. My Facebook friends are probably divided now as was the Red Sea - two encampments rising up against each other. As this was going on I was posting the photos. The cat people enjoyed it and the others probably wish somebody would take away my phone.
But that's okay - I put up with plenty of misguided political posts and passive-aggressive figure-out-who-I'm-mad-at posts, so they can probably deal with it. If you had a Facebook page, you'd get these photos sooner. If you can do that, remember to send me a friend request. I'd love to see your photos and hear about your days. And your political opinions were never misguided!
That's all the news for today - just a day spent taking care of a fibro flare. The animals took good care of me and I feel better. I'm ready to go back to work in the morning. Come by for a cuddle tonight, and don't forget that friend request! If you have trouble figuring out Facebook, just go find a teenager.
Adore you,

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Joy of Small Things

Dear John,
We had another lovely cool night, and this time I actually slept about six hours of it. I needed to wear a sweater to work this morning. We seem to be having October in August. Whether we will have August in October remains to be seen.
I haven't been able to stay awake since I got off work at noon. I've taken three naps, two of which were voluntary. I curled up on the couch with Jethro at my feet and Maggie under my chin, and a good sleep was had by all. I've spent the rest of the evening working on finances and paying bills. It's wonderful to be able to pay them without having to worry. I still don't spend unnecessarily. But I know I'll be able to pay the bills and put some into savings each month. It's a small thing but, like Mr. Micawber said, it's the difference between happiness and misery.
I'm enjoying small things this weekend. Fibro is still flaring so I doubt I'll make it to church tomorrow. I'm watching pre-season football, knitting, and napping with the animals. Small things, but good things. I need to rest and be quiet so this flare will go away as quickly as possible. It feels very good to be still and quiet.
Quiet, of course, is a relative term since I share living quarters with Jethro and his three cats. At the moment Maggie has a toy and is bounding around the kitchen floor. It's a joy to watch. Jethro has his head out the living room window sniffing the breeze, Abby is chasing a fly in the other living room window, and Hunter just came sauntering down the hall and lay down to watch Maggie play. The Colts are leading the Giants, the sun is down, and the crickets and chirping away. The street is quiet; I don't even hear any traffic on Lake Street. The breeze is getting cooler - I'll sleep under the blankets again tonight.
These cool nights still make me miss you more. It seems that I've carved out a life for myself, and I'm content and sometimes even happy. But that happiness is always touched by the knowledge that I'd be so much happier with you. There's always an asterisk beside it. But the small things are still good; we are managing while we miss you.
Waiting for the reunion,

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Mandatory Winter Bathrobe

Dear John,
I still didn't sleep much last night. I woke up every hour on the hour. It's the fibro thing - when I hurt this bad, whatever side I'm lying on starts hurting after about an hour and wakes me up. But it was a lovely clear cool night. This morning it was 42 degrees. I really, really didn't want to get out of the bed. The winter bathrobe was required.
It was another crazy-busy Friday. We had subs for lunch to celebrate Abe's last day before he leaves to go back to college. While we were eating, Mark was talking about how much he enjoyed talking to you and how much he misses you. It means so much to me to hear people say that. It's good to know how much you're loved by so many people. And I enjoy getting to talk about you. If I can't talk to you, the next best thing is talking about you.
I'm off to bed early again. I'm still hoping to sleep. But this fibro flare will eventually go away, and I'll still be here when it's gone. I'll miss you on this cool night. I'll go to bed with Jethro at the foot of your side of the bed, Abby curled up on your pillow, Hunter spread out across my ribs, and Maggie on my grandmother's rocking chair. When Maggie is big enough to get up and down on the bed by herself, I predict some jockeying for position. They're all a bunch of cuddle-bugs.
Sleep well tonight, and please pray that I do, too. You're always more than welcome, if you can arrange a hall pass. You know where to find the spare key.
Love and cuddles from all your little family,