Year of the Skunk

Every year I add an ornament to our tree. To be fair, I actually add more than one, but at the very least, one new ornament must be added. This ornament can be our traditional family ornament, an ornament that I couldn’t pass up at the store, one that is gifted to us, or an ornament that signifies something that happened during the past year.

Back in October I was just getting back into the swing of blogging, catching up on posts that had been piling up, looking forward to new possibilities, ready to really make an effort to posting regularly again. Then, the unspeakable happened…Bell got skunked!

I know this is not something earth-shattering or life-changing, but here in our house, it was unbelievably horrid. Having a dog get skunked is a common occurance out in the country, but living in a subdivision with more than 1100 houses and very little open area for wildlife, this is not the case. So when Bell was let out at 9 o’clock at night, no one thought twice about it. When Bell came trotting back to the door (actually she was cowering with her tail between her legs, but Grace didn’t pay attention to this–a mistake she will never make again), the door was opened and she bolted in.

Now normally I would think if you noticed something was off when your dog comes back into the house, especially in the “smell” department, you’d immediately send that dog back outside. Not at our house. What did Grace do? Well, in her infinite wisdom she called upstairs to me, who was comfortably nestled in bed preparing to work on a blog post, and told me to call Bell because she thought she smelled funny.

I knew better than to call Bell, but upon hearing the word “upstairs” Bell ran as fast as she could through the kitchen, the dining room, the great room, up the stairs, through the hallway, and into my room. Bell is a very athletic dog, so bounding from the door right onto my bed was no problem.

Anyone who has had a pet skunked can attest to the fact that the smell that accompanies this wonderful act is awful. The smell is not like the smell you’re used to when you smell a skunk off in the distance when sitting on your porch enjoying the coming night. Not even close. The smell is far more concentrated, like multiplied by 100.

Well, Bell jumped right onto my bed and proceeded to roll on her back in submission, which spread skunk oil all over my bedding. Needless to say, I was not happy. I screamed for Grace and we got Bell back out of the house. Of course this was not before she ran from room to room, trying to avoid being put outside, laying down on the carpet in each room she had to go through, until I finally had to pick her up, hold her tight against me, and throw her outside.

Now, skunk smell is not one of those odors that you can just wash away. No, this smell has to wear out and for some reason is not necessarily just where the oil might have touched. The smell gets into the woodwork, every piece of material/clothing (including in shut closets), leather (including furniture, shoes, coats, and accessories), wall paper, and furniture (including wood). Yep, that stench gets into every nook and cranny in your house.

The first couple of days we were lucky enough to have some fairly mild weather so we had every window and door open trying to air out the house. Every piece of clothing had to be washed (my clothes from that night were thrown out), all bedding had to be cleaned, and all drapes and valances had to be taken down, washed and hung to dry.  I didn’t dare put anything in the dryer because all of our appliances for some reason seemed to ooze of skunk smell, so my clothes line did double time.

My bedding, like the clothes I had on the night Bell was skunked, was a lost cause. After two weeks of airing it out, washing it countless times, and spraying it with every type of air freshener/odor eliminater I could find, we tossed it. And I eventually had to buy a plastic mattress cover, one of those made to put on mattresses with bed bugs, to contain the smell that would not go away. As for the new mattress pad I had just bought a week prior to this happening, well that too had to be tossed.

Airing out the house helped a bit, but the smell in the carpets, walls, and furniture seemed to intensify. For the next two weeks I washed walls, floors, carpets, furniture, and tried my best to get our house back in order. The smell slowly dissipated, but it wasn’t until mid-November that I can honestly say you could walk through our house without the faint smell of skunk lingering about.

The smell on Bell however is a different matter. She has had more baths in the past six weeks than her entire four years of life. She’s been washed in tomato juice, vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, peroxide, mouthwash, watered down bleach, and even the professional skunk removing shampoos sold at pet stores. Still, the smell prevails. It’s certainly not what it was, and some days, she actually smells okay, but the moment she gets the least bit damp from rain or even walking through the frost on the grass, the smell comes back.

Bell is an indoor dog. We have no option of keeping her outside. So when she comes back in the house smelling worse because of rain or snow, the smell lingers. Blankets need washing and furniture needs wiping down. It’s as if I have a full time job of trying to keep down the skunk smell in our house.

Everything was in upheaval for more than a month, setting everything back. But, it has now been nearly a month and half since this happened and things are beginning to get back to as normal as normal can be around here. I’ve almost finished decorating the house for Christmas, I’ve started my Christmas shopping, I’ve finally gotten back into trying new recipes and experimenting in the kitchen, and I’m looking forward to enjoying the holidays.

Black Friday, Grace and I went out for our annual day after Thanksgiving shopping trip. While we were out, we bought our annual family ornament, but when I came across this little ornament at Joann’s, I knew I had to buy it.

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As much as I would love to forget our whole “SKUNK INCIDENT,” that is just not going to happen, so why not have a little fun with it. Everyone who comes into our house this holiday season will have to bear with me and endure a regaling of Bell getting skunked, Grace letting her into the house and sending her up to my room, and the process of trying to get the smell out.

I can say without hesitation that this has been the worst experience of owning a dog to date, but at least we can laugh about it now, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

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Why Is It So Hard Letting Go?

Back about seven or so years ago I boxed up all my homeschool supplies and packed them away in the basement. That’s not to say that I stopped homeschooling, but the supplies I finally put away were the Pre K – 4th or 5th grade stuff. This amounted to nearly 30 plastic bins of stuff.

This might sound like a lot of stuff, but my situation was not typical of a homeschooler. Having a son with Down Syndrome I tried anything and everything when it came to teaching him. If one workbook didn’t work, I bought another. If one manipulative didn’t hold his interest, I found others to try. My home was better equipped with teaching materials than most public school classrooms.

With the addition of our new freezer in the basement, although I made a space for it, I decided it was time to start parting with my homeschool materials. This would free up some much-needed space and get rid of lots of clutter. Even though the bins were stored out-of-the-way, having them still gave me a sense of clutter. I justified holding onto all this stuff by claiming that perhaps some day Grace might want to homeschool her children.

Grace is 19 and although she likes the idea of homeschooling her children someday when she has them, she is a very different person than I am. I wouldn’t say she is lazy, but she isn’t motivated either. I had a long conversation with her recently about this and I can see that she is pulling away from the homeschool choice already because she doesn’t want the work or responsibility that goes along with it. I can understand her point of view, as many times I was overwhelmed with the homeschooling aspect of our lives, but at the same time I wouldn’t change those years for anything. This will have to be a choice for Grace to make and if she does decide to do it, she will do it her way, not mine.

So over the long weekend I began pulling out a few bins of teaching materials and taking pictures of them to put up on Craig’s List. As I started sorting through the hundreds (and this is no exaggeration) of workbooks I have, I found myself setting aside certain ones that I remembered really liking. These were in the keep pile. The rest went in the sell pile, which was substantially bigger.

I posted five ads/five items in three categories each and then decided that perhaps a bulk ad advertising just “Homeschool, Teaching and Teacher’s Resources” would be better. It would be tedious to list each item individually.

Bright and early yesterday morning I received a phone call from a woman who saw one of my ads. She wanted to come by and take a look at everything I had. I asked her what she specifically was interested in and she said “EVERYTHING!” My heart began to race. I was thrilled or something, I wasn’t really sure. I told the woman that I would pull out more bins for her to look through and see what she was interested in and we made arrangements for her to come by later in the morning.

A few hours later the woman and her four little girls were seated in my great room looking through binders of workbooks, boxes of puzzles, stacks of books, and bin after bin of manipulatives and teaching aids. I have everything priced to go. workbooks are from $1 to $3 depending on the size of the binder they are in. All of my workbooks have had their bindings removed and been put in either a binder or file folder for easy copying, no writing in them whatsoever. Wood puzzles were $1 for small to medium and $2 for large. Books were $.25 each for readers – but I didn’t even bring up the 1000 books I still have in the basement. Manipulatives were from $5 to $15 depending on how much I know I paid for them which is at least 3.5 times those prices (teaching materials are not cheap).

The woman filled six boxes with stuff and ended up spending $200. Zeb and I packed the stuff away in her car and she asked me to contact her again when I pulled out more stuff. In all, I probably had pulled out about 1/3 of what I have. She didn’t buy everything, but she took nearly every workbook, quite a few puzzles, several stacks of readers, four different types of sorting, lacing, manipulative type sets, a videoscope lab, and bug collection.

After she left I sat on the couch looking at the empty spaces in the great room holding my money. It was a weird moment. I was happy to see my stuff going to a home where it would be used, but at the same time, there was this funny feeling in my stomach.

Hubby came home shortly after the woman left and was very excited that we’d sold so much. His excitement encouraged me, so after he left for work again a few hours later, Zeb and I once again headed into the basement to pull out more bins. I finished clearing out one storage room (another five bins) and then we went into the pantry and pulled another seven bins from there. I brought everything upstairs and began sorting through everything.

This time, as I sorted through all the workbooks though I noticed something, the pile to “keep” was increasing three or four times faster than the “sell” pile. Very quickly I had four bins of workbooks that for some reason I just could not part with. This was not to mention the four boxes of file folders in the basement I’d already eliminated from the selling option before even bringing them upstairs.

I stopped!

Why was this suddenly so hard to do? Why was I holding onto even one of these workbooks? It’s not like I’m going to use a Pre-K Numbers Workbook or Second Grade Math text-book, and even if there were ever an occasion for me to use or need such a thing, there is no reason I couldn’t go online and pretty much find anything I needed.

Still, that funny feeling in the pit of my stomach was turning into an ache and then an anxiety-ridden struggle. I want the extra space and all the clutter gone, but after watching that woman walk out of here with so much of my “stuff” that I used for so many years with my children, I feel an emptiness that is choking me.

Probably the best thing to do would have been to just take the bins out of storage and get rid of them without opening them, but I couldn’t do that. I had to organize everything again, make sure everything had every piece, and even clean some things. Touching every piece brought back so many memories and thinking of these gone is really hard.

So, this is what my great room looks like this morning:

It looks like -- No words! Just a MESS!

It looks like — No words! Just a MESS!

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These are just some of the workbooks I have. There are two more bins of ones to sell and of course the bins I have hidden away in the office.

These are just some of the workbooks I have. There are two more bins of ones to sell and of course the bins I have hidden away in the office.

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I have five other accessory-type charts for this thing!

I have five other accessory-type charts for this thing!

I can't even find my coffee table under all this stuff.

I can’t even find my coffee table under all this stuff.

I don’t know what to do. I am so afraid of regretting getting rid of all this stuff — but at the same time, it’s only stuff! Hubby pointed out to me when I began pulling all this out that it would be nice to make some of our money back on all this stuff, but as long as I got what I wanted from it, donating was an option. If I do donate it will have to be to a school for special needs children because that is where I would really like to see this stuff utilized, although I don’t know that they would even want it. Just giving it away and not knowing that it will be put to good use is not something I’m comfortable with right now. Getting rid of it period is not something I’m comfortable with right now.

I’m not sure if I should email the woman who was here yesterday to come by or contact another person who emailed me last night about my ad. I bet I could sell every one of my workbooks, even the ones I have locked behind the office doors, but how can I do this?

I have a rule that I try to hold myself to: Once something is brought up from the basement to get rid of, it doesn’t go back down. This has served me well when getting rid of other things, so when it wasn’t sold it was either thrown away or donated. There is no way I can leave my great room the way it is. Something has to be done, just what?

At the moment I’m at a loss. Grace made me a fresh pot of coffee, the weather is rainy and humid, but supposed to get cooler sometime today, and Bell needs to get out for a walk before I’m brought up on charges of dog neglect because she’s been homebound for so long because of the heat and humidity. I think I’ll get dressed and take her for walk to clear my head, come home and have a fresh cup of coffee, and then maybe my perspective will clear — and for this, I am trying to be Simply Grateful.

Morning Thoughts – All Grown-Up and University Bound

I’m sitting here this morning, in bed, after getting up at 5:45 to pack Grace’s lunch for college, counting the hours until it is supposedly going to start raining. The temperatures have been well into the upper 80’s low 90’s for what seems like weeks (actually only about two weeks) and the humidity is unbearable. I have been locked away in the house afraid to even open the doors for fear of being consumed by the heat.

Rain is predicted for later today and with it they are promising cooler weather, lower 70’s actually and for the next 10 days it looks like the air conditioner will get a much-needed reprieve. Even though, I can’t get motivated to do much of anything today.

I was inspired making Grace’s lunch this morning though. I am definitely a morning-type person. Getting up early doesn’t bother me, as long as I’ve gone to bed at a descent hour, gotten enough sleep, and am not woken by an annoying alarm clock. I by no means like to stay up late. I go to bed no later than 10, but more often than not, earlier than that. In fact, most nights I try to get up to my room and into bed to relax by 8, of course the family isn’t so cooperative. Falling asleep is easy; staying asleep, well that is an entirely different matter.

It takes me all of 10 minutes of watching television in my room to calm down and start drifting off to sleep. Come 1, 2, or possibly 3 a.m. though, I wake and toss and turn for an hour or three, fall back to sleep and then wake again right before 6:00. If I need to get up any earlier, my alarm is set, but I just hate that ringing in my ear, so whenever it is set, my internal clock will typically wake me a few minutes before it rings.

Anyway, back to Grace’s lunch. Yes, I make lunch for my college bound daughter. Actually though for the past couple of years she wanted to be “independent” and make her own. About a month ago however she came to me and sheepishly asked if I would be willing to make/pack her lunch as well as dinner (just one day) to take with her to school each day. This is her first semester at a University, as she completed her Associates at a local community college and she is nervous about how this is going to be more stressful of an endeavor. I told her I would.

Not making her lunch while she was working over the summer or when she went to community college did bother me a bit. Letting go of something as little as that shouldn’t really be a big deal, but it was. After having her home for so many years and making her lunch day-in and day-out, the transition I knew was just the beginning of her independence.

Her asking me to make her lunch again was a subtle reminder that although a woman, Grace is still my little girl. She still needs me. Albeit she only needs me on her terms, but at this point I will take what I can get. All too soon she will be off and out in the world leaving poor ol’ ma sitting home waiting for her to call and share her life with her (very melodramatic here!).

As I pondered what to make her for lunch this morning at 2:30 as I waited for my second round of sleep to commence, I decided to make her something really good…something that she would never take the time to make for herself. Isn’t that what a mom is supposed to do?

With Grace my options were pretty much anything and everything, because even when she did pack herself lunch and snacks, it mostly consisted of prepackaged stuff that she could just quickly toss in a bag with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and go. That isn’t my style.

I have been making Zeb’s lunch for the past two years that he’s been going to school (homeschooled him up until then) and only on days when I absolutely had nothing else to send with him, did he get something prepackaged. There are a few things he does like that are prepackaged — fruit snacks, pretzels, etc., but really I try to stay away from most others.

Grace’s schedule is a bit different from Zeb’s when it come to school though. Although today I only needed to make her one “meal” (lunch), she is going to be at school from 7:00 until probably 3:00. This leaves lots of time in between breakfast and lunch and then lunch and dinner where she is going to want something to eat. Snacks are an essential part of her day even when she’s at home. How she can eat so much, so often, and be as thin as she is, I’ll never understand. I just think about eating the amount of food she does and I put on weight.

So here’s the rundown for the food she took today:

Morning Snack: Mini Cinnamon Bagel with Cream Cheese

Mid-Morning Snack: Fresh Fruit (watermelon and grapes)

Lunch: Taco Salad (I bought a food thermos to keep things warm and used it today to keep the taco meat hot, made a salad with cheese and vegetables in it, and put tortilla chips, salsa, and sour cream on the side) — a hot meal. For dessert she can eat more of the fruit, as there was quite a bit I sent her or she has a couple of homemade cookies.

Mid-Afternoon Snack: Carrots, Radish, Cucumber, Yellow Pepper and Broccoli with homemade ranch dressing.

Of course she also has fruit snacks, veggie straws, granola bars and a few other “just-in-case-of-an-emergency” type snacks packed in the cooler in the back of the car should she still get hungry. All the comforts of home, but not at home.

After I packed everything for her and told her what the rundown was for her food options, she squealed and said, “Everyone’s going to be so jealous. I’m going to have the best lunch. And if anyone wants to trade, I’m going to have to say ‘No, mine’s better than yours!'”

Yep, she’s in college — university actually, and yet she still gets a thrill out of competing with everyone as to whose got the best lunch. Probably because she never got to do this as a kid because she never went to public school. That’s okay, it made me feel good that she was so happy.

Grace told me that her boyfriend has to make his own lunch and he is definitely going to want to share hers, and if he’s nice to her, she just might share with him, but if not…

I like having the opportunity to do something special for her. It takes some of the pressure off of her to be an adult, gives me peace of mind that she is eating healthy, and at the same time affirms that I am still needed–something that every mom needs on occasion, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

 

Not Just A Garden Hat – It’s So Much More

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Last Sunday Grace surprised me with a much-needed, practical gift for Mother’s Day – a garden hat! Now Grace typically will buy or make me something every year for Mother’s Day, but this particular gift truly touched me.

I spend a lot of time in the spring and throughout the summer and fall working in the garden.  Most of this time is spent alone and usually I try to do the work when no one else is around.  I like the solitude, but also I don’t want the gardening to take away from my time with the family.

Gardening is “my” thing.  I hate to ask for help or assign chores in the garden because this is something I wanted — not Hubby, not the kids, just me.  They do reap the rewards from the garden, but still, they would probably be just as happy if I were to buy what I grow at the Farmer’s Market.  Because of this, I try to keep my gardening to myself.

On occasion I am forced to recruit a bit of help.  Perhaps there are bags of mulch that I just can’t lift or maybe I need help spreading a tarp to cover seedlings, and then the troops will come to my aid. Other than when absolutely necessary though, the family is kept in the dark about how much time and effort goes into the garden — or so I thought.

For all the gardening I do and all the time I spend out in the garden, I have to plan my time out there very carefully. Being allergic to the sun, intolerant of the heat, and a sufferer of sinus issues there are only certain times of the day I can work in the various areas the gardens are set up in.

Mornings have to be spent on the west side of the house in the tomato gardens where the sun stays hidden behind the house until about noon. Early afternoon can be spent on the patio when the sun slips behind the house and I can work on the potter’s bench and with the plants in pots outlining the patio. Late afternoon the sun slips behind the house and the east side is shaded so I can work where the cucumbers, peppers, peas, and spinach are planted.

The one area though that has sun all day is the main garden at the back of the yard.  Unless I get out there before 6:30 in the morning, which can be done but typically isn’t, I am forced to work in the sun.  In order to do this, no matter the temperature outside, I wear long pants, long sleeves, and dark sunglasses.  Still, with all this covering, my neck and face still get sunburned and I end up feeling sick after only 30 or so minutes out there.

I’ve tried wearing hats while working, but they either blow off or just shade my forehead a bit.  They were more cumbersome and tedious than they were worth.

Mother’s Day morning Grace ran down the stairs with a bag in hand, excited for me to open my present from her first.  I couldn’t image what she’d gotten me in such a large bag.  When I tore through the paper I found a wonderful new garden hat.

This hat has everything a gardener could want.  It is big so it will cover not only my head but will shade my entire face and neck.  It is floppy so the rim can be brought down even farther to shade my eyes in the brightest sun.  It is light and airy so my head doesn’t get hot and sweaty.  And best of all, it has a strap!  No blowing off in the wind for this baby!

I couldn’t believe it.  For all the effort I put into keeping my gardening to myself so it doesn’t intrude on the family or become a thorn in their side, Grace still managed to see I was struggling to work in the back garden without getting sick. She saw that gardening was something important to me and not something I would let a little sun poisoning or heat stroke stop me from doing, and found the one thing that would help make it possible for me to work even on the sunniest of days.

It amazes me what a difference something as simple as a hat can make — and I’m not talking gardening here. I know   my family loves me and appreciates what I do, but it’s thoughtful little things they do to remind me they are paying attention to what I do that touches my heart.  Grace showed me with her gift that she truly KNOWS me and UNDERSTANDS what is important to me.  I’m not just the person responsible for making dinner, doing laundry, cleaning house, walking the dog, or being here for the families beckon and call. She sees what I do, even when I try to keep it from her, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

A Much Needed Reminder

My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her.” ~ George Washington

So Grace began a beautiful card she brought to me this afternoon along with some flowers.

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It never ceases to amaze me how wise beyond her years Grace is.  At 18 she is intuitive enough to know that sometimes even mom’s need affirmation that they have done something right.  When I look at Grace, I know that for all my short-comings, with her I definitely did something good.

For years I struggled with feelings of inadequacy because of psychological games my parents continually bombarded me with.  Eventually I pulled myself from their toxic grasp, yet still allow myself to fall victim to their abuse because for some reason I believe that’s what “a good daughter” should do.  Grace, who has witnessed this for years and now sees it for what it is, tries her best to “make it better.”

No matter how bad I think things might be, all I need do is look at my husband and children and I know, my life is good and regardless of what my parents may say, so am I.  Some days, however, I do forget.

Today Grace gave me a much-needed reminder that what I do matters and so do I, and for this I am — Simply Grateful!

Stalker Mom

Well, I can now add Stalker Mom to my never-ending list of roles I play as a Simply Grateful Housewife.

Grace is going to her boyfriend of 3+ months house this afternoon to meet his parents for the first time, to watch movies, and have dinner.  I met her boyfriend when he picked her up for their second date back several months ago, he has hung out at our house several times, had dinner here twice, and typically picks her up here for their dates.  He lives about an hour from us and because of the distance and the fact he lives in a rural area with dirt roads, we did not allow Grace until today to venture to his domain. The roads are clear, the sun is shining, the temperatures in the 40’s, perfect weather for a country drive.

Still, this whole “meeting the parents” thing is strange.  Allowing my daughter to go to a “boys” house just seems so wrong.  Yes, I live in the dark ages when it comes to my little girl.  I am old-fashioned and Hubby and I are quite protective and strict when it comes to how often and where she sees The Boyfriend.  Even though she is 18, legally an adult, we have made it clear that as long as she lives under our roof (yes, I have turned into my mother!), our rules prevail.  Thus far, there have been no complaints.  I guess the thought of having to fend for herself in the real world is worse than having to check in with mom and dad on occasion, keeping us informed as to where she is and what she is doing, and being home at a descent hour.

A few weeks ago, The Boyfriend told Grace his mother had cornered him and told him she wanted to meet the girl he’d been spending time with.  I can completely understand this.  Although different with sons than daughters, I think every parent is curious to know who their child is spending time with.  Yes, I do believe in the old double standard. We had to meet The Boyfriend before Grace’s first official date (the first time they met, they met in a public setting, as they’d met on an on-line college website), so we did not meet him until their “second” date which was their first “official” date.  Confused?  Well, it doesn’t really matter, we met him before we allowed Grace to get into a car alone with this would-be stranger.

Since then, they have gotten together about once a week on average, but talk/text continually on their iPhones. Things are so different from when I was dating.  I don’t recall talking to my boyfriends so much.  Well, since there was only one boyfriend — now Hubby — I guess perhaps I’m not such a good example, but we rarely ever talked on the phone.  We talked to arrange our next date and then talked when we saw each other.  We got together about once a week for the first six months and then more often as our relationship got stronger and we became more serious. Grace is content with this once a week arrangement, but the continual texting  makes me think that things are more serious than she lets on.  But this is just a mother rambling on…

Anyway, before we agreed that Grace could go out to The Boyfriend’s house to meet his parents, we asked where they lived.  Being an hour away, should anything go wrong, we wanted to know what she was getting herself into.  First we got the city, then the address so we knew EXACTLY where they lived.

By exactly I mean Hubby and I Googled the address and took a tour of their neighborhood, seeing exactly where they lived, complete with satellite photos of what their house looked like. Technology is wonderful. What? Were we so wrong?  We have no idea if these people are cannibals, serial killers, kidnappers, who knows?  Of course I’m being overly dramatic, but hopefully you get where I’m coming from.

Grace was appalled. Why? In this day and age, with the influx of available resources to check out would-be suitors, I think this was definitely the mildest of stalker tendency actions.  We could have done a complete background check, had a private investigator follow The Boyfriend around to make sure his intentions were honorable, or used a tracker app on his phone to do our own investigating.  Yep, I watch far too many criminal television shows and am a bit paranoid when it comes to Grace, but thus far, our actions have kept her safe.

We concluded that going to The Boyfriend’s house was acceptable, as long as the parent’s were home.  Wow!  I really have become my mother.  Oh well, it worked for them because I don’t think I turned out too bad, so I guess being a little like my own parents isn’t so bad — just don’t tell them this.

Grace didn’t stay appalled long and quickly got over Hubby’s and my “Stalker” moment and joined us in seeing where she was going and what the house and area looked like.  Actually Grace is more of a stalker than us.  Before she agreed to meet The Boyfriend for the first time, she stalked him on Facebook, Googled him, and check him out on the campus website where he goes to college.  Perhaps the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, which in my mind is a good thing, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.