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Happy Mother’s Day

Well do I have some news!! Those of you who have read my rambling ravings for long enough know that I am adopted. And also know that I eventually spat into a test tube for genome testing. And also know that a couple of years back, I thought I may have finally found my birth mother. I had a “hit” with a maternal sibling – yes, an uncle. Long story short, it left me feeling that his sister was most likely my mother; most likely, not definitely. But last night I received a message from a woman whose father is one of the children of this woman. Yes – a stepbrother! So she is my niece!! And she confirmed that her grandmother has indeed given birth to a child in her early teens – they are fairly certain that she had a baby at sixteen. And that baby, was me.

Since that moment, I received a message from my half-sister. She was absolutely stunned to learn that her mother (our mother) had given birth to a child before, as were her (our) siblings. She told me that she looks at my picture often and sees her mother (our mother) in me. I still have next to nothing as to any detail on my biological father. I did find a record of a male related to a 1st or 2nd cousin on my father’s side who was born in April of 1937. That would make him right around 18 at the time I was conceived, so a possible candidate. I will likely never know though….

Another exciting bit of news – my son’s house is almost complete and ready for occupancy up in Maine. We are driving up over the weekend to help them move their stuff from the storage unit to the house. It took two of the biggest U-Haul trucks to fill that unit so I expect a LOT of miles running back and forth between the unit and their new home. I am excited to see the finished house, but absolutely stoked to see all of them!!! It’s been four months since last we saw them and I am overdue for a dose of my kiddos!

We’ve had an extraordinary amount of rain here; so much so that my backyard flooded. I live adjacent to a pond that is manmade and completely reliant on ground water level. It is what inspired me to dig my little frog pond. And I did so knowing that, because it is small and not too deep, the frog pond would be dry at times. In fact, a year or two ago, it was dry for at least seven or eight months.

Not so this year – so much water that you could not ever distinguish where the frog pond was. The house and side/front yards are elevated so no impact there, and the far back of the lot is a little higher than the middle. But the middle was flooded from the stone wall (by the adjacent pond) all the way across to the opposite property line. This lasted at least a month and a half, maybe two, and is only now, finally, receding.

I have not yet tilled the garden, partly because I could not get the roto-tiller from the shed to the garden due to the aforementioned pond in between the upper yard and the far back! Now that I can finally walk on dry ground, I will first need to remove all the leaves, then the plastic weed control ground cover before I till it. I reduced the footprint by maybe 15 or 20% a couple of months ago, because the back end is shadier so not much does well there and also because it will be the perfect place to build a second shed.

As to the second shed, I have not made up my mind yet; there are a bunch of options including buying a precut kit and assembling it myself, obtaining plans and building it from scratch, or just buying one and having them deliver and install it. The last option is, of course, the easiest. But that would mean removing my streetside fence, probably cutting some of the arborvitaes by the road that are beginning to close in on each other, and really tearing up a huge part of the yard for them to get from the road to the shed location. I am fairly certain that I will end up doing it myself; just not sure yet if it’ll be a kit or raw lumber.

I have gotten some hiking in – not as much as previous months, but still getting out there. I am currently at 18 hikes for 190 miles, averaging 10.5 miles per hike, with 14,000’ of elevation gain. My split times have not been as I would like – I strive for 20-minute miles – but the weather has not been ideal for fast splits; a huge amount of rain this year (as I mentioned earlier) has left the trails wet, muddy, flooded, and slippery. I fully expect to see my times improve as the weather warms and dries up everything.

No new news on my health, specifically my heart. My doctor has indicated she has put in an order for a cardio stress test for me, but I have heard nothing more. I did recently learn that of the four major cardiac arteries, the one that is most heavily built up according to the scan, is far and away the worst one with which to have an issue; typically, if it blocks, you will likely not survive the event. However, I still feel strongly that I do not have a blockage and that the stress test will prove that.

Well….as is my typical MO time has slipped by while working on this and it is now May. We drove up to Maine this weekend to help my son and family move into their new home. This saga for them began around the 1st of July when they sold their RI home and moved north to Maine. They had already bought a lovely parcel of land and had a company lined up to build it.

They were led to believe they would be in by October, so they decided to stay in their cousin’s trailer over the summer and early Autumn. That alone was a prodigious task – a family of five in a camper trailer for four months – no privacy, cramped living spaces, and darned little storage. But they toughed it out and got through it with flying colors.

But when October came, it was clear the house was nowhere near ready for occupancy. And since this is Maine, the weather turns hard – early. A camper is no place to try to live in a Maine winter. So they ended up renting a beautiful home for the winter – a true life saver for them. The rental ended last week on April 30th, and while the house wasn’t completely finished, it was close enough to crash there while the final few details were finished.

Their entire household: furniture, kitchen items, bedding, and pretty much anything else you can think (aside from clothing) was jam-packed into a storage unit a few miles down the road – for almost an entire year! They would periodically pop in to grab something urgently needed, but that was rare given how tightly packed it was. So Friday we finally began to unload the storage unit and load into a U-Haul truck to begin filling up that beautiful new house.

We basically emptied it Friday, leaving only a handful of small items easily moved in a car another day. We filled the basement with everything and they all spent a huge part of the day opening boxes to see what was inside them – a lot of Wow moments as possessions not seen in almost a year came out. Saturday was spent cleaning everything and then moving it upstairs and into its new location in their new home. Very rewarding for me to have been a part of that. I am so, so very proud of all of them for their fortitude, perseverance, and unshakeable faith in their dream.  

To pick up where I left off on this, we arrived home Sunday after an easy drive. Unfortunately, Monday I came down with some sort of intestinal bug, one that would sap me of strength and appetite for the next five days. The biggest issue was the diarrhea, which was industrial pressure-washer strength and incredibly incessant. I did not sleep for more than an hour or two straight until Thursday night when I was finally able to make it through an entire night without running to the bathroom. That now passed (pardon the pun), I am now fighting a cold, as is my wife. The joys of daycare!

So needless to say, there has been no hiking in my life; it has now been three full weeks since my last hike and that is extraordinary for me this time of year. I should have at least four or five in the books over a three week span in May. There was more going on than just a virus or a trip north; we had rain too. I typically try to hike on Thursdays and Sundays. So if it rains on Thursday for example, my weekly hike count automatically goes from two to one. And if we are unlucky enough to get rain Sunday, my week is done and my count stays at zero. No worries though, I will make up for lost ground over the summer!

I will close with a comment or two on the Aurora Borealis craze that has swept so much of the country the last few days. Social media has been just consumed with pics of the northern lights, and rightfully so as they are truly breathtaking! But I have lost count of the thousands of pictures that have flashed before my eyes in the last 48-hours. We did not witness them – not that we didn’t try – but early clouds followed by the need for sleep saw to that. I’ve seen them before, in Erie PA when I was 18. I was quite literally brought to my knees by the sight – so brilliant that they actually cast shadows on the ground from the barns, silos, and houses in the area. No one carried a camera back then, so no pics (but it did happen).

The Aurora I witnessed in Erie were all shades of green, while the pics I’ve seen from this latest display seem to have a lot of pink in them (which is a result of the gasses interacting with the solar particles coupled with the elevation of that interaction). Given the radically different weather conditions we’ve been experiencing over the last few years, it would seem reasonable to expect that we may see more of the Aurora sooner rather than later!

I will close this out before it gets delayed another week (or four)! Today is Mother’s Day and I wish a wonderful and joyous day to all the mom’s out there. The change has happened – Spring is absolutely here – please try to get out and enjoy it!! Stay well dear reader!

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