Summer is finally over!

Those are words I’ve never said before.

I love summer. The long, lazy days. The swimming. The movies. The time with friends that isn’t restricted by needing to get school done. I have more time for writing, and just generally get more accomplished even while relaxing.

Usually.

This summer, though, was different. This summer was a very rough summer. And it started with vacation back in May. Let’s just run down the list.

1. Vacation. Vacation was rough because the original plan was to go in June. We knew my grandfather’s health was declining, and we’d decided to go on vacation to visit him, and the rest of my family, because we knew his time was coming. Then his health took a much sharper turn for the worse in the middle of May and we began discussing how we might move the vacation back into the month of May, if my parents could get the time from work. Plans to move it back into May suddenly turned into “We are leaving at the end of this week.” We were afraid he might not last until our scheduled vacation (for the record, he passed 3 days before we would have left on vacation, had we stuck to our original plan).We went from having well over a month to plan, prepare, pack and head out to having about 3 days to do everything that needed to be done. Then, once we got there, seeing my grandfather made the reality very … real. There was no more denying it or pretending. It made the time there very bittersweet, and it made leaving all the harder, because I knew that I would never see him alive again.

2. My grandfather’s passing.

Grandpa 2

I talked about this in my last post, so I’m not going to dwell on it today. Suffice to say, I still miss him. You would think that knowing it was coming, and having a chance to say goodbye, would make it even a little easier. But that was not the case for me. I found myself wishing I’d taken longer to say goodbye, that I’d given him one more hug or one more kiss, or had one more conversation. My grandmother reminded me the other day of the time, when I was a teen, and he thought he’d done something really nice for me, my grandmother and my great-grandmother: he took us to the strawberry festival. Only neither my great-grandmother nor I like strawberries. He was so mad, my grandmother said, because he’d thought he was doing something nice for us. I hope, now that he’s gone, that he knows that he DID do something nice for me: I didn’t care about being at a strawberry festival, I was just glad to spend time with my grandparents. That was what mattered to me.

3.My child developed a sudden and severe allergy. We all needed to see the dentist this summer, but one of my children had a broken tooth. The dentist, a new-to-us dentist, couldn’t get us in until toward the end of June, and this was the beginning of the month. Knowing that, even if they could get him in, they couldn’t treat the tooth because we were fairly certain it was also infected, I took him to an urgent care to get him started on antibiotics. They agreed it was infected, and prescribed amoxicillin – a drug he (and my other son) have taken before without issue. My grandfather passed on a Wednesday, and the following Monday, my son woke up covered in hives – on day 10 of his amoxicillin. I went through a basic checklist before assuming the worst – checked for fleas since we have a cat, no fleas; checked for bedbugs since we had stayed in 2 hotel rooms on vacation, but he and my other son share a room and he was the only one afflicted, no sign of bedbugs; ran down the list of foods we’d eaten in the last 48 hours, but there was nothing new and nothing different than the rest of us. A quick look online confirmed that an allergic reaction could happen as much as two weeks after he’d stopped taking the amoxicillin, and was commonly seen on day 10. So, off to urgent care we went. We went to the same one, saw a different doctor, who proceeded to tell me his hives were not hives, but chigger bites, based solely on the idea that he’d been outside digging in dirt the day before and that his hives “were coming together, and hives don’t do that.” (For the record, if you didn’t know, they can. In fact, that’s one way to differentiate them from bug bites.) She insisted, and against my better judgment, I let her prescribe a cream that he had to sit in all day, and a low-dose oral steroid. I trusted my mother instinct, though, and glad I did. A second urgent care (because the hives were getting much worse), and 2 differnet ER trips later (once because he was swelling and began to feel like he was having trouble breathing, and the other because his eyes and lips were swollen quite severely), and my son now wears a bracelet alerting medical personnel to his allergy and I carry an Epipen in my purse. I still have not contacted the “it’s chigger bites” doctor because I am still too angry to explain my feelings without wanting to scream at her. It was a rough experience, for me as his mother, and especially for him, living through it. It is not something I would wish on anyone, and though he is now fully recovered and healthy, it’s also something I will never forget.

4. Dentist, dentist, dentist! As I said, we all needed to see the dentist. We had varying amounts of work that needed to be done. And between the expense of procedures that were not covered by insurance, and a dentist who wanted to do only one thing at a time, this meant that we literally spent pretty much the entire summer schlepping back and forth to the dentist. At least one of us had a dentist appointment just about every week all summer – including 2 trips to a dentist an hour and a half away to get the child with the broken tooth a root canal to fix it (the infection was severe enough to warrant doing part of the procedure, injecting some meds, and then coming back to finish the procedure).

5.Hurricane Hermine. It seems we were a little too proud of our whole “no hurricanes in 10 years” status. Hurricane Hermine hit just before Labor Day, and though we were well south of where she made landfall, we were subjected to lots of rain and strong winds. These strong winds and rain dropped a hellacious branch (multiple branches, actually, but they all embraced each other) on my car, and crushed my windshield. This was all I saw when I came out:

what-car

Then when I managed to find my way off my porch, I saw this:

crushed

Notice that, on the right side of the photo, there is a branch that extends all the way up to meet the bottom branch of a tree behind the car. While it did not physically stretch across the yard to that tree, it did reach that high in the air.

This was the worst of the damage:

20160902_151011

But there are numerous dents, dings, scratches and scars all over the body of the car now. I was only the second owner of this car, and bought it when it was six years old and only had six thousand miles on it. Now? Now, it’s just like any crappy, old car.

Luckily, Safelite was able to come out and get it all fixed for me, and the rest of the damage being cosmetic, I do still have a driveable car.

So, that was the end of my summer, and *knock on wood*, nothing else has happened since. And I have never been so glad to see Autumn in my life. Despite the fact that our school year is often so much busier and hectic than summer, I’m actually much more relaxed now than I have been all summer. Hopefully, that will also translate to being able to get some actual work done again, too. Including posting on the blog. I’ll share some more vacation photos, too – those got lost in the shuffle of everything else, too.

How was your summer?

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