February 16, 2016: Day 71 (and 72)

My view as I come down the steps each morning
The bliss of home life and warmer weather has set in for me. A little routine and sunshine goes a long way. We will be on the road again tomorrow, so I have soaked in my short-lived downtime in Omaha.

Meetings on my listening tour continue. Each refreshing with great takeaways. Tuesday consisted of a lunch with a philanthropic leader. I learned about many great initiatives taking place in Omaha. Other meetings over the last two days included many great people I have worked with over the years. From healthcare attorneys to CEO's, I was all ears.

I would be remiss to not talk about my kids. My silence in relation to them as of late isn't because they're not around. In fact, they are very much around and I am very much present. A great gift of my 90 days off. I think Grant has warmed up to having his mom around the house a lot. We have gotten into a very nice rhythm.

George is orange and Randy with black
(pretty cute, aren't they?)
Ben isn't typically physically present, but we have reminders of him every day. With missing clothes out of his brother's closet or dropped off treasures in my garage, we term these little treats, 'Ben Lane Surprises'.

The daily reminder of this is the cage of guinea pigs in our entry way. Yes, you heard it right. We have two small pigs, Randy and George, who live by our front door. That is their winter home. They spend warmer days in the garage.

They arrived at our home last March. Garrett was at a March Madness basketball game downtown. I was out to dinner with friends. And Ben was on his way back to college. But before hitting the road, he first stopped at our house leaving George and Randy as a 'Ben Lane Surprise' to greet us upon our arrival.

Here is the video Ben later sent me of his big reveal to Grant (I apologize for the couple of 'shits' in the beginning)...

video

Of note is Ben's honesty in owning that neither his dad or mom approved this gift. But then he left. And George and Randy stayed. Also note that Grant's sweet enthusiasm for these creatures quickly waned by the day. With a high probability of euthanasia if given to the Humane Society, the pigs became my pets. They grew on me and I couldn't bear the thought of contributing to their death.

As we approach the year anniversary of Randy and George's arrival, Garrett just shakes his head that they're still here. If any one knows of a good home, they are up for adoption! Having a cat, a dog, and two guinea pigs to care for when we travel is a bit much.

And then there are the little 'Ben Lane Surprises' that suddenly appear. Like this chair that appeared in my garage when I arrived home from Chicago on Monday. The ripped piece of furniture was to have the final destination of Ben's apartment in Lincoln. I noted seeing it loaded in the back of his car the last two times I saw him. When asked, Ben told me he hadn't had time to unload and carry to his room. Okay.

So when he and a friend went on little road trip to visit other friends this weekend, somehow it sounded like the best idea to leave it in my garage. Call me crazy, but maybe unloading it into his intended apartment before he left was the better option? But I'm just the mom with illogical thinking.

Oh, Ben, life is a bit boring without you around, but you are always close to mind.

Grant doesn't provide as many surprises, but is a joy to have around. He helps out with his chores (including cleaning out the guinea pig cage) when he isn't planning out his social life and just enjoying his soon-to-be sixteen-year-old life. Normalcy in our daily lives is a great thing.

I would mention Zach, the oldest, but he is pretty much his own man. His routine calls while driving home from work are always welcome and bring a smile to my face.

With the hubby flying in yesterday and our planned week of travel together, I have to say...life is good.

(90 Days Off realization #13: The small pleasures in life are really the big things)

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A little glimpse of the days ahead (we will hit in 5 states within 7 days):

Day 73 (Thursday 2/18): Fly to Vegas with Garrett. Road trip from there to visit my parents

Day 74 (Friday 2/19): Kingman, Arizona with my parents

Day 75 (Saturday 2/20): Drive to St. George, Utah to visit a friend

Day 76 (Sunday 2/21): Day in St. George and then fly to Denver, just in time for night-night

Day 77 (Monday 2/22): Day in Denver

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