Six months down! We’ve made it to the halfway point!! This is generally when people take advantage of the midtour “rest and relaxation” time to reunite with their loved ones but we decided to push it off a little longer so that we will be closer to the finish line when we return from that trip.
At the start of this month we were still in Seattle. When we returned from that trip, we flew into Atlanta and then drove north to Boone, NC instead of coming home. Boone is a little town nestled in the mountains and is only about ⅓ of the size of Valdosta but yet it has a better variety of shopping, grocery stores, and unique restaurants. (seriously, Valdosta, get with it!)
Our reason for staying in Boone was to attend the 62nd Annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, a gathering of Scottish clans. The games have been on my bucket list since I first lived in NC 17 years ago but it never fit with my schedule to go. One of C’s most favorite Disney movies is Brave (she always says, “I want to be Brave (Merida) when I grow up!”) so I knew she would love the games. I was right, she was enthralled! We spent two days at the games and had the best time. I’m glad that I never got to the games before because it was so much fun to experience them for the first time with her.
Returning to Valdosta was once again an assault on my senses, but this time much worse. Being our third summer back here in Valdosta, I finally realized that I experience the same symptoms every July… things like random aches and pains, swollen joints, dizziness, headaches, heart palpitations, and sensitivities to things that I’m normally not sensitive to. Basically a mini, much lesser version of what I experienced during our last six months in Hawaii when I was surrounded by my allergens. The mold count is very high during the hot, humid, and rainy summers here in Valdosta. There are mushrooms, mold, and fungus growing everywhere in our yard, gardens, and pine straw areas. I’m highly allergic to many molds so it causes a sharp increase in both my histamine levels and inflammation. I feel worse the more time I spend outside so we mostly stay indoors but it’s so hot and sticky outside that it’s not comfortable being outdoors anyway. Thankfully, I know from past summers that I’ll start feeling better by the end of August when the weather cools off slightly and the mold count goes down. Until then, I’m just trying to get through the days without panicking too much and doing my best with diet and supplements to try to lessen these uncomfortable and scary symptoms.
As if the mold wasn’t enough, spiders are everywhere this time of year as well. There are mostly Orchard Spiders and Spiny Orb Weaver Spiders which are beautiful in a way and not dangerous, but we unfortunately also have Brown Widows (I found egg sacks under our garbage can handle) and Black Widows (I killed one of those on our back porch). The Widow spiders creep me out to the utmost extent and I’ve had to deal with them every summer we’ve lived in this town (this is Valdosta summer #6 for us by the way). I’m a near expert at identifying their webs and eggs now. We also had a giant Golden Orb Spider take up residence in the corner by our front door but since he was less poisonous than the widow spiders, I let him alone… until he expanded his giant web across our front door, then he had to die. The hornets and wasps are also out in full swing and love trying to make nests by our doors. We keep cans of wasp spray and spider spray stocked and readily available all summer long.
The heat, humidity, mold, fungus, bugs, spiders… absolutely nothing about the summer here agrees with me. I hate the summers here but thankfully, the rest of the year is mostly pleasant and we enjoy a lot of time outside then. Still, it gets me super excited to know this is our last full summer living here! When we first returned to this town, the familiarity and quiet living was comforting. Now that we’re into our third year back, I’m over it. We’ve been here long enough… again.
School starts here in the beginning of August so we completed our school shopping this month. As relaxing as the summer has been without any kind of schedule, C and I both do much better on a schedule. C is most looking forward to seeing friends everyday again, since being an only child during a summer where we don’t play outside is a little lonely. I’m most looking forward to getting my evening “me time” back. While C is at school in the mornings, I stay busy with things that need done, but after her early bedtime, I relax by taking a bath, reading, or watching something before I go to bed myself. During the summer, we both go to bed late at the same time so I don’t get any quiet time to unwind; in fact, I usually get quite agitated after having to say “Go to bed!” a hundred times. While solo parenting, it’s difficult to stay patient throughout the length of the summer when I don’t get any breaks or alone time to recharge.
Six months down… most deployed people would be heading home by now but we are only halfway. It has been a long six months but now we are starting the downhill slide and the next six months will be filled with school, trips, and holidays so it should feel like it goes by faster. July has been an especially long month because of how bad I physically feel and because there’s not much to do in this town, especially not outside comfortably this time of year. I am so glad it’s over.
Month 6 Events:
Month 6 accomplishments:
Onto month 7!
“Symptoms are not enemies to be destroyed but
sacred messengers who encourage us to take better care of ourselves”