Too Cool for Pool

The rules for our public aquatic center pool just came out this morning. I appreciate the rules and safety of it all, I honestly do. However I’m not sure if it’s worth it or it will just feel eerie. You need to make a reservation for one of two daily time slots up to 2 days in advance, mask worn at all times if you are not in the water, bring your own chair, and you must stay 6 feet apart when in the pool. What happens when a cute little 8 year old comes up to splash me and my book? Every year we buy a pass and it saves us a ton of money for the amount of times we go. I think this year we will just wait and see? Or maybe I’ll like all the precautions to feel the kids and I are safe? Or maybe become creek people? If anything, 2020 has taught me to be flexible and pivot (insert Ross impression).

Erin texted this to me and Ryan yesterday. I told her I was stealing it and wasn’t lying.

Until then we have Bond Pool Getaway. We added a new feature!

We named her Von Talge because it’s one of our favorite streets to go down when doing the Birthday Parade. It’s just fun to say, like salsa. We have two of them and only opened one. I have no idea when we acquired them, I have a feeling it was summer reading program gift? Von Talge is a pool toy and also doubles as a yoga ball. We now have aquatic yoga classes people!

PSA: The maintenance of Bond Pool Getaways is environmentally friendly. Whenever we empty it or take most of the water out we use it to water our flowers and veggies. There is no H2O harmed in the making of Bond Pool Getaways.

I participated in the Ten Year Nap. Meaning I became a stay at home mom for almost ten years. Most of the time I had paying gigs here and there, but my main purpose was being a homemaker wifey mom person. When Sydney started first grade and became a full time student, I started to work at Time For Dinner. It’s a business plan involving customers to come and assemble their own meals. They have all the ingredients, measurements, and containers. You walk in with a laundry basket or big bag and walk out with all your meals ready to put in the oven complete with baking directions. They also have pre-made meals, sides, appetizers, and desserts you can get from their freezers. Every month is a different menu. It was a perfect job going from SAHM to working again. They were so fantastic letting me choose my schedule and allowing me to leave early so I could get the kids off the bus. I was in charge of making the pre-assembled meals in the freezers and let me tell you, that whole process is a well oiled machine. So clean, organized, and efficient. Since March they are only offering the assembled carryout orders due to covid. They also deliver and ship. When I worked there I would bring in packaging from things delivered to our house, like bubble wrap or those air bag thingys for them to re-purpose with their deliveries. I continue to save packaging for them and a couple weeks ago Trent dropped a big bag off. I was thinking about having him pick up a couple meals while he was there, but for whatever reason decided not to. It had me start thinking about their Picnic Potatoes which is absolutely ridiculous. I did not grow up eating casseroles as side dishes. Things like green bean casserole, cheesy hash browns, baked mac and cheese, and corn casserole were not in the Genoni family wheelhouse. I don’t think my mom really made mashed potatoes? Only exception is my family makes the best thanksgiving stuff ever. It’s made only at Thanksgiving and it’s my favorite. Anyway, me thinking about Time for Dinner potato casserole is insane, blaming it on covid brain. In my kitchen I’ve never made it. I’d be happy if it was included on my plate with a brunch item or at a potluck, I mean cheese and potatoes! I went to aldi’s on Monday and along with my huge shopping list I bought provisions to make said potatoes. I got them mixed in my kitchen aide before a zoom with Trent’s family last night and Trent said “I have no idea what you are making but I fully support it.”

I also borrowed another trick from Time for Dinner and made pork tenderloin I marinaded in a dry spice rub. Time for Dinner makes great spice blends and is a huge fan in incorporating paprika in almost all dry rubs. And I made a salad, always salad.

I fill this guy up every morning with lettuce from our garden, clean it, spin it, and have it ready for packing Trent’s lunch and dinner. It’s wonderful. And I’m a rock star at growing beautiful weeds in between all the lettuce.

I went to the high school this morning to help assemble breakfast and lunches. Normally it’s 3 people who volunteer and we are there from 8-1 pm. This morning there were 9 people working in the kitchen. The staff at the Early Childhood Center is working there too. After an hour and a half they said I could go home and I obliged. The girls weren’t expecting me home and I did a crazy ass thing. I ran THREE errands BACK to BACK! I even meandered a bit. Like went down aisles I didn’t need to and looked at stuff I knew I wasn’t going to buy! I wore a mask, followed all the rules, and sanitized often. It felt fucking great. Our credit card company is probably going to call us suspecting fraudulent behavior.

One Last Parade

As a family, we have adapted some new traditions as we navigate the new normal, then the new new normal, then the new new new new new…… One of them is participating in the birthday parade for our school district. Two moms organized a parade or two everyday by collecting online forms and requests, making a route, a time, and a meeting place close to the first birthday house where all the cars would begin. The two moms took turns being the lead and last car to make sure we all stayed together despite traffic, left turns, stoplights, and possible route confusion. I can only imagine all the behind the scenes details in making each daily parade happen. All I had to do was read the time and place I needed to show up and watch smiling kiddos when a caravan of cars passed their house beeping and displaying signs. Often there was a parent happy crying while filming when our cars passed, happy happy stuff right there. The girls and I have so many inside jokes from participating in the parade. We have favorite streets, nicknames for regular parade people because of their costumes or accessories, nicknames for interesting houses we passed regularly, excitement when we would go through some neighborhoods guaranteeing good people watching, and small groans when we knew the parade started or ended in outlying areas of our district knowing it was going to be a long one. I now know where many of the students at my school live which is kinda fun and definitely bordering on creepy. I almost got into a car accident one day and another day I got stopped at a light and lead half the parade completely down the wrong exit ramp. The later story has become one that makes us all laugh. On the weekends Trent would drive and the girls and I would play Psych on our phones which was a fun time. Last night was the last parade being organized by the moms. The intent was to make a big deal about kiddos’ birthday days who would normally get cheer and merriment at school from their classmates. When we all got into the car to get to our parade meeting place, Trent asked if I was going to cry. I immediately said no with certainty. I have been known to be a crybaby. At the end of the parade all the cars decided ahead of time to circle around our library parking lot as a last encore. Everyone was waving and beeping. Out of no where I totally start with the waterworks and tried to reel it in before I started the ugly cry. Those parades were a welcome distraction when I was having a bad day, a time I knew we would be out of the house and out with the people in a safe way, a break from online school for the girls, and time with the girls where we would talk about all kind of things while getting entertainment about parade oops. Definitely a silver lining in a crazy situation. If you are reading this THANK YOU Melissa and Becky!!! Your time and effort caused countless smiles, cheers, and happiness during a time when we needed it. Win win win!

Big advancement on Bond Pool Getaway. We have upgraded two services.

We now have snorkeling excursions. You need to book this in advance.
We also have extended our menu to include frozen treats. We do allow patrons to consume any treats on a stick in the pool. We reserve the right to rescind this rule at any time.

Last night Trent and I reserved the only table by the pool for a date night. We ordered a burger and crab dip from Olive + Oak. The girls decided to dine on mac and cheese and continue watching the 4th season of The Good Place.

The plating could have been a little elevated. I’ll make suggestions to the chef.

Hoping the week brings some good better news showing tolerance, kindness, and safety.

Letting it all Hang out There

This time last week I was triggered by people partying at the Lake of the Ozarks. Oh Jenny, just wait.

Talking to people about the protesting is very interesting. To be honest, I am not going to spark a conversation with someone I deem an asshole to hear things I know I will not agree with. I go to my people in my wheelhouse where I value their opinion. Funny thing is so many different opinions. Very different. Anger is the forefront and that’s all I have to say about that. In my overly political opinion heavy life, this is not the place.

Needed segue, last week we started up Hello Fresh again. It really is my favorite thus far. They gave us a $60 off thing and I succumbed.

Please do not judge, but this child of the 80’s has never made sloppy Joe’s before. Ever. This is Ancho BBQ Sloppy Joe’s with pickle slices and Oven Gold Potatoes. Crowd winner.
Mexican Pork & Street Corn Tacos. Delicious.
This is a reason I love Hello Fresh, so organized and everything from one recipe comes in a bag. Grab the defrosted protein and the bag and start cooking,

I have beef with our dog, Lady. She’s my favorite out of the two dogs because she’s got sassy swagger. I’m allowed to have a favorite when it comes to pets right? If I’m not, I was kidding. Anyway, she’s picked up a new habit that’s got to go. She thinks it’s okay to pee on our back patio. A patio that has direct sun and does a nice oven roast on said pee, not good. It’s gotten worse.

This is Trent and I on our nice walk on Grant’s Trail with the dogs yesterday morning. I just took a shower and decided a long walk with my groom and dogs on a beautiful morning would be lovely. Yes the cyclists can be a little aggressive on the trail, but I’ve gotten over that. You know what else is aggressive on the trail? When Lady decides to just squat and poop on the trail with no warning in front of company. 10 minutes later the same behavior only pee. No head’s up, no trying to go to the grass with some ahead warning sniffing around. Girlfriend has given up social norms and letting it all hang out. Tomorrow she will be in public without a bra or her dentures.

Bond Pool Getaway was in full swing yesterday. We have incorporated in pool buddy seating with towel service and beach toys. Our deck hand, chef, and chief stew focused on the ground’s landscaping, thankfully I’m crossed trained in all job titles. That and I’m still loving my trashy book.

On the last day in May I want to say I have some hope for June. Not too high because I know it will probably go with the 2020 trend of surprising us with garden gnomes becoming Pennywise or all coffee being laced with arsenic. I have my protective gear on and am ready.

Take that, Rewind it Back.

When I first started writing this blog I was pissed. I was pissed for the wrong very selfish reasons. I was mad because we canceled a trip I have been eagerly anticipating. Ever since I became a mom I couldn’t wait to take the kids to Manhattan. Trent and I adore the city and have nothing but great memories there. We had that trip planned with the extra adventure of seeing Six on Broadway. I’m a total theater rat and am currently raising two theater rats as well. It would be the original cast which meant when we watch the Tony Awards in June we would have the “omg, we saw them” moment. I mean, grow the fuck up Jenny.

The whole Planet Hollywood thing in an inside joke from a college spring break to Cancun that is now a Bond staple. A good story for another time.

Lauren made our list and I had the damn thing laminated (at work….). Okay, so we had to cancel our trip and that was a bummer. I was also pissed our spring break staycation was more of a STAYcation than I anticipated. I was pissed about being scared all the damn time about my family and friends getting sick. I was pissed about all the uncertainty. I was fragile and couldn’t control narrative. I also had to put on a brave face so people wouldn’t worry about me. Everything that defined me and my family was canceled and I was completely lost about how to navigate. I do better being busy and needed. Now as we approach June I feel okay in not knowing a damn thing. I let go of it all. I have no idea when the next time we will travel, when the girl’s will start their cheer practices, what school will look like for me and the kids in the fall, the horror of the death toll, and if Trent’s clients will be able to pay their bills. And yes, I realize that list is way ridiculous. I’ve made a point of the kids and I getting out of the house every day, connecting with my people frequently, and trying to find ways to be entertained in a safe way. A couple of neat things have also happened. I have a sourdough starter, Sydney’s YouTube channel she started in April hit 1,000 followers, we have Bond Pool Getaway, Lauren’s actually ahead on her summer school classes, Trent is actively working on his next performance, and I started this blog. I know this whole mess is no where near over, current news is devastating, and our lives are going to be defined as pre and post covid. I just have to keep reminding myself I cannot change anything except my reaction to it. I will have good days and bad days and that’s what happens to me.

Onto some fun stuff. Our pool toys are getting quite the use thanks to our deck hand.

I got my second quarantine pedicure.

We are out of clear polish, so sparkles as the top coat is it!

I have FINALLY started reading again. I checked out about 8 books from the library when my mom gave me a head’s up it was closing in March thinking I would blow through them in no time. I love reading and every time I tried my brain would not focus. At all. It was like I was reading my college chemistry book. A couple days ago I saw on Reese Witherspoon’s insta story a book that looked trashy and perfect for me to dip my toe in.

I don’t have an e-reading situation, so I bought my first book in years, I actually paid money for it. Worth every penny. It’s so completely brainless good! My hope is this will kick off summer reading Jenny. She usually reads by pool and finishes many, many titles.

I have officially been on both ends of the whole kids collecting their shit from school. I helped at my school getting the bags organized and helping in the parent drive through pick up line. I loved seeing the staff and kids throughout the whole process while also catching up on my gossip.

Our school cafeteria

This morning Sydney and I journeyed over to her middle school to collect her stuff.

Lady wanted to go too. She likes closure on a school year.

Lauren didn’t have anything at the high school, no trip needed there. That officially concludes the 2019-20 school year. Don’t let the fucking door hit you on the way out.

Last night Lauren was on a zoom with her bestie and came running down the stairs alerting us to the current situation in the sky.

It was hands down the prettiest (double) rainbow I have ever seen. We walked to the library and could see the whole thing, but a picture would not do it justice. Total attitude changer (well, I was also in the middle of my skinnygirl margarita too……).

Ending with a little Broadway humor. That’s how I’m rolling today.

When a Birthday Meets Memorial Day

Over the weekend we tried to pull out all those helicopter born maple tree sprouts. They were winning by far. Come yesterday the scales kinda sorta started to tip in our favor.

That tub is basically full of stupid maple trees, sorry arbor day.

Our neighbor across the fence (same one that had patient zero with the poison ivy) has quite a few of wild strawberry plants growing. They tend to vine out and make their way over to our side. Every time I come across one I start to freak out it’s poison ivy. I even started to feel my hand itch and came inside to wash it. My brain is in full on ridiculous mode.

We have a huge Bond Pool Getaway update!

Our cabana boy is now crossed trained and has become our deck hand. He has incorporated water toys in our entertainment rotation! (Below Deck fans, that ones for you) He has also become our Getaway below deck resident chef. Reheating and plating is his specialty.

Cathy, your potato salad was the best one yet! So good!
We allow photography at Bond Pool Getaway during certain off peak hours.

And mixologist! I guess you could say he’s chief stew now. Only problem with all this is his hours are limited to the weekend and holidays and he’s still taking long lunch breaks. We also caught him folding laundry, so we need to teach him that’s the second stew job.

Before I got my stupid UTI, Trent bought a bottle of grapefruit juice because I mentioned a cocktail with that sounded good and brunchie. Trent saw that grapefruit juice is a no no when one has a UTI so it’s been sitting in our frig mocking me. Yesterday he made me a Pink Grapefruit cocktail poolside. It was absolutely delicious, highly recommend for a patio, porch, deck, or driveway refreshing drink. Basically I deem it to be consumed only outdoors. Let the meeting minutes reflect that.

Last night we had our first extended family celebration to honor my Dad’s birthday at my sister, Julie’s, back patio. We all placed our pizza order according to each household and brought our own drinks. In lou of birthday cake I brought Krispy Kreme donuts since they are individually packaged. Our family gets pretty bougie with our gatherings. There’s real plates, flatware, and stemware, floral arrangements from our gardens, an impressive appetizer spread, main course with many side dishes, and homemade dessert. If it’s manageable we all have a sit down meal around a dining room table and talk loudly over each other. Very typical Italian family stereotype stuff. We are also on automatic pilot in each other’s kitchens and know how to serve and clean up with minimal direction. It is also assumed we send leftovers home with Grandpa Coco and whoever would like a doggie bag. Pizza and donuts with paper plates was our quarantine solution so the party could go on and it felt fantastic. Absolute best part was Julie bought tarps for each family to give my dad birthday hugs.

That’s seriously Some Good News worthy. Call John Krasinski!

Birthday Boy with his donut cake! Happy Happy Birthday Dad!!

My teachable moment from last night is connecting with family on a basic and safe level feels fucking great.

Summer Lovin’

September of 2011 Forest Park did a dedication to fallen Americans on 9/11. I took Sydney to the zoo and then to the Art Museum grounds to visit while Lauren was in school. I didn’t explain it to Sydney, but it was something to see. This morning I thought of this trip.

I think Saturday was my favorite quarantine day yet. Definitely a pick day. A friend alerted me that Theis Farms was opening up their strawberry fields for picking. You had to call ahead for a time slot, they had a whole protocol of hand washing before and after, and then directed traffic to weigh and pay for your strawberries. While we were picking there was two other families picking far away from us. They did a good job making you feel comfortable. I’ve never been to Theis Farms before, but it was a charming place! Almost everyone was wearing masks the whole time and keeping away from each other. They had lovely greenhouses for plants to buy and a gift shop. We were tunnel visioned and picked our strawberries in 15 minutes and headed out. Even the cashier was shocked we were checking out so fast after a 1:30 time slot. I totally could have stayed and pursued the annuals, perennials, and veggie plants, but that would have been costly. I kept my blinders on and stayed focused.

The strawberries were beautiful and aplenty! They were warm when you picked them and tasted insanely good. I felt like Michael Douglas in American President when he finally was able to give Annette Bening flowers as president. In a quarantine I found a way a kind friend alerted me a way to safely pick strawberries.

I made four jars of strawberry preserves. 36 hours later one of them is half empty half full.

Weeks and weeks ago I asked Trent to add an inflatable pools to his Sams list. When we got back from Strawberry picking she was ready to go with ice cold hose water. The 80’s called and wants it’s outdoor fun back!

Sydney living her best life and avoiding the paparazzi at the same time.

Bond Pool Getaway comes complete with towel service, free extra hose water, a street and garden view, nature shows consisting of geese flying overhead, and grass clipping water infusions. We also have slightly inconsistent concession stand treats depending on the mood of the mom-ager.

This was the work of our resident cabana dad. He takes orders and also a long lunch break.

It felt great to just hang outside with my feet in the water. I also had the ease of knowing it was our one night of the week when we ordered curbside. We decided on Salt and Smoke.

Smoked brisket and chicken with brisket chili and mac and cheese. We also ordered fried pickles and hush-puppies. It came with all the sauces and a big package of Hawaiian rolls. This meal also has provided us two lunches and I just packed the rest of the chili for Trent’s lunch tomorrow. Highly recommend.

Trent and I are currently bingeing Dead To Me season 2 and watching Top Chef Season 4 with the girls. We have also let Lauren stay up this weekend to watch more mature movies with Trent and I. Friday we watched Juno and last night we watched Date Night. It’s been fun. Girlfriend needs her sleep and I was worried she would fall asleep during the movies, but no. She’s ride or die and then makes it up by sleeping in more than normal the next day. This is how summer should feel, staying up too late, ordering barbecue, sitting in hose water, eating freshly picked strawberries, and all the while putting on the sunscreen. Maybe there’s mask wearing involved, but I’m willing to do that to participate.

Surrounded by all the Nature

I haven’t been to church in awhile, but looks like miracles are a’happenin’!

First day of summer break! I woke up and the sun was out, that’s all I needed! I let the kids sleep in, but then made them mobilize quickly to force fun enjoy the beautiful weather.

Meanwhile, this was my to do list. Last of the peonies in a vase, sun tea, make sourdough bread, and lemonade. I was able to do all but the lemonade which I will tackle today.

The bread was obedient and did the two required rises. I still need to find a recipe where the bread tastes more like a classic sourdough, but until then I’d rather it work and be all bready and junk.

The girls and I took the dogs to a local park and did the required frolicking in the awesome weather.

Lady is doing her part in the mask wearing. And girlfriend hates any rules.

I also pleaded and bribed kindly asked the girls to help weed the garden. Our lettuce is in it’s hey day right now. This is Trent’s favorite crop in our garden, he gets happy when we are abundant in lettuce.

Staying on the weeding topic. Trent and I spent a whole Saturday a couple weeks ago weeding and mulching our back flower garden. It’s a bigger area and took about 12 bags of mulch and hours of work. It looked nice and was very satisfying to get that done. Only to have our very stupid tree poop all it’s fucking helicopters everywhere. Now the entire bed looks like this.

We currently have an orchard in the making. Feel free to come by and get your seedlings. In fact grab a couple hundred while you are at it and we will throw in some free lettuce. Note to self, time the mulching differently next spring.

Sticking with Memorial Day weekend vibes, I grilled chicken and corn last night and also served the sourdough bread. At dinner time everyone’s plates look completely different. If I post a picture of a plate, it’s always Lauren’s plate. Sydney’s plate is altered in some way. She doesn’t like salad dressing or un-melted cheese (weirdo), so she gets a dry cheese-less salad. Also she’s very passionate about her condiments, therefore her plate will boast her favorite add on’s or she will veto current offerings. Trent always makes his plate last and tries to avoid some ingredient, be it chives, tomatoes, onions, or green peppers. My plate is normally weird in some way too depending on my mood.

Trent’s plate. I cut most of the chicken but he wanted a full boobie on his plate. Also he’s the only one who likes corn staying on the cob. He’s a purist.

Think I need to swap out my spring wine glass for my summer one, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!

My plate. I wanted all the food to get all up in each other’s business.

We ate outside and the bugs are just starting to make it annoying. I murdered a mosquito on my arm, smart fruit flies wanted to partake in my wine, and bees were dancing over our heads. I get it, outside is the bug’s home but I figured us kindly hosting the termites would buy us some sympathy.

Okay, three day Memorial Day weekend, show me what you’ve got! I’m ready!