February 20, 2023

mom's weekend with Ed, Airbnb, busy times, & a THANKS FOR THE TANK

I spent the weekend visiting Ed for his fraternity's mom's weekend. (Is it plural? Is it possessive? I'm not sure. Well, I'm a mom and I OWNED the weekend. Kidding,  . . . we all did. So plural possessive?)

A few moms dying a little
when her hot dog arrived - this
was 2020. We were
wild and crazy back then.
Ed's freshman year mom's weekend was the last thing I did before shutdown. I remember it SO well. While that March 2020 weekend was fun, the music was so loud at the frat house that I mostly mimed conversations to the other moms. Not a great way to become acquainted with people. 

'Mom's' was cancelled sophomore year- pandemic. Then Ed was in Budapest last year. So, senior year . . . swansong . . .  all-kinds-o-fun. We hung out at their various houses chatting (music wasn't TOO loud), watching the b-ball team WIN, and drinking. A handful of us ate dinner out with a small group Friday night, ate a catered meal Sat night, and went to the bars both Friday and Saturday. 

Guess which mom stayed at the bar the latest? I left the bar after 2:00 am. Who even am I? I will tell you who I was not - I was NOT tipsy. It's a beer-drinker's world, friends - especially at a college bar. Since that's off limits for my celiac-self, I drank cans of High Noon. I think we can all thank our lucky stars that they weren't serving Mike's Hard Lemonade, or the weekend might've ended quite differently. 

I met some wonderful moms and was delighted that Ed has made so many amazing friends. A number of guys told me how much they look up to Ed and what a great guy he is. Super proud. 

My Airbnb was the coolest. Walking distance to EVERYTHING. Wish I'd found it years ago. (it's booked for graduation, sadly) Now I need an excuse to go back for another visit before graduation, which promises to be SUCH A BLAST. I came home and made a cheat sheet of all the moms' names, so I can refresh my memory before graduation weekend.

I was excited to wear my new, hip shirt. I texted a picture of myself to Mini when I was getting ready to go out. Check out the Airbnb in the background. It's above a French restaurant. The woman brought me up a GF omelet and a breakfast for Ed as well, since the price included two breakfasts. 

She used to own a record store so there were shelves of vinyl records. Ed and I marveled at how trusting she was. People could easily walk away with a bit of her record collection and she wouldn't know it. She was from Italy, schooled in Paris and followed her boyfriend to Bloomington, Indiana where they run/ran the restaurant. She was warm and sweet. Ed didn't stay with me, but he helped me bring my bags up and he, too, was very taken with her. 


Next weekend Coach and I visit Mini for her dorm's parents' weekend. How boring will life be when February is over? Ed agreed with me, there is zero chance that Coach will want to stay out till 2 am. Still, I'm looking forward to that and now it's right around the corner. 

When I'm not finding awesome new shirts and partying like I'm a college kid, I've been busy . . . .

1. Planning the Ireland trip for Mini, Ed, & friends. College kids are busy. I've become a part-time travel agent in my spare time. I really do have to start mapping out what Coach and I do when we visit Tank on March 22nd. 

2. While grieving is necessary, it also makes accomplishing things challenging. I decided to let myself off the hook last week when some things were just not getting accomplished  . . . Long, painfully sad story, but my cousin (year younger than me) died last week. She lived in Texas with my uncle. He's now all alone, having lost a teenage son 33 years ago and his wife about 5 years ago. He's lived in Texas forever, and is uninterested in moving here where he has a brother (my dad) and regular/great nieces and nephews. 

A few of my sibs flew down with my dad mid week and I spent some time with my mom, checking on her. I got her some groceries Friday before I drove to see Ed. I have one weekend in March (the 1st weekend) when I can possibly visit Uncle/bring my dad back if he wants to go back. I think the plan is (if I'm reading the texts right) that we're all gonna take turns visiting him/getting him set up in retirement community, since he can't drive. 

Family dynamics being what they are, this awful situation has an added unpleasant layer  . . . but I'm doing my best to focus on what matters. Not gonna lie, having the distraction of hanging with Ed for the weekend helped. 

3. I've been logging some SERIOUS hours on the phone with insurance/the hospital. It's a post that's begging to be written. Basically:  insurance can fight me. They're saying that we hadn't met our deductible when I was in the ER on 10/31. Come again? Reg's epilepsy expenses cost us a small fortune, like over $13K, so how? I told Coach it's time to move to Canada. Health insurance in the US is criminal.


Last week, I received an unexpected surprise in the mail. Colleen Martin, my lovely and thoughtful blog-friend, ordered me a tank top from Macys after my 'what's your fav tank top' post. Plus a Bluey game for my small charges. A big thank you to Colleen for being so kind and generous. Note to self:  next time, ask what kind of car people like to drive. Bah ha ha. 

Do you remember what the last big/fun thing was that you did before lockdown? Anything soaking up more of your time than you were prepared for? Anyone delighted by a surprise recently? Anyone want to take bets on how late Coach stays out next weekend?  Do you stay an Airbnbs?  Have an amazing experience?


Bijoux said...

The Mom’s Weekend sounds like so much fun! I’d have loved something like that when my kids were in college. I’m sorry about the family issues, but I totally understand. I’m trying to navigate my mom’s slow decline into dementia.

Right before lockdown, we were on an amazing trip to Miami and Key Biscayne. Ate at some great restaurants and saw some wonderful sights. It really got me through the rest of 2020. Sadly, we haven’t flown since and have just traveled by car on trips. I have never stayed at an AirBnB but my son always does and has all over the world. He’s only had one bad experience, where someone went through his luggage in Italy.

Nicole MacPherson said...

Maybe it is time to move to Canada! I am always astonished at what you have to go through when someone is sick.
I'm so sorry about your cousin. How very sad, and how very young.
On the plus side, it sounds like your weekend was a blast! 2 am! Ernie, closing down the place! Wooooo! That top is very cute on you too. I like the wrap look.

Nance said...

I sympathize with regard to battling insurances. It's the Worst. I've gotten pretty good at it, but it gives me no Joy. In the end there's often very little we can do but try to outlast them if we have any case at all.

I'm glad you had such a good time. You were definitely due for one.

Ernie said...

Bijoux - The weekend was so much fun and better than the 1st time around largely because the boys are more in-tuned to what their moms would enjoy. Also, their friendships are more solid now.

That sounds like a wonderful trip. And well-timed too. Glad you squeezed that in before the shutdown.

Yeah, I have a sister who likes to remind us all of what she was doing in order to stay in touch with this uncle/cousin - done in order to impress my dad. She has a constant need to get our folks' approval - so it's her way to make sure we all know she is #1 and always in the loop of what's happening and how she is at my folks' beck and call. I reached out to my college roomie, who remembers when my cousin died 33 years ago. She had some observations of how my sister behaved back then and knowing that someone else 'sees it' is oddly comforting. She also hit the nail on the head with: I WONDER WHAT MARIE IS MISSING IN HER LIFE THAT SHE STILL NEEDS THIS CONSTANT APPROVAL/GOOD FAVOR OF YOUR PARENTS. Well said, roomie. Well said. This helped me to gain perspective.

I've stayed in many airbnbs, and most have worked well. Some have been really great or amazing locations that have worked out well. All 8 of us stayed in an apt in Vancouver in July '19. There was only enough beds for 3 of us, despite being listed to sleep 8. That was unpleasant.

Ernie said...

Nicole - I don't think I could handle the weather, but I could probably afford a second home with all the money I would save on health care. It really is out of control. Loop holes and sneaky clauses and bam - we owe $3,500 for my hospital visit of a few hours. This because my GI's on call response was non-existent. He called me back as I was practically leaving the ER. There are leayers to my frustration.

Thanks, I really have a closet full of clothes but sometimes a new top that is so updated can do wonders. It was on sale, of course. It's hard to tell, but the sleeves are sheer. Perfect for a packed bar. The weekend was a blast from start to finish. Such a wonderful group of young men. The moms were delightful and fun. Ed told me before we went to the bar that we could leave whenever I was ready. He (and I) were completely blown away by how long I lasted. I didn't even feel tired.

Thank you. I kept picturing my cousin hanging at the house with Marie, Pat, and my dad while they were there. I had to keep stopping myself to remember that she was gone. Let's just say my uncle has had an incredibly sad life.

Ernie said...

Pat - I was telling Ed a similar thing - it wasn't really on my radar that I would have SO much fun. I knew the weekend was coming, but life has been a little heavy lately and I wasn't really focused on having a blast. It sort of crept up on me. Getting to do something similar next weekend - well, I hardly know how to contain my excitement. So happy that the weekends weren't scheduled for the same weekend. It would've been hard to miss either of them.

That top was on sale. I have plenty of clothes, but this one just had the right amount of dressing up and fun vibe to it. Couldn't pass it up. Thank you, sale rack.

I've had plenty of fun times since 2020, but I still think about that last thing that I got to do with a sense of GLAD THAT WAS SCHEDULED BEFORE SHUTDOWN, BECAUSE I GOT TO SQUEEZE IT IN. WOULD'VE HATED TO MISS THAT.

Love a good airbnb. Great to have that extra option. I keep telling Coach we should buy something near ND, so we can stay there when we visit Mini or rent it out and make something. It's an arguement I'm not likely to win.

Ernie said...

Nance - I feel like our insurance changed and we renewed it without realizing. What they are trying to get away with feels criminal. We have a $5000 individaul deductible, then an out of pocket, and then a 10k family deductible. We pay over $500/month for insurance. It's bluecross blueshield. It seems they use their own discretion for whether something counts for out of pocket or deductible, etc. I've shed tears over the frustration of it all. And I'm realizing this in Feb? It's gonna be a long year until we can change insurance through his company.

It was so fun and I've been so busy that I was like, OH GOOD, THIS WILL BE FUN, but the amount of fun surpassed what I'd anticipated.

Beth Cotell said...

I'm so glad you had such a great weekend! What a nice relief from all the sadness and loss you guys have recently experienced! How thoughtful of Colleen to send you back tank and a toy!

Kara said...

I keep telling my parents to get their Canadian citizenship. My grandfather was born there, and my father (and therefore my mother) has a path to it. My brother married a Canadian citizen, so he also has a pathway.

The last thing we did before lockdown was go to a Spring Training baseball game. We were in the stands when the NBA announced that they were going on hiatus because of COVID, and everything else seemed to fall after that. It was literally the very last Spring Training game of 2020. It felt different as we walked out, like all of a sudden COVID was real.

I don't stay in Airbnbs. The last time we did was in Hawaii and it was very much not was was advertised and there was no recourse. Plus why have a $200 cleaning fee, when part of the rental agreement is that I, the renter, need to strip the beds, clean the fridge, etc? I'd rather stay in a hotel where I don't have to do the cleaning on top of getting a cleaning fee charged to me.

Kari said...

Mike and I went to a John Hughes trivia night at a bar the night before lockdown. We won. 🤣

That Airbnb looked fantastic. We spent a day in Bloomington, Indiana last fall, and it was a really cool town. 

I'm sorry about your cousin. 😘

Cindy said...

We have stayed in Airbnb's and we love them. Have always had a good experience and enjoy coming 'home' at the end of the day while on vacation.

Ernie said...

Beth - It was a nice change of pace. I was surprised that I wasn't more exhausted. Yes, that was a sweet surprise.

Ernie said...

Kara - That's funny. Hey, why not? I don't think we will actually go that route, but the US is frustrating me lately.

It is interesting to see where everyone was and what they were up to when everything turned sideways.

I don't reserve Airbnbs if they have a hefty cleaning fee. It is a bit misleading, because you only see what the place is available for. I do appreciate having the option, because sometimes an airbnb is cheaper than hotels. Or they offer things that hotels don't have. Since I often travel with my food, I like the option of having a full size fridge and a kitchen at the ready. It does stink though when we've been mislead.

Ernie said...

Kari - Why does you winning the John Hughes trivia night not surprise me? So funny.

Bloomington is a fun town. I wish it was a hair closer. 3.5 hours isn't too bad though.

Thank you. It was a shock.

Ernie said...

Cindy - I often feel the same way. We've had many good experiences. It is sometimes nice to have more than one room, so people can do different things - like some old folks like to get to bed while the younger crowd like to stay up late. Good to have options.

joymariecooks said...

So sorry about your cousin, Ernie!The last big thing I did pre-lockdown in 2020 was have a baby lol.

Fellow Commenter Kara:
(I'm not sure if you'll see this or not - don't know how to reply to a specific comment. Maybe Ernie you can somehow tell Kara to read my comment?!?).

As an American married to a Canadian, and living in Canada as a permanent resident (PR) with two dual citizen kiddos, I'd like to offer a bit of insight into your parents getting Canadian citizenship. It's definitely doable, at least for your dad. He'll need to apply for a citizenship certificate. It's an easy, cheap, ($75) process but takes awhile (about a year right now - was 5 months pre covid and was 2 years for our nearly 3 year old). Once he has his citizenship certificate he'd be eligible to sponsor your mom for her PR status. That's an expensive (about $1000) process and as a Canadian citizen living outside Canada he'd have to show strong proof of intending to move to Canada once your mom had PR. Think - job offer, or buying a house in Canada, and selling any property in the US level of proof. It takes around a year, typically, to get PR via spousal sponsorship. Then, once your mom had PR, she could move to Canada, and then the clock would start ticking on her citizenship. I believe to be eligible for applying for citizenship you need 1095 days as a PR, physically present in Canada, within the last 5 years. The citizenship application process itself is about a year, I believe.

I'm assuming you are encouraging them to do it for access to free healthcare? If so, you/they should be aware of what limitations there are on the health coverage (long term care placements are often not covered, I believe, and many people have to pay the full cost of many prescription drugs). There are also residency requirements for being eligible for health coverage. They typically are pretty strict and require that you're actually living in a given province the majority of the time, and some have multi-month residency requirements before you're eligible (I.e. have to be a resident for 3 months before applying for provincial health coverage). He couldn't just hop the border and get free care. There are also issues with long waitlists, lack of access to primary care coverage and specialists etc. (Some of those issues vary a lot in severity based on province.) It definitely sometimes feels like you get what you pay for lol.

Anyway, this is not to discourage you/your parents, just wanted to be sure you have a fuller picture of what the process is and the limitations on healthcare coverage.

Ernie said...

joymarie - Thanks, I appreciate that. Well, that is a memorable thing to do before shut down.

I love your perspective on obtaining Canadian citizenship. I'll be sure to mention your comment in my next post in case Kara misses it. ;)

Busy Bee Suz said...

TWO A.M.? WTH? You're a rock star...not sure that I could swing that ever again. Well, maybe if I had a nap earlier in the day. Do rockstars plan naps before big nights out? Asking for a friend. How fun for you deserve a good time.

I can't tell what the top looks like, but I'm sure it's cool since you likey.

Where is Tank? Is he in Ireland? I might have missed something...where are you going in March? How about you just share your calendar with me and we won't have to go over this again. 😜

SO so sorry about your cousin and your Uncle. It's heartbreaking to be at his age and kind of alone...wishing him peace.

I love Air BNB's. Or VRBO's. Always a good place to lay your head!

Right before the lockdown the Coach and I had an amazing trip to Mexico in a fancy, all-inclusive resort and it was mostly free because it was part of a reward program with our company.

Ernie said...

Suz - Full disclosure, I napped from 7 pm - 8 pm that night, because the night before was also a late night, but that night I was yawning, feeling it. Sat night, I was just wide awake. I hadn't eaten much all day, because every house we went to was a gluten fest. Eek. Eventually I ate, but liquid diet all day, practically. Ed and I were both surprised that I was still awake.

Ha, it is a cute top. Has a little gather in the front. The front piece dips down a bit. The sleeves are sheer. Um, perfect for a schweaty bar.

I'm an old fashioned paper calendar girl, so I don't think I should share that with you. Not too easy. Google calendar is not my friend. Tank IS in Ireland. He's studying abroad in Limerick this semester. Pretty sure you read my post about how disorganized his program is . . . it is in Limerick, Ireland. It has been stressful to have him so far away. Mini, Ed, and 2 of their besties are going with them to visit Tank March 10-17th. I gave Ed and Mini flights for Christmas. It's all coming back to you now, I'm sure of it. Coach and I are flying over to visit him March 22nd-29th.

Thank you. Really heart breaking. I just booked a flight. I'm going to visit Uncle and sort piles of paperwork (the assignment my dad gave me) with him first weekend in March. Last weekend was out of town with Ed, this weekend out of town with Mini, next weekend out of town visiting Uncle. It'll be a tad busy.

That sounds like a great trip. I love a good airbnb and the ones I don't love are always (eventually) good stories. ;)

Nicola said...

Gosh, your weekends sound rather busy! Both college visit weekends are lovely busy, but they did start to add up after a while. Although I don't get the impression you are the sort of person who slows down hugely on weekends anyway... Perhaps set your expectations for your Mini weekend lower than your most recent Ed weekend, maybe have your freshman Ed weekend as your bar! Remember Ed now has a solid friendship group and nice roommates whereas Mini is still making friends and not the best roommates (unless this has changed a lot since starting at Notre Dame?)

I can't relate to any of that because a) I'm single and 33 😂 And b) I stayed at home to go to university. I live in Cape Town and my mom works at the University of Cape Town. Because of that my sister and I got 75% off our fees!!!!!! Crazy right? So definitely no thought of us going anywhere else. There is also a bit of a housing shortage and my parents live very close to UCT.

I'm so sorry about your cousin. You seem to be in a grief season with many deaths to mourn and grieve one after another.

I am SERIOUSLY impressed you stayed up past 2am!! Man, I would just think about the knock on consequences to tiredness levels the rest of the week.

(Look at me commenting again?! I am taking my new duties seriously 😉)

Suzanne said...

I'm so sorry about your cousin.

What a wonderful distraction by way of spending time with Ed. Sounds like a lovely weekend.

Kara said...

Thank you JoyMarie! My parents are older, and retired, but have money and pretty good healthcare right now (thanks to my Dad's pension). My brother and his wife have a place on Nova Scotia- well, she has the place, he's just her husband. I think it's beautiful and I've always loved Canada. Before my grandfather moved to the Boston area, my family lived on PEI for almost 100 years.

Ernie said...

Nicola - You are on a roll with the comments. Hooray for that. My weekends are busy - but usually my busy involves attending b-ball games and things. Socializing isn't always part of our weekends - although I wish it were. Regardless of weekend or weekday, I usually go to bed at 11 pm. I didn't really realize it was so late - wasn't feeling it, happily. I do feel caught up on sleep now, and it's only Tuesday.

Good advice on the expectations for Mini's weekend. She does not hang out with her roomies at all, but she's met great friends in her dorm. It is a group of 13 of them. We asked her last night if she wanted to go out to dinner with us and a few friends/their parents, but she said she didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, so we will just go out with her for dinner and meet everyone else out afterwards for a happy hour. I've made a cheat sheet of all of her friends/parents' names so I have an idea of who is who. I love to socialize, so really any amount of chatting and engaging with people will be awesome.

How great that your college was so reasonable. Close to home isn't so bad - the experience is what you make of it.

The death of my cousin and the heartbreaking circumstances are challenging. I heard from my other sibs that my uncle is doing pretty well and that did my heart some good. I booked my flights yesterday. Flying there weekend after Mini's college visit.

Ernie said...

Suzanne - Thank you. My uncle has certainly had a difficult life. It is difficult to fathom. I hate that he is alone, but my sibs said he has amazing friends and neighbors. I am heading there in 10 days to help him sort out his house.

Visiting Ed was a wonderful change of pace. So exciting that I get to do another college visit this weekend. Hooray for that.

Ernie said...

Kara - Glad you came back to pick up your 'mail'. I'm laughing at 'well, she has the place, he's just her husband.' I hope you get invited to visit the place in Nova Scotia.

Ally Bean said...

Do you remember what the last big/fun thing was that you did before lockdown? On the spur of the moment I met a friend who'd suddenly found herself in my part of town, for lunch at a dive restaurant/bar and we just laughed about everything.

Anything soaking up more of your time than you were prepared for? Blogging, it's getting to be a bit much

Anyone delighted by a surprise recently? Yes the men who said they'd come back sometime to power wash our new deck actually showed up

Anyone want to take bets on how late Coach stays out next weekend? 9:30 p.m.

Do you stay an Airbnbs? Have an amazing experience? No & No

Ernie said...

Ally- I love the spur of the moment meet up . . . just in the nick of time.

You have a big blog following, so I can only imagine how long it takes you to stay on top of all the blogs.

Workers showing up as planned? What now?

I'm laughing at the 9:30 time. Probably true.

Bibliomama said...

So sorry about your cousin. Losing his wife is bad enough, but losing the second child must be especially heartbreaking.
The couple of months before Covid lockdown were really fun - we took my daughter and a bunch of friends to one of the immersive Van Gogh exhibits in Montreal in February, we visited my husband's mom and her husband, we had friends over for the beginning of March Break - and then March Break just never ended.

Ernie said...

Ali - Thank you. Yes, my poor uncle has had to endure so much heart ache. I'm planning to go see him the first weekend in March.

That does sound like a fun list of pre-covid events. I remember how cozy it felt initially - all of us at home. I thought this will be a fun, memorable few weeks. Unreal to think back to how unexpected that was.