We have finally arrived.
I lost one ruby red slipper at a casino in St. Louis.
Toto peed in the RV bed.
And Glenda promises that we will have a bright and sunny year here in Kansas.
So far, so good.
Living on a military instillation after living off for almost 5 years has been a refreshing change. The apartments feel like dorms for the 30-something parenting set - which suits us perfectly. While the boys are training, the ladies can sip sweet tea on our back porch and the kids have freedom to run in the courtyard. Last week, Blue collected roly poly bugs with the boys next door. He's the youngest but manages to find a way to get along, even as his vocabulary is still developing. If you stand at our sun room window, you can see not one, not two, but THREE playgrounds. And a baseball diamond. And a skate park. We watched T-ball camp take place last week (in brutal 100+ degree heat indices, no less. We watched them from the comfort of our 68 degree living room) and we venture across to a playground at least once a day. The Kansas Bucket List is already far lengthier than the Kentucky Bucket List was. Thus far, we have managed to cross off eating award-winning chocolate:
The trip here was not completely uneventful. Soon after we arrived, one of our cats quit eating or drinking and after some rushed bloodwork, we found out that her kidneys were failing. After many tears, several long discussions with the vet and some quiet prayer on my part, we decided to say goodbye to her. There's not much to be done once a cat's kidneys begin to fail and she was in the advanced stages before she ever started showing signs. As Mama Virgo said, "Keeping her alive would simply be Kitty Hospice. Nothing will improve and she will only continue to decline." She's had cats for as long as I've been alive so I think she knows a thing or 2 on the matter. But it doesn't help in moments when I forget why only one cat is purring at my feet. Or every time Blue asks where she is. I miss her terribly and I'll always second-guess my decision. But I also believe that all kids and all cats go to Heaven so I know that Shep was there to greet her and now he has one of our family pets with him. That's oddly comforting.
I will say one word on the mass shooting in Chattanooga last week. What happened is a heartbreaking tragedy and, according to those taking credit, a fulfillment of their intentions - which is to attack our military on their home soil. I don't doubt that if this is mourned and then forgotten, it WILL happen again. Our Congress must act to ensure that our military and their families are able to protect themselves at all times. Tennessee authorized the use of side arms for National Guardsmen last week, to take effect tomorrow. Since many guard and reserve units are mostly open to the public and ALL recruiting offices are wide open, this terrorist attack must be taken seriously. I don't know why more hasn't been done by the White House to honor the victims, but I know enough to know that there is a sea of things going on behind the scenes. We only know a tiny fraction of what is going on in Washington and that's only when they allow us the quickest peek behind the curtain. I'm not one to assume that nothing is being done simply because I don't SEE anything being done. But I can certainly hope that our President has addressed this to the fullest extent of his office. This is truly a wife's deepest fear. You can mentally prepare for deployment and the wages of war. But you can't mentally prepare for a Thursday afternoon. I pray for the families of the fallen. America has lost 5 brave men. What an undeniable loss.
I will begin reviewing some of the area attractions over the coming weeks. We have barely slowed down enough to bathe regularly and brew some beer (by the way, if you ever take up homebrewing, never store the fermenting beer in your pantry. At first, it smelled like freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Now, it most certainly does NOT). But we have still managed to miss the lavender harvest for 2015 and we didn't quite make it to all of the Amelia Earhart Festival in Atchison (although we caught the fireworks and they absolutely rival those in D.C. on the 4th of July). So, it will be my honor to share photos and thoughts with you should you ever find yourself blowing through Kansas, whether you're on the winds of change, or not.