One minute I’m watching a “Scrubs” marathon with my daughter, Greyson, who has come back home to S. Florida to live with John and me while she searches for a job – the next minute I’m ass deep in the more techy parts of my website and everyone else has gone to bed.
First of all, whoever said WordPress is user friendly should be taken out back and shot. I leave my site unattended for a few hundred days, and come back to it to find that suddenly it has become unsecured. This was an https (spell that s-e-c-u-r-e) site, people. Now, my certificate has expired, or some such. I don’t even know what that means. What am I paying for every month if not for the well-being of my website, even if I neglect it from time to time?
So, I go online to talk to y’all since it’s been awhile, and another mountain cabin family reunion since we last spoke, and I find myself instead reading, for hours, about the importance of canonical URLs and their placement in a blog post’s nether regions where only the Google-y spiders who crawl all over the words in a blog post’s hind end can find them.
Wait, I got a headache and my mouth went dry thinking about it. Water break.
O.K., I’m back.
The really sad thing is that I’m still not sure what a canonical URL is despite my frenzied reading about said topic. There are six tabs open in Chrome alone. Safari is open, too, (only two or three tabs open there) although to be fair I was distracted into taking two lessons in a Freelance Writer’s Den Bootcamp on getting your freelance writing career started.
As if. There’s enough on my plate already with this blogging class I’m taking. I gotta tell you, it’s kicking my ass. That’s why I’m never on this blog anymore. As of this moment, I’m heavily avoiding working on my next blog post for them cuz I’m stuck.
There’s an idea and two written pages I’m playing with now, but there’s too much noise in my head to cut through to get to the meat of the story and organize it in a cohesive, yet helpful, blog post. I have managed to get approved two out of the five posts I need to get through module two, though.
They’re published on Medium.com, which is the platform this class uses until such time as I reach the third module in which they will begin my new website build. They’re tough, and I apparently suck at headlines. And sub-heads. And outlining. But I’m learning a ton.
Now if I could only get out of my own way for two seconds, I’d realize I have to write every day and stop avoiding the hard work in order to get through this class. I’m actually cooking to avoid writing. Cooking. Me. Oy vey.
Anyway, I got to the part in the Freelance Writers Den Bootcamp where I learned my LinkedIn page sucks, sighed heavily, and switched browsers altogether to go to my website and just spill my guts in a nice, simple blog post about the yearly family reunion only to be turned back by a giant warning page about my own site and the potential horrors that could befall me should I dare visit my own domain.
I’m staring at the words “Not Secure” in red in Chrome’s status bar thingy. There’s a red triangle with a white exclamation point sitting in front of those words, but isn’t that the sign for radiation poisoning? Because getting irradiated would just top off my night.
Can you say acid indigestion? My stomach is knotted up and boiling. Maybe it’s the radiation. At any rate, I’m tossing down a Pepcid and hoping for the best.
Keep A Stiff Upper Lip
I dashed off an email to my server host earlier, but he lives in England so there’s a six hour time difference. Usually he’s good about helping me with my site woes, but so far he hasn’t responded to my cry for help this time.
How many people are going to plow right through that warning and actually read this post? Not damn many, that’s how many. And of course I don’t know how to go about putting things right again and get rid of that warning.
Oh well. Worst case scenario is, I never get another new reader.
Sob. I love you guys. I’d miss you so much if you left because of a little radiation sickness.
But enough whining and gnashing of teeth. Let me tell you about the mountains.
Splendiferish Mountain Family Reunion
Yes, I know splendiferish is not a real word, but the cabin was called Mountain Splendor so it seems only right. It slept 12, but by God if we didn’t get 13 of us in there. My niece, Cali, wasn’t going to come because she had to work, but she quit her summer job at the last minute to be with us. And my other niece, Stella,17, asked if her best friend, Avery, also 17, could come, and we said “Sure!”
So, we ended up with 13 people: John, me, Matthew,26 and Greyson, 23, made up the Poutas contingent, while my oldest son, Ryan Masters, 35, brought my daughter-in-law, Georgie, and my two beautiful grandchildren, Nehemiah age 6, and Eliza age 4. My sister Elizabeth, my brother-in-law, Mark, Cali, and Stella brought in the Krajnik side of the family along with Avery, and then there was my 85 year old father, Kenny Batson.
Dad didn’t want to come to the mountains this year because “honey, a bear almost ate me last year,”(the bear was a good two miles down the road, running away from us), so Elizabeth (who dad lives with) just put him in the van, told him they were going for a drive, and drove him to the cabin without telling him where they were going. Surprise!
Of course, he got the master suite as he always does because he can’t navigate stairs, and the best room is always on the entry-level floor.
There were three levels, two wood-burning fireplaces, five bedrooms, and a hot-tub. The teenagers slept on one of the three sectional couches in the cabin (in the game room), while the dining room table was big enough to seat 12. Luckily, they also had a child sized table with two chairs.
Let Them Eat Cake (And Play With Fire)
We celebrated two birthdays, Cali turned 20 five days after Elizabeth, my baby sister by 5 1/2 years, turned…well, a lady never divulges her age, does she?
I’ve never seen so much cake. Mark bought a lemon bundt cake (Elizabeth’s favorite) and two dozen assorted bundtlets from Nothing Bundt Cakes; plus someone made a good old-fashioned yellow sheet cake with chocolate frosting.
For her part, Cali made out like a bandit with all the presents she asked for on the list she had written up and handed to her parents before her birthday. Bought and got. Oh to be 20 again!
Two separate birthdays – two separate birthday parties. And a good time was had by all.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t use the hell out of the fireplace on the entry level (middle) floor. My purse still smells like woodsmoke and we’ve been back since August 18th.
There’s something primal about building a fire and watching all that wood burn. I pulled two all-nighters blogging, and stoked that fire until the sun came up in the morning.
It got to the point where John prohibited me from starting a fire until 4:00 p.m.
That’s o.k., though. I just went downstairs. They always had at least a small fire burning. I think we burned almost every stick of wood the owners had stored in the barn.
White Water Back Breaking And Other Fun Stuff
Horseback riding is fun stuff. All the ladies went, and we had a blast.
John, Elizabeth, and Matthew went white water rafting in class 3-4 rapids on a different day. The raft went one way, hit a big bump, and John’s back went the other way.
He was walking all crooked when they got back, like he does when he throws his back out. It’s like his top half and his bottom half are going off in different directions. But, does he even hint that he’s in a world of hurt from the beat down the rapids gave him? Nope.
He went white water kayaking the next day with Matthew instead.
Now, y’all know I don’t do white water anything unless it’s in a hot tub. If the water’s roiling and boiling, there’d better be rising steam and some water jets too, please and thank you.
Not my John. He gritted his teeth a lot, took some ibuprofen, and joined me in the hot tub without a peep. No groaning in pain, either. In fact, you’d almost not be able to guess he was in agony.
But, he didn’t go hiking with the others the next day. He stayed home with dad and me, cuz y’all know I don’t do hiking, either. Especially Greyson style hiking, which borders on kamikaze style. That girl will scale a mountain, now. The steeper the better.
Crazy people, am I right?
And they say I’m the nutty one.
I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together
But, bottom line, we all had fun. Played silly card games after dinners we took turns preparing, got silly after a drinking game or just a silly card game with drinks involved. Loved, laughed, and enjoyed each other’s company.
Hated to see it end.
Here’s to next year.
Thanks for listening to me ramble on, grumble incessantly, and reminisce.
PS: My server host got back to me and says he’s fixed the certificate warning problem. The site is secure once more. Thanks for risking radiation poisoning, open sores, and peeling skin to read this. I love you all. Oh, and John’s finally out of pain after a month, and me finally calling the Dr.’s office to make him an appointment for steroids and muscle relaxants.
#StayStrong, and keep fighting the good fight because you are oh, so worth it. Every one of you.
And remember – depression lies.