Oh me, oh my, I can hardly breathe. Hello and welcome to the South. We have humidity here. Lots and lots (and lots) of humidity. It smacks you as soon as you walk out the door and feels like a warm, wet baby-wipe clinging to your entire body. Including your face, which is where the inability to breathe thing comes in. Plus I have asthma, which makes me even MORE unable to breathe.

Somehow, someway, the humidity has crept into my office building, and I feel like I’m going to suffocate.

It feels like a Monday to me although it’s Tuesday. Why? Because I telecommuted yesterday. I had a doctor’s appointment, so I just worked at home, went to the appointment, came back and worked from home some more. It was actually really nice. I was able to have my (wonderfully warm) laptop actually, physically on my lap while I had daytime tv in the background and Murphy to my right. The only Murphy annoyance: he kept trying to join the computer and climb into my lap. He was very sleepy, you see, so he wanted to cuddle more than normal. And normally he likes to cuddle A LOT. Allan ‘blames me’ for turning him into a wuss dog, when in reality, I think it’s just in his genes. He came out of his mama looking to cuddle and that’s how he’s stayed. My big, pit bull/bull mastiff/Rottweiler mix is nothing but a cuddle bunny. But, sshhh, don’t tell any potential burglars about his preference for kisses and snuggles. That would make him seem less tough.

On Sunday, Easter, we went to Allan’s grandparents’ house outside of Winston-Salem. They have about 18 acres and a neighbor dog (who I desperately want to steal – he’s not adequately taken care of – but Allan won’t let me put him in the car and drive him to Raleigh) who Murphy runs and runs and runs with. So, after spending five hours in 85 degree temperatures running all over a hilly pasture, my dog was wiped the eff out. Which is why he was only mildly annoying on Monday.

But I digress. It was Easter on Sunday and – dude, this is way nerdy – I was SO excited about my Easter treat for Allan, I could barely sleep. So when he got up at 6:45 with the dog, we stayed up and did our Easter thing. I hid Allan’s basket and he had to search for clues around the house (attached to Reese’s eggs!) that led him to his basket in the guest bathtub. And, as a surprise for me, Allan hid eggs all over the downstairs of our house and I had to find them… and they were loaded with candy! It was actually quite a bit of fun, especially because I would have been happy if he simply remembered to get me a basket. After the eggs and treats were found, it was still only 7:30am. So, yes, we went back to bed.

Ok, so, I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but…

I cannot wait for the royal wedding on Friday. I’m so excited about it, I’ve toyed with the idea of taking a vacation day and plopping myself in front of the tv to watch the whole thing live. Instead, I’m going to overload my DVR with all of the wedding goodness. Quite frankly, I just can’t get enough of it. I read internet articles, magazine articles, newspaper articles… from both here and the UK. I record every special televised. Wondering what was in my Easter basket? A Life commemorative magazine on – you guessed it – the royal wedding. I’m borderline obsessed, for which I blame my mother, who is also obsessed. I remember being a wee little Allie, heading into the first grade, and getting up at 5am with my mother to watch Fergie and Andrew’s wedding. Her enthusiasm was contageous, and see, it’s clearly her fault.

I try not to write in here unless I’m sort of moved to do so. If I don’t feel like writing, I don’t blog just for the hell of it. I blog for many (weird) reasons, and one of them is because when I want to write for cathartic reasons, I want a place to be able to do it. Basically this is my journal – I just happen to open it up to the interweb and let people read it.

So, although I don’t feel moved to write right now, I feel like I need to write in here today, to archive what happened this weekend, so 30 years from now (when I’m still 29), I can look back and be like oohhh yeah. I remember that.

On Saturday a deadly string of tornadoes landed in North Carolina, and one of them hit about a mile from my house. Thankfully my little family stayed safe, and I don’t personally know anyone who suffered loss of life or (tree) limb, but things are bad around here. Something like 11 folks lost their lives, three of whom were little boys. They crawled into the closet of their mobile home – they were exactly where they were supposed to be – and a tree fell directly on the closet-portion of the house. It was very tragic. A lot about the storms is very tragic. Lives lost, homes destroyed, property damaged. It’s going to take a lot of time and a lot of money to get everything cleaned up and get people back on their feet.

Thankfully the news stations around here did an excellent job preparing us for the storms. Probably as early as Thursday, we knew they were going to be big and intense, and over and over we were told about the probability of tornadoes. Not the possibility, but the probability.

On Sunday, Allan and I drove around some downtown Raleigh neighborhoods, and the carnage was unreal. Massive trees knocked over with their roots as wide as I am tall (I’m 5’8”) lifted out of the ground. Smashed vans, homes missing roofs, graves destroyed. Entire swaths of trees in wooded areas are missing. You know how when you walk on grass, you leave a trail of flattened grass in your wake? That’s what tornado damage looks like. Trees are flattened like blades of grass.

Murphy’s dog park was destroyed in the storms. It’s a huge, wooded area, and massive trees were knocked to the ground as if they were weightless. And because the fence is destroyed in one area, it could be quite a while before it’s open again. As wonderful as it is to take Murphy to the park to get rid of his boundless energy, I completely understand that manpower needs to go to the human population right now.

Speaking of Murphy, yesterday we learned that he doesn’t have Addison’s Disease, which was a tremendous relief. We still don’t know what caused the spike in his white blood cell count, and we’re still going to check his levels in a month to see if they’ve evened out, but Addison’s was the worst realistic possibility. And he doesn’t have it. And I’m so, so grateful.

It’s been a rough couple of days with that dog. I probably cried more in the past week than I have in a year. The thought of any sort of harm falling on his precious little head undid me. I was having a hard time sleeping, I was snippy. I was just a mess. But I believe the worst is over. Yes, we still have unresolved questions, but at this point, it looks like he’s going to be fine. KNOCK ON WOOD.

I live in the South and there are some pretty amazing things about life below the Mason-Dixon. We get a ton of sunshine down here. Thanks to all the pine trees, we have a perpetually green landscape. We have pulled-pork BBQ. Because it’s important, I’m going to say that again: we have pulled-pork BBQ. We have stand-alone Chick-Fil-A’s. And we have sweet tea, the gorgeous, amber liquid that fills my belly and warms my soul.

But it’s a pain in the ass to make. I’ve never quite figured out the correct tea to sugar ratio, but I know that a good batch has at least two cups of sugar. No exaggeration.

So, we rarely ever have sweet tea at home. Every once in a while my Southern born and bred husband will make a tasty batch, but it’s rare. Because of the time and effort required, we basically only have milk and water in our fridge. Occasionally a pitcher of Kool-Aid (Allan’s) will pop in there, and maybe we’ll have a quart of chocolate milk (mine).

Last year we were in Mary-Land (I like to call it Mary-Land even though it’s Maryland) visiting Jason and Laurie, and while at a convenience store, we spotted Lipton Sweet Tea. Whaaaaaa? Lipton makes sweet tea? And sells it in Maryland? Of course we had to try it, and my was it good. We were all excited to have a convenient way to get our occasional sweet tea fix. Then we learned that Lipton sells this sweet product (get it? sweet product?) in Mary-Land. In Virginia. In South Carolina. BUT NOT IN NORTH CAROLINA. Which is where I happen to live.

For a while, every time we visited my brother, we would stock up on the stuff. Buy it by the dozen. And I’d hoard my bottles in the pantry, only bringing out one a week or so. And Allan would guzzle his all at once, then try to steal my bottles.

Which brings us to last weekend. We were doing some grocery shopping at BJ’s and of course – of course! – the sample ladies were there! Everyone knows you can go to BJ’s or Sam’s or Costco on a Saturday or Sunday and walk out with what is basically a tasty hors d’oeuvres lunch made up of free samples. On Sunday while we were there, Allan was in a hurry to get lunch (food is constantly on that kid’s mind) and didn’t want to peruse the hors d’oeuvres samples. But I did. And one of the ladies handed me a little white cup filled with sweet tea that tasted better than any homemade sweet tea OR Lipton sweet tea that I have ever had. And it was cheap! And it was at BJ’s, which is less than two miles from my house! So we bought two big gallons of Tradewinds Sweet Tea. We’re now down to ½ of a gallon, but we’ve enjoyed drinking every single drop. And I have a date with BJ as soon as it runs out.

On Monday, Murphy had his annual vet appointment. They took some blood, gave some shots and declared him to be a healthy, happy boy. Until yesterday. Yesterday the vet personally called to give me the results of his blood work because there were some abnormalities she wanted to discuss. Murphy has an unusually high white blood cell count, which could mean three things. Two are easily treatable and relatively common, but the third is trickier. The third would mean a lifetime of daily medication and frequent trips to the vet’s office, plus a diminished quality of life for him. Obviously we’re hoping and praying it’s one of the first two possibilities. Additional tests were run yesterday and we should have the results early next week.

All signs point to the easily treatable ailment, but I’m nervous. I have really bad luck. On more than one occasion, my mother’s said to me: if it wasn’t for bad luck, you would have no luck at all. And it’s true. She’s absolutely true. But things have been going so well for me lately. I’ve been on Cloud 9 for months and months, and there’s something in the back of my mind saying, surely this can’t last. I hope that it does last, though. I hope that this little bubble of good encapsulates my dog, too, and keeps him safe and healthy.

Aside from the dog issues, this week has been incredibly nice. There is no more threat of playoff games looming over my head, and I’ve been enjoying my time off. On Saturday, Allan and I barely moved off of the couch. We would reposition ourselves to make room for the dog or to grab something out of the fridge, but other than that, we were total human sloths.

On Sunday, we decided to plant our garden. Because of all the rain the day before – which contributed to our evolution into sloths – we put Murphy in daycare to avoid muddy paws. So, we went grocery shopping, went out to lunch and then hit up Lowes to peruse their garden schtuff. We decided to plant some little flowers beneath the tree in the front yard, and we got two beautiful wooden plant holders, into which went random flowers and a hydrangea! A hydrangea, people! My favorite flower! I’m so hoping that sucker grows. And in the back yard we have an assortment of fruits and veggies: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries and mint. And we also have all the leftover flowers from the front planted in decorative pots that are now obscuring our entire patio table. I have no idea what we’re going to do with all those pots of flowers, but I didn’t have the heart to kill them.

I’m really neurotic like that.

For instance, in one of our pots is an African daisy. A pretty little purple thing. And I picked it because it was broken. Allan saw the break and immediately, it made me want that flower. No other African daisy would do. I had to have the one that was broken, the one that might not thrive. Why? Because I have what’s classically known as Wounded Animal Syndrome. I want to take care of all things vulnerable. I want to take care of anything with an injury, whether it be mental, physical, emotional. My desire to take care of wounded things even extends to inanimate objects. And the daisy was a wounded animal in my wee, warped brain.

Yesterday evening, Allan and I ran to Marshall’s before meeting up with some friends for dinner. I returned a dress that I paid $40 for. I never wore it and realized it would never see the light of day beyond my closet. So, I returned the dress. I then proceeded to buy a skirt, dress, shirt and kick-ass beach towel. Which I paid a total of $55 for. To summarize: I returned merchandise then turned around and bought even MORE merchandise. Marshall’s must love people like me.