Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I could just scream!

I'm so aggravated.

Contractor #2 has had his paperwork for three frickin' weeks now. And he still hasn't gotten what he needs to get from his insurance company. What do you bet he hasn't even called them?

FF has been phoning him regularly. He has stopped answering his cell. I tried calling him this morning to see if I could trick him into answering a different incoming number. No dice. So I called his home number. He offered a lame-ass excuse but no real promise to act.

My mortgage company is hounding me because they want to close tomorrow. Tomorrow! When did they tell me this? Yesterday!

Gee, thanks for the heads up.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Low Bridge

For yesterday's walk, FF and I took Small Dog to one of the canal parks in the area. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and windy enough to keep the bugs at bay.

We parked at the aqueduct and walked east for about a mile before turning back. I hadn't walked this stretch before and was surprised to see how grown up the space between the trail and the canal was.


In some spots you could barely tell you were walking next to a historical landmark.

We spotted so many painted turtles we lost count and two huge snapping turtles in the murky shallows.

The trail was getting a lot of use from bikers, walkers, and fishermen. I wish the part of the canal near me would be developed for use as a park. I would certainly visit it regularly if it was as nice as this one.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Game. Set. Match.

I made a thrilling discovery this morning. I get the tennis channel. Who knew? I rarely stray into the numbers above 80 or so.

The French Open started yesterday. I've been watching tennis since the days of Johnny Mac and Connors, Martina and Steffi, when I was a little kid sitting on the floor keeping my dad company. I was hooked by Capriati when she came on the scene, only one month older than me. I discovered Sampras before he was big, before he'd won any majors, when he was still a goofy kid with his tongue sticking out. From the first match I saw him play, I cheered for only him. I wasn't a fan of Andre's until he shaved his head and started wearing white.

I never played much tennis. That takes too much effort and requires a hitting partner. I prefer activities I can do alone, like walking, rollerblading, or biking.

I am not as dedicated a watcher as I used to be. I don't like that the players are so much younger than me. I don't like that the game has become a slugfest. I miss the beauty and finesse of serve and volley. But when one of the grandslams rolls around I still like to watch as much as I can. And one day I hope to sit in the stands at Roland-Garros or the All England Lawn Tennis Club to cheer for the latest teenager to sweep the sport.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Walking and what-not

I made a promise to myself that every weekend I will take a walk at least two of the three days I'm off.

I need the exercise, and I need to get out of the house. I used to walk at least 5 days a week. It was my time to think, to work out some stress, and to just appreciate the motion of walking. I genuinely enjoy the act of walking, but somehow I've allowed it to drop out of my life.

Last weekend I walked at Second Home Nature Center and on the paved trails in Big Brother Neighborhood.

Yesterday after mowing in the morning I was just too pooped to go for a walk. (It takes me almost two hours to mow.) Today I was anxious to get my walk in before the forecasted rain. Mr. Dog and I headed to the game management area nearby, but we stayed on the paved road because I'd heard that they were doing hunting dog trials in some of the fields.

I spent the entire walk on the phone (not one of my favorite activities) with a guy I went to high school with. I ran into him at a basketball game in February, but before that I hadn't seen him since the fall of 1994. We met for coffee later this afternoon, and I pointed out to him that we've known each other for 20 years. Weird.

I hope tomorrow I can get in a more pure walking experience, but it was really nice to talk to and see him.

Friday, May 25, 2007

When the weather is nice...

I find myself doing things like taking circuitous routes to the ladies room. I went out the side door of my building, around the back, past that door, through the grass, and around to the door on the opposite side. I then cut through the building, used the bathroom by the backdoor, went back outside, and returned to where I started.

Apparently just in time, too. It looks like the cold front has arrived, judging by the big drops of rain splattering against my open window. My office is noticeably warmer than the rest of our suite because of the introduction of outside air. Everyone else has their windows on lock down to preserve the sacred air conditioning.

I love the warmth and the smell of rain. They are missing out, I tell you!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

More Hoops

I just received a phone call from a second appraiser to make an appointment to see the house. Tonight. Obviously, I won't be doing any cleaning before she does her inspection.

The mortgage company apparently didn't think it was worth mentioning to me that I was required to have a second appraisal because the purchase is between family members. Um, a little heads up would've been nice.

So even though I thought I was in the clear, now I have to go through this all over again. WTF?!

I still haven't gotten the paperwork back from one of the contractors either. How hard can it be? Sign your name and be done with it already! You are holding up my mortgage, you fool.

And not surprisingly, the dumpster hasn't moved an inch. Take it away! Now!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

5 am

For weeks now I find myself waking sometime between 5 and 5:30 in the morning. My alarm is set for 5:55, so this is vastly annoying and highly inconvenient.

Is it the early morning light streaming in through my sheer curtains? When I have more money to spend I must replace them with something heavier and darker.

Is it the anticipated stress of the day to come, in association with the new job? I've had several of my chase dreams of late and then this morning I had a new experience in a dream: I was in the middle of a Pulp Fiction style shoot out. The guys were all within a few feet of each other and me (I was huddled on the ground). It was scary and loud, and only one of them survived.

Is it the cup of coffee I've started drinking when I first get to work?

I can tell you for sure that it's not that I've reached my required sleep quota. Because when 5:55 finally rolls around, I have to drag my ass out of bed kicking and screaming.

The coffee is going to have to go. If that doesn't make a difference, I'll have to think about the curtains. I don't think there's much I can do about the job-related stress. Yoga?

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Letter S

There's a new game in town and I'm playing along. In this game, Marni has given me a letter and I have to come up with a list of ten things I like that start with that letter.

My letter: S

1) Sunshine: My body and soul crave sunshine. I am not a creature of the night, nor do I care for the shortened days of wintertime.

2) Saturdays: No work. By Sunday I'm already thinking about having to work the next day. Plus on Sundays, store have limited hours and there's no mail.

3) Summer: The hotter the better!

4) Sushi: That dynamite roll from the sushi bar in Neptune Beach was the best.

5) Sister: I sure am glad I have the one I do.

6) Swimming: Not swimming for exercise, but just being in the water.

7) Stars: Not only are they pretty, but I like to imagine the possibilities.

8) Sleeping: I must get enough sleep. And I feel as though I rarely do. Bring it on!

9) Sweatshirts: Comfort is key. I may not be winning any beauty pageants wearing them, but that's alright.

10) Slaps: That's what the AB Lifeguards called flip-flops. I'd live in them if I could.

If you want to play, let me know, and I'll give you a letter.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

All By Myself!

I know some of you may find this unremarkable or even ridiculous, but I am proud of myself for doing two things I've never done before.

I started the lawn mower on my own this morning! Thank god for that spray can of starter fluid.

And when it ran out of gas, I took the can to the gas station and filled it up. It didn't spray all over me or spill in the car.

I think I deserve some ice cream!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Poison Ivy Everywhere

This morning I staged a three-pronged attack on the poison ivy growing in the front "garden." Stage one involved snipping the vines climbing the birch tree near the base. Stage two involved spraying toxic chemicals on the ground covering ivy. Stage three involved carefully ripping the vines off the trunks of the birch tree. I don't expect total success, but I'm hoping that I at least caused a pause in the takeover.
I also did a bit of trimming, which I wasn't supposed to do until after the next brush pick-up since my means of disposal are full. So that means I will now have a pile of stuff in the driveway that has come into contact with the dreaded poison ivy.
After I'd had my full of yard work for the day (let's pretend we didn't notice that the grass needs mowing), I headed out to Second Home Nature Center. Man, there's a lot of poison ivy there! Other than that, it was a lovely cloudy and cool afternoon.
Here I am at the Self-Portrait Bench:
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ten Years

I just realized this morning that it's been ten years (ten years!) since I did my summer session in college. One of the degree requirements for my bachelor's program was a four week long session held at one of the extended campuses. I took advantage of an alternate opportunity that is no longer allowed as a replacement to the original session. It was definitely one of the best parts of my college experience.

How can it be ten years already?

Ten years since I spent four weeks living in a cabin in the mountains.

Ten years since I hiked Cascade and Porter by myself.

Ten years since my first kiss with Christian at the dump.

Ten years since I went almost-native and didn't want to come back.

Ten years since I knew exactly what I was going to do with my life.

Ten years.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I may resort to using bullets from now on.

  • I wore sandals today, and my feet are so cold that I am actually considering driving to the closest grocery store and buying a pair of socks so that I can change into my sneakers. (Why don't I have a pair of socks if I have a pair of sneakers? Good question.)
  • I forgot to bring any of the ridiculous amounts of chocolate FF bought for me at the end of last week. I usually crave sweets most in the late afternoon, so I will be even more sad in a few hours. I certainly can't justify raiding the vending machine when I have expensive, gourmet chocolates at home.
  • I mowed the lawn yesterday, which makes it two days shy of a week. It was already long enough where the mower was threatening to stall at the highest setting. How can it be growing this fast when it hasn't rained?
  • Every time I mow I come to the conclusion that some more trees must be cut down. I can't get into any kind of rhythm or pattern. There are too many damn obstacles in the way.
  • I did get the entire brush pile picked up, which will make mowing in that section easier. Unfortunately, where the pile was is now a big area of bare dirt. I bought some grass seed on Saturday, but my guess is that in order for it to start growing, it has to not still be in the package on the kitchen floor.
  • Does anyone have any suggestions for ridding the world, I mean my yard, of poison ivy? It is Everywhere.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Boring

I can see that this blog is boring not only me but my few readers as well.

I live a very boring life. I work, I watch TV, and I sleep. And that's it. I'm not exaggerating. I don't go anywhere or do anything.

And that's why you're subjected to posts about lawn mowing. It's not that I'm holding out on you, it's just that I'm that dull.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Home Front

I am anxiously awaiting the results of the home appraisal. He anticipated having it done by today, but that probably means Monday at the earliest.

FF dropped the packets off at the two contractor's homes last night. Once they are filled out and returned, that might be all there is. Ha, something else always comes up. But assuming the appraisal doesn't present any problems, I am finally getting near the elusive Closing I hope.

Next on my agenda is having the dumpster pulled and getting a load of stone for the driveway. And of course, the ongoing battle against the jungle (yard).

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Is it only Thursday?

  • I am not complaining about the warm weather, but it was not the best sleeping conditions last night. I have yet to raise all my storm windows, so there wasn't much air movement and it got rather stuffy inside. (Note to self: raise storm windows)

  • I have been drinking coffee again. I go on the occasional kick, but it rarely lasts. I started again because of the getting-to-work-earlier part of the new job. Next week we move to summer hours, so I may have to push my arrival time back another fifteen minutes or half an hour. We'll see.

  • The speedboat-esque whine my car was producing turned out to be a bad wheel bearing. All fixed now. Hope that tax return arrives soon. Looks like I might not be getting new tires with that money after all.

  • I put out two bags of yard waste and two barrels of sticks this week for pick-up. And they took it all. Yay! I definitely put a dent in the already existing pile of sticks. When that's gone, I can start doing some new trimming/cutting.

  • I have a new obsession: the souffles from Panera. I'd never been there early enough to try them until last week, and now I've had one three times. My mom makes a delightful cheese souffle for special occasions (think Easter brunch) which has always been a favorite of mine. These souffles have the added bonus of having a croissant crust. Hello, decadent.

  • I love the smell of rain on dry pavement right at the beginning of a storm.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Priceless

  • I feel I should mention that not only do I have a Window! in my new office, but it is one that Opens! (Apparently not a given?) So I am enjoying a nice breeze of fresh air with a hint of freshly mowed grass. Sure beats the stale office air I'm used to.

  • I just took a big sip of water and somehow before it made its way into my stomach, it detoured into my lungs and very nearly came out my nose and onto my keyboard. After much coughing and eye watering, one of the other managers walks by my office and says:

"What's wrong with you?"

"I just inhaled some water"

"That was stupid."

Monday, May 07, 2007

Manager Shoes

When I worked in retail, some of my co-workers made fun of our store manager because she wore clunky heels. She also wore her store keys on one of those spiral elastic key chains on her upper arm. It was a clunk, clunk, jingle, jingle kind of mockery. (Not one that I condoned or partook in since I liked her, and when she promoted me I found her method of key-carrying quite effective.) It also served as a warning for the associates since they could hear her coming and pretend to look busy before she saw what they were really doing.

Now that I am management again, I've found myself wearing heels in attempt to present a more professional appearance. Now when I go clacking down the halls I think of her and how in my office if you can hear someone coming, they're usually a manager.

We need more carpeting.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Impending Appraisal

I finally have an appointment scheduled with an appraiser to assess the house. I had high hopes for this weekend and all that I might accomplish.

I did a lot of yard work yesterday, but it's not the kind that would be recognizable to anyone but me. Today I decided to focus on the inside, even though it's another beautiful day, so rare in these parts during springtime.

I did one coat on the tricky part between the counters and the cabinets in the kitchen. I had left it unpainted because Uncle D had promised to give me new counter tops as a gift. Since they have not materialized, I am giving up and painting. I also did the first coat on the kitchen window frame. Thankfully, it will be the last window I paint for what is hopefully a long, long time. It was also the worst in the whole house. I had hoped to get the hall closet painted and the closet door rehung, but it's remarkable how unmotivated I am. Especially considering how much rides on this.


I've been eating white chocolate-covered oreos, so obviously this whole affair is making me nervous.

Tomorrow night I will clean. No sense in doing today what can be put off until tomorrow.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

It's a nice neighborhood, I promise.

My next-door neighbor came and introduced herself last night. She seems very nice with two very strange (but nice) teenage children. I told them about the dumpster divers and how just yesterday someone stole a ceramic cat dish from my driveway. She volunteered to keep an eye on my house during the day since she doesn't work.

She indicated that any mischief was probably done by some of the high school boys that live nearby. There's also a younger boy who rides a special bus because of his "anger issues," whatever that means. I hope he's not dangerous. Suddenly my last neighborhood of retirees seems more appealing.

I do feel better knowing I've got a few people looking out for me. It disturbs me to think that I have to worry about things in my own yard, like my hammock or firebowl. Are they going to wander off too?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Again with the mowing?

For those of you waiting with bated breath to hear whether I got the lawn mowed last night, let me put your minds at ease. I mowed the two sides of the lawn that are bordered by roads (corner lot), therefore the yard looks fairly decent. I haven't gotten to the back yet though.

I don't understand gasoline-powered mowers. They are so difficult to start and tremendously loud. I expect I have permanent hearing loss from last night.

My ideal mower would be a battery powered one: quiet, light, and as easy to operate as an electric mower but without the cord. Do they make those? And if not, could someone please get on that?

My other concern from last night is the fact that I mowed over some poison ivy. I keep waiting to go into anaphylactic shock or something from inhaling the pulverized plant bits that the mulching mower put forth into the air.


After mowing I had a mini fire in my new firebowl. The directions said to have several small fires initially to season the ceramic bowl. I gotta get past that stage 'cause I got a heap o' crap to burn. Fire!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Perks

My boss is so busy this week that she doesn't have time to show me what's involved with my new position. So far I've been copied on a lot of emails, but other than that I'm continuing with my old tasks (my replacement has yet to be hired).

I am enjoying the perks of private office and window, without much in the way of additional work or responsibility.

I can't get used to it though, for surely it will change soon.

I'm hoping to mow some of the lawn after work. I asked FF to pick up some gasoline for me, and if possible start the mower tonight when he is there picking up Small Dog. He is talking to me again after days of relying on text messages as a sole means of communication. The text messages alone added $10 to my last bill. Ugh. That's a lot of freakin' texts.

Although cool, we had another picture-perfect day. I went out to my car during lunch and alternated between dozing and reading. It was definitely one of those days when it's hard to go back inside.