Monday, April 24, 2017

Florida and the Dreaded No-See-Um

Last week I returned from a quickie trip to Florida to visit good friends. They have a place down in Palm Beach Gardens and enticed me with a few magic words. You know the ones – Beach. Sun. Ocean. Oh, and let’s not forget that happy word: Shopping.

I was tempted, but not enough to pack my bags quite yet.

But when they uttered the ever-magical phrase, no dog-walking required, I couldn’t find a flight fast enough.

Did I miss Vince and Maggie Minx and Twinks and Jinx while I was gone? Oh, you betcha – especially Vince. But it was nice to have a few days of downtime. I didn’t have to do a single load of laundry. I didn’t have to worry about doggie poo bags. And best of all, I didn’t have to figure out what to fix for dinner or purchase the fixings or, well, do the actual fixing.

The most taxing thing I had to do was decide which bottle of wine to open for happy hour.

That’s my kind of chore.

I was gone just long enough to recharge my batteries and I left Florida just before Susan and Jeffy rescinded the Welcome mat.

I always remember my mom telling me that guests, like fish, start to smell after three days. Which conjured up a horrible image and I almost missed her point. And while my mother never pretended to be the author of that quote, she said it was a good philosophy to have about being a welcomed guest. Or maybe about being a guest who would be welcomed back.

Of course, with any good battery recharging getaway, there is always the chance of a downside. Like missing your connection. Or getting dragged off an airplane (!) Or arriving just as monsoon season hits.

Fortunately, none of those things happened. No, the worst thing that happened to me was the attack of the dreaded no-see-um. Aptly named.

Because I didn’t see-um.

But my ankles and wrists looked as though I had caught the plague. I had little red welts all over me and, boy, did they itch! For such a little bug, no-see-um bites sure do pack an itchy punch.

Sadly, I realized too late what was happening and by the time I finally applied a little bug spray to my exposed parts, the damage had already been done.

But the good news was that it WAS the last day of my visit and I was heading back home to Ohio’s unpredictable weather. Which meant that all those little red welts would mostly likely be hidden under layers of clothing and no one would be forced to take a cautious step away from me out of fear of catching whatever contagious virus I had.

And even better news is that my husband had a magical fix for my bug bites much like the father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding had with his bottle of Windex.

Except Vince’s potion is Oil of Oregano. Have you heard of this stuff? Let me just say…it stiiiiiinks! I mean, it seriously stinks.

Vince has been using Oil of Oregano for pretty much everything the past couple years. He pats it on his face. He uses it as an antibiotic. I think he even gargles with the stuff, but don’t quote me on that. He may have stopped that practice when I refused to kiss him goodnight because of the smell.

But I’ve gotta give the man his due – he applied that oil of oregano to my no-see-um bites and they never itched again – not even once. Which is amazing because I’m the kind of person who will hang on to an itchy bug bite far longer than the average human.

So anyway. I had a wonderful visit with my friends and I did, indeed, recharge my batteries. So I’m back to walking the dog and carrying doggie poo bags. And I’m back to figuring out what to fix for dinner. But it all seems a little less taxing.

Best of all, I’m back at home with my Vince. Where I should be.

And, happily, those dreaded  no-see-ums didn’t follow me back to Ohio.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Too Much to Do, Too Little Time

I woke up this morning with my stomach in knots thinking of all I had to get done today. I hate waking up this way. Almost as much as I hate waking up to Maggie’s piercing yips in her crate long before the 7 AM alarm goes off.

But what can you do when the dog wakes up and needs to use the facilities before you’re ready for her to use the facilities? You get up and walk the dog.

You might still be in your PJs and grouchy as all get out because you’re still half-asleep – but you get up and walk the dog.

And what can you do when you have a long list of things to do and not enough time to do it all? You just start with the first thing on the list and hope you can get everything done without too much angst.

You might roll your eyes and throw an exaggerated sigh in your husband’s direction when first thing in the morning he gleefully states that it’s “Egg Day” (instead of the much simpler and quicker “Cereal Day”) – but you haul out the egg pan to get started making him breakfast so he can get off to work.

And, seriously, it’s the least I can do since Vince works so hard for us. I’m being sincere here. The man works “half days.” This would be 12 hours to you and me. Personally I can’t imagine working such long hours…

…but I digress. I was talking about me – and how much I had to accomplish today! (And, after all, doesn’t the world revolve around me?!)

Anyway, I sort of knew there was no way I’d manage to get Vince’s eggs cooked and get him off to work, shower and get ready for my day, greet the new Handyman when he showed up and get him squared away on the myriad of tasks I had for him to do, take Maggie to her vet appointment, attend a 4-year-old’s birthday party on the other side of town AND get my mom’s taxes finished today.

Super Woman I am not.

So I missed the 4-year-old’s birthday party and I feel badly about it. But our handyman didn’t finish until well after the party started. By the time I would’ve walked the dog (for the nine thousandth time today), got her in her crate, and headed to the party, it would’ve been pretty much over.


Fortunately, the 4-year-old won’t be upset that I wasn’t there. And he’ll have a blast shopping for a new toy at Toys R Us sometime soon. But his mom puts so much love and effort into his birthday parties that I hated having to miss it.

But I guess sometimes compromises have to be made. Can’t say that I’m a big fan of the compromise, but such is life.

On the other hand, Maggie Minx got all her vaccinations and treatments and is hopefully set for a while. Either that, or I’m going to need to add another line to our budget for veterinarian bills. (Who knew dogs require way more trips to the vet than cats? Not me, said the first-time dog owner…)

And our CPA received all the paperwork to handle my mom’s taxes and that got finished today. Ooh, a whole nine days before the deadline! But it was such a huge relief to me that a big part of that knot in my stomach loosened appreciably.

Our handyman worked hard today, too. The shingles on our roof are once again firmly attached and I won’t need to worry about either indoor rain showers or neighbors pointing out our lack of home maintenance and their concern that we’re causing their property values to fall.

He hung a toilet paper holder on the wall in our bathroom. Maybe that sounds a little weird – who puts their toilet paper on the wall? But it looks like a cloud and I love it!

I got this holder last year and it’s been sitting in a box patiently awaiting someone with skills and tools to hang it on the wall. Someone who is definitely not me, since the installation required not only a level but a stud finder. And it came with pieces and parts that I couldn’t even identify. While I graduated decades ago from pounding nails into the wall using a high heel, I’ve never moved beyond the simple hammer stage.

So it was a relief to finally take the now-empty box to the recycling bin.

We’ve lived in our house nearly five years now – and the dishwasher in our kitchen has never been firmly attached to wherever it needs to be firmly attached. Fortunately, it has always worked – and it has never leaked water onto the floor. But the fact that it wasn’t properly secured has always bugged me.

So the handyman firmly attached it. Another thing to check off the list!

And, finally, we also have a beautiful new kitchen faucet – one that isn’t scarred and pitted. And it’s one of those faucets where you wave your hand in front of it and the water automatically starts running. Wave it again, and the water shuts off.

Yeah, yeah, I know – could I be any lazier? (Said in my best Chandler Bing voice.)

But that installation required him to crawl under the sink. Vince and I have decided that our crawling under the sink days are over. The last time Vince had to do this, we both ended up soaking wet and grouchy. Apparently my flashlight holding skills leave much to be desired.

Today, I didn’t even once have to hold a flashlight.  Made writing the check all the more worth it!

It’s now nearly 8 p.m. and I haven’t come close to finishing all the things on my list. But I got a big chunk crossed off and that’s a huge relief. And I also got a blog written – something I didn’t think I could possibly fit into my day. So there you go – shows you can always manage one more thing. Right?

And tomorrow is another day. I’ll see what else I can cross off the list.

Let’s just hope I don’t wake up with my stomach in knots.

And that Maggie sleeps in at least until 7 AM.