Monday, July 17, 2006

Back, under duress

Yeah, I'm back from vacation, and VERY under duress. Everyone should take no less than 2 weeks off at some point during the year. It's a good amount of time and allows a great re-charge of the mind, body and spirit.

Like the rest of the country, we're expecting very hot and humid weather today with temperatures in the mid-90s and the heat index to go well over 100 degrees. I just can't truly articulate how difficult that is for a woman going through menopause. Sixty degrees feels over warm but with these kinds of temperatures, I truly feel like I'm melting away. I get this "whooshing" sensation in my ears and head, my stomach feels like it's about to have an explosion a la Aliens and all I want to eat is ice cream or something frozen. I can't focus, I can't function, and I'm motivated to do absolutely nothing.

We met a lot of our vacation goals, although not all. We certainly slept in each morning, not arising much before 9:00 on any given day. A couple of days, we even slept until 10:00 (of course, we were staying up later, too). Because of what we ended up getting into (details to follow), I ended up wearing a bra a lot more than I wanted to. Every single morning we sat out on the patio, sipping our coffee, and looking out over the gardens and just quietly chatting. Our anniversary arrived on the 5th without much fanfare and, while we acknowledged it, we didn't really treat it as a momentous occasion. We did buy ourselves a wooden pump/bucket setup for our gardens as a gift to ourselves, but other than that, it was a quiet anniversary (although we did have some quiet, private, intimate time). We ended up not going to the Gay Pride Parade and Cultural Festival. The couple we were going to go with had to beg off and, because we had things we could be doing (that needed doing), we opted to stay home. I kept my promise to myself and didn't check my email or voice mail until this past Friday. No phone calls from work, either. We gave absolutely no thought to the Renaissance Festival and, while we discussed camping a couple of times, ended up not doing that, either. Finally, I finished the baby blanket I was working on for my new grandson, Ethan, who is due in early September.

Where we got into a bit of "trouble" was after the chiropractor appointment on Friday the 7th. There we were, minding our own business, when we decided to go to Lowes and see what they had in flooring, just for shits and giggles, for the upstairs. Well, to make a long story short, we actually ended up BUYING flooring because they had a deal whereby, if you applied for a Lowe's credit card and your purchase came to more than $299, you got ZERO payments and ZERO interest for a year. Well, since we were looking at just about 500 square feet of flooring, it came to a nice, tiday sum. But hell, I can pay that off well before the year is up. They told us the flooring should be in within 7 to 10 days. I figure it'll be in today, just because it's our first day back from vacation.

So, we got back home and got right into cutting up the carpet and its padding and removing it from the entire upstairs. Yes, the entire upstairs (minus bedrooms and a bathroom). Then we removed every molding, spackled the walls and went to the Home Depot for paint.

We did the ceiling first. It's cathedral style, and 12 feet at it's peak. No small feat to paint, believe me. We did the ceiling a flat white and, once we got going on it, we were amazed to see just how discolored the ceiling had been. I used to smoke and, for a while when my father lived with me, there was a lot of smoke filtering through that house. The ceiling is now so white, it actually seems brighter in that area now. It took us an entire day just to do the ceiling.

Then we did the walls. The eastern and western walls are a pale, pale blue (almost white) and the remaining walls are a buttery cream color. They look great against each other, and the cream color looks wonderful against the greens we did in the entryway earlier this year.

I got a first coat of paint on the stairs with the cream color as well, while Lisa finished painting the walls in the hallway that leads to the bedrooms. It was hotter'n Haedes doing it, especially up on the ladders where the hot air rises, but somehow we managed to get it done. We still need to go back and touch up some spots on the ceiling where I managed to "oops" with the light blue paint -- we'll do them with small artist brushes.

After we took up the carpet, we noted that there is a lot of drywall mud on the floor -- presumably from the builders who did the most recent work in the house, whenever that was. It was globbed up pretty good in a lot of areas and, with putting in a new floor, we were concerned about our ability to have the floor be level and not rock back and forth, so we spent a couple of days scraping drywall mud up off the floor. We've got that about half done. The scraping is hard on the hands, arms, and wrist as well as the lower back and knees. Probably the hardest task yet.

Right now, the house looks like a demolition site. Did you ever see the movie The Money Pit? The part where Tom Hanks tells Shelley Long "We're living in Swiss Cheese with doors!" could closely describe what our upstairs looks like right now. In fact, it's so bad, the cats don't even come upstairs because they're so weirded out by the loss of their familiar scents in the carpet, as well as the power tools, banging, painting, etc. that's going on.

Last Thursday we went to court to observe the arguments for our case. It's interesting to see how this process works. The judge is an ultra-conservative so I don't hold out much positive hope that he'll rule in our favor. Alternatively, the opposing attorney is a putz who seemed like he'd just read the case for the first time that morning and made ridiculous comments and even stated incorrect facts. We'll see, though.

I've received numerous letters from my father, almost at the rate of one per day. He's in the state facility in Elmira undergoing evaluation and it looks like he may be there on "medical hold" for a while until they figure out what they're going to do with him. His circulation is terrible in his legs and feet and, because of all the bypass surgeries he's already had, they're not holding out much hope that they can do any more surgery for him. For the time being, his spirits seem somewhat high and he's coping as best he can.

So, I'm back to work, with absolutely nothing to do. If it wasn't so damned hot, I'd ride my bike at lunch time to get a good workout, but with the temperature at 88 degrees currently, and the heat index at 95, that doesn't seem like a smart thing to do.

I guess I'll just sit here in the air-conditioned office (which, by the way, is at 85 degrees INSIDE) with the fans running and hope for the best.

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