Wednesday, April 27, 2005

As my world turns

You’ve been sensing the sewer work drama, eh? Well, here’s an update if you’re one to follow the soaps. After I freaked about the yard the other day when the sewer workers had driven the bobcat way into my yard back and forth and after watching them place all their stuff and huge pipes as far into my yard as the orange tree, I couldn’t take it for one more second. I had to go out and ask them not to do it anymore or I was going to combust. I approached the guy with the shovel and asked if he spoke English. He shook his head and pointed me to the “English speaker”, who after I voiced my grass concerns to him in a very kind but lengthy speech, looked at me with a blank stare and said, “I speak little english only.” Agh! I asked if there might possibly be an english speaking worker out there somewhere and he told me the guy was coming, that he was down the block a ways. I waited and waited and he finally came after stopping to talk to the guys and talk on his phone, and wash his shoes off. I told the guy about how the junk was creeping further and further into my yard and that they were driving the bobcat around my yard and I told him about the special palmetto sod I had just recently had laid, and he assured me they would replace my yard with whatever kind of sod I wanted. I explained to him that I didn’t want to replace my sod because of the difficulty starting new sod, all the water and time required. So he yelled over to the spanish speaking bob cat driver nicely asking him to stay off the grass. Since then, they trashed my phone line and I was without phone for about a day and a half. I have removed their belongings and pipes from my grass three times now after they’ve left. Right now a guy is out there raking up the grass all the way up to the grapefruit tree that they trashed. They seem to be onto the smoothing-out-dirt-process right now. I don’t look forward to reliving the new sod experience. I just did that. I was so hoping to be done with such effort for a while. This experience has taken a toll on me.

Judy, feel my pain. Here is a before picture...
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And here is some of what has been going on during this “ode to hypertension.” These were taken from video I shot this morning, so the quality isn’t too great. I had removed all the junk from across the yard the night before so that isn’t available for view. But right now I can see by looking out the kitchen window, I have two more 15 foot pipes to roll into the dirt again tonight after they leave.
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These roots are from the back side of my tree. I have a feeling it won't last very much longer without all those. It's leaning heavily already. And it's suddenly dropping leaves like mad.

Serenity now!

Monday, April 25, 2005


I know this is my second post in one day but... Mayday! Mayday! Loud cracking sound as back hoe flings its arm around to dump the dirt out next to my avocado tree. Limb down! I repeat, limb down! My swing branch is in jeopardy. I’m not sure which is worse, watching the men sit and talk in the trench for an hour at a time every half hour, or the panic I feel when I see the heavy equipment operator get up and make motions to head back to the back hoe. I can’t take much more. I’m in a sweat and there’s so much dirt out there piled so close to the house I can’t open the windows or it’ll all blow in. Their pipes and equipment are scattered further and further up into my back yard, the dirt piles are about 10 feet into my grass and if you don’t hear from me for a while, have someone check to make sure I’m not laying in heap by the kitchen window collapsed from the stress and bearing screen marks on my cheeks from trying to get a good look at the turmoil. Can’t take much more. And who the heck do these guys think they are swinging their big butts on my sweet little swing. They better not make me come out there! That thing can barely hold a kid’s weight without the rope part pulling through the holes in the wood and these guys are swinging with glee like kids on a swingset seeing who can get the highest, and having a hey ole time at it. And I can’t get over the fact that they are ruining all my grass in the shade. The grass I have is a special kind of St. Augustine intended for the shade and when they replace it I can guarantee they will put regular sod there and I will begin my fight to keep the grass alive all over again. Gotta run, I hear them taking another short break from their swing and tea time to do some more destruction of my yard and my soul. (never mind, they are still sitting in the shade relaxing, must be union rules or something). Gotta keep my eyes out so if need be I can call Seacoast and vent to someone who understands English. Very frustrating this whole process. Yes, I love having a sewage system that runs freely, but I value my sanity and the regular and steady beat of my heart as well. I say it’s time to get this job done and put me out of my misery. I’m begging, here.

Sunday Afternoon Vacation

There are a few things in life I find myself amazed by time and again through the years and yet somehow I don’t learn the lesson of that amazement in a “for keeps” kind of way. One such amazement would be the beauty that is the beach and why I don’t go more often. Once in a while when I finally find myself there, I swear it will be my new hangout. Then about a year later I find myself saying the same thing once again when I happen there out of some oddity again. What is that?

Today I stumbled upon another such place.

After church and lunch at the new church property, Lynette and Lynn and I went to the convention center in West Palm for a “women’s something or other.” It had a title but I can’t remember for the life of me what it was called. Cally met us there and we wandered the booths and watched a fashion show and sampled a few things. Cally got asked if she was interested in being a model (she wasn’t).We kept leaving Lynette behind because she shopped the jewelry and purse counters for way too long at a time; we were really just there for the free stuff. It wasn’t all we’d hoped it would be, (we’d hoped for free facials, pedicures, manicures, etc) but we got our tickets for nothing so who’s complaining. However, we were ready to leave within about an hour of wandering and signing up to win things. Upon our departure we saw some interesting looking homes rising above a wall that stood as a barrier between the Convention Center parking lot and the neighborhood to the south. It was obvious they were renovated homes as that neighborhood used to be pretty slummy. The neighborhood had the somewhat upscale look of old homes transformed. We decided to drive around and see how cute and charming they were and all the cool details you only find on the older homes in south Florida. We started seeing “For Sale” signs here and there and wondered what the asking prices were getting to be in this area. We rounded a corner and came upon an open house in progress. Lynette said we had to go in. So we did deeming her our official spokesperson. On the outside, the house was maintained although not at all that charming or attractive in color or style. The house we had seen a few blocks over oozed charm and this one looked ordinary. But upon entering it, we were amazed at the decorating and all they had done to transform it. It was really interesting inside. It was only a 2/1, somewhere around 1150 sq. ft. and they were asking $449,000. I couldn’t believe it. It was a corner lot and the only yard it had was in the front, and a huge park was situated across the street to the side of it. But it wasn’t a particularly pretty park. There were about 30 guys playing soccer when we were there. Not exactly private feeling as a fairly good sized window looked out on it. $449,000! I couldn’t believe it. Judy, it had nothing on your house except some lavish decorating. There was plenty of not-so-nice ambiance nearby and yet somehow they are commanding (or at least trying to command) those prices in that area.

Geez, my neighborhood is way more private and has huge yards, why can’t Lake Park get on the updo track and become a Flamingo Park or a whatever the other names of those areas were? It has so much more potential for revitalization. I would seriously like to revitalize my house. I have so many good ideas. My neighbor in the big house across the street and over is planning to refab his house. Maybe we could get the trend going here. One day this area will be like an Old Northwood or Flamingo Park, you wait and see, and then the prices will really hike. I couldn’t believe how those homes in West Palm had no land and I was just amazed at prices that reflect what you would pay in PGA National with a pool and all the land and upscale style. Really wierd how this market goes.

Anyway, from there we took Cally to her car and decided to get out at City Place, walk around and get a drink and then sit and enjoy the day. And it was such a day! The sky was Santa Fe blue like you wouldn’t have believed and made an intense backdrop for the palm trees when I looked up. The air was low 70’s, felt like high 60’s because yesterday it was as hot as summer here rendering anything under 85 as quite cool. The breeze was blowing, the fountains were splashing and they did that thing every half an hour where the fountains shoot up in time with the music. It was a gorgeous Florida Sunday and City Place is really beautiful with all the steps and the old Harriet Himmel building and the stones and the fountains and the colors and the people everywhere to watch. I don’t know why I don’t go more often and buy a coke, sit at a wrought iron table and enjoy the view. It was really like an afternoon vacation with the mood music playing at Bellagios. Didn’t cost me a thing because Lynn bought the coke since I drove. Wasn’t that nice? Lynette bought Cally a cd she had been talking about all afternoon before she left. Lynette went in Starbucks for iced coffee and there was the CD for sale, so she got it for Cally. What a nice surprise that will be. It was like a rich day in paradise and it was free. That’s beauty in and of itself. Maybe next week I’ll land myself on the sand at the beach and take another Sunday afternoon vacation. Life is short and who knows how long before someone starts charging for a day at the beach. I’m not taking any chances ever since I heard they plan to start making you pay to park at City Place. As of today, though, I happily report that parking is still free. Free, I love that word.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Bragging Rights

7:20 and the engine revs. The heavy clunking resumes. The lavender leviathan is inching it’s way to my corner of the world and I will be in a panic for most of the day, of that I am sure. I’m not sure, however, when I will have a steady, even heartbeat again. Probably not until they are well past my tree. They seem determined to get on with the process now, finally. They are so close I can feel the reverb from the backhoe clawing the earth. My nerves are shot. I have to go and purchase a washer today too, and the responsibility for making a good choice is almost too much for me. Decisions aren’t my strong suit. But I must get that done, and while I am out, I’m pretty sure the excavation crew will cross the border into my yard. I hope I make it back in time to keep an eye on my tree. I honestly don’t know how they will be able to do all they’ve been doing in the other yards without ramming that huge backhoe into my tree a few times.

My accomplishments are many recently. Let me brag. I am making progress on Cael’s graduation announcements. We took a photo the other day and I got them back yesterday. Those I wasn’t impressed with. I spent a lot of time turning them into black and white and adjusting the contrast and cropping them smaller, and altering Cael’s complexion a bit, however, now I just want a redo. Cael needed a haircut and so we should do that and then just take a new photo. The Einstein look is just not cutting it. It wasn’t his best hair day anyway, and after all I’ve put into these cards, I think good hair is important. Plus he needed to shave and we were in a hurry to get the shots before sundown, so he ran out into the back yard with his long wet hair, unshaven and with a wrinkled shirt. But who knows when a retake might command a place in our schedules. My only other option would be to muster enough skill to alter his hair in photoshop, but that would be beyond time and sanity’s budgetary propriety. Oh if only I could be freewheeling and uninspired so I didn’t feel the need to create and tweak. Life would be simpler. So either I send the card I have or I call for a do over. A decision will be made later today.

I have to give you a heads up on the cellophane situation too. I got through to the window fix-it people. They didn’t really care that my window was banging and clanking with the heavy winds we’ve been having. They won’t come until May 4th. I was concerned that I would be adding window replacement to crank replacement if the wind continued to smack my windows around like that. I called almost a week ago now. That’s a long wait. I guess emergencies don’t matter. The girl on the phone was unmoved by the tremble in my voice, I guess. Oh well. It took most of the week, but the winds have died down significantly. My awnings out back were rattling like crazy and it was a little freaky knowing I depend on those shutters for hurricane protection. But that’s another worry for later in the year when “The Season” begins.

You won’t believe this, but I am off to sign the papers for health insurance. Health insurance, I said! I know. Miracle upon miracle. Now you know I have bragging rights. You’d think, what else could possibly remain on my ever present to do list with so many accomplishments under my belt. Well, you’d be surprised. The never ending repair, replace, and purchase list is as strong and healthy as ever. It is perhaps growing too quickly. Can I just state for the record that having a senior in high school in the house is not for those with weak cash flow. Because high school seniors create weak cash flow, and if it is faltering to begin with, a mother would be positively destitute by graduation day. Add to that health insurance, washer, lawn mower, etc., etc. etc.

So I take a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other and if need be, I crawl one hand and knee at a time to the next thing. But for now I’ll be off to stop at Home Depot and fork over some cash for the washer and get on the delivery waiting list. Timeliness would have helped as one always has to get in line for delivery. Delivery? You ask. Yes, delivery is included! That was the clincher. Clinchers are good for mamby pamby decision makers like me.

Off to deplete my income tax refund stash. It was nice while it graced the pages of my check register. Maybe I should take a picture of those numbers just to remember that for a fleeting moment, they decorated my account with richness. Simple pleasures, like extra digits on the total line. Gotta love that.

Post Script: Returned from my errands almost one thousand dollars poorer, but I got a $25 gift card from Home Depot for my purchase. Woo hoo! The day is mostly wasted and by the time I fill out my two rebate thingies, and make copies of my receipts, I'll have to go pick up Casey. So much for accomplishments. Spending that cash takes no time at all and yet my day is gone in a heartbeat along with my money. Ah well, nice that it was there in my time of need, right? And I think I'm gonna pass on the lawn mower purchase and keep borrowing my neighbor's for a while. But that decision is still up in the air.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

My Own Heroics

Who’s the hero of the day? Me, me, me! And I think I need a vacation for my endeavor.

I finally did it? What, you say?

Did I de-cellophane the window and fix the cranks? No. Did I get the washer out to the road last night? Not exactly, but I did try. (Unfortunately the neighbors dolly didn’t have it’s tires pumped up enough and it couldn’t handle the weight.) Did I finish fertilizing the yard, did I use the weedeater on the walkways, did I wash or vacuum my filthy car? Of course not. Did I begin Cael and Bethany’s videos? Unh, uh. Did I make Cael’s graduation announcements? Hah!

What could I have done that was worthy of accolades? It was this: I went to the kitchen, opened the drawer, pulled out a screwdriver and I opened the bathtub drain and I finally degunked. I degunked! I degunked some more, and more and more, and I thought the hairy blob of scum and ick had snaked its way to China via my bathtub drain, and I nearly gagged. It was beyond description what came out of there. I wished I could have taken a photo of it just so you could feel my disgust, but the censors would have been all over that. They don’t allow images like that to be displayed over public networks. It was so gross, I don’t believe any surgeon has ever witnessed anything that rivaled what I pulled out of that drain. I shudder to think of it again. I am now going to drop it from my consciousness lest I have a new recurring bad dream like the witch who used to pop out of my dresser when I was little, or the tidal wave dreams. Those wouldn’t compare to the nightmare that would be the degunking dream.

But it is finished. For today anyway. With three girls and one guy who’s hair is almost the length of ours using that shower, there is enough long blond and brown hair to keep the drain clogged on into eternity. For now I rest on the hardy work of my hands and the stamina of my eyes and stomach this afternoon and my fortitude to carry it through despite the slimy disgusting wretch of whatever all that was that I just pulled out using a screwdriver. I didn’t know what else to use. I think I should throw it away now. It seems entirely contaminated. Casey finished off the job by plunging, just for an added sense of security; that little extra oomph to make the drain run clean. We believe in the finishing touches, you know. Next up, Casey gets to clean the tub. I bet she’s all a-flutter inside waiting to get to it. Hmmm, I wonder why she hasn’t started yet.

Well, that’s about the only thing I have to say right now. So, enjoy that which I have offered and have a day as carefree as a swiftly flowing bathtub drain. Ahh, what a feeling. If only the rest of you could but try to follow in my exemplary footsteps... [teeny-tiny snicker] If you have done anything even remotely so heroic yourself today, please, feel free to share. The hotline is open.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Neglected, Not Abandoned

This is not an abandoned blog, I repeat, not an abandoned blog... a little neglected, like so many aspects of my life are found to be from time to time, but not forgotten.

Spent my day as per my usual Sunday, going to church and then to the mall for lunch. I had intended to go and hear Tommy speak at a church in Jupiter but my air wouldn’t work in the car on the way and I was wearing long sleeves and pants and I just didn’t have it in me to get all in a sweat, so I stopped at the halfway point at my own church before I was completely drenched. How's that for devotion? Chris was speaking, and he’s second to Tommy in my book, so it wasn’t a total loss.

After a rushed lunch at the mall, there was a meeting for the Senior’s trip to Europe over at school. Is Cael ever gonna have a blast! And remember that whole scene with me laying in a heap on the bottom of the stairway to nowhere back a month or so ago (figuratively of course)? Well, come to find out today that in the end, the person I was trying to help was granted grace (and the cash needed) by his own parents and is going on the Europe trip after all. I was so excited!

I’ve also been to the grocery store and watched one home remodeling show. I have worked for one hour on the Jupiter Christian video; yesterday I worked on it for 10 hours. I have only to finish the open and close but this is always quite a challenge for me. Maybe I could finish tonight.

Oh and it was so hot at 5:30 when I came home from the grocery store that I immediately turned on the air. I wonder if the Santa Fe cold front could push its way over here for a little stint. A nice blanket of snow would do me good... for a day anyway.

Well, I have images to remix, so off I go.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Funny Girl Memories

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After Friday's show.

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This was the night I thought Cael's hair looked the best. He told me tonight that Snyder had done his hair that night. Not a bad stylist. I also accidentally took this photo with flash and was really embarrassed that it had gone off. After that everyone started snapping flash photos throughout the rest of the show. I felt responsible. No one had been doing it before in any of the shows. I should be ashamed. Wait, I am ashamed.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

From Fallout to Celebration

All my best thoughts are laying by the wayside. I haven’t had time to write, what with going to the show every night and working all day, and stopping for something to eat and a change of clothes along the way. So my thoughts about how we are all “less” since Mary and Judy left us sister-less, mother-less, aunt-less, etc.; those thoughts have been cast aside while I do what is mine to do at the moment.

I had two brilliant thoughts the other day, one right after the other, but I don’t even have the faintest idea as to what they were. You can bet they were show stoppers. Lately I’ve had a number of those ideas, the kind that I mean to write down so that one day I can submit them somewhere, the kind that would make really good commercials. But I haven’t come to the place of pushing past the fatigue in the darkness to pry my eyes open, find a pen and write things down. So we may never know what brilliance lies dormant, lost to the darkness. I will have to be prepared for the day when I accidentally bump into those thoughts again on the street or in my sleep and get them down on paper quickly. I know I‘ll never be able to call the same stuff up on demand; it has to happen on it’s own. So I wait, and in the meantime, ta da.... you are left with word-less, brilliant-thought-less me.

I managed to get to the show for the fourth time last night. On Thursday, Catherine asked if I’d like to come Friday night, as she had an extra ticket. I jumped excitedly at the opportunity. I have enjoyed the show more each night and they adjusted the volume to compliment rather than distress the sound of the performer’s voices. Cael has adjusted his hair style each night, hitting a puffy plateau Thursday night (great for describing to people how to pick him out of the crowd) and then surprising us with a sleek and fashionable, practically wet look, last night. “Dashing” sums it up. I was able to get a photo of he and three of his best friends after the show. That made me happy. I would be happier with more photos, and Cally is hopefully going to take the camera tonight to get some more of the guys together in their beloved costumes with hats. We’ll see how that goes. I had to force the photo last night because they didn’t feel "ready." Two of the guys had on the “wrong” thing and wanted to wait until tonight. True performers. I didn’t have a ticket for tonight, so it was my only chance right then. I took charge and ordered their placement on the steps and they managed to live through it and smile too. They actually wanted the photo because they love their costumes and have enjoyed the show so much. (Jacquie, the dance instructor/director says they have a hard time getting Cael to change out of his costume, he wants to wear it all the time. This is how bonded he is with the look.) I took some video stealthily during the show on Thursday night and so I am satisfied that the grand experience hasn’t been lost forever. I want to be able to clutch it close and relive it from time to time, as my memory tends to fog the details into hazy generalities. That won’t do. I love the details in their crisp clarity. I have so much fog in my life that I enjoy something clear and concise now and then, esp. when it’s a view of my son imbued with participation and responsibility and shining on stage doing something he has discovered he loves. My dream.

Cael was saying last night that he feels like once he graduates his life is going to be over. He is having such a great time right now. I’m so glad he did the show, sticking with the rehearsals and all the hard parts. Plus there is so much yet to come for the seniors to pack into the next two months, what with two more shows today, the trip to Europe, Prom, Graduation, and some of them are going on a missions trip to Costa Rica. And then there’s a trip on somebody’s yacht in a couple of weeks and the girlfriends and all that bliss, plus the end of year stuff the seniors do. I am so glad Cael decided to embrace his senior year after the directional misguidance and emotional overhaul it began with. He chose well and is reaping the joy of good choices. And so of course, I am too. I think it’s only fair that if I have to live with the fallout during the harrowing times I should be allowed to celebrate his joy when it comes, and photograph and videotape it and stare in awe at it. But it’s also the kind of bliss, for Cael, with an expiration date attached. It will culminate in a sad parting, where all that’s bonded like super glue over the years gets ripped apart with the tossing of graduation caps. Ah, the sweet sorrow of life. Endings and beginnings, like Judy and Mary leaving. Our loss and their gain.

And so we will all learn lessons from our travels whether experiencing the other-world of high school or a seemingly alternate world on the road out West. For Judy and Mary and the seniors, it will be a “hands on” lesson. For us, what we learn from their road trips will be a virtual tour, that is, if the internet stays accessible and global and keeps us connected. So, yippee! There is something ahead and the mystery of it will entertain us if not rip us into tiny razor sharp shards of anxiety. So the seniors with their bittersweet endings and the uncertainties to follow, and us here, fumbling along while Mary and Judy teach us about long distance relationships, there is a world of fullness at our feet and in our hands and grabbing us by the heart. Best that we smile and cry while we can and enjoy the experience with our laughter and tears while we have them at our disposal, because the days do go by.