Saturday, July 19, 2014

Friend Fatigue

I believe I am suffering from 'friend fatigue'.   You know, that feeling that you are constantly listing to the concerns and complaints of friends, struggling to find the nice words they want to hear, taking on the obligations that they need from you.  It's not that they don't appreciate it because they do.  But you finally are just momentarily tired of it. If they really, really needed you, you'd be there in a heartbeat, but they keep needing you for things that they don't really need you for.  Does that make sense?  To listen to the small slights by a daughter-in-law; complaints about the boss that was too bossy; the constantly too busy, over-scheduled friend who uses that to show how important she is, especially compared to you who always makes time for her.  I thought my extra week at the beach would cure me of this but it hasn't.  I want to tell these 60 year old people to grow up and act like adults.  This is not high school and things don't always work the way we want them to.  Your daughter-in-law is not going to be your daughter and the more you push the more she will push back.  Your boss is right - you are a crybaby and you should just put your big girl panties on and move past it.  If you don't have time for me then stop making dates and then changing/cancelling them - when meeting with me is a priority then call me but don't have me put you on the schedule and then switch it at the last minute.  I, too have a life.

OK, so this is a complaint and that's what I'm complaining about.  And I apologize.  But you can stop reading anytime you want. And now, complaint over.  I'm going to go meet with friends at the pool.

Monday, July 07, 2014

lunch and name-dropping in the afternoon

Yesterday we visited some acquaintances from our former life.  We knew them through Charlie's position and attended business functions, which were disguised as social events, with them a couple of times a year. These were the kinds of events where I spent the entire plane flight memorizing flash cards of names and rank, children's names, home locations, etc.  I am not naturally good at these things but I certainly know how to do them well, albeit with a bit of effort. This couple lives about an hour and a half from our beach condo and we had visited them a couple of times at their home.  Since Charlie left that position we had not seen them although he had kept in touch through mutual friends.  I had moved on with my life.

So, through a series of emails and events we re-established contact and made plans to get together for lunch. First up was to meet at their home - an amazing lakefront property which is exquisitely decorated and perfect in every way.  Not my style but definitely beautiful and she is an elegant and easy hostess.  She's had lots of practice as he had a minor political career.  After some snacks and really good lemonade we went to a  nice restaurant for lunch where we enjoyed the food and conversation.

Then came the strange part.  Their community is full of amazing homes and the big names that go with that.   After lunch, as we drove through the streets of the community she would name who lived in each home - a basketball player here, a football player there, a bank president on this corner, a well-known politician that corner........This went on for about an hour!  The funny part is I don't follow sports so had only a vague notion of who the sports figures were.  I live in DC so I'm not impressed by politicians, and "Carrot Top" is one of the worst comedians ever.  And I'm not a fan of conspicuous consumption (do people use that term any more?).

I'm still wondering why this was the "entertainment" for the day instead of nice walk down the cute little streets of the town after lunch, or back to their home for coffee and conversation.  Any theories?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Let's talk about HOT

When I was growing up we had no air conditioning.  Finally, once I was in college my parents bought a window unit for THEIR bedroom and occasionally I would sneak in and let the cool air blow on my face but that was about as close to air conditioning as I got until I had my own apartment.  We survived by having a big back porch and lots of trees and a neighborhood swimming pool. As a kid my day was 1) go to pool for swim team practice, which I loathed but everyone was on swim team so I was too, 2) go home and play Monopoly in the basement with friends until after dinner when 3) you went back to the pool to cool off before going to bed.  Often I slept on the porch, and I do remember being hot but it was just a fact of life.

Then when my kids were young they followed pretty much the same schedule except come August, when the temps were consistently 90+, I would relent and turn on the air conditioner.  We did have central air conditioning in the house but I figured I'd survived my entire childhood without so they could too, and when they complained I told them they were "storing heat for winter" when they would look back fondly at the summer heat.  I'm not certain that the really bought that.

Now it is only JUNE and I have the air conditioning on!  We are already having long stretches of 90+ days and, although it does cool off a bit at night, it is so humid that even the whole house fan doesn't keep things cool.  This is my own personal indicator of climate change.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

busy, busy, busy

This is what my next two weeks look like.  I barely have time to breathe but what fun!  And at the end of the two weeks I get to go to the beach for July 4th and have another party with beach friends.  Can you tell that I love a good party?
  1. Clean first floor and clean up front garden TODAY before Daddy comes for Father's Day dinner tomorrow, - DONE
  2. Grocery shop for tomorrows dinner - sweet potatoes, irish potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, buy roast chickens at Costco.  Dessert???? DONE
  3. Buy a nice rose bush for LaV to acknowledge her mother's death.  I know that relationship was way more complicated than I'll ever know. DONE
  4. Call All-American and discuss estimate for sewer line replacement.  Yes, the sewer line backed up for the second time in a year so I think the time has come to either reline the pipe or install a new "burst" pipe.  I have more knowledge of sewer systems that I should have to have at this point.  Last time they cleaned out the pipe they said it had "belly" and was Orangeburg pipe, both bad things when it comes to replacement.  This time the person didn't see the "belly" and said it was cast iron.  This must be resolved before we start the reline vs replace decision.  If you want to discuss sewer pipes, I'm your woman.  Definitely pipe bursting.  Now need to decide which company to do the work.
  5. Call Sharon for a lunch date next week. done and enjoyed happy hour with her!
  6. Get ready for Saturday BBQ party.  Small group - need burgers and dogs, buns, chips, appetizers, drinks. Dat is bringing Rotel dip!, Gordon bringing beans, Sally a salad, and actually don't know if anyone else is coming.  If not, then I'll buy some potato salad and make some brownies for dessert.  Taking a break from the set up now.   Hope the weather clears a bit.
  7. Clean porch for party. Remove screens and scrub off bird shit.  The bird shit remains.
  8. Buy some more plants to fill in holes now that daffodils have died back.  DONE
  9. Get ready for Wednesday party for Margie's retirement.  Chili baked chicken, rice, refried beans, chips, margaritas.  Send an email to remind people.  Email sent. 
  10. Clean upstairs and freshen guest room for Steve and Vicki's arrival. 
  11. Plan a tourist day for Steve and Vicki once I hear back on their interests.  Plan a couple of dinners, Friday we can go out to dinner after Udvar-Hazy tour.
  12. Call "other Sharon" to see what her plans are for July 4th at the beach.  Plan an introductory party for her to meet some of my friends?  Steve and Vicki, Gordon and Eileen, Howard and Janis, Linda. I wonder who will be in town that week?  "other Sharon will not be in Florida yet so postpone party plans.
  13. Go to spa and get a pedicure before leaving for Florida!  Made hair appointment for Tuesday and now need pedicure appointment.  That can wait until after Steve and Vicki leave.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

To the morons at the beach:

1)  Here in Cocoa Beach we have four beaches that provide life guards.  For most of the beach you are on your own.  The areas that are guarded are clearly marked.  If you are 15 feet outside the guarded area why don't you move over just a bit to where your children might be in the line of sight of the lifeguards.

2)  If the red flag is flying on the lifeguard seat that means "You moron, stay out of the water because if you are drowning we are highly unlikely to be able to save you and I might drown in the process of trying."  Do not let your 6 children of assorted ages go out into the heavy surf where many of them can barely keep their heads above the water while you sit on the sand talking on the telephone.

3)  If you have little children do not let them play along the edge of the water without an adult at arms length.  We can get a rogue wave and it has knocked down even a sturdy adult and pulled them out into the ocean.  You will absolutely not get there in time if it happens to your three year old while you are lounging in your chair on the sand, and even if you do manage to keep them from being swept away they will be traumatized for life.

4)  A cute little princess life vest might save your kids life.  Go to the beach shop and buy one instead of stopping at 7-11 for beer.

5)  Please note that if your kid or anyone else is drowning they will not fling their arms in the air and scream help!  help!   They will quietly slip underwater and you won't realize they are gone until you start to count heads and you come up one short.  Keep your eyes on them AT ALL TIMES.

6)  The lifeguards do their best but you are your kids best lifeguard. Use some common sense.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

a cooking mystery

We have some friends who live nearby and we really enjoy their company.  He and Charlie worked together and have that in common, in addition to the fact that he is a professional photographer and is always willing to go on a flying adventure with Charlie so he can take photos.  She is very nice and we really get along well and she got me interested in attending cooking classes with her.  She has an amazingly equipped kitchen with all high-end cookware, special pans, etc. and when we take cooking classes she is always as knowledgeable about technique as the instructor.  I am definitely a beginner at these classes but I they have helped me to develop a few new "signature dishes". ( My favorite is semolina gnocchi which is made in a pan and not boiled.  Very easy and amazing stuff which freezes well.)

We have a nice casual relationship with this couple, the kind where you can just call and say "Charlie's stopping for ribs on his way home.  Come on over for diner." or "Let's all get together Saturday night.  I'll cook something and you can bring dessert."  But the strange thing is she never has us for dinner, i.e. she never cooks.   Their invites are usually to try a new restaurant or for a casual meal at a local pizza place.  I'm a mediocre cook and have always said if you come to my house it is for the company as it is certainly not for the food. But she lives and breathes cooking - cookware, books, shows, classes.  So why doesn't she actually cook?  

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Currently on vacation in Florida (is that what to call it when you are retired and everyday is vacation and you are actually at your own home?).   We started the trip with me throwing a conniption because I really, really, really did not want to fly down in my husband's little airplane.  Once I did some serious nidra yoga I finally resigned myself to the trip and we had a lovely flight down. In fact, as a nice surprise my husband had arranged our first stop to be in Chapel Hill where one of my good friends met us for breakfast.  The rest of the trip was uneventful, thank goodness, and we arrived in time for drinks and sunset on the porch. 

As this was to be my husband's "airplane vacation" we flew to Miami to see his uncle, then on to the Keys where we had a fabulous time in Key West and Key Largo with his cousin and his wife.  They picked us up at the Marathon airport and we drove to Key West for dinner and sunset at Mallory Square.  Key West has gotten very touristy, or actually even more touristy, with all the big cruise ships docking there and Duval Street is nothing but crap tee-shirt shops and bars but Mallory Square with the street performers is always fun at sunset. Then the long drive back to Key Largo where his cousin has a house. The next day was out on the boat for fishing - actually they fished and I sat and enjoyed the sun and the breeze and the scenery. It was a super day with perfect temperatures. Later we went back on the boat with more friends for drinks and sunset and then back to the house for grilled fish for diner.  Finally, the next day back to the airplane to go to Ft Lauderdale to see my sister-in-law and her husband for dinner and the next day back to our beach place. Lots of flying and luckily we had good weather for all of it.  Good thing we didn't try it this week as temps have risen, more clouds have moved in and we have the threat of thunderstorms each afternoon.

The rest of the trip  has been do-nothing;  some beach walks, kayaking, some trips to Home Depot for some small home repair items, and I read a trashy novel.  He worked incessantly on his old sailboat to get it ready for the yearly marina inspection.  It should pass inspection as long as they don't have to trailer it to the launch dock as the trailer is completely rusted through and would never make it and would leave the boat stranded in the dirt.  (I see the purchase of a new "used" trailer in his future.)  We also had dinner with friends a couple of evenings and that has been fun.  My husband leaves on Saturday and then I will have my opportunity for more beach time (he just can't sit still and enjoy the beach) and some shopping and visits with 'my' friends. It's been a great vacation from my life of permanent vacation.