Friday, June 30, 2006

I need a spa chaperone

G went to a conference in Marco Island this week, and I got to go, too. It was fun to stay in a fancy hotel on the beach instead of being at home by myself working like a sucker. However, I wouldn't recommend Marco Island as a vacation destination unless you like totally developed islands with lots of buildings, few trees, and really expensive restaurants (more about the restaurants next week - it's definitely worth the wait).

The hotel we stayed at had a spa associated with it, and it offered fitness classes. I was all excited about the resistance training and kickboxing classes they told me about over the phone, but when I arrived, a different woman told me it was just pilates that day. I think they were having some scheduling confusion.

So I went to pilates instead. I had a bag with me, so I asked where the locker room was. I was not prepared for the fanciness of this spa. The locker room had an attendant who greeted me when I entered and then started asking me questions.

"Do you need a locker?"
"Do you need sandals?"
I don't think so. (I wasn't even sure why I would need them. Shower? To walk to the sauna? For pilates?)

At this point, I think she saw my deer-in-the-headlights expression, and she asked if I had been there before. Since I hadn't, she gave me a tour of the locker room, which included such amenities as restrooms, showers, whirlpool, vanity room, waiting room, and sauna. Oh, and lockers, too, which each contained a towel and robe.

I was glad to have gotten the tour, but I still wasn't very sure of myself. I had access to the spa all day, which allowed me to use the sauna, pool, or whirlpool, and I had visions of lounging around the spa acting rich and perhaps even snooty. In real life, I did my pilates class (in which the woman next to me continually stared at me even though I was behind her - very odd and a little unsettling), collected my things, and retreated to a shady chair next to the pool.

The public pool. With kids and fat men and no attendants. Ahh, much better.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The fish dance

G and I took the boat out on Sunday evening. We mostly just rode around, but we did anchor the boat for a while so G could fish. When we finished catching all the fish in that area (there must not have been any since we didn't get any bites), we motored past another group of fishers on our way home.

As we approached, one of the guys picked a big redfish out of his bucket and held it up for us to see. We gave him thumbs-up signs as he performed a little dance with the fish.

G thinks maybe he was drunk, but either way, he sure was excited. I like to see enthusiasm.

Monday, June 26, 2006

We laugh in the face of danger

G and I have been trying to get together with my parents for several weeks. We had originally scheduled a visit for Father's Day weekend, but my dad got sick. So we rescheduled it for last weekend, but my mom caught what Dad had. They're running out of excuses. At some point they're just going to have to come clean and tell us they don't want to see us.

G and I had a nice weekend even though we didn't get to hang out with my folks. We finished up some projects on Saturday, and then had a mostly relaxing day yesterday. G mowed the yard, which was really needing it, and I cleaned up the avalanche in the laundry room.

Since the washing machine was accessible again, we did a mountain of laundry. The first time G headed into the laundry room, he asked if it was safe to walk barefoot in there (due to broken glass). I told him I thought it would be safe - I had swept thoroghly. He wisely replied, "I guess there's only one way to find out."

Turns out it wasn't safe, so he wiped the floor down with wet paper towels to get the little pieces of glass. It's still not completely safe - I stepped on a little chunk this morning - but it's within acceptable risk limits.

Much safer than our construction activities have been lately.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I'm not sure if she can dance

Thumbo has a tiny, much less painful relative.

See that dark spot on the left side of my thumb? That's her. She was acquired in the same way as Thumbo - hammering a nail in and hammering the thumb instead.

She's a small blood blister that hurt at the time, but now she's more like a huge freckle - not painful at all.

Why do I keep referring to her as "she?" Because we call her Thumbelina.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

G admitted that maybe he made a small oversight

Before we began working on the laundry room last weekend, I was feeling like it was going to be a gargantuan task, mainly because I thought it meant we would need to move a lot of stuff first.

Since we don't have a garage, we have to be creative with storage. The laundry room contains our washer and dryer, laundry supplies, and chest freezer, which you might expect, as well as shelves full of other things like surplus paper goods, little drawers full of nuts and bolts, hiking backpacks, and golf clubs. Before we remodeled the kitchen, we also stored lots of food and small appliances in the laundry room.

Although we no longer use the laundry room as a pantry, there is still a lot of stuff in there, and it seemed overwhelming to have to move it all. When I expressed my concern to G, he replied that he didn't think we needed to move anything - it would be fine.

Famous last words.

As we hammered up new plywood from the outside, we could hear avalanches occurring inside. By the time we finished the construction, almost nothing remained on the shelves. Luckily, we had moved the little drawers of nuts and bolts to the floor before beginning, but it almost doesn't matter. The mess is unbelievable.

Yes, that is present tense. Cleaning the laundry room is the last of the "finishing up" we will do. We figure we should make sure we are done hammering before picking up all our stuff. This better happen soon. We're running out of clean clothes.

Monday, June 19, 2006

I guess we'll keep finishing up tonight

G and I worked on the house this weekend. And boy, did we work. Our plan was to replace the exterior walls of the laundry room and to build an addition on the back for storing fishing poles and tools. Saturday would be replacing the walls and sinking a couple of posts for the addition; Sunday we would "finish up."

We put in a good day's work on Saturday. The removal of the walls proved to be much more difficult than it looked. You might have thought it would be easy since they were rotting into Swiss cheese, but it took quite a bit of beating to get them down. Getting new walls up was much easier.

On Sunday morning, we watched the news as we ate breakfast. 10% chance of rain; some clouds, but partly cloudy at the most. That was the forecast for yesterday. Perfect weather for "finishing up."

Almost as soon as we started working, we began to doubt the weather woman. The total cloud cover seemed like more than partly cloudy. But the clouds kept it cooler, so we weren't complaining. We didn't even complain when it started sprinkling. The first several showers, anyway.

By about 7:00 last night, the rain was pretty constant, and we were soaked to the bone. The good news? It wasn't hot. The bad news? We were wet, dirty, and, as I described it, a little bit miserable. My hands would get muddy and I would want to brush them off, but there was nowhere on my body that was any cleaner. So frustrating. G was having a hard time because the water was washing dirt from his head down into his eyes so he couldn't see. We were a total mess.

When we stopped working at about 9:00 last night, we had only gotten about half the siding up. Turns out "finishing up" was a bigger job than we had planned.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Last weekend I took my Girl Scouts camping. It was really only camping in the sense that we slept in tents. A fire ban prevented us from making s'mores, and we didn't hang around camp much - we went to a movie and dinner instead. We saw Cars, which I thought was great. I really like all the Pixar films. Cute enough for kids, but clever enough for adults.

I got home on Sunday morning, and G and I got to work on the house. After a very productive day in which we accomplished all our goals, we were ready for some relaxation.

G asked me what I'd like to do that evening. I replied that I was a little worn out (the girls and I had watched the sunrise that morning while G was still sleeping), and I might just like to relax. To me, this meant taking a shower, eating some dinner, maybe renting a movie, and hanging out on the couch. I assumed G shared this understanding.

G said, "Oh, so do you want to take the boat out?"

I think he realized that we were on totally different pages when he saw the look on my face. Our boat is easy to launch and all, but that's not what I had in mind.

We had a good laugh.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Chess is a spectator sport

A couple of weeks ago, G and I went to a new bar in town. It's kind of upscale and trendy, which isn't necessarily our scene, but it also has comfortable chairs and a balcony from which you can watch passersby. People watching is our scene.

The balcony was full, so we settled into a couple of comfy chairs and chatted. There was a small table between us with a chess board, so we struck up a game, minus one piece (a horsey?).

G has known how to play chess since he was a kid, although he admits that his realization, and subsequent use, of strategy came much more recently. I am a newcomer to the game (you may remember my first win). This combination of skill (or lack thereof) made for a very long game with lots of chasing and many pieces captured.

As the game wore on, the audience grew. Yes, that's right. Audience. My back was to the room, so I missed a lot of it, but G couldn't stop chuckling at all the attention our dimwitted game was attracting.

At one point, a man nearby tried to give me some advice. "You should have moved your knight to A7."

The horsey? To where?

Turns out he was wrong anyway. Ultimately, I won the game (my second ever)! We were happy to be out of the limelight, and we turned the board over to the next couple in line. It seemed like the man was much more excited than his partner, which seemed to be the trend for most of the onlookers. The women had been looking forward to a nice night out, with talking, drinking, maybe some dancing. Instead, they got chess.

We're thinking we should open a chess hall. Poker is big right now, but I think chess is the next big thing. For nerds, anyway.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The return of dishpan hands

Thumbo update - G went to the doctor on Tuesday, where they poked a hole in his nail with a needle. That sounds bad enough, but then the doctor squeezed and squeezed to make blood come out of the hole. After squeezing his enormously swollen, sore digit for what G described as an eternity (G was starting to feel faint), the doctor announced, "There, that should feel a lot better." G felt little relief. They did an x-ray to make sure it wasn't broken, and it wasn't. Just more painful than the doctor gave it credit for, I guess.

In other news, you may recall that we redid our kitchen, including new granite countertops. There was a slight problem with the installation on one side of the sink, and we fought with the installation company for a few months before they just stopped calling us back. We recently took up the matter with Home Depot, where we had purchased the countertops. They have been very helpful in getting the installer to contact us again.

So earlier this week, men came and removed the problem part of the countertop. It takes us back to the days (many days) before we had the countertops installed. I think we've decided that the countertop is not just a convenience item.

But that's not the story I'm trying to tell you. Here it comes.

The dishwasher was full of clean dishes when they removed the countertop, so when I got home that evening, I began to unload it. I quickly remembered that without the countertop, the dishwasher is very front-heavy. When the door is opened, it becomes even more unbalanced, and the racks slide out.

So I was being very careful. I successfully unloaded the bottom rack and started on the top rack. I grabbed a couple of glasses, slid the rack back in, made sure the dishwasher was stable, and walked over to the cup cabinet. As I reached up to put the glasses away, I heard a huge crash.

You guessed it - the dishwasher had fallen on its face, still half full of dishes. G was in the laundry room, which is off the kitchen, and the fallen dishwasher somewhat impeded his rushing to the scene at the sound of the crash and my shriek.

We closed the dishwasher door, pushed it upright, and then inspected the damage. Miraculously, no dishes were broken.

Needless to say, I hand-washed the dirty dishes that night.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Visual evidence

Meet the newest addition to our family . . . Thumbo. This is G's left thumb. Let me add that G is a lean man. He doesn't have a lot of extra fat anywhere. His thumb is definitely not normally this size. Gross, huh?

In the ongoing saga of Thumbo, I received this email from G after his regularly scheduled dentist appointment this morning:
FYI - My dentist and hygenist said that I need to heat up a needle and push it through the nail to release the pressure (which is causing the pain). I got all excited and called you to let you know what the night didn't answer your phone, so it gave me a chance to think. The little [wife] on my shoulder said, "Why again won't you go to the doctor, they're only 3 blocks from your office, it will only cost $15, and they will probably numb it up before pushing a needle through the nail if that's even what you're supposed to do." You made a lot of sense, so I gave in and made an appointment for 4:30 today.

I can't tell you how glad I am that he figured this out on his own. I had visions of me trying to push a needle through the nail of a very swollen and extremely sore thumb while G screamed and writhed in pain. I'm sure that wouldn't have helped my already strained relationship with needles. Not to mention my relationship with G.

More news to follow, I'm sure.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The house fights back

I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but we're back to work on the house remodeling. We took an extended break after Christmas (as in a couple months or so), but we're back on.

As a short person, I am used to having to work a little harder sometimes to keep up with my foot-taller-than-me husband. We were doing some constructing on Saturday that involved lifting a heavy thing way up in the air. I was expecting to have to risk my life by climbing up onto a ladder while lifting this heavy thing over my head. But G was thinking. He installed handles for me that allowed me to stay safely on the ground. I still had to lift the heavy thing over my head, but I didn't have to break my ankle. That might be the sweetest thing ever.

Then things went awry. G was nailing this heavy thing in place when something else caught his attention. He looked away, and, you guessed it, smashed his thumb with the hammer. HARD! He's done this before, but never with this kind of power. It turned blue instantly. Later, it looked sort of green, and now it's settled into a deep smoky blue.

I became in charge of hammering for the rest of the day since his hand wouldn't stop quivering when the hammer got close. Needless to say, I was very careful.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I may need to change my phone number

I've been running in the mornings lately. I don't run fast, and I don't run far, but I run.

This morning, I was on the home stretch of my preplanned route when I saw a woman running toward me. As we got closer, I realized it was my neighbor. As we passed each other, we said hi, and then she said, "Oh, we'll have to go running together one morning."

In my head I was thinking, "Whatever. You probably like to run meaningful distances that can be measured in miles (I'm more of a tenths of a mile kind of runner at this point). And you probably like to run at a reasonable pace (my average is an 11.5 minute mile). I'm not seeing us running together being a fun idea for me."

Then I heard myself say (in my high-pitched sweet voice - you know you use that voice sometimes, too), "Yeah, that would be great."

I hope she doesn't call me on it. I was definitely bluffing.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Totally falsism

There are a couple of local businesses that post life lessons on their signs. These are usually cutesy little phrases with perhaps a hint of irony.

For example:
The best throw of the dice is to throw them away.

Most conflicts in everyday life are caused by the wrong tone of voice.

If dreams came true, we would be scared to sleep. (This one I didn't get - wouldn't we actually be afraid to wake up?)

Then last week, this one appeared:
Pleasure is seldom found where it it sought.

What? Is it just me, or is that a really depressing thought? Of course, I don't believe it for a minute. I couldn't go through life thinking that I have no idea where to find pleasure. And that when I seek it, I won't find it. How terrible.

What kind of lesson is that?