Construction Worker? Me???

 

I am not handy.

But Number One believes he can fix anything.

I can read directions.

However,  Number One doesn’t think it is necessary.

So, with these great skills and talents, we decided to don our construction helmets and belts and build a building.

Ok, I will admit that the word building may give a false impression, but we did put together a micro-house, or in layman’s terms, a shed.

Surprisingly, you need strong muscles to put together a micro-house.    You also need the ability to see things from different angles and slants and you need to swivel, contort and twist yourself and the pieces to see how they fit. This is similar to putting together a giant puzzle. Did I mention puzzles are not my thing?

Oh, and one more thing, you need the ability to bounce when you fall.

After snapping these three together Number One thought we were almost done.

The location of a mini-house needs to be on flat, solid ground.  Therefore, the narrow space between the property line and the house was the logical place for it.    The key word is narrow.

To put the sides up, you need to jam them down so they will click into place.  So, while Number One is inside, I am climbing the wall–really climbing a wall– to get a better angle.

I remember the good old days when I could put my foot on a 3 foot wall and just jump up on it.

These are not the good old days.  I got my foot on the wall, but my body  didn’t nimbly jump up.  Number One tried to hold my arm to help, but somehow my arm flexed and flopped at a grotesque  angle.  I want to say that he caught me in his loving arms and saved me.  I only bounced once before he caught me.

Captain Step-stool to the rescue!  (All rescuers need a name.)

Once on top of the wall, I had to battle the Cyprus tree.

It won.

The tree and I did a dance of King of the Hill. Cypress trees have lots of arms and they push in all directions. I grabbed for the branches, then I  lunged for the sides of the shed, but the only thing I made contact with was the sidewalk below.

The next hurdle was the vaulted roof.  Even the instructions, which, of course, I read, said you need a second person to  push or pull down on the roof so it could be attached to the walls.

There was room in some places for me to hang onto the edge of the roof–can you picture me dangling from a roof?

Other places were so squished that I had to climb up that damnable wall, fight King Cypress,  and bear down with all my might.  That fall was a little more controlled.  When you fall so many times, eventually you learn to fall without too much pain.  How do I explain to my chiropractor that my back is contorted because of King Cypress?

We finished our project in one day and under budget.

Why under budget you ask, because my pay was lunch at El Pollo Loco!

 

 

Yippee!
I will never do that again!

 

 

 

 

A Whole New World!

Now that I am Darth Virginia,–if you don’t get it–look at the previous post, my world is not outer space but under space.

I could never look under the water in a pool because I was afraid of drowning–you know water up the nose, in the mouth and in the ears, and there was no way I was getting my face wet.

So with this very special piece of equipment, I can see what others have seen all their lives.

Do you know your hands create small bubbles when you swim free-style?

When you swim in the morning, the reflection of the sun on the bottom of the pool reminds me of the static machines that allow you to see the arcing electricity.

But in the pool the arcing is magnified and multiplied  a hundred times over.

The lights shimmer, sparkle and undulate with the choppy  waves under the agitated water.

You almost feel as if you are in an underwater disco.

But in the afternoon, it is a totally different scene.Continue reading

When Did “Mom” Morph Into “Dude?”

Typical conversations with my children begin with “Hey Dude. “Such as, “hey dude, what’s for dinner?”  Or,” hey dude, did you hear about this?”  Or, “No way, dude!”

As I recall, the term dude usually referred to a man.  According to Wikipedia, from the 1870’s to the 1960’s, a dude was a man that was dressed in fancy clothes–he didn’t fit into the westward movement or the cowboy way of dressing.  It was considered a derogatory label.

However in the pot smoking, hippy generation of the 1960’s, all men were referred to as dude.  My belief is that most were so stoned that they didn’t want to waste their energy opening their eyes to see who they were talking to, so any deep voice that spoke to them was called  “dude.”

I have heard my voice on tape, I do not have a low voice, nor am I a man–at least I wasn’t last time I looked.

Didn’t woman work so hard to get the word man out of postman to mail carrier and fireman to firefighter?  Now women  have lost all their identity and  instead of using the word man, they answer to dude.

I want women to do what they want to do, but can’t we maintain our gender, and not make everything uni-sex?

The reason this has bothered me so much today is that there was a mouse in the house–specifically in the pantry.  When I saw it, I screamed and screamed like a banshee. I jumped up and down pulled my pants legs up to my chin and screamed again.

Both children were in the house and were definitely within earshot of my voice.Continue reading

Has Letter Writing Become Equivalent to Carving in Stone?

 

At the crossroads of the world–let’s call it Vienna–any place now is considered a crossroad if people from all over the world congregate there.

Number One and I   were enjoying the perks of frequently traveling and staying in the same hotel–loyalty pays.  In the Executive lounge on the 8th floor of the Hilton, overlooking the Blue Danube, we were reminiscing with friends about our college days and how we communicated with each other and our families.

Whenever friends get together, we love to reminisce and take pictures.  So, our friend asked the couple at the table across from us to take our picture.    As people often do when they travel, we started a conversion.  Travelers are not afraid to speak to strangers because at this point everyone is a stranger.

We learned that this lovely couple was living in Australia, the mother was from the Ukraine and the father was a Russian  Jew with thick white hair like Einstein.   They had their teenage daughter with them, who was born in Germany and is now Australian.

At one point in the conversation we spoke about writing letters to our families and that the mail took two weeks usually for a return response, sometimes longer.  The young mother’s jaw dropped.  “You actually wrote letters?” she asked. Continue reading

Best Way to Drum Up Some Business

Easter Egg Hunt

Two of our granddaughters were visiting for Easter, so we decided to take them to the Carlsbad Egg Scramble. This was new for us because our kids only looked for eggs in our back yard. Number One had as much fun hiding them as the kids did finding them.

Egg Scramble is a very appropriate name. The eggs were strewn all over the field and the children just had to run fast and pick up as many as they could. My granddaughter had been well trained–I think she did this before–because she was very fast and filled her bucket in seconds. She must have picked up 25 eggs and each egg was filled with candy. The eggs had been donated by a local business.

 

The dentists in Carlsbad have a sweet, business savvy.    By the way, our eggs were filled with coins.

Mind Over My Aching Body

My mind believes it is 25 years old.

However, my body KNOWS it is 40 years older than that!

Today, the sun was shining and it was in the 60’s and I wanted to see Munich.  I’ve always loved to walk around a city.

So…today I decided to walk to the Englischer Garten which according to the concierge was about 3 kilometers from the hotel.

 

Englischer Garten
Munich, Germany

 

Okay, three kilometers is a little more than a mile and a half.  I walk a mile and a half often so that will be easy peesy for me

I walked and walked and walked and walked, hoping I would cross the Ludwig Bridge and I would  walk along the river and head to the garden.

I walked and walked and walked some more. I carried the map, but I couldn’t find the streets on the map–nor could I find a bridge or a river.

I did find a beautiful tree lined path and I marveled at the old architecture of the city.  But, after an hour of walking–I realized I had walked a lot more than a mile and a half.   So, I conceded defeat and turned around. (And for those who know me, it takes a lot to concede defeat.

 
Continue reading

How Do You Operate This?

CALIFORNIA DROUGHT

California’s severe drought lasted about 5 years. In 2015, the state was the driest it had ever been in 500 years.

2011-1016

There was a total of 38 inches of rain in those five years combined. That is an average of a little more than 6 inches
a year. The average yearly rainfall should be 23 inches. As you can see, we had a problem.

TURN AROUND

This year we have been blessed with lots and lots and lots of rain. The snow packs are 170% of normal. Dams are threatening to break because of the excess water in the reservoirs. Yesterday we had two inches of rain in one day!!!!

Remember, this is Southern California and it doesn’t rain in Southern California. Well, it did this year!

 

 

RE-LEARN NEW SKILL

No, this is how you open it!

We have not used umbrellas in six years. We have forgotten how to open them. Some children probably have never seen one.

Yes, we need to re-learn how to open the umbrella. It took some time. I knew there was supposed to be a button somewhere to open it, but I had to turn the umbrella around twice to find it.

Ok, it opens easily.

But, how do I close it?  Wait, it takes more pressure to close it than I remembered. I drag it into Continue reading

I Found My Peeps

How far back does culture affect your life?

As a family, living in rural Wisconsin, meals were never something we rushed through.
No one was in a huge hurry to get up from the table and start whatever they needed to do. It wasn’t because we were lazy, it was because we enjoyed sitting and having a conversation while the food started to digest. We knew the table would be cleaned up, but it wasn’t urgent.

We Are All Immigrants

My paternal grandfather came from Germany, and my paternal grandmother came from Norway as a very young child. My maternal grandparents are a mixture of German, Norwegian and Danish.

My Peeps  (For the non-Hollywood types peeps means people)

We in dined in Munich with our German friends last night. They lingered after they were finished eating! One even commented that in Germany one must linger over dinner. Yipppeeeeee! I found my peeps!

Not Just Us

Now I know it just wasn’t my family that lingered. This is a custom or part of the German culture that was passed on to me.

Conflict of Cultures

My husbands culture is to finish the meal quickly and clean up the dishes before–god forbid–the sauce dries on the plates.

As you may have noticed, that is a major difference in our cultures. It is not just the American culture versus the Egyptian culture, it is also the Egyptian culture versus the German ancestral customs that I never realized were so much a part of me.

Clash of Cultures–How do we solve this?

I have found a very simple solution. My husband jumps up from the table and starts washing the dishes. I linger long enough until it looks like he is almost done and then I get up to “help.” If it is so important that it gets cleaned up right away–go for it. I will not stop you.

But don’t even think about stopping me from lingering.

When Do You Pack Them Up?

Is there a protocol for this?

I’ve been retired for 18 months. That’s long enough to have two babies, but it is long enough to wait before I pack up my business suits?
Is there a magic formula the states when we can pack up our career life? No, I am not regretting my retirement. I am writing this blog from Munich, Germany and this is the second country I visited since the year began, and it is only January 16. So no–you can work–and I can travel.

Going Back?

I loved my job. But I am not going back. That job needs endless energy and even though I have a lot of energy, I don’t have nearly what is needed.
But giving up a symbol of your job, that identifies you as a professional woman, is concerning.

What is my career garb now?

I have a lot of careers going on all at once, I am a writer. I can write in my jammies, or if I want, I can dress up. I am a storyteller. Do storytellers wear suits? Nope–they are much more casual. I am a grandmother four times over. To be a grandmother, you have to wear hats at tea parties, jammies at slumber parties and an apron to protect whatever you are wearing when creating beautifully decorated cupcakes. But there is no place for a business suit.

I did it!

Yes, I packed them up. Classic suits can be worn for many years, and believe me, I had mine for quite a while. I packed them up and got them as far as the garage. I was going to give myself time before I took them to Goodwill, just in case I might suddenly need one of them. But, my husband solved the dilemma. He asked if the bags were going to Goodwill? I told him yes, but I didn’t think he was taking them at that moment!!! So, my suits are gone.

Well almost.

I did save one–just in case of an emergency.

Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden

A New Beginning

I am entering a truly new chapter and I am beginning at square one. Twenty, no, make that 5 years, ago if you told me that I would be pushing against tradition, I would not have believed you. Yes, I do what I want, but I am still a traditionalist.

I joined an order that has been around since the mid 15th century. At that time “ladies” would never dream of joining this order, but now it is popular for both genders.

What am I playing?

GOLF

Watching it on TV brought tears of boredom to my eyes, so I never put it on my radar. But, to be fair, I have the same opinion of many sports. I like to play softball, but watching baseball is tortuously and agonizingly slow. It guess I am not a person who likes to sit on the sidelines. Does that sound familiar?

I am eating my words.

I am sorry I ever thought otherwise, but golf IS an exercise. It is a great core exercise, particularly when you hit five baskets of balls on the driving range. I think I might have to pick up yoga. It will help because in order to hold the club, you must push your backside out, bring your arms up with your right arm stuck to your waist, left arm straight and the bottom of the handle aimed at the ball while twisting your body and then shifting your weigh from one leg to the other–it feels like more of a yoga move or maybe better yet a contortionist created this sport.

We are taking lessons–they only way for educators to learn–with friends. After three lessons I can HIT the ball seven out of ten times. Sounds good, right? Well out of those 10 shots maybe one goes the direction that I want and half the distance I need. Well, I gotta start somewhere.

I have a new name for the sport. Gentlemen Odium Ladies’ Fairway. I looked it up, Odium means a general disgust towards someone because of their actions.

It feels good to be a member of this old order, even though the originators are turning over in their graves in horror.