Busy Busy Busy

I’m deep into visitor season now. You would think that the colder months elsewhere would bring people around to this part of Florida but it doesn’t work out that way. I’ve had 4 visitors since May 19, looking forward to 2 more in July and hoping for 3 more in September/October. That’s as far into the future as I can see.

Visitors mean lots of ill-advised pool time under the mid-day sun, eating out and a boatful of shrimp in the kitchen and later, lots of shrimp heads in the garbage can. Possibly a slight increase in cocktailing. Fortunately for me, the recent visitors have been from my demographic so it was relatively early to bed/ early to rise. A younger set arrives in June so they will be on their own after ~9pm.

Pre-visitors, there was a flurry of cleaning which as usual was not completed 100%. Are you familiar with a coastal storm surge? That’s when a hurricane force wind blows tons of water along a coastline, and the water floods up on the land. In the case of 2012 superstorm Hurricane Sandy, in NJ not only was the ocean coast devastated but the coast of the Raritan Bay took a heavy hit as well until there was nowhere else for the water to go and it crashed into an area that usually gets a rise in water but not in such volume or violent arrival.

I bring this up because this effect is exactly what happens when I houseclean and run out of time to finish – it’s a furious force pushing things along to the farthest point. This time, it was the master bedroom that sustained the accumulation of things blown in from other parts of the house. I just kept the door shut for a week. Now you know how it is.

In other news, I’m still working on that side garden. Year 2. We’re in the home stretch but sometimes I just can’t face the idea of hauling one more bag of rocks to finish the termite-proof mulching. So I made a little tropical container oasis under the palms out front, also unfinished.

It was glorious in my imagination. Maybe a few more pots?

The Friends of the Library volunteer thing is going well – I manned the information table in another branch of the library to promote our new group – the first event for us. And now another volunteer opportunity has arisen:

They didn’t specifically mention broken down old cripples, but hey – ALL ARE WELCOME. Pretty sure that includes me.

This is a brand new group, – organizing right now but they already have their debut performance – Cat On A Hot Tin Roof – with auditions starting in 2 weeks. Volunteer opportunities in general are limited for those who can’t run around or tote and carry, so I thought I might mosey on over and volunteer my modest sewing skills for the costume department. I figure right now at the earliest stages, they’ll take anybody they can get so good chance they’ll accept me (a broken down old cripple). Or maybe I’ll audition for the part of Maggie the Cat . If that worked out, they’d have to change the play’s name to Cat In A Hot Tin Wheelchair, so maybe I’ll just stick to repairing rips and tears in the cast wardrobe. [Note: I have some concerns that this might be too high pressure for a person whose retirement goal is to loll around, very unlike promoting a library where the focus is on lolling around reading. We’ll see.]

Off to see my new primary care MD for the first time today. That means hours of shaving and scrubbing before I go and then once I get there more time listing all the things that are wrong with me. Let me clarify that: listing all the things that are physically wrong with me. He can find out about the mental defects as we go along.

So now you know why my blogging has been light. I’ve been very busy busy busy.

I’m Your Sponge

Remember when I said that I was going to live a retired life of sybaritic pleasure and do nothing except what pleases me at the moment , answer to nobody and have no responsibility at all? What was that – about 8 weeks ago?

Welp, you’re looking at the new secretary of the Yulee Friends of the Library.

I was looking for some little something of interest to do once in a while so I started investigating local volunteer opportunities. There’s plenty of things to get involved in but considering my physical limitations (gimpiness of the highest degree), the number gets drastically cut down. I had narrowed it down to driving seniors around for medical appointments or delivering Meals On Wheels. Frankly, I could use a little help myself getting around and Meals on Wheels, well… I did that in NJ and 25 years later I still can’t get the smell out of my nostrils.

But then I remembered the January news article in the very local paper about the local branch of the county library moving out of its 500 sq. ft. space in a branch of the state college and possibly into a 6,000 sq. ft retail space right under my nose. That article, repeated on the neighborhood Facebook page, had a comment that suggested joining the Friends of the Library – so I hunted down the meeting and off I went.

My intention was to sit quietly and listen to evaluate if this would be (a) something that interested me (b) something that suited my talents and skills and/or (c) fun. But as it turned out, 40 minutes after the meeting started (and about 10 minutes after I asked if there would be recap notes mailed out to the group), boom – there I was volunteering to be secretary for the organization.

The leader framed the request for nominations or volunteers as “.. or even temporarily” so nothing to lose really except time spent creating and mailing one set of summary notes. But I have to confess that I’m very excited by this development.

If You Open Up The Doors We’ll All Come Inside And Eat Your Brains

Sami and I treated ourselves to a video doorbell for Christmas last year. We don’t live in a high crime area but just in case – you know?

I didn’t really expect to capture a lot of home invaders but I also didn’t expect to see so much animal activity, either. So far, we’ve seen:

  • a cardinal bash straight into the front door, probably trying to land on that faux greenery
  • a cat that periodically takes a casual stroll across the path that leads to the tiny portico over the front door
  • a snake that appeared to emerge from the stone wall and slinked straight across the doormat
  • Godzilla, now a diminished senior retired to Florida too weak to activate the doorbell

Blogging Will Be Light

Spoiler: Once you look past official media coverage, it’s surprising to learn how deep is the hatred for Meghan Markle by regular British people. Not annoyance or dislike – actual hatred. 

Somehow I fell into several Brit blogs and tweeters dedicated to sleuthing the mystery of Meghan Markle and her fake pregnancy. I live now in a world of  a non-stop examination of surrogates, pregnancy pillows (new vocabulary wood: moonbump), moving due dates  and Meghan’s “bump behavior”, including a day to day record of the big-then-small-again size and shape of the bump and  documentation of her deliberate coat-flicking.

I tell you, it’s like a round-the-clock Art Bell Show of the British Royal Family. It’s utterly fascinating and I can hardly tear myself away. Blogging will be light until Baby Sussex is revealed to the world. And maybe not even then.

How I Learned To Relax And Love the UV Index

Oops, did I forget to mention that I’ve been diagnosed with malignant melanoma? Blah blah blah closely monitored by great doctors blah blah blah que será será. I’m adjusted to the idea and realize that I have been in need of a mortality wake-up call but there are a couple of things that vex me about this situation:

  • The irony Apparently, I was cultivating this enemy within from my time in NJ. When I was in 4-seasonville, I sought out the shade wherever I was and never let the sun shine on me to the best extent that I could. I did this mostly for the sweat factor. I just don’t like the sun shining on me/making me sweat. Now here I am in the Sunshine State with the swimming pool and the beach and so forth and I cannot enjoy the great outdoors without looking like a freak.
  • The wardrobe
    • I cut up an old tube sock to make a driving gauntlet. I laugh about it and call it a fashion accessory but truthfully I don’t mind wearing it because I get nervous when the southern sun shines through the car window right onto the spot where the primary site was. I also don’t mind wearing it because it cost me $0 compared to the $Many for a commercial UV blocking sleeve, and they are all tight compression sleeves anyway. A big deal to get on and off.
    • gtlThis one kills me though. The swimwear. Not only do I wear a wide-brimmed hat and a long sleeved SPF-50 shirt in the pool, lately I’ve added a pair of full length seersucker drawstring pants. That’s for the benefit of my head more than my skin because I’m sure they are SPF-zero. My legs are starting to look tanned. Anyway – freakshow, but a color coordinated one. I might have to rearrange my morning schedule, which right now is as follows:
      • 7:00 am – Arise
      • 7:05 am – Make Coffee
      • 7:12 am to 10:00 am – Sit on patio drinking coffee, reading the internet on my iPad and making fresh mouth remarks on Twitter. Concurrently, pretend that some kind of outdoor work task is about to commence. Nah, maybe another cup. Oh, look – 10 o’clock and it’s too hot to work outside now.  I’ll go out after 6pm when it’s not so sunny and humid.
      • 10:00 – 1:00  – FlexTime. May include meals, indoor internet reading, feeling guilty over lack of accomplishments.
      • 1:00 pm to 4:00pm – Pool time.
      • 4:00 – 6:00 pm – Nap.
      • 6:00pm to Open End – cocktails/hors d’oeuvres/ TV. (Why should I go outside to do work NOW? Maybe tomorrow morning.)
      • 10:00 pm Bedtime
      • note – Occasionally, I will throw in a trip to Walmart or some laundry management. I’m not a complete sloth.

A little weather add-on that I have on my Chrome browser gives the basic temp/sunrise/weather of the day but if you click on the day –  and I just found this out – will reveal more and hourly- specific detail, including the UV index. I’ve been doing this all wrong.hd.JPG

My timing needs adjusting. I guess mad dogs and Englishmen instinctively know enough to stay out of the mid-day sun – too bad Florida retirees with skin cancer didn’t. I’ll have to work on rearranging the schedule . Perhaps cut out the self-delusion that outdoor work is going to start and just jump in the pool at 8am. Maybe again at 5pm. Both are times that the UV Index is 1-3 and the pool is in shade any way.

sfOn the positive side, I’ve discovered that Neutrogena Sport Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF 70+  makes a marvelous moisturizer. It’s the only thing I wear now, pool time or otherwise.