Monday, June 21, 2010

Frog Lives!!!

Photos shot in the Atrium
Saturday, June 19
Frog Lives!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Frog in the Atrium

During the process of buying my house, the closing had originally been set for October 20, 2009. Because of the hoops that Wells Fargo wanted me to jump through, the closing was delayed until November 4. The seller had previously planned on being here for the October 20 date (he’s from Ohio) and maintained his plans. He signed the closing papers and handed over to me the garage door opener. (I resisted meeting him at the house – but did so most reluctantly… he handed over the garage door opener as if it were the Olympic torch…). There was a period of two weeks in which I had access to the house via the garage, but didn’t yet have title or the front door keys.

One afternoon I went by my soon to be new house and pulled in to the garage. Right now I don’t remember why I went there – probably just anxious to make it a done deal. The garage opens up into an atrium, which then opens up into the master suite.

See blog entry, Anticipation October 24, 2009 :

I stopped by my new house two days ago to bring in the trash cans, and so I popped my head inside the atrium. It had just rained so it was good to see how wet it gets and where. I noticed a small tree frog in the atrium, and pondered how he could have gotten inside. I thought perhaps he was born there. Then I looked up and noticed a rip in one of the screens in the skylights. Darn. That'll need to be fixed pronto, as I plan on opening the doors and windows to the fresh air outside.

That was my first encounter with the frog in the atrium.

I moved in, and one evening Sarah asked me whether I’d partied in the atrium, yet. So we wiped off the chairs and enjoyed cosmopolitans as the moon shone through the skylights. Peeking around from behind a planter was a small tree frog. I chuckled to myself as I saw him staring back, but Sarah wasn’t laughing – she really really dislikes frogs.

One evening I sat in the atrium by myself, with the gentle spray of a light rain dusting my face. It felt magical. Then I heard the Splat! As the frog lept by and landed squarely on the glass door. He looked a little larger….

One Saturday afternoon I was cleaning the sliding glass doors between the bedroom/bathroom/atrium. I opened the one door completely wide, and as I did, up in the track of the door I saw Frog inching back out of sight….(he thought I didn’t see him, but I did…!)

Enter Gracie……
Gracie is quite unlike the labs I have had over the years – without a doubt! – but especially in her fierce hunting. Of course I add to the frenzy by making a game of it: I’ll open the door to the outside as I most excitedly exclaim: “Git-m!!” She would charge out the door on a true hunt – chasing birds, squirrels, lizards, and…..frogs.
Gracie discovered the frog in the atrium one evening, as did her buddy, Ruca. The two dogs made themselves crazy whining, howling and barking at the small tree frog that managed to stay out of range. I nudged the frog so he was forced to lunge from his perch. (Git’m!). I decided enough was enough; Frog attempted to hide under one of the patio chairs, so, I took the chair – frog and all – out to the front yard and left him there. That should be the end of it.

But NOooo. Darned if Frog either found his way back, or one of his buddies decided to take over, because there was again (or still), a frog in the atrium.

Earlier this week, Gracie was sniffing around outside the atrium. She knew Frog was there. With the heat, now, the doors are closed, so I would hear Gracie’s tap-tap-tap wanting me to open the door so she could hunt. I did – and I closed the glass doors to the air conditioned area, but left the door open to the garage. Gracie and Ruca were dancing in the room trying to get Frog. I laughed and walked out to the living room. Shortly after, I heard the loud barking of two dogs. I went in to the atrium, and there was Frog on the ledge, out of reach. Being a brat, I grabbed a broom and nudged him til he jumped to the floor. Gracie was on him instantly. Now I really believe that Gracie has the taste of blood. Ruca, a lab, much like my other labs in years past, has a “soft mouth” and can retrieve and hold objects without biting down. Not Gracie. I think she had Frog pinned between the planks. Ruca stood there looking at her with apparent disbelief. I walked away, not wanting to be witness to the slaughter.

That was three days ago, and I have not seen Frog, or signs of his ‘remains.’ Hard to say whether Gracie ate him, or he managed to escape to a safe place and recuperate. Each evening I pause to survey the room looking for any evidence of the Frog in the Atrium.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Weekend Shoppings and other good things

Both yesterday and today I woke before sunrise, seeing the faint rays of the sun slipping into the atrium. Insisting that I was going to "sleep in" on my days off, I rolled over and went back to sleep. Both mornings, I slept until 8:45 am. The problem with that, is, that by 9 and 10:00 AM, it's already getting too hot to do much outdoors except pool, beach or boating. I sit looking out over the lawn, lush and green despite the lack of rain, anxious to finish some gardening I'd started weeks ago. The thought of working in this heat, well, makes me procrastinate.
What about this heat. I have lived in South Florida over 30 years - I am well acclimated. So why is this summer so much hotter? I wonder if having moved off the beach is part of it - not having the benefit of the gulf breezes. Or it may be that when on the beach, you go outside to either go to the beach or ...go in to town! Or it could just mean that this summer is hotter. It is hot.
I joined a friend and fellow clerk for happy hour the other night. We had chardonnay and oysters and shrimp and good, lively conversation. I first met Dianne about 4 years ago, although I had spoken with her on the phone times prior. She's a delightful lady and I truly enjoy her company. We met after work, and I was in khakis and sandals, and she was in a dress with heels. "Do you always dress for work?" I asked her. "Pretty much," she said, "when we have council meetings I usually wear a jacket". When I have a council meeting, I usually wear a suit or jacket or something more "professional", but other days I'm pretty casual. Lately I've been noticing others' wardrobes, and recalling a comment made by Florida Senator Richter: "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have" I've been gradually upgrading my work wardrobe to be less casual beach and just a little more professional. Oh we're a far cry from the suits in town, but trying to move away from shorts and flip flops! With that in mind, I went to Tanger Factory Outlets yesterday: the Liz Claiborne shop had 50% off sale. I bought a pair of white linen slacks, a pair of white sateen capris, a black knit top and a navy cotton summer dress. I then went to Rack Room shoes and bought three pair: one navy, one white and one brown. Next stop was Walgreens for some new makeup, walgreens liquor for some margarita mixers, and then Publix for groceries.
While in Publix, I was reading the label on a package of corn tortillas, when I heard another shopper speak to me. "Excuse me?" I asked, as I turned to see a tall, tanned gentleman walking up to me. "Do you shop this store often?" he asked. I smiled, "Probably too often!" I answered. "Do you know where I could find the honey? I thought it would be with the jellies and jams, but...." I looked up at the guides above the aisles (where they say CONDIMENTS, CRACKERS, PET SUPPLIES) but knew that was futile. "Often times the carts have directories on them" i said, but quickly realized that this store didn't. Heck, I didn't know..."The staff is usually pretty good at helping..." I answered. "...well, but I can't find anyone..." he answered as he walked away. Y'know, I just hate it when I can't find something: whether at work or at home - it's just my nature - and not knowing where the honey was bugged me! I figured if I was looking for the honey, I'd look where the corn syrup, maple syrup etc. would be. As I left that aisle and rounded to the next, I saw this man standing at the end of the aisle. "Did you find the honey?" I asked. "Yes" he responded, "It was with the coffee." Funny how we see the aisles: the same aisle that has the corn syrup, maple syrup and honey is the same aisle that has the coffee.
Shortly after, I ran into him again in the produce. He had a small, hand-held shopping basket (instead of a cart) and I noticed that there was no ring on the left hand. I finished my grocery shopping and casually pondered the exchange. He was handsome. In hindsight, I mused at the question: "Do you come here often?" Gawd... am I dumb? Should I have acted / responded differently? We hear talk about meeting "other singles" in grocery stores - did I miss an opportunity?
I then recalled a dinner a few weeks ago: It was a conference put on by one of the Town's advisory committees, titled FMBeach Leadership Conference. It was a three-day event, culminating with an awards dinner. I was one of the speakers at the conference, so attended the final dinner. Many attendees brought a spouse or guest, but I attended solo. I sat at a table with two other couples - both business owners on the island who I knew. Just as dinner began, another speaker at the conference took the sixth seat at the table next to me. He was the regional director of a company that turns waste into energy. Very good dinner company, very intelligent, very friendly and rather handsome. (and no wedding ring). I quite enjoyed my evening, and I would venture to say that his company was a major contributing factor.
I have been divorced for 5 years, and, I guess I just don't know how to "get back into" the dating scene. After 20 years of marriage, things are quite different from when I was young and single. Then, I had no hesitations about meeting people. Then, I was probably thought of as "forward." It seems now, all the good ones are taken. Or so it seems.
I practice creative visualization, and have just recently been focusing on my desire to meet someone with whom I can have a relationship (my fingers stumble over those words!). Sometimes, when I think about the constraints of "relationships" I get a little doubtful. But then I see couples together and am envious. When I experience things - be it a movie or a kayak trip or a new recipe - I think how nice it would be to have someone to share in these experiences. You could say that the universe has placed both of these men in my path, as a result of my creative visualization, but I failed to act. So I ask you, my friends: what should I have done? or, when the opportunity arises again, what should I do? Is it OK to come right out and say, "Are you married?" I guess I just don't know how to "flirt" anymore, if that's even an appropriate term. I think I see a little of what men have complained about for years: the fear of rejection.
I guess I just don't get it.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Y' can't fix stupid

I just finished washing and waxing my daughter's car. That's hard work! especially in the 95 degree heat. Her 21st birthday was Friday, and she and friends headed up to Ginny Springs (in north-northwest of Gainesville) for a few days of camping and snorkling the fresh water springs. I intended to get the windows tinted on her car, and was planning to take it to the shop Saturday morning, but I realized that I would have to keep the windows up for the first 24 hours after the tint was applied, and.... her A/C doesn't work. No way I was going to drive her car home in the 95 degree heat with the windows rolled up. So, instead, i dropped it off at the local super lube and they gave it an oil change and some fuel injection action. I left the car over the weekend and the shop keeper said things were slow on Sundays and he could have one of the kids who work for him do a detail for $70.00. The super lube is only a mile away, so I walked over this morning - they said it'd be ready by noon. At about 10 minutes before noon, my cell phone rang. Was I on my way? ...yes... I'd have to wait about 10 minutes - that's OK, it'd be about 10 minutes before I got there. He went on to tell me that there were a lot of stains in the carpet and upholstery that they couldn't get out. I understood.. (her car was really really trashed). On my approach, I could see the car outside of the garage, being hosed off (didn't they wax it?!), and then pulled into the bay. (they were just now getting to the oil change!). The short of it all is, that I wasn't clear on what I expected - I expected a wash and wax! and a full detail. (Lessons learned). I brought the car home and pulled it under a shade tree and washed and waxed it - complete with armourall on all the vinyl and rubber. She needs to get the A/C fixed - now that she's home for the summer, we have the time to get it to Hunter (our local 'shade tree mechanic') to get it fixed. It's the switch in the dash..,.not an expensive part, but a bear to get to - and Modern Auto wanted $500. to fix it. Let's see what Hunter can do.
My daughter, Sarah, also went to Ginny Springs, leaving Saturday morning. I hope they are having a lot of fun! Sarah's a very experienced camper - actually, both girls are - they grew up camping. Lauren' boyfriend, however, is a novice, with this trip being his first. It'll be interesting to hear his comments on the trip! My oldest sister was down from Columbus OH for a visit, having returned home this past Thursday. This is the first weekend I have had the house to myself in months and months. The thought was exciting. I soaked up the sun for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon, went to Blockbuster and rented two movies and then to the supermarket for groceries. I bought two pounds of large, pink gulf shrimp. The fishmonger commented that we probably won't be able to enjoy these for much longer, both agreeing that the oil spill is truly, truly a shame.
I cranked up the stereo, cleaned the shrimp, and marinated it in a ginger teriyaki sauce, par-boiled and peeled pearl onions, and threaded skewers of shrimp, onions, tomatoes, peppers, zuchinni, mushrooms and small pieces of corn on the cobb. I opened a bottle of chardonnay and snacked on some edamamie while I danced in the kitchen. this was good stuff.
I turned the lawn sprinkler on in the backyard, after having mowed the lawn earlier this week. Time to get the lawn to grow, and I don't know how to turn on the automatic irrigation system that is here, so, I use the manual (for now). I wait until after sunset, because it's just too darn hot otherwise. In the front of the house is a planter where I planted three bird of paradise, and several lantana. It has been hot and dry, so I put the front yard hose in the planter while I sat out back watering the lawn and firing up the grill.
I opened my eyes, and looked at the clock. 4:00 AM. I was in bed, fully clothed. I could see the hall lights on in the front of the house, so I got up and went to the kitchen. I poured a glass of chilly water and downed it, as I surveyed the kitchen. What a mess. On the counter was a dirty dish with the remnants of a couple of skewers and shrimp tails. Yellow rice dried in the pot. I stuck the plate in the sink and ran water to soak, covered the rice pot, turned off the lights and started to head back to bed. Did I put the food away, I asked myself and opened the refrigerator. I cooked two pounds of shrimp and lots of vegetables! Where were they? I looked to the patio and saw the empty pan and the barbecue tongs along side the grill. Then I saw smoke coming from the grill. I raised the hood. Oh good lord. Everything was charred, completely charred to ashes. All the shrimp, all the vegetables. I turned off the grill - I'd clean it up in the morning. As I turned off the front porch light, I heard water running. Oh good lord - the hose was still on in the front planter! I walked outside and the planter was flooded to overflowing. I turned off the hose cursing myself for the wasted water.
When I got up a few hours later I noticed in the screen porch area that the floor was wet. It's a concrete floor, and when it rains, the room floods slightly, as the former owners piled pebble rock up along the outside slab - up on top of the slab, so it flooded in. This wasn't the case today, however. Standing in the living room by the sliding glass door to the screen porch, my foot left an imprint in the carpet. My foot left an imprint in the soggy, wet carpet. The wet carpet was clearly as a result of the overflowed planter (7 or 8 hours of watering, you know...) I pulled away the love seat, end tables, floor lamps, potted plants, ottoman and chair. I hauled out the shop vac. Boy have I gotten my money's worth from that tool. The tub holds about 6 gallons of water. I emptied it twice. I cranked up the ceiling fan, turned the A/C down, closed the bedroom doors and opened up the curtains to allow the sun shine in.