Monday, July 29, 2013

"Sleepy Time Gal"

I am a night owl.  Everyone who has known me for longer than 2 days knows that.  There is absolutely no question.  I have always felt better at night, feel more energetic and don't "hit the wall" until later than most people.  Mornings are always a struggle.  Most of the rest of the population are day-time people and the world runs by their rules!  So night owls spend years and years fighting against their natural internal clocks to fit into somebody else's idea of how days should work.   

Now however, I don't have to fit into anybody else's expectations about how I spend my days and nights.  I am RETIRED!  My time is my last.

However, this whole night time/sleep time/awake time still intrudes into my life.  Really it isn't fair!

It used to be, many moons ago, that naps were one of my favorite things.  A quick little 20 minute snooze on the couch or in a comfy chair was just the thing to perk me up after a long day and work and play.  I wouldn't nap every day, I was much too busy to be able to do that....but every now and then I'd find a window of time between activities where I could drift off for a bit.  It was delicious.  The best part was that I would still head for bed at a reasonable time and sleep for a reasonable number of hours.  Ahhhhh, youth!

I can't do that anymore!  I have to make a real effort not to fall asleep when I am reading, because now if I do drift off, I find myself sleeping for an hour or two!!  This is not good!  Generally, in the evenings when I am feeling sleepy, there is no one at home but me; and thus there is no noise, no TV or radio, no one talking, or doing anything that would keep me from falling into a too-long stupor.  If I fall asleep, it's pretty much a given that the rest of the evening is shot!  

The bad part comes after I wake up.  Because then I am either wide awake and perky (well, not really "perky" I  guess.  I am never perky!)  or I am groggy, lethargic, nearly incoherent at which point I should just head off to bed, like a good girl (not that I ever do.)  I just become zombie-like and I find myself totally useless.  

If, however, I am wide awake, that is the worst!!  Really!  Why you might ask!  Because I then stay that way until 4:00 or 5:00 AM!   Even if I try to go to bed earlier, I can pretty much guarantee that I will toss and turn for an hour until I finally give up the fight, turn on the light, and go back to reading until I finally get sleepy enough to actually fall asleep!  Sometimes it requires a bit of time being up and moving around!

Trust me, it is annoying in the extreme!  

I used to sleep between 7 and 8 hours a night pretty regularly.  It was perfect.  I had energy.  I was alert and could function and I was good for the day!  Now I am lucky if I manage to get more than 5 hours a night.  This is not good!  It is a vicious circle.  Tired when I get up, stay up way too late, sleep short again, get up tired.  And when I reach 5 hours that is the point where I can function okay, but I do feel sleepy during the day.  Those are the evenings I have to be vigilant against the pull a just a quick bit of slumber.  

I know that this is either:  A)  all my fault (I know I should go to bed at a reasonable time, I shouldn't read in bed, I shouldn't  sleep late in the morning, etc. etc.) OR  B) it is not my fault at all!  The upset in my sleeping habits is completely due to this aging thing, an active and aging bladder, too much light, I'm too warm, or too cool or too something that isn't my fault!  

I think I'll go with Option B, this aging thing!  It really plays havoc with your life, you know??

At any rate I must avoid the evening nap no matter how much of a "Sleepy Time Gal" I am.  It isn't worth it, because just a few hours later (5 hours later!), I am lamenting, "Oh How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning!"

Sleep just shouldn't be this hard, right guys?   Guys??   Hellloooo???  Oh yeah, the rest of you are in bed already and I'm wide awake!  Darn!!

Well, I should have expected it,  after all, I had a nap this evening....

Monday, July 22, 2013

"This Old House"

In the scheme of things "This Old House" isn't really very old.  I mean in Europe and Asia there are palaces and hovels that have been around for centuries!  That is old!

Our place is only about 20 years old, not much more than an infant as houses go!!  We have owned (well, we share ownership with the bank) for only 13 years.  We moved here in November, 2000.  Everything was in pretty good shape back then.  I'm sure the previous owners did some touch-ups and upgrades to make it all pretty and shiny and looking like new; after all they were trying to sell it!   The bottom line, however, was that there was nothing that needed doing!  That was okay with Mikey!  In the previous houses we had owned the Big Guy had done LOTS of projects!  He had put in new bathrooms, modified closets, put in hardwood floors, tore out walls, completely remodeled two kitchens, laid carpet, wall papered, painted, laid tile, put in a window seat, and so on and on.

He pretty much did all the work himself, but for the most part he was a bunch younger for the bulk of those projects.   When we came to Austin, we were both "somewhere between 40 and death."  (lol!  That's one of my favorite lines from the play, "Auntie Mame.")  At any rate, when buying this house we were thrilled there were no outstanding projects needing attention and Mikey, especially, was glad of that, as he had very little energy or enthusiasm for starting remodeling on yet another house!

As it does though, time passed and took its toll on our house.  Certain things are becoming obvious in their need for replacement, repair, or updating.  First and foremost, we must replace the roof.  Yuck!  That is one of the biggest projects one can have for a house.  But this is a project that you definitely call in a pro for!  It isn't that Mikey couldn't do it or wouldn't do a great job, every project he has undertaken over the years has turned out beautifully.But this is the ROOF!  It is HIGH (!), steeply pitched, and big!  The idea of my Big Guy climbing around up there, doing the hard work that roofing requires in the heat of an Austin summer just gives me (((shivers)))!!  To say nothing of the fact that you make one little misstep and SPLAT!!  That is definitely a sound I don't want to hear....ever!

Anyway, the result of all that is that we have had 3 different roofing companies out to give us an estimate and talk about the whole process.  My only input to those discussions was to help choose the shingles we will use for the new roof. After all, what do I know about roofs???!!   The first company's estimate was pretty high, the second was a lot lower, and the third was in the middle.  We really liked the 3rd company the best, VERY knowledgeable and responsive. Besides we contacted that company based on a personal recommendation from a contractor who had done work for a friend of Mikey's.  So we chose the third company!  We don't have a start date yet but the project will undoubtedly begin sometime in August.  The man we talked to (one of the owners) thinks it will only take 2-3 days to do the whole thing.  That would be great, but of course, it depends on weather and  unforeseen problems which might kick in.  Still they sounded like they really know what they are doing so I am hopeful they can handle whatever turns up in a minimum amount of time and disruption.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

Now all we have to do is convince our HOA (homeowners association) that we cannot replace the roof with the exact shingles that are up there!  The color will change because no one appears to make a shingle even in the same color family!  After all, that roof was put on 20 years ago or more!  The HOA can be pretty picky (I'm being nice here!)   They have a rather obnoxious approach to keeping up the standards of the homes.  Mikey hates dealing with them because it never seems to go well.  Crossing my fingers and holding my breath on this part!!!

Another victim of age and the Texas sun is our deck.  I like our deck a lot.  It's an interesting shape, not too big, nor too small, but it appears to me that the cedar was never sealed, so the wood is rotting out in several places.  It doesn't seem safe any more and I'm afraid someone (maybe me!!) will crash through the wood and break a leg or worse!  So we don't use it anymore.  I miss it.  I love sitting outside when the weather isn't boiling and enjoy the peace and quiet while I read and relax.

The existing deck has a small section close to the back door where the roof extends out over the deck a bit, so there is a tiny bit of shade at certain times of the day, but it is small and by mid-afternoon the sun has moved to that side of the house and the little covered section is just too small to do any good.  The Big Guy and I have decided that a Pergola  over the side of the deck would be the perfect solution as it would provide some shade and style.

(Hmmmm, did I warn you this was a long post???  Sorry, but it is!)

So as long as we had to replace the roof, we thought we could do the deck next and depending on final cost either do the Pergola too or do it separately a little further down the road.    We have had 3 different contractors out to give us an estimate on that too.  Even though it's been 2 weeks, I think, none of the three have yet provided us with an official written estimate.  They also need to prepare a drawing of the finished project.  But gee, how long can it take??  We need to decide and then provide the info for the deck to the HOA too.  

The difference in the responsiveness of both the roofers and the contractors is pretty widespread!  I don't get it.  They all came out pretty quickly to see the property and talk about what was needed to bid for the job. But only one of the six different companies has been super responsive, providing us more information when asked, quick answers to emails, etc. etc.  He's got the job.  The others??  Well, they'd better get moving or we just might have to start over with a whole new set!!

I know, I know....I may be just the tiniest bit  impatient, but either they want the job or they don't.  And "This Old House" definitely wants its pretty new roof, comfy and safe deck, and a pretty Pergola finished!  So do I!!  I want to get to the fun part!  Accessories!!!  

Friday, July 12, 2013

"Come Saturday Morning"

Like most little girls M-T-G was/is really attached to her mom.  In fact, so attached that she didn't want to do sleep-overs with friends (or even with grandmothers!) because she would get really unhappy, homesick and miss her mom.  Once or twice when she did finally decide to try staying over for a birthday party or something, Ratchlet got a call to go and pick her up  and take her home because she just was so miserable. Once she hit 11 (or so) she mostly got over that and she has gone to several sleepovers with her friends without incident.  

This isn't unusual in the world of children.  I remember being picked up a time or two myself when I was around that age.  That homesick feeling is really tough to deal with for a child.....well for anybody, I guess, but for little girls it is a devastating feeling.  I don't know of any adult who is unable to spend the night away from home.   So eventually we all grow out of it, but try to tell a miserably unhappy little girl who misses her mom that she'll grow out of it!! Can we say they do not believe you?

Now M-t-G  is over 12 and she took tje next step in that growing up process this week.  She spent a week away at Girl Scout Camp.  A whole week!  She had been to this camp with her troop a couple of times, but that didn't really count because Ratchlet is one of the troop leaders, so she was there!  That's a whole different ball of wax!

But this time no Mom, no Dad for a whole week.  The camp is pretty close so if M-t-G needed rescuing, it wouldn't take long to get there.   Ratchlet did hear from the camp, because M-t-G had a tummy ache one day (nothing serious and the next day she was fine.)  The counselor did say that M-t-G had been a little homesick, but only when they weren't doing something. lol!  The thing is though, that M-t-G didn't ask to go home!  She didn't have a meltdown or anything.  Once they were busy again she was fine.  Such progress!!

"Come Saturday Morning" (tomorrow) she'll be home, so we'll see what her overall reaction to being away at camp really was!  Still, I have high hopes she had a great time and before long she won't remember that she didn't see or talk to her mom for a whole week.  Fingers crossed!

She's growing up, but she's doing it at her own pace, just like everything she has ever done!  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Cappella....again

Hi everybody, remember me?   It's only been a month (more or less) since I was able to sit myself down and actually type some words to post.  A month isn't that long, right?   Right???  Helloooo, anybody there?

Everyone is so busy these days I bet you didn't even notice I wasn't posting.  Ahem...Ok, even I don't buy that one!  For the 873 time, I am making a new promise to get back to blogging!  Truly!  Maybe this one will take.

Enough of that, let's move on, shall we?

A couple of posts ago, I was lamenting having a boring quiet life, with nothing much going on, remember?  Well, HA!  That didn't last long.  In the time since that post, I/we have:

1.  Gone on a 4 day-weekend visit to Galveston, where we barged in on Rachlet, TA and M-t-G!   Okay, we were actually invited and no barging was involved.  They rented a lovely condo right across from the ocean for two weeks and they invited us for a long Father's Day weekend.  The Big Guy had never been to Galveston and I had only been there once, so we had fun being shown around Galveston Island.  We went to a couple of museum, went to a small art fair, saw some of the tree sculptures that Galveston is famous for) drove along the sea wall, walked on the beach, ate a lot, played miniature golf on a fun course (though, even at night, it was hot!), went swimming (well, I did, Mikey never made it down to the pool.  Generally we had a great time, though I must admit, Ratchlet and company have a lot more energy that poor old Mikey and I!  We were pretty well worn out, but it was sooo worth it.  I could have stayed for days and days.  There is just something about a beach town!

2.  As an early Birthday present, my darling, precious, and generous daughter got tickets to see.....drum roll please............PAUL MC CARTNEY live, in person, right there, on stage!!   We had great seats with a completely unrestricted view of the stage.   I had never seen any of the Beatles, ever!  Even though he's 70, he gave a wonderful concert, it was long, energetic, and filled with all my favorite songs.  It was so terrific!  I'll never forget it.  At this late date in my life, I can finally say that I have actually been to 2 rock concerts!!  In the mid-70s I took Ratchlet and a couple of her friends to see Air Supply and now Ratchlet returned the favor with McCartney.  I think this is what they mean when they say "what goes around, comes around!"

I have a few photos, and I will post some.  I promise.  I have more events to write about so I'll be back!

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