Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Single Life?

I have been living as a single woman for over two weeks now. I do miss my husband and certainly miss his excellent abilities to take out the garbage, the recycling, and walk the dog in all kinds of weather. But the single life does have its rewards.

Although I had intended to do way more constructive things than I have actually done, I have nevertheless accomplished a few things in his absence.

We began fixing up our circa 1965 kitchen over two years ago. In February of 2004 my husband put up all new ceiling tiles, and painted the little thingies that hold them up. This inspired us. So we went and bought a new stove and dishwasher. (Nothing like instant gratification and not waiting until you truly deserve the reward.)

So now we had the new appliances and were very happy. Nothing further was accomplished on the kitchen till the following winter, when once again inspiration hit and my husband labored long and hard, priming the whole kitchen, both walls and cabinets, and then painted the wall parts yellow. (We're doing this kind of Provence theme - yellow and blue - the kind of thing where you want to put up Van Gogh pictures and cutesy sunflower decorations everywhere when you're done).

My job was now the woodwork and the cabinets. I valiantly began to paint those an electric shade of blue last winter and then they languished unfinished all through the summer. So last weekend I broke out the paint and finished the blue woodwork and cabinets. I was very proud.

Today I started painting the rest of the cabinets. We had decided the upper cabinets shouldn't be blue. Too much Smurf Blue is just too much. So we're doing them in the same yellow as the walls but in shiny paint. So today I did another section of cabinets. I find when I paint my arm gets tennis elbow after about 10 minutes. That's just from stirring the paint.

Once all this is done we will replace the floor and recover the countertop surfaces.

To be honest, I have to admit that we should have ripped out the whole thing and done it over. But I don't believe in spending our hard-earned money on new kitchens. I'd rather save it for a trip to Hawaii or some other experience. I also like to waste it constantly by sending away to for any new book that strikes my fancy. So I have a pile of books next to my bed instead of a brand new kitchen.

The Provence idea was inspired from watching shows like "Surprise by Design" (which I don't think is on TV anymore). It was one of those shows where someone plans to re-do an entire room in one day as a surprise to a family member or friend. And this gay guy and this woman come along to advise them what to do within the budget they have allotted. It amazed me to watch this and see dull boring kitchens that were badly in need of an update, suddenly become wild, crazy and funky (as opposed to totally redone for $50,000) on a budget of $500. Basically there was a lot of bright colored paint and some new furniture and add-ons. That was what inspired me to think, yellow and blue Provence decor would be a cheap way to re-do our kitchen. If we can't look elegant we might as well look funky. So that is where it stands.

I have been suriving pretty well for the past two weeks. I have discovered that despite my best intentions, the thing I most look forward to when I arrive home exhausted from my job at the Big Corporation is plopping myself in front of the TV with my meal of the evening and watching, in an obsessive manner, the Discovery Health channel. I watch it all..Mystery Diagnosis, Plastic Surgery Before & After, and Dr. G - Medical Examiner. I also discovered a really good show on Friday nights called The Ghost Whisperer. As you can guess, I'm usually not even home on Friday nights. I find this very relaxing, but rather disturbing that I am not reading any books. I thought I would indulge in an orgy of book-reading. Apparently I can only do that when I'm actually on vacation.

The dog is missing her daddy, especially the fact that her daddy took her for longer walks than Mommy does. I find taking her for walks after work, in the dark, kind of scary and rather dangerous. No, not for the reason you're thinking. She's a pitbull. I'm not really worried about anybody bothering me. What is dangerous is my own complete klutziness. Twice I have injured myself while walking her, both times by tripping on the sidewalk. The first time I just stubbed my toe so badly that I was limping the next day; the next time I actually fell, nearly crushing the dog, who immediately turned around in great concern and started licking my face. Luckily I wasn't gravely injured and I managed to get up without having anything to hang onto (a feat in itself given my aging knees).

Less than a week to go and I still haven't done the rest of the things that were on my list to accomplish while living alone:

- Clean out my closet and get rid of all the clothes and shoes I no longer wear.

- Clean up the dining room.

- Sort through all the memorabilia from my old house.

Well, at least I'm working on that kitchen...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I am so excited!

I don't believe it! This is great, I actually got a comment on my blog! Suegee of Suegee's Meanderings posted under my last entry, because I had posted a comment on her blog! It is funny that we both have "Meanderings" but it is a total coincidence, I swear. My husband and I, what seems like millions of years ago now, once had an inspiration to write a travel newsletter back when people actually sold hard copy travel newsletters. We were going to do this to make money and be able to retire from our boring day jobs. Now everything is free on the internet so it's unlikely anyone would now be willing to pay for our old fashioned newsletter that we still haven't done, but that's where the idea started because we were going to call the newsletter "Marvelous Meanderings." I even wrote one issue of it, on San Francisco. We never actually finished it but the material was helpful to give to friends who were heading to The City By The Bay until the contents became obsolete. So when I decided to do a blog, I figured "Mauigirl's Meanderings" was nicely alliterative and similar to our old idea for the newsletter.

Speaking of San Francisco, we just booked a trip there for the 5 nights after Thanksgiving. I think I'm going to be stuck doing Thankgiving this year but I'm not going to make a big deal out of it. I'm going to go ahead and give in to the temptation and just order the whole darn thing at King's Supermarket. You can get the whole turkey and all the fixings, the squash, the mashed potatoes, everything - just order it ahead of time and go pick it up on the big day. Sounds like a plan to me! Then I will make my relatives take home all the leftovers and my Dear Husband and I will just head for the coast the next day.

We're going to stay at the York Hotel (which was featured in "Vertigo" lo these many years ago, although at the time it was called the "Empire."). It's a nice, relatively inexpensive hotel (we're getting our room for $79 a night), right on Sutter Street. One of its key benefits always was that it was about two doors up from our favorite bar, the Overflo. Sadly, last year when we were in San Francisco we discovered the owners had finally sold the old place (the old man had died a few years ago and I guess the sons didn't want to keep running it). It's still a bar but it has a new name and less charm. The old Overflo was a local bar, a neighborhood hangout. We'd go in there and end up having the most fascinating conversations (being in San Francisco, even the drunks are intelligent). And we'd never get out of there without someone buying us at least one round of beers. One time we played pool with the son of a doorman at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. The son was also a doorman at a somewhat lesser establishment, the Mark Twain. And one time the owner, Dale, gave us hats and mugs to take with us back to New Jersey, with the Overflo name emblazoned on them. Sometimes we'd have been out to dinner already and drunk a bottle of wine before we'd arrive at the Overflo, and by the time we bought one round of beers and two other people bought us rounds of beers, we ended up barely able to stagger back up the hill to the York.

Our dog will have to stay at the vet for the 5 nights we're gone; she already stayed there when we were away in the summer, and, Diva that she is, she was the belle of the ball there. Everyone loved her at the vet's and she got lots of extra attention. She didn't seem to be all that anxious to come home with us, in fact!

My DH has headed off on a business trip for 2-1/2 weeks - to Australia no less - and I am now officially on my own with Diva and our cat Baxter. I have recently been cleaning out my old family homestead, as my mother has moved into a senior citizen apartment down the street from me. It takes forever to clean out a house that has been lived in by the same family for 40 years. We've already gotten out everything we want and the place looks as if it is still occupied but has been ransacked. One of the perks of doing this is digging out all my old letters and memorabilia from my closet in my old bedroom. I now have brought home three large boxfuls of letters from when I was age 14 on. I spent this evening reading over old letters from my oldest friend that I've known since we were in grade school together. I haven't heard from her in a few years (she lives in New York state where I used to live until I was 14) so I decided to write her a letter out of the blue. I hope she'll write back; we go through these phases of being out of touch for awhile and then out of the blue one of us will write and touch base. I haven't seen her in 25 years. But some friends are friends for life.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I am such a newbie

That I can't even get my titles right. It keeps defaulting to Maugirl's Meanderings instead of what the subject of the blog of the day might be.

Let's see if this works!

Mauigirl's Meanderings


I'm so new to this I have no idea if anyone ever sees it. I was excited to find out my relatively new next-door neighbor has a blog, so I logged on and discovered not only does she have a blog but people actually read it. And comment back! They love her. And she writes really well with a nice sense of humor even when she's mad or sad. I read through past entries in some trepidation since she is, after all, my new neighbor. I was looking for any comments that said anything to the effect of "Our new house is great but man, the neighbors behind us suck!" Happily she did say she liked all her new neighbors, so that was good. Her blog entries get 100's of comments and she has other blog links on her blog so I suppose I would need to get my blog linked to some other blogs that people actually read before anyone will read mine.

I am also amazed there are so many other Mauigirls out there. I hope you realize I am not actually a resident of Maui, much as I would love to be. I live in northern New Jersey and was born and raised here. I still live in the same county I was born in - how sad is that? However, I do travel a lot so I make up for my provincial living habits. To be honest, there are not a lot of other places in the U.S. that I'd be willing to live. San Francisco, definitely. Boston or Massachusetts in general, fine. Maybe even Delaware or Pennsylvania. But that's about it. I'm not into most Southern states (too "red" for my liberal politics) and don't like overwhelming heat and humidity, much as I'd like warmer year-round weather, so Florida or Louisiana are out. The Midwest - too red again - and just too plain old nice for my sensibilities. I can't be nice like that all the time, it would require too much effort. Plus I need to be somewhat near the ocean. I have a half-sister who lived in Boulder, Colorado for awhile. It was very scenic but I felt very claustrophobic there. It was smack dab in the middle of the country - too far to get out easily. Not near enough to any major city (Denver was about 90 minutes away, as I recall). And it was a "blue" enclave in the middle of a red state. Now my poor sister has moved to South Carolina and is even more of a duck out of water. At least Boulder was "blue." She's been having trouble finding like-minded people. She's originally from Philadelphia (we had the same dad, different moms).

This is a quiet week here at the Big Corporation. First all the managers and above were out at an "off-site" - on the company's "Vision." Now my boss is on vacation till next week. Gives me some time to catch up on various things...

More next time in case anyone is actually reading this.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Back Again...

Got back last week from vacation - we went to Cape Cod for a week with our dog, Diva. Diva had a great time chasing her ball into the lake and swimming back with it, running on the beach and digging up rocks and barking at the waves that hit her while she wasn't looking. We took lots of walks, ate lots of lobster and oysters and french fries and generally had a relaxing time.

Diva is an American Pitbull Terrier that we got from a rescue group that specializes only in APBTs. She is the sweetest dog - loves everyone. As her description on said, she even wags at passing cars, thinking they're coming to see her. Pitbull Terriers are wrongly maligned by many people and often, the media, when in reality they are excellent with children and people in general. There is debate about whether or not they have a genetic tendency to be aggressive to other dogs or whether it's all about how they are raised and socialized. I think there may be that tendency in some, but not all, of the pitbull breed. Our girl is good with other dogs if they're nice to her. But I have seen her get very nasty if they start something with her first. So we are very careful and do not take her to dog parks where she would be off leash, and we make sure she is always under our control.

We've had her about a year and she is a true joy. Our previous dog, Alice, was a wonderful dog too - part pitbull and part Lab (we think). But she was a little pickier about who she liked, so we had to be a little more careful with her. She was great with our families and our closest friends, including all their kids. But strangers, as she got older, were another story, and she was wary of some of them. We were heartbroken last summer when she died of a sudden, aggressive form of cancer. But after two months of grieving, we had to get another dog. Our cat, Baxter, did his best to make it up to us, but a cat is not a dog and a dog can't be replaced by a cat, and vice versa. Baxter is the epitome of a cat, he is very good at what he does, and he is affectionate. But he is not a dog.

I've been really busy at my job at the Big Corporation so haven't had much time to write lately. This was a busy weekend too. We had our annual block party yesterday, a good time was had by all. We also went to a football game. And the good thing is, neither were rained out as I'd feared.

I don't know whether anyone is reading this blog or whether they know how to comment back but if you're out there, please do write!