A Flock of Seagulls

And no, I’m not referencing the 80’s band by the same name. I’m talking real ones. Before moving to Maryland, I had never seen a seagull up close. I saw them on television and had read that they could be pretty bold when it came to food and stealing it out of a person’s hand. They aren’t really seen in Kansas. Here in Maryland, I live near a river and the bay, so you see seagulls. Of course, most of those sightings are in the parking lots of stores. The gulls have learned that parking lots are a good source of food. After all, people love tossing things away and a few don’t care where they toss their trash and parking lots seem to find a lot of it.

Last weekend, my husband and I were running errands. He wanted to run into Target and I decided to wait in the car. Within a few minutes, a mom came out of the store pushing a cart with her child in the main section. In the upper section were two drinks and apparently some sort of food. The mom stopped and lifted her child out of the cart to put them in the car, and in the blink of an eye, a swarm of seagulls swooped in and picked the shopping cart free of the food. I thought I was seeing things when I saw a seagull with a bag of chips flying away. Another lifted a cup from the cart and dropped it. The mother turned and looked, screamed and dashed into the back seat of her car. The seagull with the bag of chips dropped it a few spaces away and the swarm was all over it. Chips disappeared quicker than snow on a hot grill. The gulls were hovering over the cars. Two literally hovered in front of my car. I wanted to get a picture, but my purse with my cell was on the backseat and there was no way I was getting out of my car in the middle of a scene from The Birds.

Once the food was gone so were the birds. A few minutes later my husband came out of the store. As we drove out of the parking lot we passed the seagulls sitting on the ground about twenty feet away. “I always wonder why seagulls seem to hang out in parking lots,” my husband stated. “You should have come out two minutes ago.” I replied. “You would know exactly why they hang out here. It was an all you can eat buffet. They apparently like potato chips.” I don’t think he believed me. But he will. Next time I’ll have my cell close at hand.

DIY Project: I’ve Been Bamboozled!!!

I blame the taxes. Every year when my husband starts the process of getting things together to do our income taxes things around the house gets a little crazy. It starts with him gathering all of the documents together and pulling those into the tax software that can be pulled in electronically. Once he starts entering data, I usually hear cussing and grumbling and updates being yelled upstairs, such as “we’re in the red. Son-of-a-mother f#$%&!” But this year was different. I didn’t hear cussing or grumbling. We were in the green and the conversation from downstairs was more of “we’re getting money back. We should think about bringing Chris in and painting the downstairs.” Chris is the general contractor that has repaired a section over our garage and built our deck last spring. So I began to think about finishing the man cave-media room.

Once the taxes were done, signed and e-filed, the conversation turned to saving money by replacing the ceiling tiles ourselves. Chris would still paint, but we would get the ceiling tiles from the home improvement store down the road and Chris would do everything else. We were picking up the first round of ceiling tiles, I say first round because more would be needed later due to a slight correction that needed to be made (note to self: just because a piece of tile looks like it is half of a big one, it isn’t and it means having to cut a lot of pieces to get the sized needed, which translates to more tile), my husband said that we should pick out colors. “I thought you picked out colors a few weeks ago,” I replied. He did, but that was at another paint store. We needed to find similar colors here, so we picked up paint cards to take home and hang them up around the room. He looked at the colors with all the lights on, just a few lights on and with only the pod lights on. He decided that the colors he liked the best were the first two that he had picked up. Down came all the other sample cards. “We’ll pick up paint samples and see how it looks on the walls,” he said. Of course we will.

Once the ceiling tiles were finished it was back to the home improvement store for paint samples. Not one color, but three colors in the same color family. He wanted the one coat paint that is has the primer mixed in. “That way it will go on in one coat.” he declared. “Why does it matter how many coats of paint Chris has to do?” I asked. He looked at me and the light bulb went on. “Did you ever call Chris to come out and give us an estimate?” I questioned. “What’s the right answer?” my husband asked. He knew the right answer was yes, and he is coming out tomorrow, Friday, Saturday. Something like that. The right answer wasn’t, “Well, I thought if we take this in stages, we can get it done ourselves on the weekends.” I looked at him like he was off his rocker. “The weekends.” “We don’t have to hurry, so it will get done when it gets done.” Now, I know my husband and while he says weekends, what he really means is that we will start with the belief that this will take several weekends, but at some point, he will start wanting to get it done sooner, so his weekends will probably be one weekend with several evenings after work.

So, the walls now have three different colors of paint just to make sure that the first choice really is the one we want to go with. It is. The walls have been patched, sanded, wiped down with a damp cloth to remove dust. The base boards have been cleaned in preparation for taping and all of the furniture is in the middle of the room and covered with drop cloths. Events tonight will not include a fire and a good book. Instead, it will be more taping and prep work. I am hopeful that painting will actually wait until the weekend, but I’m sure I will hear about just doing the cut in painting one night and will just go on from there until it is done. He’s like a freight train once he gets started.

My son asked how come we decided to start redoing the man cave and I may have been a little loud when I replied, “I blame it on the taxes!” My son looked at me and said, “You’ve been bamboozled by Dad.” Yes, I have and I will get him back. I just haven’t figured how yet, but I will. I will have plenty of time to plan while painting.

 

 

It’s That Time Again

Missing: Winter

I am someone who enjoys winter. I like the cold temperatures. I love walking outside and hearing the crunch of the frozen grass and leaves underfoot. I love taking the dog out early in the morning bundled up in a wool throw and seeing my breath in the air. I love sitting on the couch with a fire in the fireplace and a cup of hot chocolate next to me. But this winter, I haven’t experienced much of that. Winter hasn’t really showed up to my part of Maryland.

1st Snow of the Winter

1st Snow of the Winter

We’ve had some cool temperatures and a few days in the teens, but most days have been in the 40’s or 50’s and last weekend we were in the 70’s. We had the windows open and I thought about putting on a pair of crop pants, but it is still February. Last year I wrote about the 37+ inches of snow that we received from the blizzard that dumped it all in one night. This year we had snow twice. The first snow was only about 1.5 inches. The picture to the left shows the snow from that “storm”. I use the term “storm” because all of the Weather people were making the storm out to be something major. Turns out it wasn’t much of one and they were even more bummed than me. The second snow was just a dusting. Neither of them covered the roads, so there wasn’t really problems from them.

The school children are upset that they haven’t used even one snow day. Of course they will get out of school earlier than they usually do, but when you want to play in the snow and there isn’t any, well, I can understand why they are upset. Also upset are the landscape companies that rely on earning money by plowing businesses during the winter. Some say that plowing is 50% of their income, so without it, they may not be able to continue. Most of all, a mild winter usually means that the summer will be especially buggy. Not a good thing for me. I am a bug magnet. If it bites or stings, they find their way to me. I’m not looking forward to being their snack.

A Change In Vacation Plans

There is a commercial that runs during the summer asking what you use your vacation days for. The ad is to encourage you to use your vacation to visit Ocean City, Maryland and its beaches (just named one of the top 10 beaches in the US). Apparently I don’t use them as much as I should. Last week I actually took three days of vacation. When my husband and I requested the time off back in November, our plan was to take a two or three-day getaway. We didn’t know where and the plan was to see what the weather would be like and maybe make plans a little closer to home. Unfortunately, my husband ended up needing emergency dental surgery, so while I still took the days off, we ended up staying at home. He was on several different medications, not to mention in pain, so we just did things around the house.

spring-cleaningOf course, for my husband, pain or not, he wants to feel like he actually accomplished something while he was off. So he made a list of things that needed to be done around the house and decided that we would tackle those listed. You’ll notice the “we” in the last sentence. While my husband is all about making lists and checking things off of them, even when you are on vacation, I am not so inclined. I do not have a problem relaxing with a good book or trying my hand at crocheting. Relaxing is good. Chores, not so much. So what did my husband want to accomplish while he was on pain meds and antibiotics? Spring cleaning of course.

We started with the downstairs and moved the furniture out of the family room. Nothing like having a couch in your kitchen. First up was steam cleaning the carpets. My husband tends to go overboard with this. The carpets were still damp the next morning, so the couch stayed in the kitchen for a second day. Did I mention that we ate out a few times during all of this? Cooking with a couch in the kitchen was a little crowded. We also started working down in the Man Cave/Media Room since the upstairs was off-limits. The previous owners had a game room set up downstairs and they smoked pipes and cigars. On a humid day, you could smell the smoke still lingering and after 3 years it was time to start removing ceiling tiles and picking out paint samples. A lot of bending and reaching and body aches happened. We were too sore to start steam cleaning the bedrooms so we gave ourselves a day of rest.

Of course, that didn’t mean resting to my husband. It meant it was time to go couch shopping. That involved a lot of sitting and up and down while you tested out the couches for maximum comfort. After three stores whereI didn’t find any that I wanted, we returned home to find the family room carpets dry, so the couch finally was able to be moved out of the kitchen and I was able to steam mop the rest of the floors. Dinner time found me tired and I made the decision of ordering pizza while watching my husband cross items off his list that we had completed. I now need to put in for another vacation where I might actually do some lounging around and just relaxing. That might not happen anytime soon. Today it was picking out paint samples for the Man cave/Media room. The good news…the paint that we chose looks good on the walls and trim. The bad news….painting is definitely in my future. Maybe I should write “relax for the weekend” on my husband’s list. We just might get to it sometime this summer.

Oh Say I Can See…With My New Glasses

The one thing that you should know about me is that my husband and I spend a lot of time together. We each have things that we like to do separately, but we also do things together. That includes trips to the eye doctor. My husband and I both wear glasses. He is still in denial about his and I have been wearing glasses since I was 10 years old, so there is nothing for me to be in denial about. It was time to see the eye doctor and I asked if he wanted me to make separate appointments or for the same day. He said to make them the same day. So I made them for a day that he was telecommuting and would be able to go after he finished work. I made my appointment for just after his and would meet him there if I didn’t get off work on time. The day of the appointment I was able to leave work earlier due to overtime so I made it home and we were able to go together.

After checking in, my husband asked if our eyes were going to be dilated. I replied that they probably were. He asked if I was driving home. Since it would be dark after the appointment, I didn’t think it would matter who drove home. The tech came and called both of our names and took us in the screening room. She started with my husband and while she was setting up, he looked at me and said, “Why are you following me? I have no idea who this person is, but I’m here to get my eyes checked.” The tech’s eyes were huge as she looked from him to me and asked, “Aren’t you two together?” My husband replied with a straight face, “I’ve never seen her before. She just followed me from the parking lot.” I’m sure the tech was thinking that she just violated all sorts of privacy laws by taking us together. She kept looking back and forth between us. I finally put her at ease saying, “He thinks he’s a comedian. It’s why we’ve been together 25 years.” I then looked at my husband and told him to shut it so she could do her job. She did get him back a few minutes later when he kept blinking during the air puff test where they blow the air in your eye. He had to do it over and over again and did it at least 10 times. When I didn’t blink with either eye, she told me I got an “A” and my husband an “F”. That kept him quiet for a few minutes.

Next came more tests and finally the eye doctor came in. The good news is that the eyes are healthy. The bad news is that we both had changes which meant new glasses. My husband thought looking for new glasses while his eyes were dilated wasn’t a good idea. He liked the glasses that he has now, so he asked for the same frame with the new prescription in it. Me, I wanted new glasses and didn’t like what frames came in our plan, so, with dilated eyes I searched for new frames. I wanted some that were a change from the brown ones I’d chosen for the past few pairs. I finally settled on the ones pictured.They are called “Bordeaux” which is another word for wine. They were comfy the moment I put them on. Picking them up two weeks later, they still feel nice. I guess I picked well when I was squinting and could barely see.

banana-republic-larissa-eye-glasses

 

Road Trip Time

Okay, we have been having a rather strange winter. We have only really had one measurable snow fall so far and that was in December. Most of the days have been in the low 40’s, so we have been able to take more weekend road trips around the area. Because of my fascination with the eagles in Florida, my husband decided to take me to see some for real. We recently made the trip to Conowingo Dam in Maryland, which is only about an hour from where we live. It is an area where eagles nest along the water which is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.

We were there for less than 5 minutes when we heard shouts of “Eagle!” and one was flying overhead, eventually landing in a nearby tree.  We saw several eagles, as well as blue herons and sea gulls. I took some pictures with my phone. My husband looked at all of the people around us with these huge cameras and lenses more than a foot long. He looked at me and said, “You’re going to need a better camera.” As of yesterday, I’m the proud owner of a Canon EOS Rebel T6. Now I just have to figure out how to use it. Until then, I’ll leave you with the eagle from my cell phone.

cd-eagle

(Photo taken by lenalee-2017)

Work Has Become Disheartening

new-job-2So…work….I said earlier that I would post one last time about work and then not say anything more until I have a new job. I used to enjoy my job and looked forward to going in to work. I still enjoy some parts of my job, mainly those involved with taking care of the patients, but the other things have taken a toll, not just on me, but on the whole department and it is a struggle to just go into work each day.

Late last year I wrote about my former manager telling me I should look outside the department for other job opportunities. At the time, we didn’t know that she was doing the same thing. The search began for a new operations manager and I hoped that the new manager would come in and work to get things back on track. Ummm, no. In fact, it’s been seven months and things are worse than they ever were. We aren’t being managed because it has become apparent that she is in over her head and doesn’t know what to do. So as a result, she isn’t focusing on the main issues, but is taking small things and working on those while the bigger issues remain unresolved. We have staff being written up, staff being terminated and others, like me, looking for other jobs.

I knew that things would be different when the new manager didn’t meet with the individual sections to learn what they do and understand what a typical day is for them. She cut the weekly staff meetings to once a month and for the meeting agenda, she completely eliminated my section as well as others. We were no longer given time to discuss changes that were coming down or concerns that we might have. I still had a weekly meeting with her and during our first one, she told me that the previous manager had “spoken very highly of you and told me that you are the one to go to when I need help because you have been here from the beginning.” I quickly learned that meant I was there to dump all the things on that she didn’t know what to do or didn’t have time for. The first time your manager says they appreciate you, it feels good. The twentieth time they say it to you it means nothing. They are just meaningless words being said to pacify you.

The turning point for me came just before the holidays. One of my employees went to cover the morning meeting and came back extremely angry because she had basically been made to look as being totally incompetent at her job in front of other employees. She was told that if she couldn’t do her job in 40 hours “you will need to look at being retrained because apparently you have problems with time management.” Really? So it doesn’t have anything to do with our clinic increasing from 2 doctors to 4 which meant the workload increased while staffing didn’t? The answer is no. It doesn’t matter to the manager. That employee began looking for a job that night after work.

A few days later, my manager made the comment that “I don’t understand why your section is struggling with the workload. You did this job for a year by yourself.” Hmmm, yes, I did the job by myself for a year. But I had 2 doctors that were only there a total of 4 clinic days. I now have 4 doctors, each with 3 clinic days, so I have a total of 12 clinic days a week to cover.  I also didn’t have any of the Administrative Assistant duties that were passed on to me when that person quit and they decided not to fill the job. I also didn’t have to complete so many meaningless reports, most of which were repetitive, but have to be done separately to keep other people happy. We also weren’t required by the government to capture all of the Meaningful Use data in order to meet the guidelines for insurance reimbursement. So yes, I was able to keep up with the workload. It was much smaller then.

Going home that day I told my husband that it is easy for her to say what she did because she has never taken the time to sit with us to see what we do. She hasn’t even asked to see the spreadsheet that breaks down my sections tasks for daily, weekly and monthly. She hasn’t done that for the other sections either. So I began looking for another position. I have started with internal job openings and will eventually look outside the organization. Last week I was called for an interview. The job I applied for and the description of it from the director were completely different, so that wasn’t for me. But fingers crossed that I will find something soon.

If not, I can always hope to win the lottery.

Laughing About the Little Things

laugh

I recently read a blog post on The Adventures of Travel Penguin and one of the things that stood out to me was a question of when was the last time you laughed. I admit that I had to stop to think about it for a few minutes. I mean we probably laugh several times a day, but I would say that most of them fall into the category of nervous laughter or laughing along with others regardless of whether we think something is funny or not. But when was the last time that you really laughed at something that was just stop you in the tracks funny?

I have to admit that it took me a few minutes to think back to when I truly laughed and it didn’t have to do with memory and age :), but had more to do with the fact that we really don’t have enough laughter in our lives. For me, I have been focused on dealing with work lately and that hasn’t been a fun situation. But that shouldn’t be an excuse. I should be able to put things aside that do not bring me joy and focus on those things that do.

So to answer Travel Penguin’s question of when was the last time I laughed, I  will tell you that it was about two weeks ago and it involved our new car. I had a job interview after work so when I came home, my husband said that he wanted to go out to dinner. He said I could tell him about the interview and didn’t have to worry about dinner. One thing about our new car is that it is synced with our phones and it will read the texts out to you.We have chuckled once or twice when it reads a text that has words misspelled because it reads them exactly how they are written and the text will make no sense at all. On our way home, we were stopped at a red light and the car gave the notification that my husband had received a text message from a friend. He pressed “Read Text” and the car read off the text which was “Hahahahahahahahahahahah!” Hearing the car try to read a message of ha ha’s was just so weird and she sounded too funny and we laughed. We laughed for several minutes and I even texted him the same thing just to hear it again.

As we were driving, my husband looked at me and said, “Should we be worried that we are laughing at something so silly?” I looked over at him and said, “You’ve been making me laugh for 25 years, nothing is too silly to laugh about.”

So when was the last time that you truly laughed? If you can’t think of something and your car can read your texts, get someone to text you a bunch of hahahahahahahahaha’s and you’ll be laughing soon enough.

 

Wishes For This Year

wish-lstI am not one for New Year resolutions. I feel that resolutions are things that I never complete. The intention is there, but they always seem to fall by the wayside and then I feel like a failure. Instead, I have put together my Wishes for the New Year. After all, wishes can come true.

I Wish to Find a Healthier Me

I have tried to adopt a healthier way of eating. This year I want to continue making better choices and maybe reach a point of doing it without having to think about it. Vegetables are still my biggest struggle, so I will continue to try to find ways to prepare them and hopefully they will get easier to eat.

I Wish to Say No to Dunkin

Okay, I love Dunkin Donut’s coffee. The only problem is that it is hard to stop at ordering just a coffee when you are presented with all the delicious donuts that just go so good with the coffee. So, I have decided to stop visiting Dunkin. I will take my coffee from home and just keep on driving. It’s the only way I’m going to do this.

I Wish to Drink Less Coffee and More Tea

It is hard to believe that I didn’t used to like coffee. That changed when my husband would leave for work. He would fill up his thermos and take a travel mug with him, but there was always enough coffee left in the pot for a cup. So I began to drink coffee. Unfortunately, I have never been able to drink coffee without sweetening it and adding yummy, flavored creamers to it. I have decided that I need to find more flavored teas and replace my second or third daily cup of coffee with the teas. So far, I haven’t been doing too bad. I found a tea by Stash called Christmas in Paris and it smells like Andes Candies Mint Chocolate and it tastes good too. It is a special edition for the holidays, but I am going to try other brands and hopefully will find others that I like as well. I don’t have to add all of the added sugar and flavored creamers, so I am saving calories, which is a good thing. And is should be pretty easy to do if I succeed at the one above, stop going to Dunkin :).

I Wish I Can Drink More Lemon Water

I recently read an article where it said that drinking lemon water has many health benefits. The first was that it works to ease inflammation. If it can ease the pain in my joints that I have it will be worth it. It is also supposed to help with digestion and keep you hydrated. More positives in my opinion.

I Wish I Can Find Exercises That Don’t Hurt

Two years ago I fractured my hip. Don’t ask me how. Neither I or the many doctors that I saw could tell me how or why. Some said I could have sneezed or coughed too hard. Another said I could have bumped it several years ago. Regardless of how I did it, the goal is not to do it again. So I have had to limit the way I exercise, which means not doing anything that can cause a break again. I want to find something that allows me to exercise without a big impact on my bones and joints. It is a work in progress.

I Wish to Learn How to Crochet Left-Handed

I have always wanted to learn how to crochet. My mom and grandma tried to teach me, but as they were right-handed and I was left-handed, they always became frustrated that I couldn’t learn from them. I have done simple crocheting in the past, but I want to learn how to do more complex patterns and maybe make something. I found a website that teaches how to crochet left-handed, so I am going to find time to watch and learn. First, I have to see if I still have my crochet hooks and then pick out yarn. I’m looking forward to that.

I Wish I Can Find a New Job

I have decided that it is time to look for another job. I had hopes that things at my current job would get better, but they have not, so it is time to find something else. I want to be happy at work and that is something I am not any longer. I will write about what has happened recently and then I will not write about work until I have something new to tell.

I Wish my Family and Friends Continued Good Health and Happiness

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