We have lived in many different states and have lived in both apartments and houses. And in all of those states, I have never seen houses in need of a bath before. Oh, I’ve seen houses in various states of disrepair. Some falling down due to neglect. Others being remodeled. But none have been dirty. And then we moved to Maryland. And here, houses need a bath every once in a while. The reason? Apparently the combination between the bay, the river and the ocean all make for an atmosphere where mold and algae grows on houses.
When we lived in Louisiana, where it is wet, humid and downright swampy all year round, the house we lived in didn’t look dirty on the outside. We would later learn that the house was filled with black mold inside, which made my son sick for the four years that we lived there, but the outside looked fine. In Kansas, it was windy and dusty. The combination of the two seemed to act as a sand blaster, so the house always looked clean.
Upon moving to Maryland, there were a plethora of signs offering power washing for your house. At first, I didn’t understand why the need to power wash a house, but when we began looking to buy a house, we quickly noticed the mold that seemed to grow on the houses. And once you notice something, you continue to notice that until that seems to be all that you notice about a house. The house that we bought was apparently power washed by the previous owners prior to putting the house up for sale. After we purchased it, I did wonder how often the house would need to be washed. Apparently it takes about three years for the mold to become noticeable and it was really only on one side of the house. The rest of the house didn’t show anything. The house shown isn’t ours, but shows what the issue is.
So my husband made a few calls and found a company that uses a natural cleaner that doesn’t affect the environment and has a barrier to make it harder for the mold to grow. And the house got a bath. Now, when you leave the house, there is a sort of minty smell, which is the cleaner and will apparently fade over the next few weeks. Of course, the day after the wash, a bird left it’s calling card on one of the shutters. Now if mother nature would help wash it away I would greatly appreciate it.
We have a new dress code at work. For those of us who work for the medical center, we were directed to go to our learning page where we were assigned the dress code policy. We were given a date that we had to complete the assignment which consisted of reading the policy and taking a test. The test asks if you have reviewed the policy. You answer yes and you pass the test. You are given a certificate and are now expected to follow the new policy. The new policy states that it also applies to those employees that are considered to be contractors. Unfortunately, the contractors were not given a copy of the policy, so they are not aware when they are violating the policy.
Some of the new dress code policies make you go hmm and wonder what they were thinking. Some of those are:
No Wrinkled Scrubs–Let’s see, you are a nurse in the middle of a 12 hour shift. How are your scrubs not going to be wrinkled?
If a male employee wears a sweater, he must wear a shirt and tie–He can’t wear a turtle neck or tee underneath. Really?
If a female employee wears a v-neck sweater, she must wear a shirt underneath–If I wear a v-neck, the shirt I’m going to wear underneath is probably going to also have a v-neck, so I’d be showing the exact same thing right? So is the problem the sweater or the v-neck?
No chiffon–I’m not sure I own anything made of chiffon, but I have made sure to cut the tags off of anything remotely silky. I can deny it is chiffon if I don’t have a tag that says that’s what it is right?
No clingy clothing–items listed were pants, leggings, tights, dresses, shirts. In other words, don’t wear anything that might be considered revealing. So you can’t wear tights under a non-clingy dress, but you can wear nylons under a regular dress. Are nylons made out of chiffon? If so, that’s banned.
Dresses and skirts must be no more than 3 inches above the knee. This is a good thing since tights and leggings have been banned. Short-short dresses definitely need something underneath when at work. Some people have no idea that they flash the patients when they bend over. Several women in my office, that are also contractors, violate this policy daily. They have yet to meet a short skirt or dress that they didn’t think was okay to wear to the office. They are wrong of course, but they don’t know it. When the patients see them we usually get the comments asking if they are coming back from the club, dressed in the dark and my personal favorite from a very elderly husband of a patient, are those girls working here or are they working girls out there? He pointed to the outside.
No Flip flops–really? This had to be made a policy? We work in a medical facility. There are not to be any open toed shoes of any kind. Including flip-flops. But apparently people have been wearing flip-flops in their offices and their argument is that they don’t deal directly with patients. And besides, they only wear blinged out flip-flops so those should be okay. Hmmm, no. Not okay and now banned.
No crop pants more than 3 inches above the ankle–really? So not 3 1/2 or 4 inches because that is moving into capri territory. And does anyone really know the difference between crop pants and capri pants? I don’t but apparently it is more than 3 inches.
So what about you? Do you have a dress code where you work? Do you follow it? Or are you a rebel and do your own thing?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Of 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.
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.
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.
(Photo taken by lenalee-2017)