Monday, July 25, 2016

On getting older







I am rapidly approaching my mid-50s.  I never thought I'd live this long, so that's a nice surprise!  I am seeing the changes in my appearance, weight gain, angel hairs, loss of muscle tone in the face and all over.  I am not depressed by any of this.  Oh sure, I miss my firm skinny body, but that's been gone for awhile now and I've gotten used to it.  Losing my pretty face for a plumper, saggier version has been a little harder to watch happen, but I'm not sad about that either.  It's a natural progression.  I had my moment of youth, and I have no interest in trying to desperately hang on to what once was. 

Some might think I'm well-adjusted to aging.  Nope, I don't think so, I'm just stoic about things that I don't have much power to alter.  Fighting it seems like such a waste of what time I've got left.  If my parents and grandparents are any measure of my possible longevity, I have about 30 years left.  That's a whole 'nother lifetime spread out before me!  It's not as long as I've lived, but it's still a pretty good chunk left.  I know anything could happen and I might not get any of those years, or all of them, so with that in mind, I'm trying to plan for this future. 

I am getting weaker as I age, and my three times a week weight-lifting and aerobic workouts are helping me maintain some muscle strength, but muscle deterioration is inevitable.  Now, I'm not some hunched-over, decrepit old woman, but I can't lift and move furniture like I once could and I get exhausted from physical labor much quicker than I used to.  This is my body saying 'you're not a Spring chicken anymore,' and I continue to work, lift, pull, push, and say, 'too bad, this work has to get done.'  So as a result, I'm in much better shape than my mother was at this age.  This is the best that I can do right now, given my busy schedule.  Maybe when I retire I can become a body builder or long-distance runner again, maybe not. 

The thing is, I really believe "use it or lose it" is true.  I can see others my age who aren't as flexible or as strong as me.  I don't want to be stuck in a body that doesn't work for me, so I need to keep this one working as well as possible for as long as possible.  There will be time for sitting around later.  Right now, I need to continue to live, continue to move, grow, and push myself.  That's the physical side of it.

The other side of aging is, 'okay, what have I accomplished in this life?'  Is there anything I still want to do, and better do before I'm no longer physically able to do that?  Is there anything I still want to accomplish?  Anywhere I want to go?  So I find myself thinking along the lines that, I need to finish my genealogy for my kids.  I need to preserve some of the stories of my family.  I need to make sure my mother's handmade blankets are passed down.  And as I work on my genealogy, and I wonder about my ancestors, what they thought and felt during their lives, I think I should write something so my descendants will know who I was, what made me happy, what injustices bothered me, or why I made the choices I did.  I feel the need to leave something behind. 

I have thousands of poems from a lifetime of writing.  Only a few are just above ordinary, but there is that.  I have short stories, a screenplay, and a nearly finished novel.  I have newspaper columns I used to write and years worth of daily life stories on this blog, that I need to transfer into another form, off the computer for safe keeping.  So I think if I preserve some of these things, my descendants will know I was a writer.  I liked building and salvaging things.  I was a lifelong tinkerer, always trying to improve my own little corner of the world.  Did I discover a cure for cancer, climb Everest, or go to the moon?  No, mine has been an ordinary life, but an enjoyable one.  I still think there's an opportunity for me to do something more, but like many people, I don't know quite what that more is.  So I keep living.  I keep doing what is important to me and makes me happy, and maybe before my time is up, I'll have a little bit more interesting life story for my descendants to inherit. 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The next chapter of their lives


 

My daughter and new son-in-law are in the process of moving across country to live in Texas where he will be a chef at a fancy hotel.  They've packed up their tiny house/bus, dog and horse, and are slowly working their way south.  I hope this is a great start to their married lives together.  Even though I lived where they're going in my twenties, I still worry about them living in the land of tornados, flash floods, and rattle snakes.



Monday, May 23, 2016

Married




My daughter married a most wonderful young man this weekend, in a Bohemian/Hippie/eclectic ceremony, in an underground cave.  The event was very emotional and unique.  I hope they have a very happy life together.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Making over the new house

Anytime you move into a new place, there's usually some painting that needs to be done, either to freshen up worn or dirty walls, or to get rid of choices of previous residents. In our case, it was both. Some walls hadn't been painted in at least a decade, and other walls were "what the hell were they thinking" bad. The first room tackled was a "what the hell" bedroom and decades old paint job in the bathroom. The previous homeowners had triplet boys who were college age, that said, they still had boy themed rooms. This one was the highway room.

The room was gray like a highway, complete with solid and dashed lines to mark the lanes. Then someone must have come up with the brilliant idea to take a tire, roll it in black paint and roll it on the walls to make skid marks. Oh, and they used a satin finish on the lines and skid marks, so I had to sand them down before I could prime and paint the walls.
Before I could do any of this work, however, I had to clear the room of all the furniture. Since I was doing this during the day while M was at work, I had to move all the furniture myself. I'm not as young and strong as I used to be, so I had to be more creative in how to move everything so I wouldn't injure myself lifting, pushing, or pulling. This is where physics came in handy. Some furniture I tipped onto a corner and pivoted and walked the furniture out of the room. Other furniture I disassembled, or flipped it upside-down and slid, pushed, and pulled them out of the room.

Once the room was clear, M decided it would also be a good time to get rid of the dingy popcorn ceiling. I'm not sure if she meant it was a good idea while the room was empty, or good idea to do it while she was at work.


I went on-line and found videos of guys removing popcorn ceilings with a shopvac. They made it look so easy! No matter what I tried, it was not that easy.  Or, let me clarify that, the popcorn came off easy enough, but I couldn't just suck it off the ceiling with the shopvac like the YouTube videos showed.  I tried my scraper on the top and the bottom of the hose.  I tried pushing the scraper and pulling the scraper.  Nothing worked to make it quick, clean and easy.  I'm not sure what they were doing different on the videos, but it never worked for me. It was also pretty messy.
This was also another area where my age and infirmity made the job just a little harder. I can still run around without my glasses because my distance vision is still okay, but my close up vision is steadily declining, so I had to leave my glasses on to see what I was doing up close to the ceiling.  Of course with the spray from the water bottle and the dust from the popcorn ceiling, I couldn't see much  Also, those masks are really hot and tend to fog up your glasses. 
So this is the finished ceiling. I got most of the popcorn off without any problem and I didn't over-soak the ceiling or do any damage to the drywall, so for a first time attempt, that part went well.  I did have trouble getting the popcorn off where the ceiling met the walls.  Because of the width of the handle on the scraper, I couldn't get tight into the corners.  Now here's where I messed up.  The next step after removal is to sand the ceiling.  I did that.  Then you need to skim coat the ceiling with drywall plaster.  I didn't skim coat.  I read that I should, but the ceiling seemed smooth enough, I thought a couple coats of primer and paint would be fine.  Um, yes and no.  Looking from a distance, it looks fine.  There aren't any streaks, but if you're lying on the bed, looking up at the ceiling, you can see every spot that wasn't perfectly smooth.  Good thing it's an upstairs bedroom and not one of the main rooms downstairs.  Next I'm going to tackle the laundry room ceiling, and I will try to teach myself how to skim coat.
After the ceiling, I sanded and primed the tire tracks and stripes.
Then primer went up on all the walls.
It was amazing how much brighter the room got once the popcorn ceiling came down. Popcorn ceilings trap dust and light doesn't bounce off them.
Next the color went on. We chose a pale blue/gray, which when it went on the walls, looked more blue than gray. We tried to pick a color that would go with the varnished wood in the room.  We prefer white woodwork and trim, and this house has way too much brown wood everywhere you turn, but because there is sooo much of it, I certainly didn't have the time or patience to begin painting nearly every inch of this house, so rather than paint it, we decided to work with it.  This window ended up having water damage on it, so I ended up restaining and polishing it.  It came out nicely I think.
I was able to paint the bedroom without taping it, the bathroom, however, was another story. There were too many tight angles so I had to tape everything.
I painted the bathroom the same color as the bedroom, just a satin finish to repel water. I got a little paint in my hair in one of those tight corners. Then I was finally able to decorate, my favorite part. I went with a spa/beach theme for both rooms. As soon as I get through working on classes, getting stuff ready for my daughter's wedding this coming Saturday, then I'll start on the laundry room.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Getting busy


I am back to my old tricks, home improvements.  It's also for the usual reason, people are coming over.  Usually company would just require cleaning, but these will be work colleagues of M's, so the house needs to look good too.  This week I moved all the downstairs furniture, multiple times, so I could steam clean all the carpets downstairs.  I miss our old hardwoods. Then I hauled 40 bags of mulch to clean up the beds on the front lawn.  I haven't been this exhausted in a long time.  






I also sanded and painted horseshoes and cleaned up the horseshoe pits in case anyone would want to play.  While I was at it, I touched up the paint on the patio furniture.





Then, just because I didn't have enough to do, and because this went with spiffing up the property, I noticed the finish on the front door was worn off, exposing the wood, and just generally looking run down, so of course I felt he need to re-stain it.  I have also found some time to continue working on my book, and somehow lose a few pounds without even trying.  Overall, I'd say this has been a busy and productive week.