Sun Blocked

It was tough to come up with anything to write about this week, but I acknowledge that I’ve got to write SOMETHING.  I’ve been falling down on the job lately, missing my self-imposed Tuesday deadlines (although I can still claim – with pride – that I have not missed a week since March of 2015, when I first began this blog).

My head has generally been empty of intelligent thought for the past couple of months. Maybe it’s because of the oppressive summer heat.  Or maybe it’s being displaced from my home with no end in sight.  I’ve been living in my apartment for over three months now.  When I first entered the one-year lease back on May 1, I was certain that I wouldn’t be here for the whole term and that my biggest challenge would be to find someone to sublease the place for the last few months.  Well, construction has only just begun on my house and, instead of getting it lifted last week, as originally planned, a major wrench was thrown into the works and activity has come to a grinding halt.  There is so much rot and poor construction in my 90-year-old bungalow that the entire back third has to be demolished and eventually rebuilt.  I was going to have a new extension put on the back of my house anyway, so it wasn’t a complete shock (although I did shed a few frustration tears upon hearing the news), but it will involve more money and more time.  Of course, I will presumably have a higher-quality end product, so it will be to my benefit in the end.  Now all I ask is that we just keep the construction ball rolling . . .

I haven’t seen much of my daughter lately, and she’s going back to WVU tomorrow for her senior year.  She met a nice man (or so she says – I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting him) and they were trying to enjoy as much time together as possible while she was here. Splitting her time between her dad’s house and the apartment has been a little disjointed as well.  They were both technically her “home”, but they might not have felt that way to her, and in any event she was away in South Africa for three weeks.  It seemed like we barely spent any time together, which is kind of a shame because I really like her now that she’s turning out to be such a terrific and interesting person.

Things have been slow on the work front, which of course I don’t mind until it’s time to get paid.  Frankly, I’ve been starting to get a little paranoid about my value to the firm.  There has recently been a shift of power in my department to the younger partners and I almost exclusively work with the oldest of the “old guard”.  Truth be told, I’ve been on my way out for years, but my desperate need for money and my boss’ desire for someone he can trust and rely on have kept me hanging around.  (See “The Blizzard of 2016 and Some Thoughts About My Job”, 1/27/16.)

There’s no hockey, no Game of Thrones to entertain and occupy me.  Instead, I waste an inordinate amount of thinking and reading time on this horrible presidential campaign because I am petrified that, somehow, the ersatz despot Trump will find a way to win despite all reason and right thinking.  The ignorance of the American populace is kind of shocking, even though I still hold out hope that, as we often tell ourselves, there are more “good” people than “bad” ones out there and light will always conquer dark.  But I seriously have to wonder sometimes, especially when I hear anyone praise Trump.  Like, have you HEARD what he’s said??  Do you hear YOURSELF defending the indefensible ??

I still find my peace going to the shelter every weekend, supplemented sometimes with adoption events at the local pet store, where my friend Carole and I take some cats, sit for a few hours and try to convince the patrons that they need to add another pet to their families.  There sure are a lot of crazy cat ladies out there!!  (I am not disparaging; I qualify as one myself!)  One of the things I’m going to do as soon as we get back into the house is take home some more fosters – one cat and one dog, at least – and the dogs can bark as much as they want!

August always reminds me of family vacations in Matunuck, Rhode Island, because we often went there for the last two or three weeks before Labor Day.  The other day I was walking the dogs after an evening storm, and there was a certain pungent smell of low tide and electricity in the air that reminded me so much of rainy days at Matunuck Beach.  We rented a house right on the beach from creepy red-headed (and red-faced) Mr. Monahan, who had a couple of snotty-nosed kids and ever-present laundry hanging outside his house next door, which was practically buried in the sand.  But the first year we were there, we rented a house on Prospect Road, which headed away from the beach and onto a peninsula jutting into Potter Pond, with a narrow stone bridge where we used to catch blue crabs.  The Prospect Road house had a wide front porch, where we would sit and wistfully stare out at the sheets of rain, playing lots of cards and board games, and wait till the downpour let up so we could wander barefoot and look for worms for fishing.

As part of the summer malaise, I’ve been feeling physically sluggish, too.  So much for my plan to establish a new exercise habit while living right on the boardwalk!  I do ride my bike at least once a weekend, although twice in the past three weeks I’ve gotten caught in the rain.  In fact, this past Saturday, I got all the way back to my apartment when I realized that I had left my keys at the shelter, so I had to do the round-trip all over again, in a harder downpour the second time around.  I’ll really start my boardwalk-walking regime when it gets a little cooler.  True, I don’t like to leave the dogs for very long for fear of their barking, but I’d only be gone an hour, at most.  I know I would feel better if I did it, but motivation is hard to come by in the dog days of summer.

I do have a few things to look forward to in the coming weeks.  My friends Erika and Curtiss are coming for a brief but welcome visit mid-month, and we will celebrate Mimi’s one-year adoptiversary on August 8.  Darian’s 21st (!) birthday is August 24th, but she’ll be partying it up in Morgantown without us.  My present to her this year was a trip for her and a friend to go to New Orleans, and they’ve chosen to go for New Year’s, which sounds like a ton of fun (but way more fun WITHOUT old Mom!).

Hopefully I can manage to work a few more billable hours than I did in July or my bank account will be in big trouble, especially with the additional construction expenses.  But now that work has finally begun on the house, I remain optimistic that the words of my project manager Bobby will hold true:  “I promise you when [my General Contractor] is ready for me, I will demo and foundation really fast, 2 weeks after the concrete is in I will lower your home, and his framing crew will start the framing . . . and that won’t take long!! : )”

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