Five weeks

Suddenly it’s August.

Where has the summer gone?! Well, technically, where has half the summer gone? And why am I not bored yet?

I’ve been on my summer holidays for five weeks now. It has been five weeks since I went to work. And I am not at all bored.

Also, I am not broke. After last year’s lengthy teacher strike where I didn’t receive a full paycheque for three months and received pretty much no strike pay, I did some Extreme Budgeting as this summer approached. I started the summer with a most excellent amount in my bank account, and although I have not actually changed my spending habits any, I still have a very healthy bank balance. Yay me!

But the boredom thing is weird. I haven’t done a big vacation trip this year, so I’ve been sitting around my house mostly for five weeks. I haven’t really done much of anything. Theoretically, I should be climbing the walls by now. But I’m not.

This is the kind of thing that’s been occupying me for the past five weeks:

1) Cleaning. I have cleaned things like all my blinds and California shutters. By hand. Took me two days, too. I have laundered a lot of curtains and bedding that don’t often get laundered. I have even washed (sort-of) my floors. I vacuumed my balcony, for heaven’s sake!

2) Reading. I kind-of got out of the habit of reading a whole lot this past year. But I’m back into it with a vengeance. To the point of maybe five books a week. And I do NOT read more than one book at a time. I read one book all the way through, then move on to the next. I currently have two stacks of books on my night table, one from the local library, one from the quasi-library in my mom’s building. I’m probably not supposed to borrow books from the latter, since I’m not actually a resident of that building, but no one has stopped me yet. They have a pretty good and constantly changing collection, I’m finding!

3) Watching TV. I love HGTV! I will watch almost any program on HGTV. But I’ve also seen a numbers of movies on other channels, and I don’t even get fussed all that much about all the commercials. I’ve also downloaded a lot of stuff on my laptop, and I’ve watched it all. AND I’ve finally gotten on the Netflix train. So now that I’ve figured out how to hook up my laptop to my TV set and have the audio work as well as the video (believe me, THAT took a lot of internet research and time to get it operational), I’ve been having a lovely time viewing programs like Downton Abbey and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. I thought it would bother me that Netflix doesn’t have too much that’s current (Really, Netflix? You’ve only JUST come out with Season 3 of Homeland while its parent network,Showtime, will be premiering Season 5 in October?!), but there’s so much available that I haven’t seen anyway, so who cares when it originally came out?

4) Exercising. I’ve been trying to do some physical activity every single day, because at my age, this is important. I either go for a power walk, head to the gym, or go to my Pilates class. If I don’t make this a priority, I will turn into an even weaker, fatter lump, and I’m already dismayed quite enough at how my body is ageing. Problem is that I seem to eat and drink crap a little too often and/or a little too much to see much benefit from all this exercise. PG tells me I’m perfect the way I am (isn’t he sweet – blind, but sweet!), but I think I can do better. Well, I have to believe that I truly am physically better than I would be if I wasn’t taking so much exercise, but thank goodness that I no longer swan around in a bikini – that would really depress me.

Note what is NOT on this list: socializing. I am perfectly content with my own company. Oh, I have seen a few friends on a couple of occasions. PG and I are together every weekend. I see DD every now and then, and we text every day. I speak to my mom on the phone every day and go over to see her maybe once a week. I do go out, shopping for example, amongst people and I even chat to them at times. But by and large, I have been solitary this summer, and I’ve enjoyed that.

I suppose what I’m saying here is that I have been looking after ME for five weeks. I am doing what I want to do when and if I want to do it. I am relaxing in a way that I can’t do the rest of the year, when I am working. I am recharging my batteries. And I am lucky that I have the kind of job that allows me enough time off to be able to do that – plus my superior money-managing skills that make it financially possible for me to not work for the entire summer!

But now that it’s August, things are going to speed up a fair bit. This month, I have a trip to Vegas, a trip to Whistler, and a spa weekend planned. There is also the possibility of a roadtrip down to Seattle and Portland. I already have appointments booked for the doctor and the dentist. There are two birthdays to celebrate before Labour Day. It looks like I will be much busier in the coming weeks.

i-love-me-timeIt also looks like I will be grateful that I have had these past five weeks of me time!

“Altred” states

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Well, Mike, if you do an “altretation” the way you do spelling, I’m not sure just how professional you really are, to be quite honest …

H20 uh oh

We are in a bit of a drought here. I’m not sure of the actual definition of a drought, but despite the fact that I live on the We(s)t Coast of Canada, there has been no appreciable rainfall since maybe April. So while we are currently enjoying a very long stretch of unusually dry and warm weather, the downside of that is our diminishing water supply – due to less precipitation than normal last winter, and more demand for water now.images-1

So water restrictions have been put into place. This is a reasonable thing to do, I think all would agree. Wouldn’t we rather have water available to fight forest fires (of which, thank goodness, there are less and less across the province now) than to power wash our driveways? According to these restrictions, because my address is an odd-numbered one, I can water my postage stamp of a back lawn once a week, on Thursdays, only between 4 am and 9 am. Those with even-numbered addresses can do the same only on Mondays. People are being encouraged to shower less and for shorter amounts of time, as well as to not flush the toilet every time. We are being reminded to turn off the tap while brushing teeth or washing dishes. Car washing is most definitely frowned upon, as is running the dishwasher or washing machine with less than a full load.

Also, it is being suggested that all Metro Vancouver residents keep their eyes open for violations of the water restrictions and report these to the engineering departments of their specific cities. Yeah, Big Brother is alive and well – or is that maybe the Nazis? (I’m a little unclear on the specifics, as I’m on summer vacation and I’ve turned off large parts of my brains for the duration.) And people are doing this quite a lot, it seems. Many, many warnings and tickets are being handed out to residents and businesses who are flouting the rules.

PG himself, having been woken up at 6 am by the automatic lawn sprinklers outside his apartment building, made a complaint when he realized that the sprinklers were running three times a week instead of the mandated once, as well as far longer than necessary to adequately water the lawn. He reported that, that very day, there was a warning notice from the city taped to the front door of the building, and the city contacted the company that manages the building, who then sent someone out to turn off said sprinkler system (the controls are located in the underground parking garage right near where he parks his car, so he said he was easily able to tell that this had been done). Of course, PG, being PG, was quite disgusted that it took a phone call from him to right this wrong: every other resident of the building had to have been aware of those sprinklers running so long and so often, so why was it up to him to make the call? And where was the manager of the building anyway? He doesn’t even live in the building, for one thing, and he is obviously completely incompetent at his job! (But that’s a story for a different day!)Screen-Shot-2015-07-16-at-11.59.03-AM

Okay. So the tattle-tale system works. But what should I do when I wake up one morning, look outside at the driveway that I share with the other two families of my building, and see that my next-door neighbour has washed his behemoth of an SUV earlier that day? There’s a huge wet puddle on the asphalt as evidence. It’s pretty obvious. But I also know that this clown generally washes his vehicle at 6 or so in the morning, before he goes to work. I’ve seen this with my very own eyes. I think it’s odd, but then, this is the same guy who clips his nails in the backyard with unnerving regularity, also very early in the mornings.

Well, I’m certainly not planning to talk to the guy, that’s for sure. He’s clearly too weird.

My tactic is so much more sensible: I’ll just blog about it.