pruning the palms

queen palms, 2010

queen palms, 2010

I had my palms pruned yesterday.

There is a guy who drives around the neighborhood about once a month and knocks on my door and asks about my palms. I step out and look and tell him they don't need it yet. He knocked yesterday and I was going to tell him to come back but he said that I told him this month. Sigh. OK, how much? He looks at my queen palms and tells me he can do them for $30 each though he should be charging $40 each. They really don't need the trimming. He explains that the seed pods should not be popping out like that but I know better. I ask him about the washingtonian palm which does need pruning. "You tell me what you will pay." Right. That tree is already 20 feet tall and needs a tall ladder whereas the queen palms need only a 6 foot ladder. He goes on to tell me more bullshit about the palms and how he does the neighbors' trees. I am surprised because I did not hear any chainsaws before he knocked. I ask if he will do it all for $100 and he says yes though he looks like he is doing me a favor. (I paid $80 in 2012 and 2013.) The men get to work.

queen palm flowers, 2012

queen palm flowers, 2012

I come out a bit later to move my dad's car. It is in the driveway and under the palms. It is not really in the way but I am being cautious because he had asked me to move it in the past. I see the men are using handsaws which explains why I hadn't heard them. I ask if they want some water. He says yes, "or gatorade or pepsi". We don't have soda in the house and I am not generous with dad's gatorade. He doesn't keep more than one in the fridge. I make up three jugs of water with ice in some rubbermaid plastic water bottles I have had for years. I carry them out. He says he will put them in the cooler and asks if I want the bottles back. Yes, though there is no rush. I know I will see him again. I am not so sure about the bottles.

washingtonian palm, 2010

washingtonian palm, 2010

He knocks on the door asking if they have taken enough off. Once again, they have trimmed more than enough. Palms get their nutrients from the green in the palms. Green fronds should not be pruned. Our old neighbors would have their palms sheared. They were told it is better for hurricane protection. That is not true but I never told them otherwise. I have learned to leave the green fronds on the palm. But the washingtonian palm is too tall for me to climb and prune so I am at the mercy of these guys who knock on my door.

queen palms, 2009

queen palms, 2009

After they clean up the yard and get paid, I decide to check online about palm pruning. Yes, they did prune too much and it may hurt the tree. I am angry at myself for not insisting they do what I ask and not watching them. I will have to diligent if I ever let them trim again.

at the pool


A portion of the pool is closed off. There is a depression in the bottom though there is no apparent crack. I hope they can hold off on repairing it for another week. The boys will be in school and won't be upset by the interruption. 

Two women walk into the pool area. One looks to be in her 40s and the other is most likely her mother. The mother walks so straight and regal. I can tell she is foreign. Both women get in the pool. They are  both wearing bikinis. Both are trim but not in great shape. The mother looks better than me but I would not have the courage to wear a bikini. 

They stay in the warm water for about 10 minutes then get out and lay on the lounge chairs. They slather on the generic baby oil. After 20 minutes, they come back in the water still shining from the oil. They speak a foreign tongue. It is something Slavic, eastern European. 

A middle aged couple comes in. They claim two lounge chairs. She spreads her towel while he opens the mesh float and blows up the surrounding tube. He finishes and gets into the pool. He does not help her with her tube. When she finally done blowing up her float, she leaves it and lies down on the lounge chair. 


here comes the sun

Back to Work with Merlin Mann & Dan Benjamin. Merlin was talking about light therapy and seasonal affective disorder. I had heard of SAD years ago but didn't really think much of it until I moved to Florida. When I lived in Michigan, I had a lot of headaches. When I moved to Florida, they went away. I still get headaches but not weekly or even monthly. And my mood is so much better. I credit this to the weather and the abundance of sunlight in Florida.

I recently read about the benefits to Vitamin D which is essentially sunshine. As a child, I spent a lot of time outdoors and seem to be happy. As adults, we spend most of our time indoors and in artificial light. Instead of spending $100 or more on a light that will mimic sunlight, I go outside most days to walk. I also take Vitamin D3 supplements. My energy has improved.

As much as Merlin & Dan complain about Florida, I am happy we moved here. Yes, there is still a lot to complain about, but the sun isn't one of them.

no school

There was no school today because of Tropical Storm Isaac. Manatee County declared schools closed on Saturday. Sunday morning, Polk County declared schools closed for Monday. Hillsborough, Pinellas and Hernando Counties followed suit. Finally, around 4pm, Pasco County announced school would be closed Monday. 

Hurricane Days don't happen very often. We had more Snow Days in Michigan. And when we had a Snow Day, we never stayed home. We would go shopping or meet the other teachers for breakfast at The Rams Horn. We would brave the unplowed streets for non-essential journeys. 

Ryan would never venture out in a storm if his life depended on it. He only feels safe at home and when his family is home too. 

I had a chiropractor appointment scheduled for Monday. I would have gone if the boys were in going to school. But I changed it. The winds were done before noon but still Andy wanted to stay home. I did have to go out together bread for grilled cheese. The weather was fine and the store was relatively quiet.

I think they called the day off preemptively. The storm was well off the coast and not very strong.

legoland with ryan

Ryan asked to go to Legoland after he looked at the photo book I made of Andy's trip. He wanted to go before he turned 14 so he could go to the Driving School.

Ryan chose the long route. We got to Legoland just as the park opened. We had to wait in line for his ticket. It was good that I did not order it online. A woman gave me a coupon for a free ticket. We saved $75!

We walked in and I let Ryan lead. I forgot about the dragon & the water and we both got wet. He wasn't happy.

We went on the Island in the Sky ride. It went well until the end. They ask everyone to go left so people can board at the same time. Ryan complained and wanted to go home.

We went to the Factory and watched the video. This put Ryan in a better mood. But then Ryan was thirsty and needed water. I got him a $2 bottle and he was OK. We were going to go on The Grand Carousel and waited in line. Then they cut off the people in front and Ryan was unhappy. He complained until we left the ride.

We walked into Minifigure Market. I did get him to sit by the sleeping guy but he said the Lego creation was trying to grab him.

We tried to look at the Greenhouse but it was closed. This further degraded Ryan's mood, he said they were not letting him see anything.

We walked on to Miniland. Ryan enjoyed this and noticed that Florida was in the shape of the state and all the areas highlighted were in their proper place.

We walked over to Lego Kingdoms. Merlin's Challenge shut down as we got there. The Dragon had over an hour wait so we didn't go. Ryan was not happy.

We walked over to Land of Adventure and went on the Lost Kingdom Adventure. Ryan enjoyed it even though I trounced him in the points. Ryan really liked the Safari Trek and waited in line by himself.

Ryan said he wanted to get the Driving School out of the way so we walked over there. He smiled for his driver's license photo and we watched a video. The video wasn't done when the door opened up and Ryan wanted to wait to watch. I told him we could watch that video online. (I have seen it before.) We went into another room and watched a video about safe driving and a Lego employee asked some questions. Then they opened the door to go to the cars. Ryan didn't want to go. I had to force him. I should have let him skip the ride. I really thought he would have fun once he got going but he did not. Once the ride was over and Ryan wanted to go home. He didn't want his driver's license. He didn't want to go to any other part of the park. It was only noon.

We had to walk through Miniland again. Ryan was happy since he didn't get to (or want to) see New York.

Ryan said his feet hurt and couldn't wait to go home. But I made him sit and watch me eat apple fries. They weren't as good as I remembered but it might have been the constant complaining.

We walked through The Big Store but Ryan wanted nothing. I got a pin. I spent less than $13 for the whole day.

We stopped at McDonald's and Ryan chose another long way home.

we have to move

I hate snakes. Hate them!

I take a quick shower at night. Living in Florida, you tend to sweat 11 months out of the year. I like to go to bed not feeling sticky. I took my shower, dried off then went to clean the hair from the drain. I saw something in the corner. Very dark like some black cord. Oh my god! It is a snake. No one to help, I shut the shower door and hope it goes back the way it came. 

It took me a while to get to sleep. 

I woke up at 2 am having to pee. The snake is now outside of the shower! How the hell did he get through the door? He is in the corner next to where the water closet is. I step closer hoping he will go away. He hesitates but does not leave. I walk past him and go to pee. I cannot. I cannot relax enough. I have to force myself to relax and pee.

I go back through the bath and he is still there. I go to bed hoping he will go away. It takes longer to get back to sleep. 

Ryan gets up at 5 am. He comes into my bath to put on deodorant and brush his teeth. I am waiting to hear him yelp or scream but he does not. He doesn't use my toilet so maybe he didn't see the snake. 

I lie in bed until 6 am. I get up and take a deep breadth before I walk into the bathroom. I turn on the light and the snake is gone. He is not on the floor an not in the shower. Did he go away or did he slither to another part of the house? 

Every time I go into the bathroom, I expect to see the snake. I don't. But I walk on eggshells. 

On Monday morning, I got walking in the morning. I tend to keep my head down because the sun is low. I see the small black snake almost too late. I walk around him but he doesn't move. As I loop back, I see he still hasn't moved. He is probably dead. 

I need to move.

It has been a week. Most of the time, I look for the snake. Occasionally, I forget. 

I guess we won't move just yet.