Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Home Sweet Home

It felt good to get home last night after two weeks in Russia and four weeks in Cannon Beach.  Nothing helps one gain perspective and appreciation for one's own home like being away.  We've never been gone for four weeks at a time before, so it was a relief to find the doors still locked, windows unbroken, and everything just as we left it.

 I was especially worried about the goldfish, as we had had a sad incident a week or so before leaving.  We think a raccoon or large bird got in there, as three of the seven big ones were gone and we found one dead.  I had been wondering if the remaining fish noticed their companions were missing, and if they were traumatized by whatever had happened.  I worried that if a hole had been poked in the plastic bottom, the water would slowly drain away,  so I was happy to find them calmly swimming around in a full pond when we got back.

The fish in happier times

I was also worried about my plants.  I had watered right before leaving, but four weeks is a long time and the Aerogarden tomatoes especially demand lots of water.  The tomatoes were pretty dried out, but look at the harvest waiting when we got back  : )  These have been so prolific since I planted them back in March.

This is one of my favorites - a Good Luck Money Tree that my friend Charla gave me about ten years ago.  It has delivered on both luck and money - how lucky to be retired with enough money to do some traveling!  It lost several leaves while we were gone and is looking a bit brown, but it's resilient.  I accidentally broke a main stem, and after spending some time in water growing new roots, it took right off when I planted it back in the pot.

It was great to sleep in our own bed last night!  After getting used to the smaller bed at Cannon Beach, I luxuriated in our king-size with smooth cool sheets and our faux-down comforter.  Ahhh.  An idea I had at the ocean is to get one of those gadgets that makes various sounds so I could listen to the sound of the waves at night when I'm trying to sleep.  Stan is not a bad snorer, but when I can't sleep, even his breathing is distracting.  I mentioned this idea when the kids came for Thanksgiving and Ben showed me a free phone app that makes sounds.  Voila! I just downloaded it and I'll try Ocean Waves tonight.  Ben and Melanie use the Fan Noise, which seemed funny at first, but I have noticed in summer that the fan's soft whirrr does mask other noises.  I'll report tomorrow morning how this worked out.

P.S.  It worked pretty well!  At first I thought it would be too loud so I turned it down low and eventually I wasn't thinking about it at all.  In the middle of the night when I woke up and Stan was snoring quietly, it didn't mask it completely, but I think it helped.  Stan found a device at Sharper Image that does the same thing - if I find I want to use it all the time, the device might be more convenient than plugging in the phone with an extension cord every night.

I had another idea about sleeping when I noticed how dark it was at night in Cannon Beach.  Pitch dark!  In our room at home with a very bright street light right outside it is never that dark.  I have a 10%-off coupon from Pottery Barn where we got our living room drapes, and I'm planning to shop for room-darkening draperies asap.   Hmm, will check Overstock too - they have these for a pretty low price.

As ever when I've been away for awhile, I came home full of resolve to clear out our clutter and fix up some areas of the house.  Two years ago we painted the kitchen ceiling and walls, and were planning to do the adjoining family room, but  never did.  (It took so many trips up the ladder for the kitchen... I think I'm getting too old for that!)  We also have never changed the master bedroom paint from the "builder blah" that it came with.  Stan loved a room he had on a trip to Cambridge University that had salmon-colored walls with white trim and wants to try it here - I agreed on an "accent wall" in salmon, with the taupe of the master bath on the rest of the room.  We know a wonderful painter and I'm planning to call him soon!

Aaargh!  A month's worth of mail just arrived.  In all these two bins of mail there were two Christmas cards from old friends and a couple of medical explanations of benefits.  The rest was advertisements and catalogs - mostly straight into the recycle bin.  It seems impossible that printing those lovely color catalogs full of stuff we don't need could possibly pay off!

Oh yeah... also in the mail was a book I ordered on Saturday.  Amazon suggested it as I was doing some Christmas shopping online - how did they know I've been eating too much and all the wrong things??  Whole30 is a 30-day program of strict healthy eating, based on paleo principles and eliminating anything that can cause inflammation.  I honestly don't know if I can actually do it, but for now I'm sitting in my chair (so nice to be back in my own comfy chair!) sipping red wine and reading about the healthy eating I may do next month.  For now, that's enough.  Good to be home!

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