Ditchin’ the Books

Remember me. I say, “We need more mouse.” This refers to the moose in the Irish pub nearby called McGuire’s. Every newbie has to kiss it. Yes, you heard me right. It is my favorite spot to relax and play and meet friends and colleagues from school. It happens to be located in the great besieged-by-hurricanes state of Florida near the Gulf Coast. You are now all familiar with our situation, but we Floridians bounce back fast. Here I am with a new blog. Life goes on and I am still in college. I still love Celtic music which is popular, as you can imagine, at the pub. I am studying diligently so I can graduate on time. It can be a chore and an effort, but I love it nonetheless. It is an important period in your life and you want to take advantage of what you are learning and the great people you meet.

Rarely, I ditch the books to have some fun and take a break. Occasionally in the nice weather, or even when it cools off, I love to hang out in the hot tub in the backyard of a good friend. She once told me she bought it on a whim after browsing a web site called https://www.hottesttubs.com/.When there are a few of us drinking wine or beer, and listing to our favorite music, this form of recreation is beyond compare. Think of nice heated water swirling around your tired body, reviving you with its liquid warmth. You are chatting with your buddies and gossiping about your professors. There is always something in the wind to discuss. Sometimes you daydream and plan your future. You all speculate about possible jobs and cities where you may live. If you are particularly mature, you might envisioned being married and having a batch of kids.

Whenever I get an invite to join the group in the hot tub, I respond instantly. I get out the cookie mix and whip up something to take along. My soft terry towel is in the dryer and I grab a swimsuit and shorts. Large hot tubs are the best for several people and if they have a Jacuzzi jet, you are in heaven. As young as we are, we do get our aches and pains. We play sports, clean house, jog and workout. Sometimes it is too much. While there is a hot tub at the gym, I prefer being with friends for a rip roaring good time.

It is a close second to being on a stool at the bar in the pub. My friends let me blast my Celtic music in between their own particular choices. They have all learned to love it as much as I do. When it is quiet, I almost fall asleep in the enveloping water. It is like a soothing, moving blanket that wraps you in its buoyant arms. There are times when no one talks or makes a move. We know we are ready for bed and our time is over until the next meeting.

Cold? I Don’t Know What That Is

One drawback of living here on the Gulf Coast is that we are pretty spoiled when it comes to the weather. It is typically warm, even in “winter.” If it is cold by you right now, I don’t recommend looking up the average temperatures here in Pensacola. It’ll just make you sad. I’ve never missed school because of snow (hurricane damage, yes. Snow, not so much). With the beach just a couple of minutes’ drive from my front door, though, I never felt like I was missing out. It’s kind of a no-brainer. Snow maybe a few times a year vs having the beach all year long? My parents picked the beach, and given a choice, I would, too.

It’s weird to think I grew up without snowboots or, well, a winter coat. Don’t get me wrong, I probably have worn a pair of gloves or two, and I do have a jacket—not a stay puft marshmallow man kind of jacket all those crazy northerners seem to need—but it keeps me warm on those blustery 45 degree evenings. And no, I don’t expect you to feel sorry for me as you have flashbacks of having to shovel yourself out of your driveway the past couple of winters.

My dad hates putting the heat on. I mean, hates it. We have this awesome Lasko space heater in the living room. It is a portable fireplace, which seems silly now that I just spent I don’t even know how long telling you it doesn’t get cold here, but the fireplace actually has the option to look like a pretty fireplace without the giving-off-heat bit. Which is why, in the middle of a heat wave in July, you can find me curled up in an armchair next to the fireplace reading a book. It’s like that yule log they show on TV at Christmastime, except I can still use the TV to watch something else.

Anyway, we had a bit of a nasty storm last week and it got…um…chilly, I guess is the right word. When it rains for a few days and there’s no sun, two things happen. One: it gets cooler, and two: everyone gets more grumpy and hostile. I wanted to turn on the heater just so I could sleep but my dad vetoed that idea. I ended up unzipping a sleeping bag and using that as an extra comforter because Dad we don’t have extra blankets. And also? Taking the Lasko into my room. Cause guess what, baby, it’s a portable heater. So I ported it directly into my room. Whoohoo. I slept as snug as a bug in a rug. My dad was pissed the next morning when he went into the living room to warm up and his heater was gone, though. I would have loved to have seen his face when he realized it was gone, but I was too busy dreaming of a cold beer, sand between my toes, and some great live Celtic music. Hahaha! Maybe next time he’ll think twice and let me turn on the heat!

Home Depot with Dad

Needing more moose is kind of a secret code word for fun, silly, and whimsical things that spice up one’s life and make you look on the brighter side of things. It’s kind of like seeing the glass half full instead of half empty. We should all be that positive. It comes from a tradition in a local waterhole, McGuire’s Irish Pub; and I try to apply this principle to my life. It means I don’t sweat the small things and get overwrought about nothing. Take the fact that my dad smokes and it drives me crazy but he seems to be a bit in denial and won’t do anything about it. It is affecting his health as seen in some rather labored breathing. Since he won’t stop, I had to get creative and think of something that would alleviate his symptoms at home. This is how I discovered an air purifier for cigarette smoke. It also grabs allergens, pollen, odors, bacteria, germs, spores, etc. from the air, but I want it for a very specific reason. It is designed for the express purpose of cleaning the air and thus should help my dad breathe easier.

So I took dad for a visit to the Home Depot to pick out an air purifier of his choice; and there are lots of them. This is my version of more moose to solve a problem, and it worked. He didn’t want to hook one up to the HVAC system, just an easy, lightweight portable that he could put in the bedroom at night while he was sleeping. Above all, he wanted a quiet model so it wouldn’t keep him awake. He also wanted a good filtering system and as such, he wouldn’t mind changing them from time to time. The fancy air purifier we both liked warns you just when it is time to clean the machine and replace the filter. So high tech! He liked that aspect a lot and checked all the parts over and over trying to detect their operation. He is a bit of a tinkering type after all.

He also wanted to be sure the unit we selected did not emit any ozone which in any amount is not good for humans. I don’t know why they do, but it makes the appliance more effective and efficient. But no, this was out. A safe HEPA filter was the option of choice. They have a good reputation and are particularly good at filtering tobacco smoke. It is so nice to have a house that doesn’t reek and give his nasty habit away. An air filter should have been part of his life years ago, but he make all kinds of excuses. He said he only smoked outside, which was a bald-faced lie. Loads of smoke got in through open doors and windows, so it was of no help.

Meanwhile, I am happy to report that my dad enjoys clean air so much that he is breathing better and is even motivated to limit his smoking so as to avoid despoiling the air indoors since it is no nice and fresh. Once you have a taste of the good air, there is no going back.

The Perfect Gift

What do you give to the person who has everything for a birthday or holiday gift? What do you give your father, for that matter, when you see him in a childish light? No matter how old you are, he is daddy and you are his little girl. Does that ever change? Maybe when you are 65, and maybe not! Gifts usually reflect that initial and innate relationship. As a kid, you make drawings or ceramic horses. As a teen, you think of food or a ticket to his favorite team game. As a young adult, you sit and think awhile to come up with an answer. It is surely not a tie. It is surely not a book. You ponder long and hard.

After contemplation and some soul-searching, I finally arrived at a possibility on one recent occasion. It seemed just right. I would give my father a personalized set of pint glasses and a cocktail set for his birthday. So let’s jump back a bit and see why. There was a clear reasoning behind my decision. My dad has a rec room, or man cave as people now call them. It is his space to use to invite friends – mostly other fathers in the neighborhood for a ball game or round of poker. He loves his room and uses it every weekend. I can’t imagine him relaxing anywhere else at night.

He had always served beverages for so many years in his special realm until one summer he built a wine bar/wet bar combination. Wow. It added a touch of real class to the place. All of a sudden everyone was collecting wine by the case and talking about domestic wineries. Then they jumped to ale and started talking about pints. There were many foreign brands to taste and explore. The wine fridge now had a cousin – a nice little beer fridge sitting next to it to hold all the brands. They were glass and chrome repositories of fun. Cocktails soon followed, but these were for friends of both him and my mom. In short, he had the setup but not all the details.

I knew what was missing and made it my mission to find it. The items I bought would fit nicely on the upper shelves and counter. They would be a kind of display, but mostly a reminder of me away from home, but still thinking of him. That is what I had hoped deep in my heart. I wanted something practical that he would use, and I struck the right cord.

So if you are looking for the perfect gift, give it some reflection. As you become older, your selection becomes more personalized. You don’t opt for the easy way out and get something generic. You think about the person in their daily life. I love to hear how much dad likes his present and how much he uses the glasses and the cocktail set. I know I can add new items to his wet bar as the years go by.