Good news, at last.

Teddy and Bunny Old Tampa Bay

Teddy and Bunny
Old Tampa Bay

This is Teddy and I celebrating his new job which he started this week. It has been a long six months, with illness, bereavement and stress. Thank you to all my followers for your support, especially during some dark days. As many of you know, Teddy set up Gattageo LLC during his unemployment whilst applying for endless jobs. I always knew that he would have to look for a staff job, for health care amongst other reasons but supported him as much as I was able. In the end, it was a former employer, who knew Teddy’s worth, who approached him to join a small geological consultancy as a senior sedimentologist. There is a conflict of interest with Gattageo LLC so it has been temporarily put aside but none of the work will be wasted as he will use it in his new role or in the future.

When we received the contract, I immediately booked a little trip to Tampa in the few days he had left before starting (more of that later). It was a lovely feeling to both escape the biblically wet weather in Houston and just breathe a sigh of relief. The night before he started his new job, I laid out his outfit and he packed his pencils. He was anxious but excited and I felt like a mom whose child was starting kindergarten! We are onto day 3 and so far, so good. He is straight into work and loving that. My meet and greet job is on a hiatus during the hot summer, although I was head-hunted by a cruise line. I think I just need some time to heal and relax.

The first day on my own was delicious but strange. I slept until noon and then returned some shoes. I went crazy and spent that $20 on two tops in Old Navy (modeling blog later). The house is already cleaner that it has been in months and our water bill will increase again… I am still in thrift mode, however, and I doubt it will ever go especially as we are approaching retirement. It has been excellent practice for the strangeness of retirement when you are both stuck together in the house. Now we know that Teddy needs to volunteer or work part-time and Bunny needs the house to herself for days at a time.

I have learned that my chronic mental illness has the capacity to get dramatically worse in times of stress and I need to seek help ASAP (which I did). The medications are already reduced and I feel as normal as I ever do – i.e. a permanent state of slight anxiety with low levels of depression. This is well managed with sleep, medication and plenty of time alone. It struck me that although everyone assumes I am a social butterfly, I really spend two thirds of my time alone or sleeping. If I have a busy day volunteering (4 hours), I might have to go to bed the following day to unwind.

We learned a lot about our marriage and love. The hard work of 34 years of marriage was not wasted. We tried so hard to boost each other up and say we loved each other. It taught us some new skills that we will need for the future. I thought we were already frugal but we could be self-indulgent at times, especially with meals out and luxury items. It is so important to have access to health-care and we did but it was very expensive. If you don’t have good health then life has little pleasure. We will continue to be kind to people on the way up as we have truly appreciated the support that we have received, from strangers to good friends and neighbors. Thank you!

Bloody Dolphins!

Do you see the dolphins?

Do you see the dolphins?

Bloody dolphins! I know they are invisible but there is a mummy dolphin with two cute little babies, diving in and out of the water. Diving in precisely when I took each shot… Despite my fear of deep water I love to be near it and took advantage of a little water taxi service in Charleston that takes you upriver to the Aquarium, across the Cooper river to Patriot’s Point where the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier is now a military museum, then to the Marina, and then back to the center of the Historic district. It was $10 for all day use and I just loved it.

Water Taxi Charleston

Water Taxi Charleston

Charleston is a peninsula, with two rivers on either side leading out into a wide estuary and then into the Atlantic Ocean. It was curiously hot during my stay and very humid (even more than Houston) and the water was soothing to both my dry eyes and soul. My desperation to snap more dolphins made me put up with being in a tiny boat across a major shipping lane – eek!

This is how deep the Cooper river must be....

This is how deep the Cooper river must be….

When we lived in the north of Scotland (for almost 20 years) we were close to the Moray Firth, home to the most northerly group of bottle-nosed dolphins. The water is warmed by the North Atlantic Drift supporting plants and creatures that would normally not live in such a cold climate. Despite being on the coast thousands of times we only saw the dolphins ONCE! I am sure they were always there, laughing hysterically as they do, hiding when we watched for them. They had a bad reputation as fearsome predators and would regularly beat up the poor little porpoises. It was man’s fault, as ever, because we had over fished their territory and there was a battle for food.

Back to Charleston – those too are Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphins. The rivers and estuaries are home to all sorts of seabirds and fish. It was a seafood lover’s paradise which was wasted on me but I did enjoy some really delicious food. Between the sea and the sun, I and every other tourist was as brown as a berry. There is no need to have a car in downtown Charleston as there are free bus services and easy walking with sidewalks everywhere. I didn’t notice many overweight people – it was quicker to walk to your destination than wait for a bus. It was a very short visit but I would have loved to have visited a plantation and got out into the real countryside.

On land for the next post but one last action shot from the person who is terrified of deep water.

I was leaning right over the taxi to get a shot of USS Yorktown.

I was leaning right over the taxi to get a shot of USS Yorktown.

Downtown Houston

midtown water
It can be hard to sell Houston as a tourist destination but it is a great place to live. For any of you who have just stopped on a layover or a brief visit, you may not have seen it’s beauty among the many freeways and suburban sprawl. These photos were taken when we stayed downtown (midtown is really part of downtown) to go my work Christmas party in December – so look at that weather, folks!
sidewalk cafe houston
Many of the restaurants have lovely sidewalk patios which come alive when the downtown workers finish work.
skyscrapers downtown
Although we have large skyscrapers in downtown, it has a very quiet and peaceful feel and unlike other parts of the city has nice sidewalks. The view from the top of some of the buildings is spectacular. You can see for miles around as it is a coastal plain with many attractive bayous that are filled with fish, turtles and alligators.
trees downtown
We even have beautiful trees, everywhere! It is subtropical so they just grow and grow and grow. Come visit some time, the folks are friendly. 🙂