Let’s try this blog thing again…

Well, it has been over a year since I’ve written a blog post! For shame, Karen. Technically, I am not “traveling” anymore, but I’m going to keep this blog anyway. I did “travel” to Florida last February, when I moved away from New Jersey. And I “travel” to work every weekday…

What have I been up to in the past year? Well, I after three months of looking I found a job as a research associate in a surgery center. I really like the job, and I get along extremely well with my co-workers. I moved into my own apartment in July, and I love it. I have a fantastic view of the lake (it’s really more of a large pond), and the apartment is pretty big for just one person. I have been having a bit of trouble with a little nuisance called a “ghost ant”. I have been fighting them for weeks with a product called “Terro Ant Baits”, which they seem to love.

A couple weeks ago I thought I had finally taken care of the problem and they were gone for good. I couldn’t find a single one anywhere. But last Saturday, I saw a couple in my bathroom. Or rather, I saw about 10. I had one ant bait left over, so I opened it up and put it on my sink. I went back to look at it a few hours later, and the bait was swarming with ants. It was pretty gross. It seemed like the problem had gotten worse!

If you are interested in getting an idea of the severity of my problem, here is a photo – though it doesn’t even show you the extent of my ant woes. There were many more than you can see on this picture:

What is it with me and ants? At my first apartment, I had flying ants that came in through my sliding balcony door where the wood had rotted away. In my second apartment, I had little black biting ants that just loved crawling around on the carpet in my office and biting my legs. And here, I have ghost ants. I keep my place clean, I am not supposed to have ants!

Hmmm, what else… well, rather than write everything that I’ve been up to since I moved to Florida (I don’t really want to write a years worth of posts) I will just start from last weekend.

I have always wanted to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, and on Saturday (Nov 20), I finally had the chance. I had to wake up pretty early to be there at 8am. I woke up later than I wanted to but I managed to make it there just on time. For some strange reason, there is never any traffic that early on Saturday mornings. Go figure.

When I got there, I signed in and they talked to us a bit about what Habitat for Humanity was. Contrary to what I had previously assumed, Habitat for Humanity is not really a “charity” in the sense that they give away houses for free to people with nowhere to live. What they actually do is offer a needy individual (who meets the qualifications) a 30-year interest-free loan on the house. The person (or persons) who are buying the house are also required to do 750 volunteer hours with Habitat for Humanity before they are allowed to move in.

On this particular day there was a lot of siding work to do. We were put into groups and we worked together with dangerous power tools and ladders and hammers and nails. As far as I know no one cut off a finger, but I think someone hammered their hand instead of a nail. Oh wait, that was me. Something slipped when I was doing my thing, and I got a nice little bruise on my hand, but nothing to write home about.

The group I was in was really fun – but one of the women working in it seemed like she was sick. She kept coughing while the whole time insisting that she was fine. This will be relevant later on in the post. We worked like this from around 8:30am to 2:30pm with a half hour for lunch. By the end of the day I was completely beat and just wanted to go home to take off my shoes and relax my feet. Building houses is HARD work! I can’t imagine having to do that every day for my job – especially in this Florida heat. This was November, so I likely would have had to leave WELL before 2:30 if I had volunteered in the summer. It was a great experience, and I would love to do it again. Maybe next time I’ll do it in January when it’s a bit cooler.

When I got home I decided that I didn’t want to go anywhere else that day – This would be my time to relax. I went to bed at about 9:30, and the next morning, I woke up with a headache. One of those headaches that end up following you throughout the day. As the day progressed, I noticed a bit of a scratch in my throat. “Great.” I thought. “I probably caught whatever cold that woman had.” I hoped that I would have it out of my system by Thursday, (Thanksgiving!) when I was supposed to volunteer to serve food at a shelter for the homeless. Unfortunately, it just got worse and worse. I went into work on Monday (this job did not permit sick days no matter how sick you were) and felt awful. It was only a partial day and we would have the rest of the week off, so I was thrilled when I got home and could take a nap. I woke up from my nap feeling even worse. It took another day before I realized what I actually had. The flu. The FLU! I haven’t had the flu since I was in grade school! I always scoffed that the flu shot as pointless, because I *never* get the flu. Little did I know that all it took was volunteering at a charity to get me sick.

I am just starting to feel better today… I still have a bit of a cough but nothing else. I was so hoping to have many fascinating adventures on this week off that I could write about. I suppose I could tell you about how bored I was while sick at home, but that would likely be as interesting to you as reading a Facebook status update detailing what I ate for lunch today. (It was grilled cheese).

That is all for now. Hopefully I will keep this up. I feel a bit rusty in my writing. I had started this entry last week but my sickness kept me from finishing it. Trying to finish an entry that was postponed for a week is not as easy as writing one that is fresh in my mind. I was tempted to just forget this one and start anew when I had more news, but I figured that would be likely to start a vicious cycle of me half-writing all my entries, and never publishing one.

Hasta, until I think of something else to say!