St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message

Jeans weather makes a woman do strange things

Published February 25, 2007


It's a simple case of "Be sure you know what you want. You might get it."

Back in October, I happened to mention to a friend that I couldn't wait for it to get cool enough so I could wear my jeans. Eat my words. This has been the longest cold snap I can remember since I moved to Florida. Things seem to be looking up, but in the meantime I am suffering from climatic depression. I suppose the experts would call it environmental depression, but I prefer climatic.

I have found myself doing strange things to keep my mind and body occupied until I can get back to the pool and out in my flower beds, ride my bike or just relax in the hot, hot sun.

The other day I decided to paint my aquarium. Well, it was originally my cat's aquarium. He got it for his birthday with one lonely fish. It has now become my husband's aquarium. He has taken to the fish like a boy takes to baseball. He carefully feeds the fish every night before supper and laughs as the little water creature waits at the ready, mouth open for the food to be dispensed into the water.

But I decided since the aquarium was in the living room window, placed on a sofa table, that maybe the fish was getting too much sunlight. (Yes, there has been sun.)

So I went to the paint department of my favorite store and asked for paint for an acrylic aquarium. I was going to paint only the outside, I assured the clerk who was helping me. My theory was that not only would it protect the aquarium and its contents from the sun, but it would make the water look blue.

I also bought some green paint to decorate the blue with my version of seaweed.

I got out my trusty paint brush and put on the first coat. It looked horrid, so I decided a second coat of blue would fix the problem. It looked even worse.

I looked at the clock and discovered that I had half an hour before my husband came home for lunch. I didn't want him to know what a disaster I had made of his aquarium. The cat didn't look too happy either, and neither did the fish in the tank.

I tried washing the paint off, but to my dismay, it had adhered just like the paint clerk told me it would. I used the "think system" and went to the kitchen to get my pot scrubber. Wow! I scrubbed and scrubbed, and the paint finally came off.

I was saved because my husband didn't appear for his midday meal until five minutes later. I stood there looking like the cat that ate the canary (We don't have birds. It's just an expression.)

But he knows me too well and pondered out loud what I had been up to. I, who can't tell a lie, told him what I had done. He wanted to know what had possessed me. I explained about the climatic depression.

He wondered why I wasn't cleaning cupboards, closets and drawers like the rest of my women friends. I explained that when depressed, you just don't feel like doing anything, but I promised I would do a mental adjustment and get on with my life.

After making his soup and sandwich and feeding him, I turned on the TV to watch an old movie. I couldn't find one I hadn't seen. I looked at my closets and cupboards, but just couldn't get into it.

I decided that I needed a diversion, so I removed my upper underwear and proceeded to take the underwire out of my bra that was supposed to lift and separate, but instead was causing me some pain. That done, I had to move on.

I decided I would move our large wooden, African mask from the kitchen to a spot over the fireplace. It was too large, so I tried to move it on the wall above the TV. That proved to be just too much trouble for someone as depressed as I was. It would take some creative thinking to finish the wall and make it look right.

My only alternative was to get out another jigsaw puzzle. I decided if I put it on the kitchen counter instead of the table, it would be easier to work. Since the counter is higher than the table, I wouldn't have to bend over so far.

This was a good plan. I carefully separated each puzzle piece and put together the border. Then I scattered the interior pieces around the outside of the border. I don't arrange them neatly. My brain can't stand all that organization. I stood there trying to put that puzzle together.

The backs of my legs began to hurt and my back was starting to ache. This was not good. Then I got an idea. If I had a bar stool, I could sit down and do the puzzle. What an amazing idea. I hopped in my car and scurried on down the road to my favorite furniture store. There was the bar stool I had pictured in my mind. It even matched my decor. I paid my friend and placed the stool in the car, then motored on home ready to work on the puzzle.

I sat down on the stool and started my hunt for those little pieces that only go in one place. To my amazement, I was standing, not sitting. I rediscovered the fact that I'm not good at sitting. But the bar stool looked good and friends could sit on it if they come for coffee, so it wasn't a total waste of money.

I was really into the puzzle when the phone rang. It was my son, the stay-at-home dad who lives in Pittsburgh. He proceeded to tell me that he was suffering from cabin fever.

"Ah," I said, "I can relate. I, too am suffering from climatic depression." He asked how cold it was here. I responded with a frigid 50 degrees. He laughed and told me they had a wind chill factor of minus 20 degrees.

"Well," I said, "that makes me feel somewhat like a fool. I've been complaining about our cold weather and it isn't even near as cold as you have it."

We talked for a while, and I commiserated with him on the ups and downs of staying at home raising children. We both felt a little better when we disconnected the call.

The phone rang again. This time it was my daughter in Ohio. She was expounding on the fact that it was their third "snow day" and she was ready to go back to school and teach.

She went on to explain how excited she was when school was canceled the first day, but now it was getting old and cold. I told her about my dilemma and we both agreed that winter has been too long, even though it was a long time coming.

After hanging up the phone, I decided it was all relative (no pun intended). My 50 degrees to me was as bad as their minus 20 chill factor. When you are used to sun and warmth, even 60 degrees can make your bones hurt and your mind do strange things.

I went to bed that night with muscle spasms in my back and legs from doing that darned jigsaw puzzle. I sat on the couch with my heating pad and vowed not to do another puzzle for a long time. After all, the closets did need cleaning.

I awoke the next morning and moved the puzzle from the counter to the table. I am still doing that puzzle. I also vowed never to ask for jeans weather again, but I know by next October, I'll wish for the same thing.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: You can't teach an old dog new tricks. The trick is not to be an old dog.

[Last modified February 24, 2007, 19:56:01]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters