December 4, 2016

The Christmas Tree dilemma solved

Thank you DJan and Booksandcandy for your suggestions to my Christmas tree dilemma.  I spent a good portion of the day trying to figure out to incorporate one or the other into our living room. Considering it's an "open" floor plan there is very limited wall space; it was challenging.

But all is not lost!  No, the boys, knowing just how disappointed I was, spent some time today while I was out coming up with a new game plan.

Now this new plan means that the living room chair needs to be moved into the dining room - because the chair is too big to fit through the door to the bedroom - of course, the buffet in the dining room needs to be moved either into our bedroom or the kitchen and that means we will have even less seating in the living room than we already have but we will be able to squeeze a tree in there.  So basically, we have to rearrange the whole damn house.

And although it is utterly ridiculous to have a giant chair in the dining room; I have decided to make the best of it and call it a "reading nook" as there is plenty of natural light due to the double windows. That, my friends, is called making the best of it.

Those two are my heroes.  They saw how unhappy I was and set about to make me smile again - the best Christmas present!

Yes, I'm impossible to live with - I know this and own it.  Someday's I can't even stand myself.  But they claim to love me anyway; I honestly don't know how they put up with me.

Sadly though, this game plan came about too late in the day to go get a tree - not too mention the fact that it was seriously cold and rainy here today - so most likely we won't get a tree until next weekend.  Unless they decide to pick one up after work this week.

But nonetheless - we WILL have a tree!!

Let the Christmas insanity begin...

December 3, 2016

Is it still Christmas if there isn't a tree?

Yes, I know the reason for the season - but still, we generally do up the house for Christmas with all the usual trappings up to and including a tree.  Even when we were in the tiny condo - we had a tree.  Even when we moved into said condo exactly three weeks before Christmas, we had a tree.

This year, sadly, it is looking like there will not be a tree. *sob*  I've never had a Christmas without a tree.  This annoys and saddens me to no end.

This morning the boys went off to do something so I pulled out my boxes and began happily decorating the front porch, my mantle and tucking in festive touches here and there.  When they came home, we spent the majority of the morning rearranging the living room in hopes of finding a spot for the tree.  We failed.

I left the house frustrated in search of battery operated candles with a timer, which also exasperated me as I have plenty of window candles with cords that have the sensor in them to turn them off and on.  But can I use them? No.

Because of the five windows facing the street only ONE of them is anywhere near an outlet - of course.  Luckily I did find the candles - but am dubious about how well they are going to work.  I've held onto my receipt just in case.  If they don't work that will be the final nail in the coffin on this holiday season - because along with the tree we always have candles in the windows.

Yes, I am a big believer in tradition.  And one by one all of our traditions are falling by the wayside.

While I was out I did have the brilliant idea that if we moved the TV, etc. upstairs we could shove a tree in that little corner of the living room.  The Husband nixed that idea immediately because he's a Grinch who would rather not be inconvenienced when watching TV than having a tree.

The only other areas that could accommodate a tree is the kitchen (never gonnna happen - how ridiculous is that?), our bedroom (nope - for the same reason) or the back porch - where at least we would get to see the tree from the living room - but honestly; how would the decorations hold up in the elements?

So unless some amazing idea comes up within the next day or so - we will be without a tree come Christmas morning.  I KNEW this was going to be an issue when we bought this house - I just didn't realize how big of an issue it was going to become.

At this point, I'm practically ready to pack all the decorations I put out this morning away and just forget about the whole damn thing; that's how annoyed I am right now.

What a way to start the Christmas season - annoyed and frustrated to the point of tears.

November 27, 2016

Name my room...

:gasp: I know!  THREE posts in less than two weeks?!  Sometimes I amaze even myself.

The productive streak that was mentioned in the last post seems to continue.  I have to wonder just how long it will last?

Today found me snapping up a few more Christmas gifts and feeling very proud of myself.  And then, I found myself home alone - a rarity indeed - and decided that I should at least start to tackle my dressing room/closet/whatever it is you call a room you have commandeered for your clothes and shoes (what say you? Dressing room? Closet? Her Majesty's Room of Clothes?).

Remember those boxes that found their way from Man-Child's room to my room way back in September?  They were still sitting in my room.  Along with three other boxes that had never been dealt with.

Today was the day that I decided to tackle those boxes AND the closet in this room.  To be honest, the closet wasn't in too bad of shape - but I figured I needed to pull down my winter scarves, etc. to make them more accessible as the weather continues to plod toward winter.  I was able to deal with three boxes easily.  I still have two boxes sitting here filled with old photos, etc.

I figure the baby pictures of Man-Child can be tossed because I know that I have copies.  It's the other pictures and mementos that I'm having a harder time deciding how they need to be dealt with.  I'm thinking for the photos that I don't have copies of I'll take out of their frames and put in an album.  The other stuff needs more thought as they are precious but not needed or necessary - such as the personalized sampler that a friend made and framed for Man-Child's birth that outlines his name, birth date, weight, etc.  In my heart of hearts, I know this is not something he will want but at the same time how can I just heartlessly toss it?

Although those two boxes are still sitting in here, having gotten the rest of it squared away I realized just what a resource I have in this little room.  I have a comfy chair, I have a door and I have some quiet.  And that is why you are reading this.  I have a room that I can escape too occasionally.  To think.  To write.  Am I writing great prose? No.  But I am exercising that creative muscle - which frankly needs some exercise.

This room is far from finished.  I still need to clear the Christmas gifts from the dresser - but you and I both know that until those gifts are wrapped and sent off to their recipients; it is there they will stay.  My shoe storage system is woefully ugly - but useful.  I still have a few prints sitting on the floor awaiting a decision as to whether they will be hung, stored or given away.

But that's okay.  I've discovered my room.  And I love it.  Now let's figure out what we should call it; because I'd like to think I'm going to be spending a lot more time in here.

November 26, 2016

Thanksgiving / Black Friday recap.

What can I say - both were all around success stories - for once.  With only a minor hiccup here and there.

I'm not going to lie - Thanksgiving was stressing me out this year.  You may have picked up on it in my last post, but if you didn't that's okay because we all know how subtle I can be...

I flew home on Monday (so glad I wasn't traveling later in the week) exhausted and still sick but muddling through.  Like a dummy, I neglected to take Tuesday off so I had to work.  Wednesday, although I was off, found me feeling really ill.  I'm not sure if it was just the tail end of whatever I've been battling or if it was sheer exhaustion from the long, stressful weekend.

At any rate, not much was accomplished on Wednesday, which meant that the actual D-Day was extra busy as I scurried around and prepped the house for guests.  And I'm proud to say, that I accomplished everything I'd set out to do, for the most part.  But the stress of having seven of us for dinner, one of whom I barely know and three of whom I'd never met at all (an introverts worst nightmare), meant that I wasn't surprised when I had a mini-meltdown regarding missing forks.  Oh sure, I've known that some spoons have gone missing and a few steak knives but forks?  I thought I'd been keeping a better eye on them.

Apparently not.

But here's the deal - just WHERE does missing cutlery go?  We all know that the dryer eats random socks on occasion but forks?  I'm beginning to wonder if the dishwasher has picked up on what the dryer is doing and has become a copycat.

Eventually, I calmed down and used a salad fork in place of a regular fork and since I was the one using the salad fork; I don't think anyone else was the wiser.  And after a glass of wine and chatting with The Girlfriend's mother and sisters for a few minutes my shattered nerves were somewhat put back together.  Turns out they are very nice people.  But I know me, it will take several more meetings before I feel completely comfortable with them.

The Husband put out a wonderful spread which was well received.  As were the pies that I'd made - including the pumpkin one that I tweeted about the day before...

Turns out our children really ARE kind of clueless about us.  I've been making him pumpkin pie every year since he was old enough to request it but he'd never noticed that I never, ever ate it.  The only reason he noticed this year was because he was in the kitchen as I was putting it together and noticed my grimace as I was adding the pumpkin in to the mixture.  Maybe that means he's becoming more aware?  Doubtful.

Yesterday morning found me up really, really early.  The Husband had to go to work and Man-Child was sleeping, of course.  The paper person has been running really late here recently, so I didn't have my usual routine of coffee and paper.  So instead I was idly sifting through the Black Friday sale papers.  I had no real intention of heading out.  But as I was turning the pages it began to dawn on me that I had not bought one single gift.  And even worse?  I hadn't even started a list of ideas.

I pulled a pad of paper over and began to jot a few items down that I knew would suit certain people.  I figured I'd head out and if it was too crazy, I'd just come home.  So imagine my surprise when I walked into Kohl's around 8:00 am and found that the store was practically empty.  Clutching my list in my hand, I darted around the store and was able to find everything but one thing.  I was in and out of that store in under 40 minutes; walking away with at least five gifts.

After that I came home and made lemon poppy-seed muffins for Man-Child because why not?  I have to admit, I fudged the recipe though because I didn't feel like searching for an actual lemon poppy-seed muffin recipe; but they turned out okay.  My only nit?  Not lemony enough.  I've made a mental note to add more lemon juice next time.

Once Man-Child loaded up his car with leftovers to take to friends at school (yes, he's headed up the mountain for the weekend) and took off it was about lunchtime.  The Husband and I had made plans for lunch.  And honestly?  That was the extent of my plans.  Until after lunch, when I had the thought that if I hit the other Kohl's, I just might find that one gift I'd missed out on this morning.

And I did.  But the lines at this Kohl's were INSANE.  So I headed over to the jewelry.  I figured I could find something for my mother-in-law and check out there (they will let you check everything out there as long as you are actually buying a piece of jewelry) and, once again, hit the jackpot and was in and out of the store in no time.

All of this success emboldened me, I then headed for Michael's and Bath & Body Works.  Where once again - despite the crowds, I was able to find what I wanted and get out fairly quickly.

Today, I joined a friend and her mother and daughter for The Craftsman's Christmas Classic Arts & Crafts Show.  Basically, we and a million other people file into the Coliseum to look at various arts & crafts.  People have some talent and creativity, let me tell you.  I didn't buy much but it was a good way to spend time with friends and help get me in the Christmas spirit.

Now, while I am no where NEAR being done, at least I have made some headway on the Christmas shopping and maybe that will be the impetus to getting it done sooner rather than later.

How about you?  Are you in the Christmas spirit yet?  Have you finished your shopping (if so, I'm really jealous) or are you in a blind panic wondering just how you are going to do it all?

November 17, 2016

Struggling yet thankful.

I'm not gonna lie, I've been struggling a bit.  Yes, I remind myself of all that I have to be thankful for everyday.

But I have to say, a lot has been going on over here.  No, nothing too monumental or life altering (thank goodness!) but enough that I have been struggling to process it all and it continues to take up space in my brain.  And wrestling with how I should handle some of the things.

Work things.  Like a lack of communication from a key person.  Well, that's not quite right.  It's not so much a "lack" of communication and more of a "refusal" to communicate.  In all my years, both here and elsewhere, I've never run across such a situation.  Whenever I point out the obvious, it's laughed off.  As is everything else.  It's like this person not only doesn't value me or appreciate what I am capable of and thinks it's all a joke.  To be honest, this is probably the not the biggest thing that I've been wrestling with over here but it is a biggie considering that I have to deal with this on a daily basis.  The icing on the cake?  Being told by my old manager that this behavior will not change any time soon and that there is nothing he can really do about it.

Thanksgiving.  What can I say?  I can't believe it's next week and I'm no where near ready.  Yes, I realize, I don't actually cook the dinner but still - I do have my part.  But considering what I have to deal with this weekend any and all prep time I may have had has been reduced to a single day.  Which wouldn't be a huge deal if it was just the three of us, as I initially expected.  But no, I've been informed that Man-Child's girlfriend and her mother and sisters will be joining us, which is fine really.  But this house?  To say it needs some work is an understatement.

And can we talk about this house?  All the projects that I want to get done are swirling in my brain.  And yet, nothing is getting done.  Not even a little bit is getting done.

Speaking of this will find me jetting my way to Arkansas.  Yes, Arkansas.  Why might I be heading to Arkansas voluntarily 5 days before Thanksgiving, you might ask.  Because I have the unenviable task of attending my very favorite aunt's memorial.  The aunt who was my second mother.  I am well and truly an orphan now.  And my heart is completely broken.  If it weren't for the fact that my cousin is hurting so very much and needs support, I have to wonder if I would be headed that way for a memorial at this point.  Apparently, after my aunt died, my cousin didn't/couldn't face a funeral - which I understand, so there wasn't one, had there been, it goes without saying that I would have been there.  She said she would have a memorial later.  Until I received notice last weekend, a mere 6 days later, that they would hold it this weekend and when she said she needed me what else could I do but say yes?  That's right, nothing.  So I will be there.

Of course, right before I received notification that I would need to fly across the country, I began "trying to get an ear infection" - my doctor's words.  So, I've been trying to overcome that before I get on the plane on Saturday.  As you know, when you don't feel well, everything is overwhelming.  I'm happy to report I'm on the mend and hope to be able to fly without any excruciating pain on Saturday.

And, of course, there was the lead up to the election, the election and the aftermath.  You know, I don't do politics here, but I just want to say the whole thing was ugly from the beginning.  We discovered just how ugly we can be, as people.  I hope we've learned something from all this - particularly about empathy and kindness.  Unfortunately, as screens continue to be something some of us can hide behind, I have my doubts.

There was also the whole party that was thrown into my lap.  Which, I have been told, was a complete and total success (finally!  ONE thing that worked out!).

So maybe, that's my way forward - handling each little thing as I have to - rather than trying to deal with it all at once.

Actually, that's my only option at this point.

Now about Christmas...NOPE.  Not even ready to think about that yet.  I keep telling myself I will get back on track but every year seems to throw me further off track.

At any rate, I AM thankful.  And considering this will probably be the closest to a "Thanksgiving" post that I'll get to this year...have a happy Thanksgiving and remember that I count each of you as a blessing and am thankful for you each and every day.


October 19, 2016

The Girl On The Train...a movie/book review

I can't believe I never did a book review of The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins...but a quick perusal of my blog tells me I didn't - which is odd, because I LOVED the book but that is being remedied with this post.

I loved that book so much so that when the movie came out I texted my friend that we should see it, in addition to a local play.  Since the play was coming to a close, we figured we'd go to the play last weekend first and then schedule ourselves another date for the movie.  Unfortunately, we waited too late to buy the tickets for the play and were unable to secure two seats together.  As a backup plan, we decided on the movie.

My friend went into the movie cold - as in she hasn't read the book - I don't know whether or not she'd heard anything about the book or the movie; but basically she went in without really knowing what to expect.

Truth be told, I did too in a way.  I remembered the basic premise of the book - there's a girl on the train and she sees this "perfect" couple in this perfect house every day.  While her life is currently in shambles, in her mind she imagines what their perfect life might be like.  And because of her demons, is drawn into their lives and a missing persons case.

What I had forgotten - this is a story told from three different women's perspectives - which can be confusing if you aren't completely focused on the story.  But the most important part that I'd forgotten?  The ending.  Which is really surprising considering the ending, but honestly?  As much as I read, I'm not surprised.

The ending ties everything together - so even if you've missed a few things here and there (either while reading or watching) it still all becomes clear.

When it was over, my friend looked at me and said, "That was THE most intense movie I've seen in a long time!"  And I had to agree.

Based on my (vague) recollection, the movie faithfully followed the book - which is rare.  So if you haven't read it, read it.  If you don't want to read it but are intrigued by the movie, go see it.  Or even better, do both!

Have you seen it?  Read it?  What were your thoughts?

October 18, 2016

Seriously kids?! Never, EVER leave Mom out of the planning...

I swear, some of the people I live with and/or have familial ties with are so clueless!  Most recent example?  Read on.

In casual conversation the other day, The Husband's upcoming birthday came up - Man-Child responded to his father with "Oh, don't worry about it; "we've" got it covered."  I glanced at him completely puzzled thinking, "Who's this we, sunshine?"

Because here's the thing, I didn't know anything about this - despite Man-Child's protestations that he told me (he hadn't).  The next morning I was able to corner Man-Child alone and discovered that "we" are having a party.  In less than three weeks.  At our house.  Apparently, he and his sister have determined that a 60th birthday party MUST happen but no one bothered to talk to ME about this.

From what I can gather several people have been invited and one other has agreed to "do" the food?  Wait...WHAT?  YOU are hosting a party but yet expecting one of the guests to provide ALL the food?  Ummm, NO.

I only had a few minutes to discuss this issue with him before we both had to go our separate ways for the day.

That evening, I pulled him aside, we set up a group text and I promptly took over.  I told him to tell the "food" guest that she was relieved of her duty and that I would deal with the food.

If The Husband's beautiful daughter lived in the area, I feel certain that she could probably pull this off; but she doesn't - she lives about 3 hours away.  And Man-Child?  Well, he's grown up a lot in the past few years, but since I've witnessed a lot of him and his friend's plans going sideways because of their "planning prowess" (or lack thereof) I knew that the majority of it would fall on him - so basically I HAD to step in.  Not to mention that he's about to take an extended road trip which won't have him back at the house until approximately four days before the party!

Since I don't cook - and, obviously, we can't have The Husband cook for his own party, I will be spending the next couple of days straightening this mess out and getting everything back on track...up to and including invitations - because despite this recent technological wave of sending "evites," a true party requires real invitations, the kind that you can put up on your refrigerator - the kind that every time it catches your eye, reminds you that you have a fun evening lined up soon.

And THIS, kids, is why you always, always, ALWAYS include Mom in your special, birthday surprise for your father because otherwise?  Chaos, people. Complete and utter chaos.


Update - as I typed all that above days ago but neglected to's where we are now.

  • Invites have been sent - *phew!*  
  • Finding the caterer has been tough because The Husband keeps turning down all the ideas I've had.  I've informed him that I will contact this one other caterer and if he still can't decide I will remove him from the process.  The only reason he's even being included on this part of the party is because he can be such a food snob.  I've reminded him - over and over again - that considering the diverse group that will be in attendance (i.e., children) we need to be flexible with the menu.
So, yeah...not much has changed since I first typed this post and neglected to publish - except for the invites - but considering how picky I can be about those types of things, maybe more has been accomplished than I first thought.