January 14, 2021

Honestly...

The other morning found me arguing with IT over whether or not I should have access to a server that *I* asked them to create in 2018.

Really.

And this is why I archive each and every email that I send or receive.  Because of that I was able to shut down their argument fairly quickly.

But my question is - WHO is just randomly looking at servers and deciding who should or should not have access without asking questions?

This is not a a disparagement on our IT team since they have been phenomenal in getting us up to speed for the majority of us working from home.  If it weren't for them, most of us would have had to work in office for the past ten months.  But still...

And without a proper segue we turn to Target's deliveries...

What you can or cannot have delivered from them varies, literally, day by day.  One day, those Cascade pods that you put in your basket are, inexplicably unavailable for delivery.  Despite the fact, that if you chose curbside delivery, they would cheerfully bring them to your car.  It's the weirdest thing.

In fact, I had the pods in my cart (when they were available) - didn't hit buy because I wanted to reach the threshold for free delivery.  But when I went back to add something to the cart, they had been removed.  So when I went back for the THIRD, magical time (i.e., hit the threshold), I noticed they were once again available for delivery so I added them in.  And then, somehow, received two packages of pods.  Either Target threw the original ones back in once they were available or I mistakenly bought two.  Who knows?

At any rate, what IS the deal with Melba Toast? (Again, with the awkward segue...this is what the pandemic has boiled down for me with the blog...awkward segues)

Do any of you even know what Melba Toast is?  

I had never even heard of it until I married my husband many, many moons ago.

Well, guess what?  Apparently, there is a Melba Toast shortage.  The Husband looks every time he is in the grocery store and can never find it.  I found it ONCE at Target and had a couple of boxes delivered.  Is it available at Target anymore?

No, it is not.  And here I thought he was the only person in the world that knew what Melba Toast was and consumed it on a regular basis.

It is available on Amazon - for a price that I'm not willing to pay.

So, who is buying all the Melba Toast and why...THAT is the question, that AND why IT people randomly restrict access to servers without asking questions.

December 31, 2020

Famous last words...

The very last thing I said to you last year was, "2020 is going to be amazing...at least, that's what my ruminations tell me...as I sift through the pieces."

I'm SO very sorry as I do believe I jinxed us all somehow.  I'll try to keep any hopeful aspirations to myself this year.

I also stumbled across this I was looking back to see what other kind of wisdom I had to share in the early days before the world came to a complete stop.  Somebody remind me in about a week or so.  I (we) CAN'T forget our thirtieth anniversary - even if we can't actually DO something to celebrate - other than celebrating the fact that, hopefully, these vaccinations will be rolled out quickly.  I'm still in shock at how so very young we were.

This was also the year - prior to everything going to hell in a handbasket - that one of my plants spontaneously committed suicide.

After that, things got really weird as the world started locking down and although I still had stuff I rambled about, it became more "home" related - fixing minor annoyances, tiny miracles, small silver linings; and a problem solved.

We won't even go into the Hot Water Saga or the Oven Dilemma - I can't relieve those nightmares just yet.  It's too soon.

So here we are - on the cusp of a New Year.  I'm not going to make any grand proclamations - but will humbly say thank you for being along for the ride this crazy year.  And let's stand together to face what 2021 will bring.  Together, I think, we will make the best of it - much like we did this year.  Like we do most years - good or bad.

As we head in to the new year, let's all look for the good.  Even in the most crappy of all years, there is always something beautiful and something to be grateful for - we can't ask for more than that.

December 20, 2020

The Christmas Cookies are saved...maybe

The run up to Christmas has been exhausting, as expected.

The majority of the shopping has been done online and I'm only waiting for two packages.  One that is no big deal if it doesn't get here in time and one that should be delivered to the my sweet mother in law tomorrow.

All of the wrapping has been done.  As I was ready to start my Christmas baking last week, we discovered that the oven had died.  Again.

For those of you keeping count - the oven first died in October.  Only to be resurrected.  The water heater failed in November and now here we are in December and the oven was out again.

We've hit the magic number three of the "bad things happen in threes" saying.  Let's hope we are done for a while.

I went back and forth with the warranty company and have come to the conclusion that if something is an "emergency" we need to just deal with it and then see what can be done with the warranty company (which would probably be as useless as trying to get them to acknowledge an "emergency").

I have a feeling we will soon be parting ways with this company - particularly after being told that THEY could offer emergency service but they couldn't guarantee their vendors would offer emergency service...which is when I cut off the communication; because that was ridiculous and inane.

I could have probably dealt with the loss of the oven over Christmas if I hadn't just spent Thanksgiving sans hot water.  But because I HAD dealt with Thanksgiving without hot water, there was NO WAY I was going to deal with Christmas without an oven.

Here's the deal though - I had been hearing rumblings online about appliances being in short supply.  A rumor, I assumed.  So The Husband and I began searching for an oven.  Guess what we discovered?

Yup, appliances were in short supply.  But we persisted and eventually, The Husband located ONE oven that was available for immediate pick up.  Without his usual dithering over such things, he ordered it immediately.

I refused to believe we had secured it until it showed up, in working order, in our kitchen.  

On Saturday, while I was at work, The Husband and our neighbor picked it up, wrestled it into the kitchen and set it up.

So, the Christmas cookies were saved!

Until this afternoon...I spent the majority of the afternoon prepping the batter for the chocolate chip cookies and was very satisfied.  Until I pulled the first batch out.  They were flat.  Tasty but flat and unappealing.  The only thing I can think is that I must have forgot to put the baking soda in.  Needless to say, I was frustrated.  

I think the reason I forgot the baking soda was because I was trying a new technique.  I was using a tried and true recipe that NEVER lets me down.  But  I kept hearing about how much more accurate weighing ingredients are versus measuring so I decided to give it a shot.

Long story short, I literally spent WAY more time mixing the batter than I usually do AND I forgot a very important ingredient.  

I will try again tomorrow - maybe skipping the weighing in favor of measuring.  I think now is NOT the time to be trying a new technique.  

At any rate, the Christmas shopping and wrapping is done.  We have a new oven and the cookies will be made...eventually.

December 12, 2020

Box hoarding, it's a thing.

This Christmas season has opened my eyes to an addiction that is gripping the blogging community - and, perhaps, the world at large.  I am an addict but seriously thought I was the only one and that I had it under control, isn't that always the case?

I always assumed it was a genetic predilection, as my mother was also addicted.

In Suzanne's most recent post she mentioned that neither she nor her husband could bear to throw away "a perfectly good box."  I know the feeling.

Then, in the comments, my eyes were opened.

In the comments, with very few exceptions, one by one, we all admitted to being box hoarders. This was not just a problem that my mother had passed on to me! 

I recall, after getting married, The Husband being shocked that I had perfectly good, empty boxes that needed to be moved.  He got over it.  Well, maybe I should say, he learned to live with it.

And then we decided to move from Texas to North Carolina.  And he was absolutely gobsmacked when I packed up those perfectly good, empty boxes to bring with us.

What?! You never know when you may be in need of a "good" box.

Now, I am not NEAR as addicted as my mother was.  She would hold onto a box FAR past its prime.  That is where I draw line though.  If I have a box past it's prime I DON'T have a problem with quickly recycling it.  Sending it on its way to come back to life as another perfectly good box.  Yes, I AM proud of this point.

*hangs head* I DO have to admit that I have an entire closet in the garage specifically to hold my "stash."

Exhibit A

Despite this, I recently realized that, since this Christmas season began, I have been stashing extra boxes "just in case" in my dressing room...as if I could possibly run out...given that this closet is full.


Exhibit B

Yes, I AM also holding onto some air packs *defiantly glares* - if you NEED a good box for shipping then it just stands to reason that you NEED something to cushion the contents!

That's the first step - admitting we have a problem, right?

But, I have to argue - is it REALLY a problem?!  

I mean, I'm giving these boxes (and air packs) a lovely home to reside in until their time is up.  And honestly, it calms ones soul to know that you have THE perfect box for that particular package/gift...right?

December 11, 2020

A beautiful, empty spot - or this might be my most inane post ever but still...PROBLEM SOLVED

You know how sometimes you are faced with a dilemma and you look at that problem every which way and it seems unsurmountable?  And you ask yourself, "Why is this seemingly small issue SUCH a bear?!"

This has been me with our laundry closet.  Yes, our washer and dryer is stuffed into a closet.  Shockingly, this is not the issue.  Not by a long shot.

The issue is that there are items that need to be "line dried" - as in, they cannot, should not, or I will not, put in the dryer.  Back in the day - pre-COVID - it wasn't much of an issue because I did laundry once a week.  For those particular items that couldn't go in the dryer, I'd pull out the drying rack, set it up in my dressing room, drape whatever all over it.  And a day or so later, when it was dry; put it all away.  Not to mention the fact, I generally wasn't here to see said drying rack.

Now, here we are nine months later.  I'm doing laundry far more than once a week AND I'm here EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.  The drying rack became a daily fixture and was making me insane.  I was so tired of walking into my dressing room to face it.  I had to find another way.  So I began to research other options for line drying clothes inside - inside because, winter.  Also inside, because birds and leaves and dirt.

The options were few.  I read about this particular rack which could attach to the wall in the closet and came in varying sizes.  The price point was a sticking factor.  So then I researched how to recreate said rack.  And then determined that even if I COULD successfully re-create the rack, or decide to just invest in said rack, I would not be COMPLETELY happy with the way it worked AND it would impede the use of the washing machine if it were installed in a way where my short self could actually use it.

I considered a retractable laundry line - but eventually decided it wouldn't be sturdy enough for my needs.

I even pulled The Husband - much to his reluctance - into this problem that needed to be solved.  His obvious lack of zeal regarding solving this puzzle meant that he never even put any thought into it because this wasn't something that mattered to him anyway didn't have an easy answer either.  Darn it.

So, I stewed and stewed.  I searched and searched.  All to no avail.

And then one day, as I was stewing over something else (most likely, which duvet I'd prefer for the guest room - I'm leaning toward this one), I randomly thought, "A TENSION ROD!"

I searched out a well reviewed, sturdy tension rod to place between the two sides of the closet - at a point where I could reach it, but it was out of the way enough.  It's not a "pretty" solution but it's a solution.  And?  When those items are line drying, I can close the doors and not have to see it.

When I shared this possible solution with The Husband - because he was as invested in this issue as I, OBVIOUSLY, he declared it genius.

I cannot adequately express how gleeful I was when this particular purchase showed up at my door and that it is working out exactly as I had hoped. 

And that drying rack only has to be pulled out if, for some reason, we have an excess amount of items that need to be line dried.

Do I sound like a crazy person when I say that I smile now whenever I walk into that dressing room?  I don't care if it does...I REALLY like walking in there to see that beautiful, empty spot where the drying rack used to take up space.

As usual, it's the little things that go a long way to making life easier/more pleasant/whatever.

December 6, 2020

Hot Water Saga - during a pandemic, no less.

Yes, I said "saga" because the situation I mentioned on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving spiraled  completely out of control very quickly.  For the record, there was no artistic license taken in the telling of this tale.  It actually went down exactly in this manner.  

Note:  This REALLY is a saga - so go to the bathroom, grab yourself a drink and some popcorn.

The service technician arrived Friday morning after Thanksgiving and, I was VERY happy to see him.  Think of the absolute horror of washing Thanksgiving dishes by having to heat water on the stove.  The Husband tried to cook as much as he could with foil pans to help ease the clean up chore and we ate on paper plates but it was still a nightmare.

BUT, we got through it somehow and the service tech was here to set my world back on track on a day when a great majority of the country usually has off; so I was relieved that he was working that day.

Until, he knocked on the garage door to tell me that I needed to order a part.  He explained he couldn't order it since the warranty was in our name AND as they hadn't installed the unit, they didn't have any of the information on it. Why the home warranty people had decided to use this company instead of the one that installed it left the tech and I puzzled.  

Fine.  He had written all the information down that I needed to give the manufacturer, gave it to me and left.  I immediately called the manufacturer only to discover that they were closed for the holiday AND don't have weekend hours.

The cursing that poured out of me surprised even The Husband.  Once I resigned myself to not having hot water for the entire weekend, the cursing abated a tad.

I called the manufacturer bright and early on Monday, successfully ordered the part and inquired about expedited shipping.  The helpful woman on the other end of the line said I would need to call back, go through the phone tree again to be connected with the same department she was in and request to speak to the shipping department.  When I asked why she couldn't just transfer me to the shipping department, she informed me that the shipping department didn't open until 9:00 am.  How does any of that even make sense?

So AT ('00 AM I called back, went through the phone tree, spent a significant amount of time on hold, requested the shipping department and was finally able to procure expedited shipping to ensure the part would arrive on Tuesday.

The part came as promised, The Husband texted the tech who told him to call the office to schedule something.  The next thing I knew, I had received an email that an appointment has been made for Friday.  I was furious.

I called them and said no, this is unacceptable and mentioned that we had been without hot water for SEVEN days at that point - the lady was firm and I ended up hanging up on her.  At this point, I was in tears I was so mad.  The Husband came home for lunch - where I was boiling water AGAIN for dish water and had somehow worked his magic and was able to move the appointment up to Thursday.  Thank God for small miracles but still, I was outraged.

This next part, still enrages me when I think of it.  You're not going to believe it.  I didn't, still don't and yet, it actually happened.

Our appointment was scheduled for Thursday morning...until I got a call from The Husband who informed me that the service company called him to push back our appointment to the afternoon because "they had an emergency."

I have to wonder what kind of "emergency" takes precedence over a house that has not had hot water for the past EIGHT days?!

Whatever.

Finally, the service tech showed up, I opened the garage and went into the house.

He was out there for a very long time.  Then I received a call from The Husband.  We needed to order ANOTHER part.  And The Husband informed me the service tech was extremely puzzled about why they were doing this job anyway since they don't even install this particular brand of water heaters.

Y'all.  At this point I am surprised I didn't have a stroke on the spot.  I was, as I am sure you are quite aware by now, outraged.

Not with the tech.  None of this was his fault.  He couldn't help the timing, the part issue, any of it.  Turns out when he finally knocked on the door to give me the bad news I could see how upset he was on my behalf.  He seemed like a very decent person.  I was gracious as I could be.  He informed me that he had called the manufacturer to tell them what his readings were and to figure out what could be wrong with this machine - the kind he doesn't even install - was able to order the correct part and get expedited shipping.  And to call him directly and he would come back.

I looked him in the eye and informed him as calmly as I could that he needed to promise me because it would NINE days since we had hot water on Friday.  He promised.

On Friday, I waited and waited.  The day got later and later.  Still no package.  I had the tracking number so I knew the part was in town and on the truck for delivery.  Still no package.  Finally, I sent The Husband a text and asked him to text the tech to make sure he would still come even though the package was late.

The service tech acted as it everything was fine.

Finally, about 4:00 pm the package arrived.  I sent The Husband another text and asked him to call the guy.

And he responded that we needed to call the office.  So basically, he lied.  Yes, I understand that he still had a full roster of clients to attend to AND it was near the end of the day but still...

Guys.  I mean honestly?!  Can you even with all this?

So they set up ANOTHER appointment - this time without a many day wait - they set this one up for Saturday afternoon - TEN days at this point without hot water.

I was losing my mind.  The entire time this is all we obsessed about - hot water and the absurdity of the situation.  

At long last, yesterday (Saturday) the guy was able to get the stupid water heater working - but here's the thing.  Even though his readings told him everything was working correctly WE couldn't confirm that by turning on the tap because it would take at least an hour for the water to heat.

I really didn't want the tech to leave until I could confirm for myself but I didn't want to risk the kidnapping charges he would file against me if I forced him to stay.

My neighbor, meanwhile, was increasingly disturbed during this episode and kept texting me to come over to use their shower.  In normal times, I would have just moved into her basement for the duration, but here we are in a pandemic and I knew they had travelled over the holidays.  She offered to bleach everything and stay upstairs while we snuck into the basement.  I just couldn't do it.  So we made do with heating water for dish water, sponge baths, etc. It was awful and I have never felt so gross in my entire life

About 5:00 pm last night, I confirmed the hot water was working and took the longest, hottest shower that I have ever had in my life.

So to sum it up, 2020 is the year that keeps turning everything into an absolute nightmare.

About the only silver lining to this saga?  That coffin-sized shower that I hate so much?  I hate it a LOT less today.

November 25, 2020

Twas the day before Thanksgiving...

 Y'all.  It has been A week around here.  

That previous statement is a MAJOR understatement.  Luckily, I took this week off so at least I didn't have any work issues to stress over.

We woke up yesterday to discover that we had zero hot water.  Despite the installation of a new hot water heater back in June.  I immediately put in a service request with the home warranty people.  And waited.

Waited some more.

And a bit more.

Finally, I called the service provider that was assigned to our request directly.  The person who answered the phone was very pleasant - but was firm on the fact that she would have to call us back to make an appointment (why?!) and was VERY clear that there was no way they could send a technician that day. *sigh*

I informed The Husband to expect a call - as his phone number is on file with the home warranty people.

He never received the call. *sigh*

Which meant that we woke up to ANOTHER morning sans hot water.  AND I woke up later than normal.

Today was supposed to be the day that I made the FOUR pies that Man-Child requested for our socially distanced dinner tomorrow...that's FOUR pies for THREE people.  Granted, the majority of the pies will depart with Man-Child but still...

Today was also the day that I had hoped to wrap up a painting project.  HA!

By the time I had my coffee, read the paper, etc. and started to get dressed it was very nearly 10:00 am - with nothing accomplished.  During this time, I received an email that we had an appointment for service...for Friday.  FRIDAY.  When I sent The Husband a text with this information, he called to tell me that he'd called the service provider this morning and that was the best that he could do.  Apparently, according to the home warranty people, no hot water isn't an emergency.  Also, apparently, the home warranty people had the wrong number on file - hence no call yesterday. *sigh*

Cue me Googling a new home warranty company.

Then I started boiling water - to wash dishes.  Apparently, it takes approximately thirty minutes to heat large batches of water.  While I was idly busy with this project, it came to my attention that not one, but TWO, light bulbs were out.  Our kitchen is sorely lacking in light even when ALL the bulbs are working - so being two down was unacceptable...particularly before one of the busiest days in the kitchen.

After a hot mess session that was washing dishes and lunch - I ordered bulbs for curbside pickup.  And finally got around to starting on the pies.  I was in the final stages of the first pie, I had poured the filling into the 9 inch shell that The Husband had so kindly purchased for me last week...only to realize that he had instead purchased 6 inch shells...which does NOT work for these pies.

So I had to make an emergency run to the grocery store; which I had hoped to avoid since everyone else was at the grocery store.  While at the grocery store - where no one was social distancing AND the majority of people were wearing their masks with their noses exposed - I received the email telling my curbside order was ready...the trip to that store normally takes fifteen minutes.  Today it took almost thirty because of the traffic.  WHY with the traffic?  Shouldn't all these people be at home or at the grocery store with their noses exposed?

While I was out The Husband came home and discovered the remains of the halted pie making.  When I walked in, he knew I was not a happy camper but wasn't sure why.  I held my tongue...until he asked if I was missing an ingredient.  I told him how thankful I was that he had secured all the ingredients I'd requested but I really needed the larger pie shells.

He was gobsmacked because, according to him, he'd spent an inordinate amount of time looking at pie shells to get the right ones.  I get it, if you aren't careful, it's very easy to get the wrong size; I've done it. He concluded that he must have seen the 6 inches when it was upside down. I took a deep breath and offered him grace.  He was more upset with himself than I could have been been.

At any rate, it's now eleven hours after I woke up - the pies are done.  The painting project is awaiting one, last coat - which may be done tomorrow morning. I've vented to you via this post.  I think it's about time to shut down for the night.  Because I have to get up early tomorrow to start boiling water...

This will definitely go down as the most memorable Thanksgiving ever - in so many ways.

But still, we will count our blessings.  Because hot water or not, we have many.

Happy Thanksgiving.

November 15, 2020

Bit by bit. Piece by piece.

The random "Great Clear Out" is progressing.  Granted, it's only when the mood strikes - which ebbs and flows.

This afternoon the mood struck.  And when the mood strikes, I NEED to get to work.  Otherwise, I find that I can easily distract myself with something very unproductive.

Today, I began with the big dresser in my dressing room that I want to get rid of  to make room for a desk - Man-Child is the intended recipient of said dresser.  The "how" of getting it to him is up in the air.  He has a friend with a truck that would be willing to assist - but I don't want the friend in the house.  So, I am thinking over the "how" to move the dresser into the garage.  The options are limited as there is no way The Husband and I can move this behemoth on our own.

At any rate, this dresser has twelve drawers (I told you it was a behemoth!) - I had previously gone through six of the smaller drawers and set aside items for Goodwill.  Today I tackled the six large drawers.

Guess what I discovered?

For someone who RARELY wears socks (yes, even in the winter it's rare - but then look where I live), I had an inordinate amount of socks.  I was able to set aside many brand new pairs for donation.  Of the few that remained, I'm positive there are at least three pair that I hate for whatever reason.  I figure when I come across them at some point this winter they will be immediately tossed.

My tights collection was harder to cull through - even though we are now a "business casual" always company (let's not forget the fact that I'm not even going in anymore), I DO really adore fun tights for skirts and dresses.  I figure I will hold on to most of them for a little bit longer before they get tossed.

At any rate, I was able to cull a LOT from that dresser and a LOT from the dresser that will remain.  Enough so that I was able to fit everything from both dressers into the one six drawer dresser.

Heady with that success, I headed into the closet I have been dreading the most.  

The closet that holds the "craft supplies."  If you know me, I'm not really a "crafter" (despite my recent foray into embroidery).  I will take up a notion - try it for a while and set it aside.  So basically, I was venturing into the closet where all my crafting notions go to die.

What irritates the most about this closet?  That I have moved this crap from house to house.  Not just once...but MULTIPLE times - never mind the fact that I haven't looked at, used, or thought about any of it for years!

Why?  Because I "might" want to do that *insert craft here* again.  Today, I banished that ridiculous thought and packed it all way in boxes headed for Goodwill (I should note, I only packed away the things that could be used and treasured by actual crafters - the rest of it, *giving the side eye to the questionable craft paint* was set aside to be dropped off at the hazardous waste facility).

We will not EVEN think about how much wasted money was sitting in that closet.  No, we shall not!

After I had packed it all up, I tossed it in my car and drove it to Goodwill immediately - not giving myself time to re-think any of it.

Truthfully, that closet held much more than just crafting supplies.  What remains is Man-Child's.  Things he currently wants to keep...or more accurately, wants me to keep for him.  This will have to be dealt with eventually - but not today.

Now to figure out how to move that giant dresser.  Because between you and me?  I NEED that desk in that room with a door.  The Husband is off this coming week, while I will be trying to work from our dining room table in this "open concept" house.  It may not end well.

And this is what blogging has become in the COVID age - a blow by blow description of decluttering. *sigh*

October 22, 2020

Update from the bunker...

 ...except...really nothing news worthy has been going on here.

Well, other than the fact that cases are surging in our state - way too go, North Carolinians!  What's the plan - to make us the state with most numbers?  You are on your way, it seems.

And, maybe the fact that our oven has up and died last week.  I made an appointment with the home warranty folks - so YAY we were going to have a STRANGER in our house for the first time in...well who knows how long?

The Husband crossed his fingers that they would be unable to revive it so that he can upgrade to what his heart desires the most...a gas stove.  In fact, I wouldn't have put it past him to try and sabotage the oven...or try to bribe the repairman into saying it is beyond repair.

Yesterday was the day.  We were given a window between 8:30 am and 1:00 pm. *sigh*

Needless to say, they missed the window and showed up about 2:00 pm - luckily, I had anticipated this and had nothing on my schedule.

But much to The Husband's chagrin - they will be able to fix it...although it will probably be another week until the requisite part comes in - of course.  Which means another visit from a stranger.

Although, I guess you could say he really isn't a stranger since they sent the same guy for the dishwasher and the dryer (I think - it could have been the washing machine...or maybe the dishwasher again.  Who knows? Whatever...).  At any rate this guy has been in our house at least four times.

The Husband was absolutely gobsmacked that I recognized this guy as the previous repair person because I am absolutely horrible with recognizing people out in the world.  Case in point, the neighbor across the street knocked on our door about three months ago...I had absolutely NO idea who she was and why she was handing me food.

This is because she belongs in her yard.  Or in her car.  Not on my front porch.  This phenomenon only happens with people I don't know that well.  I would recognize my friend from two doors down at the grocery store (maybe).

I've been known to ignore people that I actually work with (not on a daily basis) in the grocery store because they weren't where they belong

And that's why I recognized this guy - despite his mask...every time I've encountered him he has been INSIDE my house.  I would not have recognized him at all if I ran into him at the gas station.

Just don't ask me what his name is - I know he's told me...I just can't remember it, par for the course.

October 6, 2020

Finding a silver lining...

Last week we got the official word - we aren't returning to the office until at least the first of the year.  The last communication we had on this subject has us returning in waves on October 20th, I think.  I'm not surprised, particularly considering that North Carolina is currently the sixth on the CDC's list of highest cases per state.

And this is after our Governor opened up to a modified Phase Three - which, to be honest, feels too soon and that he is bowing to political pressure since he's up for re-election next month - see previous paragraph.

At this point in the game of Life, it feels like EVERYTHING is political these days.  That may or not be true, but it FEELS like it and it is depressing.

At any rate, I really have to wonder what life in an office is going to look like in January, that is IF we go back.  My friend in Houston works for MD Anderson and they were told back in August that they wouldn't be returning until at least March 2021 - hmmm, what do those doctor's know that we don't?  

Either way, it will not be the same, of this I am sure.  Particularly, since one of my co-worker friends called me the other day to tell me that she will be retiring in mid-December.

*sigh*  It will be weird to go back and not have her there...especially without a "closing ceremony", so to speak.

This afternoon, as I gazed out the back window watching leaves waft to the ground; it struck me solidly how long this has been going on.  We were just entering into Spring when this all started.  And now, here we are in the midst of Fall. 

****

Onto that silver lining, I mentioned in the title...

One of the benefits of working from home though, for me, has been the ability to look around and figure out "trouble" areas that I've never had time to properly address.

I recently had an epiphany regarding our living room.  Since it appears I will never find anyone to replace our front door - which needs to happen to bring some much needed light into the dark hole that is our living room, it finally occurred to me - a mini lamp on the mantel was the short-term answer.

I'm not going to lie - trying to find a mini lamp in the perfect dimensions to fit on this mantel via online shopping was hard, because guess what?  Measurements are EXACT and can't be fudged; at least not well.  If the measurement of the mantel is 7 inches deep - then that is your constraint.

Actual lamp - because who knew how hard it would be
to take a picture of a lit lamp?

Eventually, I found one which, while it's not exactly what I wanted, will fill the bill.  And I have been thrilled to glance into the living room from my dining room "desk" and been able to actually see things instead of shadows.  That light is exceptionally necessary on cloudy, gloomy days.

And this is how I discovered the impossibility of taking a
picture of a lit lamp.  But see?!  SO much better!

The other area that has been causing me grief was our counter/bar area.  It's a tricky area, as it blends in the tiny, black hole living room.

One day, out of the blue, it occurred to me, BACKLESS barstools!  

So I pulled out my trusty tape measure and determined that they could actually work without impeding the walkway, for the most part.

Let the online shopping commence!  

I eventually found some on Amazon.  I placed them in my cart and then neglected to hit buy.  And here is the lesson I learned.  When Amazon says there are only four in stock - you need to hit buy RIGHT then, because when I DID go back to buy them there was only one left in my cart.

*sigh*

Back to the drawing board.  

I eventually found them on Home Depot's website.  Needless to say, I put them in the cart and hit buy immediately.  Based on the confirmation email, I wasn't expecting them until the 20th.  So you can imagine my surprise and delight when they showed up three days later!

And with that simple addition, that area of the house finally looks "finished."  And as an extra bonus - we now have extra seating which we desperately need.

The narrow walk way between counter & couch.

Next up?  Turning Man-Child's bedroom into a guest room... *opens a new tab to begin browsing headboards*