August 10, 2022

Day 5 Update (however many days later) and The Orphan Collector - a book review

 Raise your hand if you are surprised I actually remembered to come back and tell you how this story played out?  AND that I've got another book review?

I don't blame you, I'm kind of surprised too, if the truth be told.

Turns out the AC was not dead dead (yet).  The service technicians said they would be out between 8-11 am this past Monday (of course).  They showed up around 8:20 am and were in and out of here in less than five minutes.  Turns out the capacitor (look at me acting like I know what that is!) needed to be replaced.  They had the part on the truck, took the old one off, plugged the new one in and here we are - fully air conditioned.

Although, thanks to our sweet neighbor's willingness to share their fans/stand alone and window units; we were never in any actual discomfort.

But still, the demise of the AC is a cloud on the horizon - but we won't worry about it for now.  

Moving on...

The Orphan Collector: A Heroic Tale of Survival During the 1918 Influenza Pandemic by Ellen Marie Wiseman.

Stellar reading...if you are into reading about a previous pandemic all while living through an actual, current day pandemic (or two - if you count monkeypox; which honestly, just HOW much do we have to deal with at one time?).

I'm not even going to post the whole description (which you can find in that link up there).  Just remember how terrifying the beginning of our current day pandemic was.  We had no idea - should we be washing our groceries?  Should we touch the mail?  Every person we came across could be harboring disease.  That is exactly how this story unfolds - they are afraid and with good reason.

The story centers around a thirteen year old girl and a bitter, grief stricken woman and how their lives tragically intersect over and over through the years.

I found and read this book through Prime Reading (which, if you aren't familiar, if you have a Prime account there are books that you can read for free on a device with a Kindle or Kindle app - or you can actually buy a copy.  Or check with your local library) and read this on a device - which I normally don't prefer but it comes in handy every once in a while.  And I tore through this "book" (can I call it a book if I didn't physically hold it?) and was so invested in the story that I regaled The Husband with the plot over lunch one day - and the kicker?  He actually listened and found it fascinating.

August 7, 2022

The Chain - a book review (Days Three and Four)

 Well, it HAS been a minute since I've done one of these hasn't it?

The Chain by Adrian McKinty is a page turner that's for sure.

Stephen King's blurb alone would have been enough to make me buy the book.

When a mother is targeted by a dangerous group of masterminds, she must commit a crime to save her kidnapped daughter—or risk losing her forever—in this "propulsive and original" award-winning thriller (Stephen King).

"You are not the first. And you will certainly not be the last."  Imagine dropping your child off at the school bus stop and then these are among the first words you hear when you answer the phone.

As a parent, reading this book you realize very quickly that, yes, you WOULD do whatever it takes to bring your child home safely.

If you are looking for a story that pulls you in and keeps you reading way past your bedtime, this might be a book for you.


Days Three and Four update:  Nothing new, of course.  Crossing our fingers that tomorrow we get a definitive answer/resolution.

August 5, 2022

Day Two - and What's Up With Blogger Now?!

 Nothing new to report except the contracted company called and set up an appointment for Monday morning.

Frankly, I was shocked.  I had assumed we wouldn't be able to garner an appointment so soon; particularly since the whole issue arose so late in the afternoon yesterday.

With all the fans/borrowed AC units, the house isn't completely unbearable, so there's that.  We can't decide if we are hoping for the unit NOT to be dead dead or is officially dead and we are just waiting for the death certificate to be signed.  Either way, we know that the unit is either dead or at death's door and we'll have to deal with the hassle of laying it to rest sooner or later.  Currently, I'm leaning toward the diagnosis being dead dead and just getting it over with.

On to Blogger.  All of a sudden, for no apparent reason, ALL of the comments you are so kindly leaving are being put into quarantine - despite the fact that I do NOT have the "Moderate Comments" option on. Fellow Blogger users, is this something you are also experiencing?  Curious minds would like to know.

It's a puzzle, that's for sure.  And although, it wasn't an obvious fix, I finally figured out how to release the comments from quarantine.  So, that's TWO good things for today - we have an appointment to diagnose the AC and your comments are no longer quarantined (for now, anyway - who knows if this is going to be a regular thing or just a glitch).

So, I will end on that note - despite everything else, good things are there...sometimes we just have to actively look for them.  

August 4, 2022

Day One

Friends.  We knew it was coming.  Especially as we watched the same scenario play out two doors down (on both sides) in the past couple of months.

Our AC died this August, no less.  Of COURSE this couldn't haven't had happened in, I don't know, June! (let's bow our heads and pray that the warranty company comes through...since this is the only damn reason we have that warranty anyway).

But honestly, after the whole hot water saga of 2020 and the no stove for Christmas (also 2020); I am not hopeful.

Especially after discovering our neighbor has the exact SAME home warranty company and was told that it would be WEEKS after their AC died a few weeks ago before it could be replaced.  They ended up buying a new unit and are now fighting with the company for some kind of reimbursement.

Therefore, since my memory is like a sieve, I figure I better document every single detail - especially since I've recently learned that this company has come under fire lately.  I want to be ready to unleash all the gory details, if necessary.

Actually what I am hoping happens is that since they ARE under fire this will be a smooth and not a long drawn out process.

Luckily, we have good friends two doors down (on either side of us now!).  One brought over a heavy duty fan and the other (the one with the same home warranty people) brought over a free standing air conditioner AND a window unit (they bought both when they figured out that the warranty people were weasels).  Plus, we have ceiling fans, a standing fan and a box fan.  

As the evening goes on, it's not terrible in the house; but we shall see what the heat of the day feels like tomorrow.  According to my weather app, it's not supposed to get above 90 degrees for the next four days - that itself is a blessing, I suppose.

So, I guess I'll wrap this up with - let's see how this plays out.

July 31, 2022

A Satisfying Little Project

 After bringing home a new tinted sunscreen to try, I realized it was WAY past time to jump into cleaning out my make up drawer.

Well, that makes it sound like I have a regular sized drawer chock full of make up products, doesn't it?  That is the farthest thing from the truth.  The drawers in our vanity are ridiculously narrow - almost to the point of being practically useless; but I digress - back to cleaning out said drawer.

This afternoon, while I had a few blissfully quiet hours (i.e., I was home ALONE!  A feat which is rare these days.  At most, I usually get about 30 minutes), I went in and pulled out everything that was crammed into that woefully narrow drawer.  I discovered cracked, un-used cream eye shadows (gone), old mascaras (three - gone), shimmery eye shadows that were so old I don't even remember buying them (gone - besides the days for shimmery eye shadows for me is long gone), "long wear" lipsticks/stains that I bought on a whim to see if they could outlast my CoverGirl Outlast (they didn't - gone), powder (gone), and a BB cream that I swear once you put it on it would stay there till the end of time (nothing could get it off - not even cold cream - gone).

Most of the above wasn't really a huge surprise.  Not in the least.  What DID surprise me is that I have, apparently, somehow been inadvertently acquiring a ridiculously HUGE number of make up brushes.  

Twenty-one, to be exact.

Now, do I actually use ANY of these brushes on a regular basis?

Two on a daily basis - maybe four for a "dress up" event.  So the question remains, where and how did all these brushes come to be stuffed into my make up drawer?  Who knows; it's a mystery for the ages.

At any rate, I cleaned them all and the extra brushes are all set for the next Goodwill drop off - hopefully, they will go to someone who will actually use them.

The only things that went back into that drawer were one eye shadow (used on a daily basis as "eye liner" - much less harsh than actual eye liner, FYI.), two eye shadow palettes that I would use for a "dress up" event (but who are we kidding here?  What dress up events are anywhere on my calendar these days?).  Two mascaras (I'm trying to decide which I like the best).  Blush.  Foundation (also only used for the non-existent "dress up" events).  Concealer.  My two favorite shades of CoverGirl Outlast lipstick (Brazen Raisin and Unique Burgundy), the four brushes that I decided to keep, my eyebrow pencil, cold cream and, of course, the new tinted sunscreen all made the cut.

With this little project out of the way, I was inspired to clean out two of the other drawers and found even more stuff to get tossed or donated.  So now, all of the drawers in the bathroom (minus that last one - it holds my curling irons/flat irons, etc. that I'm not quite ready to give up despite the fact I cannot remember the last time I used any of them and don't expect to use any of them in the near - or far - future) are clean and tidy.

A satisfying little project that will make me smile when I open those drawers tomorrow to get ready for the day.

July 22, 2022

The library

 Well.  I have to say it IS soothing to know that I am not the only one actually pulling weeds.  Who the heck knows what my neighbors are doing since I never see any of them out there doing the hard work.

At any rate, we are here to talk about the library and my, by now, very obvious aversion of talking on the phone.

For however long this damn pandemic has been going on, I have been trying to access our local library to place books on hold online.  And let me tell you - that website needs some serious work because navigating it (particularly when you can't get access) is a nightmare.

So for the past 100 years (or so), my reading options have been pretty slim.  I've pretty much re-read everything in this house at least once.  And have met any new books that have come in via gifts or from an online order with rapturous delight; as you might imagine.

Recently, I had had enough, so I used the "contact us" feature on the website.  I was absolutely DELIGHTED to receive an immediate response (I can honestly say that while the website was lacking; the customer service was exceptional).

After a few emails back and forth, the person on the other end simply could not find me anywhere in their system - although I've had a library card since we moved here in 1997 (I think.  Who knows anymore?  Time has always seemed to slip through my fingers quickly - the pandemic has exacerbated this to an alarming degree).  This person suggested that I call the library.  Oh, the pain and agony!

As it seems for most of us, I despise making phone calls.  What good is the internet if we can't handle all of our business online, I ask you?  But, as I mentioned, I was fed up, so I placed the call.  The person on the other end was perfectly competent and sweet - but she couldn't find me either.  Then she asked if it had been a while since I used my card.

Well, yeah.  Haven't used it in the past 100 years (or so), plus some prior to the pandemic when I had a plethora of fresh, new books at my fingertips on a daily basis.  She then informed me that most likely my card had expired.  (WHAT?!  Since WHEN do library cards expire?!)  She went on to tell me that I would have to come in to get a new one (see above re: the internet) as they couldn't give me a card without verifying my identity.  

Ok.  I GET why SOME places (banks, DMV, etc.) need to verify my identity - but who in the Sam Hill is stealing people's identity to get a library card? *sigh*

(I KNOW they want to ensure that you are a resident of that particular county; but honestly - just who is driving from one county to another to "scam" libraries out of lending books?)

I thanked the woman and told her I'd see her soon.

This was a lie.

I sat with this information for a few days (ok.  Maybe a few weeks - you know how I can be) before I masked up and walked into a local branch.

The woman I spoke to also couldn't find me in the system and she agreed that it looked like my card had expired and quickly set me up with another one and told me to keep my old one as "keepsake."  Which I promptly tucked back into my wallet - where it will be totally forgotten about in no time and reside for eons.

So. To re-cap it's only taken me 100 years - give or take a few years - but now I can place holds online for books I'd like to read.  And I'm over the moon about it.  Until today, when I went to pick up one of  the "books" that was ready for me - and just in time too, because I'd just finished the last "new" book.  Upon arrival, I discovered I'd put the audio version on hold.  *sigh*  So, despite all that progress, I don't have anything new to read this evening.

Do any of you put off annoying, "little" things for eons?  And then once the ordeal is done think, "that wasn't so bad after all."  Or is that just me?

July 15, 2022

Bathroom Talk

 Hi!  Yes, I'm still here; you can quit wondering if I've fallen off the face of the earth...for now anyway.

Life - both work and personal -has quieted down quite a bit since my last couple of posts; thank goodness!  And this week has been extra quiet as I gifted myself a week off as a birthday present.  Although, this week has been pretty quiet it HAS been a busy one.  There was weeding to be done on Monday - and you know what I was thinking as I was out there cursing every single weed as I yanked them out?  Am I the only person in this whole wide world that actually weeds?  I never see anyone else out in their flower beds yanking weeds.  What is their secret to keeping the flower beds weed-free?  Anyone have any idea?  If so, spill it in the comments please.

On Tuesday, The Husband decided he was done with my procrastinating ways (I mean come ON.  It took four years to get the damned thing built so what if it's been two months and it's still not painted?) and informed me that we would be painting the built in shelves for the guest bath.  And, apparently, he meant business as he prepped everything and even (despite his loathing for painting) actually helped paint.  So that is done, I'm just giving it a few days to cure before I actually place anything on said shelves.

And in true, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" fashion, things kind of snowballed from there.  While at The Home Depot to look at options for around the mailbox to help keep the damned grass from encroaching into the flower bed that surrounds the mailbox (a project that will be held off until fall due to the fact that neither of us want to work outside in stifling heat); The Husband suggested that we look at bathroom light fixtures for the guest bath.  He has hated that light fixture since the day we moved in.

This is pretty much what we had in there...

Except ours had clear bulbs and a little bit of rust.  Explain to me WHY light manufacturers would create a light; designed for a bathroom, I might add; that would rust? 

At any rate, we found a light that we both didn't hate and today The Husband pulled the offending fixture down, spackled the wall and plans to sand, paint, and possibly hang the light tomorrow.

As an aside - have you looked that the bathroom light fixtures at your local big box store lately?  Holy cow - yes, I get that taste is subjective - but next time you are in the store take a walk over to that section and have a gander.  I was fascinated - in a I'd give anything to personally see some of the options on offer in someone's bathroom way.  

While we were discussing the whole fixture situation; I mentioned that I really hated the builder grade, standard gigantic mirror in there and wondered if we should remove it; along with random, ugly curtain rod (this house was built in the 90's - so you just KNOW there was some kind of balloon valance in there at some point).  He balked at the idea (of course, because that will require more spackling and painting - plus getting someone to remove it).

My argument was that if we do those two things, in addition to my painting the vanity many moons ago, finally getting the shelving done and the fixture - we would pretty much have a complete makeover in that room on the cheap.  He agreed but is still hesitant.  But I am pretty firmly in the mirror must go camp.  So we shall see how this turns out (the mirror will go...eventually)

So basically, this stay-cation, to date, has been a week of household projects/chores that I've been putting off.   

June 16, 2022

I posted about burnout...and then, ironically enough, things got even crazier...because of course it did; that's how life works.

 Thank you all for the sweet comments on the last post.  I have really tried hard to cut back - particularly on the weekends and after-hours.

And then, ironically enough, I got far too busy to even respond to any of your comments (or visit many blogs - so sorry).  And then this week hit.

I don't know that I've mentioned it here - I don't think I have.  Or maybe I did.  Who the hell knows at this point and I'm too tired to look into the archives.  

Some of us were in "mandatory" workshops this week and I was one of those "lucky, lucky" people (it is my understanding that ALL employees will undergo this torture exercise eventually - those that haven't had it yet have my deepest sympathy).  These workshops were from 1-5 Monday through Thursday.  Yes, friends.  That is twenty hours of my work week - spread out over four VERY long days.  Who knew that sitting on a Teams call for that long was SO exhausting?  For your information, it IS exhausting.  So much so, that I found myself in bed and fast asleep at 8:30 last night.  And after this, the final day of the workshop, I have a feeling that will happen again tonight.

Now, have I received some good information so far from said workshops?  To a degree - but not enough to warrant this much time out of my work week.  The majority of information does not apply to my job AT ALL.  But upper management seems to think that it does.  Pffft, whatever.  I will say this, some pieces of the workshop made me stop and ponder a few things.  So I guess that means it worked?  At any rate, the very best part was interacting with people across the company.  Some that I knew kind of; others that I never even knew existed and one or two that I actually know and work with.  And as today's session wound down, it seems that for the majority of us, that was the best part.  Now, will we take those new relationships forward as we move on?  We shall see.

And then, as I am desperately trying to keep my head above water on the actual JOB piece of the equation, I notice what is coming next week (major meeting - all hands on deck...whether you need to actually be in the office or not) and I want to cry - BUT bonus, I also get to meet one of my co-workers that I didn't know existed before in person - so that will be nice.

And while ALL of this is going on, there are some other shenanigans going on that I have been battling it out with in another department.

Finally, I had to call on my boss to apprise him of the situation.  I hated to do it - particularly since he is on a much needed vacation - but needs must.  Luckily, right before I came here, he agreed with me and told me to tell them to back off on his orders.  Which I will do, happily...but it will be done tomorrow.

Because right now?  Right now, I *need* a glass of wine (or four) and to take a breath before putting my exhausted self to bed. 

May 30, 2022

Rest or Burnout

Y'all.  Life has been dragging me down lately, coupled with a particularly bad work week last week.  So I REALLY needed this long weekend.  And even though there were things that I "needed" (i.e. wanted) to accomplish, I did nothing.

Not completely true, as the infernal laundry always needs to be done, it seems.  And those houseplants won't keep themselves alive if they aren't watered.  And I made a dessert for last Friday's night dinner - as Man-Child and The Girlfriend came over.  We haven't seen them since right after Christmas as after Man-Child's minor back surgery (as if any surgery involving your back is "minor") he couldn't drive or sit in the car comfortably for a while.  Then they both got COVID (thankfully mild) over Easter and then both got the flu (over Mother's Day weekend).  

But other than that - I only did what I wanted to do.  And I even ignored the work email completely (almost...I did check in a couple of times but only to delete the unnecessary and ignored everything else until tomorrow).

Since this whole pandemic nightmare began I have been "working" pretty much non-stop.  After hours? Yup, still working. Vacation? Yup, still working.  Weekends?  Yup, still's easy to do because the work computer is sitting RIGHT THERE next to my personal computer.  But after the horrendous last week, I knew I NEEDED a break.  So I took a well deserved one.  And recognize the urgent need to prioritize my down time going forward.

I know that I (and probably a lot of you) feel the need to be "productive" all the time - whether at work tasks or household tasks.  And productivity is great and leads to many accomplishments.  But rest and relaxation is important as well; for your body, spirit and mind.

So yes, I still need to paint those built ins and should probably look at weeding the beds and it would probably be a good idea to set the garage back to rights before it becomes a lost cause...again; plus whatever work tasks that await me; and...and...and.. (the list is endless really).

Funnily enough, Nicole's (HI NICOLE!) post today mentioned a certain book; one that it seems I need to read, like tomorrow.

Currently, I am rested, content and ready to face what next week throws at me (I hope.  Fingers crossed that this week isn't nearly as fraught as last week!).

May 13, 2022

Left to my own devices

 The Husband left yesterday around 10 am for a long weekend visit with his daughter.  And I could not be more delighted.  The only "voices" or noise that I have heard since then is the one podcast I listen to daily and the two work calls that I had this morning.

It has been heavenly.

I'm sure his feelings were a little hurt after I responded with a no when asked if I would miss him.  I'm sorry - but since 2019 I'm very used to sitting in a quiet house and getting things done without having someone underfoot 24/7.  I will be more than ready to have him home after a couple of days but for now?  I'm reveling in the peace and quiet.  

Yes, I now have my home office and I appreciate that I can go in there when I have meetings/Teams calls or need to concentrate on a particular issue/task but...I don't like being stuck in their for the majority of the day.

So yesterday and today found me back at the dining room table for most of the day.

Which was nice since I had a hankering for an oatmeal raisin cookie (original recipe here) and it was a slow morning so I set about baking.  And God only knows what I did wrong but these were the flattest and most sad looking cookies I have ever made - maybe those two unexpected calls in the middle of the process led me to forget baking powder?  

BUT they are still, hands down, the BEST oatmeal raisin cookie,
even if they aren't pretty this time around.

I also happened to notice that my "baby" peony (I don't think I ever mentioned it; but sometime around the beginning of the pandemic I planted a new peony) finally had one bloom with two other buds getting ready to blossom.  Don't tell my other peony - which I do love - but this one might be my favorite.  I had to bring at least one bloom in to enjoy while I can.

A photographer I am not. 
Ignore the broom hanging out in the corner. *sigh*

It's a shame these blooms are so short lived.  It would be heavenly if these blooms just kept coming all spring/summer long.  But I guess I wouldn't appreciate them as much then.

As the forecast for the weekend looks to be a rainy one, I expect that I shall spend tomorrow and Sunday on indoor tasks - of which there are many - and will get the most necessary ones done and, hopefully, a few extras that have been hanging out on my To Do list for far too long.

Other than that, I am expecting it to be a slow and quiet weekend.  What does the weekend have in store for you?  Are you like me and need a little solitude now and then?