February 15, 2020

One of my life's "minor annoyances" - solved

What is the witchcraft behind doing your nails to perfection one day; only to break one the very next day?  It's the story of my life - said as I sit here with nine nails manicured and perfect and that ONE raggedy nail nagging me. 

And, obviously, none of the above is why I am here "talking" to you today.  I just wanted you to know about my suffering.

***

After four years of being annoyed by a door that was out of alignment on a hutch, today was the day I decided to deal with it. 

Yes, I noticed that door was out of alignment soon after we moved here FOUR YEARS AGO but after all the moving, unpacking, arranging, etc., I was NOT about to take everything out of the hutch just to fix a "minor annoyance."

Well, over the years that "minor annoyance" grew and grew, until today when I said, "ENOUGH!"

While I was removing everything from said piece, I also sorted out what we absolutely did not need or use and set it aside for a trip to Goodwill.  To be honest, it was shocking to see what was actually residing IN that cabinet that we had never, ever actually used and I'd forgotten about.  What was equally shocking, what went back INTO the cabinet that we rarely use but I'm not quite ready to part with yet.  Do I really NEED or use those wedding day champagne flutes?  No.  But, our wedding day flutes! (Says the woman who completely and totally forgot about her own anniversary...) That fancy china that must be hand washed and rarely sees the light of day - but occasionally comes in handy?  Stays.  Why I kept the matching cups and saucers is beyond my comprehension - those have NEVER been used.  But I didn't want to break up the collection?  Yes, I confuse myself.

The Husband, of course, was shocked to walk in to the kitchen to find glassware EVERYWHERE.  I explained the purpose behind the chaos - turns out he never even noticed the "minor annoyance" that has slowly been driving me insane for the past four years. Figures, doesn't it?

Now, theoretically, the fix to the door alignment is to spin the levelers (is that what they are called?  The little spinner things on the bottom of the legs?) until everything levels out.  It should be noted that The Husband scoffed this plan - he did not think this was the fix. *shaking my head. One of these days, he will listen to me* (Note, this will never, ever happen - but I can dream)

After removing everything and trying to spin those things we discovered this cabinet did not have them.  After some brainstorming we shoved something under the one leg and, lo and behold, those doors DID align correctly! *me, looking at The Husband with smug satisfaction. See? I DID know what I was talking about!*

Wisely, I refrained from actually gloating about this fact.  But you and I both know, I knew what I was talking about from the beginning.

Then we set about finding something less obtrusive to shove under that leg to deal with my "minor annoyance."

And here we are, four years later, and that "minor annoyance" is dealt with - and some of the stuff we don't need is gone.

Now, to figure out the "minor annoyance" of a broken nail of a fresh manicure.  Those "minor annoyances" are all a part of life as we know it, I suppose. 

February 9, 2020

Anxious baking...it IS a thing.

Let's back up...

About a week ago, The Husband ran into the middle child of my dear friend who tragically died in 2018 - and promptly invited him to dinner.

WHY has it taken two years (seriously? TWO years already?! To me it still feels like yesterday - so I can only imagine it only feels like two seconds to him.) for this to happen?

Mainly, because we didn't have a direct way to reach out.  But still...this kid was a huge part of our lives for so very long.  And, he's missed us -- desperately - especially since his mother's death.  His younger brother went to California to live with his father and other brother.  Leaving this young man here with his grandmother.

So, why the anxiety, you ask?  Because I wasn't sure how he would receive us.  I wasn't sure if this evening would be a total disaster and awkward.

I was on pins and needles all day yesterday in anticipation of this dinner.  This, coupled with the fact that I was not exactly sure how many people would be here - we had also invited the friends two doors down, as we knew they would be delighted to see him again.  I asked Man-Child to come as well, but he had other plans unfortunately.  I was also not sure if he planned to bring his grandmother

At any rate, this meant that dessert needed to be planned.  And, with the uncertainty of exactly how many people would be here and when - I went on a baking frenzy.  After two batches of brownies were made - having Suzanne's bundt pan dilemma in the back of my mind, I decided that the lemon pound cake would be perfect.

So Suzanne, here is a cake that will work beautifully in your bundt pan.  But really any type of cake recipe will work - put preferably one that doesn't need icing - as that would probably be a pain.

Cake Ingredients

  • A yellow cake recipe or if you want to make your life easier - and who doesn't? - a yellow butter cake mix (my personal favorite?  Duncan Hines Buttery Golden mix)
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 stick butter (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon of pure lemon extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix it all together well.  Generously (and I do mean GENEROUSLY) spray the pan with Pam with flour.  Pour the mix into the pan and bake for one hour.  Put a plate upside down on top of the pan and flip it over.  If you greased the pan well it should just slid right off the cake.

Glaze Ingredients

  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup of sugar (it really doesn't matter, I promise either portion will work)
  • juice of a lemon
  • lemon rind grated
  • confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
Put the first four ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil; stir in powdered sugar (just eyeball it) stirring until the powdered sugar melts completely.  Pour over hot cake.

Yum!

After this cake was done, I moved on to the cornbread which was to accompany The Husband's dinner of fried chicken.

So, as you can see, anxious baking IS a thing.

But the anxiety was for naught.  The dinner and the company was perfect.  It wasn't terribly awkward after the first few minutes.  He and his grandmother were delighted to see us and the friends two doors down.  I may have sobbed after they all left due to all the emotion that was brought to the forefront of my mind - but all in all, I would say the dinner was a success.

They did tell us that his father wants him to move out to Oregon, where he and the other two boys moved to recently.  His grandmother seems to think he would have better opportunities out there.  I'm not so sure; but then it's not my call to make.  We shall see if his father comes through.  His track record isn't the best regarding follow through though.  

Luckily, he is completely aware of his dad's flakiness and won't be devastated if the plan falls apart.  We also told him, we would help him figure it out if it came to that - as his grandmother hopes to move to Arizona to be near her sister and niece.

So, K - if you are listening; your boy is doing very well.  You would be so very proud of the man he has become.  I know I am.  And we will continue to keep an eye on him and the others.  Love you.

February 7, 2020

A title eludes me for this one...

I went to SteinMart on Sunday - technically, I was killing time before meeting The Husband for lunch in town.

I decided to see what I could find that would work for the weird weather we've been having lately.  It is either decidedly winter weather or it is decidedly spring weather.  Last Friday, we had a tiny bit of snow.  Sunday it was in the low 50s.  Wednesday it was in the mid 60s and today the high was in the low 40s with crazy wind.  As I said, weird weather.

Basically, day to day lately, we all are at a loss as to whether we should wear spring/summer clothes or fall/winter clothes - or some combination of both.

It's been a real conundrum, I tell you.

At any rate, that's the long way around to get to the point of this post.

As I was checking out, I noticed an older gentleman hovering around.  He had an air about him that tugged at my heartstrings for some reason.  After I had paid and was tucking my wallet back into my handbag and gathering my belongings, I heard the cashier ask him how he was doing (apparently, she knew him personally).  He replied, in a shaky voice, that he was okay.

The cashier, sounding very concerned, asked why only okay.  He replied that he had lost his wife a few days ago.  The cashier apparently knew the wife had been ill and was devastated for him

I sneaked a peek over my shoulder as I pushed open the door, the pain and grief that etched his face brought tears to my eyes - and, to be honest, as I type this out, I still have tears.  I wanted to say something, give him a hug...just something.  But I didn't - because I didn't know how he would react to a complete stranger intruding.  I wish I had though.  It may have given him a bit of comfort to know that his grief was shared - even with a stranger.

If I had to guess, and I'm a horrible guesser, he had probably been married to his wife for forty or fifty years.  But even if they had only been married two years, his grief was palpable and all encompassing.

Based on the short glimpse I had, I could tell that he was at a complete loss for how to go forward.  And my heart aches for him.

I had a feeling that he didn't know what to do with himself that day - or really any day since she had died.  I also had a feeling that he and his wife frequented this store often and he wound up there out of habit and an intense need to share his loss with anyone who had known his wife.

And tonight, as I sit here typing away, I can't help but think about this man and his loss.  And I grieve for him and his wife - both of whom I've never met - but I will remember the love he had for his wife - and his absolute, utter grief - forever.

To have spent that much time together as a couple and then suddenly *poof* the other half is gone.  And there you are - left to figure out how to go on.

We do though - go on.  But that doesn't mean it's easy.  It can't be.

Needless to say, when I met up with The Husband that day, I gave him a giant hug and told him how much I loved him.  Because you just never know what the next moment might bring.

January 24, 2020

Brides to be - I'm warning you...

DON'T GET MARRIED IN JANUARY!

And here's the why behind that statement...

The Husband and I celebrated our 29th anniversary the other day...oh wait!  No, we didn't.

The picture that seems to be the only one I ever use when
I talk about our anniversary.
Good night, we were SO, SO young! Wha happen?!

At any rate, last night we were talking about my co-worker friend's birthday and how her family doesn't really "do" celebrations and that's why I make a big deal out of her birthday (which was today).

In the middle of the conversation The Husband stopped cold, looked at me horror stricken and whispered, "Did we forget OUR anniversary?!"

And, dammit!  Yes, we did!  He was worried that he alone had forgotten - but no.  I had also forgotten.  I remember making a mental note about it in early January.  But, apparently, that mental note got stuck in a pocket somewhere, now covered in lint and was hanging out with other random bits of paper; totally forgotten.  So here we were, four days after the actual event, looking at each other in disbelief.

Now, to be fair - on our actual anniversary we were dealing with The Husband's car which had broken down and had to sit in the parking lot at Home Depot until the dealership opened the next day.  What a way to celebrate...

So here's something to consider if you are planning a wedding...don't get married in January.  I am warning you! 

After Christmas is just NOT the time to remember an anniversary (search this blog and see how many times I've forgotten about our anniversary if you need proof).  After having kids, being married forever and dealing with hoopla that is Christmas, in January you are just too wiped out to think about things like celebrating an anniversary.

Next year is a big one though - someone remind me on...oh, let's say January 16th.  Because it simply won't do to forget the 30th!

January 19, 2020

Tidbits...

A random post of bits and pieces because I'm too lazy to create a post for each one or, much more likely, before I forget that I wanted to post about any of this in the first place.

****

I read an article the other day (holy cow, look at that!  I actually have the link!  Miracles DO happen!) about gratitude.  Considering all that is going on right now in the world it would be easy to sink into a pit of despair; instead I am choosing to be grateful.

At any rate, this one bit really hit home for me:

Challenge #2: In your transactions with cashiers, baristas and others, take the time to look them in the eye and really thank them.


Yes, I AM polite to those I interact with out in the world - I'm not a complete boor.  I am not talking on my phone (or even have it out) as I am checking out or what have you.  I say please and thank you with the best of them.  But looking them in the eye?  Do I do that?  Maybe - depending on the day and the errand.

Armed with this knowledge, I have spent the past few days making concerted effort to do just that and here is what I've discovered.  

Quite a few of those that I've interacted with don't even attempt to make eye contact with me during the transaction.  I'm just another person to get out of the way in order to move on to the next one.  But those that do?  Seem to smile a little brighter when their eyes connect with mine during the transaction.

Technically, I probably COULD have crafted a whole post around this subject but I'm tired and I don't want to forget about the other bits I wanted to mention before they are lost forever...

****
In other news...

The Husband called me this morning and informed me that his check engine light just came on and, as we were speaking, apparently began bucking and generally not acting right.  *sigh*

And his car is the "reliable" one!

My car's check engine light has been coming on and off sporadically for a month or more (most likely more like a couple of months) now and our car guy seems to think it is directly related to the last problem this car had (spoiler - it wasn't the alternator but some sort of sensor - somebody remind me to never buy a car that is a push button start again.) and since it's probably still under warranty we should take it back to the dealer to fix. *UGH!!*

But then the light would go off for a few days before coming back on.  Maddening.

But the car was driving fine.  While The Husband's wasn't.

Fingers crossed that the dealership is open tomorrow and that it's an easy fix; luckily it is still under warranty.  After that we NEED to get my car in and dealt with and figure out what our plan is in regard to the cars.

For years we went with the philosophy that we would drive our cars until the wheels fell off.  This is a poor philosophy, we've since discovered; as it has bitten us in the butt on more than one occasion.  What can I say, sometimes it takes getting bitten more than once to learn the lesson.

We would prefer to only have one car payment at a time but - with my car being the older and supposedly less reliable one (glaring at The Husband's car) - we figure we need to ditch it while we can still get something out of it.  

Thus, the necessity of actually coming up with a plan is upon us.

*sigh*

****

Now what WAS the other thing I wanted to share? See how quickly it disappears?  And I've only just sat down to write this in relative quiet (I'm hiding away in my closet as The Husband is watching football LOUDLY in the other room).

Ah yes!

The most random, weird thing just happened right after I sat down with the laptop.

I watered all the plants.  I like the way it sounds like I've got a veritable greenhouse in here.  In reality, there aren't many that need "watering."  Maybe four.  But I've got a zillion orchids (why? I don't know.  Apparently, they make beautiful gifts and people keep gifting them to me; despite me telling everyone I know that there isn't enough sunlight in this house to keep the four houseplants I have half alive) that need to be watered with ice; except for that one weird one.  

I know.  Don't ask.

I also watered the "temporary" plant.  This is an amaryllis that was given to me over Christmas (what IS it about me that make people want to give me plants?  Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for them and I DO like plants; I just don't have a house that is nurturing and welcoming to them).

My plan was to get this amaryllis to bloom and call it done.  Throw the bulb in the woods to either perish or thrive.  This amaryllis was SO close to blooming.  How in this house, I'll never know.  But every day I would look at it waiting for it to open.

Today, as I iced all the orchids - except for that weird one - and watered the plants; I gently watered the amaryllis and called it done.

A few minutes after I made myself comfortable prepared to spend some time in blog land the impossible happened.

I heard a giant thud.  At the time, The Husband wasn't home so I knew it wasn't him.  The sound had come from the kitchen so I started there.  And stood in shock when I witnessed the mayhem.

The amaryllis had, somehow, devised its own demise.  Impossibly, it had jumped from the counter to the floor - with nary a jostle - snapping each of the two blooms that were ready to blossom - and leaving a damp, muddy pile of dirt all over the kitchen floor.

In true Gigi fashion - no picture; I didn't think of it until after I cleaned up the entire mess, of course.

And there is no possible explanation for how that plant jumped.  The Husband was not home.  I wasn't in the room.  We don't have any pets.

That was one plant that just did not want me to see it bloom, I guess.

So to sum it up...look people in the eye, cars can suck it, and some plants are suicidal.  The usual.

January 11, 2020

Clearly, by now, we know each other pretty well...

As evident by my lack of presence lately, that means I've gotten back into the swing of things after the holidays. *sigh*

At any rate, if you recall this post, then you won't be surprised by the following.

Earlier this afternoon, The Husband went out - he said he was going to Tractor Supply to pick up Super Glue to fix that that window thingy, but we all know this is code for "after that I might as well stop by the grocery store, since it's right there, to see what I can find that my wife clearly thinks we don't need; but we DO!"

(Author's note...we don't)

When he returned, the very first thing he said was, "Don't be mad..."

Me:  "Why would I be mad?"

Him (sheepishly):  "I bought some socks."

(Author's note...did he buy socks at Tractor Supply or the grocery store?  This will forever remain a mystery)

Me:  "Why?  You have PLENTY of socks."

Him:  "Yes, but some of those socks are too tight around my ankles and I don't like them."

Me:  "That's legitimate.  But how about this...instead of putting those socks you don't like BACK in the drawer, why don't you just toss them?  And while you are at it, toss the underwear you don't like either - I'm going to buy you some new ones."

Him:  "Oh good!  I need new underwear.  But buy me cotton ones - I don't like those polyester, stretchy ones."

(Author's note...those polyester, stretchy ones are the precise ones that he "covertly" brought into the house last April - see previous link up there.  I *always* buy him cotton underwear, because honestly, who wouldn't?!)

Me:  "Oh, like the three pair in your drawer that you never wear?"

Him:  "HOW did you know that?!"

Me:  "I know everything.."

(Author's note...of course I do - I wash the clothes and put them away; I'm bound to notice - sooner or later - what gets worn and what doesn't)

And this is what happens when you've been married almost twenty-nine years...

January 3, 2020

Hello 2020!!

I know, I know, I know! 

I am the first one to always say I don't "do" resolutions.

But here's the truth...without making an actual LIST, I always have a bunch of resolutions in my back pocket.  And in recent years, the main one has been to get it together already.

It bugs me to no end that way back when, I seemed to have it together but recently?  Not so much.

So for the past several years, without fail, I buy myself a new planner with the intent on actually getting it together...because I KNOW that written lists keep me focused (kind of).  Except every year I seem to forget about the planner a few weeks in.

Can I say that this year was no exception.  Except this time, I remembered my planner in November and began planning obsessively for Christmas and was doing great (except for the days when I was so ill).  So, when I bought my planner for 2020 I had REALLY high hopes.

Can you guess how many times I've actually used the planner - THREE days in?

If you guessed one - you would be correct. 

Today I VOWED to rectify the situation to organize this weekend to get stuff done...

Guess where that damned planner is?  At the office.  I guess it's back to scraps of paper littering my pockets then...for now.

*Yes, I foolishly think that next week will be the week I turn it around...somehow.*

*sigh*

*maybe this IS the year!*

December 30, 2019

Sifting through the pieces...

Both of my guys each bought me a new puzzle for Christmas; I was delighted.  But then the nagging thought came through - they bought me these puzzles to keep me out of their hair; as they both know that I can spend hours working on a puzzle.  I'm assuming they thought, if they could keep me preoccupied, I couldn't harass them about the things they needed to take care of - amateurs.

What they didn't realize is this - as I am intently sifting through the random pieces looking for a perfect match - my mind is free to wander - although my eyes are searching for the exact piece that I need; my mind is active and ruminating on things that need to be done, the best way to organize the garage with the least amount of effort, what I need to remind them that they need to get done, thoughts regarding goals for the coming year.

So yes, while I am tucked away - out of their hair - I am thinking; a thought that I'm sure sends shudders down both of their spines...as I plot out what needs to be done - and when - during the next month or so.  It's days like this that I know Man-Child is glad he has his own place that he can retreat to...and The Husband, well...I'm sure he wishes he could hide somewhere.

As my vacation dwindles to an end - and as I continue to recuperate (see puzzles); I continue to think about what the next year may bring to us.  And you.  Happy, happy new year to you and yours.  2020 is going to be amazing...at least, that's what my ruminations tell me...as I sift through the pieces.

Much love.

December 28, 2019

Notes from my sick bed, recuperation and back

Considering I've been on vacation for practically two weeks, you would have thought I would have had the time and inclination to post more than once.  Oh sure, I've thought (often) I should post about this that or the other.

But the truth is, with Christmas coming up so quickly behind Thanksgiving, being sick, bouncing back, getting sick again, etc. there just hasn't been time.

When I last left you, I was finally (I thought) ready for Christmas...until the day before Christmas Eve when I decided that was THE perfect day to work on organizing the garage.  This effort has been an on again off again effort between The Husband and I since we moved in almost four (!) years ago.  A couple of weeks ago, I had The Husband move a couple of heavy pieces for me in the garage and let it sit.  And while it sat, I ruminated.  And on the day before Christmas Eve, my organization plan crystallized - and since I was feeling better, I got to work.  Needless to say, The Husband was shocked when he got home and saw the transformation.

It's not completely done - but it's about ninety percent organized.  I would say I wish I had a before picture; but that would be a lie - there is no way in God's green earth that I would post a picture of what it looked like before.

It's almost ready for my car!!!

All that remains is finding a home for the tractor and for me to sort through and organize a few things out of the picture and (hopefully) re-home some of the stuff on the shelves to new shelves that The Husband needs to build for me - also located out of the picture.

And then it was Christmas Eve.  We were hosting our friends two doors down and her mother and step-father - for a total of seven people not counting us three; when it occurred to me that desserts needed to be made.  And that they HAD to be made before The Husband came home early around two (thank goodness he hadn't thought ahead to take Christmas Eve off!) and took over the kitchen; plus the oragami napkins had to be done.

Needless to say, I was non-stop busy until our guests arrived.  A fun time was had by all.  Until they went home...and I began to realize, I wasn't feeling so well.

Apparently, spending two days straight of doing things instead of resting when I should have been recuperating set me back and I was back in the land of being sick.  Not sick; sick.  No fever, etc.  But feeling fairly wretched.

For those keeping count - it's been a total of three weeks that I've been sick.  And, yes, those three weeks have been a crazy busy three weeks; what with Christmas prep, etc.  Since Christmas, I have barely left the house and have tried very hard to rest and not do anything too strenuous - although I did take down the majority of the decorations today (I HAD to - but truly, there wasn't much!  This needed to be done because I will not want to do it after I go back to work); so our tree is naked but for the lights - waiting for The Husband to dismantle it and put it away...this may take some time as he hates that I pack Christmas away so early.

Today I am feeling better - The Husband even commented that I am looking better - but I'm still planning to take it easy for the remaining five days of time off that I have; even though that garage is calling my name...because God only knows, I do NOT want to go back to work sick.

December 21, 2019

Ready - finally!

Yes, I know I mentioned almost TWO weeks ago that I was feeling better...it was a filthy lie.  Not one that I told on purpose though - it's just whatever this nasty crud might be I don't know; but I do know it's a liar.

One day, I felt like I was dying; only to feel like I was on the mend the next and then back to feeling like I was dying.  Currently, *knock wood* I think I'm finally on the upswing.  We shall see.  A friend's daughter contracted the same thing before Thanksgiving and is only just now beginning to feel human; unfortunately, it appears the friend has now contracted this dreaded bug.

In the meantime, on the days that I've felt pretty good, I have been busy; particularly today.

As of today, I can claim that ALL the presents have been purchased - minus the three last minute gifts; but those are easy gifts - it just requires one trip to the liquor store. Whew.  Because honestly?  Every other gift has been come by with far too much effort.  Next year, those guys of mine better be more forthcoming with ideas.

All the presents - minus the three last minute ones - have been wrapped and bedecked with ribbon.

Another batch of almond bark - made exclusively for Man-Child has been made.  Spritz (butter) cookies have been made - this is truly a labor of love, since the cookie press and I don't always see eye to eye - as evidenced, AGAIN, this year.  But again, made mainly for Man-Child.

Christmas cards were mailed last week; plus I helped another friend create a printed canvas gift for her son and daughter in law - I am so happy we were able to get that done since the picture of her grandchildren was so adorable it NEEDED to be done.

So now, hopefully, I can sit back and prepare for the holiday; with nothing more to think about than a dessert for Christmas Eve.  Any ideas?

How about you?  Are you ready?  Or still in the thick of it all?