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.


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*

September 26, 2020

Today's bits of random...

First of all, thank you all for your encouragement to find some way utilize that very ambitious project.  After mulling over all the possible options, I finally decided to make it into a pillow, as Juli encouraged me to do...and with that...

Is it perfect?  No, it is not.

Nope, not perfect in the slightest.  I knew going in that a standard insert wouldn't necessarily work due to the odd measurements, but I plan to order some batting to fill out the empty parts.  I also will be actively encouraging everyone not to look TOO closely as I really shouldn't be allowed access to a sewing machine...much less a needle and thread - in fact, after I hit publish, I really wouldn't be surprised if the Crafting Community Brigade didn't show up to confiscate the sewing machine.

At any rate, it is done (for now) and we plan to love it until it falls to pieces sometime in the next six months or so.  In the meantime, we shall celebrate the fact that I remembered HOW to attach the zipper foot, FOUR YEARS later, without having to resort to Google or the kind ladies at JoAnn Fabrics - and we will not discuss the fact that I did NOT remember exactly how the zipper foot worked at first and that there may have been some MORE stitch ripping before I got it kind of right - no, we shall not discuss that, AT ALL.  Because, let's be honest, this particular project has been nothing but ripping out multiple stitches.

Also, we shall not discuss the fact that I may, or may not have ordered a new, small project that may, or may not, wind up being a birthday gift for a certain person two doors down...if I don't mess that one up too badly.  I *think* I have the orientation of this project right; so there's that.

(We shall not discuss the fact that I've already had to rip out some stitches just one day in.  I'm beginning to think needle work may not be my forte, y'all)

Moving on...

I had a virtual lunch date with my co-worker (friend) on Monday.  The Husband was scandalized.  "You'll be eating together ON the computer?!" (Please explain to me HOW this is different than sitting across the table from her? 😕).  

We actually didn't "eat" together, but instead spent our lunch hour chatting - it was SO nice just to SEE her face.  I love her dearly but...and I'm trying really hard not to judge...during our "lunch" she mentioned that they've been out to eat - many times, she took her mom to a local restaurant to eat and that she has visited her daughter at college and took the daughter and her room mate out to eat (all inside) and that she has been to many (completely unnecessary) places because she can't "just stay home because she would go crazy!"  But then she added, "It's not like we are hanging around strangers though."  Ummmm?  Then she ended the conversation with, "Let me know when you are ready to meet up for lunch out."

Ummm...maybe when COVID is gone?

I get it, technically, we can go out to eat.  Technically, we can go to Home Goods, Marshall's, Macy's, etc.  Technically, we are allowed to do that in this state.

I also get that staying home is hard.  Not seeing the people we love is hard.  But for me?  For us?

We are staying home as much as humanly possible.  My immune system is compromised (thanks psoriasis - which, can we all agree, is THE most inane way to be compromised), The Husband has several underlying issues that could really be serious if he were to become ill with this disease.  

So, no.  We are staying home.

On to a different topic...

I recently ordered, read, and adored What Unites Us by Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner.  Y'all...I loved it.  I cried over it.  I laughed over it.

I remember watching Dan Rather since I was tiny.  He has been a part of my entire childhood and most of my adulthood.  And a fellow Houstonian - so you know...my kind of people.

This book is a reflection on patriotism and what it means.  This book isn't my usual pick but something compelled me to pick it up (and, immediately ordered another for different birthday that is coming up) and it was worth it.  

In this narrative, he reminds us of all the good that is still out there - despite the horrors that are currently exploding onto our televisions and news feeds.  

So, if the current news cycle is depressing - read this book.  Really, it should be required reading in every high school, in my opinion.  It gave me a glimmer of hope for the future.

September 13, 2020

A tiny miracle...an empty drawer

During a lull of "work" on Friday, I tackled three of the six drawers in the dining room sideboard.

Apparently, we have a severe infestation...

of pens.  Seriously...where did all these pens come from?

Shockingly, the majority of those pens actually work.  I know this because I tested each and every one.  That much smaller group off to the right?  Those are the ones that are sketchy.

It also appears that I have an affinity for note cards (actually, I've always known this about myself) as I unearthed cards I didn't even know I had - which is good news for the pen pal project.  I even uncovered cards that have a rendering of our house on the front, along with our names and address that we received after we bought this house that I had completely forgot about.

I also have an affinity for Post It Notes, pads of any kind and office supplies - this was realized when I uncovered at least SIX rolls of tape.  It should be noted that tape is a rarely used supply in this house.

I have a very loose plan (i.e., whenever I have a moment or three) of going through every single drawer and every single closet in an effort to control the chaos that ensued when we moved in four years ago.  Now, how this will shake out considering the fact my husband likes to "hide" things when he helps "tidy," remains to be seen.  BUT, so far those kitchen cabinets, the junk miscellaneous drawer (as the Suburban Correspondent calls it - WAY classier than "junk" drawer) and the utensil drawer are staying fairly tidy.

Today I went through one drawer where we had been storing old movies, DVDs, CDs and VHS tapes.  Yes really.  For the longest time, we had a VCR that actually worked and all the little people that used to visit pre-Netflix loved to watch Man-Child's old videos of Pooh Bear, Peter Pan, etc. - although they could not wrap their little minds around the "rewind" concept.

And, as of right this very minute, there is an actual empty drawer in this house.  The Husband must never learn of this as he will want to fill it with something.

That drawer won't stay empty for long though.  I have a dresser in my dressing room that I would like to get rid of and, although, I'm sure a great many things in there will be headed to Goodwill or somewhere, there are other things that will stay and will need a new home.

September 4, 2020

That ambitious project? Yeah, I'm throwing in the towel for now and other random bits.

I've had fleeting thoughts about posting every single day since my last post; but by the time the rubber hit the road, I was just too tired to even try. And then, inevitably, the following day I had forgotten all about it. *sigh* 

You would think in the middle of this pandemic, with absolutely nothing going on; I would have figured all this out by now. Sadly, I have not. 

But the reason I am here to today is to tell you that I've finished that "ambitious" cross stitch project . Break out the champagne. Or not. 

As I was nearing the end of the project, I realized I had made a grave mistake. Can you spot it?

My project vs what the finished product SHOULD look like.

Astute readers will immediately realize that I stitched this entire project in the wrong orientation, thus preventing me from actually finishing the project!

I'm not going to lie.  I cursed a blue streak and then immediately thought about starting over.  

I talked myself out of that crazy notion and tried to figure out whether or not I should just move the upper embellishments down.  I quickly realized that would involve more brain power than I currently possess.

So I called it good enough.  This was the one project I had actually planned to keep - mistakes and all.  Until I realized that there is no real way to pop this into an actual frame based on the size and orientation.  The white stitching around the edges is meant to help keep the fabric from unraveling; it's not supposed to show.

The Husband suggested that I could have it custom framed - I am not doing this.

Then I thought, maybe I could turn it into a pillow?  But every inch of our seating in the living room is needed and this pillow would be one that couldn't be "used."  Besides, I want our house to be welcoming and comfortable.  So, having a pillow that couldn't be used?  Not going to happen. 

The jury is out on what I will actually do with this - any suggestions?  

I'm not going to lie - the thought of re-doing the whole darn thing is still swimming around in the back of my brain; but for now I'm putting away my needle.  And who knows, maybe I'll find another project.  We shall see.

Other than the utter aggravation of the nonsense in the previous paragraphs - I'd like to tell you about some things that have absolutely changed my life.  I wish I were kidding, as these are arguably NOT actually life changing.

Our flatware drawer has always been an absolute hodgepodge thing which could induce nightmares for some of us (and by some of us, I mean ME).

We had one of those standard flatware organizers

Almost exactly like this one.

The problem with this organizer was that it didn't have enough slots for our flatware.  We had the teaspoons mixed up with the salad forks.  As if that wasn't horrific enough, this organizer slid around in the drawer and half the time you'd have to yank the organizer back down to the drawer front to barely be able to reach the serving spoons that were house in that upper slot.

Sure, this is a first world problem - as in why am I even talking about this kind of first world problem.

Pre-pandemic this would have been such a minor annoyance that I would have most likely lived with it until the end of time since I only wandered into that drawer occasionally.  But since I've been home?  I'm in that drawer MANY times every single day since March 18th.  

So maybe a day or two after the kitchen cabinet organization day, I found myself searching online for a better option for the flatware drawer and I came upon this...

It's an expandable organizer that fits the width of the drawer perfectly, has enough slots so the teaspoons and salad forks have their own homes, the serving pieces aren't hiding in the back AND? Best of all it doesn't slide around in the drawer.  

One more annoyance out of my life - I call that a win!

The other life changing item that has entered my life is the O Cedar Spin Mop.

Now, I know you are all thinking at this point, that I have lost my damn mind.  And normally, I'd agree with you.  I've always hated mopping floors.  My last mop was a Libman Tornado mop.  We had a love/hate relationship.  I like that I wasn't constantly touching the mop head to wring it.  I loved that it was machine washable.  I figured this would be the mop would be my top choice for the rest of my life.  It is kind of a pain to put together and take apart.  And woe to you, if you lose that little piece that holds it all together.  I mean seriously.  I had to take that tiny piece and show it to my family, told them where it lived and threatened them with their lives if it were ever to disappear on their watch (as if they ever mopped) that's HOW important that tiny little piece was.

Until Beth wrote a post that introduced me to Go Clean Co on Instagram AND the O Cedar Spin mop and I was intrigued.  After obsessively stalking Go Clean Co.'s Instagram, I finally bought the mop.  And now, I can honestly say I don't HATE mopping (and joy! No tiny piece to keep track of!  And the mop head is machine washable AND - even more important, no tiny, little piece to keep track of! Yes, I had to mention it twice because of all the angst that tiny little piece brought into my life!).  The floor is dry in mere minutes - making it perfect for all hard flooring; particularly wood.

Unfortunately, this mop does NOT perform miracles though as our tile still looks dirty after being freshly mopped...but that is the tiles problem (they are ugly - see above picture for a snippet); not the mops.

I have also embarked on the note writing project mentioned here and have already received a reply; which completely made my day.  And, my mother in law was absolutely overjoyed with the random note she received; according to The Husband who just randomly called her.  He had no idea I'd sent her the note - but was so appreciative at how happy it made her.  Particularly, since she lives alone and the isolation has been hard for her.

So, to recap...

  • What do I do with this practically worthless sampler now?
  • If you are in need of a flatware organizer - the one mentioned above may fit the bill and may alleviate some of your nightmares.
  • The O Cedar mop is the new love of my life (slight exaggeration - but not by much).
  • Sending random, out of the blue notes makes people happy! And helps the post office.  It's a win-win really.
So here we are on the cusp of a long Labor Day weekend.  Have a great one - and be safe while you celebrate.

August 18, 2020

What are the odds he's beginning to come around to my way of thinking? (Answer: Slim to None)

 See this?

This tiny little thing lead to this...

And "that" it was just a portion of every single item that once resided in the junk drawer.

Now, I'm sure you are wondering how that tiny little item caused the above mayhem...

About a week or so ago, I noticed that tiny white thing - that usually resides on the blinds pull string - on the floor in the kitchen.  Since I was in the middle of something, I picked it up and put it on the counter, with every intention of putting it back where it belonged.

Of course, I forgot about it.

Then on Friday, I remembered and went looking for it.  It was not where I left it - which meant The Husband hid put it away for safe keeping while cleaning the kitchen.  The logical place for him to hide put it was in the junk drawer.  

When I opened the drawer, I was confronted with that mess pictured up there.  So, I up-ended the contents of that drawer onto the counter and proceeded to go through all of it.  And guess what I discovered?

Ninety percent of those items had a "home" and that no one - I repeat, NO ONE, has EVER gone to that drawer looking for a random screw/nail clippers/batteries/other random item.  So I put all the things in their "homes" and was left with what was intended for that drawer - notepads, pens, scissors, ruler, and candle lighter thing.

And then I located the thing that had kicked this little project off and put it where it belonged...on the window blinds.

And I felt like I had really achieved something.

Then I emptied the dishwasher.

I generally don't pay too much attention to the state of our cabinets - other than the glasses and plates cabinet.  Until I had to put a mixing bowl away and discovered an unsteady tower of nested mixing bowls.  And I sighed and sat down to put that cabinet to rights.

Then, fool that I am, I opened the other cabinets to discover the same type of chaos.

I realize that the kitchen is The Husband's domain...but ordered and neat is not one of his strengths - so I ended up setting the majority of the cabinets to rights; all while uncovering multiple, duplicate items.  I set all the duplicates aside for the moment.

Now here is the shocking part.  He actually agreed that all of the items I had set aside could leave his kitchen.  I almost fainted.


And then...he said he is beginning to see the wisdom of quality over quantity.  Color me shocked. 

Then, totally un-prompted, this morning The Husband plucked a random spice rack thing that has been sitting on our counter, unused for God only knows how long, and said, "I don't need this and it's only taking up space."

Can it be?  Is he finally beginning to come around to see some things the way I do?  We shall see.  At any rate, our kitchen cabinets are in order (for now - we say for now, because I know him all too well) - we will enjoy that small victory.


On another note, I would like to discuss the US Postal Service - but we CANNOT because we don't do politics here.  And the fact that a US Postal Service discussion COULD become a political discussion is absurd and inconceivable...but yet, here we are.

So, while we side step THAT whole discussion, I have just ordered a slew of stamps and cards online.  Now, here's the problem.  My circle of real-life friends is fairly small.  As in, off the top of my head, I can think of three immediate people that I could send these cards to.  I'm sure if I were to scan my contact list/address book I could come up with a few more.

I searched around online about various pen pal sites and determined that could possibly open up a can of worms that I don't want opened.  After giving it some serious thinking (i.e., maybe three seconds), I thought I'd throw this out there.  If you are open to it, send me your info via email (gigirambles@gmail.com) and I will be happy to occasionally send you a card and consider it my small contribution to do my part.  There is absolutely NO obligation on your part to write back.  If you DO want to write back, include that in your email and I'll make sure you receive my contact information.  Who knows how long I will keep it up - but I shall try.

I realize this is where trust comes in.  I am only willing to do this (and share my info, if you wish this to be more of a pen-pal situation rather than an "Oh look! SURPRISE real mail" event) with people who have been around here for a while.  And, I solemnly swear, that I will never share your information and that once I have it and written it down, I will delete the email immediately.  I also solemnly swear that I will not fill your inbox with stuff.  MY inbox(es) are overloaded as it is; why would I do that to you?  

August 13, 2020

The Lazy Genius Way...a book review

 Not too long ago, I stumbled over Kendra Adachi's website, The Lazy Genius Collaborative, and I was hooked.  Kendra has a podcast which is weekly, I believe, but she also blogs occasionally.  I'm not a big podcast listener but if the subject is something that I am interested in, I will download the transcript, if one is provided, or carve out the time to listen.

Kendra wrote a book, The Lazy Genius Way which was released on Tuesday.  When I first heard that the book was available for pre-order, I quickly did so - which meant that Amazon should have shipped the book to arrive on Tuesday.  That did not happen.  In fact, Amazon gave me whiplash on Tuesday.  I received an email informing me that this delivery had been delayed.  No explanation, just delayed.  I was justifiably disappointed but two minutes later I received another email from Amazon telling me that the book had shipped.  So I didn't receive the book on Tuesday but I DID receive it yesterday.  And I'm here to give you a book review...we haven't had one of those in long time, have we?

And, in what is a first around here, this book is the FIRST non-fiction review I have ever done.

*Mini Blogger rant.  I have built this site using chewing gum and twine to hold everything together since I can't code or whatever.  This means that when I want to update the list of books I love enough to tell you about; I used to have the option of clicking a little menu that would let me jump back in time in one click to find that post and add a link.  Do you know how long I've been blogging?  I can't remember.  But that little menu?  It's gone.  That means in order to update that page I need to now scroll through 1063 posts before I can find that page!* Okay, rant over.  Surely, there's a way around this.

I loved the book.  I received it right before lunch yesterday and finished it today right after lunch.  It's not a large book, in my opinion.  It clocks in at 212 pages - not counting the forward, the table of contents and the acknowledgments, etc.

In this book, Kendra lays out a different thought process for tackling various issues in life.  As well as throwing in precious nuggets to remind you to be kind to yourself and give yourself grace.  She reminds you how important connections are.  And shows you a new way of creating a way to tackle issues that matter to YOU - she is not telling you to use her systems.

Kendra (yes, I am referring to her like I know her - because I feel like I do.  Even more so after reading this book) is in a different season of life than I am.  So, her examples of Lazy Geniusing (it's a word!) life issues with small people are of no use to me (I really wish I had this book in my arsenal when I WAS raising a small person!).  The examples of Meal Planning do not apply to me; as my husband is the cook in this house - and rightly so.  He enjoys it, he's good at it and I KNOW he probably won't accidentally poison me.

Here is my main takeaway from this book.  You know how sometimes you run into a problem and you aren't quite sure how to tackle it?  This book gives you a way to re-frame how you look at the problem.  

Or you have that mile long list and you don't know how to get started?  Again, this book will help you figure it out in a different way.

Kendra's mind works vastly different from mine.  I would never have looked at any of the things in this way.  In just the few hours since closing the book after the first reading (I know I will be referring back to this book often) it has already fixed one nagging issue in this house.

Her whole mantra is "What Matters To You."  We have had an ongoing issue of too many plastic bags in this house - a result of The Husband's insane love affair with going to the grocery store (WHO does that?!).  For whatever reason, he refuses to just put them in his car and return them - which makes/made me crazy back in the normal times - since he would go to the grocery store EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.

Yes, I agree that we do need a small amount of the bags around the house for various uses but we do not need 7,000 of them.  We will NEVER need 7,000 of them.

So, we were in stand off.  I refused to take them on principle because I DON'T go to the grocery store every day (back when we could do that kind of thing).  He only took them when I made a huge stink about it.

This afternoon I DID need to go to the grocery store.  We generally store these bags in the garage next to my car.  As I walked to the car, I looked at those hated bags and realized...this is something that DOES matter to ME.  So I gathered up a bunch of them, tossed them in the car, drove to the store and recycled them.  Problem solved.  Without any nagging or harassment or resentment.

Another thing I loved about this book?  Kendra was so open and honest about her life - I liked her before I read this book.  After I read this book - I want her to live in the house next door - right between me and my friend two doors down.  I want her in our circle.

We are alike in one way though - we both love an aside to a story.  It didn't happen on every page but there are plenty of times where she spreads an asterisk around and you look down to the bottom of the page and see something along the lines of

"*My coffee snob - I mean aficionado - brother-in-law will be so sad that I'm not grinding them right before I brew.  At least I'm not drinking Folgers, Luke.  Cut me some slack."

I laughed out loud - for real.

The last couple of lines of the book left me with tears in my eyes for some reason.  In a good way.

I wouldn't call it a "self-help" book.  It's more of a "let's re-frame the way you look at, and tackle, different areas/issues of your life" kind of book.

If you have it all together and everything in your life is perfect and you aren't exhausted from it all - then this book is not for you.

If you are like the rest of us - get this book.  You may not be in Kendra's season of life right now but this is a reference manual for every season.  But, my friend two doors down IS in that season...and I think she deserves her own copy - which will soon (hopefully) be winging it's way to her front door (which should tell you how much I value this book).

And Kendra?  If you are reading this, I'll let you know when the house next door goes on the market.

August 6, 2020

Close call

Before we begin, I have a nit to pick with Blogger.  Ok, they changed things.  Fine.  I can figure that out.  But the fact that I now have to hit TWO, DIFFERENT links to reach your non-Blogger blogs?  That is torture and a waste my very valuable (to me) time.  Now that this complaint is out of the way...on to the post

The Husband has been coming home for lunch most days since I have been working from home (his office is literally about six minutes from our house).  Apparently, he feels that I need company or something.  Who knows how his brain works.  🤷 

(Ok, Blogger; I'll give you that - the emoji option is kind of fun!)

Today was no exception.  He came home, we made small talk while he ate and he left.  Not fifteen minutes later he called.  He was being sent home because one of the employees at one of the branches (he works for a bank and visits each branch at least twice a week; sometimes more) had tested positive for COVID-19.

*dramatic sigh*

Needless to say, he came home and tried to hide how nervous he was - but opening doors and turning on light switches using his shirt was my first clue.

The Husband - he's a worrywart, that one.  But, in this instance, I don't blame him...I was worried too.

Also, honestly?  I was dreading the thought of working from home while he was here.  I know, I know...I'm awful.

A few hours later, one of the "powers that be" called him and asked a few pointed questions.  While they couldn't tell him WHO tested positive; he could tell by the line of questioning they didn't think he'd been exposed to this person.  For now, unless they say otherwise, he should be able to return to work on Monday.

You know, since the beginning, I've been waiting for this to touch us somehow.  Last week Man-Child mentioned on the phone that one of his co-workers had tested positive (luckily, they haven't actually gone back to work - school - yet.  But they ARE planning to go back with A/B days - which, I can't EVEN deal with - or think about - right now.  That county, until recently, has had very low numbers - our county, on the other hand, is returning online only for the first nine weeks).  I had, very naively, hoped THAT would be the closest connection we've had with this awful virus.

Apparently not.

Is the thought that it IS possible he was exposed still lurking in the back of my brain?  Yes.  Yes, it is.

*UPDATED* to add, for the time being, I will respond to comments here, as for some reason - with moderation on - I am not receiving all comments/email.

July 26, 2020

All right 2020...can we call for a truce?

As we are all, painfully aware, 2020 is not going well on the COVID side of things, but really...it's SO unfair that other awful things are going on at the same time.  Actually, it would be REALLY GREAT if we only had to deal with ONE crisis at a time.

(I know - this is life, and life is never really fair, is it?)

In the past two months, in addition to COVID, we have had our hot water heater die.  Granted, we knew it was on its last legs from the beginning.  When it began to leak copious amounts of water, we smugly said, "AHA!  We have a home warranty!" - so we called the warranty people.  They are very swift in their responses and had someone out here rather quickly.

He signed the death warrant for the water heater.  The warranty people okayed the new water heater...and then informed us that we would need to pay $800 to bring all the connections up to code.

I'm not going to lie - this infuriated me.  It seemed to me that the connections should be grandfathered in but, apparently, that is not the case.  It did appease me when we realized that if we didn't have the warranty we would have had to spend $800 on the water heater that was installed in addition to the $800 for bringing the connections up to code.  This, of course, brought me to my senses...and I was again grateful for that home warranty.  I just hope when the AC dies (and it will, it's original to the house) we won't have to bring anything else up to code!

Not long after that, we noticed ants.  In the kitchen.  Obviously, this will just not do.  So we called a pest control company.  They came out and declared that we had an infestation.  An infestation...lovely.  They sprayed the house and recommended that we order a service that would spray the yard in a 25 foot radius around the house.  We readily agreed.

Probably two weeks after they sprayed the yard I noticed a bevy of ants on the front walk.  Since we were within the 30 days of the spraying, they came back out to spray again.

Fast forward to yesterday.  I walked out to the back porch to enjoy the evening where I immediately noticed lines of ants marching back and forth across the porch.  *sigh*

If I'm not mistaken, we are still within that 30 day window.  So, obviously, they weren't kidding about the infestation.  Pest Control is coming on Monday.

What else are you planning to throw at us, 2020?  Should I expect locusts next? A hint would be nice.

I will say this.  The ants are kind of fascinating to watch.  All day long they have marched, back and forth, along the same route.  Occasionally, three or four will branch off in a different direction and I will think, "Have they gone AWOL?  Why have they defected?"  Only to note, that eventually, they come back to the original route, while another two or three will branch off to the different route.

At this point, I'm assuming those are the scouts doing recon.

It's painfully obvious that I need to get out more.

July 21, 2020

Grab a drink, pull up a chair...I have SO much to tell you...

Hahahaha...as if...

Not much has been going on around here, I suspect the same is the case for most of you.

We did have a scare in that the friend two doors down had to be tested for COVID-19, luckily it turned out to be allergies.  Other than that, life around here looks pretty much like it did the last time I posted - consults calendar - almost two weeks ago.  Wow, time really DOES fly when you are stuck at home!

Man-Child came for a socially distanced visit for my birthday - also almost two weeks ago - and caught sight of one of the last finished samplers from my project, "Learn To Cross Stitch" that was in the "Going To Goodwill" box, promptly fished it out and proclaimed that he wanted it.

Color me shocked.  He WANTED a stitched sampler?!  Apparently, yes, he did.  He thought it would be perfect for his kitchen.  So, I offered to frame it for him - which he readily accepted.

I ordered the frame and mat from Michael's for curbside delivery.  As I sat in the parking lot waiting for the delivery, I people watched.  All of the customers entering the store were masked, which I - and I'm sure, the employees - greatly appreciated.  But I also noted, I was the only customer taking advantage of curbside delivery.

Based on subsequent curbside deliveries, I'm fairly certain I'm about the only customer taking advantage of it at most stores.  Why?!

I imagine that the employees at Michael's and other stores, NEED to be there for the income.  But I also imagine that those same employees would rather we, the germ carriers, didn't come in if we don't have to.  I know that if it were me, I'd rather deliver the merchandise to a waiting trunk than to watch many people wander in - masked or not - touching ALL.OF.THE.THINGS!

But I digress...

I framed the sampler for Man-Child - which I still don't quite understand why he wants it.

I realize that I can see the errors that I made and they are, most likely, not noticeable to anyone who didn't work on the pattern.  But I am pretty happy with the way it turned out.

In fact, based on the way that one turned out, I turned to the more ambitious project that I had set aside, after ripping out ALL the stitches twice.

This is the third set of stitches that had to be ripped out.
Frustrating...to say the least.
I'd say I'm a third of the way through this one.  And here's what I have discovered - after ripping out ANOTHER set of stitches - odds are good that your original stitches are fine.  Look to the most recent stitches for the error.  I discovered this AFTER the fact, of course.

Also?  This may be my last sampler for a good long while.

The learning of patience was a lesson I needed - but I also find that an unfinished project finds me spending time on that project even though there are other things need my attention...like house cleaning, laundry, etc.

July 8, 2020

Just call me Gladys...Gladys Kravitz

*Before we begin - does everyone know Gladys Kravitz of Bewitched? If not, click here and, if you don't, it's entirely possible that you are too young to be reading this anyway.*

I am ashamed to say I have inadvertently become the local Gladys Kravitz.

Luckily (or not so luckily, depending on your preference for sunlight pouring into your home; more of which, I would greatly appreciate), we only have one window that looks out the front of the house.  Well...that's not quite true.  We have the one window in the kitchen that looks directly at the front door of our neighbors across the street.  We also have have sidelights on our front door that give a slightly different vantage point for the same neighbors.  There is also a window in the bathroom and in a closet - but those blinds remain closed...for obvious reasons.

So, see above regarding as much sunlight as I can get into this house, all the blinds - except for the closet and bathroom - are opened every morning.  And while I DO enjoy looking out into the backyard to see what is blooming (currently, only two scraggly day lilies that I need to replace.  With what?  And?  Who, me?  Go to a nursery right now?  Not happening) - while trying to ignore all the things that need doing (see previous sentence) - there are many times that I find myself standing at the kitchen window gazing vacantly across the street - because honestly - where am I going and what else am I doing these days?  I should note here, that I'm never actually at the window looking for the local dirt.  I'm usually just killing time.

These neighbors aren't bad neighbors by any stretch of the imagination.  She and the girls seem lovely.  He, on the other hand, is a little odd but seems nice.

What has recently captured my attention across the street is their landscaping choices.  Not that I should dare to presume how one should landscape their own yard.  Because, really, it's none of my business. 

But, it IS there and I DO see it, so...I have to wonder about some of their choices.  Before they moved in, the landscaping was fine.  Conventional even.  Lovely, but nothing to talk about.

And then one day, out of nowhere three random bushes appeared near the street.  Just bushes.  In the middle of the yard.  Not in a bed.  Three random bushes that need to be mowed around somehow. Three bushes, placed far enough apart that will take a million years to grow together and be a random hedge...if that is what they are hoping for.  Which, would also look odd, come to think of it.

My husband would throttle me if I disrupted his mowing by throwing random obstacles into his path. 

Then a crepe myrtle appeared.  Right next to the mailbox.  I had to ask The Husband, "Who would place an actual TREE next to a mailbox?"  He didn't have an answer.

Yesterday, a random tree appeared in their yard.  Right in front of their front door.  Why?!

I can only surmise that they have witnessed my vacant staring from the kitchen window and are trying to find a modicum of privacy.