December 28, 2018

Post Christmas Update

We had a lovely Christmas and hope you did as well, if you celebrate.  We are now eagerly waiting for the new year and, hopeful that it will be a good one.

Man-Child gave me the greatest surprise this Christmas.  I've only been asking for one every weekend (and EVERY gift-giving opportunity in between) from anyone who would listen for the past three years to no avail - he bought me a pressure washer!

Yes, I know.  It is generally frowned upon to give a woman an appliance or a tool - which may explain why I've not received one before now; but I maintain that if the item has been specifically requested by the woman; then, and only then, it is an acceptable gift.  And this one was - tears sprang to my eyes when he walked in with it.

Oh, the things that I can do with this machine!  I can't wait for it to quit raining long enough for me to try it on the driveway!  

And that is the point where we segue to the weather...

It's raining...AGAIN.  I swear this year has been the rainiest on record and I would be right.  The local newspaper just did a story about how we have broken the record for rain in a single year.  I am SO over the rain - but, of course, the forecast is calling for more on Sunday and Monday - with nary a sunbeam in sight tomorrow... *sigh*

I honestly didn't need the news story to tell me that we broke the record - just driving through the neighborhood this afternoon told me all I needed to know - what with all the flooded out yards and such.  Yes, I'm observant that way, you know.

This afternoon found me on a mission to "un-decorate."  Since I put very little up this year - other than the tree - it took no time at all.  Now, I will admit that our naked, pre-lit tree is still standing in all it's glory but that's only because The Husband remarked, as he does every year, that I was "rushing" it.  I told him the tree could remain standing and naked, but for the lights, until this weekend; but the rest was coming down because once I go back to work I knew I wouldn't want to deal with it.

*Let me butt in here to tell you, I bought these hooks last year for our ornaments and I seriously love them! (This isn't an affiliate link, I just seriously love these hooks - WAY better than the traditional hooks!).*

And then, I turned to continuing to wade through the MANY boxes and whittling things down.  I was able to pare the ten boxes down to eight.  That may not sound like much BUT those boxes were STUFFED with things that we never used.  So these eight boxes are MUCH lighter than they were before.  And, to be honest, if it weren't for the four ornament boxes (which I keep because I need one for red ornaments, one for silver, one for gold and one for "family" ornaments) we could probably whittle it down to six but I like to have them separate...because that's the way I roll.  

I did find it odd, considering we usually only decorate our porch with lighted garland (which we didn't do this year since I never did track down suitable garland - oh well, next year maybe), that we have an inordinate amount of lights.  We even have multi-colored lights - which we never use.  Since I was fairly certain Goodwill wouldn't accept the lights - even though I checked that they all worked - I boxed them up for storage.  I didn't know what else to do with them at this point.

Long time readers will recognize that December is usually the busiest this blog gets since I take so much time off.  Long time readers will also realize that The Husband and I rarely take vacation at the same time unless we are traveling together (which is also rare).  The Husband and I have been home together for the past FOUR days.  I now know WHY we are rarely home together for any length of time.

This morning found me ready to kill him for eating toast.  Seriously?!  How can someone make eating toast into a LOUD activity?  When I called him out on it he responded with, "Well, it's not like I'm eating celery!"  No, but it certainly sounded like it.

December 22, 2018

Spreading Christmas's easier than you might think.

Yesterday I was talking to my friend (two doors down).  She is a younger mom with younger children (all under 12 with youngest not even two yet).  With children who were out of school all last week thanks to the snow...and then were out again this week due to illness.  And will now remain out of school thanks to the Christmas holidays.

When we spoke she was overwhelmed.  She was behind on gift buying, gift wrapping, house cleaning...she was behind on all of it.  She wondered how I seemed to be ahead of the game.  I laughed and said, "I've been on vacation and don't have small children."  We chatted about other things and hung up.

And as I was telling The Husband about our conversation, I remembered how it was back in the day, with a small child.  Snow days, sick days, holidays,,,being stuck in the house for days with a child.  It could be SO overwhelming!  And here I was, with an evening stretched out in front of me and no small people under my feet and no one making demands of my time.

So I sent her a text right then and there asking if she wanted to sneak out of her house and come on down that I would help her wrap gifts.  She was amazed and grateful.  She came bearing various gifts, wrapping paper and ribbon.

We spread out on the living room floor - with Christmas music in the background - and wrapped, chatted and laughed.  When she left a couple of hours later, her relief was palpable - that one task was done.

And it's that simple...look around and see what you can do to help.  Buy food for the food bank.  Help an overwhelmed mother.  Open a door for someone whose hands are full.  Smile at strangers.  Slip a couple of bucks into the Salvation Army bucket.  It really isn't that hard.

And it really shouldn't only happen at Christmas...

December 19, 2018

"Over" you to give your child a complex in one easy step...

I was ready to send Man-Child a text when I realized I wanted to reference a previous text and came across THIS gem...

Over you much?! Thanks spell-check...that should have been "Love you much."  And I wonder why this child might need therapy...

December 16, 2018


I have been trying really hard to find the Christmas spirit - but I gotta say shopping or errand-running in monsooning weather makes that hard.  As does being boxed in to a parking spot - not once, not twice but FOUR times in ONE day - since the line of cars refuses to let you out...unless, of course, they want your parking spot.  Or the rude and inconsiderate shoppers that elbow you out of their way.  Or the fact, that my tree STILL wasn't up.

To be honest? By the other night (and again last evening), I was fed up.  As evidenced by this Tweet...

And that, pretty much sums up where I was last night.  Done.

I had asked Man-Child to help his dad move the heavy chair when he was here on Monday night.  Apparently, they forgot about it.  Which was understandable as there was SO much going on with the ridiculous amount of snow and The Husband being sick (he's a bit better - we'll give it few more days and see if those antibiotics kick in).  I had assumed that we would see MC at some point early this weekend.  He had a wedding to attend that I wrongly assumed was in Raleigh...turns out it was in the mountains instead.  I knew I couldn't help the sickly husband move the chair (the darn thing weighs a thousand pounds...what? No, I'm not exaggerating!)  Once I realized that MC wouldn't be coming here, I had decided that this would be the Christmas without a tree!  

Because, although I would like the tree to stay up after the new year, I know me.  I would rather have that tree down and out of the way before I return to work on January 2nd.  Otherwise, that tree could possibly remain standing until July (ok...maybe I tend to exaggerate a TINY bit...).  But seriously?  What would be the point of putting up a tree next week only to take it down the next?

The Husband, sensing my frustration called our neighbor two doors down (I'm thinking I should give them the acronym of ONTDD...nah) and asked if he could help.  He was willing and able.

And saved our Christmas.  Because, I wasn't kidding...if that tree didn't go up this weekend, it wouldn't go up at all.

As soon as our neighbor left, The Husband immediately put the tree up - which I then trimmed this morning.  That coupled with the return of the sun, lifted my mood immediately.

Sadly, our angel decided not to light this year - you'll note she's missing from the top of the tree.  I have The Husband on a mission to find fuses - I'm hoping to save her.  But have resigned myself to the fact that we may have to replace her.

But as I stood in the garage and looked at the TEN storage bins of Christmas decorations, I declared - out loud, so it would count - that this is the year I finally wade through and start donating.  I have said it every year (but not out loud) since we downsized but the task is a daunting one which falls by the wayside with the decorating, shopping, wrapping, etc.

So I did a quick run through of all the boxes and was able to fill three grocery bags.  Later this afternoon - after discovering that my favorite lighted garland had also decided to die filled eleven more bags of things - bringing the total up to fourteen bags - including non-lighted garland, linens (SO MANY linens - linens I'd forgotten I even owned!) and knick-knacks.  All of this will be hauled off to Goodwill bright and early tomorrow.

As of today, I believe I have finished my shopping - except for the hunt for lighted garland for the porch and, possibly, a new angel.  I have one more package to wrap after it arrives tomorrow.

I have given up on the thought of getting Christmas cards out this year.  I had good intentions as we took family pictures over Thanksgiving - but unfortunately, NONE of them came out with a high-enough resolution for I have set that chore aside with absolutely no guilt.  Maybe next year.

So, finally...I am getting there...and finding that Christmas spirit.  Some years it takes a little longer than others, but eventually it always shows up.

December 13, 2018

The oddest gift for a child...

A few days ago, I asked my friend from two doors down what her children wanted for Christmas.

For the baby, I expected "busy" toys.  And was rewarded with that response.  For the oldest, I expected a request for a book and, was again, rewarded.  For the middle I expected a sports-related request.

This child gave me a surprise...

Instead of a football, soccer ball or other related sports equipment she informed me that he wanted an electric pencil sharpener.

An electric pencil sharpener???

Who buys that for a third grader?  What kind of crazy lady would even think that it is an appropriate gift for a child?

I asked her several times, "Are you SURE that's what he wants?"  And every time she responded with a yes.  Apparently, he only had three requests on his list and this particular electric pencil sharpener was on it.

I discussed this at length with The Husband.  How could I order a pencil sharpener for a child?  HOW could that be a gift  that child wanted?  The Husband finally looked at me and said, "Don't you remember the first time you came across an electronic pencil sharpener? And how cool it seemed?"

Apparently, I had forgotten.

And that was how I found myself ordering a pencil sharpener for a third grader.

When I informed her that I bought the EXACT model that he'd requested, she responded that he would be over the moon.

I hope she's right.  Because who buys a pencil sharpener for a Christmas gift?  Apparently, I do.

December 11, 2018

In exile, thanks to the snow...when does the South get THAT much snow anyway?

When I last left you, we were facing a monster snow storm.  And, boy, did we get hammered.  It started early, early Sunday morning and snowed steadily all day; by the time it stopped we had about 12 inches!!!

It was enough that my company, which has NEVER closed in its entire history, closed the office on Monday.

I have lived here in Somewhere, North Carolina for over twenty years - I have NEVER seen anything like this.  The Husband even commented that he hasn't seen anything like this since he moved out of New York state.

Yesterday, I spent the day listening to my husband hack and cough and moan while praying that a plow would come through.  Even if one did, we still couldn't have gotten out because The Husband was too sick to shovel the driveway.

Late yesterday afternoon, Man-Child slid down the street (how he made it through in that low car, I'll never know) and came to our rescue, shoveling most of the driveway and cleaning off the SUV - in the dark no less - which The Husband had planned to take to work this morning when his office opened at 11:00 am.  I begged The Husband to stop at Urgent Care because he sounded so awful.  He finally agreed before he left.  Both he and Man-Child left this morning and I continued to be stranded because the other car was still covered in snow.

During a text exchange with my friend two doors down, I learned that EVERY OTHER STREET in this neighborhood was plowed yesterday!  And? To add insult to injury those streets were plowed TWICE!

I posted on Nextdoor asking why and who should I call to get this street dealt with - utter silence.  In frustration, I used the "Contact Us" option on the NC DOT website - utter silence.  So I called the DOT; sat on hold for about 15 minutes and was finally dumped into their voicemail - which I did not want.  Mainly, because at this point I figured they wouldn't bother to call me back.  It's now been about 4 hours since I used the "Contact Us" option and still haven't heard a word.  I think that pretty much tells me that no, they wouldn't have called me back.

In other news, Habit for Humanity was supposed to show up today to pick up all that stuff in the garage.  Did they show up?  No and I was not surprised, nor upset.  Did they call to re-schedule?  No, they did not and that rankled.  At this point, I'm pretty fed up with any and all agencies.

My lonely exile wasn't long though - after The Husband went to Urgent Care he was sent home with a diagnosis of bronchitis.  They told him he was lucky it wasn't pneumonia; which is what I was worried about.  I told him that if he'd held off going he probably would have ended up with it.

Unbeknownst to me, The Husband had also posted on Nextdoor trying to find someone to clear his car and side of the driveway.  But he posted using my account; so imagine my surprise when I received a direct message from some random guy.  I was hesitant to open it because why would some random guy be sending me a direct message?!  Yes, I AM suspicious.  In this day and age, sadly, you kind of have to be.

This random guy turns out be a nice person, I assume, who offered to come finish the driveway and car - and when asked his price?  He responded with, "Whatever you think is fair." And just like that, he restored my faith in humanity...just in time for Christmas.

And yes, I wrote him a very generous check, am planning to bake some Christmas cookies for his family and am probably going to ask him (he owns his own construction company) about getting me a front door.

December 8, 2018

Christmas Prep....hahahahahaha

I knew that we should have pulled out the Christmas decorations last weekend.  I knew it...but we didn't - because those boxes would have cluttered up the already cluttered and over-stuffed garage and I was hoping that I could get Habitat for Humanity to come pick up the bathroom vanity, freezer, and dresser that currently calls the garage home.

Unfortunately, after I made this very important decision, Habitat for Humanity informed us that they couldn't get here until next Tuesday.... *sigh*

Man-Child came home one night this past week and helped The Husband pull the decorations down - which are now blocking all of the items Habitat for Humanity is supposed to pick up on Tuesday...but who knows if they will even make it now.

Why, you ask?

Because we are currently expecting between 10 to 13 inches of snow between tonight and Monday.  In the South.  Where we NEVER get anything more than a couple of inches.  If anything, we get more ice than snow.  So if this forecast bears out, I'm expecting complete and utter chaos.

Since I am woefully behind on my Christmas shopping, instead of using my day off Friday to decorate, I went shopping for gifts and baking supplies - for our annual treat week day at work on Monday (hahahahaha!  But, in the event the snow event fizzles, I still need to be prepared! *I* planned this, I HAVE to be ready).  And then wrapped - at least in this area I'm ahead of the game - kinda.  Instead of decorating today, I went out and did some more shopping - do you know what would make shopping easier (other than hitting the lottery)?  If my family would actually give me some ideas, that's what. And will probably do some more futile online shopping once I finish this post. 

Prior to sitting down to write this post, I tried to persuade The Husband (who is down with the dreaded Man-Cold; the symptoms of which are already getting on my nerves - God help us if we do get snowed in) to help me get the tree into the house and set up.  But before that can be done, the heavy chair needs to be moved.  He suggested waiting until Man-Child is here.  *Humph!*  We don't know WHEN we will see him again.  Definitely not next weekend, as he is in a wedding.  Perhaps, my time would have been better spent outside decorating...but to be honest?  A day with temperatures hovering in the low 40's does not entice me to spend time outside, wrangling garland around the porch rails - only to discover mid-wrangling that the pre-lit lights don't work or that I have put them on backwards, so that the plug is on the opposite end of the porch from the outlet (one or the other happens EVERY year, I swear).  I'm seriously beginning to believe that our only Christmas decorations this year will be our stockings.

So, as I type this, the house is bare of any Christmas cheer - instead it sits adding to the clutter in the garage - other than the gifts adorned with pretty ribbon.  And baking supplies at the ready for when I'm snowed in and can't do anything else...until we lose power.  Which is entirely possible.