December 31, 2020

Famous last words...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 20, 2020

The Christmas Cookies are saved...maybe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, the Christmas cookies were saved!

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

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

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

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

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

December 12, 2020

Box hoarding, it's a thing.

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

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

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

Then, in the comments, my eyes were opened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exhibit A

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

Exhibit B

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

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

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

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

December 11, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 6, 2020

Hot Water Saga - during a pandemic, no less.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The service tech acted as it everything was fine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 25, 2020

Twas the day before Thanksgiving...

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

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

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

Waited some more.

And a bit more.

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

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

He never received the call. *sigh*

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

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

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

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

Cue me Googling a new home warranty company.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Thanksgiving.

November 15, 2020

Bit by bit. Piece by piece.

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

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

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

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

Guess what I discovered?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 22, 2020

Update from the bunker...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 6, 2020

Finding a silver lining...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let the online shopping commence!  

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


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 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 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 ( 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'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... 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. 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 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.

July 5, 2020

So...what's new?

It's been a minute, I know, since I last posted but in my defense...I'm going to blame the virus - because why not?  And, since I'm not leaving my house and I sit here alone during the week, there is nothing new or exciting to report.

I imagine it's the same for a bunch of us.

The only "fun" thing happening around here is that I have, somehow, come to the attention of some kind of spam bot who, for a while there, was pinging away at the blog thirteen or more comments at a time.  So for now, I've enabled comment moderation - which I hate to do but have no choice at this point.  I'm still getting hit but the number has dropped so hopefully that will go away soon.  (And right after I typed that - the number just jumped up...kinda like NC's COVID numbers are jumping *sigh*)  What's exceptionally irritating is that the "comments" come from the same "person" that I have reported repeatedly.  What gives Blogger?!  What's the point of reporting if you can't stop them?

Also The Husband has started a new project and pulled me in as his assistant and resident IT person.  I'm happy to do it for him - especially since he's enjoying this little project SO much -but it seems to take up a lot of my free time as I'm learning on the fly and he wants it done NOW (only because he's SO excited to see the results; not because he's bossy and demanding).  While he is very appreciative of my efforts and understands that I am learning on the fly, that does not translate into me teaching him how to do any of it.  It turns out he has NO interest in learning the stuff that I've been doing - so until he bores of this new project, I am on duty.

Working from home continues to work out surprisingly well.  I was in an email conversation with a colleague who is still at the office (there are usually only three people on the floor) and she has informed me that she is not mentally ready to have everyone come back  (she has actually mentioned this several times, so much so, that now I don't pop in during the week at all; I only show up when no one else is there.).  But I can't say that I blame her.  I'm not mentally ready either.  Based on a tele-meeting with our team a week or so ago, it looks like we won't be going back for a good bit (thank goodness!), particularly as the numbers continue to go in the wrong direction here.

And when I drive by local shopping centers they continue to be packed.  I know that people are tired and ready to get back to normal...but just because we are tired of it that doesn't mean the virus has just *poof* disappeared!  The whole thing is disheartening.

So much so, that I'm finding myself being even more cautious than I was at the beginning of all this.  As our state started opening up, I began to notice that more and more people were ignoring all the precautions and engaging in risky behavior and I knew I just did not want to be out and about with those same people.

For God's sake, stay home.  Wash your hands.  Wear a mask. Is that really too much to ask?

I find it curious that colleges and universities are planning to open next month.  How?  No, really - how?!  At this point in the game, I really don't see how colleges or any other school can open next month.

I know the colleges, particularly, are itching to get back to their "money makers" i.e., sports (aka football)...but I just don't see how that is feasible at this point.

Man-Child's high school team has started "training" and it seems to be social distanced.  When I voiced my concern, he said that they needed to do it because in the unlikely event that they were able to have a season, the kids needed to be ready...particularly for those kids that weren't doing any kind of training during the lock down.  Which makes sense, I suppose.  You can't expect kids to run out onto the field, cold, and play ball without some serious consequences.  But if this thing continues on - as it appears to be doing, I cannot see there being a football season this year.

Okay.  Well, that would be a dismal ending to a post.

Instead, let's end with this.  The world is on fire both literally and figuratively (again...not so upbeat), but there have been some benefits to *waves hands wildly* all this.

I read an article in the paper the other day about some of the positives from there being no visitors at the local zoo.  Apparently, the lack of visitors have given some of the more reticent animals a chance to reproduce.  Which is good - particularly for those that are endangered.

So - there's that.

June 1, 2020

My heart is heavy...I don't have the words

As I was making cookies, upon request, for Man-Child and one of his best friends yesterday morning - they were coming by for a social distanced lunch yesterday afternoon - I kept wondering..."What was George Floyd's number one recipe request of his mother?"  Chocolate chips?  Peanut butter cookies?  Or maybe he loved her pies?  Or maybe her deviled eggs.

What about Ahmaud Arbery?  What about the thousands of others?

As I baked, I thought of their mothers.  The fear, which had to have been constant while they raised their boys.  Their broken hearts.

My heart was heavy.  None of those deaths - those broken hearts - were warranted.  They should have never happened.

But they did.

And then the world exploded.

The rioting - but is it really?  Some reports state that outside agitators are to blame.  Some reports state that protesters are peaceful - I certainly hope so.  Whatever the case, things need to change.  And quickly.  This should all be behind us by now.  The fact that it's not is beyond shameful.

We raised Man-Child to judge a person on their character - and it shows in the vast array of friends he has.  There have only been two in his entire life where I had to ask him - "Look at how these people treat you.  Is that the behavior of a true friend?"  He eventually would agree - that is NOT how you treat your friends.

As Man-Child and his best friend walked through the door yesterday afternoon - the physical difference immediately pale and one brown.  Both beautiful, wonderful humans.  One said, "Hi Mom!"  The other, "Hi, Mama G!"  And my heart swelled with love.

We fed them, laughed with them and gave them cookies and milk.  Then we listened to the boys give each other grief - lovingly, of course - as we chatted about random things.

I don't have the words to express the feelings I have for what has been going on.  I have no answers as how to effect change.  But this I know - children do NOT know hate.  Hate is taught.  As parents, that is one of the most important lessons we must teach - love and inclusion.

As I watched the boys walk away, laughing and joking, I said a prayer for both of them, but I may have said an extra prayer for the one who called me Mama G.  And it broke my heart that I needed to say an extra prayer.  That shouldn't be necessary.

May 30, 2020

Seventy-four days...

Today marks seventy-four days since my lock down began.

For seventy-three of those days, I haven't worn any jewelry.  I don't know why - there was no conscious thought behind it.  I just didn't.

This morning as I was getting dressed to head into the office (I've been going in for a couple hours on the weekends to get things done that I can't do from here), I reached for my watch, rings, and earrings.  I even spritzed on some perfume - another thing I haven't done for seventy-three days.

It felt normal-ish.

Although my ears, it appears, seemed to think those very light hoops weighed a ton.  Eventually though I forgot I had them on - again, normal-ish.  Until about ten minutes ago, when my ears began to rebel and began to itch - so I just removed them.

I guess my ears just need to get used to the earrings again.

I can't remember when I gave up on the contacts though.  But it's been a long while now since I've put them in and am wondering if I will ever wear them on a daily basis again.  I guess we shall to speak.

I do remember WHY I gave up the contacts though.  I ordered a counted cross stitch kit.  Yes, I am teaching myself how to cross stitch.  You'd be surprised at how much time it can kill when you get on a roll.  I had to take the contacts out in order to see what I was doing.  So I found it easier to skip the contacts, wear my glasses all day and just take them off when I'm doing the cross stitch.

The first two projects (neither of which I plan to keep) came out okay.  I'm on my fourth project (the third had to be set aside for a bit because I screwed it up SO royally that I had to remove all the stitches - I figure that was a very ambitious project so the fourth project will hopefully teach me enough to go back and re-start/finish it...eventually - if I don't get bored with this activity first).

I ordered lunch from our local Mexican restaurant today for curbside pickup.  As I waited, I noticed there was a large sign on the door stating that only 80 patrons could be inside at any given time.  And as I waited, I watched several people walk up and go in - all without protection and all without giving it a second thought.

I wonder if it will ever feel normal to go out for lunch again?

Actually, a co-worker called me yesterday to see if I wanted to meet for lunch.  I explained I was still staying in - but I will admit I was tempted for half a second.  And I'm praying that she is being safe while out and about.

Technically, I had a dentist appointment last Wednesday - one that had been re-scheduled twice during lock down - and I called and re-scheduled it for August because, even though I know they are taking precautions, I just didn't feel comfortable about going.

I wonder if it will ever feel normal to go to the dentist again?

Heading into a grocery store or a drug store when absolutely necessary garbed up with the mask makes me jittery.  Seeing all the unmasked and unconcerned (seemingly) masses really ups the jitters.

Will it ever feel normal to walk into a store - unmasked - again?

Really though, what I wonder about the most is whether or not I will ever feel comfortable about going out, for no real reason, again?