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.