July 23, 2021

One paint job leads to another and another and....

 As I am sure you are breathlessly awaiting a report on whether or not The Husband ever noticed the door from the garage being painted; I am here to tell you he has not.  Nor has he noticed that the front door has been painted.

Are any of us surprised?  No, dear reader, we are not.  

Not that I really care - I just find it hilarious that he claims to have "excellent observation skills" - just apparently not in the subject of home decor.

As for the front door - I painted it with the paint that was meant to be for the new front door - don't worry, there is plenty left over for the new door...that will eventually be mine.












This hideous burgundy is GONE!


Marine Blue - so much better! I hate this door just a
titch less now.

On to another paint topic...

First, it should be noted that I don't despise painting.  Oh, I'm not constantly running around looking for something to paint...but usually I don't mind it.

Well over a year or so ago I finally persuaded The Husband (the man who seems to abhor color...until it's actually on the walls, etc. and THEN decides he loves it) to agree to have our porch ceilings painted haint blue - which my heart has been set on for YEARS.

But then - COVID and LIFE got in the way.  First there was COVID, then The Oven Died - Part 1The Hot Water SagaThe Oven Died Again - Christmas Edition; the Second Once in a Lifetime Tree Event...you get the idea...life.

At any rate, when The Husband asked me a couple of weeks ago what I wanted for my birthday (about two days before the actual day...what can I say, he likes to *plan ahead*) I told him I wanted to get something on the calendar for someone to come out and give us a quote to paint the porch ceilings.

Notice, all I wanted was a solid date for someone to give us an estimate.  I can happily state that he made that particular birthday wish happen and then some.  The guy came out last Wednesday and then came back on Thursday and voilá - my porch ceilings are haint blue! 

I was fine with having someone do the ceilings - despite not minding painting - because I was unsure how to approach this particular task and I truly didn't feel comfortable spending that much time on a tall ladder.


I love it!
Again - I REALLY need to figure out the basics of photography
because this example in no way portrays what is actually
going on out there.

Gosh, that man knows how to make my heart go pitter-patter, doesn't he?

But then I apparently lost my ever loving mind.

I will admit - I can be a bit...what's the word?  Hmmmm....

Particular - we'll go with that as it's the kindest word for it that I can come up with - about things.

*And here's we segue into an aside - which does pertain to everything else - but these are things you need to know as to understand how we landed here.*

Somewhere, way back in the archives while trying to find THE perfect color for the door that I still don't have (although that color up there on the door IS perfect for the door that will eventually be mine), I have mentioned that this house has green undertones - but I don't know if I ever mentioned that all the trim is cream.

Now, technically, I don't have anything against cream but that would be the LAST color I would ever choose for trim because it just seems dingy to me usually.  I would have gone with white trim.

And honestly, if money were no object, one of the many things that I would do immediately is wave a magic wand and make all the trim white.  As it is, I am slowly chipping away at the cream where I can.

*And now we are back to the regular programming.*

While my heart is over the moon with those blue ceilings do you know what it brought sharply into focus á la  If You Give A Mouse A Cookie?  

If you guessed the cream trim you get a gold star.

So, it was glaringly apparent that the porch and the trim needed to be painted white.  

And I figured I was up for it even though I'd never actually painted a porch before.  Which thrilled The Husband as he absolutely HATES painting.  But what I did not take into consideration is that of ALL the painting jobs there are in the world - the one I dislike the most is painting trim.

Guess what a porch is?

Technically, trim.  Trim on a screened porch.  Screen which The Husband says would be next to impossible for us amateurs to replace perfectly, so taking it off was off the table.

Guess what else?  That porch that I spent an entire day cleaning about a month ago needed to be cleaned again.  Why?  Because it's outside.  And because that is where the dirt, pollen and bugs live.  And it needed to be wiped down every single day that I was painting because of dirt, pollen and bugs. *sigh*

Guess what else?  Dirt, pollen, bugs and random strands of my hair seem to LOVE fresh, wet paint as I had to continually pull one or all of these things out of the paint tray for the past four days.

Basically, I was in hell.  

It was agonizing but I can tell you this - I will NEVER, EVER paint another porch again.  NEVER.  

Knowing what I know now, I would have done the ceilings and had the painter do the rest.

But as of this moment, it's DONE.


Since I was sprucing things up I went ahead and ordered a
rug and re-arranged the furniture.  I must say, I'm
pretty pleased with the results.

But...you know...those back steps off the freshly painted porch are looking mighty shabby...


July 7, 2021

How long before he notices?

 Late last week, I looked up and realized that July was upon us (how?!) and realized I have a LOT of vacation time that I need to use between now and the end of the year.

I fired off an email to my boss mentioning that I would be taking this week off - well, the four days of this week since Monday was technically a holiday.

After wandering aimlessly around the house yesterday, I decided that today SOMETHING would get done.

My list of SOMETHINGS THAT MUST BE DONE is a long one, to be sure - so I had a plethora of choices.  I decided, on a mere whim, (well, let's be honest - most of the time that is the way most things get done around here...on a whim) I decided that today was THE day to touch up the paint in the various spots around the house that make me twitch every time I see them.

Now, honestly, this wasn't a HUGE job.  But it involved dragging out the paint, stirring it until it actually returned to the actual texture of paint (at least 20 minutes...maybe longer.  Or maybe I exaggerate...who knows?  It felt like forever), discovering that we have paint rollers in multiple sizes - none of which had an indicator of what size cover they might need, by the way.  Along with multiple covers...none of which fit the aforementioned paint rollers.  *sigh*  Which necessitated a quick trip to the local paint store - where I somehow magically picked up a cover that actually fit one of our rollers and a couple of those sponge paint applicators things.

First, those sponge applicator things are PERFECT for touch up jobs - at least when using the original paint as the touch up paint.  As of now, all those areas that made me twitch are gone.  Also, apparently, at some point in time, we had a bunch of drunken monkeys with greasy fingers touching every single wall in this house from knee level down...that must have been some kind of party!  It's a shame I don't remember it.

While I was waiting for the touch up jobs to dry I decided to touch up the back door - at one point a couple of years ago, we had that door painted and then shortly thereafter replaced the hardware on the door.  

*Pro tip: have the door painted AFTER updating the hardware - it will make your life much easier, I promise.  Otherwise, you will look at that door every day for about two years until you get around to fixing it - ask me how I gained this knowledge...*

Around the time we originally had that back door painted, there were plans to have the door from the garage into the house painted...that never happened for various reasons including weather and then COVID.

But today, since the paint was out anyway...that door got the first coat of paint.  Technically, it's too hot here to paint that outdoor door (humidity, heat, etc.) but I grabbed the oscillating fan that we bought when the AC went out earlier this year...

(what?! I didn't tell you about it?  Bad blogger!  Actually, it wasn't that big of a deal but it was a perfect item to have on hand for todays impromptu job)

and, hopefully - fingers crossed, I dried that door enough so that the paint won't peel off when I open it again tomorrow to finish the job.  We shall see.

What's amazing about today's job (and then some) being semi-completed - there was absolutely NO PREP.  No taping things off; laying down protective cover, etc. - and yet, shockingly, paint landed only where it needed to be.  For once, I came out of a paint job without paint in my hair - for me this is miraculous.

I'm seriously considering painting the much despised front door tomorrow - I figure it may not transform that stupid door into the one I actually want with a paint job but at least the dreadful burgundy will be gone.  I know that paint magically only landing where it should is a once in a life time event - so I shall most likely do some prep and end up with paint in my hair.

The most hilarious thing about all of this - The Husband never noticed that the door from the garage into the house was painted...despite this being our MAIN entrance and knowing that I had the paint out.

Let's see how long it takes him to notice, shall we?  

As for that front door?  Well, if I actually follow through and paint it, he will never notice; of this I am positive.



June 24, 2021

Irritants.

Well, it's been a minute, hasn't it?  And it's not like I was off doing wild, fun and exotic things.

No, things here have been ticking along as usual...until the other day.

***

Disclaimer...I rarely rant talk about work here for reasons...but mainly because if you don't work with the same lunacy that I do, I'm sure it is boring for you.  

Oh sure, I've been MIA for a while now so why not come right out of the gate with a rant or two?  Obviously, if I had more pleasant things to chat about, I'd start with that...but I don't so...

***

Out of the clear blue, on Monday - I (along with a whole host of other people) received an email from IT informing me/us that we were set to be "migrated" to our overlord's, The Mothership's HQ's computer system.  This was annoying in and of itself - particularly since we were "just" upgraded two years ago.  And the fact that our overlord, The Mothership HQ is increasingly requesting that we do the most ridiculous things, for the most ridiculous reasons, in a VERY ridiculously short amount of time.

This is not limited to IT issues - oh no!  This is rippling out across the company and we are seeing it pop up in the most random ways.

For instance, just the other day, we were informed that we now need to add an extra step or three whenever we need to request a check for a vendor.  It's inefficient and a waste of everyone's time...but here we are.  Our overlord, The Mothership HQ has demanded it; so it shall be done.  *sigh*

At any rate, back to the migration...Tuesday afternoon, I received the new laptop - I mean, I knew they said I would be migrated "soon" - but this seemed to rushing it a bit.  So I began to frantically copy every single thing I could think of in the most likely event that things would be lost during the migration.  I'm not a complete fool.

Of course, that meant that rather than actually doing work, I was busy copying things.  *sigh*

Wednesday morning, I received instructions that my migration would take place that night - and included a ream of instructions that were attached.  

My workspace today around 3:00 pm...
when I said a ream of instructions, I wasn't kidding.

The first of which suggested that I print, send to my personal email, OR take pictures (yes, IT actually instructed us to take our cell phones and take pictures of all these instructions) as our old computer would self-destruct be unavailable after 6:00 am this morning.

Luckily, I have a fair grasp on the technology so I *thought* I could escape this pointless exercise fairly unscathed...but...well...refer to the picture above.

I have been able to salvage all of my documents/cheat sheets, etc.  Connecting to printers, other than the one residing in my home?  A little bit more challenging.  I'm hoping that when I sneak into the office tomorrow afternoon - barring any issues with getting online once there - that I can rectify the problem on my own.

Why am I stubbornly hoping to fix the issue on my own?  Simple.  Our overlord, The Mothership HQ has deemed our IT help desk to be inferior to their own help desk...which means that any help I request that is more specific in nature (i.e., not a general question such as, "how do I make my document "sideways" - landscape might be the word they were looking for) is met with stupefied silence before being told that they need to "look into it."  

Our help desk, generally, was pretty good at hearing your problem and having the right person fix it.  Which, in turn, meant that the next time I had a problem with that particular application, I knew who to turn to for help.  Which has now been declared taboo - as evidenced when I called one of those persons (who also agreed that this particular task was being RUSHED through without forethought of the actual ramifications) this morning and was told that she couldn't help - that I HAD to go through the "new" help desk.  Eventually, the folks at the new help desk were able to help me fix the issue - but when I need I help, i generally need it now and I need boots on the ground here; that knows EXACTLY what I am talking about since they have been dealing with the exact same application since it was initially installed a million years ago.

***

A side note - when this whole "thing" (deal, transaction, whatever) went down - those of us left over from the old company were told that the company was acquired for knowledge of the business.  Pardon me while I laugh hysterically....

As if.  If that were true, we wouldn't be having this entire conversation - nor would I have the other thoughts swirling in my brain as I type that ALSO refutes that entire premise.  But, none of that is relevant to today's issue.

***

On the plus side, for the most part, I have figured out how to put most things to rights.  And I can amuse myself with the fact that the "new" help desk will, very soon, be INUNDATED with certain people (those who can't figure out how to actually turn ON the computer; much less how to archive anything) receive these instructions.  *insert evil laugh here*


May 26, 2021

Seasonal Foods - Juniper News - A New to Us App

Buckle up buttercups - this is going to be a ping-pong kind of post where we jump from random topic to random topic...or, in other words, pretty much how every conversation (in real life) with me can sometimes go...

***

The high today was in the mid-80's.  But The Husband was in the kitchen concocting a soup.

This is a topic that we have disagreed on for all the years we've been married.  In my mind soups, stews, chilis, etc. are hearty dishes that are "cool weather" dishes. He disagrees and thinks that anything goes any time of the year - the weirdo.

My thoughts on seasonal foods extend into desserts.  To me, I would group praline cake and any other "heavier" type of dessert into a "cool weather" dish.  And a lemon pound cake or coconut cake - these are all "warm weather" desserts...much to Man Child's consternation - as the praline cake is one of his favorites and I am loathe to make it in the summer months.  In his mind, any dessert is free from my seasonal no-no list - it's obvious he gets this insanity from his father, the weirdo.

***

MOST OF THE JUNIPER IS OUT!  Granted, we've still got the hot mess going on up next to the house (I'll deal with that another day), but the main vermin and weed infested eyesore is GONE.


I never claimed to be a photographer...

As of yesterday, the grass seed is spread and we are crossing our fingers and hoping that grass actually comes in.  But, honestly, at this point of the game I'd rather look at dirt than at that damn juniper.

But still - let's take a moment to bow our heads and pray for the grass to grow...

***

As we all know, I am not the "chef" in this house - hence the need for me to show up at the grocery store is rare - unless it involves wine or baking supplies.  I am lucky - I admit it.  I also REALLY appreciate it - it's one of the many reasons I keep him around despite him being a weirdo that wants soup in the middle of summer.

At any rate, all of that to say - I just heard about grocery store apps.  I'm sure the majority of you know about these little miracles - so I am here to talk to those of you that don't.  Somewhere in my internet travels, I happened upon something that mentioned them - normally, I would have skimmed right over that knowledge and never thought of it again - but this time it caught my attention because The Husband had JUST returned from the grocery store and had forgotten a much needed item AGAIN - which, in the whole scheme of things isn't a disaster usually, as he will probably be back at the grocery store before I can blink - I swear, I think the grocery store people see him more than I do.

At any rate, I did some research (have you met me?  Of course, I did!) and downloaded the Our Groceries app onto both of our phones.  I then showed The Husband how it all worked.  With this app, we can add items to the grocery list that updates in real time on both of our phones.  I cautioned him that we would both need to remember to check it...figuring he would promptly forget all about the app.

I was wrong.

Last night, I was playing with the app - trying to figure out all the ins and outs and added some things to the list - meaning to delete them.  What can I say - I forgot.  The next thing I know, The Husband comes walking in the door with all of the items from the list.  Luckily for me, it was all staples so nothing will go to waste.

At any rate, this app is - so far - a keeper for us - as long as we both keep remembering to check it.

So what say you, friends?  Is soup, chili, etc. a "cool weather" food or do you follow The Husband's devil-may-care attitude when it comes to seasons and food?

May 19, 2021

Priorities...his, mine and ours

 Swistle's most recent post got me to thinking...well, actually I have been thinking this for a while but that post made me want to articulate what I've been thinking.

As we all know, there are MANY projects that I would love to have done around here - including that stupid front door that STILL isn't done.  In fact, there has been absolutely NO progress on this front.

Yes, I should probably step in and start making phone calls...but, here's the thing...he knows more about this kind of thing than I do and has connections that I don't.  

BUT - The Husband, who has been dithering over whether or not to fix or replace the shed for the last year or so finally made a decision.  And *just like that* the shed has been fixed and re-painted - and from the time it took for him to make the decision to completion was just two weeks.  Imagine.

But yet, here we are THREE years later and that front door?  Apparently, not a priority in his book...despite the fact that he *just* remarked how dreary the house is when it's overcast. *sigh*

Now, I'm not going to lie...having the shed usable is great, as the garage doesn't need to house EVERY.SINGLE.THING! and I am reaping the benefits of it.  But, I'm a tad resentful, as that seems to have had a higher priority to the one, little thing that I desire.

All this tells me that, sometimes it seems that my priorities seem to take a backseat to his priorities.  And we need to have a conversation about that.

But then, sometimes our priorities happen to align...aka The Juniper.  

This is only a portion of it - it spans the entire front yard,
including the other side of the driveway.

We both agree it is an eyesore - infested with weeds and snakes.  And, the majority of it should be removed next week.  Hopefully.  

After the door debacle, as you might imagine, I have my doubts...but *fingers crossed*

Next on the list?  That damn front door.

May 2, 2021

It's that time of year again...

...when it's time to begin the annual battle with weeds and that damn blackberry bush.  As a side note, I have just realized I've been battling with that blackberry bush since 2016!  You would have thought by now it would have just given up.

It's almost as bullheaded as I am...but as I told each and every one of those sprigs I pulled up yesterday, it should just go ahead and give up because I will yank each and every one out until the day I die, because I will not concede!

I am going to try to follow the strategy of getting out there at least once a week to yank out any of the blackberry bush or other unwelcome weeds.  That was my plan last year and I don't remember it being too onerous; once the initial purge was done.

Today found me gathering all my courage and heading out to tackle the front beds...that are filled with juniper...which critters just LOVE.  Again, I avoided the bed of juniper on the slope near the road because I know for a fact that at least one snake lives in there.  I planned to tackle the beds up near the house, where I have told myself that snakes wouldn't want to live.  Yes, I lie to myself all the time when necessary...don't try to talk me out of it.  Otherwise, these beds would NEVER be weeded.

But, come to think of it, if I let the weeds take over would it actually choke out and kill the juniper?  Hmmm....something to ponder.  Particularly since I now hate the juniper as much as, if not more, than that damn blackberry bush.  Would the weeds kill it before it came to the homeowner's association's notice?  Doubtful.

We have a guy coming tomorrow to give us a quote on removing the snake infested juniper on the slope.  The Husband asked me what I would be willing to spend on this project.  I told him that everything we had seemed reasonable.  

His concern is that we wouldn't be able to grow grass on that slope and would have to spend big money on putting in a long retaining wall.  I'm thinking if we sod the area, it would be okay.  The neighbors on either side of us have the same slope, minus the juniper and they have grass.  So, I'm crossing my fingers that the price is right and my sod solution works.  And, as I told The Husband, even if it doesn't work and everything washes away that would still be preferable to having that snake infested mess in the front yard.

April 6, 2021

Shall we talk about eyebrows for a minute?

Yes, after a slightly introspective post, we are back to the inane.  (As an aside, if you want a deeper, more introspective post regarding returning to "Normal" you just need to click this link.)

So, I called you all here to talk about the exciting topic of eyebrows.  Riveting, I know.

Here's the deal, up until December I had never really given any thought to my eyebrows.  Other than knowing that I was not a fan of the thick, overly defined, square eyebrows that was a recent fad (I think this fad is over, I hope).


This version is not as extreme as some I witnessed.

Years from now younger women everywhere will cringe at the fact that this particular fad is all over the internet for eternity.  Whereas, the ridiculous fads those of us who are older dabbled in as teens will only show up on the internet if we post them.  That's one perk for us Gen Xers.

At any rate, back to the eyebrows in question...mine.  I have never given mine much thought.  I will tweeze them to keep them from becoming quite unruly.  But I've never been an over zealous tweezer.

My mother, on the other hand, used to tweeze ALL of her brows, leaving only a "starting point" from which she would then draw on her brows every single day.  This practice seemed overtly tedious to me from the time I began to worry about such things.  I figured I had brows so there was no reason to pluck them off and start over - besides my drawing skills aren't the best.

As a result, for the majority of my life, when applying my "face" for the day my brows were either ignored or, at most, might get "brushed," if I was feeling extra fancy.  Although, in truth...why was that ever a thing?  Your brows grow the way they grow.  You either tweeze out the unruly ones or not.  I might be wrong but it seems brushing them really does nothing for them.

Anyway, sometime back in November or December I was watching an Instagram Live after the fact and the woman doing the Live was answering questions as she waited for whoever to join and someone in the comments said something about how nice her brows looked.  And I was like, "Wait...what?  She does something with her brows?"  Because honestly, I would have never guessed she penciled in her brows. 

You should note - this Instagram Live had absolutely NOTHING to do with eyebrows. 

So I paused the video and examined her brows closely...as one does.  And then I compared a still shot where her brows were NOT done with the shot where they WERE done (yes, I realize after typing that out I sound completely crazy.  And you aren't completely wrong.) and there was a difference - it was subtle but it was there.

Shortly after that I began to notice other people talking about eyebrows and hearing at least two people say something along the lines of you don't HAVE to do your brows but they are kinda important and make a difference (neither of these people have the exaggerated brows visualized above).

One day, as I was putting on my make-up, I took a hard look at my eyebrows (because, obsessed much?) and determined they were okay BUT I did notice a few white hairs - which couldn't/shouldn't be removed because of placement - were making my brows look "patchy." (Also, as an aside, white eyebrows and eyelashes?  Really?  Like dying my hair isn't enough maintenance?  Not to mention the blow to my dignity?)  I then ordered an eyebrow pencil immediately.

What have I learned from this experiment?  Those ladies were right - you don't NEED to do your eyebrows but if you do it you WILL see a difference.

So - have you studiously ignored your brows all these years?  Or has this been a thing that I have obviously been oblivious to for all of my make-up wearing life?  Dish in the comments.



March 28, 2021

Contemplating the return to "normal"

This past year has slowed down our lives quite a bit, hasn't it?

Yesterday, I went to the empty office, as I usually do every Saturday since this whole pandemic began to change our way of life, to handle those pesky tasks that can't be handled from home.

As I walked through the empty halls, I reflected.  I remembered the recent tweets about missing the children who where back in school, the same people who complained while they where stuck at home with entire families for a year.  I get it.  Having the people under your feet while you try to work and having to home school at the same time; must be extraordinarily difficult; luckily this has not been a problem for me.  But that time spent together was also a boon, as parents don't usually get this intimate look into their children's lives spent at school - and I think some people are realizing that as we edge ever closer to returning to "normal."

Yes, there was a whole year lost.  BUT what did we gain/learn?

We leaned in hard to our immediate family.  We remembered how precious our little families are.  And, how VERY precious those who weren't in our immediate households were...you know, those that aren't exactly family...but yet, they are.

I also learned that the "go, go!" pace of life is stifling; much more stifling than living a more quiet, slow life.  I learned that slowing down to watch the peony bloom and then die back in our backyard is pretty amazing.

I learned that life doesn't necessarily need to be lived primarily in an office.  In fact, when I went into the empty office yesterday, I was only there for forty minutes.  Yep, less than an hour.  Which tells me, but most likely NOT HR, that I can do the majority of my job with minimal time in the office.

I understand that I am not the majority of most of the people I know.  Many of my co-workers are very social and are pining to go back to the office.  But, I imagine, that most of them are also dreading having to wake up at 4:45 am (that's what time I used to get up in order to read the paper, have my coffee and get dressed) and head into the office at the crack of dawn.

I DO miss being able to go out to eat with my friends and colleagues.  I DO miss browsing in a store for no good reason.  Shockingly enough, I don't miss it nearly as much as I thought I would though.  I DO miss going to the movies, plays, concerts, etc. I miss hugging my friends, I miss visiting with them minus the masks.  I miss seeing Man-Child more often...but to be honest, now that he has a new girlfriend, even if everything went back to normal tomorrow, I probably still won't see him as much as I would like.  I would dearly love to have someone cut my hair.  My last cut was in December 2019 where I, famous last words?, said, "Oh the length is fine, I just need a few layers up top." I miss my shoes and some of my clothes - even though we went business casual a couple of years ago and business wear was frowned upon (you weren't embracing the new company "culture" if you insisted on wearing business wear) but I'd sneak in a few of my favorites now and then.  I miss all of those things.

But, when things do go back to normal - I believe our office is hoping to open up at the end of April - I will miss going out to check on the peony's progress as it begins to bud during the day.  I will miss witnessing it open up in an explosion of blooms and going out every other day or so to snip one or two to keep me company as I work.

I will miss being so very productive, work-wise.  When I'm in the office, there are SO many interruptions...phones ringing that need to be answered, random people stopping by to chat or, perhaps, they have something they need to have handled interrupting whatever I am currently working on, pointless (mostly) meetings, dealing with the very few people who made my work life a living hell on a day to day basis (this may have been the best part of the last year; next to zero contact with those people) etc.

I cannot lie, I will also miss having the ability to get a few things done around the house without having to cram it all into the weekend.  Have a minute?  Throw in a load of laundry.  Have another minute or three?  Dust or vacuum the living room.

As crazy as he sometimes makes me, I will miss having lunch with The Husband just about every day (we work too far apart for this happen during a "normal" work week).

Both The Husband and I received our first round of vaccination last week - so when things DO open up completely, we should be safe.  But, as we have both discussed, after all this time neither of us is in a rush to do everything all at once - our routine has been altered and we are seeing some benefit in this un-asked for altering.

As a matter of fact, I have tickets for a concert that was re-scheduled from last year to next month (honestly, I think it will either be re-scheduled or cancelled soon) and even with being vaccinated, if it's not cancelled/re-scheduled, I do not think I will feel comfortable attending...despite the fact that I absolutely love this artist.  If I have to kiss that money spent good-bye, so be it.

So yes, I am looking forward to life returning to "normal" (will it though?  Or have we been changed forever?  These are questions that have not yet been answered.) and will also mourn some of the blessings we had during this past, very trying, year.

March 16, 2021

A mystery...

 On Sunday, The Husband decided to make a large pot of black-eyed peas for the convalescent neighbor two doors down.  And then suggested that I should make some cornbread to accompany his offering. I agreed; particularly since cornbread is a no-brainer recipe.

I pulled out the cookbook - despite the recipe being a no-brainer, it is NOT one that I have memorized, unfortunately.  As I turned to the page where this recipe resides I was met with a surprise.

The entire page was gone.

GONE.

How?  Where?

This book is at least thirty years old and is coming apart at the seams.  Literally.  So, I pulled everything out of the cabinet where the book resides hoping that the page had somehow fallen out and landed behind something.

Nope.

I then rifled through the cookbook itself, thinking maybe the page had fallen out and I had mindlessly shoved it back in randomly without remembering it.

Nope.

Then I remembered, Bonus Daughter had asked that I send her a copy of the recipe about a month or so ago and that page was in the book then.  So I was able to find that email and re-create the recipe; but the question still remains...where is that elusive page?  It's not a random piece of paper with ingredients listed that might have been tossed without a thought.  It's obviously part of a book with multiple recipes on both sides.

Having recovered the recipe, I set the question of where that page might be aside for a moment while I set about making said recipe.  The recipe which I planned on doubling, knowing how many people are in that household.

Which then had me looking around for the second cast iron skillet.  A skillet that is rarely used but was one that I KNEW we had.  As a side note, yes.  A cast iron skillet is perfect for making cornbread.  Of course, you can use any kind of pan; but I prefer to use a cast iron skillet for cornbread.

As I was relaying the news of the missing page to The Husband I was rummaging around looking for that second skillet when he asked, "What are you looking for now?"  I told him and he responded that he had no idea where that skillet might be.

I stopped rummaging around, looked at him and said, "So, you are telling that what we have here is that someone came into this house with the express purpose of stealing that page from the cookbook AND a skillet? "

Mr. Smarty-Pants responded that maybe they were looking to open a cornbread store.

HaHa.

I still have not located that page but The Husband finally admitted that he may have tossed that skillet for some ridiculous reason (HIM, the one who NEVER throws/gives away ANYTHING) - but, it is important to note, he blamed it on ME.  Saying that I'm always saying that we should get rid of things we don't use.  Which, is true, but I don't toss unless it's actual trash.  Otherwise, it gets sent to Goodwill.  And I DO use that pan.  Now, where on earth is that page?!  It's a mystery that will plague me until either I die or find it.

March 7, 2021

Notes from the bunker...

 As you might imagine, life around here has been very quiet - which is welcome after our last brush of excitement, after all that I figure I need to embrace the boring existence.

We have had the tree service out for an estimate and are still reeling from the sticker shock.  I mean, we KNEW it was going to be high...but not quite that high.  But, seeing as this particular company has the equipment to pick up all the trees, feed them into a chipper and drive all the remnants away in one day - well, when you look at it from that angle the estimate seems accurate.

We are hopeful that they can get us on the books for later this week.  Because between you and me?  I'm tired of being flabbergasted all over again when I open the blinds each morning.

My friend's husband was scheduled for shoulder surgery last Friday.  I used this as an opportunity to finally break down and try The Lazy Genius' Absolute Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I have shied away from this recipe for several reasons.  One, because I'm pretty happy with my own recipe.  Two, the dough needs to chill for at least 48 hours.  And three, and this is the big one, the recipe calls for browned butter.  I have never even HEARD of browned butter prior to this recipe.  And it sounds intimidating since, apparently, it can go from browned to burnt fairly quickly.

Now, with all these reasons to NOT make these cookies, why did I choose to go for it?  Mainly, because I kept hearing how amazing these cookies are and I'm trying to move beyond my comfort zone in the baking arena.

So I started the dough last Wednesday afternoon.  And I cannot tell you how much I stressed while browning the butter.  I certainly did not burn it (YAY!) but I have a sneaking suspicion that I didn't brown it enough.  But I powered through and put the cookies in the extra fridge to rest for 48 hours.  

Friday afternoon, I pulled the dough out and started baking.  I cooled the first batch and did a taste test.  Well, that really isn't a fair taste test because ANY chocolate chip cookie warm from the oven is ALWAYS good.  

The true taste test came on Saturday when I had a cookie with my coffee as a treat.  The taste of the cookie IS awesome and I cannot dispute that it is a good cookie.  But...I prefer my chocolate chip cookies to be a little crispier - she prefers a chewier cookie...to each their own.  I think next time, I may make my usual recipe and add the browned butter and see what happens.

At any rate, I sent a big batch down the street to the convalescent and his family and left the remainder at the office for the few people who still go in on a daily basis.

The Husband spent this morning making some food to send down, as my friend is in the trenches, keeping her husband (who has to keep his arm immobile for the next six weeks before he can even think about rehab) comfortable and keeping three children alive.

When I called to let her know we had some food for them, she informed me that all the cookies are already gone.

Once the older two boys showed up at the doorstep to retrieve said food I was told, "Mom ate all the cookies*.  She** wonders if there might be more?"

Unfortunately, there is not.  But I may have promised some treats soon as, obviously, these were a hit two doors down.

I had mentioned my stress over the browned butter on Twitter and friend responded with the news that browned butter in peanut butter cookies is amazing.  After this experience, I can see how that would be outstanding and will be trying that soon.


*I know for a fact she did not.

**I think the "she" in this instance may, in fact, be the boys.

February 25, 2021

Because....of course that's how it would go.

 As we last discussed, I gussied myself up for a dental appointment...only to show up three days early.

Last night, as I prepped for bed, I reminded The Husband that I needed to be up and ready to go this morning.  Accordingly, he set his alarm for his usual time - which would give me PLENTY of time to get ready to be "public" ready.

You can see where this is going, can't you?

This morning, I woke, stretched, looked at the clock and jumped out of bed asking, "Aren't you going to work today?!"

This lead to him jumping out of bed, cursing...because apparently he had an early meeting starting in twenty minutes.  Which meant that my preening would have to wait.  It appears he set his alarm for 6:00 pm and not 6:00 AM.

The difference between the two is...to put it mildly, HUGE.  

He made his meeting.  I made my appointment.  But there was no time for preening.  I showed up with minimal makeup, hair thrown up into a pony tail, of sorts and in a sore need for caffeine.

Am I surprised?

At this point, no.  I am no longer surprised by anything.

So the whole day has been out of whack...which is the way of the world when your day starts off with you running behind.  

Here's hoping tomorrow will be smoother sailing.

February 22, 2021

Monday...the pandemic edition

 I noticed an alarm from my calendar early on Sunday evening.  It informed me that I had a dentist appointment this morning.

Well!  THAT was an exciting adventure to start my Monday!  This morning, after The Husband left for work, I began to get dressed...what?  I was GOING SOMEWHERE to see OTHER PEOPLE.

I washed my hair, did my makeup (more so than I usually do since the pandemic began), I added jewelry AND perfume...something I normally skip these days.  Yes, I still wash my hair, shower and add minimal makeup...but the jewelry and perfume usually, these days, sit on the dresser; unused.

Timing my arrival to the tee, I drove into town.  I was practically giddy...to get my teeth cleaned.

This is where we are now...I accept it.

While driving in, I wondered why I hadn't received an email, text or phone call confirming my appointment.  I swatted that worrying thought away from my brain...despite the fact that I have ALWAYS received a notification at least one business day prior to my appointment.

I pulled into a parking spot, dialed the number, and informed the receptionist that I was here for my appointment.

Whereupon, she informed me that my appointment is actually scheduled for Thursday.  🤦

Because of course it is!

Between you and me, I'm beginning to wonder about my state of mind.

So this is where I am now...

February 15, 2021

My life is either really, really boring or it's NOT - apparently there is no in between.

 Isn't THAT the truth!  If you've been around here for any amount of time, you are nodding along in agreement.

About two years ago, we had a winter "event" that was pretty significant - but apparently, not significant enough to post a follow up.

So, long story short, that event took months to rectify.  Mainly, because The Husband kept insisting he could deal with it.  The pictures, as bad as they were, do not capture just HOW bad it was.

Eventually, he caved and called a company to come deal with the damage.  It was amazing how quickly they dealt with it.  It was also pretty damaging to the wallet.  Talk about un-sexy spending.

At any rate, it was a "once in a lifetime event," correct?

No.

Friday night we plunged into the the freezing range - complete with rain/ice.  So, we weren't too terribly surprised to wake up to no power on Saturday and notice that all the trees were coated with ice.  Thick ice.

But when the tops of the pines, laden with ice, started snapping in the backyard, we started to get nervous.

The first tree to fall is in the foreground.  Those in the
back and on top of the shed came later.

And the snapping noises continued...constantly throughout the day.

Which added to the tension
every time we heard one fall

And then there was a GIANT BOOM!

This tree fell mere feet from the house.


This was just how close to our bedroom.  Thank God it fell the
way it did.

This caused us to gather every single thing we might need from our bedroom/bathroom and move it to the other side of the house - where there aren't any menacing trees - because there was no way we were sleeping in there until danger had passed.

Surveying the damage


Yesterday, he asked that we create a video...which will NOT post no matter how much I beg the internet gods.

But trust me when I say, the damage that the pictures (and video that you can't see) show does not even BEGIN to relate to just HOW bad it is.

The Husband had just made the decision to fix up the shed rather than replace it - now?  Who knows.  From where we stand, we can't see any major damage.  That shed must have some kind of magic spell saving it - with all the trees from the last event and this one and the darn thing is STILL standing.

When we were out there Saturday, we feared that the septic field was damaged - based on the smell.  However, yesterday when we were videoing, the smell was gone - so hopefully we were spared on that front.

Luckily the house was spared and we are safe; so we are counting our blessings.


February 7, 2021

An Organizing Project

 As The Husband is currently trashing my kitchen making goodies for The Big Game - which he will watch alone, as I have zero interest (although, I admit freely - I DO have an interest in sampling some of those goodies!) - I have taken to the keyboard to tell you about my organizing project for the day.

In the frantic search for the recipe, that I never printed, as mentioned in the last post, it became obvious that my recipe binder needed an intervention.

When I first put the recipe binder together - which I use for those random recipes that I stumble across in the paper, on the internet, from friends etc. it worked great.  Sure it was kind of hodgepodge with tried and true recipes mixed in with those that I wanted to try.  But it was fairly organized.

The Husband who is - how to say this delicately? - less organized than I, had a terrible habit of jotting down recipes/ingredients on any random piece of paper he could find, which he would then tuck into the most random of places...never to be seen again.  And then one day, in the last year or so, he had a "light bulb moment."  He realized that if he put all those papers into ONE spot he would be able to locate them.  

So he began to tuck them into the binder.  Which was fine...until I went on the mad scramble for that cookie recipe, searching through an ungodly amount of loose paper.  That is when it dawned on me...this system was no longer working for me.  Or him.

Today was the day to rectify this issue.

I sorted through ALL the papers and separated our recipes to go into two separate binders - one for him and one for me.  I asked him if he had any preference in how I organized his binder and whether or not he wanted his recipes encased in page protectors.  As expected, he did not care how it was organized and felt there was no need for page protectors.  So I organized it with all my favorites that I could identify, that is, first! 😉

The hilarious thing about his recipes though?  Most had no titles.  They were just lists of ingredients - some of which gave NO indication about what it might be.  When I pointed this out to him he replied, "Give it to me, I'm sure I'll know what it is."  When I handed one over for his identification, he looked at it and said, "I have no idea what in the hell this is." and placed it in the recycle pile.

After his binder was done - I turned to mine...which does have page protectors for those tried and true recipes - which includes the unearthed Best Oatmeal Raisin recipe.  The "want to try one day" pile, I ruthlessly cut out those that I know I will never, ever make never mind how delicious they sound.  Which meant the remaining pile was more manageable.

The tried and true were then organized into the following categories. Cookies, Pies, Cakes, Breads and Random (i.e. candies, appetizers, etc.).

What I did not expect when I waded into this project was that it would take the majority of the day.  But here we are.  It is done and he has a place to put his recipe/ingredients list and I have a place to put my recipes.

Now, I need to challenge myself to try out a couple of those "want to try one day" recipes so they can get added to the tried and true, page protected recipes.

February 4, 2021

It all started with a craving...

 Sometime last weekend, a particular craving struck.

I say "particular" because this treat isn't one that I would normally crave - oatmeal raisin cookies.

I mean I LIKE oatmeal raisin cookies - but it's rare that I crave them.  Generally, as far as cookies go I prefer chocolate chip or peanut butter.

But there we have it - the craving was for oatmeal raisin for whatever reason.

Sometime back - was it pre-pandemic? Or maybe late last summer/early fall? - who knows, I had this random craving for oatmeal raisin cookies; which I had never made before.  But somewhere, I sourced a recipe that my family gave RAVE reviews (even The Husband, who doesn't "care" for raisins) - although they, much like me, like oatmeal cookies but, given our druthers, would crave a different cookie (chocolate of any kind for The Husband/for Man-Child it's a toss up between spitz or chocolate chip) and I was informed for, future reference, that THIS was the only acceptable oatmeal raisin cookie.

ANYWAY...back to last week's craving.  I went looking for the recipe.  I don't remember much about the making of that original batch but I clearly remember that there was NOT a step that required chilling the dough or them being refrigerator cookies - both of which were the only recipes I had on hand; which I immediately dismissed.

Obviously, way back then, I sourced the recipe from the internet AND I had neglected to print/save the recipe anywhere. *sigh*  Classic me...find something amazing and then completely forget to preserve it.

Off to the internet, to a site where I *thought* I had found the recipe.  Nope.  I continued by searching my archives thinking "Surely, I posted the recipe here!?"  Nope.

On Tuesday, with that itch remaining un-scratched, I had the brilliant idea to search my internet history - without much hope as I was sure I had recently cleared the history/cookies/etc.  Much to my surprise, I found TWO possible recipes - which just goes to show how faulty my memory is as, clearly I haven't actually "recently" cleared my history.  

I opened the one and noticed it required chilled dough and was sure that wasn't it.  I opened the other, not expecting much, read through it and it sounded familiar.  I checked to be sure I had all the ingredients and was pleasantly surprised to discover I did.

So I whipped up a batch - the original recipe can be found here and it was perfect!  I will note that the 1 cup of raisins left me with more raisins than cookie dough - also she must make GIGANTIC cookies as her recipe claims to make 18 but mine yielded about 36.

At any rate - I was able to tamp down that craving.  

In the meantime, I have texted my friend two doors down to come and relieve me of the majority of these cookies for her kids...the ones with a metabolism that will allow them to eat cookies with abandon.

If you have a hankering for oatmeal raisin cookies - or are an oatmeal raisin cookie nut - I highly recommend this recipe...just be sure to "gift" most of them or your bathroom scale will scold you...much like mine has this week.


January 14, 2021

Honestly...

The other morning found me arguing with IT over whether or not I should have access to a server that *I* asked them to create in 2018.

Really.

And this is why I archive each and every email that I send or receive.  Because of that I was able to shut down their argument fairly quickly.

But my question is - WHO is just randomly looking at servers and deciding who should or should not have access without asking questions?

This is not a a disparagement on our IT team since they have been phenomenal in getting us up to speed for the majority of us working from home.  If it weren't for them, most of us would have had to work in office for the past ten months.  But still...

And without a proper segue we turn to Target's deliveries...

What you can or cannot have delivered from them varies, literally, day by day.  One day, those Cascade pods that you put in your basket are, inexplicably unavailable for delivery.  Despite the fact, that if you chose curbside delivery, they would cheerfully bring them to your car.  It's the weirdest thing.

In fact, I had the pods in my cart (when they were available) - didn't hit buy because I wanted to reach the threshold for free delivery.  But when I went back to add something to the cart, they had been removed.  So when I went back for the THIRD, magical time (i.e., hit the threshold), I noticed they were once again available for delivery so I added them in.  And then, somehow, received two packages of pods.  Either Target threw the original ones back in once they were available or I mistakenly bought two.  Who knows?

At any rate, what IS the deal with Melba Toast? (Again, with the awkward segue...this is what the pandemic has boiled down for me with the blog...awkward segues)

Do any of you even know what Melba Toast is?  

I had never even heard of it until I married my husband many, many moons ago.

Well, guess what?  Apparently, there is a Melba Toast shortage.  The Husband looks every time he is in the grocery store and can never find it.  I found it ONCE at Target and had a couple of boxes delivered.  Is it available at Target anymore?

No, it is not.  And here I thought he was the only person in the world that knew what Melba Toast was and consumed it on a regular basis.

It is available on Amazon - for a price that I'm not willing to pay.

So, who is buying all the Melba Toast and why...THAT is the question, that AND why IT people randomly restrict access to servers without asking questions.