December 17, 2021

Last minute Christmas bits and bobs

 Well, we are down to the wire now, aren't we?  As of tomorrow, we only have a week until the big day.

For the most part, I think I'm ready.  I've got one gift left that I would love to track down but, so far am not having any luck.  Yes, Amazon has it.  But for a price that I am not willing to pay.  At this point, I think, I'm willing to let this one go, if I can't chance upon a local store that carries it.

Currently, I'm knee deep in Christmas candy/baking (peanut butter fudge? Done.  Almond bark?  Done. Peppermint Double Chocolate Chip cookies?  Done.).  The spritz cookies still need to be done...probably tomorrow.  Today, I just could not face wrestling with the cookie press.  And I am still deciding whether or not I need to throw another candy/cookie into the mix for the neighbors.

Short aside, the friends two doors down, just sent over a home-made peanut brittle that is out of this world.  No one else in my family cares for it (the ogres) so it's all for me!  And then I wonder why I am not pleased with the scale lately.

I bought generic Christmas cards, since we have ZERO pictures of us this past year, about a week ago with every intention of sending at least a couple.  The cards are sitting on the dining room table, glaring at me.  Hopefully, tomorrow...but I'm beginning to think this may also just go by the wayside.  

I have to say, having The Husband home all day every day (yes, we are wrapping up his first full week of retirement) is putting me off my game.  Okay, FINE!  That is the excuse I am using for why so many things are going by the wayside.

On another note, it's probably too late to order this for a Christmas gift but I ordered this shirt for myself that arrived the other day.  It calls itself a sweatshirt but it doesn't look like a standard sweatshirt.  It has a boat collar, is a nice weight and has a curved hem; I do love a curved hem.  Currently, it appears to be mostly out of stock but if you are on the search for this type of shirt, I highly recommend this one since I fell in love with it as soon as I opened the package.

Yes, I am a person who can fall in love with an article of clothing.  This shirt will be worn on repeat for the majority of this "winter." (Can we call it winter when it is currently 70 degrees Fahrenheit?  Why do I have a feeling that February is going to knock us for a loop regarding winter weather?  That being said, the remainder of those damn pine trees need to figure out how NOT to fall down in my yard; I simply cannot deal with that again any time soon.)

The other last bit of Christmas that I need to deal with is stocking stuffers.  Particularly for The Husband.  For some reason, this year, I am running into a road block with stocking stuffer ideas.

How about you?  Are you all set and ready to go?  Have any stocking stuffer ideas to share?


December 10, 2021

Back to the regularly scheduled chaos

 As you know from my last post, I had to go to the office this week to "train" the person who has released me from the nightmare I'd been living in for the last three months or so - and so she wouldn't be sitting in an office by herself (her new boss was traveling for company business).  You can't really "train" a person for this particular job so I spent four days trying to show her the ins and outs of the way we do things around here.

She seemed pretty quick and capable but only time will tell whether or not she will stick it out (please God, let her stick it out because I don't think I can go through that again).  

She did come across with an "I've done it all and I know best" attitude but I'm hoping that was just nerves on her part.  Other than that, she seems nice - which is good because we will be working closely (via Internet mostly).

And I am SO happy she came when she did.  As of last Monday, the torrent of emails from her boss just stopped.  Now, I am back to my regularly scheduled chaos, finally!

Just in time to start my Christmas vacation...which...really isn't a "vacation" but it means I'm not tied to the computer all day every day.

So now it's time to start thinking about Christmas baking; Christmas shopping, wrapping, etc.

I did get my mother-in-law's gifts bought, wrapped and mailed on Monday.  Shockingly, she received it this morning; I was so afraid it wouldn't make it time.  She was so pleased; of course I could find a rock in the backyard, paint it and send it to her and she would still be pleased.  As usual, she called to thank me first because "I know you did all the work."  I informed her that The Husband actually mailed it, so he could get a little credit too.

The Husband's last day on the job was today - so next week brings a new chapter to our lives.  I mentioned quite some time ago that we were trying to fix up the guest rooms (which have pretty much been ignored the whole time we've been here) for guests that were supposed to come in October; which they didn't because of - surprise - COVID.  It's actually a good thing they didn't come because the guest rooms, once again, fell off our radar.  So now, we are pivoting and thinking that one of those rooms is going to be turned into an office/guest room after Christmas.

Working at the dining room table has been fine (except for the office clutter that litters the table every day; which makes me itch...but I need it nearby) but with The Husband being home while I'm working...that's just not going to work.  And our company has announced that if/when we ever go back to the office we will be doing a hybrid model where we need to be in the office at least two days a week and can work from home otherwise.  A move I never saw coming but am very happy to embrace.  It only took a pandemic, that's coming up on TWO years (!!) for the powers that be to realize, "Hey...we don't have to micro-manage these people.  Not only are they getting the job done but they are also working more hours and thinking outside of the box to make it work." Duh, powers that be, I could have told you that years and years ago.

At any rate, between the work thing being resolved and quite a few presents landing on my porch in the past few days, I can feel my shoulders relaxing and my panic easing off a bit.  *sigh*  I think it's about time to pour a glass of wine, crawl into my bed, read until my eyes/arms get tired and luxuriate in the fact this short period of insanity is over.

December 5, 2021

Boosted (after minor triage) and panic and a wonderful Christmas gift...

Friday I went to our local pharmacy to get my COVID booster.  In typical Gigi fashion, when the in-take person handed the forms I needed to complete around the clear, acrylic barrier, I somehow slammed my hand into said barrier.  I remember that it hurt but didn't think much of it.  Until after I filled out the form, handed it to the nurse and realized that my hand was bleeding profusely, because of course it was.

The kind nurse treated and dressed my wound before giving me the booster.

After Suzanne's last post (HI SUZANNE!), my back of the mind, slow burn panic blossomed into a full blown panic (it's not your fault, Suzanne - I promise) as I looked at the calendar and then looked at the list of gifts thought about and/or purchased. 

I have so unbelievably busy/stressed these past months, coupled with the absence of our regular Thanksgiving completely pushed Christmas off my radar.  This weekend has been an epic push to get gifts landing on my front porch.

Man-Child and his girlfriend came to celebrate "Thanksgiving" yesterday...again salmon was on the menu and it was delightful.  The Husband asked about their Christmas plans.  It seems they are planning to be here for both Christmas Eve and Christmas morning - which is a treat...BUT I was assuming it would be the same as last year - both here for Christmas Eve dinner and her going to her parents after.  With Man-Child following later on Christmas afternoon.

Cue the utter panic of  - I still have my usual people to buy gifts/stocking stuffers for and now I have to add in her? (I would have gotten her a gift, of course, but since she will be here for the opening of gifts on Christmas morning there needs to be several more with her name on them, obviously.  Does Man-Child know her sizes or anything helpful?  He does not. *sigh*).  I'll figure it out.

In the meantime, the person who left me high and dry and supporting way too many people has been replaced!  She starts tomorrow! YAY!  The downside?  I'm expected to be in the office to train her next week...for the entire week.  Which, of course, puts me that much further behind in the Christmas department.  And, honestly?  An entire week?  Luckily, I think, for the most part, it should be just the two of us.

Here's where we all pray, "I hope she is a quick study, capable and not prone to jumping ship after she figures out what she signed up for (I WILL hunt her down if she does)."

Are you smug and all set for the holiday (YAY if you are!) or are you, like me, in full on panic mode?

November 26, 2021

Thanksgiving recap

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving, if you celebrate.  Ours, thankfully, was uneventful; particularly after last year.

This was the most unorthodox Thanksgiving for us though.  For the first time EVER, it was just the two of us.  Man-Child spent the holiday with his girlfriend's family and our friends two doors down both had to work.  So Thanksgiving dinner was salmon and asparagus and it was lovely.  We had agreed to meet up with the friends two doors down for dessert.  I made an apple crisp which, according to my friend, received HIGH accolades from her teenage son who said, "This is really good, Ms. Gigi." in monotone.  According to her, he never comments positively on food or anything else, really. 

Once again, I am skipping the stores for any Christmas shopping; relying instead on online shopping.  So the majority of the day yesterday was spent scouring the internet for deals and was finally able to make some sort of headway on my list.

Usually, my Christmas gift buying is pretty much a free for all but this year, I downloaded Gift List (I believe it works for Apple or Android).  So far I am loving it.  You can password protect it, if you'd like.  I decided against that because, dear God, do you know just HOW much of my brain is dedicated to remembering passwords?  At this point, I'd say 90%.  I also like that I can track just how much I am spending.

I *think* you can have multiple lists (Christmas 2021, Birthday 2022, etc.) but I haven't figured that out yet as I am currently focused on Christmas 2021.

And speaking of gift buying - if you have someone on your list who would appreciate an item from Dick's Sporting Goods, they are ON it with the shipping.  I ordered a certain something for a certain someone sometime Wednesday afternoon and it showed up on my doorstep today!  I figured it would at least be a week before it would arrive.

Also, can I take a moment to express my absolute adoration of curbside delivery?  And the fact that I think it should always be an option, even after this never-ending pandemic is over.  

I decided to decorate the porch yesterday since it was positively a balmy high 50's kind of day.  And, of course, the new-ish, pre-lit garland refused to light.  *sigh*  So, I hopped online and ordered two new strands of pre-lit garden from Michael's and was able to drive up and have it deposited into the trunk of my car (which I was floored when I drove down the, usually heavily trafficked, street to encounter NO real traffic...on Black Friday.  The lots were full - but not as full as they usually are.  It was so astonishing that it bears mentioning.)  

Of course, today and tomorrow are colder (and windy) but the forecast for Sunday looks promising, so I will take advantage then to decorate the porch with garland that, hopefully, will light.

The Husband is not aware yet but the tree is going up tomorrow.  I'm ready for a little Christmas cheer.

How was your Thanksgiving?  Score any deals today (or yesterday - which, thankfully, it seems most stores were actually closed yesterday)?  Is your tree already up?  Spill all the details in the comments below.

Also, I would like to take a moment to let you know how very grateful I am that you have found your way to this corner of the internet and I to yours. xo

November 14, 2021

An announcement and the reason I'm fretting today

The Husband turned in his notice to retire December 10th.  This is huge and exciting! 

It's also a little unsettling - as this is a BIG change in our lives.  One of my concerns is having him here roaming around while I work.

I got a small taste of how it may play out this week - as he took another vacation (he's trying to use up his vacation since he has somehow got the idea that he won't be paid for those days that he doesn't use.  Dear reader, he will be paid for unused time.) this week.

***

Thank you all for your kind responses to my last post.  I did indeed end up working the majority of the week.  Last Friday, I sent my boss (you know, the one who actually signs off on my paycheck and not the others that I was "volunteered" for) an email that basically said, "Hey, I ended up working for the majority of the week so I'm only going to count two days as vacation, if okay."  He was more than okay with it (as well he should since he was the one doing the "volunteering" on my behalf), so those days are back in rotation and still need to be taken.

I think the biggest frustration in this whole scenario isn't necessarily the work itself but the uncertainty of it all.  First of all, I was thrown in headfirst into already developing situations.  Big meetings that somehow needed to be scheduled globally.  There were a lot of emails back and forth about one particular meeting.  And every morning, I wake up already woefully behind as the emails that zipped across the world while I was sleeping; so I'd wake up and think "What the hell is going on here?"  Do you have any idea how stressful it is to wake up knowing you are already behind?  Before you even had your coffee?

Luckily, that meeting was finally nailed down on Friday - so that is behind me for the moment.  Except, for the fact the CEO expects me to be in the office for three days next week - I can only assume she thinks my presence will somehow magically make that meeting a successful one.  

I can't stress enough how much I am fretting over this issue - I truly do not want to be IN the office with these people.  Yes, there are precautions in place, masks are required, etc.  I keep telling myself it will be okay but honestly, there is a giant ball of anxiety sitting like a rock in my stomach at the mere thought of it.

For the past eighteen months, I have avoided spending extended periods of time surrounded by people.  Yes, I realize that it will not be a building chock full of employees but there will be more people than I feel comfortable being around.

I'll get through it somehow but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

I do know that she has interviewed at least four potential possibilities - let's all cross our fingers that when I wake up tomorrow (already woefully behind again) I will find that someone has been offered the position, has accepted and is ready to start immediately.


October 26, 2021

Yet another "stay-cation"...*sigh*

 At this point, I can't even remember the last time I went on a "real" vacation.  2019, maybe?  Who knows?

At any rate, we are getting down to the wire, as far as using up vacation time before the end of the year.  And I have a LOT of time to use.  Considering The Husband decided to take this week off, I did too - simply to avoid having to shush him while I was working.

The result has been a mixed bag.  Yesterday, I worked a "bit" (maybe an hour?) but today?  Well, today I have to admit, I worked a good majority of the day.

Generally, when I take time off I can actually BE off for the majority of the time (truth be told, I usually check in just to keep from being overwhelmed when the vacation is over - but for the most part am on vacation).  But this time around is different.  About two weeks ago, I was "volunteered" to assist the new CFO (the jokes on them...haven't they heard of my dismal mathematical skills?) - to date this hasn't been an issue; he "seems" to be fairly low-key.  But he hasn't "officially" been on the team until yesterday. Time will tell.

Last week, I was again "volunteered" to assist the CEO, as that admin had put in her notice - and they foolishly told her to go ahead and go - rather than waiting until the two weeks notice was up and getting a replacement.

I actually really LIKE our CEO - but I knew from the moment I met her that she was a HIGH MAINTENANCE kind of person.  Which is one of the primary reasons I did not want that job when it first became available.  I knew without a shadow of a doubt, that between the HIGH MAINTENANCE aspect and the extensive travel that position entails that I wanted absolutely nothing to do with it.

And yet, here I am.

Dealing with the very same issues I didn't want to deal with - while on "vacation" no less.

As of this moment, I am juggling four attorneys, two paralegals, two other folks that I'm not really sure what their titles are - but somehow they ultimately report to my "official" boss, a CFO, a CEO and, apparently, somehow in the last year or so, this other random person who has close ties to the "Mother Ship" - so it is in my best interests to "be nice"; and the Go-To Person for various other people who can't seem to get the help they need from their own departments.

Honestly, I don't mind being helpful where and when I can - as most of these people are genuinely nice and very appreciative of any assistance I can offer; but let's be real - ELEVEN people to manage seems to be asking a bit much, doesn't it?

Here's hoping the rest of the week will have more of a "vacation" vibe...although I will be HERE (and NOT at a special destination), with the computer ever present AND contemplating whether or not I should vacuum the rug; etc.

*sigh*

October 15, 2021

It's a tragedy really...

We have this one particular back road that is/was amazing.

In fact, nine times out ten in the good old days (pre-COVID) I would choose to go that route to and from work, even if it did add a few minutes to my "commute."  (Let's be real, my "commute" is laughable to most commutes). 

It was a deliciously winding road through the countryside with a few houses sprinkled here and there.  To drive down that road in either Spring or Fall was an absolute delight.

Well, about a year or so ago, while out for a Sanity Drive - you know, a drive with no destination but gets me out of the house and, depending on the day, possibly saves The Husband's life - I noticed a sign near one of the wooded areas  that declared a new housing development was going to be built.  I was kind of sad but figured the developer would want to keep the charm, plus I know how strict our town is on new developments, so I figured it would be ok.

Over the next several months, I noticed they removed a few trees to make way for the roads for the development.  I assumed that, much like our neighborhood, they would leave a good majority of the trees and tuck the development mainly out of sight behind the trees.

Imagine my utter shock and dismay when I was driving down this once delightful road to discover they had clear cut the ENTIRE parcel!  Not one, single tree was left.  And then the houses went up.

Now, I KNOW that a new development takes time to flesh out the landscaping, etc. before it actually looks nice.  I know this first hand.

But y'all, while these houses aren't the worst thing I've ever witnessed but, holy cow - they weren't houses that I (were I the developer) would want to be on full display either.  I wondered how this developer got away with this monstrosity.  Then I discovered that this development is just outside the town limits in an unincorporated area - and that's how they got away with it.

All of that isn't even the worst part of this story.

So a couple of days ago, while on a Sanity Drive, I happened down that road once again.  Guess what they've done?

Planted puny, anemic looking trees at the entrance of the development.  All evenly spaced apart.  So, they ripped out all of those glorious, mature trees just to plant other trees - trees that will take years to grow and will never be as majestic as the trees they ripped out.

And to think, this developer had a chance to tuck those houses, unobtrusively and out of the way, preserving the charm of this once beautiful road.  Instead, they chose to let greed take over in order to utilize every square inch of that development..

I guess I'm going to have to find another delightful, unspoiled road for my Sanity Drives since they effectively ruined this one for me for years to come.

September 24, 2021

Even after all these years...we are still laughing at ourselves.

We decided, after much agonizing, to cancel our trip to see my mother-in-law.  We just can't risk it for her as much as for ourselves.  At any rate, my sister-in-law requested that we do a video.  Apparently, she is compiling videos from those of us that can't attend the surprise party for my MIL.  

We determined that we would do the video last Sunday.  And all I can say about that is that by the end we were howling with laughter at several of our attempts, some of which I thought you might enjoy.

*crossing my fingers that I got them in the right order...but since Blogger won't let me preview the video portion before hitting publish...who knows?*



I "thought" I knew was I doing...apparently not. In
my defense...we've never used the video/camera
function on this computer before


And who should drop the F-bomb?
The Husband, of course.  The sad part?  We
nailed that "video" - the one that I neglected to 
actually record.


He almost mentioned the surprise party...not realizing that this
video would be played during the party.


At this point, we had a serious case of the giggles.

After about a million takes, we finally got through it without laughing...somehow.


And after reviewing these videos, I realized that I am in a SERIOUS need of a haircut.  So much so, that I'm currently eyeballing the scissors...











September 5, 2021

The Husband's newest "toy"

 We shall start this post by saying he is an absolute hero.  Somehow, he found whatever was needed to fix the leaking pipe; thus a plumber was unnecessary!  YAY!

The Husband has been lusting after a smoker for years now.  YEARS!  And he finally the bit the bullet and actually bought the smoker of his dreams, with my full approval even though it was ridiculously expensive - but we had planned carefully so that it was mostly bought with cash.  God knows, I was tired of all the drooling over smokers.

The smoker arrived yesterday - he was over the moon.

What I neglected to take into account of his new acquisition?

He is like a little boy; SO excited that he just HAS to tell me all the details.  It must be angled just so! (why? I don't know and am careful not to ask)  Look!  It has this little (I don't know what) so you can regulate the temperature!  Look!  This acts like a hot plate!  Look at the welded seams!  Did you know this weighs 600 pounds?!...

And on and on and on....

It's kinda cute.

And a little annoying.

All at the same time.

Currently, he's smoking some chicken and his just informed me that with a smoker, sometimes it stalls out and you need to add more wood because it takes tending, don't you know?

But you know what?  He's excited with the smoker of his dreams and his little boy excitement is endearing...and a little annoying...but I imagine that will abate soon.

*The good thing about a smoker is that it shouldn't dry things out...because.....(the most recent statement as I wrap up this post).

September 2, 2021

Do I know how to kick off a vacation or what?!

 For those of you that are new around here - my company has a very generous holiday schedule, which gives us the Friday before Labor Day AND Labor Day Monday off - which means a four day weekend. Yay!  But since I've used very little vacation (thanks COVID!) I have taken the rest of next week off, as well.

So as my work day wound down, I found myself in the kitchen looking to start the dishwasher (coincidentally, I've read TWO posts this evening about dishwashers...what are the odds?) and reached under the sink to grab a dishwasher pod and noticed...something.

I told myself I'd worry about it later, that most likely one bottle or another was leaking.

Dear reader, it was NOT a random bottle of cleanser that was leaking.  No, instead it was one of the pipes that was leaking and that underneath all the random crap that resides under the sink was a moldy, watery mess.

ICK!

I gathered up all the rags in the house and proceeded to mop up the mess, then bleached EVERYTHING.  Twice.  Put a bowl under the suspect pipe and waited for The Husband to come home, while I contemplated whether or not it would be easier to just move.

As you might imagine, The Husband was not pleased to walk into this scenario and is currently at Tractor Supply praying that he can find something to cap off the one drain until we can get a plumber out here.  If he is successful in this mission, or so he says, we can at least use the other half of the sink (I have my doubts).

In the meantime, copious amounts of bleach has been poured and pipe bits are soaking in it.

What is shocking to me, is how this hasn't come to our attention before now.  Am also now understanding why our allergies have been in overdrive lately.

Luckily, it seems, the leak hasn't been a gusher as none of the wood feels spongy or rotten.  Small blessings, I suppose.

But still...what a way to kick off a vacation.  Now I need to shower because...ICK! 

August 17, 2021

Gigi's Favorite Things: My all time (so far) favorite hair products edition

This is a feature that my friend, Nicole (HI NICOLE!), does that I have stolen co-opted.

If you've been around here for a while; then you know that thoughts about my hair is usually on the top ten list in my mind at all times.  Vanity?  No.  I just really want to get through this life without being mistaken for a yeti - hence, the preoccupation.

Currently, there are three "must have" products for me and my hair.  

In a desperate attempt to stop frizzy hair (particularly during the humid summer) a creamy leave-in conditioner is an absolute must for me.  I have found that most any creamy leave-in conditioner works for me (spray on leave-in just does not appeal to me in the slightest - actually ANY spray on product does not work for me as it feels like the majority of the spray ends up on the floor and not on my hair) but right now I am loving Garnier Fructis Curl Nourish.


I really like the way this stuff feels and it doesn't seem to weigh my hair down.  Which, honestly, after 19 months without a haircut IS a bigger issue than one would think.

Next up is one of my very favorites, Aquage Uplifting Foam.



It may be my imagination, but whenever I use this on the crown  it seems that I have more "lift" up there...otherwise the curls just weigh everything down.  

While the majority of these products are curl related - this one is not.  So, those of you with lovely, straight hair - if you try this, I'd love to hear if this works for you too!

Generally, my favorite all-around product (i.e., the one that is used for the majority of "styling" - if you consider putting product in wet hair, scrunching it all in, letting it air dry and then scrunching out the cast and fluff "styling" that is) is Aquage Curl Defining Creme.


Gosh, it looks like *I* took these pictures,
they are so blurry!


This stuff really does help define and set the curls.  Granted, it will give me the "wet" look of the 80s after it's dried...but I can then crunch it out and fluff to remedy that issue.  I can't say with all honestly that I have fabulous hair days every day when using this - but it comes pretty close and I can't think of another product that can make that claim.

In the second best column, I have Aquage Defining Gel.  



This also gives you that crunchy, wet look that is quickly remedied with crunching it out and fluffing after it fully dries.  I really like this product but can't pinpoint the exact "why" this comes in second best.  Generally, this is what I reach for if I am out of the creme product.

Shockingly (or maybe not), as a child my hair was not curly.  The older I get the curlier it seems to get...go figure.  

At any rate, not long after I decided to stop straightening it, I chanced upon a blog post about curly hair (how do you write a blog about that one, very SPECIFIC, topic??  That's the only thing this blog ever wrote about) where the very first sentence went something along the lines of about how it is a "LOT of work" to have curly hair.  

This made me laugh - as someone who used to spend forty-five minutes to an hour EVERY day straightening my hair, going with my natural hair pattern is much easier (five minutes, maybe?  Not counting the time it takes to air dry).  Then I read her routine.  Well, if I was going to go through all of that I might as well straighten it.  So, I think I'll stick with my three, tried and true products* and my "styling" routine.


* It goes without saying (except here I am saying it), that I will also try other products that sound promising (what can I say?  Marketing people LOVE people like me) but, so far, I keep returning to these.  So for now, these are my "go to" hair products.

Feel free to dish and tell me about your favorites in the comments - who knows, maybe one of you will point me to a new "go to" hair product.  ;-)
















August 6, 2021

The weirdest and/or most random thing...

 Back in June, I clocked in 20 years with this (and the previous incarnation) of this company.  As one does when someone has been anywhere for any length of time, you begin to accumulate many random things.

And you quickly become known as a "Go To" person for random requests.  At one point, several years ago, there were three of us "Go To" people on our floor - we had you covered in the event of ANY request.  Sadly, (for me - they retired and are as happy as clams) it's all down to me now.

Need a safety pin?  Tweezers?  Nail clippers?  Eye glasses repair kit?  Small screwdriver?  Whatever it might be that you find yourself in need of at the office, I'm your person.

Earlier this week, my cube had to be re-configured.  My boss told me all about it and said that I would have to put things back in place as they had to move my printer, files, plants, etc.

Sure enough, when I went in late this afternoon (since we are on summer hours the building is empty on Friday afternoons; which gives me my Saturday mornings back for a bit) I had to put everything to rights.

As I was doing so, I noticed that my African Violet was a bit "wobbly."  Between you and me, science be damned, I'm fairly convinced that potting soil evaporates over time and needs to be replaced.*

And guess what I had, squirreled away in one of my drawers?

Potting soil.

No, I am not kidding.  

A long time ago, I had this same issue with another plant and I recalled thinking it would be easier to bring the soil in than to take the plant home, add the soil and bring it back.

So I added soil to the plant, of which I still have plenty for next time, and went about my business.

But on the drive home it occurred to me that if I were to be hit by a bus and someone had to clean out my work area, that would be the ONE item that would have them scratching their heads...and I had to laugh.

And that brings us to this - what is the weirdest and/or most random thing that you have squirreled away at work?  Or if you don't work in an office, what is the weirdest and/or most random thing you have squirreled away in the most unlikely place?


* I'm sure it just compacts over time; but I prefer to think of it as evaporating.


August 1, 2021

An interesting turn...

In an interesting turn of events, The Husband has exhibited GREAT interest in finishing the back porch.  Which is funny in that I thought it was done.

He has decided that we need to replace the ceiling fan.  Fair enough.  That fan IS ugly.  But then again, many ceiling fans are ugly but necessary here in the southern climes.

Then he decided that we need to remove the vinyl siding and put in (wait for it) shiplap, after Man-Child suggested it.  First of all, HOW do these two even know what shiplap is??  Turns out ManChild's girlfriend has him watching HGTV occasionally.  The Husband, on the other hand, doesn't watch HGTV so how he knows about it is a mystery.

I can only surmise that all this enthusiasm stems from wanting at least one project done - and this particular project is so close to being finished.  I can relate.  But honestly, as nice as it would be to have this project, that I didn't even know wasn't finished, done - I am thinking about the other things that need to be done first.  

We *might* be having guests(!) in October.  So, to my mind, the guest room needs to be finished and the bonus room (that I keep forgetting we have upstairs) needs to be started (as in nothing has been done at all yet) first.

So here's my question for you.  As a guest, I am guessing you would prefer to have an actual bed to sleep on rather than, say, a daybed?  The guest room has a double bed but what should I do upstairs?  Two twins?  Or a double/queen?  I'm kind of leaning toward twins so we have more beds.  But, guests are few and far between so maybe I should just have the one larger bed.  I'm overthinking this, I know.  Your thoughts will be most appreciated.

So we shall see how it all plays out.  If he wants to go forward with his new project, he can have at it.  Meanwhile, I am shopping for headboards and beds online.

So, those doors that I painted about a month ago?  Last night, I mentioned in passing that I don't hate the front door as much now since it was painted.  He looked at me, shocked.  Then walked to the front door, opened it and stared.  I was laughing and then asked, "Did you ever notice that the door from the garage was also painted?"  He then opened that door to take a peek.  

At this point, I am tempted to see what else I can change to see if he'll notice without it being pointed out.

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.