Monday, June 29, 2009

Week 26 - Au Revoir Connie

It’s that time of year again where I walk around like a zombie, sleep deprived and exhausted. The problem? There aren’t 8 hours of darkness so I can’t get enough sleep. It’s not full dark until close to 10:00 and the sky begins lightening somewhere around 5:00 a.m. Then add that the 4th of July fireworks tents are up and running and, no matter how bad the economy is, my neighbors seem to have no problem finding money for fireworks, which they let off some nights as late as midnight. Last night, I was struggling to fall asleep (I even got up and took a pain pill) and was just drifting off when my neighbor, who was outside enjoying a fire in her firepit, let off some salutes at 11:00 o’clock not 15 feet from my bedroom window just as I was finally drifting off. I woke up with such an adrenaline rush that I was awake for hours. She’s my age and couldn’t resist lighting fireworks to end her evening? WTF! (Monday evening update - it wasn't her! She thought someone threw something up her driveway but didn't see it, just heard it like me. I should have known better.)

Sleeping has become a luxury but I figure I might as well get something productive done so have started doing things before work. Thursday morning I cleaned 3 Husker Cats feeding stations (I had scheduled it with other volunteers for Wednesday at 2:00 but it was so blazing hot – heat index of 110 – that I cancelled) and Friday I picked up a donated load of cat food on the way to work. I also had an appointment at the podiatrist, where I found out I did not have another wart but only a clogged sweat gland so no acid on my foot this summer. Yay! The heat wave broke on Friday too, so it was a good day.

Anyway, the highlight of the week, if you can call it that, was that Connie moved to North Dakota. She’d been talking about moving back since I met her and when Mark died right after she lost her job, there was no reason not to do it. Saturday was her last day in Auburn so I drove down to say goodbye. We had a pleasant day. We went to lunch at what I call the Therapy CafĂ© (it’s actually called Family Connections, which I think sounds more like a counseling center than a restaurant), went to the thrift store and Serendipity, a wonderful gift shop that I still can’t believe Auburn can support, and hung out all afternoon doing a bit of last minute packing but mostly talking. I had brought steaks and salad for dinner but there was no way to cook the steaks without unpacking so we ended up going out to dinner with her son Dylan. The actual goodbye was a bit tearful but not bad. There’s always email and the phone so it’s not like our friendship stops. We’ll just be lacking in face time, which I’ve gotten used to since she moved to Auburn. So I drove away, forcing back tears, with my car full of the contents of Connie’s freezer and a whole array of sad looking plants, facing another long distance friendship.

Sunday was supposed to be my productive day but I realized early on that I probably wouldn’t get much done. I was reading a good book that was making me cry (maybe I would have been crying regardless) and figured I’d get the bare minimum done between stints of reading on the deck in the beautiful weather. I had lots of laundry to do and hang out and needed to mow but everything else could wait. I had done my regular laundry – one load of clothes and one of sheets and towels that I hung on the line – and was starting on the pile of blankets, pillows and such that was the end of my garage cleaning from last weekend. I put in the first load of that stuff and headed to the deck to read another chapter. But when the load should have been done, I went downstairs and the machine was buzzing. I opened the lid to find that an old pillow had disintegrated and there was fiberfill everywhere. I sieved it out with my hands, removed the clothes and started bailing. Despite googling how to fix it and my best efforts to take the machine apart, it was dead. I was not a happy camper.

I read another chapter and then decided to mow the lawn then rather than waiting until evening so that I could feel like I got something done. Well, my neighbors had borrowed my mower and hadn’t returned it yet, which would be odd for normal neighbors but not for them. So I went over to get it and found it with the handle mount rotted out and broken. Now my mower was dead too and my grass was way high. Damn! What else would go wrong? I went to my neighbor on the other side and asked to borrow her mower . What a monstrosity! It was super heavy and required me to bag the clippings, which made it even heavier. What would have taken 20 sweat free minutes with my little mower, took closer to an hour and I was drenched, exhausted and achy. I sat for a bit to cool off and then decided that since I was already pitted out, I might as well weed at the library and take all the blankets, both the soggy, half washed ones and the rest of the pile, to the laundromat while I was weeding. I ended up at my friend Lorri’s dropping off the pile of weeds (she takes her yard debris to her brother’s farm) and her husband, who was born and raised in Wahoo and knows everyone, had the name of a local man who repaired appliances. This could only happen in a small town – I called him and he came out at 8:00 on a Sunday night and fixed my washer. When he took it apart, there was fiberfill everywhere – in the body of the machine, clogging the drain pump and the water tube – but once he removed it, it worked like a charm.

So, despite my frustrating day, I at least got my must do list done. My house is a wreck and I still haven’t made my new purse (although I stopped on the way home Friday and bought the missing fusible fleece so as soon as it gets icky outside, I’m headed downstairs to sew) but the day wasn’t a total loss. Plus Lorri’s husband Bob offered to sell my a spare mulching mower he has that he only used for a year. After using Cara’s behemoth, I’ll have to see how much it weighs before I commit. I may just get another lightweight cheapy if Bob’s too heavy but at least it’s an option. Life is still good!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Week 25 - Motel Merry Closed!

Well, Monday wasn’t too bad. I arrived home to find my new plant brackets installed and opened the door to the smell of salsa pork. There was also an under current of unwashed male but I ignored that. The evening was uneventful, probably helped along by the fact that I was barely awake, having slept for only about 4 hours the previous night. We had dinner, watched some TV and the men went to bed earlier than I did. They also got up super early and headed out before I did, which meant I could relax and eat some breakfast in peace, rather than sneaking out to eat in the car like the previous day. My life was back!

The week was pretty uneventful but the thwarted theme from last week wasn’t over yet. Tuesday I went to water aerobics and then came home to an empty house and just enjoyed the evening, eating leftovers for dinner and popping in the first DVD, released that day, of Burn Notice Season 2. That meant the beds didn’t get stripped, the laundry wasn’t done, the dishes were still in the sink… but it was worth it just to be home ALONE in my house.

Wednesday was the first really hot day so I closed up the house in the morning and put on the air for the first time this season, knowing I’d come home to a cool house and a productive evening of getting everything done that I’d put off from Tuesday. I stopped at the grocery store on the way home so I could put some yummy spinach stuffed shells in the oven and then get busy. Well, I wasn’t home 10 minutes when the power went off for no obvious reason and it stayed off ‘til almost 8:00! So much for supper, laundry, air conditioning! Thwarted again.

The end of the week flew by as I was looking forward to my weekend. All I had planned was everything I hadn’t done last weekend – cleaning the garage, making my purse and catching up on chores. Some might not be excited by that but it was what I wanted to do.

I got up early on Saturday and headed to the garage. Now I’d done a major clear out a year of so ago so it was really about clearing out the detritus and cleaning up the possum poop. Yes, I had a possum living in there this winter. I leave the side door ajar for the cats and he just wandered in, found the bags of nyjer seed I had from the Husker Cats pick ups and decided to stay. I had a pile of poop and nyjer seed smack in the middle of the floor. Nice! Anyway, I was outside from 9:00 a.m. until almost 1:00. By the time I was done, I had 4 leaf bags full of garbage, just 1 box to donate and the garage looked great - so great that my knee with singing. Oh, but that was in pain, not for joy!

I had planned to be done by noon, shower and eat some lunch then head to the library to neatize the basement, which I’d volunteered for at the last meeting (so much for just saying NO!) and had originally scheduled for Monday night but had to postpone when my brother-in-law arrived. I took the shower and called the library to postpone yet again. I figured if I did anything other than sit watching more Burn Notice for the rest of the day, I’d pay the price with my knee. I did arrange for my friend’s sister to pick up my rabbit cage and called a locksmith because my doorknob had come off in my hand Friday night. I also had the stuffed shells to make and the spare bed to change because my friend Susan was coming for dinner and to stay over that night. That was enough for the rest of my day. Susan arrived late and we didn’t eat until 8:30 but it was good to see her and catch up.

Susan was up and out early on Sunday so I was sure there was some sewing in my future. I did load after load of laundry, mostly sheets and blankets but some stuff from the garage too (that pile isn’t gone yet), and hung them out to dry. Twice my knee got funky (it does this thing where it feels like nothing is stopping it from bending the wrong way, which is accompanied by a zing of pain) so I was doing the stairs one at a time. So pathetic! By late afternoon I was downstairs, prepping the sewing room for some actual sewing. I even set up the digital converter box on the downstairs TV so I could at least watch PBS while I sewed. There was nothing stopping me now!

I found enough of the purse pattern to work, figuring I’d wing it on the pieces I couldn’t find, cut up an old pair of jeans to coordinate with the fabric for the bottom of the bag and was ready to go when I read the directions and realized I didn’t have the fusible fleece the pattern called for. I hadn’t used it the last time I made a purse and it showed. So after all that, I decided to wait until I could buy some of that to make this purse. I did do a bit of mending but the purse will have to wait. I had already emptied the old purse (how’s that for positive thinking?) so I did at least retire that for the season and found an old red leather purse in the closet that will do until I make the new one. Maybe this coming weekend. : )

Monday, June 15, 2009

Week 24 - At Every Turn

The word for the week was thwarted. I had a normal week and was in the home stretch to a weekend with few commitments so I'd filled in my mental to do list with cleaning the garage and making a purse. And this was all supposed to start early Saturday morning, when my friend Andrea was coming over to dig up plants and take the trundle bed since I'd finally gotten the mattresses back from Connie last weekend. That was the plan until the phone rang Thursday at 9:00 p.m.

The fact that my sister was calling at 10:00 South Carolina time was odd in and of itself. Then she asked if my brother-in-law, who is not my favorite person, and his friend Frank could stay at my house Sunday and Monday nights. They would be in the midst of a road trip to pick up various eBay purchases in Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. It didn't dawn on me to lie and say I wouldn't be home so, before you knew it, I was agreeing. The minute I hung up, I began fretting.

I live in a small house and only have one guest room, which Frank, being 79 years old, would get to sleep in. That meant Bob would be sleeping in either the front room or the family room, either of which is completely open to my kitchen where I'd need to be getting ready for work both mornings they'd be here. It also meant I wouldn't be getting rid of the trundle bed because I'd need it for Bob. I'd also have to cancel the plans I'd made for Monday night to go through the junk in the library's basement, dredge up linens for the twin bed and wash them plus plan and cook 2 dinners. With one phone call, my weekend was no longer my own.

It did start early Saturday, when Andrea and I dug up all kinds of perennials for her yard. She was gone before 10:00 to open her shop so I headed out to run my errands. After lunch, I decided I needed to do something creative with the few hours I'd have (not enough to finish my purse so I didn't want to start) so tried to adhere the big vine thingie I'd bought for my front door (see the pic of the decal on someone's fridge, which is what it showed in the catalog but I immediately thought of my boring door. The vine in the pic is in 2 pieces. Mine will not be.) I had shown the decal to Andrea but told her I was waiting to do another coat of paint on the door and she suggested I put it on the glass of the storm door - genius! I went online and read the instructions, washed the window, got out a credit card to do the rubbing and started. Well, when I started pulling it apart, it stuck to the paper instead of the sticky stuff. I didn't realize that was backwards until I had the entire thing pulled off and was attempting, to no avail, to get it to stick to the door. I emailed the consultant who sold me the sticker but she's out of town. Talk about frustrated! I did some therapeutic baking - chocolate chip cookies with chopped up Chunky candy bars in place of the chips. That helped some. : )

Shortly thereafter the phone rang and it was Connie, who was in Lincoln and had been stood up by her contractor. She was looking to kill some time so asked if she could come up. Good thing input is one of my strengths because I took some shrimp out of the freezer and whipped up roasted broccoli with shrimp and put a bottle of wine in the freezer for a quick chill. As usual, it was fun hanging with her and helped improve my frustrated mood.

I spent Sunday doing laundry, setting up beds and cooking. Bob and Frank arrived late (6:30 when they'd said 5:00) but I'd kept dinner hot in the oven. After the cops got the truck unlocked (Frank had hit the lock button as he got out and the engine was running) we ate dinner, I gave them the 15 minute tour of Wahoo so he could get his tire repaired and see where to eat lunch. Bob offered to fix stuff while they were waiting Monday for a delivery from Minnesota so I left him with mini blinds to hang and plant brackets to install. We went to bed early but I slept badly. I got ready for work in the dark and headed to work for the start of another week. Maybe this weekend will see me sewing, or did I just jinx it by blogging the words. Time will tell I guess.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Week 23 - Finished My Sock

So, the first week of my newly reclaimed life was a good one. I had the normal activities – knitting at the library, water aerobics, yard work, food shopping… you know the drill. I did end the week with a busy, yet normal, weekend.

I broke a tooth on Friday and left a message with my dentist, who was out of the office (lucky bum! It was a top 10 day with perfect weather.) I wasn’t really expecting a call over the weekend but he called at 8:20 Saturday morning and offered to look at it right then. I was still in my jammies so threw on some clothes and was in the chair within 10 minutes getting a temporary filling. I then flew home to grab my Friends stuff and was at the library at 9:00 for a meeting, which was super quick for once. Then I headed back home to sop up the water that had come into my basement during the previous night’s rain before getting in the car to head to Connie’s to hang. It was a gorgeous morning so the drive was wonderful – windows open, arm out and 80’s music on the radio. We went out to lunch then just hung out for the rest of the day, mostly watching movies because the weather had turned and it was blazing hot and humid. We did venture out for a walk after supper but it was so hot I walked with my arms out from my body so nothing would move. Sheesh! I left Connie’s at 9:15 for the 100 mile ride home, hoping I wouldn’t get hailed on (it’s not fun to get stuck in a hail storm on the road.)

Luckily Sunday was cool and dreary (no hail but a front had come through to change the weather) so the cats let me sleep late. I woke to a normal Sunday (something I hadn’t had in awhile) of laundry, neatizing and cooking. By the end of the day my fridge was full of healthy food (enough cut up fruit to choke a horse!) and my chores were done. What a good feeling.

So, what was special about this week? I’d have to say it was my sock. On Monday night, I finished my first sock – the first of many I hope (and based on the 4 more balls of sock yarn I’ve bought, it should be.) It’s got tiny stitches (size 1 needles will do that), is totally fun and I learned a lot of new techniques (thanks to Andrea, my new friend from Monday night knitting.) My hope is that this is the first accomplishment in my Summer of Creativity.

There, I said it. For years I’ve said that when the weather gets too hot to be outside and I hole up with the AC, I’ll head down to my craft room and get creative. Quilting, sewing, prepping stuff for eBay – they’ve all made the list. But summer after summer it doesn’t happen. I usually spend my evenings going to water aerobics and then coming home to watch netflixed dvd’s. Could this be the summer I break the cycle? Could the fact that I finished my sock on June 1st, the first night of my newly reclaimed life, be a sign? I guess it’s up to me to make it so and keep the productivity going. Andrea made me vow to cast on the 2nd sock immediately upon finishing the first one, which I did and I’ve already made quite a dent in it. But getting downstairs will be the real test. My craft room is in decent shape and I have all the makings for a new summer purse. My hope is that next weekend I’ll be blogging a picture of my new, fun purse. In the meantime, enjoy this picture of my fabulous sock. : )