Sunday, November 22, 2009

Week 47 - Two Bonehead Moves

Well, my life has finally fallen into a more normal rhythm, which doesn’t make for the most interesting blog reading so I thought I’d take a different tack this week and share a couple of my bonehead moves. Enjoy!

Monday night I headed straight home so I could grab some dinner before heading to the library to knit. When I walked in the door, I caught a whiff of something that smelled suspiciously like gas. I headed downstairs to the laundry room where my furnace and hot water heater are. Unfortunately the litter boxes are also down there and one of the cats had missed the box so all I could smell was cat pee. I sprinkled some litter over it, ate some dinner and headed to the library, figuring I’d do a sniff test again when I got home. My knitting friends convinced me I had to call the city if it still smelled when I got home.

Well, fast forward an hour. I walked into the house and yup, there was definitely a smell. But when I walked downstairs, I still couldn’t smell anything. It was definitely concentrated by the back door. Since I have no idea where the gas line comes into the house, I called the city utility department (all our utilities are owned by Wahoo and are super cheap – yet another benefit of living in Wahoo!) The voice mail gave me another number for after hour emergencies, so I called that and it ended up being the police department.

Police: Wahoo Police. How can I help you?
Me: I think I have a gas leak. It’s gotta be a small one though because it only smells by the back door.
Police: I’ll call someone. You need to go wait outside.
Me: Do I really have to? If it is a leak, it’s only a small one.
Police: It won’t seem small if your house blows up!

I hung up and decided I had time to neatize the kitchen a bit before whoever arrived. So I walked over to the stove, which had a pot on it that needed washing from some broccoli I’d steamed a few nights before. Well, I picked it up and it was heavy. Normally I dump the water from the pot to stop the cooking but for some reason hadn’t this time. Well, I took off the lid and WHEW – what a stench! My gas leak was broccoli water. Just great!

Police: Wahoo Police. How can I help you?
Me: It’s me, the woman who called with the gas leak. (pause) It wasn’t a gas leak. It was stinky broccoli.
Police: laughing her butt off
Me: Can you call whoever you called and tell them not to come?
Police: (more laughing) Yes. I called the fire chief and he should be on his way (more laughing)
Me: I’m going to be a laughing stock!
Police: You made my night (yet more laughing)
Me: Can you hurry and call him so he doesn’t come out for nothing? Please!

I spent the next half hour waiting to get into my nightie, hoping she’d caught him and he wasn’t on his way over in a fire truck. Are you done laughing yet?

Bonehead Move #2

By Sunday afternoon, I was done with all my chores and was starting to so some cooking, which is my normal Sunday routine but it seems like I haven’t done it in months. In addition to making food for the week, I was also starting to prep for Thanksgiving. I made out my shopping list, pulled all the bread ends I’d been saving out of the fridge and tore them up for stuffing and then I decided to tackle the squash.

Wahoo has a strange little shop downtown that sells a little of everything and often has cheap produce that’s on its last legs or has been grown locally. A week after Halloween, I went in and there was a shopping cart full of pumpkins and three huge blue hubbard squashes. As is often the case there, they misidentified what they had. The sign on the cart said “Pumpkins or Big Gourds - $1”.

Have you ever had hubbard squash? It’s delicious but presents a problem because they are HUGE – as long as a standard size watermelon but thicker in the middle. On top of that, they’re a strange blue gray color and are all knobby. Most people wouldn’t have a clue that it wasn’t a big gourd. I snagged one and have been driving it around in my car ever since. Now was the time to cook it, which would require putting it into the oven whole, cooking it for several hours and then digging the seeds and strings out after it was done. I already had the oven on for some banana bread so just washed the squash, poked it with a fork and threw it in.

Fast forward two hours. I was finally able to pierce the skin with the fork so called it done and got out the potholders. I gingerly maneuvered it out of the oven and then looked around for where to put it down. I know, piss poor planning. The banana bread was on the counter on a cooling rack, the other side of sink was covered with drying dishes and I figured it would rupture if I put it down on an empty stove burner. While I was standing there evaluating my options, the heat from the squash was working its way through my potholders and in shifting it, I dropped it. Luckily it wasn’t fully cooked so didn’t completely burst but enough of it did fly that I now had an orange speckled kitchen. I was able to pick up two big hunks that weren’t in contact with the floor and started mopping it up. By the time I was done, the floor was clean but there were orange stains on the counter and the dishwasher. Oh well, I’m sure they’ll fade eventually. On the plus side, the squash was so big that even though a good portion of it went into the trash, I still ended up with 20+ cups of it – plenty for Thanksgiving and the entire rest of the year.

On that note, I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving. If you’re close enough and are interested, I have squash to share. : )

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Week 46 - Through to Normal

At last, a normal week! I was able to eat dinner before knitting at the library, went to the pool twice and sat like a zombie in front of the TV 3 nights in a row. I even got to cook a normal dinner (June Cleaver would have been proud) on Friday night. While the TV watching was excessive (hell, I didn’t even knit a stitch!), it was nice to have the option.

The highlight of the week was scrapbooking at Camp Fontanelle. We do this twice a year and it’s a testament to how nuts my life has been that I hadn’t scrapbooked since we were at the camp last spring. Sheesh! Of course I left all the prep until the last minute but it all worked out in the end.

I told myself I’d have plenty of time Saturday morning to get ready and so opted for my third TV veg night on Friday, figuring I’d wake up early enough to get the minimum done before I had to leave ~9:30. Little did I know how early it’d be! I woke up at 5:15, made French toast and bacon, organized all my scrapbooking stuff and had time to call Carolyn before heading to the optician’s to check on whether they found other color options for the frames I’d tried on last week. Well, I walked in the door, walked up to the first rack and pulled off a pair of glasses that I like even better than the ones they were holding. What do you think? Here’s a frontal shot plus another view to see the cool sides. I’ve also included a side view of the pair from last week that shows detail of the figures. I need feedback please!

From there it was on to camp. As usual, it was the opening weekend of deer season so there were 2 deer carcasses on the lawn from the youth hunting group. It wouldn’t be Fontanelle without a dead animal or two. Gunshots aside, it was a great weekend. My plan was to do my calendar pages for our swap (this year I had January and April) then work on a new album from my Wisconsin trip with Lorri a year ago summer. Done!

I finished the calendar pages Saturday afternoon and started the album before I headed home to sleep in my own bed that night. I could have slept at camp but decided the 30 minute drive each way was a decent trade for a good night’s sleep at home and not having to pack linens and toiletries and schlep them down to the dorm. It was a good decision because I not only slept like a rock but didn’t get up until almost 8:00. I was the hero of the group for bringing M&M’s and Starbucks. All the caffeine and chocolate gave me a jump start because. I finished my album just in time to pack up and be home by 5:00. And I love the album to boot.

The final clincher on my wonderfully normal week was coming home to a message that someone wants to meet Mama Kitty. I made a few phone calls and connected the potential adopter with the fosterer and hope to hear tomorrow that it all worked out and Mama Kitty has a new home. Now I just need to cram tonight full of all my chores and pull out the snow shovel and winter coat before heading to bed. It’s supposed to snow overnight and into the day tomorrow. If only it’d be enough for a snow day. I live in hope. : )

Monday, November 9, 2009

Extra - Ripples of Enough!

One of my favorite people, Paul from the Ripples Project, had a perfect Ripple this morning. Check it out and sign up for the weekly newsletter if you feel so inclined.

Ripples v11.44: Enough Already!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Week 45 - Four Days Off

What a wonderful week! It’s hard not to love a 3 day work week followed by 4 days off with temps in the 70’s in November.

The work part of my week flew by, mostly taken up by dean’s reports. I only ended up spending one night at the library post book sale. I went right there after work on Monday and didn't leave until the book shop was completely restocked. I ended the working part of my week with a bogus session on weight lifting for women, where everyone showed up dressed to work out but ended up with a power point in a meeting room. Oh well. None of it mattered because I had the next 4 days off. Yay!

I started my mini vacation by making an ambitious list of all the things I was going to get done, split out by day. Well, you know how that went! I enjoyed the morning immensely, sitting in the sun knitting while watching bad morning TV then talking to my Auntie Margaret for 2.5 hours. After lunch, I looked at the list, decided to rearrange and headed outside. A few hours later, I had planted the last of my plants (better late than never) and everything looked much better, so much so that I’m not embarrassed by my neglected yard anymore. I have a bit more to do but feel great about my progress. A great Day 1.

Day 2 started with more knitting in the sun and then I headed out to get all my in town errands done – registering the car, going to the bank, OK’ing the new shower that had finally come in at the plumber’s, stopping at the library and on and on. I went to the optician’s last to pick out some glasses. They all looked the same and were all square, which I don't like with the shape of my eyes. Here’s a pic of me in the pair I like. What do you think? I wish I had a pic of the sides because they’re really fun. Ignore the bad hair. I’m on vacation after all!

I had invited Andrea over for a simple supper of corn chowder, figuring that’d give me incentive to neatize the house. By the time I got home, it was 3:15 and I had to cram to get it all done. Donna had called and I invited her too but she doesn’t like chowder so I decided to make some red sauce too. I got it all done and we had a nice time. I cracked a bottle of wine, we ate our various entrees then had apple crisp with vanilla ice cream and watched TV and chatted all night.

The night ended on a funny note. Donna and Andrea left and I immediately jumped in the shower, having gotten all sweaty from cooking. I was in my nightie and ready for bed when I looked down and noticed Andrea had forgotten her purse. I called her only to hear her purse announcing “Call from Merry Fenton.” Since Andrea doesn’t have a land line, I decided she shouldn’t be without her phone. I threw my coat on over my nightie and drove over there, only to find her house dark. I knocked lightly on the door but didn’t rouse her so I left her purse in the door and drove home slowly, stopping completely at every stop sign, just to make sure I wouldn’t get pulled over. Imagine the embarrassment if I had been!

Unfortunately, my vacation was over and my typical weekend began. I had a Friends meeting on Saturday, after which I went to Lorri’s to fix her computer. Sunday is usually my chore day but I decided to switch it up and do chores on Saturday so I could go to Omaha and do some shopping on Sunday. I had a long list of stores to hit, with my goal being to make a big dent in my Christmas shopping, restock my fridge and hit CJ Banks for their 40% off sale. I headed out at 11:00, grabbed a grilled stuffed burrito on the run for lunch and started shopping. 5 hours later I headed home with a car full of presents, food and clothes. I feel WAY better! My stocking stuffer baskets are full, all my chores are done and I’m ready to rock and roll. Life is good!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Week 44 - It's Over But.....

The book sale was over at noon on Saturday. We were very close to breaking the $2,000 mark (our goal) and that with less quality books than in previous years. But just because the sale hours are done, it doesn’t mean the work is. Despite having spent every spare minute at the library for the past week, I stayed 2 hours beyond my shift to help break it down. We don’t have to be completely out of the conference room until the end of the week but I don’t want to drag it out. I’m willing to give time each night until Wednesday and then I’m done, whether the books are all put away or not.

On top of the book sale, work was a bear this week. Nora was out all week and UNL was on the front page of the Journal Star so the heat was on to provide data for the Vice Chancellor. My week was full before that article so I was slamming to get stuff done by the end of the month. I had hoped to get everything done so I could take Friday off but that didn’t happen and I only found out last minute (4:30 on Thursday) that Dale had already asked for the day off so I was flying solo on the reporting team. I got it all done late Friday afternoon and could finally breath again.

This week should go better. I start the week with deans’ reports, which take up two full days. Then I’ve asked for Thursday and Friday off to make up for the long weekend I lost post-Monterey because of the plumbers. So as of Thursday morning, I’m putting the “NO” in November. It’s going to be all about me with time to catch up on projects, knit for Christmas, plan for my scrapbooking weekend and recoup before the holidays. The weather’s supposed to be unseasonably warm so I’m hoping to get outside and do some yard work too.

So, that’s my plan and I’m sticking to it. Happy NO-vember.