Monday, July 26, 2010

Week 30 - Closer to Perfect

What a nice week! I finally feel like I’m getting back on track. I was in a particularly boring meeting this week when someone stated a goal of getting “closer to perfect.” How perfect is that? Isn’t that something to strive for? I think so.

Nora was out all week and left me a stack of things to finish up for her. Between that, my normal work and starting prep for next week, which is fiscal year end closing meeting week and the busiest week of my work year, the days flew by. It was blazing hot again so I spent my lunches inside madly reading My Antonia, hoping I’d finish before book club on Thursday. It took a final cram session Wednesday night after knitting but I got it done and loved it. I guess it’s time I read more of Willa Cather’s work.

I did a big food shopping on Friday night and headed home for a productive weekend. In addition to my usual chores, I wanted to do a ton of cooking and it was my last chance to finish projects to enter in the fair. I got up and got busy on Saturday so had gotten most of my chores done before I sat down to finish my purple socks, which I started in January and have been “my fair socks” since I saw how perfect the first sock was. Andrea was coming over for a felting party on Sunday morning so I also wanted to finish the felted bowl I’d started with the yarn I bought last weekend. I stayed up until midnight to get them all done.

I threw together a pan of lasagna and some brownies before Andrea arrived at 11:00. She brought a big bag to felt and I added my flowers and the bowl. I’m sure we looked odd standing over the machine, watching it agitate but it was fun to see how everything came out. We blocked all the felted stuff then had a nice lunch before Andrea left to get all her stuff done. I gave her most of the lasagna and brownies to share with Anne Marie, figuring I’d make the manicotti I’d cooked the pasta for. While I didn’t do anymore cooking, I did manage to do a few things done – blocked more knitting for the fair and laundry – but spent most of the rest of the day knitting. There are worst ways to spend a Sunday afternoon. Now to decide what to knit next. So many options!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Week 29 - What’s My Normal?

What’s My Normal?

Another hot summer week dawned and I was hoping for a normal week of water aerobics, knitting and getting stuff done. Other than Pie bringing a juvenile starling into the house, which required moving the wall unit to find it, all was looking good until Wednesday.

I was happily knitting with the water aerobics gang at Village Inn when the sky started getting dark. The windows we were facing were looking south, which meant I didn’t leave as early as I would have if I’d been looking north, where the sky was black and packed with clouds. I was just north of i-80 when the skies opened up, making for an interesting ride home. I drove like the wind through pounding rain, just happy that I had no hail to contend with. When I got to Wahoo, I had to dodge branches in the streets to get home where I found the electricity off. I didn’t realize that until I got out of the car thinking my garage door opener’s battery was dead, getting soaked in the process. So I got out the candles and waited ~20 minutes for the electricity to come back on. When it did, I looked down the stairs to see water everywhere!

We’d gotten 3.5 inches in an hour, which was more than my basement could handle. So I got out my squeegee and got busy in the laundry room and at the bottom of the stairs. With the magic of the dehumidifier and evaporation (plus I suspect some of it seeped out the way it came in), it was much better the next morning but I knew I still had a lot more to do.

This isn’t the first water I’ve had in the basement so most everything was in totes and baskets so shouldn’t be wet. But all it takes is an apron tie to be touching the floor to wick the water into a basket of linens (really, this is the fall I get back to selling on ebay!) plus every tote and basket would trap water underneath it. I had hoped to take Friday off to start slogging through everything but it was Nora’s last day before a week off so that didn’t work. I had to content myself with doing what I could until the weekend. Nancy stopped by on Friday night and it was good to catch up before her big trip to Japan.

I gathered wet linens, mopped and moved the dehumidifier every morning and night until Saturday morning, when I finally had time to devote to it. I spent all morning at it and got both the craft and ebay rooms sorted out. I left for a yarn run to Omaha with Andrea that afternoon feeling good about my progress. We were headed to Personal Threads to pick up some variegated orange yarn for some felted boxes I’ll be making to coralle some stuff on my shelves. We also hit Penzey’s, of course, and the supermarket. We got home at 5:30 and I promptly casted on a felted bowl with the other yarn I bought – only 1 skein so it could have been worse.
I finished the basement clean up on Sunday, organizing my ridiculous stash of yarn in the process, and spent most of the rest of the day untangling and winding a basket of yarn while talking on the phone and doing load after load of laundry. I finished the day using all the produce I’d bought last Monday after knitting – red sauce for lasagna and turkey dinner casserole used the mushrooms and I prepped cukes for potato salad. No money for the RNC this week but it was close.

This week has definitely made me wonder what “normal” is? Even with no plans on my agenda, it seems like every week there’s something going on that keeps me from achieving “normal.” Is it this summer? Is it my life in general? I’m beginning to wonder. But there’s nothing I can do but hope for normal and deal with whatever life brings me. And no matter what I’m faced with, life is still good! There are more storms forecast for this afternoon so I’ll just hope for a dry basement.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Week 28 - Operation: Stash Busting

In the knitting world, stash buster projects are ones that use up yarn you already have – your stash. This week I started knitting a neck warmer to combat the chill in my new office with yarn from my stash, which I got free in England from one of the designers who taught a workshop. Since I’ve recently bought enough yarn for years worth of knitting, my plan is to continue to knit with yarn I already own. But the stash busting isn’t stopping there.

Considering that it’s just me, the amount of food I have in my house is ridiculous! I have 2 freezers full of food and cabinets that are bursting. I buy produce as if I were feeding a family of 5 and end up composting a lot of it. Enough! (I know, that’s last year’s word but it still works) I am now expanding stash busting beyond my crafting. It’s time to stash bust with food.

In preparation for cooking food I already have, I defrosted the basement freezer and inventoried both. I now have a detailed list of the food I have (WAY too much!) and plan to eat from my freezer for the foreseeable future. With a bit of creativity, I’ll be eating free for a long time.

In an effort to curtail the over purchase of fresh food, I’ve come up with an ingenious plan to stop this. I’ve made a deal with myself. If I buy produce and do not use it within a week, I have to take the amount of money I spent for said produce and donate it to something that goes against everything I believe in – the RNC. Yes, you read that right – the Republican National Committee. Not only would they get the money but I’d have to give it anonymously so they wouldn’t get me on their mailing lists, which would just be too much to bear! This makes it a double whammy – supporting the RNC and not getting a tax deduction. Ingenious, n’est-ce pas?

Other than my stash busting work on the weekend, it was a pretty normal week. Knitting Monday and Wednesday and the pool Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Friday was fun though. Anne was adopting a campus kitten that Husker Cats had trapped at the museum. I was going to meet her at her house to go with her to pick up Lucy but Anne called just before 5:00 to say her bike had broken down and she was at the zoo. So I headed there, threw her bike in the back of the Fit (everything fits in my Fit!) and we went to get the kitten. She is gorgeous! I took some pics of Anne and Lucy and headed home to start my weekend. What a nice start to a productive weekend.

Now another hot summer week is here. But I’m headed into it with the laundry caught up, the lawn mowed, the refrigerator cleaned out and a plan for using stuff up. Life is good!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Week 27 - Jumped the Gun

It was a typical week at the start but would end with my 3rd annual 4th of July cookout so I was busy making lists – chores to do, food to buy, people who were coming – the usual. I was also in the final throes of returns from my painting project so was trying to fit in final stops for that. By mid week, the lists were huge.

That’s when I took a look at my calendar, saw that no one on the reporting team was taking Friday off and started thinking about a four day weekend. I had burned 2 weeks of vacation on my England trip and so had been a vacation time miser all year. When I ran a report to see what I had used, it was only a ½ day to leave for Wichita and 1 day to help Helen out after her surgery. No wonder I was feeling toasted! Then and there, I decided to take Friday off and take some of the pressure off my cook out prep.

Despite having no idea how many people were coming (I’d given people until Friday to let me know), I shopped on the way home on Thursday, hitting the sales at 2 supermarkets and finally doing my Menard’s returns. I was headed home to 2.5 days of cookout prep and a day afterwards to recoup. Now if the weather would just hold! They were predicting rain for the 4th and 5th.

I was outside by 9:30 on Friday, to tackle the yard chores. I cleared up the driveway and the yard (I still had empty pots and yard tools scattered around and there were lots of weedy spots) and then started pruning my cherry tree. Before I knew it, I was cutting down all the weed trees in the vegetable garden, which was LONG overdue (one mulberry actually had berries!) When I was done with that, I mowed the lawn, after which I was dripping with sweat and exhausted. I went inside, took a shower and despite having enough hamburgers in the freezer for an army, went to Burger King to pick up a late lunch. My body was a noodle and I sat in my chair knitting and watching True Blood for the rest of the day. I never did get anything else done but went to bed feeling good about my progress.

Saturday was inside chore day. Susan was coming from Kansas for the weekend so I had to tackle the spare room, which had been a dumping ground during the whole painting ordeal and so was a mess. I also had to neatize the entire house. I got busy and had a productive day, ending with everything ready for Sunday but for a few last minute things. I was feeling good about everything and looking forward to the cookout.

I woke up Sunday to black skies and pouring rain. The weather forecast looked bleak. To quote Channel 6’s forecast, “Independence Day 2010 is a washout.” It was supposed to rain all day and then turn to thunderstorms for the evening. It was decision time. I checked 3 different online forecasts and they were all in agreement so I made the decision to cancel. My little house just could not accommodate having 25 people, half of them kids, inside. So I started making phone calls early, figuring it’d give people time to make alternate plans. I was bummed but felt like I had no alternative. In an attempt to salvage something from the day, I headed to the basement and reorganized the laundry room, which had gotten some water in it with the rain and so needed attention. That accomplished, I settled in to a rainy day of watching DVD’s and waiting for Susan to arrive.

Then the weather turned. By mid afternoon it had already stopped raining. I checked the radar and it looked like the front that was causing the problems was already passed. The drear kept up but by dinner time, the clouds were clearing and by 7:00 the sun was shining. I was feeling like SH*T! By the time it was clear the fireworks would happen and I cancelled for nothing, it was after 7:00 and too late to pull it off. I beat myself up all evening. Susan and I still grilled burgers and went down to the fireworks, where we met up with the Harts and Andrea, who were some of my uninvited guests. I was SO embarrassed! I know just how the Chancellor felt that time he cancelled school based on a snowfall forecast that never materialized. The only thing I can take away from this is that I should have waited longer before cancelling. Now I just have to decide what to do with all the food – reschedule (there’s not much to do at my house without the fireworks as a draw) or give it away. !$&#*&!#*