Monday, January 30, 2012

Week 5 - Cleaning Lady Angst

A lot went on this week but I think the most newsworthy is the new cleaning lady. Nut job! Keep reading for the gritty details.

I started the week with a doctor’s appointment, which went well but, no surprise, I need to improve my diet to get my LDL down. Go figure. It was a mad rush as soon as I got to work, helping Mary and Nora prep for an 11:00 meeting. The day was over in a flash and I didn’t swim so was able to go home and grab dinner before knitting. Then it was home to watch Alcatraz, which has sucked me right in. If the rest of the week was as quick as Monday, the weekend would be here in no time.

The event of Tuesday was moving my cubie. I started right after lunch and was done by 4:00. It’s amazing how much dust you encounter when you clean the new cubie, dust everything you move and then dust the now empty old cubie. I couldn’t wait to get home and take a shower. My lungs felt thick with dust. And as soon as I got home, I started neatizing for the new cleaning lady. The house wasn’t bad but my goal was to clear every surface possible. It took more than an hour but I was pleased with the results. I had a couple of areas I was going to tell her were off limits – the top of the desk, the yarn corner and my hassock mainly – but that worked for me.

I left Wednesday morning, excited to get through the day and come home to a sparkling clean house. The day went fast and I swam, which I normally don’t do on Wednesdays because I don’t like the class (Water in Motion), so didn’t get home until 7:00. I opened the door and could smell Pine Sol. Good. The kitchen sink was amazing, as was the toilet, which had had big streaks of hard water stains (have I mentioned that my old cleaning lady sucked?) and the microwave looked great, until I noticed the dust caked in the vents, despite the rest of the microwave being pristine. Then I found her note.

Apparently, she’d spent 4.5 hours in my house and still wasn’t done. When I read that, I looked around and could not fathom what had taken her so long. Yes, the floors were clean and she had dusted but 4-1/2 hours? And at $25/hour, whatever she’d done was costing me big bucks. She had said she’d call so I called Carolyn to fill her in and waited. Well, when she called, the first thing I asked was what took so long. She said she’d spent some time on the sink and toilet (obviously) but also that there had been a lot of dead leaves on my plants! WTF! I assured her that I could take care of my own plants and didn’t want her to touch them. Really? Then I went all in and asked about the vents on the microwave. She said she’d tried but moved on and assured me she’d finish on Friday. She also was way too concerned about the fact that she didn’t have time to dust the top of the china hutch. Now if I were having a basket ball team over for tea, maybe this would be a problem but guess what? No one can see that dust! The clincher of the conversation was when she told me that my house would get cleaner every time she came and I’d get better. Yes, this woman thinks that I’m going to get better, at which point I told her I was fine with the level of clutter in my house, which is light years better than 5 years ago. I also asked her if now that she’d experienced my house, if she could do 2 hours every 2 weeks instead of the three she had estimated. She wouldn’t even consider this. So her services would cost me twice as much as the max I’d ever paid in the past. I hung up feeling like it wasn’t going to work. After Darla called (all my friends wanted an update), I had decided to look for yet another cleaning lady. I don’t need to pay twice as much for the same service and have a guilt trip thrown in as a tip. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Thursday and Friday flew by, Friday helped by having to slam through a big project for the big boss, who had asked the wrong person for the data (typical) and then it became an emergency when said person waited until the last minute to ask for help. Sheesh! I finished just in time and left the office behind, totally ready for my wonderfully unscheduled weekend.

I woke up at 5:30 on Saturday and couldn’t get back to sleep so got up at 5:54, which is the time my alarm goes off. Sheesh! I made pancakes and bacon then had a lovely morning knitting in the sun. When I got up from my chair, I dyed two skeins of yarn, finally getting the brown I was looking for on one that I’d dyed before and recreating Kate’s gorgeous pink/gray skein that had been a happy mistake on Dye Day. I ate some lunch and then knitted some more. Lorri was coming over for tea at 3:00 so I got out my vintage tea set and set a nice table. We had a lovely time and chatted for hours. She even helped me wind my two dyed yarns because they’d dried quickly out on the line. I had planned to bake a chicken for dinner but didn’t have time once Lorri left so I cooked a frozen pizza and watched a movie. I was struggling to keep my eyes open and so went to bed early. What a nice day!

I slept in (6:30! Seriously, that’s late for me) on Sunday and had another nice morning – watching TV, reading the paper and knitting. I had started a tea cosy for the big teapot I’d used Saturday and was having fun with that. I did chores on and off all day and was down in the basement starting my 70’s quilt when the doorbell rang. Andrea had stopped by to drop off some biscotti she’d baked so I put on the tea again and had another nice tea break with a friend. When I asked Andrea if she knew how to change a watch battery, it ended up with her ripping apart 3 of my dead watches. Despite her ministrations, they really were dead so went into the trash. After she left, I made tortilla casserole and broccoli for supper and finished up my laundry. What a fabulous weekend! I need a few more like it soon.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Week 4 - Spinning and Dyeing

Despite it being a day off work, I started Martin Luther King Day in the dentist's chair at 8:30. While that wasn't an ideal start to the holiday, at least it got me up and dressed. And it was a good thing I had nothing planned for the rest of the day because he shot me up with so much novocaine that I didn't feel the whole side of face (even my ear was numb!) until the middle of the afternoon. I spent a pleasant day sitting in the sun, knitting and catching up on some TV. I had already planned to skip knitting in favor of the premier of Alcatraz (gotta love a new J J Abrams series) so just kept up the relaxation. It felt great!

Tuesday went by in a blur - work, swimming and errands before getting home late again. That night, I woke up at 2:30 with my intestines just not feeling right. When it was clear I wasn't falling back asleep, I got up and did dishes in the wee hours then read for awhile before falling back asleep ~5:00. Needless to say, I was a zombie on Wednesday. It didn't help that I was running late getting to work (maybe because I was so tired it was like moving through jello?) so couldn't find a spot. So I parked at a meter and went to the co-op over lunch, only to end up at another meter for the afternoon. The parking situation on campus really is getting ridiculous. I made it through the day and went home to inspect Colleen's work and meet the new cleaning lady at 7:00. Well, Colleen didn't come and left a message that she'd come next Wednesday, which of course would never happen because I hired the new cleaning lady that night. She was pretty appalled at how dirty my house was (further testament to Colleen's piss poor cleaning skills) and will be coming next Wednesday for as long as it takes to get everything up to her standards. I can't wait to see my house.

On Thursday morning, which was bitter cold with a raw north wind, I had to walk across campus to the Health Center for a fasting blood draw. It also went out at lunch to Get Rec'd, the annual vendor show at the Rec Center. After work it was on to the pool, where there's an open duct right above my locker that blows freezing cold air (I think it's from outside) right on me when I'm wet from my shower. I thought I'd never get warm! I had to pick up cat food at PetSmart so went to HyVee for a steak dinner to go at the same time. When I got home, I got into my nightie and my super toasty (like I usually can't tolerate it for 5 minutes) fleece bathrobe and finally warmed up. Sheesh!

Friday was another busy day (they all are these days) and was over in a flash. Darla and I hit our favorite thrift store where I scored several cashmere sweaters for my planned felted blanket. Then I picked up muslin at Joann's and went happily home to start my weekend.

Saturday was spinning and I'd volunteered to take cookies so I baked a huge batch of Debbie's oatmeal raisin cookies, which are SO delicious and made the whole house smell good. Andrea picked me up and we headed to Fremont. I was taking my wheel and spinning in front of others for the first time. After watching the newbie video for awhile, I finally got my wheel going and started my BAD spinning. Well, one of the experienced spinners came over and told me I was doing it wrong. After seeing the right way, I was instantly doing better and my yarn actually looked normal. I was very happy. I also figured out the main problem with my wheel - it doesn't weigh enough (PVC is its main ingredient) and so fights to move away from me. When Andrea stood on the front of it, I could spin like a pro. So I need to come up with some method to weight the wheel that still leaves it portable. Something to think about. Anyway, by the time we ran our errands, I got home after 7:00 so it was a fun but long day.

Sunday was the long anticipated Dye Day. Anne and Kate were coming at noon with pizza in hand so I got the yarn soaking and pulled out the kool aid and pyrex. We had lots of fun doing all different techniques - dip dyeing, sprinkling and overdyeing in hanks. Then we had time to knit and chat while the yarn cooled. A good time was had by all and I'd picked up the entire house that morning so was good to sit. After such a super busy week, I felt like I needed it. I ate some supper and watched TV, taking a break to catch up with Nancy and then watching some more TV.

It was a nice weekend with a good mix of socializing, fun crafting and being productive. And by the time I post again, I'll be able to give an update on how sparkling clean my house is after my new cleaning lady gets her hands on it. I can't wait to see it. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Week 3 - Long Days Abound

It was a brutal week. It was the first week back at the pool so I had to readjust to being busy after work again after a month off and work was pretty frantic too. At least it ended in a three day weekend.

In past semesters, I’ve skipped water aerobics on Monday so I could go home and eat before knitting but I’ve decided to skip Wednesdays this semester, which makes Monday a LONG day but gives me a break mid week, which will be nice. So I brought a lunch to eat in the car and went to the Chinese buffet with Darla for lunch. It was good to get back in the pool and then knitting was fun too. Donna and Jan came for the first time in months and I finished my sock, even successfully kitchenered it in public. If you don’t knit, trust me, that’s a feat. Then I went home and did some of the chores I’d skipped Sunday. See? I really long day.

I started Tuesday getting to campus at 7:40 so I could get a good spot for the pool then slamming to get something done for Mary’s 10:00 meeting. I swam again on Tuesday (still felt great) and then went to a Trustees meeting at the library where they would be providing an explanation for why the Foundation got rid of the Friends and put us under the Trustees. I had been worried about how to get my point across (I was pissed at the total lack of communication until it was a done deal. It also means a lot more work for me, the Friends treasurer BTW) but needn’t have worried because the president of the Friends was there and was in full blown tears before she finished her last sentence. I felt better for having shared my feelings and got home at 8:15. Sheesh!

I was looking forward to Wednesday and started it off getting a Starbuck’s, which felt like a treat since it had been awhile. The day was going just fine until 4:00, when I went to the kitchen for water and came back with caramel corn. I had stopped at Nora’s to see if she wanted some and she declined, citing her recent tooth problem. Not me. I went back to my desk and within minutes I had broken a tooth, swallowing it for good measure. I called my dentist and they said I could come right in so I was in the chair by 5:00 and home by 5:30. The good news was he thought he could fix it with a filling but I was still in a bit of a funk and sat like a zombie in a chair, not knitting, not getting anything done. Oh well.

It was bitter cold on Thursday and I was on campus early again so I could get a parking spot. Dodie and I went to Applebee’s for lunch and I cranked on a new report for the boss. Swimming was brutal (agony with Alison – the best work out and instructor) and then I stopped at Goodwill so didn’t get home until 8:00 AGAIN. I have got to stop that trend! Then I had to do the treasurer’s report for Friends so couldn’t relax even then. But the next day was Friday so all was good.

On Friday I had lunch with Layton (Chinese buffet again) and worked until the last second doing the last of my monthly reports that were held up by a problem with the tables. Darla and I were going shopping after work. We started at our favorite thrift store, where I scored tons of great stuff. $22 worth, which is unheard of. Then we went to the mall, where I has stuff to return at CJ Banks and then we’d search for a winter coat. I hate shopping like that so was skeptical of success but we hit pay dirt at JC Penney – the first store we tried. I had very specific criteria and there was exactly one coat in the style I wanted and it was my size, even fitting my odd shape. Best part? It was a Liz Claiborne for $39! Darla and I split up then I headed to Joann’s for quilt fabric. It was another late night – you guessed it! I got home at 8:00, just in time to watch Fringe. Finally I could relax.

I got up early on Saturday because I wanted to wrap and pack my two swap boxes and get them mailed before the Friends meeting at 9:30. Well, I didn’t get to the post office until 9:25 and then my package to Canada was overweight so I had the wrong customs slip filled out. I was ten minutes late to Friends but the packages were done so I was happy. After Friends Lorri and I had made plans to have lunch but Jenna and Denise ended up joining us so it wasn’t the catch up session we’d planned. The best part was, I could go home and was free as a bird for the rest of the day. Yay! I started my chores but mostly spent time finishing the crocheted rug and watched TV. It felt great.

On Sunday, Andrea and were going to Lincoln for lunch, shopping and a gallery tour at the quilt museum. I was picking her up at noon but couldn’t resist doing some baking – peanut butter muffins (yum – try this recipe) and lemon bread pudding with chocolate covered raisins. We had lunch at South 9 Grill, courtesy of Anne who gave me the certificate for $25 off a $35 check so we had entrees rather than sandwiches and got 3 desserts to go – one for Anne, which we dropped at her house on the way to Target. The quilt walk was very interesting (I hadn’t expected to enjoy it so much) and then we went to Menard’s and Super Saver, getting home ~7:00. I enjoyed an evening of TV and the last of my tuna casserole, happy that Monday was a holiday. What’s not to like about that? It’s the last one for a long time though. Time to start thinking about taking some vacation time.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Week 2 - The Crafting Begins

Usually I love a week that starts with a holiday but this one was the last day of break so it was sad. It was also reality check time because I had barely made a dent in my to do list so I had to get busy.

I was a machine all day Monday, barely stopping for lunch between doing chores. I was hosting knitting in the evening so I had a deadline, which is always a good motivator for me. I was ready to sit when Andrea and Anne Marie arrived at 7:00. We had fun and knitted a bit longer than usual since we weren’t being kicked out of the library at 8:00. I went to bed with the usual regrets about not getting enough done over break. Nothing new there.

The alarm on Tuesday was a rude awakening but I headed to work ready to handle monthly reports on my own. Dale helped last month, despite already being in his new job in Payroll, but not this month. What usually takes me between 2 and 3 days would fill the whole week this time. The days flew by and I took advantage of the gorgeous weather for Starbuck’s runs most afternoons, which helped because I didn’t sleep well a couple of nights so needed the caffeine. On Thursday, Darla and I walked there with no coats and were perfectly warm. It was 65!

It was not a good week for my friends getting jobs. Carolyn found out that Warwick was opening the job for more applicants and Cranston had moved on so the half time job she’d been offered before Christmas was gone too. Then on Thursday, Darla found out she didn’t get the job in Purchasing, which was a shock to everyone and must have been because someone who shouldn’t have interfered in the process did. My heart ached and I really didn’t sleep much at all that night, disturbed by the whole thing. It was quiet in the office and I finished up my work just before 5:00. I was SO ready for the weekend.

Darla was coming to Wahoo to play on Saturday morning. She arrived at 8:00 and we headed to Rezac’s in Weston for breakfast. From there we “did” Wahoo – The Warehouse and other stores on the main drag, the thrift store at the senior center and a driving tour of the lake and other Wahoo hot spots. She left ~2:00. It was fun. I didn’t get much else done that day, ending the night by watching Captain America.

Sunday should have been chore day and I did manage to do laundry but got sucked into my craft room, organizing and prepping quilt fabric for quilting. My first project for the year will be putting together a quilt with squares I bought years ago at an auction or thrift store. I also have a stack of 6” squares from totally 70’s color quilting fabric that I want to use. Love those 70’s! With all this crafting going on, I didn’t get many chores done so am facing the week with a messy house. But life goes on and it’s a new week. Let’s hope it’s a better one for my friends.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Week 1 - Nebraska New Year

What a bi-polar week! The beginning was absolutely manic, cramming in the last things in RI. Then when I got home, the vegging began. Despite a huge to do list, I’m looking at what I got done during my six days at home and bemoaning not being more productive. Nothing new there.

Monday was the annual open house. Carolyn and I had done most of the cooking before Christmas so that was all taken care of. I made a run to Stop and Shop to get the last few things we needed and also in search of Scary Blackberry Ghoul Aid. Carolyn had given me ten packets of in my stocking and said she’d found it just a week before on the clearance rack. Now this flavor is the holy grail for kool aid dyeing yarn but I hadn’t been able to find any so I was on the hunt. There was only one single packet left at Carolyn’s market but I made a call to the North Kingstown Stop and Shop (convenient to John, who would be coming to the open house) and they had 13 boxes of it so I had them put 10 at the service desk for John to pick up. Score! But I digress…

The open house was fun. John, Maruta, Sharyn and Butch came. It was great to catch up with everyone and Butch and Maruta together is something to behold. We ate lots of yummy snacks and chatted for hours. Deanne was supposed to come but called at 4:00 to say she was running late, which is her usual MO for the open house in an attempt, she confessed, to getting alone time with me. While this is flattering, the open house was over at 5:00 and she still hadn’t arrived by 5:30. Carolyn and I were both exhausted, having been going full bore for days, and the food was all gone or put away so I told Deanne we needed to go out so Carolyn could relax. We went to Starbuck’s and caught up there (always nice) but then it was home to collapse. All the Christmas plans had gone well and I’d had lots of fun but it was a good thing to have it all over with. Is that a sign of age? I don’t know but I was happy to get in my sweats and veg in front of the TV that night.

I was leaving Tuesday afternoon so we hit Job Lot in the morning and picked up spinach pies at Don’s for lunch then it was home to pack. I did leave a few things behind (mostly Christmas presents for next year that I’d bought that morning) but fit everything else in my suitcase, with packets of ghoul aid in all the nooks and crannies. My flights home were uneventful and I was in my house just before 10:00 p.m. The cats wanted out but I didn’t let them because I couldn’t wait to go to bed so I showered and hit the hay. I read for awhile and when I pulled up the sheets, they were wet. Totnes, my little bitch kitty, had peed on the bed while I was in it! GROSS! In the decades I’ve had cats, I’ve never had one pee on my bed until now. Sheesh! That meant I had to change the sheets and my nightie, which woke me right up. So much for going to bed early.

Wednesday was a recoup day. I unpacked and ran all the errands I had – the library, bank, market, dry cleaners, etc. It felt good to be home and to clear all those off my to do list day one. There was lots of sitting and knitting too.

Helen was supposed to come over and veg on Thursday but called to say she couldn’t because she had to go to Omaha to get a load of hay. Well, I can chat in the cab of a truck as well as in my family room so I offered to go along. We went to Panera for my fave steak and blue cheese salad lunch, stopped at Starbuck’s for peppermint mochas and then got the hay. There’s nothing like sitting in the cab of the truck while 30 100 pound bales are thrown into the truck bed. It’s akin to a Disneyland ride. Nebraska style that is. Then we drove home slowly with the hay piled high. After Helen dropped me off, I ended up delivering the hermits I’d brought back from RI for a friend’s brother-in-law who recently moved from RI (I’d met him at the Wine & Dine last year) and since I was so close to the museum, I decided to take down our knitting tree and cross that off the list. I stopped by Andrea’s shop too. So far, so good on getting stuff done.

That all came to a halt on Friday. One of my main goals for break was to spin so I spent some time on YouTube watching beginner spinning videos and then I got out my wheel. As I suspected, spinning is not as easy as it looks. I spun for most of the afternoon and was getting better but my groin muscle was killing me from working the treadle so I took a break to make dinner. Then it was back to spinning. I had a cone of BAD yarn, which alternates between over spun and under spun, to show for it. Clearly I need more practice but will keep at it. I’m determined on this front.

Saturday was an Omaha run with Andrea. She closed her shop at noon (an hour early) and we headed to our first stop – Personal Threads for their annual customer appreciation sale. I was good and only got yarn for 1 pair of socks plus a stocking stuffer and something for my swap partner. From there we hit Penzey’s, Sur la Table and Traders Joe’s, where I picked up some artichoke dip and stuffed flounder for supper. Then we hit Aldi, which I hadn’t been to since my dad was alive, and Bag N Save before heading home. I had my yummy TJ’s dinner, watched some TV and went to bed early. That’s my way of celebrating the new year.

The wind was howling all night and into Sunday, so much that it blew over y deck tree. I spent a big chunk of time on Sunday going through all the paper on my desk. It took hours. Other than a few chores, talking to my sisters and making this amazing pasta for dinner, that’s all I accomplished. I also remoted in to work and ran the data load for my monthly reports, which will make it easier on Tuesday. All in all, this was not an auspicious start to 2012 but it was a day well spent. I only had one day left of break and tons of things left on my to do list. Where did the time go? So typical. Oh well. Happy New Year everyone!

2012 - Just One Word

My word for the year is Crafting!

I haven't done well with my annual word choice since the very successful Enough for 2009. Last year's word was mindful and the only thing I can say I was mindful of was the fact that I spent way too much time in 2011 sitting and knitting. Now that was better than just sitting but still, not what I had in mind when I chose that word. So this year I'm going for something concrete.

My goal for 2012 is to spend chunks of unscheduled time down in my basement craft room creating things. I have the supplies (jeez, do I have supplies!) and even many unfinished projects, for instance my pink and orange quilt. I just need to get busy. So instead of spending a free Saturday afternoon knitting and watching netflix, I'm going to head downstairs and get busy. I see myself quilting, making more little pouches, recycling old jeans into craft bags.... that kind of thing.

My friend Dodie is keeping me honest. I've agreed to a monthly show and tell to keep me honest. In a similar vein, and this will count as a 2nd goal for 2012, Andrea and I are going to do something cultural once a month. A play, a museum, something! It's good to have friends. Happy New Year everyone.