Monday, April 29, 2013

Week 17 - My Echoing Home

Well, I did wake up with a cold on Monday morning so started the week under the weather. I took a Claritin D, which dried me up and masked my symptoms, but I still felt crappy. I muddled through the day with a foggy head and then went straight home. I was considering skipping knitting (yes, I felt that bad) and so got into sweats when I got home. But after puttering for a bit, I decided I might as well go so went to the library in sweats. Yikes! I’m glad I went though. Better to sit with friends feeling crappy than alone.

I had a dentist appointment first thing Tuesday which was only possible because I could breath. Whoever invented Claritin D should be knighted. I stopped at Wal-Mart on the way in and bought more undies and a pair of black pants for the trip. Not exactly what I was looking for but they’d do. I taught that afternoon so the day was over in a flash. I went straight home and packed up everything on the floor of my closet. The cleaning lady was coming for the last time on Wednesday and I’d asked her to pay extra attention to the floors, especially in the bedroom, in preparation for the floor refinish.

Well, I went to bed at the regular time but was wide awake at 3:15. After trying everything I could think of to fall back asleep, I got up and went through all the paper on my desk. I went back to bed and read for awhile but didn’t ever fall back asleep. I felt so awful that I may have called in sick if the cleaning lady hadn’t been coming so I left her a note saying to call when she was done and headed to work, stopping for extra caffeine at Starbuck’s on the way in. Well, by the time she called at 10:30, the caffeine had kicked in and I was doing OK. At lunch I continued the pre-trip errands, dropping a bag at Goodwill, returning a shirt at the mall and picking up a couple of laundry baskets for more packing up. I can’t say the afternoon went quickly but I was still there so that was something. I did manage to pack up everything in my closet that I wouldn’t be packing or wearing in the next week and was showered and in bed by 9:15.

I felt human again on Thursday morning, which was a good thing because I was training again. I had lunch with Dodie and then book club after work. I hadn’t reread the book but had read some summaries online to refresh my memory and we had a good discussion. I went to bed early again because Friday was Spring Affair.

I had my first lunch with Layton in a month and had fun hearing about his trip. I left work at 3:30 to head to the pre-sale at Spring Affair. I had a list from Andrea but would be spending my free $12 for volunteering impulse shopping. I grabbed things here and there (mostly old favorites) and then Lorri and I went to HyVee for dinner before heading back for our shifts. Well, my 4 hour shift, which was only 3.5 hours, was killer for my knee. After standing and walking on concrete for that long, my knee was super stiff. I’m sure the cortisone shot was the reason it didn’t hurt but I was so ready to sit. After stopping at Nora’s to pick up a bag of clothes for Anne Marie, I headed home for a shower and bed.

The weekend was all about, you guessed it, packing. Billy and Amanda showed up with a friend and they worked in the yard for a few hours. I had spent the morning working in the house (all the linens and curtains in the front of the house were down, washed (4 loads) and hanging on the line), thinking I’d relax in the afternoon, but I couldn’t sit while they were working so I baked cookies and called that productive. By the end of the day, the thicket of Wahoo trees was gone (I had them leave one) and they’d finished raking the lawn. They’d be coming back on Sunday for mowing and perennials beds.

Sunday brought more laundry (clothes this time) and actual packing, moving all the furniture in the front room and sweeping/washing the floors and doing a final neatize in the house. It was after 4:00 and still no sign of Billy. I called the last number he’d called me from, which ended up being my next door neighbor Judith’s cell phone. Since I’d met Billy through her, I told her he hadn’t shown and my frustration must have come through. A few minutes later, she was dropping him at my door. He was full of apologies, as usual, but I gave him a load of grief and went to get gas for the mower. I was in a pissy mood and red in the face. He mowed the front yard and stopped. I had to tell him to mow the back. What the hell is wrong with kids today? If there’s a motivated one out there, I can’t find him/her. But he promised he’d mow while I’m away and Judith offered to keep the money for him (paying him ahead didn’t work last time) so there’s a chance he’ll actually show up. Sheesh!

So, by the end of the day, I was feeling OK about things. The front room and spare bedroom were completely ready for the floors and I’d started in my bedroom. My suitcases were aired out and I’d started packing and my knee was doing OK. I’d be flying in four days but had decided to take all day Thursday off to take some of the stress out of last minute prep. Plus the spring weather was finally here and I was able to leave the windows open at night for the first time this spring. With spring so delayed, I’d be missing some of my favorite blooms – forsythia, tulips and Korean spice viburnum. Maybe I’ll see some in Ireland? I live in hope.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Week 16 - A Packing Machine!

I know, I’m sounding like a broken record but it was another busy week at work and home. With less than two weeks before Ireland and the floor refinishing, everything’s been focused on packing up.

I worked on allocations all day on Monday, ran to the Eco Store with Nora over lunch and then popped home after work only long enough to grab my knitting and the banana cream pie and head to the library. Donna and I were the first there but people dribbled in until 7:00 and we had a big group, including cousins, sisters, etc. so it was fun. Good thing it was relaxing because it was a long day.

I emailed Connie on Tuesday to ask if they were staying Sunday night too. Well, she responded asking if they could stay Thursday and I went into panic mode. My house was a wreck, with the spare room partially packed, boxes everywhere and I’d never finished up chores on the weekend so dirty dishes, unfolded laundry and the like EVERYWHERE. Since I have issues saying No at all, never mind to a good friend, I had a mini freak out. But I bucked up and said no. Are you shocked? I was but it was the right thing to do and I felt better as soon as I’d emailed. Darla and I went to Trance after work, which was fun. I hadn’t seen a movie since Lincoln.

It was a rainy day on Wednesday, which was actually nice. I had a UAAD meeting at lunch where we got a taste of the presenter who would be doing our professional development session on Thursday. Talk about energy! Thursday was going to be fun. I left work at 3:15 for the shot in my knee. I grilled the PA about wasting a shot but he reassured me and so I got the shot, which was not pleasant. I guess when I’ve had the other shots, I’ve been swollen and in so much pain that I didn’t notice. The excitement hit when the nurse was swabbing my knee and the lights went out. It was pitch black in the exam room and she kept saying, “Don’t touch your knee!” until the light came back on, which took more than a minute, which I found odd since I was in the office building attached to the hospital. Oh well. I got the shot and scored a 3 month temporary handicapped permit for campus. Yay! Then I headed out in the pouring rain to meet Nora at her new house. We walked the yard in the rain but so few things were budded out that I couldn’t identify most of the bushes. Nora had an hour to kill so we went to Taco Inn for enchiladas, after which I headed home, chilled and wet, to watch Survivor. What a day!

Thursday afternoon was the UAAD spring professional development session, so between that and working on something for Mary, the day was over in a flash. I made it to the pool for the first and only time for the week, from which I went straight to the hairdresser. I felt great when I was done there. Not only was my hair short (it had been WAY too long but I delayed so it would be short enough on my trip) but my appointments were done! All that was left was packing. Lots and lots of packing but still. With this full week, can you see why I couldn’t cope with having guests on Thursday?

With my appointments done and allocations finished, Friday felt like a freebie day. I kept working on Mary’s project, which was actually kind of fun – like a puzzle, and Nora and I went to Noodles for lunch and actually ate there and caught up. It was nice. Darla and I thrifted after work with the mission to find a sweater for Mary to unravel. When I agreed to find her one, I didn’t figure in that it’s spring (even if it doesn’t feel like it) and there aren’t many sweaters on the racks. We found one but it wasn’t ideal so after Darla and I split up, I hit three more thrift stores. I still didn’t find a better sweater but I did score a perfect all weather coat for Ireland and a shirt that has possibilities. After a stop at the market, I got home late. It was a good thing I didn’t have any weekend plans cuz I was TOAST!

I was a machine on Saturday! I finished the spare room, packing up everything that was left (quite a bit more than I’d thought was left in there) and moved all the furniture and cleaned it all. When Andrea arrived to pick up her milk, there were piles of boxes and such in the front room. I spent the afternoon taking load after load down to the basement between doing chores and then emptied the front room stuff too. By the time I finished, it was past dinner time so I had a bowl of cereal and sat down to wait for Connie and Gordy to arrive. The house was cleaner than it’d been in years and the spare room was empty and echoing. They walked in at 10:30 p.m. and we chatted until midnight.

I woke up Sunday at 6:00 but was able to fall back asleep, knowing my mountain time guests wouldn’t be up anytime soon. I got up at 8:00 and made coffee. They were up shortly thereafter and I made us ham and eggs for breakfast, which we ate while chatting. They are both such good conversationalists. I miss that. They were on the road by 10:30 and I had the laundry done and the sheets hanging on the line by noon. What to do with the afternoon? I left messages for Lori and Andrea and sat down to knit. I had just put TJ’s pumpkin souffl├ęs in the oven to have with tea (I’d skipped lunch so was starving) when Andrea called so she came over and we chatted and knitted the afternoon away, both of us choosing yarn for the Jools Beret knit along. I made dinner after she left and settled in for a night of TV and relaxing. I had the beginnings of a sore throat and started to zicam. At least if I get a cold, it’s before the trip.

It had been a long week but I’d made great progress on the packing and was feeling good about things. All that’s left is emptying my bedroom and packing for the trip, both of which will happen next weekend. I have a few errands to run and such but nothing I can’t handle in the time left – just 10 days! Wish me luck that it all keeps going swimmingly. : )

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Week 15 - Quitters and Slackers

What a week! Here are the highlights.

On Monday, I did something I rarely do – I swam! I left work not intending to go but by the time I started my car, I’d decided to go. It made for a long night since I went right to knitting but it’s a good thing I went because it was the only time I swam all week.

I started the big floor refinishing clean out of the spare bedroom on Tuesday night, schlepping crap down to the basement all night, working up a sweat in the process. It felt good to get started and make decent progress.

My cleaning lady called on Wednesday to quit, which is a major bummer because I’ve blown through all the cleaning ladies in Wahoo. She’ll come one more time but then the search will be on when I get back from Ireland.

I had a bad day at work on Thursday because I screwed up a number on a report and instantly went into beating myself up. I finally talked to Mary about it in the afternoon and she completely poo-poo’d it so my mood lifted but I was drained from my funk. I went home and sat like a blob. But at least I slept well that night, which was wonderful because I’d been sleeping badly all week.

I got my oil changed in the afternoon (late lunch) on Friday and made a beeline home at 5:00 because Billy was coming to start my yard work. I was going to give him the list of all the drudge work so I could do the fun stuff and the inside stuff to prep for the floors and my trip. He came with his friend Amanda, which was not a good thing because he does crap work when she’s there. They worked for half an hour and got next to nothing done but I gave them $5 each and sent them on their way. They’d be back on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday started out fun. I woke up early, talked to Carolyn and finished a pair of socks (my own pattern and my gradient dyed yarn) before I got busy. Lori was coming over to pick up chicken food (I’d cleaned out the frig) and go through sweaters so I ran to the bank and cleaned out the closet in the spare room before she came. She took all my extra sweaters (I’d gone through then and limited myself to one laundry basket full) and since we had 45 minutes until we were meeting Andrea for lunch, we sat on the deck and I introduced her to the wonders of harvesting yarn from thrift store sweaters. But as we were sitting there, the sun went in and the wind picked up. It turned into a raw day in a matter of minutes. We had a nice lunch and then I came home to countless trips up and down the stairs as I moved a closet full of scrapbooking supplies to the basement. It was too cold to do yard work so I dyed some yarn and knitted. Go figure.

It was much nicer on Sunday so I headed out before lunch to prune my roses. When I was done with that, I edged the lawn at the sidewalk since Billy and Amanda were so challenged on the driveway side. After a shower and BK for lunch, it was laundry and cooking. When Billy arrived, luckily without Amanda, I had a talk with him, telling him that the work they’d done (or not done) on Friday was unacceptable and that he had to work smarter and harder. It wasn’t pleasant but he seemed to get the message and worked hard for a couple of hours, even doing OK after Amanda showed up, and finished the front yard. I paid him for 4 more hours with his promise that he’d word them in the afternoons of the coming week. Here’s hoping. I made the ham I’d gotten last weekend for supper and started some new socks. It was a nice end to the week.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Week 14 - Poppin' Some Tags

This week went by in a blur but at least I managed to get some things done. Just 3.5 weeks until Ireland. Yikes!

Monday was monthly reports day and we did it in record time. I was done by the end of the day, which I’ve never been able to do before. I ran some errands after work but only half what I’d planned because I was just exhausted having not slept well Sunday night. Then it was on to knitting, which is always fun.

On Tuesday I was able to join the Off the Beaten Path Lunch Club – a group of foodies from Arts & Sciences who go to lunch once a month at a local, non-chain restaurant. We went to Honest Abe’s, a new burger place way across town, and I got their Reading Rainbow special. It was way out of my comfort zone but part of the price was donated to The Food Bank, which is my charity of choice these days. Get a load of this burger topping – crunchy peanut butter, roasted grapes, bacon and shredded cabbage. Delicious! Despite being late, I swam Tuesday, partly to burn off that burger lunch.

I test drove a pair of pants that have potential for Ireland on Wednesday and they worked fine and were approved by Darla when we had lunch at the dorms. I finished my errands after work on Wednesday, stopping last at Yarn Charm to show them my gradient dyed socks. I bought, you guessed it, more sock yarn and left in a rush when I saw I’d be missing the start of Survivor.

One of my pre-trip to do’s was to schedule the floor guy to refinish my hardwoods while I’m gone. I left him voice mail when I got home from swimming on Thursday and he came over Friday after work. It’s all set! He’s going to move my furniture to the back of the house (I need to move all the surface stuff myself though so time to get busy on that), refinish the floors then move it all back. All for $1100, which I think is a deal for three rooms. I’m pretty excited.

Before I cooked breakfast on Saturday, Darla and I walked over to the next block to see the floors he was redoing in an empty house. They were gorgeous and I got to see the color they’d be after refinishing. I can’t wait to see mine done.  Anyway, Darla and I had French toast and bacon then started slogging through the under the bed boxes in the spare room. We both got hot and sweaty from trying things on. Darla had a big bag of clothes to take home and most of the rest we packed up for Goodwill. But the best part is that I found 2 pair of jeans that fit great and will work for Ireland. Since I’d been stressing about what pants to pack (everything has to work for multiple wearings since the trip is so long), this was a fabulous find.

We loaded up the car with the Goodwill bags and headed to the Senior Center thrift store. It was slim pickings though so we only got one bag and headed to Omaha. We made up for it there, hitting four Goodwills and getting stuff at each one. I scored lots of sweaters for 99 cents each - to wear, felt, harvest for yarn and share. Yay! I called Carolyn when I got home after 5:00 and vegged for the rest of the evening. It was a fun and productive day.

Not so much Sunday. I did many loads of laundry, including all the sweaters I’d collected, and did some cooking but lost steam mid-afternoon. When I casted on a new pair of socks, the rest of the day was toast. I sat on my butt and knitted for hours. I should have started to clear the stuff in the spare room, especially with only 3 more weekends before I leave. Oh well. At least I had my neighbor tell Billy that I wanted to hire him for yard work so he’ll come over to start that end of things. So much to do in spring, even without being gone for 17 days in early May. It’ll all get done. It always does. Time to make some lists.
P.S. If you're wondering about my title this week, check this out. Darla and I consider this our theme song. Beware. It's got language and a really cathy tune. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Week 13 - Back to Swimming

It was a weird week, starting out slow, then going at breakneck speed and ending with a spurt of productivity. I could use a few more weeks like that.

I didn’t swim until Thursday, which was two weeks from when I’d last been. That meant I had the first 3 nights to head straight home, which is a luxury. You’d think I’d gotten lots done in my free evenings… not so much. I did some grocery shopping and knitted on Monday but that was about it. Oh well.

Work was busy. I trained two afternoons and had several meetings so the time flew. I had my last lunch with Layton for awhile on Thursday. (He left for 3.5 weeks in Europe on Friday.) It felt good to swim finally. I ate in the car and then stopped long enough at home to clean out the frig and bring a big bag of old produce to Lori for her chickens. Book club was at 7:00 and we had a good discussion but it made for a long day.

Nora and Randy were out Friday and Josh took the afternoon off so, of course, Mary asked for all kinds of things they’d been working on so Friday went pretty quickly until the afternoon, which was endless. The weather was gorgeous so I actually took two breaks – something I rarely do. It was wonderful to sit in the sun and knit.

Saturday was the garden expo in Council Bluffs and five of us master gardeners were going. It meant leaving Wahoo at 7:15 so I had to set my alarm like a work day. Blech. The day was good though – good sessions and now I’m done with my continuing ed for the year. Yay! I also got most of the 2nd monster sock done. I had a snack dinner and some cider and went to bed early.

Sunday was Easter but that’s been a non-event for me for years. I made a to do list in the morning and got busy, getting most of it done, including reorganizing all of my yarn and pulling everything out from under the spare bed (4 under the bed boxes and lots of shoes) in preparation for going through it with Darla next Saturday. I also managed to finish the sock, which needs to be in the mail Monday morning, and watch Argo, which was good. All in all it was a pleasant end to a nice week.