Monday, June 17, 2013

Week 24 - Back on Track

It was a week of packages, summer weather and getting caught up. The heat and humidity that plagues Nebraska in summer was long overdue so I guess I shouldn’t complain. But have I mentioned how much I hate Nebraska summers? I thought RI was hot until I moved here. But enough bitchin’….

Packages, packages, packages. I had won a contest on a knitting blog thanks to Anne Marie, who forwards me contest links all the time. So when I stopped home on Monday between work and knitting, I had my first package of the week waiting for me – a super fun, orange project bag from Nice way to start the week and then it was on to knitting to show and tell the bag and the yarn I’d picked up at lunch to make baby things for Helen’s as yet unborn grandbaby.

It was hotter than Hades on Tuesday so I didn’t venture out at all until I headed to the pool, which was fun as usual, despite having to huddle in the 2 center lanes so the two groups of kids having swim lessons could take the corners. I found my Amazon order at my door when I got home with the new Jen Lancaster memoire and Stephen King’s newest – Joyland. Since it takes place at an amusement park, I just had to get it for the Rocky Point nostalgia factor. Then I nuked the last of the asparagus goat cheese pasta and poured a glass of wine, thereby ensuring I’d get nothing more done that night.

I had lunch with Darla on Wednesday and had big plans to run errands after work until heard from Lorri. She emailed that when she’d picked up seeds she’d brought in the package that was at my door. Since it could only be my color swap package, I ran home like a kid at Christmas to rip into it. I’d chosen an orange/blue/tan color scheme (kingfisher on design-seeds) so was hopeful for some orangey goodness. I wasn’t disappointed. I got gorgeous yarn, fun handmades and an Amy Butler project bag full of goodies. I just love my color swaps.

The deadline for shipping was Thursday so I had my note written and my bag of stuff with me when I went to work. Since my package contained a hardcover book and so was heavy, I stopped at the post office to pick up a flat rate box on the way in. Clearly I had just a bit too much for the medium box. Damn! But I had vacillated between two lots of handspun and had brought the larger lot to work. By switching to the single, smaller skein I was sure I could fit it all but I’d have to ship a day late, something I’d never done. Usually I’m one of the first to ship. Well, my movie plans for that night fell through so I decided to head to Joann’s for a clip on OttLight to include as consolation for the late shipping. I picked that up, swapped out the yarn and successfully fit everything in when I got home. Yay!
I dropped the package at The Union PO on Friday morning and crossed that off my list. I had a nice lunch with Layton and made a beeline home at 5:00. With the swap package gone, it was time to focus on the house. The lack of progress on getting things back to normal was wearing me down. Not only were the curtains and rugs still not back but the lack of a cleaning lady deadline meant that the back of the house was a cluttered mess. Plus all the floors needed attention. Time to buckle down. I’d wisely invited friends over to knit on Sunday at 2:00 so I had a deadline to help motivate myself.

After a quick trip to the library to drop checks on Saturday morning, I got busy in the house. I swept every room and put the rugs down, cleared off the surfaces in the spare room and finally made that bed (talk about instant improvement!) and ironed the curtains and put them all up. I also unpacked all the essentials from the basement. All that doesn’t sound like much but it took all afternoon. I was very happy to have everything upstairs, in its place and looking normal so sat down to knit, satisfied with my progress.

My plan for Sunday was to neatize the kitchen and bake something for that afternoon but when Andrea called to say she was bringing a pie, I headed outside in the blazing heat to start planting my containers. I was dripping with sweat but was able to get all the backyard pots planted and the hoses installed by 1:00, when I went inside to shower and grab some lunch. What I should have done was immediately drink a bunch of water. I didn’t do that and was actually light headed from dehydration. The tea I made to go with Andrea’s pie wasn’t cutting it so I drank bunches of water after they left and was immediately better. I did my laundry and called it a good day. Most of my containers were planted and looking gorgeous on my deck, I had fun knitting and Andrea even finished my baby hat because she forgot her yarn. Nice bonus.

All the packages were fun but they paled in comparison to having my house back to normal. I don’t know why I thought it would take less time to unpack than it did to pack it all up. Lesson learned. And by the way, I will NOT be having major house projects done while I’m travelling anytime soon. I’m definitely over that.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Week 23 - Social and Weird

It was a fun week full of socializing, gardening and lots of knitting but punctuated by some mid-week weirdness. Sometimes working in academia is just nuts. Keep reading.

I ran errands at lunch on Monday, taking advantage of my temp handicapped parking space, which allows me to leave at lunch without worrying about finding another space when I get back. That has been a joy and something I’ve never been able to do in the 15 years I’ve been at UNL. Being able to run errands at lunch means I can leave for home right after work. It’s so convenient that it’s actually making me think about paying the $90 a month for an assigned spot right across the street. But I digress…

I’ve been parking at a spot that used to be assigned to a specific person but she quit last summer so it’s been sitting empty. Parking gave me permission to park there because the service order to change the sign to undesignated had already been submitted but it hadn’t been changed yet. Well, I got an email from my boss on Wednesday morning asking me not to “abuse” parking privileges by parking there. When I told her I had permission from Parking, she said there was the perception that I was doing something wrong so I had to stop. Someone had mentioned it to her and she didn’t want it escalating.

So, that’s the world I work in, where perception is more important than reality. When I called Parking to tell them I couldn’t park there, they acknowledged that since I worked in Canfield, I had to “be careful.” She was the 3rd person who’d said that. Nuts! What I want to know is why the busy body who reported this “problem” isn’t considered the problem. Does the person have so little to do that they can monitor the back parking lot? That’s what it’s like to work in academia sometimes. It’s still a wonderful place to work but this kind of crap goes on all the time. And the kicker is, I’m parking in the lot on the other side of the building in an undesignated handicapped spot. Big woop. I hope the meddler is happy. I had to talk myself out of stewing on this but had to share here. Thanks for listening.

Otherwise it was a wonderful week. The cool weather was holding, which was a boon because I hadn’t gotten gardening done on the weekend because of rain. I knitted at the library on Monday after work and then went home to plant one veg bed before it got dark. I prepped one bed (I’d picked up manure on the way home) and had my tomatoes, peppers and basil planted by dusk. I took a shower and watched TV for an hour before heading to bed. It had been a long but satisfying day.

Tuesday was my first day back in the pool in 6+ weeks. It felt great and my knee held up. Afterwards we were going out to dinner as a farewell for Wendy, a grad student who has been swimming with us for years and was moving to LA. We were doing Mexican (never my first choice) so I wasn’t too jazzed about that but it was fun and the food was actually good. I’ll miss Wendy so it was good to have a fun time wishing her luck. I didn’t get home until after 9:00.

Wednesday was a free evening for me so I headed home to plant another bed. This bed was cukes, melon and dried bush beans. When I was done, I took a shower and then sat down for a marathon of TV and knitting. I watched 2 hours of Master Chef (I love the summer cooking shows) and then popped in the DVD I’d gotten that day of season 5 of Breaking Bad. I watched 2 episodes that night and got up early Thursday to watch the 3rd so I could mail it back that day and get the 2nd DVD on Saturday. If the USPS drops Saturday delivery, I won’t be able to 2 discs a week. Did that pass?

Thursday was going to be another long day. I was going to the movies with Darla after work – Star Trek. It started at 6:10 so we were going to hit our thrift shop beforehand and then have popcorn and call it dinner. Mary ended up coming with us too. It was a fun movie and then I walked back to campus at dusk, which is nice. I love campus when it’s deserted and I even found my two favorite kitties to love on for awhile before heading out. I didn’t get home until 9:30. Good thing the next day was Friday.

Friday went quickly enough and then it was home to plant the last 2 veg beds. It was going to be a rainy Saturday so I wanted to be done with the beds so they’d be watered in. I prepped one full bed and half of the last, leaving the swiss chard from last year that’s going to seed so I can save some to plant next year. I planted squash, green and wax beans, more chard, parsnips and potatoes. Done! Despite it being cool out, I was dripping with sweat so showered and began my weekend knitting. Nice. All that was left was the containers, which I hoped to get done Sunday.

Saturday was our World Wide Knit in Public event at the library. A cat fight woke me up at 5:00 a.m. so I got up and baked this coffee cake to take. It dirtied every mixing bowl in the house but was absolutely delicious so worth it. Unfortunately it was pouring rain all morning so very few people were at the library but we had fun knitting in the front lobby anyway. We knitted from 9:30-1:00 and then headed to Chips for lunch. When I got home, I picked up the kitchen and did a bunch of pots and pans. It continued to pour rain on and off so it was a good day to be productive inside. I’d need to be productive again on Sunday to get through my to do list. I ended Saturday by cleaning my bathroom, which I hadn’t done in years but since I’m between cleaning ladies… Damn!

Well, it was supposed to be sunny on Sunday but the day was dreary with light rain on and off. I started laundry and continued to neatize in the house. It didn’t look like the I’d be doing my containers after all. When the phone rang, I was happy to hear Helen’s voice. She was going to do an Omaha run for craft supplies and wanted company so I happily agreed. We went out to lunch (Mimi’s CafĂ©) and then hit Joann’s. I didn’t buy any yarn! Can you believe it? I did get a clip on OttLite, which I’d tried in Ireland, which was 50% off so only $10. Such a deal! After running a few more errands, we got Starbuck’s and headed back. It was still dreary so I wouldn’t have been planting anyway so it was a wonderful way to spend my Sunday. I didn’t get my laundry finished but did make a nice dinner. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Week 22 - Friends and Knitting

Well, it was another week of trying to get back to normal, with my house and knee. Weather had some impact on my plans but then so did knitting. Go figure.

We were stuck under a weather front for most of the week that brought tons of rain (5.5” over a few days) and even a tornado warning. I was watching TV on Tuesday night when it started raining so hard that all I could hear was the rain slamming into the slider. When they broke into programming and showed a swirling storm over Wahoo, I cracked the door and sure enough, I could hear the sirens. So I grabbed my knitting and iPad and hobbled downstairs. After 30 minutes, it was past us and I went back up, forgetting my knitting though and I didn’t go get it until Wednesday night so went 24 hours without knitting. Horrors! Anyway, there was never any news of an actual tornado but my contractor’s dad, who lives just outside of town, had the roof torn off his house and his RV was picked up and thrown in his yard. So it was something. By the end of the week, the front had passed and it was picture perfect weather. Nice.

On the knee front, there didn’t seem to be any point in calling the doctor since I’d had a shot two weeks before my trip so what could they do? I was trying to walk normally but slowly and was doing OK when I tried to walk to the library (next building to my office) to look for a dry bench to knit on and took a step that nearly sent me down. I gasped so loudly that a woman twenty feet away asked if I needed help. I declined and headed back to my office. It was time for some steroids.

I had a med pack that the ortho doc had given me to take to England last year just in case that I hadn’t used. I started taking those on Wednesday morning and after just the first dose, my knee was feeling better. By the 2nd day it felt completely normal. Better living through chemistry. Gotta love that. I could walk totally fine and even hoped to get some gardening done on the weekend.

Midnight June 1st in York, England was 6:00 p.m. Friday so I made a bee line home to sign up for Knit France 2014. There were 50 people on the priority list and only 18 spots so I was at my computer on the dot of 6:00 signing up. I had never gotten through to Lori or Anne to see if they’d go so signed up as a single. We’d already been told there would be no single rooms available in the chateau so I’d be sharing with someone. I signed up and heard back from Jean that it had gone through. Yay! It’s a year away but I’m already excited. Then I heard from Sue (the Canadian doctor I’ve been on two trips with and so enjoy) and we are going to share. How fun! It’s going to be another fabulous trip for sure.

Saturday was a cool and gray day and I had a full agenda. I had to settle up with Andrea, who had paid for my euros and then kept track of what she owed me as I charged things for her (my card charged less fees than hers for foreign transactions.) She also owed me for Spring Affair plants. In order to figure out the exact amount I owed her, I had to find the hotel bill from our last night in Ireland, which meant it was time to slog through all the paper. And since I had ~6 weeks of mail and newspapers mixed with stuff from the house and trip detritus, I tackled the bar and desk first thing Saturday. It felt great to see a clear surface and I had my amount.

That in hand, I started on my favorite Saturday routine – life really was feeling normal again! I stopped at the library to pay some bills and pick up money, deposited it at the bank and then met Lori at the thrift shop for the bag sale. She was looking for clothes for her mom, who has lost weight during chemo, so ended up filling 11 bags (!) of clothes – some for her, some for mom and some for her sisters. I had just 2 – 1 for Andrea and another mixed with even some clothes for Cheryl’s grandbaby. We went right to Andrea’s, where I paid her off and dropped her clothes. Then it was on to Chips for lunch. Donna had been at Andrea’s so she came too and Andrea joined us at 1:00 after her store closed. We ate yummy food, chatted and knitted until after 2:30. It felt wonderful to relax with friends. It did kill my productivity for the day though. I made some tea and finished my latest socks (ugly color but they’re for a swap) and made dinner but didn’t get much else done. At least I had Sunday. I ended the day talking for a LONG time with Anne, who called back on the France trip (it’s a no) but we hadn’t spoken in more than a month so we had lots to discuss. It was a nice way to end the day.

Well, gardening was the plan on Sunday and the weather absolutely cooperated but I just couldn’t get motivated. I did do many loads of laundry and hung them on the line but I started a new pair of socks and couldn’t put them down. I also talked to Connie for a chunk of the afternoon but then it was tea time so I sat on the deck, knitting and drinking tea while enjoying the outdoors. The new mowing kid had come on Saturday evening so at least the lawn was done. I nuked leftovers for dinner and was watching TV when Lorri called to say she and Bob were coming to pick up some of my brush pile on the way to her brother’s farm where it would join their load for the burn pile. So, I finally got up and got moving at 8:00 p.m. We loaded up half of my pile and then I prepped a single bed so I can plant my tomatoes and peppers. That’d wait for Monday so I can get some manure to add as I plant but at least it was something.

So, it was a good week. My knee got better, as did the weather, I had lots of fun with friends, both in person and on the phone, got some long overdue stuff done in the house and knitted a lot. I even won an online contest for a fun, orange knitting bag. But best of all, I secured my spot for next year’s trip. Life is good!