Sunday, March 30, 2014

Week 13 - My Fun Overload

It was spring break so campus was deserted. Work was busy but manageable, which was a good thing because by the end of the week, I was ready to crumble. It was all because of too much fun.

Somehow I ended up with something scheduled every night Monday through Thursday. It was all fun and involved spending quality time with friends. I had knitting on Monday, a concert at the Lied on Tuesday, a potluck with the water aerobics gang on Wednesday and book club on Thursday. It was just go go go and I was exhausted. On top of all the fun, I had some other stressors going on to compound things.

I worked late on Tuesday on a project for the Vice Chancellor after training all afternoon then met Andrea at the Chinese buffet before the concert. The Soweto Gospel Choir was so much fun and totally uplifting. I left the concert on a high feeling totally energized and I was going home to a clean house. I walked in at 10:20 and took a big breath, thinking I’d smell clean. But underneath the awful febreeze cleaner the new cleaning lady uses was a funky undertone. I could swear it was boy cat. Then I walked into the back room and found Pretty Boy (that’s what I call him anyway) – one of the neighborhood cats. An unneutered male IN MY HOUSE! I was livid. So much so that I couldn’t sleep despite taking a shower to cool down. At least I scored some brownie points by responding to my boss’ email after 11:00. I was still awake at midnight and slept like crap, waking up worried that he’d sprayed all over the house. With the awful lingering febreeze smell, I couldn’t be sure. I did not need this this week!

I was getting more tired with every passing day and by Thursday morning I felt like I could cry at any minute. When Pixel came in with muddy feet and jumped onto my unmade bed, I nearly did. But I had my emotions under control by the time I got to work and being busy helped. I trained all afternoon and when I was done I asked if I could leave early. It was exactly what I needed. I was able to get my swap handmade nearly done before book club and then had a nice time discussing Water for Elephants, which I’d reread and loved just as much the second time. Best of all? I’d made it through and not only was the next day Friday but I had nothing planned after work. At last!

Friday flew by and after a quick stop at the market, I was home and it felt great. I sat and knitted, thrilled to just be sitting. Saturday was going to be another long day so I needed it.

Saturday was the annual garden event in Council Bluffs. I used to go for master gardener CE’s but since I don’t need them anymore (yay me for quitting!) I was going just for fun. It was a fun day of knitting while watching slide shows of plants and listening to speakers talk about plants. What’s not to love? And my last commitment of the week was over. I had a relaxing evening once I got home too. Nice.

Sunday was gorgeous and the wind they forecast held out until late afternoon. I had all more chores done by lunchtime and started cooking. By the time Andrea popped by for tea, I had filled my frig with food for the week and Andrea left with some too plus a bag of scraps for Lori’s chickens. She was headed there on her way home. By the end of the night, I felt recharged and ready to face the coming week. Let’s hope I don’t have another overscheduled week like this one anytime soon.

Week 12 - No Sister Time

It was a very relaxed week, which is always nice but leaves not much to write about. Yet somehow I’ll manage. : )

For the second time since the pool was redone two years ago, the pump went out so water was moved to the shallow lap pool pending repairs. Since I’d been having knee troubles already, I decided not to tempt fate and so will not be swimming until the deep pool reopens. This meant I could go straight home after work, which lead to lots and lots of knitting. I did bring workout clothes on Friday with the intent of exploring other options (I was thinking recumbent bike or super circuit) after work, only to receive and email that day that the weight room and circuit would be down for the next four days while they were being moved. Clearly the workout gods were against me but it probably worked better for my knee anyway.

I did manage to cross a few things off my to do list during the weeknights before the sitting/knitting began. Unclogging the floor drain was one thing I was happy about. It took an entire bottle of Drano and two kettles of boiling water but at last my furnace could drain back where it was meant to. I also finished the socks for my co-worker’s daughters and she took me to lunch as a thank you. And I won tickets to the Soweto Gospel Choir on the radio so there’s some culture coming next week. And free to boot!

Saturday started on a sour note. The phone rang early and I thought it was Carolyn but it was my sister Ginny. She was calling to say she wasn’t coming in April after all. The trip had been a quick one so when the airline cancelled her flight home with the only alternative either a really long layover in Atlanta or leaving a day earlier, she took the refund and cancelled. Keep in mind, this would have been her first time to Nebraska (I’ve lived here almost 18 years) and the first solo trip since she met her husband. I had been so looking forward to it. And her alternative was that the two of them would drive out this summer. NOT THE SAME THING! In addition to him being there (total downer), summer is my busy time at work and when I’m not working, I’m holed up in the AC because Nebraska summers are hotter than Hades. And when I suggested she look for a weekend she could come in the fall, she actually quoted sub budget problems in her district. This from someone who calls in sick all the time. So, it’ll probably be another decade before I see her in Nebraska. Bummer.

The rest of the weekend was lovely. I’d invited knitters over on Saturday afternoon because Lori has another commitment for 6 weeks and said she was missing the social knitting. It ended up just being the two of us but we had a nice time, chatting and drinking many cups of tea. The added bonus was it made me get all my chores done before she came at 3:00 but that was late enough in the day that I was able to knit a bit, do a chore, knit some more, do another chore…. That’s a great way to do chores, don’t you think?

Sunday was my belated birthday play date with Helen. She was picking me up at 10:30 (11:00 in Helen time) and I was ready to go. Unfortunately I tweaked my knee just before she came and couldn’t put any weight on it when I got in the car. Luckily, as has been the case recently, just sitting for the ride to Lincoln fixed it. But I didn’t want to push it so we skipped the breakfast for lunch I was wanting in favor of Applebee’s, which was the first restaurant we passed that didn’t have a huge wait. From there we went to Starbuck’s and on to Paint Yourself Silly. I had never been but it’s a fave of Helen’s and we had fun. I painted a yarn bowl in orange and purple (shocking choice!) and Helen did a plate. I’m excited to pick them up but that won’t be for two weeks. Then we stopped at Brenda and Michael’s to see the baby. He’d completely changed since I saw him in the hospital (go figure) but was fussy when we got there. I should have brought my knitting because we just sat and chatted for a couple of hours while Carter slept in Helen’s arms. Oh well. I got home after 7:00, ate some pancakes and called it a night, sitting down for some TV before bed. If there are any watchers of The Good Wife, what did you think of that? Yikes! Big shocker, just like CBS said. : )

So that was my nice week. Somewhere in there was the official start of spring but the weather here, except for a freaky warm day here and there, is still cold. There is some green showing in lawns and I found one lily in a sheltered spot coming up in my garden. It’ll only get warmer from here and I’m all about that. Right?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 11 - It's Always Something

This week was just one thing after another.

To start, am I the only one who has trouble with the spring time change? It seems to get harder and harder every year. I didn’t get a full night’s sleep until the middle of the week and so, like the rest of the world, was on low energy. That didn’t help at all.

My new cleaning lady was starting Tuesday and I was thrilled when I opened the door to the smell of cleaner and a spotless kitchen floor. The house looked great! She’d worked extra since it was so dirty but she clearly was doing a much better job than the last cleaning lady. Yay! Then I went into the bathroom and saw that one of the globes on the light fixture was gone. She had left me a message saying it had come down and smashed when she tried to dust it. First off, can I say how thrilled I am that she even thought to dust up there? My last cleaning lady apparently never looked up because dust was thick on anything above eye level and let’s not even discuss the cobwebs. I assured her it was not a problem (I remember doing a crap job of installing it and thinking 2 out of 3 screws would be fine when I couldn’t screw the third one in – then again…) and that she didn’t need to pay for it. I’d just get another of the same or two new ones if I couldn’t match it. No biggie. The fact that the bulb on that side was flickering was a bit worrisome but I hoped it’d just need a new CFL. But later that night, when I was wiping off the top of the sink, the facecloth caught on something. Apparently when the globe broke, it dinged the top of the sink and took a chunk of enamel off of the side. At least it was only on the far side against the tub so wouldn’t be visible from the doorway. And I was sure I could get a little bottle of enamel paint at Menard’s when I got the globe.

Not so much. A sink repair kit was $17! And the shelf with the globes? Bare. I left Menard’s with nothing to address either issue but I did get a bottle of Drano for the floor drain in the basement. That was clogged again (I’d had it roto rootered not too long ago after the wet kitty litter as cement fiasco) and since it’s where my furnace drains, I’d been letting it drain into a bowl that I’d been emptying every day. Since the cat boxes are in that room, I was waiting until the water level was down enough so I could add the Drano and still have it below floor level. I’d bailed as much as I could so now it was up to evaporation. As of the end of the week, I’m still waiting….

And have I mentioned my knee? My GOOD knee started bothering me last weekend and since then it’s been snapping and popping. It was no better but no worse until Friday after lunch. I’d spilled a 20 ounce glass of water on my leg at lunch so went to see Cheryl to commiserate and ended up sitting and chatting a bit. Well, when I went to get up, I couldn’t put any weight on my leg. WTF! Cheryl and Susan took my keys and went to get my cane from my car. I hobbled back to my desk and after sitting for a bit, it was like it never happened. Still not right but at least I could walk again.

But wait! When they brought me the cane, they reported that the key wouldn’t go into my driver’s side door nor the trunk. Now I’d had it to the Honda dealership not too long ago for the trunk lock, which they said was just dirty (not!) but now the driver’s side too! It looks like I’d be making another appointment at Honda.

All that said, life is good. I did manage to find the exact same globe later in the week at, you guessed it, Menard’s but I didn’t go get it until they’d found it and put it aside (it said online that it was available in the store but I’d just been there and not seen it.) In the paint department I found a little bottle of touch up Rustoleum with a brush in the cap, which was exactly what I’d envisioned buying. $3. I had a wonderfully productive weekend of knitting, cooking and baking, finishing off the weekend with a quick trip to Lori’s to drop off a big bag of chicken food (trimmings from all my kitchen efforts) and pick up a dozen eggs. I’d made a nice birthday cake for Andrea to take to knitting and was nearly finished with my 2nd pair of socks for the month.  And spring is in the air! The two lots of snow we’d gotten were both gone before the end of the next day and the extra hour of light, while not good for my sleep cycle, was pretty nice after work. And I even had some yarn fun on the deck, enjoying the gorgeous weather on Saturday while organizing all my sock yarn into under the bed boxes. I finished just before the cold front whipped through and dropped the temp like a rock. But it’s still winter so I’ll take the warm weather when I can get it while I patiently (ha!) wait for spring.

So despite the laundry list of inconveniences above, I’m still smiling. Are you? I hope so.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Week 10 - Roller Coaster Life

What a week! I feel like I’ve been saying that a lot but this roller coaster routine is getting nuts. Not only is it the weather but work was a carnival ride this week too.

It was -8 degrees on Monday morning. Real temp. The wind chill made it much colder. Sunday was 73 degrees. That’s an 81 degree fluctuation in just one week. Insane, right? In the middle of the week, mid 30’s felt like summer. The warmth is a gift and I’m taking it as a sign that spring is coming.

Work felt the same. I had been prepping for graduate assistant training for a couple of weeks, part of which was a database I’d written to spit out personnel action forms in seconds instead of the 20 minutes of so they take to do individually. This was being given out to people all over campus. While I was happy to be saving people time, Nora was really happy about it and kept thanking me over and over. Then the users started calling and emailing to thank me too. There were several offers of chocolate or flowers but none materialized yet. Maybe this week?

The two training sessions were Tuesday and Thursday. Unfortunately there was a meeting on Wednesday that Nora was told to go to under the banner of collaboration. But no one in the meeting wanted her there and they even called in the head of the department to read Nora the riot act. He beat her up verbally before she’d even opened her mouth. She was rightfully upset and reported back to our boss and the AVC, which caused, let’s say, some escalation. It was so unbelievable and when I left work on Wednesday, the plan was that I would go to the 8:00 a.m. Thursday follow up meeting because Nora would be at grad training. Can we say stressed boys and girls? I was willing to do it but not looking forward to it. I couldn’t have been happier when Nora called at 9:00 Wednesday night to tell me the meeting had been cancelled. HUGE relief!

Do you see what I mean about a rollercoaster? There were a few bright spots in the week though. I committed to a cruise with Connie next February and sent off my deposit. I had a nice long chat with my friend Eileen in Canada. I had a fun and productive Omaha run with Andrea on Saturday, including my first trip to the new Dunkin' Donuts (I've so missed Dunkin'!) And I won two contest this week so have yarn and knitting goodies coming in the mail.

I ended the week with an impromptu knitting birthday party for Lori on Sunday afternoon. I’d planned for the first deck knitting of the season but it was so horribly windy that we stayed inside. But the windows were open, the sun was shining and the laundry I’d hung on the line (3 sets of sheets and a load of sweaters, all that had been waiting for an above freezing day) dried in minutes. Andrea had just bought two chicks at the farm store so brought them along and so we knitted to the chirps and Lori cuddled the runt chick that needed some extra warmth. Chicks – another sign of spring. Oh and the time change too. This is a bit earlier than I’d like but I’ll take it.

So, in the end, it’s all good. I’d be up for a bit of consistency this coming week though. I live in hope.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Week 9 - In the Swing

A week that starts with the runs has got to get better, right? The good news on Monday morning was my stomach was better and Imodium solved the intestinal issues. Now to just FEEL better. I was able to eat some scrambled eggs and was able to sit up instead of sleep all day but I was dragging big time. I didn’t move out of my chair all day and at 5:00 p.m. was still wearing the nightie I’d been in for 48 hours. I finally felt up to taking a shower and getting dressed. I’d been able to eat some bland food too. But knitting was out of the question. I was going to go to work on Tuesday.

I was dragging on Tuesday and clearly wasn’t firing on all cylinders but I managed to be of some use in the morning and had training all afternoon. Having to get up in front of a room of people actually brought some of my energy back. By the time I got home, I was feeling almost normal. It wasn’t until Wednesday that I had any appetite back and still it wasn’t normal. My energy level was fine though and I had fun thrifting over lunch, scoring some gorgeous Ralph Lauren sheets.

I woke up ravenous on Thursday. For my weekly lunch with Dodie, I prevailed on her to go to Red Fox because I needed MEAT. They had pot roast as a special and it hit the spot. It was the first substantial food I’d eaten all week. I taught solo on Thursday afternoon and then crammed to prep for a meeting on Friday, getting so absorbed that I was late for swimming. I had intended to leave the pool early but since I got there late I stayed for the whole class, which left me no time for dinner before book club. Good thing I’d had a big lunch. We had an interesting discussion about a dark book of short stories by Alice Walker, who wrote The Color Purple.

Friday was a busy day reminiscent of my days at Brown. I had back to back meetings all day long with barely time to catch my breath before the next one. The one benefit of that is the day flies. I was looking forward to meeting Darla for shopping and dinner after work. We hit a couple of thrifts and then tried to find a place for dinner. We couldn’t park at our first choice, there was a huge line at our second choice so we gave up and went to HyVee. It was one of our regular lunch places but the café at the supermarket hadn’t been on my list for dinner. It worked out great though. We both got Chinese food, which even got me some gas points, and sat in the booth for hours catching up. What a nice way to start the weekend.

I had no plans for the weekend and desperately needed to catch up on everything I hadn’t gotten done last weekend. It was also bitter cold out so I was fine with staying in. I did go out briefly on Saturday morning but otherwise stayed in. I knitted an entire sock, got all my chores done and even did some cooking. I called the new cleaning lady on Sunday afternoon and scheduled her to come on Wednesday then looked around and started clearing more surfaces. I finished the day with some comfort food – polenta with sautéed chard and an egg. Yum! Too bad I wasn’t into the Oscars but then an early night sounded like a great end to the weekend. Damn, I’m getting old. : )

Week 8 - Sick and Tired

The Wine & Dine was behind me and I was thrilled. But when I woke up Monday, there was still work to do. Luckily the weather was cooperating. I picked up the dirty tablecloths before work on Monday and then spent the next two days washing and hanging them out before work and bringing them in and folding them after work. I had a two day window of gorgeous weather before winter was back. It all worked perfectly. 

Winter came back with a vengeance on Thursday but that worked for me. The work days flew by and I swam on Thursday and then water walked after work on Friday so I ended the week all exercised,  showered and ready for the weekend. Everything that had taken a back seat now needed doing and I had no plans for the weekend except to get it all done. 

I was a machine on Saturday and got my entire house picked up and even did a bit of cleaning. The plan was to do laundry and some cooking on Sunday but most importantly, to call my friend’s daughter who I want to hire as my new cleaning lady. Well, you know how plans go. 

I woke up Sunday with a stomach bug. I couldn’t keep so much as a sip of ginger ale down and had the runs to boot. I wasn’t aware of any fever but I could not get warm. Despite wearing my polar fleece bathrobe and having my feet on a heating pad, I was just chilled to the bone. I spent most of the day in bed, getting up every few hours to try more ginger ale only to fail and head back to bed. I set an alarm for a few minutes before the Downton Abbey finale. The bug must have been running its course because I was able to drink the watery ginger ale I’d poured before my last nap and even managed a few crackers. I had already sent an email that I wouldn’t be in on Monday. I could only hope to feel even better in the morning. 

So, what a week! Everything was on a pendulum – the weather and my health. Next week would have to be better.