Thursday, August 28, 2014

Week 34 - Jam Packed Week

I was looking forward to a normal week but it was jam packed so I’m not sure how normal it was. It was the week before classes start so no swimming, which you would think would mean more free time but it didn’t work out that way. Go figure. There were some really long days in store this week.

Monday was knitting, which is always fun but is a long day nonetheless – work all day, pick up pizza then knit at the club. By the time I get home it’s pushing 9:00 so it’s 14 hours away from home. Long day. Then on Tuesday I had to take my car to Honda because the hatch was jammed again. Since Honda is way down south in Lincoln and the shuttle leaves at 7:15, that means I have to be on the road by 6:30. It also adds a bunch of time at the end of the day because I have to get down there then it’s an hour home from that far south. Another long day and let’s not discuss the $99 charge to tell me it’ll be another $430 if I want it fixed permanently. Nope. I’ll take my chances. Wednesday was our annual water aerobics get together, which we always do the week we have no classes. Unfortunately I didn’t remember to bake until after 9:00 on Tuesday, when I threw in a pan of brownies and called it good. The cookout was also down south at Rene’s after work and was fun, as always, but I was one of the first to leave and still didn’t get to Wahoo until almost 9:00. I had to pick something up at Denise’s or I would have been later. Yet another long day. Thursday was book club. I did get to go home and eat dinner beforehand. Since the library is completely closed pending reopening at the real location after Labor Day, we met at the Vets’ Club, our home away from home these days. We had a good discussion but Connie, whose husband died recently very unexpectedly, didn’t come so I decided to stop at her house after dropping knitting needles at Donna’s in the same neighborhood. We had a lovely talk but I didn’t get home until after 9:00 again! Between the crappy sleep because of disturbing dreams (I blame the book – Destiny of the Republic – that I’d been listening to in every spare minute, including to and from work in the car) and these long days, I was toast. At least Friday was here and I had no plans for the weekend.

I had been waiting with baited breath for the state fair results to be posted online. I’d entered my two best socks, including the gorgeous pink pair I’d only gotten a red on at the county fair. The fair was open on Friday but the results didn’t get posted until late afternoon. How the ribbons work at the state fair is only a maximum of 5 are awarded for each division so of all the socks entered from the whole state, only 5 would get ribbons. I was thrilled to hear that I got 2 of them – 2nd and 5th place. I don’t know which sock got which but I was happy happy happy! Not enough that I’d be driving to Grand Island to see them but I have friends going who will take pictures. Yay!

Another wonderful thing happened on Friday. Andrea had found a cleaning lady who was taking clients and she had called me back and would be coming for a meet and greet on Sunday morning. If all went as planned, she would even be able to clean next week before Connie arrived. I was so excited. It did mean I’d have a big day of slogging through stuff on Saturday but I’d have had to do it before Connie came anyway and now with a firm deadline, it wouldn’t fill my entire weekend. So that’s what I did Saturday – sorting, moving, purging… All good. I was done by supper time and was looking forward to an early night. I had showered and was in bed reading when I heard my cell phone ringing. I decided to ignore it but then my landline rang. I picked it up and it was Cornelia. Her husband had died on Thursday. While it was a blessing that he didn’t linger longer, it was sad news regardless. I was on the phone a long time, making for another long day but that’s what friends are for. Corn has big changes ahead and I’m 1300 miles away so the only help I can really give is moral support. I can only hope she makes it through this OK.

I had planned to get up early and finish the dishes but was up so late that that didn’t happen. I hid all the dirty pots and pans that were in the sink in the dishwasher and called it good. Trisha arrived at 10:00, agreed to take me on as a client and then the rest of the day was mine. I still had laundry, the hidden dishes and cooking to do but there was also some sock knitting between the chores so it was all good. It was a relaxing day after a very busy week and I was so grateful for all my busy-ness, my friends and my wonderful life. I went to bed Sunday happy and hopeful for normal in the coming week. I live in hope.

Week 33 - Back to Reality

Monday was bra day. Since Carolyn had lost so much weight, she needed new bras but since she’s planning to keep losing, there would be no point in buying expensive ones. Vanity Fair outlet would be the perfect place to go so we headed to Dartmouth first thing. I was on dressing room duty – putting bras back on hangers, getting other sizes, etc. You know the drill. She found a couple of bras and the black capris she’s been searching for, on sale no less. I got a pair of denim shorts and a ¾ sleeve shirt so it was well worth the drive. After a quick lunch at Corner Bakery CafĂ© (a Panera-esque chain but with more variety – I want one in Nebraska. Now!) it was time for some quality time with Cornelia. I picked up mint chocolate Awful Awfuls and we sat in her backyard, chatting and enjoying the view. She did have to help Rick a couple of times but we enjoyed catching up. After dinner, we watched the BAD movie Divergent. We didn’t start until after Matt got home so it was a struggle to stay awake. I should have gone to bed instead.

Tuesday was my last day and not a whole one either. We hadn’t done our Job Lot run yet so did that first thing then the packing began. I had only brought my small suitcase and had a bigger carry on to use but had bought lots of stuff. Aaron took one look at the piles I made on the couch and declared there was no way it’d fit. Ha! The challenge was on. I did take 2 mugs out of the equation immediately but then started packing. I am an amazing packer. No need for modesty there because it’s true. I should have taken a picture of all that I fit in. It was a thing of beauty with everything tightly packed and every nook and cranny filled with bags of green tea from the many boxes I’d bought at The Christmas Tree Shops. I had it all in and was feeling proud of myself when Carolyn pointed to a bag on the stairs that she’d never mentioned and I’d ignored that was full of stuff she’d bought for me to take back. I managed to fit a few more things in but all but one pair of jeans she’d earmarked for Nora would be waiting until Christmas. I did put a single pair over the top of my carry one stuff for Nora to try on. If they didn’t fit, Carolyn could donate the rest. If they did, they’d wait with the mugs until Christmas, which is only 4 months away. Yikes! Carolyn had gone out for spinach pies for lunch and then I made one last, quick run to Cornelia’s before heading to the airport for 3:30.

I had checked in after dinner on Monday, 22 hours before my flight, and had a high C boarding pass! It really is time to consider paying the $15 early check in for flights from RI. Anyway, it was only 2 hours so I figured I could put up with anything but then scored a middle seat in an exit row and had a lovely flight, chatting with the woman next to me, knitting and watching some TV on my iPad. I so love my iPad. How did I manage before I had one? And before the internet? Don’t wanna go back there! My flights were both uneventful as was my ride home. I got into my house at 10:45 p.m., showered and went to bed. I was working Wednesday so had to get some sleep. It was great to be in my own bed.

Wednesday was catch up day at work. After an 11:00 meeting across campus, Nora and I grabbed wraps and sat on the picnic table behind our building for lunch and she caught me up on what I’d missed. I made it through the afternoon fine despite being short on sleep and went home to unpack. Everything had made it fine and it was like Christmas. Speaking of which, stockings and my color swap are DONE. This has got to be a record for me.

Thursday was the annual fiber garage sale from the Friends of Hillestad Gallery sale. It started in the morning but I was going at lunch with Anne and Dodie. Andrea had already been and gone but I found plenty of fun stuff to buy, spending $60 at the yarn sale - $5 for a bin to hold it all, about $10 on needles and magazines and all the rest on yarn, which was $1/skein so I got LOTS of yarn. I ran next door to the fabric sale and bought $12 worth of 70’s calico for my That 70’s Quilt. Time to get working on that. We stopped at Pho Factory for take out Vietnamese food, inspired by show I’d watched on the plane. While it was delicious, it was not take out friendly so I barely ate any of mine, saving it for home when it would be easier to put together and eat. I went to the pool that night only because there were no classes the next week so it was my last chance for awhile.

I was still doing OK energy wise on Friday and had lots of meetings so the day flew. I was looking forward to being home on the weekend and just getting all my RI spoils put away (I’d unpacked but there were piles everywhere) and maybe some yard work done. But Saturday was spinning and while I had considered skipping it, I didn’t and had a lovely time. I got my day at home on Sunday to neatize the house, integrate all the new stuff and get some chores done. I had made it through my short work week and was feeling good after a relaxing vacation. Now back to reality.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Week 32 - Year End Trip

There’s a reason I used to get on a plane the day the books closed. This year they closed on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. but I wasn’t leaving until Thursday morning. Can we say endless Wednesday boys and girls? Sheesh!

The reason I’d postponed this year was that Mary had scheduled two meetings for the day after fiscal year end and since Carolyn and I had decided the late flight wasn’t worth the sleep deprivation (that flight leaves Omaha at 6:00 p.m. but gets me to RI after midnight), I was flying Thursday morning. After I’d booked the ticket, Mary rescheduled one of the Wednesday meetings to September and I wasn’t going to the second meeting because I had to go to reporting training for reports I’ll never use (it’s a power/politics thing.) I had a hand doctor appointment in the morning, where I was relieved to hear I don’t have arthritis in my hand – just overuse. A fiscal year end injury is better than a chronic problem for sure. I grabbed lunch and then went to the uber boring training. Of course Mary had things for me to do when I got back and I ran out of time. I had missed swimming all week and so had promised I’d go Wednesday so left at 5:00 with work yet to do. Oh well. I’d been very good about getting stuff done all week at home so all I had left to do was put the clothes in the suitcase (they were already washed an ironed) and do a final neatize before heading to bed.

I was on the road at 5:30 a.m. and the flights were completely uneventful, which is as good as it gets with air travel. Carolyn and Aaron picked me up at the airport and we headed south to Aunt Carrie’s to meet my cousin and aunt for steamers, clamcakes and chowder. It was great to see them and the seafood was delicious but my 92 year old aunt is beginning to show her age. There was some shaking going on that was new since Christmas. She’s still sharp as a tack and a joy to be with though.

I was looking forward to a good night’s sleep on Thursday and didn’t give much thought to the lack of firmness of the air mattress when I fell into bed. Then I woke up at 3:30 a.m. enveloped in deflated air mattress with my butt hitting the futon underneath. Apparently there was a slow leak in the mattress that I couldn’t deal with in the wee hours so I just went downstairs to the couch and fell asleep. I guess I gave Carolyn a start when she found me there because it harkened back to Christmas when I arrived with a stomach bug and spent my first day curled up on the couch because of its proximity to the bathroom. A funky air mattress is preferable to that for sure.

I blame a general lack of energy for not having planned a cookout for all my friends. What that meant was I had to see people individually or not at all. The only firm plan Carolyn and I had made was an Ikea run on Friday with Sharyn, who we picked up at Brown at 10:00 because she had to post some batches (something like that) before taking the rest of the day off. We had fun at Ikea and then Carolyn’s friend from South Carolina, who was north of Boston doing research, met us for a late lunch. It was a fun day and I found some great stuff for my Ravelry color swap and Christmas stockings. Yay!

I got home to a message from Cornelia, who I wanted to plan a breakfast with, which is our usual thing. She had sad news. Her husband had been battling cancer but was losing the fight. He was on hospice and couldn’t be left alone so seeing Corn meant going to her house. I asked if I could do anything to help (she’s gotten no help from either her family or her husband’s) and she wanted me to run some errands. I happily did some grocery shopping and a post office run for her on Saturday morning. I didn’t see much of her that day before heading back to Carolyn’s. We had plans for lunch and some shopping before my early dinner with Deanne. We had my favorite fried clams at The Crow’s Nest and then went to The Christmas Tree Shops, where I scored yet more swap and stocking presents. Deanne picked me up at 4:00 and we went out for amazing Italian food. Are you seeing a trend here? I’d been in RI less than 48 hours and had Italian twice and seafood twice. Yum yum. It was great to catch up with Deanne, who is my oldest friend – since 6th grade so more than 40 years. Yikes!

The plan for Sunday was lunch with Bob. This time I combined seafood and Italian with yummy lobster tortellini. After a nice long catch up with Bob and a bit more shopping, Carolyn and I stopped at Cornelia’s to drop a goodie bag off. I wanted Carolyn to see where Corn lived (just a couple of miles from her house) because Carolyn had offered to pick up groceries for Corn since she goes to Stop & Shop nearly every day anyway. After making plans for me to go back the next day for a long visit, Carolyn and I headed home to cook the first meal since I’d been there – hamburgers on the grill so our own mini cookout. I think we watched a movie afterwards but it’s all a blur so I can’t be sure. It certainly couldn’t have been a memorable one.

It was hard to believe my trip was already half over. I’d had a nice relaxing time visiting friends and was happy I could help Cornelia out. I went to bed Sunday (we’d bought a new air mattress after a 2nd night of slow deflation) grateful for my friends and family and the wonderful life I have. And I still had another day and a half. Would there be more seafood? Probably. Certainly more friends. : )

Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 31 - Fair and Financials

Well, it was closing meetings week so my busiest week of the work year. As usual, it coincided with the county fair so it was busy, busy, busy. I survived.

This is my 12th or 13th year doing the prep so I pretty much have it down, which means busy but not too stressful. But it’s constant computer work and by Monday night the knuckle at the base of my right middle finger was bothering me. And when I say bothering, I mean I COULDN’T KNIT! So when I needed to go home and relax, knitting was off the table. I unraveled a sweater over two nights (at least it was fiber related) and was very careful with my keyboarding, which I think caused the problem, and made an appointment with my hand doc. By the weekend, the pain had subsided and I could knit again. I’ll have to be careful to not overdo it though so I’m fully knit functional for vacation.

The Fair. I prepped my fair entries on Monday to give to Andrea to enter for me on Tuesday night while I was helping with 4H veggie entries. I was in the 4H building from 5:30-8:00 on Tuesday night and there were tons of entries so the time flew by. Wednesday night was the ribbon check. I met Lori and Michelle after work to check out my entries. I had real hope for a pair of perfect pink socks but alas, the lame judge was back. Not only didn’t they win the rosette, they got a RED ribbon while other simple projects got blues. Oh well. Nothing could be done so we went for funnel cakes. I’d never had one and enjoyed it but having that for dinner on an empty stomach was not the best idea. I went to bed with a funky stomach. My last fair duty was sitting at the library’s booth in the commercial building on Saturday night. The only attraction of that building is the AC but it was beautiful outside so it was dead. By then I was knitting so kept busy until Lorri came to break down the booth. Andrea was picking up my entries on Sunday night so another county fair was done.

The weekend was my last before heading to Rhode Island so cleaning was my main focus. I hadn’t done much cleaning since my cookout on the 4th so the house was in desperate need. I interspersed cleaning and knitting all weekend with some cooking Sunday night in an attempt to use up the food in the frig. I cleaned the bathroom before my nightly shower and washed the kitchen floor before bed. Done! Having the house in decent shape will be nice when I’m back from vacation. Just three more days until I jet.